Chapter 9

Ætherglow #175

Your instincts do their job and you shield your mind with all your focus. Your liquid barrier pushes the spectral avatar away from you, but throws you off balance. The still-materializing setting spins around you. You do just what you’ve been trained to and root yourself in one orientation--down is what you say it is.

Now stable, the world takes shape. You’re standing in a long hallway, much like the one you came from, except it seems to stretch to infinity. The illusion of gravity feels just like the Moon. You take a step forward and glide down the hallway as the floor seems to slide out from under you. The concrete tiles you’re standing on feel unsteady, and then the entire structure seems to shake like a strong Moonquake. The walls beside you split open into adjoining hallways on both sides. You see those hallways split into further perpendicular paths--a simple expanding fractal of 90 degree turns.

You look around from a distance at the server architecture map you pull together, but it’s incomprehensible. Its pathways are changing faster than you can track them. And wherever you look, you are alone.

????-??-?? ??:??:?? Aydan > Synth??

No answer.

????-??-?? ??:??:?? Aydan > El, we’ve lost contact, confirm Synth’s server coordinates

Silence. You receive nothing. You hear no illusion of sound. Boxed in by these metal and concrete walls, you can’t even see the distant glow of the æther. The only thing distinct is the hallway in front of you, now alight with two neon blue tubes of light stretching toward the infinite distance but turning into one of the fractal hallways ahead. Darkness falls on all other paths, a deep darkness that invokes a strong fear response, while the light ahead feels warm, inviting, familiar.

What do you do?

1) Follow the warm blue light: 1 (12.5%)
2) Go anywhere but that way, I have to find Synth: 0 (0.0%)
3) Manifest my technopath familiar to scout ahead for me: 5 (62.5%)
4) This is all wrong, a bad entry, reassociate and try entering again: 2 (25.0%)
Expired 11 months ago (2023-05-05 15:53:07)