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News 1889

THE COLONEL FOUNDS 'LITTLE VENUS'

The dashing Colonel Mustard has found yet another way to win the admiration and respect of every red blooded boy -- opening a dinosaur park. Earlier this year he launched an expedition to Venus to see for himself the fearsome creatures the planet contains. But not content with 'bagging' a few to become trophies on his mantle-piece, he issued the order "Bring some back alive!", and with the help of a crack team captured some of these terrifying beasts for transportation back to earth. He now intends to open up a special park -- named 'Little Venus' where the public can be taken on tours to see for themselves the terrifying creatures of Venus. It must surely be the next best option for those unable to afford a safari holiday to Venus themselves!

MISSILE ATTACK DESTROYS TWO JAPANESE TOWNS

The Japanese towns of Hiroshima and Nagasaki have been destroyed by an unprovoked missile attack from a rogue warship. It was initially believed the aggressors were American, but the Japanese claim to have evidence that the vessel was British-made. Why anyone would want to destroy Nagasaki, a small farming town whose only feature of note is its Catholic orphanage, is anybody's guess.

NEXT, THE CHOCOLATE TEAPOT

Prominent European scientists Ariadne Digitalis and Hugo Victor have collaborated to produce the world's first clockwork orange.

SUNNY SEEKS SISTER

Lady Apollonia's Sunny record label, which this year rose strongly to dominate sales of recorded music in Europe and the USA, is keen to contact the mysterious 'Sister of Mercy' in the hope of offering her a contract. Apparently plentiful supplies of House of Medici 'Gothique' accessories are to be thrown into the deal as a sweetener.

DIRECTRIX REJECTS IRRIGATION, PROTECTOR LINK

Benefactor of humanity Tallow Directrix has blamed 'bureaucracy' for French governmental attempts last year to make his gift of aid to the stricken folk of Africa conditional on their acceptance of Protectorism, and has apologised profusely for any distress caused.

NEW HISTORICAL RECORDS FOUND -- JOAN OF ARC 'DID NOT BURN'

Historians have discovered documents that present surprising new evidence about the fate of the famous French martyr Joan of Arc. It has always been believed that the Maid of Orleans was burnt at the stake for witchcraft, but a number of exciting new contemporary documents have been discovered suggesting otherwise. These describe how, at the very last moment as the flames were begging to lick at the tied figure, an unknown woman leapt from the crowd, and cut her free. This figure was then said to "viciously and dishonourably" attack the male guards, before calling to a waiting horse, and leaping astride it -- with the near unconscious Joan across the saddle. They were then seen to flee into the distance, leaving pursuers behind. Why this account -- so much at odds with the story handed down through generations -- has only just been discovered is not at all clear, nor is the identity of the rescuer, who seems to have played little other part in history at that time. Research is now underway as to what Joan of Arc became involved in after her 'miraculous' rescue.

ONE DOWN, TWO TO GO

Catholicism now has only two spiritual leaders: Pope Pius X, the anathematised Pontiff who claims Jonathan Tyler to be the Son of God, has been executed by General Arria of the Levitican Army. With remaining Popes Paul VI and Gregory XV both firmly opposed to Tyler, it looks as though the charismatic Briton's day in the sun may have come and gone.

DI TRIORA GOVERNOR OF TUSCANY

In a plebiscite in Tuscany, former nanny Ariadne di Triora has been returned as Governor, with the blessing of Pope Gregory XV, who has earned the gratitude of the population with his sponsoring of the election.

CASALS QUARTET TOURS RED PLANET

In a first for Earth music, the Casals Quartet -- consisting, curiously, of four cellos -- played several dates on Mars to reasonably favourable reception. They performed a repertoire of ordinary string quartet music scored down to their unusual instrumentation, announced their record label Sunny.

POPE GREGORY: 'TIME IS NEAR'

The new Pope, who has with a series of storming and inspirational sermons totally eclipsed his rivals in making himself the best-loved and respected figure in Christendom, has warned that his 'earthly work is nearing completion' and that 'the Father is calling me to join him'. He also spoke of the forthcoming Pope, who God has said is to be called Peter II, in a break with Catholic tradition: and that henceforth Papal selection will be by purely divine means, without the need for Cardinals to cast their votes.

CNN DIES IN FLAMES

The Crystalline News Network is no longer in existence after a series of massive explosions ripped through their offices at the beginning of the year. Who was behind this attack, and indeed how they were able to synchronise their assaults with such deadly precision, is unclear. However, damage to the high technology network is so extensive, it seems unlikely that the company will ever recover -- at least not without a massive input of capital, and replacement of the destroyed technology.

SHOCK AND DISMAY, TEMPERED WITH AWE AND REVERENCE, AS POPE ASCENDS

No sooner had the Pope finished his speech than, according to the tens of thousands of worshippers present, he ascended to Heaven in the hands of a bevy of multi-hued shimmering angels. As we squinted up, awestruck, into the blazing sun, all swore that a heavenly choir sung out in a curious key not formerly known to humanity. And many of those present were heard to complain of a fierce headache afterwards.

NEW POPE TAKES THRONE -- DECLARES GREGORY SAINT

As the Catholic world held its breath, the former Cardinal Alessandro del Piero was marked out by Divine will and given the name Peter II, in accordance with the vision of his predecessor Gregory XV. The new Pope's first act was to declare Gregory a saint, with particular responsibility for journalists, accountants and evangelists.

ANTIPOPE GIVES IN

The Antipope Paul VI has agreed to recognize the authority of the new Pontiff Peter II. In a touching gesture, Peter embraced him warmly and welcomed him back to his old office of Cardinal.

