The letter upon His Majesty's desk was marked with the presidential seal from the Grand Republic of America. It was rare indeed for a private missive from President Roosevelt. Rarely were their talks of any significance that they could not be opened by any but the other.

Edward VII sat in his chair and took out the bespelled letter opener. Only with the grip of the properly crowned ruler of the British Empire could it break enchanted seals addressed to him. A quick slip of the blade under the seal and immediately it was freed. Opening the letter his Majesty sat back and begin to read.

Greetings unto His Majesty, Edward VII from President Thedore Roosevelt.

Edward, I write you this missive in private to bring a distinct threat to both of our peoples to your attention. Nestled within the very limits of your beloved London is a fortress of a facility. Dark arts are practiced and crimes against God, nature, and man alike are commited within its walls. It's creation was sanctioned by your beloved mother, God rest her, in no small thanks to the manipulation of its founder. Such is his ability to make his plans seem the work of a sane mind or to the benefit of all that he convinced you mother to give him special license to purchase a former armoury and refit it as he saw fit with no fear of governmental interference.

Over the past decade and a half the laboratory has been the birthplace of monstrous creatures, devestating weapons, and terrible potions with some appaling effects. I have included reports from operatives of the Division of Specialized Services. These reports clearly detail not only some of the violations of International Supernatural Regulations but also numerous examples where he has acted in direct conflict with the national security of both of our nations. He has even sold weaponized formulas to nations and organizations in direct conflict with both of our nations!

I ask you, as a wise and respected leader of the world, to grant officers of the DSS to work with your own military to take control of Heizeltroff Laboratories. Seize the entire property and shut it down. We have made arrangements with several nations to seize all other properties owned and operated by Heizeltroff Labs and its founder, one Wilhelm Heizeltroff.

I hope I hear your affirmative soon.

Your friend,

Theodore Roosevelt
President of the Grand Republic of America.

Edward sighed heavily as he set the paper before him. He had been anticipating such a letter in truth. The desire of the Grand Republic to shut down Heizeltroff was known by nearly every leader in Europe. Rumors, and even a few official reports concerning what he had been doing, had crossed his desk more and more as of late. He knew that eventually he would be forced to do something about him but had not expected such a plan to be put forth nor that it would come with such damning evidence against the man.

He pulled out a piece of his stationary and pen. Over the course of the next two hours he wrote his reply, several notices, and a set of very specific orders. Only when he had sealed each with the royal seal and seen they were each safely on their way did he take himself to his rooms. A large glass of scotch whisky and a cigar seemed quite in order.


::
Wilhelm sat comfortably at his table enjoying a very delicious breakfast prepared by Shankar. It had been a very successful month indeed. He had only minor modifications to make to the formula before it would be perfect. His last subject had survived nearly the entire month and only the minor issue of a continually accelerated heart rate was to be fixed. Sales to several small, burgeoning "nations" throughout Africa and the middle east had ensured a very profitable year indeed.

He had just finished his poached eggs when a dreadful crashing was heard from the direction of the main gate. Leaping from his chair Wil rushed to the window, Shankar at his side. Looking out over the yard to the gate they could see a massive force of British military rushing in. Amongst the soldiers were black clothed individuals with red cords. Their faces were all an identical featureless white mask. One of his own early works, the masks could only be removed by command word from its wearer. The DSS had finally come for him and were doing so openly. He had never expected such.

"Shankar, I do believe the game is up my friend! Activate the seals for the lowest levels. I must get my research!" Moving quickly Wil opened the passage in the hall leading to his private labs and rushed down the stairs. Once in his lab Wil grabbed up his notebooks. Decades of research and notes could not be left to be possibly discovered by the DSS. He tossed them in a thick sack before pushing a button on the wall he heard the pipes throughout his labs begin to hiss as the pressure built. Soon they would reach capacity and the release valves would pop, spraying the entire lab with a mist of chemicals that would ignite after several minutes exposure to the air.

Wil gave one last look to the lab which had been his workspace and home for nearly two decades before he stepped into the tunnel that would lead him to the street three blocks away. He only hoped Shankar would be there to meet him. He could hear the pounding of boots in the levels above him before the tunnel's false wall slid shut, blocking the acid vials which would heat and fuse the stones together.

Twenty minutes later Wil slipped quietly from his tunnel exit in a back alley not far from the Rejected Gear. He had left in such a rush he hadn't had time to even be ready for the day. No coat or jacket, hat still on the rack and even his vest was unbuttoned. 'I don't even have a single cane with me. Those blasted DSS agents will pay for this!'

As he made his way down the street Wil seen one of his banks and decided to just buy new clothes. Making his way in he proceeded to his normal teller. He gave his easy smile as he wrote up a withdrawl slip. The teller exchanged pleasantries with him before she took the slip to the manage. A moment later she returned looking very flustered with the bank owner himself. His voice was quiet as he spoke. "Master Heizeltroff I am afraid I have distressing news. Notice was sent to this bank and all others in the Empire that your accounts have been seized and all funds are now property of the treasury." He paused for a moment before finishing, "In short I am afraid you are quite destitute sir. We can not help you."

Wil looked at him stunned for a moment then nodded slowly. "Thank you Herbert. I know you are only doing what you must." He turned and walked out. He had been upset before but now it had begun to feel more like shock. To loose his home had been bad enough but now he to find he was broke as well... He had never been in such a state.

He made his way woodenly to the Gear. He had not been in some time but if there was any place in London left for him it was the Rejected Gear. He only hoped Shankar would meet him there. He hoped Shankar made his way safely away. 'How shall I explain to my friends my tab may not be paid for some time or that I am left with nothing more than the shirt on my back? Ah well, I guess life was bound to catch me eventually!'

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