Futurama

Fan Fiction

Red Sleigh Rising
By Christina Nordlander

Caption: SPAM SANTA!

The big screen: the cartoon where little elves help a poor shoemaker finish his work by Christmas.


Ext. shot of the Planet Express building, morning. There is snow. An owl flaps by, then drops dead. Cut to the employees watching TV in the lounge. Cut to the TV, which is showing the regular news programme with Morbo and Linda. The picture behind them shows Santa through crosshairs.

LINDA (somewhat soberer than usual): It is the morning of Xmas Eve, or, as I would like to call it, the Eve of Destruction, and we have roughly (looks at watch) eleven hours until the vengeful Santa will arrive to sleigh (giggles) hundreds of victims in his seasonal attack on planet Earth.

MORBO: Morbo notes your pun, but fails to find it amusing.

LINDA (cont'd, a bit happier): However, this year, mankind is resolved to fight back against the red menace that is Santa! Earth President Richard M. Nixon has issued a proclamation to all immoral soldiers of fortune who want to help to make the season bright.

Cut to Nixon, jar perched on a podium.

NIXON (more aggressive than ever): Listen up! Whoever stops that present-giving Commie from attacking this Xmas, by any means, will be presented with the Order of Tah-Kee for outstanding achievement in saving mankind! Posthumously, if necessary! (swivelling a bit) Show them the medal!

REPORTER (dangling a tacky-looking gold medal in front of the camera; sotto voce): The medal was cast from the wrappings of chocolate coins and cannot take high temperatures in the wash.

Cut back to the studio.

MORBO: Morbo thinks mankind is doomed.

LINDA: Heeh heeh heeh. (pointing at the camera) So, if you think you have it in you to deactivate, incapacitate, or pacify-itate Saint Nogood-Nick, go and see your local Citihall for a paid trip to his hideout on Neptune.

Cut back to the TV room. Professor Farnsworth comes walking.

BENDER (putting his feet up on the table): I agree with the green ugly freak.

LEELA (nicely): Hey, Professor! Aren't you a robot-programming expert?

FARNSWORTH (confused): Yes... am I?

LEELA: You could program... hmm... some kind of jollity virus, maybe, and infect Santa.

FRY (excited): Then he would stop killing everyone and give them presents, like back in my day!

AMY (critically): That's just an urban myth.

FARNSWORTH (looking up): Yes... yes I could! (removing all his clothes) Eureka!

Fade out. Fade in to an external view of a tower block, with a sign saying "Little West India". Cut to show Professor Farnsworth and his employees walking through a dingy hallway.

FARNSWORTH (amiably): On second thought, even though I could easily invent a technological gizmo myself, I find it much easier to resort to... (excitedly) voodoo! Thank you for showing us this place, Hermes.

Cut to a sign over a door, saying "International House of V00d00: Where the L33t go to get mojo". Pan through the apartment, which is dark, smoky and littered with dead chickens, racks of herbs and similar paraphernalia. A mystical West Indian woman is sitting by a big electric cauldron, stirring it and chanting to herself.

ZOIDBERG (sniffing the air; happily): Ooh, what smells like a Decapodian hot tub?

FARNSWORTH (clearing his throat): Excuse me, madame?

VOODOO LADY (calling out, in a thick Jamaican accent): Silence!

She keeps stirring. Fry bends down and picks up a doll. He grabs a needle and jabs it. Shot of a creepy-looking robot, apparently made out of cloth and looking a lot like the doll, rising behind him and poking him with an oversized needle. Fry shrieks and drops the doll, and the robot retreats into the shadow.

FRY: Wow! Enigmatic hoodoo works!

VOODOO LADY (turning the kettle off): Well, de jambalaya's finished. (turning towards them) What do you want, mon?

FRY (a bit suspicious): You're a Jamaican voodoo priestess? There is no such thing!

HERMES (grumpily): I suppose you think we're all accountants, don't you? (muttering) You Americans and your racial stereotypes...

FARNSWORTH (rather chivalrous): Madame, I presume you have heard of the prize issued on Santa's head unit?

VOODOO LADY (gesturing towards an old-fashioned television set): Yeah, I just saw it.

LEELA (bending down and looking at the set): This thing is dead. It can't have been working for days.

VOODOO LADY: Oh. (more mystically) I seeee... you want me to help you defeat Santa.

FARNSWORTH (eagerly): Yes! Cook something up so I can turn him back into a jolly icon of Yuletide, instead of the ruthless psycho-bot we've come to know and love!

BENDER (defensively): Hey, don't bash psycho-bots!

VOODOO LADY (thoughtfully): Yes... by de Baron, I had a potion for dat purpose right here...

She starts browsing along her shelves.

VOODOO LADY (under her breath): Leg of lizard, eye of newt, vegetarian alternative to the above, home-made napalm... here we go, mon.

Close up of her handing a small flask to Farnsworth. It appears to be full of a grey liquid that is moving strangely.

VOODOO LADY (portentously): In dis small flask are a thousand thousand nano-robots carrying de Jolly.1 program! If a single one of dem is to enter de integral circuits of a robot, no matter how cynical and brutish, he will turn merry and festive for eternity! (dramatic flash of light) For internal use only.

BENDER (backing away, terrified): Keep that thing away from me!

FRY (impressed): Hey, that's perfect!

LEELA (viciously): You'd better watch out, Santa!

VOODOO LADY: Dat would be ten dollars...

