Chapter 15 Summary

By order of Admin Vanitas, Aydan attended hir session with academy Counselor Xi, searching for traces in fær mind of how the mysterious æthercultist Unas managed to communicate with xer from inside a faraday cage. But Xi found herself blocked by Aydan’s own subconscious emotional barriers. Aydan tried to let her in, but could not resist ær own subconscious. Xi proposed several options for more intensive therapy strategies to get past Aydan’s psychological walls, and Aydan chose to try technopathic synchronization, if a compatible sync partner of second year or higher could be found.

Aydan knew just what technopath fit the criteria, and asked Akiko if she will undergo the procedure with it, feeling ready to reveal to her the darkest hidden corners of his subconscious mind. Akiko enthusiastically agreed to the synchronization, knowing Aydan would also have access to all of her secrets as well.

In the meantime, Aydan went to Zeta’s room, where it was working on an augment to defend against auditory attacks like those used by the æthercultist Pulse. Aydan suggested consulting someone more experienced with modular synthesizers, and messaged 7☆. She suggested designing a module involving a ladder filter and a sequencer. Aydan and Zeta got to work building the device, and after hours of hard work they had a functional prototype. Following a successful test of the “AZ-7 Module”, Aydan agreed to hold onto the first one built, for her own protection.

They decided to spend the night with Zeta, but in eir sleep, æl experienced a nightmare of the exopath NULL. Aydan believed the message of the dream was “I am closer than you think.” Ve decided to consult Professor Haze to learn more about technopathic dream invasion to determine if this was a natural stress-induced nightmare or an external cyberattack, but resolved to keep the details a secret.

The next day, in Professor Haze’s office, Aydan contended with the mind games of a master ObSpec technopath, but managed to ask several helpful questions regarding ObTech in different states of consciousness, and successfully maneuvered the conversation to the subject of sleep without directly stating it. Haze suggested Aydan should study lucid dreaming to gain better control over zir sleep-state mind.

Later that week, Aydan went to meet ÆON Club at the pond at the world’s edge, but arrived early, having been invited by Akiko to spend some time alone. She gave Aydan a gift, knitted from unique genetically engineered wool. Swept up in the euphoria of the moment, only the arrival of their friends could snap em out of it.

As their meeting began, Aydan talked about hire nightmare and its implications, but wondered that if it were external, it might not have been a threat but rather a warning. But this line of thinking only had them talking in circles with so little information available. Aydan suggested a plan, using per upcoming synchronization with Akiko--perhaps in that state the two would be able to better access state-dependent memory from the night when NULL was created and possibly find a clue on how Unas had infiltrated Aydan’s mind.

Moving on, they discussed options for seeking intel on the Chosen of ÆON in the æther. Out of all the ideas presented, Aydan chose to trust ÆON’s plan for the two of them to ætherwalk together to the deep æther and consult rogue exopaths who know many secrets. ÆON Club agreed to the plan, but Synth told Aydan to keep the details between eirself and ÆON--it would be very dangerous if any of their enemies found out Aydan was planning something so risky. So Aydan did just that and lied about the order in which they would execute the two strategies, secretly deciding to go ahead with ÆON’s plan first before the synchronization with Akiko.

The next week, in Social Engineering class, Aydan took advantage of the deceptive strategy to also fulfill er outstanding class assignment to deceive someone who trusts han. Though the successful deception of three friends impressed Professor Nezumi, to Aydan it still felt wrong and uncomfortable--xe wouldn’t make a habit of it.