external image Mariondavies.jpgPerspective character

Name: Emily Galina Ballard
Age: 18
Gender: Female
Race/Ethnicity: White
Profession: Student
Home Location: RAMI Women's Housing, Tenerly School for the Mechanically Gifted
Memberships/Factions: RAMI, New Steam, Labor/Workers, Women's Rights
Relationships:
Tabitha O'Hagarty (dislike), Gabrielle Garnier (friend), Archibald Regiblaster (acquaint), Nora Marshall (acquaint), Nathan Garner (friend), James Ballard (NPC - dislike), William Tenerly (friend)
Disposition: Polite but brief; Agreeable but not charismatic
High concept: Brilliant tinkerer with much potential but little refined knowledge or skill; young rebel trying to break into activism while shedding the comforts of her previous, richer life
Special skills/abilities: Creating new devices; Putting old technology to new use; Steam working
Notable flaws/weaknesses: May come off as abrasive to others; Tends to alienate herself from people she'd otherwise get along with; Stubborn when it comes to ideology
Basic appearance description (daily, avg): Tall, lanky, scrawny, kind of plain, with clothes some might deem "too fancy" for her - all from when she was living with her rich father
Motivations:
Short-term motivation
Medium-term motivation
Long-term motivation
Learn more about steam mechanics
Graduate from a prestigious institution
Change the world to be a better place for the less privileged, through whatever means necessary, even if those means happen to be metaphysically disastrous


Narrative


Background (family, education, important life events)

Emily Ballard was born on July 21st, 1902, to wealthy parents Patricia Ballard (who passed away when she was young) and James Ballard (no relation to the famous science fiction author, who wasn't alive yet). Their hometown of Warsaw, NY became too small for James' ambitions, and, hopping onto the progressive New Steam movement, he moved his family to a new manor in Rochester in 1912. Emily had one sibling, a brother named James Jr., whom she got along with less and less as she grew older. Emily was always a tomboy, although she was very much on board with feminine fashion, which her father indulged her in, hoping she'd straighten out into a healthy, womanly young lady. At the same time, he immersed her in the world of steam technology, which, oddly enough, he considered okay for a young woman to be interested in. His cautious optimism changed when he caught a seventeen-year-old Emily kissing her secret girlfriend in her room. Although James was progressive, he wasn't quite that progressive, and a few weeks later he sat Emily down for a discussion, telling her, in essence, that he'd give her a decent amount of money toward her education if she turned tail and didn't come back to the house again. Emily begrudgingly accepted his help, knowing that the alternative would be to be ungraciously kicked out of her home with nowhere to go. Due to her bitterness over this betrayal, and her desire to immerse herself in schoolwork, she's ignoring her sexuality for the most part - or trying to, anyway - although she's not actively hiding it.

Current Biography (ca. 1921):

In 1920, Emily enrolled in a number of technical programs at RAMI, though not as many as she'd like to be in. Although she still had a decent amount of money, she tried to align herself with the working class, going so far as to take a factory job to make some money on the side and join the struggle. Her main interest was the Wardenclyffe Tower, which is currently under construction.

Emily remained at RAMI until January of 1921, when she began working on the Protean Machine project with Nathan Garner and Nora Marshall. As the machine became her priority, she became less and less attached to RAMI. Accepting William Tenerly's business offer, which meant her departure from RAMI and relocation to the Tenerly School for the Mechanically Gifted, did not pose any significant problem for her.

Epilogue:

Emily worked with Nathan, Nora, and Gabrielle Garnier on the Protean Machine during the Steam Fair in early 1921. She continued her work on the machine until Nathan's tragic death led her into a deep depression lasting several months. After some time away from her work, Emily pulled herself together and kept lobbying for the Protean Machine. While the machine was capable of some great feats, and she never gave up believing in it, it did not catch on. Many proposed ethical, practical, and philosophical issues with the machine's design and distribution, and when it was realized that Emily's patented Neural Stack foil was, in truth, senescent like biological tissue (if at a significantly decreased rate), the Protean Machine fell into relative obscurity, its usefulness applying only to the rich and the gravely ill. Rather than inspiring the paradigm shift Emily had hoped for, it became simply a peculiar and notable variety of automaton - another mildly interesting exhibit in William Tenerly's museum.

Emily held on hope that the Protean Machine would make it big for about fifteen years, speaking out about its potential with limited success. The Great Depression hit her hard, nearly depleting her money supply, and when the Second World War came around she was forced to abandon her lofty goals and put her knowledge to a more practical use. She pioneered some of the technologies used in ICBMs, helping to shift the war in America's favor along with many other esteemed and skilled engineers. Her contributions were at the forefront of the first manned Moon Landing in the late fifties, bringing her a bit of fame and a lot of fortune. In the sixties Emily attempted to re-introduce the idea of a Protean Machine to the masses, but the international scientific community had moved on to more modern forms of computing - no one wanted to hear about a primitive attempt to mimic human consciousness on glorified tin foil when computing provided a much cleaner way of going about it.

As the LGBT+ rights movement grew in strength, Emily eventually came out of the closet, and although she never quite settled down with anyone, she did have a number of relationships throughout her life. Scandalously enough, this included an on-and-off tryst with one of Archibald Regiblaster's second cousins she met after her group revived Gregory Regiblaster with famously "moderate" success.

Although she moved on to other media, Emily never forgot the Protean Machine, nor did she forget Nathan and his ambitions. She lobbied for increased research into human consciousness, AI, and the ethical implications of mind uploading, making a lot of noise and bringing the issue into the public eye. Her efforts laid the groundwork for the modern transhumanist movement.

Emily Ballard died on October 3rd, 1997 at 1:52 PM after years of fighting a serious heart condition. Under her instructions her brain and upper spine were cryogenically frozen, in the hopes that one day technology might be able to revive her.