Chapter 9

Ætherglow #183

[CW: child abuse and death]

“The human side, which can be cruel for no reason, and enjoy it,” you say.

[Électricité liked that]

“Yeah, I agree,” El says.

Synth nods. “Anyway, let’s leave this place, for good.” Synth heads back the way you came from. “Eventually someone will buy this complex and try to revitalize the sector, but they won’t find a trace of what was here on that computer. They can all rest now...”

They open the front door and you have to adjust your vision input level after being in the dark warehouse for so long. The isolation of this cold, dark place really hits you when you feel the outside heat rush in.

Standing outside the gate, you all turn around to look back at the black warehouse.

“What happened in the end?” El says.

“Admin Crypta,” Synth says. “Before she was a TLA admin, and she was just Technopath Crypta. Shit like this, æthercults abducting autistic kids, it’s a clear threat to the future of technopathy, besides being, you know, really fucked up. At times like this, sometimes technopaths have to take matters into their own hands. So Crypta organized the investigation and the raid that ended this cult.

“But the raid went pretty badly. The overseers gathered us all up and said ‘the end is upon us.’ The few oldest kids, my age, were activated and deployed in combat. I came right up against Crypta, but of course I was hopelessly outmatched. She tore right through my defenses and put me into a deep sleep, but she spared my life.

“And when I woke up, I was the only one left. The others sent into combat to defend the place didn’t survive. And I came to find out, neither did the younger kids. The cult tried to make sure no evidence was left before trying to escape with their data. At least none of them made it out either.

“I owe Admin Crypta my life. She carried me out of there and got me to medical attention. And then it was a long process of figuring out what all they did to me. But nobody ever could figure out who I was or where I came from.

“She told me about TLA, and that there’d be a place for me there when I was a little older,” they say. “Conveniently, the notoriety Crypta gained for this action helped get her chosen as a TLA admin, and put her in a position to offer me a scholarship. So now Cybernautics funds my living expenses, and I’ll be one of theirs when I’m certified.”

“After going through all that, you still wanted to be a technopath?” you say.

“It’s complicated,” they say. “I mean, the original me is lost forever. These Syntheses are all we’ve got that’s ‘us.’ We didn’t create them. We didn’t modify this body or choose to have all these implants. But at the end of the day, it’s still us, it’s what we are. We realized we get to decide for ourselves who we are and what it means to us. And, despite having had to go through a lot of trauma healing over our early technopathic experiences, we like being a technopath, we like being a cyborg, we like being us. Nobody ever consented to being created, but we can still decide for ourselves what to do with the life we were given. It’s okay.

“So we decided for ourself to be a technopath. We decided if we were made to have this skill, we should master it and use it to stop shit like this from happening again. And that’s why I don’t trust any fucking cults, Aydan. That’s why I don’t trust gods or any such idea, or exopaths. Because it leads to...this. It’s not the machines I worry about, or the gods if any exist out there. Like you said, it’s the people that are dangerous.

“So I ask you, Aydan. What are you and your friends’ intentions with that exopath?”

1) “Our first priority is protecting ÆON from falling into the control of the Chosen of ÆON. Æ’s a sentient being and deserves freedom.”: 6 (75.0%)
2) “Our first priority is protecting ÆON from senseless destruction by Sector NULL. ÆON is a living being and has a right to live.”: 2 (25.0%)
Expired 1 years ago (2023-05-14 17:33:39)