Zeka (plural Zeky), from the Russian word for "prisoner", is the name of a Promethean Lineage; also known as the Children of the Bomb. The youngest Lineage, the Zeka are the legendary "Nuclear Prometheans" who haunt the legends and stories of the Created. Extremely rare, Zeky struggle with the very nature of their existence, and with the question of whether they are even capable of succeeding in the Great Work.
The Zeka element and humor are radiation, which makes them by far the most volatile and alien of the known Lineages. It drives them to extremes at all times, and taints their Pyros with ionizing radiation. As a result, their Torment tends to be literally explosive, and the Wastelands and Firestorms they provoke cause long-term radiological contamination. Several Transmutations also operate differently due to the radioactive nature of Zeky, and the Disquiet they provoke is far more contagious and destructive than usual.
The Zeka are unique among the Lineages in that no less than five different demiurges have created a Zeka independently of each other since 1945. The most famous of these creations, and the one that lent its name to the Lineage, is Tsar Bomba from Siberia, as he was made from the bodies of zeky, or convicts who worked in a gulag.
Of the other four creations, two are still reported extant and active. One is presumed dead after disappearing into the ocean. The final one is confirmed dead, having placed itself at ground zero of a bomb test.
In order to create a Zeka, radiation must naturally be involved. The methods for awakening a Child of the Bomb are varied, from using long-term exposure at the site of nuclear disasters like Chernobyl to repurposing the instruments of nuclear medicine. Radiation sources or contaminated corpses can potentially disrupt the creation rites of the other Lineages, producing a Zeka instead.
Given the hazards of creating another of their kind, and the unique burdens they bear, Zeky pursuing the Pilgrimage often opt for one of the metaphorical interpretations of the multiplicatio if they can.
Zeky exist in constant agony, usually alone and unable or unwilling to make contact with the humans and Prometheans around them due to the radiation hazard they pose. In addition, not one Zeka has, to date, achieved their New Dawn. As a result, all too many Zeky become Centimani, turning away from the Pilgrimage they have no hope of completing.
The rare few who set their sights on the Great Work tend towards Cuprum, reflecting their solitary existences, or Stannum, reflecting their constant Torment. Phosphorum is another common choice, as it complements the Zeka's innate tendency to go to extremes. Rarest of all is a Zeka who will follow Aurum, as their hazardous nature makes it intensely difficult for them to fit in among humanity, even more so than is normal for Prometheans.
In 1E, the Zeka's affinity with nuclear energy grants them access to a unique class of Transmutations, the Irradiation Transmutation. It can replace one of the standard Transmutation lists on any Refinement, unless the Zeka is a Centimani. If that is the case, a Zeka can take Irradiation alongside the Pandoran Transmutations available.
In 2E, Zeky do not gain any unusual Transmutations, but can use the Nuclear Alembic of Vulcanus if they follow one of the Refinements associated with it.
Zeky are usually content to be alone, away from the society of humanity and the Created. They tend to become obsessed with certain ideas and notions that may benefit themselves but no one around them, such as ending their own suffering - even if it means destroying others - or of using their powers to expand their territory with no regard for the environment or humans around them.
Most of the Zeky also suffer from constant pain or discomfort in some form. Headaches, lesions, or sores that constantly itch or bleed are some of the more benign forms of the pain that the Zeky feel in their existence.
Unlike the other Prometheans, Zeky cannot use electricity to heal themselves or regain Pyros. Instead, they must use radiation. The radiation does not have to be at harmful levels, however, and can come from any source, from direct sunlight to a nuclear reactor. Generally, the more powerful the source, the more they will be healed or the faster they will regain Pyros. A Zeka cannot, however, reap any benefits from the radiation effects of their Wasteland.
Given the many different ways a Zeka may be created, their Disfigurements are similarly diverse. In 1E, The Zeky also suffer from Disfigurements in both their mortal forms and their true forms. When appearing as a human, a Zeka will have some sign of radiation exposure clearly visible on their person; it may take the form of tumors, melanoma, a lack of hair, or a pattern of burns. Zeka always appear strange and unsettling to humans, and it is one of the major reasons they usually hide away from society.
Zeky have the same access to Azothic memory as other Prometheans of defined Lineages. However, the horrific destruction wrought by radioactive substances colors their memory with Flux in a way other Created do not suffer. A Zeka who experiences an Elpis vision cannot completely trust what he sees, and dreams in the presence of their element are almost invariably dreams of sickness, death and destruction. This explains why so many Zeka seem drawn, or driven, to the Refinement of Flux.