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The Cosmos of Dr. Moreau

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In 1996, a rather troubled film production of H.G. Wells' The Island of Dr. Moreau was released, directed by Richard Stanley and John Frankenheimer. It featured a distinctly bizarre version of Dr. Moreau, whose full name appears to be R.G.V. Moreau. Since then I've identified R.G.V. Moreau as Robert George van Ee, the son of Joseph van Ee who was in turn born under the name Robert Parry Renault. This essay seeks to put the events of R.G.V. “Moreau”'s life in order leading up to his fateful betrayal on his private Island. This is the history of a man who first sought identity in a figure from the past, and later obtained a nearly-literal godhood, until, as in many myths, it came time for him to be struck down.


The Renaults were connected to the Orloff family not only by their adoption of Paul Orloff, but by blood as well. Both the Renaults and the Orloffs were descendants of scientist Nathaniel Mirakle through his daughters. Paul Renault and his adopted brother Robert Parry Renault spared often, with the latter deriding the former's insistence on working as a showman as well as a scientist. Robert Renault was deeply invested in the story of his ancestor Nathaniel Mirakle, whose experiments with apes in Paris led to his discovery of evolution in 1846, thirteen years before Charles Darwin published his Origin of Species . Robert's own experiments with apes, shown in The Monster and the Girl (1941) and Dr. Renault's Secret (1942), were in Mirakle's name. Paul Renault considered his older brother overly serious, and pursued a variety of careers without concern for his sibling's judgment. As Joseph Steiner, Prince Saliano, and Professor Leonide, Paul worked as a showman, and as James Brewster and Paul Renault he operated as a scientist, involved with both apes and zombies. As Emil Nardo, he even did some spying for the Nazis. His rivalry with his brother, fictionalized as a rivalry between cousins in the film Scared to Death (1947), would lead to his decision to influence his brother's grandson William van Ee into taking up the Orloff name and creed. Using the name “William Orloff,” van Ee interfered with the health and safety of the Comfort family in 1971, as seen in the film The Sinister Eyes of Dr. Orloff (1973). However, William van Ee was only Paul Orloff's second apprentice. Before then, Paul had tried to corrupt his nephew Robert George van Ee into following the ethos of his extended family.


In order to convince young Robert into becoming a proper Orloff, Paul changed his name once more, taking on the identity of George Zabor. As an “old friend” of Robert's father, “Zabor” claimed that Robert had received his middle name in honor of him. He shared with Robert his father's notes, derived in turn from Dr. Mirakle's, and even revealed to him something of the nature of his sponsors from when he wrote essays on human-animal connections under his James Brewster alias. Zabor told him that his supporters had been apes themselves, and like Dr. Mirakle, he could speak the language of the great apes, allowing him to pen such revolutionary research.


Robert van Ee was ultimately swayed, however, when Zabor presented him with the authentic notes of Alphonse Moreau himself. Furthermore, he was able to produce the notes of Alphonse's 17 th Century ancestor Alban for his nephew's consumptions. In that instant, Robert van Ee rejected his birthname, but not for the name which Zabor anticipated. Instead of becoming Robert Orloff, he became Robert George Vanee Moreau, grandson of Alphonse. He began work at once on restoring Moreau's work of turning animals into people, while also studying deeply Alban Moreau's accounts of visiting the Blazing World, an extradimensional haven of sorts for a variety of animal-human hybrid-like creatures. The newly-christened Dr. Moreau dedicated his life not only to bridging the gap between man and animal, but also to building a world like the Blazing World where the products of his experiments could live safely. Thus he studied both biology and physics.


By the late 1940s, Moreau had established enough of a name for himself, with Zabor's aid, to inspire imitators. Moreau had a thick rivalry with Mortimer Dart, whose discoveries on genetics he would later steal; he also clashed with Dr. Karl Osler, though he viewed this man as having more potential than Dart. Moreau learned Osler was actually one of his cousins, being the son of Armando Orloff, the child of Moreau's great-uncle Dionysus—he inherited the Orloff family curse of a loved one who needed stolen essence taken from other people to sustain themselves. On a small island, Osler extracted hormones from young women to heal his wife, which had the consequence of turning them into beast-folk like those Moreau created. As far as Moreau knew, Osler was killed when a missile struck his island in 1956.


