Charles Chester

Joe Flanigan as Charles Chester

Biography As the Grimms know it
Millionaire gamer Charles Chester has a reputation for being as eccentric as he is generous. He's most known for his weakness for animal charities and lavish parties. In the corporate world, he's notorious for not incorporating his company and keeping the departments separate. His Gaming Concepts Department is a mecca for many up and comers, but he insists on hiring in pairs.

Chester's Cypher Server revolutionized online interactive gaming and is his most closely guarded possession until the announcement of the Usurper Chip. On the eve of the Usurper Chip's debut, Ryan Grimm disappears with it and Chester shows that he's not as eccentric as he seems. He unwittingly exposes his darker side to Rebecca and sends her fleeing to the Dominion after her brother. Who Chester really is and his connection to the Grimms and the Dominion will unfold throughout the season.

Biography As Kat knows it
Chester is THE Cheshire Cat - the inspiration for the book's character. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) being exposed to magic, wrote the story, Reality wiped his memory and he forgot. So several details were wrong. Chester takes the author's real first name as his own.

During the Rift Era, when Dominion was a complete world, Chester was in Wonderland. As the Grimms began closing the Rifts, things began to fracture. Alice was a child who slipped through as the last of the Rifts were sealing. Charged with seeing her to safety, Chester got her to Bremen where something happened between him and the Old Mayor.

Alice gets her vortex back and the Old Mayor shoves/tricks Chester into it as well. Alice and Chester land in 1862 England in a river. Chester uses magic and gets Alice established as the middle Liddell child - "Because you need a middle sister, obviously." He weaves the tales of Wonderland - some of it really happened in Dominion to Alice, some of it is pure nonsense made up on the spot by Chester. By the time they all get back to shore, Reality is taking hold and the girls are now convinced the whole thing was just a story Dodgson and Duckworth (Chester claims Duckworth as his middle name sometimes) told them on the trip.

Chester realizes that not only is no return vortex appearing, the last of his teleporting magic is dissipating as Reality takes hold. Abandoned by the party, he lives as a thief (and sometime accidental hooker) for a couple of years - until Dodgson begins to self publish his book. Chester goes to see him and first realizes just how far people will go to forget magic. As Cheshire Cats are MADE of magic, Reality can't get rid of his completely, but the overall effect is general chaos and confusion. Dodgson pays for Chester to go to America and a misunderstanding about the phrase "The New World" leads Chester to think he's going through a rift and perhaps the next world would have a way back to Dominion.

Upon arriving in the states at the end of the Civil War, Chester is not amused and ends up in Richmond. Due to his normal chaotic nature, he ends up being hired to get Jefferson Davis out of the city. Instead, one very complicated conversation with Union soldiers ends up with Chester asking if they mean "the guy in the old woman's scarf" - leading to an urban legend that Jefferson Davis was captured in drag.

He's taken to New York - or just tags along with the Army - where he is appalled at the living conditions of people living on the streets. His normal confusing nature and one ranting conversation about the conditions he's living in lead to the foundation of the ASPCA. This introduces him to the concept of a democracy in a manner he finally understands - from this point on, Chester is in pursuit of his own American Dream: become rich enough to MAKE REALITY SEND HIM BACK. (He never does understand that Reality is not an actual entity. It is too purposeful in its vendetta against him for him to believe it.)

He convinces the Union Army to give him a free ticket west. He disembarks during a train robbery of the station - which he talks his way out of. The gang falls under his spell and he expresses confusion as to why they rob the trains at the heavily guarded stations when there was nothing for miles out in the country. Sure enough, he's instigated the first train robbery on the open plains. He even gets a commission.

Arriving in San Francisco, the last of his Dominion clothing is beyond repair. He convinces Levi Strauss to make him blue (he misses blueporting) pants and overalls as a demonstration of his new "Improvement in Fastening Pocket-Openings" (pocket rivets) - blue jeans are still Chester's staple clothing. The silk suits are just for special occasions. During the exchange, Chester becomes excited to realize that large groups of Reality residents concentrating on one thing in wonder produces magic.

