This is a callback in more ways than one. Not only did the first big Guilded Age story arc end on an airship, it also ended on an airship where things went comically, almost stupidly wrong, resulting in a barely averted crash. But I’m pretty sure we only came up with this wrinkle in the plot at the last minute. (Whether it was me, Flo, or both of us is a bit murky in my memory here, but I know “Big Hoss Barky” is my line.)

Even if you insist that our heroes aren’t as clumsy as they were in those early days, this twist makes some sense. Syr’Nj and company are more familiar with Arkerran airships and Von Carnaj’s vessel, neither of which were nearly so restricted in terms of the number of passengers they could carry. Too bad Goblaurence didn’t design this vessel to carry six, because if the sixth one had been Hammerhead, he might’ve weighed about as much as four ex-Peacemakers, and Rana’s absence could’ve covered the rest. (As for why the ex-Peacemakers didn’t start retreating after Goblaurence started shouting, or why the sky elves didn’t try a fresh portal once they realized the ship was in danger of crashing, well…the heroes were a little distracted by their new surroundings and you can’t open portals to the same place two times in a row too quickly and look over there, is that a bird….?)

Penk’s nervous rehearsals are a nice window into his state of mind. And of course, “This has to go perfectly” is a karmic invitation to hijinks.