The Count Gilber’ Xavier de Fourtrue leads a small group towards the home of the perfidious Baron Johann Fosco Sauran Kienhirsch, who is holding the kidnapped Lady Burford in an attempt to force her to sign her property over to him. The count successfully rescues Lady Burford despite the baron’s castle being guarded by a huge spectral hound and a cult of insane monks.
The following week the count attends a meeting of GAL: the Gentleman’s Advancement and Learning club, to see what mechanical innovations have been produced over the past year. The last invention shown is the Calculating Man, a clockwork homunculus designed to do the work of a man. The Calculating Man is given a partial order to “regulate our data”, but the machine breaks down.
One year later, GAL meets again at Meddleton Hall, and discovers there are no new initiatives or designs on show. Government interference has slowed all development considerably. However, Lord Steine’s son, Frank, has almost completed his work of creating a man from dead bodies. The creature breaks free of its restraints and goes on the rampage, burning down Meddleton Hall. Frank vows that he will rebuild the hall and the creature, but a mysterious official arrives and informs Frank that he cannot rebuild the hall without the necessary paperwork, and neither can he create another creature as he does not have the authorisation and certification to do so.
The count’s next adventure is the final confrontation with the master of crime, Professor John Meyrane. Unfortunately, the arrival of the official ruins this by informing the count that fighting crime is the business of the official police force.
Attending the opera, the count witnesses a new singer, Celestine Dyer, being kidnapped by a strange phantom. The count pursues and duels with the phantom, but at that moment the opera house is demolished and the phantom’s existence denied. Once again the official has destroyed all traces of the count’s heroics.
The count is summoned to the mysterious events at Bloodlet Hall, where a strange force is attacking Lisa Westenria. The count identifies the vampire Count Drakuvac as the culprit, but again the official arrives and denies that there is any such thing as a vampire, and the matter is hushed up.
Who is the strange official shadowing the count’s every adventure, forcing official procedure onto every facet of life? Can the count stop the seemingly irresistible rise of conformity, regimentation, and standardisation? Or is the official right, and only statistics are forever?