Attention Lovely Readers:
In case you had not noticed from the name of this chapter this post is NOT part of Happily Ever After (gasp). This is in fact the work of the lovely Laura Trude, a fellow fantasy and short story writer. She has written four Christmas stories with we will be posting this month in place of HEA.
So without further Adieu….
Santa Clause of the Universe
By Laura Trude
A thousand years from now, on a planet far away, lies the north pole: of the galaxy, that is. Santa Clause not only has a single planet full of toys to deliver, but hundreds. He has devoted the resources of an entire world to that end (he had to expand his business a bit), innovated the rules of the space-time continuum to allow him enough time to deliver over a trillion toys in six hours, and has a dozen rocket-scientists on staff, devoted to the creation and upkeep of his intergalactic sleigh.
How did Old Saint Nick become the Santa Clause of the Universe, you ask? Well, I’m the perfect person to ask, because I’m the head elf of this particular operation. Where should I start? With the discovery of the fountain of youth that has allowed Santa to maintain his charming over-the-hill looks? To his mental breakdown upon the realization that he would have yet another thousand years of delivering toys when it had gotten old after five-hundred? With the first genetic cloning of reindeer after they became extinct (sorry, they don’t live forever, although we do tend to give them the same names as their predecessors; in fact, we have an entire school devoted to the training of these fine creatures; they feel so honored when they get selected to be Blitzen the 200th)? Or perhaps with the removal of the North Pole Enterprises to the stars? Hmph; my wife tells me I should begin at the beginning, where all good stories start.
Well, about fifteen-hundred years ago, there was this man named Nicholas, who was later declared a saint by the Catholic church. Actually, one pope de-sanctified him and said Nicholas had never existed, but later popes realized that particular pope, well, he wasn’t quite right in the head. This Saint Nick liked to give toys to the children on the eve of Christ’s birth, or what they figured it to be. Well, he did this for a while, but then he got pretty old and, sad to say it, he died. A few hundred years later, Santa Clause was born. My ancestor elves tell me that he was an inventor born somewhere in Europe and had a fascination with Saint Nicholas. One day, while working on a new toy, he had a vision of himself as the Saint Nicholas of the world.
“How on earth could I do this?” he asked the angel in his vision. Because before, Old Saint Nick just gave out toys to the children he could reach in one night on foot, which wasn’t very many.
“Find the North Pole,” the angel replied. “There you will find the answers you seek.” Well, Santa had heard something about this North Pole, but as far as he knew, it was just some theoretical place, like the Fountain of Youth (which he later found out wasn’t so theoretical, although you did have to have a very good reason in order to be granted eternal, or nearly eternal, life; apparently giving toys to lots of children counts). This was well before anyone had explored much north of the St. Lawrence River, and the North Pole was only known as “the place where your compass points.” Santa, God bless him, had faith in his vision and sold his toy shop to charter a ship to the northernmost point of Canada he could get to (which was then controlled by the British Empire). Needless to say, the journey was rather rough and more than one crew member perished from dysteria on the voyage over. Santa found out he was seasick.
From there, he bought some skis from the Dutch and a polar bear fur coat (which unfortunately became died bright red due to an accident at the onset of his journey) and headed north with his compass. Compasses were still rather new, but thankfully he had learned how to use one from the sailors aboard the ship. They took rather a liking to this odd fellow, especially since he could make almost anything from scraps of wood and nails, or whatever else they had lying around. After many close calls with wintery storms in the middle of summer and Caribou, Santa Clause found us elves. We were living in igloos back then and mainly lived by hunting seals and in our free time, enjoyed carving pieces of bone. When Santa Clause found us, he collapsed on the ground and praised heaven. Unfortunately, we thought he was a demon who had come to kill us by muttering a curse and nearly slaughtered him then and there (Sorry, Santa Clause!). Thankfully, my great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great Aunt Eloviouse, who was known as something of the town witch doctor, had had an alternative vision; rather than coming to kill us, this strange red man (he had gotten sunburn from the arctic snow-glare) had come to bring joy to the world.
From there, things were pretty much history, minus a few confusions while the language barrier was still being worked out. He explained his vision and we set about making a European village while our witch doctor worked out the magic. Of course, we’ve made a few modifications since then; our fascination with candy canes completely changed the decor, and of course we added Rudolph a while back (which we replaced with a red electric lamp when he died, although we kept the reindeer for quite a while, even after they were “extinct” as I said, because they had become something of a tradition). Then, to make the actual toys, we had to do some fund-raising after electronics became popular. You just can’t make an I-Pod without some fancy technological equipment and sand for the microprocessors, which we don’t have in the north pole. Plus the whole “training up” bit. Thankfully, Santa was quite good at making his own inventions and pretty soon, we were patenting popular toys that toymakers were buying up world-wide like a seal swims for water when a polar bear is after it.
“Go on, go on,” my wife says. Okay, we’ll skip a few hundred years.
Like I said at the beginning, North Pole Enterprises had to expand. With the population boom and the populating the galaxy thing, we had to build a spaceship. Pretty soon, we needed a new world to ourselves. Something more central, something with room to work so we could actually meet our quota. Then we found Lazarus.
I wasn’t actually there when they found it; this was still a few hundred years before my time. My great-great grandfather was on the crew though, Old John Huxley V. Santa had sent out exploratory teams to find us our very own home-world. The nano-processor had made us rich enough to send the teams, and boy, we needed the space. We were living twenty bunks to a room originally created for two, working elbow-to-elbow as fast as we could, even with our robotic helpers, we just couldn’t make enough toys to give to everyone on the nice list. Oh, that cut Santa’s heart. Eventually he had to raise the standards. And with the polar ice caps melting, we had to leave the pole, or sink.
The teams were heading towards the outskirts of the populated galaxy. Santa Clause figured there might still be some good planets left there and before long, the outer-rim would become the inner-circle, and we’d be right at the center of things again. Well, some elves found rocky worlds with lots of resources and others found ones with poisonous plant life; one found a tropical world, but that just didn’t seem right after evolving for a few thousand years on a sheet of ice. It was my great-great-grandfather’s group who found the perfect place: a mountainous world with year-round snow. The space-geographers had labeled it Lazarus; we dubbed it, the North Pole. Unlike those feeble telescope-burners, we didn’t mind the cold. The cold meant hot chocolate, snowball fights, ice-skating, and of course, sledding, my favorite past-time activity (and Santa’s as well; he got kinda tired of skiing after that very long trip to the original magnetized toy land).
There, we built our very own Frosty Metropolis, everyone had their own house, we had huge factories, and eventually we spread out to the suburbs of Chocolate Lake and Icicleville. We began producing toys again on a massive scale after our initial immigration, and soon, we were prepared to take up our roles as the premiere toy-makers of Christmas cheer for another thousand years. That, my friends, is the story of how Old Saint Nick became the Santa Clause of the Universe.