A few months later, he gets the Mount of the Holy Cross photographed in Colorado and leads it on an exhibition - making it a magical talismanic battery, but not really doing anything effective in terms of Portals.

Trying it on a groundhog burrow (hey, rabbit holes worked once) on Candlemas doesn't create a Portal - but it does lead to Groundhog Day. Chester finds the movie hilariously ironic and tends to include it Cheshire Software swag bags.

He wanders for several years - part carnie, part entrepreneur - and along the way discovers HH Holmes is a serial killer and uses his magic to get the killer caught and hung. The magic from the gallows rope DOES smell like a portal. Chester travels back to England to try and open it, but it only leads back to HH Holmes house - now it's own nightmare fueled dimension. On the return trip to America, the return portal is triggered - releasing a dragon on the ship Chester's on and causing the Titanic to sink.

Chester actually had to SWIM back to England, having been left in the icy waters and learns that his nine lives (now minus one) still work, even in Reality. (He could "smell" the remains of the portal magic - allowing him to find England. He realizes much later that the swim to America would have been shorter.) He heads out across Europe, collecting iconic objects for their magic. Europe proves to be a treasure trove of such things and he finds himself in Belgium researching what happened to the Brothers Grimm. He collects editions as he comes across them based on their magical smell - realizing it's not just first editions - but books that were loved by their reader that have magic. (If you've ever "escaped" into a book, Chester wants that book - not a copy - the specific one you were holding in your hands while you were reading the story.)

He's dropped all pretense of hiding his true nature as no one remembers and chalk it up to Chester being eccentric. He gets into a pun filled debate with the inventor of the Diesel engine - which somehow results in the man losing all his money and vanishing on the way to England. Chester feels horrible about it - really.

He returns to America and tries his hand at creating portal objects - Babe Ruth's bat is the first successful one. It doesn't go to Dominion, but it does provide a forest and allow Chester to go into business as a bat manufacturer. His attempt at using a teapot (hoping to get to the Hatter and thus home) opens a portal to an ocean - causing a flood and really, that is the most ridiculously rude thing Chester's ever heard of. He is, at least, better prepared for the inevitable return portal and makes sure the sea monster is happily placed in a Scottish Loch.

An argument with an old woman selling canned peaches leads to canned beer - securing Chester's fortune and allowing him to focus solely on a way to open a portal specifically to Dominion.

He then runs into a problem of power - the items he's collecting are limited - or one-shots. So during the 50s and 60s he's still collecting professional sports items - but the emergence of pop culture interests him because people BELIEVE in them even if they are not invested. For example: the Mud Bowl happens because he put magic in BOTH fans - the clash created an insane micro weather system. But Woodstock creates magic even for people who weren't there - even the ones opposed to the hippie counterculture "believe" in Woodstock.

He begins branching into movies and music - the result is This Is Spinal Tap and the portal it opens is completely useless for getting to Dominion, but hey - that English Channel is much easier to cross now!

It's now been over 100 years here and he's realized that he would have to get several thousand - if not several million people - to all think about DOMINION - and Dominion specifically - to get enough magic to open a stable portal back.

He acquires a casino in the late 80s - thinking to create a Dominion themed resort to create the magic. This doesn't work, because no one looks at the decor for more than a few minutes. Drowning his sorrows at the bar, a sympathetic artist gets caught up in his spell and under the influence of it - creates a picture of Bremen on an early art program.

The effect of the picture is instantaneous - although Chester never realizes it - it's because HE has magic and this is the one thing he actually believes in - this means the magic is not limited and builds collectively. He becomes obsessed with computer technology and uses his now substantial fortune to create Cheshire Software Ltd.

Cheshire Software Ltd
His collections become integrated into his computer systems - becoming the servers. Babe Ruth's baseball bat becomes inlaid wood on a keyboard. HH Holmes gallows rope becomes a network cable. He doesn't allow ANYONE in the server and develops a computer language based off the bits of Dominion sorcery he can remember.

(Cheshire Cats are creatures of magic but not necessarily users of it. I got a B in Calculus and can recognize it, but couldn't just do it.)

