Numenera 9 and 10: The Creeper

This is where things get a bit more vague. I may not have the order of events down correctly, but here’s the fundamentals of what went down.

  • Sharad, an Intelligent Nano who Leads a cult of one.
  • Meef, a Mechanical Jack who Exists Partially Out Of Phase but always in demand.
  • Giana, a Strong-willed Jack who Focuses Mind-Over-Matter and mind over physics in general.
  • Red Pepper, a Graceful Glaive who Wields Two Weapons and loans them out to the inside of enemies skulls.

Back at their hotel, they found a disappointed Theybis (because they hadn’t brought him any samples) and a present for Meef; a form fitting bodysuit, very well tailored, very snug but a perfect fit. The present had been left by his creeper. He declined it.

So snug. Sooooo snug.

They had a couple of errands to run, now that they’d told the Ataman that the problem was solved. They had healing to take care of, on account of being so beat up and once that was done they hit the town.

Red went to visit the owner of the Spa that she had tried to go see a few days ago. They established a lovely rapport, chatting about herbs and whatnot and probably wearing comfortable grey hoodies, with their feet up on the couch, eating yoghurt or whatever. The herbalist told Red that she had studied under a Varjellan master-herbalist who lived at the Beanstalk and showed her a steel-strong orchid that the Varjellan had given her as a parting gift when he (nicely) kicked her out of his small school of herbalists. She didn’t seem bitter.

They also needed to go tell Geirn that his wife was caput… They actually still had the head, but turns out that he didn’t want it. They left him grieving and wondering why his wife went down there in the first place.

While out walking the town (they had checked on cyphers for sale and were not too impressed) Meef was collared by a large, angry looking gent who demanded his money from Meef. Meef, not knowing the man from an Ancient Mythical Progenitor, proclaimed his innocence. The burly man’s associate eventually realised that Meef was the wrong guy: he wasn’t this Jip Krofwarten who apparently had absconded¬† with valuables that these legitimate businessmen wanted back, as he didn’t have a scar on his jaw that Jip apparently did.

All’s well that ends well and no harm done (apart from Meef getting roughed up a bit) right? No, as it happens. Red took it into her head to escalate the situation and responded to this with violence. A scuffle broke out, then a melee and townsfolk scattered/gawped in a circle around the fight. The smaller of the two legitimate businessmen split, first chance he got, leaving the big fella to deal with Red, Meef and Giana, but mostly Red.

Used to handling himself, it seemed, the big lad – Bruno, the smaller man had called him – had his shoes molecularly bonded to the paving stones, but tore them away, then he was partially roped, then Red jumped on his back and pulled a knife on him. He froze, surly, but knowing when the game was up. The Chorazy arrived on the scene and detained everyone, although Giana managed to slip away.

Ms Pepper got a very stern talking to when members of the crowd corroborated Bruno’s account of Red escalating the fight to increasingly dangerous levels, but all participants were released.

Meef decided to follow Bruno, trailing him to a dank tavern, where he nursed the hurts of the fight with a few drinks. When he left there, Meef followed him further, trailing him all the way to a largish communal house in a quiet part of town. It became obvious when scoping the house out that he had been seen by a couple of men whose job it was to watch the house or watch the house being watched.

Meef backed off, then tried phasing through a wall, but found that he couldn’t. The house had an energy field inside its walls. Curious, Meef tried a different tack, scaling a nearby house and then climbing along to an open window of the target house. He did this very well, gaining entry to a room stuffed with crates and boxes full of vases and pottery. He checked the rest of the house and found either more of the same, or people sitting around dicing and drinking quietly. It didn’t seem to be a house that people really lived in. He exited as he had come and returned to meet the others at the hotel.

Back there, another unpleasant surprise waited for him: another gift from his admirer. This time it was a mask, or appeared to be, in the likeness of Meef. But on closer inspection, it was a cast of Meef’s face. Meef was creeped out. Everyone was creeped out. He declined that too.

The horror, the horror.

Meanwhile, in non-Meef related news, Sharad and Shome had come to an arrangement. Shome would do everything Sharad told him to and in return, Sharad would get to tell Shome what to do. This was a mutually satisfying arrangement for the Born Leader and the Born Follower.

