Brummell peruses the morning paper from his prism.
-turn the page, please, Qaaxtzl.
-I see that the Mayor is trying to excite our civic conscience to deal with this ague. Ah well, I won’t have it said the Brummells didn’t do their bit. We shall have to make a contribution.
-But I wonder if there’s a way we could do so in a way that allows our contribution to be recognized. Perhaps we could sponsor a new wing at the sanitarium, something of that sort? See what you can arrange.
-and also, I see from the pages of What’s Who, we are getting somewhat left behind in the financial stakes by certain nouveau riche elements who don’t take as much care with society. Our investments have not been as successful as I had hoped. Please take out a subscription to the finest business journal that you can so that we might remedy this.
-Please be sure to confirm my attendance at the Lagoderm Polo. Where else would a old cavalry officer be seen? I fancy I could still show a few of these whippersnappers a few tricks.
-and lastly, it seems that we have been unsuccessful in our forays into the races. Please place another wager - perhaps a little larger this time since we have some losses to make up for.
I perceive that you have made a small error in arithmetic; there are sixteen of us, not fifteen, and therefore, split equitably, the cost to each member of Leviathan’s would be one hundred and fifty pounds, not one sixty.
As you have said, though, it is a token amount, easily affordable for beings of means such as I or yourself or any of our peers, and I daresay that any who contributes less should be looked down upon unfavourably by the rest. Plague is an evil thing, to be opposed by all for the good of all, and I hope it is not immodest to think that, in a kinder world where I had not myself fallen ill, I would not have contributed less.
“Ssskidwish?” SLAM! pitterpatterpitterpatter creak
“Ssskidwish, are you in there?” SLAM!
“Damn it to hell, where did that evil old serpent slink off to?” pitterpatterpitterpatterpitterpatter creeeeak!
“Ssskidwish! O, Ssskidwish… aw, jellybeans! I’ve had it with this! Ssskipper! Where are you, sir? Where have you been?! Things are starting to fall apart and I don’t know what to do!” Thump! [gentle, discreet sobbing noises]
“Oh, sir! You’re alive! Oh… it does fill my heart with gladness to see you in apparent good health, but wherever can you have been? It’s been days with no word! The Plague is spreading! Our investments are questionable! I can’t get the hang of the bustle! We’re certain to be found out! We’re never going to pull this off! And I can’t find my purse anywhere!”
"Relaxth, couthin, all ith well. The plague hath not croththed our own doorthtep, we have famouthly tough conthtitutionth, and fortune thmileth on our every endeavor! Don’t worry your pretty thcaly little head about any of it. The money? Thafe and thound in my own pocketth. Why? Well, thertainly you underthtand that ath commander of thith little exthpedition, I hold the rethponthibilitieth to choothe our invethtmentth. I know, I know, it’th all in your name, no quethtion. You jutht go on being the fathe of the operation, let me control the purthe-thtringth. (Thorry, got a little thpittle on you there. Well, that’th what you get for yanking out my fangth, Lieutenant, don’t act like it’th all my fault.)
“Anyway, I’m back, and we have plenty of time. That contact you made at the thalon lookth to be motht advantageouth to uth; I think we can take her at her word. We were right to take the thwankier digth. I could get uthed to living like thith, but more importantly, it’th really helping out our thtation. I thay we keep movin’ on up. That’th going to require further invethtment…”
“Not one farthing, couthin! To do tho would be tho far outthide the tradition of the Gentlethentient Thpace Lizard ath to arouthe intolerable thuthpicion! At any rate, I do believe thothe cothtth are already being covered by half a dozen rubeth down at the Leviathan! Why thould we follow them down the thpendthrift-thlicked thlide to thuckerdom and thqualor when thith hardthip of otherth only benefitth our own chantheth of thuccethth? Chritht, where’th my toolbox? I need to thcrew in thome replathement fangth, thith ith killing me…”
Good news, Commander. Expedition went smoothly. Travel was easy, .Nautical Echolinguistic Traps (.NETS) performed as per specification, and my guide, Monsiour Liversnaps-Grayson was, as they say here, a good boy.
Results of the .NETS evaluation is negative. There’s no sentience emerging in the species of that fishery.
That’s for the fortunate report, Ensign. I have good news as well. Dr. Tunas-Lee reports a breakthrough in inter-connnecting our .NET devices ! Report once back to our spartanical apartmente to begin implementing those inter-connections. Estimates indicate that it will take a season to perform the upgrade. But we’ll need it: in addition to the fisheries that have already lined up to be surveyed next, Weatherby has seen several new fisheries discovered. I will reach out to try to obtain permission for us to survey them as well.