Paul E. "Duke" Wisowa

Position: Computational System

Species: Pauly-Wisowa E25

Sex: Male

Birthplace: Unknown, possibly Costa Mesa, CA

Physical Description: The Pauly-Wisowa E25 is a black, cast-iron typewriter with a sewing machine pedal, a "rabbit ear" TV antenna, and a quartz-obsidian back panel assembly. The whole unit weighs in at about 20 lbs. Duke himself has no physical body to describe (see below).

I've been working on this for more than a month, and I still don't think I'm gonna get it right. But, well, I've gotta put something up here about Duke, don't I?

So here goes.

When you look at Duke, what you see is the Pauly-Wisowa E25. But that's not Duke. Duke's disembodied consciousness is inside the E25 functioning as its operating system.

Hmmm. Maybe some background first.

The Pauly-Wisowa E25 is arguably the earliest example of an artificial intelligence computer system here on Earth.

Arguably because, well, it's hard to find anything about the machine anywhere. I mean, I've heard that it was built from technology found in the alien ship that supposedly crashed at Roswell, NM in 1947; that it's an outgrowth of Thomas Edison's 1920s experiments in spirit communication; that it's the machine that inspired L. Ron Hubbard to found Scientology in the 1950s.

Is any of this true? No one seems to know. All anyone agrees on is that it was built by a guy named Gustav Pauly sometime between 1945 and 1970.

And Gustav Pauly himself is a shadowy figure. According to different sources, he was:

Anyway, Pauly built this computer that achieves artificial intelligence, basically, by cheating. The machine, y'see, connects to some sort of limbo, grabs one of the disembodied spirits floating there--Pauly called them "qi," a Chinese word, I guess--and takes it in to be its operating system. Don't ask me how: it involves states of consciousness, levels of being and non-being, and I don't understand any of it.

Carmen knows all about this stuff, though, and that brings up another odd thing. Apparently Pauly, in building his E25, stumbled across the intercauseways, the paths that connect the various planes of existence. Finding that there were other worlds out there, Pauly left our Earth in 1971 and went from planet to planet selling his E25 to anyone who was interested.

What's odd about this is: he somehow visited all these other worlds in their pasts. Carmen recognized our E25 when she arrived on Earth as a classic, the AI machine she had first learned programming on in elementary school.

Anyway, when Carmen activated our E25, the "qi" it grabbed didn't remember anything about his previous life except that he liked the group Black Sabbath and that he's pretty sure either his wife or one of his mistresses had murdered him with a shotgun. He decided he wanted to be called Duke, so that's what we call him. He can be a little foul-mouthed at times, but he's an indispensable part of our staff.

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