FARNSWORTH (smiling widely): Efficient and cheap...

VOODOO LADY (eyes narrowing): Ten dollars for each nano-bot, statt.

Fade out. Fade in to the Citihall, ext. Cut to the doors to Mayor Poopenmeyer's office as the Professor strides through, dramatically, holding a box with the International House of V00d00 logo on it. Cut to inside the office. Apart from the Mayor and some reporters, there are also a vaguely sensible-looking young woman and Dr Wernstrom. He and Professor Farnsworth notice one another.

FARNSWORTH (coolly): Wernstrom.

WERNSTROM (as coolly): Farnsworth.

They glare at one another for a couple of seconds, then growl and ineffectively try to claw each other's eyes out. The Mayor forcibly separates them.

POOPENMEYER (embarrassed and annoyed): For the love of Mrifk! Act your age!

FARNSWORTH (indignantly): This man has as his goal to destroy my entire livelihood!

WERNSTROM (defiantly): True! And my one regret is that I haven't succeeded!

FARNSWORTH: Immature young diaper-wiper!

WERNSTROM: Senile old tortoise!

They lunge at one another again.

POOPENMEYER (sighing): Does any of you have a means to destroy or reprogram Santa?

FARNSWORTH&WERNSTROM (in chorus): Yes!

They look at one another.

FARNSWORTH&WERNSTROM (in chorus): No, you haven't!

POOPENMEYER (pacing about the room): Time is of the essence. I have prepared for you to be flown to Neptune, where you will fulfil your sacred destiny. (slightly shiftily) My plan hinges on the fact that Santa is mostly experienced with the workings of the minds of children and their parents, and will be easily outwitted by your educated and mature minds.

FARNSWORTH: I'm flying with Wernstrom? Never!

WERNSTROM: I'm flying with Farnsworth? Even more never!

POOPENMEYER (patting both of their backs): You'll get along like a house on fire. Now scram.

The two scientists leave, hitting one another and muttering abuse all the while. The Mayor grabs a bottle of brandy, fills a glass, then turns back to the woman.

POOPENMEYER (swigging it): Oh, my. I trust you have a better plan?

WOMAN (somewhat subdued; opening a portfolio and taking out folders): I'm not really one to assert myself... (raising her head; face lit with an evil light) but, Mr Mayor, my plan is to invoke Shai'nta the Elder God to fill Santa's place!

POOPENMEYER: Sheesh.

Fade out. Fade in to show a business-like looking spaceship taking off from the snow-covered New New York. Tinny Tim walks past the camera, peddling newspapers.

TINNY TIM: Extra! Extra! Unsung heroes fly to their glorious death!

Cut to the spaceship interior. Farnsworth and Wernstrom are glaring at one another over a small table.

WERNSTROM (trying hard to be civil): Well, well, well. Since we're both in this together, old man, we might as well present our stuff.

FARNSWORTH (suspicious): Yes, so you can steal my secret weapon like you stole the glory for the discovery of the North Pole passage!

WERNSTROM: Quit living in the remote past, and start living in the near past! We both have a common enemy!

FARNSWORTH: Yes, you! (calming down) However, in order to show you my natural superiority... behold!

He takes the flask out of the box and shakes it dramatically in front of Wernstrom's face.

WERNSTROM (incredibly snarky): How adorable. Is it liquorice-flavoured Slurm?

FARNSWORTH: Jsdf...

WERNSTROM (steepling his fingers): Or maybe denture-cleaning fluid!

FARNSWORTH: Ackkkk...

A stewardess-bot (basically a torso attached to an automatic trolley) rolls by.

STEWARDESS-BOT: Refreshments, sir?

FARNSWORTH: A bottle of brandy, thank you.

He takes the bottle and pours the nano-robots into it, then holds it up triumphantly.

FARNSWORTH: One glug of this brandy, and Santa will face an eternity of jollity!

WERNSTROM (in spite of himself): Why, I say... howsoever.

He opens a large box and takes out what looks like a cross between a bayoneted raygun, a scimitar and a welder, with spikes and tongs most everywhere.

WERNSTROM: Now, you behold the Neco Eneco 5000! Calculated to make scrap metal of even the most violent 'bot in two seconds flat! Watch!

He hefts it and stalks over to the stewardess-bot.

STEWARDESS-BOT: Excuse me, can I help you, sir?

WERNSTROM: Why, yes.

Cut back to Professor Farnsworth, covering his face. SFX: smashing, bashing, welding, drilling, you name it. Wernstrom comes back, holding a little pile of screws.

FARNSWORTH (dejected): Ah, that enigmatic mumbo-jumbo fooled me more than I expected...

WERNSTROM: Would that be Madame Legba the Voodoo Priestess? Because, why yes, I snuck her a small tip when I turned up to get the weapon...

He reaches over and grabs Professor Farnsworth by his lapels, gesturing with the weapon all the while. Farnsworth tries to keep his head away from the blades.

WERNSTROM (hissing): This time, I get the glory, and you stick close to me if you want to live!

FARNSWORTH: I see a logical flaw in your argument...

Fade out. Fade in to Planet Express building, ext. Cut to the employees, looking rather nervous, watching the TV. Cut to the news programme. There is a shot of Farnsworth and Wernstrom, looking noble.

LINDA: By now, the intrepid old fossils should have landed near Santa's Death Fortress on the north pole of Neptune, and may already be on their way to dealing the killing blow.

