“Before we can understand the way the totality of the multiverse works, we need first to be wary of it” Doctor Infinity, Sentinel Handbook, 1963
Stuff I’ll do When I Grow Up-Rise and Fall (Part Two: The Grand Scheme of Things)
The multiverse has proven itself, time and again, to be both a place of infinite opportunity, as well as home to unimaginable peril. Sentinel and the entirety of the Rise and Fall universe have faced multiversal threats time and again, coming to know their enemies, categorizing and studying both them and the worlds they have originated from.
It was during the 50’s, in the aftermath of World War 2, when Dr. Infinity and his Infinity Squad commenced project DREAMTIME, in an attempt to explore and further understand the multiverse that surrounded their continuum.
|Doctor Ariadne Infinity, exploring the outskirts of Carcossa.|
Project DREAMTIME began with a crude attempt to enter the multiverse via a fault in reality in South Africa, a few hundred miles southeast of Johannesburg (near the current location of Carcossa). The fault was artificially widened using experimental Infinitron technology, with the intent of allowing the exploration team to enter Earth 3-Epsilon and retrieve technology or a member of the native population.
Let’s not forget that, at the time, 3-Epsilon was thought to have been the only other reality and therefore considered unique.
It is unclear what exactly caused the partial collapse of the reality fault after Ariadne Infinity and the rest of the DREAMTIME research team crossed the threshold. Some blame an unexpected cosmic shift, others a possible reality storm that swept the universal membrane.
|Occam’s Razor dictates however, to have been plain old crappy wiring.|
The point is that the team was swept away and never reached 3-Epsilon. The gate flickered, the reality fault nearly collapsed and a possible disaster was averted when the installation was immediately shut down by on-site personnel.
Ariadne Infinity and her team were considered MIA, until she returned in 1961 through her entry point, carrying with her a compact version of an Infinitron gate generator. Of her original team, only two members remained, while she was escorted by Ulysses Infinity, a male counterpart of hers from Universe 1-Alpha.
During debriefing, Ariadne recounted her adventures through numerous worlds in various states of evolution and history, with minor or significant fluctuations.
|“A multitude of histories, in endless shift.”|
She explained how Universe’s 1-Alpha Sentinel counterpart found and rescued them, allowing them a safe return to their continuum.
I was from these findings that the classification of any and all Earth-parallels began. The scale was called the Infinity Factor, in honor of the explorer who first dared the multiversal trek and was compiled as such:
Alpha: Any and all Earths that exist in a utopian state. This dictates both technological levels far surpassing that of the current continuum, as well as the elimination of most (if not all) major societal, economic and cultural crises that may befall it. The exact make-up of such society is irrelevant, but Alpha parallels are characterized by long life-spans and little to no poverty or crime. Alpha designations also take into account the fact that such a state of cultural balance was brought about by natural evolution and was in no way forced or is maintained by an external factor. They are largely stable.
Beta: Beta parallels are largely characterized by significant technological advancement in one (or numerous) fields of scientific research, in comparison to the current continuum. Betas are also characterized by a high concentration of superhumans who have been directly involved (in one way or another) with every important facet of society. Betas are usually ruled or managed by superhuman beings and are characterized by perpetual conflict between such beings that are either unfettered by human law or given extranormal authority. Certain physical laws also appear to differ from the current continuum or simply function in a different manner.
Gamma: Gamma parallels are considered ‘vanilla’ or standard parallels, similar to the original continuum, with minor historical deviations. The superhuman population is small and controlled by human authorities. Technological levels remain the same. Gammas may also exhibit racial fluctuations, such as a world with small to almost non-existent Caucasian populations (15-Gamma), or cultural, such as a world where the dominant language of culture and commerce is Akkadian (9-Gamma).
Delta: Delta parallels are dystopias. They exhibit similar technological advancements with those of the current continuum, but suffer from a severe historical deviation, which has allowed the formation and perpetuation of a global totalitarian regime or a similar state of governance, which abolishes personal freedom. Deltas are characterized by massive ecological disaster (6-Delta) or a severe deviation in individual morality, such as a lack of regard for the sanctity of human life (2-Delta). These are the most common.
|World War 4 propaganda poster, circulated by the CentroEuropean Coalition (22-Delta).|
Epsilon: Epsilon parallels exhibit no similarity to the current continuum. Their histories deviate wildly from the standard, exhibiting wildly different technological levels or a population and cultural shift that may not include humankind in its current form. In certain instances, Epsilon parallels may have no human population whatsoever during the entirety of its history (1-Epsilon) or its population may have been driven to extinction by either natural causes (8-Epsilon) or via external factors (14-Epsilon). Certain Epsilon parallels are highly aggressive and may attempt to invade the current or neighboring continuums, as in the case of 3-Epsilon. A small number of Epsilons may also exhibit fully superhuman populations.
Omega: Omega parallels are devoid of intelligent life. Some exhibit signs of the destruction of a civilization similar to that of the standard continuum (1-Omega), while others exhibit no sign of intelligent life whatsoever during their entire lifespan (7-Omega). Omega parallels are considered classified and out of bounds for unsanctioned superhumans.
