Chapter 12

Ætherglow #244

Pinned down in the sky by drones on all sides, your position is hopeless. You access your last_resort directory, containing one lengthy and ambiguous binary: 1. Knowing ÆON, Æ gave you this for exactly the moment you would need it. You decide to trust in your friend and execute program 1.

The instant the processor returns your code’s response, the æther inverts itself, bit for bit, just for an instant, a flash of negative, as if your eyes have been torn open from a deep sleep into direct sunlight. You reach out and grasp the æther, reacting before your meat brain has even processed what you now understand--the processor clock, the data stream, latency, entropy, perspective, relativity--time.

You pull back on it and your mind’s eye rushes to a memory of swimming upstream through the ætherglow. In this instant, you understand it, just the smallest bit. The untouchable fabric thickens and he motion of the drones around you slows down. You start to see the pattern in their chaotic flight. Just a little more. You focus harder and the fluid of time grows more viscous. You see it--just the opening you need.

Detached from the fluid, you fly free through the gap and escape. Everything further is a blur, too fast to track. You feel your grip weakening. Your strained focus can only afford you one more chance before this program slips from your grasp.

What will you do?

1) Surprise counterattack with everything I have: 5 (62.5%)
2) Obfuscate myself to make it seem I was destroyed: 2 (25.0%)
3) Slip away to rejoin Synth: 1 (12.5%)
4) Slip away to rejoin Akiko: 0 (0.0%)
Expired 7 months ago (2023-09-20 07:16:17)