Forgotten Futures VII
Tsar Wars
A Role-Playing Sourcebook For George Griffith's Future Histories
The Angel of the Revolution and Olga Romanoff

Written and edited by Marcus L. Rowland
Copyright © 2000, portions Copyright © 1993-2000
Portions by Matthew Hartley, Copyright © 2001

This material is published as shareware; if you find it useful you are asked to register; see the copyright page for information on why this is a good idea.

Warning! This worldbook discusses the events of George Griffith's novels The Angel of the Revolution (1893) and Olga Romanoff (1893-4) at great length; you are strongly advised to read both novels before the rest of the collection, or your enjoyment of them may be spoiled.

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PREVIOUS Forgotten Futures collections have dealt with a range of topics, from airship Utopias and Edwardian space flight to worlds of the strange, supernatural, and melodramatic. This collection returns to the game's roots in scientific romance, the Victorian and Edwardian equivalent of science fiction, and to the work of one of its best British practitioners. George Griffith's first novels are unusual in several respects; they describe possibly the bloodiest future history of their period, and don't flinch from showing society and even the British royal family in an unfavourable light. They are also extremely detailed, especially in their descriptions of military campaigns and the final days of the Human race, and this detail makes them an excellent source for an RPG.

The history described in these books spans a hundred and thirty-four years, from 1903 to 2037. However, for various reasons this worldbook makes the first overt changes to history a few years earlier, before the first publication of The Angel of the Revolution, and ends a few years after the close of Olga Romanoff. The reasons for this are summarised below, and mainly stem from the early death of Alexander III, also from the need to eliminate various technical developments.

Modern readers may dislike some of the racial and social attitudes shown in these stories, which are reflected in the society, attitudes, and events described in this worldbook. While it seems probable that they do to some extent reflect Griffith's views, it should be remembered that he originally wrote them as serials for Pearson's Weekly, a populist magazine which tended to reflect the chauvinist and jingoistic sentiments of its readership, and that in this respect they are typical of the period and genre. They are emphatically not those of the author of this worldbook.

For convenience the following abbreviations are often used for these stories;

AR for The Angel of the Revolution.
OR for Olga Romanoff.
Usually these abbreviations are usually bracketed and followed by a chapter reference and function as links; for example, [OR 12] is a link to Olga Romanoff Chapter 12, [AR Ep.] links to the epilogue of The Angel of the Revolution, [OR Pro.] is the prologue of Olga Romanoff.

The Angel of the Revolution was repeatedly revised after its original publication. In early editions the Russian Tsar is Alexander III; after Alexander's death in November 1894 this was changed to Nicholas II. The change was superficial; for example, Grand Duke Vladimar was still mentioned as the Tsar's younger brother [AR 48] although he was Nicholas's uncle. To add more confusion Olga Romanoff was not revised after Nicholas took the throne, although a footnote in later editions refers to the changes made to The Angel of the Revolution. For simplicity this collection presents The Angel of the Revolution restored to its original form, and the history described below assumes that Alexander survived into the twentieth century and uses Griffith's original chronology.

A heavily cut 1907 paperback edition of [AR] replaces Alexander with Nicholas and adds to the confusion by omitting the theft and recovery of the air-ship Lucifer, making it appear that the Terror is responsible for the destruction of the British fleet. Part of the cover illustration is used on the index page of this collection; the full illustration, the paperback's introduction, and various advertisements that appeared in the book are on the FF CD-ROM version 3.0

Language And Units
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THE author of Forgotten Futures is British, as was George Griffith. American readers will occasionally notice that there are differences in spelling and use of language between our 'common' tongues. If that worries you, you are welcome to run documents through a spell checker, but please DON'T distribute modified versions. Please also note that the English of the two novels has some Victorian idiosyncrasies, spellings and turns of phrase which have fallen out of common usage today.

The stories use Imperial measurements of length and power; feet and inches, ounces and pounds, miles and horsepower. To retain their flavour these units have mostly been used in the worldbook and adventures. Readers who are unfamiliar with the British (and American) system of weights, or with pre-decimal British currency, will find the awful details in Appendix A of the rules.

Playing Games
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THIS collection is a source for game referees, and most sections contain notes for their use. A few sections are written mainly for games. Statistics for the Forgotten Futures rules are included, but you are welcome to use the game of your choice and add game statistics to fit its rules. No one will complain, provided you don't distribute a modified version of these files, but if you like the game setting and adventures please register. Please note that mention of a game below does NOT mean that this is an approved playing aid for the system concerned!

GDW's game Space 1889 had an extensive range of supplements for aerial and space combat and ship design. Much of this material is currently difficult to obtain but should eventually be reprinted by Heliograph Inc. The technology described is very different, but if a more complex system is required this may be a useful alternative to Forgotten Futures.

Two war games fit the theme of this collection: FASA's Crimson Skies is a game of aerial warfare in a divided America, with extensive rules for airship combat. Wessex Games' Aeronef, by Matthew Hartley and Steve Blease, is based on Victorian scientific romances, and takes some of its background from Griffin's stories, including the Astronef sequence (see FF2) and some elements of AR, and with my permission uses some of the technical background devised for FF2.. Two later sections by Matthew Hartley cover the use of some of the airships from these books in Aeronef, and a submarine combat system usable with both games. Material available on-line for Aeronef includes some scenarios based on The Angel of the Revolution. See the Aeronef website for more details.

FF1 included rules for the design of 21st century airships and other vehicles, which are somewhat more complicated than those in this collection. They are largely compatible, although details such as power requirements have been considerably simplified for this collection.

FF2 includes Martians with some similarities to those described in [OR 25], but considerably less friendly to humanity. The prelude to A Honeymoon In Space, the novelisation of the stories on which FF2 is based, begins with the hero preventing a war similar that of The Angel of the Revolution; a campaign which fuses elements from this source, FF2 and this collection is outlined in a later section. FF2 also includes more complex systems for designing spaceships and aircraft.

FF5 has rules for a device which allows travel between parallel worlds, which could include this one. If it is used to introduce characters to this time-line, the referee should remember that they may know things that the Federation would prefer to keep suppressed; for example, an outsider with the Pilot skill may know how to fly aëroplanes, and enough about their operation and design to build one with some help. Someone originating in the FF2 world might even know the secret of antigravity! If they then find reasons to oppose the Federation some interesting situations could result.

An important point to note is that some of the adventure outlines below, and some of the accompanying adventures, involve the activities of the Terrorists and other violent organisations, and situations in which characters will be required to obey orders which may seem arbitrary or unpleasant, on pain of death for any failure. Players should be warned before beginning an extended campaign with such a background. Many of the events described are tragic; the extended collapse of civilisation and eventual death of most of the human race in the second novel is particularly unlikely to lead to "fun" situations.

It must also be mentioned that an Aerian trained to use Vril, as in the second novel, is lethally dangerous. If you want to use such characters in adventures developed for other genres it will probably be necessary to "beef up" the opposition to compensate.

Weird Science And The Supernatural
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THIS worldbook describes technology which isn't impossible by modern standards, but would have been very difficult to achieve at the time the books were originally published.

Most of the air-ships can loosely be described as multi-rotor helicopters, but are much easier to control than the real thing; even today it would be difficult to design craft with the stability and capacity of those in the novels. The ornithopters of Olga Romanoff would give modern engineers a major headache. This may be a good point to mention that the design of the ships, as described in both books, varies in various ways from the art that accompanied their publication, and that the illustrations are not always consistent. The pictures and plans produced for this collection are based on the books wherever possible, or fuse elements of the books and art.

A major change is the early development of a very powerful chemical fuel which can be harnessed with high efficiency. Such fuels exist, and have many of the dangerous properties mentioned in [AR 1] and later chapters, although they are generally liquids rather than gasses; see, for example, the hydrazine/hydrogen peroxide mix used in Germany's rocket fighters and experimental submarines during WW2. A later discovery, the "direct transformation of the solar energy locked up in coal into electrical energy, without loss either by waste or transference" [OR 3], sounds like an advanced form of fuel cell.

Communication with Mars by light-signal (not laser) is on the borderline of possibility; it could probably be done, but the power requirements are immense, and today better alternatives are available. It was often discussed in the nineteenth century.

The drugs used by Olga Romanoff are also bizarre but defensible; powerful hypnotics do exist, although long-term use has serious side effects (which are in fact mentioned in one of the footnotes, see [OR 6]).

An understandable but awkward omission from the technology described in these novels is radio, and spin-offs such as radar, TV, and most other advanced forms of electronics. While radio wasn't around in 1894, many of the clues and theories that led to radio's discovery go back to the 1860s, some to the 1830s, and it seems very unlikely that all could be forgotten or ignored - especially by the Martians [OR 25], who are described as being thousands of years more advanced in all respects. If radio existed at all, many of the events of the stories could not occur, or would be very different; for example, the sacking of Aberdeen [AR 31] would not be possible if the British fleet had been recalled and was about to descend upon the attacking navy.

While it would be easy to say that radio just doesn't work in this universe, it was more challenging to find a rationale for its non-invention. One option considered was deliberate suppression by the Terror and Aerians; this raises more problems than it solves, since the Aerians would certainly want to use it even if they kept it a closely-guarded secret. The rationale chosen involves some dodgy science, but makes a little sense in the context of these stories.

The climactic catastrophe described in [OR 25] and later chapters isn't explainable by conventional astronomical theory, both in its nature and in the speed with which the Earth appears to recover afterwards. There isn't much that can be done about this, except explore some of the ramifications that may have been missed by Griffith.

Natas' powers and Olga's dream of Aeria [OR 6] are obviously psychic, although never described as such or explained in any way.

Finally, there are also references to "Vril"-like power controlled by the Aerians. It is assumed that the Aerians produce this power artificially and enhance it by training. See The Coming Race, by Lord Bulwer-Lytton (on the FF CD-ROM version 3.0) for much more about Vril.

Weird History
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MOST of the internal history of these stories begins with the recruitment of Richard Arnold into the Terror in 1903, and the Terror's military campaign in 1904. However, some aspects of the stories need to be explained; the technological anomalies mentioned above, the succession of the Tsars, and the non-invention of various early aircraft. For this reason it has been necessary to start somewhat earlier.

The most important early historical change in this worldbook is the survival of Tsar Alexander III to 1904 (as in the first editions of both novels), which requires some changes to history from the 1880s onward. His son Nicholas simply isn't a good candidate for the role of Evil Overlord; he was a reformer, albeit weak and largely ineffective, and although he had a bad press there were gradual improvements to life in Russia under his rule. The changes made below keep Nicholas out of the way and give Alexander more reasons to be an oppressor. Incidentally, the Japanese assassination attempt described below happened as described, but in the real world had no long-term effects. A consequence of this change should be mentioned; this history keeps Nicholas from marrying, so later members of the Romanoff family will not inherit the gene for haemophilia, which was carried by his wife.

Queen Victoria is described as alive but retired in the first book; it is assumed that she abdicated in 1897, after celebrating sixty years on the throne, and that with the reduced stress of retirement her health improved, allowing her several more years of life.

Outside the period covered by the novels it would be easy to invent almost any version of history. I've invented most of the "history" of the events between the two novels, adding several minor wars and some internal problems that seemed more plausible than the instant Utopia implied by the end of the first book. Since Griffith didn't continue past 2037 this worldbook points out a few problems that he may have overlooked, suggests some solutions and some possibilities for campaigns with a post-catastrophe setting, but doesn't try to map out the subsequent history in any great detail.

There are a few minor problems with the internal chronology of the stories, most notably in the background events (prior to 1903-4) described in [AR 49]. The only "important" implication is that Natasha must be at least 24 at the start of the first book, not 20 as described in [AR 6]. Presumably she looks young for her age. There is a "year 1.9K bug" in some of the dates mentioned; Griffith was apparently unaware that 1900 would not be a leap year, and days of the week in 1903-4, if mentioned, are usually wrong by one day. Unfortunately this isn't consistent, and in at least one case the day of the week for a given date changes from one paragraph to another. This isn't helped by the fact that the plot sometimes flashes back several weeks, without making precise dates clear. It's probably best to ignore the day of the week completely in this chronology, and concentrate on the order of events. Most of the glitches in the events following the first flight of the Ariel, and in the timing of the British general election, have been filled in by inference and guesswork. Many thanks to Steve Blease and Matthew Hartley for their help with this process.

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TO keep this worldbook to a manageable size very little is said about the romances that drive the plots of both novels, but would seem relatively unimportant to a historian describing their other events. Please refer to the original texts for details.

To save disk space and reduce download times the illustrations for both novels have been saved as reduced-size JPEG files with very high compression. Larger and clearer versions are included on the new release of the FF CD-ROM, and on an FF7 distribution CD-ROM available to registered users; see the registration form for details.

I have been unable to learn anything about Edwin S. Hope, the artist responsible for the frontispieces of both novels.

A prologue to The Angel of the Revolution was published as a 5,000 word story in Pearson's Weekly, January 21st 1893, but wasn't included in any edition of the book. It describes the initial meeting between Natas and Alan Tremayne in the Harz Mountains of Germany and Tremayne's recruitment as a hypnotised agent of The Terror, and tells the story of Natas' imprisonment in Siberia and the enslavement and death of his wife. Most of this material was later added to the final chapters of the novel. I have been unable to obtain a copy.

Technical notes
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THESE documents were mostly typed using Borland's Sprint word processor, a DOS program so old that it would probably run on a Babbage engine if I owned one. It was occasionally assisted by Windows Wordpad and Notepad. HTML was hand coded to minimise size, and tested using Internet Explorer 4 and 5, Opera, and Netscape Navigator Gold.

The novels were scanned with an HP Scanjet 5P scanner, using Caere Omnipage Pro software for OCR and HP Paperport for graphics. Caligari TrueSpace 2 was used for 3D modelling. PC Paintbrush, Micrografx Photomagic, and Paintshop Pro were used for graphics editing and file conversion.

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THANKS to Fantasy Centre (157 Holloway Road, London N7, UK) and to Porcupine Books for finding me copies of the paperback and hardcover editions of The Angel of the Revolution, to Matt Goodman who scanned the pictures from an illustrated edition of The Angel of the Revolution and found me a copy of Olga Romanoff, and to Andy Sawyer of the Science Fiction Foundation, who was able to provide illustrations for Olga Romanoff.

Numerous reference sources were used for this worldbook; most notably the Encyclopaedia Brittanica (1950 edition), Oxford English Dictionary, Asimov's Bibliographic Encyclopaedia of Science and Technology, The Nuttall Encyclopaedia (1909), and many other dictionaries and encyclopaedias. Most of the data on the Russian royal family came from Robert Massie's excellent Nicholas and Alexandra.

Several users of the soc.history.what-if newsgroup helped to track down details of the 1891 attack on Nicholas; I am especially indebted to "Feudalist", who found the assassin's name and subsequent history. Users of this newsgroup also helped with many of the other questions raised by the version of history described in these novels.

Users of the CIX SF conference, most notably Terry Pratchett and Simon Bradshaw, helped with details of Vril and The Coming Race. Bridget Wilkinson eventually found me a copy, and the full text is now on the FF CD-ROM.

Rik Kershaw and John G. Wood helped immensely with proof-reading of the novels and worldbook.

Steve Blease and Matthew Hartley helped with the chronology of The Angel of the Revolution, and with aspects of the ship design system. Matthew Hartley has also contributed notes on converting air-ships to the Aeronef wargame system and a complete submarine combat system, Cruisers of the Deep.

Some time after writing the first draft of this worldbook I learned that there are several references to "Tsar Wars" in a strip in the comic 2000 AD. Needless to say there is no connection between this collection and the comic.

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IN the glossary that follows links are generally to the book and chapter in which a person etc. first appears or is mentioned. Ships and the principal characters are described in more detail in later sections. Some names appear more than once; in such cases any reference to the second or later version is followed by a number, e.g. Ariel (2) refers to the second Ariel. Two women named Olga Romanoff are mentioned in the second novel, but only the most recent appears as a character. Her name is usually abbreviated to O.R. in the definitions that follow; other names occur much less often and are given in full. Entries without links come from other sources or were invented for this worldbook.

African mountain valley discovered by Louis Holt and colonised by the Terrorists [AR 15]
Descendants of the Terrorists who colonised Aeria [OR 1]
Imaginary flying machine described by Verne in The Clipper of the Clouds; it was supported by vertical propellers. The first true air-ships were based on this principle. [AR 6]
Hiram Maxim's unsuccessful flying machine, which was pulled through the air by propellers and supported by fixed wings [AR 6]
See War-Balloon [AR 24] (note: for unknown reasons this word is consistently spelled as "Ae", not "Aë" as in "Aëronef" etc.)
After Fire Cloud; historical chronology adopted by the survivors of the disaster.
Ainsworth, Inspector
London detective secretly in the pay of Russia, murdered by the Terror [AR 3]
Variable-tilt wing, part of an air-ship [AR 6]
Heavier-than-air flying machine of the type invented by Richard Arnold [AR 1]
Alanmere, Lord
Viscount Tremayne, Secretary to British Embassy in St. Petersburg, secretly the Chief of the Brotherhood, but in fact controlled by Natas' hypnosis until the eve of the War of the Terror. Later commander of the American Section of the Outer Circle [AR 1]
Albert II
King of England in 2030, the fourth in descent from Edward VII. His full titles include Emperor of Britain and President of the Anglo-Saxon Federation (subsequent to the end of Aerian control of the Federation), but he has no real power [OR 20]
Al Borak
Sultan Khalid's aerial flagship [OR 23]
Alexandrovitch, Alexei
Colonel commanding a Russian war-balloon fleet captured by the Terrorists. Shot by Natasha while attacking Natas [AR 28]
al Ghazi, Musa
Grand Vizier to Khalid the Magnificent, who was drugged and later murdered by O.R. [OR 17]
See Avenger [OR 29]
Alliance, The
See Anglo-Teutonic Alliance [AR 24]
American Ring
A secret organisation of American government officials (including the President and Vice-President) and capitalists, which intended to ally with the Franco-Slavonian League to destroy Britain and Germany [AR 37]
ben Amru, Hakem
Moslem astronomer at the Memphis observatory who confirmed that the Fire-Cloud would destroy the Earth [OR 30]
British cruiser [AR 22]
Anglo-Saxon Federation
Alliance of the English-speaking nations, led by Britain, sponsored by the Terrorists [AR 37]
Anglo-Teutonic Alliance
Alliance of Britain, Germany, and Austria, with allies including Holland, Belgium, Denmark, Bulgaria, Greece, and Turkey [AR 24]
O.R.'s maid, who may have been responsible for the escape of Alan Arnoldson and later went mad as the Fire-Cloud approached the Earth [OR 15]
Anniversary of Victory
The eighth of December (celebrating the final defeat of the Franco-Slavonian League in 1904) [OR Pro.]
Anson, Black Prince, Hotspur, Neptune, Rodney, Superb
British battleships sunk in the Baltic [AR 25]
Arethusa, Barossa, Clyde, Grasshopper, Lais, Nautilus, Seagull
British unarmoured cruisers sunk in the Baltic [AR 25]
(1) First air-ship of the Terrorist Fleet [AR 6]
(2) Aerian air-ship of the same class as the second Ithuriel [OR 9]
British cruiser [AR 21]
Arnold, Alan
President of the Supreme Council, a descendant of Richard Arnold, Natasha, and Alan Tremayne [OR 1]
Arnold, Isma
Sister of Alan Arnoldson, fiancee of Alexis Masarov [OR 10]
Arnold, Richard
British inventor of the first successful heavier-than-air Air-ship, later known as the Master of the Air, married Natasha, etc. [AR 1]
Arnoldson, Alan
Son of Alan Arnold, enslaved by O.R. and eventually leader of the forces opposing her [OR 4]
Ascalon, Menelaus
British battleships assigned to defend Aberdeen [AR 31]
Liner of Western service destroyed by one of O.R.'s initial attacks [OR 8]
Cunard liner in which Michael Roburoff returned to Britain during the War of the Terror [AR 20]
Autocrat, The
Reference to the Tsar [AR 1]
Aerian flagship built in response to O.R's threat. Later renamed the Alma [OR 21]
Steamer which took the Terrorists' air-ship components to Africa [AR 13]
(1) Terrorist air-ship which took Michael Roburoff to America, later damaged over London [AR 35]
(2) Aerian air-ship used as a courier for the Council [OR 24]
Extremely hard blue metal found only in the mines of Aeria. It cuts steel "as a diamond cuts glass." [OR 10]
Balfour, Arthur James
British Prime Minister at the time of the war of the Terror [AR 9]
Beatrice, Mersey, Narcissus
British armoured cruisers sunk in the Baltic [AR 25]
Beresford, Admiral
British commander at the second battle of the Nile [AR 34]
Before Fire Cloud; historical chronology adopted by the survivors of the disaster.
Black Wings
Coronet with jet wings symbolising penance, otherwise identical to the normal Aerian golden wings [OR 16]
Brasoff, Ivan
Cossack Captain and Terrorist sympathiser ordered to force an early start to the war in India [AR 9]
Brotherhood of Freedom
Name generally used by members of the Terror amongst themselves [AR 3] [OR Pro.]
Last British battleship sunk at the Battle of Dover [AR 39]
Liner of Southern service destroyed by one of O.R.'s initial attacks [OR 8]
Children of Deliverance
Natas' term for the descendants of the Terrorists, later used for those Aerians selected to survive the impact of the Fire-Cloud [OR Pro.]
Chromatic photograph
Colour photograph [OR 14]
Circle, Inner
Elite of The Brotherhood, responsible only to Natas and other leaders, sometimes known as the Executive [AR 3]
Circle, Outer
The "rank and file" of The Brotherhood, rarely aware of the identity of other members or their leaders. Split into British, Continental, American, and Colonial Sections [AR 3]
Colston, Maurice
Socialist "idler" and secret member of the Terror, who was flogged with a knout for protesting at the lethal flogging of a "Jewess". Real name Alexis Mazanoff [AR 2]
Conning Tower
Command cabin aboard an air-ship or submarine, used to direct gunfire etc. Usually separate from the wheelhouse [AR 10]
Power station used to charge up power cylinders used by the Aerians and Russians [OR 20]
Cosensz, General
Italian commander in the invasion of Britain [AR 42]
Cosmo, George
Chief Engineer of the Narwhal [OR 13]
Cosmo, Vassilis
Scientist who first made contact with the Martians. Elder brother of George Cosmo [OR 11]
Crystal Wings
Silver coronet with crystal wings worn by Aerian women at 18, the age of majority [OR 10]
Cyanogen poison-grenade
Bomb which explosively sprays an aerosol of liquid droplets of cyanogen chloride, used as a poison gas [AR 24]
Cyclops, Pluto, Thunderer
Coast-Defence vessels assigned to defend Aberdeen [AR 31]
Swan-like air-ship used by Isma Arnold [OR 11]
Danzig, Friedrich der Grosse, Kaiser Wilhelm
German battleships sunk in the Baltic [AR 25]
Darrel, Fedora
Alias of Natasha [AR 8]
Diamond Wings
Coronet worn by O.R. in imitation of Aerian styles [OR 29]
Dornovitch, Colonel
Secret policeman murdered on the Paris-Petersburg Express [AR 1]
Drumcraig Island
Scottish base where the Ariel was built [AR 9]
Dynamite Cruiser
Fast cruiser armed with dynamite guns [AR 37]
Dynamite Gun
Pneumatic gun used to fire dynamite shells[AR 37]
"Earth Folk"
The non-Aerian majority in the 21st century [OR 8].
Explosive, a mix of picric acid and other chemicals [AR 39]
Edward VII
King of England during the War of the Terror [AR 19]
Ernstein, Max
Aerian submarine navigator and engineer, captain of the Cachalot, commander of the naval fleet at Kerguelen until Alan Arnoldson took command, then Admiral of the Aerian Mediterranean fleet [OR 12]
European Constitution
Governing law of Europe and the Anglo-Saxon Federation [AR Ep.]
See Circle, Inner [AR 3]
See Anglo-Saxon Federation [AR 37]
Festival of Deliverance
Festival held every five years on the Anniversary of Victory [OR Pro.]
The incandescent debris of a planetary collision which strikes the Earth on 23/9/2037 [OR 29]
Forrest, Edward
Commander of the Ariel (2), later admiral in command of Kerguelen Island [OR 12]
Frazer, Captain
Captain of the Aurania [AR 23]
Franco-Slavonian League
Alliance of France, Russia, and Italy, supported by Spain, Portugal, and Servia [AR 24]
Funen, Viborg
Danish battleships sunk in the Baltic [AR 25]
le Gallifet, General
French military leader and de facto dictator of France [AR 37]
Golden Wings
Golden coronet with wings worn by adult male Aerians enjoying full citizenship [OR 4]
Guichard, Jean
French crewman of the Ariel, later Ithuriel [AR 10]
Moslem warship captured by Alexis Masarov while carrying messages from the Sultan to O.R. [OR 24]
Holt, Louis
British explorer who crossed Africa by balloon and discovered Aeria [AR 15]
(1) See Vindaya [OR 18]
(2) See Orion [OR 22]
(1) Flagship of Terrorist fleet [AR 13]
(2) A later Aerian air-ship, stolen by O.R. and renamed Revenge [OR 7]
(3) A faster ship of the same general class built to replace (2) [OR 9]
Pseudonymous surname used by Paul Romanoff and O.R. [OR 2]
Jackson, Thomas
Retainer employed by Louis Holt [AR 15]
Coach or cab driver, often a humorous description [AR 4]
Kassatkin, Alexei
Member of the Moscow Nihilist Circle betrayed by a servant and arrested with Anna Ornovski [AR 9]
Khalid the Magnificent
Sultan of the Moslem Empire, allied with O.R. to conquer the world after she promised to convert to Islam [OR 8]
Khemski, Louis
Supporter of O.R. who assassinated Kishenov (below) and his officers to prevent them revealing the existence of the Antarctic cave complex later used by her [OR 13]
Russian explorer (no other name given) who discovered the complex of caves used by O.R. in the Antarctic [OR 13]
Short Russian whip with many thongs [AR 2]
League, The
See Franco-Slovenian League [AR 24]
Levin, Andrei
Secretary of O.R.'s council [OR 15]
Little Father
Nickname for the Tsar [AR 8]
Lossenski, Boris
Gunner aboard the Revenge who shot down her first Aerian victim. Later nominal commander of the Revenge [OR 9]
Lossenski, Michael
Commander of O.R.'s fleet of submersible warships [OR 12]
Lossenski, Orloff
Father of Boris and Michael Lossenski, O.R.'s chief military adviser [OR 12]
Terrorist 3-mast air-ship stolen by Russian traitors, recaptured, destroyed after a shell hit her [AR 27]
Lord Alanmere's steam-yacht, later sunk by French fire while taking Alanmere and Natas to a rendezvous with the Ithuriel [AR 10]
Liner of Eastern service destroyed by one of O.R.'s initial attacks [OR 8]
Explosive based on picric acid, used in armour-piercing shells etc. Stable as an explosive, but corrosive. Also known as Lyddite [AR 24]
Marston, Frank
English second officer of the Ithuriel [AR 28]
Martinov, Colonel
Director of Russian secret police in London. One of those responsible for flogging Radna Michaelis. Assassinated September 1903 [AR 8]
Master of the Air
The Brotherhood's nickname for Richard Arnold [AR 5]
Mazanoff, Alexis
Real name of Maurice Colston [AR 9]
Masarov, Alexis
A descendant of Alexis Mazanoff, who was captured by O.R. with Alan Arnoldson and shared his captivity [OR 4]
Masarov, Maurice
Father of Alexis Masarov [OR 10]
Marazion, Lord
Cornish nobleman, uncle of Natasha [AR 20]
Air-ship of the Terrorist Fleet [AR 45]
Meyer, Franz
German crewman of the Ariel, later Ithuriel [AR 10]
Michaelis, Radna
Victim of Russian penal system and member of the Inner Circle. The best shot of the Inner Circle. Later wife of Alexis Mazanoff [AR 6]
di Murska, Sylvia
(1) See Natasha
(2) Natasha's mother; see Sylvia Penarth [AR 48]
di Murska, Israel
See Natas
The swiftest and most powerful vessel of the Russian submarine fleet, stolen by Alan Arnoldson and Alexis Masarov [OR 10]
Leader of the Terror. A Jewish merchant driven to violence by false imprisonment and the death of his wife, crippled but somehow gaining hypnotic powers. Real name Israel di Murska [AR 6] [AR 20]
Daughter of Natas; a member of the Inner Circle, the so-called Angel of the Revolution. Real name Sylvia di Murska [AR 6]
New Terror, The
Name given to O.R.'s organisation while its true nature was unknown [AR 8]
Night Glass, Glasses
Telescope or binoculars with wide objective lenses to make the best use of dim light [AR 44]
Russian terrorist organisation, most active 1855-81; responsible for assassination of Alexander II, 1881 [AR 1]
Nineteenth Century
Journal of the arts and sciences; renamed Twentieth Century in 1900 [AR 8]
North German
Liner sunk by Franco-Italian fleet before the arrival of the Ithuriel to rescue the Aurania [AR 23].
Liner owned by the Canadian Pacific line. [AR 23]
Tsar's secret police (many variations on spelling, e.g. Okrana, Ochranha, etc. in different sources).
Oreloff, Paul
Russian traitor, member of the Outer Circle who helped steal the Lucifer [AR 26]
(1) Terrorist air-ship commanded by Tremayne at the battle of Armageddon [AR 25]
(2) Aerian air-ship commanded by Alexis Masarov, of the Avenger's type, rechristened Isma [OR 22]
(3) Aerian sentinel-ship which was the first to detect O.R.'s attack on Aeria [OR 31]
Ornovski, Princess Anna
Russian princess and Terrorist double-agent; Natasha posed as her niece [AR 8]
Ostroff, Levin
Gunner aboard the Revenge who destroyed three Aerian ships with a single shot [OR 9]
Pattern Man-Servant
Uniformed servant serving several apartments in a hotel etc. [AR 2]
Peace, The
Period from the end of the War of the Terror to the World-War, 1905-2037 [OR Pro.]
Penarth, Lady Muriel
Fiancee (later wife) of Lord Alanmere, later revealed to be Natasha's cousin [AR 20]
Penarth, Sylvia
Maiden name of Natasha's mother, died a prisoner in Siberia [AR 48]
Petrovitch, Ivan
Russian crewman of the Ariel, later Ithuriel, who accompanied Colston in the rescue of Natasha and Princess Ornovski [AR 10]
Photogrammic messages
Coded light signals used for communication between Earth and Mars [OR 26]
Power Cylinders
Gas canisters used to fuel early air-ships [AR 6]
Power Reservoirs
Electrical storage devices aboard Aerian and Russian air-ships, charged at conversion stations [OR 13]
Prabylov, Admiral
Russian admiral who broke a truce to fire on the Ariel [AR 30]
Reshad, Sultan Mohammed
Conqueror of Northern Africa and Sothern Asia during the War of the Terror, eventually stopped by the Aerians and the Anglo-Saxon Federation [AR Ep.]
Stolen Aerian air-ship, originally the Ithuriel [OR 9]
Ridge, the
High cliff bordering Aeria, mostly 6000 ft.high [AR 17]
Riboult, Monsieur
French inventor of the war-balloons used by France and Russia in the War of the Terror, and Director of the League's flying fleet [AR 24]
Roburoff, Michael
Brother of Nicholas Roburoff. Commander of the American section of the Terrorists. Later attempted to force Natasha into marriage, and killed by her on Natas' orders [AR 20]
Roburoff, Nicholas
President of the Executive of the Brotherhood [AR 7]
Romanoff, Alexander
Tsar Alexander III, captured at the end of the War of the Terror. Died on arriving in Siberia [OR 2]
Romanoff, Nicholas
Tsarevich at the time of the War of the Terror; semi-paralysed following an unsuccessful assassination attempt in 1891. Died in Siberia, 1908.
Romanoff, Olga
(1) O.R., the 5th-generation descendant of Alexander III, later self-crowned Tsarina of Russia [OR 2]
(2) The youngest child of Alexander III, O.R.'s great-great grandmother [OR 2]
Romanoff, Paul
Artist and great-grandson of Alexander III, grandfather of O.R. [OR 2]
Romanoff, Serge
Collateral relative of Alexander III, fiancee of O.R., crowned Tsar by O.R. but murdered at her command [OR 2]
Romanoff, Vladimer
Scientist and father of O.R., killed by Aerians for attempting to build an air-ship [OR 2]
Romanoff, Vladimir
See Vladimir, Grand Duke.
Second House of the British government, replacing the Lords [OR 20]
Sister ship of the Aurania, under construction [AR 23]
Liner destroyed by one of O.R.'s initial attacks [OR 8]
Smith, Andrew
English Coxswain of the Ariel, later Ithuriel [AR 10]
Soudeikin, Dmitri
Sub-commissioner of police at Tiumen, a secret member of the Outer Circle [AR 12]
Supreme Council
Ruling body of the Anglo-Saxon Federation [OR 1]
Tamboff, Peter
Russian traitor, member of the Outer Circle who helped steal the Lucifer [AR 26]
Terror, The
An extremist terrorist organisation which secretly controls the Nihilists, Anarchists, and Socialists, and has links to Trade Unions and other political organisations [AR 1]
Travelling Tax
An annual payment entitling Federation citizens to free travel anywhere within the Federation [OR 4]
Tremayne, Alma
Alan Arnoldson's fiancee; a fifth-generation descendant of Alan Tremayne via his son Cyril [OR 10]
Tremayne, Francis
Vice-President of Aeria, Alma Tremayne's father [OR 14]
Tremayne, Viscount
Alan Tremayne; see Lord Alanmere.
Tscheszco, Ivan
Russian traitor, member of the Outer Circle who helped steal the Lucifer [AR 26]
Turgenieff, Peter
One of O.R.'s most trusted sea captains, in command of the Narwhal and killed when Alan Arnoldson and Alexis Masarov escaped [OR 15]
Tyrant of the North
Abusive nickname for the Tsar [AR 9]
Vale of Paradise, the
Affectionate nickname for Aeria [OR 22]
Aerian air-ship used as a dispatch boat and to transport casualties after the attack on Mount Terror [OR 14]
Russian air-ship sent to contact Khalid the Magnificent and offer an alliance, but captured by Alan Arnoldson, later renamed the Isma; she reverted to her original name later [OR 16]
Victoria, Queen
Retired Queen of England [AR 19]
Vincent, Bruno
Captain of the Orion (3) [OR Ep.]
Vladimir, Grand Duke
Alexander's brother, regent during the Tsar's absence from Russia [AR 48]
Volnow, Professor
Director of the Russian Imperial Arsenal Laboratory, at St. Petersburg, later killed by Russian fire [AR 27]
Vornjeh, Amos
Russian traitor, member of the Outer Circle who helped steal the Lucifer [AR 26]
Fictional form of mentally controlled "natural energetic agencies" used to power flying machines and automata; the Aerians have similar powers [OR 4]
Underground race controlling Vril, in Lord Lytton's novel The Coming Race [OR 4]
Powered semi-rigid airships used by France and Russia [AR 8]
Rollerblades; used in Aeria, where the streets are especially smooth to accommodate them [OR 7]
Winter Festival
Annual festival in St. Petersburg which celebrates the downfall of the Tsars [OR 4]

The Secret History of Aeria
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"We often think of history divided into neat slices, like a well-cut ham. [n.b. find another simile; without pigs this will soon be meaningless.] For instance, we talk about the Victorians as though an entirely new species came into existence when Victoria ascended the throne in 1837, and died en masse [find another phrase!] when she retired in 1897. In reality much of what had gone before continued unchanged for decades after Victoria's coronation, and the general trends of the Victorian period continued well into the twentieth century, until the first great discontinuity of modern history, the War of the Terror.

"Similarly, it is possible to view the 'slice' of history that begins with the War of the Terror as a discrete whole, culminating in the greater discontinuity of the Fire-Cloud. Things are never that tidy; the seeds of the Terror were laid in the 1880s and earlier, and we still live with some of their consequences today..."

Isma Mazarof - first draft of A History of Aeria
New Aeria Press 12 A.F.C.

THE sources for this collection detail two relatively short periods, both dominated by wars, but gloss over more than a hundred and twenty years of peace. This section suggests some events that might have been going on behind the scenes in both novels, and tries to outline some of the history of the intervening years. Finally, it looks at the world after the second novel, a world with only a few hundred survivors.

The periods covered by the novels may not be ideal for extended role playing campaigns; opportunities for adventure are generally limited to serving with one or another of the factions involved in various wars, espionage and terrorism, survivalism, and looting, racketeering, and other forms of crime. Some adventure ideas for these periods are outlined below, but they are mostly intended to be one-off scenarios; those set in the days of the Terror might be used as a prelude to a campaign with a later setting, those set during the Second Terror are snapshots from the death of most of the human race.

1881-1905 - The Terror
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"...What I have to ask you, comrades, is what we are to make of this so-called Terror. I put it to you that they are as much our enemies as the Tsar; indeed, that they may even be in the pay of the Tsar. They claim to share our interests, but they demand blind obedience. They have money and weapons, to be sure, but our contacts with them are entirely through intermediaries, how are we to be sure that we are not dealing with agents of the Ochrana? Even if they are not, it is obvious that there is a hidden agenda behind their actions. I say again, comrades, that we must be vigilant in our dealings with these strangers, and beware of their gifts..."
Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov¹ (AKA Lenin)
Trans., minutes of Moscow Nihilists, 1898
¹Executed on Natas' orders, 1899

MOST scholars agree that the main history of the Terror begins in 1881, with the assassination of Tsar Alexander II by the Nihilists and the succession of Alexander III. These events have earlier roots, of course, but Alexander III was the the lynch-pin of history, absolute monarch of a nation which systematised brutality and the oppression of its subjects, and ruthlessly crushed anyone else who happened to fall foul of its system. At the time of his assassination Alexander II was planning a series of reforms; Alexander III put a stop to them, and rendered Russia more repressive than ever before. Many Russians, especially Jews and members of other minorities, wanted to flee to Europe and America; Alexander's officials made it almost impossible, and anyone seeking permission to leave was almost guaranteed exile in Siberia. Many of those who did not flee were forced into the Russian army (with the term of conscription lasting up to twenty years) or otherwise victimised.

An early victim was Israel di Murska, later known as Natas, a Jewish merchant from Britain, who visited Russia with the intention of lobbying for the release of thousands of Jews who found it impossible to escape. [AR 50] He was arrested on trumped-up charges, sent to Siberia, and eventually crippled by a guard's brutal assault. On his return to Britain in 1884 he learned that his wife had vanished while trying to travel to meet him. Five years later he discovered that she had been abducted and enslaved by a high Russian official, later dying in captivity.

di Murska joined the Nihilists, initially because of their shared hatred of the Tsar but later adopting their socialist goals. Within a few years his organisational genius, aided by a strange gift for hypnosis which allowed him to dominate all opposition, had made him their leader. But the Nihilists were too public for his liking, and too heavily infiltrated by agents of the Tsar and other informers. He set to work to create another organisation, later known as the Terror, which would be ruthless but totally secret. The Terror's first task was to purge the Nihilists, eliminating traitors, weaklings and the over-talkative, and turn them into the deadly efficient organisation that popular fiction had always imagined. That accomplished, it gradually came to be the power behind the scenes in most socialist organisations including the major trade unions.

"Under the circumstances there is no objection to your knowing that. In the first place, that which is known to the outside world as the Terror is an international secret society underlying and directing the operations of the various bodies known as Nihilists, Anarchists, Socialists -- in fact, all those organisations which have for their object the reform or destruction, by peaceful or violent means, of Society as it is at present constituted.

"Its influence reaches beyond these into the various trade unions and political clubs, the moving spirits of which are all members of our Outer Circle. On the other side of Society we have agents and adherents in all the Courts of Europe, all the diplomatic bodies, and all the parliamentary assemblies throughout the world.

[AR 5]

The Terror was designed on a cell basis from the outset, with a system of checks and cut-outs that made it virtually certain that any infiltrator or traitor would be caught and eliminated. Many of those in the Outer Circle, and in the other organisations which the Terror secretly controlled, had little or no idea of the real extent and power of the organisation. Only the members of the Inner Circle knew more, and they went to ruthless lengths to keep their secrets, while planning a systematic campaign of assassination which made the Terror the most feared secret society the world had ever known. A description of the final chain of command of the American section is typical of the organisation as a whole:

The Section was divided first into squads of ten under the command of an eleventh, who alone knew the leaders of the other squads in his neighbourhood. Ten of these squads made a company, commanded by one man, who was only known to the squad-captains, and who alone knew the captain of the regiment, which was composed of ten companies.

The next step in the organisation was the brigade, consisting of ten regiments, the captains of which alone the commander of the brigade, while the commanders of the brigades were alone acquainted with the members of the Inner Circle or Executive Council which managed the affairs of the whole Section, and whose Chief was the only man in the Section who could hold any communication with the Inner Circle of the Brotherhood itself, which, under the immediate command of Natas, governed the whole organisation throughout the world.

[AR 36]

Scenario Idea: Initiative Test
This adventure may be run at any time between the formation of the Terror and the start of the war. The characters have been recruited into the Outer Circle of the Terror, and tested for loyalty and discretion; their superiors feel that they may now be ready to perform a relatively minor mission.

They are to travel to France and learn the movements of Etienne Lambert, a petty criminal who is in the pay of the Russian Secret Police, spying on exiles in Paris. When they have traced his contacts they are to kill him, throwing as much blame as possible on his Russian masters. They may not seek the aid of members of the Terror in France, and mustn't reveal anything to the exiles Lambert has betrayed. There is no time limit; their superiors want it done carefully, not quickly.

There are snags, of course; Lambert has a wife and two children, and was blackmailed into betraying the exiles. The Russians have proof of his crimes, and have threatened to have him arrested if he doesn't co-operate. The exiles he has been spying on are scum, criminals who have been preying on other refugees in a protection racket - that's why the adventurers have been told to avoid them, the French branch of the Terror will be dealing with them shortly.

Basically this is a test of judgement and initiative. The Terror has no use for Lambert - he couldn't be trusted if his family was at risk - but the circumstances don't necessarily require his death:

  • If the adventurers ignore the situation and kill him as ordered their future activities will be restricted to minor operations where no initiative is required.
  • If they report the circumstances and request guidance they will be told to forget about Lambert and concentrate on the Russians who have been blackmailing him; find a way to kill them and blame the Tsar's network of spies. They will also be given more important operations in the future.
  • If the adventurers suggest using the exiled criminals to dispose of the Russian agents, or vice versa, they will be commended. An extensive dossier on the group will soon be provided by the French side of the Terror, and resources will be made available as needed.
  • If the adventurers make either decision and act on it without consulting their superiors they will be reprimanded; there was no hurry to deal with the situation, and they have exceeded their instructions. They will be given another chance, since they have unknowingly taken the right action, but they will be given several more tests before they are allowed to operate independently again.

In 1891, when the Terror was already becoming feared, there was an attempt to assassinate the Tsarevitch Nikolai, or Nicholas, first heir to the Russian throne, during a visit to Japan. The circumstances were bizarre; Nicholas' train broke down near Kobe, and he disembarked to get some fresh air. While he was outside a Japanese policeman named Tsuda passed by. Tsuda had been behaving oddly for some time, and for no apparent reason attacked Nicholas and slashed his head with a sword. He was promptly disarmed by another passenger, Prince George of Greece, who used his walking stick to knock the sword from Tsuda's hands (for some of the techniques he might have used see Self-Defence With A Walking Stick, on the FF CD-ROM). Nicholas was wounded; Tsuda was arrested, found guilty, and sentenced to life imprisonment. This sentence has never been satisfactorily explained, since the normal punishment for any crime against royalty was immediate execution; it is generally believed that he was helped by an isolationist faction in the Japanese government, but it has sometimes been claimed that Tsuda was a member of the Terror, and that his death, only three months later, was either an assassination to ensure his silence, or faked to cover his escape. There are many reasons to doubt this, not least the simple fact of Tsuda's ineptness; Nicholas survived the attack. Most historians prefer the so-called "lone swordsman" theory.

Although Nicholas' injuries didn't initially appear to be serious, he collapsed a few days later; surgeons diagnosed a stroke, possibly triggered by a blood clot that formed after the accident, leading to partial paralysis of his left side and blindness in his right eye. As a result he withdrew from public life, and it was thought likely that he would die (in fact he made a very gradual recovery, but remained frail, and had only recently returned to the Russian court at the outbreak of the War of the Terror). With Nicholas incapacitated the next heir was his brother, Prince George, but he was also an invalid; he suffered from tuberculosis (and in fact died in 1899). Alexander's third son was Prince Michael, then aged 13.

