Session 2 – Divide and Empower
Zisk is a wanderer, always looking for the next adventure. Zisk, a swift nano that rides the lightning, is a man that loves speed. He’s fast, more than fast, he’s quicker than anyone you know. For all that, he’s still human, and he’s 27 and single. His desires are predicated by his age. He grew up in family of transient folk, moving from place to place. This was not only to find greener pastures, but also to avoid the danger of the 9th world. Traveling is a dangerous business in the Steadfast, but in its own right, it’s a number of steps safer than settling down. Raiders are always on the move, as such, what is safe and what will be safe continues to change with time. The meandering pace of a traveling community wasn’t fast enough for Zisk though. Sure, new things were seen, but the pace just wasn’t quick enough. At the age of 26 Zisk decided to set out on his own, and as chance would have it that meant his closest destination was the city of Stirthal. The new experiences of city life invigorated Zisk and each day brought something new.
Zisk has a talent for speed, and anyone with a talent to be exploited isn’t far away from Helios. It only took a few weeks before Helios recruited Zisk for a job. Helios was planning a major heist and needed someone with Zisk’s talents to bypass a particularly devious trap. After this first job the two continued to work together and grew to understand each other and the powers that each commanded. Helios showed Zisk the high life and the ever changing and fickle nature of the upper class, in return Zisk provided a unique skill set that Helios grew to find indispensable.
After learning of the machine that was going to help them descend into the Voil, Helios went to find Zisk and recruit him for the cause, knowing his talents may be the only thing able to bring them back from the brink. He found him in his typical watering hole, running up a typically large tab. It took about three words to convince Zisk to join the exploration team. As the two were sitting and discussing the details of expedition Zisk got a funny sensation, a tingling at the back of his neck. His attunement to electricity alerted him to the imminent danger brewing behind him. After quick shout to Helios, Zisk dove for cover behind the bar, landing on the bar maid and taking her with him to the floor. Helios, forgetting about the sharp instincts of his old companion stood there puzzling over what was going on. As he heard the whirring sound of something winding up he knew it was already too late. He jumped to the side as the bar above Zisk was destroyed by a ball of crackling energy. Luckily for Helios the blast was either not intended for him, or poorly aimed. The concussion of the blast and bar shrapnel battered Helios soundly, but left no permanent damage. Reacting quickly, Helios turned to face his attackers. One man had a huge piece of numenera strapped to his chest. The device was smoking and he was fiddling with controls, undoubtedly trying to set it up for another blast. A second man, armored and with a broad sword stood next to the first. Thinking to cripple the man with the numenera device, Helios let his dagger fly. The daze of the blast and the distance to the man proved too much and the blade flew harmlessly past to lodge into a wooden beam behind the attackers. The second man with the sword suddenly rushed forward and tried to jump over the bar in the place where it was blasted apart. He didn’t make his jump and came flying over, blade first, right on top of the bar maid. Zisk was ready for him and deflected his body to the side with a jolt of electricity through his hands, sending him flying back over the bar to land in a stunned heap. The machined man started powering up his device again moving to aim towards where Helios stood. Not wanting to be in front of the next blast, Helios jumped over the bar and hugged the ground. The man kept his sights on where he saw Helios jump, intending on blowing another large hole right through the bar. Just as the machine started to hum with energy Zisk popped his head out from under the bar and unleashed a bolt of energy from his hand directly into the device. The charge of the bolt in conjunction with the energy building in the device overloaded it. There was a loud popping sound as the machine detonated blowing everything in an eight foot radius sky high. The man was vaporized and there now stood a smoldering whole in the wall eight foot across leading into the city. Zisk grabbed a bottle from the bar took a swig and helped the bar maid to her feet, giving her a charming but nonchalant smile.
They questioned the surviving man, whom had no fight left in him, and found out that they were hired lackeys of Gresh, meant to capture Helios. Zisk took the man’s sword and they let him go. At this point they made a hasty retreat, big holes in walls tends to attract the authorities, unwanted questions get asked, and repair bills are given. They found a quiet place to discuss the upcoming trip and Zisk studies the plans for the device in question. The device is immense, a huge platform measuring 25 by 20 feet and 2 feet thick. It has the ability to slowly float in any direction for short amounts of time, but at the expense of tremendous amounts of energy. Thinking it a good idea to learn more Zisk suggests they visit Quanon, a being more machine than man, and an expert with all things energy.
After making contact with Quanon, they discuss the ins and outs of the machine, called “The Rift Walker.” Quanon lets them know it is a terribly inefficient device, capable of “flight” for only 10 minutes on a single charge of the device. It moves slowly, only 80 yards a minute. It can be charged with solar energy, but slowly, requiring 5 hours of sunlight to charge the device. Specific power cells could also charge the device, but would be consumed in the act. Quanon agrees to help improve the device under two conditions. First, he makes the two sign a contract giving him first rights to any numenera found and recovered from the Voil. Second, he wants a very special energy source from a Stirthal noble that is unwilling to part with it. How the acquisition occurs is of no consequence to Quanon, just that it is acquired for his use. He promises anonymity, saying he will change the structure of the source so that it will be unrecognizable. The two agree to the terms, then choose their upgrade. They are given a choice a between increasing the efficiency of the device, giving it an incredible one time boost in upward propulsion, or fitting a one-time use device that would allow the Rift Walker to safely descend (and move side to side) at a speed of 5 miles an hour for 8 hours. The two decide that getting down quickly will be the most beneficial in their exploration and count on finding numenera that can be re-purposed to help them on their return journey.
The plan and path is known and the stage is set for the Voil Chasm expedition.