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O holy night, the stars are brightly shining...

It is the night of our dear Savior's birth.

Long lay the world—

"In five hundred meters, turn right on 100: Riesel Avenue North."

Christmas carols played on the radio as the Gordo silently dashed through the empty streets of Arkhavn. There were almost no cars to be seen at 1 AM; nightlife was more concentrated elsewhere in the north. Yet even at this late hour, a large truck of some sort would still occasionally zip by on the eastbound lane; Arkhavn was notorious for restricting such trucks during certain hours of the day. Without the usual traffic, it was at night when Arkhavn truckers took the liberty to drive unusually fast — it was a common sight to any Arkhavn resident.

In the daytime, traffic often impeded movement around Arkhavn. The problem of congestion had begun to surface in the late 1970's, while the nation was enjoying a time of prosperity and rapid economic development. An influx of migrants from surrounding countries proved hard to control as cities began to grow at record speeds. Before long, Arkhavn was severely crowded; traffic was a major problem. With focus drawn towards further improving the economy, little emphasis was placed on improving the country's infrastructure. Air transport was becoming more and more common, but the problem of congested cities had not yet been addressed. It wasn't until 1986 when the government began to seriously address the country's urban issues through the Urban Infrastructure Development Plan (Byinfrastruktur Udviklingsplan or BU), approved by then-president Lars Nedergaard. 

Despite all the improvements, Arkhavn's congestion problem still seemed to linger around. A quiet reminder of the past, traffic jams were no longer as harsh yet still managed to irritate people and ruin delicate schedules. As mundane as they were, Arkhavn traffic was unpredictable; short jams could form almost anywhere.

... Except during the Yuletide season.

A devout Christian nation with traditions going far back, Andalla was the world's Christmas capital. Any foreigner visiting the country in early October would know that — it was like travelling through time, from the regular October hustle and bustle back home to the merry December atmosphere of Andalla.

With Andallans celebrating Christmas so passionately, traffic was inevitable. People were always rushing around, perhaps buying gifts or simply enjoying life with all the Christmas sales and promos. Others took the chance to visit friends and relatives. Overseas Andallans would be returning home for a while to celebrate the New Year with their families. Ultimately, the transportation system would be overloaded during this time of peace and joy. Cars flooded the major roads and avenues at night, ironically further contributing to the Christmas-sy atmosphere with their bright red tail lights.

The jams didn't last forever, of course. By 10, the traffic slowly started to fade away; darkness once again ruled over the once-packed roads. It was at this time when Christmas could really be seen — when all was calm and all was bright. Driving on the road became more peaceful than at any other time of the day. Practically every house and building was decorated with lights of some sort, while the streetlamps sported a myriad of sparkling lights topped by a jultjerne. Faint notes of a familiar carol wafted through the night, often accompanied by the muffled voice of a drunk, happy man on the karaoke.

A cool breeze blew quietly through the Gordo's open windows. The machine sped across the empty road, keeping a constant pace as it slowly neared the airport. IPIA was located not far from the city center, though surrounded by less-urbanized areas. An Air @Selayar plane flew over, seconds away from landing.

All flights ended like that. At least, most did.

Edited by Andalla (see edit history)
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  • 10 months later...

Ivan Petersen International Airport, Terminal 2 Departures

November 30, 2018
01:44 hrs

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After half an hour on the road, the Gordo rounded a turn onto the Departures ramp of IPIA Terminal 2. The airport was unusually quiet at quarter-to-two in the morning; for such a family that flew often, it was a very interesting sight indeed. Without any second thought, all four adults quickly set to work unloading the bags as soon as the van came to a stop along Bay 4. Jans followed suit, gaily hopping off to retrieve his little backpack from the trunk.

Twenty meters away, a large family was also unloading their luggage. One could wonder how a family of eight, with all their baggage, could all fit into a little @Fulgistani minivan. They were merrily rushing about — the father and presumably eldest son running off to find pushcarts to carry all the luggage. The others handled the bags, carrying them one by one onto the curb while chatting away amongst themselves. Such was a very typical scene at the airport, especially during the Christmas season.

