Sunday, June 22, 2014

Mr. Nemor Arrives in Wermspittle

Portion of suppressed aethertype purported to depict a so-called 'Nemor Machine' in operation.
'When certain crystals, salt, for example, or sugar, are placed in water they dissolve and disappear. You would not know that they have ever been there. Then by evaporation or otherwise you lessen the amount of water, and lo! there are your crystals again, visible once more and the same as before. Can you conceive a process by which you, an organic being, are in the same way dissolved into the cosmos, and then by a subtle reversal of the conditions reassembled once more?'

The Disintegration Machine
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

They found the raving lunatic wandering about the White Orchard. He showed the tell-tale yellow eyes that came with prolonged exposure to Yellow Wallpaper or the printing industry--both quite unsavory implications. Upon examination by the Zinn Woodsmen, all they could gather from his incoherent babbling was that he wasn't from around there. So he was turned over to the Academy as a foreign scientist, after registering a report on him with the appropriate authorities as a possible subversive or agitator.

The Administrative personnel at the Academy soon realized that the strange man dropped in their laps by those rusty bumpkins was indeed some sort of mechanic or technician. So they set him to taking the usual classroom tests for a first-year student. He excelled at mathematics and quickly revised his answers as he learned to read proper Franzik.

Suspecting they might have a late-bloomer Prodigy on their hands, they handed him over to the Medical Review board who examined him to see if  he was Odd, or just precocious. The results were inconclusive when the Senior Academics learned about the situation through their various snitches, spies and the usual channels.

Those were dark days back then. The international situation was rapidly deteriorating. Civil unrest escalated into all-out civil war in Aman Utal. Plague decimated the populations of Naris, Karlogne, Kaismar and a host of other cities. With war looming on the immediate horizon the Regents decided that they could use a mad man to help them prepare for the worst. Wermspittle was suffering under the Second Pruztian Occupation then. The Academy was under the strict discipline of the Imperial Science Apparatus. The Military Governor appointed by the High Chancellery was most enthusiastic about picking the brain of this new-found foreign genius.

Inspiration: The Disintegration Machine by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. This is the last of the Professor Challenger stories written by Doyle himself and can be found at Project Gutenberg (Australia), among other places such as Classic Literature Library. Also there is a bit of Robert W. Chamber's 'Lethal Chambers' as mentioned in his excellent story The Repairer of Reputations, which is included in The King in Yellow, available at Project Gutenberg. There is also a slight connection to HPL's The Case of Charles Dexter Ward...

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