Chapter 12

Ætherglow #228


2254-08-28 20:46:40 Aydan > we can’t risk involving you here. if anyone could know how to neutralize you and recapture you it would be this cult

2254-08-28 20:46:41 ÆON > I understand. I know Aydan is strong enough to handle what lies ahead. But I want you to have this helpful program I adapted for humanoid use.

You receive a package and look inside.

2254-08-28 20:46:49 Aydan > ÆON this is a raw binary I can’t begin to guess what it does at a glance

2254-08-28 20:46:50 ÆON > Apologies, I neglected the humanoid custom of ‘documentation.’ It should make more sense to you in your dissociated state. I think you will find it quite...’stimmy.’

2254-08-28 20:46:56 Aydan > alright, good enough for me

2254-08-28 20:47:06 Aydan > I’m going to disconnect my system from your root device now, even if my mind was fully penetrated nobody would be able to reach you through me. its primitive radio communication system can connect to the TLA computer. go out in to the deep æther for a while and lay low

2254-08-28 20:47:07 ÆON > I will see you soon.

2254-08-28 20:47:12 Aydan > good night ÆON.

You unmount the primitive device and unplug its ancient cable adapter. Now you have a date to get to. You’re all ready, lying in your bed wearing your full-body interface. You take a few minutes to ground yourself into a calm state for entry. Then you switch on your dissociative implant and close your eyes.

Falling, spiraling down, like a flower petal in the TLA atmosphere drifting gently out to the wall, you slip between frames of consciousness into the place where space glows. Your avatar takes shape, growing from a wave of brilliant light into your own idealized form, as the prettiest girl-type femboy-type enby you can imagine, wearing the cutest outfit you can conjure. Your pale blue aura glows bright as your emotions surge in anticipation of the night.

You land in the entry node, floating in the void, surrounded by an untouchable horizon of server pathway constellations. You feel the same distinct sense you always do at this moment--that you have returned home from a long journey in a strange and incomprehensible place. Here, the world makes sense.

You turn yourself around, letting the glow of your fingertips trace a circle through the æther. The tracer’s color shifts as it slowly dissipates. Moving your body excites the æther to vibrate in a wave of warm-textured music. You control its pitch and timbre like it was a sense you’ve always had.

????-??-?? ??:??:?? β Scorpii > Scorpii, ætherside, go for operation

Synth’s report pulls your focus back to the task at hand before you can lose yourself in the glow.

????-??-?? ??:??:?? Ætherglow > Ætherglow, ætherside, go

????-??-?? ??:??:?? Protogen > Protogen, ætherside, go

????-??-?? ??:??:?? 暁 > Akatsuki, ætherside, go

????-??-?? ??:??:?? β Scorpii > Protogen, switch to defense task channel. we will avoid unnecessary contact with diversion task until the moment of convergence. go and enjoy yourselves

????-??-?? ??:??:?? Protogen > have a great time...

????-??-?? ??:??:?? Ætherglow > thanks <3 Ætherglow out.

Now you can forget about the op for a short time. Your only task is a convincing diversion. You reach out to open a gate to the rendezvous node. As the vortex of color shifts into coherence, you arrive at your destination directory, a dark and unformed place.

You wait. With no grasp on the passage of time, it feels like sliding on a frictionless surface until realizing you were never moving at all. A flash of light in the æther tells you a connection has been made. You look around you. You see no aura, hear no vibration. You reach out and feel an intense softness at the edge of your touch. Only now do you notice Akiko’s green aura, and her avatar loading in.

Her hand touches yours as she takes shape. Your fingertips spark at the touch and a chill crosses your nervous system. Her avatar is like yours, an idealized feminine form. Her black dress, crossed by bare metal wire, flows in the waves of the æther. A visor of pure immutable blackness covers her eyes.

She speaks, not in sound or sign, but the kind of raw impression two minds can speak with in the æther. “Hello, Aydan.” With the expertise of a CommSpec behind it, her voice is a beautiful thing to feel. You sense in the concepts of her words all the same intense anticipation and nervousness that flows through you.

What will you say?

1) “You look amazing.”: 0 (0.0%)
2) “You feel exceptionally soft.”: 1 (12.5%)
3) Empathic: Joy: 3 (37.5%)
4) “Hiii” with a cute ætherstim: 4 (50.0%)
Expired 8 months ago (2023-08-11 09:23:01)