Monday, June 26, 2017

No Makeup Mondays Monique Defleur...

And without further ado our feisty French heroine and fashion model extraordinaire...

Accomplished with Daz3D, Adobe Photoshop by Brian Joseph Johns.

Monique Defleur is a character from my book The Butterfly Dragon I: Heroes Of Our Own. You can find her here in some of the stories I've published based upon the characters from that universe.

Brian Joseph Johns

Monday, June 19, 2017

No Makeup Mondays...

The first in a series of images from The Butterfly Dragon for No Makeup Mondays...

Butterfly Dragon (Heylyn Yates or Ai Yuanlin Ying) as she is...

Credits: Amy Ai Mei Wong (Daz3D facial Morph), Wilmap's Digital Creations (for part of Heylyn's clothing), Daz3D, Women and Men of the world of good hearts (of course), Adobe Photoshop, NVidia iRay Renderer, the world of art and fashion, Kelly, Mir, Yi, Eva, Yaya, Maggie, Lucy, Char, Xuan, Tingting and myself Brian Joseph Johns for the design and editing.

Brian Joseph Johns

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

More Soon...

Hello to everyone. Just a quick notice that it will be while before I continue What Different Eyes See as a result of a lot of abuse by a local stalking cult I've mentioned many times in prior posts and elsewhere.

I spent the last weekend writing As If Magic Was Enough, a short piece and concise piece for A Lady's Prerogative just so that my readers of that series did not feel left out or neglected.

Not long after I'd started work on it did the harassment and abuse begin, not to mention a lot of identity theft and swapping attempts by the local hate gang I've been exposing in Toronto, Canada. They're actually still going as I write this post.

So instead I've been working on Shhhh! For Windows where you can see some of my coding progress below using one of the built-in screen capture tools in Shhhh!:

Coding takes me in a different direction and is a good way to stretch and recharge for creative writing. I certainly need that if I'm going to see What Different Eyes See through to the end. So sorry for the delays but it's more to do with abuse from a local gang than anything.

Often my efforts are stolen by a local gang and the credit for my stories is often given to others, while the same gang tries to apply the identity of a narcotics dealer or pirate to my own identity. Seems to be a social cult that steals the identities of others they spy upon illegally. As I've said before, I've reported them to the authorities a few times. Likely it won't be long before they're busted as I've seen it happen before with a different group of people doing the same thing. The cult in question use illegal eavesdropping and identity theft to steal the creative properties or work efforts of others and give those credits to their members. The cult and gang also makes other people pay for the consequences of their cult members' actions in their place. So if they get mixed up in illegal activities, they attempt to put that onto someone else in their proximity often who is not associated with them at all. I've become a victim of this more than a few times and by neighbors in my building, often for someone named Terence or Clarence, both of whom I don't even know.

So it will be a bit before I finish What Different Eyes See (for The Butterfly Dragon) and Evan And The Ironsides (for A Lady's Prerogative).

One thing that I can be very grateful about is the fact that my health seems to be very good as I recently got the results of a blood test back. I thought that I would put my confidence in Western and Eastern medicine and seek a way to help me combat the stress caused by the abuse of this cult and was given a pharmacological solution by a Doctor recently which acts to reduce stress and severe mood swings resulting from stress and social abuse. I'm 49 years old and at 6 feet tall and 180 lbs, I seem to be holding out well and keeping healthy for a guy with green eyes.

In the future after the conclusion of What Different Eyes See, I'll be taking the Butterfly Dragon for a different turn into the real world for a series of articles that will be published here highlighting researchers and treatments and how that world crosses over into other venues like fashion.

Recently in the gaming department I've been hooked on Elite Dangerous: Horizons (as Commander Serene Jeong Tokama) and Skyrim: Special Edition (as an Orient inspired good vampire) spending many (but not nearly all) of my off hours on those two games. As mentioned in What Different Eyes See, the world of medical research has been profoundly impacted by video games in the fact that the improvements of video game hardware and rendering engines have directly contributed to progress in medical equipment, software and research via distributed computing not to mention the stream of dedicated gamers who game to raise money for charities much the same way The Butterfly Dragon does.

Just to note, when a developer releases a title on Steam, they pay a one time fee of $100 which is donated to a Children's welfare charity. Other charitable sites like Humble Bundle have monthly bundles that can be purchased for a price that you choose, with some or all of the proceeds going to charity. I will be speaking of this more in a future article and post.

Anyway, I'll try not to leave Heylyn, Monique, Alicia and Valerie in limbo for too long. I believe they're in the midst of protecting tourists from what appears to be an attack near the Forbidden City in Beijing while the delegations are being escorted to cover by their respective security detail. With two more cities still in their itinerary can the Tynan Delegation uncover Future Tangent Industry's plot and win the support of the Asian Alliance?

Until we visit the story again, perhaps you can help in the name of the memory of some real world heroes: Dana and Christopher Reeve, Princess Margaret Foundation and Sick Kids Foundation.

Brian Joseph Johns
200 Sherbourne Street Apt 701
Toronto, Ontario
Canada M5A 3Z5
416 203-0928

PS: I miss you Helen Yi Chen :-)

Friday, January 27, 2017

A General Announcement And Things To Come...

Just a new message to any readers that I have left here. After a good cleaning of my apartment and a little evaluation I decided to continue my work on What Different Eyes See a lot sooner. You can consider new posts continuing the story from where it left off as the Delegation head off to meet the Chinese and Taiwanese delegation. From there they'll be headed for Korea. I might have made a mistake in the current story timeline which I will correct to match this change. My original assumption that after Bryce Maxwell had made his (legendary) entrance was that the itinerary had changed but I have decided to go with the original itinerary to coincide with the Lunar New Year. The tensions should pick up as Heylyn will meet an old friend in Beijing that will setup part of the storyline of The Butterfly Dragon II: Dragon Butterfly. The rewrite for the current chapter will take place this weekend and continue in to the new chapter. This post will will be mirrored on A Lady's Prerogative site as well.

Also of note I have decided as well to pen a new tale for A Lady's Prerogative that will be integrated as a new section in the upcoming book A Lady's Prerogative II: Wounded Aerth. I can't say much about it except to say that it will cover the story of Evan Edwards of the Law Offices of West View and be about his past in England during the Civil war and his part as one of the elite cavalry units under the command of Oliver Cromwell. The legendary Ironsides. It's my tribute to something very precious to me.

There has been some devastating news in the case of Gemma Nuttall and her Cancer case. You can find out details about her case here. I'm hoping that for cases like hers and many more our there that soon such Cancer will be a thing of the past and curable like any disease. The day when we can scoff at Cancer as an inconvenience much like we do about colds. Thanks once again to the Prince Margaret Foundation and the Cancer Research Institute and the many medical Universities for making these goals possible. Thanks to the people and industries as well that inspired me to write The Butterfly Dragon series of stories.

Thanks for your patience and support,

Brian Joseph Johns

I am Brian Joseph Johns and this is The Butterfly Dragon

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Just A Post To Clarify...

Hi again. It's been a while since I've posted a new update and I've delayed any further additions to What Different Eyes See until I can deal with the issue of stalkers once again.

I have a blog where I actually deal with that issue, expressing everything related to the anguish it causes and describing accurately their organized criminal methodology in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. I am posting this here because I'd like people to know that the person who writes The Butterfly Dragon is also a person who gets stalked, abused and has his identity stolen excessively not by people online but in person in his home city of Toronto, Ontario, Canada and despite the fact that I've sought legal assistance with regard to this crime, none has been forthcoming. This is not a delusion nor am I mentally ill or a pedophile, stigmas which gangs that do this sort of like to hide behind to keep their existence hidden.

I've been experiencing this for a very long time now but the worst thing about this crime is that those who do it actually steal the victimization and apply it to someone else in their gang, so my victimization benefits them.

I'm not rich nor have I ever pretended to be. My education is nowhere near that of someone like Professor Bryce Maxwell, Professor Mattu's or that of Professor Sangsorn nor do I pretend it to be. The gang tries to paint me as a fraud for the reason that I'm writing characters with a high degree of education but lacking that same level of education myself. I'm not a black belt myself like Heylyn Yates but I have studied multiple martial arts formally but am far from being an expert. I never was trying to give others the impression that I was. I was creating a world and characters to populate that world to convey a story.

I'm not on the "blue team" as some might say. This gang defines the color blue as meaning that what you say is the opposite of what you mean. I'm not a member of any gang that would define the color blue in that way. I say what I mean and mean what I say. Just to note that while writing this post I was attacked by the gang in my area prompting a loud response to their abuse from me. I think that if Professor Bryce Maxwell was in this situation for as long as I have been and mistreated by this gang for as long as I have been, he'd likely respond to it similarly, gentleman or not. This is a gang that believes that if they can get you to react with anger, that you have "the mark of the beast" or possess "Kane" blood rather than gentle blood. The motive for such abuse is so they can reduce you to their level so that they may share in anything good that you achieve, while keeping you away from those they don't abuse in this regard of whom your lover or love interest might be a member. Sorting people out by gentle blood and hateful or violent blood so that they can divide up a person's good and bad accordingly and worse, their right to attain success in life. Hence its an ideology that creates a market for abusing people who make the most effort because such people who conduct that form of abuse want to share in their effort as if they were part of it themselves. Abusing someone to the point of reaction is their means of doing so and there's no big secret to that. It should be investigated legally much more than it is. I am certainly not against anyone having a belief but I am against someone using that belief as a justification to abuse others and especially for the purposes of theft or stealing their victim's identity. I'm not a violent person by the way but I can be vocal when it comes to being abused. You get like that when it has occurred for years. There's quite a bit of racism mixed up in this as well because said group is often against Caucasian people being in a relationship with someone Mandarin Chinese, and that's the culture of my love interest.

I'm going to put the identical post on A Lady's Prerogative official blog so that it give some credibility to this activity as a whole.

The blog I use to expose this activity is at

Just in case someone does try to steal this blog or my books, I'm Brian Joseph Johns. I am 6 feet all and about 180 lbs. I'm fairly fit. I have green eyes. I'm 49 years old. I'm circumcised. I have no criminal record or prior criminal history so there's no justification for this. As I've said this criminal gang are attempting to swap my identity with that of someone else in the building or my home city of Toronto.

Hence, I won't be posting any updates to What Different Eyes See for about two months. Nor will there be any updates to A Lady's Prerogative for that time as well.

I might post to one of my other story lines located at one of my other blogs at:

I can be reached on facebook at
My twitter account is located at

Oh and hate is not love and love is not hate. I'm not a member of any ideology called "blue hell" nor a part of any ideology that would subject someone to that.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

What Different Eyes See


Author: Brian Joseph Johns
I'm Brian Joseph Johns and this story is the first that I've written for The Butterfly Dragon series in a long time. I am working on it from a modest bachelor apartment (701) located at 200 Sherbourne Street in my home city of Toronto, Ontario, Canada where I live alone (I'm single and have been for almost 7 years) though a Chinese ex-girlfriend of mine is one of the biggest inspirations for The Butterfly Dragon and A Lady's Prerogative. There's influence from many other Women and Men in my life and past along with many admiring nods to people who've inspired me and my work here. I'm a Buddhist but I don't really bring faith into these stories though they will cover much philosophy that broaches upon many different beliefs. These stories are not an attempt to convert or de-convert anyone, something I very much dislike myself as we are all free. They might however inspire you think about different things.

I certainly dislike the kind of racism that might attempt to keep someone like myself apart from someone of her culture just because I'm Caucasian and she's Mandarin Chinese and that's racism I've experienced from both my side of the fence (other people of my culture) and from other cultures as well against me being with someone Chinese. Being 49 years old myself and her being older just makes it that much more stressful.

Some might think not in this day and age, but wisdom that might have come from the experiences of prior generations can be lost pretty quickly if nobody stands up for what it is supposed to represent. In an instant you could lose the history that your own ancestors fought for if you're not attentive. Then again, who deserves the legacy of those whose values they fail to protect? I've certainly spent my life protecting the values represented in both The Butterfly Dragon (here) and A Lady's Prerogative ( but there are those who still attempt to take the stories from me. How horrible it must be to fly with stolen wings, though I think that's an anecdote with which Clint Eastwood might disagree (a great director I might add).

