|The Web Of Worlds|
|Some of the science|
I realise this will only be of passing interest to most, but this is one of my favourite pieces I've written for a gaming campaign (my yet-to-see life Villains & Vigilantes hack, Knight City).
Enjoy this 'in-universe' slice of weird science as I discuss the Multiverse as pictured in my campaign, from its homework on "Earth-H" (HeroPess), and how my beloved Acrobatic Flea appears across various alternate dimensions.
I tend to regard the original version of this, on the campaign blog site, as a "living document" and am known to add new "alternate Earths" when ideas strike. The piece is a combination of references to other games (some my own, some others) and pure "thought experiments" on various different comic book style iterations of Earth and the Acrobatic Flea.
Extrapolating on earlier quantum theory work by Erwin Schrödinger, the visualisation and study of parallel dimensions is a new field of science pioneered in a joint project between scientists working for Nick Law and Miskatonic University.
Currently, the team is only able to observe - and theorise about - these alternate realities, and not interact with them. But, clearly, such interaction is the ultimate goal.
|The Acrobat (of Earth-B)|
Now, dressed in camouflage-clothing and a vaguely insect-like hockey mask, Ritter gets his kicks on the streets of Vigilante City by fearlessly jumping off rooftops, swinging from flag poles, bouncing off of awnings and smacking the bad guys in the face.
A twitchy, adrenaline junkie, his small stature has earned him the nickname of “The Acrobatic Flea”.
A wise-cracking, loquacious youth, his love of comic books has fuelled his creativity and when asked about his “origins” he often spins wild tales of being bitten radioactive fleas, finding lost artefacts of ancient gods, being the last survivor of an alien race etc
Armed only with his fists, feet, and a small number of throwing stars for distance attacks, The Acrobat is a master of close combat, never remaining still, always bobbing, weaving, ducking and diving, looking for a weak spot in his opponent’s defences.
THE ACROBATIC FLEA (of Earth-DCTV) A very distant parallel and hard to truly visualise, Earth-DCTV is another nexus world with branches off to its own parallels.
The alternate Earths spinning off from this parallel are coded with numbers, one to 52 (so far), as well as one classified as Earth-X (not to be confused with an Earth-X parallel of our own world).
On Earth-DCTV, Dr Tim Knight (picture left) is a scientist working at S.T.A.R. Labs with Cisco Ramon, Caitlin Snow et al, but as the metahuman known as The Acrobatic Flea (pictured right) he is also a member of Team Flash, and has fought alongside both The Flash and Supergirl.
This parallel is cut off from the rest of the Multiverse by a cosmic shell, or wall, and, so far, science suggests it would be inaccessible from our world, yet still observable with the right technology.
|The Flea of Earth-F|
THE ACROBATIC FLEA (of Earth-G): A mere teenager starting out on a career of superheroics, the Acrobatic Flea of Earth-G perished (along with all the other inhabitants of that plane) when that universe unexpectedly disintegrated.
THE CURRENT ACROBATIC FLEA (of Earth-H): The most recent superhero in the multiverse to take up the mantle of The Acrobatic Flea, 17-year-old Tim Knight is learning the ropes as a junior member of Knight City's Agents of C.O.M.P.A.S.S. on Earth-H. (NB. This is THIS Earth!)
THE ACROBATIC FLEA (of Earth-L): Even less well-known than his Earth-S colleague, the Acrobatic Flea of Earth-L is currently more a rumour than a reality.
However, this Earth is of particular interest to multiversal scientists as it's a nexus of links to different branches of the "web of worlds", proving the theory that the multiverse is more than just parallel universes but expands in other dimensions.
These worlds are classified by Grecian nomenclature, and include such exotic parallels as Earth-Mu (a world of anthropomorphic cats) and Earth-Xi (a world of toy bricks).
Scientists on Earth-L who study these other universes refer to their own as Earth-Alpha.
|Flea-Girl of Earth-M|
Both remain members of the premier British superhero team known as The Gauntlet.
When not fighting crime, the Flea, in his secret identity, is an entomological scientist for the prestigious Masters’ Corporation and a champion practitioner of the martial art of savate.
Sixteen years younger than The Acrobatic Flea, Flea-Girl is the Flea's best friend and verbal sparring partner, whose abilities continue to develop as she continues to fight crime alongside her mentor.
THE ACTROBATIC FLEA (of Earth-MCU): Like Earth-DCTV (above), Earth-MCU is another sealed parallel, that also serves as a nexus world.
In this reality, the teenaged Acrobatic Flea is a member of The Avengers, protecting Earth from Thanos alongside Captain America, Falcon, Iron Man etc
As befits the design aesthetic of this universe's superheroes, his uniform is more of a 'combat suit', with flexible armoured panels on his shoulders and sides.
|The Avengers' identicard of Earth-MCU's Acrobatic Flea|
DER AKROBATISCHE FLOH (of Earth-N): Given its pivotal role in recent human history, it's a quirk of all parallels that they feature - in some form - a world where the Nazi's actually defeated The Allies in the Second World War.
