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– 2178 Frederick Cornelius Mundy with his wife Joan Sutton (and their son Cornelius Horatio) settle on Paragon
When my grandparents decided that Paragon was going to be their family home, they didn’t do things by halves. They bought offices in Atlas Park for the company headquarters and applied to City Hall for permits, then bought warehouses in King’s Row, laboratories in Steel Canyon, manufacturing facilities in Terra Volta. They bought a city house in Founders’ Falls; then they bought land on the outskirts of Salamanca, a small town outside Paragon City but reachable by its light rail system, and hired architects to build their home on the estate.
Meanwhile, they became part of the Paragon business community, and established partnerships with several local companies, including Crey Industries, one of the leading tech firms on the planet.
– 2180 Frederick Cornelius Mundy buys the title of Baron Chatsworth from the City of Salamanca.
I wonder sometimes whether it was the partnership with Crey that prompted my grandfather to buy his Barony from the City of Salamanca. After all, since the owner of Crey Industries was Countess Crey, it seemed appropriate, as one of her main business partners, to have a comparable title. I also wonder whether it was in fact my grandmother’s idea: Clarissa van Dorn, the orphan, had become a Countess by marrying Alphonse Crey; why shouldn’t Joan Sutton, the working-class daughter of a single dad, become a Baroness? So in 2180 Grandad Fred bought his title, and became Frederick Cornelius Mundy, first Baron Chatsworth, and Grandma Joan read etiquette books and became obsessed with the proper number of courses to serve, and which knife and fork to use for each one.
The architects came up with a design in the Palladian style which met with the Baroness’ approval, and Chatsworth House was built in record time on the idyllic wooded grounds outside Salamanca. It’s a shame that the surveyors did not think to venture a little further into the woods at night, for they might have recommended an alternate location for the residence – one that did not require quite such an elaborate security system against the denizens of the place.
– 2197 The Hon. Cornelius Horatio Mundy starts work in the family company, Trafalgar Tech, while continuing, then completing his education at Paragon University.
My father (Grandma Joan insisted on us calling him Papa, with a French accent, in true English 19th century fashion; and she wanted to be called Grandmama, with a French accent also; needless to say, we conveniently forgot that whenever we could get away with it) occasionally told us tales of his idyllic childhood on the Chatsworth estate, playing with “children from the town” who, I assume, had been brought in specially for his amusement. I think our own childhood was equally privileged; idyllic is not exactly the word, when you know that the gardeners supposedly pruning the hedge just a few yards away from where you are playing are in fact more than competent in the use of the rifles that are propped up just beside the rake and the secateurs. Still, we grew familiar with the behaviour of the Fir Bolg and the Tuatha, and it seemed obvious to us that one did not venture into the pumpkin fields or into the woods at night – not unless one was armed, and preferably not alone. On the other hand, the tales of the Skulls and the Hellions in the city left us perplexed: how did one deal with a human menace? But I am rushing forward too fast again.
I was going to say that my father, though his professional interest was nano-tech, picked up Grandfather’s hobby of Terran Napoleonic history; so, while Chatsworth was equipped with all the necessary electronics for security, utility and entertainment, they were usually disguised as something that would not look out of place in 1815 or thereabouts, or could conveniently disappear inside cabinets, behind panels and paintings, or under inlaid desk surfaces. The Chatsworth library shelves housed a collection of paper books, though the main desk also had a terminal with a proper holo-projector, and a connection to Paragon City Library; the kitchens had a wood-fired range as well as the usual selection of induction and micro-wave units, and a full assortment of fabricators and processors hidden away behind flame-beech cabinet doors.
I remember the flame-beeches lining the streets of Salamanca, glowing redder and redder as the twilight deepened. Then, sometimes, some of the flames were real, as the pumpkin-headed Fir Bolg woke up at nightfall. And sometimes the trees glowed green with floating ghosts… It doesn’t seem real. It shouldn’t be real. There are no ghosts. But Paragon was an odd place, and there are theories that what some people saw as supernatural creatures and effects were the remains of the planet’s native life, after it was settled; or cross-breeds with the species the colonists introduced; or mutations. There are years’ worth of research papers into the genetics of Paragon inhabitants… Or at least, there were, in Paragon Library. They were never released into the general USFP library system, because the general consensus was that they would attract unwanted attention. The descendants of the original Paragon colonists still harboured the memory of an event they called The Inhuman Purge, and the City employees in G.I.F.T. were adamant that all mutants should enjoy the same full protection as other citizens.
I have drifted away from my timeline again. I am out of practice at writing academic papers, and the subject matter is too close to my personal concerns for me to be objective yet. I may go through everything and edit, once I’ve finished. Or I may consider this an exorcism of my personal ghosts, and leave it alone, with all its inaccuracies and imperfections.