Chapter 13

Ætherglow #256


You try to stay calm, and remember what 7 said. But under the burning gaze of the admin, piercing right through your defenses whether you look at her eyes or not, your will doesn’t even feel relevant. She’s not asking, she’s extracting the answer from you, and you don’t know how to resist.

“It was my idea to do it,” you say.

[7 disliked that]

As Vanitas turns her focus away from you, you feel like you’re surfacing from an ætherwalk and breathing the first conscious breath. But your stress neurotransmitters are off the charts, you can’t even suppress.

She speaks to 7, “I will talk to you alone. The Redshift candidate will wait here.”

“Yes, Admin,” 7 says, standing up.

The light blinds you as the door opens, and when it shuts, you find yourself alone in your dim, silent cage. You don’t know what will happen now. Your only relief is to have a moment to yourself.

“Aydan, Aydan, Moonside: space...” A voice?

The light around you scatters, breaks into a pixillated pattern, shifting to a deep purple. It’s an echo--surface-tech projected into your conscious vision. The light takes shape, a shape you’d almost forgotten the distorted memory of, that you only saw in a half-Aydan state, on a dirty æthertrip.

Their body of translucent glass bends the purple light through its prismatic angles. Their four glass wings stretch around the walls on many joints to surround you. Five yellow eyes circle their head, with their golden antennae protruding outward above.

“You?!” you say. The hazy memories of the æthertrip flood your mind’s eye. “Unas...Sector NULL?!”

“Hello, ‘Messenger of ÆON.’” You can’t tell whether their voice is physical sound or hallucinatory.

“How are you talking to me?! I’m in a faraday cage!”

“I didn’t ask Faraday’s permission,” Unas says.

“What do you want?!”

“The exopath, of course. It seems you are not preoccupied. Perhaps we can finally talk things out.”

“I have nothing to say to you!”

“Do you think I need your consent? Your mind is more transparent than I am. How well defended are those precious memories and innermost thoughts? Insecurities? Fears? Secrets?

You focus everything on shielding your mind.

What will you say?

1) “How did you know I was here?! You hacked the administrative records?”: 0 (0.0%)
2) “You set this whole thing up, didn’t you?! The connection issue and everything...”: 0 (0.0%)
3) “You better run while you can--once the admin returns, she’s way stronger than you!”: 0 (0.0%)
4) Say nothing, think nothing, guard your mind.: 12 (100.0%)
Expired 5 months ago (2023-10-27 08:05:31)