I'm not a guitar player at all but a piano player myself, but I did not draw the inspiration for the character Professor Bryce Maxwell from my own person despite the fact that many of his areas of interest overlap mine. He is inspired by one of my real life role models but I'd much rather keep that for myself. My music theory background is strong enough that I could probably learn to play guitar fairly quickly (and horribly), though good technique with any musical instrument can take years of practice and dedication and that's time I'd rather spend writing books and short stories, coding computer programs, creating graphics and 3D, learning about different subjects and playing keyboards and piano.

That should be enough clarification for now and I am not a member of any ideology that speaks the opposite of what it means. I believe in sincerity over polarity any day because it's more important when I tell someone that I love them, for it to mean exactly that than it is to mean the opposite when I tell someone that I don't like them or their attitude. The only extremity I'd rather feel for anyone is the bias of love rather than hate and I reserve that for a person who is worth every bit of it and probably one of the biggest inspirations for The Butterfly Dragon (and yes, she's Chinese). She knows every one of my secrets more so than anyone.

If anything as this story was intended from it's early beginnings (in early 2012 in its current incarnation) as an expression of the possibilities in the world that I see. Many times those possibilities are good but sometimes a bit bad too. Don't mistake the concept of bad with challenging because they're not the same thing.

Assuming that where the reader of this story is from, that gravity is pulling them towards a larger mass rather than away from it (just to get polarity right), the concept of bad is one that requires a conscious being sometimes of malice intent to purposely cause harm to other conscious beings for one reason or another. Often personal gain is the motive and sometimes it's for other reasons. Greed, revenge and what not. Challenge is a circumstance that arises as a result of the existence of an obstacle to one's goals often making achieving them more difficult. Bad has malicious intent whereas challenge has not intent at all. It just is. Bad of another can make life more challenging for others but let's not mistake the challenge for the bad. After all, challenge can help us to grow in ways that bad cannot.

Just as there is challenge that might be created by bad or just challenge in and of itself, there is good. Good is of positive conscious intent. The will to help rather than to harm others. As there is challenge caused by bad, there is also inspiration that can be created by good. Inspiration is like the antithesis of challenge, and can be the motivation that keeps us going in the face of it. It can result from the good we see others around us doing or achieving or it can just occur in a moment's notice of reality and really appreciating it and not just in word. At a much deeper level that often does not need words or explanation.

So really that's what these stories are about at their core and seeing as I find Women to be very alluring, funny, intelligent, mysterious and scary and wonderful all at the same time, I often write about them that way. Not an idealization of course because every character is in some way a manifestation of someone I've cared for or admired greatly in real life though never an exact copy. Monique's character is certainly not intelligent but often tries to pretend to be less so, in order to be accepted and less threatening. Although her parents encouraged her to be intelligent, her school and social life did not value such qualities, especially in Women. She ended up as a smart Woman who believed that she had to dumb herself up in order not to be intimidating to the Men in her life. That sometimes comes out in the story and rather than hide that aspect of her character, I regard her as being a source of positive levity. It's unfortunate if and when Women grow up to believe that they have to be lesser to be appreciated by those who want to feel greater.

As far as the male role models in my life are concerned, they've always put intellect ahead of brawn, though some have combined both and even honed them to perfection to become very inspirational themselves discarding the ego in pursuit of a higher understanding of being. For the most part though my male characters are no less magnanimous than their female counterparts. Most importantly about these stories is how these characters take on real life challenges in the effort to make the world a better place. Life without challenge would most certainly be a life without inspiration as would life without inspiration be without challenge.

I decided against going with the Men versus Women theme for this story despite the fact that is the theme of a Halloween themed story I'm writing for A Lady's Prerogative called Hallow's Weave which I'll be working on periodically as well. Women have always been very prominent in my stories and I like the Men in my stories to be team mates and not enemies, though friendly competition and flirting is and can be fun. In this story however there will be no battle of the sexes theme as there is with Hallow's Weave.

This episode of The Butterfly Dragon finds us somewhere between the events of the first book (which might be available again soon on Amazon and in print) and the second book (which also might be available some time in the unforeseen future. It takes place sometime after the events of A Piano, A Full Glass And The Disappearance Of Time and could be said to be a "sequel" to this story which has become very popular.

It also brings back many characters from the first book and introduces us to some that will be in the second book. It also serves as a great point for Alicia to expand her experiences in A Piano, A Full Glass And The Disappearance Of Time while bringing Heylyn Yates back into the storyline (after all, it is her namesake for she's the Butterfly Dragon).

Most importantly it takes on an issue that is close to my heart and one that could truly be the bridge to success in the future.

In Truth

Lastly I am not rich or wealthy (so despite looking a little like Tai Lopez I am obviously not that person at all for he makes $360K a month whereas I make $360 a month). Nor am I a Professor nor do I have a University Degree however I have some College, a couple of University courses on mathematics (related mostly to 3D Geometry, Vectors and some Calculus). I don't believe in pretending to be anything that I'm not unless of course I was doing it as part of some role play (can be fun with a romantic partner), or professionally as a thespian (I've only ever been in one movie in my life and that was someone's University project when I was 14). I'm 49 now. Nor am I schizophrenic, nor is schizophrenia a requirement to write books with a variety of different characters. Writers do it all of the time for books, plays, movies and television and I don't think that they get a hard time in doing so. Do they? Then why do I? All of the characters that I write come from one place. My mind as does the entire world that the stories take place within though its a world that mirrors our own in many more ways that not.

I believe that just because you've never done something in your life that it does not mean that you can't write about it or even speak from the point of view of someone that has. Everything that we have in the world is built on top of the imagination of someone because everything starts out as a thought, eventually becoming word and possibly a plan before it becomes something we bring into this world. Think about it. Imagine that every time you wanted to learn something new that you had to go out and start from scratch? That you couldn't read or view any kind of media that presented hypothetical situations that you could learn from. Our entire history of learning is made up of fantasy as is every aspiration that has ever become reality at the hands of people. Our entire civilization is built on top of imagination because that's where everything starts.

Credits And Gratitude

I'll try to include as much descriptive artwork or renderings of the scenes depicted throughout the story. The story will be produced in several installments over the next few days. I`d like to thank Ai MeiWilmap's Digital Creations, Ghastly and Kozaburo for their contribution to the art work here as well as Daz 3D, Newtek's Lightwave 3D for the 3D modeling and animation software, Adobe for Photoshop and Google Blogger for the web space which is perfect for projects of this nature. Thanks of course to Microsoft for Windows, which has been my operating system of preference for many years. In the future when I can afford a Mac I'd ideally like to set up a network with one system for each major O/S. I'd also like to thank Bruce Richardson, Phil Thomson and Dylan McIsaac of Videolink Inc though I'd clarify that this work is not produced by Eugene Francois. I'd also like to thank Lillian Fries and Elaine Richardson.

Much of the artwork and 3D created specifically for The Butterfly Dragon I: Heroes Of Our Own which appears here is by myself, Brian Joseph Johns. Who knows, this might be a nest egg some day for other artists and creative people. That's always part of the goal. As you might notice there is more artwork in this story than any other so far. Consider that part practice for story boarding.

Other commercial artists whose work appears here: Dogz and Inlite Studio.

The bibliography I'll include at the bottom of the story should you want to do some further reading with regard to the science or philosophy that I'll cover here. I'll include most of my sources and for the topics that I'm operating from memory, I'll include the source that I remember reading about that topic from.

The inspirations for my characters are numerous but I'll thank a few here: Richard Feynman, Leonard Susskind, Brian Green, Michio Kaku, Dr. Chien-Shiung Wu, Dr. Rosalind Franklin, Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn, Niels Bohr, Dr. Deepak Chopra, Carl Sagan and Anne Druyan and some of my family and friends. After all, I likely wouldn't be half as interested in what I am without many of them. Also I'd very much like to thank the creative members of the Youtube ASMR community. Finally I'd like to thank the world traditional and modern Martial Arts community for making characters like Ai Yuanlin Ying (Heylyn Yates) possible. After all, she bares the namesake of the story for she's the Butterfly Dragon.

I'd also like to thank the inspirations in my life, both those that I've known personally and those who've inspired me from afar. May the years ahead of you be far better than the years behind you.

Legal Disclaimer: This story of The Butterfly Dragon is not to be confused with Agnes And The Butterfly Dragon, a book that was released about two months after I'd published my first stories of the Butterfly Dragon on another blog Poetry, Fiction, Software, Music and Graphics. The Butterfly Dragon by Brian Joseph Johns was started in it's current incarnation in February of 2012 and published in May or June of 2012 eventually ending up with this blog of its own in 2013. It was then developed into a full novel and released on Amazon in September of 2015. The Butterfly Dragon by Brian Joseph Johns is based upon a short story written in 1980 by Brian Joseph Johns that included The Field, and the Dragon Weltherwithsp as the narrator telling the story of a bee who mistakes a pop can for a flower and then tries to pollinate it, much to the frustration of a real flower beside it.

I'd actually written the entire back story between Ai Yuanlin Ying (the little girl who becomes Heylyn Yates) and Weltherwithsp (a Prismatic Dragon of oriental origins) long before Nalin DeSilva's book was published. My stories here and Nalin DeSilva's book are completely unrelated.

If you have come here to read Nalin DeSilva's Agnes And The Butterfly Dragon, then please follow this link and I hope that you enjoy it as it does look quite good and I'd certainly rather encourage authors than detract from them.

A plagiarist I am certainly not. A bad that I see in the world and often in these days, is plagiarism that occurs through illegal monitoring of one's communications and computing devices. Perhaps it will become a story of its own here some day but for now I'll stick to the issues of existentialism, mortality and that ever hidden line between that which is subjective and objective as Carl Gustav Jung might have put it.

Characters Database For This And Other Stories

What Different Eyes See

The This

"With this proposal we are hoping to open the doors around the world to the SY389 and upcoming SY390 programs of treatment. Our studies indicate that this is feasible in the short term with little pressure on our current revenues." Norler addressed the board at Tynan And Associates.

Walton Norler
"You're stepping over into the world of international health care Norler. I mean, you've got a great track record here and you've completely turned around how the world views big business with your Edict Of Responsible Business but what you're proposing is a whole new ball game. You're stepping over into the world of Government policy. We'd be pit against many regulatory commissions with the CDA and FDA being at their forefront. We're already in deep water with the SY389 and barely able to keep up with the growth it offers. Let's focus on one aspect and grow it from there rather than branching out into all of these high risk ventures." Vinnler presented for the board as a counterpoint to Norler's delivery.

"Forgive me for interjecting but I'd like to hear the rest of this proposal before we consider our options. Do you have any numbers for us? You've stated about the strain on our current revenues. I'd like to see some proof of your designs as I'm sure would the rest of the board before we make any decisions about this." Werner responded as his assistant took notes.

"Yes of course..." Norler looked around the board room for any signs of Alica and Valerie before continuing in their absence.

"they will be available upon request." Norler said just as the boardroom door opened for Alicia and Valerie's entrance.

"Sorry we're late. Traffic was a mess out there." Alicia said covering as Valerie made her way over to Norler.

"We've got a small problem..." Valerie said whispering to Norler.

"Couldn't it wait? We're in the middle of this delivery?" Norler asked Valerie with a tint of compassion in his eyes.

"This is about my research for your delivery. It's related to foreign policy..." Valerie began quietly trying to explain to Norler.

"Ahem. Perhaps you might refrain from handling your personal affairs during board time?" Werner insisted.

"Valerie Aspen of Corporate Analysis Technology International is going to give you the numbers and a bit of information about her process." Norler stepped aside for Valerie taking his place beside Alicia.

"What happened to you two? You knew this was important?" Norler asked Alicia.

"Look, I'm sorry. We really tried our best to get here. She received a call from one of her contacts at the last moment. It was related to foreign regulations regarding health care. It was from an insider at the Asian Alliance. It's important, you should listen to what she has to say." Alicia responded into Norler's ear as Valerie began her delivery.

"I'm Valerie Aspen of CATI. Our firm specializes in project analysis, cost projection as well as offering a many other services drawing from a wide range of expertise and specialization. When Norler approached us with the challenge of making the SY389 and SY390 treatment available following in the footsteps of its predecessor, the successful SY349, we knew we were in for a challenge. He did not merely want to make it available, he wanted to make it available to everyone. Rich and poor. Far and wide. His plan entailed setting up a low risk investment fund with steady gains to accrue capital to fund access to the formula by those who could not afford the treatment not only here in North America, but around the world. This fund would require a large outlay of capital and thus we were called in to conduct a study for its feasibility and to assess what barriers there would be to a project of this magnitude. The primary goal being to bring access to this fund to countries around the world to pay for SY389 and the upcoming SY390 as treatment options." Valerie said as she stepped around the boardroom handing each of the board members a handout she'd prepared earlier.

