|“||Pandemonium is just a part of life! Peacetime or war, as long as you’ve got people, their fates are always gonna get tangled up into one huge mess! Que sera sera, ya follow?||”|
Cal Muybridge (カル・マイブリッジ Karu Maiburijji) is the founder and chairman of the Nebula Corporation.
Cal is older than Bartolo Runorata and appears as such with an aged wrinkled face, but unlike Bartolo and his more dignified demeanor comes across as a kindly and mischievous old man. He often has a smile on his face, like that of a small child playing a prank.
Cal has an air about him that instantly puts people at ease, cheerful and disarming all at once. He enjoys the odd coarse joke or two and is usually good-humored when talking with his employees; still, when the situation requires it, he will impart one or two well-placed words of gravitas to remind his employees of whom they are really speaking with: a powerful and wealthy entrepreneur who built the Nebula corporation to its current grand standings in a single generation.
He is sharp and clever when it comes to handling money, and appears to have a solution to everything. As a young Ladd Russo once observed, he does not particularly care as to when he will die. This is evident when he invites the Runoratas to shoot him in the conference room; to gamble away his own life means that he has run out of all other bargaining chips, and Cal is indifferent to the fact that his last chip is his own life.
He has a mild Chicago accent.
Cal establishes the Nebula Corporation a few decades prior to 1934. In the beginning, Nebula is little more than a subsidiary producing amusement park equipment and plans for public events. Over time, however, Cal manages to expand Nebula into a wide variety of businesses while profiting massively from investing in stocks. As a result of Cal's efforts, Nebula reaches the national stage in an impressively swift period of time.
At some point in the 1920s, a youth called Ladd Russo breaks into Cal's office with the intent to kill him—only to decide against it after concluding killing Cal would be boring. Cal learns through questioning that Ladd had broken into the building on a dare and bet with a friend, though he personally believes that Ladd was likely just hoping to cause trouble for Nebula.
In an unpublicized conversation, an unidentified individual asks Cal if he is familiar with his employee Renee Parmedes Branvillier. It takes Cal a moment to remember her, but once he does he comments on the length of her name and her sensual figure. He advises the individual not to approach Renee, who is currently researching the immortality elixir and rumored to be kidnapping people to use in experiments for said research.
Cal says that he is at a loss at what to do since they have no evidence for the rumors and there is no way they can intervene. Furthermore, Renee's popularity with the male employees means that he cannot easily relocate or fire her. He admits that he has a rough idea of everything she's up to, and that he is using her, but points out that it is equally possible that he and the other employees at Nebula are lab rats to her. Nonchalant, he asks the individual if they want to bet on whether or not Cal is being used and walking to his doom, or if Renee will make things interesting while still being under his control.
Cal confides that he actually had all of his employees bet on the wager, and that after tallying the results it seems that 99:1 assume that Cal will be defeated.
In December 1934, Cal greets Gustav St. Germain and Carol in the rooftop garden of Nebula's Chicago headquarters, where he has a thirty-minute conversation with Gustav before Gustav and Carol return to the ground floor of the building.
The morning after Rail repeatedly bombs Elleson Hill, Cal calls one of the employees under Renee's supervision and orders the department to smooth things over with Rail before they continue adversely affecting other departments. When Gustav, Carol and Lua Klein make it into his office after fleeing from a series of explosions rocking the HQ building itself, Cal greets them warmly and advises that they stay with him for the time being.
Cal asks a nervous-looking Carol if she is feeling better since the first time they met, and then asks Lua if she is all right considering that Placido Russo held her hostage. Recalling that she is Ladd's girlfriend, Cal reminisces over the time Ladd tried to kill him many years prior before suggesting that they temporarily hide in the staff's living quarters until the situation calms down. He leaves the three in Rubik's hands before exiting his office.
The next day, Cal has a meeting which runs a little late; once the meeting is over, he and Rubik head straight for one of Nebula's meeting rooms and interrupts Bartolo Runorata's interrogation of Rail and Nice Holystone over the explosives used in the serial bombings. Cal cheerfully remarks that it has been "a long time" to Bartolo and asks how his grandson Cazze is faring, before asking which of the two scarred individuals was responsible for the earlier bombings.
