Whether the serpent in question is a Welsh drake or a Nipponese gojira, dragons remain a constant threat to the world’s economy, infrastructure, and Pax Britannia. Thanks to the efforts of the Witchfinder Army’s Dragonslayer Strikeforce, colloquially referred to as the “Crispy Cripple Company,” these titanic terrors are contained, or, when necessary, exterminated. And yet, could the Empire better support these heroes?

“Ze governments of ze world more often zen not, vill look to ze [Crispy Cripple Company] for help,” said Colonel Von Siegfried of the Prussian Paranormal Academy. “Maybe zhey are zee only vones moronic enough… Sorree, I meant, brave enough to ‘attack’ zee dragons. (Notice I did not say ‘fight’ vhich implies zat blows are traded.)”

“So bold,” is the Strikeforce’s official motto. Sadly, as a reward for their single-minded bravery, many dragonslayers wind up literally feeding the problem they are trying to solve. Worse, Parliament frequently denies benefits to veterans of the Dragonslayer Strikeforce.

Wenceslaus Snipes-Dermott, 2nd Viscount Eccles, was quoted in an address to the House of Lords: “Why should the British people pay for them? We may as well say, ‘Hey, there dragon! Were you hungry? Oh, great! Here, have some canned knight!’”

This reporter spoke with T. Ronald Dump, renowned entrepreneur and industrialist, who weighed in on the issue. “I always felt that I was a dragonslayer,” he commented, adding that he’d received “more training in dragonslaying than a lot of the guys that go into dragonslaying.” He went on to question St. George’s heroism at Silene, noting, “St. George was sprayed with acid, I like guys who weren’t sprayed by acid.”

Critics of the Strikeforce usually point out how the Crispy Cripple Company is known to literally accept any person willing to volunteer. Gone are the days of Beowulf and St. George; today’s dragonslayers tend to be the chemically impaired. “We get a lot of fraterniteeth thending uth pledgeth who did not work out. Altho, the occasional unemployed, drunk blaggardth. We try to get them to the front lineth before they thober up. That’th jutht bathic thrategy,” lisped Corporal Crithpin of the Crispy Cripple Company.

Also of note is the fact that dragonslayers are usually given partially digested weapons and armor to use. “You slay dragons with the armor you have, not the armor you want to have,” said Sir Donnar Runesfield.

Underfunded and poorly equipped, with less than ideal candidates taking up the call, you can see, dear reader, how important these neglected heroes remain in Victoria’s world. Consider sending your support to the Witchfinder Army’s Dragonslayer Strikeforce today (unless you enjoy having your home crushed under a pile of ex-pikemen in the form of excrement).

by Penny Farthington
Victorian Temporal Correspondant
Trans-galactic Press in assoc. with BBC Googleplex

Brought to you by everyone’s favorite time-traveling heroes, the Aether Brigade!

“Mine own self joyned that I might look upon the greater world, avail myself of deftness and facilitie at trade, perchance procure means enough to attend universitie. Never mindful that I might find pitched battle with firesome wyrm. No gallant hero I, instead a simple man beset of extraordinary circumstance. When perilous fray is entered, thy training guides thy hand. The true heroes in the bellies of dragons lie.”
–Every Dragonslayer Ever Interviewed