Timeline

Readers Letters:
Britain In Dark Ages / Wealthiest Have Abandoned Country

 
 

Dearest Sasha,

I hope this letter finds you well now that the fog seems to have engulfed the entirety of our little island. I had hoped Father would avoid the worst of it by staying with you but it seems it was not to be. Please give him and Aunty Marjory my love.

Business is slow and difficult. Not only does the fog mean most airships across the country are gorunded but it also means the wealthiest citizens have gone, first out of the capital and then even out of the country I suspect. Suffices to say we have had few orders from our usual customers.

The market for luxury goods is at a definite low. Not only that but the speed at which we can bring any goods in is now relegated to that of another era when we had to rely on ships crossing the oceans, we can keep up a supply of tea and coffee but many of the goods we previously stocked just will not survive the journey. It is amazing how we took for granted how airships reduce the distance between continents.

"Britain feels very isolated."

I'm sure it won't surprise you to hear I am going stir-crazy. Not only am I prevented from travelling by my duties to the business while Father is out of London but the wretched curfew keeps means I must get home in the early evening and stay in until the next morning. I had planned for a year travelling the globe, meeting new people, seeing new sights, finding some new and exciting product for our business. Instead here I am stuck in either the house or the office, seeing no one but our employees.

Or at least I would be. You must promise not to tell Papa but I have been breaking curfew. It started a week or so after He left. I was so wracked with boredom I thought I might go mad. It was half past five and I had just enough time to make my way home befor the curfew bells when for some reason instead of taking my usual route home I started to head for the docks. I don't know what I expected to find, perhaps I thought to enjoy the quiet I knew the curfew should bring to the normally bustling area. I certainly was not expecting to find it just as bustling as ever.

"Ladies of the night offer wares"

I spotted people meeting on the corners of streets and at the mouths of alleways, making surrpetitous exchanges and then parting again. I saw ladies of the night offering their wares discreetly with a gesture or a suggestive smile. There were even public houses, ostentatious signs outside declaring them closed but people entering and leaving nonetheless. It may shock you to know that I actually entered one of these bars.

I thought I would stand out like a sore thumb but the place was crowded with all sorts of people of all sorts of appearance, I even thought I saw a clock toward the back. This at last was something of the thrill of adventure and exploration that had been missing from my life. Needless to say I came back to the docks on more than one occaision and in my illicit explorations I have found other areas of the city equally nocturnal, all places I would have previously avoided by night. I've made a number of useful contacts too but I shan't bore you by talking about that.

One positive side to all this is that the sense of British camraderie has increased. There is no help coming from the other countries and little enough from our own government but we carry on. A number of people have been tinkering with designs for devices to purify a portion of the air and allow the wearer to breathe freely. I was fortunate enough to run into one such would-be inventor on one of my late night jaunts. He was kind enough to give me one of his prototypes for a small sum and I must say it seems to work quite well. It has made travel much more bearable.

"Amateur devices are only hope"

I am meeting him again next week, he knows enough about engineering and such but he has little knowledge of business so has no idea how to get his design out to people who need it. I am hoping he will agree to let me act on his behalf in selling these. Looking around at the way many londoners are struggling, especially the poor who are often malnourished and cold as it is and so I think more at risk from the fog, I would dearly like to be able to simply give the things away but the price of materials is increasing as a direct result of the fog. Perhaps if enough profit can be made from the selling of these purifiers we can think about such charitable acts.

That is about all. I hope you will find time to write me a reply.

All my love

Elizabeth Harcourt

 

Overheard in a London Pub

by Celia Runham, Staff Reporter

Where lie the hearts of the common men of London, and why do they turn so readily to crime and to violence?  To those privileged to serve Her Majesty, or of sufficient means to elevate their homes and families into the untainted upper sky, that question seems impenetrable.

This reporter took a trek to the Fog-drenched pubs of the working class, seeking answers - for when the wine flows and a man is among friends, his heart opens and the truth issues forth.

Here now is an excerpt overheard at the Swine and Barrow, London.  One man who was suffering from a hacking cough, undoubtedly a slowly-expiring victim of the Fog, accepted this advice from a friend, with whom he was tentatively attempting to have a friendly drink.

"Ain't no way to live, is it?" said the friend.  "There ain't a hospital this side of the ocean'll see you.  But you know, mate, I've a sure way of getting you away from this miserable ----.  Take my advice and you'll be breathing clean air in a pinch."

The ill man nodded.  His coughing kept him from enjoying his lager easily, but he bravely soldiered on, taking little sips.

