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Inferno 1880 News


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News 1880

'NO-GO' AREAS IN BAVARIA

More tax-collectors have disappeared in Bavaria, this time near the remote village of Hoch Hildesheim. The Internal Revenue office are threatening to strike in protest unless the government acts against the murderous peasant gangs believed to be responsible. "They're nothing but a bunch of crazy, blasphemous, evil thugs," said a Civil Service Union spokeswoman [and the peasants are even worse! -ed.]

AUSTRIAN SPECIAL FORCES?

From the chaos of the Prussian warzone have emerged rumours as yet unconfirmed of a solitary Austrian unit fighting against both sides in the name of a Germanic Empire under the total control of Franz Joseph. Several outlying villages have reputedly been slaughtered wholesale by these Austrians, whom traumatised refugees described as taller than ordinary men and with glowing red eyes.

PRINCESS ANNABELLA DISTRESSED AT THEFT

News from Liechtenstein, where the Princess Annabella is said to be seriously upset about the theft of an antique sword from her palace. She had only recently purchased the sword, and despite it being kept under round-the-clock watch by the Royal guard, a clever and ambitious thief succeeded in stealing it away in the middle of the night. Royal-watchers had not seen the Princess in public without the sword since she acquired it, and so are expecting her to make every effort to have it returned. With the Princess noted for her wealth and generosity, perhaps this is a job for a young hero wishing to make his fortune?

SYMPLASTIQUE EXHIBITION STUNS ART WORLD

The long awaited exhibition of Symplastique Art, organised by artist Mersuavin Powers in the Crail mansion in Scotland, took place in February this year. Several unusual and fascinating works were displayed, including a piece inspired by the morbid poet, Mouldegrave. Although the exhibition was scorned by the Pre-Raphaelites, the Art community as a whole has praised Powers for showing all the way in a corrupt world through the art of the Symplastique movement. Unfortunately Powers left the exhibition early on, minutes before constabularies arrived to arrest him for duelling with his rival, Jarvis Longpig.

MONKEYS SEEK REPUTABLE WELDER

European climatologists gathered together this year to announce that the world has officially entered a new Ice Age. "The succession of steadily colder winters will continue," Professor Eugenio Prugna announced, "and we can expect to see summers shortening as well." What will the economic effects of this climate change be? Growers of grapes, oranges, maize and the like can expect tough times: but the great deserts of the world may well become more fertile to compensate. Rumours that the Sun appeared noticeably smaller and further away were dismissed as speculative, though.

VELVET CHANCELLOR MAKES HIS PILE

The Velvet Chancellor of Prussia, Baron Brodenbach, appears to be preparing to cut his losses and run in the face of a probable Russian victory in the war: he has taken steps to confiscate the Prussian Colonial Office from the Von Moltke estate, no doubt contemplating a long retirement abroad.

"ETHANOL" POWERED CARS WITHDRAWN AFTER DISASTER AT SPAMC RACE

The first race of the SPAMC season ended in tragedy after an exploding car engines killed two drivers. The new 'ethanol' powered cars proved to be unreliable, and explosively dangerous. Race organiser Simon London and promoter Beerbohm Tree immediately announced their withdrawal. The race, the first to be staged in Moscow, and the first of this year's four race 'season' was eventually won by Malady Evans, a British Driver.

SIE IST EINE BERLINERIN [und ich sprache kein Deutsch -ed.]

There was rioting in the streets of Berlin yesterday after a stirring speech by the mysterious Vadia Reisenburg, who denounced the concept of the united Germanic states as a trick of a corrupt government smothering the rights and freedoms of the honest citizens of Prussia for its own ends. Brobbies (the Prussian police force) moved quickly to arrest the woman but she somehow evaded capture, and is believed to still be at large.

MISREPATRIATION MUDDLE IN MILAN

Nearly 4000 Austrian POWs were stunned to find themselves forcibly deported where they expected repatriation. The French army, in an astonishing mistake, provided their ex-POWs with complete travel papers and transport to Switzerland. Four entire convoys of prisoners were shipped and immediately arrested by the Zurich police before the mess was resolved. Insiders laid the blame on clerical error at the highest levels. The prisoners have all now been returned to Austria.

