An old man in the park. He sees birds. He feeds birds. He has a chat with the birds. The old man is cray cray.
Hamilton Howard-Webb was mystified and infatuated with Ghost Rock. His wife Penelope and son, Alonso, always took a back seat to the research Hamilton was undertaking while at work. Alonso was almost 10 when his mother left in an irate fit after more bills were left unpaid. Hamilton lost his job soon after and the Webb’s became vagabonds. Apartment to apartment they roamed never staying for more than a few months. Alonso wanted some friends but only grew up with the company of the small steam powered gadgets and gizmos his father had created for him.
Hamilton was always a high society man, with highbrow friends and colleagues. Ghost Rock technology was very new and expensive. His savings were never going to be enough to maintain his lust for knowledge. He became quite excellent at becoming a thief; often times stealing from some of his acquaintances when at tea parties and galas. One evening Hamilton came home in quite a panic. He asked Alonso to grab his things, for they were going to go visit some friends of his in Europe.
Alonso was in his early teens when they began sailing for Barcelona. Hamilton informed the family that they would be meeting some highly intelligent scientists in Barcelona, Paris, Munich, and Milan. Hamilton mentioned time and again that these seemingly brilliant men could be at the cusp of making exquisite breakthroughs. Eager for this next part of the journey, Alonso immersed himself in various languages and cultures, speaking with different passengers aboard the ship studying French, German, Italian and Spanish.
The family arrived in Barcelona and found Fernando Ramos, known for his research into the utilization of Ghost Rock as a source of energy to conjure movement in inanimate objects. Alonso always followed his father. This made it odd when, on the penultimate evening in Spain, Alonso was sternly asked to stay home. Very early the following morning, Alonso was woken up in a rush and told they were going to miss the train for France. It was still dark when they hopped onto the last cart in the train yard, without a boarding pass. Sweat beading on Hamilton’s brow, he was always uneasy when the police walked passed. Alonso’s curiosity heightened when the train set off.
Jean Baptiste was there to greet them at the train station. A very famous scientist indeed, he, and his colleagues used Ghost Rock to create Photolithography, leading to the beginnings of photography. The family was never really settled in France. A few weeks after their arrival, Alonso overheard Jean and his father get into a very serious argument. Then, as with Barcelona, they hopped onto a train in the middle of the night and headed to Italy.
In Milan things were always tense; Hamilton could never relax. When visiting the university, Hamilton was always on edge. On multiple occasions, Alonso even heard his father introduce himself as “Alonso”. It was so strange to Alonso!, Francesco Totti di Roma was very warm to Hamilton, but Hamilton’s anxiousness was obvious and disconcerting. Hamilton just tried to change the topic back to Francesco’s studies. One of the recent breakthroughs included the ability to control animal behavior with Ghost Rock. Alonso found this incredible and wanted to know more, but that evening they were on the move again. This time, they hadn’t even stayed a week.
Hamilton was neurotic in Munich. Now he was widely introducing himself as “Alonso” and was trying to find scientist Sebastien Nurburg, another Ghost Rock scientist. This time, Alonso was not allowed to join his father anywhere. Alonso, feeling jilted, followed his father and watched as his father tried to steal some money from the labs at the University in Munich. Alonso confronted his father and as they argued, the police arrested them both.
Alonso heard his father try to blame him for the crimes and Alonso became alienated to his father. Hamilton had gone mad. Alonso’s heart shattered as Hamilton was sentenced to life in prison.
Years passed and Alonso attended Georgetown University where he met Chano Vega, a graduate student aid who helped teach courses on the everyday uses of Ghost Rock. Chano, impressed that Alonso was excelling in the courses, became his friend. Chano graduated and moved to University of North Carolina where Alonso followed, entering in the Chemistry graduate program with an emphasis in Ghost Rock. They developed a theory, the ability to create sentient life from energy within Ghost Rock. Alonso and Chano’s obsession was hitting its peak when Alonso graduated and got a job at the University of South Carolina.
Alonso and Chano kept in touch through the years. Alonso had many failed attempts of creating a beetle, butterfly, frog, and a mouse. Then one day, Alonso received a slightly burnt telegram that read: “Eureka! We have been thinking too small…” followed by a scientific theory quickly written out, missing the last portion where the page was burnt away. He tried to send telegrams back to Chano for several weeks. All messages were returned with “Address unreachable”. He visited UNC and the staff stated they had not seen or heard from Chano for some time.
Over the next few weeks, Alonso finished the theory and was able to power a medium sized bird. Alonso became obsessed with the bird, always wanting to make improvements at the detriment of his classes. His students were complaining about his punctuality and the faculty alienated him. Reprimands from his superiors were never effective, thus ending in Alonso’s termination as a professor.
Once Alonso lost his access to Ghost Rock he set out for St. Louis, the closest City to the deadlands, where he believed he would be able to access the mineral more consistently.