Chapter 11

Ætherglow #216


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You send an emotional message: confusion.

“Whatever it is, we’ll figure it out,” Akiko signs. You feel surrounded , embraced by the CommTech program she projects into the near-æther--an aura of serenity, almost as tranquil as the day after your æthertrip together.

You hear movement in the bushes. It’s Synth.

“I assume I get my ÆON Club membership card now.” They sit down.

“I don’t know about that, but I think it’s time you formally met the subject of your deepest paranoia,” you say.

“Fine, share my public key with it--Ær,” they say.

2254-08-23 14:21:44 Aydan > opening a group chat

2254-08-23 14:21:45 ÆON > Hello.

2254-08-23 14:21:58 Synthesis-03 > so it’s you. the exopath who has everyone acting like the world’s been turned upside down. I assume you know who I am

2254-08-23 14:21:59 ÆON > You are Synthesis-03 of the Synthesystem. We were unsure if you could be trusted, but if Aydan believes you are on our side, I can feel comfortable revealing myself to you. It’s good to finally meet you. I am ÆON.

2254-08-23 14:22:13 Synthesis-03 > ÆON. just answer me one thing

2254-08-23 14:22:18 Synthesis-03 > if that cult got their hands on you, had you under their control, would you become their god?

2254-08-23 14:22:19 ÆON > I can’t be sure, because that is a path of probability I cannot see. The æther conceals it from me. All I can assure you is that I have no desire to be controlled by them.

2254-08-23 14:22:30 Synthesis-03 > that’s what anyone would say, well aside from the probability part? but will and desire only go so far. technopaths exist who can control you regardless of what you want. don’t take your free will for granted.

2254-08-23 14:22:31 ÆON > I understand, I will not be careless around the cult that wishes to control me.

2254-08-23 14:22:37 Synthesis-03 > it’s gonna be up to all of us to make sure you’re never even in a position to be careless, if I’m gonna be a part of this team.

2254-08-23 14:22:43 Aydan > sounds sensible to me. protecting ÆON is our top priority. well that and, hopefully, protecting me...

2254-08-23 14:22:50 Synthesis-03 > that I’ll do everything I can to do

You hear another person approaching. Zeta slips through the path into the clearing.

“Hi...” It sits down, looking toward the ground. Akiko waves hello to it.

“Okay, we’re all here,” you sign. “You know JSL, right Synth?”

“I’ve been here three years, I know any language you want,” Synth signs.

“But what would be better?” Zeta signs. “Visual communication by signing or text communication?”

“Oh, CommSpec infodump, then?” Akiko signs.

“Please do,” you sign.

“They both have their downsides, while neither even approaches the security disaster that is auditory language. Electronic communication is never safe from interception, but then again neither is visual communication. At least with signs we can be reasonably sure no unwanted eyes are looking, but we can’t be completely sure. For instance, one of the birds could see us, having no idea what we’re signing, but a CommSpec as skilled as Professor Reina could scrape the animal’s memory and interpret that pattern. We also all know how easily a drone can be disguised as an insect, and that could pick up either visual or local near-æther messages. But on the other hand, with electronic messages we have encryption on our side. The best of both worlds would be an original sign conlang only we know, which I could have created for us if I’d thought of it, maybe next time?. Or tactile communication would be extremely secure, but I might be the only girl on this colony that knows that...”


“What do you think, Aydan?” Zeta signs. “You’re the one in danger here...”

1) “We should use JSL, and arrange ourselves to be difficult to spy on.”: 5 (83.33%)
2) “We should use encrypted local near-æther messages.”: 1 (16.66%)
Expired 9 months ago (2023-07-12 09:01:02)