>> The sliver was now at the peak of its possible power. It had servitors of its own and a section of the crystalline complex all to itself, to run processes and compute observations. The Engine had entrusted it with observation while the machine itself sought solutions.
The sliver was aware of the limitations, the probability strands unweaving in the path of the anomaly, the giant black hole growing in the all-knowing four-dimensional projections of tits master. But it approached the issue creatively. It tapped into data clouds, manipulated networks, it even interfered directly. Of course direct intervention was never allowed but in crisis times its master was busy, and even if it were not, it would understand and turn a blind protocol eye to it.
All of this was done for one purpose, to catch shadows of the anomaly cast upon the cave wall, to try to understand it, even at a limited level. It was difficult, as the anomaly modified everything that wasn’t stable at a basic level. But it could find a way to see the anomaly indirectly. And if it could, maybe it could contain it. Maybe it could kill it.
The orbital gaze, the chirping data swarm listening in. They were both focused now on a man, a man sitting on the edge of a great canyon. He looked very angry. Angry enough to kill.
Yes, the prime sliver could work with this. <<
Excerpt from Gorven’s Diary:
I should’ve expected those floating orbs would be yet another line of defense for whatever numenera controls this place. They were frail enough to break quickly when bumped against each other, but I managed to salvage one intact; perhaps we can make use of it – after all, Arianne really knows her way around those things, and having one on our side for a change would be welcome.
We made our way into what seemed to be a healing facility, but of course it wouldn’t be unguarded. Heh. Whatever fate has in store for me, it sure likes to put me through such ordeals. But triumphant were we, and discovered a cache of useful relics and healing equipment that we used to patch ourselves up. The room was a dead end, however. Whoever was leading the abhumans deeper into the Chasm would now be a step further ahead.
We picked up the pace and came across the last remaining machines in this place that we easily dispached. The ruckus caused two abhuman minions to come and investigate. Just as we were preparing to ambush them, Baigon, the last of us of whom I’d expect such boldness, walked right up to them and intimidated them into submission. The boy has some character deep down inside, it’s a pity he seldom lets it show.
Inside the final room we at last encountered the leader of the other scavenging party – a rather odd sight, and not what I would have expected a ruthless slave-driver to look like: a flimsy old figure, propped in an eerie-looking staff. One look at it and Arianne knew this was no ordinary weapon.
The man didn’t seem interested in talking, and our attempts at reasoning with him failed – for a weak old man, he was quite confident in his ability to fight the three of us combined. Though he indeed proved to be the strongest opponent we faced down here, he was unprepared for the fifth presence – constrained to my mind as it was, it not only defended me against his attempts on my mind, but drove me on right through his defenses. Unfortunately the old man ultimately escaped right as I was about to pummel him into the ground.
After the battle we learned that the staff he was using carried a symbol, which we will use to learn more about our adversary.
As alien as it is, whatever’s inside my head appears to have been the strongest of all combatants, and I owe it this victory, and my life, I’m afraid. It urges me to head north, to the land of floating crystals, where I might find… power.
I need to find out what this presence is, and I need that power, if only to defend myself against the old man’s return. He took a special interest in me during the battle, and surely the next time we meet he will be prepared for me. I have to respond in kind.
Gorven: 11 Xp
Baigon: 12 Xp