This is Episode 2 of 5 in the Spirit of Christmas series

“Uh, who exactly are you?”, Harley asked, wide eyed, as he sat on the console.

“More importantly, how did you get on this ship?”, Captain Remarkable stepped forward, addressing the newcomer directly.

“I took the sleigh.”

“You took the what?” Harley perked up.

“That doesn’t answer my question, we are in the Cloud for cripes sake.”

“Think of me as a hitchhiker Captain.”

“Funny, I don’t remember pulling over.” Phineas asked, walking into the room,  “What I miss?”

“I don’t have time to go into details at the moment.  Suffice to say I work for the Santas.  We can find anyone anywhere, I was sent to seek you out and ask for your help., he smiled, “To answer your question Harley, my name is Faulkner.”

“Why are you here?

“Someone stole the Santa Mantle and kidnapped Santa Prime.

“Someone stole the what and kidnapped the who?”

Faulkner sighed heavily and wearily.  This was the conversation he really wasn’t  looking forward to having for many reasons.  Not the least of which being time. Or the lack of it.

It was always the way in situations like this.  The people involved need to know what has happening and why and how they were supposed to help, but the was always a time limit.  

“There isn’t time to explain everything really, but I suppose I have no choice.  I’ll compress it as much as I can for now and will be glad to answer any questions you may have when possible. I suggest we all take a seat.”

Once they were all seated Faulkner paced around the room.  Everyone twisted or swiveled in their respective chairs to follow him as he told a tale that kept each of them enraptured.  Everyone except the Captain.  He assumed this was all an elaborate scheme to take over his ship.

“Let me start by saying that everything you know about the person called Santa Claus isn’t exactly true.”

Harleys ears drooped.

“Easy Harl.  Let me explain.  As I said, what you know isn’t exactly true.  Or at rather it’s not the entire truth.  The reality has become corrupted over the years, but since it actually serves to help hide the truth of who Santa really is, we began to encourage the tales and stories.

The one you call ‘Santa’ we call ‘Santa Prime’.  He is in charge of the other Santas and manages the production and distribution of the toys and gifts.”

“Wait, so Santa is a CEO?”

“Technically speaking, yes.  However he is also much more that that.  He’s also the guardian of the ‘Spirit of Christmas’”

“What’s christmas?”  

“Christmas, Harley, is what you call Yule Night.  It’s known as different things in different places.  It’s original name in fact isn’t Christmas but something lost to time.  

Anyway, getting back to my story.  The ‘Spirit of Christmas’ that Prime guards is what we call the Santa Mantle.  It’s what lets him distribute joy and cheer throughout the year and what allows the other Santas to travel and deliver so many gifts. “

“I told you he had cool technology!” exclaimed Harley.

“Stop interrupting Harley,” Faulkner smiled, “It’s not technology. It’s magic. A very old, very special kind of magic.  

The Mantle was stolen yesterday, presumably when Santa Prime was kidnapped.  We must find it and get it back and the Prime back before Christmas Night… I mean Yule Night.

Right now Maxamillian, Santa Paws is tracking the ones that took the Mantle.  Horus, also know as Santa Claws, that’s C L A W S, is following up on a lead to locate Prime.  

We need your help Harley.”

“My help?  Why me?”

“The short answer is, there is a provision that should something happen to the Santas we were to contact you.  There were some that argued it was too early, that you weren’t ready but I won the debate.  Or rather I ignored them and came after you anyway.  I can’t really say more than that right now.”

“You’re asking us to take a lot on faith Faulkner” the Captain said as he stood up.

“Yes I know.  And I’m sorry.  I’ve told you all I can for now and we are short of time.  Yule night is in 2 days.”

“How many Santas are there?” asked Harley cheerfully.

“Quite a few.  In addition to the ones I already mentioned there is Cynderklas, Father Yule, and Saint Kristopher to name a few.

“So where do you come into all this?” asked Phineas

“I’m a Commander in the E.L.F., and was assigned to protection of the Prime.  I’m responsible for him and it’s my job to get him back.”

“Wait, “said Harley, “You’re an elf?”

“No, I’m a member of the E.L.F., that stands for Extremeis Liberitus Forte.  It’s essentially a police force assigned to guard and protect the Santas.”

“I don’t understand.  You’re wearing green, but aren’t you suppose to be short, and have pointy ears?”

“I’m not an elf Harley.”

“Denial is the first sign.”

Faulkner sighed, “I assume you’ve heard of the MCU?”

Everyone nodded

“We are the MCU for the North Pole.”

“North pole?  We don’t have a north pole. We don’t even have a north”

“Every planet has a north Phineas.  Besides, it’s not a place per se, that’s actually the code name of the Candy Cane Factory, the place where all the gifts are manufactured.  It’s a heavily guarded secret and no, I won’t take you to visit Harley.”

“Won’t you get in trouble?”, Harley asked in earnest.

“Probably.  I intend to resign once this is over anyway.  In all the time since the ELF has been established no one has ever lost a Santa.  I’m the first. “

“What can we do to help”, volunteered Harley to the unsmiling faces of Phineas and the Captain.

“I honestly don’t know.  I was hoping you knew of a way to find a rescue the Prime.  If you don’t I …”

Harley grinned.

“Harley,” began the Captain, “Am I correct in assuming that the words “I have a plan” are heading with unwarrented enthusiasm in the direction of this conversation?

“Yes sir, however, I don’t think anyone’s going to like it.”

“When do we ever?”, Phineas smiled.

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This story is part of an ongoing series. To read from the beginning start here: Spirit of Christmas