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The Official Bryan Talbot fanpage / The Adventures of Luther Arkwright homepage

The Arkwright Multiverse


This is a description of the Multiverse that exists in the Adventures of Luther Arkwright, and is fascinating background reading for anyone who is a fan of the books,or anyone who is thinking of reading them - but could act as a spoiler for anyone who wants to read the books "fresh."

You've been warned!

The contents of this page:-

The Disruptors Discovered

The Valhalla Response

The Disruptor Intelligence

There is not one infinite universe, instead there are an
infinite number of universes: a multiverse.

Those were Karl Marx's first words to the Scientific Assembly of Munich in 1882. I've read that the media described the implications as "far-reaching."

My great-grandfather told me that some people panicked, thinking that we were about to be invaded at any moment. Our entire world was stunned. I don't think that many people had more than a shaky idea of what Marx meant by "probability valency," "shell perception" and all the rest. There was a lot of speculation and debate.

I remember my grandmother insisting that it was all a hoax, as late as 1964, especially after what Orson Welles did.

Mind you, for most people doubt ended in 1886, when Crookes proved Marx's theoretical model to be an actual physical reality. By the end of 1888, at the World Fair in Paris, we had had to accept that our's was but one of an infinity of Earths.

Yet what did they hold? What were they like? Were there Earths where dinosaurs still lived? Where the Holy Roman Empire still held sway? Others where life, as we knew it, had never evolved? The truth of it, when we were at last able to perceive it, was beyond our wildest imaginings and our darkest nightmares.

Recorded text of EL communication - CAT4.63256/6.

Location , ELA Rm 15.

Date, 24-09-71.

Subject Mary Astor.

A/Para 09-01-67.

Notes: Instruction to Alternative Self recently contacted, Para as above. Standard Pattern Briefing.

C/P 659023a. Non-crisis. Strength and Imaging 96%.

The myriad parallel Earths are separated from each other not by space or time, but by a dimension the Karl Marx of ZeroZero termed "probability valency." These Earths are all the echoes of the same basic blueprint. Each co-exists in time. Most co-exist in space; some occupy slightly different orbits, or are at a different point in their orbit. The latter two classes of parallels are extremely rare. Most Earths share identical astronomical features: Core Position as it is termed on ZeroZero.

Each Earth is dif ferent in some fashion from the others. There are a few that have never known Humankind, and on these Earths there has never evolved any life form of comparable intelligence to Humanity. Across the parallels inhabited by Humankind there are many variations of history. A surprising number share the Eastern or Euro Asian continent as the cradle of whatever civilisation they have. Beyond this the variation in culture, language, social development and human psychology is too slight, within the massive breadth of probabilities, to be entirely coincidental.

The Earth known as Zero-Zero developed along one of the five standard historical templates. Rising to a Middle Ages which saw the rapid growth of the Holy Roman Empire, the Germanic states were strongly united in an unusually coherent and effective alliance. Their rulers, and later the World Emperors, maintained a continuity of lineage and policy for nearly five centuries.

Dominated by this Empire neither England, Spain or France developed,into major powers. The Ottoman Empire briefly opposed the Holy Roman Empire; the resulting Thirty Years War served only to sharpen the technological revolution begun by Gutenberg and the mediaeval alchemists. Through a lengthy process of war and diplomacy the Empire rose to world domination. By the end of the seventeenth century the "Boy Emperor," Frederick X, the puppet of a decadent and glittering court, held sway over the entire globe.

There had, during the Empire's long climb to misrule, been another power rising. Science had been slowly assimilated, over the previous two centuries, as the religion of the masses. The Futurist Renaissance with its new ideals, its reappraisal of the world in the light of scientific thought, and its contempt for the old doctrine and dogma (in which the rule of the Emperor was enshrined) was the movement of the people, and, more importantly, that of the military.

The world-wide military coup, the execution of Frederick and his court, followed by a dictatorship based on the principles of the Advancement of Science, was inevitable, merciless and brief.

"I am the Son of Scientific Thought," declared the first World-Consul, Napoleon Bonaparte, when the world was finally brought under the Futurists rule in 1802.

The science of this Earth grew by leaps and bounds, unfettered by the socio-religious prejudice usual on other parallels.

By 1800 John Dalton had perfected his Theory of Relativity. In 1816 Franz Joseph Gall proves to the scientific establishment th existence of psionics. In 1820 a man and woman set foot upon the Moon. In 1832 Charles Babbage completed BINAC, the first electronic stored-programme computer. During the early 1850's world poverty and famine were eradicated.

And, working quietly in London, the mathematical genius Karl Marx was progressing towards a discovery which would change his world.

