Chapter 1

Ætherglow #22

“Something called my name,” you say.

“It’s a hallucination, Aydan, it’s meaningless,” Synth says. “It’s your brain trying to rationalize meaningless noise, that’s all.”

“Let’s go Aydan, we shouldn’t stay here longer than we need to,” Vik says.

Together you step through the doorway. It’s a short trip, but intense, a storm of light passing you by faster than your vision can follow. You emerge in another æther-space where K awaits. Looking at the star patterns on the distant walls here, it feels familiar. It’s mostly the same as where you just were. They makes sense, since you are still within the shuttle’s computer. But it's more than that--everywhere you go in the æther seems to feel like somewhere you have always wanted to return to, even though you've never seen it before.

The more you look at this space, the more it transforms into a recognizable shape. Its walls become metallic, with wide glass windows looking out into the circuit-stars beyond. Monitors line most of the walls between the windows, and thousands of wires stretch between them like overgrown vines in the arboretum back home. Details build upon details the closer you look, as if your mind is extrapolating on what it assumes should be here.

Ana follows after you, and the three other students. They are talking to each other, but their voices are distant and incomprehensible. It seems speech in a place like this must be very direct to work, more sending a message than talking. Synth is the last one through.

“This is where we’ll find it.” K approaches one of the screens and it flashes to life with blocks of text and numbers. But you can’t make any sense of them. The characters themselves are readable, coming from a variety of languages, you can read some portion of it, but it makes no logical sense, like text read in a dream. K seems to be making sense of it, though. With no training, you can barely make any sense of your hallucinatory surroundings here, let alone real information.

“I’ll look through it with you,” Synth says.

“Of course, you don’t have to take my word for it,” K says.

“Okay, bring up the recent log and we’ll try and sort out who is who. I assume most of us were connected during the incident, trying to figure out what was going on, so that will complicate things,” they say.

Should you explain yourself?

1) help identify yourself in the log and explain the actions you took: 100 (100.0%)
2) stay silent and let them put it together themselves: 0 (0.0%)
3) resolve to deny anything about your involvement: 0 (0.0%)
4) try and access the data yourself anyway to see: 0 (0.0%)
Expired 2 years ago (2022-01-18 18:29:00)

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.