PAPAL BULL

Pius IX surprised Papal-watchers up and down Europe by giving his qualified support to the combined Neapolitan-Florentine attack, supported by the Austrian army, on French-controlled Venice. "It is right that Italians should have the primary voice in their own affairs," he announced in his Easter address. Sources close to His Holiness intimate that he was favourably impressed by the Austrian handover of authority in Tuscany to the Florentine People's Council, and with the liberal noises Princess Annabella's new government in Piedmont has been making. Sources slightly less close are suggesting that Cardinal Gino Baggio, 'Il Divino Codino', has been instrumental in persuading the Pope to this view.

"WE ARE NOT ALONE" - COLONEL MUSTARD CLAIM SHOCKS THE WORLD

The most sensational book to be published this year must surely be Colonel Mustard's new work "We are not alone". Bringing together his research from many archaeological expeditions world-wide, he has created a theory that is truly amazing - that in the past humanity has been aimed, and civilised, by more advanced creatures not of this world! This claim at first seems ridiculous, but he backs it up with evidence of sudden increases in technology in many ancient cultures, always associated with 'gods' or 'travellers'. He then proposes that these 'gods' were in fact a more technologically advanced race of beings - and more, that they may still exist, and could return to contact earth at any time! Some academics have scoffed at these suggestions, but the idea seems to have taken hold of the popular imagination, and the subject of who, or what, the 'tentacled high-technology beings' might be, and what they might offer humanity if they returned now, has been hotly debated all year in the salons and bars of Europe.

I'M ALL RIGHT, JACK

Great British industry is stronger than ever after many prominent industrialists have come round to the idea of improved conditions for their factory workers. This trend was supported by Lord Tennyson's publication of a poem on the theme of the working man who has made Britain great: and how decent treatment by employers has lightened his step.

BAGGIO RETURNS FROM IMPRISONMENT, PUBLISHES BOOKS

Cardinal Gino Baggio has returned safe and sound to Italy, the faithful millions will be glad to hear. Cloistered in the Royal Palace in Liechtenstein, he has written two books, one an account of Japanese society 'from the inside', and the other a sensational tale of his ordeal at the hands of his Nipponese tormentors. The Cardinal comes to the conclusion that the time is not, as yet, pregnant to bring the Lord's work to fruition in Japan: after his own faith and heart for the benighted led him into such mortal danger. Fascination with the mysterious land of the Orient is bound to grow, though, if only because of the curiously formal way in which they drink tea, and the fact that their houses are made out of paper. The Pope was reported delighted at the return of 'the divine pony-tail'.

MEY 'TOOL OF THE FRENCH'?

In a damaging blow to the Prime Minister, Londoner Paul Flanders yesterday delivered a moving speech in Hyde Park condemning the Government's European policy, and in particular its seeming obedience to the French. The speech has sparked off much debate in Parliament and, coming at such a crucial time for Mey, may prove costly.

SPAMC CHAMPIONSHIP WON BY JAMES JONES

The final race of the SPAMC season was won by Kurt Flimran, in London this weekend. However, this was the only race this driver had been able to take part in this year, and so it was down to James Jones, who finished third in this race (behind British explorer Colonel Mustard) to win the championship on points. He was able attend each of the four races - beginning in Moscow, on to Milan, Paris, and the finale in London - and scored consistently well, eventually earning himself the championship. Sports fans were disappointed that last year's winner of the British SPAMC did not show for this year's race.

JUST LEAVE THEM OUTSIDE, PLEASE

Senor de Moltke was observed arriving on business in Moscow towards the end of the year, in the company of a large honour guard of Chinamen. What business he had with the Tsar is still not widely known.

COMPULSORY NATIONAL LOBOTTERY?

Following the invention of new scientific technology, a conspiracy of powerful politicians from all parties in England are planning the introduction of a compulsory "National Lobottery". This scheme whereby brain samples will be removed from citizens who are then entered into a draw to receive new, extra pieces of brain, has been revealed as a devious plot for the politicians and scientists involved to make themselves and their allies much more intelligent using the excess brain samples, while the general populace becomes stupid and degenerate. In the run up to the next General Election, the public are crying out for an explanation from the Government, who as yet refuse to accept responsibility.

