Numenera/Strange: Just in the Nick of Space/Time

6 minutes

The session before last, the group descended into the labyrinthine warren of passages that snaked their way beneath the surface of the world known only as Hell by it’s occupants. They navigated through a series rooms connected together by tubes. Some were dangerous, filled with otherworldly energies that warped the very fabric of their beings, whilst others were dangers of a more mundane type; a rusted pipe bursting and filling the room with flames, among others.

Their mistreatment of their guide saw him scuttle off into the darkness, leaving them to navigate unaided, but eventually they found their way to a huge hall lined with discs, portals to other worlds. There must have been millions within view. In the centre of the dome-arched room stood a great black pillar and the agents, mutated and tired but otherwise fine, explored. They started trying to learn more and find a way out, as Selena could see the invisible energies in the room - it was heavily radioactive.

Upon the pillar was a strange computer of sorts and Mafini interfaced with it, becoming one with the computer and all it knew. He opened a doorway back home to Earth, but being one with the machine he couldn’t leave.

This session started with the others agreeing to send Selena through the portal to report in and get help.

Stepping through the portal, Selena was confronted by alarms and armed guards and was demanded to identify herself, since she looked different to her normal Earth self due to travelling via apposite gate. She briefly panicked and the situation was compounded by the fact she had no memories of Estate training, since she was her clone.

Bhaltair has been trying to get Mafini to respond and accidentally injured him in the process. Taking his leave, he soon followed Selena to Earth and manage to defuse the situation forming there, despite being a strange blue man with a chainsaw arm. After a very quick debrief the situation was explained and several armed and radiation-suited staff followed the others to assist in an extraction.

However, Mafini/Machine (Machini?), responding to the injury and an incursion of outsiders from a gate, went into high alert and activated it’s remaining cache of security droids. A fight ensued and the support team were killed, but not before they managed to take out half the robot force. Whilst Asher and Selena fought the remaining droids, Bhaltair pulled Mafini from the interface, causing him immense pain and then tried to access it himself, but couldn’t due to his crystal coating. He tried using his chainsaw to slice away a layer of crystal to expose bare flesh, but messed it up, almost severing his hand in the process. With his stump pressed into the interface, he merged with the machine.

The Machine/Bhaltair (Bhachine?) issued a restart and reboot order. The radiation in the room receded and the remaining droids shutdown. Selena, with her sight beyond sight, could see the radiation retreating but then saw some bad news: it was forming some kind of highly concentrated energy ball deep below the control room they were in, one that if unleashed would be strong enough to kill them all instantly.

After a failed attempt to connect again, Mafini joined Bhaltair using the spare interface at Bhaltair’s console (as the others had shut off and Bhaltair with his stump was only using one half of it). The Machine/Mafini/Bhaltair (Mafichiltair?) managed to reprogram part of Mafini’s mind with the instructions on how to manually override and repair the failing singularity core that powered the Machine. On that note, Mafini and Bhaltair ejected and Mafini immediately ran to sort things out, Asher joining him as Selena and Bhaltair rested and tried to deal with his near-severed hand.

Mafini and Asher made their way through faulty, dangerous lift-shafts and rooms full of strange devices, falling afoul of some accidental traps and cypher-eating moths until they came across a stairwell filled with slime. Mafini made use of a temporal viewer he’d found and looked into the future. He saw himself looking into the temporal viewer, then they decided to take action - the slime attacked with strange pseudopods and they were nearly at the edge of death when the viewer cut out. Clearly they needed to do a different course of action.

Trying to communicate with the slime was painful and it was clearly insane with pain and rage. Trying to convey some meaning to it, they explained they needed to access the singularity core to fix it, so they could return it to it’s native world. There seemed no response until the floor of the stairwell dissolved, eaten away by the slime to reveal a 50ft drop into the singularity room.

In a daring feat of acrobatics, both Asher and Mafini made their way down through the hole into the room. In the mean time, Bhaltair had healed (more or less) his hand using a chiurgeon sphere artifact. Selena decided to follow the others down and Bhaltair came after. Selena was as graceful as a cat and made her way flawlessly to the singularity room but Bhaltair, being injured and heavily obese was not so lucky. He fell at the first hurdle and in an effort to stop himself plummeting to his death down the lift shaft, used his chainsaw against the wall to try and slow his descent. Sadly, this awoke a swarm of chance moths that, sensing the innate cypher power of his crystal skin, attacked and drained it until his skin replacement fell off, crumbling to dust and leaving a skinless man in immense pain cowering at the bottom of a lift-shaft. He activated his sphere again and it began printing him new skin, but the moths attacked it, and it malfunctioned as it was losing power. It finished the job, but his skin was a crazy pattern of glitched shapes, colours and textures. Picking himself up, he made his way to the singularity room.

All together, the group decided that ejecting the core (which would cause the entire pocket universe they were in to collapse into the Ninth World) wasn’t an option, even with their extremely short time left before the energy burst fried them all as the core came back online. Instead, using Selena’s energy sight, she worked out how to repair or at least manipulate the shielding around the singularity to divert the energy blast away from them. The others tried their best, but the slime was still fighting them and the spikes that lined the walls to shape the energy fields were heavy and dangerous. They didn’t make it in time. With barely 10 seconds left, they took drastic action and Selena tried to damage the containment rings of the singularity but failed. Ay the very last second, Bhaltair leapt up and in the final moments plunged his chainsaw into the containment rings, causing the singularity to destabilise and collapse.

The whole of existence disappeared and for an eternity the group were trapped in a formless void, then like the sound of rushing water in reverse, the universe rushed back to meet them and they found themselves in the Ninth World, they guessed, based on the humans around and the green-tinted moon in the sky. The people weren’t talking in Truth however, so wherever they were, it wasn’t the Steadfast any more.

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