Valerie Aspen - Walton Norler and Alicia Westin
They opened it examining the numbers and graphs which of course were their realm. The realm of business and ultimately the bottom line. Any such venture could only hope for funding if it met the criteria of being profitable at some point in time. Short term investments required short term return while long term investments would require more time before steady gains were realized.

Despite Norler's enthusiasm and idealism, he was often alone while in the midst of the board members and even despite his charisma it was Werner who knew this. For the board members it was their responsibility not only to themselves but to the immense infrastructure their business supported. Jobs and the livelihood of many people. Although idealism is a great wind upon the sails on the ship of business, it takes more than wind to feed and support a hungry crew not to mention all those at your destination who were depending upon the safe delivery of your cargo. Werner being a sailor himself regarded Tynan And Associates much this way and if this boat was to travel the world, he wanted to be sure that it would make it safely. He examined Valerie's handout closely.

"So as you can see on the second page the initial outlay could be put in place over the course of a year in twelve installments. The first installment would be enough to get the ball rolling. We're projecting a nine percent growth per month which is fairly steady and given the capital requirements as you can see, it is well within Tynan's ability to fund this. Upon any treatment funding approval the draw would be made upon the investment fund and would cover the cost of Doctors, Nurses and caregivers and any follow up with regard to the treatment process. The best part is that sixty percent of this expenditure would end up right back in the pockets of Tynan And Associates and would pay for further research and development of future incarnations of the SY series although that's more Alicia's area of expertise. Alicia if you would?" Valerie explained once again indicating the results of her analysis and stepping aside for Alicia to take her place.

"The great thing about this method is that it will make the treatment available around the world though there will be some hurdles with regard to availability and this is exactly what Norler and I wanted to address by the creation of this fund. We're already well into the next phase of the development of the SY390 which adds six new treatments for a variety of Cancers as well as a number of degenerative diseases. Currently we're looking at a 59% treatment rate with less than 15% relapse. Most relapses if caught early enough are treatable within thirty days and result in 5% relapse from that point on. We're on the brink of something remarkable and we want to make sure that it is available to the world, while being available through a stable funding model that does not undermine the current market while not exploiting the people who make it and the people it serves." Alicia addressed the board.

Alicia Westin
"It sounds like Norler is rubbing off on you." Vinnler said out loud drawing some chuckles from around the room.

"...No. It's Alicia that's rubbing off on me." Norler responded from behind her while Alicia kept her posture at the head of the room.

"So what's the snag? This all sounds a bit too good to be true if you ask me. Mind you the SY349 sounded too good to be true and it was true. How can you convince me - us, that lightning has struck twice? There is something you're keeping from us. Enlighten us." Werner said returning the board to the role of realists.

Helmut Werner
"I'll take that if I may." Valerie suggested to Alicia who stepped aside.

"You're right. There is a snag and it's a big one for the time being. While we've met with the standard caution of the CDA and the FDA in North and South America, we're finding a lot of cooperation from within the European Union which is encouraging and promising. We'll likely have little resistance besides the standard regulatory testing required by European standards. The Middle East and Africa have been enthusiastic as well with many health care organizations ready to jump on board for the fund. The main barrier has been with the Asian Alliance jumping on board due to the divisions between Eastern and Western medicine. Oceania too has been receptive though skeptical to some degree and are siding at least partly with their partners at the Asian Alliance, but we could likely depend upon them for support. This really could be the biggest barrier to the whole venture." Valerie explained to the board.

"The Asian Alliance is opposed? They include some of the most heavily populated nations in the world with China and India being at the top of that list. So in this plan, you're talking about more than a third to a half of the world's population being opposed to this idea. This is a very significant hurdle if not one that could pull the whole the whole idea apart. So what is the solution? Any ideas?" Werner asked as his assistant wrote frantically.

Though the meeting was being recorded, Werner and the other board members always like to have a paper transcript of every meeting. Especially when it involved decisions of this scope.

"Alicia? Perhaps you could field this one." Valerie stepped aside once again for Alicia.

"Most of the opposition is as a result of the wall between Eastern and Western medicine that has existed for a long time. This includes some of the ideas associated with medicine of the Vedic tradition in India and of course Traditional Chinese Medicine and treatment. Unfortunately there is a lot of prejudice on the side of our Western colleagues with regard to the Eastern medicinal practices and there is much education required to overcome this attitude which often takes on the form of science versus superstition, though in Eastern medicine there is actually little superstition. The opposition is not really opposition at all but likely due to our disrespect of their traditions by way of our cultural differences and particularly our histories." Alicia tried to explain the conundrum as simply as she could though it was a complicated situation.

"Then this session is closed. This idea is obviously not worth taking any more of our valuable time." Vinnler blurted out.

"I'm not so convinced. I want to hear more." responded Tandy one of the female members of the board.

"Likewise. This sounds like a good idea whose time has come." Hendersen, one of the younger board members added.

"I absolutely agree. What can be done by us to remedy this situation. How can we empower both the East and the West to work together for this purpose and use the best of what each has to offer. We're talking about hundreds and thousands of years of medical learning between many different cultures. We're also talking about a third to a half of the world's population. That's a significant market share." Werner added his seniority to support this idea.

"We're putting together a diplomatic group who will work together with officials of the Asian Alliance to come to a solution or compromise on this issue. We've got Doctor Steven Briggs, a respected expert on Western and Eastern medicine with a background in cultural history and politics. Professor Bryce Maxwell a respected Quantum Physicist, Biologist and Musician will also be joining this envoy as he was a colleague of Sylvia Upadhaya, a respected researcher and native of India who pioneered many of the methods used for the development of the SY349. In addition Norler and I will be joining the team for my expertise on the SY349 and his with regard to this proposal. And finally last but certainly not least, Heylyn Yates who is known by the Chinese Nationals as Ai Yuanlin Ying, a lady of Chinese ethnicity herself will be joining us. She is considered a celebrity in China for her success in North America and Europe as a fashion designer. She is also a practitioner of an ancient multi-ethnic martial art with roots in China, Korea and Japan. Her presence will certainly be regarded with reverence by some and her opinion respected. Our assistants will also be joining us as well and they'll be briefed with regard to cultural customs as will we all. The goal is to open the doors for business and specifically medicine between the East and the West, while breaking down ignorance that often pervades each of us understanding the other. The Asian Alliance will provide their own similar group as well. We will be conducting tours of their facilities as will we be having similar tours here with their envoys. There are many people who are in opposition to this being successful business diplomacy as this will open many other doors other than those pertinent to our dealings." Alicia presented their solution to overcome this hurdle.

"Are there any questions before we vote on this proposal?" Norler asked the board.

"Who will be fronting the money for this envoy?" Vinnler asked seeming a little edgy.

"I'll be funding it personally seeing as it's my proposal. If it results in a success and we are able to bring the treatment to the East, then I will expect to be reimbursed by Tynan And Associates for the full amount minus luxuries not pertinent to the envoy's mission. If we're not successful, then I eat the cost. Any other questions?" Norler answered Vinnler's question.

The room remained silent.

"Why don't we vote on this proposal then. I think that we can agree to an open vote. All those in favor raise their hand." Werner said promptly raising his hand.

The majority of hands rose in support of the proposal with Vinnlers struggling at the halfway point before rising in support as well.

"Good, it looks like this is a majority. Alicia, Valerie, Norler, you many go ahead with your proposal and the board thanks you for your presentation. This meeting is adjourned. Enjoy your evening." Werner said as he stood himself.

After shaking hands and saying their good byes, Alicia, Valerie and Norler began making arrangements for the mission and thus was born the mission to the Asian Alliance.

The Abreviated History Of Heylyn, Alicia, Valerie, Monique And West Meet East International

The colorful offices were alive with activity. For the last six years the building which stood in Toronto's Fashion district had become a symbol for color, expression and creativity in the city and around the world. It had originally been built in the sixties as a printing plant which had gone under in the early nineties and into receivership shortly thereafter. The city had taken ownership of the property and had kept it for years undecided about what to do with it until Heylyn approached the city with her proposal for the building, offering to buy it at reduced cost of course. She'd been a young and successful fashion designer who'd found backing from four major apparel companies for whom she'd designed entire lines of clothing. Early in the new millennium she'd taken the return from this project and bought the building, renovating it to become the headquarters of West Meet East International, her fashion conglomerate.

Every part of the fashion design and marketing process could be accomplished from within her building. From design and pattern making, to sewing, to fashion shows and photo shoots in an auditorium and three separate studios, to a marketing department with the latest graphics design technology. Her company currently employed forty people full time, with another three hundred on call for makeup, photography, modeling and set building. During the economic downturn of the early millennium it had been a welcome addition to a city whose artists were reeling from job loss many turning their energy to the urban renewal. With the appearance of the colorful West Meet East International building it had marked a mini renaissance and signaled some that the economy had come home to roost. By it's namesake and the fact that it's creator was the daughter of Chinese newcomers to Toronto, Canada who'd come here to build a life.

Her Father had been offered a very prominent position as chief architect for Sky Flower Beads, an architectural firm in the city. After moving from China with his Wife and young Daughter Ai Yuanlin Ying, he'd changed their family name mostly as a safeguard against prejudice or predisposition. His reasoning being that when people could not discern ethnicity from your name, they were less likely to discriminate based upon cliches they'd learned by recognizing ethnicity associated with such names. Nobody would make fun of his Daughter in school during attendance for she'd have a North American name as far as they were concerned. When she wanted to share her real name with her friends, she could then pick and choose who they were. Knowing where there shouldn't be fences requires that we are aware of where there should be fences he used to say to her. Around our property we have no fences, but to protect our living space and our privacy there are walls so we may choose who we let into our lives he'd finish. Her Mother would often advise her to live one way or another with those ideas in mind is to be on one side of an extreme or another. To be balanced we must have one foot on each side.

Young Ai Yuanlin Ying had dreams of a field lush with life in her childhood. During her dreams she'd met and befriended the creatures of this field of whom were butterflies, mice, snakes, bees, worms, birds and ants. During one of her dreams the creatures were taken by collectors seeking to turn a profit drying them and selling them. None of the creatures on their own could figure out what to do about it until the butterflies suggested that they could protect them. The creatures of the field laughed at the butterflies for the butterflies were delicate, elegant and full of vanity they'd reasoned. It was then that the butterflies collected a something from every creature of the field so they could build this protector. They'd collected whiskers from the mice, scales from the snakes, stingers from the bees, rings from the worms, the feathers from a bird and antennae from the ants.One of the butterflies gave up her own wings so they could contribute the final piece to their recipe. They put all of these offerings in a cocoon which sat dormant for many months as it grew. Then one night during one of Ai's dreams when the collectors showed up to collect the rest of the creatures from the field, the cocoon opened and out came an enormous dragon. It had the antennae of an ant so it could read minds. It had the rings of a worm so it could heal quickly. It had the scales of a snake so it was armored. It had the whiskers of a mouse so it could sense danger. It had the feathers of a bird and the wings of a butterfly so it could fly.

It terrified the collectors who quickly surrendered themselves. The dragon bade the collectors to free the creatures they'd taken and they did as told. Ultimately the dragon left the fate of the collectors up to those they'd wronged and from that time Ai's dreams were often spent speaking with the dragon. The creatures of the field never laughed at the butterflies again and from that point on they'd become the protectors of the field for their creativity and imaginative solution.

As time passed Ai learned through her dreams that the dragon was descended from a long dead Wife and Husband who'd become one that predated the Song Dynasty and knew of Ai's ancestors. The dragon had been sent by P'ing-i, the rain spirit to protect Ai so that she could find Tàiyáng (the sun) which really was a metaphor for the fact that the dragon was to protect her future.

When she had become older by the age of six she'd started upon a regimen of martial training which had first been instructed to her ancestors thousands of years prior. It encompassed several different forms of the martial arts ranging from Thailand to Japan though branched under three main arts. Goju Ryu, Tae Kwon Do and a very specialized form of Kung Fu taught only once every generation to a different girl chosen to receive this knowledge. Together these styles combined to form the style of the Butterfly Dragon. During her classes she learned much more than how to defend or attack for it was an art poised in keeping peace as much as it was in the hasty debilitation of any attacker. She'd learned of the heart and the pain or hearts lost. She'd learned of ignorance and it's great cost to society and how it was kept in balance by wisdom. Most of all she'd learned that even within the ideas of those without boundaries and with blurred borders that they too were another extreme against those with hard fought borders and boundaries. Somewhere in the middle there was a delicate place where there was peace between the bounded and the boundless, however tiny. It was in this small place that most of the answers to the world's problems could often be found.

