Henri Giffard (Earth)
Giffard, from King Morgan: "My dear Sir, I am King of Bavaria and
have need of some weapons. I wish to protect my potentially vulnerable
position here in Bavaria and intend doing so by force of arms. I wish to
know what your current offerings include and will then take a view as to
the best purchases to make. Please contact me with your listing and
weaponry available. Yours King Morgan I of Bavaria."
new Council and to the Voice of each House, from Mr Fielding:
"Sir/Madam. As the Voice of House Libra, I have certain unpleasant duties
that must at times be performed. The calls by House Pisces for action
against the Member of the Twelve for House Gemini can no longer be ignored.
His Holiness transgressed the written Law of our order by deliberately
acting to the extreme detriment of fellow Infernals. By using the madman
von Struck against the members of an entire House of this Club, he has
directly contravened Rule I.II. He also has clearly abused the privilege of
his position by circumventing the normal security of the club in allowing
Von Struck access to its members. In a speech to the Club at this year's
meeting, I will be formally charging him with wilfully attempting to
destroy the Order, and I will be proposing that the punishment be Infernal
Retribution against him. I do not take this action lightly - indeed, I
regret now that I was not more hasty in doing so, for in doing so I may
have allowed him to continue his persecution of our fellows overlong. I
require, under the formal Rules of the Inferno Club, that you consider the
evidence before you and allow it to guide your judgement when making a
decision to impose Retribution. For order to prevail, justice must be seen
to be done." [The message is accompanied by a copy of Miss Sue's dossier of
victims of the Levitican Army, and a compilation of charges against the
Council, from the Vizier: "Council members, I want you, next year,
to vote on an change for the second part of Charter Rule I.IV which should
be changed by adding: " - unless these secrets are in conflict with the
future existence of Humankind and therefore the Club itself." I will give
you more info later on. Thank you."
Libra and copied to the Council, from the Vizier: "I command you,
as Vizier, that you, the members of House Libra tell me, or dig up, if you
do not have them, the missing charter rules and especially those that refer
to Infernal Demolition. This might not concern all members of the club, as
Mr. Fielding declared last year, but it certainly concerns the Vizier, and
at the moment of speaking, I have that title want to use the authority it
gives me to get results - I hope we understand each other. Thank you. The
Bertrand has designated you as allowed to request supplies directly
from Steam Inc, his new umbrella company.
Maguire has submitted his patents for the Steamatic Personal
Protector, the Space Probe, the Steam Personal Alarm, the Mag-u-like
Photographic Device, and the Cinematograph to the Taurean Library.
meeting the Emperor tells you he has left a dossier for you in the
toilet, containing information about a portal to other dimensions [you'll
have to ask him what it says - Mo].
- last-minute preparation is swift and precise. Baron von Poelzig
lays in a supply of space medicines. Colonel Maguire constructs a
deep-space probe. Mr Stone modifies the space suit, adding pressure release
and intake valves so that its internal pressure can be adjusted by the
wearer. Mr Dawson supervises changes to the Pioneer itself, adding air bags
and parachutes, and wings and landing gear so that it can take off from an
unstable, shifting or tilted surface. Meanwhile Mr Giffard is forming the
Lunar Mining Corporation, directors being himself, Comte Bertrand, Baron
von Poelzig, Colonel Maguire, Dr Bang and Messrs Dawson, Goddard and Swift.
As the intrepid team boards the Pioneer, Mr Giffard makes a short speech to
the world's assembled press. The crew consists of Mr Giffard, Mr Swift
(pilot), Mr Goddard, Mr Dawson (co-pilot), Baron von Poelzig (ship's
doctor), Mr Stone, Colonel Maguire and two soldiers, and a geologist
nominee of Dr Bang's staff. There had been some talk of taking a steam man
along, but Mr Dawson has ruled it out on weight grounds.
itself is uneventful, save for the entertaining spectacle of
Colonel Maguire's SPP failing to deal with the problems of zero gravity.
