Author: Robert Beech

‘Twas the night before planetfall, and all through the ship
Not a sensor was stirring, not even a blip;
The airlocks were sealed with hermetical care,
In hopes of preserving our small stock of air;
The passengers nestled in cryofoam beds,
With electrodes attached to their somnolent heads,
Would doze through the decades the ship spent in space,
To awaken with wonder in a far away place,
When up on the deck there arose such a clatter,
That I raced to the bridge to see what was the matter.
All of the com-screens lit up like a flash,
And I feared that our voyage would end in a crash.
The orbiting moon of the planet below
Was pock-marked with craters that glittered like snow,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,
Defiant of gravity, physics, or care
They circled the moon in the absence of air
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.

More rapid than X-wings his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
“Now, SOLO! now, CHEWIE! R2D2, and C3PO!
The Empire’s awaiting, let us not be sleepy-O!”

As rogue satellites that from their orbit decay,
The sleigh and its driver came hurtling our way
And up to our spaceship his coursers they flew
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.

And from outside the airlock, came a clanging so dull,
That I feared that deer’s hoof might soon pierce our hull.
I raced to the airlock, and climbed into my suit
When down came St. Nick, in his magnetic boots.

He was dressed in a spacesuit that encased him completely,
With a jolly red robe that encircled him neatly.
And a great zippered duffle attached to his back,
That I soon recognized as his magical pack.

I approached with my tricorder held out before me,
In hopes that St. Nicholas wouldn’t ignore me.
“I’m sorry St. Nick, and I hate to insist,
but I must do a quick little scan of your wrist.

Each passenger duly inscribed for this trip,
Is bequeathed with a sub-dermal citizen-chip;
And I must verify that your name’s on the list,
So, St. Nick, if you please, would you hold out your wrist?”

He flung back his hood and took off his helmet
And said to me, “Sir, Merry Christmas and well met,
But I fear your request is one I must deny,
For my citizenship is as wide as the sky.

Every planet in turn we must visit this night,
Through a quantum mechanical time-twisting slight,
And I haven’t the time when I visit each ship,
To be messing about with a citizen-chip.”

Then he spoke not a word, but ran down to the bay,
Where the passengers deep in their stasis all lay,
And to each of the pods, he affixed a small stocking,
As I silently stood on the deck still a-gawking

Then laying a finger aside of his nose.
He gave a quick nod and up the airlock he rose.
And I heard him exclaim ere they vanished from sight,