POPE IN YOUR EAR'OLE

The most popular and inspiring speeches of Pope Gregory XV are now available in recorded format, over a subtle background of classical and choral themes, from the Sunny label.

MAFIA GROWS IN STRENGTH

The mysterious Don Giarmousse, head of the Mafia crime syndicate, has expanded operations this year, in Europe as well as America. When are our governments going to do something about this menace? The Mafia are particularly involved in the supply of the illegal drug 'Cake', which is now rife throughout the cities of the western world, and this August showed their strength with a co-ordinated series of major heists in all their areas of operation.

MEDICI MOVES TO MARS

The Medici Bank has opened a branch of Mars, as has popular boutique House of Medici, selling its range of tubular gloves and ornate slit robes as well as a range of Sunny recordings.

TWO NEW BOOKS ADDED TO BIBLE

The Pope announced that, in honour of his sainted predecessor, two new books were to be added to the Bible, to form the 'Even Newer Testament'. The books are called 1 Gino and 2 Gino, and contain the foremost of Pope Gregory XV's theological wisdom.

FACTORIES FAIL AS EXPLOSIONS RIP THROUGH POWER PLANTS

Much of the production of Europe has ground to a halt after explosions destroyed every existing steam power station. Many factories had converted to the convenient and cheaper alternative of piping in their steam rather than producing it on site, but now all of those factories are entirely without power. With factories crippled, many companies are set to go out of business, as few can afford to reinvest in the 'old' technology of an on-site steam engine. Coming on top of many other recent problems for European industry, the economies of Europe are likely to suffer even more badly in the international community. A fall in the general standard of living, and a great increase in the numbers of poor, now seem inevitable.

DIRECTRIX-DIGITALIS WEDDING BRINGS TEARS TO THE EYES

There was widespread rejoicing throughout Austria as its Archduchess, Dr Ariadne Digitalis, was married to Franco-Austrian scientist and benefactor Tallow Directrix. The bride was caparisoned in a dark green silk number from House of Medici, and the groom in a matching long waistcoat. Both wore emerald jewellery. Guests were said to be relieved that the blushing bride had eschewed the use of triffids to guard the ceremony.

AIR'AI HIT AMERICA

Giacomo Donavelli, charismatic leader of the Air'ai faith, was in the throes of a preaching tour of America when he was deported as an undesirable. It seems that Air'ai gods in collusion with Donavelli were responsible for the destruction of the White House in a huge lightning storm: President Grant was lucky to survive the incident. All the same, it seems Donavelli's words struck a chord with a proportion of the folk of America, particularly when he inveighed against the evil of Mars Dust, and the authorities will have their work cut out if they wish to keep the faith suppressed.

INDUSTRIALIST MATHEN DIES -- 'INSANE' LAST WISHES LINKED TO DESTRUCTION

The powerful and reclusive industrialist Frances Mathen is reported as having died on New Year's Eve last year. Little is known about this strange figure, other than that his immensely powerful and valuable Mathen Corporation grew to be one of the major figures on the stage of international economics. However, there are also rumours that the 'misfortunes' that befell parts of his corporation at the time of his death, were in some way ordered by him in a bizarre 'economic suicide pact'. It is no doubt true that a man of his standing must have made enemies during his lifetime, and some have said that his final actions were an attempt to settle some old scores. It is perhaps inevitable that an old man of secretive habits might have had a few rather odd ideas towards the end. But no one can deny the incredible contribution he has made to the modernisation, and industrialisation, of Europe. He is survived by one daughter.

MARSHSOME COMMISSION PONDERS RELIEF

The Marshsome Commission has been established, headed by prominent economist G D Marshsome, to consider the distribution of aid to the areas of the Earth worst affected by the recent climatic instability.

APOLLONIA, HAMMOND WED

In a private ceremony starkly in contrast to the year's other, spectacular hitchings, Florentine businesswoman Lady Apollonia married John Hammond, chairman of The Venus Connection. The wedding took place on the green planet itself, and the couple are said to be 'very happy'.

IT'S THE NEW MONEY!

The new unforgeable banknotes designed by Professor Archibald Sheridan are now in circulation throughout Britain. They bear a stylised Queen Victoria / Britannia figure on the obverse, with prominent British scientists on the back; Sheridan himself on the 1 pound, Ada Lovelace on the 5 pounds and the late Charles Babbage on the 10 pounds.

WIDESPREAD STERILITY FOUND IN SPAIN

More worrying news from Spain where it has been discovered that sterility is now widespread. Total sterility in both men and women has been found following an investigation launched after a radical drop in the birth rate in many areas. Doctors are said to be searching for the cause, but as yet nothing has been discovered.

NEXT, THE STEAM-POWERED TEAPOT

Not to be outdone, Professor Archibald Sheridan has released a steam-powered orange, 'much better and more accurate than any clockwork orange'.

DID TERRANS SNATCH STARGRAVE?

Was Gideon Stargrave abducted by the Terrans? Some people believe that the assassination of Gideon Stargrave is merely a cover-up story circulated by the Terrans to disguise the truth.

HYDRO POWER FOR RUSSIA

Noted friend of Russia Professor Hugo Victor has developed a new clockwork power station, driven entirely by water power: a large key rests half in, half out of a fast-flowing river, and the current winds up the key, storing clockwork energy that can later be released for a variety of purposes.

ORBIT RESTORED, CLIMATE SLOWLY RETURNING TO NORMAL

The best news of the year was that the Earth's orbit, so erratic of late, was at last returning to its usual position, although not before the planet had slingshot around Mercury. We can now look forward to temperatures and climatic conditions to return more or less to normal, meteorologists predict.

