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

The True History of the Disruptors


This is a description of the Disruptors from 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 City of Dreams

The Age of Wonder

The Sleepers Awake

The Bringer of Light

The Grand Design

The Disruptors Disrupted

The Final Conflict


The Disruptors are the descendants of FireFrost's creators.

When FireFrost was originally activated the psychic, humanoid race responsible for its construction had taken the best measures it could to protect its ruling elite from the Entropy Effect. The government was secretly moved to intergalactic space, the vessels containing it joining with a small fleet of scientific craft stationed there to observe the mother galaxy.

The scientists were of the opinion that FireFrost would cause Entropic Chaos across their galaxy and its parallels, but this would have a finite limit when a certain percentage of the psi- matrix was in flux. When this point was reached, their calculations predicted, FireFrost would split and the galaxy would stabilise. Leaving them with the immense, but not impossible, task of rebuilding.

They were wrong.

Once the terrible truth emerged there was chaos aboard the vessels. The crews of several military craft mutinied and attacked the government and scientific personnel. Others committed suicide or went insane.

Eventually, the surviving government elite and scientists regained control. They decided to follow FireFrost. The remaining debris of their mother galaxy could not sustain them, its psi matrix had been so damaged by FireFrost that to remain would have meant the slow decay of their minds and will, and finally death.

The damaged fleet was clustered together and linked into a single, massive Ark. Suspension chambers were cannibalised from other equipment, or constructed from scratch using makeshift tools. The various ships' drives and power sources were integrated into one. Of the thousands still living, hundreds died in this labour.

At length the Ark was ready. The crew went down into a sleep of aeons, and the vessel's computers guided it along FireFrost's magnospheric trail.

It was a voyage and a dreaming many would not wake from. For as they entered the galaxy into which FireFrost had been spewed, its Psi-matrix, so alien to the one they had known, intruded on their minds. Hundreds had nightmares so terrible they died. Wild telekinetic forces generated by the nightmares wreaked havoc with the Ark's systems. The sensitive array tracking FireFrost was destroyed, and a sudden convulsion of power wrenched the Ark through the parallels. Brought out of hibernation by the vessel's emergency programmes, the surviving aliens, now numbering less than a thousand, regained control.

Sufficient data had been retained by the computers to predict the star system into which FireFrost had fallen, even to the very planet onto which it had plummeted at the end of its long voyage. Forced to pilot the Ark manually they followed as best they could.

They reached Earth an aeon after FireFrost. Their chase had been a long one, the Ark unable to match the preternatural velocity of the galaxy destroyer.

They hoped to find a primitive planet on their arrival, a young world to shape into an oasis of peace in a hostile galaxy. Instead, they found a hell. A planet incredibly alike to their home world, yet violently psychically hostile to them. Worse, they could find no trace of FireFrost.

The latter problem they soon solved. When they examined the surrounding Psi-matrix, they discovered that the Ark had been shifted to another parallel during its voyage. The former they deduced as FireFrost's doing. it had, on breaking in two on its arrival, released a ripple of psychic energy that had fundamentally altered the planet's and, to some extent, the surrounding galaxy's structure and that of its parallels.

This energy wave had been imprinted with the psychic resonance of FireFrost's mother galaxy, and had twisted the atoms of the primordial soup into configurations from which had arisen lifeforms mockingly similar to those the voyagers had known; both plant and animal.

Most of the remaining voyagers went insane as the Psi-matrix of the new world overwhelmed them, destroying or possessing them. For a time some became as gods, roaming Earth and its parallels in terrible shapes. Before they fled from their kin they came close to destroying the Ark,wrenching it once more through the parallels.

Only the most powerful minds among the aliens could shield themselves from the ravages of the Psi-matrix, these were the scientific elite, FireFrost's creators. Eventually they formulated a solution. A machine must be made, similar to the one in which they passed the long voyage. In it they would lie dreaming, and into their dreams would pass a controlled trickle of the reality beyond. The reality in which they would have to live when they returned to waking life. Given the proper suggestions and fed the correct diet of drugs, their minds and bodies would adapt.


The City Of Dreams

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Yet to build this city of dreams was too great a task for them alone. They needed servants to toil for them. So they shaped them from the shambling forms that aped their own and were already struggling towards intelligence. Out of the picanthrepan clay the aliens moulded humanity after their own image.

A work of centuries began. When it was done less than a hundred of the aliens had survived. As they made ready for their second sleep they debated what to do with their servants. Some urged that they be destroyed, their usefulness over. Others spoke against this, counselling that on waking, they would have need of servants again. It was this argument which finally prevailed. So humanity was scattered across the parallels, seeded against the aliens' future needs.

