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– Chapter One
Introducing Santa

– Chapter Two
"Take Me Through the Numbers"

– Chapter Three
The Scheming Begins

– Chapter Four
Santa and His Shrink

– Chapter Five
The Doll Factory






New Orleans






- The Divine Right    of Capital

- Pigs at the   Trough


- What It Is

- Why a Santa    Novel?

- Who Benefits

- Secrecy in Santa

Author Bio






North Pole Industries (NPI)

Despite its name, North Pole Industries, or NPI, isn't at the North Pole.  However, it isn't in any specific country, either.  It is far enough north, however, to create major heartburn for the uninvited attempting to find it.  A great deal of Santa's success hinges upon his being able to keep the NPI operations secret -- even if he has had to placate numerous government emissaries and military personnel along the way.

The Main Factory Complex

Most of NPI's operations are concentrated in the main complex, a collection of factories and office buildings.  Here we find Halter's Doll Operations factory, Winnow's Train Factory, Tinker's Candy and Confections operations. The central administration building is home to innumerable office workers and professional staff.  Here we find Santa and his admin Roxy, Gardner and other VP's, the three schemers (Groomer, Silvertongue and Oiler), as well as the spidery Racer.  Nearby is the main shipping and receiving facility, managed by Router.

Like many large companies, NPI's main complex is a blend of the old and the new.  Halter's aging Doll factory is in sharp contrast to the modern recycling building.  This suggests that corporate dollars (Santeans in NPI's world) may be focused on more recent business initiatives, while the manufacturing activities have to continue "making do" in many cases with existing equipment, fixing things only when they break down.  The merits or risks of this strategy make a good topic for the Companion pages.

Because distribution is so important to the company's success, NPI maintains a private airport and a fleet of cargo jets.  Cargo planes are fitted with a few seats, to accommodate a few passengers, should the need arise (as indeed it did for Santa and Roxy).

The Central Stables

A day's train ride north from the main complex brings you to the Central Stables, where several hundred magic reindeer are managed by a sizable number of "deer elves."  Activities include the usual stable and pasturing tasks.  But these elves are also responsible for training new fliers, and they oversee quiet a few stand-in human "santa's" each season.

Because flight training carries with it no small number of pretty significant mishaps, abundant padded suits of the kind Tracer wore (to the amusement of others) are kept on hand, and the work wagons used as "sleighs" are made as flimsy as can be deemed safe. The wagons are designed to absorb the impact of hard landings, breaking up around the occupant.  It usually works.

The Near Zone and the Edge

Farther out from the Central Stables, the landscape becomes wilder and harsher.  The Near Zone is a fringe area just beyond the Central Stables' flight training area, while the Edge, as its name implies, is as far out as any fliers will typically go.

Santa's Cabin and Stable; the Original Factory

This is even more of a secret than the location of NPI proper.  Only a small number of "classified" elves know of the location of the Santa's team.  Unauthorized visitors attempting to locate these buildings will be treated to a goose chase through some pretty wild country. Only a serious security violation, or some special working of deep magic, will result in unexpected visitors.

Ranches and Shadow Operations

With half a million reindeer, the herd would be unmanageable if the distributed ranching operation hadn't been put in place.  As the novel makes clear, though, this carries with it some special challenges.

For business to be effectively conducted in the human world, NPI relies upon shadow operations.  These activities look just like human activities, except that NPI employees are managing them (these will be half-elves, too, because their size allows them to blend in with the human business environment.  Bronner's is one such operation.


© 2004 David Soubly

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