Welcome to the Ministry, Ladies and gentlemen.
I know you have all had some peculiar experiences in the recent past and will probably have a number of questions for me. I am going to attempt to answer those questions for you, but if you have any further queries, please ask my colleague at the end of this briefing. In the meantime…
Who am I?
My name is Major Charles Keithley, and I am your superior, responsible for the Operations Office and the organisation, deployment and well-being of all our agents.
Who are we?
We like to call ourselves the Ministry, in honour of our founder and first patron, King James the First, but, officially, we are the Esoteric Research Office, a department of the Home Office.
Where do we come from?
The Ministry has existed, in one form or another, since 1587, when Francis Walsingham detailed a small team to monitor the activities of the Faery Court while England was under threat from the Spanish. The team continued to perform its task once the Spanish threat had been lifted, despite reduced funding following Walsingham’s death. King James I incorporated the surviving members into his Ministry of Blades in 1611, charging them to “protect the Crown and the Kingdome from all unusualle threits, be they daemonic, faerie or mundane in naituir”. Cromwell abolished the Ministry, but the members went underground, fighting an infestation of witches across the Midlands for most of the duration of the Commonwealth. James II restored the Ministry and it has continued as a government office since that time. We gained our current title under the administration of Pitt the Younger in 1803, as part of ongoing research into the use of magic to fight the French. Her Majesty the Queen does not know of our existence, the Government believes that she would not be happy with the concept.
What do we do?
Simply put, we protect Great Britain, Her Majesty the Queen and the Empire from those threats which cannot be opposed by the Army, Navy or the civil authorities. These threats are usually supernatural in nature, although we also deal with problems of a more scientific leaning. For the entirety of our existence, we have also been concerned with monitoring the government and residents of the realms of Faerie and maintaining diplomatic ties with the Court of Flowers. We also carry out research into outlying and novel areas of science ignored by the more mainstream scientific institutions; in short, we look into anything that might give the Empire an advantage in dealing with its enemies.
How do we do our job?
The Ministry is divided into a number of departments, each with a specific responsibility:
The Library looks after our extensive collection of literature about the supernatural, including books of magic and those written by supernatural creatures. Madame Delgal tells me that our English-language materials form the largest and most in-depth collection in the world; in Latin and Greek, we are surpassed only by the Vatican’s secret archives.
The Archive looks after the reports and other data relating to our own operations. If you need to know what happened to an agent fifty years ago or the fate of the last known Giant in this country, contact Fraulein Ruehlmann.
The Observations Office is responsible for providing us with leads for our investigations. Mrs Harris and her staff are experts in spotting significant patterns in otherwise innocuous news reports, eyewitness accounts and gossip.
The Quartermaster’s Office supplies our weaponry, devices and other materials, both mundane and experimental. Mr Llewellyn is your primary point of contact for any such items; his researchers will occasionally accompany agents like yourselves for field tests and research.
Administration is responsible for processing mission reports and expenses requests and overseeing your pay and other benefits. Please stay on the right side of Mr Manders.
Finally, Operations will be assigning you missions, organising your training and attending to injuries incurred in the line of duty. This is my domain and I expect agents of all levels to behave themselves and contribute their utmost to the operation.
In day-to-day work, areas of concern are identified by Observations in cooperation with the Archive and the Library. They pass summary reports on to myself, whereupon I will assign agents to investigate a case. Decisions on whether to act are made by myself or my deputy, Mr Rooke, based on reports provided by the investigators: agents are not permitted to initiate offensive operations without orders.
What is your role?
You are agents: junior agents until you have proved yourselves. You will investigate specific cases: observing events, interviewing witnesses and examining evidence. Should circumstances dictate, you will be responsible for closing individual cases, using the appropriate means. You may request assistance at any time it seems necessary, through myself or Mr Rooke: please do not abuse this facility, we have limited resources and cannot afford to waste the time of experienced agents on simple ghost or zombi incidents. Discretion is, of course, a given; nobody outside of this organisation should be left in possession of facts about ourselves or any case.
That covers the information you need to know. If you have any questions, please ask Mr Rooke. I wish you the very best in your endeavours and hope that you do yourselves and the Ministry proud.