Xanatov comes around in the medical bay deep in the heart of the planet to find the Bishop Of Xothos sitting by his side caressing his injured form. The bishop explains that the war against the released schematek continues, but the most important act now is to get the wounded Rogue Trader to his craft – “The Bismark”. Aviner answers a summons to join them, but insists upon completing his duties first, a fact that drivers the Bishop to threaten the Tech Priest with all manner of ill fates.
Once together Xanatov and Aviner collaborate to find the safest route through the web of broken corridor below the planet, hopefully avoiding ambushes and atmospheric breaches. With this decided they progress with the injured Rogue Trade through the dark lit under land, accompanied by Sente as well as a Power Armoured Bishop of Xothos, and a roving group of auto flagellants. Despite expecting ambush at every step in the darkness they finally step, unharmed into the cargo bay where their guncutter craft awaits.
As they prepare to board, red flickering lights shine from humanoid figures that shuffle in through the darkness, Xanatov quickly puts a burst of fire into the nearest batch dropping several instantly. Aviner holds watching until the figures are identifiable. As they come into the light it is obvious that they are just normal worker servitors, uninfected by the heretical virus. Thus Aviner is less than happy with Xanatovs over hasty marksmanship.
Finally the craft rises from the planet, away from the impromptu violence below, only to be brought into a new maelstrom of confusion as the craft is rocked by explosions from a surface to air missile, driving it into the ground and sending debris (and the hulking form of Aviner) flying.
Xanatov wakes in the wreckage next to the badly wounded form of the Bishop who is muttering nigh incoherently. As Xanatov tries to bring himself up he realised that Aviner has been thrown through the window of the craft and left a huge gouge in the ground outside.
Barely injured despite the collision, Aviner makes short work of the broken doors on the craft and quickly moves the injured crew to a nearby cave. Meanwhile Xanatov crawls to the top of the craft to spy who attacked them and spots a group of what appear to be Attack Servitors and tech priests approaching.
Sighting through his Long Las Scope Xanatov requests permission to open fire, but Aviner requests he holds fire, trying to establish if this is a miscommunication. Just as the Servitor is about to open fire, Xanatov pierces its reactor with a shot detonating it instantly. In the stand off that follows Aviner manages to talk down his attacker, realising that they seem to believe that the craft had been Heratek infected.
With the danger averted, and the two sides talking Aviner explains how he managed to cleanse his system with the power burst beneath the planet, an idea the female tech priest – Arch Magus Vincatrix – quickly realises could be weaponised to defeat the schematek infection.
Suddenly a roar of chain blades comes from the broken craft where Xanatov was attending to the injured Bishop. Rushing over Aviner is greeted by the sight of Xanatov, his weapons jammed, being torn into by a frenzied auto flagellant whose pacification collar had broken. Shoving the injured Seneschal out of the craft, Aviner manages to tear a spare sedation device out and implant it into the creature, pacifying it.
In the days that follows the weaponisation of the discovery turns the tide of the battle, leading to the crewmembers being viewed as heroes, and a parade is held in their honour. Unwilling to be identified Xanatov sends a dupe in his place, and watches “himself” from the role of a common servant. The parade is a massive offering to the glory of the Adeptus Mechanicus, with even the god weapons – the war Titans – striding alongside the group, including the massive holy embodiment of war the is the Imperator Titan.
As the crew prepare to join the procession time slows, and a blinding light covers the group. From the centre of the light an unholy figure unravels from the warp, speaking blasphemies, and yet seeming to protect the crew from a danger as yet unknown. Faced with the horrors of the warp that the shifting daemon embodies Aviner, Xanatov and Seigmund collapse, the terrors breaking their fragile minds. As they recover, they find themselves back in the warehouse they last were in, surrounded by a protective dome over the ruined landscape.
Investigating the radio and pict bursts around them, Aviner is confronted by the awful realisation – the explosion was the destruction of the God Weapon, the Imperator Titan, which took the best part of the city with it. More dangerous still than this irreplaceable loss, the three figures see pict broadcasts of themselves attempting to assassinate a high ranking member of the Adeptus Mechanicus. Realising they are being framed, and that a large retaliatory force is coming they know they must get to the Rogue Trader craft or be overrun.
As the Bismark attempt to isolate them for teleporting to the ship, something burns down from above, almost caving the ceiling in upon them. Xanatov orders the guardsmen with them to open fire on the civilians so they do not get in the way in the coming combat. Initially the commander refuses, but his subordinate is more than happy to do so, and thus is the mighty Gabrial is promoted by a pleased Xanatov. However once the killing start, and its true horror is apparent, Xanatov, relents – ordering immediate cessation of the executions.
As the guards ready themselves the ceiling collapses in, and the Arch Heretic Paracelsus bursts in upon mechanical spider legs and tentacles and advances upon Aviner. Some guards open fire but are quickly despatched leading to a cease fire order as the two tech priests stand facing one another.
To his great surprise Aviner finds that the arch heretic wishes not to kill him, but to recruit him. Aviner replies angrily to such offers from the heretic shouting that he heard enough from the heretic who died in the stasis field. Paracelsus obvious pain at this revelation leads him to reveals that the fallen female tech priest was as close to him as Sente is to Aviner, but despite how easy it would be, he will not take out his vengeance on the wounded Sente. Confused and dumbstruck by the realisation of his part in the death of one held so close, Aviner is unable to answer. The traitor continues revealing convincing evidence that their ally, Arch Magus Vincatrix was responsible for framing them as she feared their rise to power – the demonstration continues until finally the blocking shield falls and the Bismark teleports them to it embrace in the heavens
The danger has yet to end as the vengeful craft of the angered Adeptus Mechanicus close upon them. Siegmund, swigging amsec fluid as he goes, declares that they should warp jump to safety. The heavily intoxicated navigator agrees wholeheartedly with the plan to leap blind, without coordinates, to one of the more dangerous areas of the warp. Having found true sole mate in irresponsibility, Sigmund shares his amsec to celebrate as the craft prepares to depart.
An unexpected broadcast from Paracelsus offer Sigmund a safe escort to the safe distance to jump, and more than that, a possible trade of forbidden heretical tech in the far reaches. Despite Aviners loud protests Sigmund agrees.
As the ship prepares for its dangerous voyage to the warp, accompanied by the heretics ship, Aviner desperately activates hidden rituals within some of the Servitors on the planet, intending to record and encrypt conversation by Vincatrix – to find out if any of the arch heretics claims were true. Barely has he finished when the ship disappears into the warp.
Immediately it is obvious that the foolhardy manoeuvre has gone badly wrong as the gellar field barely holds against the warp. The days in the warp turn to weeks, then months as blasphemous whispers and visions run rife across the ship. Morale is at breaking point when the ship finally burst back into realspace at a point far from its intended destination
And then the crew rumours come back with news even worse than any before, the blind leap into the warp has brought back with it a visitor.
A deamon is upon the ship.