She'd founded West Meet East International with that philosophy in mind. It became part of her entire design ethic. It had come from living in the household of a very traditionally Chinese family from the Far East while merging with her schoolmates in a society of the West. At the age of sixteen she'd befriended Alicia Westin who was a genius in the making. Heylyn by that point in life had already become an accomplished martial artist and student of the Butterfly Dragon. Alicia had often ribbed Heylyn for her real life being like the martial arts cliche often associated with those of the Oriental culture. After all, she really was a martial arts master much like some Western parents might have encouraged their children to become accomplished athletes with such sports as hockey, soccer or even tennis. Heylyn mused in this analogy and realized that Alicia was more like a bridge than a barrier. She'd had the heart of peace and balance much like she'd been taught.

Heylyn during her school years often focused on her art work through fashion design. She was obsessed with the idea of creating elegant and yet practical clothing, embracing the design of the body and accentuating it. Sometimes her obsession cost her valuable time learning other subjects. During the graduation year at high school, Heylyn had fallen behind in two of her subjects with which she'd struggled. As chance would have it Alicia was an ace when it came to these subjects, but Alicia had lacked
something imperative to life and her future success and that was self confidence. She'd had a slight weight problem from a young age, enough to make her self conscious and enough so that she was often subject to bullying by other less enlightened classmates. Heylyn had even defended her one or two times nearly ending up in trouble herself. Heylyn's solution to the whole situation was to exchange services between herself and Alicia. She would encourage Alicia to go to the graduation dance even if she didn't have a date, Heylyn would design and make a graduation dress for her. In exchange for this, Alicia would tutor her in the two classes which Heylyn had fallen behind so that she could pass the graduation exams and make it into design college.

The dress was a knockout success and for the first time in her life, Alicia had felt beautiful and confident in herself. Like it had opened her eyes. Maybe it had even given her new eyes. As if she could see what different eyes could see. She was still the same Alicia but she'd seen herself in an entirely different light as did the rest of the school.

From that point on she was no longer bullied and in fact had been asked to the graduation by another male student. Heylyn accompanied Alicia with her own graduation date and their lives changed forever. Heylyn passed the exams and went on to college while Alicia having lost her social fear went on to study and pioneer the fields of Biochemistry and Quantum Biology.

Six short years later and Heylyn was selling her first design contract to four major apparel manufacturers and Alicia was part way to discovering one of the greatest discoveries in medical science. They'd been a long way together and that had only been the beginning of their adventures together. For years they'd lost contact with one another until that fateful night when Alicia showed up and rescued Heylyn from certain harm at the hands of six armed thugs in a Toronto back alley. Not exactly the Alicia she'd known but a much changed Alicia, who'd tested the first generation SY349 on herself. The results were astonishing in that her metabolism and body mass had completely reverted to her perfect form. Alicia but with the body of an Olympic athlete and with agility and skills to match. She had suddenly become what she'd thought she'd wanted during her school years.

Reunited, Alicia had told Heylyn about this miraculous cure which could repair damaged muscle and nerve
tissue and even in some preliminary tests, could reverse the growth of some forms of Cancer. Reverting cells back to their original DNA chains during cellular mitosis. Like some invisible force had corrected errors or noise that had accumulated in the DNA strands during mitosis. Even scarier was the fact that this effect could be steered by the artistic design of something to which the formula was applied. Once a body was treated it could be affected on the outside by any apparel that had been treated with a catalyst that had been manufactured from the same batch which affected their body. The effects were different depending upon the artistic design of the catalyst item whether it be apparel or jewelry of some form. Essentially this had meant that shaping the effects of the treatment relied as much on biochemistry as it did on visual and aesthetic design which had perplexed Alicia. Alicia had told this to Heylyn and the first thing that Heylyn thought of was the dragon that the butterflies of the field had made. That artistry and aesthetics could work with science to change the way people were cured of illness and disease.

A criminal element operating from within the research firm for whom she'd developed the SY349 formula had stolen most of the initial samples. Grier Torman was his name and at that time was planning to reverse
engineer the samples and use the formula to acquire power as an international crime lord. He'd been running a scheme in Toronto of which involved having gangs sabotage local businesses so as to lower their value. He'd show up with an offer to buy when they were at their lowest value and then capitalize on the undervalued purchase later. Eventually moving up in the world landing a place on the board of directors for an investment firm known as Tynan And Associates, he'd managed to perfect his scam to the point that he was able to use the same method against companies that were publicly traded on the open market. Again using his gangs to sabotage the businesses by any means they could do so using his resources.

He'd found out about the formula when one of his gangs were set upon by Alicia who'd taken to the formula's abilities by becoming like a superhero. Torman quickly put the pieces together and figured out where the formula had come from to make her like that and so he stole the formula. Alicia having found out convinced Heylyn to join her, giving her a dose of the formula along with two other Women, one being Valerie Aspen, Torman's former lover and the other being Monique Defleur a model at West Meet East International so that together they could recover the stolen SY349 as a team. An international fiasco ensued and resulted in one of the biggest investigations mobilized by the combined operations units of law enforcement from all over the world. They eventually succeeded in recovering the the formula before it had been reverse engineered and had vowed never to use it for any similar purpose again.

Their lives as superheroes had come to a fitting end and by the end of their adventure they'd realized that they'd already been heroes though of a different kind. Ultimately the ones they'd dreamt their whole lives of becoming in the first place. They were a brilliant biomedical researcher. A successful fashion designer. An entrepreneurial business Woman and a beautiful runway model. It had seemed that their real lives had ended much like many children's fairy tales do, but in real life, the happy ending is just the beginning of another of life's challenges. They'd not become something unreachable for any Woman but had become something attainable to every Woman. Successful by their own measure.

Today was the day of another such challenge and their proposed meeting to plan for the trip to Asia and it would be held aptly at West Meet East International. Doctor Steven Briggs had arrived first followed by Valerie Aspen. Alicia and Norler had once again been stuck in cross town traffic nonetheless had arrived a few minutes early. Heylyn and Monique already worked inside of the West Meet East building and made their way to the conference room that had been prepared ahead of time for their meeting. There was a moment of introductions and then silence as they waited for the last arrival to this important gathering.

Meet You In The Middle

"It seems our last guest has been held up, so we'll proceed until he arrives and bring him up to speed at that time. Who would like to start this meeting?" Heylyn stood addressing her friends and colleagues for this meeting then looking to Alicia, Norler and Valerie inquisitively.

"I'll take the floor for this one." Valerie addressed the room from her chair looking over the notes she'd compiled on her tablet.

"What we're going to discuss here is related to our responsibility and conduct with regard to this business trip which could be regarded as a diplomatic mission. Over the course of the next few weeks we're going to be dealing with the cultures of at least seven different countries. They are going to be India and a delegate from each India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Malaysia in New Delhi. We'll continue from there to Bangkok in Thailand where we will meet with Thai officials along with a delegation from Myanmar and Laos. From there we'll be proceeding to Vietnam where we'll meet with Vietnamese officials and representatives from Cambodia. We'll continue on from there to Beijing where we'll meet with Chinese officials and representatives from Taiwan. From there we'll be continuing on to South Korea where a delegate from the North will also attend so as not to spur an international incident. We're trying to foster trust after all this mission is of a medical nature. Finally our last stop will be in Tokyo Japan where we'll meet with Japanese officials and a delegation from Australia and New Zealand. We'll be crossing many borders and along with that we'll be crossing over into countries with many different customs. Taking the time to respect and understand their cultural traditions and more importantly, the history of their medicinal tradition and their current medical infrastructure will be key to success in this mission. I've given you all a copy of our itinerary. Now that we know where we're going. What is our plan?" Valerie asked the group.

The door to the conference opened as a single man stepped into the room and began speaking.

"I'd say that in this case it might be as important to know when we're going. After all, the date you've picked for our little entourage tour of the East overlaps a number of holiday traditions at our destination not to mention those of some domestically. For one we'll be in India just after Rath Jatra, which isn't quite celebrated everywhere but it will be on the minds of many devout Hindus. Asahna Bucha on the other hand is a Buddhist tradition that we'll encounter in Thailand in some other countries in the region where Buddhism is practiced by many people. In China there's little going on between June and September in terms of holiday traditions, but it might be a nice touch to offer a lantern to the Chinese, perhaps with a Dragon symbol of our own for their Moon festival and Fire Dragon dance. We won't be there when they celebrate, but they'll be sure to light our lanterns for us. An important symbol and a means of building bridges that have been burnt down once too often. It is also interesting to note that we'll be in South Korea close to or during their Constitution Day celebration. Having North Korean officials present may cause resent for the timing of our delegation and incur conflict. We'd best rethink that part of our schedule as that could jeopardize the whole mission. In Japan we'll just be catching the end of Umi No Hi or Ocean Day. An important day to the followers or their Imperial history as this was the day that the Meiji-Maru, a topsail schooner returned with a most precious passenger: The Meiji Emperor himself. Needless to say the Japanese are very grateful to the sea for the safe voyage of their Emperor as he returned from a tour of Japanese lands. So I'd say that knowing when we're going is just as important as knowing where we're going." Bryce Maxwell had opened the door at precisely the right time to interject and contribute to their meeting.

"Bryce, do you wait outside of doors just for the opportunity to make an entrance like that?" Doctor Briggs asked him a hint of scathing sarcasm on his face.

"I'd prefer to believe that you all just timed that perfectly for my entrance and for that: I thank you from the bottom of my heart." Bryce took off his jacket and carefully put it on a hanger before stowing it on the coat rack.

Bryce Maxwell
"Ladies and Gentlemen, Professor Bryce Maxwell." Alicia introduced her colleague and idol.

"The only reason that I came was because Alicia told me there'd be a piano here. My first real love you know." Bryce looked at Alicia as if he was somehow hurt by its' absence.

"Well I think that you've been stood up for the first time, Bryce. Besides, she doesn't deserve you." Alicia replied giving him warm hug.

"Alicia I must admit that you're right. I mean my parlor grand at home would no doubt get jealous and suspect that I'd been playing a strange piano. So what or should I ask when is the consensus so far?" Bryce asked his peers in the room.

"Pleased to meet you Bryce. I'm impressed with your knowledge of Eastern tradition but we'll need a bit more than just a firecracker to impress them. Besides I'm certain that being genuine is far more important than being impressive. Respect and honor do go a long ways, but so does honesty." Heylyn gave her opinion with regard to the matter at hand.

"I agree. This is not a circus. It's an important communication between peoples sometimes divided on many issues of conduct, ethics, behavior, politics and medicine. We've got to step carefully through the other issues in order to address the one that we want to deal with and that's being accepted within the traditional treatment paradigm while hanging on to Western medical ideals." Doctor Briggs addressed the room adding to Heylyn's observation.

"That's a two way street from the way I see it. We're not going over there with the battering ram of Western medicine and modern technology to squash the traditions of a culture that has been practicing medicine while most of the rest of us were still fighting over language. The way I see it is that we've already written the epitaph for the regard of Western medicine by closing the door so readily upon Eastern medicine here." Bryce returned.

"We have standards here. Eastern medicine had the same opportunities as did Western medicines and treatments but those that aren't allowed have not passed our strict regulations. That's what standards are. The regimen we choose to uphold that must be passed for a particular treatment to be considered real and not mere quackery." Alicia said upholding her belief in Western system of medicine.

"The last time we spoke on this subject Alicia, we touched upon one of the most important aspects of medicine and that's the placebo effect. The healing power of one's perception that they've been healed can often be just as important as the actual treatment itself. Sometimes being under the impression that you've been treated successfully is just as important as actually having been treated at all. In other words for some, the mere idea of believing they've been cured is enough. I understand that we cannot build a medical infrastructure upon the crutches of placebo and throw away hundreds if not thousands of years of medical knowledge and research but it does us no good to throw the placebo effect away either." Bryce returned hoping Alicia had only had a momentary lapse of their conversation only a few months ago.

