My name is Thaddeus Bronzewhistle and I was born in the 49th year of the reign of The Queen. I left civilization to promote the ideas and ethics of Science. I worship at the altar of celestial order, as is right and proper for a Subject of The Queen. My barber has commented that I am a fine specimen of my Class, with a stance neither above nor below my correct Station in life: The Middle Class.
I hold it not against the Creator that I have been placed thus in life, for my Station is the logical result of the Machinations of Fate. But were I born an Aristocrat I would be able to fully devote myself to the Noble Calling of Science, though I shall not indulge in thoughts which are against the Natural Order of the Universe for such thoughts lead to Madness, as well we all know from the terrible stories one may read in back pages of The Empire Times.
My assigned role in our proud Settlement is to Oversee the Chemists Shop. I am not especially well trained in the mixing of tonics and powders (such base concerns when the pure knowledge of Science lies at my finger’s grasp!), but One Must Do One’s Duty for The Empire, and if the Bureaucracy has deemed this the most fitting place for my efforts, then to the task I shall apply myself as a good Subject must.
Happily, rather few orders – oh, I shall admit it: no orders at all – requesting the production of Sulphur Tonics, Laudanum, or Fertilisers have been submitted to my shop. Were there, I’m afraid I would have to dirty my hands fetching the ingredients myself, for not a single Lower Class Labourer has been assigned to me by The Bureaucracy. Hauling of goods is certainly beneath me, for I am of the Middle Class and awfully glad not to be grubbing about in the dirt as the Lower Class does — so far from the Infinite Ordered Categories and Perfect Geometries of Science, I whisper to myself and suddenly catch that I am speaking aloud. I look about, but none have heard me for I am perfectly alone in my shop, as I always am.
I carefully mark in my log book another full day of my assignment to the Chemist’s shop completed, not an order filled. I find my Mind straying, my thoughts turning to what Unknown Things might be hiding themselves in this Exotic Wilderness which our dear Settlement was founded in. Why, Science is furthered by examination of the Unknown, is it not? Even if it is to appear an abomination to what those of a Traditionalist character would believe be right, is it not our duty to examine the Unknown in whatever form we may find it in? True, there is a standing order of Policy to return any Unknown Object to the outgoing stockpiles immediately, to be returned to The Empire, so that the Royal Ministry of Investigation into The Occult and Other Troubles may subject it to their Examinations and, if not found to require immediate Purging, only then might be submitted to the Royal Society for Improving Natural Knowledge for study and thereupon advancing the March of Science!
My idle sweeping of the perfectly clean geometries of the floorboards became more agitated as I spoke to myself of what Scientific Wonders might be lost forever due to the actions of some small-minded zealots, overeager to fulfill their duties (as, granted, it is every Subject’s Duty). Why, it was a very good thing indeed that I had hidden the statue I had found, the one I had found that moonless night I had slipped out to the beach, to where it had been whispered in my ear as I swept. I had hidden It in the corner of the Chemists Shop at which I was ordered to work every day, doing nothing, Alone all day, every day, each report checked and filed, every line blank. I could drink my fill of the Unknown, with none watching to report me to the Bureaucracy. And as I looked upon the Unknown, it looked upon me and spoke Pure Knowledge to my mind in fits and gurgles and the crash of breakers upon the shore. They knew. I knew they would know. They had come. I knew they would come.
The beauty of the moment was broken by gunshots, cries of fear, a shout: “- They’re coming from the sea!”.