Recipient: Engineer-General Tishana, Fortress-City Central, Mailstop Theta-Zero-Zero-Nine
Sender: Chief Priestess-Technician Lucia, Outpost C895, On Assignment
Re: Progress Report
With the return of the Goddess of Heat Regulation to the pantheon, I've noticed a larger number of derelict machines than previously thought returning to baseline functionality. I brought with me only three decades of my soldiers on what I thought would be a straightforward mission to address power-regulation and repair in the Somdet sinkhole, but the more changes I see, the more I realize I should have brought a whole century to engage in widespread take-and-hold operations for critical junctions. I have, of course, sent messages back to the Outpost instructing my Second to begin preparations, but we cannot permit the Enemy to get an advance march on us. Battlemaster Len agrees with me. We're pressing on to secure critical junctures newly freed from millenia of flooding.
Fortunately, we have unlooked-for allies in this, and they have already proven… surprisingly capable. When Yama sent me a vision of the Broodmother of the sinkhole being attacked by a squad of inner-surfacers with the implication that I should take my three decades there to see if we could finish the Broodmother off after she was weakened by their assault, I did not actually expect that they would succeed in killing the beast, but succeed they did, although not without some cost. One of their number, some surface-variety of gnome named Tavi, was afflicted with the Broodmother's peculiar curse requiring powerful healing their own cleric could not yet provide. To this end, Lieutenant Samanya persuaded them to come to our forward camp. I admit, I wanted to meet these inner-surfacers. Tavi, in particular, has been of great help to our efforts, creating an extensive network of trade on the inner-surface that our own operatives have used to funnel war materiel down below.
The rest of them were no less impressive. I have spent my life making a number of assumptions about the soft, weak, pampered and protected people who live up above utterly unaware of the threat that we constantly keep at bay, but it would seem that even amongst the spoiled children of The Whorl there are those blessed enough by the gods and skilled enough in magic or combat to warrant inclusion in our ranks. I asked them to join our expedition for the greater good, and also for whatever reward they may request that we can grant. They acquiesced, some motivated by the former, others by the latter.
Traveling with them was intriguing. They were wide-eyed the entire time. Clearly things that are fundamentally ordinary to us are marvelous to their eyes, and similarly they spoke of things that are only dim concepts to us, like the "sun", or a "river", or "trees." Fabricator Fizzik, in particular, seemed enamoured of Tavi, and she seemed suitably flattered by his attentions. Bonds of camaraderie are strengthening despite our disparate cultures and different languages.
My decision to press on and not wait for the remaining seven decades of my century to catch up to us was proven wise. The partial maps granted to us by Yama enabled us to find a major junction, and it was already infested. Had we delayed even a day, I fear we would have faced an established hive complete with a larva-mage. As it stood, we only faced an elder oblex and a handful of intellect devourers. Under normal circumstances, such an engagement would probably have cost me a small number of casualties, but the newcomers more than pulled their weight. Notable successes included tactical use of terrain and control magic, as well as an unexpected expertise in ancient technology that permitted them to remove the larva-mage's gestation sac from the power junction before it could fully gestate. As a result of these successes, I can report no losses from that engagement.
We are fortified in the junction room at present. Yama has re-established control functions over these systems with the help of my spiders. Once we receive the all-clear we'll proceed to the secondary relay. If we act quickly enough, we can re-establish firm control over newly-active systems before the Enemy can leech power from them and increase in strength. Thus far, no sign of any illithid colonies or the sorts of creatures they spawn. It would appear that they have not yet realized that the systems that previously kept them at bay have returned to their original functions. We may yet have sufficient breathing room to accomplish our sweep-and-clear without significant further obstruction.