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Trinity Continuum: Aether Tabletop Roleplaying Game

Created by Onyx Path - Aether

Pledge to help us create a beautiful edition of Trinity Continuum: Aether and deliver it to backers and into stores.

Latest Updates from Our Project:

Final Week, Final Stretch Goals?
almost 2 years ago – Sat, Aug 20, 2022 at 11:12:53 AM

Hello Aethernauts,

We're in our final week, and getting closer to our Final 48 Hour Rush, and it looks like we'll be knocking down Stretch Goals right up until the finish! I certainly hope so.

Because we've just unlocked the last announced goal, so time for a few more targets on the horizon.

UNLOCKED! - At $50,000 in Funding - The Aethernaut Collection 3 – The famous fictional character folio PDF will be expanded a third and final time to include additional characters (such as Dracula) and other possible allies and antagonists.

At $52,000 in Funding - Trinity Continuum: Aether Mobile Wallpaper - Exciting Aether artwork will be used to create a wallpaper for your mobile device lockscreen. This mobile wallpaper will be added to the rewards list of all backers supporting this project.

At $55,000 in Funding - Aether Audio Drama – A voice cast will be hired and an audio version of the Aether Serial Drama will be recorded and rewarded to all backers who have the Trinity Continuum: Aether PDF on their list of rewards.

We'll do a full review our our Stretch Goal successes and how much progress we've made on these final goals as part of our Final Week Countdown on Wednesday!

#Aether

Final Days Review - Stretch Goals
almost 2 years ago – Sat, Aug 20, 2022 at 11:11:31 AM

Hello Aethernauts,

We're in the final HOURS countdown for for this Kickstarter campaign! Trinity Continuum: Aether is finished on Kickstarter on Thursday August 18th at 2:00 PM EDT - there's still  a tiny bit of time to find additional aethernauts and invite them into our esoteric order, but we're definitely getting closer to the finish line. With that in mind, I've been touching on some of the basics to make sure that everyone has all of the information they need to support the project in the way that works best for them.

Final Days Schedule

Whether you're starting out as a Squire or are a Gog building yet another apparatus, these are good items to review to make sure that we all end up where we want to be.

Refresher Course

Note for New Backers: Please check out the updates listed above. There's a lot of information there that will be important to know about before the end, like how we're not including international shipping charges in our pledges for this campaign and instead will be charging them in our pledge manager before we ship out the books, and you can also read the entire draft manuscript before the end of the campaign and any pledges are processed.

Note for Since-the-Start Backers: It's probably a good idea to review that stuff as well. Never hurts to make sure you haven't missed anything! And it's fun to watch those Actual Play sessions!

We've had, and will have, a bunch of new backers join in during these last days. I want to take a moment to highlight some key Update posts that new backers may want to check out (and existing backers may want to read as a refresher!).

MANUSCRIPT PREVIEW - As noted, the complete Preview Manuscript for the book is available for you to review prior to the conclusion of the campaign. If you're a backer, you'll have access to this preview manuscript after the campaign. Remember, though, there are still some minor edits, development and proofing that need to be done. But, you can consider it about 98.7% finished. Making the manuscript available for review before the campaign ends ensures that everyone knows exactly what our goal is - making this book - and are on board with our aims for this project. Thanks for your support, we're all in this together!

Aug 14 update -  PLEDGE TIERS - your best starting point for figuring out which Backer Reward Level to choose to help support this project.

Your key decision: Go Digital with the PDF only or go Hardcover + PDF?

