Chapter 10

Ætherglow #190


“I’m gonna take Cybernetics Theory II, Cryptography I, Programming I, and Social Engineering, in addition to Practical Arts I and Military Studies. In some order.”

“Oh that’s great! I’m aiding Professor Reina in Cybernetics Theory II this semester,” Akiko signs.

“Great! We can sort of have a class together again,” you sign, and her eyes light up brighter in a lavender purple.

As you walk down the garden path, the colony turns you toward the Sun again in no time. You hear a rustling in the trees and stop to look up. A small flock of four birds flies out, circling around you two and landing in front of you.

Akiko sits down with them, flapping her hands in excitement along with the birds flapping their wings. There is Alpha A, Alpha B, little Proxima, and the large black-feathered Sagittarius A.

“They miss me when I’m away,” she signs.

You sit down with her and get out your remaining plant seeds from your bag. Now they all surround you.

“You’re their friend now too!” she signs.

You throw them a share of seeds to devour. “Anyone with food is their friend I think,” you sign.

“Not just anyone, you also have to be nice to them,” she signs. “But I don’t think you would hurt an animal, Aydan.”

“Can’t see why I would. They’re just cute little guys. Kinda like æther familiars for the surface.”

After accepting their tribute, the four of them fly off to their next adventure, and you and Akiko continue down the path. You walk by one of the larger trees. This one has flowers blooming all over it--their schedules are so erratic living on a space colony with no real seasons that you can always find flowers somewhere. They have little white petals with pink centers.

As night falls, the wind comes with it as the air rushes into a lower pressure pocket of the colony. It tears a mass of flower petals from the tree and scatters them, with a lot of them landing on you and Akiko. She stops.

“What is it?” you sign.

She looks at you, and looks away, covering her eyes. “You just, you have flowers in your hair, and...”

“Yeah I do, don’t I.” You shake your head, letting the little white petals with pink edges fall back into the breeze.

“I never used to think about things this way. I only got eyes for really practical, utilitarian purposes, as a technopath. Appearances and aesthetics and things don’t have much deeper meaning when you don’t grow up with them, I think. But, I was just noticing, I guess...that you’re really pretty.” She glances back at you, and away from you again.

What will you sign?

1) “You’re really pretty too, Akiko. I always thought so.”: 1 (16.66%)
2) “I’ve noticed...that you’re really soft, like these flowers.”: 3 (50.0%)
3) “Yeah I guess I am, aren’t I? Thanks!”: 0 (0.0%)
4) Unable to form words. Try sending back what I feel empathically.: 2 (33.33%)
Expired 10 months ago (2023-05-27 11:55:00)