Unicorn Attack on Orient Express, Circa 1916
Like the u-boat attacks at sea, the unicorn raids on land are disrupting shipping and terrorizing civilians. As with the Lusitania, everyone thinks the unicorn attack on the high-profile Orient Express will surely bring the United States into WWI.
May 15th, 1916
Western Europe Bulletin
This just in. Orient Express attacked 25 km east of Strasbourg. 200 dead in deliberate derailment. Survivors engaged in pitched battle with unicorn herd bearing German Imperial insignia. Casualties include Elgin Morgan of J.P. Morgan family, Jack London, renowed writer and British high commissioner Bernard Witherington, Munich-bound diplomat on way to Vienna for peace talks.
May 15th, 1916
Orient Express. Henri Arnaud, Chief Engineer. Chief Engineer’s Log.
We were attacked just outside Oberkirch around 3:45 PM. The engine and first car immediately derailed and a coal fire ensued. I was in the third car. When I came to, I thought we had hit a gelignite mine. The passengers exited the train in a dazed and disorderly fashion in spite of our efforts to control the situation. After the wounded were seen to, and the survivors were given plates of emergency rations of bries, grapes, charcuterie and champagne, myself and Jean-Baptiste the concierge inspected the track and the front car, which showed no sign of an explosion. There was merely a large, single hole in the front engine.
I ran the length of the train to warn the gendarmes that we would soon be under attack, but it was too late. The surviving passengers and wounded had all been evacuated off the train and were crowded together at the side of the tracks conversing in low tones—some even laughing as though it were a lark. Then, out in the forest we heard a trumpet or horn sound and the beating of wild drums.
I blew my whistle and ordered the gendarmes to encircle the party, but in truth, we were only lightly armed. Some of us had pistols and others had no means to fight but with empty champagne bottles and poor-quality cheeses. The first steed that attacked us wore a blanket or sheet with the German Imperial insignia. It was twice the size of a Clydesdale. A piece of mangled iron was draped around its spiraled horn, and so I surmised that this was the beast that must have stopped the train. It must have had magnificent strength in order to stop a train without being crushed by it.
At the first sight of it, terror gripped the passengers and they became unhinged. The gendarmes fired wildly at the creature, which was lithe for such a stocky animal. Some of the shots found their mark, but even at point-blank range, the creature showed no ill-effects. Jean-Baptiste even obtained a head-shot. After the initial attack, this monster was joined by four others, who attacked the mob of passengers from all sides in what seemed to be a coordinated fashion.
The animals tore through the crowd, goring people with their horns and tossing them to the side as a farmer bales hay with a pitchfork. All was pandemonium now. Some people ran for the shelter of the woods and tried to climb trees. Others, like myself, climbed to the top of the train to flee for safety. From the top of the train I witnessed several steeds shaking a tree until several people who had taken refuge in its upper boughs, fell to the earth, where they then were trampled beneath purple hooves. Two or three gendarmes and myself continued to snipe at the unicorns with our pistols from the train top. Our shooting was limited by the fact that our targets were often too close to the people we were trying to save to get clear shots.
Out of the corner of my eye I saw a man at the edge of the forest roughly 300 meters up the track. He was standing by himself, wearing a German officer’s uniform.
After what felt like hours, the unicorns broke off their attack. Many more passengers and crew died from their mayhem then from the initial derailment, for they gave us no quarter. Even mothers and children were killed. The only survivors were those who were strong and fleet enough to get to the top of the train or climb a tree, and as we saw for ourselves, even those who climbed trees were not safe. As they galloped away I looked at my pocket watch. Only 15 minutes had passed since the onset of the attack. Thankfully, a farmer from Oberkirch happened along with a donkey cart, and we were able to transport some of the wounded and get word of the attack to the authorities.
May 15th, 1916
The Diary of Theodore Roosevelt
They are continuing the unicorn raids. What started out as freak occurrence have now persisted with alarming regularity. The Einhornwaffe took out the Orient Express today. Unicorns! Of all the things! And yet no one’s made any attempt to capture, kill or eat one. What will these people think up next? Neutral civilian transport is no longer safe. When will Wilson finally get his head together and get us into the war. I say it’s long overdue. We must stop speculating and find out what they taste like, where they come from and how they come into existence in the first place. There is rumored to be some literature on the subject at the Ashmolean Museum. The Unicorn Arcana commissioned by Ann of Brittany, made in 1497, may offer some clues. We need scholars as well as chefs and soldiers working to unravel these mysteries. I will write letters to my friends in the United States and English governments asking them to create a unicorn hunting taskforce to root out and exterminate this menace once and for all.
May 16th, 1916
Statement to the press from President Woodrow Wilson
The United States is very displeased by the loss of life aboard the Orient Express, particularly the lives of 21 of our countrymen. The evidence that the Empire of Germany has violated the multi-party neutrality agreement to attack civilian transportation yet again is…apparent. We find these raids…irritating beyond measure. The use of unicorns to attack unarmed civilians is wholly unacceptable. As always, we will ascertain the facts to determine a measured and proportionate response through the appropriate diplomatic channels in the hopes that the Kaiser’s government will experience…displeasure and discomfort and decide to change its actions through peaceful means.
May 17th, 1916
Cable from United Kingdom Prime Minister Herbert Henry Asquith to Lord Horatio Kitchener, United Kingdom Secretary of State for War
It appears that even the loss of American life on an unarmed civilian transport will not cause Wilson to commit America to entering the war. I fear we cannot now or ever expect the Americans to ever depart from their neutral stance.
May 17th, 1916
Cable from Lord Horatio Kitchener, United Kingdom Secretary of State for War to Gen. Douglas Haig
I want a full report of all the unicorn counter-measures we have been deploying up to this point and a plan in place to create a committee which will form a taskforce to appropriately address the unicorn menace with a set of stern despatches to the German Imperial Army. These despatches must emphasize the illegality of the behavior that has been directed at Allied forces heretofore using despicable (don’t use the word “despicable,” not yet…it’s too strong) guerilla warfare tactics to demoralize our men, rather than fight face to face and elbow to elbow as it is in the trenches where the rest of us are. Furthermore, we have an obligation to act quickly and decisively to address this problem. I want this taskforce put together no longer than six months from now and I want those despatches sent and counter-responses and detailed reverse-memoranda prepared no longer than six weeks after the initial “push.” Am I completely clear? Breathe a word of this to no one outside of the circle of those who are absolutely necessary to the winning of this bloody conflict.