He was constructing a mathematical model of the universe, then of the multiverse his equations predicted. In 1881 he had his proof; that beyond the common and familiar Earth there were others, set in other solar systems, set in other galaxies, set in other universes. As he refined his theories Marx designed the annotation system still used by ZeroZero to designate the different continua.His own Earth was taken as a norm, thus 00-00-00 for Zero-Zero; so 00-01-00 and 00-00-01 would be flanking parallels, one unit of "probability vatency" removed, and so forth.

Marx announced his discovery to an Earth much changed from the Iron Rule of Science. Over the last century, the dictatorship had mellowed into benevolent rule. In 1900, the dictatorship and the powers of the World Consul were dissolved by the Athens Accord. A self - regulating World Government was established. Zero-Zero had become the first technologically advanced parallel to live in harmony with itself, freed from cultural and religious dogma.

One of the first acts of the new administration was to initiate the Valhalla Programme. Created to monitor parallel worlds and observe the predicted fluctuation of historical trends. London was chosen to be the site of the giant Valhalla Nova complex, built to house the most advanced technology of the time and the specialists the project required.

The massive hyper-computer W.O.T.A.N. was conceived as an integral part of the structure and project. W.O.T.A.N. was designed to scan the continua, to correlate, analyse and display information on the status of the myriad parallel worlds.

That ZeroZero had the technology to do this was unsurprising The means of reaching other parallels lay in the careful nurturing of psychic and paranormal research. Parapsychology had been recognised and developed as a true science on ZeroZero since the1830's.

By the early 1900's on Zero-Zero the ability of certain human minds to hook into and use psionic energy was a well established fact. Furthermore, methods of developing and enhancing psi-abilities had been carefully nurtured.

One of the most astonishing finds was that of the Empathic Link. Psychics with this talent could, through various techniques, monitor and on rare occasions communicate with their alternative selves on other parallels. Some psychics could use psychometric techniques to scan other parallels; techniques which were at first augmented by W.O.T.A.N. and then duplicated by the hyper-computer.

During the long, hot summer of 1905 the Valhalla Nova complex became fully operational. The parallels surrounding Zero-zero were scanned; the information received was split into basic social and cultural indices. These were then compared to the theoretical indices generated by W.O.T.A.N. and Marx's careful predictions.

The results were nowhere near what had been expected.


The Disruptors Discovered

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Previous speculation had concluded that the variation across Human-inhabited parallels would be enormous. Each parallel was expected to have generated its own individual psychology, language groups, histories and societies.

Instead, W.O.T.A.N. demonstrated that the socio-historical variation fell within 30%, on the Marx-Oppenheimer Index, of Zero-Zero's history across a set of one thousand "neighbouring" parallels.

This was, of course, improbable in the extreme. For example, the odds against the adoption of the Gregorian calendar, across a significant number of the sample parallels, was calculated at approximately 735,000 to I against. Yet only five parallels, were not using the Gregorian calendar; by whatever name it was known.

There had to be an outside force acting on the parallels. W.O.T.A.N. named the effect of this force Disruption, and before long had proved to it's satisfaction the existence of the Disruptors.

Initially it seemed that every parallel exhibited some shade of Disruptor activity: even Zero-Zero. The considerable panic this caused was used to justify the expansion and increased budget of the Valhalla Nova programme.

Fortunately the continued research demonstrated that this shadow of Disruptor activity was exactly that. It was discovered that there were parallels which occupied probability foci (also termed psi-matrix nodes) and that any disturbance on these focal Earths was echoed by similar disturbances on the shadowed parallels.

Two things were swiftly demonstrated by this new intelligence. Firstly, that Disruptor activity had been and was being co-ordinated across these focal parallels. Secondly, that ZeroZero occupied a strangely stable and independent position in the Multiverse.

The first period of research into other parallels (1905-1928) ended when the Psi-section was brought fully onto stream with the rest of Valhalla Nova. The next few years saw the difficult work of setting up "field operations" on those parallels that could be reached via the empathic link or other psionic means. By 1930 Valhalla Nova had four hundred and sixty-two Psychics gifted with the empathic link, each in contact with between three to twenty alternative selves. The dif ficult work of achieving full communication, then persuading what was often a very frightened individual to co-operate, could take years.

The first active "field agent" was Margaret Bondfield of 28-00-35, a citizen of the French Imperial Estates-General, recruited in1924. Other Margaret Bondfields followed on other parallels until, by 1930, there were fourteen active Bondfields; two of whom hadsucceeded to government, in a ministerial or consular capacity, on their respective (British Empire and Roman Republic dominated) parallels.

By this time a considerable body of information on Disruptor activity had been assimilated. ZeroZero now had numerous in-sights into the respective histories, modes, and means of Disruptor campaigns across a huge number of parallels.