MORBO (even more disconnected than usual): Morbo knows that doom is approaching!

LINDA: We all know, Morbo. Heeh heeh. However... (the picture changes to show a tentacled monstrosity wearing a Santa hat) If this sting operation should fail, the governmental Plan B is to invoke Shai'nta, the Bringer of Gifts. Shai'nta is a denizen of the outer dimensions, who brings people gifts... and reaps their souls!

MORBO: Even Morbo has respect for Shai'nta.

LINDA: The plan is, apparently, that if Santa turns up, he and Shai'nta will fight to the death, and the survivor will get uncontested dominion of the solar system!

Cut back to the TV room.

LEELA (rather cynically): How is that supposed to solve anything?

FRY (standing up): I thought I'd never say this... but I'm sick of sitting around indoors. This is Xmas! We all know the old guys are going to beat Santa in a dramatic struggle, so... (cheerfully) Let's go wassailing!

BENDER (standing up): Assailing? I'm with you, Fry!

Fade out. Fade in to Neptune, right off the Death Fortress. The ship lands, and Farnsworth and Wernstrom step out, dressed up warmly and carrying their respective weapons. The pilot follows them.

PILOT: OK, I give you guys fifty-five minutes to defeat Crush Cringle. After that, I'll presume that he's beaten you into a pulp and ground your bones for gingerbread, and will fly off.

FARNSWORTH: Ah, excellent. Now, let's beat Santa in a dramatic struggle!

WERNSTROM: No it's not, you daft old fool!

FARNSWORTH: You can take that and stick it up where the sun don't shine, addle-pate!

WERNSTROM: That's where we are, you moron!

They wander off towards the fortress, still shouting abuse. The pilot wipes a tear.

PILOT: There go two brave, doomed men...

Fade out. Fade in to show the Planet Express people walking through the deserted streets of New New York, wearing Santa hats and holding lanterns. Night is falling. They walk up to a door and knock it. Petunia opens, looking rather hungover.

PETUNIA (suspiciously): Is this some kind of door-to-door business?

AMY: Yes...

Leela holds her mouth.

FRY: Er, no. We just sing you a song and you give us money, or a cookie or something.

PETUNIA (rather annoyed): Not even a vacuum cleaner? Just a damn song?

FRY: ... yes...

PETUNIA (leaning against the door): This better be the greatest song in the world!

FRY (singing, rather badly): Oh come, all ye faithful/ Something, and triumphant/ Oh come ye, oh come ye to some place!/ Come and... some guy...

Petunia slams the door in their faces, then opens it again.

PETUNIA: Oh, by the way, if I want to hear someone sing carpy songs about ants triumphing, I'll... I mean, I don't want that.

Cut to the window of her dingy flat, as she watches Fry and the others slouch off. Cue sad music. Close up of her as her eyes well with tears. Cut back to the street as she opens the door.

PETUNIA (almost nice): Hello, wassailer. (holding up a bunch of wilted palm leaves) Those fell off when I dressed the Xmas tree. They're full of nutritious garbage.

Fade out. Fade in to Santa's Death Fortress, ext. Some of the Xmas Elves are seen carrying two large teddy-bears up the hill. Cut to the main hall, where Santa is seated by a table covered in letters. He unfolds a rotating saw from one of his hands and messily cuts one letter open.

SANTA (reading, in a sarcastic tone of voice): "Dear Santa, I want a dolly. Signed, Molly. PS. Please don't kill me!"

He looks towards a small, scholarly-looking Xmas Elf with a pen behind his ear, seated behind a huge pulpit with a very long list of names. The Elf nervously searches among the names.

SANTA: HURRY UP, WIMP, I HAVEN'T GOT ALL DAY!

ELF (stuttering): Molly can feel very happy and gay. She's eaten her spinach every day.

SANTA: Underage and using anabolic steroids? THAT'S NAUGHTY!

He breathes fire on the letter, burning it, then turns towards a couple of frightened elves milling about by the door.

SANTA: Am I the only one doing any work around here? Get me a glass of brandy! And scram, or I'll be drinking it out of YOUR SKULL!

One elf runs off in terror. Cut to a very mundane-looking kitchenette. One of the large teddy-bears is propped up against the wall, and a bottle of brandy is standing on the worktop. The elf looks around, rather worriedly, then takes the bottle and fills up a small glass. Cut back to the hall as the elf rushes in with the glass. Santa stands up.

SANTA: Screw this! (he takes a swipe at the elf, spilling the brandy in a wide streak over the room) I'll better get ready! Break out the (dramatically) Silentnite!

He stomps off down the halls. A few moments later, the other teddybear, the Neco Eneco weapon in hand, lumbers clumsily across, swiping at everything in sight. Fade out.

Fade in to show Fry and the others standing at the gates of the Orphanarium. Stars are now twinkling in the sky. They are singing "Silver Bells", and Bender is hitting his stomach compartment regularly, making a chiming noise. Mr Vogel and the children are standing around, gawking happily at them. Everything is looking very idyllic. Fade out.

Fade in to the court of the fortress, where Santa is making the elves load his robotic-reindeer sleigh with tanks of napalm. (It says "napalm" on them, together with painted holly leaves and bells.) The teddy-bears are leaning against the wall right behind him.

SANTA: I would love the smell of this, if I had nostrils! (calling out) Now, where's my brandy?!