"We haven't discarded the placebo effect. In fact it's used quite regularly in medical procedure and especially in research and in some cases treatment." Alicia returned defensively.

"In Western treatment that's certainly the case. What about Eastern treatment. I mean if you hold that it is not valid and does not stand up to Western standards, are you saying that the placebo effect does more so than Eastern medicine, even upon people who believe in Eastern medicine? So you've discarded the results that you can't prove work but kept the ones that you can prove don't work according to any logical medical explanation. Knowing this how do you think that nearly three or four billion people who've been using traditional Eastern medicine and relying on it for perhaps a thousand years will regard Western medicine trying to make it's entry into their market when in fact it really came into being through the same foundation from whence Western medicine came though it took a much different turn since Pasteur discovered that hot water kills microbial infestations in water meaning that submerging surgical instruments in boiling water was enough to prevent infection. That is pretty much the foundation of modern medicine. Before that we had pretty much relied upon similar but less evolved methods as Eastern medicine hundreds of years earlier. Don't me wrong Alicia, I love Western medicine, but we've got to drop this egocentric attitude before we go stepping on the door mat of cultures who've been treating illness successfully for a long time." Bryce replied to Alicia standing his ground and keeping his tone academic and even.

"Alicia I have to agree with Bryce. This is a two way street and we'll have to make many concessions though without compromising our standards but perhaps being more accepting to those of the East. This exchange of tradition and knowledge has been somewhat one sided though I'm happy to see that it's beginning to change. The idea is that we'll both benefit from each others' knowledge, so we're not going there to break down they're proverbial door at gunpoint and force them to accept our Western treatment despite our miraculous claims. Imagine if we told them the whole story of what had been possible with the SY349. You know what I mean? Everything. They'd look at us like we were crazy. Perhaps just as the West did when it came to Eastern medicine. Our saving grace is that the intent of our medical industry is noble. That's a pretty serious oath after all when a Doctor swears that they will do no harm. It's assuring to know that so many people take that oath seriously." Heylyn responded to Alicia.

Heylyn Yates (Ai Yuanlin Ying) The Butterfly Dragon
"Think of it this way Alicia. That if we can't prove how any such treatment is working according to our physical measure, but is in fact resulting in a successful treatment of the patient's condition, who is it that we're healing? Are we healing the the patient or the Doctor's understanding of how things work? If it does work, then we must as scientists strive to understand why. Not reject because we don't understand how or why they work. This is certainly not an attack on science or medicine but the effects of dogma and egocentric attitudes with regard to Western medicine. We cannot be so arrogant to disregard technologies simply because they were discovered elsewhere or because we don't understand them yet." Bryce addressed the room though directing his point towards Alicia.

"There is sure to be much skepticism when it comes to what we're offering. Especially regarding the treatments. The SY389 and the SY390. The SY series treatment is unlike anything we've ever developed. This is radical technology and they might not be ready to accept it." Doctor Briggs offered taking the role of the devil's advocate.

"On the contrary I believe there is much within the SY series that will appeal to Eastern philosophy. For one, the fact that the treatment itself can be affected by the design, shape and color of something outside the body is remarkable and falls in line with existing beliefs in China, Japan and Korea. India certainly is at home with such ideas as their medicinal implements are often affected by design as per their beliefs. Certain color plays a large part in the effect as does aesthetic design itself. How many sides there are on a faceted gem? Their angles to the outside world and to each other? The East has been playing with these ideas for a long time. These ideas fall right into their concept of the world and medicine. We'll benefit from presenting them in that way and taking advantage of that similarity." Heylyn suggested to the group.

"I don't know a thing about what any of you guys just said, but I've always wanted to try bubble tea. Do you think I'll be able to get some when we're there?" Monique asked as the room broke out in laughter taking a few minutes to quiet down.

Monique Defleur
Monique leaned over quietly to Heylyn.

"I don't get it?" she said to Heylyn nudging her foot under the conference room table making Heylyn giggle a little more.

Heylyn had known Monique for long enough to know that she was playing her own intelligence down perhaps just for a bit of levity.

"One thing that we can all agree upon. That's the we can always rely upon Monique to get us to the surface for air before we drown in our conversations." Norler added.

"She's a welcome addition and I'm pleased to meet you. I think you'll like it. Bubble tea I mean. I see your point and I believe that you're right. I believe some of it is medicinal." Bryce offered her his hand graciously.

"Well most herbal teas that you can get from that region are medicinal or considered medicine. I think that some people even regard Bubble tea as being so. Certain kinds anyway. I think that's on the subject of what you were just talking about." Monique responded

"What's most interesting is that much of their understanding of medicine is based around the concept that a healthy body is in a state of equilibrium and perfect balance. So when one part falters it affects everything else down the chain from it and throws off this equilibrium which is why many of their medicinal teas are used as treatment for they target that specific functioning of the body to restore equilibrium. Much of how we perceive their understanding of medicine comes from the nature of how they relate symptoms to cause and effect and why there has long been this misunderstanding in terms of their forms of medicine. I think the point Monique made is a valid one for certain and It's that kind of enthusiasm and curiosity that will open the doors between us in the West. After all, it's not about whose medicine is better. It's about how our two forms of medicine and understanding can be combined to produce a much more encompassing and effective method of treatment for everyone." Doctor Briggs nodded to Monique.

"Just don't go overboard on the cuisine. You've got an important fashion show coming up. You'll have to fit into the outfits I designed around your current measurements." Heylyn reminded Monique.

"Alicia. I'm sorry if we came down too hard on you but it literally was nothing personal. These are issues that we'll encounter during our visit and it's better that we broach these attitudes here rather than over there when it really counts." Bryce looked over compassionately to Alicia.

"No harm done. After all I was playing the devil's advocate to that end. I agree. We need to find these little snags before we address our counterparts and not during and after. I guess I'm a little edgy with so much riding on this expedition. I'll keep an open mind and more importantly I'll take some time to understand their side of things especially with regard to medicinal treatment. From the sounds of things there's a lot to be learned from their unique viewpoint." Alicia replied still a little defensive.

"As there is for them to learn from ours. After all it's a two way road." Bryce returned a comforting smile.

"That it is. I just can't wait to share some of what we've learned. Perhaps it will stir their curiosity and lead us to find a bit of insight to the mysterious Quantum Observer phenomenon that seems to be at play with the treatment. I've heard the Chinese delegation is going to include Doctor Waitak Te Hong, one of the Chief Biomedical Researchers from Tatung University in Taipei, Taiwan." Alicia informed Bryce who listened carefully.

"Really? That's remarkable and a good opportunity as well. I just read one of his papers. It seems they're making leaps and bounds progress in Bioinformatics. Some of their research is done through the same volunteer distributed computing grid that we're relying on here. Berkeley's BOINC program and the related World Community Grid run by IBM which both run on the same network. I just finished a research project that used the volunteer distributed computing model for a large scale factorization of polynomials for a computational biology project we're working on. It seems that Doctor Hong at Tatung has derived a very efficient means of performing such calculations based upon lookup tables and root mean averaging. Essentially bypassing the requirement for factorization in every pass it's required. In fact it's so efficient that even on a small project it could save a year's worth of computing time. That's pretty significant." Bryce added for conjecture.

"We've been using both BOINC and World Community Grid for much of our non-confidential research related work for some time. Haven't we Alicia?" Norler jumped in looking quickly to Alicia when he'd realized he might be in over his head.

"It's true. Tynan And Associates has been relying on the distributed computing model for a number of current projects in the biomedical research division. Much of the preliminary simulation for the effects upon protein structure of the SY390 has been run on the BOINC and World Community Grid network. In addition, Tynan And Associates has setup a distributed computing farm to donate computing time to the network for other research projects around the world." Alicia informed them.

"It looks like we've found another common ground with our colleagues in the East. This is exactly the kind of thing that will help this mission and this is exactly the kind of cooperation that we should foster." Norler responded enthusiastic to see that the plan was moving forward.

"I agree. It's important to note as well that their researchers right now are likely slavering at their mouths just to get the chance to talk with some of us and what we're working on. After all, it's a two way road." Bryce said and winked at Alicia.

"Alright, that's enough of that language you two. Maybe now you two could indulge us with a conversation that the rest of us can take part in?" Heylyn said a devious smile across her face.

"I agree. After all, this is a business trip and we're going to contend with business related affairs." Norler continued catching Heylyn's drift.

"...of a medical nature I might add." Monique looked around for approval which came in the form of a nod from Doctor Briggs.

"Then it's agreed. We're going to the Far East on a business and medical science related diplomatic mission that will require people like myself and my dear colleague Alicia and possibly even my friend Doctor Briggs here to speak in a language that some might find offensive, though I prefer to call it science." Bryce summed it all up.

Three weeks later and they were entering into the boarding area as a group at Pearson International Airport. Heylyn and Monique accompanied Alicia and Norler. Bryce was in a discussion with Doctor Briggs as they strode the hall towards the boarding area. Their luggage had already been transferred to the cargo area where it would once again meet them in New Delhi. The first leg of their flight would be to Europe via London Heathrow and then on for a stop-over to Paris International Airport. The rest of the flight would fly direct to their first destination at New Delhi.

As they approached the boarding area, they heard their names in a series of frantic screams.

"Doctor Westin! Professor Maxwell! Wait! Wait! We've been sent to meet you here!" a compact man in shirt and tie ran waving a paper over his head.

Just behind him an attractive lady followed trying to keep up.

"Katya? Victor? What are you doing here?" Alicia turned surprised to see her colleagues.

She'd not seen them since her evening out at the Looking Glass lounge a few months prior.

"We thought we missed you. Whew. This is a really big airport." Victor said in his heavy Russian accent as he leaned over struggling to catch his breath.

"Try running in these pumps. Victor." Katya replied to him sarcastically in her own thick Russian accent.

"I told you but you insisted on wearing them..." Victor replied to her taking deep breaths.

"No, I meant try running in these pumps. They're great! And actually very comfortable for running too! I wore them because they're designed by Alicia's friend. By her company. The West In The East Company." Katya responded.

"I'm flattered. I think." Heylyn replied flatly.

"What brings you here?" Alicia asked the two of them.

"Well if it isn't La Phages Aux Calles... Good to see you. How are the two of you doing?" Bryce spoke in jest offering his hand.

"I don't get it." Monique said to Heylyn.

"You're not the only one." Heylyn replied.

"Everyone, allow me to introduce to you Doctors Victor and Katya Piotr. They're a wife and husband team who work in medical research studying a microbe called a Phage." Alicia explained to her friends and peers.

"Oh! Now I get it. That's pretty funny Bryce. La Phage Aux Calles. Like the play. Ha ha. Phages eh? That sounds very interesting and probably very rewarding. So what are Phages anyway?" Monique asked.

"They're a microbial life form which grows in sewer refuse and can most often be found in sh..." Katya began.

"Poop! They can be found in the refuse of living creatures. Living and feeding there." Victor interrupted her quickly.

Victor, Katya, Monique and Heylyn

Monique's smile waned as she struggled to imagine their work unsure of whether to offer them her hand.

"It's an honor to meet you. Thanks for the compliment as well. I'm Heylyn Yates." Heylyn stepped forward introducing herself and taking the initiative and offering her hand.

"Pleased to meet you, I'm Walton Norler. So what brings you here?" Norler introduced himself.

"We were hired by Tynan And Associates just last night. They procured us to accompany you on your trip. It turns out that a Russian science delegation will be meeting us in Thailand as well. Werner wanted us to be there for this meeting and to help you for the rest of the trip. We picked up our tickets this morning before we came here. That's why we're running behind." Victor explained their situation.

"You're a most welcome addition to our delegation. Welcome aboard. We've got just fifteen minutes before they close the gates, so we'd better get moving." Alicia got them motivated once again and they continued as a group for the departure gate.

The flight departed as scheduled and before long the members of the delegation were busy going over details related to their first stop on the mission.

The That

The room darkened briefly and a large screen display near the front came to life. The onscreen camera flew through the points of interest somewhere in an integrated circuit plant. It paused at several points along its' path.

"Have you ever had the feeling that as we progress, that you're being left behind." a narrative voice with an anxious verbosity came from the speakers.

The camera then jumped to a research lab, the Tynan And Associates logo prominent upon a test tube as the technician routinely and perhaps frustratingly picked it up and mixed it's blue contents with a glass stir stick. It appeared the lab technician was ever so unhappy with their job. Mundane left to some corner of a lab and manufacturing facility to toil over test tubes.

