Chapter 10

Ætherglow #195


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No distractions during a course of fire. Yelena’s words spring to mind. But on the other hand, ÆON never messages you without a good reason, and surely Æ would know you’re busy. Against your better judgment, you glance over at your message notification for a second, just to see if it looks urgent.

2254-08-21 09:30:02 ÆON > Aydan, this message is urgen... the notification says. You decide it’s worth a look.

2254-08-21 09:30:02 ÆON > Aydan, this message is urgent. Do not let the weapon charge. You will die.

WARNING: INTERFACE DAMAGE your system tells you. Hot! You pull the gun away from your shoulder and notice the highly durable fabric of your uniform dress is melting. The stock brushes against your hand as you do--it burns! Smoke pours from the back of the weapon. An instinct overcomes you, and you press the quick detach on the sling and throw the gun over the barrier into the range.

“What are you--” Zeta exclaims. You grab it and pull it down below the barrier with you, just before a flash, a pop, and a bigger cloud of smoke appears. The class jumps back from their lanes, and Professor Arak runs up to you.

“Aydan, Zeta, are you okay?!” they say.

“Yeah, I think we’re fine,” you say.

Arak peers over the barrier at the remains of the gun. “What happened?”

“It got really hot and there was smoke, and...” You clutch at your shoulder where it was pressed against you, starting to feel the pain as the adrenaline subsides. You suppress it for the moment.

“Let me see that. Sit down here.” They pull open the first aid pouch on their belt and slip gloves over their hands. They investigate the area. The melted fabric of your dress pulls away easily. But underneath, the burned-black fabric of the interface shirt sticks to the hot red skin around it. They pull a tube of something from their medical kit and squeezes some into their hand.

“Is it okay?!” Zeta says, trying to get a look at you.

“That’s a bad burn. This sterile cooling agent will help cool your skin down.” They apply the substance. It feels very cold.

“Here too.” You show them your hand, also slightly burned, and get some cooling gel on it too.

“Aydan, send me the log file you have from the weapon.”

“Okay.” You send the, the file.

“Hmm. The capacitor was overcharging at full speed. You’re lucky you noticed, a second later and you could’ve been in real trouble,” they say. “But, this shouldn’t be possible, the fuse should have blown long before it got to this point...”

“A defect?” you say.

“Maybe... We’ll have to inform your sponsor, and I’m sure they’ll want an investigation to decide if it’s our fault or the manufacturer’s. Well, I’m just glad you’re safe.”

“Damn, I feel lucky...” you say.

“You better go to the medical center,” they say.

“I’ll take them!” Zeta says.

“If you want,” Professor Arak says.


Go to the medical center?

1) Go with Zeta: 5 (71.42%)
2) Go there alone: 2 (28.57%)
3) “Nah, I’m fine...”: 0 (0.0%)
Expired 10 months ago (2023-06-03 16:10:49)