Well, this wasn’t supposed to happen.
That’s the feed of a Lamy Al-Star. It’s not supposed to be out in the open–it’s normally stuck inside the grip section–but very rarely when trying to remove a nib, the whole thing comes out.
The culprit is a very, very tight 1.1mm italic nib. Normally all you need is a bit of tape to pull the nib off, but this time the feed gave up first… not a good thing with a full pen.
In hindsight the tight nib was responsible for dry writing–once I replaced it with a nib that didn’t need excessive force to swap in and out, the flow improved a lot too.
Luckily the feed slides back in with a bit of care (there are a couple of rails on the bottom of the section–misalign the feed and jam it in, and you’ll be in the market for spare parts).