The camera then found itself at a funeral with relatives crying over a casket.

"That technology and advancement has left you behind. Your family and loved ones stand to lose the most and you're not alone." the voice continued as if the reluctant bearer of bad news.

The screen suddenly passed through a glowing green light which eventually filled the screen making way for the next scene which depicted a group of Women and Men all in white business attire from head to toe. Angelic in their step and expression as they strode forward at an even pace. On either side of them passersby from the scene started to join them. One at first and then more followed until as the camera zoomed out, the line of people literally extended around a digital globe.

"That's why at Future Tangent Industries our first priority is everyone. After all what good are these advances if there's nobody left to share them? Future Tangent Industries. We'll get there together." the FTI logo slowly appeared superimposed over the globe as the byline appeared.

Tomorrow. We'll get there together.

The screen then went blank replaced by white text on a black background.

Ad proposal: 4. Target audience: North America. South America. Europe.

The picture disappeared and the lights in the boardroom once again brightened as the eyes in the room adjusted.

"I like it." Gartner announced.

"Great touch with the Tynan logo. The legal department won't like that one bit but it certainly gets the point home." Paxton responded adjusting his glasses.

"I think that this ad will work well. Can we change the color of the liquid that the Tynan technician is stirring? Maybe red. Green?" asked Steadman.

"We used green for the transition to the scene depicting our team." Gartner replied.

"Alright. Can we make it look putrid perhaps even lumpy?" asked Steadman.

"They should be able to do it with graphics. I'll have the ad firm get on it right away." Gartner replied.

"What about you big guy? You've been kind of quiet." Steadman turned directing his gaze towards the man near the end of the table.

"It will do. I want the Tynan logo to look even more vague. I don't want the public thinking that we're attacking them." Warley responded coldly.

"Forgive me sir, but we are attacking them. This is business." Gartner responded.

"I know. I don't want the public to though. Make the liquid putrid like Steadman said. Everything else is fine." Warley replied.

"Yes sir." Gartner tapped a few notes onto his tablet.

"That will be all. Steadman, I'd like you to stay. We have a matter to discuss." Warley directed Steadman.

The other men quickly streamed out of the room leaving Steadman to face Warley alone.

"They've sent a delegation to the East." Warley announced.

"Really? Why? The Asian Alliance have already made it clear that they're against Tynan's plan to make the formula available everywhere." Steadman responded defensively.

"What if this delegation is able to convince them to change their mind?" Warley posed.

"I'd say it's not possible. Many in the East might already see it as an assault upon their tradition. That Tynan are treating the East like a third world problem. Pride will most likely be the biggest barrier." Steadman explained.

"They're sending intellects to make the sell. So are the representatives of the East. This isn't going to be a diplomatic negotiation. They're going to reason with one another as equals." Warley told Steadman.

"We can set up another ad campaign. One in the East specifically targeted to their demographic." Steadman suggested.

"Tynan already has one running. An ad campaign in India and one in Korea. They're probably going to expand that campaign to Thailand, Vietnam, China and Japan through one of the major networks. Why is it that I'm telling you this. You're supposed to be on top of it." Warley asked Steadman accusingly.

"What do you want me to do? There's nothing we can do." Steadman asked with the edge of nervousness present in his voice.

"I want you to stop this delegation. I mean stop them." Warley said firmly.

"Alright. I'll send a team of our best and brightest. We'll try to sway them to use FTI for their future cooperation with the West instead of Tynan." Steadman said easing slightly having solved this problem and having gotten himself out of the hot seat.

"I want you to make sure there's measures in place in case that doesn't work. I want you to have an official from the East assassinated during their trip. I want you to make it look as if the Tynan delegation was responsible." Warley ordered Steadman.

"Sir, that will cause an international incident. The repercussions could destabilize any cooperation we've built up between the East and the West. That's a big risk to take." Steadman advised Warley.

"Then do a good job. Make it look good. Check out the histories of the members of the delegation team and create a motive drawing from that knowledge. Succeed and you'll be rewarded. Fail, and you'll be..." Warley began.

"It will be done. I'll get our security team on it right away." Steadman assured Warley.

"Good. Mr. Zek will be watching." Warley reminded Steadman looking up to a camera in the corner of the room.

The camera looked back at them panning slightly.

New Delhi

The transfer went smoothly at London Heathrow International Airport where they had boarded another airbus that took them to Paris for short stop and then on to New Delhi in nine hours. They'd arrived during the evening and went directly from Indira Ghandi International Airport to their hotel where they slept until nine o'clock the next day. They met for a quiet and short breakfast before they were whisked off for their first meeting.

They would meet with with the India delegation who would be accompanied by a representative from Malaysia, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka each at Lodhi Garden Park. The park itself was lush and green with an intricately crafted rose garden, several preserved ancient tombs and various tourist interest sites. Many businesses and restaurants had lined the exterior of the park, symbiotes taking from its namesake and tourist draw. They met the other delegation at the Lodhi Garden Park south gates where one of the delegates held a sign written in clear english:

Welcoming The Tynan Delegates

"Namaskaar." Norler said confidently.

"Namaskaar. Good morning. You must be..." one of the other delegates said a big smile on his face.

"Allow me to introduce everyone. This is Doctor Alicia Westin, Doctor Katya Piotr, Heylyn Yates, Monique Defleur, Valerie Aspen, Doctor Stephen Briggs, Professor Bryce Maxwell, Doctor Victor Piotr and I'm Walton Norler." Norler introduced everyone graciously and the delegates exchanged hands.

"Very pleased to meet you. Let me do the same for my colleagues and peers here. Starting with the ladies, this is Doctor Chandra Bodhi of the Sri Lanka delegation and Doctor Maeya Dharmaprana of the India delegation. We also have with us Doctor Guru Singh Gyan of the Malaysian delegation and Doctor Fardin Choudhuri of the Bangladesh delegation. I'm Professor Aarav Mattu. It is our pleasure to welcome you." Professor Mattu spoke careful of his pronunciation.

"It's our pleasure to meet you. So it is my understanding that you're going to take us on a tour of Lodhi Garden?" Norler asked as they began walking.

"Yes we certainly are. It is a British era park which encompassed several important tombs in the area and some very old buildings. Many local residents come here to meditate and pray while it also draws tourists from Europe and overseas. It is part of the heart of our many ancient traditions." Professor Mattu explained.

"It is with respect and regard for these traditions that we've come here today if I may say so." Alicia spoke unsure if it might be taken with hostility for her to speak out of turn.

"We are speaking as peers and equals here. There is no need to press yourselves down on the basis of any gender based customs you've likely heard about or misunderstood. A Woman may speak as she so chooses. Is that not right Professor Mattu?" Doctor Bodhi addressed Alicia's tension and then confirmed with Professor Mattu not as a subordinate, but as an equal.

"There are abodes where such traditions might still be present, but you will find no such tradition amongst us here. We are equals." Professor Mattu said with a sense of dignity smiling to Doctor Bodhi enough so that Alicia caught camaraderie between them.

"That is a great relief and with that being the case, are we to understand that it is with open minds that you are willing to discuss with us today the topic of medicine?" Valerie asked the delegates.

"That is for what we are here after all. But it seems that you come to us with a slight misunderstanding of our ways and in doing so are being condescending in your effort to avert offending us." Doctor Dharmaprana asked them.

"We are being cautious but not just for our sake. We all have much to lose if we are not mutually successful here. So we are taking cautious steps though we are certainly not being condescending. We recognize that India is one of the leading centers for medicine in this region, having medical technology and advances that rival those of the West. It is as Professor Mattu said. We are here as equals and we need you to work with us." Alicia addressed their concerns.

"We need you to meet us somewhere in the middle." Heylyn addressed the delegation.

"Heylyn Yates. The fashion designer and a former Chinese National here on a delegation that is clearly the grounds of science?" Doctor Choudhuri responded.

"You said and agreed that we are here as equals. Women and Men. Artisans and Doctors alike. So I am speaking on those grounds. I am also asking you to meet us in the middle whether you agree or not. Remember that we are making concessions here as well, so don't try to give us the impression that weight is all in your lap for it's not. The sooner we understand that the sooner we can negotiate as equals." Heylyn responded to Doctor Choudhuri and the delegation.

"That sounded like something that Sylvia would have said. Doesn't it Alicia?" Bryce smiled to Heylyn.

"I believe that it does." Alicia smiled to Bryce catching his line of reasoning.

"It is not known by many that Professor Bryce Maxwell worked with Doctor Sylvia Upadhaya, a brilliant researcher and pioneer of Quantum Biology whom was also from India." Doctor Dharmaprana addressed them all.

"May I tell them Alicia?" Bryce asked Alicia.

Alicia thought momentarily to herself and then nodded in approval.

"It is also not well known that Alicia volunteered for a senior's home and was one of Sylvia's last and most treasured friends at the age of sixteen. An important time in your life was it not Alicia?" Bryce asked her.

"It most certainly was. That was the year that Heylyn made my graduation dress. I had a bit of weight and was self conscious. Heylyn helped me to overcome that lack of self esteem. Doctor Upadhaya, Sylvia was a tenant in the senior's home I volunteered for. We actually talked much about her work. Nothing specific but our conversations definitely had an impact upon my career path. So you could say that I wouldn't be here talking to you as a Doctor if it weren't for Heylyn and for Sylvia." Alicia responded.

"Much as you say, I too had beginnings. I used to come to this very park and look at the leaves of the bougainvillea trees. There are two of them in this park which I will show to you." Doctor Dharmaprana pointed to the distance where two magnificent trees stood whose magenta foliage pierced the distance easily.

"I would stare at their leaves wondering just how such pretty colors could occur in such numbers, so similar to one another yet so unique each one. The concept is so hard to describe. Aatm samaan. Yet many perceive it. It was through my fascination for these trees that I pursued a career in biology that eventually led to medicine. One of Sylvia's biology texts was part of my curriculum so it is there that we share a common bond Alicia." Doctor Dharmaprana finished.

"The golden path. A tapestry that weaves us all to one another in some way. One person's action leading to affect another's destiny. That person's much the same to another and so on. Perhaps it is that we are destined to be here together speaking of these matters for there are great possibilities yet to be explored." Doctor Guru Singh Gyan

"I take it that you know why we are here?" Alicia asked the delegates.

"We most certainly do. It is your wishes to see the Asian Alliance vote again on Tynan And Associates proposal for the creation of a global fund to pay for the miraculous treatment you've developed. You are trying to rally us to vote in favor." Professor Mattu replied answering Alicia's question.

"Then why is it that you would vote against the work that was pioneered by Sylvia?" Alicia asked the delegates.

"We are not at liberty to discuss our individual votes with regard to any assembly of the Asian Alliance. Who says that we did or didn't?" Doctor Choudhuri responded.

"Somebody had to have voted against it because that was the result of the vote." Valerie responded.

"We are a people of tradition that are carefully progressing to embrace the new world. Our experiences with the West have not been pleasant ones, and even led to occupation and eventually revolution. This park is a relic of that time created to bind the public and secure their confidence in the people occupying our land at that time. The truth is that this park, the land which it occupies transcends the idea of a park altogether for it was here long before these borders and imaginary lines we've made to denote who owns what ever existed." Doctor Dharmaprana explained.

"Now consider that instead of a park, that we have our history and tradition. The foundations upon that which distinguishes us from the other leaves on the tree were to be suddenly divided up by the same boundaries and imaginary lines. This is yours that is ours. We would certainly lose what it is to be us though we would still be the same as we were before. The most recent thing that is known about this land is that it was a park founded during the rule of occupation though the land was exactly the same as it was before the foundation of this park as were the temples, tombs and gardens. They did not suddenly come into existence when someone came here and said: this is now officially a park. It always was a park and with many of the ancient lands in India, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh to represent my fellow delegates, it always will be and that which ties us to our own history." Doctor Dharmaprana presented the lands of the park as she eloquently spoke.

"It is true. You are not the first that have come to us with a miracle. Many have throughout history. Some bearing the gifts of science. Others the gifts of religion, sometimes trying to explain why we are wrong and they are right. So what makes this time different from all of the others?" Professor Mattu asked the Western delegation.

There was a long and awkward silence as they progressed along the path through the park. For the next two hours they enjoyed the scenery and refrained from any talk related to the goals of either delegation. At one thirty in the afternoon they found seating and the fresh wind to return to their earlier discussion.

Discussion In The Park

"So here we are. Now." Alicia started.