Through these bitter rivalries, Moreau showed idealistic ambition. In the early '50s Moreau yearned to create a race of gigantic ants, based on discoveries of ant intelligence made by researchers like Timothy Thummel. This led to him battling the sentient humanoid ant known as Spiridon, as seen in my short story, “Bug's Life” ( Tales of the Shadowmen Vol. 15: Trompe L'Oeil , Dec. 2018). The incident with Spiridon left him questioning his purpose in life.


Through the use of Alphonse Moreau's notes, Robert Moreau had mastered the process of turning animals into human-like beings; it had been easy for a man of his intelligence. He wanted to find a new direction for his work. In 1957, some years after his battle with Spiridon, he was contacted by mysterious operatives who claimed to be his old mentor George Zabor's former sponsors. Intrigued by this claim, Moreau followed the instructions of these correspondences to seek out the accounts of the German-Mexican adventurer known as the New Leatherstocking. These led him out to the Mexican desert, where he glimpsed for his own eyes the mysterious location which the 19 th Century adventurer had once battled in—the City of the Gorilla Men.


The Gorilla-City, populated by creatures such as those Moreau made from gorillas, did not exist in traditional space. The human-like gorillas who greeted him explained that there was dimensional interference in this time-period that ordinarily prevented people from Earth from accessing the city. Only the recent arrival of a red-suited human, possessed of speed so swift he could crack the barriers between dimensions, had restored their connection to Earth. Even then, only gorillas could get in—or those of importance to them. These gorillas called Moreau their Master, for in the past, he had created them and the City they lived in. Consequently, his genetic structure unlocked the dimensional shields that barred them from Earth. The leader of the Gorilla Men, an ape named Solovar, explained that at some point Moreau had learned how to build dimensional bubbles such as the one that housed the City, and achieved his dream of constructing a utopia for the beings his treatments created. They were willing to help him bring them into existence—wherein he would rule them unconditionally—but this would be no easy feat. When he agreed to undertake the task, they were able to refer him to his cousin, Leonard Orlak, who had once built the extradimensional computer-city of Alphaville. Orlak explained to him that in order to maintain the spatial-chronal bubble, he would need components from a time-machine.


The Gorillas had time-machines but they couldn't use their own machines to create their City's dimension; that would create a time paradox as it would be like the City creating itself. Moreau needed to locate the original time-machine that was used to build the City. The Gorilla-Men were able to give him a lead, for he was not their only Master. They'd also joined themselves to the fungus-creatures called the Mi-Go, who offered them many of the technological wonders that made their city possible. Through the alien Mi-Go, Moreau was placed in contact with the Mi-Go's allies, the extraterrestrials known as the Galaxy Beings or the Supreme Race. These beings had enacted several Plans to take over the Earth, and when Moreau met them in the late 1950s, they were in the process of initializing their Ninth Plan. This scheme involved reanimating the dead, including Moreau's uncle Vaughn Orloff. Their Tenth Plan, a product of negotiations involving astronaut Feodor Orloff III—another relative of Moreau's—featured many of the same tactics as Plan 9, but with the aliens now holding the power of invisibility. (Plan 10 from Outer Space was the subject of the 1959 film Invisible Invaders .) The Mi-Go were interested in having Moreau work on Plan 11, which involved sending invisible operatives back in time to destroy humanity when they were more technologically primitive. They knew that the Galaxy Beings would accept Moreau because he was also an agent from their history.


The Galaxy Beings knew Moreau as an ancient figure who supplied the sciences that allowed them to create their gargans, the large lobster-like monsters shown in the film Teenagers from Outer Space (1958). Using their time-machines they sent him back into their own past and had him perform that very role. Earth lobsters proved sufficient subjects for Moreau; the gargans devastated an untold number of worlds who served under the yoke of the greater government of the Supreme Race's Eddorian Empire.


Having earned the gratitude of the Supreme Race, Moreau witnessed the dispatch of an invisible agent back to 1951. Unfortunately for Moreau's sponsors Plan 11 was a failure, as depicted in Phantom from Space (1953). Despite the loss of their invisible time-agent, the Galaxy Beings told Moreau that their time-machines were based on those used by the rogue time-traveler Lord Scand.


