A underground city is discovered, excavators unearth various tablets and ancient artifacts. A facility is built over the site and soon a gate sealed with molten rock is discovered, writings speak of extreme danger and ultimate power beyond, apparently it is some kind of prison and a uncanny glyph of a skull with horns makes everyone weary. Mining equipment is brought and a spiral staircase downward slowly reveals itself. When they finally break through it is into a tunnel going the opposite way, as if someone had been trying to dig their way out… A broken horn is found on the ground. While exploring the new cave people go missing and the military is called in but the first incursion ends in screams, then the unit defending the gate hear footsteps in the spiral staircase. Suddenly a skeletal beast with large horns emerges, bullets don’t hurt it and those who can still walk are driven out of the city. The skeletal beast follows them into the facility but after much mayhem it is destroyed. Standing over the broken bones someone remarks that this thing has both its horns intact… A decision is made to reseal the gate but as the city is reentered they find that more monsters have emerged, ground level entrances are closed off but there are too many so as the facility is abandoned the things start pouring out into the world.
Commanders are reluctant to nuke the site due to the allure of ultimate power and also further texts speak of innocents locked up in the caverns and the moral obligation to release them. A long running war against the monsters of the depths ensues and eventually a chained bone dragon is found, the skeletal beasts have been gnawing on its body for eons. After the dragon is released it proves a powerful ally and guides rescue missions deeper to sealed caverns guarded by skeletal spiders, the caverns contain hives of zombie ants who devour everything in sight, including themselves. The ants are innocents who have been programmed to torture and have to be saved. Helping these tortured souls is the path to power since those who have suffered most will wield most power in eternity.
Two other stories deal with angels blindly following archaic rules. A god creates a vast realm and the angels within, writes down directions for them, then falls into a coma. After a long time hell starts invading, this lacks precedent and absurd situations arise from the angels obeying ancient orders. A heaven in the fray becomes unable to pay the rent and its residents are instructed to leave their fortress. Since no one wants to travel to this dangerous region the defensive position will simply be left empty. The angels agree that this is not strategically smart but anyone who doesn’t follow the old orders, that contain no considerations for the state of war, gets deleted. The second, related, story follows a civilization that is unable to pay the electricity bill for its star and is forced to leave the solar system.