Chapter 11

Ætherglow #219


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“I know a girl in our class, Ida...well, it’s her and a boy named Kaj, they say he knows a little bit about everyone. At least, he’s been half-right about two things that would have been pretty hard to know about,” you sign.

“Like what?” Akiko signs.

“Like about me he said...that’s not important, but Ida also told me the rumor that 7 is an admin’s daughter,” you sign.

“7?” Zeta signs.

“Quiet, anxious, pretty cute first year girl Aydan knows,” Akiko signs.

“I guess somehow my classes with 7 never manage to overlap with my classes with Zeta,” you sign. “But she’s not relevant here, point is if we want to know more about our classmates we could ask those two.”

“Might as well see what they have to say,” Akiko signs.

“But at the same time, we really can’t discount the possibility of the worst case scenario. It could have been Professor Arak,” you sign. “They had full access to the weapon registrations, proximity to me, and really every opportunity to have done the things. But that would be terrible because they’re probably really strong.”

“Anyone could be part of an æthercult,” Synth signs. “Even a professor. Even an admin, if we’re profoundly unlucky. So you’re right, don’t discount Arak, we need to investigate them too.”

“What do we know about Arak?” Zeta signs.

“Arak’s taught Military Studies as long as I’ve been here,” Synth signs. “They look small and unassuming but they’re a tough enby and they’re one of the last people here I’d like to be the enemy of. They’re a SySpec whose specialty is in surface weapon augmentation, so unfortunately, this kind of scheme is exactly their territory, technologically.”

“I also know them, I mean, every contract student is trained by Arak when it comes to our surface skills,” Akiko signs. “They’re from Tallinstaarr colony at L3. And we have something else in common. They used to be an officer of DeepSpaceOps, my contract sponsor.”

“That could be useful...” Synth signs.

“So at least I have talked to them a little about my future with DSO and all. They wouldn’t find it weird for me to approach them to ask about a student I heard about being injured, and with my CommTech I can try to gauge their emotional reaction to that,” Akiko signs. “And if we discovered they were a cultist involved in trying to assassinate a student, I would think not only would the admins not be too happy about that, but neither would DSO who hold Arak in pretty high esteem.”

“Great!” Zeta signs. “Synth can look into the engineering crew and maybe see exactly who accessed the weapon vault, Akiko can technopathically vibe-check Professor Arak, and Aydan can see what they can learn from this gossip girl Ida.”

“That settles that,” you sign. “So the other thing we came to discuss was more proactive. Before they make their next move, we’ll set a trap to lure them into attacking on our terms. I may have volunteered to put myself at risk for this, so let’s plan for it.”

“Okay. So here we have to try to predict where your enemies might strike next,” Synth signs. “Think from their perspective. If you were going to assassinate Aydan, how would you do it?”

“If it were me...” Akiko signs. “Words alone can lead anyone to their doom. I’d lure her someplace, telling fær I want to meet somewhere, all alone... Then probably push them into an airlock or something. And make sure we’re on nightside so as e drifts away at 21 meters per second nobody will see. Body is never found.”

“That’s pretty good,” Synth says. “I would go more indirect and think about sabotaging eir equipment during a training exercise, like the first time, but something harder to avoid than an overcharged capacitor. Like, an EVA suit, tampering with that could cause death that looks like an accident.”

“Are all of these going to involve asphyxiation in vacuum?” you sign, shaking your head.

“Well you have to admit space is a pretty convenient resource for murder...” Synth signs.

You signal your neural system to suppress fear and anxiety.

“I don’t even want to think about this! I could never hurt Aydan!” Zeta signs. “But...if I was a cultist trying to kill some other person, I would do it in the æther. The possibilities are endless there...”


“Aydan, nobody knows Aydan better than you. How would you assassinate Aydan?”

1) “Just breaking into my room and killing me in my sleep would probably work, I’d never see it coming.”: 0 (0.0%)
2) “Poison seems like a good approach. I’ve never stopped to question whether my autokitchen food is safe or not, we all kind of take that for granted.”: 1 (16.66%)
3) “I can’t deny space is the way to do it. Our upcoming EVA training would be an ideal time to kill me.”: 1 (16.66%)
4) “The æther is definitely the place to strike. They already kidnapped me once that way. And it would be easy to cover up what happened.”: 2 (33.33%)
5) “The reactor core. If I have to kill me I’m taking everyone down with me.”: 2 (33.33%)
Expired 9 months ago (2023-07-19 07:04:02)