Word Count: 7,976
Rating: PG.
Category: Humour.
Story Status: Complete
A whimsical AU story for Christmas.

Beta: Thank you to Leesa Perrie and Greyias for the beta-reading.

Across the Evening Sky
A whimsical AU story for Christmas
By Driftwood

Night slid across the Earth’s globe and Christmas Eve receded, squeezed ever smaller against the relentless advance of Christmas Day. As each hour passed, another band of children woke to open their presents and see what Santa Claus had brought them. Proud parents watched their offspring as the pile of presents shrunk and new toys and wrapping paper quickly spread across the floor.

In a reinforced concrete bunker in a remote part of Alaska, Sam Carter was talking to the President of the United States of America.

“I’m so pleased that you wanted to see our experiment at first hand, Mr President. This is truly ground breaking technology and represents a significant step forward for the science of planet Earth and especially the United States of America.”

“I really wanted to be here, this is a nation that likes to technologically ground break new ground that hasn’t been broken, technologically. We like it, we need it, we want it and if we don’t want it we don’t want to move forward and betterify ourselves. And that’s what we want!”

“Er, yes, I’m sure that’s true Mr President.”

“Yes, it is true and I’m looking forward to seeing your telegenic turn on.”

Carter found this image a little unnerving and, feeling that an explanation was required, said, “It’s not teleportation, like they have in Star Trek. What we are doing is creating a transportation vortex in the fabric of space-time. If we project it correctly, we can transport almost anything from Earth to anywhere in the universe, including another galaxy. Today we are only transporting air. We need to establish the principle. There’s a lot more work yet before we can be sure that we can pick up just our cargo and not, say, a nearby building. There’s no danger of that today. The vortex entrance is several thousand feet up and the current vortex generator is not a full power model and could not project such a load. That is why we are in such a remote place and as the weather conditions are perfect, we are going ahead now. If we wait until after Christmas, the forecast is much less favourable.”


The Atlantis expedition members had finished their Christmas dinner and were drifting away from the mess hall. The Daedalus had docked a few days before and its cargo had been unloaded. Presents for the personnel from home had been distributed and boxes of goodies delivered to the kitchens, where the Atlantis cooks produced a very enjoyable Christmas meal.

Adam Bullivant pushed his chair back and rose to go. As he walked towards the door, a familiar voice called out, “Hey, Bullivant, you still here? I thought you would have left this dead-end place by now.” He turned to see Kavanagh’s unsmiling face.

“I didn’t expect to see you here, either. Yes, my contract still has another year to run. After that, I don’t know.”

“So, you are still working for Rodney High-And-Mighty-Call-Me-The-Greatest-You-Are-A-Moron McKay, then?”

“I report to Dr McKay,” said Bullivant, guardedly. He opened the door and they stepped into the corridor beyond. “I’ve learned a lot from him.”

“I learned to get out. He doesn’t like me because I won’t kiss his feet. I’m my own man. You have to stand up for yourself.”

“What brings you back here, I thought that you were based on Earth now?”

“I am. Which meant that I was in the wrong place at the wrong time when a Daedalus technician fell ill and they needed a replacement at short notice. I already had Atlantis security clearance so I drew the short straw. I’m over qualified for the job, of course. However, it has been an opportunity to review technical procedures. I’ve been able to use my skill and experience to overhaul working practices. I know the changes I’ve brought in have made a great impression on the technical staff.”

Arriving at the rec room, Bullivant noticed McKay sitting with Keller and wanting to avoid the possibility of a confrontation he quickly found a seat and wished Kavanagh well for the return journey.

“I could put a DVD on if anyone has anything new,” suggested Keller. “We could have a vote…” she began to say, but Rodney had already thrust a copy of ‘The Dark Knight’ into her hands. “The new Batman movie… alright with everyone?” There were no objections and Keller slid the disk into the player, pausing as Sheppard answered his comm.

“It’s Christmas Day… Yes Sir,” he said, then louder and crisply, “My team to the conference room.”

“This had better be good,” muttered Rodney.

Teyla, who had been sitting contentedly with Torren on her knee, resignedly passed him over to his father and stood up.

“Duty has no calendar,” she said to Rodney.

“Nor DVD player,” he replied.

Ronon joined them and they filed out.

Keller started to say, “I think we should give them a few minutes…” but Kavanagh was already holding the remote control.

“I don’t. It’s the conference room.” He gave the DVD drawer a determined shove. “Serious.”


John led the team into the room to find Woolsey and Chuck already sitting there.

“Chuck has been monitoring the scanners and thinks he might have noticed something,” Woolsey stated as they sat down. He turned and looked at Chuck.

“I have picked up a signal,” he began. “It was consistent with something landing on the mainland.”

“Perhaps it was something landing on the mainland then?” Sheppard queried dryly.

“It did look like that but there are two issues. Firstly, there are no landings scheduled or expected today and secondly, its profile does not match any craft that we know of. It’s not just that I can’t say, for instance, it’s like a jumper. It’s that I can’t say it’s like anything.”

