Chapter 9

Ætherglow #178


Caught between the two with no certainty, you decide to retreat and reconsider your options. You reach for the wall and pull open a previously unseen door, creating a gateway to a random node in the server, and run inside, letting it slam shut behind you.

The space you step into is a circular tower with walls of triangular grey metal panels. Doorways line the wall all around you, and a spiral staircase leads up to countless other doors, reaching up further than you can perceive. The only light source shines from high above--a pale blue glow. You try to extend your perception higher, but the vertical shaft only grows taller as you do. You try to fly up and see for yourself, but find you are unable to affect the gravitational illusion here. You try to manifest your own light source to get a better look around you, but your technopathy has no effect here.

“Where am I?” you ask nobody but yourself. But you know your terminal has the answer. You pull your consciousness back to the level of the command line:

/> _

“The root directory... It’s locked down pretty tight.” The server Admin, or whatever program is maintaining the space in their absence, has kept an impenetrable wall over this place.

Another light catches your sense. You turn to see one of the adjoining doors open up to a bright green glow. An avatar stands in the light’s path--only the green light of their eyes is visible. You shield your mind--this much of your technopathy at least seems to function here.

The avatar steps out of the light. Their skin is made of overlapping metal plates, and their hair is the jagged ends of thick aluminum wires. But altogether, they look like Synth. And the plate on their forehead confirms this: Synthesis-05.

“Home server intruder located.” Blue flame erupts to surround their metallic hands. “Eliminating.” As their avatar spreads its arms, fire spread in a circle around the room, blocking every door around you.


“Wait!!”

1) Try and reason with them: 0 (0.0%)
2) Try and make it through the fire to the nearest door: 2 (25.0%)
3) Flee by the only unblocked path: the spiral stairway: 6 (75.0%)
Expired 11 months ago (2023-05-09 15:35:57)