One of the bears produces a glass of brandy and puts it on the side of the sleigh. Santa walks past again. The other bear produces the Neco Eneco 5000 and swipes after him behind his back, instead smashing the glass. The first bear smacks the other bear in the face. Santa comes back and looks at the broken glass, bending over.

SANTA: Hmmm...

Close up of his face as his head spins all the way around. A shadow obscures it. Dramatic cut to his POV to show the bear lifting the Neco Eneco 5000 over his head. Cut back as Santa delivers a mighty punch, striking the weapon out of the bear's paws and lodging it in the wall. He punches again, knocking off the bear's head and exposing that of Wernstrom.

SANTA: Infamy!

WERNSTROM (defiantly): You say infamy to me! That is infamy!

Santa punches again, knocking him out cold. Cut to the bear with Farnsworth inside it, trying to pull the weapon out of the wall. His head turns, and Santa is reflected in the large, cute glass eyes. Dramatic fade out.

Fade in to show the Planet Express crew wassailing outside the Citihall. They've drawn quite the crowd. Fry is singing "Goodnight Saigon" (by Billy Joel), and Bender is making helicopter noises with a propeller on his antenna. They stop and bow, and everyone applauds.

AMY (starry-eyed): This quaint wassailing tradition has truly shown me what the spirit of Xmas is all about!

BENDER: Speaking of spirits... (grabs a bottle of brandy, and gulps it)

LEELA (looking at her wrist computer): I just realised... it's fifty-four minutes since the Professor was scheduled to land on Neptune. Let's hope he's OK.

Cut to the evil-looking, torch-adorned corridors of the Death Fortress. Cue over-dramatic, classical-sounding music. Professor Farnsworth (still wearing the teddy-bear costume, but without the head) runs screaming through a corridor towards the camera. A moment later, Santa comes skidding out of a side door, brandishing the Neco Eneco 5000 and shouting incoherently. Cut to a dead end. Professor Farnsworth flattens himself against the wall, still clutching the bottle of brandy. Santa steps up, back against the camera, and swipes at him repeatedly, forcing him to duck and jump.

FARNSWORTH (terrified, yet annoyed): Will you stop that! I still have my dignity!

SANTA (growling): Well, you can't take it with you! Ho ho ho!

Farnsworth looks at the bottle and suddenly smiles.

FARNSWORTH: Hey... (hopefully) can't we settle this over some hard liquor?

Cue suspenseful music. Pan between them. Santa looks slightly interested.

SANTA (calming down): Well... I have felt a very plot-efficient need for brandy all day...

FARNSWORTH (desperately, proffering it): Here, take it!

Dramatic music as Santa reaches for it, then withdraws his hand.

SANTA (suspiciously): You seem awfully keen on me drinking that. Why don't you try it first?

FARNSWORTH (self-assured): To Xmas!

He takes a swig, then spits it out.

FARNSWORTH (coughing): Eurgh, nano-robots!

SANTA (sadistically, advancing on him): Nano-robots, eh?

Close up of the terrified Professor. Pan to a window next to him, where the ship is seen taking off. Cut back.

FARNSWORTH: All is lost... well, at least I, and to a lesser degree Wernstrom, shall be avenged!

SANTA (lifting the weapon over his head; sadistically): Merry Xmas!

Farnsworth grabs a torch and throws it at him. Cut to Santa, catching the torch instinctively and holding it in front of him. Cut back to Farnsworth, raising the bottle.

FARNSWORTH (witty as an action hero): ... and a happy new year!

He throws it. Slo-mo shot of the bottle erupting in a giant fireball against Santa as Professor Farnsworth rushes past him. Extreme zoom to show the million nano-robots (with Santa hats and maniacally jolly expressions) riding the spray of burning brandy.

NANO-GNOMES (jollily): HOORAY! WE'RE ON FIRE!

Cut back to show Santa, covered in burning brandy but otherwise unscathed, turning around fiercely, eyes glowing.

SANTA: You fool! My eyes may be all aglow, but do you think you can destroy Santa that easily? For that... you will get a coal in your sock, and it'll be your foot!

He pins Farnsworth's collar to the wall with one of the blades of the weapons, then raises the torch and thrusts it at his face.

Cut to a half-molten nano-bot, burning, crawling pitifully across a metal surface. Cue heroic music.

NANO-BOT (dying, yet jolly): Must make it... must make it... I am going to make it!

He reaches an edge and falls off. Dramatic zoom out to show that this is in fact Santa's sharp-toothed mouth. Very slowly, Santa takes on a surprised look, then falls over with a heavy thud. Fade out.

Fade in to show the wassailers, all counting bills and covered in gifts, making their way through the streets. For once, New New York is looking rather festive for Xmas.

LEELA: I reckon we should probably go somewhere now. We're starting to get some competition.

Pan to Cylon&Garfunkel, singing "Good King Wenceslas".

GARFUNKEL (singing): Sire, he lives a good league hence

CYLON: UNDERNEATH THE MOUNTAIN!!

GARFUNKEL: Right against the forest fence

CYLON: BY SAINT AGNES'S FOUNTAIN!!

The Planet Express employees stare at them. Bender gets a sly look, then takes a holly-shaped fridge magnet out of his load of gifts and throws it at Cylon. Close up of it connecting to his head, as his eyes go frizzly (rather like Bender's when he's under the influence of a magnet.)

GARFUNKEL (singing): You and I will see him dine...