“So you think it’s an alien ship?” asked Sheppard.

“That’s the problem: It doesn’t read like a ship at all. It’s not just unlike any ship we know, it’s unlike anything a ship could be… except that it behaved like one. It made what appeared to be a controlled landing, just like some smallish flying craft, but it’s profile says it’s not a ship. It’s too… soft.”

“Soft?” John looked at him in puzzlement.

“There is metal on it but not enough. And most of it is soft.”

“What do you mean, soft?” John persisted.

Chuck looked unhappy. “Soft. Not hard. Like a…” his voice trailed away.

“Say it,” prompted John.

“Like a group of people, or animals or a sofa or a bed. It’s soft.” Chuck spread his hands helplessly.

“You’ve dragged us away from the new ’Batman’ movie to say you’ve detected a flying bed?” exploded Rodney.

“Or a flying sofa?” said John. “You’ve read too much Douglas Adams. A ‘disturbance in the fabric of space-time’ is it?”

“’Eddies in the space-time continuum?’” suggested Rodney with glee.

“Who’s Eddy?” asked Ronon, to whoops of delight from John and Rodney and a despairing glance of sympathy from Chuck.

“Gentlemen!” Woolsey did not raise his voice but it filled the room. “I didn’t call you here to make fun of Chuck’s findings because you don’t understand them. Something seems to have landed on the mainland and we can’t even guess at what it is. I don’t like that. There may be alien life forms over there who could be hostile to us.”

John rearranged his features to match the gravity of the briefing. “So, you think we should check them out?” He made it sound more like a statement than a question.

“Maybe they are intending to attack us,” continued Woolsey.

“I say we check them out,” Ronon contributed.

“Or they might be willing to form an alliance.”

“It would be right to engage them and offer our friendship,” Teyla stated.

“And it could be their technology is more advanced that ours.”

“We definitely need to check this out,” declared Rodney.

“And if we solve it, it will give us greater understanding of our scanner readings.”

“That could only be good,” said Chuck.

Woolsey turned to Sheppard, “Get started, there’s no time to lose. Take Chuck with you, he knows the signal best and will be able to help with identification. And it will help him interpret his scanner data.”


The jumper rose from the Jumper Bay and slid across the ocean, crossing the shoreline a little to the north of the target area which was a about a mile inland. Sheppard did a high level circuit of the area and then a lower one.

“I can’t see anything that looks anything like a ship,” he declared.

“It didn’t read like a ship, so I’m not expecting to see anything that looks like one,” protested Chuck.

“There’s a man in a red coat with an animal cart,” observed Teyla. “He must surely be connected with the landing; there are none of my people here now.”

“It’s in the right area,” said Chuck, “He has got to know something.”

“Can we take a closer look?” asked Ronon.


The jumper did a low sweep around the area, banking hard to give the best view of the ground. What they saw puzzled them all.

The ‘cart’ now looked less like a cart and had runners instead of wheels and the animals had antlers.

“It looks like a sledge of some sort,” observed Teyla, “But there is no snow. And what are those animals?”

“You don’t recognise them?” Sheppard didn’t like where this was going.

“I have never seen anything like them anywhere in the Pegasus Galaxy. Have you, Ronon?”

“Never. They’re new to me.”

“Well, they look like reindeer,” said Chuck. “We have them in Canada… but…”

“Not this size,” said Rodney, “All the reindeer I have ever seen in Canada are much bigger.”

“That’s right,” Chuck replied. “These are tiny!”

The three Earth men exchanged puzzled looks.

Sheppard had identified a suitable area to put the jumper down. “Let’s land and question the guy. He must be able to give us some answers.”

As they stepped out of the jumper, the red coated man walked towards them. He was a short, burly man with a full beard and while he seemed pleased to see them, he laughed somewhat embarrassedly at the same time.

“Could you tell me what this place is?” he asked. “I seem to have got myself off course. I can’t even get a reading on the GPS.”

John and Rodney exchanged glances.

“Where were you going?” asked Sheppard, cautiously evading the question.

“I was just heading home, back to my base.”

“And your base is?”

“What is this?” the man was a little agitated. “Why can’t you tell me where we are? What on Earth is this place? May I ask where you are from?”

Teyla stepped forward. Addressing Sheppard, but talking to the stranger, she said, “The gentleman may have good reason to be cautious. He does not know us. Clearly he is on some business. Perhaps he has rivals.” She turned to the man and gestured briefly at the jumper.

“We too have business. We have to be cautious.” She smiled at him. “My name is Teyla. What do I call you?”

He paused, then said decisively, “My name is Christmas.”

Teyla extended her right hand towards him according to the Earth custom she had learned. “I am pleased to meet you, Mr Christmas,” she said.

He took her hand and shook it firmly. “I’m pleased to meet you too, Miss Teyla.” He paused. “I am assuming your title is Miss? Please forgive me if I am wrong.”

“Miss is fine, but please just call me Teyla”.

“Teyla it is, then,” replied Christmas.