Moreau spent many years searching for Scand, eventually learning his past. Scand's name was shortened from the Scandium Conqueror, which was the name Scand claimed for himself in the 41 st Century as a rebel against the Tsan-Chan Empire. In this era scandium had become a valuable building material and Scand had not only built his armor and weapons of war from it, but he claimed possession of most of Earth's supply of it after eliminating the Tsan-Chan and their overlord, the creature known as En Sabah Nur.


However, Scand's origins were considerably more ancient than that. Moreau found out that Scand was an immortal, and he had lived since the early 1300s. Using diamonds from the Mines of King Solomon and the elusive African potion known as kavuru, Scand survived through the centuries under the name “Immortus,” which he would supposedly reclaim in the far future after finally renouncing the name of Scand. He notably faced off against a pair of secret teams of superpowered operatives in the 1950s and 1960s, but largely hid his presence from history. Scand gained access to time-travel after he defeated the Tsan-Chan in the 41 st Century, and from then on became a time-marauder, oftentimes warring with the future version of himself who had retaken the name of Immortus. During this time Scand became an enemy of the spectral avenger Bloody Mary and her friend and assistant, Professor Ernest Darwood. (It was Darwood's own pioneering work in time-travel that resulted in the timespheres of the 30 th Century, upon which Scand based his own time-machine.)


When Moreau found Scand, the Conqueror was impressed that the scientist had managed to discover his past. He agreed to help Moreau build his Orlak-bubble, but only if Moreau helped him deal with a longstanding anxiety of his. Like many time-travelers, especially those who resorted to unethical means of sustaining themselves, Scand was worried about his many enemies traveling back in time and killing him as a child. He was thus very conscientious of keeping short the list of people who knew his origins. All the same, he wanted Moreau to dive into the very heart of his origin. He would bring Scand the ultimate security by ensuring that his birth took place.


Scand was born in Egypt in 1308 under the name Nathaniel de Molay. He was the son of the infamous Templar Knight Jacques de Molay, supposedly executed alongside the rest of his Order for a variety of crimes. Jacques was one of many Templars put under the sway of a strange group of beings who joined with them, who kept their features concealed. According to Scand, these operatives were Gorilla Men, who infiltrated the Templars to convert them to the worship of the Mi-Go. They were successful and thus some of the Templars, whose names do not commonly appear in historical records, were persecuted for legitimate pagan beliefs. A legacy of urban legends and conspiracy theories was born as stories of these fungus-worshiping Knights spread. Moreau was responsible for the creation of these ape-Templars who seduced the Knights into evil. Under the command of the Gorillas, the renegade Templars established an international order, propelled across the waves on a fleet of galleons. These rogue Templars were dedicated to finding the secret of eternal life, with some of their agents in Vietnam learning the secrets of the zombies—these Asian Templars were depicted in Revolt of the Zombies (1936) and Raw Force (1982). Templar agents in Spain survived over the centuries, albeit by transforming themselves into blind, zombie-like creatures; these were the Templars of Amando de Ossorio's Tombs of the Blind Dead (1972) and its sequels. A group of film pirates in the early '70s heard rumors that intelligent apes had influenced the renegade Templars who had turned themselves into monsters; thus they released a recut version of Ossorio's film called Revenge from Planet Ape , which changed the undead Templars into undead apes instead. Rather incidentally, this allowed the pirates to cash in (however meagerly) on the hype of the Planet of the Apes movies.