  •  SQUIRE - This is the PDF-only reward tiers. So, if you're saving trees or saving shelf space - or avoiding the shipping charges that are absolutely ever-increasing - these are the reward tier options that you should begin with. The PDFs will be fulfilled by our partners at DriveThruRPG.com - when they are ready, you will receive a link to add it to your DTRPG library at no cost and be able to download at your leisure.
  •  GOG - This reward tier includes the PDF as well as the hardcover version of the book. It'll look amazing on your shelf, especially if they're placed next to your other Trinity Continuum games, but may incur shipping costs depending on your location. As noted, international shipping charges will be calculated later and charged in BackerKit. We'll have exact shipping costs once the book is in production and we know the specifications, but we do expect it to be expensive. See our estimates on the front pate. If you're an international backer, you can pledge at the Squire tier and upgrade to the Gog tier once the shipping costs are known before we lockdown orders. 
  •  Aethernaut - If you want access to the manuscript previews but don't yet know if you want the PDFs or hardcover rewards, the Aethernaut tier also grants you access to the Pledge Manager after the campaign so you can upgrade your pledge in the future.

ADD ON REWARDS- the other half of the Reward Tiers update, including information on the second step of pledging. There are several Add On options that you can add as part of your pledge process. including the other Trinty Continuum games (Core Rules, Assassins, Aberrant, Æon, as well as pre-orders for Adventure! and Anima) and related supplements, as well as the the Storyguide Reference Screen that we unlocked via Stretch Goal!

Choose Wisely

Choosing the correct Reward Tier for your desired rewards, and then filling in any "gaps" with add-ons, ensures that you'll be claiming all of your desired rewards as a thank you for supporting this project and bringing this world to life.

Remember, your PLEDGE AMOUNT is equal to your REWARD TIER + ADD ONS only - Any International Shipping costs will be collected at a later date. You will also be able to select Add On options in the Pledge Manager after the campaign, but remember that only funds added during the campaign count towards Stretch Goal funding targets.

Also to note, only those who participate during the campaign are able to have Stretch Goal rewards added automatically to their rewards lists. If you're waiting to pre-order at a later time, it's better to pledge to the Aethernaut tier now and then simply upgrade your pledge later to include these bonus rewards.

On Thursday, I'll be posting one further "Final Day" update, covering What Happens Next and outlining what to expect once the campaign ends.

But until then, we're going to hopefully hunt down one final Stretch Goal achievement as we race through our final day of the campaign!

Over the past (almost) 4 weeks, we've been working solidly through our Stretch Goal experiments, to the point that we've already achieved ELEVEN Stretch Goal targets - including two that we just set up yesterday!

Within these Stretch Goals are some milestone markers that allow us to celebrate how the campaign grew as well as opening up an additional Add On option, and two really cool new supplements that we expanded and grew by working together. Let's review and see what we've accomplished so far...

UNLOCKED! - Trinity Continuum: Aether Reference Screen – A three-panel Storyguide Reference Screen with charts and information for running a game set in an alternate Victorian Age will be created and offered as an Add On to any hardcover reward tiers for +$25.

UNLOCKED! - Ready-Made Characters – An assortment of ready-to-play characters for use in Aether will be released as a PDF supplement, providing examples and allowing players to jump right into the action! The Ready-Made Characters PDF will be added to the rewards list of all Kickstarter backers receiving the Trinity Continuum: Aether PDF.

UNLOCKED! - Aether Jumpstart – An introductory scenario for Trinity Continuum: Aether will be merged with the Ready-Made Characters and a basic rules overview to upgrade it to a full Trinity Continuum: Aether Jumpstart PDF supplement. The Trinity Continuum: Aether Jumpstart will automatically be added to the rewards list of all Kickstarter backers receiving the Trinity Continuum: Aether PDF.

UNLOCKED! - The Aethernaut Collection – A small character folio of famous era-appropriate fictional characters (such as Jekyll/Hyde) with appropriate traits, bios, and Aether powers. All Kickstarter backers receiving the Trinity Continuum: Aether PDF as part of their rewards path will automatically have the The Aethernaut Collection Supplement PDF added to their rewards list.

UNLOCKED! - Trinity Continuum: Aether T-shirt on Redbubble - An Aether-themed Backer shirt will be hosted on Onyx Path’s Redbubble store for a limited time. Only backers will be notified when the shirt becomes available for purchase.

