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March 11, 2018, 9:59 am

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The Ether Ghosts of Walter Stupek


A man prone to grief, Walter Stupek surrounded himself with the Etherite clones of people he has lost.

Walter Stupek was a sentimental man, one prone to long periods of malaise and disenchantment. There were a few bright moments in his life, and these all swirled around other people who were at different places in their own lives. He was a cerebrologist, and had a vast deal of experience with makeshift neurohelmets and even black market schematics for a Cohaagen apparatus. As his life slowly degenerated he took more and more illegal engrams and kakugrams. Eventually he left his job to live on basic income, and immersed himself into a ukiyo dreamworld where he lived with the etherite copies of the people who gave him happiness and levity.

Elizabeth Venatta, The First Love

Elizabeth Venatta was Stupek's first romantic relationship. It was fast, tempestuous, and ill-fated. Stupek was not able to capture an engram of Venatta when she was a teenager, as he was as well at the time. Instead, he created a 'chimera etherite' taking three different engrams and welding them together. The first was a discretely take engram of a much older Venatta. The other two were taken from teenage girls, one who resembled a young Venatta physically and one who resembled her teenage psyche.

Young Elizabeth lives a quiet life of terror, being a creation and prisoner of Stupek and his fascination with her young flesh, and how she 'set his soul on fire' when he was young.

Romy Stupek, The Newlywed wife

Romy Stupek was also a cerebrologist, and worked with Walter in the lab. She was aware of his interest in engrams and ether technology. She willingly provided herself as a test subject for capturing ether copies of her psyche, and allowed for the creation of lab 'expy] copies of herself to be made. During this time, she was falling in love with Walter's genius and ambition, and likewise, he with her. They would wed, in a retro-traditional ceremony and she adored the idea of being the blushing bride. Her etherite copy retains this blushing bride innocence and enthusiasm.

Stupek routinely has to reset Newlywed Romy to her original settings, as her innocence and naivety cannot survive long periods of contact with his negative emotions, and he is no longer the anxious and nervous groom to her blushing bride.

Romy Stupek 2, The Pregnant Wife

Less than a year into their ill-fated marriage, the Stupeks found themselves expecting a child. Romy allowed herself to be engram copied for scientific purposes, to understand how a developing fetus can alter the perspectives of the mother, and to capture for eternity, the feelings of joyous pregnancy. Walter was very fond of Romy when she was with his child, far more fond of her pregnant than he was with her as a new mother.

Like Newlywed Romy, Pregnant Romy is regularly reset, because eventually her code becomes erratic as all the emotions and needs of pregnancy are there, but there is no birth, no hope of seeing the new child. Pregnant Romy does become hostile and self destructive.

Agnes Stupek, The Daughter

There are several copies of Agnes Stupek, but Walter only keeps one around, his daughter when she was nine years old. At this age, she was bright eyed and explorative, and shared her father's singular ability to focus on one desire, while remaining completely oblivious to the negative aspects of her behavior.

Agnes is perhaps one of the longest stable etherites, as her nature is accepting and to an extent, amoral and curious. The longer her code runs, the more of a smiling sociopath she becomes. Walter rarely resets her because in a way, she has grown to personify his amorality, and his guilt over the negative things he has done in his life.

Benjamin 'BiBi' Stupek

Bibi Stupek was Walter's father. He was a violent man, a veteran who struggled with PTSD and chemical abuse problems. Bibi was never proud of Walter, who followed academic interests, and not religious, military, or athletic ventures. Bibi wanted a son who would be a strong, and ultimately emotionally wrecked as himself. Before his death, Walter took a electroencephalogram of his father to capture his declining health and hostility. Bibi lives to slowly die in front of Walter, to be rebooted to start the downward spiral again, and again, and again.

Walter has been rebooted more times than can be counted, but like Agnes, he has longterm program stability. His program is to suffer and die, repeatedly, functioning as an emotional victim and scapegoat for the lifetime of suffering that Walter feels the man inflicted on him, and the rest of the family.

Romy Stupek 3, the Sophisticated Wife

Romy and Walter divorced, and most of it was Romy finding success in the Etherite technologies field. As her star rose, so did her self worth, and she became more confident, and more self assured. While Walter found this attractive as Romy was willing to entertain more sexually sophisticated kinks and games, it also lead to their divorce. She grew tired of his emotional manipulations and his fascination with collecting ethergrams of people.

Sophisticated Romy is disturbingly aware of her situation, and that none of the domain is real, and that Walter is her jailer, and that he has been doing this game for years. Walter is frustrated with this etherite version of his wife because while early in her program cycle she will play power games and explore various kinks with him, she always becomes aware of the actual scenario, and disengages from the games, forcing him to keep going through breaking up with her and resetting her program.

The Young Walter

Created from an autoethergram, Young Walter is a etherite copy of himself when he was still quite young and hadn't married Romy yet, hadn't wrecked his life, and was still considered a rising star in the field of ether technologies.

Walter's relationship with himself is complex. There are dark periods where he will confront his younger self and kill it. He has murdered his own etherself dozens of times. He has also brought his etherself to one of his Romys and watched them relate to each other, sometimes to the extent of being a voyeur, watching his etherite make vigorous love to one of the etherite copies of his ex-wife, cuckolding himself...with a copy... of himself.

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Comments ( 6 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

Cheka Man
March 12, 2018, 3:40
I feel rather sorry for him.
March 12, 2018, 7:53
I can imagine some crucial piece of information (e.g., emergency shutdown code for an AI) existing only in the mind of such an Ether ghost, and PCs having to enter the dreamscape of such a withdrawn madman to learn it.
Eclipse phase has given extensive thought to the idea of kidnapping 'forks' (software copies of the minds) of people for nefarious purposes, and I like articles that illustrate specific cases like this.
(yet, as I understand, it's not possible to upload these backups into bodies in the Cosmic Era setting, no? so the ether ghosts are really imperfect ghosts of their former selves)
March 12, 2018, 8:16
You can download an ether into a droid body, or an organic body with artificial brain components. The former gives you an Expy of the former person, while the latter kickstarts fundamentally a new person but they start with the former persons ether memories and identity. One makes a robot one makes a Frankenstein minus zombie walk and robot arms
Voted Morte
March 12, 2018, 13:48
Only voted
Voted valadaar
March 13, 2018, 12:01
Well shit, there is a short story here for sure. Maybe even a novel.

Voted Cheka Man
March 14, 2018, 20:04
Sometimes I think I'd like a robot girlfriend, as a real one is near impossible to obtain.


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