"ANGELA, OR GLEAMS OF HOPE" HITS NEWS STANDS

The large number of fans of "Innocence Maligned" are sure to be pleased by the news that its sequel "Gleams of Hope" is now being serialised in a number of publications across Europe. The earlier volume caused scandal when it was seen by many as a defence of prostitution, and other vices. Early episodes of the sequel look to be every bit as controversial, dealing, as they do, with the powerful emotions of young women with heaving bosoms.

BATTLEMOON BRITANNICA LAUNCHED

Dr Peter Tavener has announced the launch of the Battlemoon Britannica, the latest addition to Britain's air navy. Converted from a handy planetoid, this vessel is the largest craft in the Solar System: it even has artificial gravity in its living quarters, according to the good Doctor.

BEERBOHM TREE LAUNCHES 'SOUNDIES'

Theatrical genius Beerbohm Tree has surpassed even himself, this year releasing the film 'Musicalia' which includes sound, orchestral, sung and spoken, in collaboration with Lady Apollonia's Sunny label and Vlad Molotov, inventor of the gramophone. The first voice heard in the cinema was Beerbohm Tree's own, introducing the programme: he followed Musicalia up with a release of the Director's Cut of Triumph of the Will [whose cut the other version was is anybody's guess], also with sound, the actors dubbed. He has mollified orchestras, who may well be thrown out of work by this new development, by offering the most talented employment recording. To demonstrate Beerbohm Tree's heart of gold, all profits have been donated to BANDAID.

VICTOR SPEAKS AT CONFERENCE

Professor Hugo Victor gave a lengthy and moving keynote speech on the subject of tolerance of Tik-TokMen at this year's conference on the problem. The conference was a weighty affair with a number of academics and politicians speaking, but it was marred by the presence of a number of ruffians from the Combat 23 group who marched outside, brandishing tin-openers, and who subjected Professor Victor to a good pushing and shoving after his speech, ending in the unedifying spectacle of a scuffle between his bodyguards and the demonstrators.

MORE FLOP FILMS

Beerbohm Tree has released two more films warning of the perils of FLOP. He riposted to his critics, in this newspaper as well as elsewhere, by saying 'I can only inspire and educate: I can't control people's minds with my films. That would be a terrible thing.'

MERIDIAN MACEY-DARE DENIES BEING ANASTASIA

Following the controversy last year involving the 'real' Anastasia, the British detective Meridian Macey-Dare has broken her silence. Accused last year of being 'Anastasia' Davchenka, and taking Anastasia's place in order to aid the revolution in Russia, she this year released the following statement to the press: "The accusations made against me by CNN are preposterous. The idea that a loyal British subject such as myself would work with the communists to overthrow the Tsar, Her Majesty's own cousin, let alone that I would be so dedicated to the job as to marry General Davchenko, is ludicrous. I have been quiet for the past few years because I have been working on an investigation of a large organisation, and I suspect that this may be an attempt on their part to blacken my name before I unmask them, though why they should wish to hurt Anastasia Davchenka is not at present clear to me. Having spoken to General and Anastasia Davchenko, I am quite convinced that they are as baffled by these accusations as I am, and that they are suffering from them a great deal, despite their brave face... I believe there is a good deal more to this story than we have so far seen."

NEW LOTTERY LAUNCHED

Mysterious entrepreneur Philip Glass has launched a new lottery, under the name Tuppence Coloured, Sixpence Stake, to fill the void left by the banning of CereBingo. Unlike its predecessor, though, this new venture does not involve risking brain matter: and its profits go to help rehouse flood victims. Alas, it has not yet captured the minds of the British public in the way CereBingo did [as it were].

MOVEMENT FOR THE ACCEPTANCE OF TIK-TOKMEN LAUNCHED

Professor Hugo Victor has launched the Movement for the Acceptance of Tik-TokMen and the Assistance of their Reintegration into Conventional Urban Society. It aspires to preserve threatened Tik-TokMen either in Russian sanctuaries or on the asteroids. The group was immediately condemned by representatives of SCUBA.

PUBLICATION OF "THE ROMANOV CONSPIRACIES" -- KORENSKY ACCUSED OF MASTERMINDING MANIPULATION OF RUSSIAN COURT

An amazing new theory concerning the 'Anastasia' mysteries, and a conspiracy going to the very heart of the Russian court has just been published. "The Romanov Conspiracies", written and researched by the top French conspiracy expert Louis Martinant de Preneuf, is an incredible tale of conspiracy, mind control, and revolution. It presents clear and compelling evidence that Count Piotr Korensky -- a Russian court notable -- masterminded an incredible scheme to seize control of the country. It is suggested that he had 'unnatural mind powers' that allowed him to ingratiate himself in court, and learn the secrets of those he was close to. He formed some alliance with the sinister Mathen Corporation, and between them they planned to divide up Russia. Korensky kidnapped Anastasia, who had somehow stumbled upon his plans, and replaced her with an exact double, who, it is suggested, was utterly unaware that she was anything other than the 'real' Anastasia. He planned to marry her, but the 'true love' she felt for the young General Davchenko foiled his plans -- the Tsar agreeing to their marriage after discovering that Korensky had been responsible for the sickness that struck at the Imperial family. Mathen's plans to take economic control of Russia were only foiled by the revolution -- which, new evidence suggests, 'Anastasia' was entirely unaware of until it was declared at her engagement party. His plans foiled, Frances Mathen -- the head of the Mathen corporation -- concocted the CNN story in order to discredit Anastasia, Davchenko, and Macey-Dare who had been active in investigating his dubious business dealings for some years. With its amazing thesis, and extensively documented evidence, this book is sure to become a best seller, and, who knows, may become a standard text for the historians of this turbulent and amazing time.