He drew breath to speak again, but Teyla did not want any awkward questions so she spoke quickly, “We detected a landing around hear of some sort of craft…” At this point she shot a glance at Chuck that said ‘Let me handle this’ and continued, “And have come to investigate. Have you seen anything land since you arrived?

“Not since I landed about an hour ago,” he replied.

The group all perked up at this but let Teyla continue.

“What did you arrive in and where is it now?” she asked.

Christmas seemed resigned to giving more information. “My sleigh,” he said, pointing behind him to the sleigh with the eight animals stood patiently eating the grass.

“What route were you taking when you lost your way?” she continued.

“I had travelled up the west coast of America, through Canada and Alaska , then turned North crossing northern Alaska. I was going home. You know I live in the north?”

“In the sleigh?“ queried Sheppard. “That must have taken months!”

“Not at all,” Christmas chided. “Remember what day it is! Of course, I did my work yesterday.”

McKay could keep quiet no longer. “Really Christmas, or whatever your name is,” he exploded. “Are you really expecting us to believe that you are Father Christmas, flying in your sleigh back to the North Pole? We are rational adults. We weren’t born yesterday!”

“That is why, reluctantly, I have to say ‘Yes’ to your question. That is more or less what I was doing. Father Christmas at you service,” he said. “To whom do I have the” (his pause was almost imperceptible) “pleasure of speaking?”

Teyla spoke up, “Mr Christmas, please forgive me, I have not done the introductions. This is Doctor Rodney McKay, our chief scientist; Lieutenant Colonel John Sheppard is the leader of our group and Ronon here is the fourth member. Chuck is with us today because he has responsibilities in communications.”

In spite of Teyla’s attempt to regain control of the conversation, McKay continued, “The whole Father Christmas myth is just that, a myth. Why, how many houses do you think Santa has to visit?”

“Around 85 million.”

Rodney wasn’t expecting an answer, but continued, “Travelling east to west there will be about thirty one hours of Christmas Eve to complete the job. That means there’s around 1/1000 of a second to visit each home.“

“Nearer 1/800,” interrupted Santa.

“1/800 then. To get to each home that must be a round trip of 70 or 80 million miles. To do that distance in the time allowed means travelling at, oh, six or seven hundred miles a second. Assume 300 million children…”

“It’s nearer 378 million.”

“Okay, fine. If each child get a present weighing about two pounds that’s 378 thousand tons.”

“US tons. Only 337,500 UK tons.”

“Like it makes a difference? 756 million pounds travelling at, let’s say, 650 miles a second is going to create so much air resistance the reindeer will be vaporised in a fraction of a second.  And that sleigh is unlikely to carry 378 presents, let alone 378 million.”  McKay glared. “Still think you’re Santa, do you?”

Christmas sighed. “Come over to the sleigh.”

Teyla moved to McKay’s side. “I was hoping that you would let me handle this. It looks very much as if he is from Earth. He accepted my handshake and knows some Earth geography.”

“And says he’s Santa! He’s a fruitcake!”

“A fruitcake from Earth…“ she paused. “A fruitcake? Anyway, I want to know how he got here and I would have thought that you would too. It must be some really advanced technology, if he has not fallen through some random wormhole.”

“True, point taken but I’m guessing it’s not his technology. And really… Santa!”

They reached the sleigh and Christmas slid into the seat. A control panel in front of him lit up.

“Cool,” muttered McKay, in spite of himself.

Christmas turned to him and indicated an illuminated world map.

“This is where I plot the course. All the addresses are held in the on-board Guidance Map computer which calculates the optimal course. Once I am under way, the display zooms to the current locality.

“There is no need to carry any presents. They are teleported out directly from my base. And I don’t have to visit every house. I just send the coordinates and the present is delivered. The Automatic Christmas Tree Detector can set many thousands of coordinates every second and I operate from a great height, so my journey is very much less that you calculated.

“There is no danger of generating too much heat with the shields up, which also protect us from cold. “

“And the reindeer really pull the sleigh?” enquired McKay.

“What were you expecting, a pair of Pratt and Whitney F117s? No, flying around in a jet aircraft is going to attract the attention of almost every air force in the world. Reindeer are much more practical, especially for landing on roofs. I ask you, who’s going to feel threatened by Santa riding by in his sleigh?”

Christmas stepped back onto the grass and the control panel went dark.

“Well, that’s my story. How about you answering my question now? Just where are we?”

Teyla looked at him. “Mr Christmas,” she began.

“How about you call me Santa?” he said. “All the children do, so do my friends… and so does Doctor McKay.”

McKay waved his hand in a gesture of conciliation. “Rodney.”

“Rodney, Teyla,” he said looking at each of them in turn. “What is this place?”

This time Rodney indicated that Teyla should answer. She lost no time.

“You are not on Earth. You are on a planet in the Pegasus Galaxy. I am not at liberty to tell you which one but I might be able to help you go home. First, I need you to tell me how you got here.”

“As I said earlier, I was crossing northern Alaska at a height of around twenty thousand feet when I lost control of the sleigh, which has never happened before. The sleigh was projected forward and did not respond to any of my commands. The reindeer were carried along by the force of… whatever it was. The sky disappeared, then, suddenly, we were back in the air, falling.