Photograph of Infinity Squad researcher in the middle of a street in a 1-Omega major metropolitan area. Laboratory analysis has proven dust to be primarily composed of incinerated human remains.
The mapping of the Multiverse was not without its risks, however; a number of villainous superhumans, as well as dangerous entities made its way back to the original continuum (heretofore referred to as 1-Gamma). None of these threats was, however, as great or as all-encompassing as…
THE COSMIC CONJENCTURES
Three in total, these events stood for partial multiversal collapse or the merging of continuums in a violent, uncontrollable fashion. Cosmic Conjectures are, in a way, multiversal earthquakes.
Bullshit science with a hint of actual multiversal theory.
Theories on the link between Infinitron trans-multiversal travel technology and these quakes is so far, unfounded. As far as the scientific and superhuman community is concerned, most Conjenctures were natural occurrences, beyond human tampering.
The First Cosmic Conjencture:
|“This…we can’t handle this!” Titan, 1962|
Occurring in 1962, the first Cosmic Conjencture was the cosmic equivalent of the Apocalypse. Ill-prepared for such a threat, 1-Gamma experienced the simultaneous bleed of three realities in the same continuum on the 6th of February, 1962.
9-Delta (a parallel under the sway of a totalitarian regime, originating from a 20th century Roman Empire in the brink of collapse), 6-Epsilon (the parallel capital continuum of the Carnivore Junta) and 2-Omega (a parallel populated by a single sentient black hole), bled into 1-Gamma.
Sentinel, enlisting the help of every superhuman in the planet, launched an attack that drove back the forces of 9-Delta and quickly stemmed the tide of 6-Epsilon’s attack in the Middle East.
|Rog’Fash, Imperator of the Carnivore Junta|
It was contact with 2-Omega that nearly destroyed 1-Gamma and caused significant destruction. Through the concerted efforts of the Titan family
|And the sacrifice of Anastas and Akulina, parents to the current Titan,during the collapse of the sentient black hole|
The threat was eradicated and 1-Gamma found itself in dire need of reconstruction and setting up defenses for just such an occasion. It was twenty years before…
The Second Cosmic Conjencture:
January 2nd, 1981; 20 miles east of the coast of Barcelona
On January 1st, 1981, Sentinel received reports of reality shifts across the coast of Japan. By lunchtime, the entire Island had gone dark. By 12 am Greenwich mean time, a distress call from Seoul was directed to Sentinel, describing a swarm of metallic, insectoid beings blasting their way through Busan.
By 1 pm, when Sentinel had arrived, the city had been leveled, replaced by a crude xenoforming factory that had already drilled several miles into the earth’s crust and was using the area’s ore reserves to generate more of its monstrosities.
While Sentinel spent its time fighting the Von Neuman machines, a secondary attack was launch from 6-Epsilon, a parallel populated entirely by superhumans. The secondary attack was fierce and commenced in Barcelona, where a smaller team of superhumans (Headed by the Keymaster and the Frontliners) held their ground until help arrived.
It was later revealed that the conjencture was a concentrated effort of parallels 5 and 9-Epsilon, in order to take over the parallel, each for their own ends. For 9-Epsilon, the need to abduct superhumans and harvest them with the intent of manning their multiversal war machine. For 5-Epsilon (a parallel long since overwhelmed by Von Neumann engines of destruction), another staging point to continue their perpetual war against every lifeform.
Vagan-Of-Tears, God-King of 9-Epsilon.
The Second Cosmic Conjecture resulted in near total obliteration of 1-Gamma, which held its ground. Sentinel and the Frontliners fought the hardest and finally drove back the collective forces, buying time until the reality fault was finally sealed for good by the Infinity Squad.
Third Cosmic Conjencture:
1993. Sentinel is in tatters after their conflict with Kuan Yin. The Fronliners are licking their wounds and mankind has not yet picked up the pieces from the joint invasion effort of two highly hostile Epsilon parallels.
It is unknown how or why Loug attempted entry in 1-Gamma. It is also unknown how it managed to rip its way across universes and cause massive damage to the multiversal infrastructure.
What is known is this: Loug had come for 1-Gamma, to destroy and feed off its fear and ravage and drink on the life-blood of its suns and it would not be denied its prize.
1-Gamma held its ground this time. Earth fought with extra-solar superhumans as its allies
|Lumus of the Sun-Men chief among them.|
While enlisting the aid of friendly Alpha parallels. Loug, proving itself far beyond even their combined effort, required a massive attack with the intent of forcing the creature into a void-prison of Keymaster’s making (his and his 1 to 3-Alpha parallels), in order to trap Loug.
The being, now successfully held with its chamber, was later placed within 1-Gamma’s moon, under constant scrutiny.
Loug thrashes and crashes its ever-shifting body within the confines of its prison, seeking for a way out. It hungers and dreams of disaster and the honeysuckle-sweet terror of every conscious mind that was denied it…
Welp, with pretty much every question answered, I guess it’s time to finally meet…
Tune in next week, for part 3.
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