Subsubsection: 14 May 2014 (a running fight against shocktroopers and samurai) Up Subsection: The Destiny Map Subsubsection: 11 June 2014 (getting out past the shocktroopers, and the death of Wu Han) 

4 June 2014 (to Tezpur, the Temple of the Map, and another cyberknight)

After a floatplane flight to Tezpur on the river Brahmaputra, the group considers how to get a better idea of the temple’s location. Asking the pilot gets them a list of local tourist sites, largely shrines and temples to Shiva, and the Garh Doul excavation. As they’re considering this, a small boy tugs at Stephen’s jacket (he quickly checks his pockets) and hands him a piece of parchment, on which is written: “The time of Possibilities has begun. Follow this child, and begin your journey.”
Cautiously, they do. He leads them across a crowded market to a bustling café, and to a very old man sitting in the corner. He’s barely able to stand and bow to them, but has a pleasant smile, and introduces himself as Anjura. It seems that he has had dreams of the group for the last month or so, and is glad to see their faces at last.
In his youth, he travelled to many holy places (he names a few, across India and China), and among them found the Temple of the Map, but he never went inside; even then, he knew it was an important place. He starts to describe the route to the temple, through the Indian jungles.
He warns that his dreams have shown him others who are looking for the temple, cruel men in head-dresses; they’re close behind, he thinks.
As he’s been talking, David and Thorfin have spotted a gnarled fellow sitting by himself who seems to be paying a bit too much attention to Anjura and the group. There’s too much chatter in the café for him to be eavesdropping, but there are other ways. Thorfin walks over, deliberately blocking his line of sight, and asks where there’s a problem; the fellow replies in some language Thorfin doesn’t speak, but is not confrontational. Thorfin spots that he’s keeping his hands out of sight under his robes, but doesn’t start anything, and heads back to the table.
Stephen orders food for the group, making sure he pays for Anjura’s lunch as well, and asks him whether he has enemies; he doesn’t know of any. In case the watcher is reading minds, Stephen catches his eye, then thinks of a situation in which he almost drowned; the fellow doesn’t flinch. When asked, Anjura recommends a place to stay (run by a nephew of his, a mere stripling in his eighties) and a location for the team to stock up on food and some basic supplies.
They get an early start the next day, and head into the jungle. They see nobody during the day, though there are plenty of unfamiliar noises. Late in the afternoon, they come upon a wide chasm, bridged by three long ropes; it looks a bit shaky, but it’s lasted this long.
Stephen goes across first, and apart from a bad moment when his compass comes loose and falls twinkling to the river below, makes it across with no problems. David has a tougher time, losing his footing and dangling by his hands from the bottom rope. Which of course is the moment when the aircraft appears, a Nile Empire Paket fighter; it comes in for a strafing run along the canyon, its wing-mounted machine guns twinkling as its pilot tries to shoot David. Stephen, lurking on the far side, takes careful aim with his rifle, lining up on the engine casing, and manages to hit something important; the engine stops, leaving a trail of black smoke behind the plane, and the pilot pulls up and turns south, getting as much distance as he can before the inevitable crash in the jungle.
Diamond flies to collect David, and carries Thorfin’s pack across; Thorfin himself makes the trip with ease, somewhat to his surprise.
The team camps for the night, and moves on in the morning. Around noon, they emerge into a clearing; the temple is built into the opposite hillside; a large, dark opening is surrounded by writing in the same style as on the map tile, arrowslits are visible above and to the right, and the whole face is covered with carvings of monkeys with six or more arms. They seem to beckon in an odd fashion.
Inside the entranceway is a large stone slab, apparently set to move on rollers to block the opening, with a mechanism of gears to help move it. There’s a sound of more aero engines in the distance, and Stephen and Diamond look out to see a large transport plane overhead, with parachutes blossoming behind it.
While a jump into this jungle is obviously risky, closing the door seems like a good idea. Stephen and Diamond shoot at the four descending parachutists, killing three of them and wounding the other; meanwhile, David gets one of the stone gears back onto the un-rotted portion of its wooden axle, and he and Thorfin work together to un-jam the rollers, shift the block to a slightly different angle, and crank the mechanism to close the door.
As the darkness descends, and the team start turning on torches, there are bursts of sub-machinegun fire from further into the temple; four shocktroopers seem to have made it in before the party. They don’t have much luck, and go down in bursts of fire from Diamond and Stephen.
This first room is irregularly shaped, and stairs lead up to the room with four arrow slits. Stephen checks it out; they’re too small to get in by, or throw grenades. There’s no sign of paratroopers in the restricted area he can see below.
The shocktroopers were descending stairs from the second room, and the team steps over their bodies to take a closer look. It’s a large hemispherical chamber lined in pink marble, with a long-dry fountain in the centre. At the far side is a bronze double door.
The third room is large and octagonal, the stone floor covered with what seem like ancient pillows or cushions (that turn to dust at a touch). At the far side, a figure is examining an arrangement of tiles; from his clothing and equipment, he appears to be another cyberknight. Stephen opens up, but he doesn’t react at all to being shot in the back; he and Diamond are hit from another location, and can’t spot their attacker in the gloom even with Diamond’s new (ex-ninja) night-vision goggles. Diamond steps forward to get a better look, and is shocked by something on the floor. Thorfin uses his ability to detect gold, and calls out “on the right”. Everyone’s briefly shocked by whatever it is on the floor, but this doesn’t last.
Diamond rises above the electrified area, and there’s more shooting. Stephen drops just outside the door and looks for the source of the electrical field. Gradually, everyone manages to work out where the real cyberknight is; Diamond, realising he’s probably wearing concealed armour like the other one, shoots him in the head, and he goes down. Stephen smashes the stunner box with his rifle butt.
The cyberknight’s still alive, though unconscious; Thorfin restrains him, then patches him up a bit. David deactivates the hologram projector that showed the cyberknight against the back wall, and the team replaces the tiles on the wall next to the others. They all glow blue, blindingly for a moment, then fade; there’s a glowing symbol of an ornate cup now visible on the map, somewhere near the Burmese peninsula.
The team find that they can now read the inscriptions; closer inspection reveals that they’re still in the odd script, but they seem comprehensible. The full text is:
You have found the Temple of the Map
Here where the humans join hands
The Time of Possibilities has begun
See now the resting place of the Chalice
For all these untold eons
Your destiny calls you there
To accept the defeat of the four colours and find the Chalice
Then carry the cup north from the Temple of the Map
To where the Men of the North join hands
And light the Signal Fire to call our distant saviours
They record both the map and the text on David’s cyberdeck, and remove the remaining four tiles as well as the five they brought back with them. (They stop glowing.) Now it’s just a matter of getting out…
 Subsubsection: 14 May 2014 (a running fight against shocktroopers and samurai) Up Subsection: The Destiny Map Subsubsection: 11 June 2014 (getting out past the shocktroopers, and the death of Wu Han)