AND THE SECOND PRIZE IS TWO OF THEM

New racing dromes are in construction in Rome, Berlin and Peking, and Senor de Moltke has also announced the institution of the WorldLink World Cup, the coveted prize for which will be a 2 foot high solid gold Helmut von Moltke statue.

RAID ON HIMMELBURG

Early last night the Prussian fortification just outside Himmelburg, well behind the front line, was hit by a highly damaging surprise attack. Initial reports seem to suggest that a troop of Russian troops disguised as Bavarians penetrated the camps defences and struck from within.

CARDINAL DELLA ROVERE TOURS CHINA

Rising star of the Catholic faith Cardinal Ernesto della Rovere completed a successful tour of China this autumn, making many converts among the peasants of that huge land. Vatican-watchers are already talking of this charismatic young man as a possible rival to Cardinal Baggio as successor to Pope Pius IX. Eyebrows are being raised, though, over the way della Rovere persistently portrayed Juan Fernandez de Moltke as a 'soldier-saint of Christ' in his speeches.

DISASTROUS VENETIAN CAMPAIGN

The Austrian army has suffered a tremendous setback in their campaign to recapture Venice; although the French have been driven out of the city proper, lack of supplies and manpower have proven to be nearly as devastating as the deadly French artillery that sank most of the equally ill-supplied Austrian navy. It appears that the ultimate winner of this campaign may be Giuseppe Garibaldi, the Italian nationalist whose flag currently flies over the Palazzo Ducale.

MOLTKE PARTY MISSES THE BOAT

A tragedy for Teutonic democracy as the Moltke-financed Prussian People's Party, whose policies included voting rights for women, withdrawal from the Netherlands, alliance with Britain for effective defence against Russia and improved social welfare arrived on the political scene just in time to see their country collapse under a simultaneous Russian invasion and popular uprising.

HIMMELBURG MIX-UP

In a tragic twist of fate it seems that the attack on Prussian forces at Himmelburg last week was in fact carried out unknowingly by Bavarian forces. Military commanders on both sides are blaming the catastrophe on Sergeant Schultz, who led Bavarian forces on the raid. It is believed he died in the assault.

INVITATIONS TO ALIENS - PLEASE COME BACK

In Berlin we hear of a new society that has been formed: "The Society for the return of Higher Races'. Inspired by Colonel Mustards recent claims that a 'higher race' aided humanity at key points in its development, M. Wolfgang Shrewda has got together a large number of like-minded individuals to attempt to "contact the race which has been so beneficial in the past, and persuade them to return to us." At a recent public meeting he went on to say "We are all aware of the many difficulties that face us in the world at the moment - we are beset by war, poverty, and sickness. If this race does exist, as we believe, surely now is the time for them to return to us, and bring with them the advantages of their great technology? We intend to make use of every means at our disposal to contact this race, and ask them for their aid. We ask for everyone who has the best wishes of humanity at heart to join us, and aid us - and to prepare a greeting for our great visitors when they arrive."

PRINCESS BUILDS MILAN LIBRARY

A great public library has been set up in Milan through the benefaction of new governor Princess Annabella. It will contain every book printed in Europe.

ITALIANS CALL FOR PIEDMONT PLEBISCITE

President Garibaldi and the Florentine People's Council have jointly called for Princess Annabella to conduct a plebiscite among the people of Piedmont, the former Grand Duchy of Milan. They should be offered the options of staying part of France, being independent under her rule, or gaining autonomy as a People's State, like their fortunate Tuscan neighbours - who currently enjoy the most socially enlightened and forward-thinking governance in Europe.

SQUIDS IN AT 'STARGRAVE'S'

Londoners flocked last night to the opening of 'Stargrave's', an exclusive new 'psychedelic bistro and Jazz cellar' in London's West End which could well become one of the town's most popular late night venues. Guests were somewhat surprised by the menu which, to mark the opening night contained copious quantities of the rare delicacy calamari.

