Quelana made it into the airlock. It looks like she’s going to keep moving forward to try to shut down the monster manufactory. Bazz and Toriss are hurt bad from the venom those giant wasps injected, but it looks like Heron has them stabilized for now. Markus’s drones took a beating but I think he’s reconstituted them as well. I’m radioing Kada now to try to get him here – I think this has reached an all-hands-on-deck situation.
We came to Ark 17 first to try to find a sign of Quelana’s sister Astora, but it was only on the way that it occurred to Markus to ask Navlaan what if anything he had set up here. It seemed that answering the question triggered the latent memory that he had activated the biomechanical manufactory to produce monstrous weapons of war, and send them through the portal to erase any and all trace of the nanites infecting the new army of Cinders, triggering their broadcast protocol and collecting their data. After setting this up and before coming to the ziggurat of flesh where we found him, he apparently erased all knowledge of this plan from his memory (though apparently a few threads were left that let him respond to Markus) as protection against the possibility that he would be found and subverted. Since there are now over seventy Cinder-adapted individuals who have been sent on an anthropological data-gathering mission throughout the Trenith Valley and environs, cleansing the area would be devastating, not least to the Trenith villages themselves, who have hosted Quelana for several years now.
What we found at the Ark was an impressive army in the making – four war dragons circling in the air, horse-tank amalgamations, men with the heads of bulls, though not sentient in the way a baseline human is. Markus distracted two of the dragons with a drone-delivered drug, and after landing Bazz retrieved one of their biological printers, which might be useful if we can locate blueprints for it. Then he set up a distraction which drew the attention of most of the patrolling monsters, except for a small detachment which went to secure the entrance to the facility that was producing the army. Everything went fine until they noticed us – now we’ve got two Lodge members badly wounded and a whole facility still to infiltrate. The distraction Bazz set up won’t last long though – they’re talking about whether to go in or back right now. Either way, I’m going to level 1 of my retrieval protocols. Hopefully I won’t have to go further.