The characters found themselves starting the night with members of the science teams from Los Angeles and LZ-128 Deutschland led by RADM Byrd and Werner, attending a dinner in their honor in the Great Hall of Valhalla. Their hosts were naturally curious, asking about their world, countries, customs, weapons. This led to a demonstration of the utility of Hunter’s marine saber vs. the heavy broadsword of one of the warrior vril (with Hunter dressed in woman’s armor — the only stuff small enough for him.) Hunter did the Corps proud and beat the bigger, stronger opponent, gaining the nickname “martin” (as in the small, but vicious tree weasel) from the vril.
They spent the next week exploring the place — the massive halls and streets of Valhalla, seeing the communal dining, the workers — mostly humans from the surrounding villages that come here for service (“It’s considered an honor,” one tells Hunter.) — and eventually the Mountain Hall, the depths of the place where the strange dwarves like those they encountered with Ivora the Magnificent toil building weapons, armor, and making the place run. They have technology, but the denizens of Valhalla eschew it for a simpler lifestyle.
Gus got to go on a hunt with them, impressing the Valhallans with his shooting prowess thanks to the scoped Griffin & Howe .375 magnum he uses, taking shots at a quarter mile! Gould and his brother researched the history of the Inner World (or Asgard to these people) and the Germans and Gus both copied maps of the place.
After a week, they realize the Valhallans have been pumping them for intelligence, as much as the teams have been the people that live here. Byrd an Werner have been opening dialogue and relations with the leaders, and have secured enough blau gas to fuel the airships, as well as wrangling a representative of Valhalla to join them on their mission to make contact with other people. They re also in search of irrefutable proof of their trip to the Hollow Earth. Pictures won’t be enough — they need live specimens to bring back. The team convince Byrd that a trip to Sanctuary is a good idea. They can hunt small dinosaurs, maybe convince one of the half-man racs to join them on the trip back to the surface world.
The representative chosen is Lady Sigrun, one of the Valkyrie, who joins them on Los Angeles, to the chagrin of Werner and the Germans. She is disappointed to find out the ships are essentially big balloons…these are not real warships!
Their course will take them 2500 miles, over dangerous mountains and around treacherous weather, but they finally reached the Aerie — home of the hawkmen — near the Sanctuary. They were met with formations of the hawkmen, closing in on their ships. Byrd and the party climbed to the top of the hull, where the marines were preparing the .50 machineguns. Using the white flag and attempting to contact the swarms of hawkmen warriors, Amon called out to them, identifying themselves.
Without warning, a small group broke away and looked like they were going to land. Instead, they grabbed Amon and Gould and flew over the side of Los Angeles. Gus Hassenfeldt attempted to grab one of the warriors, hampering his one wing, and sending Gus and the warrior tumbling in a deathly embrace over the side of the airship toward the ocean below! Hunter and Byrd had the marines fire warning bursts to try and clear the hawkpeople off, but Deutschland — seeing the attack and hearing the machineguns — opened up with their strange “gauss guns”, hosing the area with magnetically-accelerated ball bearings.
Their peaceful first contact a shambles, Gould and Amon captives of the hawks, and Gus on his way to a crushing impact on the surface of the ocean below, we broke for the evening…