RANDOM TERRORISM HITS EUROPE

A wave of seemingly unprovoked terrorist acts have been occurring all over Europe, but particularly in England this year. Government buildings and the residences of prominent politicians have been vandalised by bright graffiti, and several politicians have suffered drastic colour changes in attacks reminiscent of an earlier affront to purple-haired Lord Tennyson. The only group which has come forward in connection with this assault on the political world call themselves the "Sons of Symplastique", and claim that random art is the only way to prevent the systematic indoctrination of the masses by corrupt governments. When friends of the movement in Paris were asked to describe the group, one commented, "The Symp-Sons are here to show us that you can have more fun wearing a spiky yellow wig and painting your neighbour's fence blue than you can by following the orders of a pompous, over-rated, and above all corrupt system of government. Be random, and all will be revealed."

CROWN SPIRALS DOWN

Despite Friedrich Von Ardsburg's new currency scheme, inflation in Austria is still rampantly out of control.

YOU TOO CAN DRIVE A STEAM-POWERED CAR!

Mathen Motors - the constructors behind many of the most successful SPAMC cars - has announced the production of the Model M: a Steam Powered MotorCar. They are using the most advanced production techniques to produce the MotorCar cheaply enough that they may become common on the streets of Europe. Traditionally play-things of the very rich, perhaps Steam Powered MotorCars are the way of the future.

NEW NAPOLEON SPOTTED?

We have recently received a number of bizarre reports from Southern France suggesting that a madman posing as Napoleon has been rousing the peasants into a patriotic crusade against England. However, surely people will not be easily swayed by such an obvious lunatic.

HUBRIS RAISED HIGH

During the expulsion of the Prussians from Holland, no Dutch resistance member showed himself as charismatic or competent as one Gerhard Hubris, who on the recommendation of the French Marshal Joffre has been elevated to the position of Commander-in-Chief of the newly reformed Dutch army.

NAPOLEON INVADES CORNWALL

Villagers in the tiny seaside town of Mousehole in Southern Cornwall were stunned last night after a small fleet of French sailing vessels docked in the port, and, under the leadership of a short man claiming to be Napoleon Bonaparte, demanded the town's unconditional surrender. French peasants have barricaded all roads leading into the town and appear to be prepared to defend their tiny foothold against British forces.

PAPAL STATES TO VOTE?

Under the industrious urging of Giacomo Donavelli, the idea has been mooted of a plebiscite in the Papal States, offering inhabitants the chance to form their own People's State along the lines of Tuscany and Naples. His Holiness is believed to be open to the idea, which would leave the Vatican as a separate self-governing entity.

NEVER MIND THE QUALITY

Marshal Joffre demonstrated his adoration for his princess bride by sending her 50,000 red roses on the occasion of her birthday. Their fairytale romance has made them the social darlings of Europe.

DONAVELLI SCHOLARSHIPS ANNOUNCED

Giacomo Donavelli has announced that he is personally funding three scholarships to the University of Florence, in the sciences, the arts and the social sciences, for gifted students too poor to attend otherwise, as part of his commitment to the future of Italy. "Donavelli is sparking a new Renaissance!" the University's Bursar proclaimed joyfully.

PRUSSIAN FLEET SURRENDERS!

Admiral Hornblower for the Royal Navy and Marshal Joffre for the French Army were aboard the H.M.S. Ark Royal to accept the surrender of Admiral Graf von Eugen on behalf of the surviving ships of the Prussian first fleet, following the lopsided naval defeat in the Inner Sea. Hornblower and Joffre are now heading to Paris and London to accept the accolades that are so justly their due.

...BUT TWO LOOKS LIKE CARELESSNESS

As if to heap a Pelion of idiocy upon the Ossa of daftness already observed this summer, another short man claiming to be Napoleon has sprung into action in northern France, trying to rouse the peasantry of the area into making war upon Spain. Puzzled French police forces are trying to track down the unfortunate imbecile.

DUTCH QUEEN RETURNS

Queen Wilhelmina of Holland returned to take her place upon the Dutch throne this autumn after more than a decade of exile.