UNLOCKED!  - The Aethernaut Collection 2 – The famous fictional character folio PDF will be expanded to include additional characters such as Moriarty and other possible allies and antagonists.

UNLOCKED!  - Trinity Continuum: Aether Digital Wallpaper - Exciting Aether artwork will be used to create a wallpaper for your computer desktop. This digital wallpaper will be added to the rewards list of all backers supporting this project.

UNLOCKED! - Trinity Continuum: Aether VTT Token Pack - Digital assets will be created to support online play for Trinity Continuum: Aether, including key character and antagonist tokens from the book. This online asset pack will be added to the rewards list of all backers.

UNLOCKED! - The Aethernaut Collection 3 – The famous fictional character folio PDF will be expanded a third and final time to include additional characters (such as Dracula) and other possible allies and antagonists.

UNLOCKED! - Trinity Continuum: Aether Mobile Wallpaper - Exciting Aether artwork will be used to create a wallpaper for your mobile device lockscreen. This mobile wallpaper will be added to the rewards list of all backers supporting this project.

UNLOCKED! - Aether Audio Drama – A voice cast will be hired and an audio version of the Aether Serial Drama will be recorded and rewarded to all backers who have the Trinity Continuum: Aether PDF on their list of rewards.

I gotta admit, I was excited by the Aethernaut Collection concept, writing up "fictional" characters to slide into the Victorian Era of the Trinity Continuum. Happy we got Dr. Jekyll and Moriarty, but so excited to unlock Dracula this past week! It's gonna be a great supplement!

And I'm always a fan of the jumpstart, especially when it includes ready-made characters and the rules basics and is ready to go at a moment's notice. While we've mostly been playing online for the past few years, the new games we've jumped into over the past decade are usually spur-of-the-moment ideas and these jumpstarts make it easy to pick up and play.

And the Stretch Goal that we've only just unlocked, the audio drama? If you've had the chance to read Matthew Dawkin's excellent Aether serial fiction (read it here), our latest reward brings it to life by setting it up as a kind of radio play. Play a section before your game session to start the mood, or send to your players to introduce the setting, it's a new and different idea that brings a bit more to the table.

But why stop there? Eleven Stretch Goals is great... but what about TWELVE? Let's line up some additional targets in case to keep things really exciting over this final day.

At $57,000 in Funding - Trinity Continuum: Aether Streaming Overlay - A set of overlays for your online Aether game will be created, for your use when streaming your game. This reward will be added to the rewards list for all backers.

 ... and maybe one more Stretch Goal, in case things are really flying around at the end. 

At $60,000 in Funding - Enhanced Aether Audio Drama – Music and sound effects will be added to enhance the Aether Audio Drama.

YOUR REWARDS!

That's right! You backed this project to help make and publish Trinity Continuum: Aether! Our primary reward - the big thank you that we'll send out in appreciation for your support - are PDFs and/or hardcover copies of this book! BUT AS A BONUS, you may also have the Aethernaut Collection PDF Supplement, the Aether jumpstart PDF, the Serial Audio Drama, a digital wallpaper and mobile lockscreen wallpaper, some VTT tokens, an opportunity to add to your wardrobe and maybe you've opted to include the Storyguide's Screen on your list of rewards!

Not Much More Time

If only we could unwind time, am I right? 

Unfortunately, we seem to continue to move forward at a regular pace, and our campaign will some come to the inescapable end. We've achieved our primary goal of funding the book, but there are these two possible Stretch Goal rewards that are still almost within grasp! I know this last funding target may seem daunting, but it wouldn't be a STRETCH goals if we didn't have to really STRETCH to reach it! I'm confident that at least one is within striking distance, though it won't be easy. I'm sure we'll be watching right up until the end of the campaign, but it is completely within our aetheric ability! 