"My guess is that now is the imperative in that statement?" Doctor Dharmaprana said in a strangely congenial way.

"There's no better time than the present." Katya spoke her thoughts aloud.

"There's the future my dear." Victor responded to Katya with an optimistic smile.

"Well, if we are content with now, and now was the future at some point then I suppose that we're both right." Katya explained to Victor who raised an eyebrow in consideration of her sentiment.

"Well put, though I'm more amazed at how you deftly referred to the future in the past tense to reconcile your mutual concept of now." Bryce expressed.

"Then maybe reconcile is the operative word upon which we should concentrate?" Professor Mattu said.

"I would have to agree with you there. It wasn't long ago that we were regarded as how you say...? quacks? for working in the field of studying the medical applications of phages." Victor addressed Professor Mattu.

"Years ago it was regarded somewhat similarly to the way that some forms of Eastern medicine are looked upon. Like it was not science." Katya explained.

"And what was it that changed that perception of your work?" asked Doctor Choudhuri.

Katya looked to Victor as they tried to come up with the word.

"To keep on going even when it gets a bit hard..." Victor answered.

"Perseverance?" Doctor Dharmaprana confirmed.

"Yes. Perseverance. Determination. We kept at it despite the jokes that often came at our expense." Katya looked to Doctor Dharmaprana and then to the others at the table.

"And how is your research regarded now?" Professor Mattu asked.

"There is much interest and it is taken very seriously. Especially as an alternative to antibiotics especially in the face of antibiotic resistant strains of super bacteria. Phages are essentially a biological solution to that problem that provides genetic engineering with a biological template that is already a capable adversary to existing bacteria. It is in essence a predator of bacteria and operates as a sort of cancer hijacking the bacteria's own genome in order to produce more of their phage strain via cellular mitosis. Once the bacteria have been eliminated in the host body, the phages are flushed out of the body with normal bowel and bladder movements." Victor explained to a captive audience as his wife continued.

"...We've been working with the genome of specific phage strains in order to create a strain that feeds upon antibiotic resistant bacteria in the same way. We've had a great deal of success but in a research sense there are still some hurdles to be overcome." Katya looked to Victor who pursed his lips and nodded modestly for the two of them.

"But from what you're saying, you've come a long way from how you were first regarded. As being quacks I mean." Monique spoke addressing Katya.

"Most certainly. Many people's reactions were much like yours was when we told you what we do." Katya nodded affirmatively considering Monique's viewpoint.

"Sometimes credibility is very much dependent upon the hardware of what you do. What you work with. Where it comes from." Doctor Briggs addressed the table.

There was a moment of pause as they considered his statement.

"Now you've done it. For sparking our curiosity you're just going to have to explain yourself now." Bryce said to him setting the stage.

"Always the show man." Doctor Briggs smirked at Bryce somewhat sarcastically before he continued.

"Consider the field that each of you work in. Specifically I'm going to refer to Katya and Victor for this example. We're Doctors here and adults. Those of us in the medical profession have to start young and get used to stigmas and cliches that it can often take much longer for others to get over. Stigmas that can affect how people react to certain situations. Getting over the discomfort that some feel towards nudity is usually the first hurdle and in much the same way that artists do. In school your fellow students and peers might find it a point of humor to address artists and doctors for this exposure in a sort of demeaning way. That has nothing to do with the artist or the doctor, but more the social psychology of how people deal with aspects of being that draw the boundaries of personal secrets. Our very first personal secret is our body and sharing that with others is an important boundary and symbol. Look at how this concept is regarded in the East by two very different but related cultures. In China, nudity is regarded as an important secret. The secret of one's body. The gift which a lover's eyes fall upon the first time might signify marriage. The sharing of one's greatest secret. Their body. In ancient China as far back and before the Song Dynasty this was extended to even the face of Women as much their body. Chinese culture as a result hold the female body in high esteem and the secrecy of nudity is very important symbolically though this symbolism is important in many aspect the first of which is reverence. After all, the first time that you see a Woman's body in whole as a Man is often the moment that you become a Man, as it is the moment that she might become a Woman. An important distinguishing feature for how nudity is regarded in the Far East. Here in India, we have a similar situation where the body and sexuality has been regarded with reverence though somewhat more chauvinistic in the sense that the sources of this reverence were regarded purely for a Man's pleasure." Doctor Briggs explained his point.

"You're speaking of the Kamasutra. I did a fashion show based around a line of lingerie which drew from the Kamasutra for inspiration. I was actually quite surprised when I read it how male centric it was in terms of teaching Women the art of pleasure. So what happened to the pleasure of Women?" Heylyn asked Doctor Briggs trying playfully to make him squeamish.

He kept his composure as Bryce threw Heylyn a wink hoping that Doctor Briggs would falter. Meanwhile Professor Mattu appeared ever so slightly uncomfortable while Doctor Dharmaprana leaned slightly towards Heylyn's viewpoint.

"In India's early history and very much still present in the pragma and dogma often associated with marriage is the idea that it is the duty of a Woman to be a source of pleasure for their husband. After all in their customs the Bride's body has become the property of the Groom though that idea itself has fallen under attack recently in relation to the laws regarding marital rape. Does a wife have the right to deny her husband sex was the question that was put to the courts and upheld." Doctor Briggs continued drawing a defensive response.

"Did you come here to attack our history and customs or to negotiate a solution to help your miracle cure reach the poor?" Professor Mattu seemed annoyed even drawing some support from Norler.

"We are getting off track here. I want to remind our delegation that we did not come here to promote a political agenda or to criticize the customs of any cultures. Am I making myself clear?" Norler addressed the table slightly agitated himself.

Alicia looked at him understanding his discomfort. Bryce, Briggs and Heylyn were putting this delegation's goal at risk and possibly setting them up for an international incident.

"I can understand your discomfort with this topic but let's look beyond this as Professors, Doctors, professionals and more importantly as worldly adults. I think that Doctor Briggs is getting to an important point relative to the goals of our respective delegations. There's more at stake here than the fund but we have a chance to agree upon that and much more." Bryce spoke in defense of Doctor Briggs.

"I absolutely agree. Being a Woman and a member of the Chinese community I think that this is coming to a very important point." Heylyn backed Bryce.

"I must say that I too agree. It is important that we hear this point out. If we cannot talk about such issues with an honest and open opinion then how is it that we can ever hope to advance beyond ignorance." Doctor Dharmaprana added.

Norler looked uneasy for a moment looking around before reluctantly giving a nod of approval. Professor Mattu appeared disappointed but showed no signs of a rebuttal.

"I am interested in hearing the rest of your point Doctor Briggs." Katya urged him to continue.

There was a moment's pause and he finally spoke.

"The point that I was getting at was there are stigmas and cliches, some of which take much longer for society to outgrow related to what we do as Doctors. Dealing with nudity and sexuality is one example. How the Eastern societies and Western societies deal with these very topics and did so throughout history is one example of our differences. How cliches become manifest socially. Both China and India have their own ideas and history regarding both nudity and sexuality. India is fairly liberal with regard to how they regard it though it is still contained for certain situations. I'd given the example of the Kamasutra where our topic went astray. Japan on the other hand regards nudity and sexuality very differently than both China and India, where the concepts associated with sexuality are introduced from a young age perhaps similarly to how Europeans might introduce youth to wine with their dinner as young as seven years old. As a result there is less social stigma and cliche regarding sexuality and alcoholism is actually less of a problem statistically in France than it is in some other countries of the West. Likewise with youth being exposed to sexual concepts from a young age does not mean they have a problem with youth pregnancy or statutory rape. When comparing how the two cultures regard nudity and sexuality, it is easy to see that China is much more conservative with regard to both topics than is Japan and that is because given the history of the symbolism of nudity as being an important rite with regard to both marriage and adulthood in China. It has held this stance for that time and to this day it is still regarded as an important symbol and rite of passage. It is an important symbol and gift if your lover has shared her body with you as a male. Japanese culture on the other hand is much relaxed with regard to sexual attitudes though they still revere innocence. It is often the gate through which one must pass for the sharing of one's body with their partner. Keep in mind that this very topic if discussed in North America before a university audience might draw many giggles and jokes from Western students when compared to how such talk might be taken differently in places like India, China and Japan. These attitudes aren't necessarily good or bad nor do they make one culture better or worse. They just are and to be aware of them can open many doors that would almost certainly remain closed. Europe went through its own artistic renaissance at a time that challenged the views on nudity and the female body that had been enforced through religious dogma and the concept of sin for a thousand years. During that time Women had taken back ownership of their bodies from the clergy and many were celebrated through art. Once again an important time and change from a stance that had traditionally taught society that nudity was sin and that Women were responsible for the downfall of human kind. It is only fitting that Europe at that time became a center for art related commerce and fashion that has remained until this day. An attitude that eventually inspired enough change throughout the globe to lead to the Women's vote. Now take the same attitudes that have emerged throughout history with regard to medicine and it's safe practice. It's morality. In the Far East this has taken a much different path as it has here in India. Science and medicine in the West were married early and the scientific method was part of medicine from the early stages of its development. In the Eastern hemisphere mysticism was the only science and up until the last two centuries this had remained the case. The prime difference between these two means resulted in very different approaches to diagnosis and treatment. In the West the body was regarded like a device or machine and when that machine broke down, it could be repaired by opening it up and fixing the problem inside. In India the approach was much different as the body and life itself was seen as a process more so than a device. This process was merely the interlinked and interdependent combination of thousands of other smaller processes each of which led to the healthy functioning of the physical through our body, the mental through our mind and the energetic through our spirit. The first encounter with energy was examined through Prana, Chi and Qi which means spirit energy or life energy." Doctor Briggs paused when he noticed Heylyn readying herself to speak.

"Chi is one of the most important concepts when it comes to traditional Chinese medicine and certainly when it comes to diagnosis of illness. Blockages in Chi have a particular feel and effect upon one's body as does reopening their flow." Heylyn said to the group.

"This is much the same with Prana and Chakras in our traditional medicine." Doctor Dharmaprana added.

"So what does that mean to a Western medical practitioner. This energetic body. I mean we're dealing with a very pragmatic and routine understanding of the physical body. This is obviously where much stigma gets in and Eastern medicine becomes regarded as quackery. Are you talking about our soul? Our nervous system?" Bryce challenged knowing the answer already.

"The nervous system has many qualities that are difficult to fathom. The nervous system cells or neurons are indistinguishable from the cells of the brain. Both cells propagate an electrical charge from the synapses through the axon to the dendrites. This is how they transfer information content from one end of the cell to the other. The cells themselves do some processing upon this information which changes the current propagated to the next cells and hence the information content. These cells are literally communicating via electrical signaling throughout the whole body carrying information to and from the brain. Most such communication occurs to affect non-voluntary action and our glands to produce hormones which affect or balance behavior." Katya responded taking Bryce's challenge.

"The spirit energy, Prana, Chi or Qi could easily be described as the resulting magnetic field. The human body is one big electrical conductor after all. It`s fifty to seventy percent water. One of the best conductors of electricity. With a current flowing through our nervous system this would create a magnetic field albeit a small one." Professor Mattu jumped in.

"Sounds like my yoga classes." Valerie jumped in happy to find a topic she could contribute something however small.

"Valerie my dear, we all know that you're there already and are just waiting for the rest of us to catch up." Bryce responded before he continued.

"I'd read in a recent scientific journal that the University of New Delhi has just purchased a Superconducting Quantum Interference Device. I don't suppose that's connected to this topic in some way?" Bryce looked to his peers from the other delegation.

"Equipment like the SQUID is booked for lab experiments and research by participating alumni and students alike. We have several studies which are targeting the measurement of the human biofield and their correlation with the concept of Prana. For the first time we are looking to examine Prana as a scientifically measured quanta." Doctor Choudhuri responded.

"Meaning you're one step closer to bridging the gap between science and quackery and the elimination of..." Bryce began holding up his hands.

"Stigma and cliche." Doctor Briggs finished nodding to Bryce with a smile.

"And more importantly, ignorance. Thank you very much." Bryce brought his hands together in victory.

"That still doesn't help me get over the stigma that I research poop!" Victor replied.

"I was getting to that." Doctor Briggs responded.

"Why don't I take that if you wouldn't mind?" Doctor Gyan asked putting a finger to his red turban.

"Be my guest." Doctor Briggs acknowledged.