MAJOR BREAKTHROUGH IN WAR AGAINST PROSTITUTION

Scotland yard has announced the capture of a key individual in the organised prostitution that has plagued London in recent years. Jack Salter confessed to many counts of living off immoral earnings, and keeping houses of ill repute, after being found on the steps of Scotland Yard, apparently 'gibbering with fear, and wishing to tell all'. The police have no idea which public spirited individual persuaded him to turn himself in, but hope this will see an end to the recent underworld dispute.

NOT SO POPULAR?

Sources close to the Florentine People's Council report that all is not as harmonious as it should be between the Tuscan state's leading political figures. While Giacomo Donavelli tours Italy pushing his dream of a self-governing union of states, Arachne d'Asti has taken to signing herself 'Governor of Florence and Leader of the People's Council', and appears to be working for a purely Tuscan nationalism. Meanwhile former governess Ariadne de Triora, quietly continuing with her highly successful programme of social and educational reform, is being painted as a puppet of the Austrians - a claim to which she can only have lent strength when she announced this year that the replacement for 'David' was to be a representation of Joseph in his many-coloured coat. "An ideal symbol for the new Florence - a stuck-up farmboy who bonked his boss's wife, framed his brother for a theft, and had strange dreams," commented one cynical citizen.

PIMP PULLED IN

Following Prime Minister Mey's announcement of a clampdown on the organised crime in the capital, today's arrest of one of the city's most powerful pimps by police at Scotland Yard can only help his campaign to forge a more decent and upstanding society.

PEREZ WARMS HEARTS

General Xavier Perez's brilliant campaign in support of the Dutch people has made him the hero of the Spanish press, at a time when the civilian government's public image is at a low ebb due to Spain's domestic problems.

NEW HEADACHE CURE

Minotaur Commodities has announced the development of "Twinfish Headache Powder" - "For When Your Head Feels Like It's Been Hit By a Dead Fish".

LORENZO DE'MEDICI THE YOUNGER DIES

The death was announced early this year of Lorenzo de'Medici the younger, formerly heir to the Grand Duchy of Florence. Known to have been deeply depressed for some time, he died after falling from a high window: doctors are treating the case as suicide. His recent bride Lady Apollonia was reported grief-stricken.

DAVCHENKO 'AS GOOD AS NAPOLEON'?

General Davchenko's command of strategy and tactics has been described as phenomenal by experts studying reports of his Prussian campaign. "Probably even more brilliant than Helmut von Moltke, and on twice as many fronts simultaneously," enthused one professor. A serialisation of Davchenko's campaigns is proving popular in the European press.

DAME BRENT COMMITS SUICIDE

Dame Agatha Brent, a well loved member of the nobility, committed suicide last week following what members of her household have described as a hideous violation to her person by the prosthetist, Dr Andrew Hatchet. Last year Hatchet replaced Dame Brent's missing leg using his new surgery techniques. Her butler claims that after the operation, the leg behaved in a highly unpredictable manner, making her run several times a day through the garden maze, and collapsing whenever she tried to wear her favourite orange dress. He said, "When she got her toes stuck in the mouse trap again on Tuesday, I think it was the last straw. The poor woman threw herself off the mansion roof. Personally, I smell a rat. That Hatchet ought to be struck off."

SCOTS SAY 'HOOTS MON' TO MEY

Feelings in Scotland towards the forthcoming elections were particularly intense this week after a series of moving rallies and speeches calling for an end to the oppressive English rule in the country. As the election looms closer, the situation can only grow worse, and many Englishmen living in Scotland are remaining locked in their homes for fear of violence.

BIZARRE BATTLEFIELD APPARITIONS

The Russian army's morale was greatly improved by their patron Saint Cawrdav making a physical appearance on the battlefield. A muscular Scandinavian was also sighted charging at Landfortresses brandishing a large sword. The Khiron Commission has issued a formal statement condemning the use of hallucinogenic vapours as a weapon in modern warfare.

