Shorts smartworld

The Naughty List

Where young Virginia becomes one of Santa's elves, and assists him in seeking "charitable donations" from those on his Naughty List.

[Friday, 2 December, 2259 | He’s Making a List]

He made a list.

He checked it twice.

Everyone’s naughty; it excludes the nice.

Virginia doesn’t know who’s on the list, nor does she know what they did. Santa won’t tell her; all he has been willing to say is that Morse and Krack had penetrated YutopiCorp’s system and generated a list of worthy targets.

The elevator doors rumble as they slide open and Virginia steps into Santa’s bunker. It’s dimmed, but she can make him out through the glow of the holoscreens surrounding him. Noting that he’s wearing his work uniform for the first time since last December, Virginia finally feels a pang of the Christmas spirit. She’s used to the cybernetic cheeks, eyes and forehead. But the flowing grey hair, the perfectly manicured beard, that red hat hanging from his head, his flowing red jacket revealing his bare, ripped chest and steel nipples, those cargo pants and military boots? Those are reserved for the most wonderful time of year, as if he stepped straight out of those cheesy Christmas holofilms she and her dad watched each year.

So enamoured by this jolly old soul, Virginia failed to notice him hurriedly swiping out of one of his screens, replacing it with another list. Across the screens are names, dates, biographies, photos. All City residents, all local to Sector Chicago.

“Virgina,” Santa’s voice calls out across the bunker. “Nice to see you down here. Do you know what you want for Christmas yet?”

“A cybernetic eye,” the girl answers matter-of-factly.

Santa lets out a rumbling chuckle. “How about something that isn’t a cybernetic enhancement, kid?”

Virginia shrugs. She’s used to life in a penthouse on the ninety-second storey of Star Tower. The top floor of one of Sector Chicago’s tallest buildings, overlooking the city’s lights, rather than hiding from their glow in the slums. She’s used to the latest toys and gadgets, half of which she never used. But life in the slum is… different. She has what she needs, and it keeps her entertained enough. Once upon a time, not so long ago, she would have never considered it possible, but gifts and gadgets just seem kind of pointless. Especially anything from YutopiCorp—which is essentially everything for sale—that’s just going to help them build a profile and monitor her.

“Guess I’ll just have to surprise you then, kid,” Santa says. “Lucky I have just the thing in mind.”

Virginia pulls up a seat. “So this is your list?” she asks. “We’re going to hit them all?”

Santa shakes his head. “No, not all of them. There’s two hundred and fifty thousand names on here; Morse and Krack are nothing if not thorough. There’s a shit tonne of corruption in the sector, and I can’t get to everybody.”

“You can’t?”

“Even Santa has limits, kid,” he says. “Give me a week to whittle it down, and work out who’s most deserving of a lump of coal, then we get to work.”

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