Alexander's advisers became alarmed; with Nicholas and George ill, and Michael so young, there would be a succession crisis if Alexander died. None of his sons was married, so there was no guarantee of continuity. Alexander was only 46, but his father's assassination and the activities of the Nihilists and the Terror were proof that the Tsar could die young. They urged him to take all possible precautions against assassination, and his doctors were instructed to monitor his health as closely as possible.

Alexander took their advice and strengthened his personal guard; he also issued instructions for the expansion of the Ochrana (secret police) and for the ruthless suppression of all dissident activity, their grip tightening to such an extent that there were protests from most European powers. Russia also began to modernise its armed forces; the excuse given was the possibility of war with Japan, but most observers realised that the main preparations were for a land war, and for the further subjugation of Russia's own population. Meanwhile Alexander's attentive doctors noticed, and treated, early signs of kidney disease (probably a delayed result of injuries in a train crash in 1888); daring surgery restored him to relatively good health, although he never recovered all of his former strength.

Life Before The War
The Edwardian age is very much a continuation of Victoria's reign; naturally there have been changes, such as the development of cheaper electricity supplies and more powerful weapons, but it is still the age of monarchy and gentility. For the politically-minded there are ominous signs that a major European war is brewing; Britain, Germany, France, Russia and a dozen other countries are arming and the Tsar has made no secret of his interest in claiming the dominion of the air. But the popular press prefers sensationalist headlines and most readers have been led to believe that the Nihilists and the Terror are a greater threat.

Britain is typical of many nations in this period. Governments are Conservative or Liberal; the Labour Party is beginning to become an effective political movement, but (as in Europe and the rest of the world) Socialism is still very much a minority political belief. Until the outbreak of war prices remain stable and low; some examples follow:

Man's Suit          £1 8s  Skirt            10s
Trousers            7s 6d  Blouse, silk     £1 5s 11d
Overcoat            £2     Nightdress       6s
Boots               11s    Stockings        2s 6d
Heavy nailed boots  19s    Woman's boots    7s
Walking shoes       14s    Woman's shoes    12s

Bacon, lb           7d     Bananas, each    1d
Beef, leg           10d    Coffee, lb       10d
Eggs, 12            11d    Potatoes, stone  7d
Sugar, lb           2d     Tea, lb          2s 5d

Brandy, bottle      4s 7d  Gin, bottle      2s 2d
Whisky, bottle      3s 5d  Beer, pint       1d
Cigarettes, 20      5d     Tobacco, oz.     5d

Postage, letter     1d     Telegram         6d
The Times           3d     Daily Mail       ½d

Train, 150 miles    15s    Omnibus, mile    1d
Underground railway 2d - any distance
Bicycle             £10    Family car       £200

2-bedroom house     £300   4-bedroom house  £650
House rental, week  7s     Room, week       3s 2d
Electricity, unit   3d     Gas, 1000 cu.ft. 4s
Coal, ton           18s    Candles, lb      10d
Matches, 12 boxes   8d

 Labourer, wk        18s - £1 2s rising to £2
 Skilled, wk.        £1 18s
 Clerk, wk.          £1 rising to £1 10s
 Miner, per wk.      15s rising to £1 15s
 Butler, year        £100
 Footman, year       £50

A significant event occurred in 1895, although its importance only became apparent 140 years later. Certain experiments on induced electromagnetic radiation which had initially seemed to show the promise of telegraphic communication without the use of wires began to fail. The range of these signals, initally estimated at several miles, was reduced to a handful of yards, regardless of the power of the transmitter, swamped by apparently random electromagnetic "noise". One of the scientists, Guglielmo Marconi, later said that it was as though "...we tried to shout through a hurricane." The signals existed, but had no useful range. Gradually work was abandoned as scientists moved on to other projects. These included attempts to tap into the "noise" as an energy source, but the power output, although measurable, was too low to be useful.

What was really happening, although it could not be guessed, was the first Martian attempts to establish communications with the Earth. The Martians had observed the first electrically-lit cities through their telescopes and decided to make contact; to do so they transmitted with overwhelming power, more than could be produced by all the generators of Earth, using a signalling system which unfortunately meant nothing to the scientists of the day.

Meanwhile Natas knew that his organisation alone, although growing fast, was too weak to destroy the Tsar and all traces of the Russian system of government. Instead he planned to foment a war between Russia and the major European powers, most notably Britain and Germany, then step in at the crucial moment to destroy the Tsar and impose socialism on the Western powers. As his agents carried out this plan he became aware that the Tsar also intended war; moreover, that he had powerful allies in American government and big business. The American branch of the Terror began to collect evidence of their activities, and in a few cases took action to delay the completion of the alliance. Victims included several industrialists, most notably the inventor Edison (who was working on several militarily important projects including a flying machine of the Aëronef type) and some of his staff and associates. This delayed the development of various weapons, and gave the Terror more time to recruit and arm its agents.

"...Interested as you are in the question, I suppose there is no need to tell you that for several years past the Tsar has had an offer open to all the world of a million sterling for a vessel that will float in the air, and be capable of being directed in its course as a ship at sea can be directed."
[AR 8]

In the closing years of the century developments in aviation threatened to give the Tsar an unbeatable military advantage. Several engineers were working on large steerable aerostats, or war-balloons, and there was also considerable interest in heavier-than-air machines which would be less affected by the wind. The Tsar was known to be interested in aviation, and was prepared to buy in the technology, or acquire it by espionage. Most other governments ignored aviation, except for some interest in captive observation balloons, or were unwilling to budget for realistic research programmes.

At this point aviation research was directed in three main directions; aerostats, powered fixed-wing aëroplanes (essentially gliders with engines), and a variety of aëronef-like designs which used propellers and other mechanisms to lift an aircraft bodily from the ground. Only the first showed much promise, the others required powerful lightweight engines that were unavailable. Aëroplanes also had the disadvantage of requiring launching catapults, which ruled them out of contention for military purposes¹.

¹Or so it was believed. In 1974 Aerian engineering students built a man-carrying aëroplane from materials that were available in 1904, with an enlarged version of a period internal combustion engine for power. It carried two passengers, and was able to take off under its own power, albeit after lengthy acceleration along a straight road, flying at 75 MPH. However it was noisy, unable to ascend or descend vertically, and hazardous to fly even in perfect weather, requiring continual attention from the helmsman. While this might be dismissed as a toy compared to the Ariel and other air-ships of the period, it is interesting to speculate on the course of events if such miniature air-ships had been available at the time of the War of the Terror, and equipped with light artillery or bombs.

Natas also sought control of the air; his technical advisers knew that flight was an inevitable development, and identified the scientists and engineers most likely to attain it first, by checking the subscribers of various technical and scientific journals and the authors of relevant articles, papers, and patents. Richard Arnold's early papers on aëronef power systems bought him to their attention. With his strange predictive ability Natas focused on him as the scientist most likely to come up with a usable aircraft capable of carrying a worthwhile payload and, more importantly, likely to fall in with the Terror's plans. He made sure that Arnold would be cut off from society and friends and subtly influenced him to hate Russia, planting articles and stories on the Tsar's tyranny in the newspapers and magazines Arnold read. Meanwhile the most powerful rivals were discredited and eliminated, often by murder and sabotage; the destruction of Count Von Zeppelin's machine in July 1900 was a typical operation, witnessed by thousands of horrified onlookers.

Scenario Idea: What Goes Up...
"Good afternoon, comrades. These photographs show Count Von Zeppelin, who is shortly to test this steerable metal-framed balloon at Lake Constance, near Freidrichshaven in Germany. Zeppelin is a patriot and has refused to sell the design to Russia, but Natas has learned that the Russians have stolen the plans of this craft, which is far in advance of comparable experiments in France and other countries; if the Tsar builds a fleet Russia will be able to dominate the world. Your mission is to discredit it completely, by ensuring that it is destroyed during the maiden flight. There must be no survivors, and no hint that it is anything other than a failure of the design, which must be seen to be fatally flawed."

The dirigible is being given its final checks and filled with hydrogen in a floating hangar on the lake, attended by engineers, officers and men of the German Balloon Corps, and the Count himself. It is never left unguarded; however, one of the Balloon Corps corporals is a member of the Outer Circle, and can probably smuggle small items in and out of the hangar. Optionally one or more of the crew or ground staff look enough like adventurers to be replaced by someone with appropriate Actor skills. The adventurers have diagrams of the dirigible and must come up with a scheme for destroying it without any allegation of sabotage. If necessary NPC engineers, explosives experts, and scientists are available to help them, but the adventurers must develop the plan and put it into action.

There are several obvious targets for sabotage; the gas bags, the mobile weight that controls the airship's balance, the ballast mechanisms, and the aluminium structure of the dirigible itself. The trick is to make whatever happens look like a complete accident and a fundamental flaw in the design, which implies structural failure at a critical point, or a major fire leaving no trace of its origin. To this end it should be noted that aluminium will burn at sufficiently high temperatures, and is "rotted" by certain chemical compounds (which will not be named here for obvious reasons) in a form of spreading corrosion which can cause serious damage to aluminium structures. The FF CD-ROM includes an article, The Ship That Flies, which describes Zeppelin's airship and first flight in detail.

Useful NPCs for this adventure are British journalist George Griffith and artist Fred T. Jane, in Germany to report on and sketch the first flight. Although neither is a member of the Terror, Griffith will later write the definitive account of the war, illustrated by Jane.

Another possibility for an adventure along these lines would be the "elimination" of American bicycle makers Wilbur and Orville Wright, before they can get their heavier-than-air flyer off the ground. They appear as characters in a rather different context in one of the FF2 adventures.

Arnold's eventual success, in September 1903, coincided with the development of a French steerable war-balloon [AR 8] designed by a Monsieur Riboult (later director of the Franco-Slavonian League's war-balloon fleet), a project Natas had deliberately allowed to come to fruition. Natas knew that the Tsar planned to go to war as soon as he had aircraft, and that the French were prepared to share the technology with Russia; if the Tsar could be induced to begin his campaign with aircraft that were greatly inferior to those available to the Terror, his eventual destruction could be assured. It was a dangerous gambit, but one that Natas' strange prophetic abilities suggested would work.

Arnold was sent to Russia to meet the Chief (Alan Tremayne) and to examine the completed war-balloon. He had a series of narrow escapes before returning to Britain and starting work on the construction of the first full-sized air-ship, the Ariel. Natas' motives in allowing Arnold to take such risks are difficult to understand; if he had been captured and interrogated it is possible that Russia would have learned his secrets, although it is likely that there were plans to free or kill him if necessary. However, this trip did give Arnold a better understanding of the appalling conditions then current in Russia, and thus strengthened his commitment to the cause. It also produced detailed plans and specifications of the Russian war-balloons, making their limitations clear and leading to some modifications to the Terror's air-ship designs; most notably the forward ram was lengthened and the propellers sharpened to ensure that they would cut through a war-balloon's fabric without becoming tangled.

"...How you got to know of me and my invention is, after all, a matter of indifference to me. With your perfect system of espionage you might well find out more secret things than that."
[AR 5]

With hindsight it is obvious that Arnold completely underestimated the Terror, even as he acknowledged its capabilities. He believed that he alone controlled the secret of flight; in reality all important details, including the composition of his fuel, were known long before he was contacted and recruited. If he had refused to join, or showed any sign of wanting to sell out to the Tsar, he would have been killed; Natas preferred him alive and working for the Terror, since he knew more about his design than anyone else, but if necessary other arrangements could and would have been made. The demands Arnold made on joining the Terror were accepted because they fitted in with the Terror's goals, although Arnold thought that the Terror had no alternative but to agree. In fact it could be said that Arnold was later the first to break the terms he made, in his attack on Kronstadt.

Ariel plans. The Ariel.
The Ariel
Archive plans and a painting by 'Natasha', 1906
Matters began to come to a head in March 1904. The Ariel was complete and manufacture of the components and fuel for another twelve air-ships was well in hand. Meanwhile Natasha and Princess Anna Ornovski had returned to Russia under assumed names to discover the terms of the secret treaty between France and Russia, and to aid the escape of various allies who had been "blown" to the Minister of the Interior. They were betrayed, arrested as spies, and sentenced to Siberia. When the information reached Britain, Colston was ordered to use the Ariel, captained by Arnold, to rescue them en route to Siberia.

At this point the Ariel had been flight-tested but her weapons were untried, and the direct course to Tiumen, where the rescue was scheduled to occur, passed over the fortress of Kronstadt and St. Petersburg. Arnold had by this time become so angry that he thirsted for action; Colston insisted that the actual rescue was to be as bloodless as possible, so Arnold found another target for his rage.

"There is not the slightest reason why we should not take a shot at Kronstadt, if only to give the Russians a foretaste of favours to come. Still, I won't fire the first shot on any account, simply because that honour belongs to you. I'll fire the second with pleasure."
[AR 11]

Good God, this is awful.
The Destruction of Kronstadt
Painting by Fred T. Jane
It cannot be pretended that there was any real justification for this attack upon Kronstadt; it achieved nothing except the destruction of an ancient fortress and the death of a few hundred soldiers and sailors, and gave the Russians advanced warning of the air-ship's capabilities without any obvious benefit to the Revolution. Colston should have known better; instead he acquiesced in the attack, and even fired the second shot!

The records of Aeria show that when the news reached Britain there was an emergency meeting of the Inner Circle, which debated punishing Arnold and Colston for exceeding their orders. However, their orders could be interpreted as allowing the attack; it had been anticipated that they would probably have to use the air-ship publicly at some point during this mission, and they had permission to do so if necessary. Whether the attack could be construed as "necessary" has been the subject of considerable debate; suffice it to say that the Terror so strongly favoured action against Russia, even non-essential action, that there was never much doubt of the outcome. Their aim was to provoke a war that would destroy the Tsar; anything that raised tensions in any way was likely to be approved.

On Monday morning a Council of Ministers was held at the Peterhof Palace in St. Petersburg, presided over by the Tsar, and convened to discuss the destruction of Kronstadt.

At this Council it was announced that the fleet of war-balloons would be ready to take the air in a week's time from then, and that the concentration of troops on the Afghan frontier was as complete as it could be without provoking immediate hostilities with Britain. In fact, so close were the Cossacks and the Indian troops to each other, both on the Pamirs and on the western slopes of the Hindu Kush, that a collision might be expected at any moment.

The Council of the Tsar decided to let matters take their course in the East, and to make all arrangements with France to simultaneously attack the Triple Alliance as soon as the war-balloons had been satisfactorily tested.

[AR 14]

One of the great questions of history is the Russian government's motive in allowing the war to begin at this point, when it was obvious that their war-balloons were completely outclassed by the mysterious air-ship that destroyed Kronstadt. It is often argued that Alexander was more aware of the importance of air power than any other ruler, and must surely have realised the hopelessness of the situation. Surely there were ample survivors to attest to the power of the Terrorist air-ship, its speed and manoeuvrability, and the effect of its shells. How could any sane government oppose such power?

It must be remembered that the attack on Kronstadt was the first military use of an air-ship, and that its implications were slow to sink in, even on the most air-minded governments. The reports published abroad, before censorship blocked all comment, gave an idea of the truth, but they received little circulation inside Russia. No Russian officers survived the explosions, and the surviving soldiers and seamen were mostly peasant conscripts, dazed by the suddenness of the attack and unable to give a coherent account of events. Their stories were confused and often contradictory, and a full enquiry continued for several weeks after the attack, long after the start of the war. It was known that the air-ship had attacked at high speed and from a considerable height, but the range at which the shells were fired wasn't clear, and as reports moved up through layers of bureaucracy, at frantic speed, these details were simplified or minimised, often by Terrorist sympathisers. By the time they reached the Tsar and his Council an unbiased reader might have formed the impression that the air-ship described was only a little more destructive than the Tsar's own war-balloons, with a lucky hit on a magazine destroying the fort.

Several other false assumptions led to this decision.

Russian Soldiers
of the 1904 War
The decision was made within hours of the attack on Kronstadt; once made, Russia was committed to war. The ponderous machinery of mobilisation swung into action and production of war-balloons was accelerated. Cossack units on the Indian frontier were ordered to begin preparations for an invasion of Cashmere. The Indian war had two main aims; it was primarily a land grab aimed at the riches of Cashmere, but it also tied up British troops that might otherwise be recalled to Europe for the "main" war. It was supposed to start simultaneously with the war in Europe, but on Natas' instructions Ivan Brasoff, a Terrorist sympathiser and Cossack captain [AR 9], accelerated the plans to ensure the final declaration of war between Britain and Russia. An unexpected consequence (unexpected except by Natas) was a Moslem uprising in India, led by Sultan Mohammed Reshad, which over the course of several months wiped out the remaining British forces and forced the Russians back to their border. It marked the end of colonial rule in India.

Following the rescue of Natasha [AR 13] the Ariel went on to Africa and explored Aeria, the enclosed valley discovered by Holt and Jackson in 1899 [AR 17]. The Terrorists planned to sit out the early stages of the war, while building up their forces for the end game, and Aeria seemed the perfect headquarters for this purpose. It was virtually inaccessible by land, except by difficult mountaineering techniques, and would be easy to defend if the Russians somehow realised it was their base. Arnold and Colston and their crew surveyed the the valley and identified its natural resources, and built the first huts of the village that would eventually become the capital city of Aeria.

Meanwhile workmen and the components of another dozen air-ships were shipped to one of the Cape Verde islands [AR 9], where the air-ships were assembled and tested [AR 18] and the crews trained in their operation.

This mysterious apparition.
Ithuriel Rescues the Aurania
Painting by Fred T. Jane
Eleven of the air-ships were copies of the Ariel, the twelfth was a much larger craft, the Ithuriel, built as the flagship of the fleet. Towards the end of June the fleet flew to Aeria and construction of a larger permanent base was begun; a few days later the Ithuriel set out to collect Natas and Tremayne, and to pick up Michael Roburoff, president of the American Section of the Terror, who would be returning to Britain aboard the liner Aurania [AR 21]. This led to a clash with elements of the French and Italian fleets, the first battle between air-ships and surface vessels. Meanwhile the air-ship fleet at Aeria was left under the command of Nicholas Roburoff.

On the evening of the Ithuriel's departure Aeria was hit by a tropical storm and Roburoff ordered the shipbuilders to shelter in the air-ships; under cover of the storm a group of Russians, members of the Outer Circle who were aboard the Lucifer, stole the air-ship and flew it towards Russia [AR 25]. Despite all of Roburoff's efforts they were not intercepted. When the air-ships returned with Natas there was an immediate investigation, as a result of which Nicholas Roburoff was stripped of his rank as President of the Executive of the Brotherhood. After refuelling the air-ships Ithuriel, Ariel and Orion set off in pursuit of the Lucifer, tracking it to Russia, where samples of its fuel had been left with Russia's premier chemist, Professor Volnow of the Imperial Arsenal Laboratory at St. Petersburg. Volnow was taken prisoner; as the Ithuriel left with him the laboratory was accidentally destroyed by an explosion caused by simultaneous release of both components of the fuel, apparently the action of a careless laboratory assistant. Russian sympathisers later claimed that bombs were dropped by the Terrorists, but this was always denied. Although several hundred civilian workers were killed, the Arsenal was a legitimate military target, so there seems no obvious reason for the Terror to lie about the matter. The log of the Ithuriel must be considered the best account of the incident, and supports the "accident" version of events.

On the water the results of the air-ship's attack were destructive almost beyond description.
Lucifer Attacks the Baltic Fleet
Painting by Fred T. Jane
Meanwhile the Lucifer had rendezvoused with the Russian surface fleet and war-balloons over the Baltic. Several memoirs published after the war speak of widespread Russian panic when it first arrived, before it was realised that it was flying the Russian flag. Once contact was established it flew point for a determined attack on the British and German fleets. In all Britain lost 16 warships and 17 torpedo-boats of the first and second classes, Germany and Denmark lost 13 warships and 15 torpedo-boats. Unlike any previous naval battle, there were virtually no survivors of the defeated fleet; the Lucifer and Russian war-balloons demonstrated conclusively that no surface force could hope to withstand aerial bombardment. A battle fought in the Mediterranean a few days later showed that modern naval warfare was completely transformed, even without air-ships; more than half of the Franco-Italian fleet was lost, but nearly a third of the British fleet was sunk and another third badly damaged; this almost entirely the result of artillery duels at a range of several miles!

Scenario Idea: Torpedo!
The adventurers are members of the Royal Navy, the only survivors from the officers and crew of Torpedo Boat 82, destroyed by a shell from the Lucifer. As the adventure begins they are floating on the remains of a slowly-sinking life raft. Dusk is closing in. Give them a while to worry about sharks etc., and worry about rations, then have them picked up by a Danish fishing yawl. Unfortunately the yawl has also picked up something else; a Whitehead torpedo, presumably fired by one side or the other (both have them) is tangled in the nets. The engine has stopped, but the warhead is probably still armed. The fishermen have no tools aboard, apart from knives, marlinspikes, and a rusty axe.

To make matters worse, the yawl seems to be in the path of the Russian fleet, which is visible by occasional gun and searchlight flashes; while it's making a couple of knots, there isn't enough wind to get out of the way...

There is an opportunity here for patriotic sailors, if they can recognise it. The torpedo has neutral buoyancy - it will float a little below the surface if it can be got back into the water. If they can tow it behind the yawl it will be a lethal surprise for anything that runs into it. The snags? There isn't enough rope aboard to keep it far enough away to ensure that the yawl will be safe (although adding a net or two will do the trick), and the crew of the yawl really don't want anything to do with a ton or so of high explosive. They must be overcome, persuaded, or somehow bribed.

If the adventurers do nothing the yawl will be machine-gunned by one of the Russian torpedo boats (actually a steam ship, much larger than later motor torpedo boats) but to do this the ship has to come within range of the torpedo, at the end of all of the ropes and nets aboard the yawl joined together.

If the torpedo explodes aboard the yawl everyone aboard, and anyone in the water nearby, will be killed. If it explodes on the end of all the ropes etc. the yawl will be damaged but survive. None of the other ships will notice the yawl, they'll think the torpedo boat hit a mine; it will sink within minutes.

The adventurers must then decide what to do about the Russian survivors, who will be swimming towards the yawl...

Come now, and fire the first shot in the warfare of the future.
Ithuriel Preparing to Fire
on War-Balloons
Painting by Fred T. Jane

A few hours after leaving St. Petersburg the Terrorist air-ships encountered a Russian war-balloon squadron, and Arnold decided to attack them and use them as bargaining chips to persuade the Tsar to return the Lucifer. After firing on two war-balloons the rest were easily subdued, apart from a third which attempted to escape and was destroyed by ramming [AR 28]. With these captives in tow the fleet proceeded to the Russian lines East of Berlin, where the Ithuriel delivered an ultimatum from Natas to the Tsar, at his field headquarters at Cüstrin.

...if you will tell me where the Lucifer is now to be found, and will despatch orders both by land and through Professor Volnow, who brings this letter to you, and will return with your answer, for her to be given up to me forthwith with everything she has on board, and will surrender with her the four traitors who delivered her into your hands, I will restore the nine war-balloons to you intact, and when I have recovered the Lucifer I will take no further part in the war unless either you or your opponents proceed to unjustifiable extremities.

If you reject these terms, or if I do not receive an answer to this letter within two hours of the time that the bearer of it descends in the aerostat, I shall give orders for the immediate destruction of the war-balloons now in my hands, and I shall then proceed to destroy Cüstrin and the other aerostats which are moored near the town. That done I shall, for the time being, devote the force at my disposal to the defence of Berlin, and do my utmost to bring about the defeat and dispersal of the army which will then no longer be commanded by yourself.

In other words, Natas promised the return of the war-balloons and a free hand in Europe if the Lucifer and its crew were returned, and guaranteed that the Terrorists would oppose the attack on Berlin if the Tsar refused.

By now the Tsar had a clearer idea of the destructive power of the Terror's air-ships, and had no choice but to comply. However, his letter refused to hand over the crew, who were Russian citizens (after the war identified as members of the Ochrana, the Russian secret police). Natas decided to accept these modified terms, and ordered Arnold to release the war-balloons and set off in pursuit of the Russian Baltic fleet and the Lucifer, since he felt that its recapture was far more important than the destruction of the Russian aerostats or the death of the traitors.

There was a sharp, grinding report from one of the tops of the man-of-war.
A Treacherous Attack on the Ariel
Painting by Fred T. Jane
At this point a tragedy occurred. The air-ships found the Russian fleet, and the Ariel was sent down under a flag of truce to negotiate, but the admiral refused to believe that the Tsar's message or Professor Volnow's version of events were genuine. Instead he fired on the Ariel before the flag of truce had been lowered. Professor Volnow was killed; Mazanoff fired by reflex, and the shell destroyed the Russian flagship and nearly knocked the Ariel out of the air, but luckily her engines were restarted in time to save her [AR 30]. On Natas' orders the air-ships refrained from destroying the fleet.

It must be emphasised that despite all efforts by subsequent historians to "pretty up" Natas' plan and make it seem less ruthless than it was, it is clear that he had no desire to stop the Russian attack, and little intention of doing so; he wanted Britain to be on the verge of collapse before he intervened. His ultimatum was a last resort, made necessary by the gravity of the situation.

If the Tsar had refused to co-operate Natas would have carried out his threat with extreme reluctance, and probably found a way around it - for example, by destroying the Lucifer early in the battle then breaking off to give Russia a free hand. The only way for the Revolution to succeed was from a position of absolute power; allies and enemies alike must be convinced that they were entirely at the Terror's mercy. Any serious attack on the Russians would have caused immense problems for Natas. If it succeeded the Russians might pull back from an all-out assault on Britain. If it somehow failed Russian morale would have been strengthened immeasurably, making the final battle more of a gamble.

Now is your time, cast!
Ithuriel Recaptures the Lucifer
Painting by Fred T. Jane
Eventually the Lucifer was recaptured during the Russian raid on Aberdeen; this required a daring manoeuvre by the Ithuriel under cover of a thunderstorm, carried out with consummate skill by Arnold [AR 32]. The traitors were executed less than two hours later, and the Russian officers captured aboard the Lucifer were returned as prisoners of war, with a stark warning to the Tsar:

"...the moment he brings his war-balloons across the waters which separate Britain from Europe, the last hour of his empire will have struck.

"If he neglects this warning with which I now intrust you, I will bring a force against him before which he shall be as helpless as the armies of the Alliance have so far been before him and his war-balloons; and, more than this, tell him that if I conquer I will not spare. I will hold him and his advisers strictly to account for all that may happen after that moment.

[AR 32]

While Arnold appears to have been entirely sincere, Natas must have been responsible for the wording. The Tsar was psychologically incapable of resisting such a challenge, especially when it offered a chance to confront the Terror head-on and avenge the death of his father.

In essence, then, the theft of the Lucifer helped Natas achieve many of his goals. It gave him a chance to dictate terms to the Tsar, and to dare him to invade Britain. It left the British fleet depleted, increasing the chance of an invasion. It eliminated a Russian admiral and the premier Russian aviation laboratory and scientist. It "blooded" the crews of the Terror's air-ships. Given Natas' legendary cunning, it was natural that rumours about these events circulated after the war; Gore Vidal's novel Natas (1977) incorporates these stories, with scenes in which Natas hypnotises the thieves (who have been detected as Russian agents) and plans the theft, arranges the murder of Volnow, and betrays Admiral Prabylov (secretly a member of the Outer Circle) by destroying the Russian flagship without rescuing him first. All palpable nonsense, but there is evidence that the original rumours were planted by Tsarist sympathisers in the 1920s.

In July and August members of the Inner Circle were kept busy planning the final seizure of power in the colonies, Canada, and the United States. Natas needed the resources of these countries to rescue Britain and defeat the Tsar. The USA posed the worse problems; its government and industrial leaders were corrupt and committed to aid the Russians. American shipyards were building a fleet of dynamite cruisers, while the press was committed to neutrality but slowly moving towards the Russian camp. Eventually the USA would be steered into the war on the side of the Tsar. To counter this, it was essential to seize all of the reins of power simultaneously and time all operations perfectly, from strikes to the capture of the President and most of the government. It would have been impossible without the co-operation of certain members of the U.S. Secret Service, who had joined the Terror after deciding that their loyalty to America and the Anglo-Saxon race outweighed their duty to a corrupt government.

The complex job of co-ordinating the operation was in the hands of Michael Roburoff. As the operation drew near he showed disturbing signs of an egotistical lust for personal power, and even attempted to manipulate the Revolution for personal gain. The most obvious sign of this was his demand for Natasha's hand in marriage, but there were other incidents that showed he had an inflated idea of his own importance, and at least one assassination motivated by spite, although it also furthered the goals of the Revolution. In mid-September Natasha and Tremayne were sent to America, ostensibly for a wedding, but in fact to convey Natas' reply to Roburoff's demands:

...My orders to you were to complete the arrangements for bringing the American Section into action when you received the signal to do so. Instead of doing that, you have sought to bargain with me for the price of its allegiance. That is treachery, and the penalty of treachery is death.
[AR 36]

He dropped back into his chair with a bullet in his brain.
The Execution of Roburoff
Painting by Fred T. Jane
Natasha herself carried out the sentence with ruthless efficiency. Tremayne then took over the American Section and carried its plans through to completion. The signal The hour and the Man was circulated on October 4th; by the following morning the Terror had effective control of the United States' industry, communications between the east and west coast and the Atlantic cables were cut, no newspapers appeared, and all east coast dockyards were in the hands of the Terrorists. The air-ships of the Terrorist fleet held all arsenals, and the railway centres of Chicago and St. Louis. Meanwhile the Ithuriel flew along the eastern coast from Maine to Florida to give the signal to rebel.

The panic that followed paralysed the Eastern States, and five millions armed men took to the streets to seize control of America. By noon every dynamite cruiser and warship on the eastern coast had been seized and manned by the Terrorists. More than half the army and navy had joined the Terrorists. At midday the President was arrested by his own Secret Service guards in the White House. An hour later Washington was secure, and Tremayne entered the Senate, and in the name of Natas proclaimed the Constitution of the United States null and void, and the Government dissolved, to be replaced by the Federation of the English-speaking world, an alliance of countries linked by common blood, speech and interests¹. Naturally this idea was immensely popular with the members of the Brotherhood, especially linked to a redistribution of wealth which would redress most of the economic ills of the United States.

¹In areas with non English-speaking populations other arguments were used; for example, predominantly German areas were told that the Federation was Germany's only hope. Areas of New York with large Italian populations were kept under martial law for several weeks. The Russian exile community was solidly behind the Revolution, once a few spies and informers had been eliminated.

The carefully-timed arrival of a message from Natas, appointing Tremayne "...Chief of the Central Executive, first President of the Anglo-Saxon Federation..." [AR 27] set the seal on the situation. He was accepted by acclamation (it should be remembered that the crowd was mostly composed of members of the Brotherhood, with the few outsiders caught up in their enthusiasm) and accepted the office immediately, vowing war against the Tsar if "one of his soldiers sets foot on the sacred soil of our motherland".

This concluded the Second American Revolution; it had cost less than a hundred lives, and took less than twelve hours. The triumph of the Terrorists was complete, and its scapegoating of the millionaires was extremely popular. By the end of the day Canada was similarly paralysed. Two days later the Governor of Canada dissolved the Canadian Legislatures "under protest" and resigned. He objected to surrendering sovereignty, but could see no way to oppose the Revolution. This was received less calmly; most of Canada accepted the change, but there were riots in the French-speaking areas and it was necessary to declare martial law in Quebec.

The members of the capitalist Ring and their allies in the late U.S. Government were tried before a Commission of seven members of the Inner Circle of the American Section, presided over by Tremayne. They produced proof of a plan to declare war upon Britain, and starve her into surrender, including a secret pact signed by the late President and the Secretary of State, and countersigned by the Russian Ambassador. None of this was a crime under prior American, but that didn't stop the court convicting the President, Vice-President, and Secretary of State, twelve other politicians, and a ring of twenty-four industrialists of "multiple counts of giving and receiving bribes, betraying and conspiring to betray the confidence of the American people in its elected representatives, and also of conspiring to make war without due cause on a friendly Power for purely commercial reasons."

On the 9th of October they were sentenced to death, but Tremayne commuted the sentence to confiscation of their wealth and perpetual banishment (with their wives and families, who were found guilty of profiting from these crimes) to Kodiak Island, off Alaska. The assets seized included more than three hundred million dollars, real estate, and most of America's railways and industry. All of these businesses became state property, placed in the hands of boards of management composed of their own officials. Soon all was running smoothly. Government was rationalised and streamlined, and prices fell, largely because a huge proportion of the wealth generated by industry no longer went into a few greedy pockets.

A more fundamental change was the abolition of most of the USA's civil and criminal law, replaced by a simple code based on the ten commandments, to which was added a promise that those "who could not live without breaking any of these laws would not be considered as fit to live in civilised society, and would therefore be effectively removed from the companionship of their fellows." This was well enough, but the extension of collective guilt to the families of those found guilty (as in the case of the corrupt government officials and the Ring) became a common practice, and one which cannot readily be justified; it was borrowed wholesale from Imperial Russia, where "guilt by association" was ample justification for arrest. It is odd that the founders of the Federation rejected all of the Tsar's other works but adopted this one practice, and continued it for most of the twentieth century.

Meanwhile events were moving rapidly elsewhere. The League now controlled continental Europe, while the Anglo-Teutonic Alliance collapsed with the conquest of Germany and its other member states. Britain's "victory" in the Nile left the fleet so damaged that a naval presence in the Mediterranean could no longer be sustained, and all ships of the Royal Navy were recalled to home waters to prepare for the invasion.

As expected the Tsar refused to disarm, so the Federation prepared for war. The blockade of the American and Canadian coasts was rigidly maintained, with no vessels allowed to enter or leave any port, and aerial and sea patrols along the coasts. All warships of the League were withdrawn from the Atlantic.

On the 6th of October the British cabinet rejected Natas' offer to help Britain in return for the surrender of sovereignty; they refused to recognise the Federation as a properly constituted Power, or to have any dealings with its leaders [AR 27]. At this point Britain had lost all regular communication with the East for several weeks; it was guessed that India was lost, but there was no certainty, and there was no communication with Australia. All Atlantic cables were dead, and no merchant ship dared leave harbour; those that did vanished. The Federation's offer was the last communication from the outside world before the League's invasion began.

invasion map
The Centurion, the last of the British battleships, was struck by one of the submarine torpedoes.
The Centurion Torpedoed
Painting by Fred T. Jane
On October 28th the League's war-balloon squadrons began the invasion by bombarding the Royal Navy's fleet and south-east ports, followed by a naval battle in which the League's surface ships and submarines annihilated what was left of the British fleet, for the loss of most of their own fleet. The land defences that remained were hopelessly inadequate to stop the invasion, since war-balloons were used to smash all opposition. Russian forces, the "Army of the North" led by the Tsar, invaded via Harwich and in the month that followed took the heights to the north of London. The "Army of the South" (three French and Italian army corps) invaded through Deal, Dover, and Folkestone and along the Thames Valley to capture the heights south of London. War-balloons were used to blockade the Thames below London, and eventually closed the gap to the west of London for the final siege. They also attacked trains, barges, and other transport in and out of the city, while refugees who attempted to leave were often shot, or at best turned back.

The League intended to make an example of London, then demand Britain's surrender. The Tsar meant to destroy London's will to resist by blocking all food supplies and raining shells and fire-bombs onto the capital. The tidal power barrage at Greenwich was an early casualty, depriving most of London of electricity, and the other power stations and gas works were similarly targeted. Fortunately London's water and sewage systems were let off lightly, and it was a cold winter, or disease would certainly have been widespread. Hundreds of thousands of casualties filled every hospital, overflowing into schools (which were closed for the duration, to the joy of many children) and many homes. The deep underground tube stations were pressed into use as shelters - without electricity they were useless for their original purpose - with women and children given top priority. Gradually food supplies ran out, and many Londoners were reduced to eating the poorest of raw vegetables, nettles and thistles, horse meat (many horses were killed by bombing), and eventually dogs, cats, pigeons and other birds, snails, and even rats.

Outside London the vast mass of the population were curiously inert; the expected flood of volunteers was little more than a trickle, with few members of the working classes joining the colours. Even in London the response was considered disappointing. Most working men, and many others sympathetic to the Socialist cause, were awaiting the call to arms from a very different source; the Terror and its associated organisations.

On the 21st of November the last railway lines were captured, leaving London entirely dependent upon its own resources. By the end of the month the Tsar believed that the city was on the verge of surrender. However, he was largely unaware of the activities of the Revolution, especially in America. As far as he was concerned the U.S.A. would soon hand over the promised dynamite cruisers; they were a little overdue, but not enough to cause serious concern, and reassuring messages occasionally reached him via the Transatlantic cable (which was, of course, under Tremayne's complete control). Tremayne's October ultimatum hadn't spelled out the full extent of Terrorist power; the Tsar simply knew that the Terror had a few air-ships, and had no idea that millions of men, including a large fraction of his own armies, were ready to fight in the service of freedom and socialism.

On the 29th of November Colston repeated his offer to the King and Cabinet; this time the King urged and received acceptance. Britain was to join the Anglo-Saxon Federation, and the Federation would immediately start to fight on Britain's side. All London need do was hold out for another six days, the time needed for the Federation's American forces to reach Britain. Unknown to the King, Natas was prepared to intervene even if Britain had refused to join the Federation [AR 42], but naturally preferred to be treated as Britain's saviour, not just another invader. Roughly four hours after the meeting ended, the Ithuriel destroyed the French submarine fleets at Sheerness and Portsmouth, then returned to America.

Shaken by this unexpected disaster, the Tsar delayed the final attack and sent a flag of truce into London the next day, offering terms for a British surrender. The King eventually said that he would surrender on the sixth of December if no help had arrived "from the other cities of Britain"; in fact he hoped that the help of the Federation would arrive first. It was a gamble; the Tsar could have decided to use his war-balloons to eliminate the threat by bombing Britain's major cities, where the Revolution's supporters were preparing to take up arms, but luckily chose to concentrate on London. By the time these terms were agreed the Federation fleet was already en route to Britain, reaching the Channel on the fifth of December.

Terrorist Volunteers
of the 1904 War
and its aftermath
The Federation navy was gigantic compared to the remnants of the League's battered fleet, consisting of all of the U.S.A.'s warships and support vessels, a merchant fleet loaded with provisions for starving Britain, and all of the ships built by the Ring for the Tsar; thirty battleships, a hundred and ten cruisers, and two hundred dynamite cruisers. All were capable of very high speeds for the period, and manned entirely by supporters of the Revolution. They annihilated the enemy at sea in a matter of hours, then recaptured Harwich and Colchester the following morning. Overnight the Ithuriel had flown the length of Britain showing a powerful red spotlight, the signal to attack. By the morning an army of tens of thousands was on the move, while hundreds of thousands of Londoners were also taking arms. Some units of the invading armies also obeyed the signal and mutinied, adding a red ribbon to their uniforms and turning on their former comrades. There was confusion in the League's command, rapidly turning to dismay as the full extent of the disaster became apparent.

Her ram had passed completely through the gasholder.
Ramming an Aërostat
Painting by Fred T. Jane
On December 6th-7th the League's armies were repeatedly decimated by the Federation's air-ships and ground forces; the air-ships concentrated most of their attacks on the League's artillery and rear, luring the aërostats away from London and the Federation forces to defend their own positions. Since the aërostats mounted no artillery and could only bomb targets directly below them, this removed most of their military usefulness, and gave the Federation's ground forces and artillery a free hand against the League's armies. Soon the Federation air-ships began to eliminate the League aerial fleets; some war-balloons were rammed, others shelled, and most did considerable damage to their own ground units as they crashed. The Franco-Italian fleet, to the South of London, was largely eliminated by a single master-stroke; ten of their aërostats were manned by members of the Terror, and the infiltrators used bows and explosive arrows (carrying two glass cylinders, which contained the components of Arnold's fuel under extreme pressure, tipped with a fulminate of mercury detonator) to destroy the gas-holders of the vessels that remained in enemy hands. Despite this the soldiers of the League continued their hopeless attempts to invade London.

The rain of fire spread out far and wide.
Aërostats Hit by
Explosive Shell
Painting by Fred T. Jane
Meanwhile the Federation troops in London had moved hundreds of rapid-firing guns to the roofs of buildings around the capital, to fire on the invading soldiers, while air-ships bombarded the enemy with bombs and shells. Once the Thames was clear, the relief ships began to land their cargoes of food, fuel, and ammunition. Naturally the League tried to intervene; twelve war-balloons were sent to bomb the docks, but Arnold intercepted them, and the Ithuriel used accurately timed exploding shells to destroy the raiders, the last of the League's fleet. After their destruction the end was inevitable; the League's troops and cavalry were forced back towards their headquarters or annihilated where they stood.

At about this time the Azrael and the Lucifer were damaged by artillery fire in two separate incidents. In both cases the air-ships were flying low, in support of ground operations, and were hit by random shells, not aimed fire. The Azrael was hit by a French shell, which badly damaged her air-planes but fortunately left the fan-wheels and stern propellers intact; she was able to beat a slow retreat. The Lucifer, that most unfortunate of air-ships, was hit in the stern, then apparently lost power to all fans and propellers; it seems likely that the shell (which was probably a stray fired by Federation artillery; no enemy units were in range) severed her main and secondary pneumatic lines, since an engine hit would have caused an immediate explosion. She crashed and exploded, and all aboard her were killed.¹

¹After this incident this name was "retired"; fleet lists traditionally included a fictitious ship called the Lucifer, and training exercises simulated missions to rescue her from whichever enemy was currently fashionable, but there was never another real ship with that name.

Do you understand now why you could not make terms for Russia?
The Final Battle
Painting by Fred T. Jane
Despite these losses the war had already been won, now all that remained was to mop up the survivors of the invading army, and ensure that their commanders knew that they were defeated. At 3 P.M. on December 7th the French and Italian generals raised a white flag at the Crystal Palace, and tried to negotiate terms with the Federation. Lord Alanmere refused to accept terms; nothing less than absolute surrender would be allowed, the only alternative offered being absolute annihilation. To convince them that he could enforce this demand, Lord Alanmere flew the generals over the battlefield to see the state of their armies. As it became clear that they were totally surrounded, and on the verge of collapse, the generals hastily agreed to his conditions. Alanmere would not let them negotiate for the Russian forces; they could surrender their own armies but the Russians were to be wiped out, almost to the last man, before the Federation would even consider an end to the attack. In later years many veterans were to speak of the horror of the final battle; the slow grinding annihilation of the Russian armies surrounding the Tsar's headquarters in Muswell Hill Castle cost the lives or health of many Federation soldiers, and hundreds more bore mental scars for the rest of their lives. Some of the most powerful art and poetry of the war derives from this battle, most notably Kipling's poems "Victory" and "The Bear At Bay", and the young Picasso's impressionistic "Muswell Hill".

A vision which no one who saw it forgot to the day of his death.
Natasha's Song of Victory
Painting by Fred T. Jane
Shortly after midnight on December 8th, later celebrated as the Festival of Deliverance, the last Russian infantry were crushed, and the Tsar surrendered his headquarters. In celebration Natasha sang the Hymn of Freedom from the prow of the Ithuriel (causing a good deal of confusion amongst the Russian General Staff), then Lord Alanmere landed and ordered the arrest of the Tsar and the surviving Russians, to be tried for their crimes against Britain and Humanity. This was unprecedented; traditionally even the most abjectly defeated enemy was allowed to "surrender with honour", but the Federation was changing the rules. From now on war would be treated as a capital crime, and those who made war as murderers, regardless of the circumstances [AR 47].

Two bayonets crossed in front of him with a sharp clash.
The Trial of the Tsar
Painting by Fred T. Jane
At the trial that followed Natas took revenge for his wife and for the countless other victims of Russian oppression; the Tsar and members of his government were sentenced to exile in the Siberian mines. As in America, there was an assumption of collective guilt by association, and the Tsar's entire family was included in the sentence. Those on European soil were shipped back to Russia, while the Federation sent a fleet of four air-ships and fifteen aerostats to St. Petersburg demanding the surrender of the Tsar's family and Ministers, and disarmament of all troops on Russian soil. Russia complied; there was no alternative.

In the days that followed Natas retired, leaving Tremayne to form the Federation's first government. The main requirements of member nations were public ownership of all land, banning land speculation and requiring all rents to be paid to local governments, and a total ban on war. Standing armies were to be disbanded, warships sunk, all weapons scrapped. Small Federation-controlled standing armies were to be retained, but were only to be used for maintaining the peace; war, and any other possession of military weapons, were crimes punishable by death. [AR 48]

The Federation (in practice, a relatively small number of men and women, former members of the Terror, who were soon to become residents of Aeria) retained the secrets of flight, and guarded them jealously. They would serve Federation policy, and to a large extent would rule it, but always as disinterested outsiders, literally above involvement in politics and the other everyday affairs of the world.