The process is painful and leads to several failures. But Chester is one of the pioneers of MMORPG - having learned it was the easiest way to teach people to believe in Dominion and hold their interest. His casino becomes a mecca for gaming conventions and the quirky "one man show" nature of Cheshire Software Ltd becomes a legend.

The Cypher Server
The magic server begins growing and its magical nature has a strange side effect of never running out of space. Players world-wide are all available on the same server - able to slice and dice their experience at will without ever leaving their home server.

The phenomenon is unprecedented and several larger corporations attempt hostile takeovers which Chester either ignores, outspends or sidesteps as a "hate crime" without breaking a sweat. (As Chester is openly bisexual, any investigations into the weirdness are immediately dubbed *gay bashing* and thus, he's gotten away with some INSANE shit over the years.)

There is no method of corporate espionage - Chester is the only one on the planet that knows what's really going on. Cheshire Software is the only game in town and Chester never does anything but add to the Dominion "game" - a move that keeps him from becoming too big of a threat to the corporations who finally leave him to it. (World of Warcraft does not exist in this universe but Halo and Call of Duty - the non-fantasy based MMORPGs - do. Other fantasy games couldn't compete.)

He files several patents which do not work without magic, bankrupting several competitors attempting to use them. (In Season 2, the crossovers occur because the Cypher Server has leeched into them. Dominion crashes into Haloverse.)

Finally in 2006, he is speaking at an industry convention and quickly goes off the rail when questioned about how it actually works.

Chester: Because it's all about the balance. I mean, it will almost take you there, but I have to be careful, because you don't really want to go there, I do. And the displacements are a bastard. Screw the Spanish Inquisition. You know what it is that no one really ever expects? A goddamn dragon. That's what. Too much Ying or not enough Yang and suddenly everyone's dying and you've got a massively long swim to shore.

No one knows what to make of that (most people decide that "dying" means the server crashes) and in an attempt to get the crazy talk to stop, a member of the audience points out that he finds programming with his wife a joy because they both have the same sense of balance.

Chester lights up at the idea and pounces on the man (somewhat literally) afterwards and questions him intensely. The couple become the first official programmers for Cheshire Software Ltd. No one but Chester actually knows what happened to them the night the wife asked for a divorce - and with that earthquake, it quite frankly never even got filed as a missing persons.

Chester realizes that he'll have to take steps to avoid that because really, he doesn't want to hurt anyone, he just wants to go home, thank you very much.

2008 Interview:
Q: Yes, but how does it actually work?
Chester: It's the internet. It's all magic.
Q: I was being literal.
Chester: … so was I?
Q: …
Chester: …
Q: … well, moving on.

Cheshire Software Employees
Having learned from his first pair, Chester now hires more pairs to help with the programming. He's basically paying people to sit and believe that the server is working for 10 plus hours a day. He pays exorbitant salaries - the Grimms (his favorites) are making 7 figures EACH. Anything to keep the server growing.

The pairs all sign contracts stating they must always continue to be a "pair" or face immediate termination. He has different contracts for married pairs, childhood friends and siblings. He finds siblings work the best and attributes this to the Brothers Grimm actually being siblings themselves.

The contracts are magically binding - creating a spell that ensures that they can never break up or want to leave the other. Then he meets Ryan and Rebecca.

The Grimms interview is legendary, even by Cheshire Software standards.
Chester: Are you siblings or married?
Rebecca: Siblings.
Chester: Fine. (gets the corresponding contract from a cabinet) Here we go, let me just fill out the top sheet.
What's your shared last name?
Ryan: Grimm
Chester: You're Grimms?! (he says as he crawls onto the table and starts coming towards them
Ryan: um… yes? (He and Rebecca refuse to backup, but they do scoot to the side, Chester just follows them.)
Rebecca: That's a … good thing, right?
Rebecca: well -
Ryan: - yeah, I don't know
Chester: Should we say 1.4 million to start?
Rebecca: …
Ryan: …
(Chester reaches Rebecca, gets off the table and just gently holds her hand and pets her arm.)
Ryan: … I'm sorry. 1.4 million to start what?
Chester: (grins) Your salary.
Ryan: You… you're saying you'll pay us… 700,000 and change to…
Chester: Oh no. Don't be silly. (To Rebecca) You're going to be the brains of this pair aren't you? (Back to Ryan) I mean 1.4 million each.
Rebecca: (giggles and begins petting Chester back - much to his delight) Yes. Yes, we can start right now. And yes, I'm the brains.