“I regained control and was able to fly on but had lost my bearings. The GPS did not work, the Guidance Map could not find our locality and the Automatic Christmas Tree Detector went haywire. I could not even ping the base station. And it was daylight. I was, of course, flying through the night having finished my round.

“I flew on but when I saw the coastline I quickly decided it was pointless going further as I didn’t know where I was.  I decided to land to have a think and hoped to find someone, although I knew it could be difficult explaining….”

“How long were you out of control?” she asked.

“I can’t say exactly, but not for long.  It felt like less than a minute. Perhaps less than half a minute.”

Teyla turned and asked Chuck, “Does the sleigh fit the signal you monitored?”

Chuck replied without hesitation, “It fits it exactly.”

She asked McKay, “Do you know of anything that might have caused Santa to be transported from Earth to here in seconds?”

“I… I couldn’t say,” he replied.

“That’s a ‘yes’ then,” Ronon said decisively.

Sheppard looked at the sleigh. “May I?” he asked Santa, who gestured towards the bench seat. “Be my guest,” he said and Sheppard climbed in. He looked around and held the reins but, with the display dark, there was not much to see and he stepped out again, disappointed.

Teyla turned to Santa, “We need to discuss this. Please remain by the sleigh.”

Sheppard was taking no chances. “Ronon, Chuck. Please stay with Santa to, you know, keep him company.”

Sheppard and the other two walked a little way from the sleigh.

“How do we get him home?” asked Teyla. “There is the gate…” the doubt in her voice spoke more powerfully than her words, “or the Daedalus….”

“I don’t see him going through the gate,” replied Sheppard, “On the other hand…”

I don’t see him going through the gate, either,” declared McKay. “We don’t have a ZPM for the purpose of repatriating errant Santas with their reindeer who go flying around where they’ve no business to be bumbling into space-time vortices and expecting to pop back to the beginning again like a bunch of school children out of control on the Scotia Plaza elevators!”

“I’m not going to be the one to message the SGC and say ‘Look out for Santa and his reindeer arriving soon’. They‘d think I‘d lost it!” Sheppard was emphatic. “What are the SGC going to do, anyway? Say ‘Hi Santa, we’ve been expecting you, had a bit of an adventure haven’t you? We’ll soon have you on your way’. I would think they would see him as security risk when he turns up in the SGC Gateroom. So either I’m a security risk for sending him, or I’m bonkers. Or both. The gate’s out of the question.”

“The Daedalus, then?” asked Teyla. “But the problems will be the same when it lands on Earth.”

“If that thing really can fly, maybe he can fly off in mid-air. If it can’t fly, then he’s spun us a yarn and we take him into custody. Or leave him here.”

“We need to get the reindeer something to eat, the Daedalus is not going to be straightforward, either.”

“Can we leave the reindeer here, just send him back?” wondered Sheppard.

“He’ll say the sleigh won’t fly without them. Then he’ll have to get off when it lands and we have the same problem,” McKay said.

“Let us ask him,” decided Teyla. Turning to Sheppard, she asked, “When does the Daedalus depart?”

“About four hours. He‘ll have to sign the non-disclosure papers as well.”

They walked back to the group standing by the sleigh. Turning to Santa, Teyla said, “If we are to send you home, we will have to take you back to our base which is supposed to be secret. You will have to sign our non-disclosure papers saying that you agree never to disclose what you have seen to anyone, including close family members. If you do not agree, we will have to leave you here. I am sorry, but we have no alternative. Are you willing to sign?”

“Yes, no problem. Look,” he said, “Let’s be frank. If I want any credibility I’m not going to say I took a trip to another galaxy. In return, I want you to sign my non-disclosure agreement, although, if you want any credibility, you might not want to say you’ve had a long chat with Father Christmas!”

“If we put you on our spaceship back to Earth, would you be able to leave it in mid-air? It would make our lives, and yours, so much easier if you do not have to land.”

“Yes, I can do that. I would need a little warning to hitch the team then I can be ready to have the screens up. We would be fine at about ten thousand feet.”

“There’s no time to lose,” declared Teyla. “Santa, what do the Reindeer eat? The journey takes about eighteen days.”

“Grass, or hay, green shoots, lichens and grain. Not too much grain but they can eat some.”

“Where can we those sort things at short notice?” Sheppard wondered aloud.

“I know a farming village on Sanhaurin which is not too far from the gate,” mused Teyla. “Time is short and we have to get something to trade.”

“What do they want?” asked Santa.

“Technology,” replied Teyla. “They want to progress from labour intensive farming. They also like luxury goods. They consider they are getting sophisticated.”

“I might have something.” Santa delved into the storage compartment beneath the sleigh’s seat and emerged with a box.

Teyla was looking at what seemed to be a replica of a cute and somewhat fussy house with a rather large dial on the front.

Chuck came to look said helpfully, “It’s a cuckoo clock.” Turning to Santa he said, ”Teyla isn’t from Earth, this galaxy is her home.”