TENNYSON PUBLISHES 'ANNABELLIAD'

Alfred, Lord Tennyson has written an epic poem describing the life of Princess Annabella of Liechtenstein. The Annabelliad, published on St Valentine's day, tells how she rose from humble beginnings as an obscure, fantastically wealthy princess to her current eminence. The couplet most eagerly seized on by lovers of romance concerns the poet's musings on how such a small state as Liechtenstein could produce such a beauty: "I've measured it from side to side / 'Tis three leagues long by two leagues wide."

HER MAJESTY SUPPORTS FEMALE SUFFRAGE

Queen Victoria has given her public support to the Votes for Women movement. "Albert assures me that it's a splendid idea," she announced in her speech. Can this progressive measure be far off, now the highest in the land has spoken for it?

A PROBLEM FOR A NEW AGE - DRUG USE INCREASES IN LONDON

We are sorry to report an increase in the tide of immorality in London - as if opium dens were not enough, the police report a new drug is becoming increasing popular in both London and Paris. Few details have emerged, but it seems that it is no longer confined to the 'Bohemian' set of these cities, where one might expect to find a certain amount of corruption, but is now spreading to the under-classes. Notorious for their desire to lose themselves in the abuse of alcohol, the lower classes have naturally taken to this new form of self abuse, and pour what little money they have into self-indulgence rather than care for their families. Police fear that this may only be the beginning of a much larger problem, and are already turning to the government for new legislation and help in battling this new social evil.

BALKANS GOING CHEAP - ANY OFFERS?

The military merry-go-round continues apace in the Balkans with English troops apparently prepared to support any revolutionary faction that wishes to overthrow a local government. Bulgarian terrorists are the latest to receive the complete backing of English troops: surviving local governments have made a plea for any military or political assistance that will stem this tide of anarchy.

CHRIDGE FINISHED AT LAST

There was much celebration mid-Channel in November as the final rail was laid to complete the Channel Bridge. Doctor Peter Tavener, the project's designer, praised the efforts of the many who had made it possible. He pointed out the many and various security and safety systems in place to a crowd of curious journalists, and seemed particularly proud of the huge big guns which, in groups of three, stud the length of the bridge. Britain rules the waves again!

NEW GUESTS FOR BOERS

English troops have landed in South Africa to announce the good news about the Prussian defeat to the Dutch colonists there. They have refused to leave "in case the Prussians try anything at the eleventh hour".

GUNBOATS SHELL AMERICAN COASTLINE

Our American staff inform of us an amazing event - unknown gunboats shelled the American coast in a surprise attack. Casualties are said to have been surprisingly low, but damage to property is extensive. However, recent advances in American weapons technology meant that an immediate counter-attack could be launched, disabling and sinking the attacking ships. Prisoners were taken, so we expect an announcement very soon as to who was behind this attack.

MORE POWER STATIONS ON THE WAY

Power Station technology looks set to be here to stay - we have reports that these great symbols of technical innovation are soon to be seen in Hungary, Bavaria, Prussia and Austria. England remains second only to Russia in its current utilisation of this technology, which certainly seems to be the way of the future.

NORSE CULT CONTINUES TO GROW

The massive resurgence of interest in the old Norse Gods is rapidly expanding beyond the confines of Iceland and permeating much of Northern Europe. The strange prophet Odinsson has been travelling between the various cults, preaching to them and allegedly performing miraculous feats.

ENGLAND, SWEDEN ALLY

A full treaty of co-operation has been signed between England and the King of Sweden. It seems that the Scandinavian Alliance will be a force much more to be reckoned with than their ill-fated Germanic counterpart.

ICELAND TO BE FREE?

Only last week the leader of the Asatru, the prophet Odinsson, travelled to Sweden to declare Icelandic independence, and warned of dire consequences should these demands not be met. Unsurprisingly his requests were scorned by Bjorn Slippi, Minister for Icelandic Affairs. However, yesterday, in a bizarre accident, the minister was struck down by a bolt of lightning as he left his offices in Stockholm. His successor, Knut Krakers, is said to be reconsidering the request on political and military grounds. Odinsson has also demanded that the Norwegian capital Christiania be returned to its former name of Oslo: this has met with some sympathy from Norwegian nationalists.