They received word that Orrudis had arrived and would see them early the next morning. So when the next morning arrived, they traipsed over to the even nicer caravanserai at which Orrudis was staying. The snooty maitre d’ ushered them in to see Orrudis who broke his fast in a quiet corner of the room, watched over by the competent looking woman with no name with whom they had seen him before.

Orrudis was out of sorts. While delighted that they’d retrieved the recording device, he was pale, sweating and definitely not his usual self. His plans to restore the Nooran line to the throne of Berenock would have to wait however, while he dealt with a health crisis.

A group of contracted operatives had been sent to run a few errands for him, not the least of which was an antidote to a long term poisoning situation that he had going on. Without the antidote, the poison would eventually kick in and there goes Princess Fialla’s most loyal and devoted servant. The people with the antidote were due to deliver the antidote and the object to him, but had gone missing in the southern Ausren Woods. Would the explorers mind awfully much going and collecting the antidote, the device and the explorers, in that order…

They were led out by his assistant bodyguard, who paid them a fat bag of shins each for the retrieval of the recorder (which Orrudis insist they hang on to for now, pending further instruction).

They made their way back to their hostel, which was nice, but not as nice as Orrudis’. Upon innocently opening their door, however, Sharad, Meef and Red found Theybis and Shome bound and gagged and the Creeper, standing on their balcony, shrieking “There they are! Oh, don’t hurt him! You said you wouldn’t hurt him!” and they were rushed by three men with crackling clubs. The men wore bluish-grey and black fatigues and looked ready for serious business.

But the men were no match for these – by now – hardened melee veterans. Meef and Red whupped them with ease – Red pulling off some amazing feats of Tomahawkery and Meef butchering his Creeper, who in retrospect never lifted a finger to hurt him and died with a look of pained adoration on his face.

Meanwhile, Sharad had activated an Icewall projector as soon as he heard the sound of heavy boots from back down the hallway from whence they had come. Giana had been availing herself of the… hotel gift shop or something and returned up the staircase just as a group of half a dozen serious looking men with crackling clubs and projectile tubes of some sort arrived from the other wing of the hotel in rather a hurry. As they flung open the door they were given pause by the field of amorphous ice blocking their path, but their leader spotted Giana and his face lit up cruelly as he yelled “She’s here!” into a receiver on his wrist.

This is a net bazooka, but one designed to take down drones. I.e. one for people who don’t know that crows are way cheaper.

Giana tossed a gravity grenade into their midst, flattening them painfully to the ground. She didn’t immediately flee though and as they recovered one of the men brough their tube to bear on her and fired out a rapidly expanding weighted net at her. She threw herself flat and avoided it, then fled.

Meef snatched up the Icewall projector and advanced down the hallway, freezing solid a poor innocent hostel guest who came out of his room at the wrong time. Sharad freed Shome, and then let Shome free Theybis, while Red went over the side of the balcony in an effort to outflank the flankers.

The melee was joined again on the first floor landing as one of the tube wielders was able to envelop Giana and bring her down. Meef abandoned the Icewall projector as too dangerous in a building full of panicked/gawping guests. Red arrived from one side and Sharad and Meef arrived from the other, engaging the uniformed men as two of them manacled Giana and attached what Sharad saw was a teleportation device to her manacles.

Anything Jason Mamoa can do, Red Pepper can do backwards and in heels.

They beat off Giana’s assailants, removed the egg-shaped teleportation device and stomped on it, causing a wild wave of energy that drained a few of their existing cyphers. Meef pressed his own teleportation device into Giana’s hand and she teleported down a hallway to safety, then used Telekineses to force her manacles to break off her. Damned useful that TK stuff.

Red and Meef made short work of the mercenaries, with Sharad lending a hand with Onslaught and tossing a knife to Shome, who immediately slashed an attacker’s neck open, in what is now to Shome a fairly routine initiation ritual.

One mercenary escaped and one other tried to, but was tackled to the ground by Red and briefly questioned before the Chorazy arrived. The Merc claimed to know nothing about the job. The Chorazy were in shock – a running battle in a nice hotel with corpses and blood – that anything like this would happen in Plainsight. They detained the explorers for a while, but ultimately wrapped the whole thing up kinda quickly, presumably preferring discretion.

It’d been a busy morning, but deciding that maybe getting out of town wasn’t the worst idea, they split for the Ausren woods. They weren’t sure where to find the missing explorers, but started along the edge of the woods, Meef guiding them to less densely forested areas, assuming that paths would follow the path of least resistance…