As promised, here's the second of three Christmas flash stories -- you'll have to wait til Twelfth Night for the third...
"Silent Light" by Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon Shepherds watched the star brighten with every night. In the East, three kings began a pilgrimage to follow the new star. At the little town of Bethlehem, the blazing star lit the way for a young couple trying to find a room for the night. In orbit above, the Mendarn exploration ship observed the collision course between the comet and the planet with growing alarm. "It is an extinction level event, Grand Commander. All surface life will be extinguished." "Nothing can be done, Sub-Lieutenant. The Accords forbid interference." "Except for cultural or technological reprieves, sir." The Grand Commander looked askance at his junior officer. "And you find these creatures redeeming? They do nothing but fight or torture each other." "But their works of art -- the poetry. Those the Chief Artisan has translated, some are quite beautiful, especially those set to music." "You would save these creatures for a few poems and songs?" "It fits the Accords, sir. What else is there?" The Grand Commander countered, "They cannot fail to notice our interference." "Their astrophysics is nearly nonexistent, their religions are all old. There is no indication they would change based on one celestial event." "Very well. Save your creatures. Divert the comet." Inwardly the Grand Commander was pleased. It would be a shame to lose any piece of beauty in the universe. The Sub-Lieutenant was right. A thousand orbits or two hence no one would remember the tales of one close cometary call, even amongst the Mendarn. No one.