Chapter 2

Ætherglow #43


“I’m Aydan,” you say.

[7 disliked that]

She points to her nametag, looking away from you.

Professor Haze breaks the awkward silence. “Now, your task is quite simple. It will be a reflex every technopath must make as trivial as breathing, if they are to survive. These locks are simple devices, able to connect to a network, but not integrated into the larger TLA system. One of you will try to open the other’s lock, and the other, keep it closed. Begin.”

Such a hands-on class. You think about the technopathic theory you’ve learned up to this point as you prepare to attempt manifesting its power. Through the neural interface you search for devices and find many, those held by everyone around you. A closer look tells you each one has been labeled with the name of the student who would be holding it. Simple. You find the one in your hand and connect your terminal to it.

The device is just as basic as described. When it receives a signal to open, it opens. It’s a very unsecure system, a useless lock, you think it must have been made deliberately too easy for the purpose of the lesson. That is, the unspoken challenge here is not that picking the lock is hard, but that it’s easy, and you have to keep it locked anyway. In other words, you are the locking function.

Unsecure as this device is, you could easily make modifications to it. That is likely the essence of the challenge. That would be a programmer’s approach, but another angle that a technopath might have to take is to repel the attack technopathically, the way you witnessed Ana and K contest each other in the æther, by force of will. You have options here, and it becomes a matter of strategy, a matter of what kind of methods your opponent will use.

“Do you wish to attack or defend?” 7 says.

“Whichever,” you say.

“Then I will attack. Prepare.”

She wastes no time.

Think of a strategy, quick.

1) protect the device from penetration by force of will: 0 (0.0%)
2) modify the device metadata to make it more difficult for her to find: 0 (0.0%)
3) modify the device's code to break the "open" function: 100 (100.0%)
4) modify the device to add a decoy function that does nothing: 0 (0.0%)
5) make use of the antique computer in your pocket she doesn't know about: 0 (0.0%)
Expired 2 years ago (2022-02-14 15:16:00)

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.