Chapter 6

Ætherglow #120


You don’t feel the need to say anything. It’s quiet up here on top of the world, or rather in the middle of it. Soon enough you’ll start doing microgravity training, and eventually EVA training, and experience situations like this more often. You take a moment to just relax and appreciate the tranquility of microgravity before it can become routine.

But the cold and low pressure are making you lightheaded. Even Zeta looks paler than usual. You point back to the open hatch and move that way. You both climb back inside and Zeta pulls the door shut and locks it back in place. You hear the fans in this room all ramp up as the environmental control system takes over.

“You depressurized this whole room,” you say.

“So what, it’ll take care of itself,” Zeta says.

“Very technopath kind of attitude.”

“Let’s go back, I think I’ve imparted some valuable lessons and now I’m hungry.” It pushes itself off the wall to drift back toward the entrance.

You deactivate your boots with a thought-issued command and try to catch up. But as you float through the empty space you’re starting to feel nauseous. You’re still short of breath even as the pressure builds. By the time you reach the floor you start to feel a strange sensation on your skin, like something crawling around on you.

You struggle to control your rotation and Zeta catches you before you can crash into the floor at an awkward angle.

“You don’t look so good,” it says.

“I kinda feel terrible suddenly...” you say.

“Oh fuck, you’re not used to pressure changes are you?”

“No...why would I be? Same pressure most everywhere in my city of little tubes and domes...”

“I think you might have decompression sickness. Fuck, I’m so sorry Aydan, this is all my fault.”

“I agreed to it, it’s whatever... ugh...”

“Come on, I’ll get you down to the medical center and we’ll get you some pure oxygen. They know how to handle this.”


You only start to feel worse as you descend the elevator into higher spin-gravity. Down at 0.3G you need Zeta’s help to keep your balance as a terrible vertigo overcomes you. But it’s strong enough to practically carry you.

Your disorientation turns to mild dissociation, and your mind wanders to the near-æther, where the physical structure of the world blends with the data structure of its network. It’s easy to let go of your body and drift through metaconscious space, losing track of your surroundings. But for the moment you don’t feel like you’re in danger, and just let yourself flow along the current of the æther.


Proceed to Chapter 7 >>

“I’m so sorry about this Aydan, I don’t even think about stuff before I do it,” it says.

1) “It’s all good, was bound to happen sooner or later.”: 1 (50.0%)
2) “It’s fine, you’re here to take care of me.”: 0 (0.0%)
3) “Maybe I should be more careful to balance that out.”: 0 (0.0%)
4) Stay silent and dissociate.: 1 (50.0%)
Expired 1 years ago (2023-02-24 19:26:23)