Sverige Alquist was born in the newly founded Federal Republic of Scandinavia. His father, however, detested the idea of being lumped together with a bunch of "crackpot Danes" and "lazy Finns", as he called them. He didn't mind the Norwegians, though. As long as they kept to their stinking side of the border, that is. Hence Alquist junior's given name Sverige - Swedish for "Sweden".
But it was not only with regard to his name that Alquist senior was to have such a big impact on his son's life. Until the United Enterprises Organisation banned religion for good (or "for bad", depending on your politics), the father had instilled enough fire and brimstone into his son's brain to last him a lifetime. This was of course after the Fourth World War. (Naturally, religion had been banned after the Third World War. But "banning" is not "stopping". No, it took the concerted effort of the entire UEO to strike at the very root of that most debilitating of time-wasting activities.) Alquist senior was sentenced to death, which was a rather abrupt end and gave rise to dancing in the streets up and down both Denmark and Finland. His son however underwent the best brain surgery at the UEO's disposal. That had the effect of "curing" him of any need he might have had to go down on his knees and pray to any old will-o'-the-wisp, or "God" as he used to be known. Unfortunately, having undergone brain surgery precluded the young Alquist from attending an institute of tertiary education. Armed with nothing more than a paltry school leaving certificate, he had to make his own way in the world.
If that wasn't bad enough, there was always his mother. By some bizarre blip in her logical reasoning processes (which may in itself have been the result of pre-WWIII brain surgery), Alquist's mother blamed her son for the loss of her husband. Moreover, she carried this claim to court, where the judge must have been having a bad day because he actually awarded her damages to the tune of ❡25m. (That at a time when ❡25m could have bought half of Stockholm!)
The trouble was Alquist didn't have anything like ❡25m. But it was either pay up or go into exile. Alquist chose exile as the lesser of two evils. Unfortunately, this meant he missed the follow-up brain surgery which would have rid him of his religiosity forever. In later life, his father's spouting off about "sin" and "blasphemy" would come back to him ever more strongly.
So Alquist had to fend for himself in a world which was cruel and getting crueler by the minute. One day, he stumbled into the construction industry. Literally. He was walking along a beachfront in one of the PIGS States when the ground disappeared from beneath his feet. A hole had opened up the size of a small village. To keep him quiet, the mayor of the area gave him the job of filling in the hole. The rest, as they say, is history.