Chapter 1 Summary

Aydan (every pronoun) is a 174 month old genderfluid-nonbinary-femboy from Korolev City on Lunar Spaceside. As the first autistic child of a wealthy family in control of one of the colonies’ many competing private militias, Aydan’s fate was decided before they were born: she would become a technopath and take a position of high rank in the Redshift Security company. And so Aydan was enrolled at Translunar Academy and departed its hometown to begin zir training as a technopath--a person who blurs the line between human and machine and interacts with computers directly through thought.

At the Korolev City spaceport, Aydan met up with hir acquaintance Vik (he/they) and decided to try and become friends. Together in a light automated transport shuttle, they lifted off from the Moon on a direct injection course to TLA, situated in a halo orbit at the Earth-Moon L2 point. But shortly after the shuttle’s main engines cut off, a serious problem occurred: the shuttle’s attitude control system was going haywire, endangering the lives of its passengers with high G forces. Aydan managed to connect to the shuttle’s computer and help stabilize the craft. But upon inspection, it was clear that this was no accident.

The shuttle’s passengers met to discuss the fact that one among them may be a saboteur who nearly killed them all. Synth (they/them), a charismatic third year student, took charge of the meeting. One passenger, K (he/him), a technician for TLA station, offered a solution: check the shuttle’s hidden log, accessible only through the æther, the strange realm of metaconsciousness that technopaths travel through while their minds are dissociated into computer systems.

A TLA nurse, Ana (it/its), used the shuttle’s emergency medical lab to prepare a dissociative medication, which would ensure all passengers remained dissociated in the æther. By staying together, they could keep an eye on each other. Aydan took the injection and dissolved into a realm beyond faer wildest dreams.

The æther was a place devoid of time and space, where physics were arbitrary and one’s senses could not be trusted. Aydan found eirself mesmerized by a mysterious pattern of light in the far distance, the ætherglow, which he learned was the result of technopathy long since cast, deallocated data in the system, and its appearance was merely the product of a human mind trying to perceive it. While lost in an æther hallucination, Aydan encountered a strange entity that took on a form like per own body devoid of light. This entity knew aer name.

Once snapped out of the hallucinatory scenario, Aydan followed the others to their destination, where Synth and K worked together to analyze the hidden log file and narrow down who could have been responsible for the attack. But as Aydan became lost in the ætherglow a second time, the thing called nim by name again and offered to tell hine the answer. Aydan agreed, and the ætherglow showed heo a convincing vision implicating K.

Aydan quietly alerted Ana, who openly accused K, but K turned its accusation back on it. Both readied technopathic programs to attack the other. Synth devised a plan to send Aydan and Vik back to the surface--only first years could do this due to the external interface devices they wore--and use the dissociative injection to fully sedate both K and Ana. Awakening on the surface in a disoriented, dissociative haze, Aydan and Vik worked together to get the device, only to find it only had one charge left. Aydan chose to inject K before losing hira grip on reality again.

When Aydan awoke, all was well, the right choice had been made and the rest of the passengers were safe. After a few hours of restful travel, they arrived at Translunar Academy.