Chapter 10

Ætherglow #203


You can imagine a lot of great options--Aydan with a spear, or maybe a polearm with something heavier like a hammer, so kind of like an axe? Or you could go much more subtle with a small knife. Or you could take the most familiar thing to your body, a gun. It’s only clear that you have no interest in swords of any kind. But when it comes down to it, there’s only one clear right answer.

You visualize your cute avatar. In its hand she holds something like the frame of a gun--made of reflective chrome, though impossibly lightweight as it has no physical substance. But this weapon doesn’t fire mere projectiles, it emits something much more deadly: photons, or an æthereal illusion of them. You manifest the concept of a laser. This is the weapon for you: precise, clearly focused on its target, beautiful, yet powerful, versatile and tunable to any purpose or wavelength you want. A coil of wire stretches from the weapon, wrapping around your arm, and plugs into the back of your neck. You are one with the device.

The bright trace of Professor Azar’s fingertips pulls you back to the surface. “Whatever you have visualized, focus on that form for now. You can always manifest something different later, it’s not as if this decision is permanent. For now, supply me a volunteer to demonstrate the weaponization of your mind.”

You’re way too tired to be part of a demonstration. A girl a few rows behind you beats you to it anyway.

“Deianira,” Azar spells out. The tall girl from Archaiasteri Colony takes a gliding jump down the ramp to the floor. So you have another class with this girl.

“Class, look into the near-æther to better observe our actions,” Azar signs.

You turn your vision to the near-æther, and see the glowing, fiery avatar of Professor Azar as a transparent sprite superimposed over her surface body. And looming over Deianira you see an even taller, stronger version of herself, with glowing white streaks in her long black hair flowing behind her in an unseen wind. Emblazoned on her chest, the symbol of Venus shines like bright white Sunlight.

“Now manifest your weapon and strike me! My shield is up!” A glowing red barrier surrounds Azar in the æther.

Deianira pulls her arms apart and her weapon appears--a longbow nearly as tall as she is, an Old Earth weapon you’ve only seen in stories. With an arrow of light in her other hand, she pulls back the string and releases it. A wave reverberates through the æther like a soft note of music as its string vibrates. And her arrow crosses the room like a beam of light and shatters on the surface of Azar’s shield.

“Good! Your focus is strong, Deianira,” Azar signs. “I feel a fire inside you, the heart of an EvoSpec, perhaps?”

She dispels her weapon and signs back, “Maybe. I haven’t decided my future just yet.”

“You have all semester remaining. All I can do is train you, all of you, in the hopes that even if you do not pursue our school of technopathy, you will be prepared to defend yourselves when the time comes!” Azar signs.

Professor Azar’s class is intense, as you’ve heard. You struggle to keep your focus as your mind constantly threatens to slip out of consciousness. You manage to keep yourself alert using your neural interface. You know it has the ability to keep you awake even against your body’s wishes--sometimes technopaths must do this to survive.

But through a bit of dissociation, you lose track of time, and the class period has ended. 7 looks down at you as she stands up.

2254-08-22 11:01:07 7 > Aydan.

2254-08-22 11:01:13 Aydan > oh, are we done?

2254-08-22 11:01:23 7 > yes. time to go. are you okay?

2254-08-22 11:01:26 Aydan > I guess not very. I couldn’t sleep at all last night, now I’m so exhausted

2254-08-22 11:01:31 7 > that is not good. I was going to see if you wanted to go practice together. but no, Aydan should go sleep.

2254-08-22 11:01:41 Aydan >_

1) > you’re right, I’m gonna go back and finally get some sleep: 4 (66.66%)
2) > nah, I’m fine, let’s go. high stress training time: 2 (33.33%)
Expired 10 months ago (2023-06-12 12:49:34)