Subsubsection: 26 March 2014 (fighting a cyberknight, and the world’s unluckiest ninja) Up Subsection: The Destiny Map Subsubsection: 16 April 2014 (into the Living Land, to the dig site) 

2 April 2014 (Magnolia Station Research Park)

The team checks the hotel’s maps, and finds a destination near the park to give to the taxi driver. Magnolia Station Research Park seems to be based on an old railroad station, which is the first building Diamond sees as she sneaks in; six other, more anonymous two-storey buildings are scattered nearby.
The station building has been renovated, but is dark; there’s a reception area visible through the front door, and a buzzer outside (no card slot), but no sign of anyone present. The others join Diamond, and they move on the the first of the new buildings, mostly dark but with dim lights in the lobby area. Diamond slides the card through the slot, but is met with a red light and a buzz. As the team’s looking further, a security guard walks up to them and politely asks their business. Thorfinn replies with some fast talk about having to retrieve some equipment for Professor Charles’ confidential meeting; he’s very convincing, and the guard’s perhaps a bit tired, so he heads off happily, talking into his radio to let the other guards know that there’s no problem.
The group moves on; the other buildings seem to have the same layout, at least as far as looking from outside is concerned. The next building doesn’t let them in, but the one after that (which is much more flashily decorated, with steel covering the walls and flat-screen video monitors rather than old televisions) does.
The lobby area holds chairs, couches, and a row of vending machines (with perhaps more of a focus on seafood than is usual for confectionery). As the team looks, a black-clad figure leaps out from between two of the machines, slashing at Thorfin with his sword. Thorfin brings up his shield to block, and the figure tries for Stephen. This doesn’t work very well either, and he’s soon on the ground with his sword kicked out of reach. The lights go out (even the emergency exit signs). Thorfin isn’t too badly disadvantaged, but Stephen has trouble working out just where people are. The ninja slashes Stephen’s ankles with a shuriken, but Stephen stabs him back and the room gets quiet, except for the sound of dripping blood.
Using a low-powered torch, the team starts to explore the ground floor. As Stephen turns the first door handle, a bank of lasers is revealed off to one side, firing at the party. They manage to evade or only take flesh wounds; Thorfin levers open the panel with his pick, and Stephen and David smash the delicate equipment (much less advanced than the lasers David’s met before).
Stephen returns to the door and boots it, still with no joy: it’s absolutely solid. The team moves onto the next door, which opens to reveal an electronics lab area: there’s a roughly humaniform robot on a workbench, with its chest open to reveal components. This room shares a wall with the first area the team tried to get into, and Thorfin’s pick makes short work of the drywall: that first room seems to be a sleeping area, with ten bedrolls on the floor, and heavy steel bars blocking the door.
Moving on past the stairs, there’s a door labelled “SECURITY VAULT — AUTHORIZED ACCESS ONLY” with a dial lock. After a bit of discussion, David dials in the numbers from the ninja leader’s envelope, and there’s a satisfying clunk as the bolts withdraw. The vault is a large room, mostly empty; there are ribbon-tied bundles of papers, which Stephen recognises as bearer bonds, and a chromed briefcase with an envelope taped to the front. This reads “Deliver to Wu Han upon receipt of Destiny Map Tiles”. The team doesn’t take time to look in the briefcase, but everything comes with them.
As the team heads up the stairs, more ninjas drop from the ceiling onto Thorfin (who bashes him aside with his shield) and Stephen (who parries and stabs). With Diamond flying up to attack them from above, they don’t last long, though the party picks up a variety of minor injuries.
At the top of the stairs, the floor is divided by a steel wall; an open door is the only light source. Thorfin looks inside to see another ninja sitting at a computer terminal; he stabs a key, and the door slams shut. Diamond decides to take a look at the outside, and opens the window by the stairwell; the explosives that line the frame (presumably linked to the burglar alarm system) go off, blowing her back and showering everyone with glass fragments. Once she does get outside, she looks into the corner rooms (storage for martial arts equipment, apparently) and then moves to the front of the building, where steel shutters have closed behind the windows. She deliberately sets off one of the other charges, but the steel withstands the blast. The building’s roof is flat felt, and she starts to cut her way through with a captured ninja sword.
The rest of the group start looking around for other ways in: there’s a false ceiling, but the steel wall bends over the top of the room (though it’s a bit thinner). There’s a steel floor to the room too, with a small wiring duct that doesn’t seem very helpful, though as Stephen’s down there he notices a number of small flexible explosive packages strapped to structural members. He disarms several of these, and brings them back to the steel wall, where it’s a few moments’ work to make them into a breaching charge.
The steel door flies into the room, and the team follows. There’s nobody inside: apart from the computer equipment, there are a couple of storage cupboards and some exercise mats. David immediately notices the computer display: “System Deletion Sequence Beginning Now” and “2% of system deleted”. 3%… 4%…
David goes for the computer while the others search the room. There’s nothing in the first cupboard, but the second one contains a pair of roughly humanoid robots, like the one in the lab downstairs. They mount a laser in each hand, which they spray at Thorfin, Stephen and Diamond. David drops to the floor; the others shoot and strike back, though the robots are heavily armoured and damaging them presents a major challengs. Diamond manages to partially blind one, then aims her shots at its weak points, which cripples it; Thorfin strikes without much effect, then puts up a reality bubble which freezes the robot in place. Stephen grapples to hold it steady, Thorfin hits it and Diamond shoots it repeatedly from behind; eventually it simply comes apart as its joints and sensors are destroyed.
After some setbacks, David’s managed to gets some data out of the computer, but a voice announces: “Building detonation sequence locked. Two and one-half minutes until facility destruction”. Defusing every bomb seems impractical, so the team bails out, walking nonchalantly into the night as the building blows up behind them.
The file describes the “Destiny Map”. It seems that in the 1760s a British soldier of fortune named Stevenson stole some tiles from a temple in India. A translation reads: “You have found the Temple of the Map / Here where the humans join hands / The Time of Possibilities has begun”. There were more tiles, but the natives became restless.
Al-Mu’in commissioned Barker to trace Stevenson, who ended up living in the territory that would later be the state of Indiana. The family (now known as Stevens) carried on living on the same property, until an earthquake in the 1800s swallowed the farm whole.
The author of the file, an Agent Osato, has managed to trace property records and has the exact location of where the farm used to be. It appears that Wu Han may also have this information. Osato plans (planned?) to give the “materials” to Wu Han, in return for the Destiny Map tiles stolen by Stevenson.
 Subsubsection: 26 March 2014 (fighting a cyberknight, and the world’s unluckiest ninja) Up Subsection: The Destiny Map Subsubsection: 16 April 2014 (into the Living Land, to the dig site)