The moving “something” turns out to be an additional group of Vegepygmies, but this group has a new wrinkle, in the form of a Vegepygmy “Commander”. This one looks stronger, much stronger, than the others and wields a glowing hammer. Quickly the heroes change tactics and begin slaughtering the Vegepygmies and maneuver to take on the Commander.
The Commander poses a tougher challenge to the heroes, smashing into them with his glowing hammer, but they soon get the upper hand and force the Commander to retreat back to the entrance. Trelane gives chase to the Commander as Ezrik and Nim finish off the remaining “normal” Vegepygmies. Only to be met by….
Sanvil Trett (played in a guest appearance by Adrian Pommier), accompanied by a pair of armed guards. The Commander, outnumbered by the new arrivals, immediately drops to his knees as an indication of surrender (even as Trelane takes one more sword-swipe at him), but the real intrigue is just beginning. Why is Sanvil here? Is he here to help the heroes, or is he a rival?
As Ezrik arrives and takes charge of the group’s Vegepygmy prisoner, Sanvil explains that the lure of the technology treasures was too much; since the heroes rejected his request to join the party, he decided to hire his own party of mercenaries and explore the caverns himself. However, he re-extends an offer to join the group but with new (and less cordial) terms — the players can have all monetary and non-magical treasure as long as he is allowed first refusal on any of the technology treasure.
The party is faced with a difficult choice. Trelane is still leery of the newcomer and of sharing treasure (any treasure really). Ezrik, on the other hand, is more motivated by battle and prefers good steel to technological “toys” and sees the value of an additional ally, given the difficult battles they have faced so far. Nim is not so much caught in the middle as he is disinterested — the discussion of material wealth is of little interest to him, and relies on his “parents” to tell him what he should do.
The stalemate is broken not by the team coming to a decision, but by the Vegepygmy Commander, who attracts the party’s attention — pointing to the southeast and making gestures that indicate someone, or something, hurt and in distress. The team follows the Vegepygmy to a door — a white door — which effectively ends the negotiation as Sanvil produces a white keycard (as well as a third bodyguard who had been hiding). A final agreement is formed by giving Trelane assurances — that Sanvil would not take ALL the technology, and that Trett would be willing to offer Trelane services as a broker and sell them some technology items at a later time.
The bargain finally forged Sanvil uses his card to open the white door, and the newly formed larger team encounters yet another remarkable sight. The party is greeted by creepily friendly automatons, who speak with a metallic voice asking the party to “remain clam; you are to undergo a medical procedure.” The party is slightly unnerved by automatons issuing soothing words while at the same time trying to kill the party. Between attacks they notice a series of beds, one of which contains an injured humanoid….
The good news is that the newly formed team works well together — Sanvil and his guards work well with Ezrik and Nim to deal with the medical automatons. However in the rear all is not well with Trelane and the Vegepygmy Commander.
Rather than dealing with the threat of the automatons Trelane holds back, choosing to instead containing the Vegepygmy Commander. As the fight continues, the Vegepygmy begins to get agitated, and makes movements indicating that it wants to join the battle on the side of the heroes. Trelane releases his hold on the Vegepygmy, but shoves him roughly in the direction of the fight. Quickly the Vegepygmy proves his worth and deals many might blows on the automatons. But rather than being impressed Trelane simply shoves the Vegepygmy further into the battle.
Between Trelane’s earlier attack after it had tried to surrender and the rough handling, the Commander snaps and renews its attack against Trelane, this time with a vicious vigor. Suddenly those who weren’t dealing with the automatons (of which new machines have arrived upon the scene to join the battle) now have to deal with a raging Vegepygmy Commander. The battle has spawned all over the medical lab and with multiple parties.
Quickly the Vegepygmy Commander deals several blows to Trelane and Ezrik … and infects them with its deadly spores. Trelane and Ezrik stagger back to heal their wounds, while the Vegepygmy Commander renews its retreat from earlier, damaging a few of Sanvil’s guards while trying to escape the chaos.
Enraged, Trelane refuses to allow the creature to escape and decides to throw an alchemical flask at the creature – and promptly misses, instead directly hitting one of Sanvil’s already injured guards nearly killing him.
The Vegepygmy Commander escapes the battle and Trelane gives chase! Meanwhile the rest of the party wraps up the fight in the medical lab taking out the last of the automatons. The group investigates the patient in the bed … and it’s Khonnir Baine! Alive, but disoriented and in serious pain. However, their discovery of the missing explorer is interrupted by Trelane’s call from a few rooms away — he’s caught up to the Vegepygmy, and it may be more than he can handle on his own.