Chapter 2

Ætherglow #35

You decide to keep bag of plant seeds.

[Akiko liked that]


After a few days, it’s finally your first day of classes. With a lot of walking around and a fair amount of stimulant injections, you’re feeling confident in the 0.3G. You have a good grasp of the neural interface and your terminal, and your implants are functioning nominally. Your first class is Applications of Primitive Devices, a topic that sounded most interesting to you.

Professor Aria is a short enby with long, silver hair covering half of their head, made into braids intertwined with some kind of antiquated cable, and the other half shaved, or even fully extracted, and bearing a tattoo of the estradiol molecule. It looks like one of their eyes is artificial and silver, matching their hair on that side, and the other natural and dark brown. Their light brown skin is, from what you can see, mostly covered in tattoos in silver ink tracing out an elaborate circuit diagram.

“For thousands of years, humans on old Earth instinctively looked for connections in the world, desperate to make it behave as one creation. They invented systems of magic, pantheons of gods, alchemy, numerology, ages of psychological pseudo-science, grasping at straws for some fundamental truth they deeply longed for.” They address the class in mandarin, a language their syllabus advised you to learn beforehand. It was little trouble with the interface’s aid, you came prepared.

They pick up a hand terminal from the table in the front of the room and hold it up. “Our ancestors were seeking something that could not be realized until many centuries later--to extend their minds, their consciousness, outsource their processing capacity. The computer was a turning point in our history--with these devices, we no longer were trapped in the prisons of our organic brains. Having touched every millimeter of their Earth, north, south, east, and west, their world suddenly grew in directions they could not have imagined. Finally we had what we have always been looking for—connection.

“We are the next step in that parallel evolution of organism and machine, we are technopaths. And as much as our ancestors yearned for the future, you likely chose to take my class because you hold a similar fascination with the past. And you are wise to study it, for every device running today is built on a foundation of centuries. Understanding the roots of the computer core, the terminal, the neural interface, will make you better technopaths, will help you out-think your rivals with temporally narrow minds.”

They set down the modern terminal and pick up something different. “Inside the desk in front of you you will find a device like this.”

You open the compartment and retrieve it. It’s similar in size and shape to your terminal, but heavier, thicker, with several hardware buttons on its sides. The display feels like glass, and its black surface reflects your face.

“What you’re holding is an artifact, more than two centuries old! Do treat it gently, they are worth much more than you are. Translunar Academy entrusts this artifact to your care while you are enrolled in my class, but remember that your contract holds you accountable for it.

“Now, this is a device unlike what you have grown up with. Though it has less than a terabyte of storage and only a few gigabytes of RAM, it is a fully functional, self-contained computer. This was long before the era of recentralization, when computers were expected to each be a standalone device. Maybe you can already think of how having such a device would be useful for a technopath.

“Tell me what comes to mind.”

1) stay silent and let someone else answer: 0 (0.0%)
2) "I'm the only one with access to it, it's the ultimate secure storage medium.": 100 (100.0%)
3) "You could take advantage of its small capacity to disrupt an opponent's program in the æther by redirecting it into an insufficient space.": 0 (0.0%)
4) "It could compile ancient languages to produce code incomprehensible to an uneducated technopath.": 0 (0.0%)
Expired 2 years ago (2022-02-04 13:21:00)

NOTICE: this poll was conducted on Ætherglow's previous home site. After total loss of the server, we only had records of which results won, not exact vote totals.