- What happened when Zeke activated the Ray Sphere? Zeke isn't a conduit, so he doesn't gain powers, and Cole specifically states that he killed a large group of people, yet Cole (and potentially Alden and Kessler, we can't really be sure) doesn't gain additional powers. So did the absorbed powers just vanish? Other conduits in the vicinity gained stronger powers when Cole activated it, so why didn't they when Zeke activated it? Can't be a one-time power boost because Cole is given the choice to activate it himself for an additional boost.
- Listen closely when Cole narrates: Zeke never does activate the Ray Sphere, he can't because he isn't a Conduit. It just makes a flashy light show and then fizzles out with nothing accomplished, nor does it kill anyone. What Cole means is that Zeke tried to activate it because he wanted superpowers so badly he was willing to kill thousands to get them, because he knew that was how the Ray Sphere would do its job.
- Also, why is it when Zeke activates the Sphere on the tower, and when Cole activates it at the pier, the surrounding area is kept intact (actually, having replayed the scene, the end of the pier actually is destroyed in the blast), yet when the Sphere is first activated, it leaves a huge crater in the Historic District? Cole is also battered, bloody, and bruised when the Sphere activates the first time, yet he and Zeke are fine when it is activated again.
- I have an explanation, that borderlines on Fan Wank though: the sphere simply didn't activate with Zeke because he wasn't a conduit. There was a big show of light, then it just fizzled, essentially the sphere's way of saying "don't bother dude, you're just a fat loser". Now, the first blast drained the stuff out of thousands of people at once. I wouldn't be surprised if Kessler chose the place and the hour with the highest density of population, so that the sphere would go off fiercely. Quite the opposite with the possible second blast. Very few people, if any, to drain, due to the localization of the sphere at the time, resulted in a smaller scale of the blast.
- To answer both your questions, watch the cutscene. They laid it out pretty clearly that Zeke made the choice, but it didn't work and didn't kill anyone. Here's a direct quote:
Cole (Narrating): Asshole [Zeke] makes the choice to kill thousands, stealing their lives so that he can be transformed. And then, nothing. Everyone's fine. No change at all.