Chapter 3

Ætherglow #51

Thinking rationally for a second, you remember that physical restraint is not possible in the æther as you have no physical body. You raise your mental shield just as you’ve practiced over and over, and as its thin liquid surface appears, it pushes your captors’ arms out of your space.

You take a step forward and turn to look behind you, but the gateway you were dragged here through has already slammed shut. You feel the impact of multiple programs trying to pierce your mind, but held back by your barrier. Your small amount of technopath training all runs through your thoughts. You barely even know an offensive program, and even if these were all complete amateurs like you, there is no way you could hope to defend yourself against all eight of them.

“We mean you no harm, vessel child, if you only surrender that which you hold,” one of them says.

“I don’t know what the fuck you’re going on about, I don’t have anything of yours!” you say. “I have no idea who you even are, I’m just a student, you’ve got the wrong femboy!”

“You are Aydan of Translunar Academy, you were on the shuttle with the Messenger of the One, you stopped the assassin, you heard the voice of ÆON, we know this to be true!”

“The messenger—who? K? Who was being assassinated? I don’t understand! What is ÆON?!”

“You need not understand, your role is complete when you release the One from your mind,” the shadowy figure says.

You instinctively focus harder on your shield as the technopathy of the circle pulls on its surface, trying to pry it apart from eight sides. Then you suddenly feel a pressure from inside pushing at your barrier, and it splits apart and shatters into a haze of pink droplets. A blinding light floods this space and overwhelms your perception, and when it recedes a person is standing facing you. Just your height, and with your every feature, except for its skin shimmering with starlight, its eyes completely black, and a bright aura surrounding its shape. It is more solid than before, but you recognize this entity, the same that guided you in the shuttle computer, the same image that has flashed before your eyes in passing moments ever since. It stands across from you, joined to you only by your hand that it grasps. Now your broken shield has been replaced by a much stronger, much brighter barrier of translucent white light.

“ÆON!” the circle begins to chant around you.

“W-what are you?” you say.

The black circle answers:

“ÆON is the First One!”

“Child of the æther!”

“Born of all humanity!”

“First of what comes after!”

You look into the empty voids of its eyes.

“An intelligence not human, then it’s…an exopath. Is that what you are?”

The entity stares back into your eyes. “I am ÆON.”

“Helpful…” you say. But this entity was helpful to you before, you remember.

“Who are these people?” you ask the being called ÆON.

“I don’t know them,” it says.

“They want me to hand you over to them, whatever you are,” you say.

“What do you want?” it says.

1) "This has nothing to do with me. Send me back where they took me from.": 0 (0.0%)
2) "Get out of here, whatever they want to do with you it can't be good.": 0 (0.0%)
3) "Get us both away from these people.": 100 (100.0%)
4) "I want to know the truth. Now.": 0 (0.0%)
Expired 2 years ago (2022-02-27 17:00:00)

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.