Chapter 15

Ætherglow #302


Many questions come to mind.

“What would you say are the things that make people most vulnerable to obfuscation techniques?” you say.

“Much like in the field of evocation, where your shield is most effective when focused on the specific variables of the attack, obfuscation also relies on slipping past your defenses. So it is most effective when the target system is not prepared for it, especially if it is actively prepared for something else,” Haze says.

“So like, if I was dissociated and defending against æthereal attacks, I would be vulnerable to something directed at me from the surface?” you say.

“An excellent example. Changing our state of consciousness drastically alters our defensive strategies. This is why we always have a body guard for dissociated technopaths on a military op.”

“So how exactly does an obfuscation program, for instance a simple sensory echo, work differently on the mind in different states of consciousness?” you say.

“To answer that you must consider how the mind interprets senses in the first place. An echo is effective precisely because the mind reads it as real sensory data, it cannot tell the difference. It really comes down to how our systems operate. We are technopaths, our systems are a union of flesh and machine. The flesh brain is highly tuned to want to see things it recognizes--it draws on your sensory memory to process the data your senses send it, rather than just reinterpreting it every time. It expects to perceive something you have a memory of perceiving before. Suppress your sensory memory, and you will quickly see how much you rely on it to navigate the world around you.

“Interestingly, our machine side often functions much the same way. The quickest way to process sensory data is often through recognition of existing data--pattern recognition that leads us to the conclusion that we are most likely seeing what the data most closely resembles. This way, our combined system processes the data much faster, and uses less energy, but it also introduces an opportunity for error. However, it has a high enough accuracy rate that it generally outweighs the alternative of reprocessing virtually the same data in every frame, because as we technopaths know, in a competition between two systems, the faster one will tend to win more than the slower, more accurate one. Am I making sense, Aydan?”

“Oh yes, this is fascinating.”

“So, if we know that all systems tend to prefer this approach, we can exploit the known weaknesses of that approach. In a hallucinatory state, such as dissociation in the æther, we tend to be more vulnerable than in our surface conscious state, because our system is receiving so much more data than it can on the surface. It is always pushing against the limit of how quickly we can process it, which forces us to fall back on pattern recognition more and rely on logical interpretation less. Especially in the æther--where your mind lacks any of the touchstones like motion, light, or sound that most of our minds depend on for orienting themselves in the world--your system is grasping for useful details, and ready to believe them. This is exactly how you trick yourself into standing on a surface in the æther without gravity or rotation, how you can see and hear where there is no light or sound.

“Therefore when you are in that state, if you are a good technopath, you are focused on defending your mind from the vulnerabilities of that state. This naturally leaves you exposed to sensory data injected from the surface--you cannot tell the difference, so you do not realize it is slipping past your focused defenses. Similarly if you are in normal consciousness, and focused on defending yourself from surface-tech threats, sensory data injected ætherside would be your weakness,” Haze says.

“So if my system naturally has this weakness of wanting to believe what it perceives, how can I tell what is real from what is illusory?” you say.

“You can’t rely on your senses for that. You must think beyond them, approach what you perceive with logic instead. One good example is navigating a dream,” they say.

“Oh, really?”

“The sleep state is similar to dissociation in many ways, and shares many of the same vulnerabilities. This is why ObSpecs sometimes attack our targets when they are asleep, and take advantage of the phenomenon of dreams. This makes the act of defending against ObTech while in a dissociative state not fundamentally different from the practice of lucid dreaming. Have you ever done that, Aydan?”

Have you ever done that?

1) “No, I don’t know much about lucid dreaming.”: 6 (50.0%)
2) “A few times. I’ve been experimenting with it.”: 3 (25.0%)
3) “Yes, I’ve been able to do that all my life.”: 3 (25.0%)
Expired 3 months ago (2024-03-29 09:08:49)