CYLON (stomping off): I'M OFF TO FIND SOME HOOKERBOTS!!

Shot of the employees sitting at a bar. Pan up to a TV looking a lot like the eye of LINC in "Beneath a Steel Sky" turning towards them, showing an interview with the pilot.

PILOT (teary-eyed): I still can't believe it... they never came back from the Death Fortress! I waited and prayed that they'd turn up, but I couldn't wait any longer. You have no idea what the shuttle traffic is like during Xmas... (breaks down)

REPORTER (solemnly, turning to the camera): As you heard, heroic eggheads Farnsworth and Wernstrom are missing, presumed the latest martyrs in our ongoing struggle against that whip-wielding, smiling psychopath!

Shot of the Planet Express guys, terrified.

LEELA (sotto voce): The Professor... (louder, evidently repressing her emotions) Barkeeper! I'm buying everyone a beer to celebrate a very brave man!

REPORTER: However, there have been no sightings of Santa. It may be believed that when the intrepid heroes went to Hell, they took him with them!

Zoom out to show Beelzebot having a martini next to them. In deference to the season, he too is wearing a Santa hat, with holes for his horns.

BEELZEBOT (almost complacently): Naah, I'm sure I would have noticed.

LEELA (waving a bill): Make that two beers!

Black out. Fade in to show a rather simplistic, cartoony version of Santa standing on a nondescript green surface. (The style is the same as when Bender was inside the AI in "Love&Rocket".) He looks around, evidently confused.

SANTA (as aggressive as ever): Where is this place? Who has dared to play this ludicrous prank on me, Santa? (louder) Tell me now, or I will have to get mad!

Cue faintly eerie music. Three similarly sketchy-looking figures pop out of the air with little tinkling sounds and sparkles. One is a white rabbit wearing a waistcoat with a pocket-watch, the second is a little green alien with a huge head, and the third is a heavy-set man in a long black leather coat and sunshades. Santa spins around to face them.

SANTA (violently): Take me to your leader, because I mean to make him go in pieces!

WHITE RABBIT (timorous voice): I am the Ghost Connection of Xmas Past!

GREEN ALIEN (cheerful voice): I am the Ghost Connection of Xmas Present!

BLACK-COATED MAN (ominous): And I am the Ghost Connection of Xmas Future!

SANTA (whipping out a flamethrower): And I am the one who makes the ghosts around here!

The gun disappears with tinkling and sparkles. Santa stares, momentarily taken aback.

XMAS PAST: Careful, Santa. Don't do anything more you will come to regret!

SANTA: Correction. You will regret this!

The first ghost connection makes a gesture. Cue sparkles. Diverse scenes of Santa-induced violence are seen.

XMAS PAST (sadly): Xmas is supposed to be a time of sharing, a time of caring, but you have turned it into a pitiless slaughterfest! Thanks to your seasonal killing sprees, 600 memorial days have had to be added to an already strained calendar. Do you feel no remorse?

SANTA (cynically): My one remorse is that it's only once a year!

XMAS PAST (sadly): That's rather cruel... and a bit ungrammatical as well.

It moves back. The second ghost connection flies forward.

XMAS PRESENT: To reiterate, I am the Ghost Connection of Christmas Present...

SANTA: And what presents do you bring? (nastily) Ho ho ho! More preaching?

XMAS PRESENT (conscientiously): Pontification, in fact.

Cue sparkles. We see New New York. The Planet Express employees are walking down a street, looking dejected.

XMAS PRESENT (sadly): These are the employees and friends of Professor Farnsworth. The gormless-looking guy is even his great-great-great-great-uncle.

SANTA: Who?

XMAS PRESENT: The harmless old man you've spent the last minutes trying to kill.

SANTA: Yessss, I remember the little git. What's with him?

XMAS PRESENT: They think you killed him today, for doing nothing but trying to instil the Spirit of Xmas in you! They will spend this night, and many nights to come, mourning him, and will always remember Xmas Eve as the day he was taken from them. (idealistically) But you can easily dispel their sadness, because Professor Farnsworth lives!

SANTA: Not when I wake up, he won't! (balls his fists) Any more useless public-service announcements, wimp?

XMAS PRESENT: Yes, as a matter of fact... if you don't amend your ways, you are in grave danger! This very night, the City of New New York is planning on replacing you with...

SANTA (sneakily): Hey! That's hardly present is it? More like future!

XMAS PRESENT: Oh sh...

It disappears in a small puff of smoke. The third ghost connection steps forward.

SANTA (unfriendly): So, what are you going to preach to me about?

XMAS FUTURE (creepy-sounding): Nothing but the future, Santa ... YOUR future!

Dramatic fade out. Fade in to show Fry and the others walking dejectedly towards a square. A mother with two kids and a green dog with antennas and a prehensile snout walk out and greets them.

MOTHER (cheerfully): Hey, you're the wassailers! Sing a song for my kids!

FRY (annoyed): Do you mind? My great-great-whatever-nephew was killed today, also I'm drunk!

MOTHER: Oh... (cheerful again) a merry Xmas to you! (looking across the street) Well, kids, maybe these nice gentlemen will sing us a song.

Cut to two elves (that's elves as in "Lord of the Rings", not Xmas Elves) in somewhat threadbare clothes. One, dark-haired and with a somewhat crazed look, is rooting through a dustbin. The other, red-haired and looking somewhat embarrassed, is standing off to one side, with a lute hanging at his shoulder.

