Inferno News 1883

(with thanks to the London Times and various other worthy publications)
(Not including news on British politics, war with Mars, or other items
which can be found elsewhere)

BAVARIAN PURGES   A number of high- and low-ranking Bavarian officials, in
government and army, have suddenly died of mysterious and quick-acting
illnesses, and the informed word is that young King Paul has had them
killed for being Prussian agents - where a more seasoned monarch might have
instead used his knowledge of their identities to feed false information
back to Berlin. We must hope that King Paul is not going to prove the same
menace to European stability that his father was, for a small nation like
Bavaria will not be tolerated long in the new Europe if it causes trouble.

DAME REMEMBERED   The Archbishop of Canterbury, bare-headed in the rain,
led a subdued but moving memorial service for Dame Elizabeth
DuQuesne-Black, in St Paul's Cathedral. "We shall never see her like
again," he intoned as thousands of mourners shuffled past the catafalque.

*** QUEEN VICTORIA, KING ALBERT ASSASSINATED   The nation reeled in horror
to learn that its beloved monarch and her husband had been slain, blown to
bits by a masked agent as they climbed into the State Coach. The assassin,
who was also killed in the blast, died with the words "I do this for Lord
Armstrong!" on his lips, and investigation revealed him to be a trusted
employee of Armstrong Industries. Lord Armstrong himself, a prominent
figure in the Hamilton rump government, has fled to parts unknown, together
with his family, surely a clear admission of guilt in this most atrocious
of crimes.

NEW HEIR FOR EMPIRE   Emperor Constantine has taken up the old Byzantine
practice of naming a 'Caesar', a designated successor to his rule. Although
the Emperor is childless, he is still young, and in fact the man named as
Caesar, Capo d'Istria the charismatic Prefect of Hellas and leader of the
original Greek revolt against the Turks, is a few years older. But all
Byzantine subjects hope fervently that their dear Emperor Constantine will
be ruling them for many decades yet.

DAME ELIZABETH NOT DEAD AFTER ALL   Noted philanthropist and President of
the British Red Cross Dame Elizabeth DuQuesne-Black has resurfaced still
alive, thank goodness. She was badly injured in the fire at her home last
year, and has been recovering at the special burns hospital run by Miss
Autumn Kincaid. The body found in the fire was that of a young Salvation
Army woman who had called to collect funds, and whom Dame Elizabeth had
been unable to save from the blaze. The Dame plans to return to her good
works later in the year, in a fine example of British pluck.

*** SHOCKING SOUTHVILLE SCANDAL   The most appalling documents have come to
light, indicating beyond any doubt that the former Prime Minister Lord
Southville of Berwickshire used the most despicable means imaginable to
ascend to Cabinet rank - lady readers look away now please - namely,
granting his vile sexual favours to those Conservative MPs depraved enough
to stoop to the vice of Sodom. Is it any surprise that our body politic has
subsequently been smitten with such woes? Lord Southville has fled the
country incognito, and quite frankly The Times hopes he never returns.

MESSIAH GAINS FOLLOWERS   The new Messiah, busily traipsing about the Holy
Land, has gained a large following of people who have abandoned their
worldly goods to be with him / her. Foremost among these is Captain Percy
Blakely, who has been anointed by the Messiah as his / her first disciple,
and sanctified.

*** NEW KING CROWNED   King George V, or little Prince Georgie as we used
to know him, was crowned Defender of the Realm, Emperor of India, and King
of the United Kingdom of Great Britain, Ireland and America and all its
dependencies and colonies, by the Archbishop of Canterbury in a subdued but
moving ceremony at Westminster Abbey. The little lad, who lost his father
and grandparents so recently, bore up well, and we can count ourselves
lucky that he has Queen Mother Kathy and beloved family friend Archbishop
Fortescue to support him as he grows to manhood. The Poetess Laureate
composed an ode on the occasion, beginning "Now praise we all our new King
George / A strong empire I'm sure he'll forge...", but fortunately space
constraints do not permit its reproduction in entirety here.

FORTESCUE SCANDAL ERUPTS   After the horrendous deeds of Lord Southville,
now calumnies are being heaped upon another prominent public figure, namely
the Archbishop of Canterbury. It is alleged that he had a long and
tempestuous affair with Princess Kathy before, during and after her
marriage to Prince Bertie, that he used blackmail and bribery to regain his
post after his resignation, tat he has given secrets related to the defence
of the Earth to the Martians, and most shockingly of all that he was
responsible for Prince Bertie's death. All these allegations are
unsubstantiated, of course, but for some reason a number of otherwise
reputable newspapers are printing them.

