Friends of Fancy - Final Destination

It is the drifting icebergs setting with any current anywhere, that wreck the ships. -Charles Dickens, Hard Times, p. 175


Just as you finish preliminary preparations for your presentation for the Académie des Sciences, there is a sudden, frantic knock at your door. The noise startles you because it is well past midnight, and the last thing you were expecting was a visitor to your hotel room.

"Who is it?"

"A fellow conspirator. We must not waste any time. Please let me in as there is urgent business to attend to!"

The voice, undoubtedly an Englishman's, was short of breath; it was not someone you were immediately familiar with. Carefully, you inch the door open to see who was seeking your audience at such an odd hour. Beyond the crack in the doorway stood a man, about 5 1/2 feet tall, with a large, bushy goatee protruding from his middle aged face. You recognize his countenance but are unable to place exactly where you've seen him before. And then it hits you: standing before you is the man who started this whole thing - namely, Charles Dickens himself!

You begin by stating, "Most esteemed Sir, I was not expecting to meet you in these circumstances. I have so many questions -"

"And they will be answered soon, but there's no time to waste. My friend and I need your help." At that moment, a wobbling man that was standing behind Dickens steps forward whom you quickly recognize to be none other than the master of Fancy himself, Mr. Sleary.

"Pardon the intruthen, Sthquire, and fellow friend of Fancy, but the hour ith urgent. Allow thee honorable writer to ethplain."

"The Friends of Fancy are in trouble," said Dickens. "The Sisterhood of Shelley has embraced a kind of drifting radicalism whose moral compass has been broken. Shelley and her compatriots plan to do something that will forever change the heart, soul, and spirit of the cause. The problem is she will not listen to the more prudent 'friends' such as Mr. Sleary here. Instead She and Slackbridge have joined forces with a new recruit from the East known as Mikhail Bakunin so that they can end the influence of Fact once and for all. Even Friedrich Engels finds their complete abandonment of deductive reasoning and utilitarian common sense to be too disconcerting for him to offer any support. The Sisterhood of Shelley has become too fanciful. Nothing grounds their philosophy anymore except for that which they oppose and as a result they are fueled by ressentiment."

At this point you interject to ask, "Well, what role do I play in all this? Why are you seeking my council about something I have no control over?"

"You are the key to this, Thquire. You were born for it; you'll theee." Sleary's comments strike you as cryptic, but you give it little thought.

"Ever since the 2nd Congress of Conspirators," said Dickens. "Mary Shelley has become fond of your skills with language. She thinks you have something to add to the cause. She will listen to you, so you must try to sway her. The life of your missing mentor depends upon it!"

"I wouldn't even know where to begin to find her. I'm sorry, I just don't think-"

"She rethides at the very bar where I and other thircusth folk spend our free time: Pegathus Armths. Shthee's been lithing in the bathement thiths whole time."

"Please," added Dickens. "Seek her company. Try to change her heart and mind for the good of all of us."