Chapter 5

Ætherglow #92

Stay, you feel.

“I’ll try and listen in!” Not so difficult for a Communication specialist, but doing so undetected is tricky. You reach out into the æther to find the thought network connecting Synth and Unas. It’s like a thin fiber tying them together, like a spider web in the garden, resilient yet fragile.

You attempt to imperceptibly splice your own thread of thought into this channel. The words and concepts reach your mind, distant and distorted:

“You said no harm would come to the Messenger!” Synth says.

“This does not concern you, Synthesis,” Unas says. “Return to the surface and clear your mind of this, your part in it is over.”

“Like hell, I won’t--“

“--We are not alone.”

A sudden jolt hits your mind as your thread of thought is severed. The vessel of Null turns your way, their eyes glowing pink, as you are thrown backward into distant æther-space.

????-??-?? ??:??:?? Zeta > what happened?? your sync rate is plummeting!

????-??-?? ??:??:?? Zeta > 58%!

????-??-?? ??:??:?? Zeta > 56!

????-??-?? ??:??:?? Zeta > I have to abort now!

Darkness crashes down on you with an overwhelming noise like the roar of rocket engines in an atmospheric simulation. You feel cold. Numb. Confused. You can’t feel the æther. You can’t see the network. There is only you, spiraling through a chaotic storm of dancing vectors before your eyes.

You’re lying on the Lunar surface, half buried in regolith, staring up at the stars. So many stars. There’s nothing around you. Nobody. Close your eyes, open them, it makes no difference, the vision persists.

2254-04-06 03:38:54 Zeta > Aydan, you okay?

The words and numbers float in front of your eyes, blurry, splitting into two reflections, drifting back and forth.

2254-04-06 03:40:14 Zeta > say something Aydan, anything!

How to make word.

2254-04-06 03:41:01 Aydan > aeuugasodhdasdsadlakjselai

2254-04-06 03:41:11 Zeta > good, good to hear

You send a command and the lamp over your desk turns on. You immediately dim the light, it hurts. You can move your arms. But you can’t feel where they are. You can’t feel the motion. You can’t feel the pull of the cylinder’s rotation. You’re floating on the surface.

2254-04-06 03:44:46 Aydan > Akiko

2254-04-06 03:44:58 Zeta > she's fine. still dissoc as fuck like you, but surfaceside

The room is so empty. Your head is so empty. You remember words.

2254-04-06 03:47:32 Aydan > _

1) "get her safe place. Unas, the vessel, not safe": 100 (100.0%)
2) "lay low and protect her until she okay": 0 (0.0%)
3) "bring her here, here safe": 0 (0.0%)
4) "get her out, I'll find you": 0 (0.0%)
Expired 2 years ago (2022-05-06 15:01:00)

NOTICE: this poll was conducted on Ætherglow's previous home site. After total loss of the server, we only had records of which results won, not exact vote totals.