After using Vincent’s device to burrow through the stone blocking their path, the party tumbles out into the deeper section of the mine. The passages here are faintly illuminated by the silver-green glow of veins of aetherstone. Although they can hear voices in the distance, the party first investigates a tapping sound coming from a side passage. They come upon a pair of Tommyknockers sabotaging the supports near a latrine area in the tunnels. The creatures let out a piercing shriek and then meld into the stone. The noise draws the attention of several Devoured Ones and the Tommyknockers use this opportunity to bring down part of the tunnel in an attempt to bury Jack and Vincent.
By this point, everyone is alerted to the heroes’ presence and several cultists rush out to attack Argent. Unfortunately, their ceremonial daggers get tangled in each other’s voluminous robes and they accomplish little before they are dispatched. Argent, Hightower, and Jack are caught up in a running melee and gunfight with the cultists and their remaining Devoured Ones. Vincent, meanwhile, was separated from the group during the cave in and is attacked from three sides by the Devoured Ones and the Tommyknockers. In such close quarters, he is unable to use his Burninator as the creatures wear down his defenses. He gets a brief reprieve when the Devoured Ones and the Tommyknockers start fighting each other, but this only allows a Devoured One to move in for a devastating blow that leaves him incapacitated and bleeding on the floor.
The rest of the party having eliminated most of the cultists, Argent and Hightower rush to Vincent’s aid while Jack keeps watch for the cult’s leader, a woman in a crude suit of armor with a robotic arm who had vanished into the cult’s lair. Argent and Hightower bring down the Devoured Ones while Vincent stabilizes and regains consciousness.
The cult leader reappears, trying to escape with a bound and struggling hostage—it’s Maria. Hightower gets the woman with the robotic arm to release Maria and then allows her to leave. As she vanishes, the cult leader warns them that Nycho-Teuthis, many-handed as the cuttlefish, will destroy them. The party manages not to laugh.
Both the Heal-o-tron 9000 and the power of the Omnimessiah are unable to overcome Vincent’s terrible wounds. However, Argent’s skills with natural healing are, over the course of an hour, able to revive the inventor.
Hightower, meanwhile, frees Maria, who explains that she decided to check out the mine where the device was stashed on her own. She got cornered by some Devoured Ones but claims the entire situation was under control until someone reached through the wall and grabbed her. Maria says that she was held prisoner a little further into the cavern along with another man.
Something about the lanky, long-faced man hanging from shackles rubs both Hightower and Maria the wrong way. The man claims to be State Mine Inspector Don Blankenship and demands to be let down. Jack quickly determines that he is under the effects of a glamour to hide his appearance. Questioned by Hightower, the man reveals his connection to the cult: he is Noah Whateley, the town founder believed to have perished in a mine disaster 12 years ago.
Noah Whateley was the cult leader until a few weeks ago, when Nycho-Teuthis came into contact with the device Maria stole. The thing, which Noah describes as box of gears whose very presence presses in on one’s mind, fused with the creature. Instead of dreaming of wiping out the human race, Nycho-Teuthis’ visions now include bands of metal encircling the Earth in an iron cage beneath a smoke-stained sky. Whateley resisted this perversion of his master’s apocalyptic vision and as a result he deposed as cult leader by his granddaughter Rebecca Whateley, the woman with the mechanical arm.
Whateley offers to help the heroes defeat his god if they promise to destroy the device and leave Nycho-Teuthis buried in the earth. Jack refuses to let Whateley down until he provides them with information, so he grudgingly tells them that igniting the veins of aetherstone that run through the creature’s chamber will temporarily disorient it. At this point, Jack executes Whateley. In death, the glamour fades away, revealing a hideous creature with mottled grey skin, mandibles, and two clumps of tentacles instead of legs. Hightower isn’t pleased that Jack just killed a captive, but Jack insists the action was justified.
Searching the cavern, the heroes find some old mining supplies—including a case of dynamite—as well as the cult’s stockpile of older guns and crude bladed weapons. They discover Rebecca’s lab, which includes some interesting designs for her mechanical arm as well as her journal.
Rebecca Whateley was a student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology until strange visions drove her west, where she encountered the thing that had been her grandfather and was inculcated into the cult of Nycho-Teuthis. She sold her family’s claim to the mine to Mr. Mechum, so that he would clear a path down to the buried god. She also bought fully into the creature new, mechanized vision of the apocalypse and came to view her grandfather as too weak to lead. The last scribbled notes hint at a final ritual to free the creature. It is clear that the metal plates being built by the Devoured Ones are intended as armor for Nycho-Teuthis.
Armed with this new knowledge and the dynamite, the party prepares to venture deeper into the mine and kill monster below.