TENNYSON CHILDREN BILL

Lord Tennyson has put forward a Bill in the House of Lords to require special psychiatric treatment for the 'children of the black mist'.

EX-CNN REPORTER ADMITS "MATHEN FORCED ACCUSATION OF MACEY-DARE"

A former senior employee of CNN has come forward to admit that the story accusing Meridian Macey-Dare of being the Russian Anastasia was entirely fabricated, and that orders for the deception came 'from the very top'. Linking in with other rumours of erratic behaviour in the last days of Mathen's life, this revelation leads even more credibility to the amazing conspiracies suggested in the recently published "Romanov Conspiracies".

LAUREATE PUBLISHES 'MUSIC OF THE SPHERES'

The Poet Laureate has published a lengthy poem describing the tribulations the Earth has suffered lately: black mist, spiralling into the sun, earthquakes, meteorites and so forth. He described it as a period of mourning for the old days before Entities and Terrans roamed the planet, and tells of the plight of the children born in darkness. It ends ambiguously, though, with a verse on how the cool light will once again appear and mankind will finally know peace and beauty and their children will accept and love the world.

ENGLAND, SCOTLAND DEFENSIVE ALLIANCE

The two nations that share our island have signed a defensive alliance. Is this a sign that the cowardly Scots are already regretting their wish to come out from under Britannia's protective skirts?

'ANASTASIA' OF RUSSIA SAYS "I KNOW I'M NOT WHO I THINK I AM"

The centre of much of the recent controversy and speculation regarding the recent history of Russia, 'Anastasia' has come forward to make an amazing statement: "Evidence has been presented to me that I am not who I have always believed myself to be. I am told it is beyond question that the Anastasia who has been returned to the Imperial family is the real Anastasia Alexandrovna, and that I am an impostor. I have no knowledge of being anyone other than Anastasia Alexandrovna, and no memory of any family other than the Imperial family, and I shall always love them as a daughter, but I make no further claim to be any relation of the Romanov family. I wish to offer my heartfelt apologies to the Imperial family, the people of Russia, and to all the Royal Houses of Europe, and to avoid giving any further offence I would like to be known from now on only as Ana Davchenka". Perhaps this completes the final chapter of this amazing story, but many questions still remain -- such as what were the 'unnatural mind powers' of Korensky that allowed him to achieve so much, and where did the 'double' of Anastasia come from? Perhaps more revelations are still to come, or the truth may ever be lost within the mists of a conspiratorial history.

SPACE LAZERS BLAST JAPANESE FLEET

Several ships of the Japanese navy have been sunk by mysterious lazer beams from space. 'They just shivered briefly and then fell apart completely,' said one puzzled onlooker. Do we have SPECTRE to thank for this?

THEY SAID IT COULDN'T BE DONE

Professor Hugo Victor has become the first person to successfully attempt the passage of Switzerland, in his land fortress. He is understood to have conferred with the locals on the subject of cuckoo-clocks.

KEBAB CRAZE SWEEPS COUNTRY

Up and down England, particularly outside the new soundie theatres, folk are turning to the steam-powered van which serves unidentifiable meatoid slurry in a bun. 'Full of good healthy nourishment!'

THE 'SPANISH DISEASE' SPREADS THROUGH EUROPE

A health scare of huge proportions has come to Europe -- the 'Spanish Disease' that killed so many in Spain last year is spreading into France, and from France into much of the rest of Europe. Hundreds are dying from the horrific uncontrolled bleeding this disease causes, and the terrified population are calling out for some protection, or cure, from the horrors of this sickness.

HORROR OF ALBERT BODYSNATCHER FIENDS

The mystery of what happened to the late Prince Consort's stolen body has been solved -- it turned up in London last night, propped against the door of Miss Elizabeth Siddal's Kensington residence, stiffly clutching a red rose, with a note saying "You'll never be rid of me, I'll follow you everywhere" around its neck. Miss Siddal fainted clean away, and the distinguished guests at her soiree were also horrified at this outrage, surely the work of villains of the deepest dye, steeped in obloquy and infamy. Prince Albert's body has been returned to his grieving widow, who is expected to have it reburied in Westminster Abbey under heavy security.

SHERIDAN, DIRECTRIX PLAN FOR EUROPE

Noted computer entrepreneur Professor Archibald Sheridan and divinely handsome Austrian Tallow Directrix have combined their mighty intellects to found a multi-national company to take charge of Europe's failing industry, with the financial backing of a number of prominent figures. The most significant feature will be a Europe-wide steam power network, all linked into a computer-controlled grid for greater efficiency. Directrix announced that provision of water, irrigation and power would all be carried out without profit, such was his humanitarian concern for the people of our troubled continent.

ODINSSON SLAMS 'SERFS UP!'

The charismatic Nordic leader The Odinsson has criticised the Serfs Up! programme of lunar emigration, saying that no brave Asatruar would dream of working as a serf to a decadent Russian aristocrat. Instead, the Asatru will skip Earth on giant spaceships headed for the asteroid belt, should it become necessary (which he thinks unlikely).

A POSSIBLE CURE FOR THE 'SPANISH DISEASE'?

A possible saviour for Europe has come forward in the form of Dr Philip Howard. There has been much outcry over the 'Spanish Disease' which has killed as many as one in a hundred of the population where it has struck. Now, Dr Howard claims to have a possible vaccination against it -- Phil's Pill. The little orange pill has been found to drastically cut the numbers struck down by the Spanish Disease in the areas where it has been extensively used. Dr Howard says that there will inevitably be those so susceptible that even his vaccination cannot protect them, but he hopes he is making a great contribution to the health and welfare of humanity, by spreading Phil's Pill to as many of the needy as possible.

