Monday, February 4, 2013


“I offer the world freedom from want...  Whoever wants to die rather than accept what I offer is free to do so.”

What makes anyone think this way?  How does anyone become so evil?  To learn how it started, we must look back to a night long ago, when something fell from the sky over England and landed on the outskirts of a former countryside manor--and a little boy stole out of the handyman’s quarters to see what it was.

Young Graeme Grimstead, bereft of his parents (as we saw last time), was being raised on the manor-turned-luxury resort by his uncle Nigel Hewitt, the handyman and groundskeeper.  What he found in the forest thicket surrounding the property that night was a small crater strewn with the parts of strange, unrecognizable machinery--at whose center lay a strange crystal with an inner, diamond-like glow.  He gathered up the odd machine parts and pocketed the crystal before anyone else could come and get them, and took them back to the servant’s quarters where he lived.  And that was how Graeme acquired what he would come to call the Quantum Prism.

The Quantum Prism was an alien object, its origin unknown, containing a subtle but awesome power:  an ability to affect reality at the level of quantum mechanics, where all physical laws that govern the universe break down into uncertainty and probability.  The effect of the Prism is that of the ultimate “good luck charm,” conferring a positive outcome for every event onto its holder.  It can also have the reverse effect, that of a cosmic “Hope Diamond,” projecting negative outcomes onto others.  As fate would have it, this alien talisman of “positivity” was now in the hands of what was becoming a very negative young boy.  Graeme had grown to hate the world for allowing poverty and inequality to exist:  For it was these conditions that had made Graeme’s father Roland a chronically unemployed, alcoholic, physically and emotionally abusive husband.  This was why Graeme had lived with his parents in a tenement on the East End of London, where the only lights in his mother’s life were Graeme himself and her gift for art--until the day that a drunken and angry Roland killed her.  This was why Roland was now behind bars for life and Graeme, who had walked in on the murder scene, was permanently traumatized.  And this was why Graeme, coming to live with his Uncle Nigel, had witnessed wealth for the first time, compared it to the misery from which he came--and held it against the entire world that his mother had died at the hands of the monster that was Graeme’s father.

To little Graeme Grimstead, the entire world except for his Uncle Nigel was made up of monsters like his father, or people who created such monsters or allowed them to exist.  And now Graeme, as he would soon discover, had the power to do something about it.

Nigel had learned that Graeme had a knack for tinkering with machinery.  To boost the boy’s morale, he had begun to provide him with simple toys as well as bits of broken devices and electronic scrap, which Graeme had a marvelous gift for working into gadgets of all sorts.  The lad also demonstrated keen mathematical and computer skills, including programming.  His natural talent, coupled with the influence of the Quantum Prism that Graeme kept a secret from everyone including Nigel (at least in the beginning), catapulted Graeme through school and the best universities in England, and on into the business world.  The young Englishman was on a fast track as the British Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, his only rival in computers and high-tech industry being America’s Esteban Vega, who was doing the same thing, but without the boost from an alien power.  Grimstead in the UK and Vega in California were becoming the world’s titans of technology.  The founder of Steadfast Tech, Graeme was a celebrity, sought after in the most elite circles of the very world he had learned to despise as a boy.  But this did nothing to assuage his contempt for humanity.  Graeme’s empire was, for him, an unassailable fortress of money behind which to barricade himself against everything he hated.  The filthy, vulgar, evil world that had made his father a monster and destroyed his beautiful, gentle mother would never touch him.  Its cruel hands would never foul him or contaminate his life.  Nothing would ever touch Graeme Grimstead.  The Quantum Prism would see to that.

Except...Steadfast Tech had investments and holdings all over the world, and was a benefactor of research in universities both in the UK and abroad, including America.  And one of the researchers working under Steadfast grant endowments was an American theoretical physicist named Elise Hall, of California Coast University.  During a visit to CCU to have a tour of where his money was going, Graeme met Elise, and for the first time in his life found something that he wanted to touch him.  Some time in the future we will learn the story of why beautiful Elise took up research into temporal theory and had an ambition to build a working time machine.  Suffice it to say that her beauty, her ideas, and her brilliance reached that part of Graeme’s heart that he had locked away inside a vault of hatred and pain.  They became lovers, and Elise was now the only thing besides his immense wealth and his isolation from the world that made Graeme happy.  The trouble was that Graeme truly did have his heart’s desire--in a way he did not expect.

Graeme didn’t want the filthy, vulgar, cruel world to touch him--and long-term exposure to the energies of the Quantum Prism was slowly, over many years, granting him his fondest wish.  His atomic structure was gradually being thrown out of phase with other matter, with the cumulative effect of making Graeme intangible.  He began to have “spells” and “attacks” of losing solidity, with no way to stop it.  Graeme convened his top scientific minds to address the problem of his phasing, and they determined that it was irreversible and would eventually become permanent.  At some point, the alien power of the Quantum Prism, based on a science that no one on Earth could grasp, would leave its holder as ephemeral as a Charles Dickens ghost, with no hope of recovery.  Only after learning the extent of his condition did Graeme share what was happening to him with the one he loved.

At first Elise was naturally horrified--both at Graeme’s condition and the fact that while she had trusted him with everything in her life, he had never told her anything about the Prism or how he had used it.  She was furious, as any deceived lover would be--but as Graeme’s mother Penny had loved Graeme’s father in spite of himself, Elise still loved Graeme.  She stood by her man and tried to help him.  As his fiancee, she refused to let him keep her off the experimental team studying the Quantum Prism and looking for a way to reintegrate her intended.  By this time Graeme was forced to live in special containment apparatus resembling spacesuits.  It was on Elise’s watch that an attempt to scan and probe the interior of the Quantum Prism resulted in an explosion that wrecked the laboratory complex and might have taken Elise’s life if Nigel hadn’t managed to get her to safety.  But in the upheaval, Graeme was lost, his containment suit ruptured and his intangible body dissipated.  In trying to save her lover, Elise had seemingly lost him.  Or had she?  The same fate that put the Quantum Prism in the hands of a wounded, angry boy was not finished with Graeme and Elise--not yet.  When Quantum Comics Blog returns, we’ll see how this disaster only set the stage for evil yet to come!