The death of Edvin was a grievous blow to the party. They mourned his passing, but were gladdened that he had joined the Lady of Graves in the afterlife. Fact informed the group that he had personal obligations to attend to and would meet up with them at a later date. This combined with the loss of Edvin left the company dangerously short of men. So they turned to a woman...sort of. During their time in Torch, the party had met many of the locals including an orcish giantess named Smangtooth. Though orcs are generally viewed poorly in these parts, Smangtooth was more than capable of discouraging the local thugs and had kept out of trouble in town long enough to earn a grudging amount of acceptance. Her fighting prowess and surprising degree of expertise in technology made her highly valued by the company and she was invited to join.
Descending once again into the caves of Black Hill, the party proceeded to the one remaining door they had not yet entered. They came into a large room with a desk and some glowing panels and patches of mould. More importantly, a dried blood stain covered the floor near a set of double doors. After looting the room of everything of value, they followed the trail of blood. Eventually, the came to some sort of lab containing many rock and soil samples. Featured prominently in the room was a humming machine containing a flickering sphere of reddish-brown mud. As the company examined the device, a hideous creature emerged from the shadows.
Augusto, having some learning of such things, identified it as an alien horror from a distant world called a cerebric fungus. Luck smiled upon the company as they did not succumb to the weird mind-altering powers of the creature and they were able to kill it without loss of life.
With a sense that they were close to uncovering the fate of Khonnir Baine, the party pressed on. Following the blood trail, they eventually came upon a chamber that may have once served as a hospital of some sort, but had recently seen a great deal of violence as blood splatters could seen everywhere. A medical robot and a collector robot occupied the room.
In violation of their standard operational protocols, the two robots attacked with great ferocity. By this point, the party had some experience fighting robots. They eventually succeeded in destroying the aggressive robots. With a moment to catch their breath, they could hear muffled screams. The noise came from a large metal pod in one end of the room. Opening it up, they found Khonnir Baine, alive, but badly wounded and clearly delirious. They administered to him as best they could, but he clearly needed more healing magic than they could provide. They decided to check out the remaining parts of the ship in case some useful medical technology might be found. During their exploration, they encountered a group of vegepygmies, the spawn of the unfortunate party of Brigh worshippers who made up the fourth expedition. They had apparently ran afoul of some russet mould, probably mutated by the weird fluids that oozed and pooled in parts of the ship.
They also came upon a small chamber which appeared to be a transport device of some sort. The device did not work, but after some study and a few nasty electrical shocks, Nils was able to remove a piece of equipment that needed to be repaired to return function to the device. He figured Baine could probably repair the part once he was returned to health.
Having found nothing that could cure Khonnir Baine of whatever it was that ailed him, the party headed out. As they passed through the large cavern where the skulks once lived, they were set upon by a group of men with swords and crossbows. The leader of the brigands was a hooded figure of some prowess with both sword and spell. The battle was hard-fought, and the struggle between Smangtooth and the bandit leader was particularly ferocious. In the end, the company was victorious, though all were bloodied. The bandit leader lay on the ground, bleeding, but not yet dead. Nils moved to attend to the villain in order to keep him alive for questioning and trial. Pulling back the hood, the bandit leader was revealed to be Sanvil Trett, a local technology merchant the party had met a few days before. He had offered his services if the party wished to identify or sell technological items they found. Hopefully, he would have some useful information to barter in exchange for his life.