Santa looked a little taken aback but then laughed heartily saying, “I’m finding it hard to come to terms with being in another galaxy, but I guess you are a little shocked to be talking to Santa!” He laughed again and turned back to Teyla.

“The cuckoo is an Earth bird. On the hour a model of a cuckoo pops out of the door at the top and the clock makes a noise like a cuckoo. These days they are made especially in a particular region of Earth called the Black Forest in Germany.”

“I have heard of Germany,” confirmed Teyla.

Santa continued, “Such a clock is a curiosity, it is not common to have one by any means and much more expensive than a simple functional timepiece. This one plays music as well. Not all do. It is powered by these weights so no electricity of any sort is needed.

“I picked it up on my travels and was going to take it home. I’ve always fancied one for the Claus home. It’s a good quality clock from a highly regarded manufacturer. It’s a modern piece although to a traditional design. It should give many years of reliable service. Would it be any good to trade with?”

“I am sure it would be. May I take it?”

“Please do,” said Santa. “It’s a small price to pay given the fix I am in. I would much rather go home than stay here with my clock!”

Santa explained how to mount and operate the clock and Teyla said,  “I think you should stay here. We are not able to take you with us and you can’t leave the reindeer alone. It is not practical to take you to our base, either. It would risk our security and yours. Also, the reindeer are much happier here eating the grass. Chuck, Ronon and McKay will stay with you. John will take me to the village…” She looked enquiringly at Sheppard, who nodded his assent.

Santa looked at his three companions.

“I’ve given you a Christmas day to remember,” he said, guffawing with laughter. “What were you up to?”

“Just going to watch Batman: The Black Knight,” said Rodney. “My sister sent me the DVD for Christmas.”

“It’s a good film,” replied Santa. “Have you seen the others?”

Sheppard and Teyla headed for the jumper as McKay launched into a critique of the first film.

“Time to go, I think,” remarked Sheppard as they climbed inside. 

Ronon and Chuck watched the jumper disappear over the trees and wandered over to the sleigh. Ronon looked inside. It looked like a perfectly ordinary sleigh, if a little cute and ornate. He sat on the bench seat, looked around and flicked the reins, to no effect as the reindeer had been unhitched and were contently eating grass.

“This Santa dude is famous on Earth?” he asked.

“Gosh, yes,” Chuck replied. “Millions of children believe he brings Christmas presents on Christmas Eve, flying in his sleigh which he parks on the roof and climbs down the chimney to deliver them. Adults don’t believe it, of course, but are willing to perpetrate the myth. ‘What did Santa bring you?’ is a common question to children and simply means ‘What did you have for Christmas?’”

“I don’t understand Earth,” said Ronon as he climbed out of the sleigh.

“Not sure I do,” replied Chuck.

He looked into the sleigh and climbed up to the seat. The control panel lit up.

“How do you do that?” asked Ronon, slightly startled.

“Don’t know,” Chuck looked nervously across at Santa, who was guffawing with McKay. “Hey, this is one high-tech sleigh. Wonder what all this stuff does.”

The only thing Chuck understood was the map, and he spent a few minutes pointing out where he had lived in Canada and some of Earth’s major countries and geographical features.

“Wonder how you switch this off?” mused Chuck. “Maybe I should ask Santa.” However, as he slid out, the display went dark.

“Maybe I don’t need to.”

Ronon went over to a tree and broke two branches off. He trimmed the leaves and twigs off and turned to Chuck.

“How’s your stick fighting?”

“Can’t say I’ve done much.”

Ronon passed him one of the branches.

“Your stick is both a weapon and a guard.” He held the stick firmly in his right hand. “Hold your stick like this.” He watched Chuck raise his stick. “Higher… a little higher. Good. Now, this is the basic attack movement….”


Santa sat on a fallen tree and found that he didn’t have to say much. Just “Yes”, “No” and guffawing now and then seemed to be all the responses that he had to make. McKay was in full flow on his favourite subject. He needed an audience, not opinions. He had plenty of those of his own.

Some time later the jumper swept back over the trees and landed in its previous spot. Teyla and Sheppard stepped out to see Chuck swinging a large stick at Ronon, who was fending him off and calling encouragement.

Rodney was talking.

“…the difference between the TV series and harder edge to Batman in the films becomes even more marked as Batman faces this new foe…”

“Rodney!” called Teyla. “I hope you have not bored poor Santa to death. I wanted you to look after him, not make him lose the will to live.”

Turning to the red-coated gent, she said, “Come and see what we have in the jumper.”

“Was the clock sufficient collateral to get what we need?” he asked.

“Yes indeed. In fact I was able to get considerable supplies for ourselves.” She turned to Santa. “I hope that is alright?”

“Yes, yes, my dear. I’m glad I could make some small contribution to your cause...“

“Not that small,” murmured Sheppard.

“…I realise I have been something of a nuisance.”

“Not at all,” declared Teyla. “And they loved the clock. Two farmers started a bidding war to get it.”

“What happened?” asked Chuck, who had come over with Ronon by now.

