<TV turns on, green numbers in the corner identify Channel 14. It shows a Habbalite sitting on a large rock, staring into space, wearing a santa hat and beard.>
Female Voice: "We're not sure who put them on Ralph's head, and Kobal refused to comment."
<Cut to a news studim showing two demons sitting behind a desk. One is a beautiful black-haired, green-skinned lilim, the other a huge, bloated humpback whale of a Djinn.>
Lilim: "It just goes to show you, even the Prince of Apathy can show a little Christmas Cheer. Right, Frank?"
Frank (the Djinn): "Feh."
Lilim: "When we return, the Death of Santa Claus."
<Cut to a commercial. A six-year old-looking Calabite is standing next to the Archangel Michael, who's inspecting the blood dripping from his forearms.>
"Your Angels put me through a vicious spot of Trauma. Sent me back to Perdition, and got me taken off Earth duty for awhile. But I'm drinking Ilk. In a few millenia, I'll be big, and strong, and I'll march into Heaven and blacken all six of your eyes. For a start."
VO: "Ilk. It Does a body good."
<CLICK: Channel 137>
"Behold the power of Cheese."
<CLICK: Channel 414>
"I'll buy that for a dollar!"
<CLICK: Channel 823>
"I've fallen, and I can't get up!"
<CLICK: Channel 23>
"Turn the channel. Now."
<CLICK: Channel 22>
Voice-over: "VapuTech. We're not perfect, but whatcha gonna do?"
<CLICK: Channel 14> <Cut to a graphic of the Earth, which pulls back to the solar system, then the galaxy. The stars rearrange themselves into white letters, "NNN.">
James Earl Jones-like Voice-Over.: " Nybbas News Network. All News is Good News."
<Cut to the newsroom. The Lilim is apparently talking to someone off-screen.>
Lilim: "--another new slogan? That's the third one this hour. Unbeliev--" (Her eyes go wide, and she turns towards the camera, and puts on a half-panicky smile) "And we're back."
<A graphic appears in the upper left corner, showing a fat, bearded white man in a red suit. Underneath it is written "Santa Claus: 1918-1997.">
Lilim: "Today, for the seventh time this century, Santa Claus was killed, this time in Saskatchewan. We go to our correspondent Harnazanthul in Dahoonek for the details.
Harna: "Thank you, Janet. Santa Claus. Saint Nick. Father Christmas. However you slice it, he was traditionally portrayed as a Jolly old Man who visited houses on Christmas Eve, giving presents to the good children, and, at best, leaving nothing for bad children. And until early this century, he was nothing but a lie tied to the Christmas Holiday and an old Christian saint that parents told to their children to perpetuate their ignorance."
"However, with the dawning of the 20th century, enough worldwide belief in Santa Claus was generated that an Ethereal who answered to the name appeared in the Far Marches. On December 24, 1922, he took a Vessel and visited Earth late at night."
"The new Santa Claus's Modus Operandi was to visit houses late at night, and check the children to see if they were bad or good. If they were Good, he would add a present to the pile under the tree, and take a bit of Essence, while visions of sugar plums danced in their heads. If they were bad, he would steal all their Essence, and leave nothing. Storing the stolen Essence in his sleigh, a massive Reliquary, he would then head to the next house, and could usually visit fifty or sixty such houses before the night was through.
"And that's the way it went until December 24, 1952. As is commonly known, the Host frowns upon Ethereals visiting Heaven, and on this night, over Defiance, Ohio, Kris Kringle was ambushed by a hit squad of Sword Angels, and vessel-slain. They also managed to off Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, and Blitzen, but the other five reindeer fled to the Ethereal before they suffered a similar fate.
"Battered and broken, Jolly Old Nick retrated to his workshop to recuperate. But it wasn't the last time. Subsequently, in 1965, Maeven, the Angel of the Heavy Lead Pipe bludgeoned him to death on the roof of an apartment complex.. Similar incidents in 1971, 1983, 1987, 1992, 1994, and 1996 have plagued him and his organization.
"This brings us to today, December 25, 1997. In the wee hours of the morning, a small platoon of Angels took the sleigh down with a Surface-To-Air Missile, and then descended upon the fallen sleigh and attacked Santa until he was forced to abandon his Vessel. They then pursued him to his Workshop in The Marches, and Soul-Killed him.there."
"As you can see behind me, the workshop is in tatters. The Elves are currently attempting to confine the blaze, with little success. The attack, unexpected and unprovoked, was swift and brutal. It was truly a Christmas Midnight Massacre.
Elf: "They descended upon us with out warning. One minute we were kicking bnack, wating for the big guy to get back, when suddenly, he pops in the middle of the courtyard, trailing fifteen or so of the Host. We tried to do whatbb we could, but they were Full-fledged Angels, and they held us at bay easily. In a few minutes, it was all over, and the old man was gone."
"Then the big one turned to look at us and frowned. ' Consider yourselves all warned,' he said. 'Interfere not in the Mortal World.' And then they were all gone."
"I dunno what we're gonna do now. I've got a wife and kids to feed. I suppose I could go back to making cookies, but I was real good at the toymaking, and they're only hiring part-time."
Harna: "It's truly awful here, Janet. The bodies are everywhere, and the destruction is vast and far-reaching. Earlier, we talked to Urvex, a servitor of Technology, and self-proclaimed expert on The Marches."
<Cut to a cramped office. Plaques line what's visible of the wall, and what isn't is ovscured bt stack after stack of books. Behind a desk swamped with papers sits a Balseraph in a lab coat, who guestures with her tail tip as she speaks.>
Urvex: "Yes, Santa's dead. But even if one of his Elves doesn't take his place, Human belief in him is likely to spawn another before the year's out. Fascinating thing, belief. Christmas '98 should see a new Santa cruising the skies...And another attempt on his life by the other side. It's--Oh, bloody Hell." (She ducks behind the desk, there's a flash of white, and the camera goes to static.)
Harna: "So, once again, the forces of Heaven have managed to trash a childhood idol, sacred to millions of children all across the planet Earth. I'd like to take this moment to say, If any of you out there have actual footage of this tragedy, or an excellent facsimile thereof, please contact the NNN studios. Back to you, Janet."
<Cut to the studio. Frank the Djinn looks very, very bored, and a different Lilim is sitting in Janet's place.>
New Lilim: "Candace here. Thank you for that stirring report."
<A Graphic appears by her head, this one readin "New NNN Host.">
Candace: "I'll be the new host of NN for this hour of NNN, as the former host, Janet, transfeered, citing 'A need to keep her hand in.' She'll be appearing on 'Nightly NNN' as that show's Forty-Eigth War Correspondent."
<TV Turns off.>