RED-HAIRED ELF: It's not there, Dad.

DARK-HAIRED ELF: Silence, Maglor! I know my Silmarils are here! They have survived the turns of ages, the fall of worlds, the changes of calendars, and I've got to catch them all!

Bird's-eye-view of the Planet Express people heading out into the square, which has a crowd around the edges. However, the middle of the square has been painted with a wonky-looking star with a stylised eye in the middle. Zoom in at a podium where Mayor Poopenmeyer is standing, with the young woman (seen in his office earlier) standing discreetly in the background, wearing a hooded cloak. Everyone is looking expectantly at the sky.

POOPENMEYER (solemnly): As a final effort in order to save Xmas, I have conceded to let Miss Charlotte Dexter-Ward (gestures at the woman, who smiles demurely) here, invoke Shai'nta, the Bringer of Gifts! (holds up a scroll with tassels and seals on it) By signing this document, I have waived all responsibility for the impending destruction.

WOMAN (in crowd): Well, beats having Santa causing the destruction!

MAN (in crowd): Yeah, he may be late for his yearly spree, but I wouldn't take any chances! We need a Tenta-Claws kinda Christmas!

POOPENMEYER (stepping back): Miss Dexter-Ward? Do your stuff.

The woman produces a scary-looking tome with Arabic lettering on the cover out of her robe, steps up to the microphone and looks through the pages for a while.

DEXTER-WARD (muttering): Oh for crying out loud... parchment made from human skin gets so smudgy...

Cut back to Santa and the three ghost connections. Santa looks seriously shocked.

SANTA: They're... replacing me? But why? Haven't I always been as a Father Xmas to them?!

XMAS FUTURE (sternly): You beat them, lit them on fire, threw things at them and made them live in fear. One might say you have forfeited your right of custody.

SANTA (drawing himself up): I won't sit still for this! I will go there and show them... (suddenly jolly) what a good ol' guy I can be!

XMAS FUTURE: Just to be sure, we're disconnecting your aggression circuits!

SANTA: Nooooooooooooooooo...

Fade out as the scream dwindles away. Cut back to where he is lying, out cold, on the floor. Farnsworth and Wernstrom (the latter with his head bandaged with a bit of teddy fur) and some Xmas Elves are standing around, watching intently. Close up of Santa's face as his eyes swivel from "evil" to "jolly" mode. Cut back as he slowly gets up.

SANTA: Ho ho ho!

Cut to the studio with Linda and Morbo.

MORBO (intensely evil): Morbo's race shall crush you into the ground like the bugs you are! We shall annihilate you! We shall tear from you the last shreds of your integrity! You shall writhe like worms in the light of our death rays! You are nothing but slaves, nothing but tools, to the might of Morbo's people! Grovel and cower, for your days are counted! (straightening up) This is Morbo's Xmas message for the children of the Earth.

LINDA: Heeh heeh heeh. Now, let's move to Ritual Summoning Square...

Fade out. Fade in to a bird's-eye-view of New New York. Cut to the square where the ritual proceeds. The crowd is variously cheering and heckling. Slow, dramatic fade out.Fade in to an exterior view of cyclopean towers built out of gigantic, slime-covered blocks. Cut to a disturbingly huge hall where several very unpleasant-looking creatures with a preponderance of tentacles are sitting around a table, playing poker.

AZATHOTH: Eh, Nyarlathotep, go out into the kitchen and make us some popcorn.

NYARLATHOTEP (surly): Yes, sir.

SHUB-NIGGURATH (getting up): Sorry guys, got to go change a few nappies... like, five hundred.

YOG-SOTHOTH (nudging his neighbour): What's the matter, Sha'inta? You don't look well.

SHA'INTA (worried): I feel this... pull... (suddenly panicky) Oh no! I bet someone has found (whispering) the Book again!

CTHULHU (saluting): Give them hell, mate.

A glowing golden portal of fire opens behind Sha'inta. He starts getting sucked into it, but clings to the table with some of his tentacles.

SHA'INTA (screaming): Table too greasy... suckers can't hold... save me, Cthulhu! Save me, Azathoth! (he loses his grip) Save me, Hastuuuuuuuuuu...

Dramatic fade in to the Summoning Square as Dexter-Ward puts a bookmark into the tome and closes it carefully. Cue eerie music as the portal opens and Sha'inta materialises. He is now wearing a Santa hat and carrying a large sack full of parcels. The crowd screams.

SHA'INTA (with much echoing): I AM THE BRINGER OF GIFTS, AND I BRING YOU... GIFTS!

Cue more screaming. Sha'inta pulls a large scroll out of nowhere and reads it.

SHA'INTA: Is there a Billy Oblivious here?

Cut to the drug addict, shivering deeply as the rest of the crowd runs away from him.

ADDICT: Yes... yes...

SHA'INTA: A sack of cocain for you!

He flings a large sack of something white and powdery at him, almost crushing him. He licks a finger and puts it in the white stuff, sniffing.

ADDICT (disappointed): Aww, it's just Coke Light!

Cut back to Sha'inta, towering over the city in a creepy light. Cue genuinely scary music.

SHA'INTA (terrifying): Now, it is time for you to do something in return!

Cut to the cowering crowd. The Planet Express employees are hiding near the back.

WOMAN (incredulous): What is this? Santa never axed for anything in return!

TEENAGER: What have we done?