So, as every update concludes: let's keep the enthusiasm rolling! Keep spreading the word and letting others know about this project. They've got this final day to jump in and share the Stretch Goals we've achieved!

And every backer who joins in as we approach the end is not only able to enjoy the additional rewards already added by the early fans and backers, but also help reward those early backers by maybe unlocking that audio drama!

Remember, only the funds generated during the Kickstarter campaign go toward achieving these Stretch Goal targets, so the time to act is now! Together, we can bring this game to life and make great things happen!

THIS CAMPAIGN ENDS AT 2:00 PM EDT on THURSDAY, AUGUST 18th, 2022!

#FinalDay

#TrinityContinuumAether

#VictorianRage

FINAL HOURS: CHECKLIST & WHAT COMES NEXT
almost 2 years ago – Sat, Aug 20, 2022 at 11:10:11 AM

Attention Aethernauts,

Welcome to the final hours of this campaign! It's been an amazing run and very exciting to see this new era of the Trinity Continuum get so much support! Completely understandable once you start digging into the manuscript, though, and see the sheer breadth of options and stories that are ready to be told.

As I post this, our campaign time is slowly unwinding and we have a handful of hours left before the conclusion. We seem to be in store for a fantastic finish, though!

Refresher Course

We've had, and will have, a bunch of new backers join in during these last days. I want to take a moment to highlight some key Update posts that new backers may want to check out (and existing backers may want to read as a refresher!).

MANUSCRIPT PREVIEW - As noted, the complete Preview Manuscript for the book is available for you to review prior to the conclusion of the campaign. If you're a backer, you'll have access to this preview manuscript after the campaign. Remember, though, there are still some minor edits, development and proofing that need to be done. But, you can consider it about 98.7% finished. Making the manuscript available for review before the campaign ends ensures that everyone knows exactly what our goal is - making this book - and are on board with our aims for this project. Thanks for your support, we're all in this together!

PLEDGE TIERS - your best starting point for figuring out which Backer Reward Level to choose to help support this project.

Your key decision: Go Digital with the PDF only or go Hardcover + PDF?

  • SQUIRE - This is the PDF-only reward tiers. So, if you're saving trees or saving shelf space - or avoiding the shipping charges that are absolutely ever-increasing - these are the reward tier options that you should begin with. The PDFs will be fulfilled by our partners at DriveThruRPG.com - when they are ready, you will receive a link to add it to your DTRPG library at no cost and be able to download at your leisure.
  • GOG - This reward tier includes the PDF as well as the hardcover version of the book. It'll look amazing on your shelf, especially if they're placed next to your other Trinity Continuum games, but may incur shipping costs depending on your location. As noted, international shipping charges will be calculated later and charged in BackerKit. We'll have exact shipping costs once the book is in production and we know the specifications, but we do expect it to be expensive. See our estimates on the front pate. If you're an international backer, you can pledge at the Squire tier and upgrade to the Gog tier once the shipping costs are known before we lockdown orders.
  • Aethernaut - If you want access to the manuscript previews but don't yet know if you want the PDFs or hardcover rewards, the Aethernaut tier also grants you access to the Pledge Manager after the campaign so you can upgrade your pledge in the future.

ADD ON REWARDS- the other half of the Reward Tiers update, including information on the second step of pledging. There are several Add On options that you can add as part of your pledge process. including the other Trinty Continuum games (Core Rules, Assassins, Aberrant, Æon, as well as pre-orders for Adventure! and Anima) and related supplements, as well as the the Storyguide Reference Screen that we unlocked via Stretch Goal!

STRETCH GOALS - bonus rewards and options for those who supported this campaign! Check out this update for our big list of unlocked rewards and our remaining targets. 

1. Choose Your Pledge Tier Wisely

Choosing the correct Reward Tier for your desired rewards, and then filling in any "gaps" with add-ons, ensures that you'll be claiming all of your desired rewards as a thank you for supporting this project and bringing this world to life.