"Here's what you do, mate, here's what you do. 

You got to find yourself a shop - the kind fulla diamonds and pocket ro-bots and fancy hats.  Coppers standing on the street.  You go in there, and you find somethin' nice - you find the fanciest bloody hat in the whole shop.

"You put your filthy little hands on that hat, and you run.  Out the door, into the street, right past the copper.  Not too fast, mind you, but give 'em a bit of a chase - if you can with your black lungs and your skinny legs.

"Now the copper's gonna beat ya, but just keep a stiff upper lip.  In fact, maybe give him a couplea whacks for his trouble.  Sure as death you'll be stuffed in a cool, airtight cell with a bag over yer head and a dozen doors between you and the Fog.  If you're lucky they'll ship you off to Australia, free of charge.  You can bake to death in the desert or you can rot to death while rats eat your eyes."

The well man took a big, dramatic breath, which caused him to share a little in the ill man's coughing fit.  But nothing was going to stop this fellow from his great, dramatic finish.

"But imagine the air, mate, that sweet, clean air!"

This was received with laughter all around, and the men toasted to innovative thinking.

 

 

Industrialists Mobilise To Save The Country

 
 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Firstly let me take the opportunity on behalf of myself and RM to thank all of you thus far your steadfastness, your creativity and your tenacity. You are all truly inspiring.

Following the Government’s radical reaction to the nationwide rioting we have come to the decision to shuffle the Division’s objectives accordingly:

As Mr Stevenson’s representation in town, RM and EM are to receive Curfew Waivers. Henceforth RM and EM shall endeavour to remain as mobile as possible throughout the inner boroughs. They shall act as courier, envoy and scout post sunset.

Do not see this as an opportunity to take liberties or you may find yourself stripped of your commission.

You have been warned.

Clock-assigned Mayhems are to refocus their energies on the application of air filtration and/or conversion at both domestic and industrial levels. As ever, any patents filed must be under the CBS umbrella.

Fog development continues as a priority. KM (Whitechapel) and EM to act as sole points of contact Those involved in revenue generation are to continue as appropriate and explore alternative streams of income.

N-recruitment and maintenance to move into Phase 2. Proxies to proceed with caution.

There will be a general briefing in HQ tomorrow morning 9am. If it pleases you, consider today a holiday.

Keep your heads down, Ladies and Gentlemen:

Èisd ri gaoth nam beann gus an traogh na h-uisgeachan.

EM

 

Scientists and Industrialists In Talks To Clear The Air

 
 

Government Scientists have held a series of emergency meetings with British Industrialists, in a bid to solve the current pollution problem.

It is hoped that a solution will be found to help 'clear the air' of the yellow fog that has now spread across the whole country. Industrialists have pledged to use the special dispensation granted to travel during the curfew to test alternative fuels and find ways of cutting pollution levels. 

A spokesman for the Department for the Advancement of Sciences claimed that a consortium made up of the best minds in the field were working on a device to tackle the problem, but when asked how close they were to finding a solution, he admitted that they were still "far off" from conducting any tests.

The news comes a day after the government imposed a dusk till dawn curfew, to stem the outbreak of lawlessness across the country.

Latest reports claim that one hundred and fifty people were arrested last night for breaking the curfew, with thousands more cautioned.

The police now claim that there are certain parts of  London's East End now deemed to be 'No-Go' areas in the control of criminal gangs, and they haven't got the resources to tackle the problem.

Don't forget the curfew runs from 6pm - 8am.

 

Govt Imposes Night Curfew

 
 

The government has announced a nationwide curfew starting tonight from 6pm to 8am. The news comes after the police lost authority and control of almost every city, with the latest outbreak of mayhem extending to attacks on docked airships around the country. 

In north, south, east and west, thousands of police officers dedicated to regaining control of the streets struggled to do so and faced attacks from the public. 

Her Majesty's government has rushed through parliament new legislation allowing the police to arrest anyone caught flouting the new order.

Members of the public are advised to stay at home, and not to answer the door to anyone during the curfew.

There are bound to be critics of this announcement, esecially as special dispensation is being extended to cover industrialists, as well as the emergency services that assist the police.

With the fog now turning Britain into a 'No-Go' zone, many wonder how long till the whole country finally grinds to a halt. It is also unclear if there are enough officers to mount a visible presence on every street, which calls into question the effectiveness of this new development.

The government is to hold a crisis meeting tomorrow to discuss how to rid the nation of the fog, which seems to be the main catalyst for the current lawlessness.

How will the curfew affect you?