(Ny-Ålesund, Spitsbergen, Norway, December 24, 2010)
Helicopters on assignment to the United Nations from the Naval Air Forces of Russia, the United States, Canada, Finland and Norway have joined forces in the desparate search for any survivors of the collapse of portions of Santa's Village due to ice caps that have increasingly thinned owing to rising global temperatures.
Although scientists have long been suggesting that Santa and his elves should evacuate the famous toy shops, reindeer barns, and sled factories, real action has been delayed by Santa Claus's losses in the 2008 global financial melt down, his ill fated investments with disgraced financier Bernie Madoff, the collapse of Icelandic banks, and labor unrest resulting from a Canadian Court decision awarding some elves with back pay, with interest, on 450 years of unpaid wages.
The rescue effort to recover elves, reindeer, and possibly some historic structures damaged in the collapse of the wooden soldier toy factory that was only last year declared to be a UN global heritage site has been complicated by the fact that the portion of the village that collapsed was called East Santa's Village.
"Damned if I can tell what the hell 'east' is here at the North Pole" said Lt. Commander Dudley Arnakua'gsak of the Canadian Royal Naval Air Force, who is in command of the Canadian contingent assigned to the UN rescue mission. "In Santa's Village there is no East nor West," Arnakua'gsak added.
A disturbing scenario was drawn up by Lily Peacock of the USGS, a wildlife biologist specializing in Polar Bear Biology, to describe a possible fate for the famous flying reindeer pair Donner and Blizten who are reported to be missing in the tragedy.
Doctor Peacock has quietly suggested that both reindeer may have been eaten by starved polar bears that have been known to be roaming the area. "Think about it," Dr. Peacock said, "You're a polar bear. You've been swimming for weeks in the area looking for practically non-existent seals, and suddenly, plop! Two old but still robust slightly radioactive deer on floes float by? Whattaya gonna do?"
The United States Geological Survey was quick to release a statement that there has been no direct evidence of this outcome, and that Dr. Peacock was merely speculating.
Rear Admiral Thomas C. Colvin, who commands all Alaskan Coast Guard facilities, held out hopes that the famous reindeer would be found alive.
Still both reindeer, who were mutants created as a result of a 1957 hydrogen bomb test on the former Soviet nuclear Chyornaya Guba testing range on the arctic island of Novaya Zemlya, have been aging according to Magnus Kristbjörg, spokesperson for North Pole Enterprises, LLC.
Donner and Blizten quietly retired from active Christmas duty in 1996 and were quietly replaced by younger mutant reindeer who officially had the same names as the famous pair.
Veterinarians familiar with the health of the iconic retired reindeer expressed, off the record, doubts about whether the reindeer could still fly and thus escape the collapse of the polar ice.
The disaster has left a wide mark on the unsettled North Pole community, where a terrorist bomb was detonated in 2007 and quickly covered up, with few details being released to the media.
Dweedle Thumb, a leader in attempting to obtain a collective bargaining agreement for the elves against what he calls "Santaist exploitation," in the two century old struggle for Elven rights, was quick to attempt to quash rumors that the accident was related to the difficult contract negotiations that have dragged on in recent decades and have often threatened the cancellation of Christmas.
"This is a time to call for compassion, as our membership has been impacted. Although our negotiations with North Pole Enterprises have been difficult, we have always maintained our respect for Santa and his good faith," Thumb said speaking to reporters from international news organizations. The Elf labor activist seemed visibly shaken by events.
Even so some of the more radical elements of the Elf Movement, including the ELL, the Elf Liberation League - which has refused to renounce violence as a means of overthrowing of the 453 year old North Pole Hegemony of North Pole Enterprises, insisted through spokeswoman Lolly Darling that a "no holds barred" investigation of the accident be undertaken by independent UN officials. "At least one of the missing Elves, Richard Chocolateroll, was a beneficiary of the recent law suit. Santa may have saved millions of dollars of payments as part of the settlement owed to Chocolateroll, who was born in 1597 and worked for nearly four centuries before seeing his first paycheck, which was below minimum wages in all arctic countries," Lolly added.
Santa has been appealing the court ruling, claiming that Elves are not Canadian citizens.
In a prepared statement, Santa said, "Rick Chocolateroll and I have been friends for a long time, several centuries actually, and - despite our legal difficulties - in this time our hearts, our prayers, and our fondest hopes, those of myself, of Mrs. Claus, of the entire elf and reindeer communities, are with Rick's family and friends who are naturally concerned about this tragic accident. We all pray for Rick's safe return."
At the White House, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs indicated that the United States will assist in all possible ways to recover any survivors or the bodies and effects of those who may have been lost. President Obama has called several major world leaders to discuss the crisis. Gibbs also reiterated the administration's position that although climate change remains a serious issue that needs to be addressed, the issue cannot be solved by means that limits the basic human right of people to drive to Walmart and buy Chinese made plastic Christmas trinkets that will end up in landfills in July when people finally get around to cleaning out their attics.
According to reports in the Los Angeles Times published in 2008, senior officials at North Pole Enterprises have been quietly reviewing land purchases at the South Pole with an eye to moving Santa's operations to Antarctica. According to unnamed executives cited by reporters at the time, for some time Santa has been anxious to obtain a reasonably icy facility that is above sea level, but has been concerned about the effect that the move might have on the lucrative licensing deals that have supported his operations. The effort was further complicated by international treaty requirements relating to the commercial exploitation of Antarctica.
One possible location for the new facility was the Santa's Village subsidiary near Saranac Lake, New York, a subsidiary of North Pole Enterprises, LLC.
According to reports in the Wall Street Journal, talks with incoming New York Governor Andrew Cuomo have been progressing favorably, after the Governor-elect and executives at North Pole Enterprises, LLC agreed on terms that would bring Elf working conditions up to the standards required by New York Laws. Senior officials on both sides have remained optimisitic about the chances for saving Christmas.
Have a Merry Christmas!