Tavist, Taj Pach, and Kaolin stand on the deck of the Ancient Nautiloid and confer in aftermath of Tavist’s search of the vessel. Taj psionically corresponds with Kattar, her number one, and gets him to go to the bridge of the Kelhorn’s Grace to liaise with Dave and the Imperials.
Tavist starts to put down the githyanki hand covered in psionic circuitry that he picked up in the slave quarters, but does not seem to want to let go of it. He puts it in his ever present shoulder bag instead. He and Kaolin make their way to the deck with the weapons only to find them outside in the vacuum. As they confer with Taj via correspond Kaolin sees the psionic circuitry crawling out of Tavist’s bag under its own power.
Tavist tosses the now circuit-less hand onto a stack of bodies and examines the pulsing pool of psionic circuits on the floor. Taj uses her sense link from the helm room to examine it as well, but neither of them has knowledge of anything so exotic.
Tavist scoops it up onto a metal plate that used to part of a Thoon soldier’s armor and he and Kaolin carry it to the bridge deck so Taj can take a closer look. Using identify she gets a jumble of sensations detecting the circuits main purposes. She feels communication, protection, and latticeworks of stored memories.
Upon hearing this Tavist dips his scaly hand into the circuitry which immediately comes to life and bonds to his hand and forearm, as it does so that same forearm lashes out and touches Taj Pach. A portion of the circuitry flows off of Tavist’s hand as he does so, embedding itself in the xixchil’s carapace.
With blinding speed he reaches out for Kaolin, a look of shock on his face as he does so. Just before he makes contact the priestess dimension doors to another part of the ship. Hidden two levels above in the command station Kaolin listens through he open decks to hear the conversation between those now infected.
*SLAM* She looks down into the main compartment to see Tavist squashed against the wall by Taj’s telekinetic force. “It wasn’t my fault,” yells Tavist while the insectoid clicks angrily. Breaking into common she yells up at Kaolin, “We’re okay. No noticeable ill effects. Come on back down”
“Let me down,” Tavist pleads.
“Nope, I’m not coming down. Not yet,” the hadozee priestess says as she gets out her materials to commune with her god. She makes contact with The Traveller and he is willing once again to answer for Celestian. After a few moments she ceases to mumble and her eyes come back in focus. “The circuits are not evil, according to my God,” she shouts down.
Always the skeptic Taj Pach shouts back up “Well gee, now that god says its okay I’ll just let him down. Uh….no.”
After letting him hang for a few more moments she finally lets Tavist down. Once down he slips out his ring of comprehend languages and begins examining the ship and its contents. Unfortunately it seems the illithids were not big on labeling their equipment. Then he thinks to look at the scroll he found on the dead illithid, the one that was being sacrificed on the black altar. The context and mulitple layered meanings made it hard to translate but he is able to glean some disturbing news from it.
The best he can wring from the document is that it is some sort of agreement between two different illithid factions and is asking the recipient to make good on an agreement to send 200 of their number to “The Overmind.”
Tavist decides to start waving his hand over the various crystal components of the ship while concentrating on finding weapons. After some searching he find one circuit that light up with an amber radiance which he thinks is a psionic weapons system.
Kaolin glides down through the open shell to land next to Tavist. With blinding speed he reaches out and touches her, psionic circuitry sliding onto her as he does so. After about five seconds it evaporates into a bluish mist as des the circuitry on Tavist and about half of it on Taj Pach. The smoke rises into the air and forms an amorphous human face. The face of their former Captain, Theridon, Finn’s brother.
“Who is the bug?” he asks, in Theirdon’s voice.
“Umm, she’s with us” says Tavist.
Then the head speaks again, “There’s not much time. I’ve barely been able to hold on. We started this, back on the Elder’s Outpost, it is up to us to finish it. I’ve been able to codify the last of my conscious energy into a companion spirit to help protect you. I’m sorry, but this is going to hurt.”
Three bolts of psionic energy lash out to each of the remaining Seven Stars. They drop to their knees as they feel it drawing forth energy from their very life forces. After a moment or two of blurry vision and dizziness they find knowledge of the spirit’s abilities implanted in their minds.
As their heads clear Kattar contacts Taj through the correspond she has been maintaining. He says they are about to arrive, and are coming in hot with a Nautiloid on their tail. Quickly they shut down nonessential systems (such as lights) while Tavist projects a major image of the the ship’s exterior being burnt and ruptured.
Moments later the Kelhorn’s Grace appears on a path perpendicular to their disguised ship. As the Nautilod screams across their field f view Kaolin fires the mind blast canon punching a hole through the ship and out the other side. As the Nautiloid tumbles the figures of individual illithids can be seen, slowly turning in the vacuum after being spaced.The Kelhorn’s Grace comes around and finishes off the Nautiloid with their ship’s lasers.
In short order the Imperials have pulled up alongside the Ancient Nautiloid and have set up a pressurised tunnel between the ships. Taj Pach’s hivelings immediately join their matriarch.
Meanwhile Tavist continues to examine the table with the ring shaped model on it. Using his comprehend languages ring he is able to make out two labels in illithid qualith script, one says “Ethergap” and the other says “Overmind”.
Kaolin communes with The Traveler and ascertains that the circuitry is not harmful or evil, and that it contains knwledge that they need. While she does this Tavist confer’s with Dave and Tardin Fane about their upcoming course of action. The Imperials are glad to be back home and after talking they all opt to remain in the Empire. “It would be like being stuck in the primitive badlands on the rim,” says Dave, “no offense”.
Taj Pach, meanwhile, sets her buglings to cleaning and searching the ship while she does her best to identify the ship’s capabilities. After a time she is able to detect and identify three programs within it: a course setting for Penumbra, course activation, and “adaptive life support”.
Having decided that Kalin will summon a Heroes Feast for their (hopefully) final meal before crossing the dimensional barrier, Tavist buys crate of minicells for his laser pistol. He also gives Dave a 100gp ruby and seven emeralds “to remember us”.
As Kaolin calls into being her divine meal they agree that the plan is to leave in the morning after a good night’s sleep.