The voyagers entered their city and slept. As they dreamt, the machines tended them, feeding a steadily growing ration of psychic reality into their minds. A handful broke, died.

Outside the city massive robot tenders roamed the continents and oceans guiding the tectonic plates, nursing the still young world to geological calmness, moulding the weather so that no storm ever troubled the air above the city.

In orbit and from the Moon, machines kept vigil over the heavens, destroying any approaching fragments of space debris.

A dozen or more centuries after the Sleep had begun there came an asteroid half the size of the Moon, trailed by a host of smaller bodies. When the city's defences had done their best there remained one great spinning fragment, which fell to Earth far from the city. It was enough: the planet tenders could not contain the following earthquakes and the Earth's crust began to break apart. Emergency programmes came into effect and the city broke loose from the ruined Earth to float alone in orbit around the sun. Though it had survived, the city was damaged, and the Dreamers would sleep for far longer than they had planned.


The Age of Wonder

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As their sleep lengthened into millennia, Humanity was changing. Abandoned by its creators, bereft of their guidance, they were found by the Changelings; those aliens which had surrendered to the psi-matrix.

Together they made the Age of Wonder, a time of happenings that have come down across the millennia as legends of gods and heroes.

Their minds unfettered, Humanity developed psychic powers, aided or thwarted by the Changelings as it took their unfathomable fancy.

Eventually, the Age came to an end.

The Changelings could not sustain themselves forever against the erosion of the hostile psychic environment. They dwindled and perished, their passing hastened by the venting across the parallels of psychic waste from the City of Dreams.

Humanity inherited the continua.

On the parallel of FireFrost's arrival the psychic priest-kings of the Egyptian Kingdom discovered the Opal. Terrified by it, they sought the advice of Gilgamesh, the greatest psychic of that age.

After long deliberation, Fire-Frost was sealed beneath the Great Pyramid.


The Sleepers Awake

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At last the Sleepers awoke, ending their millennia-long dream with a burst of psychic energy that sent a shockwave across the parallels, consuming the psychic adepts of Humanity like moths in a candle's flame.

It was a reflex on the aliens' part. In the first hazy moments of consciousness they recognised the threat psychically aware Human's posed and dealt with them, by blind instinct.

Yet the cost to them was terrible, weakening or destroying the psychic abilities that remained to them. Now the aliens desperately journeyed across the parallels, searching frantically for Fire-Frost. As they travelled, they found their ancient works ruined or buried, beyond salvage.

There was despair, confusion, and finally a murderous civil war amongst the remaining aliens, from which there emerged a single victor: the scientist who had conceived of FireFrost, in a time so long ago that it seemed, even to him, almost a dream.


The Bringer of Light

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During the second sleep, he had been inspired. To him alone a revelation had been granted.

As FireFrost had altered this galaxy, this Earth, and their parallels to a twisted doppleganger of it's galaxy of origin, it could also be used to tear apart the fabric of this galaxy and weave it anew into a true recreation of the mother galaxy.

To achieve this, the psi-matrix of the parallels would have to be manipulated into a particular configuration.

To rearrange reality, to warp, twist, and hammer the raw ore of psychic energy there was only one tool available; Humanity.

The surviving alien, who now called himself the Bringer of Light, would have to play Humanity like a vast orchestra across the parallels of Earth. Until the day FireFrost could be used to strike the final chord.


The Grand Design

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The Bringer of Light's first imperative was to construct a base from which the millenia long plan could be directed. To this end he returned to the City of Dreams, taking with him a small corps of human servants.

From these he would breed the Technos, who would expand the city into the far larger complex required for the co-ordination of the Grand Design.

To fulfil the need for a less specialised labourer, and that of soldiers for his armies, the Bringer of Light turned to an offshoot of the hominid from which Humanity had been created.

Australopithecus Robustus provided the genetic foundation on which the Rooks were built.

Early in the program, the Bringer of Light retired to a psychically shielded cocoon, about which the Technos constructed the Disruptor hive.

Here he could wait out the years, gradually surrendering to an increasingly vital life support system.

The directives issued to his minions consisted of a cosmic blueprint towards which the multiverse must be nursed, kicked, and cajoled. With it he provided the basic logistical approach the Technos would use to manipulate the psi-matrix, as well as a number of other objectives.

First there was a Grand Survey began in 1901 B.C., and was principally concerned with the creation of a master "atlas" of the psychic matrix of the focal parallels.

