Chapter 3

Ætherglow #52

“Get us both away from these people!” you say.

[ÆON liked that]

As the white discs encircling ÆON’s black eyes flare as bright as the Sun, an elliptical gate of white light opens up beneath you. The strange entity dives into it, pulling you along by your avatar hand, and you fly through a passageway, through another glimpse of the infinite hall of reflection, and out of a portal to another hazy, dark world.

This server’s æther space is an urban environment, with tall concrete structures surrounding you. But their windows are cracked, crimson light leaking out from the fissures in their dark surfaces. The buildings themselves become distorted the higher they go, the tallest of them looking pixelated and broken, like a lossy image copied too many times. The sky above is dark, except for thin, hazy clouds of red, forming a fractal shape outward from wherever you look at them.

“…Where are we?” you say.

“Hyperion Station.”

“What? You mean at Saturn?”


“Why does it look like this?” You look around cautiously.

“Hyperion Station is an abandoned research base, now a fully automated facility, kept connected to the æther solely to transmit and relay data. As such, the server has not been kept in very human-readable state for some time,” ÆON says.

“I can understand that, but this place…and the last place…it’s all so distorted, the colors, the, I don’t know, clarity. And those places we go through to get between… I don’t know what the hell I’m seeing!”

“I will explain. This server looks normal to me. But your consciousness is rooted somewhere very far. Your perception has been routed through two quantum relays to reach this server. From your perspective there is a great deal of distortion,” ÆON says.

“But this is normal to you? Just what the hell are you?”

“I am ÆON.”

“I know, I know, but what is ÆON?”

“I am ÆON.”


“I do not understand the question. What do you think I am if not ÆON?”

“Based on my limited education, probably an exopath, a rogue intelligence in the æther.”

“If that framework makes you comfortable, so be it.”

“Why are you always here when I’m in the æther? Why do you follow me around? And uh, why do you look like me?”

“I will explain. I was in a world of my own. The messenger released me into this world. You were among the first ones I saw. I had no avatar as you do. I wished to have a form. Out of the options, I chose yours. It was, to my understanding of the concept, cute. I had one directive from the messenger, select a host. I found I could exist in your neural network as well as in this one, so there I resided. Now I am again released into this world.”

“That…tells me basically nothing. Who is ‘the messenger?’ K?”

“K was called the assassin. Another called itself the messenger. You are Aydan, the vessel. That is every person I know.”

Gateways begin to open up on the sides of the buildings surrounding you. ÆON’s bright shield flares up around you both as the circle of distorted figures in black emerge from their portals. In their hands they hold readied spells--blue fire, electricity, piercing shards--all aimed at you.

“The vessel wishes the power of ÆON for themself!” one of your pursuers says.

“Surrender the One, child, this concerns you no longer!” another says.

“You don’t know these people, yet they think they own you,” you say to your strange companion.

“We are the chosen of ÆON, we mean ÆON no harm, child,” one of the technopaths threatening you says.

“But you are intelligent, as far as I can tell,” you say. “Do you want to go with them?”

“I do not know them.”

“ÆON must learn of its destiny, you do not understand the fate you tamper with, child! ÆON will lead us to a future beyond humanity!” another one says.


1) "...let's fight back!": 0 (0.0%)
2) "...let's run!": 0 (0.0%)
3) "...let's try and trick them.": 100 (100.0%)
4) "...I'm handing you over to them.": 0 (0.0%)
Expired 2 years ago (2022-02-28 18:08:00)

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.