Realising his need to replenish his lost crew, and need for a second Navigator to help pilot one of the ships (since he plans on claiming the Venerus for his own), Lord Captain Black orders Navigator Benetec to take his ship back to the Imperial Station of Port Wander. As they travel through the warp strange incidents begin to occur throughout the ship, one of these being Maron, a low ranking crew member whose principal job is to clean out the murder servitor pens. Despite his low birth on hiveworld Fenk, Maron is a loyal follower of the Imperial credo and attends confession regularly; Cornelius listens to the mans tale of a dream in which he relives being sold, as a child to pay off debts, and his mother crying as he is lead away into a life of service aboard one void ship and another. Cornelius calms the man by relating to him that his mother’s tears are surely those of pride, that her son has grown to serve the Emperor beyond the stars, secretly however the Confessor wonders about the strange hush that has settled over the crew.
Meanwhile Lord Captain Black sleeps uneasy in his quarters, his rest troubled by strange visions of a metal skulled creature clad in the robes of an Adeptus Mechanicus techpriest. He awakes to find himself standing in the corridor outside his quarters. His senses returning, Captain Black is summoned (along with Confessor Cornelius) to the bridge, where they find the 1st Officer Commander Polaris standing over the charned body of one of the bridge technicians. Polaris relates how the man went berserk and began attacking the other crew which such ferocity that he was obliged to use his laspistol to put the rabid man down. Cornelius says a prayer to the Emperor for the man’s soul, during one of his later sermon the Chief Confessor feels as unseen and unclean presence circling his congregation although it cannot penetrate the aura of faith surrounding the chapel.
Meditating in his quarters, Navigator Benetec feels a strange presence attempting to possess his body; sensitive to the presence of the warp and its entities he opens his third eye and beholdsa fiery, emaciated figure, a demon of the warp – holding it steady within his formidable gaze, Benetec punches the vox transmittor and summons Chief Confessor Cornelius to his chamber. The faith of these two men drives the demonic entity from the ship, finally freeing the vessel of the strange influence that has plagued it.
Arriving at Port Wander the crew of the Lunatic Pandora find that the Feast of the Alignment is being celebrated and that the space station is full of navy personnel on shore-leave all keen to enjoy a much needed respite in the many tavernas on the port. Using his knowledge of Navigator Houses in the Expanse, Yorc Benetec is able to track down a navigator called Passacaglia Belisarius, a particularly humourless man whose pale skin shows a network of blue veins crossing his hairless head, providing a stark contrast against his deep azure robes. Meeting at the Blinking Eye tavern Captain Black employs Passacaglia to be the new Navigator on the Lunatic Pandora (sailing under Commander (now Captain) Polarius), since he plans to move his own command staff to the Venerus once it has been repaired and refitted.
Far across the sector on the Venerus, Enginseer Prime Pak is supervising the repairs to the Venerus when sensors detect a huge object leaving the surface of Caliban II – the large object resembles nothing so much as a gigantic pyramid and leaves the system rapidly; the Venerus still has most of its non-essential systems offline and the giant xenos vessel moves past seemingly without noticing it.