1905-2030 - The Peace
to contents

February 2nd, 1911

Herr Schickelgruber,

The President has directed me to thank you for your offer to paint his portrait, and regrets that while he is always keen to encourage young artists, and is aware of your recent successful shows of abstract-impressionist art in Munich and London, he is currently unable to spare the time that would be needed for such a work.

He also has also asked me to explain that should time be available in the future, it would not be possible to use any Aerian setting or air-ship as "background", as you have suggested. Although an exception was made for Mr. Jane's series of paintings of the late war, the air-ships he depicted were already obsolete, and great care was taken to avoid showing him any detail which would compromise Federation security; nevertheless it was necessary to destroy three paintings which revealed more than had been expected. Pictures by artists resident in Aeria are very rarely displayed elsewhere for this reason. With an artist of your calibre every painting would probably require censorship, which would be unpleasant for all concerned.

Yours faithfully

J.R. Winthrop,
p.p. Lord Alanmere

THE European Constitution was drafted in the aftermath of the war, and was essentially a codification of the new world order. There were five main clauses, aimed at preventing war by imposing Federation government, and reforming law and the ownership of property to make autocratic government difficult or impossible. To summarise its terms:

  1. The Anglo-Saxon Federation has supreme authority in all international disputes; any State that makes war upon another will answer to the Federation.

  2. The International Board of Arbitration and Control consists of the following: The Board will meet collectively every five years in London Paris, Berlin, Vienna, Rome, and New York in rotation, with annual meetings of smaller committees. There will be no appeal from its decisions save to the Supreme Council of the Federation; appeals can only be made with the consent of the President of that Council.
    ¹Following numerous protests American representation on the Board was expanded to include one other member of the American government (usually the Secretary of State). It should be noted that it was entirely possible for the American President to go through an entire four-year term without attending a full meeting of the Board.

  3. European frontiers will be changed as follows: The other States retain their existing borders.

  4. All tenures of land existing before the war are cancelled; the soil of each country is the sole and inalienable property of the State. Land used profitably or occupied for "reasonable" residential purposes may remain in private hands, but wasteful use of land, especially in the form of large estates, is banned. All private incomes derived from the rent of land are illegal.

    A progressive income tax, to reach fifty per cent. when the income amounts to £10,000 a year, is imposed on all unearned income (e.g., from trust funds etc.). This tax will not apply to earned income, such as wages or the direct profits of industry.¹
    ¹Defining "reasonable residential purposes" and "earned" and "unearned" income were lucrative pastimes for most of the world's lawyers in the years following the war. Land was confiscated immediately, but the great landowners conducted a ferocious legal battle for their "rights", a long and ultimately futile attempt to regain their former property. In 1912 the Federation ruled that legal fees were unearned income, and the flood of litigation slowed to a trickle. Stocks and shares were a major sticking point; there was a case for their retention in the "earned" sector, as a means of encouraging investment, but they tended to drain off money that would better be used to reduce prices or improve production. Eventually it was decided to apply the tax, but with a lower progressive increment rising to fifty per cent at £20,000. Most nations also passed laws which made long-term share investment unattractive for other reasons; typically by giving the state the right to compulsorily purchase shares.

    All rents will be revised according to the actual value of the property, and are to be paid direct to the State. While rents are paid the tenant may not be evicted; if they are not paid it will be assumed that the land or residence is not being used properly, and the occupant will be given a year's notice to quit, to be revoked if the rents are subsequently paid.¹
    ¹In practice the law was more complicated; for example, pensioners and invalids were often waived rent on production of appropriate medical certificates. Naturally the system was occasionally abused, with doctors bribed to produce certificates; a system of annual checks was suggested to root out these frauds, until it was realised that the expense would far exceed the benefits.

  5. In all countries the Civil and Criminal Codes of Law will be amalgamated and simplified by a committee of judges. No man is expected to obey a law that he cannot understand; the Supreme Council will not uphold laws which are so complicated that a legal expert is needed to explain them.¹
    ¹This clause, and the later redefinition of legal fees as unearned income, dealt body blows to the legal profession, and were the signal for a huge reduction in civil service and local government staffing. Within twenty years lawyers were virtually extinct, except for court appointees assigned to represent minors and others unable to handle their own legal affairs. Unpaid volunteers (similar to Britain's earlier Justices of the Peace) took over judicial posts as judges retired.

By these laws, made possible at the cost of more than ten million lives, the loss of Britain's rule of India, and the destruction of many of the cities of Europe, the Terror founded an Anglo-Saxon Federation strong enough to hold off all opposition, imposed a peace that would last more than a century, and (in intent at least) created the nearest approximation to a truly fair system of government, for most of the population, that the world had ever seen. The Federation could draw on the skills and resources of all its member nations, with obvious implications for economic and scientific growth.

Eventually even those nations which did not belong to the Federation found it necessary to follow Federation dictates. The obvious example is the destruction of Sultan Mohammed Reshad's armies before he could turn them towards Europe, ending the career of the conqueror of India and the Middle East [AR Ep.]

A less familiar example is the case of Norway. After dealing with internal affairs and the situation in the Middle East, the Federation turned its attention to bordering nations including Norway, Denmark, and Finland. Norway was the strongest military power, with a small but modern navy and a well-equipped army. In 1907 the Federation "invited" all three nations to join the Federation; the main requirement for entry was destruction of all military equipment. Denmark and Finland agreed, Norway declined. The Federation announced that it would give Norway a week to surrender its navy, and a month to disarm its army; joining the Federation was optional, but Norway must disarm. Norway declined (politely) and offered various guarantees instead. At the end of the week the Ithuriel delivered a final ultimatum, giving Norway two hours to evacuate all ships and their docks. Exactly two hours and one minute later the ships were attacked; those at sea were given an opportunity for the crew to abandon ship before they were shelled, the rest were sunk at their moorings. Several hundred sailors died. Norway reluctantly surrendered its arms, but stayed out of the Federation until 1917, when the advantages of membership had become so apparent that the surrender of sovereignty seemed more acceptable. Switzerland joined later that year, completing European membership.

Into the vast, white, silent wilderness, out of which none save the guards were destined ever to emerge again.
The Tsar in Exile
Painting by Fred T. Jane
Meanwhile Alexander had died, almost without warning, at the end of the long trek to Siberia [AR ep.], and the sentence on those members of his family who had taken no part in the war was subsequently rescinded, on condition that they "lived the lives of private citizens and sought no share in the government of any country to which they were allied by marriage or otherwise" [OR 2]. This later proved a costly mistake, for the survivors and their descendants and relatives were fiercely opposed to everything that the Terror and its successor the Federation had achieved, and determined to seek revenge; they and their followers were the nucleus of many plots in the years that followed, portraying Alexander, Nicholas and the others who died in Siberia as martyrs destroyed by the "oppressive" Federation. Given the resources of the Terror it would have been an easy matter to make a clean sweep of the Romanoff dynasty in 1905 and end the problem once and for all, but Natas had already stepped down from leadership, and kinder hearts now governed. The surviving Romanoffs married into other royal and noble families in Europe and Russia, albeit stripped of any real power by the Federation, and spread their poison down the generations.

Life Between The Wars
The early years of the Federation are a period of optimistic reconstruction and industrial growth, with socialism the driving force behind most political and social trends. See the main text for more details. Despite this, there is a tendency to remain conservative in dress and behaviour; children still obey their parents, and Father is still the head of the family. With the exception of the criminal classes behaviour is sober and law-abiding, and fashions change slowly and to an extent predictably. Architecture and transport are dominated by the Aerian example and retain simple uncluttered lines.

Governments in Britain throughout this period are Labour or Liberal; the Conservatives occasionally try to make a comeback, but have laughably few seats in Parliament. Everyone knows that real power lies with the Federation anyway.

Later there is an occasionally decadent edge to life in the Federation; although public behaviour is largely unchanged, most people have plenty of leisure time and their behaviour in private may tend towards hedonism. While Aeria rules there is very little interest in the machinery of government; later this habit has become so ingrained that Parliament and the Senate are slow and ineffective.

Throughout the period there is a gradual movement towards more romanticised Elizabethan styles in clothing, possibly inspired by the return to horse-drawn transport in cities. There is even a vogue for rapiers and swords, and non-lethal duelling in the manner of German universities.

Prices remain stable and have mostly fallen, since businesses are now run on a smaller profit margin; some examples follow:

Man's Suit          £1 2s  Skirt            7s 6d
Trousers            5s 6d  Blouse, silk     £1 1s 11d
Overcoat            £1 8s  Nightdress       4s 6d
Boots               9s     Stockings        1s 11d
Heavy nailed boots  16s    Woman's boots    5s
Walking shoes       12s    Woman's shoes    10s

Bacon, lb           3d     Bananas, each    1d
Beef, leg           8d     Coffee, lb       7d
Eggs, 12            9d     Potatoes, stone  4d
Sugar, lb           1d     Tea, lb          2s 6d *
    * Price risen due to Moslem conquest of India

Brandy, bottle      3s 6d  Gin, bottle      1s 9d
Whisky, bottle      2s 11d Beer, pint       1d
Cigarettes, 20      3d     Tobacco, oz.     3d

Postage, letter     1d     Telegram         3d
The Times           2d     Daily Mail       ½d

Train               Free   Omnibus, mile    Free
Underground railway Free   Taxi, Mile       3d
Bicycle             £7     Family car       N/A

2-bedroom house     N/A *  4-bedroom house  N/A *
 * Housing is rented from the state, not purchased
   Prices include all taxes, water rates, etc.
House rental, week  3s     Room, week       1s
Electricity, unit   1d     Gas, 1000 cu.ft. 2s
Coal, ton           10s    Candles, lb      3d
Matches, 12 boxes   6d

 Labourer, wk        £2 rising to £3 10s
 Skilled, wk.        £2 10s rising to £5
 Clerk, wk.          £1 10s rising to £3 10s
 Miner, per wk.      £1 15s rising to £5
 Butler, year        N/A (there are few or no butlers)
 Footman, year       N/A (another obsolete post)
Post-war rebuilding throughout Europe attempted to retain the best of the old cities but remove the worst. Europe's economy was freed from the huge burdens imposed by Capitalism and war, so taxes were quickly reduced and industry (especially the construction and transport industries, and consumer goods of all sorts) boomed, and unemployment fell to a negligible fraction of a percent. The armaments industry was hard-hit, of course, but most nations found alternate uses for this industrial capacity; most of the major companies were already diversified into many areas of industry, so in general it was easy to convert their factories. For example, Krupp's factory at Mappen, formerly used for large calibre artillery, was converted to the manufacture of pile-driving and drilling equipment for the artesian and oil industries; by the 1930s most of the oil wells in the Middle East used Krupp equipment. Some factories were turned to destroying weapons, a major industry for a decade or more after the war; the main fleets were scuttled in 1905, of course, but safe disposal of vast stockpiles of small arms and munitions (including explosives and toxic chemicals such as cyanogen and picric acid), some unstable and dangerous to move, was a complex and sometimes deadly operation requiring constant monitoring by the Federation. There were several attempts to conceal stockpiles of arms, most notably in Russia, but by 1920 the Federation was cleansed of military weapons, with the exception of those controlled by Federation forces.

Meanwhile the colonisation of Aeria continued. At first it was seen mainly as a secure base and dockyard for the Federation's air-ships, but as the former members of the Terror and their families settled there it became the Federation's de-facto capital, despite the fact that the legislature and civil service were based elsewhere and no outsiders were allowed onto the plateau. Although recognised as an independent nation, Aeria was unusual in maintaining no embassies and allowing no foreign embassies on its territory; it negotiated with other countries as the Federation. It was soon said, with some justice, that a quiet word in one of the glades of Aeria was worth several hours of debate by the Federation Board. This was a cause of resentment at first, but the fact that one area of government was largely outside the direct control of most of the Board seemed less important in a more stable world. The President was always an Aerian, and gave any orders that were needed; the Board was able to advise him, and usually found that the arrangement worked well. If anything the early Presidents were notoriously slow to allow the use of ultimate force. Accordingly, air-ship fleets were occasionally seen on manoeuvres, sometimes lent a hand with rescue work after natural or man-made disasters, and (rarely) went into action against the enemies of peace. The Aerians otherwise remained benignly aloof, and increasingly remote from everyday life in the rest of the world. The sole exception was Aeria's suppression of the secrets of flight.

Stifling a major area of science and engineering was difficult. There was essentially only one real secret, the composition of Arnold's fuel, all of the rest was engineering detail, much of it apparent from the external appearance of Aeria's air-ships. Fortunately the design of the engines wasn't easily guessed, development of the fuel was such a risky process that it is a miracle that Arnold survived it, his later work was done in secret, and the Terror had taken immense pains to cover the tracks of his work before his identity became public knowledge. While several chemists did independently stumble across the general class of chemical reaction used by Arnold, they generally found the most explosive variants, usually with catastrophic results; for example, the Tunguska explosion was initially suspected to be the result of such an accident. As for the rest, the Aerians still maintained the network of informants developed by the Terror, and were prepared to be just as ruthless to protect their monopoly. Certain obscure fields of inorganic chemistry gradually acquired a reputation for extreme hazard, so much so that experiments were banned at most universities, and funding was never available. This coincided with a period of rapid advancement in organic chemistry and biochemistry, which attracted the attention of most of the best chemists of this period; Arnold himself published several well-received papers on the properties of polysaccharides (long-chain carbohydrate molecules), which led many to believe that the secret of his fuel must lie somewhere in organic chemistry.

Although the fuel was the biggest secret, all possible care was taken to ensure that no other air-ship components fell into the hands of outsiders. For example, the factories that built the parts for the earlier ships were owned by Lord Alanmere and staffed by members of the Outer Circle; nevertheless, all of the moulds and plans were destroyed long before the war, and the staff were amongst the first taken to Aeria. Similar care was taken with every other aspect of flight.

Scenario Idea: Fallen Angel
1914: The tenth anniversary of the end of the War is rapidly approaching, and the parish committee of the little village of Stukeley, near Richmond, is debating ways to mark the event. Stukeley has a minor claim to fame; the air-ship Lucifer crashed on the village green, leaving a huge crater which is now a very large circular pond. Miraculously nobody in the village was hurt by the blast. Nearly everyone agrees that some sort of memorial should be built, and there are a few hundred pounds to spare in the parish budget; the question is, what should the memorial be?

Most villagers favour a modest obelisk with a bronze model of the Lucifer on top, possibly combined with a horse trough and a public drinking fountain if the budget will stretch to it. Naturally there are a few dissenting voices; the Vicar doesn't like the idea of commemorating anything named Lucifer and would prefer to use the money to repair the church roof, the headmaster of the local school would like to spend the money on a public library, and the captain of the village cricket team would rather like a new pavilion.

The adventurers are members of the Federation's flying elite, already becoming known as Aerians, and happen to be on leave and staying nearby while this is going on. They will be asked to advise on the design of the memorial, if it would be possible to have an air-ship (or Lord Alanmere) present at the dedication, if they can provide the names of the crew of the Lucifer, if the Federation really wants to commemorate the ship, and so forth. Try to get them involved in the village arguments, so that whatever decision is reached at least one will be on the losing side. This should be a quiet interlude in which the adventurers are reminded that there's more to life than flying air-ships; old-fashioned rural politics have their own charm.

Unfortunately one of the Lucifer's engines was blown clear of the crater and is now buried exactly where the memorial / cricket pavilion / library will be built. It will be found while digging the foundations. Its chambers still contain traces of Arnold's chemicals, and a careful chemist could analyse them and (if he avoids blowing himself up) duplicate the formula. There isn't enough left in the engine to be immediately dangerous.

Nobody has any idea what it is, and the engine will be moved to a Richmond scrap-dealer's yard, recognised as aluminium (still a very expensive metal), and sold on to a specialist recycling plant in Scotland. By the time the adventurers hear about this (and realise that the odd object everyone is talking about is an airship engine) it's already on a freight wagon somewhere between Richmond and Glasgow. Tracing it through London and beyond involves dealing with the officials of two railway companies, and the infrastructure of a busy railway system.

Meanwhile the captain of the cricket team is secretly a Tsarist sympathiser, a former Ochrana agent who settled in Stukeley after the war. He has learned that the adventurers are after the engine, and guessed its importance. He will set off in pursuit of them, with a few London thugs in tow; they should catch up just as the adventurers finally recover the engine. If you want to make things more complicated the police are on the trail of the thugs, and Federation Intelligence (composed largely of former members of the Terror's assassination squad) is on the trail of the cricket captain...

Another aspect of the problem, and one less readily solved, was the suppression of alternative forms of air-ship. Balloons of all sorts were apparently obsolete, of course, although nevertheless banned as weapons of war; until well into the 1930s they could reach greater heights than the Aerian air-ships, but fortunately they were too slow and clumsy to stand any real chance in war. Nevertheless, they were used by the Japanese in their war against China in 1928 (see below) and in one of the Tsarist plots of the 1940s, which involved the release of dozens of unmanned balloons carrying small bombs, aimed to drift over Aeria before clockwork timers released their deadly cargo. More seriously, winged aëroplanes and variant aëronef designs might be built if the power problems could be overcome by some other means. Lightweight but powerful internal combustion engines were the most obvious cause for concern, but the Aerians were forced to consider every possibility, from electric engines, diesel, and gas and steam turbines to refinements of the Karavodine and Marconnet organ-tube "jet" engines of 1906-9. It would have been virtually impossible to block every variation of these technologies, a better answer was to divert attention towards the development of engines that were not readily usable for air-ships. The most pressing problem was the rapid evolution of the motor car, which naturally involved improvements to internal combustion engine performance.

It is no coincidence that one of the 1912 amendments to the Federation Constitution guaranteed the Right To Travel [OR 4], and introduced free travel for tax-payers and their dependants anywhere within the Federation. However, this applied only to rail travel, ships, and municipally-owned taxi-cabs, trams and omnibuses; all of the latter ran on electrified tracks or were diesel engined, rapidly replaced by electric versions as improved batteries and motors became available. Meanwhile motor cars were expensive to run, dirty, and systematically opposed by planning laws and safety regulations. In Britain a return to the red flag laws of the nineteenth century was considered but rejected in favour of steep taxes on petrol and private use of diesel fuel. As the use of motor cars declined many garages went out of business. Within five years cars were the preserve of a few hobbyists, who had to plan every outing with maps and often-inaccurate lists of the few remaining garages. By 1922 the private internal combustion car was effectively dead in Europe, except in a few collections; public transport was largely the province of electric vehicles, although steam and diesel still had their place at sea and, for a few more years, on the main railways. Private electric cars existed, but it was generally easier to arrange to travel by rail then use municipally-owned taxis at the destination. As the economy boomed and the proportion of leisure time rose there was a gradual return to the use of horse-drawn carriages for local travel; they were felt to be more restful than motor vehicles, even the electric variety, and of course supported hundreds of workers such as drivers, grooms, ostlers, street sweepers, etc.

light railway.
Freight cars on light railway, Alabama 1923
America, Canada, and the colonies continued to use petrol cars well into the 1920s. Expansion of public transport reduced the need for long-range vehicles, but outlying farms and even some suburbs were often beyond the range of trams and electric taxis. Gradually a network of high-speed light electric railways spread through these outlying areas, often stopping at every farm and village across thousands of square miles. These railways were cheap to build (the engines and carriages ran on suspended girders which needed little ground preparation), free for passengers and cheap for freight, could easily reach 70-80 MPH, and were predecessors of the larger electrified monorails introduced on main routes in the 1970s. Once the local light railways were in service the budget for road construction and maintenance in these outlying areas could be reduced, which made motor cars much less desirable. By the 1930s electric trains and cars were the norm throughout the Federation, although steam and diesel survived at sea and on long-distance rail routes.

The first attempt at a Channel bridge was begun in 1930 and completed in 1936. It carried four conventional railway lines, but disappointed its builders by being virtually unusable in severe weather. The problem was mainly that the bridge was too low, and rails were likely to be wetted by spray or ice up in winter storms, causing loss of traction. A temporary solution was the addition of a toothed "rack" rail to each line and the use of special rack and pinion locomotives in adverse weather; the later electrification of the line incorporated a heating system which kept the rails usable regardless of the weather. The Bering Strait and Gibraltar bridges (1942 and 1944) included these refinements, and were also considerably higher, as were the three subsequent Channel bridges. These links completed the initial unification of the Federation, and made it possible to visit most of the world by rail. The subsequent introduction of high-speed light electric trains on express routes in the 1970s raised travel speeds to 150 MPH; as forged glass and other lightweight engineering materials became available, speeds in excess of 200 MPH were possible, although they were rarely practical in Europe. With these advances some visionaries even suggested extending the rail network down the Philippines and New Guinea to Australia, via thousands of miles of tunnels and bridges, but common sense prevailed; the sea route was fast enough and a modern liner was a good deal more comfortable than several days on a train.

Another way to slow the development of high-powered engines was to reduce the need for travel, by improving other forms of communication. One of the first acts of the Federation government after the 1904 war was to commence the construction of a new network of oceanic telegraph lines, replacing and expanding on the dozens of lines cut in the war. Another of the 1912 Constitutional amendments subsidised communications and required all member states to set telephone, telegraph and postage fees to a uniform rate regardless of destination, provided sender and recipient were in the Federation; Britain's rates of 3d plus ½d per word for telegrams, 1d per minute for telephone calls, and a penny for letters up to four ounces, rising by ½d for each two ounces thereafter, were typical.

Outside the Federation attempts to build air-ships were countered more directly; by bribery, sabotage, and diplomacy where possible, by raw military force if necessary. For example, despite their height advantage the Japanese air-fleet of 1928 (consisting of forty rigid war-balloons mounting light artillery and more than a hundred semi-rigid war-balloons carrying bombs and machine guns) was annihilated over Manchuria without Federation casualties. The subsequent destruction of the naval yards at Hiroshima, coupled with the Federation's refusal to aid China or Korea against Japan in any other way, helped to make the point crystal clear; outside the Federation nations could do what they liked, provided that they stayed out of the air and well clear of the Federation and its citizens and allies. In practice the Federation disapproved of war everywhere, and used trade sanctions and any other practical means to discourage it, but would not intervene directly unless Federation interests were threatened or the monopoly of the air was threatened. In this instance the Japanese Empire had miscalculated the Federation's tolerance of obsolete aviation, but throughout the war took great care to avoid disturbing Hong Kong (still a British possession, and hence part of the Federation) and the international enclave in Peking, giving the Federation no other reason to interfere.

Despite the forced disarmament of Norway, which was necessary to safeguard the internal security of Europe, the Federation was not usually expansionist; the most obvious proof is Tremayne's refusal to allow Britain to reconquer India. The world's other governments were free to renounce war and apply for membership of the Federation; many did so, and by the 1930s the world was essentially split between the Federation and its close allies (which by then included all of Central and South America, with these nations formally joining the Federation in the 1940s), the Moslem nations of the Middle East, India, North Africa and neighbouring states (the other religions of these areas still existed, but the countries had Moslem rulers following the war of 1904-5), and the Japanese Empire, consisting of Japan, Korea, parts of China, and various Pacific islands. In 1935 the Japanese Empire signed treaties with the Federation, guaranteeing free trade and the basic rights contained in the Federation Constitution, but remained a separate entity until 1962, when a new government decided to disarm and apply for full membership. Borders remained essentially unchanged from 1962 until the final war and the arrival of the Fire-Cloud.

Meanwhile Aeria continued to develop the technology of the air-ship, adding refinements with each new design. There was a steady improvement in performance of all sorts; speed, tonnage, maximum altitude, armament range and accuracy, reliability and comfort. Naturally these advances could only be achieved with the aid of extensive experimentation and engineering work, which for security reasons was carried out entirely in Aeria. Soon it was a novelty for Aerians to be seen in the outside world. This had the effect of distancing Aeria; it became a place of mystery, a mysterious abode of "supermen" who ruled the world in absentia. A survey in 1928 found that nearly 10% of children under 12 believed that Aeria was a story invented by their parents, nearly 30% were convinced that Santa Claus lived there!

The Federation Intelligence Bureau
In 1910 the Federation Council authorised the creation of the Federation Intelligence Bureau, with headquarters in Washington, London, Berlin and St. Petersburg. It functioned continuously until the breakup of the Federation in 2030, at which time its facilities and files, other than those pertaining to the security of Aeria, were handed over to national governments.

The main "targets" of the F.I.B. were plutocrats and aristocrats unwilling to relinquish their fortunes and lands, the criminal classes, clandestine supporters of the old order in Russia, America, and elsewhere, and agents of external powers such as the Japanese and Moslem Empires. The order forming this agency put very few limits on its sphere of influence.

The organisation had offices in most major cities in the Federation, liaising with local law enforcement agencies and the Federation armed forces and government when necessary. The larger offices included laboratories, cells, and other facilities. Ranks were as follows:

  1. Director of the F.I.B.
  2. Deputy director
  3. Regional Superintendent1
  4. Deputy Regional Superintendent
  5. Superintendent2
  6. Deputy Superintendent
  7. Commander / Field Commander3
  8. Special Agent4
  9. Agent5

1Responsible for a country (or several countries) e.g. Britain, The Lowlands, The Caribbean, North America.
2Responsible for a city or area within a region, e.g. London. In many cases the Regional Superintendent was also Superintendent for a city, e.g. the Regional Superintendent for North America was also Superintendent for Washington.
3Commanders usually controlled departments or areas under the Superintendent's direction. Field Commanders had equivalent rank, but were assigned to mobile operations involving multiple districts or departments.
4The lowest rank assigned to operations.
5A rank reserved for technical personnel and others who did not come into contact with the public, and for newly qualified agents who acted as apprentices to Special Agents until it was felt that they were ready for this rank. Guards of Federation prisons and penal colonies had equivalent rank.

F.I.B. agents had a reputation for being grimly efficient guardians of the law; the agency had a very high success rate, since it was largely unfettered by the legal and legislative controls that dogged earlier law enforcement agencies. Most of the higher ranking members of the F.I.B. were Aerian citizens, either by birth or later naturalisation. This is not inevitable; for example the third Director, Elliot Ness, declined Aerian citizenship since he did not wish to relinquish his American nationality. Naturally cases involving the secrets of flight and other Aerian technology were always assigned to Aerian operatives.

F.I.B. operations were a staple of fiction and the kinematograph throughout the century. The most glamorous role was naturally given to the sections of the bureau dealing with espionage and counter-espionage, and to the fight against Tsarist sympathisers and organised crime. In reality the largest portions of the Bureau's business were routine and very uneventful coordination of the activities of the police forces of the Federation's member nations, inspection of former armaments factories and other scrapped military hardware, operation of Federation prisons and penal colonies, and other mundane tasks. Glamour and excitement were extremely rare.





Note: The F.I.B. has been invented for this worldbook and as a convenient framing device for adventures. It is not described in either novel.

So far this history has said little about post-war opposition to the goals of the Federation. The simple fact is that for several years after the war the English-speaking world was caught up in a form of uncritical euphoria, in which the relief of the sudden end to the war, and genuine benefits to most of the population, left many questions unanswered. Those who had been deposed by these changes were largely out of sight, exiled or dead. Landowners and city landlords had lost most of their income and authority, but they had always been a tiny minority and, with the exception of some of the nobility, were largely disliked. Most spent years fighting a losing battle against the new land and tax laws before turning to more generalised opposition to the Federation. A few unusually persistent cases were treated as criminals, usually on the grounds of tax evasion, and discreetly "removed".

A more immediate problem was the matter of the criminal classes, those who in spite of these huge changes were still unable or unwilling to earn an honest wage and resorted to crime instead. In most of Europe their former lairs were destroyed by the war. For example, the slums of Southwark in London were left in ruins by the war, and razed to build parks and a new railway terminus afterwards [OR 4]. Their occupants were dispersed to new towns built on land freed by the dissolution of the great estates of the aristocracy, with modern homes designed for efficiency and health. This was not an unqualified success; within months many of the houses were vandalised, their fittings stripped and sold to unscrupulous builders, their occupants returned to squalor almost indistinguishable from the slums they had left. Fortunately the economic changes allowed local and regional governments to invest a greater proportion of their funds into law enforcement, and into a humane but efficient penal service; criminals were almost always caught, and gradually crime became the province of the insane and feeble minded. Penal policy adapted accordingly; by the 1950s a convicted criminal was almost certain to face life imprisonment, removed from the community for the protection of society.

No system is perfect. The worst abuses of the life sentence laws occurred in America, where the Terrorists recruited members of many groups opposing the government, some for genuine socialist reasons, others with more dubious motives. The latter included the Klu Klux Klan.

After the Revolution this organisation gained influence, using "Anglo-Saxon unity" to excuse discrimination against Negroes, Jews, Catholics, Chinese, and other minorities of this largely immigrant nation. The Terror's methods were used to keep these races and religions from public office; the 1932 assassination of Senator Alphonse Capone was a brutal example.

Sympathetic politicians enacted discriminatory laws. In many American cities Negroes venturing out of the poorest areas faced arrest on sight, for "trespassing" or "resisting arrest". Corrupt judges and police ensured that these laws were rigorously enforced, until in many areas more than 95% of the prison population were Negroes. The practice was common in areas where chain gangs were used for public works (often including work on farms owned by officials) and condoned or ignored by the public.

In 1957 the F.I.B. acted, arresting hundreds of officials and their families and releasing thousands of wrongly convicted prisoners. After years of imprisonment many of those released were unfit for normal life, and committed genuine offences within months of attaining their freedom. They joined their former captors in prison, and in many cases took horrific revenge.

A few professional criminals survived, of course; even the most modern criminological techniques could be defeated by sufficient skill, but it became difficult to profit from most forms of crime, as channels for disposing of stolen goods were increasingly hard to find, and unearned and unexplained income was very difficult to conceal in the climate of the new tax laws. There is good reason to believe that most of the main professional criminal gangs, such as the Black Hand (Mafia) and Chinese Tongs, went out of business or turned to legitimate commercial activities during the first half of the twentieth century. Their criminal business had been based on "protection" and gambling rackets which could only work in a poor crime-ridden environment, and many of their supporters were amongst the criminal classes and easily identified and eliminated from the community.

At least one criminal organisation, the quasi-religious Sai Fan, went underground planning to out-wait the Federation and take advantage of its "inevitable" collapse; in the last weeks before the Fire-Cloud struck there were fragmentary reports that the gang controlled a substantial section of London, with hundreds of cultists labouring to build a vault where their leader, an alleged Manchu prince and scientist, intended to sit out the catastrophe with an inner core of followers. Their subsequent fate is unknown.

Despite these changes, and the elimination of most professional criminals, crime for profit was never entirely eradicated, and crimes of passion still occurred.

As noted earlier, the great landowners, aristocrats and capitalists were the main losers of the Revolution, although it took several years for the full extent of their loss to sink in; successive legal defeats, and the retirement of most of the more prominent lawyers once their "work" attracted punitive taxation, gradually led to the realisation that there was no easy way back to their former wealth and prestige, and to growing discontent amongst this disinherited minority. Around this time many of the Russian exiles were released, and some joined forces with the "landless lords" (as Punch often described them) to organise covert opposition to the Federation. Their activities included the abortive Polish coup of 1922-3, propaganda attacks on the Federation disguised as fiction, news stories, and political articles, and several attempts to steal the secrets of flight from Aeria. After many failures their descendants were responsible for the Second Terror and the war of 2031-7. They understood that political opposition to the Federation would achieve very little; parliamentarians could and did rant and attack Federation policies at interminable length, but with a few exceptions the voters consistently returned parties supporting continued membership, and few politicians were prepared to push their beliefs beyond empty rhetoric.

A rare exception was Britain's Churchill government of 1944-5, formed with the professed intention of leaving the Federation and reconquering India, an intention that would have bought Britain into direct conflict with the Federation. Under Churchill the Liberal Party used an aggressive campaign to capture a few key seats from Conservative and Socialist candidates, making them the majority party in Parliament. Nevertheless the Liberals only controlled 38% of the House, and the other parties, although split on almost every other issue, were united against him whenever this issue was raised. He was eventually forced to resign on a vote of no confidence engineered by his own party, and was last heard of in 1951 in India, fighting with Gandhi's insurgents in their unsuccessful uprising against the Moslem conquerors. He is assumed to have been killed with the other rebels.

With most major policy decisions taken out of the hands of national government and into Federation control, it was increasingly hard to convince the voters that elections mattered. The monarchs and presidents of the member nations had some say in Federation policy, but to a large extent their prime ministers and parliaments did not. By the 1950s the average British election polled less than 50% of the electorate, the turnout in most of Europe and America was similarly low. By 2000 it was below 25%. Once headline news, politics slowly migrated to the inner pages of newspapers, then to specialised periodicals such as Britain's Official Gazette, read primarily by members of Parliament, officials, and students of politics and the law. The decline in interest slowly reversed but in Britain, as in most other members of the Federation, politics returned to public attention as a form of entertainment, not the serious business of the nation.

By 2030, when the Federation was dissolved, most national governments had lost any ability to take decisive actions without endless delays; politics was regarded as a cross between a circus and a freak show. Elections were fought on issues of personality and private life that were totally irrelevant to public office, by slander and innuendo, and sometimes by outright deception. Few politicians had believed that the Federation would relinquish its power, and none were prepared for the grave responsibilities that lay ahead. If they had known, many would have stayed out of politics.

One final event must be mentioned in this section; ever since Lowell mapped the canals of Mars in the 19th century it had been known that there was probably intelligent life on other worlds, but all attempts to communicate had failed. In 2010 Vassilis Cosmo, director of Aeria's observatory (the most powerful on Earth) had a ring of a hundred powerful lamps built around the plateau, equipped with precision aiming mechanisms linked electrically to a controlling clock at the observatory, and began to signal Venus and Mars. After several weeks Mars began to reply. It took twenty years to establish a mutually comprehensible communications code; it was then learned that the Martians had been trying to contact Earth by various means since the 1890s, but had never thought of sending anything as crude as light signals! The explanation of the methods they had tried was confusing, but it became apparent that they were responsible for the "noise" which blocked all attempts to develop wireless communication.

The Martian interest in the human race was essentially detached scientific curiosity; they had seen the spread of city lights in the nineteenth century, guessed that they implied the presence of intelligent life, so wanted to learn more about Earth and the human race. This contact naturally led to an exchange of ideas and scientific data, with results described in the next section.

2031-2037 - The New Terror
to contents

At the twenty-fifth celebration of the Festival of Deliverance, you shall give back the sceptre of the world-empire into the hands of the children of those from whom we took it,-- because they wielded it for oppression, and not for mercy. At that time you shall make it known throughout the earth that men are once more free to do good or evil, according to their choice, and that as they choose well or ill so shall they live or die.

And woe to them in those days if, knowing the good, they shall turn aside to do evil! Beyond the clouds that gather over the sunset of my earthly life, I see a sign in heaven as of a flaming sword, whose hilt is in the hand of the Master of Destiny, and whose blade is outstretched over the habitations of men...

Natas' last words, 1930 [OR Pro]

THE Federation was created by Natas; for reasons he would not make clear he ordained that it was to be dissolved at the end of 2030. It is a tribute to his personality, and to the honour of the Federation's leaders, that this order was obeyed in every particular. It is not necessarily a tribute to their common sense...

125 years of Federation rule had bound most of the world into an alliance, but it was an alliance which only worked well under effective leadership, and had gradually eroded the capabilities of national governments. Suddenly Federation leadership was gone, and governments that had for years claimed to be ready for the transition discovered that they had little or no idea how to cope with it in reality. The former members could probably have coasted along for some time without the Federation, giving the individual states a breathing space to repair the damage to their governments, but within months an unknown force was working to disrupt communications and subvert everything the Federation had ever stood for.

Olga Romanoff
As She Gazed Upon It, The Fires Died Away
A Dream of Destruction
Even in hindsight it seems amazing that one young woman, Olga Romanoff, could single-handedly plunge the world into war. Comparisons with earlier figures, most notably the Terror's heroine Natasha, are inevitable but misleading. Despite her sex a good case can be made for comparing her to Natas, not Natasha. Like Natas, she was backed by a highly organised terrorist organisation. Like Natas, she sought revenge on those who had harmed her family. Like Natas, she was prepared to go to any lengths to achieve her ends, even if it meant the destruction of the world. There are even reasons to believe that she shared Natas' gift of prophecy; her accurate description of Aeria [OR 7] was apparently based on a dream which included premonitions of the forthcoming war and the catastrophic passing of the Fire-Cloud [OR 6]. Her henchmen certainly believed that she had supernatural powers, used to control Alan Arnoldson and Alexis Masarov, since they were not privy to the secret of her poisons and mind control drug.

Olga Romanoff (O.R.) was the only direct descendant of Tsar Alexander III in her generation. Note that numerous other members of this prolific family, most of them deceased as infants or killed in the Revolution, have been omitted from the chart below, that the children of the first Olga Romanoff and Prince Ingeborg were secretly named Romanoff as part of the settlement of their morganatic marriage, and that the pseudonym "Ivanitch" was used publicly by the descendants of this marriage, since their true name was proscribed throughout Europe [OR 2]; O.R. also used this name in public until she claimed the Russian throne, but for simplicity her true name is shown below:

 Alexander III = Marie Fedorovna
         Olga Romanoff = Prince Ingeborg of Denmark (morganatic marriage)
                Gustav "Ivanitch" = Countess Margeth Andersson
                            Paul "Ivanitch" = Valentina Rykov
                                     Vladimir "Ivanitch" = Olga Prigogine
                                                  Olga Romanoff

Not A Vestige Of Our Air-Ship Or Her Creators Remained
Death of Vladimir Romanoff
O.R.'s father Vladimir Romanoff was one of the greatest scientists of his day, and a member of a criminal conspiracy which attempted to build an air-ship in 2004-14. Like most such groups they had been infiltrated by agents of Federation Intelligence, and were allowed to carry on developing their ship while the Federation identified the members of the conspiracy. When it became apparent that they were likely to build a workable air-ship, an offence punishable by death since the only use for such a machine would be warfare, their workshop in Norway was attacked. Vladimir and five colleagues died, the air-ship was destroyed. The secret of its power plant was kept by Aeria, and used to build the next generation of air-ships. The Federation believed that these secrets died with with Vladimir, but he had given copies of his notes and plans to his father, Paul Romanoff. The latter eventually handed them on to O.R. (then just approaching her seventeenth birthday) and her cousin and fiancée Serge Nicholaivitch.

It was a voluminous document of many pages, embodying the result of nearly eighty years of tireless scheming and patient research in the field of science as well as in that of politics....

It was divided into three sections. The first... ...contained a list of the names and addresses of four hundred men and women scattered throughout Europe and America, each of whom was the descendant of some prince or noble, some great landowner or millionaire, who had suffered degradation or ruin at the hands of the Terrorists...

...By far the most important part of this section of the will consisted of plans and diagrams of various descriptions of airships and submarine vessels, accompanied by minute directions for building and working them...

[OR 3]

Vladimir Romanoff discovered one of the greatest secrets of the twenty-first century. As is well known, solar energy is stored in fossil fuels as chemical energy; Vladimir found a way of releasing it as electrical energy, bypassing all the losses involved in refining and burning fuels, and drastically extending the range and power of air-ships. He designed air-ships and submarines to use this power plant, and also invented numerous weapons, drugs, and poisons. All of them were later used to devastating effect by his daughter. Above all else, he bequeathed her an organisation that shared her ruthlessness and thirst for power. His death set the Tsarists back twenty years; they needed a legitimate heir to Russia, and the only real candidates were Paul, who was already in his seventies, and O.R. and Serge, both infants.

By the time they reached maturity Paul Romanoff had done his "duty", and convinced them that it was their duty to overthrow Aerian rule and recapture Russia. He intended for Serge to inherit the throne, but O.R. had other ideas. She was obsessed with the lust for power, and neither loved nor respected Serge. She planned to marry him anyway, use her feminine wiles to control him, and become ruler of Russia in all but name, and use this power base to conquer Aeria. If she had stuck to this plan, and avoided an early confrontation with Aeria, it is possible that she would have succeeded, at least until the coming of the Fire-Cloud; the Romanoff dynasty was still respected by a sizeable minority in Russia, and once the Federation was dissolved there was really nothing to stop her followers restoring them to power. However, O.R. was not a patient woman, and saw an early chance to gain real power; this led directly to her first moves against Aeria.

One of Vladimir's papers described a potion that made its drinker an obedient slave; she secretly planned to keep the formula, slip some to Serge, and make him her puppet. In the event her plans were unexpectedly changed.

After Paul died Olga and Serge returned his ashes to Russia. The passengers on the express included two Aerians; Alan Arnoldson, the son of the President of the late Supreme Council, and his friend Alexis Masarov. They had just begun a tour of the world, and were travelling to St. Petersburg to witness the Winter Festival. Olga engineered an introduction, and she and Arnoldson found themselves strangely attracted to one another [OR 4], so much so that Serge (then posing as her brother and chaperon) immediately became jealous. However, it was an attraction of opposites; she hated all that Arnoldson stood for, and wanted nothing more than to corrupt him and break him to her will. Arnoldson somehow failed to realise her true intentions, and revealed various details about Aeria; most notably, the fact that he (and other Aerian men) were trained to use a lethal power resembling the "Vril" described in Lord Bulwar-Lytton's The Coming Race.

Olga realised that it was essential to have complete control of him if her plans were ever to succeed; Vladimir's potion had given her the means to this end. She arranged a change in travel plans, so that she and Serge would accompany the Aerians to St. Petersburg, where she intended to order Arnoldson and Masarov to capture an air-ship and deliver it into her hands.

Ithuriel plans. The Ithuriel
The Ithuriel (later Revenge)
Archive plans and photograph, 2029 - Federation fleet manoeuvres over the Baltic
Her plan was simple, and was designed to take advantage of the precautions Aeria used to protect the secret of flight. She knew that all Aerians who ventured into the outside world made frequent contact with one of Aeria's representatives, or were checked by air-ship; if any rendezvous was missed, the alarm was sounded and the fleet moved in to investigate. Arnoldson had arranged for the Ithuriel to contact him in St. Petersburg, and actually offered Olga and her "brother" a chance to fly aboard the air-ship as his guests. It was a fatal mistake. Before the flight Olga used her potion to bind Serge to her will, then they prepared to use the potion on the crew once they were aboard. Once in control of the ship, she told Arnold to kill Serge and ordered the witnesses to say that he had been killed while fighting the crew. She then had the air-ship flown to a site where other members of the conspiracy were ready to conceal it, murdered the crew, and began to prepare for war.

From the outset Olga Romanoff intended to use the Terror's old tactics against the Aerians. She could have destroyed or concealed the bodies of the crew of the Ithuriel, giving no hint of her motives, but leaving them where her father's ship was destroyed [OR 8] gave notice to the world that the earlier conspiracy still existed, and sought revenge for the Aerian attack. In the silence that followed rumours began to grow and spread, and it became obvious that the Aerians were no longer the unopposed masters of the world. An Aerian declaration of war, against person or persons unknown, made it clear that the peace of the world was threatened. The name of Romanoff was often whispered, but was discounted by most theories, which tended to assume that a new organisation was setting up in imitation of the original Terror. One British theory which may have had a Tsarist origin suggested that an Aerian faction, reluctant to relinquish the reins of power, was behind the attacks; eventually Aeria would be forced to seize power again, and those responsible would return to positions of authority.

The next phase of the campaign started later that year, and consisted of a series of attacks on surface shipping and submersibles. It began with the disappearance of three transports, the Massilia, Ceres, and Astræa, in widely separated waters. It should be remembered that nautical technology was long perfected, and no shipping had been lost or suffered serious accidents since 1981. The vessels concerned were the largest and fastest afloat, and the weather was good; it seemed inconceivable that all three would coincidentally vanish. Matters were made worse when three squadrons of Aerian submarines disappeared while searching for them. It was obvious that a hostile force was at work.

There were many more disappearances in the following year, culminating in the discovery of the gutted wreck of the transport Sirius in the deep Atlantic ooze. She was damaged by explosives and had been looted after she sank; nothing that was stolen could be traced, and it must be assumed that a complex "laundering" operation was at work, taking this loot and feeding it through apparently legitimate channels into the gemstone and precious metals markets, to pay for the Tsarist's weapons and supplies; it was never traced. The attacks continued through the next five years, paralysing ocean travel. The mysterious enemy also began to cut underwater cables, disrupting the network of telegraph and telephone communications the Federation had carefully established.

To counter this threat the Aerians increased their air-ship fleet to 250 ships, a hundred to defend Aeria and the rest deployed at twenty-four stations in both hemispheres, and more submarines were built and deployed to defend strategic ports. Despite their best efforts, the rest of the world quickly realised that they had no immediate answer to the problem; there was widespread alarm, and numerous attempts to guess the real nature of the foe.

