On the ride back to camp, Jax revealed that his guards had spotted a small metal sphere secretly scanning the City of the Sun. Siri asked Arimar and Sarithania if they knew of the being, and although they seemed to have encountered it all the way back in their time period, they knew little more about it than its name, Verraaier.
After returning to camp, the party attempted to learn more about what had happened to them. They knew they were missing a couple of days worth of memory and that each had at least one puncture mark, with Ox sporting a total of 6. They then discovered that another who had the ability to communicate with the nanites had not only harvested nanites imprinted with their brain waves and added a new, shiny substance that had bonded with the black inorganic Abbithean material in Ox, but had also been watching and influencing them for a long time. Doc and Siri had both been influenced to join the Deep Delvers and unearth the City of the Sun, and Ox had been experimented upon since childhood. Although they could not take complete control of the nanites from this individual, they did set up a warning system to be alerted the next time he attempted to establish contact with the nanites.
One of Jax’s guards alerted them to the presence of a mysterious cloaked figure sneaking into the tunnel leading to the City of the Sun. Doc, having brought his mechanical boy, 8Bot, back to ‘life’ sent the robot to investigate. Meanwhile, Ox experimented with changing into the new material within himself. Although the transformation was extremely painful, he found he was no longer weighed down and hindered by his inorganic form on this plane.
8-bot returned and reported that the cloaked man was scanning areas inside the City of the Sun and led the party to him. However, he heard their approach and attempted to flee. Doc teleported to him and tackled him before he could escape. Doc released him quickly, though, when they surprisingly learned that the figure was the elusive owner of the Deep Delvers, Eric Vitan. Eric wasn’t happy and evaded their questions as to what he was investigating, but brightened considerably when Ox arrived.
Bewildered, the party left Eric in the city, but on the trip out, Siri heard her strange numenera box produce a new figurine. Reaching into her pocket, she pulled out not one but two figurines. One of them must have been created while she was unconscious in the compound of the Collector, but they were both of the same person… Eric. Contacting Jax, they asked him for a description of the Collector, which sounded uncomfortably like Eric.
Turning back to the city, 8bot led them to where Eric’s path disappeared into a wall. They found the trigger for the secret door and followed the passageway down behind it to a large, secret experimental cybernetics lab with a massive central vat filled with an organic / inorganic red goo mix and pipes leading away from it. Eric’s voice echoed out from some hidden location, announcing that he apologizes for having to speed things up, but he doesn’t know how much longer he can hold Him off, and he needs to test Ox’s upgrades.
With that, a massive door is lifted, and a cybernetically-enhanced Rape Bear lumbers out, roaring ferociously at the party…