“It’se smell…s’like shit ‘n ’methium. S’like home.” Private Plank, 1st squad
Negotiations begin with Chief Klarion. The squad learn more about the depth of the hostility between the Virband and the Kalanaris.
Klarion offers to cease hostilities immediately if the envoys prove themselves in the eyes of the Stormlord. Sly suggests confronting the Dark Ones within their stronghold. Klarion accepts this proposal.
The squad sets out with the Chief’s son Jurgis as a guide, travelling deep into the mountains. They soon pick up vehicle tracks and encounter a group of Severan soldiers stationed at the mouth of a man-made crevasse. Fausta uses a krak grenade to dislodge an overhang and eliminate the unsuspecting crew of a Severan Chimera, while Sly and Mordecai eliminate the sentries.
After capturing two more sentries and stripping them of their gear, the squad moves deeper into the mountain, following a highway until they encounter the remains of a small hive city. All around are abandoned vehicles and signs of conflict, but no bodies remain. The path becomes too clogged and the squad continue on foot, traversing an abandoned arcade. They follow the tracks left by the Severan expedition and the sounds of gunfire.
Sly begins hearing cries in his microbead, believing it to be the Severan squad, but as the voice repeats he realises it is the voice of a child.
The source of the gunfire is a Machine Temple located in the centre of a wide plaza. Bodies litter the entranceway, stormtroopers seemingly cut down in a frenzy of vicious blades.
Entering the inner sanctum Fausta reads three signatures. Soon the plaza is alight with signatures. She accesses the nearest cogitator in the hopes of gaining some control over the temple’s systems but finds herself thwarted by a malevolent intelligence.
Outside in the plaza, dozens of servitors converge, their numbers growing in a steady drip.
Mordecai confronts the remaining Severans, a stormtrooper, General Scarus and one of the missing Tech-Priests. All pretence is thrown away with Mordecai’s declaration of their true identity. Scarus is unwilling to yield, but buckles in the face of an unwinnable battle.
Sly rigs the door with a live cable, creating a makeshift electrical trap to delay the servitor tide.
The squad climbs to the roof of the temple using the communications spine. While Mordecai and Cassmire haul the supine Tech-Priest along, Sly and Fausta dispatch the stormtrooper and General Scarus in short order.
A roar of engines signals rescue, with the Severan Chimera careening into the plaza, mowing down servitors. It roars to a halt 40 metres out and Hobb opens up with his heavy stubber from the rearward hatch.
Using another live cable and blind grenades the squad clears a path to the Chimera and makes a desperate dash, dragging the tech-priest in their wake.
A servitor seizes Mordecai just metres from safety and he feels himself being pulled away. A timely shot from Sly releases the servitor’s grip and Fausta pulls him to safety. Before the hatch is fully shut the Chimera roars away, continuing to blaze fire from every available weapon.
The Tech-priest emerges from his fugue and informs the squad of Scarus’ intention. He was looking for a meteorological research facility, located far into the Storm Barrens. When quizzed about the nature of the facility, the priest replies that it in the wrong hands it could be harnessed into a super-weapon, urging the squad to secure it before anyone else.