The governments of the former members of the Federation seemed to have no coherent way to deal with this crisis, and allowed themselves to be swayed by every vagary of public opinion while debating the matter. For a time the Aerians believed that enemy agents were at work behind the scenes in several nations, and a good deal of effort was wasted in attempts to uncover them. Particular suspicion focused on the newly-elected female members of Britain's house of Commons and Senate, but there was no evidence of any connection to the mysterious foe and little evidence that they were causing more problems than their male colleagues.

Meanwhile the Moslem Empire, led by Sultan Khalid (known as Khalid the Magnificent), began to arm for war; he assumed that he would be attacked by the new Terror, if not he could use the arms against the former Federation. The Aerians were still adamant that they would not permit any other power to build air-ships, but Khalid armed for war on land and at sea.

And so matters continued until the night of the 1st of May 2036, when Olga Romanoff finally confronted Aeria directly, by dropping a message onto the city:

To Alan Arnold, President of Aeria.

If you want your son Alan and his friend Alexis, go and look for them on an island which you will find near the intersection of the 40th parallel of south latitude and the 120th meridian of west longitude in the South Pacific. They have served my turn and I have done with them. Perhaps they will be able to tell you how I have conquered the Empire of the Sea. Before long I shall have wrested the Empire of the Air from you as well.


Flinging Long Streams Of Radiance For Miles Into The Sky.
The Fleet over Aeria
Arnold immediately launched fleet units in pursuit of the source of the message, an air-ship which was quickly recognised as the missing Ithuriel (renamed Revenge by Romanoff). A long chase ensued, during which eight Aerian ships were destroyed by the Revenge's stern guns, and the new Ithuriel (a faster ship of the same general design) and her sister-ship Ariel were eventually forced to continue the pursuit alone. This led them into an ambush over Antarctica, but fortunately O.R.'s followers were unfamiliar with many tactics of aerial combat, most notably the lightning speed and accuracy with which the crew of an Aerian ship could attack multiple targets; each of the Aerian ships fired all guns to destroy a total of twenty foes, and escaped downwards before the Russians had time to react. In less than thirty seconds the Tsarists lost almost two-thirds of their fleet.

Meanwhile another Aerian ship had set out to rescue Arnoldson and Masarov, but found that they had already overcome their captors and escaped. By a strange chance, an accident just days before their release allowed them to secretly shake off the effects of O.R.'s drugs, and she herself returned all of their property, including the belts used to control Vril energy, before releasing them. It was thus easy for them to overcome the crew of the Narwhal, the "swiftest and most powerful vessel of the Russian submarine fleet" [OR 10], and set out on a voyage of revenge.

Their message ended by warning of an impending attack on the Aerian base at Kerguelen, (49S 69E), the Aerian's most important harbour and refuelling depot in the Southern hemisphere. It added that Arnoldson and Masarov planned to destroy the Russian fleet before reclaiming their birthrights as Aerians. The Council, led by their parents, decided to fall in with this plan and aid them in every possible way; moreover, they were to command the submarine fleet based at Kerguelen and take charge of the defences, with air-ships on call if needed. To counter the expected attack the squadrons based at Kerguelen were reinforced to forty air-ships and fifty-five submarines including the Narwhal.

The Clouds Were Rent And Rolled Up Into Vast Shadowy Billows.
The Battle of Kerguelen
Full details of this battle can be found in any history of the war [OR 12]; briefly, the Russians had inferior numbers, tactics and training, and were to an extent unaware of Aerian capabilities. Arnoldson and Masarov had been questioned, of course, but by 2036 their knowledge was five years out of date, and had not included specifics of the Kerguelen base. The Russians also came close to being drawn into a battle over one of the most heavily defended islands on Earth, second only to Aeria itself in sheer fire-power. Their scout submarines were destroyed by the Narwhal, their air-ships were sighted at twenty miles and ambushed by the Ariel in a brilliant feat of dead-reckoning navigation, and their main submarine fleet fell foul of the Narwhal and the Aerian submarines. Little that was used at Kerguelen was truly new, but the Russians were inexperienced in aerial warfare, and had to an extent reinvented underwater tactics, while the Aerians had honed their skills and practiced co-operation between land-based artillery, air-ships, and seagoing vessels for more than a century. It was a slaughter which should have warned the Russians of events to come.

Narwhal plan Narwhal
The Narwhal
archive plan and photograph, 2036 - inspecting the gun in a rare moment of Antarctic calm.

After the battle the Narwhal quickly raided the Russian headquarters under Mount Terror in Antarctica [OR 14], destroying half the remaining Russian submarine fleet and the only entrance to their underground harbour, a base which O.R. believed was impregnable. Including this attack, the Russians lost thirty-five submarine cruisers and twenty-three air-ships, leaving twenty-eight submarines and twenty-four aerial warships.

Batteries Which Would Be Able To Surround Aeria With A Zone Of Storm.
Gun emplacements around Aeria, resembling those of Keguelen Island

The battle and its aftermath highlight a basic flaw in O.R.'s personality; again and again she underestimated the skill and resolution of the Aerians, their anger, and their determination to secure revenge at any price. Diaries and other papers found in the aftermath of the Fire-Cloud show that she felt a deep unrequited love for Alan Arnoldson, which he would not voluntarily return; this warped her judgement, and led directly to everything that followed. It seems almost unbelievable, but there is no doubt; her followers trusted her with absolute power, which she repeatedly squandered on attempts to gain revenge for his refusal to return her affection. In a sense her love (for want of a better word) led to the death of most of the human race.

Once the damage had been assessed, O.R. and her council decided to build up their air-ship fleet to a hundred vessels, while avoiding direct confrontations with Aeria. It was impractical to rebuild the submarine fleet in the Antarctic, so her next step was to form an alliance with Sultan Khalid 'The Magnificent', ruler of the Moslem Empire. His was the only country outside the former Federation with the necessary wealth and industrial facilities, and he was already engaged in an extensive armaments programme; ironically, one aimed at countering the threat posed by O.R. herself! He had an additional motive; with the Federation dissolved it seemed possible that he could conquer Europe for the greater glory of Islam. Only the threat of Aeria's control of the air stopped him from making the attempt.

The first Russian attempt to contact Khalid was an expensive failure; their ship, the Vindaya, was followed by the new Ithuriel, which waited for the Russians to land before dropping boarding parties and capturing their ship and O.R.'s chief adviser, Orloff Lossenski. To do this it was necessary for Arnoldson to threaten Khalid, his palace, and the city of Alexandria, and to kill one of Khalid's bodyguards with his personal energy. These actions earned him the enmity of Khalid, who agreed under duress to avoid military action for a year [OR 16], but was now more determined than ever that he would eventually conquer Europe.

Evil In Such A Shape Might Be Something More Than Good.
Arrival in Alexandria

O.R.'s Revenge and the remainder of the Russian fleet arrived the following night, expecting to be met by Lossenski and Khalid. Instead they learned of the loss of the Vindaya. Despite this setback O.R. was able to turn the encounter to her advantage; she drugged Khalid's Grand Vizier to ensure that he would endorse her plans, then proposed an alliance. If Khalid would help her seize power in Russia at the end of the one-year truce, she would convert to Islam and enforce the conversion of her subjects.

Meanwhile Arnoldson was ordered to take a fleet of twenty-five airships to Alexandria and deliver an ultimatum. If Khalid allied with Olga Romanoff, Aeria would commence military operations against the Moslem Empire when the truce expired, at sunrise on the 16th of May 2037.

With hindsight the truce of 2036 was one of Aeria's main errors in this war; Arnoldson arrived to find almost all of the Russian ships grounded at Alexandria, and could have destroyed them all if he had been free to act. There would have been thousands of civilian casualties, but millions who later died would have survived, at least until the coming of the Fire-Cloud. Moreover, a world at peace might have been able to prepare more refuges against the disaster when it came. As it was, Arnoldson had committed Aeria to the truce, and could take no action unless the Russians made the first move. In the event O.R. proved too wily an opponent [OR 19]; she refused to be drawn into a fight, and threatened to resume submarine warfare and commence indiscriminate air-ship attacks against the Federation and neutrals if the terms of the truce were not applied to her own forces. Arnoldson was forced to agree.

By the time she left Alexandria O.R. had persuaded Khalid to build a thousand submarines and a thousand air-ships; the Russians would provide plans and engineering expertise, and would control the power-stations that fuelled these vessels. In effect O.R. would have full control of these vast fleets, since they would run out of fuel after a few thousand miles if the Russians cut off supplies. They planned to spend the remainder of the treaty period preparing for war, then commence the conquest of Europe as soon as it expired. In the next year she and her followers seized control of Russia and formed a huge army. There was surprisingly little resistance; skilful portrayal of O.R. as the legitimate heir to the Russian throne silenced most opposition, and a campaign of terror and wholesale imprisonment and murder soon eliminated the rest. Soon she was Tsarina in all but name, with the official coronation a few days before the end of the truce.

In order to stop her, Arnoldson took his fleet to England [OR 20], where he tried to persuade King Albert II of the gravity of the situation. The King was now the nominal head of the Anglo-Saxon Federation, but in practice had no real power; as discussed earlier, there was no longer an effective government in England. The King blamed the election of women MPs for their indecision, but it seems likely that an all-male parliament would have done no better.

Arnoldson outlined an armaments scheme very like the alliance of O.R. and the Moslem Empire; Aeria would provide expertise, the former Federation would provide manpower, industrial capacity, and fuel. In the event Arnoldson was forced to take the lead in this alliance, re-establishing Aeria's control of a Federation which seemed incapable of managing its own affairs. There was surprisingly little opposition; indeed, most of the national governments seemed to be relieved to give up their newly-found independence. When the truce expired the Federation would be a match for O.R. and her allies [OR 21].

The Combined Squadrons Swept Across The Mountain Barrier.
Arnoldson's Return to Aeria, 11/5/2037
Avenger plans Avenger
(later renamed Alma)
plans; gunnery practice over Aeria, 2037

Arnoldson and Masarov returned to Aeria on May 11th 2037, having completed a year of atonement and exile for the mistakes that led to O.R.'s theft of the secrets of flight. They were welcomed by the massed ships of Aeria's defensive fleet and cheering crowds, and left in no doubt that their mistakes were forgiven. After various ceremonies Arnoldson was given a new flagship, the gigantic 24-gun Avenger, and the rank of Commander-in-Chief of all the forces of Aeria and the Federation, while Masarov was given command of the Orion. In the course of the next few days they settled most of their affairs, and after a few days of training and manoeuvres set out for the next round of their fight with Olga Romanoff. It was a fight Aeria expected to win; even ignoring the hundreds of ships and guns reserved for the defence of Aeria, the Federation forces included no less than four hundred air-ships. They were aided by naval divisions covering the Atlantic, Mediterranean, and Pacific, and fifty new naval stations around Britain and Europe, the most likely targets for Russian aggression.

The Four Hundred Battleships Of The Two Squadrons Rose Into The Air.
Aeria Strikes Back

Arnoldson was to command the Western fleet, based in Britain, while Masarov was based on the Balkan Peninsula, between the Russian and Moslem headquarters. At sea the Atlantic squadron was ready to block the Straits of Gibraltar, the Narrow Seas of Britain, and the approaches to the Baltic, the Mediterranean division patrolled the Inland Sea from Gibraltar to Cyprus, and the Pacific fleet would blockade the southern approach to the Red Sea [OR 22]. Dozens of bases and listening posts, linked by telephone and by frequent warship patrols, were prepared to report and respond to the first sign of hostile action.

Three Of The Air Ships Seemed To Break Up And Roll Over.
Avenger over Alexandria
At dawn on the 15th of May Sultan Khalid launched his invasion of Europe, five convoy of a hundred ships carrying nearly four million troops, protected by two hundred aerial cruisers and a hundred submarine battlecruisers. Although he knew that the Federation was probably ready for him, his first scouts found no trace of the waiting fleets. Like O.R., he made insufficient allowance for the speed of modern air-ships and submarines.

The fate of the Alexandria fleet was typical, and is mainly notable for the personal involvement of Arnoldson. As the fleet prepared to sail the Avenger was waiting many miles away over the Libyan desert, with Arnoldson watching its progress through a powerful telescope. He quickly ordered an attack, ramming three of Khalid's air-ships and escaping unscathed. It was a risky move, but the sudden disaster (which destroyed a portion of Alexandria and was witnessed by most of Khalid's forces) had a devastating effect on morale.

A Great Battleship Lept Up Out Of The Nether Waters.
Ramming Khalid's Fleet
The invasion fleet proceeded to sea at the extraordinarily cautious speed of 25 MPH, giving the Federation forces ample time to manoeuvre for a perfect ambush, then most of the transports heaved to as the fleets engaged. These tactics had the effect that might have been expected; the Federation submarine fleet annihilated the Moslem battle-cruisers then destroyed the transports, in a battle that was so one-sided that it is barely worth a few paragraphs in most military histories. Fleets from Tripoli, Tunis, Algiers, and Oran were similarly destroyed. Khalid had no experienced commanders, made little use of his aerial fleet (which might have been able to destroy some of the Federation submarines by blind bombardment) and lost his entire invading force, with the loss of only twenty Federation submarines from a fleet of a hundred.

Of five hundred transports and the same number of battleships which Sultan Khalid had possessed at sunrise on that fatal 16th of May not a single one remained by sundown, and of the more than three million souls who had manned the five fleets not one man survived.
[OR 23]

Much of the credit for these extraordinarily one-sided victories goes to Max Ernstein, formerly commander of Kerguelen and now Admiral in Command of the Mediterranean forces of the Federation. He was responsible for the rediscovery and perfection of the hydrophone, an underwater microphone which was in its earliest stages of development during the 1904 war but forgotten in its aftermath, and the invention of a means of "spoofing" the magnetic detectors normally used to locate enemy vessels. Both are described in more detail in a later section.

Khalid retreated to Alexandria, and ordered his aerial cruisers to return to port. Meanwhile Arnoldson had in three hours travelled from Alexandria to Moscow, and was waiting five miles above the city for the first signs of a Russian move against Austria and Germany, while other scouts reconnoitred St. Petersburg and Odessa. Arnoldson observed troop movements by rail towards Germany, and a fleet of approximately 200-300 ships grounded near the Kremlin, with more in the air. Eventually the Avenger was detected and attacked by three Russian ships which were easily destroyed. This caused general alarm in Moscow, with the Russian air-ships taking off to join the fight (or possibly evade it); once in the air it was possible to engage them without risking the lives of the city's millions of innocent inhabitants. Twenty Russian air-ships were destroyed before the arrival of the other Federation scouts made it necessary for Arnoldson to leave. From their reports and his own observations it was apparent that the Russians intended to launch a ground invasion from Kieff, Vitebsk, Dünaburg, and Vilna, with the aerial fleets as cover. Arnoldson was determined to stop them and ordered four fifty-ship squadrons to cover these cities the following morning. During the afternoon air-ships under Masarov's command devastated Ekaterinburg, Slatonsk, Orenburg, and Uralsk, blocking the main routes from Asia to Russia and causing a wholesale retreat of O.R.'s Asian forces. Later his ships bombed Odessa and destroyed its dockyard (and much of the rest of the city), suffering the first Federation aerial losses of the campaign; five air-ships were lost in the battle.

Meanwhile Arnoldson visited Gibraltar to receive reports of the sea battle and prepare for Khalid's next move, which would probably be a land invasion via the Dardenelles and Gibraltar bridges, both capable of carrying nearly a hundred thousand troops an hour. Both were readied for immediate destruction, by artillery and electrically-detonated torpedoes and other explosives.

The 'Isma' Swooped Down.
Isma captures a Muslim courier.

The following morning most of the Federation and Aerian air-ships were waiting at high altitude for the Russian attack, but were discovered by a Russian scout. In a brilliant manoeuvre Masarov's Isma rammed and disabled the air-ship, severed its propellers and forced its surrender. This air-ship, the Haroun, was carrying dispatches from the Sultan to the Tsarina at Moscow; they described the previous day's defeat and detailed Khalid's plans for an invasion via the bridges of Gibraltar, the Dardanelles, and the Bosphorus. He also revealed that he intended to take a fleet of air-ships to Western Europe, independent of the land invasion, and destroy cities while heading east to link with O.R.'s forces. It was a chilling plan for annihilation, and one that could not be countered immediately. In a series of battles lasting most of the day Arnoldson's air-ships attacked Odessa, Kieff, Gomel, Vitebsk, Dünaburg, and Riga, devastating rail links and annihilating the troops gathering in these cities. Seventy Aerian air-ships were destroyed, the remaining hundred and eighty ships of Arnoldson's fleet eventually withdrew to Gorlitz, to refuel and rearm.

A Fearful Scene Unfolded Itself As They Swept Up Over Paris.
The Destruction of Paris
Despite its similarity to the Fire-Cloud, the "comet" in the background is actually a Moslem air-ship in flames.

As Arnoldson prepared to resume battle the following morning he learned that Moslem air-ships were firing on Paris, and arrived an hour later to find much of the city was in ruins or ablaze; his ships were just beginning to attack the Moslem ships when the Azrael arrived carrying a dispatch from Aeria:
AERIA, May 16th, 6 P.M.
All Aerians are to return at once with their ships to Aeria, and take no further part in the fighting. The Federation fleets may be left in the hands of foreign crews and commanders, to whom the power stations and batteries are to be given up. This order is to be obeyed with the least possible delay.
ALAN ARNOLD President. [OR 24]

Despite the gravity of the situation in Paris and elsewhere, Arnoldson and the rest of the Aerians involved in the war had no other course but to comply. This left the Moslems and Russians poised to conquer Europe, while Aeria's allies despaired at their abandonment, and had insufficient trained men to make effective use of the equipment they had been given. In a matter of hours the near-certainty of Federation victory was thrown away. It no longer mattered. Aeria had learned of a crisis which dwarfed the petty rivalries of mankind.

Only You Can Bid Me Live, Alma.
Signalling Mars
Lights ringing the plateau of Aeria were used to communicate with Mars from 2030 to 2037.

Orbit of the Fire-Cloud

As noted at the end of the previous section, in 2030 Vassilis Cosmo's long struggle to communicate with Mars finally reached fruition, in the development of a code which allowed transmission of complex scientific and philosophical ideas. By this means he learned that the Martians are immensely advanced rational intelligences, who have been at peace for thousands of years, but achieved this state by sacrificing all emotions in favour of cold logic. The ultimate confirmation of their lack of emotion was a message received on the 12th of May 2037, which bluntly announced the impending destruction of the Earth:

'A cometary body, primarily formed by the meeting of two extinguished astral spheres at 10 hrs. 38 min. 42 sec. on the night of the 13th of October, in the year 1920, terrestrial reckoning, will cross the orbit of the earth at 11 hrs. 55 min. 22 sec. on the night of the 23rd of September next, time corrected to the meridian of Aeria.

'At this hour the earth will arrive at the point of intersection, and will pass obliquely through the central portion or nucleus of the body. This portion is composed of incandescent metallic gases interspersed with semi-fluid masses which on contact with the earth's atmosphere will probably be vaporised.

'The constituents of the incandescent nucleus are iron, gold, tellurium, chromium, oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon with smaller quantities of many other substances which spectrum analysis will disclose to you on the appearance of the comet which will become visible from Aeria at 8 hrs. 13 min. P.M. on the 15th of July, when its right ascension will be 15 hrs. 24 min. 17 sec., and its declination north 10 deg. 42 min. 17 sec. Here follow the detailed calculations upon which the foregoing conclusions are based.'

[OR 26]

It is likely that the passage of the Fire-Cloud was one of the main reasons for the Martian interest in contacting Earth; they wanted to be sure that they would get data from the collision! Earth was on the sunward side of the Fire-Cloud, and the glare of the cloud would make it impossible to make detailed observations of the Earth for several days before and after the event. If they could get detailed reports from Earth describing the disaster many theories could be verified or disproved.

Cosmo requested and received confirmation from Mars on the night of the 13th, but repeated all calculations before seeing the President on the 16th. The result was the signal recalling all Aerian forces, the last arriving home on the 19th of May. The news was formally announced on the 20th, along with a clinching proof; a sealed letter from Natas describing the collision, which he had witnessed in 1920, and suggesting a way for a few picked men and women to survive the disaster in the caves below Mount Austral. They would be chosen by an arduous series of tests and medical examinations, to ensure that only the finest and fittest young Aerians would survive. It would also be necessary to flood the valley containing the city, so that hundreds of feet of water would protect the caves from the effects of the Fire-Cloud.

Although many, including Arnoldson, wanted to finish business with O.R. and her followers, it was felt that every second was needed to ensure that as many Aerians as possible would survive; moreover, most of the men likely to be chosen were members of Aeria's navy, and too valuable to risk in combat. In the ensuing weeks construction and the selection of survivors began, while the fleet guarded Aeria against attack. The few direct descendants of the original founders of Aeria were chosen without the lengthy selection process; Arnoldson, Masarov, Isma Arnold and Alma Tremayne and their parents. All protested but were overruled.

Meanwhile the Russian and Moslem hordes were overrunning Europe, then casting further afield, to America, Australia, and the other civilised nations. Warning messages were repeatedly sent via telegraph to every nation of the Earth, but were mostly ignored. Gradually the silence spread, as nation after nation fell, with the last signals received in Aeria at the end of June.

At the end of July construction of the underground shelter was nearly complete, and Arnoldson again requested permission to attempt to end the war. This time he was allowed to proceed; moreover, he and Masarov were encouraged to marry their respective fiancees before setting out, and take them on this dangerous expedition. Both women felt that they would prefer to die with their husbands if the mission met with disaster; they also wished to be present at any meeting between O.R. and their husbands, in case she somehow enslaved them again.

They met on the first of August; initially Khalid and O.R. did not believe that a collision was inevitable, but Khalid's Vizier had obtained independent confirmation from Hakem ben Amru, the chief astronomer at the observatory of Memphis [OR 30]. Unfortunately the meeting ended with a disastrous confrontation between Alma Arnoldson and O.R., who tried to shoot Alma. Khalid deflected the gun; Arnoldson fired at O.R. as he and Alma escaped, grazing O.R. with his bullet and killing Orloff Lossenski.

At this point one of the great tragedies of this history must be mentioned; despite his religious fanaticism, all sources agree that Khalid was an honourable and courageous leader, who could have achieved great good were it not for the influence of Olga Romanoff. If the Federation had not been dissolved and she had not intervened it is likely that he would have found another outlet for his dangerous energies, perhaps in the modernisation of the nations he controlled, or in bringing his empire into the Federation, and left the world better able to deal with the arrival of the Fire-Cloud. Instead she led him to disaster.

From Alexandria the envoys set out to discover the state of affairs in Europe, America, and Australia, but soon learned that civilisation was collapsing everywhere. Every variety of religious fanaticism and madness flourished; the worship of Moloch, Baal and hundreds of other strange gods, including the Fire-Cloud itself, with rioting and mad human sacrifices. In London Chinese cultists were excavating a gigantic tomb for their leader, in Paris the Louvre was burning, in Washington the last remnants of the Klu Klux Klan were hanging Negroes by the score. Everywhere there was chaos, with a few islands of comparative sanity (mostly universities and museums that could be fortified against looters and rioters) surrounded by an ocean of madness.

Scenario Idea: Island In The Sea of Night
August 2037: With only weeks to go before the arrival of the Fire-Cloud, the adventurers (who are not currently high on the short-list for the vault under Mount Austral) are selected for a dangerous mission.

For months there has been no contact with the outside world, but a message from the Martians says that they have sighted a repeated pattern of lights which they believe to be an attempt to communicate with them; the co-ordinates they give correspond to the island of Ceylon (a British colony and part of the Federation up to the start of the war). There was a Federation naval base at Tricomalee on Ceylon which probably had the necessary equipment. The message the Martians have received is in Morse code, and reads "SOS AERIA", repeated at least a dozen times on each of the last four nights. The Martians themselves don't understand it, since the code used to communicate with them consists of complex mathematical symbols, they are simply repeating what they have seen.

It's possible that some survivors of an Aerian ship or submarine are trying to get help; it's also possible that someone is trying to lure an air-ship into an ambush. The adventurers must find out.

The messages are being sent from the Buddhist monastery on Sri Pada, a mountain which was sacred to all of the religions of the island until the madness of the Fire-Cloud. It currently houses nearly two hundred priests, who salvaged the lights and generators after the Tricomalee base was bombed by Khalid's forces. The temple also holds several major works of Buddhist art, and one important religious relict; a stone slab with a depression approximately six feet long, said to be a footprint left by Buddha. The monks want to ensure that the sacred footprint will be saved.

If the adventurers reconnoitre by day they'll probably concentrate on Tricomalee and other cities, where they'll see widespread chaos; Tricomalee has been wrecked, and all of the cities are in ruins. If they go low they will come under fire from rifles, machine guns, and a few crude anti-aircraft guns. None should do serious damage, but it should be apparent that landing isn't a good idea. There is no obvious sign of the equipment needed to send the signal.

By night, as Mars comes into view, Sri Pada is a blaze of light, slowly sending the same message every twenty minutes while the red planet is above the horizon. The temple is obviously still in good repair; the monks have blown the tracks of the monorail that normally carried tourists up the mountain, the only other route is a footpath used by pilgrims, which has been dynamited and blocked. As soon as an air-ship comes into view they wave flags and other signals, and make it clear that visitors are welcome.

So long as the adventurers stay close to their air-ship the monks will be friendly and co-operative. They explain that they have a great treasure that must be saved from the Fire-Cloud; attempts to explain what it is fail, the monk translating claims that his English isn't good enough, he'll have to show them the treasure.

As soon as anyone enters the temple the monks will surround them and insist (in very good English) that the sacred footprint must be removed to safety before they will release their prisoner(s). Unfortunately it weighs several tons, possibly more than the air-ship can lift, and is embedded in the surrounding rock. Drills and other tools will be needed to remove it. Naturally the monks won't use violence to stop prisoners escaping; they'll just surround them and refuse to let them pass, even if some or all of the monks are killed. They're going to die anyway, and if they die virtuously they expect to be reincarnated in a better world.

The adventurers will hopefully try to find a solution that lets them rescue any prisoners without massacring the monks. The monks know that an Aerian's word is sacred; that will be enough, if the adventurers promise to return with suitable tools and remove the relict to safety. Of course any promises they make are binding; the President will insist that they keep their word. Even if it means spending a week or more excavating the stone without destroying it, fighting off heavily-armed madmen who will undoubtedly try to scale the mountain if they see an air-ship there for an extended period, and giving the footprint precious space in the vaults of Aeria...

If the adventurers handle this well they will be moved closer to the short-list; someone has been killed in an accident, or otherwise taken out of the running. Another successful mission might get them into the vault...

Note: English speakers use the name Ceylon, not Sri Lanka, in this world; it has been a British colony since the eighteenth century. See Arthur C. Clarke's The Fountains of Paradise for more on Sri Pada.

Aeria is largely self-sufficient, but missions to get vital supplies for the survival vault, or rescue other marvels of art and science, can be a useful source of adventures in the final days before the end of the world. Some possibilities:

  • The Mona Lisa was in the Louvre; if it wasn't burned, who has it now?
  • The original American constitution, and that of the Federation itself, are important historical documents. While the text is on record in Aeria, there is considerable sentimental attachment to the original documents. Both were stored in museums, in London and Washington; can they be recovered?
  • The Imperial Russian Crown Jewels are also valuable historical artifacts; Olga Romanoff has the crown, but nobody has seen the rest of them since she seized power. If she doesn't have them, where can they be?
  • Modern medicine needs many special materials; tropical plants, radium, the venom of exotic spiders and snakes. With the collapse of global civilisation supplies are running low; before the vault is sealed it's essential to replenish them. With the supply network destroyed, the adventurers may have to risk life and limb to obtain everything that's needed.
  • After the Fire-Cloud passes there will be no plants or animals left on Earth. It's necessary to replace them, with a veritable Noah's ark which must be preserved in the vaults. Some are obvious, some less so - it's likely that the planners have thought of clover to replenish the nitrogen in the soil, and bees for pollination, but have they stockpiled photosynthetic marine algae, decay organisms, worms, or dung beetles? With days to go before the vault is sealed, a final check spots a few missing organisms that will most readily be found in the forest around the plateau, or on the nearest coast. It should be an easy mission - but O.R's scouts are already active in the area, plotting the movements of the fleet and sending them to the their headquarters by telegraph, and may try to attack the expedition.
    See Robert A. Heinlein's Farmer in the Sky for some examples of the complexities of giving life to a sterile world.

The Avenger's mission continued through August, but achieved little. At the end of the month they returned to Aeria for the last act of the end of the world. They arrived to find the city in the grips of a mysterious plague which had already killed more than 90% of its population. The casualties included young and old alike, all of them killed with no obvious signs of illness; remarkably, none of those on the short list for the underground bunker were affected, probably because all were in perfect health and had been inoculated against every known disease. It is generally assumed that this new disease had a long infectious incubation period and was carried back to Aeria by soldiers who contracted it before Aeria's forces were recalled in May. Suggestions that the plague was started deliberately, to save the rest of the population of Aeria from the agony of the Fire-Cloud, can neither be proved or disproved in the aftermath of the disaster.

On the fifteenth of September the survival vaults were completed, and the final work of selecting their occupants began. To avoid favouritism the choice was limited to young couples in perfect health who had already been engaged when the news was received from Mars. These couples, and a few thousand men and women who were prepared to defend Aeria against any last-ditch attack, were by now the only survivors of Aeria. On the same day the flooding of Aeria began. Three days later the selected survivors married in a mass ceremony (which was destined to result in nearly a hundred births eight to ten months later, stretching the medical facilities of the survivors to the limit).

Still The Fight Went On At Long Ranges.
The Last Battle
The final act of the drama began just before midnight on the 21st of September, when the Orion, on guard duty above Aeria, spotted a large fleet of Russian and Moslem air-ships approaching [OR 31]. At this point there could be no rational motive for the attack; it isn't certain that O.R. even knew of the survival plan and in any case, if the Aerians won O.R.'s fleet would be destroyed, if she won it was virtually certain that the Aerians would destroy the caves to prevent their use. Either way the attackers would be doomed. The only possible motive could be revenge, and it seems certain that the driving force was O.R. herself.

Although it must be assumed that this was intended as a surprise attack, by now the Fire-Cloud was so bright that her fleet was easily detected, and the Aerian fleet moved to counter it. Thus began the largest air-ship battle in history, with more than a thousand ships in two evenly-matched fleets, and most of the combatants resigned to death and determined to sell their lives dearly. Aeria had two crucial advantages; her deadly guns could destroy any Russian venturing near the plateau, while the Alma and Isma were capable of greater speeds, altitudes and manoeuvrability than any enemy craft. With Arnoldson and Masarov in command they slowly drove the attackers from the plateau, thinning the fleet until the last few score ships met in single combat. The battle ended shortly after noon on the 23rd, when the remnants of the attacking fleet ventured too close to Aeria, and was annihilated by artillery and suicide attacks by the last Aerian ships. Only the Alma and Isma survived.

Towards the end the Revenge left the battle carrying Olga Romanoff and Khalid. The fleeing ship was observed by the Orion and reported to Arnoldson, but nothing could be done to end the affair in the hours before the arrival of the Fire-Cloud.

Once the battle was over preparations were made for closing down the caves, but Arnoldson, Masarov and a few others were determined to stay on the surface until the last possible moment:

...The Fire-Cloud now covered almost the whole heavens, and its enormous nucleus blazed like a gigantic sun down out of the zenith with a heat and radiance that were almost insupportable.

Huge masses of flame leapt out continuously, as though hurled from its fiery heart, and were projected far beyond its circumference, while the incandescent cloud-mass which surrounded it was torn and convulsed by internal commotions which spread out and out in enormous waves of many-coloured fires until they disappeared below the horizon.

Still there was neither sound nor breath of wind upon earth, only the awful stillness in which the world waited for the hour of its doom to strike. At last, towards ten o'clock, the water began to lap the threshold of the entrance, and Alan, pointing to it, said--

"Come, we must take our last look at the world. It is time to lower the doors."

The words were scarcely out of his mouth before a low dull booming sound came echoing down the gorges of Mount Austral. They looked up and saw huge masses of snow and ice loosened from its upper heights gliding, at first slowly and then more and more swiftly, down towards the valley beneath, a mighty avalanche which in a few minutes more would carry irresistible ruin in its path.

"In with you all!" cried Alan. "Quick! That is the beginning of the end; the snows are melting and the waters will be over us in another hour."

All but he and Alexis hurried in, and they, grasping the levers on either side of the door, pulled them, and the enormous sheet of steel descended quickly along its grooves and shut them in from the outer world, upon which chaos was about to fall.

[OR 31]

They remained underground for nearly three days. During these hours the Fire-Cloud swept the planet free of all obvious signs of life, with temperatures exceeding a thousand degrees; the maximum recorded was 1136°F, 613°C. Further details of the Fire-Cloud and its aftermath are discussed in later sections.

The Blazing Sky Was Literally Raining Fire Over Sea And Land.
Nature's Funeral Pyre

Meanwhile the Revenge travelled to O.R.'s old base under Mount Terror in Antarctica.

On Saturday 26th September 2037 (now commemmorated as Emergence Day) Arnoldson and the other leaders of humanity decided to risk opening the caves; external temperatures were down to relatively normal levels and pressure, which had fluctuated wildly, was close to the norm for Aeria's altitude. It was possible that there would be no air fit to breathe, of course, with the Earth's oxygen consumed in the flames and replaced by useless gases, but if that had happened there was no hope of survival anyway. It took several hours to get free, since some of the tunnels above the sealed complex had collapsed, but eventually they emerged to find the remains of the once-fertile valley:

The once verdure-clad mountains rose up bare and gaunt and blackened, a vast circle of ragged rock, unrelieved by a blade of grass or a single tree of all the myriads that had clothed their slopes three days before. It seemed as though the clock of Time had been put back through countless ages and the world was once more as it had been before the first forms of life appeared upon it.

But still the air that fanned their cheeks was fresh and warm and sweet, and the afternoon sun was shining across the western peaks out of a cloudless sky of purest blue. The calm had come after the storm and the world was waiting to begin its life anew. The Alma and the Isma had utterly vanished, and were probably buried deep in the black slimy mud. Of the city of Aeria not a vestige was visible.

[OR Ep.]

The situation in the rest of the world was actually much less promising. Melting polar ice made sea levels rise nearly two feet during the passage of the Fire-Cloud and there is abundant evidence of enormous tidal waves and hurricanes of superheated steam. Subsequent exploration found that few signs of Man's presence remained; a few stone monuments (such as the Sphinx) which were too massive to be swept away easily, the former channel of the Panama canal, swept clean of locks and blocked by frequent rock-falls, the base of the Statue of Liberty (the rest of the statue was completely destroyed, as was Manhattan), and similar debris elsewhere. The basin of hills around London filled with a mixture of mud and water swept by tidal waves; the Thames now has a broad shallow delta where London once stood, with no evidence of its former course and the city that grew around it. Every other city suffered similar or worse fates; for example, San Francisco was hit by a devastating earthquake, but since the city was also struck by multiple tidal waves and at least two large meteors it hardly seems to matter. Dozens of volcanoes exploded with unparalleled force, destroying Japan, Iceland, parts of America, New Zealand and the main Hawaiian islands. When the survivors of Aeria emerged most of these phenomena were coming to an end; fortunately the mountains around Aeria blocked most of their effects.

Scientists believe that the sheer intensity of the disaster may have saved the world from total annihilation. Volcanic eruptions and meteor impacts on this scale should have swathed the world in a pall of dust taking years to settle, which could have led to another ice age - but the collision heated the sea so much that the atmosphere became supersaturated with steam at very high altitutes; as it began to cool, it rained and swept the air clear of dust. Another theory says that the dust precipitated the rain, saving the earth from becoming a permanent boiling hell, and its sheer weight may have been instrumental in slowing the storms that accompanied the disaster.

Unaware of conditions off the plateau, Arnoldson's first priority was to trace the Revenge, to make sure that there was no possibility that O.R. would return to blight the future of the world. He admitted that he intended to kill any survivors, but his wife persuaded him that he must not be the Cain of this new Eden, and made him promise to extend the hand of friendship. Arnoldson guessed that O.R. must have gone to Antarctica; the Mount Terror base was a complex of tunnels and caves that could be sealed against bombs and poison gas and might conceivably resist the Fire-Cloud. The equipment stored at Aeria included the components for several small air-ships, and it was the work of hours to assemble one and prepare to investigate.

Olga Romanoff Had Survived The Doom Of The World.
The Sole Survivor

When they arrived at Antarctica, already cooling to sub-zero temperatures, they found that Olga Romanoff was the only survivor. The exact sequence of events will always be a mystery; all that is certain is that Khalid was shot and badly injured, and the crew of the Revenge killed. Enough remained of the bodies aboard the Revenge for later analysis to determine that they had been poisoned, with O.R. the obvious suspect. Khalid died of his wounds during the passage of the Fire-Cloud; his body was found to contain traces of an obscure complex alkaloid chemical, probably the potion O.R. used to control the minds of her "slaves". She alone survived, but was apparently driven insane by her ordeal. Seeing Arnold was apparently the last straw; she died of a stroke minutes later, proclaiming her love for him to the end.

It was generally felt that the passage of the Fire-Cloud marked the end of the old world and the birth of the new. To symbolise this a new calendar was adopted. To avoid the millennial problems that plagued the Christian calendar it was decided to make 2037 the year zero, with the initials B.F.C. (Before Fire Cloud) and A.F.C. (After Fire Cloud) to indicate the transition between the eras. Thus zero A.F.C. runs from 23rd September 2037 to December 31st 2037, with January 1st 2038 as the start of the year 1 A.F.C.. Similarly, the period from January 1st 2037 to 22nd September 2037 is zero B.F.C., 2036 is 1 B.F.C., and so forth. It was felt that these changes would be less confusing than revising the entire calendar to begin the year on 23rd September. The next century will begin on January 1st 100 A.F.C. (1/1/2138 AD), the next millennium on 1/1/1000 (1/1/3038 AD). The period from the 23rd to the 25th of September is a solemn holiday and fast in remembrance of the billions killed by the disaster, ending with the celebration of Emergence on the 26th.

2037 Onwards - A New Eden?
to contents

I began my book full of hope, intending to write a definitive account of the bright Aerian dream and the new Eden we are building after the Fire-Cloud. I'm no longer sure I share that dream. Yesterday we buried a child, the third baby to die this year. Aeria had the most modern hospital in the world; we have six doctors, none of them paediatricians, and our hospital is little more than a tent. Our band numbers less than three hundred, and between us we have to re-create civilisation. Some skills are gone forever - I doubt that anyone knows how to shoe a horse, not that we have any, or make lace - others will die with this generation. We are trying to preserve languages by teaching them to our children, but it seems certain that only English will continue in daily use; Russian, French, German, Latin and Greek may linger as academic subjects, but only one survivor speaks a little Chinese and there is little incentive for anyone else to learn it -- in a few decades that language and hundreds of others will be as dead as the millions who spoke them. Our number includes one palaeontologist, heartbroken because all of the fossils in the world have been swept away; it may be hundreds of years before more are dug from under the ash and cinders and the endless mud.

Yet we could have saved so much more, if we had understood the Martians earlier, or Natas had simply told the world what he knew! With bare months to prepare we were able to save two hundred and fifty lives. With years we could have saved hundreds of thousands. We think of Natas as the saviour of the human race; maybe we should think again, and brand him its murderer, his silence a long-delayed revenge on a world that destroyed his wife.

No, that's unfair, Natas didn't invent the Fire-Cloud, and he seems to have been sure that mount Austral was the only hope of survival. But the Romanoff woman survived in an Antarctic cave, how many more could have lived under the ocean, or under the Arctic ice, if we had been given more time? We'll never know.

I don't think I'll put this into my book; we need our heroes, especially Natas, and we need hope, much more than regrets or recriminations. Things are slowly improving, I suppose, and with time perhaps the scars will fade. It may not be Eden, but we need to act as though it is, and hope that eventually it will be.

Isma Mazarof - undated notebook entry

AS the survivors began to rebuild it was obvious that there were several priorities. Above all else it was essential to make sure that there would be an adequate supply of food and water, not just in the short term but for centuries to come. Fortunately the colony was well-supplied with seeds and seedling plants, and everything needed to replenish the soil, from tractors, ploughs and fertilisers to earthworms, bees, clover seeds and mould spores. It was soon discovered that although the soil had been baked and boiled, it was not entirely dead. Many plants have seeds which are able to survive forest fires; although the Fire-Cloud was much worse, occasional seeds lived and within weeks shoots were visible in many parts of the world. Some insects and many other invertebrates survived, most notably numerous species of beetle, termite and ant, others were apparently unofficial occupants of the caves of Aeria.

At an early stage of planning it had been decided that it was impractical to take the larger domestic animals into the caves. Cattle and other meat animals would require feeding, and it wasn't certain that agriculture would produce enough of a surplus to support them in the long term, while most of the common pets eat meat. A few of the smaller species were taken; rabbits, chickens and other poultry (including hundreds of fertilised eggs in incubators), goats (for milk), tanks of edible freshwater and saltwater fish, bees and worms. Mice evidently found their own way into the caves. Great care was taken to limit these animals and prevent escapes; some rabbits did get out and did considerable damage to crops, but were soon eliminated. Mice proved more of a problem, with no predators to limit their spread, but traps and poisoned bait keep them under control.

By 10 A.F.C. meat was still an occasional luxury but grain products and potatoes, green vegetables, rice, eggs and fish were readily available. Goat cheese and butter were available but margarine and other synthetics were more common, with milk reserved for children and invalids. The first trees were starting to bear fruit; appropriately, the earliest crop was a few bushels of apples. By 20 A.F.C. there were surpluses in all foods. There were worries that the animals might become too inbred, but so far this is not a problem.

Human inbreeding may eventually prove more of a challenge. Aeria was initially a relatively small community and by picking the "brightest and the best" many less favoured bloodlines were eliminated. Most of the survivors are already related to some extent. The most likely result given their numbers is that there are some risks of genetic abnormalities from this cause, but reasonable caution in the selection of partners, such as the avoidance of first cousins etc., will reduce the risk considerably. Whether the survivors will welcome such interference in their affairs remains to be seen. In the years immediately following the disaster there is no reason to worry; difficulties will probably take two or three generations to appear.

Survivor's Syndrome
After major disasters many people are affected by depression. Depicting this syndrome is best done via NPCs, who may turn to religion, mourn lost relatives, use drink or mindless hedonism to hide an inner emptiness, or even turn to suicide. Characters may also suffer one or another form of this syndrome; while Forgotten Futures doesn't have a mechanism for enforcing such behaviour, it's easy to act it out. Some manifestations of the syndrome do have game effects, as follows:
  • Depression; character must occasionally use MIND to overcome SOUL to become motivated. If the roll fails, the character is overcome with inertia, making concentration and work difficult. All skills are used at -1. Depression should last a few hours (or to the end of the day) before another roll is made. On a 12 depression lasts several days.
  • Alcoholism, drug addiction; character must occasionally use MIND versus BODY to avoid a drinking bout. If the roll fails, the character will drink anything alcoholic that comes to hand, or use the drug of choice. MIND and all related skills are used at -1 to -3 while the bout lasts, depending on the form of addiction. On a 12 the abuse continues until the character is unconscious.
  • Religion; All Aerians believe in a form of spiritualism, but anyone combining this belief with survivor's syndrome will spend time talking to the dead, and may even believe that he can see or hear them reply. This may even be true for mediums.
A more pressing problem is likely to be the psychological effects of the disaster. All of the survivors will be mourning family and friends, and are likely to feel guilty because they have survived. In some this will manifest as depression, others may turn to religion or drink.

Some attention was given to the possibility that the seas might be sterilised by the Fire-Cloud, but fortunately some life did survive; all aquatic mammals and reptiles were killed, as were the algae and fish of the upper waters, but the ocean depths were barely disturbed and new life began to well up within days as the surface waters cooled. Aerian air-ships began to seed the seas around Africa with algae, plankton, and fish eggs, cultured in tanks in the caves; it took several years, but eventually life began to return to coastal waters. Without predators the spread of edible fish is very fast and occasionally threatens to outstrip the growth of plankton, but deep-water sharks, octopi and other carnivores have begun to move up towards the shallows and it is believed that a new balance will eventually be achieved. Cautious fishing began in 25 A.F.C., but catches are carefully monitored and cut back if there seems to be any scarcity.