It was at this point that the beings known as the Five intruded on the Grand Design.

Three of the Five were aliens that were refugees from their peers' civil war. They had fled the fighting almost as it began. All were dismayed by what had happened: their own answer to the inevitable was to urge an acceptance of their fate, and that Humanity should be nurtured as the inheritors of their knowledge and wisdom.

In their haphazard flight they passed through a parallel under the rule of two Changelings, who, in the past, had acted against the Elders to preserve their own realm. The Changelings snared the interlopers and intended to kill them. Fortunately they allowed their captives to speak. What they heard led them to join forces with the three Elders: the Five were born.

They returned to the War hoping to prevent the Bringer of Light's victory.

At the last, defeated, they had to withdraw, feigning a fatal retreat. They now knew the Enemy's final goal, declared over the withered husks of his vanquished kin, and armed with this knowledge they could speculate on how he would go about achieving it.

The Five knew they had to stop him. The problem was how. The Bringer of Light was a stronger psionic than they were, even combined. In addition, he had the legacy of the Elder technology.

Faced with an immensely powerful and able foe the Five could only hope to stop him by riding with the Grand Design. They would bend in the storm, but they would not break, and in time they would find a way to defeat the Enemy.

When the Grand Survey began, the Five had formulated a strategy. As the use of Humanity was integral to the design, the Five would find a way to turn Humanity against it. The first gambit they played was to hide a single parallel from the Grand Survey. The Earth that was to become ZeroZero.

On completion of the survey, the Technos set the next element of their Master's plan into motion. Obvious surviving Elders and Changelings were hunted down and destroyed.

On parallels where the Changelings had interbred with Humanity (creating the races preserved in the racial consciousness as Elves, Dwarves, Satyrs, Centaurs, Vampires, Lycanthropes and others of this supposedly mythical catalogue) the Disruptors instituted a series of genocidal culls between 1800 to 1100 BC.

The latter years of this first phase saw the initial disruption of Humanity's values and perceptions.

The most notable shifts in this era are the shifts in religious and philosophical attitudes. With broad, almost casual brush strokes the old histories were suppressed and rewritten across the parallels.

The Disruptors also spread across the parallels the method of improving the quality of wrought iron; as this acts as a damper of psi-fields, the use of Iron became a powerful factor in the suppression of Humanity's psychic abilities.

It took until 1500 BC for the Disruptors to perfect the methods required for the trans-parallel manipulation programme. The continua were divided into five groups, each to be manipulated in a different fashion according to the prerequisites of the Grand Design.

The first group consists of the Controls: A narrow range of parallels, with only five foci over which the Disruptors would exert no direct influence. These parallels would only be affected by the ripple or shadow happenings passing through the psi-matrix from the surrounding parallels. The changes in the psi-matrix of these parallels would be used to monitor the unmodified effects of the Grand Design.

The second group, Primitives, are parallels where technology was and is restricted to levels equal to or below that of pre-industry.

The usual Disruptor practice on these parallels involved the creation of a ruling oligarchy, typically a priesthood, which would often embellish its rule with psionic techniques.

Careful nurturing of the native psychics on these parallels furnished the gene pools from which the forefathers of the Disruptor Knights were drawn.

The third and largest group are the Technicals. On these parallels the development of technology was guided at first in tandem with the Primitives, then beyond, through a gamut of industrial revolutions.

These were usually linked with or consequential to warfare, which escalated to global conflict across seventy percent of the group during the final period of the Grand Design.

The fourth set of parallels are the Secures. As with the Controls, this was a very narrow range, but essential to the Disruptors. These parallels were designed to be so firmly under Disruptor control that their societies could be swiftly reorganised to damp down psychic resonances, occurring on other parallels, that were harmful to the programme.

In reacting to the activities of ZeroZero, and the Five, the various World War II scenarios were designed by the Disruptors to greatly expand the number of Secure parallels.

The final group of parallels are known as the Bleaks; parallels on which the Earth had passed beyond usefulness to the Grand Design. This was normally due to that Earth, and it's Human population, being destroyed either be some ecological disaster or, more commonly, by war.

The only use to which these Bleak parallels are put is for the establishment of training bases for the Disruptor Knights and other agents.


The Disruptors Disrupted

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Over the centuries, the Disruptors consolidated their position and refined their techniques. They began to shape the parallels into the alignments and configurations required by the Grand Design.

The Five bided their time until the Enemy was fully committed: they needed to find some point in the Disruptors' plans where any chance would cause them difficulties.