Unfortunately, a goodly amount of this information was highly speculative; furthermore the patterns of Disruptor activity often seemed contradictory. Analysis of the few thousand parallels available to ZeroZero through the empathic link showed numerous patterns of common historical perception. Whereas psychometric scans of certain parallels revealed that their history, usually up to the sixth through to the eighth centuries, had been manifestly different. It gradually emerged that the Disruptors had rewritten, or grafted on, the perceived history of these parallels at least twice in the history of the multiverse.

The first and greatest remoulding of the perception of the past had taken place between 550 to 700AD. The second was during the years 1500 to 1800AD. Three centuries which saw a rapid turn around from the period of the witch-hunting craze (common to most parallels) to times of scientific discovery and enlightenment on some Earths, but of philosophical and scientific repression on others.

Whatever they were doing, for whatever reasons, it was certain that the Disruptors had engineered wars, coups d'etat, plagues, peace treaties, scientific discoveries, industrial and philosophical revolutions, assassinations, autocracies, alliances, reformation, decline and renaissance for over a thousand years.

Some theorists argued that their influence could stretch all the way back to the beginning of human society. The majority opinion, however, settled on the fourth and fifth centuries as those in which the Disruptors had become established.


The Valhalla Response

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The theorists on ZeroZero could explain possible Disruptor motivations for several, linked, activities. However, no theory could consistently explain all Disruptor activities,

Until the mid 1940's the most popular hypothesis insisted that there were actually numerous, conflicting Disruptor organisations. A great many lives were lost in a number of abortive attempts to recruit, or liaise with, what Zero-Zero perceived to be, ethically sound Disruptor enclaves.

By the start of the 1960's Zero-Zero had, at last, reconciled itself to standing alone against the Disruptors.

The working hypothesis altered to accept that the Disruptors were co-operating in the manipulation of hundreds of thousands of parallels. The World Government of ZeroZero accepted that, whatever the nature of this manipulation, it must be countered where possible.

The main directive issued in1921 by the World Government ordered that the counter-Disruptor activities performed by ZeroZero must act to enhance the freedom and preserve the well-being of the afflicted Earth. The aim of any Valhalla Nova activity, therefore, was to remove the Disruptor influence, whilst leaving the Earth in question unaware of both ZeroZero and the Disruptors.

The question of secrecy, and of fighting the Disruptorr, in secret, first became an issue on Para 34-09-09, in 1920.

Due to W.O.T.A.N.'s interference (using Valhalla Nova's most powerful telepaths) the WorldWar I of this parallel had continued for far longer than the Disruptors desired.

ZeroZero further manipulated the Disruptors into increasing the power of the Anglo-French American colonial states, in an effort to hasten the end of the war. In the final days of the war the Americas declared their independence, and ZeroZero took the previously untried action of informing this Earth of the existence of the parallel Earths, of themselves and the Disruptors.

Within hours the fledgling American Federation was destroyed by nuclear attack. Devastated by weapons launched on a different parallel which emerged at ground-zero on 34-09-09.

Elsewhere around the parallel there were other, selective strikes, attacks by strike forces of Rooks and the outbreak of engineered plagues.

Within a decade the world was reduced to a primitive technology, with the remaining population harshly moulded into a loose tribal structure.

On ZeroZero the lesson had been learnt. It might be that para 34-09-09 was one which the Disruptors could afford to lose, but ZeroZero could not, in all conscience, take such a risk again.

The War would go on, but it would be a shadow war, fought by shadow warriors. A war in which the victories and defeats would, all to often, seem meaningless, far too subtle or small to matter. And always there is the Question: Who are the Disruptors, and what, ultimately, do they want?


The Disruptor Intelligence

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The following is what Valhalla Nova knows of the standard patterns of Disruptor activity across the parallels. Most of the information concerns the methods and organisation of known Disruptor agents. This material forms the basis for the Valhalla Nova briefing of new ZeroZero agents.

W.O.T.A.N. soon realised that most of the Disruption was conducted by agents indigenous to the parallel being disrupted. The most powerful of these agents usually occupied positions of power on the parallel, as either heads of state or religion, or as powers behind the throne. These key agents received their instructions from (W.O.T.A.N. assumed) a central Disruptor control, probably based on a single parallel. These instructions were passed through either the empathic link, or, increasingly since the end of the end of the nineteenth century, by sophisticated Trans-Parallel Communicators (TPCs).

Somewhat to Valhalla Nova's surprise, it was discovered that most of the Disruptor agents were dupes. Disruptor control would deliberately manipulate its agents perceptions and knowledge. Many key Disruptor agents would not even know of the existence of parallel Earths. Moreover, Disruptor control represented itself in many different ways across numerous parallels. The Disruptors' influence over these key agents, called Bishops by ZeroZero, could often be traced back over several centuries.

