From Unofficial Handbook of the Virtue Universe
|Illusion Control/Radiation Emission|
|"Hologram, the Human Laser!"|
|25 Science Controller|
|Activity Level: Main|
|Real Name:||Roger Haldeman|
|Species:||Laser Construct (Former Human)|
|Weight:||0 lbs./40 lbs. in suit|
|Body is incorporeal laser construct|
|Birthdate:||5 June 1974|
|Nationality:||Deceased American citizen|
|Residence:||Paragon University, Paragon City|
|Occupation:||Former Physicist; Crime-Fighter|
|Relatives & Associates|
| Jennifer Haldeman (wife)
Eleanor Huff (sister)
|Skills & Abilities|
Roger Haldeman was an MIT-educated physicist working on the next generation of computing hardware -- a holographic matrix computer (HMC) that stored and processed information using a three-dimensional lattice of micro-lasers.
With theoretical storage and processing capacity thousands of times that of modern super-computers, the HMC was desired by every major computing corporation. Haldeman, however, privately funded research into the HMC, and planned to offer the designs in the Public Domain once his prototype was complete.
Haldeman ignored multi-million dollar offers from numerous corporations, and worked on his project in isolation, assisted only by his most trusted colleague, Professor Eleanor Dowd. Haldeman was fine-tuning the prototype for a final stress test when a bizarre accident occurred -- while he was in the matrix chamber, a power surge ran through the HMC's core, activating the micro-lasers at millions of time their normal power. Haldeman was instantly vaporized, his ashen remains coating the inside of the matrix chamber.
While Haldeman's family mourned his loss, Dowd continued work on the HMC. She was working late one evening when a vaguely human-shaped entity composed of laser energy manifested in front of her before fading away. Dowd began analyzing the lab, and made a startling discovery -- Roger Haldeman's brain engrams were present, stored in a free-floating laser lattice!
With Dowd's assistance, Haldeman was able to manifest himself for short periods. The two collaborated on a containment suit and, in time, Haldeman was able to move about and communicate using the suit as a shell for his laser form.
Since Roger Haldeman was technically dead, the new entity was searching for a purpose. In time, Haldeman discovered that he could "consume" photons, alter them, and then emit them from his transformed body in beams, waves, and even hard light constructs similar to his new body. With these talents, he seemed to have only one course -- crime-fighting. Now a strange entity roams the rooftops of Paragon City, shedding his laser light into the dark places of the city. A living image with terrifying laser powers...he is HOLOGRAM!
Roger Haldeman was a scientist, with a keen analytical mind and a passion for discovery. These qualities persist in Hologram. Hologram is the textbook "scientific detective", his control over radiation giving him a supernatural ability to locate forensic evidence, while his ability to remain undetected gives him formidable surveillance abilities.
However, Hologram has undergone a devastating loss -- Roger Haldeman had a wife, a life, and friends, all of whom believe him dead. Hologram has had to let all of these people go because of a burning existential question -- IS Hologram Roger Haldeman? Or is he a computer program that believes himself to be Roger Haldeman? Until he can satisfactorily answer this question, he remains distanced from his old life, and calls himself only Hologram.
Hologram is composed of a self-sustaining matrix of laser light -- a photon lattice. This construction gives him a special relationship with all light. By extending the matrix, he can incorporate additional photons, and then alter or project them.
His primary use of this ability is in the creation of hard-light constructs, similar in composition to his own body. These constructs are temporary, but can be employed to devastating effect on enemies. At the simplest level, Hologram can create brilliant flashes of light, blinding his enemies, or create photon-thin "spectral blades" that can disrupt neural pathways and incapacitate a foe. As his control over his new form improves, Hologram believes that he will be able to form larger constructs.
Hologram's powers also allow him to easily re-direct light. In its crudest form, this enables him to vanish from sight, simply by bending photons around himself. A more complex application of these abilities permits him to deceive an opponent by transposing his own image and the image of the villain's compatriot. The villain will (predictably) begin attacking the compatriot.
A secondary ability that Hologram employs to great effect is the shifting in wavelength of EM particles, transforming ordinary light into waves of harmful or beneficial radiation. Hologram has already discovered applications that can heal wounds and accelerate metabolic processes, or render a foe weakened.
Hologram can only manipulate existing photons -- he can not create them, nor can he use photons from his core matrix for crime-fighting purposes. Thus, he would be completely powerless in total darkness. No enemy has yet tried this approach to trap him, as he is little known, and the nature of his powers is still something of an enigma.
While the material that forms Hologram's containment suit is fairly tough, it is far from indestructible. A sufficiently large rip or tear will force Hologram into a state of limited function, as he focuses all of his attention on maintaining the integrity of his photonic lattice.
