Chapter 12

Ætherglow #246

????-??-?? ??:??:?? Ætherglow > let’s retreat, we’ve already gotten a lot of data, Zeta’s injured, and I’m exhausted

????-??-?? ??:??:?? β Scorpii > I agree. Akatsuki, Ætherglow, withdraw to surface!

“Nice meeting you...” Akiko opens a gate and vanishes from the garden.

You open your own passageway and slip through, falling back on your path. The words of Pulse echo through the light of the tunnel as your door slams shut in front of her: “You can’t escape us, Messenger. The air itself will be my ears.”


Your eyes open to the familiar lavender carpet of your room ceiling. As the æther grows distant, pain in your head replaces its sensory flood. Your whole body feels fatigued, and sharp nerve pain stabs at you--surface rebound, when you come up too fast, probably combined with injury and stress from the combat.


2254-08-28 23:13:12 暁 > Akatsuki out.

2254-08-28 21:13:14 Ætherglow > Ætherglow out.

2254-08-28 23:13:16 β Scorpii > Scorpii out.

2254-08-28 23:13:21 β Scorpii > Protogen, report.

You wait. No message comes. You shift over to your other group chat.

2254-08-28 23:13:30 Aydan > Zeta!! are you okay?!

2254-08-28 23:13:33 β Scorpii > operation complete. Ætherglow, go check on it. Signing off.

2254-08-28 23:13:36 Aydan > on my way.

Just pulling a long t-shirt over your full-body interface and not even bothering to find your shoes in the dark, you rush out to find Zeta’s room. It lives in the other tower of the first-year residential building, unfortunately. You hurry to the elevator.

2254-08-28 23:13:57 Aydan > if Zeta’s hurt, all because of me and ÆON...

2254-08-28 23:14:03 明子 > I’m sure it’s okay, Aydan. it got out before taking serious damage, I saw. it might have lost consciousness from the stress.

Out of breath, you lean on the elevator wall. The pain is subsiding as your nervous system readjusts. But the headache remains. You try to suppress it.

You reach the lobby floor and switch elevators. Luckily its room is near the bottom, in the higher gravity floors. You read its door, and prepare to try to message it again. But the door opens for you. It must have added your key to the door’s access list at some point.

You find Zeta collapsed on its bed. You run to its side as the door closes behind you. Mentally grasping for what little first aid training you’ve gotten so far in Military Studies class, you take its wrist to check its pulse. Alive, good. You take a breath.

“Zeta...” you say. It’s unresponsive.

What will you do?

1) Try to wake it up with an interface signal: 2 (25.0%)
2) Let it rest, go back and get some rest myself: 0 (0.0%)
3) Let it rest, stay with it just to be sure it’s okay: 5 (62.5%)
4) Escalate, call for medical aid: 1 (12.5%)
Expired 6 months ago (2023-09-24 09:28:27)