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Descent

On the journey to Mars, Tom dreams. Loki appears to him and tells him of the pivotal role he will play in the next few days, and how his actions will influence the fate of the universe. There are mentions of one referred to as the 'Other' who he will work closely with in this time, as well as mentions of the Child of Moloch, and the child's Guardian. Upon waking he tells the others, and they manage to have a short discussion about it before the pod starts hurtling through Mars' atmosphere.

Gunfire explodes around them as the pod comes in for a relatively gentle crash landing. The team climb out, finding themselves in a ravine, and start gathering their supplies together. Theo climbs the ravine side to try and get some sort of bearings, and finds himself face to face with a Technocrat tank which tries to pepper him with bullets. In an effort to dodge, he falls down the cliff, landing unconscious at the bottom, in Naomi's arms.

The team decide to head in the opposite direction from the tank, and soon spot a Son of Ether blimp above them. They signal it for help, and a man in a mechanised suit comes down to meet them, breaking Tom's wheelchair as he impacts with the ground. He takes them to a nearby Tradition base.

They are asked to meet up the next morning, then most of them are taken to the medical bay to have their injuries tended to. As Naomi is uninjured, she goes to find the Akashic faction in the base and is invited to a training session. Unfortunately she makes a horrible social faux pas, and has to leave in embarassment.

The next morning they meet with the base commander, who tells them of a device referred to as the 'Armageddon Machine' which is in a facility that has been recently taken by the Technocrats. The commander wants the team to destroy 'this' weapon, so that the Technocrats can't use it, and in return he will organise passage back to Earth for them. After a short discussion the team decide to accept the mission, despite the fact that they are sceptical about whether the machine is actually a 'weapon' or not, and will make a decision about what to actually do with it when they reach it.

They are given supplies, armour, weapons, an underground transport vehicle called the 'termite', and Theo is leant a mech suit which he takes gleefully, despite having to be bent double in order to travel in the termite. They set off on their subterranean route, and soon breach the walls of the facility. Theo steps out and proceeds to take out a string of Hit Marks and MiB, whilst the others make their way to the power core. In between fights, Theo taps into the mainframe and disables security, and opens doors for the rest of the team. Through the internal cameras he sees the machine they're looking for, and notices patterns in the heiroglyphs upon it, but needs to get closer to translate them.

The others reach the core, only to have their way blocked by a man who momentarily looks like Thor. They reach an impass, even when Theo turns up in the mech suit, as it is clear to Thor that the team do not want to hurt him or his people, so he blocks the corridor and prevents them getting to the machine. Naomi realises they're in a stalemate, and so puts Thor in an armlock, forcing him to the floor, and allowing Theo and the others to pass, but then has to let him go as he threatens to electrocute her.

Tom sets himself up at the controls of the machine, and Theo goes to a side room to translate the heiroglyphs and give Tom instructions. Thor points his electro-shock device at Tom, threatening to kill him, and Theo and Naomi are quick to act. Naomi grabs his wrist in an attemt to disarm him, and Theo shoots him with the mech's gauss gun, which rips through the mans torso, leaving Naomi holding a dismembered arm.

Theo finishes reading out instructions to Tom, and finally they are left with one slide switch to throw. They all put their hands on it, and do it together. There is a brilliant white flash from the machine, then it goes dead. Jake activates his magical senses to try and figure out what has happened, and finds that all the magical energies of the Solar System are being drawn out and directed at the Earth. Blowing the machine up now would probably destroy the universe, so Naomi leaves a post-it note on the machine to warn people, and then the team leave.

Back at the termite they set a course for the Tradition base, using the explosive device they had been given to destroy the machine to bring the tunnel down behind them. When they get back they tell the commander that the Technocrats were activating the device just as they got there, and they were unable to stop it. He thanks them for trying, and finds them a fighter jet, barely big enough for the five of them, to take them back to Earth.

With Theo at the controls they set off, only to find the Earth surrounded by a swirling pink cloud. They decide to hit it at maximum speed, and hope they will therefore get out of it as quickly as possible. They speed up and hit the cloud and are immediately wracked by immense pain as a wave hits them and almost rips their souls out. With the others throwing up and almost disabled behind him, Theo grits his teeth, wipes the blood from his nose, and attempts to regain control so that they don't crash now that they're through.

Once he has it cruising safely over the wavetops of the Atlantic Ocean, Naomi phones the chantry to try and organise a safe place for them to land. Marcus gives her a course and coordinates of a airbase in Wales, and when they land they are immediately packed on to a coach and sent back to the chantry.

 
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