Chapter 16

Ætherglow #320

“Nevermind, you’re fine without a name,” you say.

The light next to you blinks out. You feel a sharp vibration in the æther as a ring of black crystal spikes thrust up from the ground around you, pointed inward toward you. “I see, I’m not worthy of one of your precious humanoid ‘names.’ Just another program, unfit for inclusion in your trivial social games.”

“No, no, I just thought you’re fine the way you are. Not everyone needs names, or pronouns, or identities,” you say.

In a flash, the spikes vanish, leaving only your little glowy satellite. “Oh, in that case, carry on, strange one.”

You walk on, across the curved ground, through narrow spaces between towering plants of radiant glass, until you come to the edge of a river. Its surface shines with a metallic sheen, like polished copper. Looking down into it, you see your reflection rendered in negative color--eyes shadows of white, aura shining black. Only a narrow walkway of silver-colored metal stretches across. You look left and right, only to see the river stretch far to the concave horizon.

“Oh, oh, you’re in trouble now, little Ædan,” the little spark of light says. “No humanoid can cross this gate.”

“Looks pretty straightforward to me,” you say.

“Shut your useless humanoid eyes and look at something deeper than the surface for once...” Your companion dives into the water. Its black crystalline form emerges--bright arcs of electricity spark between the tips of its fractal branches.

“Hmm...” You look beyond your perception of sight and feel for the texture of electromagnetic fields. The entire river pulses with a strong current, the sort of disruptive program that could cause severe avatar damage. But the metal bridge feels cold in this sense, unaffected. “It’s fine, it’s not conductive.”

“I hope you aren’t as hopelessly ignorant about your own body’s materials as you are of ours,” it says, stretching itself into a spiked arch over the bridge.

Starting to feel annoyed, you step forward. “Are you planning to help me or just taunt me the whole way?” As your emotional sense picks up an inner surge of frustration, you feel a ripple expand from your form into the æther. Once it touches the narrow bridge, the metal near you lights up in your electrical sense.

“I understand. A semiconductor,” you say.

“Best not to heat it up with your bestial organism ‘feelings.’”

“I can deal with a semiconductor. I’m an exopath,” you say, feeling confused about the words. The bridge lights up with its deadly warmth again.

How will you proceed?

1) Suppress all emotions and walk across.: 3 (30.0%)
2) Form constructs to prop up the bridge so it no longer makes contact with the water.: 1 (10.0%)
3) Ignore the obstacle altogether and fly over it.: 6 (60.0%)
Expired 15 days ago (2024-06-02 12:10:06)