Author's Journal:

A Guide to the Multiverse: Phantoms

Ah! Welcome back mortals!

You are here hoping for an explanation on the world I mentioned yesterday, no?

Well, let it never be said that I don’t keep my word:

It all began in London, assuming my memory hasn’t failed me. You see, in London there was a brilliant man called Sherlock Holmes, who’s ability to catch murderers and thieves surpassed all of Scotland Yard put together. There was also Watson, he was a doctor. Together, the two of them would catch the world’s nastiest criminals, eternally clashing with Holmes’s greatest rival, Moriarty.

You already know about all that though, Victorian London’s greatest detective is very well known, even in worlds where he never actually existed! (Such as this one.) The interesting bit is the effects this battle between detective and mastermind had on history. You see, the devious machinations of Moriarty, and the insane genius of Holmes carried a certain flair to them. They had become a grand spectacle that captured the heart and eyes of all who witnessed their battle. People admired them, and as we all know, admiration leads to imitation.

The problem was, that this imitation lead to vigilantism. To solve this, a special elite division of the police force was created to deal with “special crimes,” a division nicknamed “Sherlocks.” Respect for ordinary police may have been at an all time low, but respect for the Sherlocks was through the roof. It was the career everyone wanted. Everyone, that is, except for the Moriarties. Which leads me nicely into the second problem left by Sherlock’s legacy, that his fame fueled the flame of another, more nefarious character.

You see, people were imitating Moriarty, not just Sherlock. Committing all forms of crime with a sense of style, and a touch of dignity. However, no matter how much dignity and flair you kill someone with, it is still murder.

It seemed like the world was set up for an epic battle between law and crime, when, in the late 1930s, one Franklin D. Roosevelt came up with a plan. It would solve the Moriarty problem and help revitalize the economy in one fell swoop. This plan, is what is now known as the “Phantom System.” The plan was genius. If an individual could obtain a license, a sponsor, and permission from the owner, they could steal an object without breaking a single law.

Now I know what you’re thinking, why would anyone ever agree to let a thief into their home to steal their possessions? Well, the phantom (as they are called) would send an advance notice to their target, announcing when and what they would steal. On this advance notice (usually a business card of sorts), was their sponsor’s contact information. This sponsor was under the agreement that they would either pay the target for the stolen object, or that the phantom would return the object, and the sponsor would pay the phantom for the stolen object’s return. (It depended on the contract.)

“Okay…” I can hear you all saying. “But what about the sponsor, why would they agree to this?” Well, the answer to that differs from sponsor to sponsor. It could be exclusive rights to news coverage of their heists, or perhaps the phantom would have to serve as a spokesperson for the sponsor’s product. A sponsor’s reasoning was very much in line with one who would sponsor a race car. For, you see, stealing had become a spectator sport!

Now, here in this reality’s 2015, almost everything is the same as your world. Everything, save for the fact that rather than tune into a ball game, most people spend their time chasing after news on their favorite phantom.

And there you have it. The story of how a world full of legal thieves that steal with style came to be. If you have any questions, feel free to use the “comments section.” I am told it is much faster than post.

See you soon, Schrodinger.

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