A LETTER TO THE EDITOR   It is not clear whether these scrawled notes were
in fact intended for publication, but Mr Darwin sent them to us, so here
they are for readers' edification. "1) 'Higher' form evolve from 'lower'
forms, as my own studies have shown. 2) Let's consider the TickTockMen
first. An early, prototype TickTockMan could have had fewer / simpler
punched cards than the present sophisticated models, and in the future,
there may arise TickTockMen with intellectual capabilities equal or even
superior to those of humans. 3) TickTockMen contain devices capable of
writing new cards, so this evolution from simple to advanced could occur
without any outside intervention. 4) But who put the first, simple card in
the first, simple TickTockMan? There are three possibilities: a) No one; b)
A higher punched-card type being; c) Something else. 5) Could the first
TickTockMan have arisen by chance, from nothing? Maybe. Or maybe not. 6)
The higher punched-card type being sounds like a good idea - but where did
it come from? Applying Occam's razor, we can dispense with it. 7) The
'something else' is another order of being. In the case of the TickTock'
Men, probably a human (or some other organic lifeform). 8) Now, consider
the situation in humans. Human minds, too, must have arisen from less
developed forms. And who put the first, simple thought in the first simple
mind? The first mind could have appeared by chance - or it could have been
created, by some 'other' kind of being. 9) In my experience, the only
'other' kinds of beings I know of are the entities known as demons, The
Iscariot and, heaven forbid (so to speak), the gremlin dolls. 10) Does this
mean human minds were created, despite my previous insistences?? Does it
mean there is such a thing as the soul? I still see no place for any God as
traditionally depicted. Like the TickTockMen, we could have been 'wound up'
with a simple set of 'instructions' in the beginning and left to our
devices thereafter. 11) If demon-like forms did create us, what was their
purpose? Are we part of a great experiment? - maybe even part of a study of
natural selection itself? Perhaps the Inferno Club is a microcosm of this
test: the twelve Houses representing twelve basic human types, pitted
against each other in a battle to see who is most fit to survive? Perhaps
the study is now almost over - perhaps, with the imminent destruction of
the human race, our creators will sweep us away, to begin again, maybe,
with automata like the TickTockMen, or new forms of life we cannot even
envisage!!!! 12) I'm going to have a lie down now." The Editor notes: while
some of what Mr Darwin is talking about is not at all clear, what is
abundantly apparent is that this fine mind has become completely unhinged,
possibly by too many long sea voyages in the hot sun.

*** REBELS TAKE FRANCE   Although Revolutionary and Imperial French troops
cooperated in the war against the Martians, as soon as the IDN force
returned to Earth it became clear that this was just a ruse by the wily
General Perisson - secret agents slew all the Imperial commanders and
political leaders, including the former Emperor Napoleon IV, and the rebels
swiftly overran the demoralized Imperials to claim all of France as their
own. The new baby Emperor, Napoleon V, together with his father Mr
Darkenford, fled to Spain, where he now shares a nursery with his
half-brother young Prince Alfonso.

A PRESS RELEASE   "Knowledge to be the new currency: I feel that it is high
time people should stop working and start thinking, leaving us scientists
to produce ways of reducing workloads for people. I see a future where
science will provide everything people want, they won't have to work for
money as it will be redundant, people should be allowed to develop their
brain power to its maximum potential. Through Art, Education and Scientific
Development, we can provide a secure work-free future for our descendants
so that they can be free to spend their time doing what they want." So
announced Mr William Stone, supported by a panoply of eminent scientists,
but The Times wonders whether moral degeneracy will not sweep over a nation
once the necessity for honest, productive toil is removed. After a century
of such leisure, might we not turn into a race of obese blobs, slumped on
sofas, devouring vast quantities of unhealthy foods, slack-mouthed in front
of the goggle-box? But perhaps such a prediction would be to carry
doom-saying to a ridiculous extreme.

LAING BREAKS BANK AT MONTE CARLO   Noted international playboy Mr Sunil
Laing, now fully recovered from his debilitating illness of last year, and
a summer spent posing as 'King Arthur', has cleaned out the Grand Casino at
Monte Carlo. Onlookers gradually gathered as Mr Laing, playing vingt-et-un
with a coolness rarely witnessed, built his initial stake of £150,000 up to
the point where the casino, backed by the wealth of the Principality of
Monaco, could no longer afford to cover his bet. Mr Laing sauntered out to
a hero's welcome, and announced that he planned to spend the winter months
on his idyllic island paradise of Tristan da Cunha.