'DORMANT' ETNA ERUPTS

The Sicilian volcano Mount Etna, thought by seismologists to be dormant, has erupted vigorously, spewing a column of lava and ash half a mile into the air and destroying a number of small villages clustered around its foot. Reports that eerie, deep-voiced laughter in a Scandinavian accent was heard during the eruption have been ascribed to mass hysteria.

PIEDMONT RESULTS PROBE

Independent investigators under the sponsorship of The Odinsson have cast doubt on last year's Piedmont plebiscite, claiming that the majority of voters did not in fact support staying in the Empire, as returning officers claimed. However, all seems to be smiles now, as the Piedmontese appear reasonably happy with their Imperial ruler: "at least he's not as mad as Arachne d'Asti," said one interviewee.

TALLOWFILLA RELEASED ONTO MARKET

The instant building material TallowFilla, instrumental in rescuing Holland, is being marketed throughout Europe for the construction of homes and factories.

POLLS SHOW GERMANS EQUIVOCAL

Opinion polls in South Prussia and Bavaria have shown that those countries would prefer to be part of a German federation than under Imperial rule, although the margin was narrow and most citizens seemed to accept that Charles VIII was "the best of a bad bunch".

FLOP SCARE IN GREAT BRITAIN -- 'THOUSANDS' IN DANGER

The terrible disease of FLOP may have arrived in great Britain, latest health reports state. Publicity concerning the dangers of this disease is already spreading, and those of impure lifestyle are warned that their health, as well as their moral fibre, is in danger. FLOP, coming at the same time as the 'Spanish Disease' reaches Britain, is yet another thing for the poor citizens of Great Britain to worry about.

JAPANESE HOLDINGS SEIZED

Up and down Europe, factories and other industrial interests owned by Japan have been seized by national governments. This has resulted in a number of unfortunate incidents and some loss of life, as 'booby-trap' devices have been triggered, and the sad fact is that virtually none of this plant is now in usable form. Why the governments of Europe have chosen to turn their backs on our Japanese friends in this way, to the harm of their subjects, is anyone's guess.

REBELLION IN GERMANY AS EMPIRE INVADES BALKANS

With the Imperial forces busy 'pacifying' Greater Transylvania, the German cities of Frankfurt and Cologne sprang into revolt, calling for an independent German state. The rebels were immediately supported by Asatru forces from North Prussia. Imperial troops rallied in Munich, preparing to quell their restive subjects, but there they were attacked by an immense horde of ghostly Einheriar, together with berserkers chewing on tungsten carbide shields, and massacred bloodily. The new German flag now flies over almost all of Prussia and Bavaria, and Charles VIII will have a job on his hands when he finishes with the Transylvanians.

INFERTILITY LINKED TO THE SPANISH DISEASE -- MUCH OF EUROPE NOW BARREN

Latest scientific research into falling birth rates throughout Europe have linked infertility to the Spanish Disease. It seems that 'carriers' of the disease -- those who appear to be completely unaffected by an outbreak in the region -- are in fact left infertile by its passing. Much of Spain, areas of France, the Holy Roman Empire, even Great Britain, are now believed to have large numbers of completely infertile adults. Governments have expressed great concern as in a Europe depopulated by the horrific wars of Ragnarok, and the attempted extermination by the Tick-tock men, humanity could face extinction in a generation if the infertility brought on by this disease continues to spread. The possible seriousness of this cannot be understated -- Europe must be repopulated, or our very civilisation may collapse!

ODINSSON SUES FOR PEACE WITH EMPIRE

The Odinsson, new ruler of the bulk of Germany, has declared his intention not to transgress his current borders, and has assured the Empire of his peaceful intent. Much cynical talk along the lines of "that's what he said last time" was heard.

TYLER A LIBBER

Based on the belief that everyone is equal in the eyes of the Lord, Jonathan Tyler has started a new campaign for women's right to vote in Britain, and has helped to bring this topic once again to the forefront of political debate. "If God had meant women to vote, he would have given them... beards", muttered one detractor

AUSTRIAN NATIONALISTS SPEAK

A man named Herman Worn has been touring Austria giving underground speeches about how the country should have a King of its blood. Mr Tallow Directrix is believed to be Herr Worn's favoured candidate for the position. Attempts to curb this sedition by the Holy Roman Empire's agents have failed signally to apprehend Worn - indeed on one occasion the secret police almost arrested the Empress Perdita, who had been in the vicinity, by mistake!

QUAKES DEVASTATE CALIFORNIA

Last night, California suffered the worst series of earthquakes our society has ever had to face. Damage was even greater than during the last great earthquake eighteen years ago which devastated San Francisco. Whole towns plunged into crevasses in the ground and a section of coastline four miles long was ripped apart and collapsed into the sea, causing a tidal wave sixty foot high heading away from the coast. Early speculation suggests it is headed for Japan, but should be almost unnoticeable after travelling such a large distance.

TIDAL WAVE HITS JAPAN!

Tokyo was swamped yesterday by a huge tidal wave over one hundred feet high. Luckily many tall buildings provided refuge from the torrent of water, and the wall of water seemed strangely held back from the centre of the city, as if deflected by an unseen hand. Even so many of the poorer residents of the city were drowned and the city remains covered in several feet of water near to the coast.

CHILDREN OF RAGNAROK RISE

A horrific spectacle in several European cities as hundreds of children born during the days of Ragnarok, some no more than infants, armed themselves with kitchen utensils and farm implements, and stated through their oldest members their avowed purpose to march in a second Children's Crusade to the Holy Land. Although the relevant authorities quickly acted to put a stop to this madness, the children fought tooth and nail for their liberty, and several were killed during the struggle to detain them.

EARTHQUAKES HIT JAPAN!

