- Superintendent Hammler - Keegan-Michael Key
- Joyce Alvarez - Alessandra Torresani
- Pemily Stallwark - Molly Quinn
Croach the Tracker is telling Sparks Nevada a Christmas story he read in the USSA Trade Journal as a Christmas present. Croach and Sparks discuss the Starship Olivia, and how Cactoid Jim and The Red Plains Rider saved Gene Peeples from the MurderMen which took over the ship in the episode of Cactoid Jim, King of the Martian Frontier - MurderMen.
After the destruction of the Olivia and the deaths of his daughter Erica and his wife Linda, Gene Peeples is now a professor at the USSA Academy. Peeples records in his journal, waxing about how he can hear his daughter singing whenever he journals. He fears that where his humanity used to be is now just an empty void. He was allowed to keep his rank of Captain even without the starcraft. He is in charge of eight cadets and is the professor of Applied Space and Space Theory curriculum at the United Solar System Alliance Academy.
Superintendent Hammler enters to discuss Pemily Stallwark with Peeples. Pemily had just finished a disciplinary hearing for a weapons violation, where she learned, as she suspected, that the rules did apply differently to the winner of Punishment Soccer. Peeples tells Hammler about his action plan to help improve Pemily's attitude. Hammler suggests a different action plan, an unofficial Code Red. Gene argues against the Code Red, saying she'd probably cripple or kill anyone enacting a Code Red on her.
Peeples also argues that some of the very best students the USSA Academy ever churned out has an anti-authoritarian streak, and Hammler points out that so have some of their very worst (Sparks Nevada). Hammler tells Gene to handle Pemily, and not to let her interfere with the Reptiform (Lizard Man from Planet 30) Ambassador, who is coming to give a lecture on Post-Treaty Universal Collaboration to the fourth class cadets. Peeples wonders if this is wise, but Hammler assures him the Reptiform will be fine, as he's an ambassador. Hammler orders Peeples to keep Pemily under control.
Peeples returns to his journal, waxing about how it's almost Christmas, and how he barely holding it together as it will be his first Christmas alone since Linda and Erica's deaths.
Cadet Joyce Alvarez enters Gene's office to talk about Pemily. Gene asks Joyce to intercede, to be a friend to Pemily, but Alvarez believes he's asking for a Code Red on her instead.
The Lizard Man ambassador arrives, and Gene recognizes him as Zaant the Cruel, Head of the Imperial Tortureguard of the Lizard Men of Planet 30. They had met once before and Gene had bested him in combat. The Lizard Man insists his name is Creez, and says if Gene insults him again, it will cause an interplanetary conflict. The Reptiform asks for directions to the hall where he will deliver his lecture, and Alvarez offers to show him the way.
Pemily arrives to talk to Gene. She thanks him for talking to the board on her behalf. Pemily tells Gene how important being at the USSA Academy is to her, and remembers how inspired she was when she had helped Good Cactoid Jim, Chicky Sullivan, Miles Kaward and the Barkeep defeat evil Cactoid Jim in Good Jim. She learned the only way to fight against the system was to be a part of it. If you go inside, that's where its vulnerable. She gives Peeples a gift for Christmas, (though he is Space Jewish) which he does not unwrap. She also tells Gene he's alright and hopes she never has to kill him.
He tells Pemily to go to the Lizard Man lecture, and not to trust Creez, then journals that Pemily reminds him too much of Erica. Hammler returns and Gene tells him that he sent Alvarez to be Pemily's friend, not to Code Red her. Gene also apologizes for his behavior to Hammler during their days in USSA Academy together.
A sudden explosion rocks the Academy, and Gene is pinned under debris, while Hammler has several broken ribs. Gene believes the Lizard Man caused the explosion, while Hammler believes was Pemily.
Pemily enters to see if everyone is okay. She says it was the Lizard Man who blew up the school, and Alvarez jumped in front of her to save her.
The Lizard Man enters and admits he really is Zaant the Cruel and that he blew up the school. Pemily fights back against him, but he spits at her and paralyzes her. Alvarez enters, fights back, and also gets paralyzed. Pemily tells Gene to open the present she got him, which is a blaster. Gene blasts Zaant, killing him.
Hammler admits Peeples was right about Pemily and the Reptiform, and invites Gene over for Christmas dinner. Gene agrees, as long as Pemily and Alvarez are also invited.
Gene journals once more, saying that the void inside him has been re-filled with humanity.
- This episode appears twice in the podcast. Once as a standalone episode New Frontiers (TAH #117) and once as a part of The Complete “Christmas on Mars” show from December 8, 2012 (TAH #147).
- This episode should be listened to sometime after Cactoid Jim - Good Jim and sometime before Natal Attraction for continuity in the Sparks Nevada universe.
This episode was released twice on the podcast. It is both the 117th episode of the Thrilling Adventure Hour, and a part of the 147th episode. This is the point where The Complete “Christmas on Mars” show from December 8, 2012 best fits into canon. However, as Craoch is telling Sparks this story as something he read in the USSA Trade Journal, it can be assumed that it happened at some point in between Mutiny on the Bounty Hunter and the 2012 Christmas episode. Pemily does not mention what she is doing when she is summoned by Croach / V'stalu in Good Jim, so it's possible she was summoned from USSA Academy.
As episode #117, the previous episode is #116 Beyond Belief - The Devil You Know. The next episode is #118 Sparks Nevada's "I'm from Earth" Day Special, which is also the next episode in Sparks Nevada universe canon. The previous episode in Sparks Nevada canon is #113, Good Jim.
From context clues, we assume the order is probably Mutiny on the Bounty Hunter --> New Frontiers --> Good Jim --> Christmas 2012 --> Sparks Nevada's "I'm from Earth" Day Special --> Something Wicked This Way Is
This episode was recorded at Largo on December 8, 2012. It was released twice, once on its own on May 13, 2013, and also along with the 2012 Christmas special on December 16, 2013.