Chapter 13

Ætherglow #266


You seize the chance for a moment of quiet and sit down to take a break while 7 completes her task in peace.

[7 liked that]


“ that’s what happened.” You finish explaining the situation using Akiko’s new sign conlang for secret meetings. Akiko, Zeta, and Synth sit in front of you here at the pond at the world’s edge.

“So ÆON didn’t find anything suspicious about it,” Zeta signs.

“But ÆON can only see it as a binary,” Synth signs. “Technopaths have all kinds of ways of burying traps in a program that look normal in the source. And if the trap is targeted at Aydan, either of our enemies might be capable of designing it in such a way that an exopath wouldn’t notice. We can’t be too careful around this.”

“Do you think it was Pulse herself?” Zeta signs.

“I don’t know, I’ve never seen her,” you sign. “What does she look like, Akiko? You’re the only one who’s met her.”

“I don’t know, I never really look closely at her, she looks like anyone else to me,” Akiko signs.

“Your sight’s an acquired sense so your faceblindness is on another level from ours,” Synth signs. “But it doesn’t matter much whether it was her or some random fan, though. Since this file seems identical to the official release of the album, every copy of it could contain a trap meant for Aydan. Or it could all be a complete coincidence, but we can’t afford not to be paranoid in this situation.”

“How are we coming with defensive strategies?” you sign.

“Kind of hitting a wall, with how little we know about the enemy,” Akiko signs.

“What should I do?” you sign.

“It would probably be safest to delete it now and never listen to this album,” Akiko signs.

“I agree,” Synth signs.

“I guess so...” you sign.

“Wait,” Zeta signs. “Aydan can’t just spend the rest of its life avoiding all uncertain files, not as a technopath. It’s also possible that this archive contains valuable information on our enemies’ capabilities, which we could use to better protect Aydan and ÆON.”

“Is it worth the risk?” Synth signs.

“With the right preparation, a technopath can adequately face any risk,” Akiko signs. “We could trigger their trap in a controlled environment and mitigate as many risks as possible. Then we could reverse engineer whatever is in here. Or else it’s nothing and you all get to enjoy hearing a music I guess.”

“It’s your mind at risk here, Aydan,” Synth signs.


Proceed to Chapter 14 >>

“What do you want to do?”

1) “It’s too risky, I’ll just delete this and we’ll find another way to build up our defenses.”: 0 (0.0%)
2) “Hiding forever isn’t an option when we’re being pursued on two sides. We need to take every opportunity we have. We’ll play the album, with reasonable precautions.”: 10 (100.0%)
Expired 3 months ago (2023-11-25 11:01:35)