Chapter 15

Ætherglow #303


“No, I don’t know much about lucid dreaming,” you say.

“Ah, this is why your ObTech suffers,” Haze says. “It is an invaluable skill for technopaths. Our Obfuscation School’s Oneironautics class can teach you all about it.”

“A class on sleeping?”

“It’s a hard class. Be cautious if you have any unresolved psychological trauma,” they say.

“So trauma can affect dreams?” you say.

“Oh, in a huge way. Æthertrauma especially. Your deepest fears can manifest in dreams. And what they show you can seem very real, especially to a technopath whose mind is attuned to assuming all unexplained internal phenomena are connected and have an external source.”

“Could a technopath take advantage of that if they knew their target’s fears?” you say.

“Of course! It’s a cornerstone of technopathy, going all the way back to Old Earth scammers scraping passwords from naive minds,” they say.

“So how can a technopath in a sleep state tell a legitimate nightmare from an external illusion?” you say.

“Often times you cannot. Especially if the attacker conceals their actions properly. The dream itself is legitimate, regardless of whether the underlying cache of emotions and memories it draws from was manipulated externally, just like how a sensory echo is real to your system even though the input data was falsified. However, it doesn’t really matter if it was ‘real’ or not. That is something you will likely not understand for several years, but it is the key to mastering technopathy.”

“What do you mean?”

“Regardless of the origin of a threat, the way to approach it is the same. Use your threat modeling to determine if the threat demands your effort. And let logic guide you to determine whether the world around you is real or illusion. Trust your autism--trust the little details.”

“Like the colors you switched in my mind,” you say.

“Exactly. You should have noticed it was wrong. You were distracted by the big picture and lost sight of the details,” they say.

“So if I think I’m within a dream or illusion, I should look for details that don’t seem right.”

“Yes. But if you only practice this skill when you already suspect something is amiss, it will only protect you from the most incompetent of enemies. Practice this way of thinking in your everyday life. If you are walking along the garden path, stop a moment. Look up at the Moon, her motion and phase and orientation. Look away and look back again--naturally it should be the same. Count the leaves on a branch of a tree beside you. Look away and count them again. Turn your head around and feel the spin direction of the colony, see that it stays the same. Drop something and see that the centrifugal pull is consistent. Be always aware and never complacent in the consistency of the world around you. Embed this habit in your waking life and you will practice it even in your dreams.”

“I see...” you say.

“Be sure to study this lesson. You may not be taking my classes this semester but I’ll still see that you are well tested on Obfuscation,” they say. “And good luck on your final exam.”

What will you say?

1) “Thanks, this has all been extremely helpful.”: 7 (58.33%)
2) “I don’t quite understand but I’ll keep working on it.”: 5 (41.66%)
Expired 16 days ago (2024-03-31 08:17:03)