Chapter 10

Ætherglow #199


“Ana, can you tell me more about the structure and procedures of the cult?” you say.

“The Chosen of ÆON have an unknown number of cultists in a wide range of places. They always prioritized trying to have someone in as many colonies as possible, so wherever the One would be found they would be ready. Since Æ is known to be rooted somewhere here on TLA, they will only have been multiplying their recruitment efforts here. Young candidates are a particular point of vulnerability to æthercult recruitment. But it’s reasonable to assume there are other workers here who are involved. It’s not unthinkable that faculty could even be involved. Really, nobody is beyond suspicion with this cult.

“Though the cult has many eyes watching the world, it is led by an inner circle--eight technopaths who call themselves the Circle of Sages. They are a synchronised collective who function as one mind in the æther, and together, incredibly powerful, strong enough to bind ÆON to their will, they believe. Their identities are unknown even to each other, and they could be any strong technopath in the solar system.

“Sorry that isn’t much to go off of,” it says.

“I’ve met them, I think. In our first encounter with the cult,” you say. “Eight powerful technopaths shrouded in ObTech.”

“If there’s anything that can be predicted about them, it’s that the cult is very particular about numbers. They have a system of numerology they strictly adhere to. For that reason there are always eight Sages, and when they act it always comes in three, somehow.”

“When cultist students attacked me a few months ago, there were three of them,” you say.

“Typical. When they target you they will send three cultists. So the people involved in this attempt on your life, I assume there are three of them,” it says. “Those three who attacked you before, the Admins dealt with them, I understand. So I expect it is three who haven’t revealed themselves yet.

“Someone who could access the weapons vault, an engineer? Or a professor...” Zeta says. “And someone who knows Aydan’s public key, a fellow student Aydan has communicated with, or again, a faculty member with access to student records.”

“As usual, they’ve left open so many possibilities that we wouldn’t even know where to look,” Ana says.

“Then what should we do?” Zeta says.

“I think...”

1) “...we should focus our efforts defensively and better prepare me and ÆON for the next strike.”: 0 (0.0%)
2) “...we should focus on investigating and try to identify who was behind this attack so we can disrupt their plans.”: 2 (40.0%)
3) “...we should set a trap of our own, make me appear vulnerable and lure them out of hiding.”: 3 (60.0%)
Expired 10 months ago (2023-06-08 11:32:19)