Chapter 8

Ætherglow #157

If you don’t do something you’ll end up disarmed without resistance, a humiliating defeat. While she awaits your response, you kiss her instead. In that instant, you feel instability in her defenses. You take her hand and pull it away from your neck. You get hold of her other hand for good measure and grasp them both tight as you mentally push back on her and repel her avatar from your space. The sensation of vines binding your limbs recedes as you regain control of yourself. She kisses you back, letting your æthereal barriers rest against each other in equilibrium.

“What in Earth’s name is this?!” says a voice from the crowd.

“Um, they are now, um... DeLune, is this technopathy?” the announcer says.

“I would ask Iruma! Is this what goes on in your Translunar Academy?” DeLune says.

The lights shining on you and Électricité shut off, leaving the focus on the corpo executives.

“Your Cislunar amateur couldn’t overpower our candidate and resorted to seduction!” Iruma says.

“That’s not what I or anyone else in the room saw!” DeLune says. “You knew your first year couldn’t best our star candidate, you probably ordered her to do this!”

“You Earthsider bastard, how dare you?!” Iruma stumbles forward and swings at DeLune with his fist. DeLune dodges him. Up on the screen, the value of Cosmosaïque and Cybernautics both declines as people around the room look into their terminals. DeLune strikes back, hitting Iruma in the face.

“Aydan.” You recognize your Natali’s voice as she climbs onto the stage, positioning herself protectively between you and the ongoing half-drunken brawl. “You best come with me.” She points out a movement in the crowd. The representatives at the Traditionalist Foundation’s table seem angry.

You look at Trisha and point to the stairs offstage. You both go with Natali, out of sight.

“What a shameful display of spaceling degeneracy! This is what happens when you take children from their families and implant them with all sorts of unnatural devices, when you let them go against their Earth-given nature!” the angry voice in the crowd says.

“Oh shut up, nobody cares what you Traddies think!” another woman in the crowd says.

“Our defense contractors do! And why are Lunar Nationalists like you even invited to an expo of free trade?”

“Because our defense contractors invited us! Maybe you’d like to take this to the sky, Earther filth!”

“Oh I long for the day, you LuNat degenerate!”

“Calm down! Calm down!” you hear Ælita’s voice interject.

Natali leads you around the edge of the room to the exit, giving intimidating glances to anyone who looks your way.

“You two should make yourselves scarce.” She opens the door for you.

“Thanks, Natali,” you say.

“I’ve got your back. Also, nice job up there. Now I better go stand near your moms as they try to stop a war that Redshift has no stake in,” Natali says.

The door shuts behind you and Trisha.

2254-08-02 18:47:18 Électricité > well that was fun

2254-08-02 18:47:22 Aydan > yeah! thanks for the...duel

She reaches up and pats you on the head.

2254-08-02 18:47:28 Électricité > can’t wait until my partner system hears of this, they will love it

2254-08-02 18:47:33 Aydan > I hope you have a good time with them!

2254-08-02 18:47:37 Électricité > thanks!

2254-08-02 18:47:40 Électricité > what about you? have someone to go home to at your academy? or elsewhere?

2254-08-02 18:47:49 Aydan > _

1) > not really, just good friends, I miss them already: 0 (0.0%)
2) > maybe...there’s a girl I like: 3 (50.0%)
3) > there is this enby...: 0 (0.0%)
4) > well there’s, um, it’s Complicated.: 3 (50.0%)
Expired 1 years ago (2023-04-13 19:46:35)