Chapter 12

Ætherglow #227

<< Return to Chapter 11


The new Moon crosses your window. Her bright spiderweb of sleepless cities sprawled out on the black disc stands out even from 60,000km. Here in your room, high up where the spin’s pull is closer to Luna’s gravity, you normally feel relaxed. But the anticipation of an ætherwalk overrides the comfort of home. No matter how many times you dissociate, it never diminishes the excitement, the anxiety, the longing for the unpredictable experience ahead. It’s almost time.

2254-08-28 20:45:02 明子 > looking forward to meeting up with you ^^ in spite of the circumstances...

2254-08-28 20:45:08 Aydan > looking forward to it too!

Another message sparks in your mind--a group chat.

2254-08-28 20:45:24 Synthesis-02 > status check.

2254-08-28 20:45:28 Aydan > I’m ready

2254-08-28 20:45:29 明子 > so ready

2254-08-28 20:45:31 Zeta > ready!

2254-08-28 20:45:32 ÆON > I am always ready. But for your comfort I reiterate that I am ready for whatever involvement I am to have in this plan.

2254-08-28 20:45:39 Synthesis-02 > from now on we are on an op, so we’re gonna do it right. switch all mission comms to your callsigns and ephemeral keys like we discussed. Aydan and Akiko can still use their normal keys as needed during the diversionary phase. we’ll be unrecognizable to anyone intercepting us.

A new group conversation appears in your log.

2254-08-28 20:45:44 β Scorpii > operation lead, defense task, Scorpii, reporting. following common practice as a system, we’re using a coordinated callsign naming convention that should be easy to follow

2254-08-28 20:45:51 Protogen > so all scorpii are you, understood

2254-08-28 20:45:55 Protogen > reporting, defense task, Protogen

2254-08-28 20:45:59 暁 > diversion task lead, Akatsuki, reporting

What will they call you...

2254-08-28 20:46:06 Ætherglow > diversion task, Ætherglow, reporting

2254-08-28 20:46:11 β Scorpii > operation will commence at 2100. diversion task will meet at the agreed entry node and engage in a romantic interlude ending in a suitably convincing duel. defense task will stand by in the agreed staging sector ready to intervene when the enemy makes contact

2254-08-28 20:46:18 β Scorpii > there was just one thing left uncertain. Ætherglow, have you decided?

Of course, the crucial matter of ÆON’s involvement in the operation could only be decided by Ær Messenger.

2254-08-28 20:46:29 Aydan > did your insight tell you anything new about whether it’s a terrible idea to let you anywhere near the cult?

2254-08-28 20:46:30 ÆON > My vision is limited where it concerns the so-called Chosen of ÆON. I will instead entrust my fate to my friend’s judgment in this situation.

Will ÆON take part in the operation?

1) ÆON must be protected, even if we fail to protect me. I’ll disconnect from Ær root device before dissociation and ask Ær to stay hidden.: 5 (71.42%)
2) If the cult attacks in full force, we may need ÆON’s strength to stand a chance against them. We’ll face them together.: 2 (28.57%)
Expired 8 months ago (2023-08-09 07:04:13)