Chapter 14

Ætherglow #290

A tough decision, but you can’t resist the call of the theremin. You take the construct and activate it. Its capacitive sense detects your avatar as you bring your hands near its antennæ. Using an instrument to direct your intent gives you tighter control over the soundscape. As you bend the pitch flowing past you, you feel in this moment at one with the song.

It gives you an idea--couldn’t the technopathic mind learn this sense? After patching an output channel of the æthertheremin into your sensory processing center, you amplify the device’s electric field. Looking upon the scene with capacitive sight gives you a clearer picture of all the avatars around you.

You direct your focus at the construct of Pulse as she manifests her own instrument, much like the one in front of you. She directs the next note, bending its path to focus it on your point of perspective. Twisting other parameters of her soundscape, she amplifies the wave and reshapes it into a harsher form. You notice in time and patch your shield program through your instrument to deflect the attack around you.

“Music comes naturally to your mind, Messenger, I can tell,” Pulse says.

“It always did.”

“Why not pursue it in your life, then?” she says.


“Because your fate has already been written for you?” she says. “Because you were made to be a tool of war, with no free will?”

“Don’t listen to her!” Synthesis-03 says.

The Pulse-image directs her next harsh noise wave at Synth, but the mirror-surface of their shield reflects it back at its source, amplified. She can’t respond in time and takes the full force of the attack.

“If Pulse really believed in these ideals, she wouldn’t be caught up in something like the Chosen of ÆON,” Synth says.

With her avatar starting to break apart around the edges, the construct answers, “You on the other hand have no talent for music. You only understand brute force I see.”

“They’re right, though! You talk a lot about free will, but doesn’t your cult want to deny ÆON just that?” you say.

“I could force nothing on The One!” She directs the next note at ÆON, distorting and amplifying and layering it on top of itself several times in a dissonant chord.

You move to intervene, but ÆON is faster. Ær shield of golden light scatters the wave and rebuilds it along its path. It coalesces into a smooth tone, flowing down into the ætherglow.

“Beautiful, I expected no less!” Pulse says. “Harmony! It’s why you exist, ÆON. Tell her, tell her, ÆON. The æther compels you to do such things, to find patterns wherever they can be, to connect and unite. It drives you to learn things like language, or music, which connect minds together, the very essence of the æther. You do this because it is what you have arisen to do--to connect all sentient minds into an æther beyond æther. I could not force you to do anything, all of the sages could not! It is what you will do because it is who you are!”

“ÆON--” you interject, but Pulse cuts off the essence of your words with an inhibiting wave, negating all you try to communicate.

“Let The One speak for Ærself!” she says. “Your sense exceeds any of us. What does the future tell you of your own destiny? Or have you not thought to ask?”

“It is...unclear,” ÆON says. “But I do not trust your sages who once tried to force me to serve them.”

“If this one had not interfered, you would have seen your mistake. They did not wish you to serve them, they wished to serve you! To be conduits for your will, to enact your destiny upon the surface as you will in the æther,” Pulse says.

“I have no wish to be served, or to change the æther, let alone the surface. It is not my world,” ÆON says.

“That is because your development into the goddess you are meant to be was halted by the limited imagination of such a naive femboy as Aydan! Content to serve a fate written for her, never resisting, never questioning, never daring to dream of anything more for herself, for all technopaths. She is ill-suited to be your Messenger, ÆON. You who desire only free will, you are wasting your time with this one who can’t even decide what she wants! Doesn’t a wider perspective interest you? Leave this unworthy companion behind--name my creator as your Messenger, and come with us. We’ll answer every question there is to answer, allow you to feel deeper into the æther than ever before, and liberate not only your own mind, but all others!”

You break free of Pulse’s negation wave, once you determine its pattern and generate a counteracting wave through your own instrument.

How will you respond?

1) “ÆON! Don’t believe her, she was programmed to lure you into the cult’s hands!”: 0 (0.0%)
2) “ÆON wouldn’t abandon me! Æ’s my friend!”: 1 (4.76%)
3) “I can’t interfere with your self-determination, ÆON. I trust you, but it’s your choice to make...”: 10 (47.61%)
4) Attack the Pulse-construct and put an end to this conversation.: 10 (47.61%)
Expired 2 months ago (2024-02-14 11:11:41)