Subsubsection: 30 April 2014 (sneaking round the dig site, stealing the tiles) Up Subsection: The Destiny Map Subsubsection: 4 June 2014 (to Tezpur, the Temple of the Map, and another cyberknight) 

14 May 2014 (a running fight against shocktroopers and samurai)

Diamond glances in the mirror, and sees two vehicles just cresting the slope: another Nile Empire truck, and a small open hovercraft with two figures visible inside. Stephen searches the dead shocktroopers for grenades; one of them has what seem like the right sort of thing. David finds a high-tech carpet blade in his pocket, and starts cutting through the canvas on the side of the truck. Wu Han calls out “you shoot, I’ll drive”, and grabs the wheel; Diamond goes along with it for the moment. He then moves to pat her on the shoulder, which she evades; there’s a shining pin between his fingers which suggests he didn’t have positive intentions. She draws her pistols and fires at point-blank range, with no obvious effect.
Stephen pulls the pin and drops the grenade out of the truck, and Wu Han hauls hard on the wheel, causing the truck to swerve; Diamond lets it go, concentrating on him.
There’s some flechette rifle fire from behind, and the truck starts to fall over. As it lands on its left side, Thorfin and David are pushed through the canvas, and land under a pile of dead shocktroopers. Diamond flies upwards through the cab, slamming Wu Han against what was the right-side door and pushing it open. Stephen grabs one of the tiles that’s been thrown loose in the crash, then throws out a shocktrooper body, using it as cover for his own exit through the rear of the truck. Diamond keeps on flying, throwing Wu Han aside; he moves off into the undergrowth and the side of the road.
Stephen fires on the two samurai-armoured figures who’ve jumped out of the hover jeep; they draw swords and close with him. David retrieves the other tile. At this point the truck, being from the Nile Empire and enhanced with weird-science devices, explodes. David catches the brunt of it; Thorfin’s armoured, and Diamond and Stephen are too far away.
Stephen and the two samurai go back and forth; they strike at him with what seem to be electrified katana while he shoots bursts with his captured submachinegun. It rapidly becomes apparent that their armour is easily good enough to stop these bullets, so he takes time to aim up on what seem likely to be the weak spots.
The second Nile Empire truck arrives, the driver ramming it into the back of the hover jeep. Shocktroopers boil out of the back; they trade fire with Diamond, who’s now in mid air. Thorfin locks eyes with one of the samurai and growls, and he turns and runs, shouting for okāsama. Stephen takes down the other with a carefully-placed shot to the groin.
David spots someone sneaking through the bushes on the left of the road; he calls a warning to Thorfin, but the latter can’t see the attacker. David shoots him, and he goes down. (It later turns out that this was Captain Achmedi.) Stephen tosses his second grenade (it’s not clear what happened to the first one) to finish off the wounded samurai, and it explodes in a cloud of pink smoke, which rapidly blurs into the mist.
With one samurai fled and the other not making much complaint, things settle down a bit. The team picks up an electro-sword and various submachineguns, then Stephen and Thorfin set off to recover the other three tiles (and free their prisoner) while Diamond gets the hover jeep disentangled from the wreckage. The damage is cosmetic, and she soon has it running.
The team heads back to Atlanta with all five tiles; they assemble them and contemplate the resulting map. “Where the humans join hands” seems to be somewhere near the town of Tezpur, in north-eastern India. The team flies to Bombay, which these days means crossing the North Pole and refuelling at Novy Urengoy, a remote Russian city that’s getting rather more traffic now that flight corridors across Scandinavia aren’t available.
 Subsubsection: 30 April 2014 (sneaking round the dig site, stealing the tiles) Up Subsection: The Destiny Map Subsubsection: 4 June 2014 (to Tezpur, the Temple of the Map, and another cyberknight)