SemPar joins the team in Lagos, where they are laying low after the debacle in Asamando. They help the secure the UN team’s safehouse while the team attempts to make secure contact with their superiors and file their report/arrange an extraction. They pay off the local area boys to act as additional security, and heal up. Needing both a ride for themselves, and some funds to complete their own safehouse in the Klabauterbund compound in Die Sickergrube, outside Hamburg, the team calls up Ehran the Scribe and agrees to take on the mission to close the astral rift to the Dark Realm, at the site of Zuberi’s former village, north of the Azanian border.
They load up on exlposives at one of Lagos’ open air arms bazaars and get flown to the site. On the way, they are briefed on the job: they are to protect the 3-elf former Tir Paladin team that Ehran has sent, while they perform the ritual to sever the ties that Qliphoth, the Dark Realm slaughter spirit, has made to this world. This should make it weak enough to “kill”, at which time the Realm should close, ending the blight it has brought on that region, and the longterm threat it poses. Also, Zuberi’s braindead body has apparently reawoken, perhaps possessed by his former master, and rampaged out of the facility, so he may be present as well. SemPar sets up a sprite-based ARO overlay to make it look like he is participating in a videogame to deal with their discomfort with the whole thing, as Castiron guilted them into coming.
They arrive, and the Paladins set up a ritual circle and begin. The team fights off waves of seemingly reanimated corpses (apparently Zuberi’s former village, oddly well-preserved), who seemingly kill Castiron and begin feasting on his entrails. The rest of the team enters the rift after the ritual is complete, and manage to kill the spirit using a massive shaped charge studded with grenades, which SP sneaks into position and TY sets off with a HEAP missile. Ortega, meanwhile, is cowering in fear while being crushed to death in a spirit tentacle and melted by acidic excretions. As the explosive dissolves the horrifiying visages of Qliphoth (which looks like each individual’s runners darkest fear as it turns its gaze upon them), they are all shunted out of the Realm, sustaining major damage. Ortega and SemPar both flatline, and TY is bleeding out.
Ortega, SemPar, and Castiron all have similar dreams in which they are approached by a trusted (and deceased) figure from their past, who tells them that they are now in its debt, for preserving their lives, and will be called upon when the time is right. They, and TY, awaken aboard a military transport, being tended by medical support with magical assistance from the exhausted and drained-looking Paladin team. Somehow, they all survived, although they are disturbed to think of how when they compare dreams.
They heal up and set up in Hamburg for a while, and accept a job from Atlas Park, which will take them to Evo’s hometown, Vladivostok, to continue the invesitgation into the death and digital replacement of Corporate Court Justice Hino.