Captain's Association: On the Morgana Myths
This is Belfast again. I hope you don’t mind having this conversation by radio. It’s… um… well, this discussion... it’s going to be a bit tricky, logistically speaking.
I should start by saying that our American cousin, Mahan, has asked us all to respond to Ninjapacman this week. Let me quote directly…
“I wish to know what the myth behind the morgana is! What sort of stories have belles and people made up to explain the origin of our mysterious foes? This sounds like a perfect one to be presented by the equally mysterious U-29!”
I’m appalled to say that that’s probably… not a terrible idea.
I mean, she’s a bloody Jerry, and she’s almost certainly colluding with dark powers when we’re not looking, but she’s smart and I understand she has some fascinating resources. I still wouldn’t want to be within a hundred miles of her without a few dozen tons of ammunition and a copy of the Malleus Maleficarum, but…
Hello, Kapitän. Hello, Fraulein Belfast. I hope you had a pleasant Wren Day.
Oh, look. She snuck up on us. How nice. How nice it is to be working with U-boats. What a lovely war this is going to be.
I wonder how it would be possible to sneak up on a radio set?
I thought we would do this at a distance, and have one of the Italian girls intermediate, and… well, for Heaven’s sake, we’ve got the Captain out there in the middle of the ocean in a dinghy!
The Admiralty was quite particular about the protocol for…
You don’t care, do you?
I really do not.
Fair enough. Carry on, then.
So. I think we can all agree that there’s an entire category of Morgana hypotheses that we can quickly disregard: those that require a massive international conspiracy.
There are certainly a number of people who place the blame for our enemy on the Jews, or on the Illuminati, or on the traditional “Other” figures favored by their local cultures – but none of them have made a convincing case that industrial development on that scale could be kept secret for years or decades at a time.
Moreover, I think we can all agree that the Illuminati would never be so reckless. We know their plans have been turning, wheels within wheels, for centuries, and we can detect certain patterns in the course of human events. I would argue that the Morganas are inconsistent with these patterns.
Indeed, even disruptive.
For many of the world’s peoples, the preferred explanation is that the Morganas are extraterrestrial invaders. Mr. Welles’ radio broadcast, they say, wasn’t the hoax or playful performance we all originally assumed – but actually a warning.
Mr. Welles denies this, of course, but the American government has taken the idea seriously enough to bring him in for questioning twice on the first day the Morgana made themselves known.
The most detailed version of the “space alien” hypothesis, holds that an extraterrestrial vessel crashed in the Eastern Siberian Taiga in June 1908, and that the survivors somehow migrated to the waters of the Arctic Circle and spread out across the ocean floors. They built semi-functional sea-going vessels from the hulls of wrecked vessels and from occasional thefts on-land, until finally they had a fleet capable of securing resources on a vastly wider scale.
The goal, presumably, is to repair their space ship and return to their home.
Oh, I do love a good story! But that hardly accounts for us, though. The Belles. We all woke up at the same time these things appeared – this theory doesn’t say anything about that.
It does if we’re extraterrestrial spies ourselves.
But we’re not.
Oh? Would we even know?
I’d like to think so.
Besides, it’s impractical. If these hypothetical space monsters have the resources to create our consciousnesses and integrate us so completely into our bodies – our ships – then surely it’s counterproductive to have us all shooting at one another. They could just wipe us out, no?
Precisely why, to accept this theory, you must believe in a fundamental irrationality inherent in our opponents. And, of course, there would be no obvious reason for the Morganas to have human aspects, either. There is a certain psychological comfort in believing our foes to be aliens, but that is a mere fiction, meant to protect the mind from a more horrible truth.
That brings us to supernatural explanations. There’s a wide range, from the tawdry and romantic to the…
Wait. Tawdry and romantic? As in, the Morganas are the by product of a love affair or somesuch? That’s appalling!
You must tell me everything.
I’ve come across different versions of the story, but it usually goes that a fisherman’s wife, or sweetheart, or daughter – or, in a few cases, son – drowned or died by the sea. He’s heartbroken, so he seeks out the Devil, or a witch, or… something stranger.
He’s told that if he names his boat after his loved one and casts a spell at a certain time and place, she or he will rise up and live again whenever they’re on the water.
But the Devil played a trick, and the spell covers the whole world, including Satan’s fleet.
There are other variants that feature us all as early harbingers of the apocalypse – we’ve been woken as divine agents. In a few of those stories, Morganas are Belles who have forgotten their real names and duties.
Or perhaps they’re ships that sank, and only remember what did them in – fire, betrayal, and so on – and that they can only calm down and rejoin our ranks when they’ve avenged the crimes that brought them to ruin.
There’s also a theory that the Morganas are the fleet of some lost, prehistoric civilization – Atlantis, or Lemuria, or Mu. When they were revived, however it happened, the magic that animates them ensnared us.
That story has pseudo-scientific cousins, too: Atlantis survives under the waters, they have technologies we can’t imagine, and now that our own industries have advanced to the point where we could threate life on the ocean floor they have decided to exterminate mankind.
Hm. Do any of those seem particularly convincing to you?
Hardly. Pure rubbish, all of it. Apart from the extraterrestrial hypothesis, most of them don’t account for the condition the Morganas were in when they first appeared.
They started out damaged. They’re getting stronger.
That said, the idea that they’re in some way dead Belles… there’s precedent.
There is? Really?
Mm. You are the only Belfast, so you wouldn’t know.
But if you talk to some of the Belles whose names go back generations… they remember things. Some tell stories.
If that were true of the Morganas, it follows that they would take the appearance of triremes, or longships, or junks. However, even if the nations they served doesn’t exist anymore, they would still be more recognizable.
Instead, they are darkly archetypical. I have begun to correspond with Dr. Freud, but I sense a finality in him that may rob us of a fruitful line of inquiry.
That does leave Atlantis open – some completely lost civilization with an industrial capacity like our own, but no other common points of reference – but, in a broader sense, the archaeological record just doesn’t seem to support it. No matter what the Von Prinzwald Codex says.
And we have not even begun to speak on the more disturbing technical aspects related to Morgana mist, our interactions with it, and so on.
It is only time before we figure it out, of course. The pieces of the puzzle are before us.
I agree. I have faith.
Oh. That’s… adorable. “Faith.” Ha.
Yes, I pardon you – but I’m afraid I must return to my own projects. Mit Ihrer Erlaubnis, Kapitän?
… Well, gosh, I’m going to miss her.
That’s it, Captain. Let’s get you somewhere warm- be there in a turn of the glass!