A technique of Disruptor first contact emerged. The Disruptors would usually begin by representing themselves as a powerful, though secret, organisation, sympathetic to their chosen agent's cause, conviction or ambition.

The newly recruited Bishop would then be aided in the establishment of an expanded power base; the Disruptor Lodge. Where possible existing social groups were used as fronts whether political, religious, corporate or criminal. It is not unusual for the Disruptors to infiltrate and take over existing secret societies. (A fact that can cause considerable confusion to ZeroZero agents, as they attempt to establish which secret society, one of several native ones, is the actual Disruptor Lodge.)

The Disruptor Bishop's first priority is to recruit further prime agents. These are organised into an Inner Council, who are the only native Disruptor agents to know of the existence of the Disruptor control.

Immediately below that an Elite is formed, these agents believe that the Bishop And the Inner Council are the masters of the Lodge.

Finally, the Elite recruits and controls the rank and file, the Pawns, of the Lodge. These ordinary members make up the largest proportion of any Lodge, although their knowledge about the Lodge, its purposes and organisation, can vary wildly from parallel to parallel and even within the Lodge itself.

The establishment of a Lodge usually takes a generation. During which time the Inner Council's loyalty to and dependence on the Disruptors will have been firmly established. Once the Disruptor control is certain they begin to use their puppets for their own inscrutable aims. By this time the Bishop, or their heir, normally accepts these plans as perfectly desirable or justifiable.

The inducements offered by the Disruptors are considerable. Their strongest card remains that of knowledge. Thousands of parallels have fallen to Disruptor Lodges using sophisticated weapons and tactics beyond the norm of that Earth.

Brutal and direct support has occasionally been provided by the Rooks. These are cybernetically enhanced humans, far stronger than a normal person, with an arsenal of highly advanced weaponry at their disposal.

At first ZeroZero thought that the Rooks were entirely robotic, but a ZeroZero agent managed to disable and briefly examine one, discovering them to be about 70% human/organic and 30% machine. For some reason the Disruptors have been extremely reluctant to use the Rooks since the nineteenth century on most parallels. Far more subtle and dangerous are the Disruptor Knights. These human agents are invariably psychic and able to travel between parallels, as do the Rooks, by using Trans-Parallel Vehicles (TPVs). The Knights function as in situ advisors to the Bishops. On rare occasions they may command a Lodge on a parallel considered critical to the Disruptors.

To date ZeroZero agents have yet to capture a Disruptor Knight alive. Simply because they all appear to have the ability to will their own death.

Several items of Disruptor technology have been observed by ZeroZero agents. Some have been captured. One of the most significant events was the recovery of a Trans-Parallel Communicator (TPC) from a Disruptor Lodge destroyed by ZeroZero agents. Which has freed ZeroZero from a total reliance on agents with the Empathic Link.

ZeroZero also discovered that the supposed psionic talents of the Bishop and Inner Council were often the product of Disruptor machines. These artificially implanted psychic abilities can usually be predicted, giving the more flexible psi-active ZeroZero agents a much needed edge.

Once established the Lodge acts as the tool of the Disruptors on the parallel. There might, in fact, be a number of Lodges, some acting in opposition to each other. The Lodges are used to initiate and control the social and geopolitical manipulations that the Disruptors wish to create.Valhalla Nova has extensive files detailing individual Lodge actions and reports of the activities of Disruptor Knights and Rooks.

It is evident that many of the Bishops and Inner Councils have no idea of the wider ramifications of their actions. In some circumstances the Disruptors have brought about situations where their own Lodges have been destroyed; usually whilst another is being created, or it's influence enhanced. Communication, using a TPC, between Bishop and Disruptor control has only been observed a handful of times, by ZeroZero agents who survived the experience.

In each case Disruptor control represented itself as some kind of guiding oracle, Organisation or figurehead. The only consistency is that the TPC shows the image of a man (in one case a talking statue), in robes or uniform, against some sort of symbol which represents the Lodge. Each man, and the statue, showed a marked racial similarity.

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Also check out the page on the True History of the Disruptors

Bryan and myself have just completed the Second Edition of the Heart of Empire CD-Rom which contains the whole of the Adventures of Luther Arkwright in normal resolution and also in very high resolution; you can buy it right now from our online shop at Cafe Press. Alternatively you can buy the The Adventures of Luther Arkwright in traditional printed graphic novel format from Amazon.

Also, the Adventures of Luther Arkwright is now available to
read as a webcomic from this very website


The design and content of this page and this entire website is copyright 1999, 2006 by James Robertson: all images are copyright 1999, 2006 by Bryan Talbot