After sending Rubik out for tea, Cal briefly speaks to Bartolo about Manfred Beriam before untying Rail's bonds. He apologizes to Rail on an employee's behalf and invites Rail to abandon Huey Laforet for Nebula, but Renee—the employee in question—walks into the room with her researchers before Rail can reply.
Rail reaches for the bomb pouch, which causes a researcher to aim a handgun Rail's way and one of the Runorata bodyguards to aim a gun at the researcher's temple. Within two gunshots the researcher is dead while the arm of the bodyguard reaching for the pouch is grazed, and Rail uses the opportunity to fling a grenade at Renee's group. The grenade lands in the outside hallway instead, where it explodes.
The Runorata bodyguards use a table to shield Bartolo from the blast, while Renee and her researchers chase after a fleeing Nice and Rail. Cal, who was also protected by the table, assures Bartolo he will provide compensation for the guard's wounded arm and offers the Runoratas use of the first-floor infirmary; when he soon offers to be shot dead where he stands, Bartolo tells him to save his sincerity for their upcoming transaction.
As Bartolo exits the room, the researcher his guard shot in the head gets to his feet. Begg Garrott confirms to Bartolo that these men are immortals—likely failed ones—and the researcher sprints after his departed colleagues. Bartolo thus takes his leave of Cal and the building itself, as he would prefer to be absent when the police raid the building later.
A showdown subsequently takes place between Renee's researchers and the temporarily allied Graham Specter and Christopher Shaldred on the rooftop garden, which results in the latter successfully escaping the premises alongside Jacuzzi's Gang and Graham's followers. In the aftermath, Cal and Rubik head to the garden to reflect on the day's pandemonium as well as that of the last several days.
As far as Rubik is concerned, the pandemonium has been nothing but a nuisance for Nebula. But where Rubik is dour, Cal is stubbornly optimistic; he insists that, at the very least, Nebula now has a good idea of what Huey is planning. He in turn plans to meet Huey with everything he has, though Rubik fails to understand how Cal can enjoy being "yanked around" so much. When Cal asks to try one of Rubik's sugarcubes, Rubik refuses.
A month or two later in 1935, Cal follows a younger employee into a laboratory that has been thrown into chaos, with incomplete immortal researchers rushing this way and that in frantic search for their direct superior Renee, who has gone missing. The younger employee informs the researchers that Renee left a note at the front desk, but the receptionist didn't understand the note at all. The researchers ask how the younger employee found the note and if it mentioned their specific department, causing the younger employee to hesitate.
Cal finally decides to step in, popping into view and explaining that the note was addressed to him personally. He had judged that the note contained what was essentially top-secret information, and elected to deliver it to the researchers about it personally. Without further ado he hands the letter over to the researchers, who are taken aback at its contents: in the note, Renee apologizes to Cal and explains that she is going to see her children and a former student (Huey) of her. She thinks she could be gone for anywhere between a few days and a few months, and requests that Cal ensure her subordinates are not too angry with her.
The researchers immediately burst into complaining, including regarding the surprise that Renee has children and that Renee is brazenly doing things that would normally get one fired. Cal lets them grumble and complain for a few minutes before clapping his hands to get their attention. First, he says that it should be clear to them that Renee is flying to England on his orders, claiming that the letter indicates as much, and brushes the incident off as him and Cal playing a "little joke" on the researchers. He asks that the researchers just go back to work for now, and say nothing more about what's happened even when Renee comes back.
When the researchers hesitate, Cal narrows his eyes and lowers his voice, asking for confirmation in a weighted tone. The researchers gulp and agree that Renee is without a doubt in England and that they hope she brings back a souvenir, satisfying Cal. The heavy atmosphere vanishes, and Cal remarks that he hopes that the souvenir is something sexy. He waves at the researchers as he leaves, laughing at his own coarse joke.
- In the original Japanese text, his mild Chicago accent is represented through the Kansai dialect.
- Alternate readings of his name prior to the Yen Press translation included Karl and Karil.