So, um. This seems to be taking longer and longer. Do not despair - I'm experimenting with new methods to keep the pressure up. (So, allow me to repeat an earlier claim: Nagging me about when the next chapter gets written is perfectly acceptable.)
Thanks to IsaLumitus for proofreading this chapter. As you may have noticed, I've encountered some...problems with the HTML. I write everything in Google Docs, then use the "Download as HTML" option to get the code, which I insert in the template I use for every chapter. Unfortunately, there seem to have been some modifications to Google Docs lately, so the resulting code is different in ways I'm not really groking yet. Still, it's legible, so I figured a chapter with weird HTML was better than no chapter at all.
For all my apologies and grumbling, I'm still pretty happy to have this online at last. Especially given the pivotal importance of chapter 17.
Comments and questions, as always, are very welcome.