That chance came with the messiah-vessels. A single native on each focal parallel who had been prepared by the Disruptors to deliver the ethical and moral foundation that would lead to their power being almost absolute across the parallels.

It was a massive project, stretching the Disruptors to their limit. At the height of the operation the Five reached out and gave each Messiah what the Disruptors had so carefully excised from their psyches: free will.

Consequently, the myriad Ashokas, Amaterasuses, Yeshuas and their contemporaries did hardly anything that the Disruptors had intended. Yet, with the players primed and the stage set, they were powerless to halt what they had set in motion.

Frantically a counter-programme was set up to neutralise or subvert the Messiahs' teachings, the execution of which occupied the Disruptors facilities until the early 15O0's AD.

With the Enemy distracted, the Five next set about the long work of selectively breeding Humanity back towards greater psychic and physical potential.

They worked across hundreds of parallels, hastening the process in the 1100's and 1200's AD. Great care was taken to have this appear natural to the Disruptors. Carefully manipulated Disruptor field agents sent back doctored reports.

From this faulty data the Disruptors concluded that the social and religious manipulation, which the Messiahs' Incident had necessitated, had resulted in a natural gene drift towards enhanced psionic abilities in Humanity, particularly the female of the species; the so-called witches of legend.

It took the Bringer of Light and his minions nearly two centuries to formulate a solution: the socio-psychological trauma of the witch-bunt craze.

The witch-hunts acted to suppress the psionics, together with a package of genetically engineered plagues, foremost of which was the Black Death: its variants included factors specifically aimed at psionics. Some caused gross disfigurement of the psychics, or their offspring. Others caused only a blemish; the so-called witch's mark.

The Five withdrew from the conflict, saving the best of the gene pool. Certain tales of people vanishing and tribes disappearing give a distant echo of such events: the tale of the Pied Piper of Hamelin being perhaps the best known.


The Final Conflict

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The next three centuries passed calmly for the Disruptors. To all appearances, the Grand Design was proceeding well: the lines of probability were converging towards the nexus from which the new order would rise. Almost it seemed that the Psi-matrix was reduced to a tame animal, obeying the Disruptors' every command.

The Five, however, had been far from idle. The scattered descendants of the psychic.humans were drawn slowly into a breeding programme across the parallels.

The Five took great care to shield the potential of their children. A distortion was engineered within the twenty-third chromosome pair, which effectively crippled the psionic potential of their thoroughbreds. On numerous parallels this protection failed and the psychic abilities surfaced. The Five had to watch the Disruptors move in, to either recruit or kill.

On ZeroZero the Five put the Disruptors' own techniques to use. They consolidated the power of the Holy Roman Empire during its early years. A tradition of scientific tolerance and curiosity was fostered within the Court.

The power of the Church was weakened. Science was primed to take the place of Religion. Whilst the military government was infused with a rational enlightenment that would lead to it's own dissolution.

To the minds of ZeroZero's Boyle, Malphigi, Wren, Huygens, Hooke and Newton came the guiding inspirations that would culminate in Marx's "incredible vision, like music, a symphony of the spheres, quite incredible, so very beautiful."

In the early twentieth century, as the Disruptors accelerated the final stages of the Grand Design, the Five began the unshackling of their DNA-Warrior.

At Ypres, on Para 00-30-22, they telekinetically nudged a grenade in flight. Arkwright's grandfather died, his psychic scream all but killing a Disruptor Knight in the opposing German lines. Such power could not go uninvestigated; the Arkwright family was placed under surveillance, it's potential carefully examined.

The Disruptors found that the son of the dead English Guardsman had a psi-strength far beyond the human norm, but an ironic twist of his genetic make-up kept his potential power locked far beyond: the reach of his conscious mind. Even so, his intuition, coordination and endurance were extraordinary.

The Disruptors reached a decision. Their investigation had concluded that, given the right mate, the offspring of the present Arkwright would have the potential to become a formidable Disruptor Knight. Correct breeding would rectify the genetic fault. A suitable wife was found for Captain Gavin Arkwright. A Disruptor Knight, brought from another parallel, whose memories suitably adjusted and whose background was painstakingly created by a Disruptor Lodge.

On the 15th February 1950, as the child was born, the Rooks were summoned by the observing Knights, and the Disruptors acquired what they hoped to make into the perfect Knight, the Champion of the Grand Design's last hour.

Instead they nursed a viper. The plans of both the Disruptors and the Five were approaching fruition, the Adventures of Luther Arkwright were about to begin.

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Also check out the history of the Arkwright Multiverse page

Bryan and myself have just completed the Second Edition of the Heart of Empire Directors Cut 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