This was the fate of Earth-N, an industrialised, fascistic nightmare planet dominated by The Eternal Reich. Here the villainous Der Akrobatische Floh is one of the foot soldiers of the Reich's Übermensch Division.
THE ACROBATIC FLEA (Of Earth-P): Another nexus world, Earth-P has one of the most storied and dense histories of superpowered characters. On this world, the young Flea is Sean Gentry.
Born in the UK, son of billionaire industrialist Geoff Gentry, his mutant powers were recognised at an early age, but Geoff's dislike of "powered individuals" means it was kept quiet.
However, when a supervillain targeted Sean for assassination (Geoff, on his way to supervillain status himself, has a lot of enemies), Geoff did what any sane parent would do and faked his son's death, before sending him to live in New Jersey with distant - impoverished - relatives, under the name of Tim Knight.
THE ACROBATIC ZOMBIE (of Earth-R): This decaying, rotten Earth has seen 99.999% of the human and metahuman population wiped out by a zombie virus.
Unfortunately for the handful of uninfected survivors, the zombie-metahumans (including The Acrobatic Flea) have retained their superhuman abilities (if not their intelligence). It's just now coupled with an insatiable, bestial, hunger for human flesh.
THE ARMOURED FLEA (of Earth-T): Earth-T - or Herph as its inhabitants refer to it - is a Medieval world of magic and monsters, gods and demons, ruled by mighty warriors and powerful wizards clashing by force of swords of sword and sorcery. The Armoured Flea is Timotheous Cniht, a young squire, with dreams of being a great hero... dreams he has yet to act upon.
Another nexus reality, the parallel existences that conjoin with Earth-T (named for the central realm of Tekralh) are all born of magic rather than science. Moving through these alternate realities is the hellworld of Croatoa, home of the elder god known as the Yellow King and his various minions, such as Baba Yaga, The Witch Of The Woods.
Growing up a proud bookish nerd, she thought her organisational skills as class president and hall monitor meant a career in middle management or local government until her birthright as The Chosen One was revealed to her.
Already nicknamed The Academic Flea for her size, pestering nature, and love of the written word, Rachel embraced it as her "fighting name" once she began to work on developing her innate martial arts skills.
Reluctantly, at first, she embraced the mantle of "this generation's vampire slayer" - until she realised she could bring her organisational skills to her new vocation.
Now, she's the leader of a very well disciplined and coordinated Scooby Gang fighting every Big Bad that comes to her town.
THE ORIGINAL ACROBATIC FLEA (of Earth-V): The first superhero of the multiverse known to have taken the mantle of The Acrobatic Flea is an old man now, living out his twilight years training young up-and-coming heroes in his gym.
During the brutal "iron age" of Earth-V, this Acrobatic Flea lost a leg in a confrontation with his arch-nemesis Dr Bionics.
|Retired Hero: The aged |
Luckily scientific genius and billionaire inventor Nick Law was able to give the hero a proper prosthetic, but the Flea was never his old self again.
During this violent time, the Flea's sidekick, the effervescent Flea-Girl suffered brain damage after an oversized villain cracked her skull in the middle of a particularly viscous brawl on a space station.
The Flea now divides his time between training others and caring for his severely disabled former partner-in-crimefighting.
THE AQUABATIC FLEA (of Earth-W): On this waterworld, where mankind evolved as a mer-race, The Aquabatic Flea is the leader of the crimefighting Agents Of N.A.U.T.I.L.U.S.
THE AGGRO FLEA (of Earth-XF): On the peculiar Earth-XF music drives the world's economy, an immortal Freddie Mercury has ruled The United Kingdom for over 60 years and Simon Cowell is the President Of The United States.
In middle-class, suburban England, Titch Knight and two of his school friends managed to turn their punk garage band, The Bondage Girls, into a global phenomenon. But while gigging in the Far East, Titch was bitten by a radioactive flea and transformed into The Aggro Flea, a punk rock superhero.
He continues to tour with the band, and record top-selling albums, but also uses his powers for good... and fun... and a bit of anarchy.
THE REVERSE FLEA (of Earth-Z): While Multiversal scientists at Miskatonic have proved the existence of Earth-Z, they find studying it next to impossible as the passage of time there runs counter to our own.
It is as though everything is moving backwards, left is right, up is down etc and extended periods of study of Earth-Z tends to be hazardous to equipment on our Earth.
However, a villain has been identified who bears a passing similarity to our Acrobatic Flea. He has been labelled "The Reverse Flea", even though the true extent of his abilities has yet to be analysed.
DECODING THE WORLDS (by game system):
- Earth-B: Bloat Games' Vigilante City
- Earth-G: Guardians
- Earth-H: HeroPress (aka V&V Second Edition)
- Earth-L: Light City
- Earth-M: Mutants & Masterminds
- Earth-P: The Mighty Protectors (aka V&V Third Edition)
- Earth-U: Unisystem (Buffy The Vampire Slayer RPG)
- Earth-V: Villains & Vigilantes (our original campaign)