Chapter 4

Ætherglow #79


You decide you’ve had enough of people today. You go deeper into the garden and sit by the pond at the edge of the glass panel, at the edge of the world, just as the Moon appears above the water. The thin crescent of the dayside surface expands into a web of lights--interconnected cities and railways covering the black nightside.

Something about this upcoming gathering makes you uneasy. There’s one person you can talk to who almost certainly won’t issue you another invitation.

2254-06-01 16:45:56 Aydan > hey, you around?

2254-06-01 16:45:57 ÆON > I am always around, as my consciousness is rooted in your device, despite where I may be projected in the æther.

2254-06-01 16:46:08 Aydan > good, good, look, something weird happened today

2254-06-01 16:46:24 Aydan > three different people invited me to this secret technopath gathering saturday night, who I'm pretty sure don't know each other. Two of them at practically the same time, by message, and one shortly after in person. normally I'd find this interesting and be excited to see what it is but, something about it is making me anxious. maybe you can look around the near æther for anything unusual?

2254-06-01 16:46:35 ÆON > I will take a look. the younger students here are often quite careless in their communications and it is likely something intelligible is floating around your server.

A few seconds pass, then you feel a sudden jolt of pain like a powerful static shock in your head. An image flashes in your mind’s eye--an æthereal scene, an ætherspace illuminated by a bright white avatar, surrounded by an aura of complete darkness.

[take 1 damage]

2254-06-01 16:46:45 Aydan > you okay??

2254-06-01 16:46:47 ÆON > Forgive my delay, I experienced something probably equivalent to what you know as pain. It was overwhelming.

2254-06-01 16:46:52 Aydan > even I felt that, what happened??

2254-06-01 16:46:53 ÆON > I located three unsecured messages and followed their chain of logic down to an epicenter where the information in them must have originated. This directory was unprotected, suspiciously I thought. Taking one look inside resulted in this blacklash I experienced. I saw an echo in the æther of an event that occurred 54 hours apart from now. Something about what I observed was to me as if your fleshy body had touched hot plasma.

2254-06-01 16:47:08 Aydan > well now I'm definitely way more anxious about this thing. and whatever you saw, I think I saw some of it too. you say it was something that happened 54 hours ago?

2254-06-01 16:47:09 ÆON > No, it occurred 54 hours ahead of now.

2254-06-01 16:47:13 Aydan > ÆON that doesn't make any sense

2254-06-01 16:47:14 ÆON > I agree. While what is past to you is clear to me, as far back as I wish to look in the æther's history, I have never perceived something more than a few seconds in your future. Regardless, I did not find any useful information on the upcoming gathering.

2254-06-01 16:47:18 Aydan > maybe you did... that’s the time the gathering is happening. this is all too much to be coincidence

2254-06-01 16:47:19 ÆON > Nothing is too much to be coincidence, Aydan.

2254-06-01 16:47:23 Aydan > still... I need more information

Aydan > _

1) maybe Zeta knows more.: 0 (0.0%)
2) maybe Vik knows more.: 0 (0.0%)
3) maybe Akiko knows more.: 0 (0.0%)
4) I should bring this to Synth's attention: 100 (100.0%)
5) I should bring this to Ana's attention: 0 (0.0%)
6) actually, I need to call this whole thing off, tell everyone not to show up: 0 (0.0%)
Expired 2 years ago (2022-04-16 18:15:00)

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.