Chapter 10

Ætherglow #192


It’s surely been a long day for you both. You wave back to her silently and don’t try to drag her into conversation now. She disappears into her room, which is apparently next to yours. Did she always live here? Now you know, at least. You head inside too.


Now reacquainted with the 0.3G spin, you’re back to the weekly routine of a technopath candidate. Your first class of the new semester is Military Studies, where you are beginning your “surface training.”

Your class group has assembled at the shooting range, situated in the basement underneath the academic block. The room is a tunnel running parallel to the colony’s side wall, forming a straight path, beyond which is a heavy iron plate on the “front” wall of the colony. You never knew this was down here before.

Professor Arak--a member of the Systemization school, and a specialist in surface weaponry--stands before you all. They’re a small enby girl with short, nearly-white blonde hair, and icy blue eyes. Holding one of the academy’s coilguns, they continue the safety lesson, speaking Estonian.

“While in safe mode, these weapons are incapable of firing while any IR source resembling a living body is detected in range. Do not disengage this without a direct activation order from the admins. Despite this precaution, flagging any other person with your weapon will still be treated as if it were fully live. Carelessness has absolutely no place in my class, understood?”

“Yes, professor!” your class answers.

“Then one more time, someone summarize the four cardinal rules, as they were spoken since primitive times?” Professor Arak says. “You!” They point out Zeta, next to you.

“Yes. Know the condition of your weapon, if it is loaded and charged and what mode it is in. Never set the ‘arm’ condition to true until you are ready to fire. Scan your surroundings and your local network and know what is around, behind, and beyond your target. Never allow your reticle to cross anything you do not intend to kill or destroy,” Zeta says.

“Good,” Arak says. “Now will one among you volunteer to make the first attempt?”

1) Me! I’ve always been good at this!: 1 (14.28%)
2) Not me, I never was great at this: 0 (0.0%)
3) Not me, I don’t want to be the center of attention: 6 (85.71%)
Expired 10 months ago (2023-05-31 13:33:00)