Another priority was to salvage all possible materials left from Aeria and the rest of the civilised world. Stockpiles of metals and other useful materials had been moved to some of the other caves around Aeria before the disaster and much survived intact. More was buried under the mud and rock that had been swept across Aeria by the melting glaciers. Machinery could be salvaged from Olga Romanoff's base under Mount Terror; when the entrance to its harbour was torpedoed in 2036 several submarines had been trapped inside and forgotten. Three were salvageable, albeit by taking them apart and rebuilding them outside. The base also contained workshops and valuable components for submarines and air-ships. It could have been rebuilt to survive the Fire-Cloud if the will had been there - unfortunately O.R. had other priorities and this opportunity was lost. By 8 A.F.C. the base was stripped of everything that seemed useful, although there are persistent rumours of hidden tunnels that weren't found during the salvage operations, and occasional attempts to find them. Nobody is entirely sure how these rumours started, but they have become one of the "urban myths" of the new age. Arnoldson and Masarov don't remember such tunnels, and are the only authoritative source for details of the base before the disaster, but it is always possible that they existed anyway; it is consistent with the psychology of O.R. and her confederates.

Scenario Idea: Snake In Eden
Maybe the tunnels do exist. If so, what will be found in them? One nasty answer is Olga Romanoff's laboratory, where she brewed the poisons that allowed her to control Arnoldson, Masarov and Khalid. The colonists were the brightest and best of Aeria, but anyone can succumb to temptation; if the drugs are found, is it a hundred percent sure that they will never be used? For many years it will be possible take control of the entire human race by this means; eventually there will be too many people in too many areas to make it work, but that could take fifty or a hundred years.

If you want to play with this idea, the adventurers might return from an expedition to find that everyone is behaving a little oddly; nothing really strange, but friends and family seem a little distracted and absent-minded, and everyone seems to want to give them a drink or some other delicacy. Eventually it should become apparent that everyone has been drugged and is under orders to keep the status quo, increase productivity, and work for the benefit of the human race, and make sure that everyone else does likewise. They will obey any other direct order, however bizarre. Everyone is being very nice, but somewhat strange; think of The Stepford Wives or Invasion of the Body Snatchers and you won't go wrong.

There is no obvious source for the general orders; the victims have been told to pass them on. The drug is in the main water supply, in wine and beverages, and is being manufactured by the colony's small chemical factory. Obviously someone is responsible, but nobody seems to be gaining by it.

Another explorer found O.R.'s lab and bought back the drug formula, intending to use it to create the perfect Utopia the founders of Aeria had always envisaged. Unfortunately he forgot that Utopia has its price; creativity is virtually non-existent, and essential planning for the future has been forgotten as everyone labours to maintain the status quo. To make matters worse, he was careless enough to allow one of his victims to give him the drug and is now as much a zombie as anyone else.

It's to be hoped that the adventurers will decide to find out what has gone wrong and work to correct the problem. Alternatively, they can abuse the situation to become absolute rulers of Aeria, in which case they must shoulder sole responsibility for the survival of the human race, and should rapidly find that it isn't as simple as it looks. For example, it will soon be hurricane season, and zombies aren't good at dealing with sudden disasters. If the adventurers are ruling the world it may be a good idea to take out the chemical factory in the first storm, leaving everyone to go cold turkey and recover over the next few days. This may leave a lot of people very annoyed with the adventurers...

Fortunately Aeria is a geological treasure-trove and some of the old mine workings survived intact, others have slowly been re-opened. The main shortages are coal and oil; Aeria has little coal and no oil, and all of the known oil fields and mines were destroyed by the geological upheavals of the disaster. Geologists have found coal in the parts of Antarctica cleared by the partial melting of the poles. Unfortunately weather conditions there are appalling and the costs of extracting and shipping it (in terms of energy consumption etc.) make it a very "expensive" fuel; at least 25% is used up in extracting it, shipping it to Aeria, and in wastage from the fuel conversion process. There are continued attempts to find better sources, preferably in a warmer climate.

Despite the devastation, there are still expeditions to find caches left from the old world. Typically they are underground vaults under the strongest buildings, such as bank vaults and storage bunkers. The first success was the discovery of the U.S. Federal Reserve at Fort Knox, which contained enough gold to meet all of Aeria's industrial needs; since the survivors no longer use any form of money and all property is owned communally it has no other value. Since then stockpiles of silver, platinum and rare earths have been found, along with several bank vaults containing useless paper money and occasional unexpected treasures; for example, one vault found in Cornwall contained a long-forgotten strong box holding the unexpurgated memoirs of Dr. John Watson and papers belonging to his detective partner. Once the initial problems of survival were solved the search for these treasures and other archaeological relicts of the lost world became a popular study, with considerable kudos attached to an interesting or important find. Most men take part in at least one expedition, some join several. The archives of the University of Aeria were microfilmed to save them from the disaster and contain a wide variety of magazines and books; these often hold useful clues. This activity isn't entirely safe; one expedition found that an apparently promising vault was filled with drums of industrial cyanide, another stumbled across a cache of munitions and war gases sealed and forgotten at the end of the War of the Terror, and now dangerously unstable.

Despite the relatively small number of survivors, there was a rapid population boom. Although several children died in the early years, families averaged 3.2 children in the first census of 10 A.F.C., and 5.7 in 20 A.F.C. Women were expected to devote most of their time to family and home. Meanwhile their men were rebuilding Aeria's agriculture and industries and constructing houses, factories, schools and hospitals. As much as possible was automated, so that a building could be assembled from prefabricated parts in a matter of days. Of course there were drawbacks; given the limited repertoire of components all of the early buildings had a certain sameness, rows of virtually identical box-like houses. Later more variety was added to the designs, and the early buildings were modified or replaced, until it was almost impossible to find any hint of the original structures.

For several years after the disaster all labour and industrial capacity was focused on the essentials of rebuilding civilisation, but the survivors were nevertheless able to devote some time to handicrafts, such as pottery and weaving, to make household items that couldn't be replaced easily by other means. There was already a distinctive Aerian design style, austere yet decorative, which was perfectly suited to conditions in this period and became the most distinctive hallmark of the new age. By 30 A.F.C. this influence can be seen everywhere; in the lines of buildings and cutlery, vases and even air-ships.

One long-term project was the construction of a telescope and signalling system to resume communications with the Martians; their knowledge could bypass hundreds of years of scientific research, and help overcome many of the problems that Aeria faces. It took longer than expected to solve the short-term problems of survival and release the industrial capacity needed for this project, but work started on the telescope and lights in 22 AFC and completion is expected in the early thirties. The Martians are infinitely patient and knew some delay was inevitable, so nobody thinks that they will mind the wait. There has also been talk of building an air-ship capable of flying through space, propelled by rockets or some as yet undiscovered principle, and paying a visit to our neighbouring worlds. The archives of Aeria list dozens of inventions that were suppressed to protect the monopoly of flight, which can now be developed to their full potential.

Where does Aeria go from here? The survivors will continue to rebuild for the foreseeable future, gradually colonising the rest of the world as Aeria becomes crowded; eventually there may be a single global Aerian civilisation, but different groups may eventually have different interests, leading to separate communities. Nobody wants to see a return to the bad old days of money, so exchanging goods and services between such communities may eventually become a problem. However, it is expected that all will be united by the telegraph, telephone, and rapid air-ships, which should prevent the growth of nationalism and the ultimate evil - war.

Evil Aeria
While this worldbook tends to treat the Terror and Aeria favourably, it is possible to interpret the events of the novels very differently. Here the prime instigator of evil is Natas, not Alexander; perhaps the whole history of Aeria is his insane revenge against the world that destroyed the woman he loved... or perhaps his secret is much more sinister. After all, Natas is Satan spelled backwards, and many of The Terror's air-ships are named after "angels" which Christianity regards as demons (e.g. Lucifer); perhaps the Terror and the war it creates are Satan's creations, his way of causing maximum death and destruction and ensuring the fewest possible survivors of the Fire-Cloud. The peace that The Terror creates is the peace of the charnel-house, built on the bones of the millions killed in the 1904 war, and perpetuated by ruthless oppression. Nothing in the novels directly supports this interpretation of events, with the possible exception of the treatment of Alexander Romanoff and the other Russian leaders at the end of the 1904 war, but that needn't stop referees using this theme for a darker campaign.

If any part of this "Evil Aeria" option is pursued the policies created by Natas and the Federation should be much harsher than those described above; the execution of dissidents, suppression of religion, global conquest and a continuing reign of terror in Russia. When Olga Romanoff goes public she is treated as the saviour of Russia; the Aerians, brainwashed by generations of propaganda, don't realise that her support comes from genuine grievances against the Federation. She may still use evil means to these ends, but they are a response to the evil she sees in the rest of the world. Ultimately she is the avenging angel who tries to defeat the forces of darkness but tragically fails.

If Natas is the Devil his "death" in 1930 is simply the casting off of a physical form that has outlived its usefulness; further identities will be assumed, steering the Federation towards the futile war of 2036-7 and the destruction of all but a tiny fraction of the human race, not the hundreds of thousands who might otherwise be saved.

This version of events isn't supported in the remainder of this worldbook, but referees may find it useful if the adventurers seem to be taking their allegiance to The Terror, the Federation, or Aeria for granted. The gradual realisation that they have been fighting on the side of darkness may come as a very nasty surprise...

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THE chronology below is based on the Christian calendar from 1877 to 2037, then on the calendar adopted by the survivors of Aeria after the passage of the Fire-Cloud. This calendar treats the period from 23rd September 2037 to December 31st 2037 as the year 0 A.F.C., then January 1st 2038 as the start of the year 1 A.F.C.. For convenience this list does not use the earlier Federation revolutionary calendar; even in Aeria it was never very popular and was largely reserved for offical documents.

Richard Arnold born. [AR 1]
Natasha born. [AR 48]
Alexander II assassinated. Natas imprisoned and sent to Siberia. [AR 48]
Natas crippled and "released" for hospital treatment. His wife vanishes en route to Siberia. [AR 48]
Natas learns the truth of his wife's death and joins the Nihilists, soon becoming their leader. [AR 48]
Tsarevitch Nicholas injured in Japan.
Alexander III treated for kidney disease, recovers.
"Wireless" signal transmission experiments fail.
Edison assassinated.
Richard Arnold starts work on the problem of flight. Queen Victoria abdicates after celebrating sixty years on the throne [AR 19].
Holt and Jackson discover Aeria but are stranded there; a message is found a year later [AR 15]. Tidal barrage and turbines built at Greenwich.
Zeppelin dirigible crashes during trials in Germany; all aboard are killed.
(13th September) Richard Arnold builds his first working air-ship model and meets Colston. [AR 1].
(14th Sept.) Arnold agrees to join the Terror. [AR 5].
(Sept.-Oct.) Arnold visits Russia to inspect the prototype of a French War-balloon sold to the Tsar. [AR 8]
(Oct.) Ariel and components for other air-ships under construction on Drumcraig Island.
(March) Ariel completed.
(6th Mar.) Tremayne presents details of the Franco-Russian treaty and Russian war-balloon plans to Balfour. Copies of the Treaty are sent to Berlin, Vienna, and Rome. British fleet and army mobilised.
(7th Mar.) Arrest of Natasha and Anna Ornovski in Russia becomes known to Inner Council [AR 9].
(8th Mar.) Destruction of Kronstadt naval base [AR 11] Tsar meets his Ministers in emergency session. Balloons to be made ready within the week [AR 14].
(9th Mar.) Rescue of Natasha and Anna Ornovski [AR 13].
(10th Mar.) Border incident, Sir Ulang Pass, Hindu Kush. Ghoorkhas beat off cossacks [AR 15].
(13th Mar.) Ariel arrives in Africa and starts to explore Aeria [AR 15].
(11th Apr.) Loan Guarantee Bill to aid Italy fails in the House of Lords [AR 19].
(12th Apr.) Appropriation Bill for mobilsation of the Volunteers and the Naval Reserve fails in the Commons [AR 19].
(13th Apr.) Balfour resigns and calls a General Election in the UK [AR 19].
(12th May) Balfour re-elected [AR 19].
(13th May) France declares war. Russia attacks in the the Hindu Kush [AR 19]. As soon as the British troops are engaged in this fight a new Indian Mutiny begins.
(15th May) Italy defects from the Triple Alliance to ally with France and Russia [AR 19].
(20th May) Ariel leaves Aeria to meet the Avondale [AR 18].
(22nd May) Ariel meets Avondale off the coast of the Western Sahara [AR 18].
(22nd May - 15th Jun.) 11 other Ariel class vessels and the Ithuriel built on island off African coast [AR 18].
(16th-20th Jun.) Terrorist fleet trains and flys to Aeria [AR 18].
(21st June) Ithuriel leaves for rendezvous with the Lurline; shortly after her departure there is a violent storm, and the Lucifer is stolen [AR 26].
(22nd June) Tremayne and Natas talk of the need for a single Western power to counteract militant Buddhism; Natas releases Tremayne from hypnotic control [AR 20].
(23nd June) Lurline sets off for rendezvous with an air-ship (the Ithuriel). Air-ship sighted over Plymouth. Lurline attacked by French warships before the air-ship arrives [AR 21]. Ithuriel cripples the warships. Arnold learns of the sighting of an unknown air-ship over the Mediterranean. Aurania sails from New York [AR 22].
(24th June) Aurania attacked by Franco-Italian fleet but saved by the Ithurial, which annihilates the fleet [AR 24].
(26th June) Ithuriel returns to Aeria. Natas learns of the theft of the Lucifer. Nicholas Roburoff demoted. Colston and Radna marry. Terrorist air-ship fleet sets off to find the Lucifer [AR 26].
(27th June) Ithuriel and Terrorist fleet visit St. Petersburg in search of the Lucifer. Professor Volnow taken prisoner. Accidental destruction of his laboratory (and surrounding arsenal) by release of Arnold's fuel. Naval disaster in the Baltic as the Lucifer destroys ships of the British and German fleets [AR 25].
(28th June) Ithuriel captures a fleet of Russian war-balloons [AR 28]. Tsar agrees to return the Lucifer but not its crew [AR 29]. Professor Volnow killed [AR 30].
(30th June) Russians attack Aberdeen [AR 31]. Lucifer recaptured [AR 32].
(2nd July) Berlin falls [AR 33].
(24th to 27th Aug.) Second Battle of the Nile won by Britain [AR 34].
(16th Sep.) The Orion returns from Australia, and the Azrael from America. Arnold ordered to take Natasha to America following Nicholas Roburoff's request for her hand in marriage. [AR 35]
(18th Sep.) Ithuriel arrives in America. Natasha confronts Roburoff, and (on Natas' orders) shoots him. [AR 36]
(4th-5th Oct.) Terrorists take over the USA. Anglo-Saxon Federation declared [AR 37].
(5th Oct.) Antwerp falls to the League [AR 37].
(6th Oct.) Britain refuses to join the Anglo-Saxon Federation [AR 37].
(28th Oct.) League attacks England. The Battle of Dover [AR 39].
(28th Nov.) London surrounded and starving [AR 40].
(29th Nov.) King Edward and British Ministers submit to the Federation. Ithuriel destroys French submarine fleet [AR 41].
(30th Nov.) Federation fleet sets out from America. One week truce declared [AR 42].
(5th Dec.) Federation fleet reaches Britain.
(6th Dec.) Battle for London. Federation destroys main Russian army [AR 43].
(7th Dec.) Battle continues. Lucifer destroyed, Azrael badly damaged [AR 45]. French and Italian unconditional surrender.
(8th Dec.) Shortly after midnight, last of Russian Imperial Guard annihilated, Tsar and staff surrender and are arrested. This date is later celebrated as the Anniversary of Victory and the Day of Deliverance. Tsar and rest of the Russian royal family sentenced to exile in Siberia. Natas hands over power to Alan Tremayne. Celebrations throughout Britain. European heads of state bought to London by air-ship [AR 47].
(9th Dec.) Conference of heads of state. Anglo-Saxon Federation lays down terms for peace. European Constitutional convention begins. [AR 47].
(10th Dec.) Lord Alanmere and Lady Muriel Penarth reunited. Natas explains the origin of the Terror [AR 49].
(13th Dec.) Lord Alanmere weds Lady Muriel, Richard Arnold weds Natasha [AR 49].
(Jan 8th) Alexander and his ministers and their families begin their journey to Siberian exile [AR 49].
(Late Mar.) European Constitution ratified [AR ep.].
(Mid Oct.) First child of Natasha and Arnold born [AR ep.].
(Late Nov.) Buddhist-Moslem war ends in Moslem Victory [AR ep.].
(28th Nov.) Federation ultimatum to Sultan Mohammed Reshad [AR ep.].
(29th Nov.) Reshad surrenders following annihilation of most of his army. Federation armed forces disband, and all weapons apart from air-ship fleet destroyed [AR ep.].
(1st Dec.) Alexander dies on arrival in Siberia [AR ep.].
Queen Victoria dies.
Aeria joins "Universal Postal Union" and issues first stamps.
Nicholas Romanoff, the uncrowned Tsar, dies in Siberia. Tunguska explosion three weeks later is initially suspected to be detonation of a Tsarist ammunition cache, but later suspected be caused by the impact of a fragment from a comet's nucleus.
Entire government of Belgium arrested for attempts to conceal an arsenal, explosives factory, and caches of military rifles.
Unrest in the Balkans.
"Freedom of Travel" becomes a right in the Federation constitution. Rapid expansion of rail, tram, and other public transport systems.
Luxembourg holds referendum on Federation membership; 97% of population choose to remain members.
Best selling authors Lovecraft and Baum co-author "Cthulhu In Oz". Baum dies several months later.
Unrest in the Balkans. Natas sees collision of planets and birth of Fire Cloud.
Wodehouse-Lovecraft musical "What Ho, Cthulhu" premieres in London, New York, St. Petersburg.
H.G. Wells joins Conservative Party, resigns and returns to Socialism three weeks later.
First demonstration of disk-scanned closed-circuit televisor, Moscow.
Japan invades China. Call for Federation volunteers to aid the Chinese is blocked by President.
Japanese air-fleet destroyed over Manchuria. Hiroshima naval yards bombed. Japan invades Korea. New attempts to build "wireless" communication system fail.
Japanese Empire absorbs China and Korea. War ends. Live Coelacanth found.
Natas dies [OR pro.]
Japanese Empire signs treaties with Federation. Federation ends compulsory military service.
First giant pandas shipped to London and Washington zoos. Fox hunting banned in Britain.
Unrest in the Balkans. Religious war in Jamaica (Rastafarians versus Moslems) quelled by Federation troops.
Skirts rising above the ankles briefly in vogue. First kinematographic pictures with sound.
H.P. Lovecraft arrested for pro-Tsarist propaganda (adventure 3).
Dalai Lama dies; Buddhists seek his reincarnation in Germany.
300 MPH train demonstrated in USA, but unpopular as "too fast for comfort." Mexico, Cuba join Federation.
Vaccination for polio. Last petrol service station in USA (possibly in the entire Federation) closes. Brazil, Argentina, Columbia join Federation.
Remaining Central and South American states join Federation.
Irish demands to leave United Kingdom but remain in Federation. Referendum shows that 65% of Irish and 88% of Britons support the change, Federation sets a five-year schedule for the change of government.
Vaccination for malaria.
Ireland leaves United Kingdom but remains Federation member. Uprising against Moslems begins in India. First true "food pills" and 200-mile range electric carriage demonstrated at Crystal Palace exhibition.
Moslems suppress last rebels in India.
First mechano-electrical Babbage engine to break 100 IPS (Instructions Per Second) barrier.
Unrest in the Balkans.
Japanese Empire joins Federation.
Mechanism of heredity (DNA) demonstrated at Harvard.
Titanic IV sinks in tsunami, South China sea (last major liner lost until 2030 terrorist campaign). 200 IPS barrier passed.
Women given the vote in Britain.
Finland applies to be ruled directly by the Federation without a national government. Federation refuses.
Women given the vote in USA, France, Germany.
Federation copyright limited to thirty years after author's death "to encourage innovation". First role playing game, Dragons and Dungeons, is launched at Crystal Palace exhibition.
Fad for student duels in America, Germany. Few fatalities. 300 IPS Babbage engines.
Unrest in the Balkans, Philippines.
Federation occupies Philippines to restore legitimate government.
Forgotten Futures role playing game is set in a capitalist Utopia based on Wells' "The Sleeper Awakes", evades prosecution for capitalist propaganda but falls foul of patent on Dragons and Dungeons.
Australian aborigines rebel, suppressed by Federation forces.
Unrest in the Balkans. 400 IPS Babbage engines.
Vasilis Cosmo sends signals to Mars and Venus. Mars replies.
Olga Romanoff born; Aerians destroy Vladimir Romanoff's airship.
(July) First Martian messages translated.
(December) Federation dissolved. Ithuriel vanishes.
(January) British Parliament votes to allow women MPs.
Bodies of crew of Ithuriel found in Norway. Ships and submarines start to disappear.
Wreck of Sirius found in Atlantic ooze.
(1st May) Revenge (formerly Ithuriel) delivers message to Aeria.
(3rd May) First battle between Aerian and Russian air-ships.
(8th May) Battle of Kerguelen Island.
(9th May) O.R's Mount Terror base attacked and docks destroyed.
(16th May) O.R.'s envoy contacts Sultan Khalid. Vindaya captured by Aeria's new Ithuriel, one year truce between Moslem empire and Aeria.
(17th May) O.R. and Russian fleet visit Alexandria, she agrees to convert to Islam.
(20th May) Aerian fleet visits Alexandria. Confrontation between Arnoldson and O.R. ends with the withdrawal of both fleets.
(21st May) Arnoldson and Aerian fleet visit London to commence negotiations with King Albert II.
In the following months Arnoldson re-unites the Federation and organises its defence, while O.R. and her supporters seize control of Russia and prepare for war.
(11th May) Having re-united the Federation, Arnoldson returns to Aeria at the end of his year of exile.
(11th May) O.R. crowned Tsarina of Russia.
(12th May) Martians warn of impending destruction of Earth.
(14th May) Federation fleet sets out.
(16th May) Moslem invasion fleets destroyed in Mediterranean. Air battle over Moscow. Ekaterinburg, Slatonsk, Orenburg, and Uralsk shelled by Federation, Asians in full retreat.
(17th May) Russian border cities destroyed by Aerian air-ships. Moslem courier captured with dispatches revealing plans to invade Europe by land while raiding Western Europe from the air.
(18th May) Moslem air-ships attack Paris. Aerians recalled from battle.
(20th May) News of impending collision formally announced in Aeria, and by telegram to the rest of the world. Construction of underground shelter begun. Russian / Moslem conquest of Europe continues, followed by conquest of America, Australia, and the rest of the world.
(1st July) Last telegrams received from outside Aeria.
(15th July) Fire-Cloud visible from Earth.
(31st July) Arnoldson marries Alma Tremayne, Masarov marries Isma Arnold; they set out aboard the Avenger (renamed Alma) to attempt a final peace mission to O.R. and Khalid.
(1st Aug.) Meeting with O.R. and Khalid. O.R. and Khalid marry. Envoys set out for a brief survey of the rest of the world before returning to Aeria.
(8th Aug.) Mysterious epidemic in Aeria kills thousands.
(1st Sept.) Arnoldson and party return to Aeria
(15th Sept.) Survival vaults completed. Selection of the survivors, limited to couples who were engaged when the Martians announced the impending disaster. Flooding of Aeria begins.
(18th Sept.) Mass marriage of the selected survivors.
(21st Sept.) Russian air-ships attack Aeria, continuing through the next two days.
(23rd Sept.) Collision with Fire-Cloud. Most of human race annihilated.
0 A.F.C.
(26th Sept) Survivors emerge from Aeria's caves.
(28th Sept.) Expedition to Antarctica finds O.R. alive but insane; she collapses and dies moments later.
1 A.F.C.
(4th May) Natasha Arnold born
(8th May) Alan Masarov born.
(June-August) Numerous births of children to survivors married on 18/9/2037

Aeria and the Aerians
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The Ariel sank down after her leap across the ridge.
Ariel Arrives in Aeria
Painting by Fred T. Jane
DISCOVERED in 1899 by the British explorer Louis Holt and his servant Thomas Jackson, who were stranded after their balloon was destroyed, Aeria is an oval valley roughly fifty by thirty miles. It is rimmed by mountains which rise 3-4000 feet above the valley floor, 5-6000 ft. above the surrounding jungle. There are two higher peaks, Mt. Austral (16,025 ft) and Mt. Natas (14,200 ft).

Aeria Aeria is believed to be a remnant of a gigantic underwater volcano formed many millions of years ago, when Africa was covered by oceans. Over aeons the crater filled with the remains of diatoms and other chalky life, which compressed to chalk, limestone and marble as the oceans receded. It was colonised by plants and animals which were later cut off from the outside world, and gradually evolved to become notably different to those found in the surrounding jungle. These included three families of apes which were not found elsewhere, which despite their anthropoid appearance were eventually classified as members of the Baboon family. Theropithecus aeria was the largest, a tailless ape roughly comparable to the smaller gorillas in size and behaviour. Theropithecus holti was a smaller tailless ape roughly the size of a chimpanzee but somewhat more intelligent, while Theropithecus jacksoni was a very similar tailed species. All were extremely shy and avoided human contact. Other animal species unique to Aeria included seven lizards and four venomous snakes, eight amphibians, a subspecies of crocodile, a sloth, various shrews and other small mammals, and numerous beetles and other insects. There were also hundreds of unique plant varieties; pines, oaks, and palms, a giant nettle resembling that of Australia, and flowers and shrubs of every possible type. Although few outsiders visited Aeria, specimens and photographs were presented to all the zoos and great museums of the world, and had an enormous impact on evolutionary theory; these exhibits led the novelist Arthur Conan Doyle to imagine a land isolated even earlier, in the age of dinosaurs, in The Lost World. Unfortunately no native life survived the passing of the Fire-Cloud.

Colonisation began near Holt's camp, gradually spreading further North along the shores of the lake and in the stream valleys beyond it, and the main city was ultimately built on the relatively flat area north of the lake, with farms in the hinterland around it. The map shows Aeria as it was in 2015 AD (22 B.F.C.) At this time the valley contained a lake twelve miles long by five wide, which was surrounded by thickly forested slopes rising to the tree line of the mountains. The lake was fed by at least twenty streams and waterfalls and drained into an underground river below Mount Austral. Some of the largest streams are shown on the map. Obviously the city and other facilities shown did not exist when the valley was originally discovered. During the Second Terror a rapid programme of naval expansion was begun; the docks and industrial areas shown were greatly extended, and hundreds of gun positions were dug into the mountains.

The City of Aeria was built primarily of native marble, and was extensively planned to avoid slums and other problems. It had shady gardens and broad, tree-lined streets, with specially smooth ceramic surfaces to allow easy use of roller skates and other wheeled transport.

The most notable building was the Temple, which stood on a large square near the lake: " immense building of marble of perfect whiteness surmounted by a great golden dome, which in turn was crowned by the silver shape of a woman with great spreading wings, which blazed and scintillated in the sunlight as though they had been fashioned of sheets of crystal..." [OR 6]

Other notable structures included the Presidential Palace and government offices, the university, the hospital, concert halls, stadiums, museums and other public buildings, as well as shops, restaurants and private homes. A visitor from outside Aeria (assuming that such were allowed) would notice the city's beauty and cleanliness, the quiet murmur of water running down innumerable streams to the lake, and the occasional whirr of air-ship wings overhead. The visitor might take some time to notice that there were no banks, that "commercial" buildings had no signs apart from the minimum needed to indicate their function (e.g. "Toys", "Shoes", "Restaurant"), and that no money changed hands in them; "purchasers" simply signed for what they took.

Industries And Economy
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Aeria's main industries were designed primarily for the production of air-ships, military equipment and armaments. They included mines, ore refineries, factories for light and heavy engineering work and electrical components, mills and chemical plants. However, it should not be imagined that everything was grimly serious; except in times of war the output of the air-ship factory included pleasure craft, and when armaments weren't needed the other factories manufactured roller skates and bicycles, toys, household goods, and most of the other needs of a bustling community.

Aeria's aim was to be self-sufficient wherever possible; in practice Federation taxes paid for material imported for air-ship and other armaments manufacture, while other imports typically totalled several million pounds a year, paid for by exports which included ores and rare earths, gems, artwork and textiles, and the revenue from various patents which did not violate the secrets Aeria held dear. One ore was not exported; azurine, a remarkably hard blue crystalline tungsten-iridium-cobalt alloy found only in the mines of Aeria. It was reserved for the construction of air-ship and submarine hulls and rams, tools, weapons, and other military applications, and for occasional use in ornamentation. Its exact formula and the processes used to shape it were closely-guarded secrets.

While Aerians were taught about money and used it when visiting the outside world, their internal economy ignored it. Most goods (such as food and clothing) were free, or allocated according to a person's need and the perceived value of their work; for example, the President's work was assumed to have unlimited value, so he could have in theory acquired unlimited valuables. In practice Aerians were trained to reject the trappings of material wealth. Many items were owned and used communally; air-ships are the most obvious examples.

Arts and Crafts
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You, who have been the evil genius of the world
L.: Moslem and Russian clothing
R.: Typical Aerian costumes
The typical Aerian style of art and architecture was characterised by bold geometrical forms and simple flowing lines, a reaction to over-complicated Victorian architecture, and was very influential in architecture and transport design elsewhere. However, while the outside world's fashions gradually moved towards an Elizabethan look during the twentieth century, Aeria preferred less ornate styles, possibly influenced by medieval Russian dress. A typical male travelling outfit of the 2030s consisted of "...long, soft, white leather boots which rose above their knees meeting their close-fitting, grey tunics of silk-embroidered cloth, confined at the waist by belts curiously fashioned of flat links of several different metals, and fastened in front by heavy buckles of gold studded with great, flashing gems...", with "...travelling-cloaks of fine, blue cloth, lined with silver fur and kept in place across the breast by silver chains and clasps of a strange, blue metal whose lustre seemed to come from within like that of a diamond or a sapphire." and on the head "...a plain, broad band of the gleaming blue metal, from which rose above the temples a pair of marvellously-chased, golden wings about four inches high -- the insignia of the Empire of the Air..." [OR 4]. Few outsiders realised that while the wings were mainly ornamental (although the exact design did also indicate rank in Aeria's fleets), the belts had a serious purpose; they were used to store Vril energy, enhancing this destructive force.

Female Aerian costume of the period was also on classically simple lines: for example, typical leisure clothing consisted of "...soft, clinging garments of whitest linen and finest silk of shimmering, pearly grey, edged with a dainty embroidery of gold and silver thread...", the dress "...confined at the waist with a girdle of interlinked azurine and gold..." which "...clothed without concealing the beauties of her perfect form" and long loose hair crowned by a "...crystal-winged coronet..." [OR 10].

Aeria was to a large extent a closed community and most Aerians were active in arts and crafts, since relatively little came in from outside. Whilst vehicles, clothing and architecture are the most obvious examples, there were also distinctive and innovative styles in ceramics, painting and sculpture, music, even tools and domestic equipment -- for example, Aerian designers invented the hand-held electric drill, the electrically heated shower, and the sink plunger with "T" shaped handle (a considerable improvement over the straight sticks previously used). Income from such patents often exceeded 10% of Aeria's GNP. To avoid revealing too much, a committee vetted every design to ensure that nothing about it could reveal Aeria's secrets; it is for this reason that Aeria alone had automatic washing machines, the cams and control gear were derived from the mechanisms used to regulate fuel in Arnold's original engines. Aeria also had its own style of martial arts, based on a modified form of Bartitsu which added hand thrusts and the use of electrical attacks to deliver a paralysing or killing shock, but this was a closely-guarded secret.

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Default Skills
Aerians have the following skills at base values:
  • Marksman (men only)
  • Melee Weapon (men only)
  • Military Arms (men only)
  • Pilot (air-ships - men and women)
Additionally, men are trained in the use of stored electricity as described in the next section.
Note: Any edged melee weapon made of Azurine adds +2 to its effect owing to its extreme sharpness.
All Aerians were educated to university levels, or to the limits of their intelligence. Everyone learned to pilot air-ships, and all men were trained in the arts of war; while a large proportion of the population were also involved in air-ship construction or armaments manufacture in their daily lives, this wasn't universally true except in times of war. A large minority of men and most women had other occupations, with appropriate skills. Aeria had its own university and teaching hospital, both amongst the finest on Earth. Students were not sent to the outside world under normal circumstance, but there were occasional exceptions when there was no other way to follow a desired course of study; for example, a student who wished to train as a cordon bleu chef might be sent to Paris. Naturally great care was taken to avoid any risk of the student being forced or tricked into revealing details of the secret of flight; usually this meant that students were escorted by adults. It was sometimes simpler to import tutors, but it was of course necessary to make sure that they learned nothing of the secrets of flight.

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Aeria had a government of fourteen Senators, chosen by area committees, who in turn selected a President from their number; the President chose his own Vice-President, so that at any given time the government consisted of a council of twelve Senators and the President and Vice-President. In the event of the President's illness or death the Vice-President took over, as in 1968 when Oliver Arnoldson was killed in an air-ship crash and Alexis Tremayne took his place.

After the first generation all candidates for the Senate had to be native-born Aerian males, and trained in politics, the law, science and military tactics. Once selected the President ruled until he resigned or died; the Council members and Vice-President were not allowed to criticise or dispute the decisions of the President, who was in effect an absolute dictator. Once the President was chosen the Council's role was purely advisory. Candidates for the Presidency were allowed to refuse office if they felt that they were unsuitable, but in practice this never happened.

Until 2030 the President (or sometimes the Vice-President) was also President of the Anglo-Saxon Federation; for example, during Alan Tremayne's term of office as President of Aeria the joint Presidents of the Federation were his Vice-Presidents, Alexis Mazanoff and Nicholas Roburoff. Alexis Tremayne began as Vice-President and Federation President, took over as President of Aeria and retained the Federation presidency until Ivan Vassillis could assume office in 1971.
1904-1936Alan TremayneAlexis Mazanoff *
Nicholas Roburoff *
1936-1955Cyril TremayneTheodore Cosmo *
1955-1968Oliver ArnoldsonAlexis Tremayne *
1968-1988Alexis Tremayne *Ivan Vassilis *
1988-2016Richard MasarovAlexander Brasoff *
2016-2037Alan Arnold *Francis Tremayne
* Denotes Federation President(s)

The proceedings of the Senate were usually open to all, although there were occasional closed sessions in the Council-Chamber of the President's palace when it was felt that the Senators needed to be briefed on a crisis before it was generally announced. Most of the Senators also chaired or took part in committees which handled the day-to-day affairs of Aeria. If an important announcement or ceremony was to occur, and it was felt that the Senate would be too crowded, it was usually moved to the main temple, which was near the Senate building and could accommodate several thousands. Both buildings were fitted with a "...system of electric transmitters, a development of the modern telephone..." which relayed the speaker's voice to numerous points along the walls, so that "...those who were standing farthest from him heard quite as distinctly as those who were close to the rostrum..." [OR 21].

This was generally felt to be a fair and equitable system of government, since the wealth and high academic standards of Aeria ensured that almost any man could be chosen for the Senate. Women presumably had their own opinions of the matter...

After the Fire-Cloud this system of government was continued, but naturally most meetings are held on a considerably smaller scale. It is likely that the next President will be Alan Arnoldson.

Religion and Other Beliefs
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While the Aerians believe in life after death, nothing in the novels confirms that they know this is correct. There are several instances of precognition or telepathy. Accordingly, it is recommended that in this world the Medium skill works. It may be linked to Martian tampering with electromagnetic transmission (described in the next section), but that has not been proved.
Aeria's religion is a rationalised form of Spiritualism, stripped of many of its superstitious trappings and influenced by socialist philosophy and (paradoxically) by agnosticism.

It is believed that after death the soul enters a higher or lower plane where it begins life anew, but retains knowledge of its former existence. Good and evil deeds determine your destination, but neither appears to be Heaven or Hell in any religious sense. Stripped of the "baggage" of mortal life and confronted with their victims and total knowledge of their misdeeds, sinners eventually repent and join the perfect harmony of the higher plane. God is assumed to have created the universe and to control the afterlife, but attempts to interpret God's motives and attributes are discouraged. He, She, or It is worshipped, but is not expected to intercede in the affairs of our world.

Does Aerian Equal Aryan?
There are obvious parallels between Aerian beliefs and practices and the version of eugenics practiced in Nazi Germany. It would be futile to deny that they exist, but the parallel may be misleading. The Aerians see themselves more as Spartans, putting honour and duty ahead of any other consideration. They must be the best because only the best are good enough for their sacred task, to bring peace to the world. It's perhaps unfortunate that the "world" they are trying to protect consists primarily of Europe and the English-speaking nations, with the rest of the world treated neutrally or as a threat...
Aerians have certain other beliefs which affect their relationships with other Aerians and outsiders. First and foremost, they genuinely believe that they are innately superior to other men, " far in advance of you as you are in advance of the men of a hundred years ago..." [OR 4], not just because of their technical skills and monopoly of aviation but because they are in some way more evolved. They refer to outsiders as "Earth Folk", with a slight air of contempt.

Their belief may be partly explained by a policy of eugenic control which was actively practiced once the Revolution had been won. Since early in the twentieth century Aeria positively chose for "the brightest and the best"; as in the outside world criminals were imprisoned for life, but Aeria also tried to weed out other flaws. Aerians with physically or mentally undesirable traits were discouraged from marrying and subtly excluded from the Aerian community, and were not allowed to learn any of the secrets of flight. It is ironic that Natas and his family would have probably been early victims of this policy if it had been in force in his day. Occasionally outsiders with particularly good physical or mental attributes and proven loyalty to the Federation were encouraged to emigrate to Aeria.

There may have also been a harsher means of eliminating undesirable traits; every year there were a few accidental deaths during the compulsory military training required of all Aerian men, and records show some remarkably unlikely incidents.

Aerian men from the 1930s onward must have the following minimum characteristics: BODY 3, MIND 3
After the Fire-Cloud the next generation of Aerian men must be generated with a minimum of BODY 4, MIND 3
Aerian women must have a minimum of BODY 2, MIND 3 before the Fire-Cloud, BODY 3, MIND 3 afterwards.
As a result the average Aerian of the 2030s was fit and of above average height, strength, and intelligence. Birth defects and handicaps, other than those caused by accidents or combat injuries, were virtually unknown. In 2037 the selection of survivors winnowed out more "undesirable" men and women, so that the "best of the best" should have survived, and all surviving Aerians should be physically perfect and have no obvious mental flaws. Moreover, the survivors believe this. The discovery of any weakness, however small, would be a devastating psychological blow.

Relationships within the family are close, with parents maintaining a strong moral influence well into the adult life of their children. Women are expected to obey their parents until marriage, then obey their husbands. Before the Fire-Cloud unmarried women never left Aeria, unless there were highly unusual circumstances; if this did occur they were always chaperoned by at least one Aerian flag married female relative, and probably escorted by a male relative. Aerian women saw themselves as the guardians of honour and custom; they would never consent to marry anyone who had deliberately disobeyed Aeria's strict moral code. Alma Tremayne's ambiguous responses to the news of Alan Arnoldson's survival and the demeaning details of his enslavement [OR 10] show this very clearly. It is possible to imagine an Aerian matron issuing the old Roman ultimatum, "come home with your shield or on it."; live with honour or die trying. The Aerian flag, a blue banner emblazoned with golden wings united by a mailed hand armed with a dagger was another indication of Aeria's martial and moral heritage.

After the Fire-Cloud there are no obvious indications that Aerian behaviour will change. They see themselves as the inheritors of a world purged of war and imperfection; the inheritors of a New Eden, who have inherited because their way of life best fitted them to do so. It may be many years before they are prepared to admit to any problem, at least in public.

The Caves of Aeria and the Fire-Cloud
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As mentioned earlier, the rock of Aeria includes extensive limestone formations; these have been partially eroded to form deep caves. The entrance to the largest cave complex was about 800ft above the lake at the base of Mt. Austral, and was discovered soon after colonisation began. The explorers found a series of vast caverns, running back three miles under the mountain, below them a series of linked caves led to a deep chasm containing the underground river that drained the cental lake of Aeria. This was tracked back to a relatively narrow tunnel, possibly a vent of the long-extinct volcano, which led back to the lake and was fed by seepage through the lake bed.


In 1920-22 Aerian engineers made design studies for a hydro-electric power plant in this stream and did some preliminary construction work, but eventually decided that surface dams would be easier to build and adequate for Aeria's projected needs. One consequence was a very detailed survey of the caves and river, which must have been seen by Natas; although he was retired as leader of the Terror, he had taken up an interest in scientific matters and astronomy (the first observatory on Mount Austral was built at his suggestion) and occasionally advised the President on scientific issues. This must have been the source for his later suggestion that the caves should be used as a refuge against the passing of the Fire-Cloud.

Filling Aeria
The area of the inner valley of Aeria is roughly 1000 square miles. While it is mentioned that the ground slopes steeply above the lake, raising the level of water by 800 feet still needs several cubic miles of water; depending on the shape of the valley from ten to forty cubic miles seems plausible. All of which is supposed to drain from the surrounding mountains in eight days...

There is no realistic way to account for this much water and referees are strongly advised to ignore the discrepancy - it's mentioned simply to point out that a problem exists and may possibly be queried by players.

When the Council decided to prepare the caves for this purpose, it was assumed that the outside atmosphere would be heated to a temperature of thousands of degrees for several days, accompanied by hurricane-force winds, landslides, and possible meteor impacts. To protect the caves the first quarter mile of the entrance would be closed by steel doors and filled with ice. An additional precaution, which was probably excessive, was to flood the entire valley to a depth of several hundred feet. The rationale was that the lake would have to boil off before heat began to affect the caves; in practice sufficient heat to reach the caves through the surrounding rock would have left the surface molten and uninhabitable for thousands of years.

The most difficult engineering component of the scheme was the damming of the subterranean stream by a metal sluice-gate; this was first tested on the 20th of July 2037, and after a few leaks were sealed with armour plate and fast-setting concrete it was possible to cut off the flow completely, allowing the valley to fill at a rate of approximately three feet an hour [OR 28].

Even before the Fire-Cloud was discovered the caves had been prepared as an emergency refuge against hurricanes and other natural disasters; they were also an important redoubt in Aeria's defensive system, ready to be used as a shelter if Aeria's enemies somehow found a way to attack the valley. As such parts of the caves already had electric lights and sanitary facilities. Air-ship power plants (which converted fuel to electricity with very little waste) were bought in to make the lighting independent of external sources, and the caves were fitted out with accommodation, store rooms, workshops and laboratories, tunnelling machinery, a small farm, and everything else needed to make them self-supporting and rebuild civilisation after the disaster. The most obvious requirement was air purification, achieved by a network of ducts and fans which forced the air through columns of soda-lime granules to absorb carbon dioxide. These were supplemented by dozens of huge tanks of liquid oxygen, and it was estimated that the air could be kept breathable for five to six months. Instruments such as electrical calorimeters (temperature sensors) and pressure gauges were built into cavities drilled in the side of the mountain, linked to the caves by pipes and cables buried in the rock to protect them from harm [OR 33]. There were also seismographs, instruments to detect electrical and magnetic fields, and dozens of other devices to monitor every aspect of the disaster.

Flooding of the valley began on the fifteenth of September and continued until the final ice melted from the mountains of Aeria during the passage of the Fire-Cloud. At its peak the water was nearly thirty feet above the tunnel entrance. Most of the external instruments were destroyed, but enough remained to show what was happening. Over 36 hours pressure rose astronomically, and temperatures exceeding a thousand degrees were recorded. Then conditions slowly returned to normal, confounding the worst predictions of doom. After three days Arnoldson felt that it was safe to open the caves. It took only a day to drain the lake - water was escaping via several new cracks in the mountains - and dig out the entrance, then the survivors emerged to find that the world was once more habitable, but wiped clean of most of its life.

Many more Aerians could have survived, if it had been known that the disaster would be over so quickly. The caves had room for at least a thousand more occupants, but if things had gone differently keeping them alive for months would have been impossibly difficult. Even so, Aerian plans for the disaster were obviously far too conservative. Although Natas said that it would only be possible to survive in the caves under Mount Austral, it should have been apparent that there were several alternatives if the disaster was survivable at all. As experience showed, the basic requirement was a sheltered deep vault with a sealed door capable of withstanding immense pressure, air purification, and some means of escape. Olga Romanoff survived, albeit briefly, without using most of these precautions!

While planning for six months underground made some sense, any plan that assumed really extreme conditions was futile; if rock melted, or the oceans boiled in their entirety, or the main body of the Fire-Cloud had collided with the Earth, our world would have been rendered uninhabitable forever, or at least for thousands of years. Unless an underground colony was completely self-sustaining, which for all practical purposes was impossible, nobody would have survived.

