No sooner had the chunks of dragon blubber hit the beach than Xeno and Xoe had a plan. Crates were packed with ice and the bits of white dragon were preserved for a trip to Maeda. Der Chelonian was tricked out, with the dual sawblade-slinger taking the place of the forward ballista. The ballista was in turn moved astern alongside the Frost Giant King's Crossbow of Accuracy, which had been modified with a C-clamp mount, allowing it to be moved and mounted anywhere along the railing of the ship.
Meanwhile, Maximinus threw a fete for the crew while Clavdivs took Iryien's measurements for a statue to grace the center of Aquae Sulis. "Gilded platinum", requested Iryien...
Healing, modification and pickling complete, the two ships took off for Maeda to find a tanner. What they also found was an ally who came knocking on the cabin door - a man named Macro, who warned the crew that a man by the name of Abdullah Faloon was on the moon, and if he found Xeno, things would get really bad, really fast. He then proceeded to 'refresh his memory', informing him that he (Xeno) had swindled Falloon out of Der Mobile in a crooked game of Cripple Mister Onion, and that there was a substantial bounty on his head, whether attached to the rest of his body or not.
In a moment of sublime prudence, the crew of Der Mobile chose to slip off of Maeda as quickly as possible and intercept the shipful of Mind Flayers that was in orbit around Atari. This was the same ship that had, a few nights before, threatened the crew from above and demanded the pearwood tree.
The nautoloid was found and battle was joined.
Too bad Saladin didn't look closely at the Crossbow of Accuracy. If he had, he would've seen the button, a very small button and made of Wvuntoorian Antler, that had engraved on it in very small characters "Presse ye thiss buttone fyrst."
The explosion could be heard even below decks. Takemiya winced at the helm. Kobayashi arrived to find Saladin doing his best impression of Carslbad Caverns, his massive ribcage open for all to see. It wasn't so much a case of 'stopping the bleeding' as 'finding his other lung'.
If they could just keep him alive long enough to get to the Hammer, their Medicus could do something for him, without a doubt.
OK, maybe with just a few doubts...