Chapter 15

Ætherglow #294


“I’d like to try technopathic synchronization,” you say.

“We can try that,” Xi says. “Normally it wouldn’t be approved for a first year. Just a few months of training would be inadequate to prepare you for the experience. But you are a month away from being a second year. If we can find a compatible sync partner, I will approve this exception. I will consult with Professor Reina to make preparations. So I think we are done for today. Go rest up for your classes tomorrow.”

You stand up, head spinning from the intrusive counseling session. “Great.”

“See you next week, Aydan.”

You leave, too eager to get away from the clinical facade of comfort her office provides. You step out into bright sunlight. The white waves of reflected light from the water and glass wash over you. After leaving a medical environment, the colony always feels so real.

You find little space in your head for rest, though, with all you have going on this month. Your classes and your training time have really started heating up in preparation for next month’s final exam. You have an EVA training exercise coming up later this week. And you’re still being hunted by at least two æthercults--you have a meeting with your co-conspirators planned in a few days.

But more pressingly, you still have an outstanding assignment for Social Engineering class. You’ll have to finish that by next week. The instructions are so open ended, though, you haven’t known how to handle it. Deceive someone. Someone who trusts you. It can be a little thing. See how simple it is. You play back Professor Nezumi’s words in your head. Simple enough assignment. But who will it be?

Leaving the academic block, you walk down the familiar garden path. Some of the plants are in bloom again--their cycle is unpredictable. As you pass through a corridor of blue flowers, night falls. The Moon’s crescent face drifts into view above. So distracted are you at the sight, you almost don’t see someone emerge from the walk path in the field--but you feel her, your empathic sense knows her too well to miss.

You look down and see her in the water-filtered Moonlight--Akiko. She must have sensed you too, as you both face each other. Pale blue flower petals cling to her messily braided hair, complementing its green highlights. Her eyes’ LEDs light up pink as she looks at you.

A quick perimeter scan shows you are alone. You take a gliding step toward her. She catches you in her arms and embraces you tight.

Taking her arms back, she signs, “How was counseling?”

What will you sign?

1) “Exhausting. Having my head scoured for subconscious anomalies...”: 7 (50.0%)
2) (Lie) “It was great, I love counseling.”: 0 (0.0%)
3) “Actually, about that...I might need your help with something.”: 7 (50.0%)
Expired 2 months ago (2024-03-10 07:59:32)