Jacques de Molay would have remained a pious man if he was not corrupted by the Mi-Go and their ape servants. Without that urge to stray from his Christian values he wouldn't have had the affair with the Egyptian woman which led to Scand's birth. Moreau, not incorrectly explaining himself as an agent of Jacques' Masters, supplied his medical skills to deliver the Conqueror when the Knight's lover's labor began. They were joined by a cloaked stranger who seemed to have gray skin beneath his trappings, whom de Molay seemed familiar with. Moreau would later learn the identity of this man, but for now he called himself “Apocalypse.” He insisted that the fallen Knight name his son Nathaniel, a name of apparent “future significance” to him. Apocalypse, in a youth now millennia past, had fought a man named Nathaniel Summers who came from the future to stop him from becoming a threat. This had assured Apocalypse that he had a great destiny, and the tools of that destiny would bear the name of his ancient enemy; this included Nathaniel Mirakle, Moreau's ancestor, who served Apocalypse under the alias of “Sinister.” The Mirakle family, like the Summers family whom Sinister would help Apocalypse create, was the product of centuries of selective breeding. Thus for all these reasons was the future Scand named Nathaniel de Molay. His mother died in childbirth and his father, after his supposed execution, went into exile in Spain, where he led the cult that later preserved themselves as members of the living dead. Scand was raised by Apocalypse, who taught him how to become the Conqueror he was destined to be over the next twenty-seven centuries, eventually becoming the being who gave Dr. Moreau the chronal technology he needed to build the City of the Gorilla Men.


Moreau later learned that that same man spent the early part of his time-travel career in Egypt in the 30 th Century BCE under the name of Rama-Tut. Under this alias, Scand sired a child named En Sabah Nur, ostensibly meaning “the First One”; a boy whom Scand believed to be the first child to carry the Oddian mutation in human history. En Sabah Nur eventually battled an Oddian mutant from the future named Summers, who inspired him to become the destroyer known as Apocalypse; Apocalypse had been present at Scand's birth by Rama-Tut's orders, another assurance of his continued existence. Scand's notable descendants also included the Richards family, and, under a variant of his birthname, “Nathan Demolay,” he established a village in the future micronation of Latveria also called Demolay. Perhaps because this town served as one of his bases, it obtained a cursed reputation, becoming known colloquially to English-speaking travelers who passed through the region as Doom-lay. This later became the town's official name, which was finally shortened to Doom; a prominent wealthy family of Latveria took their name from the region, becoming thus “von Doom,” meaning “from Doom.” Moreau determined for himself that neither Reed Richards nor his mortal enemy, Victor von Doom, were of any use to his plans.


With all the resources he needed finally in hand, Moreau set about constructing his utopia. Solovar informed him that he could exploit a flaw in the timestream called a time-crease to establish a dimensional bubble. Working once more with Scand, Moreau “shot down” another renegade time-traveler, a man called John Bly, with the radiations from his damaged time-machine creating the necessary crease in the mid 1870s. Moreau desired to work in the time period of his “grandfather” Alphonse, though there is no evidence that Moreau ever went out of his way to meet his hero. Moreau obtained a population of gorillas from Africa and used his processes to transform them into the first natives of the Gorilla-City. An infant gorilla from Uganda became Solovar. It was taken from the same region where explorers Rodney “Ed” Bradford and Steve Collins encountered an unusual albino specimen of ape in 1925, sometimes called a “White Pongo” by the natives. (The word “Pongo” may be derived from the Luganda words pakula ondobera, literally meaning “steal + weak from illness,” a curse against the child-stealing White Pongo intended to mean “disease-ridden thief.”) In 1930, a year after his ostensible death in Borneo, Moreau's uncle Boris Kolomb Orloff (under the name “Boris Borodoff”) had led an expedition into the valley of the White Gorilla under the crazed belief that the apes there were the missing link. Moreau had a personal connection to the region that was home to the White Pongo even besides Boris Orloff's involvement; his uncle Amos Bradford Renault was named after Ed Bradford's father Rodney Bradford Sr., who had also been an explorer of Africa whom Moreau's grandmother had met through her lover Sir William Clayton. A young Robert Renault had used some of his inheritance to sponsor Ed Bradford's expedition. The mission was undermined by the greed of Lou “Brute” Hanley, whose descendants were later murdered in their small country mansion of Hanley House, in an unrelated incident—as seen in the film Ghosts of Hanley House (1968). Moreau's father was saddened by the death of Ed Bradford at Hanley's hands, but through his connection to Bradford's estate, Robert Renault was always guaranteed a supply of gorillas to work with. Moreau remembered his father's story of the Ugandan valley and saw no harm in putting the ancestors of his father's subjects to use.