Sha'inta leans his head close to Charlotte Dexter-Ward, who is pressing herself flat against a wall.

SHA'INTA: Did you summon me?

DEXTER-WARD (trying to be cool): Yes, yes I did. Kinda nice, isn't it, being summoned? Are you going to let me rule the world as your second-in-command?

Sha'inta eats her in one gulp.

SHA'INTA (content): Mmm, hooded cultist. (looking up) Who's next?

Camera glide along the crowd as everyone turns and runs. Cut to the Planet Express members, running towards the camera with the lashing tentacles right behind them.

LEELA (angsty): If only someone could save us... ANYONE!

Cue dramatic fanfare. Shot of the sky where the sleigh comes flying. Close up of the jolly-looking Santa.

SANTA (jolly): I come in peace!

Cut back to the employees, screaming and diving for cover. Cut back as the sleigh flies around Sha'inta, confusing him and causing him to flail after it. Close up of Santa checking his list. Cut back to the ground where the addict is just about to get up. He is crushed under another sack of cocaine.

SANTA (OS): Merry Xmas!

Cut to where the Planet Express employees are huddling in an alleyway. They dive and shield their faces as the sleigh lands next to them. Professor Farnsworth and Dr Wernstrom disembark, rather unsteadily, with brightly-coloured bows tied around their heads.

SANTA: Merry Xmas!

Fry slowly looks up. Cue bright music.

FRY (hugging the Professor): Professor Farnsworth! You're alive!

AMY (slightly confused, hugging Dr Wernstrom): The other guy! You're also alive!

WERNSTROM (cantankerous): Let go of me! Knowing that Farnsworth saved my life is humiliation enough!

LEELA: Then the nano-bots worked?

Cut to Santa, watching them with something like sentimentality.

SANTA: If you excuse me, I have two hundred and fifty-two more presents to hand out. So...

He cracks his whip. Fry throws himself forward and grabs hold of the back of the sleigh. Cut to Santa's POV of him hanging pathetically from it.

FRY (pleading): You can't do that now! Sha'inta is destroying New New York and eating people! You've got to destroy him!

Cut to Fry's POV as Santa (his head turned around fully) suddenly looks wary.

SANTA: Destroy him?

LEELA (vigorously): Yes! Kick him where it hurts!

AMY: Chop him into stir-fry!

BENDER: Stick it to the big tentacled thing!

FARNSWORTH: Uh, who is Sha'inta?

Cue ominous music. Cut back to Santa.

SANTA (slightly stern): Destroy? Kick? That is not what Xmas is about! You youngsters definitely need to stop watching violent TV shows!

BENDER (angrily): We'll be watching our own funeral service unless you ice the scum!

LEELA (pleading): Santa, you must! You're a mean, red slaying machine!

SANTA (swivelling his head away from them): You're all cramping my jollity. I have presents to hand out! (over his shoulder as he rides off) Take care!

LEELA (decisively): We have to stop him! (raising her hand) To the stolen vehicle of our choice!

Shot of her jumping on a hover-motorbike (looking a bit like the one from the Flash Gordon movie). The others clamber onto it, and they take off. Zoom out to show an angry biker getting out a raygun and firing after them.

BIKER (yelling): 'Tis the open season!

Cue chase music. Dramatic shot of Santa riding through the alleys. Cut to where a little girl is standing in a doorway. She catches a thrown parcel and waves happily, then is snatched up by a tentacle. SFX: chewing noises.

SANTA (looking around): Those homicidal maniacs are still after me. (cracking his whip) Giddy-up, Rudolph! Giddy-up, Blitzkrieg!

He gains speed. The side of the sleigh brushes against a tanker with the word INFLAMMABLE stencilled on the side. It falls over and leaks liquid all over the street.

Cut to the bike chasing him. Close up of Leela, hair blown back, eye watering with the speed.

LEELA (frustrated): It's no use! His vehicle's packing more reindeer-powers than ours.

ZOIDBERG (covering his eyes): LOOK OUT!

Shot from behind them as two workmen (in overalls with a logo saying SLOWGLASS PORTAL MANUFACTURERS) carry a sheet of glass across the alley. Close up of the Planet Express people as they close their eyes and brace themselves. Cut back to show them hitting the glass, turning into a flat, distorted after-image, then fading. Cut to a street where the image appears on the glass of a display window. They then materialise out of it and land on the pavement. Zoom out to show Santa pulling the reins, stopping his reindeer just before they're about to smash into the crew.

SANTA (slightly annoyed): You again. I'm beginning to find it quite hard to keep up the seasonal spirit.

LEELA (beseeching): For the last time, please do something! You're dooming us all!

SANTA (implacable): Young lady, my purpose is to give presents to nice children, not to destroy horrors from beyond space and time! Also, I'm only one day from retirement.

BENDER (indignant): Don't you think the best present to these children would be a future?

SANTA: What an odd idea.

BENDER (hanging his head): Well, yeah. It is pretty stupid.

SANTA: Oh, well. (looking at his list) I still have one hundred and forty-five presents...

LEELA (suddenly lightening up): Can I have a look at that list?

SANTA: I see absolutely no reason for that... (handing it to her) but go ahead.

Leela turns around and seems to be perusing the list deeply for a moment.

SANTA: Can I have that back now?

Fry glances at Leela, then leaps in front of her, clears his throat and starts singing "Silver Bells". The others join in. They go on for a few lines, and then Leela hands the list back.

