Chapter 2

Ætherglow #37


You resolve to once again attempt communication with a person.

“Um, hi, um…”

It turns its eyes to you.

“ seems like you’re really good at this, is all,” you say.

[Zeta liked that]

It turns its attention back to its work, but answers you. “I-I’ve played with devices like this since I was a child,” it says. “They’re actually very simple,” it adds, speaking softly.

“Wow, I’ve never even seen a computer like this before today.”

“It’s because my family, they work for a museum, on my colony. Almost all existing tech from the Collapse era is on Earth, little reason to bring it to space, but on my world they collect it, we’re known for that. I’ve, um, they tell me I’ve always been good at getting them to run…”

“Ah, I can’t even flash the firmware to the board,” you say.

“It’s probably an encoding issue.”

“It is? I followed the documentation…”

“It’s all lies. That’s what my sister said. She’s a technopath,” Zeta says. “They trick you, leave gaps, you have to find the missing pieces, all puzzles, mysteries, that is technopath school. It’s also necessary to collaborate, ask other students for help. But often our tasks will be tested against each other’s work, so, you can’t reveal all your secrets.”


“But this step is trivial, I will help you. The problem is the data structure between this computer and your terminal is incomprehensible. The fun way to solve it is to use intermediary hardware to encode it differently. We don’t have that, so, I looked in the school repositories and found an emulator of the device I needed.”

“I see why we have a week to do this assignment,” you say.

“She says anyone can learn to use a computer and a neural interface, the academy’s purpose is to teach us to think like technopaths. I’m not sure what she means yet…” it says. “Um,” it glances over at you for another second before averting its eyes again. “If you need more help, you can ask me…”

“Wow, thank you!”

It does some stim with its hands which you aren’t sure of the emotion behind.

“I’m Aydan, every pronoun,” you say.

“Yes.” It points to its nametag. “Zeta, it/its.”

You get back to work on the problem at hand, and find the package you’re looking for in the school repository. With some more help, you configure the strange software and correct the problem with the firmware. You successfully activate the device, and now need to figure out installing the primitive operating system. But by then, the time allotted for this class has ended.

You’re finally getting somewhere and your mind is still deep in the project. But your brain is tired, and your body is hungry, it is about time you should get lunch.

What will you do now?

1) forget lunch, hide in my room and install this OS right now: 0 (0.0%)
2) ask if Zeta has plans for the rest of the day, maybe it will help me more: 0 (0.0%)
3) I should put this down and eat, I'll go to the autokitchen alone: 0 (0.0%)
4) ask Zeta if it wants to get lunch together: 100 (100.0%)
5) I should see if Vik is free to meet up: 0 (0.0%)
Expired 2 years ago (2022-02-07 13:09:00)

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.