“The other farm owners in the village joined together to get the clock for the village and out-bid them. It got quite heated at one point. They are going to build a pavilion by the market place to house it and all the villagers will be able to come and see it when they go to market. The market is a big thing for the village, as it is a trading centre for the area, so they will be able to show it off to the neighbouring villages as well.”

Sheppard opened the jumper’s hatch and invited Santa to inspect the cargo.

“You have done well,” he said. “The reindeer will be well catered for on the journey and these provisions should be a useful addition to your resources.

“My clock has done well!” He guffawed with pleasure.

“We must go,” Teyla announced. Turning to Santa she asked, “Are you able to follow us in your sleigh, if we lead the way?”

“Give me a few minutes to hitch the team and we can be sky-borne. I must say, though, a little guidance would be welcome. Would you be so kind as to accompany me, my dear? You will be perfectly safe with the shield up. There is room for a slim passenger.”

Teyla knew that there were good operational reasons to travel on the jumper but there were still things she wanted to know and was anyone, really, going to accuse her of breaking standing orders by travelling on Santa’s sleigh? Besides, she reflected, a chance like this was never going to come again. And, she added to herself, would Earth ever forgive her if she let Santa get lost?

“I would be happy to,” she replied. “I will not let you lose your way. How much space do you need to land?” she asked.

“It would be best to land him by the Daedalus,” Sheppard suggested. “If he can put down there.”

“I don’t need a lot of space. After all, I’m notorious for landing on roofs!” Santa guffawed.

“I thought you didn’t need to do that with the teleportation beam and the Christmas Tree Detector?” asked Chuck.

“Quite true,” Santa assured him, “But it has been done in times past. Needed to get the legend started, you know. I’ve had to practice it. Drove Mrs Claus mad. Especially the time I knocked thirty slates off the house on the day we were supposed to be visiting her mother and I had to stop and fix the roof. She still suspects I did it on purpose.”

“Did you?” asked Chuck, intrigued.

“Well, let’s say it was convenient.” Santa chuckled.

Santa hitched the reindeer and Teyla watched as he climbed into the sleigh.

The control panel lit up and he stretched out his arm towards Teyla. “Come aboard,” he invited, and she stepped nimbly up and sat at his side.

With some misgivings, Sheppard and the rest got into the jumper.

Santa whistled to the reindeer team and, suddenly, they were flying. The sleigh did a circle around the area and the jumper took to the air. The sleigh followed behind and kept pace as Sheppard gently increased the speed.

“An unusual Christmas Day for you,” observed Santa as they followed the jumper across the shoreline and out over the ocean. “I bet you didn’t expect to be arriving back at your base in Santa’s sleigh!” He guffawed. “But then, I didn’t expect a trip to another galaxy.” He glanced at Teyla sat at his left. “You say this is the Pegasus Galaxy?” He paused to emphasise the question. “You really mean a cluster of stars that are many light years from the Milky Way? Forgive me, I’m having trouble making sense of what has happened today.” He paused. “I think you know what I mean?”

Teyla said she did know what he meant, adding that her colleagues from Earth were finding it harder still. She went on, “Yes, this is a different galaxy from the Milky Way. We are indeed very many light years from that cluster of stars. However, we have the technology to cross over.”

“Where did you get this technology? Did you develop it on Earth?”

“We obtained it from an old and technologically advanced race.”

“Then the old legend may be true!” said Santa in some wonderment.

“What legend is that?” Teyla was intrigued.

“The legend says that my ancestors came to Earth travelling across a great void, so great a void that the stars all looked as one and the entire cluster was just a point in the sky when they set out. It did sound as though they had come from another galaxy but that seemed far fetched.”

“What happened to your ancestors?”

“The legend says they brought human life to Earth and the Milky Way and then left. It becomes a little garbled at this point. Some versions say they went away and came back. Nevertheless, our secret community was established in the north, well away from other people.”

“Why did they leave?”

“It’s not clear,” replied Santa, “Although it seems that they could have been afraid. Afraid of what, I don’t know.”

They had been travelling across open ocean for some while. Santa looked down at the waves lapping on the surface. “How far do we go?” he asked. “Is your base near the shore?”

“I should think we are about half way there,” replied Teyla, “Although I am not certain how fast we are going. Did your ancestors make the sleigh?”

“We rebuild the sleigh from time to time, but always to the original design and some parts can be reused.”

“It is quite technological, for a sleigh,” she said. “I am curious about how it works. You did not seem to turn it on when you got in.”

“There is no switch,” said Santa. “I carry a special gene, the Santa gene. The sleigh is sensitive to the gene and responds to it. The gene has been in my family from the first and has been passed down through the generations. If you don’t have the gene, the sleigh is just a sleigh, not Santa’s sleigh.”

“We are nearly there,” said Teyla, spotting Atlantis on the horizon. “My man will be glad when I am back, he has had to look after our baby son all afternoon. He is a good man and shares the responsibilities but I am sure he is ready for a rest.” She laughed. “He does not like changing the baby’s diaper!”

