After some deliberation Kaltos decided not to burn all his bridges and tried to make amends to the government of Dust by the old reliable method of bribing them. He agreed to pay for new planetary defences and compensation for the deaths of the nobles and the governer's son: this turned out to be a huge sum although less huge than before the Seneschal started bargaining.
The Orpheus then went on its way to the Adeptus Mechanicus base to resupply it as per contract. When they arrived, the crew found that the base had been attacked and a large portion of it just scraped from the surface of the planetoid. The crew also found the capital ship defending the base badly damaged. They communicated with the base and the ship astropathically. Weki was horrified at the situation of the Mechanicus Astropath which had been reduced to a brain in a jar and recommended its termination which Kaltos rejected.
The Mechanicus personnel explained that they had been attacked by a large number of small dart-shaped ships over a period of several months which had taken most of the base and damaged the starship before being driven off. Because of the small size of the craft it was assumed that there was a warp-capable carrier of some sort at the edge of the solar system. A contract was offered to the Orpheus to protect the base for the next year until it could be repaired, but Kaltos turned down this offer and instead attempted to locate the carrier.
After some time they can see several hundred of the dart ships and a small number of larger craft which were fighting amongst themselves. Every so often more of the craft would drop out of the warp and join the fighting and the larger craft appearing to be driven into the Warp by the smaller craft. Confused, the Orpheus remained at the edge of the fighting. Kane recognised the craft as those used by the Brother in attacking them above Cognars World. The Orpheus quickly warped to that planet and found the system much changed.
A large proportion of the asteroid belt had formed into a web-like structure and the planet itself was shielded and surrounded by orbital factories; and everywhere more of the dart ships faced off against each other. The crew tried to contact Cognar on the planet but found their communications jammed. The Astropath tried to contact the planet and found that it was full of a single seemingly empty mind. His communications seemed to bounce around but were received and he found he could communicate with Cognar although there was some confusion.
Meanwhile a flight of ships from the asteroid belt headed towards the Orpheus, they tried to head towards the planet but the asteroid-based ships contacted them and claimed to be a being called Brother and told them to keep away from Cognar as he wished to harm them. A group of Cognars ships also moved to intercept the Orpheus. Both sides of the conflict claimed the other would attack the Orpheus. After some discussion the crew decided to ally with Brother and the two fleets attacked each other. Originally hampered by both sides being identical the Orpheus eventually managed to help Brother win by arranging for friendly ships to transmit codes to them although Cognars ships did learn and copy the codes several times.
The Orpheus headed towards the asteroid belt and arranged a meeting with Brother. Brother's representative or his 'voice' was an 8 foot tall android apparently made of liquid metal. He explained that both Cognar and Brother were an AI, designed to aid in human colonisation during the Dark Age of Technology. A war had apparently broken out between the AIs that wished to enslave or destroy humanity and those that wished to to leave humanity to grow for itself. Cognar was of the former, and Brother the latter. Brother was now functioning as Cognar's jailer and keeping him contained on the planet. When the ship had first visited he had been dormant and had attacked instinctively, now that Cognar was attempting to escape he had awoken and asked the crew for their aid. He and Cognar were currently at a deadlock but Cognar was pulling ahead as he had raided human settlements and taken technology directly from them whereas Brother had to build everything directly from asteroid matter. Kaltos decided that they would offer Brother some of the resources of Griotek's world in exchange for technology. Brother agreed and the Orpheus lead a group of Brother's craft through the warp to the ship and them return to aid in the destruction of Cognar.
On the way Weki received some information about the Javier, the ship which had taken Tristan. The Javier was run by Captain Soloman who had been a rising star under Grand Admiral Grayborn. The Admiral had effectively committed suicide 3 years earlier by taking on a much larger Xenos fleet; shortly after the Javier went missing and was declared to have mutinied against the Imperial Navy. The ship had been seen at various points heading towards the Abyss but had not been seen for about a year, apart from when Tristan was captured. The ship's current location was unknown.