Remember, your PLEDGE AMOUNT is equal to your REWARD TIER + ADD ONS only - Any International Shipping costs will be collected at a later date. You will also be able to select Add On options in the Pledge Manager after the campaign, but remember that only funds added during the campaign count towards Stretch Goal funding targets.

SO: Ensure that you've selected the Reward Tier you want, and select any Add On options you wish to include. AND - make sure that you are comfortable with the Pledge amount, in terms of it covering everything you want and the affordability of the pledge at this moment!

I'm going to speak against my own self interest for a moment, and repeat myself one last time - though 2022 has been a bit better than the past two years, the world is still unpredictable and some futures are a little less certain. Ensure that your circumstances enable to afford this pledge at this moment - Kickstarter will begin processing payments after the campaign ends and neither Onyx Path nor I have any involvement in that process. If you are unsure of your financial situation but don't want to miss out, please pledge for a tier you can afford now and know that you will be able to upgrade to open pledge levels in our post-campaign Pledge Manager for some time before the book is completed.

  • Choose a Reward Tier You Can Afford
  • Read the Manuscripts and Make Sure You Know What You're Getting
  • Be Aware of the Projected Delivery Date (Onyx Path will try to deliver earlier than this, but the book will take some time to get perfect)

2. PAYMENT AND CONTACT INFORMATION

Once you're comfortable with your pledge, please ensure that the payment and contact information in your kickstarter account is up to date and correct. Making sure your e-mail is entered correctly and your credit card isn't expired will speed up the next step process. (I have learned from experience!)

WHAT COMES NEXT?

3. AFTER THE CAMPAIGN ENDS

First, we celebrate. Kickstarter will send out a virtual "Hooray!" email confirming the campaign ended with final totals. We'll give socially-distanced high fives and digital fist bumps in the comments section.

Then, the Kickstarter payment process begins. Over the next week, kickstarter will begin charging your payment methods for the total amount you've pledged.

If there is an issue with your payment method (expired credit card or incorrect number or pre-paid Visa awaiting funds, for example), Kickstarter will keep trying to process payment during this time.

Once this step is done, which will likely be in the first week of September, Kickstarter will confirm everything with Onyx Path and I can begin to set up the project with BackerKit and link it to the Kickstarter data.

BackerKit is a robust fulfillment integration and pledge management program that will allow us to work with all of the data and distribute the rewards to you. It will take me a few weeks to set the project up. Once I've got it all entered and built, the team from BackerKit will review to ensure I didn't mess anything up too badly, and then I'll make any changes they've suggested and we can move on to the Survey stage.

4. BACKERKIT SURVEYS

Once BackerKit says I'm good to go, I will send out a survey to all backers. This is why confirming your e-mail is important!

The BackerKit survey is both a verb and a noun - it will collect data for the analysis of some aspect of a group (enabling Onyx Path to set print runs, prioritize new projects, and fine-tune future kickstarters), as well as providing a general review or summary of the reward tier you've chosen, confirm all of the rewards associated with that reward tier, and confirm your total pledge amount.

I expect Surveys to go out by late September 2022.

During the Survey period, you can choose to increase your reward tier or add on additional options. If you've gone back to work or found an alternate income source and decide it's time to trade up to the hardcover version of the books or include another add-on, you can do so at this time. Note, you will not be able to reduce your reward tier selection, only increase.

If there was an issue with payment to Kickstarter, you should also be able to address that at this point in the process.

Note that you'll be able to upgrade your pledge tier for quite some time - until we're getting ready to print the book itself and have figured out International shipping costs. So don't feel pressure to have it all figured out right away - we may include projected shipping costs and correct once we get closer, or we may leave them off until we know (not sure, first time trying this), but we'll make sure there's plenty of time to get it all sorted before the books go out.

