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The Disciples of Marduk were a group of four Babylonian high priests and skilled magicians, living during the reign of King Nebuchadnezzar, entrusted with each taking one of the four removable but essential pieces of the Infernal Machine and scattering them all across the world. The mission of the Disciples was to conceal and guard these four parts of the Machine, which each possessed awesome but devastating powers all on their own, but without which the Infernal Machine as a whole could not operate.
There are two possible theories about the Disciples' motivations that may be interpreted from the ancient writing that archaeologist Indiana Jones discovered thousands of years later in 1947 at the ruins of Babylon. Either (1) the Disciples followed orders from King Nebuchadnezzar, who was himself inspired by the god Marduk, or (2) they followed orders directly and only from Marduk, while betraying Nebuchadnezzar. The uncertainty comes from the ambiguity of the writing, which states: "it was Nebuchadnezzar, in heed of the writing that Marduk made appear unto him, who builded the great engine. Having no understanding, the rabble hath thrown down his work, but four trusted disciples are scattered upon the face of the earth, and the relics go with them." The writing, thus, does not state to whom the Disciples are "trusted" by. The first theory appears to be the more probable, though, since the writing reads as though the common people defied Nebuchadnezzar (and so, by extension, Marduk as well), by refusing to complete construction of "the great engine." It logically follows that the Disciples wished to continue the work of completing the machine, and therefore took the four pieces of the engine to far-reaching lands to keep under careful protection, ensuring that they would be preserved in order to be some day be reunited and reassembled in Babylon. The individual Disciples included:
- Urgon, who fled to Shambala Sanctuary (in modern-day Kazakhstan)
- Taklit, who fled to a volcanic temple on the island of Palawan (Philippines)
- Azerim, who fled to live among the Olmec people in Teotihuacan (Mexico)
- Nub, the who fled to Meroë in the Nubian desert (Anglo-Egyptian Sudan)
Discoveries by Indiana JonesEdit
In 1947, a secret team of Soviet excavators and soldiers, led by Dr. Gennadi Volodnikov, started to follow a string of clues, beginning at the Infernal Machine dig site in Babylon, in order to locate the final resting places of each Disciple, and, with him, each missing piece of the Machine. This sparked a Cold War-era archaeological race, however, in which American archaeologist, Indiana Jones, ended up discovering all four pieces alone as well as much evidence of the Disciples' former activities. Jones was pursued along the way by his Soviet competitors.
Jones discovered Urgon's skeleton still seated on a chair by his study within the Shambala Sanctuary inner sanctum, having never let his Machine part leave his side (which Jones found resting nearby); Urgon presumably died there alone, sealing himself in his own chamber. Based on the fact that ancient monks' corpses were strewn, unburied, throughout the Sanctuary and the only surviving resident described Urgon to Jones as a "curse" with an "evil legacy," it is likely that Urgon was responsible for the deaths of the Sanctuary's monks (probably at the hands of his ice demons).
Taklit was the only of the four Disciples for Jones to note as having received a full ceremonial "burial," with his intact remains located on a funeral barge, suggesting that he may have treated the tribespeople he worked with kindly.
Azerim's remains never were discovered, and his grave, if he had any, was presumably unmarked.
Nub's remains were found in a sarcophagus in the crypt of his tomb. However, he was not mummified as was the usual tradition, which, along with the extremely plain appearance of his inner coffin, suggested that his buriers did not esteem him. It is also possible, though, that he deliberately planned for himself a sparse burial, in order not to attract attention to the location of his Machine part.
The Disciples' treatment of indigenous peoplesEdit
Evidence discovered by Jones suggested that the Disciples had carried out their mission at all costs, with some or all possibly even committing violent human atrocities during the process. All along his journey, Jones found evidence for the following: mistreatment of Shambala monks based on unburied corpses found in Urgon's hideout; probable exploitation and mass killings of Palawan tribal people near Taklit's hideout; probable exploitation of the Olmec people near Azerim's hideout; and, finally, Nub's complete usurpation of monarchical power in the present-day Nubian region. Any of the Disciples, all of whom created vicious monsters to protect their Machine part, may have experimented with their monster-guardians' ferocity on human subjects. In all four locations, especially in areas where the monsters still lurked, Indiana Jones came across numerous, unburied human skeletal remains, many of which showed signs of violent deaths.
- Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine (First appearance)