Poised for their attack on Fort Pope, Lexi decides to make things interesting by inviting more runners to the assault. To throw the enemy off, she also sets up a fake attack time. Unfortunately, however, a few runners do not follow the clues and attack at the fake time. They are met with massive resistance from an army of robots and are about to be killed, when Ivan assists by making several of the outlying robots look like newly arrived runners, and in the chaos, makes the runners as well as Blue Eyes, Jaqen and Assembly look like robots.
They managed to save a few of the runners and the robots were held at bay until the full reinforcements arrived. In the mass were a couple of familiar faces, including Tad and Leona Defleur, to whom Jaqen mysteriously handed something off. However, the heroes quickly realized that many of the runners were there to get their hands on the Hand of God for themselves, so they quickly began making their own doors to bypass the robots and reach the artifact first. They also summoned the witch, Agatha Harkness.
Once they reached the Pope’s inner sanctum, they found themselves floating in nothingness and facing a columned throne room. Spreading out, the heroes attempted to talk to the pompous Pope while they could make their approach, but he was (not surprisingly) quite convinced of his own greatness. They also found that he was surrounded by a force field. Lexi managed to open a hole in the force field, but when they attacked the Pope he suddenly teleported himself into their midst.
The witch held many of his greatest powers at bay while the heroes attacked, however, ripples in reality repeatedly washed over them, changing them into alternate forms of themselves. Since Assembly had two versions of himself present, they each became different versions, one an evil version. However, the good (or at least not evil) Assembly managed to absorb him before he could get the Hand of God.
With Assembly in possession of the Hand of God, he could tell its power was depleted and could only perform one final great act. He tried to undo the Hand’s existence, but the paradox that would have resulted prevented the artifact from being able to perform the task. Therefore, Assembly decided to give himself the power of a god and left the heroes behind.
Somewhat perturbed by what had happened but pleased to have taken out the bad guy and artifact, the remaining members of the party departed the fortress back into the devastated world.