ARIADNE DIGITALIS ARRESTED

Prominent scientist Ariadne Digitalis has been arrested by the Austrian government and charged with treason. All of her laboratories and assets on Austrian soil have been confiscated, and she is still being held for questioning by the authorities. It is believed that there is evidence she has been selling arms to at least three different enemy powers. Public outcry has been strong, particularly in London, which this year benefited from a trial water filtration system she devised to cut down the danger of cholera, and also saw free handouts of Total Vodka. Sales of her new perfume 'Eau de Rita' are markedly down, though: "who wants to smell like a traitor?" asked one fashion journalist, rhetorically. Supermodel Elizabeth Siddal's management are believed to be reconsidering her association with the product.

AMERICA DECLARES WAR ON GREAT BRITAIN

President Grant of America last night called a press conference of all journalists in Washington. His announcement amazed all present, and has created consternation throughout the diplomatic community. It seems that the ships recently responsible for shelling the American coast have been positively identified as being British ships, full of British sailors. More amazing still, the captain of one ship has confirmed that the orders for this mission were given by Prince Albert in person - and that these orders included "sinking as much of the American Fleet as possible". President Grant then went on to say "In the light of this totally unprovoked, and unjustifiable, attack from the very heart of the British Empire, we see no option but to declare war on Great Britain."

MEY CRASHES OUT

A personal disaster for Prime Minister Mey as, only two weeks before polling day, photographs of him engaging in the lewdest of practices with a prostitute were circulated to all the major papers in England and the police. Most respectable papers refused to break the story of these "obvious fakes designed to smear a respectable politician", but a couple of more sensationalist journals were not so honourable. Their report declared the photographs to be quite genuine, revealed that the prostitute in question was the subject of an unsolved murder investigation, and brought forward a female witness who was willing to swear under oath that Mr Mey regularly performed vile deeds upon her friend while under the influence of hideous drugs. In the light of Mr Mey's publicity problems, it was decided that he should step down as head of the Conservative party and allow his second to stand in his place. The election was a victory for the Conservatives, but by a vastly smaller majority than expected, and lack of confidence from the voters allowed several seats to be taken by minority candidates such as Mr Swinefleet for the Symplastique party.

MOLTKE HOLDINGS SEIZED

The Austrian authorities have confiscated all holdings belonging to Mercosur Atlantico within their borders, on account of Senor de Moltke's English military activity against Austria's Prussian allies.

'SARAH AND LIZZIE' FLICK-BOOK ON SALE

Pioneering entrepreneur of the arts Beerbohm Tree has published a flick-book of Polaroid pictures which, when rapidly passed under the thumb, tell the tale of 'Sarah and Lizzie' - a somewhat overblown melodrama in this newspaper's opinion, in which Miss Bernhardt and Miss Siddal (rather shown up by the comparison with a real actress) flee the police in a stolen SPAMC after Lizzie kills her loutish husband (Charles Hawtree). Beerbohm Tree himself takes the part of the police chief who watches open-mouthed as the two lovelies plummet over the White Cliffs of Dover. It is hoped that in due course of time and given the invention of the appropriate technology it will be possible to turn this artistic tour de force into a 'moving picture'. Surviving props were exhibited at Beerbohm Tree's Polytechnic theatre.

VERNE CANNONS BLAST OFF

The French Verne Cannons have been fired on both London and Madrid, causing horrific carnage in residential districts. The French government maintains that unknown saboteurs stormed two Verne gun installations, forcing the guards to co-operate before pitilessly slaughtering them, but diplomatic relationships are understandably strained. Marshal Joffre will certainly be reprimanded for this unconscionable lapse of national security. In further military confusion elsewhere, French ships were seen to bombard Channel ports in both England and Holland.

ENGLAND TURNED UPSIDE DOWN BY ELECTION RESULT

The result of this year's General Election has changed the face of England's political structure, following the scandal involving former Prime Minister Robert Mey's activities with various farmyard animals, and rumours of a governmental plan to introduce a compulsory National Lobottery which have disturbed the nation. Like salt in the Conservatives' wound, even the newly formed Symplastique Party, led by Mr Swinefleet and backed by the acclaimed artist Lord Crail, has gained a seat in the House of Commons, pushing a manifesto which supports random voting and the enjoyment of art instead of politics.