“I don’t think most men do,” Santa replied laughing too, “I know I was always glad to leave that job to Mrs Claus. What is the baby’s name?”

“Torren,” Teyla replied, spelling it out as well, knowing that it might be an uncommon name to Santa.

They were now fast approaching Atlantis and Sheppard had swung around to the right of the city, now sweeping left towards the Jumper Bay.

“I think he wants you to circle a little,” suggested Teyla, glad that night was falling. It made it unlikely that the unlit sleigh would be spotted from the city. “When he has cleared the area we can set down.”

Teyla knew that Sheppard would impose security on the Daedalus pier but would need a little time to do so. They had briefed a rather bewildered Woolsey before going off world and she was sure that he had brought Caldwell up to date. She wondered how that conversation had gone.

Santa took the sleigh around the city in a broad arc. Judging that the area would be secure, Teyla directed Santa to land and guided him towards the Daedalus. He made a low approach over the sea and set the sleigh down expertly on the pier behind the ship.

As she had expected, Sheppard, Woolsey and Caldwell were waiting on the pier. Although initially sceptical of their story, Woolsey and Caldwell had to acknowledge that the arrival of a sleigh which appeared to be drawn by eight miniature reindeer has no other logical explanation.

Woolsey greeted Santa politely. “Good evening, Mr Claus. This is a pleasure I never expected. We have to get down to business straightaway, there is not a lot of time. Your supplies are being brought up and a meal is being arranged for you. First, I must ask you to give me a verbal assurance that you will not disclose any of the events of today to anyone at all. Then I need you to sign our non-disclosures papers to the same effect.”

“You have my assurance that I will tell no one. In return, I ask you all to give me the same assurance that you will not disclose the events of today. I, too, need secrecy to do my work.”

Each member of the party gave their assurance. Santa turned to the sleigh’s storage compartment and took out a writing set.

Woolsey indicated a door. “There is a small office here.”

They sat at the table and Woolsey handed Santa the non-disclosure papers.

“What are you going to do with these when I have signed them?” he asked.

“We will file them with our security documents and… what are you thinking?”

“Who could you show them to, except each other? What would you say? ‘Oh, yes, we had Santa round here on Christmas Day?’ Would they believe you? Would your credibility still be intact? Let’s face it, there’s no way I am going to tell anyone that I have visited another galaxy. Even my wife would think I was mad. As for telling, say, a newspaper, what do I say? ‘Hello I’m Santa Claus and took a trip to another galaxy?’”

Woolsey considered the situation. Sometimes Atlantis dynamics were very different from Earth’s. Once again, the city’s best interests were most effectively served outside the rule book. A security audit of the non-disclosure declaration of one Santa Claus was not something he relished. Whether or not the story was believed, the outcome was undesirable. On the one hand, he would look ridiculous while, if it was believed, the non-standard way of dealing with it would reflect badly on him. Further, it could prompt a search for Santa Claus who, feeling betrayed, might tell all he knew.

A glance at Caldwell’s face told him that he too was thinking along similar lines.

Woolsey sighed, then gathered the papers up, thrusting them into a inner pocket. “I think we understand each other. You never came here.”

“Never, ever. Don’t know what you are talking about,” replied Santa.

“Good,” Woolsey said decisively.

“Now, if you would allow me, I would very much like to be Santa Claus for a few minutes.”

Santa returned to the sleigh and once again delved into the storage compartment beneath the seat, emerging with a package already wrapped in Christmas paper. Back in the office, he took his fountain pen and wrote on the greetings label.

“Where is the lady, Teyla?” he asked.

Teyla duly stepped forward and, smiling broadly, Santa handed the gift to her. She read the inscription, “To Torren. For your first Christmas. Love from Santa.”

“You had better open it for him,” he said.

Inside was a box labelled, “Activity Rocking Cradle”.

“There’s a harness so that he does not fall out, some toys hanging from the handle and it will rock a little when he kicks or rocks his body,” said Santa, not knowing whether such things were common in the Pegasus galaxy. 

Teyla opened the box and took the cradle out. “Oh, Santa, it is gorgeous! Thank you very much. He will love being in this.” She put the cradle on the table and rocked it, making the toys swing. “He is starting to reach out, he will love the toys hanging there.”

It had been a rather unusual day to say the least and, reflected Teyla, they had all agreed it had never happened. She threw her arms around Santa and hugged him, then stepped back demurely as if to say, “This never happened.”

Santa smiled and was just about to speak when Chuck arrived with his meal on a tray. “Left over Christmas turkey but the vegetables are freshly cooked. They couldn’t do roast potatoes in time, I’m afraid,” he said. Speaking to his colleagues he said,  “Santa’s supplies have arrived.”

Santa sat at the table with his tray. “It looks good. Thank you very much.”

Rodney turned and looked at Santa’s tray with undisguised hunger but Sheppard stepped between them, saying, “McKay, come and help with the supplies, we can’t have any help as this area is restricted.”