Hologram also appears to be of average physical strength. As his ability to manipulate physical objects is based on "hard light" (photon pressure) theories, his strength should be unbounded -- this limitation may be psychological.
Roger Haldeman possessed a PhD in Physics, and possessed a considerable working knowledge of most phyical sciences, as well as electrical engineering. Hologram possesses all of this knowledge, but applies it to the domain of crime-fighting.
Since beginning his crime-fighting career, Hologram has been researching forensic science, in an effort to improve his abilities in solving crimes and apprehending criminals. While his knowledge is still amateur, he does possess extraordinary abilities (the ability to project UV light, see in the infra-red spectrum, turn invisible) that are applicable to investigating crimes and following leads.
After one name purge or another, I found the name Hologram, but came up with a lousy concept for it (a guy that used holograms to fight crime -- sort of a heroic Mirror Master). In despair, I gave the name away. About a month later, I get an idea -- what if the guy was a hologram? Crazy! I think the concept bears some similarities to the Living Laser, but I don't know enough about the character to say for sure (I'm a DC fan, not a Marvel fan). Anyway, the name came back up for grabs and, out of the goodness of his heart, Zenvious let me have it. Huzzah! Hologram is born.
I was not thrilled with Hologram's original costume. It was all red with what was intended to be a green faceplate, but it didn't work out very well. I stared at if for twelve levels, and got extremely irritated.
Hologram's second costume was better, and based on a simple concept -- what if his containment suit was 1/2 transparent, letting his laser body shine through? Hey, that's cool! A junket to icon, and his costume has been changed to a slinky black-and-red number with a blank face. The conceit is that the upper half of the costume is transparent, and his laser body is shining through. That was coupled with the "Cube" chest emblem, to make a look that I could at least live with until level 20.
Once capes were unlocked, it was time for yet another trip to Icon, and a revision to Hologram's current look -- an arduous 1/2-hour process, but totally worth it. The changes were fairly significant, and based on the same idea that the red parts of his costume are transparent. The current look joins an actual face (it's good for superheroes to have a face) with a cape. It looked okay on the rack, but looks really good in action. The final touch was to get rid of the cube and replace it with a star (which is actually supposed to be the international laser symbol...close enough). The concept, of course, is still the same -- it's a containment suit, in the same vein as Captain Atom, with photon pressure keeping it inflated.
Like most of my heroes, I would consider Hologram to be strictly B-class -- in the DC Universe, he could probably make it as a member of the JSA, especially as it is currently being written under Geoff Johns. I find this class of hero to be fascinating, as they always leave you wanting more -- as opposed to a "major hero" with his or her own book, where the burden of carrying a title can make their adventures...uneven, to be generous. B Heroes are just plain cool.
On his background: Backgrounds are a tricky business, and I generally am not very good at them. When it comes to comic character backgrounds, I actually prefer to steal from Marvel rather than DC. Marvel superheroes (in the 60s, at least) were generally formulated to have an external enemy, and then an internal enemy -- an inherent flaw or inner conflict. So Spider-Man is battling the Green Goblin, but he is also battling his uncertainty, or his love life, or his reluctance to actually be Spider-Man. Superman, on the other hand, is really only interested in punching Brainiac, and his inner turmoil generally revolves around "How can I punch Brainiac?" I'm over-simplifying, but you get the point.
This is not, however, an endorsement of angst -- there is a very fine line to walk, but there is a line. Every super-battle should not end with the hero weeping about his crumbling relationship with his mother. Similarly, not every hero has to be an alcoholic, or a nutcase, or dress in a tutu and host tea parties with his dollies when no one is looking. There's a certain class of personal problem that says Comic Book Personal Problem, in that it supplements a story about punching criminals, without eclipsing it.
So, the point: out of all of my characters, I'd say that Hologram is one of the few that has a really good Comic Book Personal Problem. It's a bit existential, and walks on some somewhat-trod ground, but "Am I a man, or a program that thinks he's a man?" is a pretty decent thing to ponder when you're flying from mission A to mission B. It also keeps alive the possibility that, somewhere down the road, in issue #132, Hologram will be reunited with his wife, who will one day come around to loving her husband even if he is a loosely-connected lattice of photonic energy. It also opens the avenue to ridiculous stories where Hologram gets a human body and gives up his powers, but realizes that the world needs him too much, and returns to his photonic form.
Okay, that will probably never happen -- you can't swing a dead cat without hitting an Ill/Rad controller, so one less is not going to make a whole lot of difference.
More musings to follow. Perhaps.