Similarly, if you have the hardcover book as one of your rewards, the survey will ask you to confirm your shipping address, even though it'll be some time before we ship out the final product. Do not worry about moving before shipping begins - you will be able to update BackerKit right up until the point that we begin fulfilling the final book. We will send out a notice prior to lock down so you can update any information.

I'll also use the Survey to confirm some details for the premium reward tiers.

5. REWARD DISTRIBUTION

This is a long process, but I will send out regular updates (usually at the end of the month) to keep you up to speed on Onyx Path's progress. There will be strings of updates that are just "still working on it," but I will share new artwork or information when I can.

Eventually, we will have a completed PDF of Trinity Continuum: Aether. Onyx Path will take some time to distribute, review, and compile any errata or corrections that need to be made. When they've made any necessary changes, they'll make an updated version of the PDF available in your DriveThruRPG digital library and then begin creating print-ready files for the Print-on-Demand and the hardcover versions.

It's yet another long road ahead, likely full of twists and turns and unexpected challenges, but one that we wouldn't be undertaking if not for your faith and support.

#TrinityContinuum

#Aether

BACKERS ONLY – Manuscript Preview #8
almost 2 years ago – Tue, Aug 16, 2022 at 09:40:54 PM

This post is for backers only. Please visit Kickstarter.com and log in to read.

Aether Serial Fiction V and VI
almost 2 years ago – Sat, Aug 06, 2022 at 08:36:48 AM

Trinity Continuum: Aether Serial Part V and VI, by Matthew Dawkins

V: THE FUTURE UNWRITTEN, THE PAST ERASED

Why must I mourn the attacks on those great Western bastions: Paris, New York, and London? Do they mourn the attack on Kyoto? Are they even aware of it?

I doubt it.

I doubt they know how we channeled Aether through our blades to cut down the Martians. I doubt they know how we gave everything we had to protect our people.

I doubt they look past the ends of their noses and their narrow view of the world. Even if they did, they could scarcely understand the struggle of the people they call “Japanese.” They do not understand us, any more than they understand Martians, but we understand them.

I understand their attempts at softening my people to better manipulate, assimilate, contaminate, colonize. I understand what they have already done to the people of China. I reject their ways and so should you. It doesn’t surprise me that they fell prey to the Martians as easily as we did, that their military arsenals were no obstacle to the alien invaders. Arrogance breeds vulnerability. Believe me; I know this intimately. Look at the Meiji blockheads who think they control these islands. The West has more in common with Mars than it does with my people.

By Warwick Goble

I have been asked by others of the Kinou no Bushi the same question, time and again: “Why did the Martians attack Kyoto?” It’s something to which my immediate response was incorrect. What I said first, born of hubris, was “They knew Kyoto to be our historic capital! They knew our people to be a threat based on our grand victories and Kyoto’s significance! They attacked us because we were special!”

Ah, I was a fool. Arrogance and hubris, indeed. My love of my people, the history of this land, my pride in the bushi, forced me to become a propagandist. As the Martians cut through our homes, libraries, markets, and shrines, I was bolstered with a naïve view that this attack somehow was an honor! One week after the other cities of the world were assaulted, now it was our turn! Surely, this meant the Martians recognized our strength and wanted to eliminate us from the board — truly a blessing and a curse.

I now know my assumption to be only part true. The whole truth is more complex but tells us something interesting of these invaders from another world: the Aether drew them here. Yes, Kyoto was and remains a mighty city of importance beyond our borders, but they were less interested in the place and its history than the intellectuals housed within. Scholars, scientists, priests, monks, and bushi who Tesla’s mob would call “Aethernauts” were the targets, and oh, how the Martians easily burned through our cultural centers to find them.

If the Warriors of Yesterday were not in Kyoto in force, perhaps the Martians might have struck another city in another land, bypassing our country entirely. The thought gives me pause and sometimes fills me with regret. Was it my assembling this faction, dedicated to the fall of the usurper Meiji and the restoration of the traditional, better ways, that led to so many deaths?

