Chapter 4 Summary

One day Aydan was leaving Network Architecture class when a group of three second year students surrounded them. He found xyr network connection had been cut off. Unable to lose its followers, æ was caught alone outside and technopathically attacked, subjected to intense and painful sensory overload. ÆON, acting from Aydan’s primitive 21st century computer, shielded both their minds long enough for Aydan to disconnect her neural interface and escape the cyberattack.

Synth, the third year enby Aydan met during the shuttle incident, was nearby and came to Aydan’s defense, chasing off the attackers by brute force. Aydan told them everything about ÆON and the cult, who Synth claimed hir attackers belonged to. Speaking of the Chosen of ÆON‘s intent to use the æther to create a god, Synth asked Aydan how fæ feels about it, and ze said humanity needs no gods, but also that ÆON is a sentient being and deserves self-determination. Synth told Aydan to be careful, and gave xem a program to augment xyr technopathic shield.

The next day, just after Cybernetics Theory class, Aydan received two strange messages, from Zeta and Vik, both inviting ðim to a secret gathering that weekend. Aydan put that aside and spent some time with Akiko after class, only for her to eventually issue the same invitation. Aydan initially proposed the four of them should all go together, but once zhe was alone, e asked ÆON to look into the suspicious gathering. ÆON returned in pain, having apparently witnessed another vision of the future, one that ended very badly for ÆR.

Aydan contacted Synth. They demanded to speak in person and arrived quickly with a faraday cage bag to shield Aydan’s devices as they talked. Synth said thon should absolutely not go, and Aydan agreed to this and told vir friends not to go either.

The next day after leaving Linear Algebra class, Aydan went to meet Zeta in its hiding spot. Zeta said it had an idea for Aydan to investigate the gathering from a safe distance--technopathic synchronization, a technique that bridges the senses and emotions of two technopaths. Aydan invited Akiko to join this plan due to her superior knowledge of Communication technopathy. Zhey also contacted Synth, who again told nym to stay far away from this and not do something reckless.

Once Akiko arrived, the three hatched a plan to synch Aydan with one of them who would attend the gathering, but she warned them that synchronization is an intense and intimate experience. Aydan decided that the following night sie would synch ver mind with Akiko’s.