Little "Saint" Nick
Nicholas didn't think of himself as a bad person. He was really a good guy. No, a fantastic guy. He just had a... michievous streak that displayed itself in... inventive and... unique ways.
Sure he'd stolen some stuff. Some classic relics. A piece of currency that had been worth millions of credits in olden days, something called a "dollar". And maybe he'd taken a strange device that played music before InstaDownloads. i-something.
Really, it should be viewed as an accomplishment. Evading over a hundred guards and made a mockery of the American Empire was no mean feat. He should be honored, really.
Of course, he thought, flicking his electrocuffs boredly, barely noticing the electric shock they gave him, the Judiciary Council didn't see it like that at all. As he stood in front of their stone-cold faces, he didn't feel any sense of doom or some such nonsense. He could be sentenced to death. Stealing from the Empire's Archives was apparently a big deal. But he could evade that. Change his name, flee to the Republic of Britannia.
"Do you have any plea to try and avert your coming punishment?" High Judge Whitner demanded in a forbidding voice. Nicholas thought it over.
"My please is that you get it over with. Even if you kill me, it won't be as boring as this."
There were disapproving murmurs amongst the Council. Good. Annoying buggers.
High Judge Whitner rose from his chair. "Nicholas Adner," he said coldly. "You have committed many felonies, such as stealing an ancient amount of money, an archaic musical device, and an attempt to bribe a guard to set you free."
Nicholas shrugged, grinning unabashedly. "Can't blame a guy for trying."
"Therefore, you have been sentenced to a Time Banishment."
Nicholas nodded thoughtfully. Time Banishment. Not that nasty, really. One would get sent to an Ancient Time, work out a sentence there, doing some task assigned by the Council. Community service. "Okay. I can cope. What's the sentence?"
Nicholas blew all of the air out of his cheeks. "Wow. Heady sentence. You guys must really like your stuff. Where am I going, chiefs?"
"The beginning of Time," High Judge Whitner said ominously. Nicholas raised his eyebrows. "You can send guys there now?"
"Huh. Beginning of Time. How interesting." He scratched his chin. "Okay."
High Judge Whitner continued. "You will be sentenced to live in a Time Loop until the end of Time. You are given one task- once every year, you shall be sent out to deliver gifts to every child on Earth, for all eternity. You shall be banished to a frozen wasteland."
Nicholas pursed his lips. "How am I gonna get these gifts?"
"You shall be sent with other felons to aid you."
"Other felons? What did they do?"
"Petty thievery. It is no matter."
Nicholas was deeply offended. "Petty thieves? Can't you have the decency to send me with some masterminds such as myself other than common criminals?" He shook his head, making a tsking sound. High Judge Whitner ignored him.
"You will be sent out immediately. Take him away!"
Nicholas didn't need to be dragged. Instead he cheerfully walked out with two stiff-faced guards on either side of him.
Look at it this way, old Nick, he told himself. This could be the beginning of a remarkable oppurtunity...
Many Years Later...
Nick stood at the window of his home. It was garish on the outside- one of his helpers has been an interior decorater/landscape artist software programmer before he took to embezzeling.
It had been a blessing and a curse, the Time Banishment. Nick, who still always saw the silver lining, didn't mind it so much. He was stuck forever in his boyish youth. Perhaps his jet black hair had a few strands of gray (no perhaps about it- he'd nearly had a heart attack when he'd found the first one). But other than that, he was as bright and speedy as ever. As long as he was in the Time Loop.
He sighed and started looking through his closet. "Mafalda!" He shouted. "Mafalda, have you seen my red suit?"
Mafalda walked up the stairs holding his shiny red suit. "You put it on the couch last night in preparation, He Who Is Fortunate to Have a Stellar Memory."
"Thanks, Mafalda." He gave her a shining smile. She made a harrumph noise and kissed him on the cheek. "See you in the morning."
That was another upside to the Time Banishment. Without it he never would have met his wife, a cheeky young (looking) girl who had been sent with him for vandalism of public monuments.
Nick zipped up the suit. The red suit had been sent with him, preventing him from aging too dramatically- after all, by now he should be dust. It couldn't protect him completely, however. The second his Banishment lifted for twenty-four hours and he rode outside the bubble he lived in, his face became more lined (logical, really), he would grow a long white beard (what was the point in shaving it?), and he would get fatter (a result of Mafalda not only being an excellent artist, but a wonderful cook).
He knew what the children said about him. Jolly Saint Nick... Saint... if only they knew...
Nick stepped outside, walking towards the robots that had been fashioned to look like animals and the helpers who were making sure they worked all right.
"Ranburg!" He called to one of them. He looked up, turning around on his stool. Time had not been as kind to his helpers as it had to him. Age had shrunken them, leaving them to perhaps Nick's knee.
"Yeah, boss?" Ranburg asked. His voice had remained the same- deep and gruff, contrary to his appearance.
"How are the robots ? Functioning well?"
"Yeah, boss, like they just rolled off the assembly line."
Right after he said that, one of the antlers fell off. Nick raised his eyebrows as Ranburg turned deep red. "A technicality, boss."
"Fix it. I'm going to check on the sleigh." He left Ranburg to shout at the others to solder it back on.
His sleigh was also showing signs of age. The bright red paint that had once covered it was flaking off a little, and there were some dings and dents. There was a large one with burn marks around it from the Meteor Shower of 2018.
"Well, old girl," he muttered. "Time to face the outside world once again."
Ranburg hooked the robots up to the sleigh and Nick eagerly jumped into the sleigh, expertly tapping out his flight co-ordinates on the computer in front of him. "Thanks, Ranburg. See you later."
Nick grabbed his steering devices, the ones that looked like reins. He flew into the night with a sputter like the sound of an engine firing.
He knew the second he was beyond the boundaries of the Banishment. His face sagged a little more, he felt his beard grow, and suddenly the sleigh was a lot smaller than normal.
But he didn't care He was free, free for twenty-four hours. He laughed, his laughter suddenly deeper and older as he soared across a snowy, starry sky.
"Ho ho ho!"