With Solovar's help, Moreau was able to secure the City from destruction even after Scand was erased from time. While Moreau had labored to make sure that Scand was born, it was Scand himself who undid his handiwork. He ended up battling Bloody Mary and Professor Darwood in Egypt in 1315 and in the course of their fighting he accidentally slew the seven year old Nathaniel de Molay. With no past Scand was at risk of being erased from history, but managed to sustain his existence by feeding on sources of unique energies, including the waves of paradox-force created by the splintering of the power of the Stone God in 1950 (see “Pain, Then Nothing”), and the mystical energy left behind in the body of time-traveler Erik von Steiner (as seen in the Bloody Mary audio story “The Conquest of Time and the Universe”). Eventually Scand met his true death at the hands of the time-demon Kul'ul during another battle with Bloody Mary; a struggle which also claimed the life of Ernest Darwood. Moreau cared nothing for Scand's death, having guaranteed the survival of his utopia. The time-machines that created the Orlak-bubble of the Gorilla-City continued to exist, even though they no longer had a builder.


The Gorilla Men enjoyed great prosperity shortly after their creation, conducting many wondrous experiments, including influencing the lives of people like Bernard Adrian, Paula Dupree, and Barney Chavez. Through time-travel they moved their city up and down the timeline, influencing many parts of history, though as before they noticed a strange interference that kept them locked out of realspace for the most part after the year 1890. Via time-travel they sponsored Nathaniel Mirakle, Dionysus Orloff, and Moreau's own father Robert Parry Renault. While Robert Renault's work has been depicted here, elsewhere, and in Monster and the Girl and Dr. Renault's Secret, additional research into his early career and sponsorship by the Gorilla-Men has uncovered an intriguing, hitherto unknown episode that brought Renault in contact with his cousin Armando Orloff. Armando operated under the name Armando del Valle, the name he was adopted under, but also under the alias of Dr. de Villa, an entomologist and surgeon. However, in 1938, del Valle appeared in Africa under the name “Dartworth Devoli,” and transferred the brain of reporter Steven Carpenter into a gorilla. The ensuing accounts written by respectively Don Wilcox and David V. Reed, “The Whispering Gorilla” (1940) and “Return of the Whispering Gorilla” (1943), are unclear as to if Devoli had an assistant, but he did, and that man was Dr. Renault. The methods Renault and his cousin used on Carpenter would later be used by Renault on Scot Webster. Devoli was no greenhorn on brain-transplants, as seen in the account of his guise as Dr. de Villa, The Ant with the Human Soul (1932). When Moreau learned of this early effort by his father, and the telling pseudonym his cousin used, he did some research, and was never so displeased to find a theory of his proven: under the name Dartworth Devoli, Armando Orloff had sired a son who was raised under a version of his father's first name. The child had been Mortimer Dart, his arch-rival. Dart and Moreau were of the same blood, as Armando del Valle was the son of Moreau's great-uncle, Dionysus Orloff. It was likely that Karl Osler was Dart's twin brother. They were separated at birth, with Karl Dart being raised by a German family. Two enemies, both his relatives—all the more reason, Moreau realized, to push himself deeper into being a Moreau and not an Orloff.


During this time Moreau worked on maintaining a base on Earth in his native time—by now so much time had passed that he had taken to living in the '70s to explain his age, despite having left Earth in the late 1950s. He spent his time trying to win the Nobel Prize, despite also insisting he'd already won it. During this time he discovered that one of his other imitators from the 1950s, a Dr. Charles Girard (who thankfully was not related to him, as part as he could observe), had survived his supposed death on his hideaway of Blood Island and, under the name of Charles Gordon, had resumed his animal transformation experiments in 1970, creating his “Twilight People.” When the Twilight People ended up responsible for Girard/Gordon's death, Moreau plundered his assets, taking his funding and island for himself. Around this time he also looted the coffers and archives of Mortimer Dart. However, he chose to spare Mortimer's brother Karl Osler from his death in 1956, removing him from time just moments before he was disintegrated. Osler became his personal Montgomery, and when he sired a son under Moreau's service, Moreau insisted he named the boy Montgomery.


