Chapter 3

Ætherglow #59

There are just too many unanswered questions here, and you think you’ve pushed your luck enough for one dissociation session. You decide to lay low, not risk any further communications, and try to stay invisible to all with a simple echo projection.

You wait in the tranquility of the æther, attuned to a network more vast than your conscious mind can imagine, feeling information flow through its passages in ways you can’t understand, yet know as intuitively as the shape of your own body. Eventually you start to lose your grasp on this reality. It’s almost like drifting off to sleep, but instead you feel you are falling upwards, and open your eyes to the surface.


You’re the first one awake, but you’re definitely still under the effects of the medication. Unlike in the æther, where you could feel sensation indistinguishable from reality through your full-body interface, now your fingers are numb and can feel no texture or temperature. Your entire body feels relaxed, and a sense of bliss washes over you, so powerful you couldn’t possibly feel anxious about the situation if you tried.

As the room comes together more, you notice Ana, checking your pulse and taking readings from sensors implanted in its fingers.

“You’re awake?” it says.

You simply nod your head.

“How do you feel?”


“The others will be back shortly. Something’s very strange here,” it says. “Kitov doesn’t realize anything is wrong, he’s under the impression that you’ve been with him the whole time.”

“Yeah...” Memories from the æther are a little hard to grasp on the surface, but you try and piece the details together. “There’s a copy of me, I saw it. An echo maybe?”

“It makes sense that the cult would keep your disappearance hidden. It must be a damned convincing interactive program though. If they have technopaths who can deceive Kitov, that’s terrifying...”

“Will you tell me more about what the hell is going on now?” you say.

“If you’ll come with me. After I do my job and check up on your classmates, I’ll tell your professor you felt ill after resurfacing, it’s common. We have an exam room in a Faraday cage, used for cases of dangerous implant malfunction. There we can speak privately and even our devices can’t betray us. I’ll tell you everything I know, since, for some reason, you’re wrapped up in this too now,

“Will that work?”

1) go with Ana to speak privately: 50 (50.0%)
2) go with it, but insist on not being alone: 50 (50.0%)
3) refuse, stay with the group for now: 0 (0.0%)
4) refuse and go somewhere to be alone: 0 (0.0%)
Expired 2 years ago (2022-03-08 17:03:00)

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.