I cannot afford to have my thoughts clouded with doubt and sentimentality. Even if true, I do not believe the Martians to be stupid. They came here ahead of Shanghai, Tokyo, or Seoul (where I understand the rats of the Edison Illuminating Company have been hard at work) because they knew or sensed what we were developing and hungered to steal that power away, and if they couldn’t steal it, they were content to deny us access to it.

The Kinou no Bushi were so close. So close to unwinding the damage of the last three decades, perhaps more. With another month, maybe even two or three weeks, we could have reinstalled traditional roles of loyalty, honor, law, and glory to every one of our people. We could have swept away the Meiji, shown Edison’s thieves that we were the true masters of time, just in time for them to forget it all, and set this world on a better course. We could have unwound time with Aether. We could have erased it all and made a new future.

Fighting Back by Henrique Alvim Corrêa

But it was not to be. The Martians came, they destroyed what research they could, they snatched up dozens of our bushi. Unlike in London and the other target cities, they did not try and remain, gorging themselves on the ruins of human civilization; they were here to raid, like pirates of old. And we fought back with virtue on our side.

I have never been so proud of my people as on that day, when we once again drew our swords and used them to shape our Aether, sliced through the metallic limbs, skeletons, and frames these Martians use as carriages and ships. You would be proud, too, to see Ryuki scaling one of their tripods like a lizard and cutting the top open with a single slice. You would feel strength to see Kazusa bring a Martian low and then pry the fleshy mass from its shell like a crab or oyster. Tesla’s students call us “Gogs” for using our weapons as instruments of our Aether, but what I see are warriors, ennobled with a true righteousness.

We lost many of our number. We lost so much that was written, but I mourn this less, for thoughts can be re-thought. What happens when a bushi is taken to Mars and dies there? Will they be reborn, and if so, where? These are thoughts for someone wiser than me to contemplate, for they fill me with nothing but anger.

The Martians will pay for their attack on us.

Do not mistake me, reader. I am no exceptionalist. I possess neither the British ambition of world domination nor the American delusion of “manifest destiny.” I know that independence from the world’s depredations, whether those of men arriving on ships with rifles in hand and coins in their pockets, or from Martians with death weapons affixed to their helmets, can only come through knowing the enemy, mastering what they have not, and using it to change the world we know. It will take effort, it will take loss, but it can be done. Whether it will be done is down to nothing but fortitude and skill, and those are things I can but gamble on.

All I know is something must be done, and my warriors must do it before the world I want to see is out of reach forever.

Grip your sword and cut the enemy open without blinking. Do not avoid the spray of their black blood. There is to be no compromise.

From The Translated Works of Takamori Toshiro

***

VI: BOWS AND ARROWS AGAINST THE LIGHTNING

By the time we reached Tesla’s home and laboratory, the Martian was already clawing its way from the cylinder, groping through the ruins of the building for its target. We were quiet, careful; we had no comprehension of how this thing might sense, the range of its vision, the sensitivity of its hearing. Was it a creature that could detect vibrations in the air? Was it safe even to breathe?

On any other day, such questions would fill my mind and drive me forward into irrational action. I know there were some — especially of Nikola’s fraternity — who pushed the boundaries of safety to get such answers during the thick of battle. Now though, I was not as interested in knowing what the Martian could think or feel. I was interested in finding my friend and mentor, to extract him from the rubble before it was too late.

Collision, by Henrique Alvim Corrêa

Richard made a silent offer with his hands. He had spent years studying the art of sign language after Max was born unable to hear us, and we rejected the theory of oralism as a superior school. I know Richard never felt an idiot, even after I constructed an Apparatus that could allow Max to perceive our words; my husband was always of the view that Aether could be a temporary thing, that just as names, places, and events disappeared from our logs, likely due to the actions of those experimenters in unwinding, the entire use of Aether may one day dry up like an oasis. So, I learned the language too, and by doing so was able to communicate with him silently. He was offering to distract the Martian, lure it away from the house, and allow myself and J——— to pick through the rubble in an effort to locate Tesla.