IT'S CUBE-IQUITOUS!   Exercise your mind as well as your fingers - that's
what people are saying of the amazing new Stone Puzzle-Cube, the
infuriatingly addictive toy which is storming the living-rooms of Britain.
As soon as you take it out of the packet it slumps into one of the
2,147,483,648 possible configurations, and your challenge is to return it
to cube form. Mr William Stone, the inventor, explains that the cube is
designed around Stone's Equation of Non-Returnability, and confidently
predicts that no-one but himself will ever be able to complete it. Well,
some of the brightest minds in the realm are setting out to prove him
wrong, and many is the schoolteacher who has had to reprimand pupils for
fiddling with their cube rather than paying attention in lessons. As for
university science laboratories, engineering works and other centres for
the brightest analytical minds of the age, they have all but ground to a
halt thanks to Mr Stone's wonderful device. There has been some talk of
disgruntled employers burning Mr Stone in effigy, but the device is so
popular this seems unlikely to take place.

GET STONED AT STONESTOCK   Londoners were treated to a free one-day musical
festival by Mr William Stone, that brilliant inventor whose devices have a
history of hidden drawbacks that later become apparent - there was much
relief to see that the sound system used depended solely on the old,
reliable Stone Amplifier-Tube, rather than the deadly Stone Wave system.
The programme of orchestra, singers and comedians, together with copious
refreshments, went down very well with Londoners, glad of an excuse for a
good party now that the constitutional crisis seems to have passed.

THE MOON BELONGS TO LOVERS   After the peace, the celebration, and what
better way than the realization of a true love-match - the wedding of Comte
Henri Bertrand, Senator of Italy, and Princess Arabella of Liechtenstein.
The event took place on the Moon, at the Comte's secret base, with all the
glitterati of Europe invited and a fair proportion making the trip to our
chill satellite to experience its conditions at first-hand. Rich and varied
were the gifts showered upon the happy couple, with only the ill-health of
the bride's father, King Manfred of Liechtenstein - who is not thought long
for this world - casting a shadow. In a touching gesture, Moonbase
scientists fired rockets so as to spread red dust across the lunar surface
in the shape of a large heart with the happy couple's initials entwined

CONSTANTINE WAS MESSIAH?   Stories are circulating of a persistent myth
about the late Emperor Constantine, that he was in fact the returned
Messiah. It is understandable that people will regret the loss of one so
young and full of promise, but when we have a perfectly good returned
Messiah active in the Holy Land, recognized by all the Churches and
performing miracles right, left and centre, it is very difficult to give
this tale any credence.

A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE OISR   "Seeing the need for more organisation at
the present time, the Office for Information Storage and Retrieval has been
bought back into public light. You all enjoyed your free vouchers, well
this will still be happening when you answer our questionnaires, but now
you will also receive a Stone Puzzle-Cube free of charge for your
assistance. We will not go away again and leave the people to be
unorganised once more, we will serve the people and the Government, whoever
is in power, in the way that they want, to help society bring around
organisation to itself in times of crisis and in times of peace."

A STAR IS REBORN   London society was amazed to witness this year the
return of Miss Elizabeth Siddal, noted painter, model and socialite, dead
these fifteen years. Her auburn hair shone as brightly as ever, reminding
many of Baroness von Poelzig's flowing locks. When asked how she had
achieved resurrection, Miss Siddal merely smiled enigmatically, but
informed opinion suggests that the risen Messiah may have had something to
do with it.

D'AVENTINE A WIDOWER   Minister Giuliano d'Aventine, mainstay of the
Italian government, has become a widower, with the death from pneumonia of
his long-estranged wife. He covered his sorrows by attending Princess
Arabella's wedding on the Moon, where he was later joined by long-term
companion Baroness Charity Wells.

'EARTH I' LAUNCHED   Colonel Sir William Maguire, for so long at the helm
of Britain's defence procurement, has now left career and planet behind,
piloting the massive interstellar habitation 'Earth I' into space. Holding
500 people and all their requirements for many months of travel, the
inhabitants represent the cream of scientific and adventuring professions
from all across the globe. As he climbed the stair, Colonel Maguire said
"Ladies and gentlemen of the press; I am honoured to stand here
representing the like-minded people aboard this ship, on the eve of
humanity's next leap into our future - the exploration of space. Encouraged
by the discovery of advanced civilization on our closest neighbour, we go
in search of all the wonders that our galaxy holds... holding the proud
flag of humanity above our heads. Farewell... we will return."

WELL-EARNED REST   The Magister Militum of the Byzantine Empire, Niels
Graaf, is taking a long holiday as reward for his endeavours against the
foes of humanity.