Some places where it might have been possible to live through the cataclysm that actually occurred include deep mines, the Carlsbad caverns of America and similar formations elsewhere, or a submarine or underwater base in the deep ocean trenches or under the Arctic ice cap. Although there have been surveys since the disaster the world is a very big place, and it is still possible that there are other survivors elsewhere, perhaps equally sure that nobody else lived. Given the size of the planet it might be years or decades before any other groups of survivors are discovered by the Aerians.

Scenario Idea: The World Has Not Heard The Last Of...
As the survivors of Aeria slowly recover from the catastrophe and reorganise their records someone finds an account of the Sai Fan cult, discussed in an earlier section, and its deep vaults under London.

Obviously their leader was an impostor; the Manchu prince who founded the cult would be at least 160 years old! But an immense amount of effort went into their underground bunker, at least as much work as the preparations in Aeria, and the builders apparently looted most of the art-works in London to fill the vault. Could some of their treasure possibly survive? A small air-ship and some digging equipment are available if anyone wants to take a look...

It's likely that nothing is left but collapsed tunnels and charred corpses, but it somehow feels appropriate for the diggers to unearth the lair of the most dangerous man in the world and his fanatical followers, perhaps frozen and awaiting resurrection by an incautious intruder. They will of course be planning to capture their "rescuers" and take over their air-ship. Can the adventurers escape the insidious Doctor Fu Manchu and his henchmen? It's up to you to decide...

The Vril Force
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"We have realised what [Lytton] called the Vril force as a sober, scientific fact; and if I thought that you, for instance, were my enemy, I could strike you dead without so much as laying a hand on you. And if a dozen like you tried to overcome me by superior brute force, they would all meet with the same fate."
[OR 4]

...the Moslem whipped a pistol out of his sash, but before he could level it the bright blue blade descended swiftly, and when its point was within a foot of his assailant's eyes Alan dropped his own pistol and pressed a jewel in the centre of his belt-clasp. As he did so a pale blue flame leapt from the point of his sword, and the Moslem, without as much as a sigh, dropped dead on the floor of the terrace.

[OR 16]

"The Vril force is strong in this one..."

Tsar Wars [Nikita Turgenoff, Aeria Press 1987]

While the Aerian ability to project lethal energy is a "given" of the second novel, nothing in either book supports the background described in this section; if you don't like it, don't use it. However, you will need to find some other reason why Vril works.
IN 1924 Aerian scientists investigating the conversion of chemical energy to electricity began to study the mechanisms used by electric eels and other animals. One unexpected result was the discovery that the muscle cells of mammals could be made to exhibit this effect if a course of hormone treatment was followed during the growth spurt of late adolescence. Rats and rabbits with this ability were produced in 1929, and the children of four scientists were treated in 1934.

The first human trials were disappointing, resulting in uncontrolled minor shocks almost indistinguishable from the effects of static electricity. As the experiments continued one of the children found that he could concentrate this electricity and discharge it as pulses of high voltage, as in the attack of an eel. Analogies with the "Vril" described in Lord Bulwar-Lytton's novel The Coming Race were obvious, and the name is often used to describe it, although scientists are unhappy with the term.

By 1940 all of the subjects could control their electricity, and there were no obvious side effects. In 1944 the Council of Aeria agreed to mass trials, and 500 boys aged 9-11 were treated. The result was complete success - over the next five years all learned to control their electricity - and in 1950 the treatment became universal for Aerian boys. While the techniques would have worked on girls, it was felt that women lacked the emotional stability required for mastery of this power.

By 1955 the techniques of Vril storage and discharge were perfected, allowing the user to administer two or three lethal (or at least incapacitating) shocks in hand-to-hand combat. Afterwards it was necessary to recuperate for several hours, and this ability was regarded as very much a last-ditch defence, to be used if all other weapons were lost. For this reason it was kept secret, since it could readily be countered once known. Later a belt was developed which acted as a storage capacitor for Vril energy; it added a huge reserve of power. Another refinement was the use of a sword or dagger (or any other sharp metal rod) to discharge the power; it was thus possible to throw a bolt of energy a few feet. The only necessity was that there must be a conductive path between the hand and the point of the blade.

Although this power is innate in all trained Aerians, they are schooled to pretend that it is artificial, powered by their belts and swords, if there are witnesses. An enemy might think that they are helpless if the belts are removed and become over-confident. So, for example, Arnoldson touched his belt before using the power to kill an attacking guard in Alexandria [OR 16]. Nevertheless Vril does work better with artificial aids; Masarov and Arnoldson were greatly helped by the return of their belts when they took over the Narwhal [OR 10].

A specialised form of the martial art Bartitsu (originally derived from ju-jitsu) was developed to enhance the use of Vril. Vril-Bartitsu emphasises the use of the hands to strike at enemies (typically with stiffened fingertips) while simultaneously discharging a relatively small amount of Vril to cause extra damage. It is thus possible to use Vril surreptitiously and without the tiring effects of its normal form; onlookers see an incapacitating blow, without a spark to reveal it as something more. The art was mainly studied by Aerians training for intelligence work, who might be called upon to pose as outsiders or work without belts; due to its lethal nature it was never a sport.

In Bulwar-Lytton's novel Vril could also be used to levitate, cut through rocks and cause explosions; Aeria's version isn't capable of such feats, but does give its users an edge in a fight (although a machine pistol would be nearly as effective and a good deal less tiring). It's possible that greater powers will be developed with time. It's noticeable that a strong personality seems to be a prerequisite for control of Vril, which may imply a link to so-called psychic abilities, but this has not been proved.

Game Use of Vril
All Aerian males born after 1930 should be assumed to have this power. It should be treated as a free skill, recorded as Vril [x], with base value equivalent to average of BODY and SOUL, and may be improved in the normal way.

The basic form of Vril is electrical energy stored in the body, like the attack of an electric eel, administered by making a Brawling or Martial Arts attack. If the Brawling attack is a success the Vril attack also succeeds, but its Effect attacks the target separately from the Effect of the blow. Without artificial aids only a small amount of energy can be stored; without Vril-Bartitsu training the amount that can be released at any given time is relatively inflexible.

Vril attacks can also be made through a metal object (such as a sword or a crowbar); the Melee Weapon or Martial Arts skill is used to make the attack, with the Vril's Effect administered separately as above.

Any sharp metal instrument can be used to deliver a ranged attack, a bolt of energy discharged from the instrument's point. A sword or dagger works well, but a slim metal-cased pen would be as effective. The attack is made using the Marksman skill. The maximum range is a foot for every point of Vril, so someone with Vril [4] can attack to a range of four feet from the end of the weapon. However some energy is lost in this type of attack, reducing the Effect.

Vril-Bartitsu is a specialised and lethally dangerous martial art which adds the Effect of the Vril to the Effect of a normal martial arts attack. The combined Effect attacks the target, rather than two attacks as above. A finite number of attacks can be made with the added Effect, afterwards the skill becomes a normal Martial Arts attack. In other respects Bartitsu (as developed in Aeria) is based on an Anglicised form of ju-jitsu, emphasising throws, trips, and holds rather than blows, but adding various weapons including sticks, cloaks and coats (thrown to entangle or trip an enemy), and swordsmanship. See The New Art of Self Defence on the FF CD-ROM for more details.

An Aerian belt enhances the body's ability to store Vril; it DOUBLES the number of Vril or Vril-Bartitsu attacks that can be made.

Brawling / MeleeMax 2 Vril x 3IC/KK
Ranged AttackNo Vril x 2ICK
The Vril skill can be used BODY times a day (BODY x 2 with a belt); several hours of rest are needed to (more or less literally) "recharge the batteries". Consuming sugar and foods containing appropriate electrolytes may allow more rapid recovery, but only at the referee's discretion.
If Vril is used more often roll BODY versus Difficulty (4 + 2 per extra usage). If the roll fails no Vril remains (there's a tiny spark instead of a blaze of energy), and the character becomes highly fatigued, using all skills etc. at -2 until several hours of sleep have been taken. On a 12 the character collapses and remains unconscious for several hours.
Vril-BartitsuMax 2BODY or Martial Arts plus VrilIC/KK
For Vril-Bartitsu attacks the Effect is BODY or Martial Arts, whichever is greater, plus Vril; all of the Effect attacks together, rather than the blow and the Vril causing damage separately. BODY x 3 attacks may be made per day (BODY x 6 with a belt). Attacks without Vril have normal Martial Arts effects.

Note: Vril is deadly; this is repeatedly stated in Olga Romanoff, so the rules above reflect this. However, they make Vril more dangerous than most hand weapons, and referees should be prepared to deal with the problems this may cause. The main limitation above is range; any attacker who is aware that Vril exists will obviously take care to keep at least one marksman covering an Aerian foe, well out of range of Vril attacks. There are other ways to keep Vril under control; for example, a Faraday cage might block the ability to absorb energy, or a rubberised canvas diving dress [diving suit] or some form of earthed armour might protect an intended target. Optionally say that Vril only works if an Aerian belt is worn; the belt, not the man, creates the energy. Vril-Bartitsu has been invented for this worldbook (and is used in one adventure outline) - if you don't like it, don't use it.

Players may think of tricks to extend the range or power of Vril; for example, using a conductive whip or cable (fired from a spring gun or crossbow) to increase range, electrocuting someone through a metal doorknob, modifying a belt to discharge all its Vril in one jolt, or combining the "batteries" from several belts to extend capacity. All of these tricks interfere with the way that the nervous system controls Vril; while they will work, the user must immediately start to roll for fatigue effects as above, but using BODY versus Difficulty (6 + 3 per extra usage).

It should also be noted that the ability to use Vril is no defence against it; if Aerians start to abuse their powers in a way that harms Aeria or brings Aeria into disrepute, they are risking retaliation in kind.

Scenario Idea: Rabbit, Rabbit...
In 1929 Aeria's university found a way of giving mammals the electrical abilities formerly found only in electric eels. In 1931 the university manages to lose some of its experimental animals, four rabbits treated with a new version of the formula which scientists believe will breed true. Unfortunately the university is in the middle of an extensive park surrounded by the forests of Aeria; there's a lot of room for the rabbits to escape and breed in the wild. They are all capable of delivering a shock which can paralyse or kill, and will do so if cornered.

The adventurers are students assigned to catch the rabbits before there's a population explosion. Naturally they are issued with rubber gloves, nets, air rifles, etc. Nobody is entirely sure how dangerous the rabbits are (since they are BODY 1 they shock with Effect 3, but adventurers needn't know this at first). Things are made more complicated by the fact that there are also some wild rabbits in the area, similar in size, colour, etc. The experimental animals can be identified by notches cut in their ears - unfortunately some of the wild rabbits have similar marks from fights and other accidents.

Some situations that might arise:

  • The adventurers notice a child playing with a rabbit. Is it one of the electric bunnies, or a relatively harmless normal animal, and what will it do if the adventurers frighten it?
  • The adventurers move in for the kill, and dispatch their latest victim - then realise that they are being watched by a group of horrified onlookers including the girl of an adventurer's dreams - who will now be scared to go anywhere near the adventurer...
  • The chase goes into the woods - and into the lair of one of Aeria's gorilla-like apes, which will NOT be pleased to have unexpected company:
    Aerian Gorilla (Theropithecus aeria)
    BODY [7], MIND [1], SOUL [1]
    Brawling [9] Effect [7], A:F, B:I, C:C/K
A couple of days after the adventurers have completed this task, call them back into the lab and tell them that one of the rabbits they have captured or killed isn't one of the experimental animals - a doe is still out there, and they will have to start looking again...

GURPS Bunnies and Burrows and the novel The Year of the Angry Rabbit (filmed as Night of the Lepus) may suggest more ideas - see also numerous cartoons starring Bugs Bunny

Science and Technology
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"This manual and its contents constitute information which would be of value to an enemy of Aeria. It is an offence PUNISHABLE BY DEATH to reveal any details to unauthorised outsiders."
Preamble printed (with minor modifications) in Aerian technical manuals, 1911-2037

...I'm not allowed to see below decks, so I can only speculate at the immense engines that propel Ithuriel through the skies. A hundred and fifty - sixty - seventy... We level off at two hundred (and I'm sure that there's more power in reserve), two miles above the Channel, and steer West towards the setting sun, easily matched by the other air-ships of the squadron.

"One day," says Arnold "we'll be able to out-race the night. Maybe not in my lifetime, but our grandchildren will see it." He's undoubtedly right. Arnold believes that transportation is the key to civilisation, and the Federation is determined to civilise the world...

With The Night Patrol [Rudyard Kipling, Pearson's Magazine 1911]

Technology Overview
A brief listing of technology that appears in the novels, that is feasible in this world but isn't specifically mentioned, or is definitely not in use because it would change the course of events if it existed.

Definitely in use: Cheap hydroelectric power; air-ships (the Terror / Aeria only until 2030); war-balloons (obsolete after 1904); telegraph; telephone; public address systems; colour photography; fast monorail trains; "unsinkable" ships (1980); horse-drawn carriages; electric cars; semi-automatic pistols; machine guns; mines; compressed-air guns; anti-aircraft guns; binary fuels and explosives; submarines firing torpedoes (1904) and equipped with underwater guns (2036); passive underwater listening equipment (invented but unused in 1904, used 2036); magnetometer sensors (described as compasses, 2036); "forged glass", azurine and other superhard and superstrong materials; chart recorders; fuel cells (approx 2020); temperature and pressure sensors.

Feasible: Fax machines (using drum scanning and telegraph lines); cable television (low-resolution monochrome using mechanical scanning); colour cinematography with sound; wired bugging equipment; recording phonograph (but not wire or tape recorders); pump shotguns; semi-automatic and fully automatic rifles; machine pistols; parachutes and paratroops; acoustic aiming of anti-aircraft guns; anti-submarine air-ships with dipping underwater listening equipment and torpedoes; mechanical computers (Babbage engines); mechano-electric computers (automatic telephone exchanges etc.); plastics; biotechnology; x-rays.

Definitely not used: Radio; radar; broadcast television; civilian aviation (including balloons, hang-gliders, etc.); jet engines; rocketry; satellites; active SONAR; depth charges; most electronics other than basic amplifiers and photoelectric cells; lasers; nuclear power and weapons.

IT is often claimed that the history of Aeria is the history of technology. This is an over-simplification; previous sections have hopefully shed light on some of the political and social aspects of the Terror, the Federation, and Aeria. Nevertheless superior technology ensured the Terror's success and maintained Aeria's dominance in the years between the wars.

Aeria's most obvious advantage was the secret of flight, coupled with various weapons which made a single air-ship a match for a dozen war-balloons, a fleet of ships, or an entire army on the ground. Until the 2030s these were unbeatable; afterwards they could be matched, but Aeria's military expertise still gave her forces a crucial advantage in apparently even matches. They were supported by an infrastructure of military bases and refuelling depots, weapons factories, workshops, laboratories, and the like, plus training facilities and supply services - in fact, the airship fleet, and to a lesser extent the submarine fleet, were the main "business" of Aeria, although some of the less sensitive components were constructed elsewhere.

Less obvious but just as important were the surface communications that helped to keep the Federation united for so many years. Free travel by fast passenger trains and huge ocean liners, cheap freight transportation, telephones and the global postal and telegraph system held the world together. Kipling described transportation as the key to civilisation; it would be more correct to say that communication in all forms was the key. By 2030 most Federation citizens had friends in many nations, often including countries outside the Federation itself, and it was customary to exchange visits and travel abroad at least once or twice a year. Olga Romanoff's first move was the disruption of this intricate network, and it is difficult to imagine anything that could have been more damaging.

Naturally transport and communications were not the be-all and end-all of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries; every other aspect of science and technology evolved immensely, and improvements in one area fed changes in another. For example the rediscovery of forged glass [OR 4], a lucky fusion of archaeological and chemical research which at first sight had nothing to do with transport or communications, led to major changes in the design of light rail tracks. This allowed the development of 200 MPH trains. The speed of these trains made improvements in signalling essential; these improvements had implications for telephone systems, allowing much clearer sound, which led to increased traffic on many long-distance lines. As a result new high-capacity lines were needed, which again required new materials such as better insulators. Which eventually led to improvements in the manufacture of forged glass... Meanwhile forged glass found a host of other uses in the home and in construction - the gigantic new Crystal Palace built to mark the millennium at Greenwich was the most obvious example, but unbreakable drinking glasses and plates and the 1970s vogue for glass cutlery probably affected more lives.

Nevertheless, it cannot be denied that transport and military technology in general, and the air-ship in particular, were the driving forces of the Revolution and the history of the Federation. For this reason this section concentrates on these devices, and gives scant attention to many other inventions that were nearly as important, and had a much greater impact on everyday life. Interested readers are invited to fill in the gaps by reference to the Encyclopaedia Aeria and Isma Masarov's excellent Everyday Life Before The Fire-Cloud (New Aeria Press 23 A.F.C.)

Air-Ships and War-Balloons
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At the beginning of the twentieth century several technologies seemed to offer the prospect of controlled flight. The most important were aerostats (powered balloons), aëroplanes (gliders with engines), and aëronef designs which used propellers to lift aircraft from the ground. Needless to say other designs were tried; ornithopters, aërophanes (winged aerostats), etc. Circumstances (and careful elimination of several pioneering aeronauts) combined to keep the aëroplane from serious contention, while Arnold's discovery of a binary chemical fuel made the aëronef a practical proposition. The war-balloon used inherently inferior technology; even the rigid aerostats developed by the Japanese Empire in 1928 were no match for the slowest air-ships of their day, although it must be admitted that they would have been a formidable challenge to the original Terrorist fleet.

Stripped to their essentials, all flying machines need the following components:

  1. Weapons, if carried.
  2. Any other equipment.
  3. Accommodation for the crew and passengers, and other compartments.
  4. A hull to provide structural strength and hold the other components. It may also be designed to float, carry a ram, etc.
  5. A means of staying aloft; a gas-bag, air-planes and fan-wheels, or active wings.
  6. A means of propulsion; usually propellers, although later Aerian ships received a proportion of their propulsion from movement of the wings, and some were built with this as their sole means of propulsion.
  7. A power plant; petrol or diesel engines in war-balloons, Arnold's engines in the first air-ships, direct fuel conversion in later designs.

Note: If you don't want to bother calculating the design of ships, use one of the standard models described at the end of this section, or make up your own specification from the components below without using the design process. Provided it sounds roughly right nobody ought to complain.
Design is largely a matter of selecting these components to produce any desired level of performance. Note that financial costs are rarely important in this process, and are ignored by Aeria's design systems; once the industries and resources needed to build any sort of flying machine are available, the costs of the machines themselves are almost negligible. The history of flight is the history of immensely rich organisations and "If you have to ask how much it costs you can't afford it." Time costs are much more important; while this is a gross simplification, a hugely powerful ship that ties up all construction facilities for six months may be less desirable than three smaller vessels that tie them up for two months apiece, and can be deployed separately or together.

Most Aerian children are familiar with a planning game based on these principles, used to teach the fundamentals of air-ship design. While it makes many simplifying assumptions, it comes close enough to reality to be useful. In the stages that follow:

Shell (Arnold's explosive)15ft20ICK
Bomb (Arnold's explosive)30ft30IC/KK
Dynamite Bomb10ft15ICK
Melinite Bomb15ft10ICK
Incendiaries20ft6 + 2 / rd.FIK
Cyanogen Bomblets5ft6 + 1 / rd.FIC/K
Weapons can be divided into three classes; guns, bombs, and light weapons. The Terror (and later Aeria and the New Terror) use a binary explosive derived from Arnold's fuel. It is far more destructive than dynamite, melinite, and other explosives used by the Russians in the 1904 war, or by most later opponents of the Federation.

Example: The Ariel
Ariel and her sister-ships were fitted with four guns, each firing six miles. These guns weigh 6 tons, consume 24 PR, and cost 400 MD to manufacture. 400 rounds are carried, weighing 2 tons and costing 6 MD. A magazine hold is needed for the ammunition, adding another 6 MD and 0.6 tons. No bomb racks or machine guns are fitted. Small arms are carried, but probably not enough to require special storage. They were built before scuttling charges were introduced.

Subtotals: 8.6 tons, 24 PR, 412 MD

Note: The figures in this and later examples ignore the fact that the Ariel was the first air-ship; the immense amount of work needed to design and test equipment and set up production is ignored.

Example: A Russian War-Balloon
The Russian war-balloons were bombers only, carrying 2 tons of explosive or gas bombs, at a cost of 20 MD. They do not carry extra bombs; they return to the Russian lines to take on more ammunition from their support unit. A machine gun is fitted fore and aft, at 0.2 tons and 2 MD. Small arms are carried, but not enough to require special storage.

Subtotals: 2.2 tons, 0 PR, 22 MD

Miscellaneous equipment generally includes searchlights, winches, and sirens; there are more specialised possibilities, but these are found in most vessels.

Example: The Ariel
The Ariel has one searchlight, adding 0.1 tons, 1 PR, 10 MD

Subtotals: 8.7 tons, 25 PR, 422 MD

Example: A Russian War-Balloon
None of these items are carried

Subtotals: 2.2 tons, 0 PR, 22 MD

Accommodation is of course essential. Most construction assumes a reasonable level of comfort for the crew, slightly better conditions for the officers and any passengers, and possibly some luxury accommodation for important dignitaries. The weight given for this accommodation below includes an occupant. Additional facilities usually include a galley, mess, wardroom, etc., possibly a saloon, and the bridge; the weights of occupants are not included in these components, since it is assumed that they have accommodation elsewhere. Note that in the smallest craft some or all of these facilities may be combined; for example, Aeria's flying "swan boats" of the 2030s had a single open passenger compartment. Finally, cargo (including ammunition and food for the crew) must usually be carried. Unless noted otherwise, energy costs are negligible.

Example: The Ariel
The Ariel has a cabin for six crew, six single cabins, and a saloon.
Six crew cabins at 1 MD, 0.2 tons cost 6 MD, 1.2 tons
The single cabins and saloon are equipped for reasonable comfort, not luxury, so are treated as officer's accommodation (12 MD, 1.8 tons) and a wardroom accommodating 12 (6 MD, 1.2 tons).
There is presumably a galley (10 MD, 0.5 tons, 2 PR) although it isn't mentioned.
The functions of a bridge are split between a conning-tower and wheel house, but can be assumed to have the same weight etc. for 12 MD, 0.6 tons
She carries twelve and supplies for several weeks; 400 man-days of supplies, weighing 2 tons and requiring appropriate storage.
She can carry several tons of cargo beyond this; another 5 tons of general hold capacity, taking the total hold size to 7 tons, for 7 MD, 7.7 tons

Subtotals: 20.5 tons, 27 PR, 475 MD

Example: A Russian War-Balloon
The war-balloon carries five crew in minimal comfort for 5 MD, 1 ton.
There is no galley - packed meals for a day or two are carried, with negligible weight - and no other accommodation.
There are bridge facilities at 12 MD, 0.6 Tons
No cargo is carried.

Subtotals: 3.8 tons, 0 PR, 39 MD

The Hull encloses or supports the components described above plus the engines, propulsion equipment etc.; with the hull itself these components often add up to 50% or more of the weight. For example, an air-ship with 15 tons devoted to weapons, accommodation, etc. may need to devote another 7.5 tons to hull and machinery. This figure can be varied with experience, but it is a useful first approximation for design purposes. For simplicity this design weight is often rounded up or down to a whole number of tons.

The hull is at least 10% of the final design weight, with various modifiers. Round tonnage up to the next 0.1 tons, MD up to the next full number in each stage that follows; changes are cumulative:

Hull Strength
Air-ships and balloons have relatively lightweight hulls, and BODY is similarly low. For game purposes the BODY of a vessel's hull is found by the following means (rounding up at each stage):

The base BODY is (designed tonnage / 3) plus 5

  • Per gun fitted - Add 1 BODY
  • Ram fitted - Add 10% (20% if ram is Azurine)
  • Seaworthy boat hull - Add 10%
  • Armoured - Add 30%

Normal hulls reduce the Effect of small arms projectiles by 3. Armoured hulls stop small arms projectiles and reduce the Effect of explosives etc. by 6. This is generally not enough to protect a vessel from direct hits.

Example: The Ariel
The Ariel has four guns and a seaworthy hull and ram. She does not have a streamlined fairing and is not armoured. She initially weighs 20.5 tons, this is rounded to a design weight of 30.0 tons.
The unmodified hull adds 30.0 x 10% = 3.0 tons, 60 MD.
Four gun positions add 8% more weight to the hull and 20% more MD = 0.3 tons, 13 MD, taking the hull to 3.3 tons, 73 MD.
The ram adds 25% more hull weight and 25% MD = 0.9 tons, 19 MD, taking the hull to 4.2 tons, 92 MD.
The seaworthy hull adds 10% weight and 20% MD = 0.5 tons, 19 MD, taking the hull to 4.7 tons, 111 MD
The hull costs are added to the original costs of the ship, 20.5 tons and 475 MD.

Subtotals: 25.2 tons, 27 PR, 586 MD

The Ariel weighs 30.0 tons, so the base BODY is 10 + 5 = 15 BODY. Four guns add 4 BODY = 19 BODY. The ram adds 10% BODY = 21 BODY. The boat hull adds 10% BODY = 24 BODY.

Example: A Russian War-Balloon
The war-balloon has no guns or ram, and her hull is not seaworthy. She initially weighs 3.8 tons, increased to 5.7 tons for this calculation (the designer didn't round the numbers).
The hull adds 5.7 x 10% = 0.6 tons, 12 MD

Subtotals: 4.4 tons, 0 PR, 51 MD

The war-balloon weighs 5.7 tons, so has 2 + 5 = 7 BODY. There are no modifiers.

Next a means of keeping the vessel aloft and propelled must be chosen, and the final performance can then be calculated. Here the methods vary considerably according to whether a war-balloon or an air-ship is being designed, and they are considered separately:

Air-Ships have used two main systems to stay aloft; fan wheels plus fixed air-planes (wings), and active wings (introduced in the 1970s). Air-screws (more commonly known as propellers) generally provide motive force, although active wings also have some propulsive effect.

In designs with fan wheels and air-planes it is unlikely that maximum power will be needed for all systems simultaneously; fan wheels shut down at high speed, so do not need power, guns can't be manned at high speed. Nevertheless engines are usually designed for this worst-case load, but where margins are tight the maximum likely load (usually power consumption at top speed or the power needed to hover at maximum altitude, whichever is greater, plus the power needed for the guns) is used instead. An extreme example is the first Ithuriel, described in the next section. Her worst-case load would have been 1435 PR but she was designed and served satisfactorily with engines for 900 PR, her theoretical power consumption at top speed with all guns firing and very little safety margin. Even though her guns could not be manned at speed her engines were often operated near their maximum load and needed more frequent maintenance than those of less "extreme" ships.

Air-ships with active wings don't make this transition; power is directed to the wings at all times, used either to support the ship or for forward propulsion. It's customary to build their power plants with at least a 25% safety margin.

Once these components have been selected, and their weight is added to the ship, performance is calculated using the following formulae:

Example: The Ariel
The Ariel weighs 25.3 tons excluding power systems, and needs 27 PR for guns and other systems. She has three fan-wheels and air-planes, and uses Arnold's engines and fuel. Her extreme altitude on fan-wheels alone is 5,000 ft, but on wings approximately 7,000 ft, so she must be build with a 50% lift excess on fans and a 70% lift excess on air-planes. She flies at about 120 MPH, and has a range of many thousands of miles.

Three fan-wheels cost 210 MD and weigh 1.5 tons. Assuming a final weight of 30 tons, and a 50% excess, they will lift their full 45 tons, drawing 135 PR. Their weight takes the air-ship to 26.7 tons.

Wings for 30 tons and a 70% excess (51 tons) cost 102 MD and weigh 0.51 tons. They will need 1 PR per ton, or 51 PR. They take the weight to 27.21 tons.

Assuming that the final weight will be exactly 30 tons and the final speed 120 MPH, and that 78 PR are needed for guns etc. and to keep her aloft, the power needed can easily be calculated, by trial and error or by reversing the formula for engine power. To get 120 MPH with a 30-ton ship 180 PR are needed; adding 78 PR this comes out at 248 PR; for simplicity this is rounded to 250 PR. These engines produce 150 PR per ton, so the engine will weigh 250/150 = 1.66 tons and cost 300 MD, taking the weight of the ship to 28.87 tons.

This leaves room for a ton of fuel (50 MD), giving total power output of 20,000 PR/hours. With the air-ship drawing 250 PR the fuel will last 80 hours, giving the Ariel an impressive maximum range of 80x120=9,600 miles. This is a conservative figure; in practice range is much greater since some power is reserved for the guns etc., she is rarely fully loaded, and the fan-wheels aren't used in horizontal flight. The paired tanks take the air-ship to 29.87 tons, rounded to 30 tons for all practical purposes. She has no scuttling charges.

Total: 30 tons, 250 PR, 1248 MD

Note: The war-balloons described in The Angel of the Revolution are slower and more vulnerable than real world airships. The rules that follow reflect this. If you want fast powerful airships the construction rules from FF1 may be more useful.
War-Balloons are supported by gas-bags or envelopes, sometimes described as gas holders. They can stay airborne without using fuel, provided that sufficient stored gas and ballast remain to retain control. There are unfortunately several snags; the huge envelope causes enormous air resistance, so power requirements are high and top speed is low. They use hydrogen for support and are extremely vulnerable to gunfire and other attacks. They are often slowed (or even driven backwards) by the wind, making accurate navigation difficult. At least two crew are needed to control ballast, lift, attitude, etc., and their accommodation should be included when choosing cabins etc.
Note: If a winch is fitted, the envelope must be able to lift the war-balloon in its entirity plus the winch load.

Example: A Russian War-Balloon
The war-balloon has a soft envelope and is designed for a final weight of 5.7 tons. This means that the envelope and its ancillary equipment cost 143 MD; they add 10% of the final weight of the balloon, rounded to 0.6 tons.

Subtotals: 5.0 tons, 0 PR, 194 MD

All of the left-over hull capacity is needed for power plant: for example, if a war-balloon was built with a hull to accommodate 30 tons, originally weighed 20 tons, and weighs 26 tons after a rigid envelope is fitted, the remaining 4 tons are used for engines, fuel, etc. The power plants available for war-balloons are less efficient than those used for air-ships; anyone who has better power plants won't waste them on war-balloons!

These costs include a fuel tank for approximately 200 miles, any more must be carried as cargo, costing 5 MD per ton; energy stored is 500 PR per ton for diesel, 600 PR per ton for petrol (gasoline).

Example: A Russian War-Balloon
The war-balloon has petrol engines weighing 0.7 tons including fuel for 200 miles; no extra fuel is carried, they are short-range craft. The power output is 0.7 x 20 PR = 14 PR. The cost is 0.7 x 30 MD = 21 MD.

Total: 5.7 tons, 14 PR, 215 MD

Once the engine size is known, and its weight is added to the weight of the rest of the ship, it is possible to calculate the speed available.

All war-balloons are capable of ascending to 15-20,000 ft.

Example: A Russian War-Balloon
The war-balloon outputs 14 PR and weighs 5.7 tons. It has a semi-rigid envelope. Its final speed is (14 x 15 / 5.7) MPH = 37 MPH. It sometimes flies backwards in a heavy wind... Its range is theoretically 200 MPH, but this may be reduced or extended by the wind. It's notable that the Russians waited for a favourable wind before launching their invasion of Britain [AR 38].

The easiest way to vary war-balloon performance is to allocate more or less weight to the spare capacity for the gas-bags and engines. Note that war-balloons which attempt to exceed the maximum speeds shown for each type have a distressing habit of falling apart, usually in combat.

Airship and War Balloon Components Etc.
Time Cost
Gun1.51001-151Power per mile of range
Ammunition (200 rounds)13--10 lb shells.
Bombs (rack 10)110-1Includes release and aiming gear
Bombs (pallet 10)0.753--150 lb bombs.
Gas Bombs (10 cylinders)0.758--150 lb bombs.
Magazine0.33--Weight does not include cargo
Heavy MG0.11-1Belt-fed Maxim
Scuttling ChargesNegligible10 MD---
Miscellaneous Equipment
Searchlight0.11011Includes signalling gear
Winch0.1512Per ton lifted
Accommodation etc.
Crew0.21--Cabins for 4 or more
Officer0.32--Cabins for 1 or 2
Luxury0.54-1Steward required
Galley0.51021Per cook, feeding up to 50
Mess0.050.2--Per crewman accommodated
Wardroom0.10.5-1Per officer/guest accommodated
Saloon0.250.5-1Per person accommodated
Bridge0.612-3Add 4 MD and O.2 tons per person.
Hold1.11--Weight includes cargo
Basic hullAdd 10%20 MD/Ton--Based on design weight
Per gunAdd 2%Add 5%--Added to hull
Ram fitted OR
Azurine Ram
Add 25%
Add 40%
Add 25%
Add 60%
--Added to hull
Boat hullAdd 10%Add 20%--Added to hull
FairingAdd 5%Add 10%--Added to hull
ArmouredAdd 10%Add 20%--Added to hull
Air-Ship Power Plant Etc.
Fan-Wheels0.570 MD3 PR/Ton-PR is per ton supported
Air-Planes0.052 MD1 PR/Ton-Weight, MD, and PR per ton supported
Active wings0.032 MD/Ton2 PR-Weight, MD and PR per ton supported
Arnold's enginesVariable180 MD/Ton150 PR/Ton1Power output
Fuel for aboveVariable50 MD/Ton20,000 PR/Ton-Stored power
Electrical enginesVariable140 MD/Ton600 PR/Ton1Power output
Power CylindersVariable80 MD/ton50,000 PR/Ton-Stored power
War Balloon Power Plant Etc.
Soft Envelope25 MD/TonAdd 10%--Weight is added to total weight
Rigid EnvelopeAdd 20%75 MD/Ton--Weight is added to total weight
Petrol EngineVariable30 MD/Ton20 PR/Ton1Power output
PetrolVariable5 MD/Ton600 PR/Ton-Stored Power
Diesel EngineVariable45 MD/Ton16 PR/Ton1Power Output
Diesel FuelVariable5 MD/Ton500 PR/Ton-Stored Power

Notable Air-Ships and War-Balloons
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Ariel Class - 12 built - 1904
Ariel plans. The Ariel.
The Ariel, the first Terrorist air-ship, has been described in some detail above, and is well-documented elsewhere [AR 6]. In brief, she is 70 ft.long; her hull is 12 ft. wide, with air-planes 24 ft. wide to either side of the hull and running its length. There are three masts with fan-wheels, and the hull is seaworthy and fitted with a ram. There are four engines. There is a forward cabin for six men, a saloon on the deck, and six single cabins aft. There are four guns, two in the bow and two in the stern, with a range of 6 miles. The maximum height in normal flight is 5000 ft., 3000 ft. is more usual, but on full power 7000 ft. can be reached momentarily. She is controlled from a conning tower forward and a wheel house aft. Eleven of these ships survived the war, the Lucifer was lost in combat:

Ithuriel Class - 64 built 1904-27
Ithuriel This class initially consisted of only one ship, the Ithuriel herself; she served as the flagship of the Terrorist fleet in the 1904 war. The design was felt to be successful, and went into full-scale production after the war, with vessels serving with distinction until the late 1940s.

These vessels are "scaled up" versions of the Ariel class, and have much the same features, albeit on a larger scale. They are 100 ft. long, with a beam of 15 ft. amidships. There are five fan-wheels, and they can reach 10,000 ft. without air-planes. Top speed is 200 MPH. They have four guns with 12 miles range, 2 fore and 2 aft, and four with 6 miles range, two on each broadside. The main fuel cylinders give a range of 20,000 miles. The power plant has a lower safety margin than the Ariel or most later vessels. Specifications are for the first of the class, later models were modified as the technology was developed and refinements were introduced.

War-Balloons - 150+ built 1903-4
war-balloons France and Russia flew war-balloons of a common design in the 1904 war. The picture to the right shows the typical fate of these craft in combat against air-ships. Nevertheless they were formidably dangerous to ground forces and surface ships, which had no defence against their attacks.

This design used a semi-rigid envelope, and was equipped with racks for two tons of bombs, typically a mix of dynamite and melinite shells for use against ships and fortifications, fire-shells or canisters of cyanogen poison-grenades against cities and ground forces.

Cygna (and other pleasure craft) - 300+ built in various styles 2020 onwards

It was a vessel... ...built of white, polished metal, and shaped something like an old Norse galley, with its high, arching prow fashioned like the breast and neck of a swan.

Isma reclined in the after part of the broad, low seat which ran round the inside, with one hand resting lightly upon a little silver lever which could be used for working the rudder-fan, in addition to the tiller-ropes, which she held in her hands while standing up.

[OR 10]

While Aeria is often presented as a Spartan nation, her inhabitants tried to find time for leisure. The invention of active wings and small electrical power-plants made it possible to build fantastically-ornamented pleasure craft, in the style of giant birds (such as eagles and swans), pegasi, pterodactyls, and the like. The Cygna is typical of these vessels; 25 ft. long by 5 ft. wide, with a single open compartment large enough for 6 or 8 passengers, and simple controls instead of the complexities of a normal air-ship's engine room and bridge.

In the specification below the hull is described as unmodified; in fact the decorative workmanship used for these pleasure craft added considerably to the time needed to build them - this is reflected in the total time shown. These craft have such low power consumption that even a small power cylinder will theoretically propel them immense distances; in practice energy losses are somewhat greater in small engines, hence range, while very high, is lower than the normal calculation would show. In normal use around Aeria it is likely that the 0.1 ton power cylinder never needs replacing. While the theoretical top speed is 100 MPH, in practice the occupants are uncomfortable at speeds above 50 MPH. Since these craft were never to leave Aeria scuttling charges were not fitted.

Ithuriel (and others of her class) - 1000+ built 2020-2037
and Similar Air-Ships of the "New Terror" and Moslem Empire - 1100+ built 2031-37

Ithuriel plans. The Ithuriel
These ships were the first Aerian design to take advantage of direct conversion of fuel to electrical power. The immense power available from this source allows a huge performance increase, reflected in every facet of the design.

She is 200 ft. long with a 20 ft. beam, supported by four 100 ft. active wings and propelled by the wings and three propellers. An Azurine ram is fitted, with the hull reinforced by Azurine girders and struts to provide the necessary structural strength. The deck is covered by a streamlined canopy, improving speed and allowing the crew and passengers to use it in flight.

Following the theft of Ithuriel the design was copied, with steel replacing the Azurine components, by Olga Romanoff's "New Terror" and her Moslem allies. Accordingly, this was by far the most common type of vessel of the war of 2036-7. Several were stored in kit form in the caves of Aeria, and one was used in the expedition to Antarctica after the Fire-Cloud. Where the Aerian and Russian designs differ the Russian statistics are bracketed:

Sprite Class Gunboat (1 built)
The Sprite was a design study by students of Aeria's military college in 2035. A prototype was built and performed well in most of her tests in 2035-6, but was eventually rejected on the grounds that her armament was too light to be practical. She was conceived as the aerial equivalent of a small torpedo boat; extremely fast with the bare minimum of accommodation for her officers and crew, designed to be based around Aeria and disrupt an attack by flying through the enemy fleet at high speed and firing a few shots in passing, then retreat to rearm. How well these tactics would have fared is unknown; since even one shell can destroy the mightiest air-ship, it is surprising that the idea wasn't pursued. This craft clearly shows the phenomenal range and power available by using electrical engines and power cylinders; she was over-engined by at least 40% for the design specification, and it is likely that the hull would disintegrate before the power cylinder ran out.

Avenger and Orion - 2037
Avenger plans Avenger
The Avenger and Orion were the flagships of the Aerian fleet in the latter part of the war against the New Terror and Moslem Empire, designed as extraordinarily powerful monitors which could use superior altitude, fire power and gunnery range to suppress enemy air-ships. They were 275 ft. long, with 30 ft. beam and two pairs of wings, the larger having a 200 ft. span. They mounted ten-gun broadsides with twin bow and stern chasers. Their main limitation was limited magazine capacity; they could only store 3000 rounds, relatively little when they could fire nearly 300 shots per minute. To overcome this problem they usually flew in convoy with fast tenders carrying replacement ammunition, and a screen of smaller air-ships.

Air-Ship Names
Aerian air-ships which are designed primarily for warfare are usually named after angels; initially the Terror used the names of Persian angels, but other mythologies are used as the number of ships increases. Some of these names are alternatives for the same angels in different mythologies: Adabiel, Adonael, Arael, Araqael, Barachiel, Camael, Chamuel, Fanuel, Gabriel, Haniel, Iaoth, Israel, Jehudiel, Jerahmeel, Jeremiel, Michael, Mikael, Phanuel, Raguel, Raphael, Remiel, Ruhiel, Ruagel, Ruahel, Sabrael, Sariel, Sealtiel, Uriel, Uzziel, Zadkiel, Zaphiel, Zaphkiel, Zerachiel. Many Saint's names are also the names of angels.

Aeria also names air-ships after astronomical bodies, constellations, etc.; in general these ships are designed for non-combatant roles. For example, the Cygna is a pleasure boat, the Mercury is a fast courier. Occasionally the names may not match the roles; for example, the Ursa Major might be a heavy cruiser, or the Gabriel might be a courier.

Russian air-ships are named for abstract principles (e.g. Revenge) or for Russian heroes, place names, etc. Plausible names include Alexander Nevsky, Catherine The Great, Kiev, Moscow, Retribution, Vindictive.

Islamic air-ships use famous names from Moslem history and mythology. The names of angels might also be used here; the Moslem heirarchy is similar to the Christian, since it derives from the Apocrypha, so Jibril corresponds to Gabriel, Mikal to Michael, etc.

Aerial Combat
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IN the 1904 war all forms of aerial combat were very one-sided; air-ships and war-balloons could attack ground targets and surface shipping with virtual impunity, and air-ships destroyed every war-balloon they attacked. Afterwards the situation gradually changed; nations outside the Federation began to build high-altitude artillery, and when war-balloons were used they also carried artillery - they were still vulnerable to air-ships, but far less so than in the war. In 2036-7 the New Terror had near-parity with Aeria, since Olga Romanoff's air-ships were copied from Aerian designs.

Essentially there are three main forms of attack in aerial combat: bombing, gunnery, and ramming. Small arms are also occasionally of use - for example, in the boarding of the Lucifer during the 1904 war, and in the capture of a Moslem courier in 2037 - but their range is so limited that they are almost entirely restricted to those rare occasions when both sides wish to avoid destroying the other.

Bombing is a tactic mainly associated with war-balloons; it allows the vessel to drop a substantial weight of explosives (or other ordnance) over the target with a minimum of equipment. The drawback is a lack of accuracy; even with the best sights a bomb is far less accurate than artillery, and use against a rapidly-moving target such as an air-ship is out of the question. Even with the best sights accuracy is usually considered to be 2% of the dropping altitude; thus a bomb dropped from 1000 ft. would hit up to 20 ft from its intended target, one dropped from 20,000 ft. (the altitude used by most Russian war-balloons when the Terror's air-ships were around) could miss by 400 ft! This makes them almost useless as a precision weapon; their only role is in mass-destruction.

The reason for this inaccuracy is simple; bombs travel much more slowly than artillery shells, so are more likely to be affected by the wind and other factors, such as the speed and drift of the vessel dropping them. Moreover, it was necessary to fly directly above a target to use them; once high-altitude guns became common as defensive weapons this was tantamount to suicide. All of the Russian bombing successes of 1904 were achieved at low altitude (for example, the British fleet was bombed from approximately 1000 ft.), or against mass targets where the precise location of a bomb didn't matter (such as London).

Despite these problems, Aeria did build a few air-ships with bombing equipment, and most Aerian designs could be converted to carry bombs by modifying holds and hulls; conversion kits were kept for all of the standard vessels, and could be fitted in a few hours. They saw use in the 1928 campaign against Japan, where it was necessary to reduce heavily-fortified shipyards and fortresses, and sheer weight of explosives was more important than accuracy. Note that the bombing vessels were preceded by air-ships which destroyed most of the artillery guarding these targets, and that two Aerian air-ships were destroyed during bombing runs.