GUBBINS BRANCHES OUT

The first expansion pack for 'Technology: the Gubbins' - 'Screws and Spinny Bits' was released this week after months of intense public anticipation. Collectors are eagerly snapping up the new cards in an attempt to obtain the extremely rare and powerful new cards such as 'Mox Cog', 'Mox Widget' and 'Valve Lotus' which apparently have game-winning powers. The artwork on the new cards has been lovingly crafted by famous Symplastique artist Mersuavin Powers, and has also proved a highly appealing aspect of the game. Can the success of the game have gone to inventor Klaum Krohne's had, though? He is on record as saying that he invented the game while negotiating peace between France and Bavaria - two of the very few European countries that have never actually been at war with each other.

AUSTRIA INVADES LIECHTENSTEIN

In a move military experts are calling 'completely bizarre', Austrian troops have invaded and captured the tiny principality of Liechtenstein. Although of no strategic value of itself, it is a historic ally of Austria's enemy France.

'VICTOR MARK III' LAUNCHED

Wizard of clockwork professor Hugo Victor this year announced the development of the Victor Mark III (also known as the Row Of Keys Machine Initiation Automation through Manual Application of Dextrous Energy Under Slave conditions, or ROK MI AMADEUS), a revolutionary winding device which allows many workers to pool their energies and contribute to winding up one huge key, thus removing the necessity for steam power on which the key at Victoriaport, for example, is currently dependent. The first Victor Mark IIIs have been seen in use on the Chridge's squid-protection spiked pillars, among the many safety devices which this great engineering project now boasts.

ANOTHER DEATH AT THE BRITISH MUSEUM

Professor Winkle, probationary Curator of the British Museum since March last year, was discovered dead in his office yesterday morning by cleaning staff. Police have been called in to investigate the body, and initial evidence seems to indicate that the professor's death may have been the result of an opium overdose.

PLAFOND CLUB FOUNDED IN LONDON

Plafond continues to spread in popularity, and with rule clarifications and strategy suggestions being published every few months by the innovating Vanderbilt, its success seems set to continue. After the recent success of a Plafond society, a club dedicated to Plafond is being set up in London - this will be a small affair at first, but the organisers hope to be able to run tournaments, as well as using the club's influence to ensure the rules of the game are completely formalised and understood by all players.

EGARTS TO HEAD BRITISH MUSEUM

Following the release of his critically acclaimed text, 'The Evolution of Platonic Philosophy to Modern Times', Augustus Egarts has been appointed new Curator of the British Museum.

ARDSBURG NEEDS THERAPY

Austrian diplomat Felix von Ardsburg appears to be suffering from ailing health lately. Arriving in Britain shortly before the elections to meet with Mr Gladstone, the leader of the opposition, he collapsed in a spasmodic fit only five minutes into discussion of a potential future treaty between England and Austria and was forced to excuse himself.

PROMISING YOUTH PLUCKED

Sad news from Oxford, where promising undergraduate Will Powers was found dead in Queen's Lane after apparently trying to leap across it from one roof to the other. A stunned friend said of Powers, who was Captain of the New College boat, "I can't understand it - Will was always fond of derring-do, but surely he'd never try something so completely daft as this!"

SCANDINAVIAN CONFEDERATION FORMED

A Scandinavian Confederation has been formed between Sweden, Norway and Denmark, and the soon-to-be-independent Iceland has been invited to join. Count Charles Piontkowski offered his estimable services as a negotiator between the nations.

PEASANTS LISTEN IN

More disturbing news from Bavaria, where there are reports that outlying mountain villagers have found a new hero - a lad proclaiming himself the true King of Bavaria. He addresses them through a speech transmission device in each village, and has promised to remit all taxes on peasants - bound to gain support among these hard-pressed folk. When is Queen Irena going to do something about her troubled realm?

PRUSSIANS WANT OUT

After the failure of the Germanic Alliance to protect the Prussian peoples from foreign invasion there has been popular clamour to break all links with Austria, accede to reasonable Russian terms of surrender, and seek a future as part of the Scandinavian Confederation.