LEELA (chipper): Well, we're sorry for keeping you, Santa. We'll be on our way.

FRY (grabbing her arm): Leela, what...

LEELA (holding Fry's hand up and waving it): Let's all wave Santa goodbye!

Fade out. Fade in to show the sleigh hovering over the burning New New York. Sha'inta is still knocking over buildings far off. Santa leans back and looks at his list. Close up of it as he crosses out the second-to-last entry, which is Molly's one.

SANTA: Hmmm...

Pan down to the final entry, which is rather hurriedly written.

SANTA (reading): "Dear Santa, I'm a little orphaned girl, and my only wish is..." (his voice becomes maudlin) "... Sha'inta's head on a platter. Signed, Leela."

Cue dramatic music. Close up of Santa's face, the fires reflected in it. A tear sips out of the corner of his eye, then evaporates.

SANTA (decisive): This is for you, Leela.

Cue music: Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries". Shot of a crowd of people looking up and cowering even more as Santa rides forth above them, towards Sha'inta. Cut back to the sleigh as Santa readies the festive napalm canisters.

SANTA (yelling): SHA'INTA, I KILL YOU JOLLY!

Cut to a raggedy little girl sitting in a streetcorner, peddling lighters.

GIRL (hopeless voice): A dime for a lighter, sir?

Napalm drops next to her, bursting into flame on the ground.

GIRL (violently, shaking her fist in the air): QUIT HOGGING THE MARKET!

Cut to Sha'inta looking up as the napalm falls on him. He looks confused for a moment, then bursts into flame. Other than that, he seems none the worse. Cut to where the dark-haired elf is standing under the flickering flames, holding something glinting to the air.

ELF (triumphant): I, I, I found the Silmaril in a trash can! Now, all the world shall again know the might and glory of the...

A burning tentacle swipes him into a wall. Cut back, as the burning Sha'inta flails after the sleigh. His tentacles graze it, causing it to tilt somewhat, then smash into one of the reindeer.

SHA'INTA (roaring): THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE!

Cut to show Santa landing gracelessly in the deserted square. He is slightly the worse for wear, and large holes have been burned in his hat. The hurt reindeer collapses on the ground.

SANTA (weakly, not at all jolly): Is this the end for Santa? Beaten in a weak moment by a usurper?

He notices the malfunctioning reindeer.

SANTA (falling to his knees and stretching his hands to the sky): RUDOLPH!

Cue military-sounding music. He gets up and starts taking plastic explosive out of a sack marked SILENTNITE(r), then lines his sleigh with it. Finally, he ties the remains of his hat around his forehead, Kamikaze-style. Close up of his madly grinning face.

SANTA (sotto voce): Let's get jolly!

Dramatic shot from a POV behind him as the reindeer gallop straight towards Sha'inta. Sha'inta turns around, then spreads his tentacles wide and smiles hugely. Shot of the reindeer and sleigh disappearing into his gaping maw. SFX: huge explosion. Shai'nta screams and writhes, then disappears into a portal through which can be seen the poker room. The wreckage of the sleigh lands on the pavement. Close up of Santa. His head rolls over on one side, and the light in his eyes goes out.

Cue sad music. Ext. shot of the Citihall, outside which the Earthican flag is flown half-mast.

Cut to inside, where just about everybody is standing, dressed in mourning. On the podium, the corpse of Santa is lying on a bier. Mayor Poopenmeyer stands by it, holding the medal of the Order of Tah-Kee.

POOPENMEYER: It is with a heavy heart that I hereby present the Order of Tah-Kee posthumously to Santa "Santa-bot" Claus, who laid down his life to banish Sha'inta, the Bringer of Gifts, from this dimension.

Cut to the sad Planet Express members. Bender breaks down sobbing.

LEELA (sobered): How ironic. Santa saved Xmas.

BENDER: I hardly even knew the guy!

Cut out as the Mayor salutes and the crowd joins him. He then starts fastening the medal on Santa's chassis. Fade out.

Fade in to Santa's AI, except there is mostly darkness. The small cartoony Santa comes to and sits up.

SANTA (slowly): I feel... the Jolly program has crashed, my aggression circuits are working again. Yet so strange... I could almost get used to non-violence...

The three ghost-connections appear before him.

XMAS PRESENT: We're proud of you, Santa! You saved the city from destruction!

SANTA (smiling wickedly): GOOD!

He takes a festive Xmas sock out of nowhere, drops a brick in it, then knocks the three of them out.

Cut back to the Citihall as Santa sits up ponderously, then punches the Mayor in the eye. The crowd cheers.

SANTA (staring at the medal): The hell is this? Old chocolate coin wrappings? That's what I get for laying down my life? (he crunches it in his fist) You can keep it! I'm out of here!

He stomps off the podium. Shot of him getting into the rather trashed sleigh and flying off into the morning sky.

SANTA (fading into the distance): And a lousy new year! Ho ho ho!

Cut to Morbo and Linda, both looking quite happy.

LINDA: So, thanks to the timely intervention of a reprogrammed Santa, the casualties this Xmas were only slightly higher than those of last year. I feel this has been a great Xmas, Morbo.

MORBO (impassively): Go to the window.

Linda gets up and walks offscreen. SFX: screaming, and gunfire.

MORBO: Morbo's superior race has landed.

The End. Roll credits to Cylon&Garfunkel singing "Silent Night".

Buddies