Bombs are dropped using the Military Arms skill. Calculate the probable error from altitude as above (e.g. 200 ft. at 10,000 ft.) then divide it into three zones for the results of using this skill:
ACompletely outside the circle of error. (e.g. more than 200 ft. from target)
BMore than 1% off target, less than 2% off target (e.g. 100-200 ft. from target)
CWithin 1% (e.g. less than 100 ft. from target) / Direct hit
Basic difficulty is 6 at 5,000 ft., with the following modifiers to Difficulty (to maximum Difficulty 10 and minimum Difficulty 1:
+1for every 2000 ft. above 5,000 ft. (to maximum Difficulty 10)
-1for every 2000 ft. below 5,000 ft. (to minimum Difficulty 4)
+2strong wind
+1target obscured by smoke or cloud
-2bombs have already hit the target.
+2target speed above 100 MPH
+1target speed above 50 MPH
+1vessel speed above 100 MPH
+2vessel speed above 300 MPH
+4vessel speed above 500 MPH
To find the direction in which the bombs have fallen, if they did not hit the target, roll 1D6. If the bomb falls short the vessel can correct its aim and try again in the next round; if they overshoot the target the vessel must circle round for another attack.
1Bombs fall short but are on the right line.
2-3Bombs fall short and are off to one side.
4-5 Bombs overshot the target and are off to one side.
6Bombs overshot the target but were on correct line.

Gunnery is the most highly developed means of aerial combat. The Terror developed pneumatic gun technology in 1904, but initially there was no way to compensate for targets moving as fast as an air-ship. Air-ships could attack ground targets, shipping, and war-balloons, but would probably have missed targets moving at their own speeds; since it was almost impossible to operate the guns at speeds above 30-40 MPH, due to the air-blast sweeping across the deck, this remained a purely theoretical problem. It was many years before the weight and drag problems associated with windshields were overcome. These problems were slowly solved by the development of rangefinding reflector sights and gyro-stabilised guns, and wind-shields protecting first the guns and later the entire deck; today stabilisation and aiming equipment constitutes at least 50% of the weight of modern guns, offsetting design improvements which would have otherwise reduced weight, and a gunner is likely to hit any target that is aimed at if it is in range at all. Trajectories are almost flat and shells travel so fast that the relative speeds of the gun and target makes little difference. The main limitations are the reflexes and skill of the gunner.

The firing rate of guns was initially limited to two or three shots a minute, the time needed to reload guns and re-pressurise their air reservoirs. In 1910 pneumatic loading systems were invented, coupled with faster pressurisation, gradually improving until by 2037 guns could fire almost as fast as the trigger was pulled. This has its own dangers, of course; modern air-ships are capable of such a high rate of fire that their ammunition can be exhausted in a few minutes.

Guns are fired using the Military Arms skill. The basic Difficulty is 6, Modifiers to Difficulty (Minimum 1, Maximum 10) are based on the difference in velocity of the firing vessel and its target, altitude, and the maximum range of the gun (assumed to be at least four miles below), as follows:
+1Velocity difference exceeds 500 MPH
0Velocity difference 200-500 MPH
-1Velocity difference under 200 MPH
+4Target 5000 ft. or more above attacker
+1Target 2-5000 ft. above attacker
-1Target at least 2000 ft. below attacker
Too close+1Within half a mile
Point-Blank-2Half a mile to a mile
Short-1Up to a quarter of the maximum range of the gun.
Normal0A quarter to three quarters of the maximum range of the gun.
Long+1More than three quarters of maximum range.
Optionally relative heading also affects the skill:
-1Target is broadside-on to attacking vessel.
0Target is at 45 degrees to attacking vessel.
+1Target's bow or stern facing attacking vessel.
In air-ships designed in 1904-1930 the guns can fire a shot every THREE rounds; the maximum speed at which they can be used is 40 MPH.
In 1930-1960 designs guns fire a shot every TWO rounds; the maximum speed at which they can be used is 100 MPH. Note that this does NOT mean that all ships suddenly gain this ability in 1930; many older ships remained in service until the 1940s and beyond.
From 1960 onwards guns are designed to fire every round and can be used at all speeds.

The power of modern explosives means that a single direct artillery hit can destroy the largest air-ship. In 1904 any shell hitting a war-balloon was almost guaranteed to destroy it; a hull packed with bombs, fuelled by petrol and supported by hydrogen was a death trap in the event of an explosion. It was seldom realised that vessels using Arnold's engines were also dangerously vulnerable; any damage to the engine room could release both components of the fuel with catastrophic results. It is surprising that this never happened in the 1904 war; even the Lucifer crashed without its fuel exploding.

Because of the distances involved, and the power of explosives, it is rarely possible to target individual parts of a vessel with guns, and hits almost always cause catastrophic damage to random components of the target vessel. This is the main reason why most air-ships are equipped with rams and small arms; they allow more selective destruction, and a possibility of taking prisoners or capturing the enemy vessel.

The effects of any artillery hit to a war-balloon should be rolled randomly on the following table; locations may be targeted deliberately at point-blank or short range:
2Propellers or steering destroyed; no other damage, target disabled
3Engines destroyed; fire starts, Effect 20 explosion in 1D6 rounds
4-11Bombs, fuel, gas bag or hydrogen cylinders hit, war-balloon destroyed
12Bridge destroyed; crew killed, war-balloon disabled

Artillery hits to air-ships should be rolled randomly on the table below; the locations shown may also be targeted deliberately at point-blank or short range. Roll the Effect of the shell against the BODY of the vessel:

2Propellers or steering hit:
  1. Speed halved, all Pilot skill rolls at -2
  2. Propulsion lost, vessel slows and stops, Pilot rolls at -3
  3. As above AND attitude and altitude control also damaged, Pilot rolls at -5
3-4Engine room hit. Crew killed, also:
  1. Speed halved, half fuel lost
  2. Propulsion lost, gun pressure lost, vessel slows and stops, Pilot rolls at -3
  3. Catastrophic power loss. It's a long way down... Glide or crash land at -5 Pilot skill.
    If Arnold's fuel used, roll again - on a B or C result the fuel tanks rupture and the air-ship is blown to tiny fragments.
5-6Magazine. Crew killed, also:
  1. Ammunition lost, damage miraculously goes outwards without additional harm to vessel.
  2. Magazine explodes. Roll 1-3 hits with Effect 30 on the remainder of the vessel.
  3. Magazine explodes. Hull falls apart, tiny fragments of debris patter down from the sky. There are no survivors. Any ship within 100 yards takes one random hit, Effect 20.
7-8Wings hit:
  1. Maximum altitude and speed in horizontal flight halved, Pilot skill rolls at -2
  2. Vessel can't maintain any altitude. Glide or crash land. Vessels with fan-wheels may try to switch power to them, at -3 to Pilot skill until the ship is slowed to a stop. Vessels with active wings don't have this option.
  3. Catastrophic loss of wings, ship plummets like a stone. Vessels with fan-wheels may try to switch power to them, at -6 to Pilot skill until the ship is slowed to a stop. Vessels with active wings don't have this option.
9-10Fan-wheels hit (Use wings result above if vessel has no fan-wheels):
  1. Maximum hovering altitude halved, Pilot skill rolls at -2 during vertical flight.
  2. Fan-wheels lost, vessel cannot land vertically or fly at less than 25% of maximum speed. Vessel must crash-land (immediately if it was hovering); once landed, it cannot take off. Pilot skill rolls at -4 during vertical flight.
  3. As B above AND pneumatic system integrity lost, range of all guns halved.
11-12Bridge or cabins etc. hit:
  1. Shell goes through portholes without detonating.
  2. 1-6 randomly selected compartments destroyed, all occupants killed.
  3. Bridge / wheelhouse destroyed. All control lost, it may be possible to take control from other parts of the ship but all skill rolls are at -4.

Ground-based anti-aircraft guns were developed by several nations after the 1904 war, and extensively deployed by Aeria in the 2036-7 war. The guns are heavier than those carried on air-ships, and partially buried to protect them from bombing, but otherwise much the same. They typically have an altitude range of 30-40,000 ft., and a horizontal range of 10-15 miles. A typical installation consists of 4-6 guns and a buried magazine of several thousand rounds with pneumatic ammunition feed, two or three searchlights, and a generator to supply electricity and compressed air. These installations are expensive to build and equip; each gun costs 250 MD and weighs four tons, while buried magazines, generator rooms, etc. cost 10 MD per ton plus the cost of the equipment, plus 5 MD per gun supplied (the work required to bury pipes etc.)

Anti-Aircraft Guns are fired using the Military Arms skill. Use the tables for air-ship guns, above, but quadruple the distances for vertical modifiers. It isn't possible to target a specific part of a vessel, all hits are randomly located. Anti-aircraft guns fire one shot per two rounds, but different guns in a position may fire in different rounds.

Ramming can only occur if the vessels involved are on a collision course, or the vessel that is doing the ramming is much faster than its opponent, and both are at the same altitude. Usually the heaviest vessel and/or fastest vessel has the advantage in any collision; a ram (especially one made of azurine) is also of major importance. Generally speaking, the ramming vessel can choose its approximate target, but can rarely control damage precisely; for example, in the 1904 war the Ithuriel could rip the gas-bags from war-balloons, causing their immediate destruction, but probably couldn't have disabled them without destroying them. Under exceptional circumstances it may be possible to ram more precisely; Arnoldson's feat in capturing a Moslem courier by disabling its propellers is an obvious example. Despite these examples, ramming is attempted so rarely that there are no hard and fast doctrines on its use; every attack is a venture into the unknown.

Ramming attacks are made using Pilot skill. Unless complete surprise is achieved the attacker must make several successful skill rolls, overcoming the skill of the opponent, to achieve a collision. This assumes, of course, that the defender wants to evade; if not, collision is automatic.

The Effect of a ship ramming another is found by adding the BODY of the attacker to 5% of the difference in velocities between the two vessels. Add 25% if a ram is fitted, 50% if the ram is made of Azurine.

Example: Ithuriel (BODY 65, Azurine ram) attacks a Russian air-ship of the same general type. The closing speed is 500 MPH, so the Effect of the attack is (65 + 25) + 50% = 135.

The Effect of the impact on the attacking ship is 20% of the above if no ram is fitted, 15% if a steel ram is fitted, 10% if an Azurine ram is fitted.

Example: Ithuriel takes damage with Effect 135/10 = 14.

On an A result the attacking vessel hits a random location (as for gunnery above), otherwise on a B or C a location can be deliberately targeted.

The damage to the attacking vessel is always randomly targeted, but can be ignored on an A or B result. On a C the attacking vessel also uses the damage table.

Note that it is entirely possible for two vessels to attempt to ram each other simultaneously; if both pilots succeed, both air-ships take full damage.

Machine-Guns and Small Arms are generally reserved for boarding actions (which usually involve a surprise attack or successful ramming) and use against ground targets; their range and effect are too limited for any other purpose. At close range it is possible to target deck crew etc., but hits to the hull etc. are unlikely to achieve much. Heavy machine guns are useful in maintaining control over a captured vessel; artillery should be avoided, since a shot at point-blank range may well destroy both vessels.

New Air-Ship Weapons can be developed by adventurers, or described by the referee, but it is necessary to explain why they do not become involved in later events. For example, an obvious development for the 2036-7 war is an anti-submarine air-ship carrying a dipping microphone, magnetic sensors, and wire-guided torpedoes; all of these technologies are described in the second novel, but never appear as air-deployed weapons, despite their apparent usefulness. One obstacle is the time needed to develop these weapons; the referee should try to ensure that getting them to work properly will be a difficult and exasperating process.

For example, air-dropped torpedoes may initially tend to explode as they enter the water, unless the air-ship that drops them is so low that it can come under fire from the submarine it is trying to attack. With time and testing these problems may be overcome, but it shouldn't be easy. See The Dam Busters by Paul Brickhill for a useful account of weapon development problems.

Weapons that can be developed without a major effect on the history of this world include more powerful guns (heavier and slower, but with greater Effect when a shell hits the target), rapid-firing guns (with reduced accuracy and huge ammunition and power consumption), and more accurate bombs. Any other weapons should be regarded with great caution. Large naval guns for surface ships are described below, adapting them to air-ships should be extremely difficult and expensive. Imagine the recoil...

The style of aerial combat should resemble a formal naval battle more than a "dogfight"; while the pace is fast, ships form line of battle, fire their guns, and signal to each other with flags and lights. Note that the tactics and weapons described give a major advantage to a fleet maintaining tight discipline; cowboys trying hit and run attacks may find that they are targeted by fifty or a hundred guns. A brilliant pilot may get lucky in these circumstances, especially if the enemy has inferior training (as in most of the battles between the Russian and Aerian fleets), but superior numbers and firepower usually outweigh luck. This style is of combat is important in establishing the nature of this setting; unless they are operating alone, players should think of their ship as part of a fleet, not as a hot fighter or bomber.

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Additional Infrastructure
The bases described in this section are the only infrastructure mentioned in either book. However, there is nothing to stop referees adding more. FF1 describes the world of the Aerial Board of Control, in which the skies are crowded and the typical means of transport is the "'dig" (dirigible). In this world extra services include
  • Light-ships and ground-based beacons for navigation
  • Weather forecasting
  • Air traffic control
  • Mail carriers and other specialist ships
Note that the A.B.C. world has wireless communication and full civilian access to the skies, so if this equipment is used it should reflect the changed circumstances; for example, weather forecasters will work aboard specialised ships which accompany Aeria's fleets, and their services will be much less reliable than those of the A.B.C. world.
BY 2036 Aeria had numerous stations for recharging power-cylinders for air-ships and submarines, which (after the "new Terror" commenced operations) were defended by anti-aircraft guns, submarines, and air-ship patrols. They were in constant contact via telegraph, and when on maximum alert an air-ship was assigned to hover at maximum altitude, reporting to the base by telegraph. Forward observers were posted on the ground at various distances from the bases, and also reported back by telegraph. These bases also had repair facilities, ammunition, and other stores for the fleets.

Olga Romanoff's base at Mount Terror initially served a similar function for her organisation, but was defended less elaborately since she somehow deluded herself into believing it could not be attacked. After it was destroyed comparable facilities were built by the Moslem Empire, and in Russia once O.R. assumed the Russian throne.

It must be remembered that only a very small minority was ever given access to the air, by Aeria or the New Terror, and that the skies were usually empty. With the exception of these bases, and the factories and munitions plants needed to build this equipment, neither side built any other supporting infrastructure for their fleets.

Air-Ships and War-Balloons in Aeronef
By Matthew Hartley - Copyright © 2000

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THE Aeronef rules published by Wessex Games were heavily influenced by the writings of George Griffith, it is therefore not entirely surprising that it is relatively easy to convert vessels from this worldbook into Aernof terms.

Rams in Aeronef

To make a vessel a ram craft costs 30 CPs. This reinforcing does however give the vessel 5 additional Hull Points.

A ram Aeronef in base to base contact with another vessel uses its Ram Dice as a substitute for its Gun Dice attack as its combat action for that turn. A ramming vessels Ram Dice is equal to 6 plus its current speed divided by 2 (fractions rounded down) minus the ramming vessels class number. Thus a Class 3 vessel ramming at speed 10 would have 8 Ram Dice (6 + (10/2) - 3). The number of dice rolled is doubled if the target vessel is a 'Dig. These speed dice are rolled in exactly the same manner as Gun Dice (6's rolled again etc.). Both vessels half their current speed after a successful collision. This halving of speed takes effect at the end of the current turn.

Ramming is always a voluntary action on the part of the rammer. Even in base to base contact a vessel does not have to make a ram attack unless the controlling player wishes it.

A vessel being rammed may attempt to dodge the ram by a sudden altitude change. A vessel successfully dodges the ram if it rolls equal to or less than its class on 1d6. Digs add +2 to their roll. A vessel which successfully dodges takes no damage. An unsuccessfully vessel takes damages at full as determined by the speed dice roll.

A ram Aeronef takes no damage from a ram. An Aeronef not equipped to ram rolls dice for damage to itself equal to its Ram Dice. A 'Dig which rams rolls twice its Ram Dice.

Notable FF7 flying craft in Aeronef terms

Ariel Class (1904)
ClassHull PointsGun DiceBomb DiceMax SpeedTurn
The Ariel class are equipped with a ram.

Ithuriel Class (1904-27)
ClassHull PointsGun DiceBomb DiceMax SpeedTurn
The Ithuriel class are equipped with a ram.

French and Russian War Ballons (1903-4)
ClassHull PointsGun DiceBomb DiceMax SpeedTurn
3 (D)801281

Cygna (2020+)
ClassHull PointsGun DiceBomb DiceMax SpeedTurn

Aerian Ithuriel Class (2020-37)
ClassHull PointsGun DiceBomb DiceMax SpeedTurn
The Ithuriel class are equipped with a ram.

Russian Ithuriel Class (2020-37)
ClassHull PointsGun DiceBomb DiceMax SpeedTurn
The Ithuriel class are equipped with a ram.

Sprite-Class Gunboat (2020-37)
ClassHull PointsGun DiceBomb DiceMax SpeedTurn

Avenger and Orion (2037)
ClassHull PointsGun DiceBomb DiceMax SpeedTurn
The Avenger and Orion are equipped with a ram.

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Submarines are controlled and navigated using the Pilot skill; this may seem odd, but a submarine is actually more complicated to operate than any air-ship or war-balloon. The controls are deliberately designed for compatibility, and it is usual for Aerian officers to be familiar with both types of vessel.
SUBMARINES were the lethal edge of the Franco-Slavonian League's surface forces in the War of the Terror, and were deployed extensively by both sides in the final war of 2036-7. Their design process is much like that of air-ships, but simpler; to avoid unnecessary repetition this section concentrates on those parts of the process which differ from air-ship design, and pays comparatively little attention to those areas which are the same.

Submarines need the following components:

  1. Weapons, if carried.
  2. Any other equipment.
  3. Accommodation for the crew and passengers, and other compartments.
  4. Life support equipment.
  5. A hull to provide structural strength and hold the other components. It may also be designed to carry a ram etc.
  6. Depth and buoyancy controls.
  7. Engines and propellers; diesel engines in early designs, Arnold's engines in the first Aerian submarines, direct fuel conversion in later designs.

Shell (Arnold's explosive)15ft20ICK
Shell (Dynamite or Melinite)5ft12ICK
Torpedo (Arnold's explosive)30ft30IC/KK
Torpedo (Dynamite or Melinite)10ft15ICK
Mine (Arnold's explosive)30ft30IC/KK
Mine (Dynamite or Melinite)10ft15ICK
Weapons are typically guns, torpedoes, mines and machine guns. The Terror (and later Aeria and the New Terror) use a binary explosive derived from Arnold's fuel, other opponents use dynamite or melinite.

All ammunition for these weapons needs to be housed in magazines as for air-ships.

Example: The Cachalot
Cachalot has one gun firing six miles (2 tons, 6 PR, 120 MD) and four torpedo tubes (12 tons, 12 PR, 600 MD). She is an Aerian design so these weapons use Arnold's explosive. She carries twenty full-sized torpedoes (5 tons, 200 MD), two tons of normal shells (2 tons, 6 MD) and a ton of miniature torpedoes (1 ton, 25 MD). The ammunition needs 8 tons of magazine space (2.4 tons, 24 MD).

Subtotals: 24.4 tons, 18 PR, 975 MD

Miscellaneous equipment generally includes searchlights, sirens, magnetic and acoustic detectors, countermeasures against these devices, and periscopes.

Example: The Cachalot
Cachalot is equipped with a siren (0.05 tons, 5 MD), magnetic detector (0.1 tons, 15 MD) and countermeasures (0.1 tons, 10 MD), acoustic detector (0.2 tons, 25 MD), and periscope (0.5 tons, 50 MD)

Subtotals: 25.35 tons, 18 PR, 1080 MD

Accommodation is designed exactly as for air-ships, with the same costs for components. However, if holds are designed for emergency use by passengers extra life support capacity must be installed.

Example: The Cachalot
Cachalot has a crew of 3 officers (0.9 tons, 6 MD) and 8 men (1.6 tons, 8 MD), a galley (0.5 tons, 2 PR, 10 MD), a wardroom for 3 officers (0.3 tons, 1.5 MD) and mess for 8 (0.4 tons, 1.6 MD), and a bridge for three (0.6 tons, 12 MD). She has 5 tons cargo capacity (5.5 tons, 5 MD).

Subtotals: 35.15 tons, 20 PR, 1125 MD

Life Support Equipment consists of chemical air scrubbers and filters plus cylinders of oxygen. The equipment weighs 0.05 tons for each person aboard, and needs 0.01 tons of consumables (the weight of tanks, chemicals, etc.) per person aboard per day. Power consumption is 1 PR per ton (round up), cost is 50 MD per ton. The consumables can be recharged by the engines when the submarine is surfaced; air tanks are re-pressurised, chemicals are reprocessed electrically and CO2 vented. It takes an hour per day submerged.

Example: The Cachalot
Cachalot has a crew of 11, and carries life support for ten days underwater. The equipment weighs 0.55 tons, the consumables weigh 1.1 tons, taking the total weight to 1.65 tons, 2 PR, 83 MD.

Subtotals: 32.8 tons, 22 PR, 1208 MD

The Hull encloses or supports the components described above plus the engines, propulsion equipment etc.; with the hull itself these components often double the weight. For example, a submarine with 25 tons devoted to weapons, accommodation, etc. may need to devote another 25 tons to hull and machinery. This figure can be varied with experience (and was generally three or more times the weight of other components in the days of diesel engines and batteries), but it is a useful first approximation for design purposes. For simplicity this design weight is often rounded up or down to a whole number of tons.

The hull is at least 20% of the final design weight, with various modifiers. Round tonnage up to the next 0.1 tons, MD up to the next full number in each stage that follows; changes are cumulative:

All submarine hulls are streamlined, seaworthy, and armoured.

Hull Strength
Submarines must be built extraordinarily strongly, so BODY is found by the following means (rounding up at each stage):
  • The base BODY is designed tonnage plus 5
    • Per gun or torpedo tube fitted - Add 1 BODY
    • Ram fitted - Add 10% (20% if ram is Azurine)
    As well as determining BODY, hull strength affects the maximum depth the submarine can attain, but construction methods (which changed several times) are even more important;
    • For early submarines (up to 1920) square BODY then divide by 5 and round to the nearest 50 ft.
    • From 1920 to 1950 use BODY²/3 rounded to the nearest 50 ft.
    • From 1950 to 1980 use BODY²/2 rounded to the nearest 50 ft.
    • From 1980 onwards use BODY² rounded to the nearest 50 ft.

Example: The Cachalot
Cachalot weighs 32.8 tons, so a final design weight of 70 tons is assumed. The basic weight of the hull is 20% of this (14 tons, 420 MD), but she has a gun and four torpedo tubes (adding 25% weight and MD, for new hull values of 17.5 tons, 526 MD) and an Azurine ram (adding 40% weight and 60% MD for new values of 24.5 tons, 842 MD).

Subtotals: 57.3 tons, 22 PR, 2050 MD

BODY = Basic hull (70 + 5) + 5 guns and tubes (+5) + Azurine ram (+20%)
= 75 + 5 + 20% = 80 + 20% = 96
This makes maximum depth 96 x 96 = 9216 ft., rounded to 9200 ft.

Depth control requires various pumps, tanks, etc. which generally constitute 10% of the design weight, for a cost of 30 MD and 1 PR consumed per ton of equipment.

Example: The Cachalot
Cachalot has a design weight of 70 tons, so this equipment weighs 7 tons, costs 210 MD, and consumes 7 PR.

Subtotals: 64.3 tons, 29 PR, 2260 MD

The engines are the last components. Three main types have been used; air-breathing diesel engines with storage batteries and motors (used by France in the 1904 war), Arnold's engines, and 21st-century electrical engines with power cylinders.

Once these components have been selected, and their weight is added to the ship, performance is calculated using the following formulae:

Example: The Cachalot
Cachalot will weigh 70 tons and can reach 100 MPH. The power needed for propulsion is thus 100/10 x 70 = 700 PR. Additionally her guns and other systems consume 29 PR. To allow a safety margin this is rounded up to 750 PR.

A 2030s marine electrical engine of this capacity weighs 1.5 tons and costs 255 MD. This takes the total weight to 65.8 tons, leaving up to 4.2 tons for power cylinders. This is taken as a 4-ton cylinder, with output of 200,000 PR, costing 320 MD and giving her endurance of 200,000 / 750 = 267 hours, for a range of 26,700 miles.

It's important that the exact design weight is achieved in submarines (if not they can't maintain depth properly) so the last 0.2 tons is taken as ballast at negligible cost.

Subtotals: 69.8 tons, 750 PR, 2835 MD

Submarine Components Etc.
Time Cost
Gun2.01201-151Power per mile of range
Ammunition (200 rounds)13--10 lb shells.
Miniature Torpedoes (50)125--10 lb explosive.
Torpedo Tube3.015031Includes pumps etc.
Mines (6)1.015---
Magazine0.33--Weight does not include cargo
Heavy MG0.11-1Belt-fed Maxim
Other Equipment
Searchlight0.11011Includes signalling gear
Magnetic Detector0.115-1Typically one crewman operates all of these devices
Magnetic Countermeasures0.11011
Acoustic Detector0.225-1
Acoustic Countermeasures0.21511
Accommodation etc.
Crew0.21--Cabins for 4 or more
Officer0.32--Cabins for 1 or 2
Luxury0.54-1Steward required
Galley0.51021Per cook, feeding up to 50
Mess0.050.2--Per crewman accommodated
Wardroom0.10.5-1Per officer/guest accommodated
Saloon0.250.5-1Per person accommodated
Bridge0.612-3Add 4 MD and O.2 tons per person.
Hold1.11--Weight includes cargo
Life Support0.05 tons / person50 MD/Ton1 PR/Ton-Excludes consumables
Consumables for above0.01 tons / person / day50 MD/Ton1 PR/Ton-Tanks etc.
Basic hull10%30 MD/Ton--Based on design weight
Per gun / torpedo tubeAdd 2%Add 5%--Added to hull
Ram fitted OR
Azurine Ram
Add 25%
Add 40%
Add 25%
Add 60%
--Added to hull
Power Plant Etc.
Depth control10%30 MD/Ton1 PR/Ton1Based on design weight
Diesel EngineVariable45 MD/Ton16 PR/Ton1Power Output
Diesel FuelVariable5 MD/Ton500 PR/Ton-Stored Power
Storage BatteriesVariable50 MD/Ton250 PR/Ton-Stored Power
Arnold's enginesVariable100 MD/Ton120 PR/Ton1Power output
Fuel for aboveVariable50 MD/Ton20,000 PR/Ton-Stored power
Electrical enginesVariable170 MD/Ton500 PR/Ton1Power output
Power cylindersVariable80 MD/ton50,000 PR/Ton-Stored power

Notable Submarines
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French Zédé-class Submarine - 50+ built - 1894-1904

...a small flotilla of twenty-five insignificant-looking little craft, with neither masts nor funnels, and looking more like half-submerged elongated turtles than anything else, followed in tow close under their quarters. Hardly had the furious cannonade broken out into thunder and flame along the two opposing lines, than these strange craft sank gently and silently beneath the waves. They were submarine vessels belonging to the French navy, an improved type of the Zédé class, which had been in existence for more than ten years.
[AR 39]

These primitive submarines were lethally effective in the 1904 war, despite their limited specifications. Their most distinctive feature was the use of an underwater searchlight to find their prey; to do so they had to venture within yards of the surface, where they were easy prey for any air-ship's attack. But the British fleet had no air-ships, and suffered devastating losses. They carried no life-support equipment, hence the low underwater endurance, and were towed to within a few miles of the enemy before going onto their own power. The crew did not live or eat aboard. Note: An underwater searchlight is double the weight and MD cost of the usual type.

Aerian Cetacean Class (e.g. Cachalot) - 500+ built - 2020-2037

...a double-pointed cylinder, built of plates of nickelised aluminium steel, not riveted, but electrically fused at the joints, so that they formed a continuous mass equally impervious all over, and presenting no seams or overlaps... ...a hundred and fifty feet from point to point, with a midship's diameter of forty feet. The forward end was armed with a sheathing of azurine... ...a ram, which was by no means the least formidable portion of the war ship's armament.
[OR 12]

The typical Aerian submarine of the 2036-7 war. Fast, well armed and armoured, and fitted with an azurine ram, they were a match for anything else afloat.

Russian Cetacean Class (e.g. Narwhal) and Similar Moslem Vessels - 400+ built - 2020-2037

...a very leviathan of the deep... ...two hundred feet in length and forty-five in diameter amidships. She appeared to be built on very much the same plan as the Cachalot and of the same materials, saving only, of course, the ram of azurine, which was replaced by one of nickel steel.
[OR 12]

Narwhal plan Narwhal
Confusingly, the Russians also named their submarines after various species of whale. They were larger and faster but no better armed than their Aerian equivalent, and lacked the azurine ram, magnetic countermeasures and acoustic sensors of the Aerian designs, but could dive much deeper. Their cargo and passenger capacity was made necessary by the need to supply Olga Romanoff's Antarctic base. The Narwhal was an experimental prototype, stolen and used by Arnoldson in the battle of Kerguelen, with larger engines and power reserves; she was otherwise identical to the other submarines of this class. Where data differs the numbers in brackets refer to the Narwhal.

Cossack Class Russian scout submarine - 150+ built 2030-37
Small and regarded as expendable, these scout submarines were equipped for reconnaissance and limited self-defence, and to lay mines. Their main limitations were low top speed and inadequate sensors. There was no galley, the crew ate sandwiches and other prepared rations. There was magazine space for 8 torpedoes and 24 mines, more mines could be carried as cargo.

Underwater Combat
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MOST of the technology of underwater combat has already been mentioned above; in many respects it only differs slightly from aerial combat. The main forms of attack are gunnery, torpedoes, mines, and ramming; small arms are useless underwater, but are often carried for use while the submarine is on the surface.

Gunnery is described above; in general the only change from its use by aircraft is that the submarine is always on a level with its target or below it.

Torpedoes are less accurate weapons than guns, but make up for it by carrying much more explosive, and by the ability to fire unseen. Submarine periscopes incorporate range-finders and other devices which allow the course of a target to be measured and a torpedo to be aimed with a reasonable chance of achieving its goal. It is impossible to select any particular part of the target for attack; all damage is randomly located. Accuracy is generally considered to be 1% of the firing distance, so a torpedo fired at a mile's range can reasonably be expected to strike anywhere along an 18-yard line, with a moderately good chance of success against most ships; at five miles this becomes 90 yards.

Wire-guided torpedoes are used at short range; they are controlled from the attacking submarine, which needs to keep its periscope up to steer the torpedo. Provided the target is visible these weapons are more accurate than normal torpedoes; however, the attacking submarine is near the surface and comparatively vulnerable for an extended period, whereas an ordinary torpedo can be fired and more or less forgotten immediately.

Torpedoes are fired using the Military Arms skill. Calculate the probable error from distance as above (e.g. 90 yards at five miles) then divide it into three zones for the results of using this skill:
ACompletely outside this range (e.g. more than 90 yards from the aiming point)
B0.5-1.0% off target (e.g. 45-90 yards from aiming point)
CWithin 0.5% (e.g. less than 45 yards from aiming point) / Direct hit
Basic Difficulty is 6 at a mile's range, with the following modifiers (maximum Difficulty 10, minimum 1):
-4Wire guided torpedo
+1for every mile (to maximum -3)
-1distance half mile or less
+1target obscured by smoke or cloud
+1heavy waves / storm
-2torpedoes have already hit the target.
+3target speed above 50 MPH
+1target speed above 20 MPH
-2target stationary
If torpedoes miss, on 1-3 they pass ahead of the target, on 4-6 they pass behind it.

Mines can be dropped from a surface ship or via the torpedo tubes of a submarine. They are usually deployed as a passive defence around a harbour or river mouth, but may also be spread in the path of an approaching fleet; the chances of success are low for an individual mine (most estimates suggest less than a 1% success rate), but when hundreds of mines are spread densely the odds of a hit are high. Mines must be preset for depth; a few feet for use against surface ships, anything from fifty to several hundred feet for use against submarines. Deploying them successfully requires knowledge of the local seas, the most likely route of the target, and some expertise; it is also essential to keep track of where mines have been deployed, especially while doing so, to avoid accidents.

Mines are deployed using the Military Arms and Pilot skill; both rolls must be successful. A failed Military Arms roll means that some or all of the mines have been fused incorrectly, or damaged in launching; they will malfunction and fail to explode. A failed Pilot roll means that they have been laid at the wrong depth or in the wrong location.

The Difficulty of laying mines and actually damaging the enemy depends on the number of mines laid and the number of targets available, as follows; minimum Difficulty is 1, maximum Difficulty 15:
Mines always hit a random location on the target, after which they do damage exactly as for a shell or bomb with equivalent Effect (as described below)

If a submarine is rammed or damaged by a bomb, mine, torpedo or artillery, roll randomly on the following table. Roll the Effect of the damage against the BODY of the vessel; if it penetrates roll 2D6 for location, then roll Effect against BODY again for results:
2Propellers or steering hit:
  1. Speed halved, all Pilot skill rolls at -2
  2. Propulsion lost, vessel slows and stops, Pilot rolls at -3
  3. As above AND attitude and depth control also damaged, Pilot rolls at -5
3-4Engine room hit. Crew killed, also:
  1. Sinking slowly. Pilot rolls at -2 to regain control or sink.
  2. Sinking quickly. Pilot rolls at -3
  3. Submarine implodes. Everyone dies.
    If Arnold's fuel used, roll again - on a B or C result the fuel tanks rupture and the submarine is blown to tiny fragments.¹
5-6Magazine. Crew killed, also:
  1. Compartment flooded - Pilot rolls at -2 to regain control or sink.
  2. Magazine explodes. 1-3 hits with Effect 30 on adjacent compartments.¹ - Pilot rolls at -4 to regain control or sink.
  3. Magazine explodes.¹ Hull explodes, tiny fragments of debris patter down to the bottom ooze.
7-10Buoyancy tanks hit:
  1. Sinking slowly. Pilot rolls at -3 to regain control.
  2. Sinking quickly. Pilot rolls at -5 to regain control.
  3. Submarine plummets, hull implodes, everyone dies...
11-12Bridge or cabins etc. hit:
  1. Compartment flooded - Pilot rolls at -2 to regain control or sink.
  2. 1-6 randomly selected compartments flooded - Pilot rolls at -5 to regain control or sink.
  3. Hull implodes. Everyone dies...
¹If this occurs as the result of ramming, the ramming submarine should also take explosion damage with Effect 20.

Depth can affect the hull of a submarine, weakening it and even crushing it if safety limits are ignored. For every 10% of safe depth over the limit, rounded up or down to a number that sounds dramatic, reduce BODY by 25%; for example, the Cachalot's BODY is 96 and safe depth 9200 ft., but she is forced to dive deep to evade a Russian submarine:

Note that this is a gradual transition, not an abrupt change at each exact multiple of 1000 ft.!

Cruisers of the Deep
Fast-Play Scientific Romance Submarine Combat System
By Matthew Hartley - Copyright © 2000

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CRUISERS of the Deep is a reduced version of "Aquanef", the second in a four-game series of Victorian Science Fiction wargames rules, to be published by Wessex Games in early 2001.

The Submarines
Vessels are rated in one of five classes, from the lumbering battlesubs of class one, with awesome destructive power, to the sub-yachts and mini-sub craft of class five, noted more for their (relative) speed than their staying power.

Vessels are rated for five factors:-

All vessels of the same class have the same starting values. These values may however be varied to accommodate special vessels in particular scenarios.

Class Hull points Gun Dice Ram Dice Maximum Speed Turn
2184 8101
3123 6122
4 82 4162
5 21 2183

Note: All non-military and military transport / cargo subs have their Hull Points, Gun Dice and Ram dice values halved (fractions rounded down).

All vessels should be mounted on hexagonal bases with the vessel clearly pointing towards one edge.

Turn Sequence

The game is played in a series of turns.

At the beginning of each turn, players write down the speeds of each of their vessels.

Subs may accelerate or decelerate by up to their class number of cm. per turn. However, no vessel of whatever size may accelerate or decelerate by more than 3 cm. per turn.

There are two movement phases in a turn. The vessel with the lowest speed moves first, followed by the other vessels in acceding order of speed, roll a dice to break ties. In the first phase, each vessel moves half (rounded up) its total move, then all the other vessels have half their move, before the sequence starts again in the second phase with the slowest vessel completing its movement, followed by the other vessels in speed order. Thus a vessel moving at speed 6, would move 3 cm. in the first phase and another 3 cm. in the second phase.

The second movement phase follows on immediately after the first has ended.

Vessels may fire only once per turn, they may do so at any time during either of their movement phases but at no other time during the turn. If firing during movement, the movement is stopped, with a note made of the remaining cm. left to move that phase. Combat then occurs as described below, then the movement phase is resumed.

Once all vessels have participated in both movement phases the turn ends, damage effects are noted, and speeds are set again for next turn.


The movement phases and acceleration and deceleration have been described above under turn sequence.

All movement (except turning) must be directly forward in the direction of the hex base side which the vessel faces.

Vessels must move their full written movement distance in a turn, and the full half movement in each phase.

Vessels made change direction by turning to a different side of their hex base. The turn number by each vessel indicates the maximum number of hex sides a sub may turn through in one game turn. Each hex side change of direction cost the vessel 2 cm. of movement. If the vessel does not have sufficient movement remaining it may not conduct the turn. Having changed facing by one hex side the vessel must move directly forward on the new side at least 1 cm. before changing sides again.

For example:

A class 5 vessel below wishes to turn three sides to face the opposite direction, and has a current movement speed of 12 cm.

In the first movement phase, the vessel has 6 cm. of movement. It starts by changing one side (costing 2cm.), then moves forward 1 cm., turns another side (again costing 2 cm.), and again moves forward 1 cm. The vessel now has 6cm. remaining in the second phase to perform the one remaining side change which will place it facing in the opposite direction as intended.


All vessels are assumed to be armed with a combination of guns and torpedoes. The Gun Dice differences merely reflect the total number of weapons rather than the greater weight of individual pieces.

A vessel may fire once during either of its movement phases, but only once per turn.

A vessel may fire at any other vessel or vehicle within the range of its weapons. For each full 5 centimetres the target vessel is from the attacking vessel, the attacking vessels Gun Dice is reduced by 1. It's assumed that most of the weapon systems fired at a target will miss, so although all vessel mount pretty much the same weapons, the limited volume of fire available to smaller vessels means that they cannot effectively engage an enemy at as great a range as larger vessels with greater fire volume.

Intervening vessels do not prevent firing (we are working in three dimensions here, and it is assumed that there is sufficient room to shoot under or over an intervening vessel).

The firing player rolls a number of d6's equal to his vessels remaining Gun Dice score. This number of dice is halved (rounded down) if the target vessel is entirely within the firing ships 4 side or one rear hex facing.

Each Gun Dice rolled which scores a 6 inflicts 1 Hull Point damage on the target. Additionally, each die which scored a 6 is rolled again, again inflicting 1 point of damage if a 6 is rolled. The remaining die are continually rerolled until they no longer score a 6, and continue to inflict damage for each 6 scored. It is thus possible for a vessel to inflict an unlimited amount of damage on the target in a turn - if it is very lucky.

Ram Attacks

All subs may ram other subs or surface ships.

A sub contacting any eligible target rolls it's ram dice as per distance combat. Rolls of 6 result in one Hull Points damage to the target. All 6's are rerolled with the opportunity of further damage being caused.

Subs cannot ram with impunity. For every 1 rolled from the first ram dice roll only (i.e. not including any subsequent rolls made due to 6's being rolled on the first roll), the ramming sub takes 1 Hull Point damage. 1's are not rerolled in the same manner as 6's.

Ramming and rammed vessels both loose half their current speed. This adjustment only takes effect at the end of the current turn.


A hit vessel reduces its total number of hull points when it is hit. The effect of the damage is to reduce the capabilities of the ship:

% damage of total Hull Points Reduce Gun Dice and Ram Dice By: Reduce Maximum Speed By: Reduce turn by
100%100%25%No Turning

With losses all fractions are rounded down.

All damage effects are applied at the end of the turn in which they occur. The vessel functions as it was at the beginning of the turn until the turn ends.

If, after taking account of the damage modifications, a vessel finds itself moving at more than its new maximum speed, it must decelerate by its maximum amount each turn until it reaches its new maximum speed.

Design Modifications

The five existing designs all represent compromises between speed, armour, and firepower. Players may wish to modify the basic designs by increasing one of the factors at the expense of others. The trade-offs are explicit, for each point of gain to one factor, a loss must also be taken.

HullGun DiceRam DiceMax SpeedTurn
Gun Dice21220.4
Ram Dice10.510.50.2
Max Speed20.5210.4

The Columns indicate how much of the given value of one factor must be lost to gain one point of the factor in the rows. Thus: To gain 1 point of Turn requires reducing Hull Points by 5; OR Ram Dice by 5; OR Gun Dice by 2.5; OR Speed by 2.5.

Some factors have fraction values, for these more than one point of the desired value can be obtained for the loss of one point of the factor. For example, to increase the hull points of a vessel by 1 costs .5 of a Gun Dice. The player could increase Hull Points by 2 for the loss of one whole point of Gun Dice (.5 x 2 = 1). If one factor is lost, not all of that factor needs to be spent on increasing the same value, Thus, for example, the loss of a point of turn could be used to increase Hull points by 3, and Gun Dice by 1, ( 1 = (.2 x 3)+(.4) ).

Any fractions left over from the redesign process are lost.

Some examples:

  1. A player wants a better armed and armour class 5 light sub, and is willing to sacrifice some speed to achieve the result.

    Increasing Gun Dice by 1 costs 2 points of Speed.

    Increasing Hull Points by 4 costs 2 points of Speed.

    The standard class 5 vessel had 2 Hull Points, 1 Gun Dice, 2 Ram Dice, 18 Speed and Turn 3. The modified vessel has 6 Hull Points, 2 Gun Dice, 2 Ram Dice, Turn of 3, but only Speed 14.

  2. A player wants to improve the firepower on his standard class 3 battle sub to 5 Gun Dice. The standard design has 12 Hull Points, 3 Gun Dice, 6 Ram Dice, Speed 12, and a turn of 2.

    He could reduce his Hull Points by 4 to increase his Gun Dice by 2, but this would leave the vessel rather weakly armoured.

    Alternatively he could reduce the vessels Speed by 4 to 8, but this would make it rather slow.

    The player decides instead to reduce the subs Turn by 1. He can then increase the vessels Gun Dice to 5 (costing .8 of a Turn) and still have .2 of a Turn to spend on other improvements. He decides to increase his vessels Hull Points by 1. His new sub thus has 13 Hull Points and 5 Gun Dice whilst still being able to move at Speed 12 and have 6 Ram Dice, unfortunately it now handles like a brick

Surface Ships

The primary purpose of surface ships in the game is to be sunk by subs. Surface ships need only be represented by outlines of the ships keel mounted on hex bases in the same manner as subs.

Surface ships are rated in five classes from the bulk cargo carriers and liners of class one to tugs and trawlers of class five. Surface ships have exactly the same factor headings as subs, and move, accelerate and decelerate, and fight in exactly the same manner.

Class Hull points Gun Dice Ram Dice Maximum Speed Turn
2163 8121
3122 6162
4 81 4202
5 20 2243

The Gun Dice total only applies to military vessels and not to civilian vessels, which have a value of zero.

Note: The Surface Ship designs above are merely standard types. For specific scenarios, unique craft may be created.

End Note

As you can see this is a rather brief set of rules, players should apply common sense if they encounter anything not covered in the rules, and should feel free to write new rules and expansions as the mood takes them.

Notable Submarines from FF7, Cruisers.. Stats.

The four Notable Submarines in the Worldbook are reproduced below in Cruisers.. terms.
French Zede Class submarine
ClassHull PointsGun DiceBomb DiceMax SpeedTurn
Note: Cruisers.. is written for subs during the 2020-2037 period. As the Zede is over one hundred years old at that point, its stats are somewhat lower than the minimums for a class 5 subs.

Aerian Cetacean class (e.g. Cachalot)
ClassHull PointsGun DiceBomb DiceMax SpeedTurn

Russian Cetacean class (e.g. Narwhal)
ClassHull PointsGun DiceBomb DiceMax SpeedTurn
Russian Cossack class)
ClassHull PointsGun DiceBomb DiceMax SpeedTurn

Surface Forces
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COMPARATIVELY little needs to be said about the surface forces used in the 1904 and 2036-7 wars or the intervening peace.

In 1904 armies were still primarily horse-drawn, deploying artillery (firing dynamite shells with a range of 2-3 miles), machine guns, and gas shells and grenades. Most continental armies owned a few very large artillery pieces with a range of fifteen or twenty miles, and huge shells; these could only be transported by rail, typically in component form to be assembled on site. They weighed roughly a ton per mile of range, multiplied by the weight of the shell in hundreds of pounds. Unlike air-ship and submarine weapons these generally used explosives as the propellant, not compressed air; the amount of explosives needed per shell can be found by multiplying the explosives weight of the shell by the range in miles and dividing by ten. For example, a gun to fire a 400 lb. shell twenty miles would weigh 4 x 20 = 80 tons and would need 400 x 20 / 10 lb. = 800 lb of explosives to propel each shell!