Be careful, I told him, and off he went. When his hooting and shouting proved ineffective, he started flinging lumps of masonry at the Martian. Even then, nothing. It was when Richard pulled his pen free — what I called his “wand” — and started twisting Aether in the air that the alien finally paid attention and went slithering off in his direction.

J——— and I took the opportunity gifted to us, with my searching the ruins of the building’s rear while he took the front. Despite the wreckage, we were both confident there was no body to be found, and that like most nights Tesla would have been in his cellar, experimenting or studying. We did not pause for breath, finding the hatch and an intact staircase leading into the earth.

It felt foolish then, and perhaps it was, to descend into the blackness while war raged above our heads, but without Tesla who were we? We owed this new science to him. We couldn’t abandon him to these attackers.

It brings me nothing but sadness to write about what we found in that cellar. Tesla was not there, of course. But an Aether Gate was present, and it was active. It had been years since Nikola renounced their creation and use. What could have compelled him to build a new one? We could feel the power resonating from it, the sparks of green energy spitting from its frame, the hum of promise, the vibrating film separating our world from another. What were we to do? J——— whispered that we should pass through, find Tesla, and make an exit with him to another, distant place. I argued that we had no idea whether Tesla had passed through the device, whether he was even in the building when the Martian hit, and what was more, fleeing into another world while Richard was leading an alien around London was absolutely not acceptable.

They Were Watching, by Henrique Alvim Corrêa

The decision was made for us. The house wasn’t done collapsing and a part of the cellar ceiling came free. J———, valiant to the last (and I’ll hear nothing to dispute that though his methods are sometimes coarse), pushed me aside. If he had not, I would not be here to write these words.

When the dust cleared and consciousness returned, I could see him half-buried under bricks and planks, though to my great, temporary relief, his tomb was being excavated. Only temporary for the diggers were not humans with shovels and a barrow, but the glistening, solid, merciless claws of one of the Martian machines.

I did not scream. It was my instincts that preserved me. I could have given J——— a chance to fight back, and every inch of me wanted to do so, but I had no idea what had become of Richard, and I couldn’t — I was unable to — make Max an orphan. I should feel ashamed, but instead I feel I had no choice. The Martians took that from me.

I watched — I owed J——— that much — as the Martian carefully picked off the last weight and tossed it aside. It hit my foot, but still I made no sound. I stared as the Martian dragged his body up the stairs. I only squeezed my eyes shut when I heard him return to consciousness and start cursing the Martian with all his usual bombast. Then the tears flowed.

I do not know if J——— survived. I never saw him again. I do know that others claimed to have encountered him on other worlds, in the center of the Earth, in the jungles of the Amazon, but he’s a man of legend and perhaps it’s the legend that lives on while the body lies in state, or in some Martian burial pit. I do wonder if the Martians assumed he was Tesla and that’s why they stopped short of excavating further. I doubt I’ll ever have an answer.

The Tentacle, by Henrique Alvim Corrêa

What I do know is J——— saved my life. When Richard finally returned — the Martian he led away was not the same one that came digging into Tesla’s cellar — the Aether Gate had faded, no longer buzzing with power. We slowly returned home to our boy, and we held him like never before.

It was much, much later that I discovered where Tesla had gone and why he left the gate open behind him. This man I admired so much, this great mind…

I sometimes curse him now. I must question his decisions, for how could I not?

I know I will continue to research and use the Aether, because without it we are using bows and arrows against the lightning of Martian aggression. But if a time comes to undo all of this, I know what must be done.

From The Accounts of Anne Mercer

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Aether serial fiction Parts I-VI by Matthew Dawkins, Originally published on the Onyx Path website.