Baron von Poelzig keeps everyone entertained with conversation, making sure
that no-one feels left out. Half way out, Mr Dawson gets very busy with
telescopes and makes a number of astronomic observations. Mr Giffard
occupies himself with a variety of other interesting devices of unknown
purpose, and Colonel Maguire takes several Mag-U-Like pictures of space,
planets and crew. At a carefully-calculated point, the Colonel releases his
Mars probe, which sails off into the interplanetary void.
handles the landing with aplomb, Mr Giffard carefully deploying
the air bags, and the Pioneer touches down in the Sea of Tranquillity. Mr
Dawson hops out and plants a flag which depicts the Earth surrounded by the
flags of the UK, the USA, Venice, Bavaria and the Netherlands. It is not
long before the cautious crew encounter the Moon's inhabitants, the
Selenites - tall, loping beings of humanoid form, very pals and hairless,
with big pale eyes. They do not wear clothes and have no apparent external
genitalia or nails. They do not seem to be very bright, and one of them
tries to eat the painting of the Moon as seen from Earth which Baron von
Poelzig hands them as a gift. They do have some sort of language, but it is
very different to any Earthly ones the crew know. Their curiosity about the
crew soon wears off, and despite Mr Dawson's strict instructions to stay
within sight of the ship, the crew disappear in all directions on a variety
of secret missions of their own, some returning with pockets bulging
suspiciously, some lugging unexplained equipment of one kind or another.
The only one not to return is Dr Bang's geologist, who is found a couple of
hours later lying on his face in a dusty crater, mining tools all about
him. 'Is he injured?' asks Mr Dawson anxiously. Baron von Poelzig, who is
examining the poor fellow, looks up gravely and replies 'It's worse than
that - he's dead, Jim.' The man's head has been bashed in with a Moon rock,
whether by an assailant or whether he tripped and landed on it cannot be
return to Earth in sombre mood, and Mr Giffard makes another brief
speech to the world's press.
samples of moon fungi (the only flora, and there are no apparent
fauna apart from the Selenites) and of soil and rock. The Kirlian images of
Earth and Moon from space do not reveal anything: if these planets have
spirits then they do not register from so far away.
- you and Dr Bang pool your mighty brains to crack the conundra of
the ancients. You establish that the Holy Grail was brought from the Holy
Land to south-western France in the 12th century by Sir Hugues de Payen,
who founded the Knights Templar. It does not seem to have had any authentic
connection with the British chieftain Arthur. The Knights Templar were
destroyed in 1307 by Philippe IV of France, although it is generally
believed that they persisted in some form. They have recently been
refounded by Sir Parsifal von Schwartzlich, a German gentleman, and seem to
be allied with the healer Dame Lilith Fair. As for the Members of the
Twelve, apart from those who have revealed their identities to the Inferno
meeting, you have no way of discerning who they are: they keep themselves
very secret. You research the history and archaeology of Atlantis and the
pyramid cultures of Egypt and Mexico, and discover that they are consistent
with an influence radiating from Atlantis after its fall - as though
Atlantean survivors had gone to Egypt and Mexico, and influenced those
societies. Mr Charles Darwin has done a great deal of research in this
area, you find. However nothing is known about Atlantis itself apart from
idle speculation by the likes of Plato. Many myths and cultures have the
concept of a godlike individual who looks after society, in fact it is
difficult to find one that doesn't. This belief seems to be as old as
humanity, and cannot be linked particularly to Atlantean influence. In fact
there are no real common threads to the worlds' peoples and cultures in
general. The pattern can be summarized as (if you believe Mr Darwin, who is
the main theorizer in this department): before 10,000 BC, human ancestors
were ape-like creatures; 10,000 BC or thenabouts, humans become
intelligent, this seems to have happened at or near to Atlantis, and start
using tools; between 10,000 and 2500 BC, humans become civilized, under
their own steam and at various points on the globe; 2500 BC, Atlantis sinks
and refugee Atlantean influence is seen in Egypt and Mexico. (Darwin also
has a theory about intelligent squids, but it seems to you like the ravings
of a madman.) There does not seem to have been any Atlantean influence over
China or the I Ching. Hexagram 23 is called 'Disintegration' or 'Things
Fall Apart': it is supposed to predict / provide insight into the
dissolution of stasis.
- you examine the Martian craft, which is just a big metal
cylinder, and conclude disappointedly that it is not actually a ship at
all, but just a projectile - it must have been fired at Earth from a large
cannon. It has no means of propulsion or steering. Travelling by such a
means would kill humans, but it is not a problem for the boneless Martians.
- you put the Diving Suit and Giffine Gun into mass production.
Demand for the latter especially is great.