Ammunition for such monster guns weighed roughly 50% more than the explosive weight per round. A 400 lb. shell thus weighed 600 lbs. It's usually simpler to think of them in terms of number of shells per ton of ammunition:
Explosive Weight lb.1002003004005006007008009001000
Rounds Per Ton14.574.53.532.521.751.51.25
Cost MD Per ton57910111212131314
Blast radius (yds.)10121315171820222325
Reload time (minutes)11.51.52222.52.534
Note: Blast Radius and Effect of these explosives are for dynamite. For Arnold's explosive multiply both by three (Arnold's explosive cannot be used as a propellant for artillery, it detonates too rapidly and violently for this purpose). Compressed air guns can be built with similar power; they need 2 PR per mile of range, multiplied by the weight of the shell in hundreds of pounds, but are fired twice as fast. A gun firing a 400 lb shell 20 miles would need 160 PR!

These huge guns first appeared in the siege of Paris in the 19th century, but the 1904 war showed that aerial bombardment was much more effective. They were virtually useless for defence; most of the big German guns were bombed as soon as they came in range of the Russian and Italian war-balloons. Accordingly the main striking arms of any army in this war were its light artillery and infantry, the latter typically armed with magazine rifles firing five or eight shots before reloading, a few grenades, and other light weapons. Bicycle-borne infantry (moving by bicycle but fighting on foot) were common in most armies. Heavy weapons platoons equipped with machine guns or light mortars were also common. Cavalry was still common, but was gradually being replaced by armoured cars mounting machine guns; the vulnerability of cavalry to entrenched soldiers with machine guns was very apparent. Large troop movements were carried out by train or surface ship; steam traction vehicles and motorised transport were mostly reserved, respectively, for towing larger artillery pieces and for officers.

All were totally outmatched by air-ships and war-balloons, carried no weapons effective against them (with the exception of occasional fluke shots, such as the destruction of the Lucifer), and could only move where such opposition was absent. Successive battles showed that the most useful role of ground forces was in occupying territory cleared by aerial forces.

At sea the situation was similarly one-sided; the fleet with aerial support was almost guaranteed to win a battle. Submarines were almost as dangerous as air-ships or war-balloons, and had a limited degree of immunity to aerial attack, but were easy prey on the surface. They were rarely decisive; the destruction of the British fleet at the battle of Dover was to an extent decided by submarines [AR 39], but Russian war-balloons were also involved and probably did more damage.

The main weapons of surface ships were their guns, designed for use against surface or shore targets, with a range of three to five miles. These could carry a much greater weight of explosives than air-ship weapons, comparable to the bombs dropped by war-balloons.

An unusual hybrid craft somewhere between the submarine and the surface ship was the "Dynamite Cruiser" [AR 42], deployed in large numbers by the Terror's American navies towards the end of the war. They were heavily armoured semi-submersibles armed with two very heavy pneumatic guns, each firing a 400 lb. dynamite shell up to three miles once a minute. The weight of each gun was 12 tons, and power consumption 24 PR. They also had four torpedo tubes, and powerful petroleum engines capable of speeds up to 30 MPH. Aided by the other ships of the Terror's fleet they destroyed the Russian, French, and Italian navies in a few hours. Note that they were protected from war-balloon attack throughout this operation. One important point of their design was a very low profile which made them difficult targets for the guns of surface ships.

The other vessels of this war were essentially unchanged from those of the nineteenth century. Naval lists of the period note several types; brief descriptions may be of interest, although their real importance in any war involving aerial forces is debatable:

Surface Ship Design
Design surface ships as submarines with the following exceptions:
  • Big guns are available (as for the large artillery described above)
  • Reduce hull costs and weight by 25% for unarmoured hulls; armoured hull costs etc. remain unchanged.
  • Life support components and consumables aren't needed.
  • Depth control components aren't usually needed, but must be fitted to unusual designs (such as Dynamite cruisers) if required.
  • Coal-fired power plants can be used. They cost 25 MD per ton and output 10 PR per ton. Coal costs 3 MD per ton and produces 400 PR per ton.
All other components, calculations, weapons etc. are exactly as for submarines.

At the end of the war the development of surface forces largely came to a halt in the Federation. The only armed forces were a standing army whose make-up was largely similar to the model described above, a fleet of a few score submarines and surface ships, and Aeria's air-ships. The big siege guns (and most other artillery) were scrapped, of course, since air-ships could reduce any target without the numerous disadvantages of large guns. Infantry remained, since there were many occasions on which a soldier on the ground was the only appropriate use of force. Rifles and hand-guns were improved in various ways, most notably reliability, but a soldier of 1904 could have picked up and fired a rifle of 2034 with only a few minutes of instruction. Soldiers expected to be transported into battle by train or air-ship, or possibly by surface ships (with speeds in excess of 50 MPH) but their methods were otherwise almost unchanged.

Outside the Federation it was obvious that there was no point accumulating a huge arsenal of weapons if it was impossible to use them, and that the Federation would react unfavourably to any attempt to use them, especially if they endangered the Federation. Since the Federation controlled most of the world, and exerted enormous influence and economic pressure in the areas it didn't control, politics tended to emphasise peaceful co-existence. The Moslem Empire was the main exception, and did stockpile arms and munitions throughout the years between the wars, but their only real effect was to brake the Empire's economy.

Japan's invasion of China was a special case; Japan was so isolated that its economy could function more or less independently of the rest of the world. Japan was also careful to avoid any action against the Federation or its citizens. The Federation was unusually slow to respond, since some time was spent evaluating the threat of the Japanese aerial fleet, but the eventual reprisals (described above) were devastating.

As a result surface forces were almost negligible in the war of 2036-7; Olga Romanoff did field several regiments of soldiers, but they were used mainly to hold the territory her airships conquered in Russia. When the war began in earnest the Russian and Moslem armies and surface fleets were intercepted on land and at sea, and virtually destroyed. After this the war became a vindictive crusade against the former Federation, fought to destroy rather than conquer, and conducted largely from the air. Aeria's withdrawal from the battle allowed Olga Romanoff and Khalid to field more troops and eventually mount a successful invasion of Europe, but the methods used were essentially identical to those of the 1904 war.

Transport and Communications
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WHILE the Federation was built by force, it was held together by free transport and cheap communications, originally supplied to reduce the risk that flight would be re-invented outside Aeria. The political and social background was detailed in earlier sections, this section briefly discusses the main technologies used for transport and messages.

Urban Transport
In 1904 most large cities already had electric trams; London, New York, and a few other cities also had electrified local railways, such as London's Metropolitan Line and Tube services and the New York subway. For most other purposes they relied on horse-drawn and petrol-powered vehicles, filling the roads with droppings and the air with dust and fumes.

Electric taxis and omnibuses were introduced into most cities in the early years of the 20th century, as part of a deliberate policy of phasing out vehicles with petroleum engines. In almost all respects they were identical to the vehicles they replaced, but quieter and cleaner. The main limitation was range, usually only 20-30 miles for omnibuses, 40-50 for taxis, before the battery had to be recharged or replaced. Omnibus routes could be adjusted to this recharging cycle, but the irregular movement of taxis meant that they were often far from home when the batteries ran down. One common solution was to fit the taxi with a second battery, offering an additional twenty mile's range; while this battery was in use the driver was not allowed to pick up passengers, although anyone aboard could be taken to their destination first. As batteries improved and more taxi depots were built this became less of a problem; once the reserve battery was activated the taxi could be driven to the nearest depot, where a mechanic would remove the exhausted batteries and install recharged ones in a matter of minutes. Since these vehicles were municipally-owned it was possible to standardise the design of batteries, and use the same types for omnibuses and taxis, postal delivery vans, and other public vehicles.

Horse-drawn cabs never entirely disappeared, even though they were usually run for profit, not municipally owned. Many passengers seemed to prefer their leisurely pace, and with obvious improvements (most notably the compulsory use of rubber tyres and rubber-soled horseshoes to reduce noise, and regulations which drastically shortened the duty hours of horses and restricted their loads) they were allowed to continue to ply for trade.

Thanks to Federation funding most local transport schemes included electric railways, built to a smaller gauge than most conventional tracks. London had long used these trains, and between 1904 and 1924 nearly 2500 miles of track were laid, stretching as far South as Brighton and as far North as Cambridge. Cities that lacked local trains often preferred to develop light railway. light railway systems, generally built with three rails fixed to a series of "A" frames; the central rail at the apex of the "A" supported the train's weight, while the other two rails, to either side of the frame, provided electrical power via wheels which also kept the train stabilised (see 90 Miles An Hour, on the FF CD-ROM, for details of this system). An enormous advantage was the ability to build tracks quickly and with relatively little preparation of the ground, unlike conventional railways. Between 1910 and 1930 nearly 32000 miles of track were built in America. Since these trains could manage comparatively steep grades it was possible for a line to travel at ground level in the outer suburbs, dive down into a tunnel as it entered a city, and even emerge and run along an elevated line for part of its route. As noted in an earlier section, lines often ran through the country for hundreds of miles around the larger cities.

While the original local railways were built solely for passengers, the expanded networks always included goods trains and freight depots, another means of keeping traffic off the streets. Generally these were run outside peak hours to minimise delays to passenger trains.


The cars were not unlike the Pullmans of the present day, save that they were wider and roomier, and were built not of wood and iron, but of aluminium and forged glass. Their interiors were, of course, absolutely impervious to wind and dust, even at the highest speed of the train, although a perfect system of ventilation kept their atmosphere perfectly fresh.
[OR 4]

On land railways have long been the first choice for long-distance passenger travel. Early systems used twin parallel rails and steam or diesel engines, to achieve speeds which rarely exceeded 100 MPH. The drawbacks of these trains were legion; most notably vibration, noise, and hugely expensive construction. Tracks had to be built along completely flat grades, since the only things holding the train on the track were friction and comparatively small metal flanges on the wheels. If the track was uneven, a curve too steep or speed too high it was all too easy for a train to come off the line, with catastrophic results. To make matters worst, there was no standardisation; gauge, tunnel height and width, electrification and signalling methods varied from country to country. This was acceptable for the local routes described above, but caused endless delays and changes on international journeys.

The success of light railways on local routes supplied part of the answer; Federation funding for these routes was contingent on them being built to a standardised track size, electrification system, and loading, so that an engine built in Germany could run on tracks in London pulling cars made in Paris. It was clear that any fundamental change to rail designs must also involve a Federation-wide standard. Initially it was planned to use the light railway design on long-distance lines, but there were various technical objections. These trains could easily travel at 90 or 100 MPH, but they had to be built to straddle the "A" frame track, so carriages and goods wagons were built with a partition along the mid-line, dividing them into two longitudinal halves. Usually seats were built with their backs to the partition to minimise wasted space. This made it difficult to move between carriages, and restricted the size of compartments. It was acceptable for an hour or so, but would have made providing dining and sleeping cars impossible on the longer routes. Something better was needed for long-distance travel. As an interim measure tracks for the old twin-rail system were slowly standardised wherever possible, but the resulting systems were a "lowest common denominator" that pleased nobody entirely.

Monorail on Bering Bridge
Light rail express, 1999
The solution eventually chosen was essentially a monorail with a second stabilising track. The train hung suspended from an upper rail, with a lower rail supporting some of its weight and stabilising the train. Power was supplied through twin conductors on either side of the upper rail. From the outset all tracks built to this standard were built to allow speeds of up to 300 MPH, performance made possible by the development of lightweight alloys for the trains, new and highly efficient electric motors, and new structural materials such as forged glass. While it was probably possible to derail such trains, it would have been extremely difficult to do so without breaking the track, and until the 2036 war the only known cases occurred in the 1987 and 2005 San Francisco earthquakes.

Once the standard was defined the first tracks were soon laid, with new bridges crossing the Channel, Bering Straits, and eventually the Straits of Gibraltar [OR 23] and Dardanelles, on routes linking the Federation and Moslem Empire. These latter were enormous graceful structures, four hundred feet wide and carrying twelve railway lines, roads, promenades, even shops and hotels. On the Federation side they were guarded by fortresses capable of destroying the most heavily armoured train in moments; the Moslem Empire took similar precautions.

Typical rail layouts used four or six lines, with expresses on the inside, stopping trains on the outside, and so forth. Points were avoided wherever possible, so that the ride they offered was extraordinarily smooth and vibration-free.

One interesting (and for once unintended) consequence of this design was that it imposed limits that made it difficult to transport siege artillery by train. Guns could be carried in component form, of course, but setting them up was made much harder by the change. The old guns used the track to support the gun carriage (often adding auxiliary rails to either side); with monorails the lower line could support comparatively little weight, while the upper just got in the way. New designs were developed in the Moslem rearmament of the early 21st century, but they were built to be moved by road, and poorly adapted to rail transport. As a result most of Khalid's heavy artillery was aboard the Moslem invasion armada in 2037, and was destroyed by the Federation's submarine fleet.


She was the largest and swiftest passenger steamer afloat, and on her maiden voyage she had lowered the Atlantic record by no less than twelve hours; that is to say, she had performed the journey from Sandy Hook to Queenstown in four days and a half exactly. Her measurement was forty-five thousand tons, and her twin screws, driven by quadruple engines, developing sixty thousand horse-power, forced her through the water at the unparalleled speed of thirty knots, or thirty-four and a half statute miles an hour.
[AR 23]
...They represented the latest triumphs of modern shipbuilding. All were over forty thousand tons in measurement, and had engines capable of driving them at a speed of fifty nautical miles an hour through the water.

For fifty years no ocean transport has suffered shipwreck or even serious injury, so completely has modern engineering skill triumphed over the now conquered elements...

[OR 8]

In 1904 ships were already safe, comfortable, and fast. Reading the descriptions of the ships above, separated by 126 years of development, it seems that comparatively little has changed. This appearance is deceptive.

All of the developments in materials technology that revolutionised railway design had a similar effect on shipbuilding. At thirty knots the ship of 1904 was forcing its engines to produce their last iota of power, and would have given its passengers a bumpy and nauseous ride. At fifty knots the ship of 2030 had a comfortable reserve of power, and was completely stable. It was also more than twice as large with three times the passenger space of its predecessor, since a much smaller proportion of its hull was occupied by engines. It had a triple hull, was watertight throughout, and was more or less unsinkable.

Despite this, a passenger of 1904 would have found much that was familiar aboard the liner of the twenty-first century, along with some unexpected changes; larger cabins and staterooms, of course, and vast saloons, theatres, and dining halls, but much more restrained taste and a less ostentatious display of wealth. At the Captain's table a plumber might sit next to a politician, a surgeon next to a schoolteacher. A few large suites were reserved for occasional dignitaries, such as the Pope or the President of the Federation, but the general run of passengers, however exalted or lowly their position, received identical treatment. The crew were free to mingle with the passengers in their off-duty hours, and often chose to travel on their own ships as passengers in lieu of more normal forms of leave.

They were the most comfortable form of transport ever built, and the undeclared war of 2030-36 was largely directed against them. In the aftermath of the Fire-Cloud it is unlikely that their like will ever be seen again.

In 1904 most of the world was already unified by telegraph. The Federation encouraged the proliferation of lines, and the subsequent spread of long-distance telephone services, as described in earlier sections. While readers are probably familiar with the operation of the general telegraph and telephone systems, various specialised commercial services were also available.

Telephonic Concerts etc. were offered by most of the telephone companies. Subscribers paid a few pence an hour to listen to music, lectures, and other services, and audiences of several hundreds or even thousands were common. Programmes were published in the daily newspapers, it was simply necessary to dial in at the right time. The only disadvantage was that the subscriber could not receive calls while listening, unless the caller could convince the operator that there was an emergency. To avoid this problem some subscribers had a second telephone for this service.

Teledidactographic Transmission was an expensive service offered by most telegraph companies at their main offices, and also used on private lines belonging to major newspapers. It was possible to take a photographic negative and use an electroplating process to deposit a thin layer of copper on the exposed portions. It could then be attached to a rotating drum similar to a phonograph cylinder. A metal contact moved along the drum as it rotated, and over the course of several minutes the picture was translated into a series of dots and dashes and transmitted to the receiving instrument, whose drum was fitted with a sheet of photographic film. An induction coil attached to the receiver created a spark controlled by the telegraph signal; the electrodes moved along the receiving drum in perfect synchronisation with the transmitter and thus made a duplicate of the original picture. This could then be processed and printed or converted into a photograph or printing plate. In skilled hands, after the payment of a guinea or two, a picture could be sent around the world in less than an hour!

Operator Services were universally available to telephone subscribers, although the exact details depended on location. Obviously the operator made the connection, but most cities also offered time and weather information, and details of local events. Customers could book alarm calls, with the operator calling back at a specified time. Finally, most exchanges had at least one skilled stenographer who could take a message as fast as it was dictated, and pass it on to the recipient at an agreed time, or when the recipient called to request any messages that had been left. Confidentiality was in theory guaranteed, but gossiping telephone stenographers were a staple of fiction.

In the undeclared war of 2030-36 most underwater cables were cut and the international telegraph system was essentially destroyed. The telephone system fared somewhat better, since the main cables ran over the Channel bridge and other bridges, not underwater. Once war was declared these cables also came under frequent attack, and services were cut back to the local lines in each country.

In addition to the public service, private telephone systems were common. Most homes had a door-telephone [OR 2], some businesses had extensive private systems connecting dozens of offices, and even leased lines between different buildings. As the century progressed many theatres and lecture halls had microphones for the actor or speaker, and earphones and speakers built into the seats and walls etc. [OR 21].

Mars and the Martians
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"Remember the lessons we have learnt from the people of Mars since we learnt to communicate with them... ...they have gone through civilisation after civilisation until they have refined everything out of human nature that makes it human except their animal existence and their intellectual faculties.

"They have no passions and they make no mistakes. What we call love they call sexual suitability, the mechanical arrangement into which they have refined our ruling passion. Do you remember how almost impossible Vassilis, after he had perfected the code of signals, found it to make even their brightest and most advanced intellects understand the meaning of jealousy?"

[OR 11]

The planet Mars and the Martians described in this section are based on those of Griffith's The World of the War God, part of the Stories of Other Worlds sequence (FF2), since the background and attitudes described seem to be somewhat similar. The main difference is that the Martians of FF2 appear to be implacably hostile. A campaign combining elements of the Aerian background and FF2 is described below.
DESPITE years of communication, comparatively little is known about the Martians or their world.

The physical facts are easily summarised; Mars is a smaller planet than Earth which cooled much earlier in its history. Over millennia erosion wore down its highest mountains, silting up the seas. The natives reacted by building canals and widening gulfs and isthmuses, to ease transportation and ensure that polar water reached the equatorial seas, where their civilisation is mainly concentrated. Messages suggest that this was done primarily to spread moisture as far inland as possible, to keep the air humid and encourage cloud formation. The "canals" we see through our telescopes are actually these seas and very wide bands of irrigated land bordering the seas and the channels linking them.

Although it might be assumed that the Martians suffer from a shortage of water, this is incorrect; they control vast polar and underground reserves, and have implied that more can be synthesised if needed.

Martian messages say that they are bipeds reasonably close to humans in external anatomy; if the physical dimensions they have provided have been interpreted correctly they have larger heads, and are approximately eight to nine feet tall and completely hairless.

Many thousands of years ago the Martians were a warlike race, squandering their planet's resources in futile combat. Fortunately they developed a scientific philosophy which abandoned such inefficiency, and all other emotion, in favour of logic. As a result they have eliminated gender bias and other racial and sexual differences, to the extent that they seem to be unable to understand the concepts of love, jealousy, or passion. Sex is regarded as a form of pleasure and a means of reproduction, nothing more. Males and females are virtually identical in stature and physical characteristics.

Their science is immensely more advanced than that of Earth. They have possessed the secret of flight for thousands of years, and master vast physical forces. It took several years to build the system of lights used to signal Mars; it took them a few weeks to build their own system and respond. Despite their planet's apparent poverty they enjoy an economy of abundance; food and other products are synthesised as needed, and freely available to all. There are many large Martian cities, all of them part of a planet-wide state.

In all of Aeria's communication with Mars there have been numerous misunderstandings and failures to find common ground, but there has never been an instance of an error caused by a Martian misusing any agreed symbol or concept. It is apparent that they have near-perfect memories and logical faculties.

Surface gravity:
Distance from Earth:
Distance from Sun:
48 to 234 million miles
141.4 million miles
24 hrs 37 min
687 Terran days
Orbital height:
Surface gravity:
Orbital period:
3,700 miles
7.5 hours
12,400 miles
30 hours

Martians - Game Notes

Typical Martian Scientist
BODY [5], MIND [6], SOUL [1], Babbage Engine [8], Brawling [7], Linguist [7], Mechanic [8], Morse Code (Martian mathematical symbols) [8], Pilot [7], Scientist (astronomy) [10]
Quote: [translated from mathematical symbols] "What is this thing called 'Love?'"
Equipment: The resources of Martian technology far more advanced than that of Earth.
Notes: The Martians have given up all emotions in favour of logic and efficiency, and have great difficulty understanding these human weaknesses and their consequences. Nevertheless they feel a certain cold curiosity (tinged with occasional disgust) about human emotions and behaviour - much as a human anthropologist might regard the behaviour of a primitive tribe.
Obvious role models for Martian characters are Star Trek's Vulcans.

The Martians may be lying, of course, or failing to tell the whole truth, since Earth knows nothing except what the Martians choose to tell Aeria. For example, it is possible that their technology extends to space travel; if so, they may have been capable of diverting the Fire-Cloud, but chose not to since they wished to observe Terran reactions. It's also possible that they are responsible for steering the Fire-Cloud towards the Earth in the first place, as a neat means of wiping out the entire disgusting Terran race. They established contact so as to be sure that there are no survivors; once they are aware that some Aerians did survive they will consider further measures.

Another possibility - the Martians are warlike (as in FF2) and are learning as much as possible about Earth, prior to launching an invasion.

Another - the Martians have lied about their appearance (which is never actually described in the novel). They are giant insects, colossal spiders, or monstrous octopus-like creatures a la Wells. This doesn't necessarily imply hostility; they could simply feel that the human race is too immature to be ready for contact with creatures so alien.

None of this is implied in any way in Olga Romanoff, of course...

Astronef / Aeronef Campaigns
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DISCUSSION of Mars and the Martians naturally leads to consideration of a hybrid campaign fusing elements of the Aerian setting and Griffiths' later scientific romance, Stories of Other Worlds, which formed the background for FF2, and its novelisation A Honeymoon in Space. This novel was not available when FF2 was written, and in some ways contradicts the background of FF2, but its opening provides an excellent link between the two settings.

A Honeymoon In Space begins with the invention of anti-gravity, the R-Force, in 1900. This allows its hero Rollo Lennox, Lord Redgrave, to build a space ship, the Astronef, and use it to prevent a war between the British Empire and France and Russia. This war bears a striking resemblance to the war described in The Angel of the Revolution, although neither side has air-ships or war-balloons. Afterwards he and his bride, American heiress Lila-Zaidie Rennick (whose late father was co-discoverer of the R-Force) travel to the Moon and several worlds, accompanied by the faithful engineer Murgatroyd. They find primitive degenerate inhabitants on the Moon, hostile warlike Martians, innocent birdlike Venusians, and a race with highly advanced technology on Ganymede. On their way home they encounter an interplanetary collision which leads to the formation of a nova (also known as Lila-Zaidie), a cosmic accident not unlike the formation of the Fire-Cloud.

The similarities between these stories suggest several possibilities for a hybrid campaign with this starting point. The main alternatives are described below.

A major drawback of all of these settings is that it becomes too easy to escape from the Fire-Cloud. If Earth is destroyed anyone in space is likely to escape, or vice versa. Any ultimate disaster needs to be much more wholesale; it's recommended that the the nova Lila-Zaidie collides with the sun, triggering a mini-nova which briefly fries the planets out to the orbit of Saturn.

Redgrave The Revolutionary
In this version Lord Redgrave (and the late Professor Rennick) replace Richard Arnold as the inventor of the first flying machine; despite his aristocratic ancestry he is sympathetic to the goals of the Terror, which enters the 1904 war with anti-gravity and interplanetary craft. Great care is taken to avoid the secret leaking out. Aeria becomes a base on another world or one of the asteroids (most likely Ceres, which has a breathable atmosphere but is uninhabited), and the rest of humanity stays on Earth. The Terror still enforces its ban on war, but some of the technology described in FF2 may be introduced to Earth if it is relatively harmless. For example, civilian versions of the flying cars of Ganymede, which can't carry heavy weapons, might be allowed. The Federation spreads to the entire world.

When Olga Romanoff steals the secret of space travel she needs allies; the Martians are the most likely possibility. Their world has the industrial might she needs, with a fanatical government resembling that described for the Moslem Empire. The war is fought primarily in space, and in attacks on various bases; for example, Ganymede might be attacked in place of Kerguelen Island, O.R.'s base might be on Deimos, and so forth.

Redgrave The Reactionary
In this variant the Terror is still planning a war when the Tsar decides to take matters into his own hands. It begins early, while the Terror is still years away from developing its air-ships. Redgrave intervenes to stop the opening battle, then goes off into space and apparently vanishes forever. The Terror does not discover the secret of the R-Force; Redgrave destroys the paper trail that would allow duplication of his discovery because he hasn't yet applied for patents.

Three years later the Terror is ready, Arnold develops the first aeronef, and the war runs to the schedule described in this worldbook. In 1905, with the war won and the Terror firmly in control, Redgrave finally returns; the Astronef came close to exhausting its fuel while escaping from Lila-Zaidie, and had to crash-land on Ceres for engine repairs and refuelling. This involved building the necessary industrial facilities from scratch, hence the delay.

Redgrave is horrified by what he finds; most of his lands have been confiscated as unproductive estates, members of his family have been killed in the war, and he regards the Terror as a bunch of murderous thugs. He escapes into space and starts a Pimpernel-like escape route for deposed aristocrats, who are flown to the safety of Ganymede. The campaign consists of his attempts to overthrow the Terror and restore the old aristocracy, and can be played from either side; with the players as revolutionaries determined to trap the last of the running-dog reactionaries, or in the role of freedom-fighters desperate to save the aristos from the Terror. Events might include a raid on Siberia to rescue the last of the Romanoffs, a raid on Aeria to smash the Terror's air-ship docks, or whatever else seems appropriate. Although Redgrave has the secret of space flight it is very difficult to build more ships, and the Terror's air-ships are a match for the Astronef (and later spaceships) in everything except the ability to venture into space.

Ganymede gradually becomes the centre of opposition to the Terror, much as London was the centre of opposition to the French revolution. In 2030 one of Redgrave's descendants makes the mistake of rescuing Olga Romanoff, the last descendant of the Tsars. She uses her strange drugs to steal a spaceship, and takes it to Mars where she drugs the Martian warlord and makes him her slave. A few years later hundreds of spaceships set off from Mars to conquer the Earth. Possibly O.R. has subverted Ganymede, and has the exile government on her side, possibly this now becomes a three-cornered fight.

The Terror In Space
In this final variant the Terror is taken by surprise when Redgrave develops the R-Force, and the Astronef returns to Earth within a few months. To make matters worst for the Terror, the "secret" of space travel isn't much of a secret; as described in FF2, there is an international race to master the technology of the R-Force, and several nations develop it simultaneously. There are more space flights, space navies, and new technology such as the Ganymedan flying car, and Natas' plans for the Revolution are in ruins.

The setting here is the expansion into space described in FF2, with the Terror active in the background, still trying to manoeuvre Russia into a war with the rest of the world. The Terror does not have the advantage its needs to take over most of the world and impose the Federation, and will never be the sole armed authority, but does eventually overthrow the Russian government and the Tsar, giving Russia a socialist government (what a strange idea...) which will be regarded as the "evil empire" by most other nations. As in the example above, in 2030 Olga Romanoff seeks allies amongst the Martians, recklessly revealing the technology that the navies of Earth have carefully guarded. This should lead to a final apocalyptic war between Earth and Mars, with gigantic fleets fighting it out in the vacuum of space.

Another lead into this type of campaign, but using rockets instead of the R-Force, is described as part of one of the short adventure outlines in this collection.

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This is a very brief listing of some of the most important characters from The Angel of the Revolution and Olga Romanoff. Because of the scope and scale of these novels it has been necessary to omit most of the secondary characters who appear in the novels but play a relatively small part in their events, or are not described in enough detail to be worth including here. This includes various Kings, Tsars, Sultans, Presidents, Generals etc. Their names and roles are briefly described in the Glossary. All of the characters below are native English speakers if they do not have English listed with the Linguist skill.

Richard Arnold [AR 1]
BODY [4], MIND [7], SOUL [4], Artist (draughtsman) [7], Brawling [5], Linguist [8] (German, French, Italian, Russian), Marksman [5], Mechanic [10], Melee Weapon [5], Military Arms [9], Pilot [9], Scientist [10]
Quote: "No, no! Such a power, if used at all, should only be used against and not for the despotisms that afflict the earth with the curse of war!"
Equipment: All the resources of the Terror, an extremely rich terrorist organisation. The Ariel and other air-ships.
Notes: British inventor of the first successful heavier-than-air Air-ship, later known as the Master of the Air. Arnold spends all of his fortune developing the secret of flight, then decides that he will never sell it to the Tsar, the only person who appears to be in the market for this technology. He is recruited into the Terror and eventually fires the first shot of the 1904 war, founds the colony of Aeria, and led most of the Terror's battles in the war. Eventually he marries Natasha, the daughter of Natas. If the theatrical rules from FF6 are used, Arnold is a Hero.

Maurice Colston (Real name Alexis Mazanoff)
BODY [5], MIND [5], SOUL [4], Brawling [7], Business [8], Linguist [8] (English, French, German, Russian), Marksman [8], Melee Weapon [8]
Quote: "I am a Socialist.. ...with a lively conviction as to the injustice and absurdity of the social and economic conditions which enable me to have such a good time on earth without having done anything to deserve it beyond having managed to be born the son of my father."
Equipment: Various knives, guns, etc.
Notes: Socialist "idler" and secret member of the Terror, who is flogged with a knout for protesting at the lethal flogging of a "Jewess", and subsequently avenges her by assassinating all those responsible. He recruits Richard Arnold into the Terror, and fires the second shot of the 1904 war. He later marries Radna Michaelis. He is illustrated above with Arnold.

"Natasha" (Real name Sylvia di Murska, alias Fedora Darrel) [AR 6]
BODY [3], MIND [4], SOUL [5], Actor (singing, disguise) [8], Artist (writing, painting) [7], Brawling [5], Business [6], Linguist [8] (French, German, Russian, Italian), Marksman [8], Melee Weapon [4], Stealth [5]
Quote: "One does not speak of love in the heat of war, and you and I and those who are with us are at war with the powers of the earth, and higher things than the happiness of individuals are at stake. You know my training has been one of hate and not of love, and till the hate is quenched I must not know what love is."
Equipment: Small pistol, vial poison, code book
Notes: Natasha is the daughter of Natas; she is a member of the Inner Circle, and widely known as the so-called Angel of the Revolution. She is captured on a mission to Moscow in 1904 and sentenced to exile in Siberia, but Arnold and the Ariel rescue her. Later she is a leading figure throughout the revolution, marries Arnold, and is mother of the first child born in Aeria. She looks younger than her years (in her early twenties in 1904) and is beautiful, with a perfect singing voice. She is fearless and completely ruthless at need; on Natas' instructions she shoots a former ally who has the presumption to disobey orders and ask for her hand in marriage. The illustration above is a 1906 portrait for the Illustrated London News; in the painting of the Trial of Alexander, below, she is seated closest to the artist. If theatrical rules are used, Natasha is a Heroine or unusually capable Romantic Lead.

Viscount Alan Tremayne, Lord Alanmere [AR 1]
BODY [4], MIND [4], SOUL [2], Actor (disguise) [6], Athlete (cricket) [5], Brawling [6], Business [7], Linguist [5] (French, German, Russian), Marksman [6], Melee Weapon (fencing) [8], Military Arms [6], Riding [7], Stealth [5], Thief [6]
Quote: "You have made a conspirator and a murderer of me. How is it possible that, knowing this, I can again become what I was before your infernal influence was cast about me?"
Equipment: Small pistol, vial poison, code book, sword stick
Notes: Secretary to the British Embassy in St. Petersburg, secretly the Chief of the Brotherhood. Tremayne is an unwilling recruit, controlled by Natas' hypnosis until the eve of the War of the Terror, when he voluntarily decides to continue his association with the organisation. Later he commands the American Section of the Outer Circle and marries Lady Muriel Penarth, Natasha's cousin. When hypnotised Tremayne is an utterly ruthless assassin; he first appears in a newspaper story describing one of his crimes. He is illustrated below seated between Natas and Natasha.

Natas (real name Israel Di Murska) [AR 20]
BODY [2], MIND [6], SOUL [7], Business [8], Linguist [9] (French, German, Hebrew, Russian, Italian, Greek), Medium [9], Psychology (hypnotism only) [9], Scientist (astronomy) [8]
Quote: "What you have done at my command is nothing to you, and leaves no stain upon your honour, if you choose to put it so, for it was not your will that was working within you, but mine."
Equipment: None relevant.
Notes: Natas is the leader of the Terror. Originally a British Jewish merchant, he is driven to violence by false imprisonment and the death of his wife. In Siberia he is attacked by a guard and left semi-paralysed; although he never recovers, his ordeal somehow strengthens his will-power immensely, giving him the endurance to live on and gain his revenge by destroying the Tsar. Somehow he acquires hypnotic powers, which are used to bend Tremayne and others to his will. Natas has a disfigured lower jaw (it is broken repeatedly in Siberia and sets badly), is crippled and wasted below the waist, and can only move with the aid of a wheelchair. After the success of the Revolution he retires and becomes a skilled amateur astronomer; in 1920 he discovers the Fire-Cloud and realises that it will collide with the Earth, but reveals nothing except a few cryptic hints of doom to come, which are less than helpful.
In the painting of the Trial of Alexander Romanoff he is in the middle of the seated group, to the left of Viscount Tremayne and Natasha. Arnold and Alexis Mazanoff sit to his left. If theatrical rules are used Natas has some of the characteristics of a Villain, although he is working for the good of mankind. It is possible to make a good case for the idea that he is a Villain in every respect; his plans and reticence about the Fire-Cloud are a long-delayed revenge against the whole human race for the death of his wife.

Princess Anna Ornovski [AR 8]
BODY [3], MIND [4], SOUL [5], Actor (diguise) [6], Brawling [4], Business [5], Linguist [5] (French, Russian, English), Marksman [6], Melee Weapon [4], Stealth [6], Thief [4]
Quote: "Now, wasn't that kind of me, to give you such a testimonial as that to his Omnipotence the Tsar of All the Russias?"
Equipment: Knife, poison ring.
Notes: Princess Anna Ornovski is a member of the Russian aristocracy who becomes disgusted with the inequalities of Russian society and joins the Nihilists, making contacts that eventually lead to her recruitment by the Terror. On Natas' instructions she becomes a trusted contact of the Tsar in London, although her loyalty is always to the Revolution. Natasha poses as her niece for several years, until the failure of their mission to Russia in 1904. A servant betrays Alexei Kassatkin, a member of the Moscow Nihilist Circle, and they are caught in his home and sent to Siberia. Fortunately Arnold rescues them in the Ariel.

Olga Romanoff [OR 2]
BODY [3], MIND [4], SOUL [4], Actor (disguise true nature) [7], Business [6], Driving (carriage) [5], Linguist [6] (Russian), Marksman [5], Medium [7], Melee Weapon [4], Psychology (flirting, flattery) [6], Riding [5], Scientist (chemistry) [6], Stealth [5], Thief [5]
Quote: "Well, it is only a girl's whim, after all, but still I am a girl. Come, now, I will give you a kiss for twenty minutes' solitude, and when you come back, and we have finished our task, you shall have as many more as you like."
Equipment: Hypnotic drug, poisons, small pistol, the resources of a powerful terrorist organisation.
Notes: O.R. is a fifth-generation descendant of Alexander III, the daughter of Paul Romanoff, a scientist who independently rediscovered the secrets of flight and was killed by Aeria. Her father's papers included plans for air-ships and other machines, and the formula for various poisons and hypnotic drugs, which she used to conquer most of the world. She is a sociopath, capable of any atrocity if it will advance her plans, using her status (as Romanoff heir and "rightful" Tsarina), beauty, lies, and drugs to bend men to obey her will. Her Medium skill is limited to involuntary precognition. She is shown dreaming of the future in the illustration to the right, and is the woman to the left of centre in the picture below. If the theatrical rules from FF6 are used, O.R. is a classic Villainess of epic proportions, prepared to sacrifice the world to her personal lust for power and revenge. A useful role model can be found in the James Bond film The World Is Not Enough.

Sultan Khalid "The Magnificent" [OR 8]
BODY [4], MIND [3], SOUL [4], Brawling [5], Business [5], Linguist [4] (English), Marksman [5], Melee Weapon [6], Riding [7], Scholar (Koran, Moslem philosophy) [6]
Quote: "Mashallah!"... ..."What are you, man or fiend, that you carry the lightnings in your hand?"
Equipment: Scimitar, semi-automatic pistol, the resources of a powerful and technologically-advanced empire.
Notes: Khalid is the ruler of seven hundred million Moslems, the largest effective power block after Aeria withdraws from the Federation. He has a dream of conquering Europe as retribution for the defeat of his ancestor, Sultan Mohammed Reshad, and spreading Islam to the heathen westerners. He allies with O.R. to conquer the world after she promises to convert to Islam and gives him plans for air-ships and submarines. Eventually he becomes another brainwashed victim of her drugs, and is killed as O.R. escapes to Antarctica following the battle of Aeria. He is on the left in the picture.

Alan Arnoldson [OR 4]
BODY [5], MIND [5], SOUL [4], Brawling [7], Business [5], Marksman [7], Martial Arts (Vril-Bartitsu) [6], Mechanic [6], Melee Weapon (sword) [8], Military Arms [8], Morse Code [6], Pilot [8], Vril [7]
Quote: "Before all things, we Aerians are taught to tell the absolute truth under all circumstance, no matter whether it pleases or offends; so, you see, what is usually known as flattery could hardly be one of our arts, since, as often as not, it is a lie told in the guise of truth, for the sake of serving some hidden and perhaps dishonest end."
Equipment: Azurine sword, Vril storage belt, coronet, magazine pistol.
Notes: Arnoldson is the son of Alan Arnold, the President of the Federation and Aeria, and a direct descendant of Richard Arnold. In 2030, during a European tour, he and his friend Alexis Masarov are drugged by Olga Romanoff and become her hypnotised slaves, participating in the theft of the air-ship Ithuriel and the murder of its crew and O.R.'s fiancee, Serge Romanoff. In 2036 O.R. decides to release them but they escape en route to release and hijack the submarine Narwhal. He subsequently leads the fight against O.R. In 2037, following the discovery of the Fire-Cloud, he is reconciled with his fiancee Alma Tremayne and marries her, makes a (failed) attempt to persuade O.R. and Khalid to abandon their conquests, and leads the final defence of Aeria. He survives the Fire-Cloud, tracks down O.R. moments before her death, and becomes one of the founders of the new Aeria rebuilt after the disaster. He is to the right of centre of the illustration above. If theatrical rules are used he is a Hero.

Alma Tremayne [OR 10]
BODY [3], MIND [4], SOUL [5], Artist (writer, cook) [6], First Aid [7], Pilot [5], Psychology [7], Riding [6]
Quote: "But she has done worse than kill us... ...If she had a thousand lives and we took them one by one they would not expiate her crime against us, or equal the hopeless misery that she has brought upon us."
Equipment: None relevant
Notes: Alma Tremayne is a fifth-generation descendant of Alan Tremayne via his son Cyril. She is Alan Arnoldson's fiancee at the time of his enslavement and disappearance, and refuses to consider marriage to another until his fate is known. When she learns of his association with O.R. she finds it hard to forgive him, despite knowing that he was drugged. In a theatrical game she should be played as a Romantic Lead. She is on the right in the picture above.

Alexis Masarov [OR 4]
BODY [6], MIND [4], SOUL [4], Brawling [8], Marksman [7], Martial Arts (Vril-Bartitsu) [6], Melee Weapon (sword) [7], Military Arms [7], Pilot [7], Vril [6]
Quote: "While you fellows have been drawing up that despatch, and talking about the impossibility of attacking the stronghold at Mount Terror, I've been doing some thinking, and I've come to the conclusion that as far as an under-sea attack is concerned, it isn't quite so hopeless as you've made out..."
Equipment: Azurine sword, Vril storage belt, coronet, magazine pistol.
Notes: A descendant of Alexis Mazanoff who was captured by O.R. with Alan Arnoldson and shared his captivity. Although a capable officer, he is very much Arnoldson's sidekick in the adventures that follow. He marries Isma Arnold, Alan Arnoldson's sister, in a double ceremony with Arnoldson's marriage to Alma Tremayne.

Isma Arnold [OR 10]
BODY [3], MIND [4], SOUL [5], Linguist (Russian, German, French, Italian) [7], Pilot [6], Scholar (Martian life, society, and geography) [6], Scientist (astronomy) [5]
Quote: "I would kill her with my own hand if I could, and believe that I was ridding the world of a curse, but surely we two daughters of Aeria are wise enough to be just even to such an enemy as she is."
Equipment: None relevant.
Notes: Isma is Alan Arnoldson's sister and Alexis Masarov's fiancee. Like Alma Tremayne she refuses to consider marriage to another until she knows his fate. She finds it easier than Alma to forget the circumstances of their captivity, and ultimately persuades her to resume her relationship with Alan Arnoldson. Like many Aerians she is a keen student of Mars and the Martians.

Vassilis Cosmo [OR 11]
BODY [3], MIND [6], SOUL [4], Babbage Engine [7], Linguist (Martian communication) [9], Morse Code [8], Scholar (Martian life, society, and geography) [8], Scientist (astronomy) [8], Vril [4]
Quote: "God of mercy, can that be really true! Has the world only four months more to live? Surely I have made some mistake-- and yet everything has worked as usual. There has been no hitch. It has been a splendid night for transmission and they-- no, they had not made a mistake for a thousand years, they are past it. It must-- but no, I can do nothing more this morning. I should go mad if I did. I must think of it quietly and sleep a little if I can, and then I will transcribe it."
Equipment: Observatory and laboratory facilities.
Notes: Cosmo is director of Aeria's observatory and initiates the project to communicate with Mars, using a complex code based on mathematical logic. He is the first Aerian to learn of the threat of the Fire-Cloud.

George Griffith
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GEORGE Griffith (1857-1906) was one of the most prolific and influential SF authors of his day, but he was always overshadowed by Wells. His work often appeared in British magazines, most notably Pearson's Weekly and Pearson's Magazine, and helped to create a genre of sensationalised "high-tech" future war typified by the work of Griffith himself, William le Queux, and M.P. Shiel, in which new inventions totally revolutionised warfare. His strong revolutionary politics made him unpopular with American publishers, and little of his work appeared there. He was a globe-trotter and explorer, whose exploits included a voyage around the world in 65 days (shattering all previous records), and discovery of the source of the Amazon.

Griffith's work often mixed Utopian themes with quasi-religious apocalyptic disaster. For instance, in the Astronef stories (FF2) we see two worlds collide to form a new sun, incidentally saving the characters and strengthening their religious beliefs. This cometary theme was repeated in Olga Romanoff and in The World Peril of 1910, a later disaster novel.

While it must be admitted that Griffith was never as good an author as Wells, Doyle, or Kipling, his stories showed endless energy and a steady stream of interesting ideas which were occasionally more accurate than those of his rivals.


and numerous other novels and stories, some of which are on the FF CD-ROM

The Raid of 'Le Vengeur' [Ferret Fantasy 1974] is a collection of Griffiths' short stories accompanied by a long biographical essay by Sam Moskowitz and an extensive bibliography by George Locke. Second-hand copies are occasionally available.

Sources: The Encyclopaedia of Science Fiction (Clute, Nicholls), The Rivals of H. G. Wells (ed. A. Kingsley Russell), The Raid of Le Vengeur (see above), The Angel of the Revolution (introduction to the 1907 paperback), and numerous other works on science fiction history.

Fred T. Jane
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FRED T. Jane (1865-1916) was a British writer and illustrator best known for founding the Jane's Fighting Ships series (in 1898). His career as an SF author and illustrator is often overlooked. His fiction included a future war novel, two satires (the second involving teleportation to Venus), and an apocalyptic story of disintegration and the end of a (living) world which may have suggested Doyle's The Disintegration Machine and When The Earth Screamed (FF3). He illustrated numerous novels and stories, usually concentrating on military hardware and other gadgetry - but occasionally ventured into other areas, such as Guesses at Futurity, a magazine series which looked at a wide range of things to come.