Sir Adrian Ward KBE is a student of the unknown, an enthusiast of the unusual, a notorious nobody, a little-known celebrity, a penniless billionaire, a reformed Heres Mundi, a human parasite, a partial amnesiac, and the 51st Vice-Chancellor of the University of Aldergate.
He is also a colossal wreck at the moment, but doing his humble best.
Personal History Edit
Born aboard the RV Akademik Shirshov to marine biologist Bethany Ward. Invited to attend Aldergate University at the age of fifteen.
The Aldergate Years Edit
Ward spent his first few semesters browsing and sampling the intellectual cornucopia of Aldergate University. Nearly wound up joining a game design cult, before getting sucked in by the School of Philosophy (and by Prof. Kilbury in particular). Ward also dallied promiscuously with Physical Sciences and Difference Engineering.
Co-founded BOWfAX in his third year at the University. Devoted most of the next few years to the project until its abrupt dissolution in the aftermath of the Hobson Mews fire.
Ward Holdings Edit
Early efforts at fundraising off the back of the residual BOWfAX IP attracted moderate interest from a few forward-thinkers in the capital markets. For all his faults, Ward turned out to be rather a savvy deal-broker, and he was able to raise a respectable amount of capital without actually giving away anything of value. This earned him few friends in the investor community.
Ward's less-than-flattering reputation was cemented by his first really substantive coup: after a disappointing quarterly earnings report, Neurapse Systems’ decision to throw large sums at an unproven college student came under heavy fire from the shareholders. Two board members resigned, Neurapse shares tanked, and bad little Adrian was able to parlay his recent windfall into a controlling stake in the company. Eight months later, Ward bought up all outstanding shares and took the resurgent technology firm private. Late in the next year, Neurapse was acquired by the Sumimoto Group for an unspecified sum.
For the next few years the world heard little of little Adrian. It is believed that he traveled extensively; that he met with scientific and industry leaders in obscure places under assumed names; that he somehow lost or spent the fortune he had made from the butchery of Neurapse Systems. He is reliably reported to have been spotted fleeing Istanbul from person or persons unknown. Prior to his arrival in New York City it is believed that he spent up to six months with a reclusive Spanish billionaire, putting the finishing touches on the technology that would shortly revolutionize global finance.
Ward Holdings was founded as corporate parent to a small family of tech startups, most notably Ward International Secure Transactions. The WIST platform, based on proprietary technology, enabled the execution of a functionally infinite number of financial transactions on a global scale, at speeds that rendered all existing platforms obsolete. Within eighteen months of its incorporation WIST was the backbone of global finance, and Adrian Ward had surpassed that point beyond which personal wealth becomes a source of geopolitical instability.
Ten years after leaving Aldergate, Adrian Ward was visited at his New York residence by a person of whom he had heard, but whom he had not previously met. Following a long and interesting conversation, Ward agreed to an offer that is rarely made more than once or twice a decade.
In retrospect, this may not have been a wise decision.
Project Sibyl Edit
Probably best not go into it.
Vice-Chancellor of Aldergate University Edit
Following his little falling-out with the Bastards, Adrian Ward needed to escape from his former life. His opportunity appeared in the form of an old pal: Baz ffoulkes, whom he had not seen since the BOWfAX days. She made him an offer, and he did not refuse.
Mental Health Edit
Adrian Ward is quite-not-well at the moment, but has been not-quite-well for as long as he can remember. His mind is a skittish and excitable creature, capable of great things when so inclined but with a tendency to wander.
Sometimes he hears things. Occasionally he sees things. And, from time to time, he disappears entirely - sometimes for minutes, sometimes for hours. What he does while he's gone is nobody's business but his own, although on one notable recent occasion he did nearly drown in the Hudson River.
These eccentricities, and Ward's concerns regarding their possible cause and potential impact on his other endeavors, contributed to his decision to accept the Vice-Chancellorship of the University of Aldergate.
Occasional visitors Edit
There is a foolish consistency to the hobgoblins of Ward's mind. So far as he is aware, they come in only three flavors:
The Musical Egg Edit
Rather a nice little chum, actually. At worst a distraction, at best a bit of light entertainment. An irregular ovoid, its appearance changes with each performance, but it generally looks like something an experimental jeweler with a tight deadline might have made out of glass and fish scales.
The Musical Egg cares little for bourgeois notions of perspective and scale. It occupies about as much field of view as a hen's egg held at arm's length; this remains true whether it is soaring between clouds or gliding over the surface of one's cornea.
The arrival of the Musical Egg is heralded by its inimitable tuneless song: a sort of whistly hum, like a hive of bees imitating wind-chimes. Having made its appearance, it tootles happily along its eccentric parabola until at last it disappears, usually into the distance, occasionally through a wall or into a coffee cup.
There is no obvious trigger for a visit from the Musical Egg. It comes and goes as it pleases.
The Trapped Thing Edit
Not nice, and not a friend. It is unknown what the Trapped Thing looks like, if it looks like anything, because it's always trapped inside something - a suitcase, a pill bottle, a box of breakfast cereal, anything. It must resent its captivity, because it thrashes wildly and makes a terrible row.
Emotional or physical distress appear to invite visitations from the Trapped Thing. In aggravated cases it is not uncommon for several Trapped Things to appear simultaneously. Visits generally last only for a few minutes, rarely more than half an hour or so. Noisy pest.
Mr. Jellyface Edit
The most mysterious of Ward's visitors. So mysterious, in fact, that he may be imagination rather than hallucination. Prior to an extended walkabout, Ward has sometimes - though certainly not always - caught a fleeting glimpse of a person whose face is impossible to see. This face is not absent, or invisible, it's just ... not-seeable. And then, abruptly, it's an hour or two later and Ward is sitting on a park bench or drowning in a river or what have you.
Mr. Jellyface may be a distinct psychopathological construct. Then again, he may simply be a distorted perception of whatever person Ward happens to be looking at immediately prior to losing time. Evidence for the former includes the impression that Mr. Jellyface tends to wear dove- or pearl-gray suits, and to be accompanied by a briny sort of damp smell. Inconclusive.
Lost time Edit
A wise man once asked: "Where did you come from? Where did you go?" - but in the case of Ward's little walkabouts, the real question is "Where were you in the meantime?"