After an intensive three-week period of renovation and pumping, Japan had finally rid itself of the watery legacy of the tidal wave when it was struck by yet another natural disaster, a burst of earthquakes around the city area. Luckily these quickly subsided and no permanent damage was done.

EMPRESS HELPS SICK

The Empress Perdita has shown a great interest in charity work, funding benevolent institutions to investigate the emotional problems of the children born during the time of the black mist, and to investigate and treat the FLOP virus.

TORNADO HITS JAPAN!

Even the Japanese, usually quick to take anything in their stride, were somewhat surprised when a strange tornado whisked across the land and deposited a small house of American construction in the middle of a paddy field, right in the centre of the country. There is a small sign tied to the outside stating that the house is 'from Kansas', although no-one knows where that is. Two of the farm workers investigated the house, and had a brief glimpse of a small girl in bright red shoes sitting in the front room before they were savaged mercilessly by a small terrier living inside. Since then they have not ventured near the building, although they did hold a brief funeral ceremony for one poor woman who was squashed when the building landed.

PERDITA TO SPROG

The Holy Roman Empress has announced to much jubilation from her people that she is with child. In particular members of the youth cult The Lost are rumoured to be prophesying that the child will one day be a great leader of their cause.

TRANSYLVANIA SECEDES

A part of the Holy Roman Empire which could broadly be called Transylvania (most of Hungary and parts of Bosnia-Herzegovina / Croatia) has declared its secession. It was immediately joined by bits of Rumania and Serbia, formerly under British rule, and the whole assembly called for Melusine of Greco-Albania to be its Queen. She gladly accepted, and joined it up with her existing holdings of Albania and Greece to form a quite decent-sized nation called Greater Transylvania.

BALKAN ORGIES "SPONSORED BY QUEEN"?

Decadent behaviour was rife in Greece and Albania this year as young people embarked upon noisy orgies during daylight hours, hearkening back to considerably more barbaric times. Their claim to be funded by Queen Melusine herself was not substantiated by an official announcement, but police failed to break up a 3-day "festival" on the Parthenon nonetheless.

"MELUSINE ATTEMPT ON CHARLES" LAUGHABLE

Documentary evidence has come to light linking Queen Melusine with an assassination attempt on Emperor Charles earlier in the year. However her people have laughed at the reports, dismissing them as obvious frauds, and find it seemingly incredulous that anyone could think Melusine capable of such a heinous deed.

TROUBLES IN USA

The United States was subjected to a spate of terrorist attacks this year, including but not limited to: the spiking of alcoholic drinks and chocolate, the whipping up of religious hysteria, large-scale fraud, a raid on Fort Knox, scientific papers alleging that playing baseball causes venereal disease, contamination of water supplies, attacks by 'triffids', two suicide bombing runs against the White House, secessionist propaganda, defacement of the Statue of Liberty and Mount Rushmore, smear attacks on Terran dignitaries, faked 'alien' invasions, an attempt to fill the Grand Canyon with popcorn, an assassination attempt on President Grant in Dallas, introduction of waterweed to the great lakes and incitement to vigilantism. Fortunately the Terran-backed administration was able to minimise the chaos, leaving President Grant in a position to turn down the offer of assistance from Queen Victoria, whose army arrived to help regain control towards the end of the year. The President is nevertheless said to be furious and has made diplomatic demands that Doctors Rentercwote and Ariadne Directrix, both of whom are implicated in the terrorism, give a good explanation for their actions without delay.

SPECTRE LOOMS

On the third of January, the Foundation for the Protection of Humanity released to the world stage the news that it was solely responsible for the bolts of flame from the sky that helped destroy the Tik-Tok men, and that this operation was part of Project SPECTRE.

RUDE MECHANICALS PULL THEIR WEIGHT

A new arm of the English state has been set up, the British Mechanical Forces. These trusty Tik-Toks will serve the International Community by being sent in to repair faulty machinery in the age of the science which Europe seems set to enter.

TOKYO HIT BY DINOSAUR!

After recovering from the minor structural damage caused by the earthquake a few weeks ago, and the damage caused by the tidal wave, life looked set to return to normal in Tokyo. Then, with a deafening roar, the water in the bay parted to reveal the scaled head of a giant bipedal dinosaur that stomped slowly out of the water and into the city. Flames gushed from its mouth as it tore at the buildings around it and slowly ripped apart the buildings of the city. The Emperorís Imperial Guard quickly turned heat rays onto the giant monstrosity, which seemed to melt slightly in their glare, before retaliating with its own burst of flame. Before the monster was brought to a halt almost half the city was in ruins... again...

LOVE THY NEIGHBOUR

'Terran Culture' lessons have been introduced to top English schools including Eton and Harrow, to promote inter-racial understanding into the next generation.

EMPEROR MYSTERIOUSLY ATTACKED, SLAIN

The palace of the Japanese Emperor in Edo was in turmoil last night as it suffered a bizarre and devastating attack. At ten o'clock beams of flame burst from the heavens in a dazzling blast concentrated on the rear entrance. In moments a sphere of energy, shimmering like the surface of a lake in the moonlight, formed itself around the palace. The next burst of flame was lost in a steamy mist, but the damage had already been done. Battle cries and the sounds of war were already audible in the Southern cloister, subtly blended with sporadic bursts of a raucous, decadent musical accompaniment. Screams not of this world were audible from within the compound, and at one point three huge flying squid like entities were seen locked in combat with a breathtaking dragon, spiralling above the towers of the palace. Bursts of flame in a myriad of colours leapt from the windows of the palace, and the spectacle was visible for miles around. The chaos lasted for but an hour, when an eerie silence descended on the palace, its blackened walls the only sign that anything out of the ordinary had transpired. This morning the Emperor's body was found in his chambers, appearing to have committed seppuku, and a terrible grief has gripped the entire country, as the people mourn his loss. The ramifications of this event are, at this time, uncertain, but will no doubt be immense in their significance.

