Subsubsection: 23 July 2014 (into the excavation) Up Subsection: The Possibility Chalice Subsubsection: 13 August 2014 (to England; Babbage is missing; Rotherhite and Basher Gallios) 

6 August 2014 (more excavation, Babbage’s message, capture and escape.)

Diamond decides that perhaps not resisting is the way to go; she relaxes her will, and becomes quite fatigued but doesn’t otherwise experience difficulties. When she steps back into the room, the flames don’t react; she comes out again. Thorfin tries composing and mentally reciting some poetry, but this doesn’t seem to help. He, and then David, follow Diamond’s example, and they’re all able to enter the fire room (though Thorfin does find the ideas of Kra Buddhism strangely appealing).
At the far end of the fire room is a shallow alcove, but apparently no further route. Diamond finds the flames curiously fascinating; when Thorfin looks into them, he seems to see everything more clearly. He spots a wooden-covered book in the corner of the room, which he picks up without investigating it further while underwater, and realises that the back of the alcove is designed to be moved.
Beyond it is a dark space, and shining torches into it doesn’t help. Diamond ties on the blindfold, and realises that she can make out a glowing path across the floor. She follows this (with Thorfin holding on to her, and David standing guard behind) to another door; as she opens it, the darkness dissipates. The small room beyond is covered with engravings of cups and chalices; there’s a pedestal in one corner with a chalice-shaped imprint in it… but no cup. Some odd blue markings flare to life as the group approaches, and a translucent figure of a human, with white hair and beard and flowing blue robes covered with odd symbols, springs out of nowhere. This seems to be a magical recording, as he repeats a set speech several times before the vision fades.
“You who hear this message stand in a place of great significance. I have knowledge of the artifact that was once here, and I presume that you do too or you would not be here.
“If this is true, come to me in the realm of Aysle. My dwelling is twenty-five miles north-west of London, near the town of Aylesbury. Come to me soon, and we shall trade information. Perhaps we may both mutually benefit. Ask for Casper Babbage, Sorcerer.”
The team finds a short-cut back out of this room to the cell by which they entered, and Diamond heads up… only to see twenty or so uniformed security guards with rifles aimed at the window by which the team entered the temple. She and they only have broken English in common, but they manage to make it clear that she’s to surrender; two of them cuff her hands behind her back, not removing the scuba gear. As the others come up, they too see the wisdom of surrendering; their external equipment (dive lights, knives, the glowing stone globe and the book) are taken, but kit that’s not immediately accessible inside wetsuits is left.
The team’s moved to a transport submarine and taken back to the platform, through a large cargo bay, and locked into what seems to be a two-man crew cabin. Diamond immediately slips the plastic cuffs, gets to a knife, and is able to release the others. They remove the scuba gear, and Diamond’s able to locate a crowbar which Thorfin uses to get the door open. There’s immediate gunfire along the corridor, and shouting, followed by an alarm siren.
Diamond fires along the corridor, taking down a guard, while Thorfin moves the other way to get a hatch open. David heads towards the guard, since he seems to have colleagues, and Diamond and Thorfin follow.
Diamond shoots most of the guards in the security area at the end of the corridor, and David’s able to grab the rifle off the first guard fall, and shoot the last one. The gun appears to be some sort of small gatling with a large magazine and a ridiculously high rate of fire, and little bits of lead ricochet harmlessly but worryingly about the room. (Some of them go through what appears to be the outer skin of the platform, and water starts coming in slowly.)
The team recovers all the confiscated gear from the guardroom, then heads up a ladder to try to get out, and is met by more gunfire. Diamond emerges on the top deck in an alley between the supporting gantrywork for a helipad and an anonymous building. She moves into the gantry area to get more cover from the guards who are firing from some way away, taking shelter behind a curved metal object.
Thorfin, now armed with his preferred military pick, charges at the guards, yelling furiously. They’re distinctly unnerved by this, and even more when he kills one of them with one blow. Once all the gunfire is over, the guards are down, but Diamond’s smelling a distinctly paraffin-like smell from the puddle under the bullet holes in the fuel tank she was hiding behind. It’s only a small fire at this point.
Even so, getting out of the way in a hurry seems like a good idea. There’s a tiltfan transport parked on the helipad, and the team scrambles aboard, getting away just as the upper surface of the platform suffers a significant explosion.
Back in the village, the team decides that handing the stone globe over to the temple makes sense; when they mention that they think it might be the Light of Arashandara, it starts glowing more brightly, and the cynical old monk who told them the legends does a fairly good job of not looking surprised.
Jagdeep Narindra Singh flies the team to Bangkok (then returns to claim the tiltfan for himself; it doesn’t have the range of his Cessna, but it’ll certainly be useful to his air charter business). The team gets a flight to Schiphol, in the Netherlands, the nearest airport to Aysle that’s still at a safe distance.
The book, it transpires, has stayed relatively undamaged thanks to tight binding that hasn’t allowed water to get in. It’s a manual on meditation. (Written in an archaic form of Thai.) It gives the possibility of learning a Core Earth miracle, Purity of Vision, which lets the user boost his perception with the eye of faith. For the essentially non-religious party it doesn’t seem immediately useful.
 Subsubsection: 23 July 2014 (into the excavation) Up Subsection: The Possibility Chalice Subsubsection: 13 August 2014 (to England; Babbage is missing; Rotherhite and Basher Gallios)