Chapter 9

Ætherglow #179


With æthereal fire all around you, there’s nowhere to go but up. Letting the simulation of gravity and momentum carry you, you run up the spiral stairway.

Synthesis-05 responds with an orb of white-hot flame thrown your direction. You turn to face it and focus everything you have on your shield. The projectile impacts your liquid barrier and bursts into a shockwave of light fading from blue to orange. You feel an immense pressure against you, but your defenses hold.

As the light floating in the ætherspace around you clears up, you see 05 ascending the stairs after you. You get moving and run as fast as you can. You still hardly even know any EvoTech programs, and at this moment you greatly regret not taking Practical Arts I last semester.

The Synthesis avatar breaks into a run, moving faster than you. The flames on the floor chase after them, engulfing the path you came from. Above, the stairway only grows longer and longer the higher you get.

Your pursuer throws two more of their fireball programs your way. Your shield takes the hits, but you feel the pressure getting greater each time--your mental stamina is failing.

As the distance between you shrinks, you realize reaching the top before they catch up to you or break your shield will be hopeless. You know you can either fight back or try to escape somehow.

You remember one program that might work--the reflective shield. However, Synth gave you that program themself. If this is the real Synthesis-05 in an amnesiac state, they might know just how to break that barrier just like Synth did the last time your technopathy clashed. However if it is just a construct from the station computer’s backups, they might not have that program, and reflecting their attack back on them might just work.

Another option comes to mind--your familiar is still out there. You could call it back to you and try to make use of it in a distraction tactic, like you and ÆON once did when facing the Chosen of ÆON cult. If this enemy knows only brute force, deception could be your salvation. You feel more confident, at least not being completely powerless anymore.


What strategy will you use?

1) Try to escape through one of the closed doorways along the stairs to another directory: 0 (0.0%)
2) Deploy Synth’s reflective shield to redirect 05’s assault back on them: 2 (33.33%)
3) Recall your familiar and try a diversionary tactic: 4 (66.66%)
4) Stop running and accept your inevitable death: 0 (0.0%)
Expired 11 months ago (2023-05-10 15:37:58)