February 23rd , 1913
Letter from Count Franz von Blitzburg, to Emperor Franz Joseph I
Your Imperial and Royal Apostolic Majesty,
May it please you to know that certain discoveries have been made deep within the bowels of the Earth. These discoveries will likely sound fantastical and bizarre, but they will prove to be of great service to the Empire and to our allies. A peculiar place known as Unicorn Cave has been known about and partially explored for centuries. However, miners searching for coal and natural gas deposits opened a hidden passageway of the cave that leads deeper underground to previously unknown wonders.
What we have discovered appears to be a lifeform so unlike any species existing on Earth as to cause our scientists to hypothesize that it can only have traveled here from elsewhere in the universe. Either that, or evolved close to the Earth’s molten core where it is too hot for plant and animal life as we known it to survive.
For reasons we do not fully understand, this creature has rocks for bones and its blood is composed of acids and solvents. Through experimentation, we have observed that its preferred food source consists of fossil fuels, petrochemicals and inorganic compounds such as coal, petroleum, natural gas and the refined products derived from these compounds.
Though it has taken the outward appearance of our mythological unicorn, it would seem to have little in common with the horse in terms of its anatomical structure. Yet, it has taken the form of the unicorn and moves like a horse. Some specimens have wings and are able to fly. I realize how far-fetched these observations must sound and this is why this letter will include the signatures of every leading scientist in the Empire.
The creature is naturally very aggressive and we have lost many men in our attempts to tame it. We have found a method of communicating with it and controlling it by experimenting with music, tones and sound waves. We learned of these techniques by studying abnormalities in the acoustics of the cave where we first found evidence of the creature, eight months ago.
By comparing it with the rest of the passageways we found that the “cave” we found evidence of the creature in was not actually a cave at all, but some kind of vessel. There is debate among us regarding whether it was an ancient aero-ship that traveled the heavens and came to some misfortune. Some believe that. Others, like myself, believe that the vessel we have discovered is more like a cradle or incubator designed to house and protect immature specimens of the creature.
During our explorations we did not find any living, fully-developed adult specimens of this organism. We found thousands of egg-like, crystalline cases, each of which held an embryo. We removed as many of these as we could safely transport and took them to my laboratory to study under controlled conditions. Specifically, we wanted to know what it is that causes the egg to germinate and grow — and what it is that the egg will mature into.
We tried for many months to stimulate germination and growth of the eggs using many combinations of chemical baths, temperature variations, solvents — everything failed. We have learned by virtue of several accidents that although the creature represents something heretofore unknown to us — inorganic life — it requires organic life to propagate itself, a most paradoxical situation. During routine, non-invasive testing, two of the eggs sent forth a long, tubular projection, which attached itself to the abdominal region of two of our scientists like an umbilicus.
It sedated them and placed them in a kind of hypnotic state. Efforts to remove the foreign objects led to the eggs further poisoning the scientists. After several days, the eggs released their prey and the scientists returned to health with no memories of the incident, but seemingly unharmed. Then, 24 hours after that, severe intra-abdominal pressure appeared. In short, the eggs themselves had impregnated the doctors with a hidden seed. A fully-formed, embryonic version of the unicorn burst through their abdomens, killing them both.
It took much effort to subdue, corral and imprison the creatures. It was only because they were so small when we first encountered them that we were able to control them at all. They were completely wild and extremely aggressive, biting and chasing anything that moved.
We kept returning to the cave and learning new things. What we thought were cave features, rock formations like stalactites, are actually levers and buttons to a control system for communicating with and controlling the unicorns. We think it was damaged in a crash or accident, but through experimenting with different musical notes and tones we have found we can place the unicorns into different emotional states — from placation to homicidal rage.
We are reaching the point where we know how to breed, control and train them. Their horns can puncture four-inch-thick plate armor. They have three, overlapping sets of teeth with razor-sharp incisors for rending tissue. For food they need aught but crumbs of coal or puddles of diesel fuel or motor oil. These creatures possess a natural resistance to heat and cold, to pain and hunger. They are not subject to mercy, pity or second-thoughts. Some of them can fly — even while carrying a man with weapons and ammunition. Their bodies are nearly invulnerable to physical assault. With rigorous training they can be taught to unquestioningly obey and to serve the Empire. They are the perfect battlefield weapons. I formally request your permission to expand the breeding and training program while brigade-level jäger units are formed.
I want to emphasize to Your Majesty that all of our experiments and explorations have been conducted in the utmost secrecy, with cover stories concocted to conceal all of our activities. To all external appearances, we are nothing more than a group of coal miners. All sensitive information is distributed only on a need-to-know basis and there are very few people in this inner circle who know everything. We would have contacted you earlier, but we wanted to be sure of our findings.
March 7th, 1913
Letter from Emperor Franz Joseph I to Count Franz von Blitzburg
We applaud your efforts to develop this creature for deployment in defense of the Fatherland. Continue with your research and development of this beast. We wish to know whether the unicorn’s horn may be used as a vitality restorer or placed in an anti-aging lotion; we hope that it might assist us in extending our reign and with the creation of additional heirs.
Like what you’re reading? Subscribe to my newsletter: https://dashfire.substack.com/
Care to read a hilarious account of Theodore Roosevelt hunting Bigfoot? Find it here: https://www.amazon.com/Squabble-Titans-Recollections-Roosevelt-Rainforest/dp/B097X4R4LN