After bidding their goodbyes, the Cheng family headed for the entrance. A blast of cool air from inside welcomed them as Robert placed each bag onto the X-ray rack. At peak hours, it would have taken up to five whole minutes from the start of the line until one could finally enter the terminal building. Today the airport was eerily desolate; all entrances, gates, and counters open all for operating procedures' sake.

What usually was an emotionally- and physically-challenging ordeal turned into a breeze — looking for the check-in counter. There was always a special exception for this family; after all, the three were high up Andallan Airways' frequent flyer program. Combine that with the lack of congestion that early morning, and they were on their way to the gate in under five minutes.

"Mama, let's buy some chocolates," Jans nagged, motioning to the duty-free store they passed as they were walking along. On a golden rack were displayed the finest Argic delicacies from @Iverica and @Prymont, among others.

Anna could not decline. Their flight was scheduled to leave at 3:25 AM; there was much time to spare.


IPIA Terminal 2, Gate E6

November 30, 2018
02:31 hrs

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After 30 minutes of strolling around Terminal 2, Jans was happily asleep in his mother's lap. They were seated at Gate E6, awaiting the pre-boarding call for frequent flyers. Anna was deep in thought, trying to recall what she had seen before leaving the house. There had to be something. It was on the floor, giving off a subtle shimmer as moonlight bounced off the mysterious object. Was it a coin? A hairpin? Perhaps her keyPhone charger? Hopefully not.

Robert was busy sending some final messages on Yibber. An investors' meeting as soon as they returned. The unveiling of a new Alfaland project right after. He was lucky to find a small gap in his busy December schedule, and he would grab every last minute of it to snag a quick getaway with his beloved wife and son.

Three seats away sat an Argic man, who appeared to be gazing off into the distance. In reality, however, he was only marveling at the unique and intricate design of the gate. When the airport first opened in 1991, it was one of the best modern marvels of the world — a groundbreaking design pushing architecture to its very limits. A confluence of the finest architects and engineers from Andalla, Argis, Alharu, and Europa, IPIA was designed to kill — kill the stagnation in the Andallan tourism industry, of course. One among the many wonders of the 1986 Urban Infrastructure Development Plan, the airport was intentionally designed in such a way that would provoke a rise in public interest and therefore tourism.

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The first two terminals were opened in 1991 and 1995, respectively. Though Terminal 2 was slightly smaller than Terminal 1, structurally they were mirror images of each other. The main terminal buildings formed two semi-circles, both facing away from each other to form a circular shape. Radiating outwards from each terminal building were three leaf-shaped structures, each of which contained seven gates at the tip of the leaf. Interconnected by a system of walkways and bridges, the large spaces within the leaf structures were carefully terraformed to resemble a tropical rainforest. All in all, there were six concourses with seven gates each, three concourses in each terminal — a total of 42 gates.

Each gate was an architectural marvel in itself. Based upon the traditional Andallan hreggsþak design, each concourse resembled a small "village" of seven houses, which were the gates. The hreggsþak ("storm-roof") traces its roots to Giokto and @Selayar, where it is sometimes known as the joglo. The pinnacle of early Andallan architecture and a national symbol, the hreggsþak design of IPIA's gates was met with much applause during its construction.

The man's contemplation was abruptly cut short by a ding from the terminal PA system.

"Attention all passengers. This is the pre-boarding call for Andallan Airways flight three-seven-one, bound for Altaria. We would like to request all passengers of Andallan Airways flight A-L-three-seven-one to please proceed to gate E6. Boarding will begin in ten minutes," came the voice.

"For passengers accompanying infants and little children, as well as those requiring special attention, we would like to request you to proceed to the boarding counter immediately. Business class passengers and ALplus members may board at their own discretion. Thank you."

Edited by Andalla (see edit history)
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