Hiram's parents were both street rats, who died in 897, when he was eleven years old. This left Hiram to take care of his five-year-old sister, Hailey, by himself. He spent his entire childhood lamenting the fact that it seemed impossible for people from their social class to ever become anything more than 'rats, because they couldn't afford masters to teach them trades. Even unskilled labor jobs were rarely given to people like them, who couldn't provide a home address, or references, or even wear respectable clothes. So when the idea of a free, public school system was proposed in 902, when he was 16 and his sister was 10, it gave him hope for the first time in his life. He doubted there would ever be much chance for himself, but he thought at least Hailey might get an education, which could lead to a job. Perhaps not a great job, as trades were more likely to be learned at the proposed universities, which wouldn't be free. But at least it would be a place to start, and the next generation might hope for better lives, still. Besides, it wasn't just about his sister or himself, it was about everyone in the world who lacked the opportunity to better themselves. And so, he became deeply committed to the Coming of the Order.
In early Su'yet of 902, the armies of Near Port and Port, under the command of Major Tovan Major Althis, respectively, were in First Village, planning their next move. The armies also recruited a number of First Villagers, including Hiram. The first battle in which he would take part was the Battle of Plist. He derived great satisfaction from this, as he hated the Protestant Movement, believing anyone who opposed the ideals of the Coming must be evil. He would subsequently take part in other battles, in which he always distinguished himself as a fierce warrior. After the war, he was promoted to sergeant, and became a member of the First Village regiment that was organized by Col. Siobhan Muttonchop.
When the surname law was passed in 904, Hiram and Hailey chose the name 'Betterlife' for themselves, as they expected the newly established Second Order and all the changes it brought to the world would allow them to make better lives for themselves.
Also in 904, when the first public schools opened, Hailey enrolled in first grade. She was therefore five years older than most of her fellow students, but unlike them, she'd never had a chance to learn most of the basics. But at least her brother now had a steady income from his job in the Army, and so they were no longer homeless. Hailey was a quick study, and her teachers were greatly impressed by her intellect. (She also shared what she learned with her brother, who couldn't attend school himself.) In 905 she skipped ahead to third grade, in 906 to fifth, in 907 to eighth, in 908 to tenth. She was now with students her own age, and graduated at the end of the year. Over the past few years, Hiram had been saving as much money as he could to help with Hailey's possible enrollment in a university, but by the time she graduated, he still didn't have nearly enough. Now, Hailey got a job as a secretary, so she could begin saving up money herself. Her ultimate goal is to become a botanist.
In 909, Hiram was promoted to lieutenant. In 912, he served in the Battle of First Village. However, when Col. Muttonchop surrendered on 30 Aut'gin, Hiram refused to accept the order. He believed The Cabal was entirely justified in doing anything it could to ensure the survival of the Second Order, and was outraged that anyone would think differently. He was particularly galled at how many 'rats were on the side of the rebels, since he believed the Second Order had given them opportunities they never would have had without it, and if they were still 'rats instead of productive members of society, that was their own fault. And so, he led his platoon in an unauthorized charge against the enemy, ultimately losing his own life to Darius Lonewander.