The Capt passes out from the needle trap’s poison. Kaolin arrives and casts delay poison, buying his 10 hrs, and then awakens him. Etsuriko’s translation yields the info that both Dragonships were planning on going independent, absconding with the Emperor’s booty in the process.
A search finds more skeletons (again no sign of violence), some teakwood furniture, several chests of coins, a chest of cinnamon, and six large bolts of yellow silk. They return to The Door to find the ship in an uproar, the drow has escaped. They quickly determine that he has not only reclaimed his staff and equipment, desecrated Drake and Tavist’s quarters and seemingly disappeared into thin air. The next day is spent in tearing the ship apart searchig for him. Drake and Tavist detemine with their spellcraft that Dostrealt used extensive metamagic (Silent Spell, Still Spell, and Eschew Materials) in his escape. At this point members of the Command Staff and crew begin showing signs of some strange debilitating weakness. Kaolin begins to combat it with Restoration spells when regular medicine fails to have any effect.
The following morning the Capt once again mindlinks the party and Capt Hoopaka, and the command staff (minus Drake) set out for the Citadel ship (they chose their target playing rock, parchment, shears. Dugan won with a rock, go figure…). The place seems to have been shut down in a methodical, orderly fashion after being mined out. Following several hours of searching they move on to the more intact looking of the two sidewheelers, The Steam Wheel XII.
Upon boarding they find the gnome crew recently dead (no more thatn three weeks or so), and the ship surprisingly intact. Kaolin uses speak with dead to interrogate one of the corpses. The only useful info she gets is an extensive list of secret compartments aboard ship. After doing their best to secrure the ship they check the compartment in the Capt’s Quarters, finding a double scroll sealed with the symbol of the Order of Elegant Craftsmen. The first of the two scrolls details that the second scroll is info on a gnomish secret weapon for the war. The second simply has the cryptic phrase “E=mc^2.”
Recon of the wheels finds two dead Giant Space Hamsters and a lot of confusing machinery. Finding a level labeled in gnomish, “Do Not Under Any Circumstances Pull This Lever,” Ozzy pulls it. The room erupts into chaos as various machines activate with all the noise and fuss typical of gnomes. With a rush of steam part of the wall opens slightly revealing an access tube. Following the tube they discover what can only be a psijammer hidden within. Theridon powers it up and pulls alongside The Door. Careful examination of the helm shows it has been modified by the gnomes to draw psi enrgry from the hamsters in the sidewheels (Psionic Giant Space Hamsters!?!?!)