"June 23, 1934; It was a night like the sharp end of a pencil and she was the type of dame you'd run ten miles in the snow for... just for the chance to smell her feet." Was the last line of dialogue televised from UHF channel W.I.R.D. on the night of bytefall. The line came from a movie called "Crime Does Pay". Coincidentally it was the last line heard by ghost detectives Ralph
and Sue Dibny
as they sat on the couch of Glyniss and John Dewhaney, their current unwitting host bodies, enjoying their weekly date night. A moment later the television exploded. Ralph's nose twitched and Sue knew a mystery was afoot. When the ghost detectives, now having vacated the Dewhanwy's bodies, arrived at the television station they found it burning uncontrollably. An exobyte had struck the building's generator which caused an explosion that destroyed the tiny broadcast facility. As they watched the fire rage a grey figure emerged from the flame. It was Dirk Gratos the private detective protagonist of "Crime Does Pay". Ripped out of the world of a movie and suddenly thrust into reality, Gratos was not as off put as one might expect; his hard nose, take the world as it comes attitude remained intact. He adjusted his hat and began to investigate his own emergence. When the authorities arrived they arrested him for arson. Ralph and Sue, utilizing their non corporeal nature, had already discovered the exocasing that had housed the volitile Brainiac
technology and deduced the newcomer wasnt to blame. The couple flew to the police station where Gratos was being interrogated. The gumshoe was holding his own against the Opal City
police who could not understand how he had managed to make himself appear completely black and white and did not burn in fire. Gratos' own abrasive disdain for cops was not helping him as he antagonized two of Opal Cities finest. The two police men were so flustered that they were about to give up and contact Checkmate
operatives to take custody of a new metahuman villain when Ralph and Sue possessed the detectives and facilitated Gratos' release along with arranging that he was no longer a suspect. Ralph wanted very badly to be able to talk to one of the heroes of his childhood, but knew as a ghost he could not be seen. That was until Gratos looked directly at him and asked him who they were and why they had helped him. Thrilled to have new connection into the living world, Ralph and Sue helped Gratos get himself on his feet, a fictional character has a great number of legal, civic, and financial hoops to jump through to survive in society.
Within a month Gratos had established a rapport with the Opal police and done enough P.I. Work to set himself up in a shabby office building with a spare office he used as a bedroom. The door read: Dirk Gratos- inquires and investigations. His business was booming but the normal day in day out life of a real world private eye was not holding the excitement a fictional noir detective was used to; all cheating spouses and no Maltese falcons. That was until he was hired by a woman named Gloria Nash to find her long lost son who had been kidnapped years earlier by the boy's father. Gratos was instantly smitten by the woman who reminded him of the women of his bygone era, she had class and style and smolder and she knew all the right buttons to push to get his motor running. He endeavored to locate the boy and after many sleepless nights searching records and histories out of the area he followed a hunch to look closer to home and discovered father and son in a peaceful neighborhood of Opal City. The father hadn't left town after all, instead choosing the anonymity of a crowd in which to hide. Gratos gathered the evidence and presented it to his client who expressed her gratitude physically. He cautioned her to involve the police so the custody could be properly determined, but she insisted she would talk to her ex and everything would work itself out. Still, knowing the law in such custody cases is complex, he refused to give her the home address he had found. Instead he told her that her ex ate lunch daily at the Opal City Fashion Square food court and if she wanted to work something out with him she could do it there. Gloria forbade Gratos from accompanying her to the mall, claiming it would be awkward to have her old and new lover in the same place at the same time. Unable to argue with such sound logic Gratos agreed. Later that day news reached him that a bomb had exploded in the food court of that fashion square and dozens had been killed with hundreds injured; the person nearest the bomb was a retired superhero formerly known as Starman, Jack Knight
, who may have been a suicide bomber as the witnesses claimed the bomb was strapped to him. Jack Knight was the name of the man he had been hired to find so he rushed to the crime scene to see if Gloria was hurt. She had indeed been caught in the explosion but only had third degree burns in the small of her back as if she had been hit with a beam of fire and no other damage. She said they had talked and been fine, he had agreed to allow her to have her son back but as she was walking away she looked back and saw he had opened his jacket to reveal a bomb and then he exploded. Other witnesses said they saw him open his jacket to reveal a bomb as well. The FBI declared it a suicide bombing and Jack Knight was vilified In the media. Gloria wanted Dirk to take her to her son right away since he would be getting out of school and have no one to come home to. But her injuries were too severe and she had to go to the hospital. Dirk and the police retrieved the boy. Something didn't seem right to Gratos so he continued to investigate, based on his surveillance of Jack Knight and his history he couldn't understand why or how this former hero could kill all those people. Video footage showed Jack Knight's face as he opened his jacket... he looked surprised and other witnesses said the conversation between Jack and Gloria hadnt been as amicable as she had made it seem. It wasnt until Gratos unearthed old files of Jack Knight's that he was able to deduce what was happening. He rushed to the hospital but Gloria was gone. She had gotten out of the hospital without anyone seeing her leave. Gratos had thought ahead to hide her son knowing she would go for him, and he waited at his office knowing she would eventually come to him. When she finally arrived she was frantic to find her son, but Gratos wasnt moved and laid out all he had discovered. She was the new Mist, Nash
, daughter of the original mist
who had been Starman's worst foe. She went to the mall to find out where he was keeping their son and when he wouldnt tell her she used her Mist powers to slip a bomb on him, but she fouled the timing and the bomb exploded before she was able to make herself completely insubstantial resulting in a very small unexplainable injury. She congratulated him on his detective skills and produced another bomb from her handbag, she demanded her son's location or she would do the same to him. A fight began which she was winning handily since every punch he threw only hit air. Once he was exhausted and beaten she stalked him to place the bomb, as he struggled to inch away from her he reflexively raised an electrical barrier around himself. She could not penetrate it and regardless of her misted form she was being shocked by it. Not understanding how he was doing it he visualized the shield moving off of himself and onto her. She was captured, but in the process he had left himself exposed and the bomb which she had dropped when caged exploded at his feet. To his surprise the explosion didn't affect him, despite everything on that floor of the building being wrecked she was safe inside the force field and he had shrugged off the explosion; he had turned into a shimmering field of electricity and light. He delivered her to the police and a new career was born. After a bit of exploring he was able to discover and master a variety of electricity based powers including many capable of infusing life into others or deferring pain. The next week his door read Dirk Gratos: inquiries, investigations, superheroics.