The 1890 time-lock did not stop the Gorillas from implanting agents into the timestream prior to that date and keeping them hidden until they could become active. 1889 was a frequent drop-off point for these agents. It was in 1889 that they made contact with one of the so-called soul-clones of Dracula, with many of their Gorilla-Men agents forming a Mi-Go cult in his castle to enhance his power. Moreau and Solovar sought to use Dracula as a reserve weapon in case their City's defenses proved inadequate; starved of blood, the vampire could be forced to kill anyone they wanted. Moreau was also interested in the possibility that vampires were partial genetic fusions of humans and bats. With the aid of the Gorilla-Men, this Dracula-doppelganger tried to conquer London in 1898, enlisting a conspiracy of nobles to sabotage the workings of the English government and create a society where nobles like him could rule the people like serfs again. Identified among these conspirators were individuals named Prince Koromezzo, Madame St. Amand, and Marquis Caroman Rubiano, who all died or committed suicide after “Dracula” was destroyed by Thomas Harker, his fiancee Wilma, and a young Muller von Helsing. The incidents surrounding their conspiracy and the cult behind it were chronicled by Valdimar Asmundsson and possibly also Bram Stoker in Powers of Darkness (1900-1901). This Thomas Harker may have been a relative of Jonathan Harker, but he was likely a descendant of Thomas Hutter, who faced the vampire Count Orlok in 1838. The death and failure of the Dracula-clone left Moreau with more proof of his increasing suspicion of the uselessness of others. The authors of Powers of Darkness coded the Gorilla-Man operatives as people of color to suit the bigotry of their time; indeed many accounts of the actions of Solovar's people were changed to further racist beliefs and systems.


Eventually Moreau learned why the Gorilla-City was locked out of the universe after 1890. In 1890, the New Leatherstocking returned to the City in the company of the deathless adventurer Immorté. The Mi-Go told Moreau that their origin, or one of them, involved two strangers who came to the Gorilla City and tried to destroy it, shattering the dimensional link that anchored the City to Earth. The dimensional distortion that resulted transformed several of Moreau's apes into the fungoid creatures whom the Gorilla Men worshiped. When the New Leatherstocking and Immorté were captured by the Gorilla-Men, Moreau couldn't resist boasting of his accomplishments to his prisoners even though he sought to avoid what the Mi-Go saw as fate. Sure enough, Immorté and the New Leatherstocking rebelled, and the latter gave his life shattering the link between Earth and Gorilla-City. Immorté escaped, but so did Moreau. He already knew the City would go on without him, until it recruited him to journey into its past to ensure its existence. In turn he would guarantee the existence of many figures from the past, including himself, in a way; Apocalypse, alias En Sabah Nur, saw to the breeding that led to the birth of Moreau's ancestor Nathaniel Mirakle, and Apocalypse was the son of Lord Scand, whom Moreau created.


Left stranded in 1980, Moreau would spend the next fourteen years building his Island—advancing Mortimer Dart's genetic discoveries, as well as raising young Montgomery Osler. His lengthy experiences as the Master of Gorilla-City had convinced him that he was beyond even Alphonse Moreau: he was a God. He concerned himself deeply with the questions of God and the Devil, desiring to know where Humanity fit in between the two. His beliefs became complicated, arbitrary, and occasionally self-contradictory, leading to deep confusion in those he encountered. Even the man he helped raise, Montgomery, thought he was a lunatic. For example, the scientist dedicated a substantial amount of his plundered budget to investigating rumors of American children who had made contact with a race of aliens Moreau claimed were known to the Mi-Go as Andalites. These Andalites had the ability to instill mutations in humans that allowed them to take on animal-like traits. There has never been any evidence to suggest that Moreau's proposed war between the Andalites and the sinister, Eddorian-like Yeerks ever took place.


Montgomery Osler was in his early twenties in 1994, when he recovered U.N. Ambassador Edward Douglas out on the oceans near Moreau's island. Douglas' presence on the island would unbalance the unstable population of beast-people Moreau had been rearing. Moreau had managed to totally reject that he had ever been an Orloff and was deeper into his Moreau delusions than ever. It is just possible that his last thoughts on this Earth, as his beast-men killed him, concerned how beautiful it was that he died just as his forebear had—in nearly the exact same way. To die under tooth and claw; that was the way of Moreau.