Chapter 13

Ætherglow #253


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2254-10-01 18:51:34 Aydan > well maybe we could break open the local transmitter and take a look at the hardware ourselves

“Oh...could we?” 7 says as she disconnects you from each other.

“Well I guess we are supposed to report things like this to engineering, but...” You pick up her soldering iron from the desk to offer it to her. “Where’s the fun in that? You seem to be skilled at circuitry.”

She takes her tool from you. “Okay.” She reaches for her magnetic boots and fastens their straps, then packs up her repair kit and stores it in her pocket.

Her door opens as she looks over at it, and she silently exits. You follow.

“It’s my understanding that, to minimize entry node latency, there is a relay transmitter on each floor connected by æthernet cable,” you say.

“Yes.” She points up.

“So they’re in the ceiling,” you say.

“There’s um, a maintenance access space between all floors. I memorized the layout of this building when I moved here, just in case...” She walks up to the wall in between your doors and looks up. There you can see the faint outline of an access panel in the ceiling.

She steps up onto the wall, and you see the LED on her boot light up as you hear the click of the magnet engaging. Taking hold of a little handhold built into the wall, she pulls herself up and walks up the wall. Standing sideways and stabilizing herself with her hand on the handle of the access panel, she turns her head around to look down at you as she opens it.

“Right. One second.” You open your door to get your own boots to follow her. You haven’t tried this before, but of course they can do this--the magnets are strong enough to hold you against the outside of the colony wall against its rotation, this is trivial in comparison.

Once you return to the hallway, she’s pulled herself up into the access space. Turning the magnetic force of your boots up high, you climb up the wall after her and look inside. By 7’s terminal light, you see the space--a narrow tunnel flanked by air ducts, plastic water pipes, and metal electrical conduits.

7 motions you over, sitting down on the other side of a device mounted to the ceiling, with barely the room to sit up even for a small girl like her. You’re even more cramped in here. You pull yourself up into the tunnel. “Good thing we’re way up here where the gravity is lower.”

“It’s so low, it’s weird to me,” she says, looking down as she opens up her kit and plugs her soldering iron into her external personal battery on her belt.

“It’s almost like home to me. Except for the spinniness,” you say.

“Since I’ve lived here for years I’m really used to the 0.3 near the wall.”

You crawl over to sit opposite her by the relay device, a little metal box.

“Since I can’t access the network, I can’t pull up the schematic for this. I’ll just have to explore.” Laying down on her back underneath it, she takes a screwdriver and opens up the casing. Inside you see two parallel boards connected to two wire coils--the transmitters.

“As I suspected there are two transmitters in each relay for redundancy.” She brings her fingertips close to the exposed circuits. “They’re both powered currently.”

“I need that implant,” you say.

“It’s a very simple one, people have done it for centuries.” She pulls her terminal from its strap on her arm and lays it down on her chest, so its light shines directly up onto the device. “Since they mounted it on the ceiling, I’d have to remove the board entirely if I need to solder anything...but first, um, we don’t know if anyone else is having this issue, but if we disconnect it manually they will immediately lose connection...”

“So we keep one online and look at one at a time,” you say.

“But if one of them is working and the other isn’t, then...there would be a 50% chance we cause a loss of signal. And if anyone on this floor is dissociated, there’s a small chance we would do them some real harm,” she says.

7 reaches for one of the æthernet cables running into the ports on the casing.


“How is your luck, Aydan?”

1) “Pull the left one.”: 1 (7.69%)
2) “Pull the right one.”: 2 (15.38%)
3) “You decide, I don’t trust my luck.”: 6 (46.15%)
4) “It’s too risky. At least we determined it’s powered.”: 4 (30.76%)
Expired 5 months ago (2023-10-20 10:31:16)