Subsubsection: 14 November 2013 (a fight on the road, and finding the digging machine) Up Subsection: Before the Dawn Subsubsection: 11 December 2013 (on the air base, stealing the plane) 

28 November 2013 (a fight with a dinosaur, and under the Earth to the Nile air base)

Diamond feels strongly that the food shipment shouldn’t be abandoned, so she departs to take the truck onward and rejoin the group later. The rest of the team waits, inside the digging machine. After a couple of hours, there’s a dull repetitive thudding sound outside, gradually rising in volume; as the team looks, a huge (though probably herbivorous) saurian head dips through the mist, spots the machine, and moves forward. This creature is clearly far larger than the distance one can see through the Deep Mist; even with its body curled round the clearing, it’s mostly out of sight. On top of its body, just barely visible, is a nest-like arrangement containing several edeinos, from which a vine is thrown down; one descends, and Thorfin goes out to meet him.
He points out that Thorfin isn’t Professor Shariff, and Thorfin explains that Shariff is dead. He’s here to exchange “the egg” for “the dead weapons”, and doesn’t seem to be an important decision-maker who could be talked into leaving the former without getting the latter; Thorfin bamboozles him to keep him talking for a bit. Meanwhile Hayami has left the machine and sneaked across the clearing; she runs lightly up the huge dinosaur’s back, and spots one of the edeinos in the nest holding a football-sized bundle of vines. None of the others seems to have any equipment beyond spears, so this seems likely to be the thing the team’s after.
She leaps in, slashing at the bundle to get it out of the edeinos’ grip, then grabs it as it falls and hurls herself over the side, sliding quickly down the vine (which seems still to be alive, with leaves and tendrils, but not animated).
As she’s doing that, one of the edeinos shouts in an odd-sounding language, and the dinosaur starts to move. The edeinos Thorfin has been talking to is still somewhat stunned, so he’s able to ready his mace and shield before the lizard gets round to attacking him; when that happens, Thorfin is able to evade the blow and hammer in with the mace.
David, on top of the digging machine, shoots at the dinosaur’s head; he hits, but there’s clearly a lot of bone between him and the thing’s brain. As the head swoops in to try to pick him off, he shoots out its eye (which on a creature this size is still a bigger target than a human), then drops flat to evade the bite.
As Hayami hits the ground, she finds she’s directly behind the wounded edeinos Thorfin is fighting, so stabs the lizard in the back with her katana (fatally) and runs for the digging machine. As the dinosaur’s head swoops back towards Thorfin, looking for a target for trampling, he shoots out its other eye with his crossbow.
Most of the edeinos from the nest are sliding down the vine to ground level. David, hiding under the digging machine’s exposed screw, carefully shoots the one at the top of the vine; he survives the attack, and even remains conscious, but loses his grip and starts to fall. The edeinos below him nearly holds on, but not quite, and after that it’s an increasing cascade of lizards.
The dinosaur tramples blindly; unfortunately for the edeinos, they’re closest. Hayami throws the vine bundle inside the machine as Hildy opens the hatch, then everyone moves inside.
The dinosaur bellows, and moves off, one edeinos still on its back trying to control it; the others are unconscious or dead. Thorfin collects one of the edeinos’ spears: it’s alive, and he puts it in water to see what happens. Its point goes dull, and doesn’t return when he takes the thing out again, even if he tries to sharpen it. He leaves it planted where one of the trees was destroyed by either digging machine or dinosaur.
Inside the bundle of vines is a gleam of gold; as it’s unwrapped, the contents appear to be a Fabergé egg, presumably looted from some American museum. Why this should be significant is not at all clear; it’s not magical, it doesn’t seem to be an Eternity Shard or other strange artefact…
Diamond rejoins the group: the food’s been delivered, but the villagers weren’t willing to leave.
Doctor Marlen is happy to take the team back to the secret base, though he wants to make a detour to drop off Hildy in Kentucky first. She argues a little, then goes along with the plan, having apparently reached an understanding with David. However, six hours into the two-day trip to the base, she’s discovered hiding in the cargo hold.
The digger comes out in a cellar; it seems that Shariff’s project was a secret from the soldiers on the base. The house above is uninhabited, plushly furnished, and equipped with a large scientific library (including “The Nature of Gravity and How to Change it”, “The Dynamics of an Asteroid”, and similar unconventional titles).
Marlen describes the layout of the base, and looking outside confirms it; it’s dark, though not as cold as one might expect, and street lamps reveal patrolling soldiers. Hayami and David pore through the library looking in vain for mention of the earth-stopping device; after a couple of hours, the sun rises!
Well, it’s not quite the right colour, and it flickers a bit at first, but it’s a sun anyway.
David disguises himself as one of the civilian workers to take a look round the base; Hayami sneaks out at the same time, inadvertantly providing distraction for him as she’s spotted climbing to the roof. There’s a certain amount of shouting, and eventually a few soldiers come out of the skylight of the officers’ quarters next door, search the roof (Hayami now being effectively hidden), and return.
David finds the commander’s office and reads what he can of the orders on the notice-board outside. There’s mention of keeping the aircraft in readiness for Doctor Mobius; this is apparently in the charge of a Captain LeFleur. He listens to the voices coming from the office; someone’s talking on a radio in Arabic, and later two people converse occasionally. It sounds as though there’s admin work going on, and the chances of getting in seem poor.
Hayami hears an aero engine being run up and tested from the hangar to the north, which seems (along with its accompanying canal runway) to be a recent addition to what’s mostly a small infantry base. David gets a glimpse inside; there’s only one aircraft there, a Catalina.
David and Hayami return; Hayami’s spotted again, but the soldier who does it seems to be the same one as last time, and his sergeant doesn’t believe him after the false alarm from before.
Shariff’s diary mentioned that the pilot had worked out his flight plan, and this seems likely to be on paper somewhere. Diamond knows her way around aircraft best, so perhaps she should search the plane for the information…
 Subsubsection: 14 November 2013 (a fight on the road, and finding the digging machine) Up Subsection: Before the Dawn Subsubsection: 11 December 2013 (on the air base, stealing the plane)