I'm super curious and I'm sure everyone else is as what happens next. There's just so many questions and I don't even know if this second act is even going to answer them. What's the deal with Shay? Why is he aboard this ship that captures these girls and has been doing so for many years now? If Merrick is in control, why invite Shay to his "lair" and trick him into "rescuing" these adorable looking creatures? Are they even in space at all considering the mog is clearly staying on the same planet? Maybe I missed something.
It just hit me that (possibly) Shay had unknowingly been capturing the maidens. If memory serves, each time he "rescued" those creatures lined up with an instance of the maidens getting sacrificed. And the times when there was one last creature that Merrick said to abandon, those (maybe) lined up with the times that Vella was almost eaten. Vella escaped by attacking Mog Chothra each time it tried to eat her, and Shay's ship was mysteriously attacked by something each time Shay insisted on rescuing that last creature.
There are some potential holes in that theory, and I don't know what implications it would have on the plot of part 2, but I think it could be a cool place to take the story.