The hay and other reindeer food was on two trolleys which Chuck and Ronon wheeled towards the Daedalus. Sheppard and McKay went to help and the supplies were soon onboard. When Santa had finished eating, he unhitched the reindeer and the sleigh was loaded. There did not seem to be a lot of room left, but Santa was undaunted, giving the reins of two reindeer each to Chuck, John and Rodney to hold, leaving just two remaining. He was just wondering who should take the reins of one of them while he led the other into the ship when Teyla arrived and took them.

Santa started to lead the animals up the ramp. Some seemed a little reluctant or nervous but Santa handled them expertly, encouraging and calming them as he brought them into the spaceship, talking to each of them in turn.

“Now, Dasher!” he said, patting the animal who had calmed down and now seemed at ease with the new surroundings. “Now, Dancer!” he called as he led the second up the ramp. “Now Prancer… and Vixen.” He took another from Sheppard’s hand and then one from Rodney. “On Comet… on Cupid,” he said, giving the second animal a push. Cupid trotted up the ramp to stand facing Dasher. “On Dunder!” he called. Dunder did not seem happy but, with Santa’s firm hand guiding, the animal seemed reassured and was soon standing happily next to Dasher. “And Blixem,” the red coated gent called. He took the reins from Rodney and Blixem trotted up the ramp to join the rest of the team.

Santa opened a bale of hay and spread it in front of the animals, who pawed at it with interest.

“Now we can go,” declared Caldwell. “The crew are all onboard, and so are the passengers.”

He stepped onboard himself and as the door closed, they heard Santa call out “Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

A few minutes later the Daedalus was airborne. Ronon turned, a little hesitantly, to Woolsey. “Will you be wanting a Mission Report, Mr Woolsey?”

“Unfortunately, as none of this has happened, on this occasion that won’t be necessary,” he replied dryly.


Sam Carter turned to the young scientist who had called her. “What has happened, Cartwright?”

Cartwright looked at his screen in disbelief. “It’s overloaded the system. It’s drawn far more power than we expected. No simulation predicted this.”

“How much more?” she demanded.

Cartwright indicated the screen. “We were expecting a power draw here, at this level, easily within the generator’s operating bounds. But it’s up here, well above normal operating tolerances. It’s as though it’s picked up something the size of a small car.”

“That’s not possible,” declared Carter. “The simulations must be wrong, or the circuits have shorted. What has happened to the generator, is it still responding?”

“I have it on video, we have a remote controlled camera in the air,” announced another scientist on the other side of the aisle. “It’s not good.”

Carter spun round to see the President looking at the screen showing the generation station ablaze with plumes of smoke rising into the air.

“The trial has not gone as well as expected, Mr President.” Carter sought to reassure him. “However, this not uncommon in experimental science. We can work through the problem and rebuild the generator. We need a more powerful model in any case, so we must accelerate the transition to stage two.”

“There is no stage two.” The President’s voice was resolute. “I am not approving funding for the next stage. I am not going to be remembered as a President that did not know when to stop, that carried on with a project that clearly had little chance of success. I am not a pig-headed stubborn individual who can’t see when it is time to draw back and say ’Enough’.”

He turned on his heel and signalled to his entourage, who closed around him.

Just before they marched out he declared, “We need to enhance the security of this great nation of ours and we won’t do that by blowing things up!”

Carter looked at Cartwright, deflated. “I hope he never meets Rodney McKay.”


Sheppard and the team, except Teyla who went relieve Kanaan and see Torren,  walked into the rec room. They had all eaten a good meal, except McKay, who had had two. “Maybe now we can get to see ‘The Dark Knight’,” declared Rodney. “I suppose you’ve all watched it already?” He glanced round the room.

It was Keller who spoke, “No, we haven’t.”

“You’ve saved it for me because it was my Christmas present! That’s nice of you.”

“Actually… Kavanagh broke the DVD player. He pushed the drawer too hard and jammed  it…”

“Well, I guess that we’ll just have to watch it together in my quarters,” replied McKay smiling at Keller. “Sorry guys,” he said, looking round the room.

“We can’t do that either,” Keller told him. “The DVD was in the drawer when he jammed it. It’s stuck in the machine now….”

Rodney jumped as though he had touched 500 volts.


The End

Acknowledgments and Author’s Notes

Thanks to Leesa Perrie for sharing her encyclopaedic knowledge of Stargate Atlantis and much patient advice.

Grateful thanks to greyias and Jayne Perry for betaing the story and for their valuable suggestions.

Thanks to Henry Livingstone for his first-hand account “A Visit From St. Nicholas.”

Also to the following sites:

The Science of Santa Claus

Santa’s Reindeer FAQ

Santa’s gift to Torren looked something like this.

The title comes from the first line of the song ‘Who Knows Where the Time Goes’ by the late, great, Sandy Denny.

The names of the reindeer come from the original version of “A Visit from St. Nicholas.” As these are the names Livingstone claims to have heard, I feel safe in assuming that these are the names Santa would use. In later versions of the poem, the names of Dunder and Blixem have been changed.


All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.

And finally, proof that Santa really visited Atlantis!
Photo from a newspaper and courtesy of germangirl on dGeek Forum

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