By 1926, the Great War had been raging for 12 years. The arrival of the Scourge in 1917—and the subsequent Great Winter—heralded a conflagration unlike any seen before. Humanity is no longer squabbling for land or honour; now it fights for survival.

This battle is not fought purely against the Scourge. The effects of the Rift on Rona not only unleashed the Scourge onto Great Britain, but it also had other, more subtle, consequences. The radiation emitted by the Rift not only affected—and continues to affect—the environment, but also the minds of those exposed to its energy.

This was first documented by DIES medical officer and German double-agent Doreen Lamb (real name Elsbeth Lamsdorf). Stationed at the DIES facility on Rona’s neighbouring island of Raasay, Lamb noted, in a report forwarded to the German Naval Intelligence Service, that those working closest to the Rift quickly became ‘dark of intent and sick of mind’ [1] (citation needed). This effect, she noted, led to a marked change in DIES staff stationed on Raasay. Some became constantly agitated and fidgety, obsessed with harnessing the energies emitted by the Rona Rift. So driven were they, in fact, that they neglected their personal cleanliness and dietary needs, becoming instead ‘sickly, dirty and aggressive shadows of their former selves’ [2] (citation needed). In extreme cases—as first seen when DIES scientist Gabriel Ladlow-Brooks murdered his colleagues Henry Toft and Nathan Morgan on Christmas Day, 1918—an individual exposed to the Rift will think nothing of abject butchery or the most appalling torture. Some will even go so far as to display their victims’ remains for all to see or even wear body part as trophies. [3]

Whatever the misery and behavioural extremes suffered by the staff on Raasay, DIES persists with its study of this first rift. So intent and thorough are these investigations, in fact, that they are now able to produce machinery that will, if a weakening in the barrier between our reality and that of Scourge is detected in time, abate the inevitable tear.

Conversely, the British have been quick to weaponize the technologies developed on Rona. Chief amongst these technologies is the RAM Spike. [4]  Using smaller, portable versions of the portal Rutherford and Moseley first built on Rona, these Spikes do not so much tear the fabric between our reality and that of the Scourge as perforate it. Such perforations keep the Scourge at bay whilst still subjecting the surrounding area to the stultifying cold allowed to seep through the punctures. The Spikes are used to subdue enemy soldiers or—as inspired by the events which led to the death of the Russian Tsar and his family—those colonial territories which have fallen prey to civil and possibly even revolutionary unrest.

DIES is currently rumoured to be developing RAM bombs and projectiles which, when detonated, will spontaneously open a rift; this will expose the target area to the Scourge.  DIES have also unveiled mobile RAM platforms; a marriage of RAM and landship technology. These platforms project targeted pulses which agitate the fabric between our reality and that of the Scourge so as to unleash the Scourge in an enemy’s territories or ranks. Whilst these technologies have been the sole purview of the British for the past two years, German scientists Hans Krebs and Fritz Haber and Japan’s Unit 730 are rumoured to be on the verge of similar breakthroughs. The United States, meanwhile, is thought to be testing its first prototypes, but its programme has been retarded by an incident in the weapons development station of Los Alamos. This incident is thought to be similar to that seen on Rona.

The British Empire’s use and understanding of RAM technology is at a significantly advanced stage compared to that of its rivals and, despite the public protestations of King George V, Britain continues to exploit this advantage. The British Prime Minister, Stanley Baldwin, is also said to be uncomfortable with what he considers to be an irresponsible use of the technology. Baldwin, however, is obliged to allow its continued use in order to placate his political rival—and current Chancellor of the Exchequer—Winston Churchill. An outspoken proponent of Rift technology, Churchill continues to call for more use of the technology in order to defeat the Empire’s many enemies. This stance divides public opinion. Whilst the popular press extols the use of Rift technology and celebrates the significant successes it has secured on the front line, doubts over its safety continue to grow. Letters from the trenches tell horrid truths at odds with the press’ jingoistic and triumphal headlines, and the Church of England’s abhorrence over the use of such technologies—and the literal demons they unleash—grows in both depth and popularity. [5]

Britain’s allies and colonies are also unsettled. By 1926, Britain has deployed RAM Spikes to subdue what it deemed to be ‘civil unrest’ in India, Nova Scotia, Kenya, Hong Kong, the Falkland Islands, Calcutta and even Alice Springs, Australia. Critics are quick to point out the so-called ‘unrest’ seen in these locations was insignificant compared to that seen in cities such as London, Edinburgh, Victoria and Johannasburg. All of these have seen rallies calling for an end to Rift technology. Unsurprisingly, the government appears to be reluctant to use its Rift weapons in such cities.

Britain’s arbitrary use of its Rift technology—and its perceived bullying of its smaller colonies—has led Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa to actively seek independence from Great Britain. They have also gone so far as to threaten a withdrawal of their soldiers from Britain’s war effort. Whilst Baldwin pays lip service to their demands, Churchill—abetted by the British Secretary of State for War, Laming Worthington-Evans—is said to have advocated the liberal use of RAM technology pursuant to bringing these colonies to heal.

[1] Lamsdorf herself also fell victim to the effect of the Rift. Falling into a suicidal depression two months after being stationed on Raasay, she opened her wrists and hanged herself in her quarters.

[2] These behaviours have since become universal symptoms of exposure to the Rift. They have been likened to those experiencing what German psychiatrist Emil Kraepelin (1856–1926) labelled as manic depressive psychosis. As with manic depressive psychosis, those exposed to the Rift enter a state of acute mania or depression punctuated by intermittent, symptom-free periods. During these latter periods the individual is able to conduct his or herself in a relatively normal fashion.

[3] This is evidenced by individuals such as British soldier Bernie ‘the Butcher’s Dog’ Saint and the Ottoman officer Berat Pasha, who decorate their uniforms with their victims’ ears and tongues respectively. Both have seen a rift first hand, and both were changed irrevocably.

[4] So named after the inventors of RAM technology, Messrs Rutherford and Moseley,

[5] This condemnation of RAM technology is not, however, a universal position with the Church of England. Certain individuals within the Church—and, indeed the Vatican—see the Rift as the bosom of God’s wrath. Angry that mankind has forgotten his son’s sacrifice and slowly descended into Hellish warfare and bloodshed, he now vents his fury by unleashing his most dire angels upon the world. These theocrats consider the use of RAM technology as fulfilling God’s will and continue to advocate it in the most vociferous fashion.

This site uses cookies to offer you a better browsing experience. By browsing this website, you agree to our use of cookies.