Chapter 3

Ætherglow #48


“I’ll do it,” you say. Might as well, since you’re probably the only one here who’s done this before. Ana takes the charged hypospray and approaches you.

“Everyone, take the æthernet cable located in your left cable pocket. On the left arm of your seat you will find a port to plug it into. Connect the other end to the port in the back of your interface collar. Verify the collar’s connection to the full body interface as well.”

You follow the simple instructions. The wearable full body interface consists of a web of conduits sewn into the tight fitting underlayer of your uniform, detecting and stimulating crucial points in your nervous system. Now plugged in, you lay back as Ana presses the device to your skin and you feel the momentary sting of the ketamine injection before the numbing nature of the medicine overpowers it. The relaxation is nearly immediate. You know you’ll be gone in just a few minutes.

“Good luck in there Aydan,” Ana says. “It’ll surely be better than last time.”

This is the last thing you hear before your start to lose your grip on the surface world. Just like before, being hardwired to a computer there is only one way to go once you find yourself flying through a void of color and logic.

You fly through the tunnel of light, all the while knowing there is no distance to cross at all. The world takes shape around you and you find yourself in the middle of a vast space. Constellations mark the infinitely far boundaries, in the shape of the labyrinthine circuit pathways of the system you now metaconsciously perceive. You have once again assumed your avatar form, much like yourself but more feminine in nature.

But this trip to the æther is very different, with the addition of the full body interface. Suddenly your avatar is not only seen but felt as a true body. Your have proprioception, of a sort, but it is a distinct sensation from true body movement. You don’t feel acceleration so much as you are innately aware of the position of each node of your interface in this virtual space.

Currently the only other person here is Professor Kitov. You recognize him by his avatar, looking like a younger, taller version of himself, his white hair now light brown. The most distinct feature of him is his piercing electric blue eyes that glow like bright stars.

“Aydan, can you understand?” he speaks, in the æthereal way that processes not as sound but as raw meaning, telepathy one might say.

“I understand.” You reply with the competence of someone who’s been here before.

“Move my way, if you can,” he says.

You reposition yourself in this space without space, floating through its unquantifiable medium as if it were air.

“You’re grasping this naturally,” he says. “Most students take a few minutes at least to wrap their mind around these concepts.”

What will you say?

1) "I've been in the æther before, actually.": 100 (100.0%)
2) "Just lucky I guess.": 0 (0.0%)
3) "Must just be skill.": 0 (0.0%)
4) "I don't know, it's not that hard.": 0 (0.0%)
Expired 2 years ago (2022-02-24 16:45:00)

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.