NEW RIVAL TO 'THE TIMES'

A new British paper, the Interdependent, with its highbrow content, looks set to provide an alternative to the tabloid filth that currently passes for reading matter amongst the English populace.

NEW EMPEROR CROWNED: "BUSINESS AS USUAL"

The late Emperor of Japan's son has been crowned in his stead, at a lengthy and moving ceremony in Kyoto. Surrounded in a rain of cherry blossoms, the new Emperor pledged to serve the Nipponese people as his forefathers had.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT IN EMPIRE, DIRECTRIXES TO RULE AUSTRIA

Emperor Charles VIII made a great address to the people of the Empire from his balcony in the Imperial Square in Karlstadt. Every citizen of the Holy Roman Empire has been given the democratic right of voting for local government councils of their choice. Tallow Directrix was appointed Imperial Chancellor and made King of Austria, with wife Ariadne (the Imperial Minister for Health and Entertainment) his Queen. In the face of such concessions to the popular will, public morale is now higher than it has been for many years - now the average Imperial citizen can say "God save his Imperial Majesty" without a trace of bitterness in his voice!

FOUNDATION TAKES AGAINST JAPANESE

The Foundation for the Protection of Humanity released another statement to the world press today declaring that they have decided that the actions of the Japanese are contrary to the greater good, and that counter-measures have been taken. But just who are these shadowy self-appointed world policemen?

DAVCHENKO SPANKS ARMENIANS

A triumphant Karl Davchenko saw off a half-hearted attack upon his Armenian border in fine style, demonstrating a total control over the military situation that puts paid to any suggestions that Russia will not remain Communist well into the next century. It is now quite indisputable that the fortunes of the much-harassed country are on the rise.

REBELS IN TRANSYLVANIA

Rumours of uprising and revolt in the new state of greater Transylvania have leaked out, suggesting that the people are not as happy with their new Queen and independence as they once used to be. It is believed these terrorist groups have also targeted industrial sites in the region.

JUANITA EVITA RETURNS, TO WED AGAIN

Miss Juanita Evita de Moltke has been returned to her doting parents by a rescuer who wished to retain anonymity. To celebrate having her safely back in the fold, Senor de Moltke commenced preparations for her marriage to renowned businessman Mr Michael Valentine of the Mars Trading Company immediately.

GIDEON SEEN IN WATFORD

I saw Gideon Stargrave! Francis Baring of Hertfordshire claims that he saw Gideon Stargrave at the local convenience store only last week, and that the cult figure faked his own death to retire to a life of quiet meditation and self contemplation on Mars.

EMPIRE TROUBLES IN TRANSYLVANIA

In March of this year troops from the Holy Roman Empire marched into the new state of Greater Transylvania to retake it from Queen Melusine, expecting but a token resistance. Two of the regiments, on travelling through a mountain pass to reach the state were crushed almost entirely as the mountains on either side of them suddenly toppled into the gorges in a huge avalanche of rock and earth. The few survivors speak of the base of the mountain being pushed aside as if by some huge unseen hand, and, robbed of this support, of the whole mountain caving in on top of them. A further six regiments were sent into the country, travelling over open land. Those that survived tell of men and women appearing from nowhere, and loosing bolts of lightening and gouts of flame on the troops, of warriors moving with an unnatural speed and strength, of a sheet of flame coursing across the battlefield, incinerating soldiers as they stood, and of child-like beings in gossamer veils floating above the battlefield in white directing troops, and causing grown men to cower in fear. There is not one that has returned without the dark emptiness of terror, or the glimmer of madness, in their eyes. Any further troops are refusing to move into the region, believing it to be either under divine protection or cursed by the devil himself.

TWO WEEKS MARRIED AND STILL ALIVE

The world exhaled again as the much-anticipated tragic death of Juanita Evita de Moltke's latest husband at the hands of her family curse failed to occur on schedule.

NEW COLUMN FOR LONDON

A giant monument to the Moltke family has been built in London to replace Nelson's Column. Over 300 feet tall, it depicts Helmut, Evita, little Juanita Evita, Senor Juan Fernandez and, puzzlingly, a "man with interchangeable faces", currently Mr Valentine.

STARGRAVE AT OWN GIG?

Gideon at Concert! A small group of hard-core groupies from Liverpool swear that they shared some scorpion vodka with Gideon Stargrave at a concert just outside the city. Could it be that he is not dead after all, or are they just drunken loons?

MATHENCARDS COLLAPSE

On the second of January, only two days after MathenCard customers were awarded a bonus to compensate for the technical difficulties of recent months, the MathenCard corporation was forced into bankruptcy, and henceforth the cards will no longer be honoured. There has understandably been a huge public outcry at the news, which makes the previous announcement seem like a cheap scam. In any case it is news that has been widely and rapidly circulated worldwide.

HOUDINI ON VENUS...

Those holidaying on Venus this year will be thrilled to learn that the world's most famous performer, Harry Houdini, following up his sensational world tour last year, will be travelling to this new-found world to attempt his most daring escapes to date, from the huge and terrible Venusian lizards. One can only marvel at this man's amazing courage.

...AND MERCURY TOO!

Not satisfied with escaping certain death in the gaping jaws of Venusian dinosaurs, Harry Houdini, the world's most daring escape artist, has moved to Mercury. In his new performance he intends to avoid being fried alive in the blazing heat of the Mercurian day, whilst simultaneously escaping a cage full of ravenous giant hamsters.

