The human they'd run into, fleeing from a mysterious clawed beast, turned out to be a human treasure hunter from Tycho, the moon of luck -- who was upset at the door's destruction because his friends were still on the other side. He wouldn't be able to get back to them in time to do any good, though, so he decided to follow his instincts and go with the party -- maybe they would lead him to treasure?
They led him back to the Teek room because he said he was good at puzzles -- he certainly got past the passwords almost instantly, and they were finally able to look at the Teek data (which Nico could read).
The teek were consultants working on the massive cannon mounted to the ship. They didn't know what powered it, but it caused a 'quantum cascade' (aka, a magical reaction) that slowly converted to plasma as it travelled down the barrel, ending up firing a massive 'plasma net' that lightly singed everything in a few thousand miles radius. It was designed to take down a fleet with a single shot (the fastest they'd been able to fire it was twice about an hour apart) but was also ideal for bombarding an entire moon at once, which the Teek weren't really comfortable with.
Then the officers went crazy and started killing everyone. Presumably this included the Teek, although they weren't killed by any known weapon -- their empty chitin shells were full of *potting soil* of all things. The treasure hunter mentioned that there were some 'walking bushes' that were driving everyone that listened to them craazy. Maybe that's what had happened to the Teek? The last entry was one of the Teek confessing to killing the captain in self-defense, and worrying if it would look bad on his performance review.
The Teek diagrams did show the location of the cannon's power source, so Nico scried on it -- it was a chair. Nearby was the ammo, a bunch of starving prisoners, mostly elves.
The treasure hunter's treasure sense pointed to the most valuable thing in the room being... some random piece of machinery. He wasn't really interested in taking it with him, since he wouldn't know where or how to sell it. Cane decided to lug it along, along with some clockwork samples for Billy.
But they weren't heading back to the ship just yet -- first, they were going to the control room to try to fly the ship. Obviously, it was strong enough to survive the storms, so it was their key to getting down to the planet's surface, where the Brushfire was probably hiding.
The howling wind from the storm outside turned into actual howling as they headed for the bridge, but it stopped before anyone could be driven entirely insane. Unfortunately, when they got to the bridge, it was in perfect working order, and Cane quickly recognized how to fly it -- you just put your hands on that blue crystal there, and you'd possess the ship...
As soon as he touched the blue crystal, he went insane and started attacking the party, badly slicing up Nico and the treasure hunter (who had a name I don't remember). Kyngeah's attempts to heal him didn't work, but luckily, before he could actually kill anyone, Takara shot him with a random magical 'healing' arrow that brought him to his senses.
Cane: "Worst... control... scheme... EVER. What kind of idiot made a warship able to feel *pain*?"
The after action analysis was that he hadn't actually been driven insane by the pain and started killing everyone (for one thing, they knew they were immune to that, after the transit-beam incident) -- he'd been stunned by the pain and done nothing while the spirit controlling the ship possessed him and tried to kill everyone, and the random arrow expelled it.
Cane: "So which of us is easiest to subdue if they went insane?"
Cane: "Someone's got to touch the other crystals and see if they do the same thing."
No one volunteered, and a few seconds later one of the treasure hunter's friends ran in, shouting for them to barricade the door behind him, because the dragon was still chasing him. Cane obliged with some spike growth ointment (*crunch*), and then they all waited while the dragon tried to batter the door down over the next few minutes. Fortunately, the bridge was fortified.
Unfortunately, the new zox told the human that their other companions had been tricked and eaten by the dragons, who'd herded them back to their lair -- he'd been lucky to get out alive himself.
OTOH, yay! Zox! Cane (who'd been slumming in a Manis body since the feriphal potion wore off) was able to turn himself back into himself for a while, at least.
Zox: "Why are your stripes red?"
Cane: "I'm fire clan. Supposedly I have mental control over fire, although I was never able to do that -- so I used alchemy to fake it."
Zox: "I suppose there's other clans of other colors?"
Cane: "Green is earth, yellow is air, blue is water, yes."
Zox: "What's black?"
Cane: "Black is the default... the legends say that ordinary Zox have power over luck."
They also read through the ship's logs (written by the XO) while they were there. The officers didn't seem to think that they were insane -- they were killing everyone because the captain ordered it, and had killed the leader of the officers who objected. The captain *had* seemed insane earlier, though -- no one knew why he'd flown the ship into the storm, for example, and then held them there even though the strain of continuously repairing the vanes seemed to be making the clockwork go unstable.
They also found out:
(1) The 'weapons depot' the party had dispatched a fleet to wasn't carrying standard weapons, it was holding the strange dragon-like beasts that were now roaming the halls of the massive ship.
(2) The ship had been scheduled to conquer Ix by bombing it back into the steam-punk era with the rest of civilization, but hadn't gotten around to it because of the whole 'trapped in the storm and then everyone went crazy' thing.
(3) The ship had *already* been used to subdue Gaia, presumably by burning down all the forests. Since that was what it did, set things on fire.
last session | next session
...and while we didn't put two and two together at the time, in retrospect it's pretty obvious what happened. They burned down the trees that the real Teatime and his Evil Murderous Ghost friend had been trapped in, and now they were destroying this ship the same way they'd destroyed the Concordance. Doh! The party *does* have ghost-touch weapons and a lantern of aura sight with them, at least, since the random insanity had reminded them of a ghost attack. Maybe that's why the ghosts haven't confronted them directly yet.