While the Dibny's were helping Gratos get acquainted with the superhero community, specifically the Titans
, and a small new society of super heroes called the Blackguard Saints he suddenly disappeared. The only thing remaining was a pill shaped object the size of a fist. Upon examination the object was an exobyte, Superboy
admited that when he met Gratos he used his x-ray vision, which he had just learned to use, to examine him. The exobyte had been inside gratos' skull where a brain would be. When hooked to the Titan Tower
mainframe the exobyte showed no data. It was completely empty which was strange as exobytes are intended to absorb all data around them in any form possible until full. The Blackguard Saints and Dibnys went to W.I.R.D. to investigate Dirk's point of creation for possible clues. When they got there they found a scavenging crew sorting and catalogueing all the equipment. When asked if they had found anything strange the men declared that even though the station had been blown to hell a single bluray had been spinning on repeat for the months since the destruction of the station. The men couldn't turn the thing off, even when they turned off the breakers and cut off the power from the street the lines still seemed to suck electricity. They had found it necessary to turn off the whole block to power down the building. Once that was done they were able to start getting the salvage underway. The heroes asked the workmen to take a long lunch while they searched for a way to help their new friend. They were able to determine that the station had not been broadcasting since the explosion but had somehow been reconfigured to receive a signal. And everything seemed centered on the HD player but there was nothing in it so everyone searched all the salvage to find whatever had been inside. Later that night the Dibnys were able to track down the one thing missing from the salvage: the blu ray disk of the "Dirk Diaries: The Complete Films of Detective Dirk Gratos. A workman had hidden it in his toolbox as a personal spoil of the wreckage. When he got it home and into his own blu ray player Ralph saw several additional files more than the movies he suspected. Specifically sections titled "Gloria In The Mist" and "Dibny Liberty Or Dibny Death". When the ghost couple saw these files Ralph immediately delivered the disk to Mr Terrific
who the Blackguard Saints had enlisted to study the wreckage and exobyte. They all watched the disk and found it was not just the movies that made up Dirk Gratos' life but also every thought and memory he had accumulated since emerging from the explosion. Mr Terrific replaced the disk in the station's HD player and reinitialized the power for the block. As soon as the disk began to spin Gratos rematerialized on the table where the exobyte had been lying. Mr Terrific explained that Gratos was unlike any other genexo; he WAS an exobyte. The exobyte and the information on the bluray had merged in the explosion and had reconfigured the station, the three operating as a central nervous system processing storing and transmitting data to the body which was the most complex holo-construction he had ever seen, so complex in fact that it had mass, density, and so close an approximation to living tissue as to make no difference. He determined that the system must be maintained in the same way that a human's circulatory system must be maintained, a failure of one is a failure of all and Gratos would cease to exist. Mr Terific swore everyone involved to secrecy as they were now the only ones who knew gratos' weakness. With this news Repulsor
purchased the destroyed station and brought it back up to full working order. From that day forward W.I.R.D. became W.B.G.S. and with the addition of a second HD satellite they could not only receive the "Gratos Signal" but also transmit a special hero only line up of programs designed to inform and entertain the new and growing hero community with the occasional Dirk Gratos movie thrown in too. The only side effect of running the station commercially was that on occasion the signals would cross and it sounded like the W.B.G.S. broadcast was coming out of Gratos.
The Path to Healing
The purchase of W.B.G.S. made the Blackguard Saints a perfect fit for Gratos. Here were a group of heroes willing to do so much for someone they just met. Gratos joined with the team and made immediate impact, taking a much needed support rule during the teams most famous victory over brainiac and Zod in the Fortress of Solitude. When Spartan disappeared while battling his father, Trojan, Gratos was able jump in and take up the slack left by the loss. When the forces of magic were running wild and Dr Fate was under attack Gratos took up the mantle of medic for the league and continues to this day.
Powers and Abilities Powers
Electro magic shift: uses electricty to mimic mystic powers
Circle of Ohms: casts an electric field on the ground which increases vitality to those within it
Boon of Volts: uses part of his own solid electric field to encase himself and others in a protective shield
Soul Conductor: uses and electrical bond to rend life force from an enemy and transfer it to an ally
Watt-cher: creates an avatar of energy able to utilize static energy to attack enemies and heal allies Abilities
Hand to Hand Combat
Able to become intangable at will Weaknesses
Man out of time
Link to W.B.G.S. must be maintained
Entire life history is fiction