HOUDINI VISITS RAGNAROK CHILDREN

Harry Houdini has been touring schools around the globe recently, in a generous effort to console children with the strange 'black mist syndrome'. He has been well received, and the experience even seems to have drawn some children out of the traumatic disorder.

ARDSBURG RETURNS!

Recent months have seen turmoil on the streets of Austria, right at the heart of the Holy Roman Empire, as many have rallied to Friedrich von Ardsburg's banner. The great man, erroneously believed dead for several years but curiously looking no older than when last seen, has delivered stirring speeches to the people, arguing that the current rulers gained positions of power by bartering with the evil demons that plagued the land during the time of the black mist, and that now they continue to subjugate the masses, denying them the wonder of the Ardsburg Social Justice Program, and the chance to share in his dream of wealth and justice for all.

ARDSBURGERS LET THE BRAIN TAKE THE STRAIN

Rebels in Austria have started an alarming new trend in their actions, taking the brains from those they slay and carrying them to secret locations where they claim to help save their tortured souls. Those slain in the cause of the Ardsburg revolution have, they insist, clearly been affected by the evil mental powers of demonic servants of the Emperor, and their spirits must be freed from this corrupt grip, even after their death.

MORE CRICKET ON THE MOON?

Mick Bruce, who recently staged a huge cricket tournament at the north pole, has attempted to organise an even bigger, more spectacular World cricket cup on the moon. However, the event does not seem as popular as he might have hoped, as only the most devoted cricketing fans seem keen to make the vast journey to watch the tournament.

VALENTINE, MOLTKE MATCH

Michael Valentine was married to young Evita Juanita de Moltke last night in what has been perhaps one of the biggest media weddings of the decade. Even the more disreputable British papers seem to be focusing on the joys of the union, with special edition ten-page full colour pull-out sections filled to the brim with wedding snaps and other pictures of the happy couple.

'MONKEY BOMBERS' STRIKE CONGRESS

Last night the American Congress erupted in a violent explosion that killed nearly twenty prominent politicians and injured many more. The attacks are already being linked with those in Paris and England last year, as several mangled and charred monkey bodies were found near the scene. These international terrorists seem to strike with no warning and no reason. Can anyone feel safe.

STATUE OF LIBERTY FELLED BY QUAKE

The Statue of Liberty came toppling down last night after a localised tremor near the site crumbled the foundations. No longer will this towering symbol of justice shine out a beacon of hope to the American people, and this can only be seen as one more bad omen for the future of the continent.

REPLACEMENT FOR MISS LIBERTY

Plans have been unveiled to rebuild a new statue on Liberty island to replace the glorious figure of justice that once looked out over New York. Venus Connection has reputedly spent a small fortune commissioning plans for an enormous statue of their director John Hammond, locked in fierce combat with a savage Venusian dinosaur, to take her place. Rumours that the dinosaur represents Hammond's new wife, Lady Apollonia, have been firmly quashed by the company.

CEREBINGO -- THE BRAIN DRAIN

Following its exile from England, CereBingo has moved abroad to other European countries, and has also taken hold in America, where the population seem thoroughly addicted. There are even rumours that the game may not have totally disappeared from Britain, merely moved underground.

CHURCH OF ALL WORLDS LOOSENS ITS STAYS

The Church of All Worlds, once a bastion of reason and hope in the ever expanding tide of new religion springing up around the world has undergone a complete change of image this year. Behind the closed doors of their churches anything and everything now seems fair game, and the squeals of ecstasy and pleasure coming from their strangely sedate stone chapels can be heard for hundreds of yards. Their sudden move to openly embrace hedonism has alienated many of their previous worshippers, but there can be no doubt that numbers have swelled since the form of the services was changed.

CHURCH LAYS ON TRIPS TO MARS

A spokesperson for the Church of All Worlds, in between wild orgies, has announced that they are now offering free travel to Mars for all worshippers. How exactly they managed to obtain this deal remains unknown, but it does appear to be genuine, and makes conversion to the new church seem an even more enticing prospect.

TERRORISTS IN PERU

On December 22, 1889, the 'Tupac Asatru' revolutionary group has seized the Nipponese embassy in Lima, along with around 70 Japanese diplomats and members of staff. This neo-Marxist revolutionary group is supposedly supported by The Odinsson, and demands reforms of the Communist regime currently in power in Peru, and allegiance to Balder and the new Aesir.

SCOTLAND FINDS THE KEY TO POWER SHORTAGES

Although Scotland was not seriously affected by the recent explosive collapse of steam power plants people there have been quick to respond to the problem, investing mainly in Professor Hugo Victor's safer and more efficient clockwork power stations, operating using water power. A government owned company called 'The National Grid' has been established to oversee and orchestrate the distribution of power.

MORE HELP FOR BLACK MIST CHILDREN

Special learning centres for children with 'black mist syndrome' have been opened recently in England and Scotland, using a variety of new techniques to coax the children out of their traumatised state. Leaflets offering helpful advice have also been distributed to parents giving mental exercises that they should work through with their children.

BLACK MIST KID HELP WORLDWIDE

Parents of children with 'black mist syndrome' have been targeted by a worldwide campaign to help them help their children. Useful leaflets have been distributed by local governments to those who can read, and many priests have offered advice to others on techniques and exercises to help the children.

DUKEDOM FOR KROHNE

Queen Melusine has pronounced Klaum Krohne the first Duke of Greater Transylvania. Thrilled with this news, Klaum has organised a party in his new estate to celebrate. The party promises to be a great event, with spectacular displays of light and fire, and more than a little 'Gubbins' on the side.

GROK TILL YOU DROP

Mars is being heralded as the new pleasure planet. As the adverts say -- "Grok happiness: Grok Mars".