Mongo the Fighter (4), his henchlady "Bunny" the Thief (3), and his soil-bearers Malazar and someone whose name I have forgotten
Gutboy the Cleric (5), his henchman Trezgar the Elf (1) and his blink dog Rufus II
Mongo and Gutboy peered into the medical bay to see what the robo-zombies were up to - they were clustered around the central computer-pillar. Mongo, using the power of the Sword of Unlife, had previously compelled one of the robo-zombies to be his servant. He sent this zombie in to the computer - "Ahh! You have returned to me! Control is again mine!" - to ATTACK - "No! Betrayed by my own! I shall destroy you, Thals!"
The other zombies in the room began pummeling Mongo's zombie, while metal tentacles protruding from the computer-pillar, tipped with blades and syringes, tore into its flesh. Meanwhile, the corpse of henchman William Harrison began to stir - electrical cables had snaked their way into his flesh, and he arose as a servant of the tank's computer. His attack was thwarted instantly by the power of Gutboy's faith, and he pushed Mongo aside to retreat into the medical bay with his master.
As Mongo's zombie was destroyed, he took control of another with the Sword of Unlife, forcing it to turn on its master. This happened repeatedly as each zombie was destroyed in turn. The bodies of defeated zombies in the bay began to rise again as well, reinforced with cables where joints had been damaged - and all were turned. The computer, sensing the tide of battle going against it, offered a truce - "Leave! Thals, you are free to go! Depart!" and the party took the offer.
The only problem they had left was that the door out of the crew quarters was magically sealed. The party hoped that the arcane lock would dissipate with time, and began piling the metal debris that filled the crew quarters in front of the medical bay hatch in case it didn't.
Back in the flying head, Bunny was shocked when a bullet ripped through her shoulder. She turned to see the wizard Ferayn floating in the center of the head, a rifle in his hands. "Die, interloper!" the mad wizard shouted as he took another shot - but it went wide. Bunny responded by grabbing her longbow and putting two arrows through the wizard, and fell into the grain pile below, dead. The flying head shuddered, and the interior lights dimmed noticeably, but then recovered, as the wizard gasped his last.
AND BACK IN THE TANK...
Eventually, Rufus II the Blink Dog awoke from his supernatural slumber, and blinked back into the crew quarters. Sadly, he couldn't budge the door handle from the other side - the magic sealing the door was strong. Mongo peeked over the barrier into the medical bay, and was horrified to see that the robo-zombies were being reassembled. The revived zombies lined up and marched towards the barrier, intent on breaking through and slaughtering the heroes.
Gutboy responded by repeatedly turning the zombies, and Mongo attempted to dominate them with his Sword of Unlife - but he found himself no longer able to overcome the computer's influence. That proved to be no obstacle - blasts from the laser rifle recovered on the upper deck were just as effective at dissuading the zombies. The turned zombies were unable to leave the medical bay to attack the party, and Mongo's potshots were seriously damaging the computer - it responded by having its dead servants pile atop it, acting as a shield of unliving flesh.
Gutboy grabbed the laser from Mongo and took aim at the zombies - the blast of focused light seared a zombie from existence, leaving an opening in the corpse-shield. He fired a second blast before the zombies could cover the gap, and the computer exploded, shooting jets of flame from various vents and shattered display-surfaces. The zombies collapsed into a heap of long-dead flesh.
Mongo and Gutboy searched through the debris, and found:
- Various coins, with a scowling priest-king's face on one side, and clenched fists on the other
- A medal for "Gallantry" of amber and platinum
- A picture of a handsome young man in a wood frame
- An ancient suit of fine mesh chainmail
- One ton of silver wire
- 50 pounds of gold wire
- 6 ruby lenses
- Gold-plated robot hand
- Human skull with glowing circuit traces etched on it
- Crude wire cage with a robot spider in it
The victorious party then spent several hours battering on the bulkhead door with a battering ram assembled from the metal bunks, and eventually the hinges gave way and it fell open.
Back at the outer deck, Mongo and Gutboy gestured for Bunny to bring the head down. She explained the flying head's power seemed to be fading away - the lights had been growing dimmer since the death of the wizard, and it was flying erratically. Unphased, Gutboy and Mongo had their henchmen and hirelings haul the loot up into the head, while Gutboy spent 8 hours in prayer, recovering his spells. While they waited for Gutboy, the rest of the crew saw a gigantic frog-like monster leave through a hole in one of the lower decks of the tank - it was the size of an elephant. It returned from its hunt an hour later, dragging the carcass of a sailgator (what the ancients called a "dimetrodon") with it.
Once his spells were recovered, they headed back into the communications bridge, and began playing with the computers once more. They were able to view a detailed map of the lands surrounding the tank, and then were shocked to see the static-filled God's Eye fill with an image of a fork and spoon - the image of Wurgol, god of cutlery. As the God's Eye displayed this, a mechanical voice intoned "Satellite uplink established. What is your query?"
Gutboy: "What is Wurgol?"
Computer/Wurgol: "Wurgol is a satellite-borne artificial intelligence, placed in orbit in the year 2123. It is one of the primary components of the Veil."
Gutboy: "What's the Veil?"
Computer/Wurgol: "The Veil is a barrier maintained by a ring of satellites to prevent the intrusion into the Earth dimension by outsiders."
Gutboy: "How does magic work?"
Computer/Wurgol: "You refer to the nanocyte fields permeating the atmosphere. The nanocytes provide localized concentrated energy to authorized personnel. Authorization is granted by the artificial intelligences in orbit around the Earth, but unauthorized access has become common."
Gutboy: "What is unauthorized..."
Computer/Wurgol: "Uplink terminated."
Trezgar the Elf then attempted to manipulate the computer as well - while he was able to get a monitor to display the following message: "MALAKAZE has attempted to penetrate the Veil. Intrusion prevented", he was unable to reestablish contact with Wurgol.
A DEATH AND AN UNFORTUNATE RESURRECTION...
After some discussion, Gutboy and Mongo decided to head belowdecks despite the risk of the frog-monster - an fateful decision. They climbed down the ladder to the crew quarters/medical bay, Mongo pulled out his flashlight, and he opened the hatch to see what lay below. As he shone the light around, he illuminated eight eyes on a giant frog-like head - the frog-beast! It sent its frog-tongue lashing out at Mongo - the bone needle at the end of the tongue pierced his plate armor and plunged into his shoulder.
Mongo rolled back and away, slamming the hatch shut, and his breathing became erratic. The frog-tongue-needle had injected him with a lethal dose of poison. Gutboy ordered the soil-bearers to strip his pack and equipment off and fit him into the dirt-sack. Sadly, even the power of fresh soil on his carrot-skin was unable to prevent the poison from taking his life, and Mongo died.
Do not be sad, readers - recall the promise etched on Mongo's Sword of Unlife - "Even Death May Die." The power of unlife flowed through Mongo's body, and as his soil bearers tried pushing his dirt-sack up the ladder, his arms tore through the burlap and his cold dead hands grabbed their throats. Un-Mongo sucked the living breath from both soil bearers and prepared to turn on Gutboy - only Gutboy's faith saved him, and Un-Mongo fled from the cleric to the upper decks.
Gutboy, Trezgar, and Bunny quickly hewed the limbs and heads from the soil-bearers to prevent them from arising as undead, and climbed the ladder to the upper decks.