Chapter 9

Ætherglow #171

[CW: child abuse]

“They weren’t curing anything, they were making cyborgs of their own,” you say.

Synth walks past you out of the room and down one of the hallways. You and El follow.

“Fanatics driven by an obsession,” Synth says. “To create the strongest technopaths, they analyzed every cell and brainwave we had, to optimize what was effective and neutralize what was defective.”

A flash of memory overtakes your field of vision. You see your eyes opening and seeing the world in a cacophony of incomprehensible color.

“If natural senses were too limited, they augmented us as soon as they could.” Their electronic eyes flash with a red glow. “Not just our organs, our genes were their plaything too. Anything to boost sync rate. Our bodies grew frail. The pigment faded from our skin.”

Synth reaches a door at the end of the hallway and motion to El. They wave their hand near it and nod. “Safe.”

Synth pushes it open. You enter a maze of narrow corridors and ladders extending above and below you. You follow Synth down one of the hallways, a row of little pods containing beds.

“I don’t know where I was born, if it was in Korolev or even on the Moon. My memories begin here,” they say. You see the faint image overlaid on the hallway--ghosts asleep in the pods, spectral adults in white coats walking down the halls. Two of them take one of the kids. She struggles with them and they take their hands off her, and then she collapses to her knees, clutching at the interface collar around her neck.

You watch on as the scene changes. The lights in the pods go dark, piece by piece. Kids disappear from the hallway, until just a few remain.

“If we didn’t survive, it didn’t matter.” Synth leaves the Residential complex, back down the hallway.

You turn to follow, and see one of the spectres of the overseers standing there in your path. A highly augmented cyborg, his four white eyes look down on you, staring right into yours. He reaches out with metallic fingers connected to pale hands with silver wires running under the skin like veins. A buzzing like electrical interference in your receiver grows loud in your ears.

What do you do?

1) Shield my mind: 2 (28.57%)
2) Suppress fear and remember it’s only an echo: 5 (71.42%)
3) Walk right through him, proving there is nothing there: 0 (0.0%)
4) Terminate the sensory link: 0 (0.0%)
Expired 11 months ago (2023-05-01 15:21:57)