End Bio - more universe notes

The Cypher server and Usurper chip in combo make a portal from our world to a parallel dimension the two dimensions overlap in random places with random tears - and have done so throughout time
when they do, matter is "displaced" from one to the other these "displacements" were discovered by the Brothers Grimm and in their research they collected the stories these later became the fairy tales
near the end of their lives, they did something no one really knows what but it caused the overlaps to decrease dramatically
and that's why there are no new fairy tales and why people stopped believing in them Charles Chester is actually a chesire cat who is trapped on the wrong side - he's been researching for over a CENTURY for a way back he found bits and pieces of other dimension magic and built the server only to have everything that it outputted in gamer format which - don't get him wrong - helped fund the damn thing - but he just wants to go home kthksbai
When he found gamer programmers NAMED GRIMM he figured it must be a bit of magic posing as Fate so he hired them He found a legend from the Titanic salvage of people having realistically vivid dreams as if they were transported to the Titanic he got the metal and paid for it to be smelted and it's the Usurper chip He figured if the metal was transporting their minds TO there and the server was bringing minds FROM there (as game avatars) then perhaps the two together would make a bridge Which it did. For Ryan Grimm

Cypher, Usurper, Dominion: How it works

The Cypher Server isn't programming interaction Gamers are ACTUALLY interacting with the dominion so if they are trying to kill them in the game, they are trying to kill the real villagers so off course they attack back

  • Some of the Dominion's various states all have armies stationed there to keep the gamers from breaking through. the gamers of course think they're on a boss level of some kind
  • To the Gamer - They are playing an online RPG and come across a portal to an instance where they can go collect swag. They enter the instance.
  • To the Dominion - when the Avatar hits that instance - they are actually linking through dimensions. So whoever that Gamer thinks they are? That Resident teleports to the point of entry and promptly begins rampaging.
      • a wall can appear around the area. The instance is sealed to only the gamer or the gamer's troupe. So other gamers can't get in, but the Residents can't get out
      • the town will usually have an alarm set up so people know to get things out of the way
      • The Avvies usually go through town and smash crates looking for swag
      • and randomly walk up and STARE at people (waiting for interaction to start)
          • Dante has made himself useful by realizing this and makes shit up. "Greetings, Fearless Warrior, welcome to our humble town. Our village elders would be here to welcome you except for the *Inserts Random Bullshit - Dragon threatens, festival in other town*. He's become a MASTER at figuring out what the hell the gamer wants and "helps" them through the town.
          • This controls the havoc and is why Bremen's Mayor and Elders tolerate him.
      • or start killing people if they think they're in "hostile country"
  • Dante isn't liked AT ALL because Chesires are BAD and can teleport but he figured out what the hell the gamers wanted - to win. So they all gather round - put up the fight and then DIE - in a dramatic fashion and the Gamer thinks he's won and stops So you're sitting there and suddenly people appear and produce a BFG and starts shooting up the place and everyone is all GODDAMMIT NOT AGAIN IT WAS THE MIDDLE OF THE HARVEST FESTIVAL

Cypher Server is linking Gamers to Dominion residents and the more levels and games Chester creates, the more states, cities, castles, etc are affected hence the hhhhhhaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaate

doesn't view himself as against the Grimms
genuinely cares for Dante, but not as family at first
then mid season, Chester finally makes it to the other universe and is all helpful as long as he doesn't have to go back Chester (Joe) is actually from the other side but got stuck here and went more than a little crazy trying to get back.

Kat says:
anyway - after 111 it's canon that Chester feels paternal enough towards Dante to not actively want him dead
and in 113 he seeks their help when he's in trouble
but then in 115 he's back in the villian role and they're at odds
Sara says:

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