There was a time in the past of your own dimension, Dear Reader, when matters were improving. There was a time when decency, respect, order, and tremendous fun were being delivered to the world, albeit in a haphazard and imperfect manner. Also, and at the same time, your technology was improving by bounds, and the world was being opened up by such marvels as the breakneck speed of steam railways. Alas, the way to greatness was lost.

In the world blessed by men such as Stoke Mandeville, British culture continued to bloom and to be refined. The work of many lifetimes was devoted to perfecting culture, such that everyone could enjoy life to the full. Research at universities all round the world brought about many discoveries and improvements in such fields as hat doffing and tea drinking. This knowledge was shared with the world, for the benefit of all.

As a natural consequence of these improvements, people began to become universally contented. Every man knew how to behave, and if he found himself in circumstances outside his experience, there were many manuals and experts he could consult to learn the proper behaviour. Society flourished as never before, and in due course, nations all round the globe implored the British to allow them to join The Empire. Once certain minimum standards of cutlery use and self-deprecation had been met, they were admitted, until the entire globe basked under one flag, and was happy.

In documenting Mankind's steady rise to greatness of culture, many heroes could be mentioned. Here are listed just a very few, for the purpose of illustration:

  • Sir Hubert Fotherington - who in 1926 came up with the final mathematical proof that deep leather armchairs are the best type of chair.
  • Colonel Abbiballa Abbabatunde - who in the Sudan in 1942 invented five different types of fish knife and four revolutionary designs of cake fork.
  • Lord Daniel Van Haarlan - who in 1948 was awarded the Nobel Prize for Manners, after his discovery of a new basic form of waving.
  • Sir Jasper Hartford-Trump - who in 1955 patented the first steam-powered journalist.
  • Capt. Ivan Rodriguez - who in 1973 organised three huzzas for Their Majesties the King and Queen at Moscow, involving over two and a half billion people, and creating a sound which could be heard from Venus.

The advances in steam power allowed Man to colonise the solar system, and soon other species were enquiring about joining The Empire. From this, Dear Reader, you may infer that the world of Stoke was one of perfection, in which everyone was content, and all was bounteous and rich. Alas, one menace remains to plague all those in The Empire.

Only one nation remained apart from The Empire. Populated by scoundrels, it could not bring itself to look upon The Empire without loathing and fierce envy. For generations now, it seems that every man, lady, and child in that horrendous corner of the world has laboured to mar the pleasantry of The Empire. This nation is of course France. The French for the main part demonstrate little more than their insatiable capacity for spite, but their greatest agents are able to do The Empire real harm, and it is these foes with whom Stoke Mandeville and Carstairs Macdonald do battle.

To find out more, you need to see the play.

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