Chapter 4

Ætherglow #68


The pain is so bad, you can’t help but scream. Or, you try to, in your head you feel the sensation of screaming as loud as you can, but it’s as if the nerve signal is not reaching your vocal cords. As you realize this, you also feel parts of your body becoming numb, losing their place in space to your proprioception. You’re losing access to your own body piece by piece.

Remembering the first rule of technopathy, you try to shield your mind and repel the neurocyberattack. But their combined force is much too great to resist. You know one person who could resist it. Focusing your remaining willpower into a single text message, you force your words out of your head.

2254-05-31 14:34:18 Aydan > ÆON!! shield!!

You don’t feel a response, but your message must have gotten through, as you can feel the attack being pushed back. It isn’t a visible phenomenon here on the surface like it is in the æther, but the effect is the same, and you can almost visualize in your mind’s eye as ÆON’s protective sphere of shimmering white light pushes outward from your own mind.

The sensation is returning to your fingers, and spreading up your arms. You don’t know how long the shield will hold, so you take the opportunity to do the one thing that will surely protect you from technopathic attacks, you reach for the back of your neck and unlatch your neural interface collar, tearing it off of your skin. Doing so brings a sudden, nauseating disconnect from the terminal that has become an integral part of your body, like a sensory organ has just been severed from your nervous system. But doing so immediately restores full control of your body and physiological senses.

Before you can recover from your disorienting vertigo, the three of them have their hands upon you, trying to force the collar back onto your neck. They must be colonials, much stronger than your Lunatic body can resist.

But one of them is torn off of you and slammed down to the colony wall. The others release you as they turn to defend themselves, but their attacker is faster and punches one in the side of their face, throwing them off balance and away from you, even in the 0.3G.

You recognize the newcomer--a tall butch enby in 3rd-year teal, with white hair longer on the top than the sides, with distinctive icy blue electronic eyes with a faint blue glow. Synth was their name, you met on the shuttle, but haven’t seen them since.

Your remaining assailant takes a jump back to help their companion up, as the third scrambles to his feet and runs to join them. Synth takes a step toward them, and the three of them take off running.

“Yeah I’d run too! Don’t worry, I’ll come find you later!” Synth says. “You know those fuckers, Aydan?”

“No!” you say. “They never even said what the hell they wanted!”

“I know them,” they said. “They’re part of the ‘Chosen of ÆON’, a cult that’s gaining traction alarmingly fast in the technopath community. Even students are getting wrapped up in it. What I don’t get is why they targeted you like that.”

“Oh, well maybe it was...

1) "...just a random act of violence?": 0 (0.0%)
2) "...they wanted to indoctrinate my mind and make me join them?": 0 (0.0%)
3) "...because I'm the Messenger of ÆON and I absconded with their god last month?": 50 (50.0%)
4) "...something connected to what happened on the shuttle?": 50 (50.0%)
Expired 2 years ago (2022-03-27 14:01:00)

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.