Vision from the Omnissiah

Receive thy blessing,
Banish all deceit all error
so that thou mayst be sanctified and blessed,
and obtain the virtue which we desire,
through the Most Holy Name of Omnissiah
that thou obtainest efficacy and strength,
Now given understanding and knowledge
to do only that which is agreeable unto Thee
Bona existo
Existo beatus
— Rite of Blessing of the Adeptus Mechanicus

On Hesh, one of the Forge Worlds of the Lathes, Engine-Seer Sanctus Machina has been chosen by random selection to render assistance to ones believed to be important to the Omnissiah; he is dispatched to meet a group of agents in Port Wander: a man of stained glass, a dark judge, and the Law. He must protect an artifact beloved of the Machine-God.

Meanwhile Rollando Hernandez has been having nightmares since picking up the sword on the rogue trader Righteous Fury, every night dreaming that there is a fresh cut, just about to start bleeding, somewhere on his body. Just as they are about to reach Port Wander, Seneschal Estigos informs Rollando that the Captain wishes to see him. Like Aenid before, he is blindfolded and taken through a complicated route to the bridge. Captain Laertes Geneso Olivares questions him about the sword and what he intends to do with it; Rollando indicates that he has sworn to turn it over to the Ordo Malleus. He relates the struggle he has been engaged in with the spirit of the sword.

The captain invites Rollando to step forward and remove his blindfold: he is none other than Inquisitor Vownius Kaed! He informs Rollando that he will have trouble finding anyone to take the sword in Port Wander, and will probably have to keep it until his next stop on Sephiris Secundus.

Once in Port Wander, Rollando reluctantly straps the sword to his back to keep it safe, and goes shopping in the market. Engine-Seer Sanctus Machina spots him trying to find replacements for parts of his stained-glass armour, and approaches with a terse explanation of being sent by the will of the Omnissiah. Doubtful, Rollando calls Calpurnia and tells her a priest of the Adeptus Mechanicus wants to meet with them.

They all meet back at the hostelry and Engine-Seer Sanctus Machina repeats his sketchy story. Calpurnia asks him to provide some authentication for his identity, so the three of them go the local sanctuary of the Adeptus Mechanicus while Aenid and the baronet Rieksdag stay at the hostelry.

At the Adeptus Mechanicus sanctuary, Engine-Seer Sanctus Machina explains that he requires confirmation of his identity for the agents. Unfortunately, once inside the acolytes find themselves forced to wait and unable to leave for an entire day! At the end of a frustrating and boring wait, a 20-yard parchment scroll in binary, with one small paragraph at the end certifying the Engine-Seer's identity. Since the Misericord is about to leave that very day, they hurry back to meet the shuttle and Junior Purser Darl, as Calpurnia continues to fume. Junior Purser Darl asks if Sanctus Machina is a member of the acolytes' party, and Calpurnia reluctantly says yes.

The sight of the chartist vessel in the background sends Engine-Seer into an ecstatic trance. They make their approach and dock with the ship, then receive the customary instructions given to Beyonders. After the Merciful brings Sanctus Machina back for the third time after gently preventing him from sneaking into the Enginarium, they offer to introduce him to a servant of the Adeptus Mechanicus who will be able to provide a tour after they have transited into Warp space.

They ask Purser Darl to procure safekeeping for the item Rollando carries. After consulting with the Guild of Officers, she procures a stasis tube. As soon as he sees it, Rollando knows with absolute certainty that every night while the sword is in there, he will flash back to his own nightmarish, century-long stay in such a stasis tube.

Once they ave transitioned to Warp space, Technomancer Torque comes to see Engine-Seer Sanctus Machina and offers a tour of this sacred relic of the Machine-God. The sect of the Omnissiah that cares for the Misericord is its very own order and guild on the ship. Though they are referred to as the Guild of the Omnissiah by the crew, they call themselves by a different, secret name. Sanctus Machina gets a grand, detailed, fascinating tour.

As the days pass on the way to Sephiris Secundus, not only is Rollando plagued with terrible nightmares but he is crippled with bone-shaking chills. He is even cold to the touch. At long last, Calpurnia suggests taking Rollando to the Sisters of the Void for a blessing. The sisters are overjoyed to see the acolytes again (Engine-Seer Machina declined to join them). They briefly explain the case, and Mother Superior Iphimedeia say they will offer prayers and vigils. A day of praying and fasting actually does help Rollando warm up.

While he is fasting and praying, Rollando passes the writ of authority to Aenid. In the mean time, she drafts Engine-Seer Sanctus Machina into helping with analysis of the frenzon production from ghost pollen, to see if he can help account for the small percentage that seems to systematically go missing. Granted access to the factory facilities, the Engine-Seer spends most of a week studying the manufacturing process and ends up convinced that something is seriously wrong: he detects hints of Scrap code, a language of Chaos, from the vox unit of one of the servitors.

The Engine-Seer has to struggle with the servitor to obtain a printout of the chatter – and the servitor explodes an instant later! He immediately calls Technomancer Torque and reports the incident. Technomancer Torque decides that the Scrap code must be destroyed immediately. Just reading it makes Sanctus Machina feel injured and bruised down to the mecha-dendrites. They go report to the so-called Guild of of the Omnissiah who listen gravely and say they will recommend a full examination of all mechanisms aboard in order to detect any hint of Scrap code.

While Rollando is gone and to pass the time, Calpurnia tells Aenid the truth about Baronet Riksdag/Baron Ulbrexis. Soon after, the Baronet himself approaches the two of them. He asks them, when they see his homeworld, to ask themselves whether this is the strongest the planet and the sector could be. He is still convinced that they, or the Inquisition, intend to kill him before they leave Sephiris Secundus. Calpurnia is irritated by this theoretical conversation, but continues to swear she has received orders to preserve his life.

A bit later, Engine-Seer Sanctus Machina reports what he has found. Calpurnia is about to tell him of a previous incursion of Chaos which they fought on board, when a klaxon and alarm sounds, instructing Beyonders to stay in the hostelry. Purser Darl shows up with a contingent of the Merciful, and instructs Aenid and Calpurnia – along with Sanctus Machina and Baronet Riksdag – to follow her. A heavy blast door falls behind them and she takes them to the armoury. She reports that something has gone terribly awry in the factory and part of the Enginarium, with the servitors rebelling; the Geller Field is under threat.

Deep on a much lower level, Rollando is deep in prayer with the Sisters of the Void when he feels a shudder run through him. The Sisters immediately murmur in alarm: “The Geller Field…” and start arming up for battle.

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