As the group figures out what to do with the facility and learns more about its impact in the Steadfast, Lysander strikes out with his people to the surface of the planet. Where the tides will take them is anyone’s guess.
Left to their own devices in the shadows of the Nelja Nexus, Helios and Zisk’s moral compass drops to zero as they scheme ways to take everything they can from the course of events and strike out on their own without pursuit. Zisk remembers some of the technology at Quanon’s disposal and thinks better about betraying him. Honor among thieves after all.
In an attempt to milk every gain from the situation they fool and betray Ruby and Billum, asking them to strike out while they guard the nexus. While Ruby and Billum journey to town Zisk and Helios take the flying device to parlay with Quanon, hand over the matter displacer artifact and bring him to the nexus, where he officially calls their debt paid after they help him relocate the 5 protean tubes to his compound under Stirthal. They then double back to meet with Jongo before Ruby and Billum arrive in order to claim the full bounty of the reward for themselves before anyone else makes it back to town.
Jongo is shrewd and sees partially through their lies. Only through quick thinking a honeyed tongue is Helios able to keep the two out of a prison cell. During the conversation, Jongo’s sister Cecilia enters the room with her bodyguard Elward. Helios instantly tries to put a move on Cecilia which is utterly lost on her, but not Elward. True to form and without a moments delay a feud and rivalry has begun, sure to play out in endless banter criticising the other for their ill advised perspective on life. Cecilia gets involved with the conversation and poorly tries to buy the loyalty of Zisk and Helios out from under her brother. Used to the foibles of her younger sister, Jongo allows the situation to play out, manipulating it to his gain in the end.
With a number of guards, the group heads out to the nexus. Through various pieces missing from the facility everything is uncovered and all pieces of numenera, including the flying machine, are disclosed. Helios is still able to spin it so that they don’t look fully like thieves, and surprisingly, Jongo doesn’t seem bothered by the fact that Quanon has taken some of the tech from the facility.
Cecelia digs right into the numenera and discovers the presence of the other facilities, another omission by Zisk and Helios which they try awkwardly to explain. Cecelia discovers that various protocol can be run at these facilities and that by running the medical protocol she may be able to discover the missing link to finish her incomplete crop splicing artifact. She requests that Zisk and Helios take her to another facility in order to active the medical protocol. Her aire is commanding, though somewhat lacking the presence of authority. She comes off as aloof, someone who’s used to getting her way. Whether this is the truth, or just a lack of ability to discern appropriate ways to communicate effectively remains to be seen.
Since it was their intent to visit another nexus, and wanting to save face in the catastrophe that was their backstabbery, Zisk and Helios agree to lead another expedition to another Nelja nexus, and they decide to go to the furthest away, in the northern most point of the kingdom of Ghan.
Using the flying machine, they are able to make decent time, though the trip will take a couple days. The craft doesn’t move terribly fast, but it is stable as a rock, and full of undiscovered utility. One such discovery was the cloaking device. Along the journey Helios fuels the fire that is his place as the aggravator of the group’s martial power. Egging on and irritating the serious seems to be one of his favorite past times.
Cecilia pours her concentration into the study of the flying machine and is able to discover she can boost the speed temporarily at the cost of disabling the stealth field for one day. She is single minded in her pursuit of the Nelja nexus and jury rigs the speed increase without consulting anyone. They arrive at the Nelja nexus, seeing the great spire of shell, glowing in the sunlight, and survey the land around. It looks like there are a number of small groups of people making their way towards the nexus, but no one is within a few miles of it yet, unless they are already inside.
The group lands inside the nexus and Elward activates a cypher givien to him by Jongo, which teleports him into the chamber with them. With their previous understanding and the help of Cecilia they are able to identify all the possible upgrades to the 5 protean chambers located inside the nexus. Jongo, Cecilia, and Elward step in to benefit from the device. Both Zisk and Helios waver, thinking on whether or not they should change their upgrade or stay with what they originally received. Before anything further can be discussed Cecilia digs into the Oracle, figures out how to activate it and triggers the medical protocol, with a minor protocol in gadgetry again.
As the group waits for the nexus to power up and begin its transformation the group discusses what will become of the technology here, how they might use it and what they plan to take with them, if anything.