|Helmet, Sweet Helmet|
It was weird, but oh so familiar, to have my consciousness back in this massive helmet. Trying to get used to it, I became aware of the new stranger in our midst, the black-robed one that Madmartigan, that is, Gigamesh, was trying unsuccessfully to pump for information. The stranger gave his name, but it sounded very unconvincing, "dispenser, uh, that is Spencer". I tried out my newly restored telepathic power, but all I heard from his mind was an echo of my own thoughts, like shouting "hello?" into an empty spelljammer hangar.
Soon enough we had other matters on our minds, like the fact that the ship had become sentient and booted Kobayashi out of the helm. Agatha, she called herself. Again I attempted telepathy, and Agatha replied aloud "that won't be necessary".
We were hailed by a familiar figure, Rodant, from one of the other Nautiloids, and found out that both the other ships were now (if "now" makes any sense any more) being crewed by our erstwhile allies.
Before long, a delegation of small, officious functionaries came from the town, demanding parking fees of 12 gold pieces per day for the right of parking our ships there. Gigamesh dealt with them, first attempting to negotiate a lower price, then displaying a brand-new talent, manufactured a convincing gold-lettered parking permit, marked "paid", valid for the next 5 days. This satisfied the delegation, and back they went.
Sometime around this point, Koresh decided to see how corporeal Kobayashi was, and put his hand through what proved to be an incorporeal void. Not quite void, though, as the contact reduced Koresh to a gibbering idiot, whereupon he decided to dive for the amber waves of ground below. I attempted to slow his descent by dispatching my helm, but was too late to intercept him. Still, he survived the fall remarkably well, with only a sprained ankle, or somesuch trifle.
Spencer teleported to the ground to retrieve Koresh, but somehow forgot to bring his robe. Thus revealed, we all saw that he was a crystal skeleton, with a femur containing a glowing green light within. The sun happened to shine through his pelvis in just the right/wrong way, and a house in the town caught fire. A woman started gesticulating to some nearby soldiers, pointing at the ship, and said soldiers started out towards us.
About this time I got a sense that something very bad was going on in town (way beyond our usual trouble, "sorry, we didn't MEAN to burn down your building/stockade/town"). We decided to land our party on the ground to investigate. The ship lowered, ladders were dispatched, and we all alit on the field. I attempted to tell Koresh that he might benefit from going to his happy place, but to no avail. Spencer had the thought that a backhand slap might persuade him to go there, but to everyone's surprise, the slap instead KILLED him. In some misguided attempt to return the favor Xeno did for me when he trapped my soul in the helmet, I got his sword, Dave, from his lifeless body, but Dave immediately imprinted on me and seemed to forget his previous master.
Our amateurish experiments in reviving the gnome ended when we saw rank after rank of rotund (maybe "spherical" is a better word) creatures marching out of the town, right over the encamped army waiting outside, paying them no more heed than if they were crunching over snails. Every few rows there was a non-round (cubical, in fact) creature marching with them. Just when we thought things couldn't possibly get any weirder...