"As you were saying, stigma and cliche has played a part in how others interpret our forms of medicine and mostly because of this early marriage between mysticism and medicine whereas the West this marriage was formed up out of science and medicine. It began it's life independent of any mystic doctrines and dogma that would have been controlled at that time by the Church. In the East mysticism was governed by its own form of clergy and for a time in early history associated dogma. Mysticism was seen largely as a form of science to to explain the material world through its interactions via the mystical nature of being. The diagnosis related to health issues first went through a regimen related to a philosophy as Doctor Briggs described. The physical nature of being and the body. The mental nature of being and the mind. Finally the spiritual nature of being and our energetic body. All three of these concepts can further be broken down into a holistic view of being which is tied in to the philosophy as an explanation for the cause and effect relationship between diagnosis and treatment. Because this philosophy is as Professor Maxwell stated in a prior lecture, linked to observation for the collapse of the wave function as described in quantum mechanics, the scientific nature of this philosophy would not be discovered for another two thousand years and instead since that discovery had been regarded more as subjective philosophy and perhaps even dogma more so than science. The fact that many treatments prescribed through Vedic tradition involve messy or even dirty treatments. The application of various oils. Mud. Physical massage and tactile stimulation in the absence of quantum mechanics and the effects and impact of the observer upon the unfolding of reality they've accumulated a negative bias. In much the same way that Doctor Katya and Victor Piotr experienced negative bias upon the onset of phage research because phages were common in sewage and biowaste." Doctor Gyan summed up what Doctor Briggs had been trying to say.

"We'd talked about this a bit before we'd arrived here when my colleagues here were kind enough to remind me about the placebo effect which is regarded as a serious application of medicine and research despite its obvious subjective nature and former quackery. It perhaps is the best explanation of subjectivity and the importance of the patient to take part in their own healing. Something that is regarded as very important in many ancient Eastern traditions as that would affect the mind set of said observer and influence what was observed as probability itself unfolded. My colleagues here reminded me that it is ironic how we accept the placebo effect as an important part of our research data and various treatments, but have discarded many aspects of Eastern medicine despite the fact that they were founded upon the exact same principal. The mind of the observer having an impact upon the process of healing." Alicia said examining the notes she'd taken on her tablet.

"We should mention that in both of our medicinal traditions that there have been those who've misused medicine on both sides of the fence. Many miracle tinctures and cures have been sold on the grounds of public ignorance to people looking for a miracle. Preying upon their desperation. Something that Western medicine takes very seriously and spent much time recovering from during the seventeen and eighteen hundreds. Such profiteers seeking a quick fortune only hurt the credibility of real medical professionals at the time." Doctor Briggs added.

"As is the case in the East as well and in doing so those who preyed upon the desperate very much damaged the future credibility of medicine as a whole. Something that affects how the entire medical world is received. In both the Western and Eastern hemispheres." Professor Mattu acknowledged.

"Can we assume that if you'd voted against the creation of this fund for covering the cost of SY389 and SY390 to lower income patients that those were the reasons? You regard it as another money grab that could hurt the credibility of medicine?" Norler asked the members of the other delegation.

"We can't speak for everyone but have you considered that it might have been us in the Asian Alliance exercising our power to reject Western medicine in much the same way that the West had tried with Eastern medicine in the nineteen seventies?" Doctor Choudhuri asked his peers.

"We considered that possibility and that was a motivation in organizing this delegation. We can only hope that our conversation here has helped you to consider our treatment plan and the fund as a viable option. We regard our patients with the same dedication as you regard yours. Regardless of what side the fence they come from. We ask that you consider what we've discussed here when this subject is voted upon again in the near future." Norler addressed the table.

"So you are going to lobby for another vote with regard to this fund?" Professor Mattu asked Norler.

"No. We are going to keep at this until there is another vote with regard to the SY389 Fund." Norler responded.

"Can we assume that we've closed this topic and our negotiations here? If so I'd love to go check out the gardens." Monique asked.

"Don't forget tonight's fashion show as well. I brought enough invitations for everyone should you wish to attend. It's in support of a local designer so you'd be showing your support for local art." Heylyn handed out the invitations.

"Is there a piano or should I bring my own?" Bryce asked Heylyn.

"As long as you don't mind having an accompanying Sitar." Heylyn responded.

"I think we can handle that. Besides, I'm a little rusty on Eastern quarter scaling and diatonics and could use the help." Bryce stood offering his hands one each to Heylyn and Monique who each took an arm.

"You know, with a girl on each arm you can't really lose." Bryce's grin stretched from ear to ear.

Monique had grabbed Professor Mattu's arm as she spoke.

"I was just going to say the same thing about Men." she smiled.

"Where's mine?" Valerie asked looking around for a partner.

"I've got room for another." Norler held his arm out Alicia already on his other arm.

"I don't suppose that you'd like to come with me and find a copy of the Kamasutra?" Norler asked Alicia.

"Only if it's you doing the acrobatics." Alicia replied seductively as they joined their peers for a journey to the garden.

One Night Before Bangkok

It had been hours since Professor Mattu had seen his guests to the airport. The New Delhi roads had been busy for most of the afternoon as New Delhi had settled in for it's evening approach into night. He'd been just around the corner from his modest home in upper New Delhi when remembered something. He picked up his phone and dialed.

"Hello? Grace? This is Professor Mattu. I need to get something from my office, please don't lock the building up. I'll be there in twenty minutes." Professor Mattu urged the administrator who assured him that there would be someone there to open the doors for him.

He turned his car around and started back towards the medical wing of the university and ultimately back to his office. He'd forgotten the data regarding the SY349 case studies and the testing results for the newer SY389. He wanted to go over them during the night to see if this really was the miracle cure they'd claimed.

He'd been impressed with the Tynan And Associates delegation and his peers from North America. The night before he'd dropped them to the airport for their trip to Thailand, he'd spoken at length with Doctor Dharmaprana and they'd come to the conclusion that their peers were in fact sincere. This wasn't mere a sales call put together by a corporate giant but the work of a dedicated team of researchers with the backing of their corporate partners trying to make positive change. If the data spoke to him as he'd hoped, he would call the board members for the India branch of the Asian Alliance and recommend that they approve a second vote. He'd also endorse the proposal for the creation of the fund.

Twenty minutes later and he walked up to the doors of the university medical wing, tapping on the window to catch the attention of a custodian who worked at a steady pace cleaning the floors. He stopped and turned to face the doors.

"I need to get in. Grace said it would be alright." Professor Mattu assured the custodian.

The custodian looked around and then unlocked the door having recognized the Professor.

Professor Mattu thanked him and then proceeded up the stairs from the mezzanine towards his second floor office. As he approached his office he noticed the door still open and he proceeded with caution.

"Hello? Is someone in here?" he asked aloud thinking that another one of the custodial staff might be finishing up with his office.

As he reached for the door a masked man burst out of the room knocking the Professor over onto the floor. The man who'd knocked him down himself stumbled before tripping awkwardly to the floor skidding to a stop. As he fell, he dropped a series of folders and papers which lay scattered about the floor.

"What are you doing? Security! Security!" Professor Mattu yelled.

The man got to his feet pulling a small pistol from inside his jacket and leveled it Professor Mattu. The Professor raised his hands in promptly.

"I'm unarmed. Don't shoot." he said to the masked man trying once again to alert Security as to nature of the threat.

The masked man took aim just as the Security guard jumped him from behind. A shot was fired just barely missing Professor Mattu. The Security guard struggled for a moment with the masked man who threw him off dropping his gun as he did. The man then quickly barreled down the stairs and out of the lobby doors without losing step.

The Security guard radioed for backup and emergency assistance and then went over to check on Professor Mattu.

"Are you alright Sir?" the Security guard asked looking him over.

"Yes, I'm fine. He came from my office. He was going through some of my files." Professor Mattu said as he gathered the file and papers from the floor.

"Stay here. I'll check your office." The Security guard told Professor Mattu who sat on the ground still shaking from the confrontation.

Professor Mattu caught his breath and started gathering the files and papers the masked man had dropped. The guard returned having thoroughly checked the office.

"Your office. It's clear. I'll need you to stay here and give a statement to the Police." the Security guard told the Professor.

"Don't worry. I'm not going anywhere until I've gone through this mess." Professor Mattu assured the Security guard.

Professor Mattu having gathered the files went into his office to assess the damage. The office appeared to have been untampered on first glance. On closer examination the Professor noticed that the paper report and data files left by Alicia were amongst the papers the masked man had dropped.

He quickly went to his filing cabinet and looked for the Tynan And Associates file. When he found it he began thumbing through each folder carefully until he'd found the most recent report. The report and data had been replaced with what appeared to be a doctored copy. He took the phony report and data and began comparing it to the real report he'd picked up from the floor.

Alicia sat beside a sleeping Norler on the flight listening to an audio lecture on her phone given her by Doctor Dharmaprana before leaving when her ring tone interrupted Doctor Dharmaprana's voice.

"Alicia speaking?" Alicia answered her phone.

"It's Professor Mattu. I'm afraid that I have some bad news. You've got enemies." Professor Mattu said to her in a melancholy tone.

"You're telling me? Thanks Professor but that's something I'm quite used to. Is everything alright?" Alicia assured him hoping he'd return to the good mood they'd left him in.

"No. There's been a break in at my office. Someone tried to switch your report with a fake. Doctored numbers all to make the SY349 test results look like a sham. Likewise with the SY389 results. There's someone trying to sabotage your delegation." Professor Mattu said to her in all seriousness.

"But we have data posted on a locked site online. Even if they changed a paper report you'd have been able to get at the real data." Alicia told him.

"Not so. If we'd have seen this report and used it for reference without verifying it against the real data online, we might have recommended that the Alliance disapprove another vote. Your fund would have been dead in the water before anyone had known what was going on." Professor Mattu suggested to Alicia.

"...and when the smoke cleared, if we'd have tried again to get another vote passed the Alliance board members would have likely vetoed it on the grounds of already having made a prior failed attempt to get another vote. The online data wouldn't have mattered at all at that point. Our credibility with the Asian Alliance board members would have been shot." Alicia realized pausing to ponder the situation for a moment.

"Are you alright?" Alicia asked him grabbing Norler's arm and shaking him to rouse him.

Norler mumbled something and then opened his eyes looking to Alicia a bit startled. She pointed to her phone mouthing the words Professor Mattu Emergency! He waited patiently for her to finish.

"I'm fine. He tried to shoot me so these are some serious players if they were willing to risk a murder. I'm just finishing up with the Police here. They asked me about your delegation. This call is just a heads up from one of your peers. Stay safe Alicia and warn the others. I've got to go and finish up with the Police. You take care." Professor Mattu said sincerely.

"You too. Give me a call later. Keep safe!" Alicia said as she hung up.

"What happened?" Norler asked her urgently.

"There was a break in at Professor Mattu's office. Someone tried to switch our reports with fake copies. Botched data. Someone's trying to sabotage our delegation." Alicia informed him.

"How's their delegation. Is anybody hurt?" Norler asked her.

"No. Everyone's alright. They tried to shoot him though. So this is serious. You know what that means." Alicia said looking him in the eyes and then looking down.

"I'll call Werner and let him know. We'll likely be the interest of the authorities for the rest of the trip on account of suspected espionage. Now about the other thing... Honey, you promised me. Remember?" Norler reminded Alicia of the night they'd closed the door on her alter ego, Night Style.

"I know what I promised. This is a bit different though." Alicia tried to convince him.

"How so? When you took on Zek and Torman, you knew what you were up against. You had a little help too. From your friends. Remember? We don't even know who would do such a thing. Why don't we just let the authorities handle it? Werner will probably hire a private security firm for us once we touch down in Bangkok. We'll be fine." Norler asked her though his question bared more insistence and inquiry.

"Not knowing makes this even more dangerous in ways that we're able to handle. You wouldn't understand." Alicia said to him.

"All that I understood was while you and your friends were out playing hero, I was at home wondering if that would be the one night you wouldn't make it home. That would be far too much for us to lose. Myself and the world. We need you but for other reasons. Don't you put that at risk just so you can chase some childhood fantasy." Norler said to her pleadingly.

"A childhood fantasy? Are you saying that what we did was an escape? A means to experience aspects of my teen life that I'd missed out on because of my weight at that time?" Alicia accused him.

"I'm saying that you'd never been in that kind of shape before. It was something new to you. When you went to Treadwater Island to recover the stolen SY349 that was different. You had a goal and objective and really you went to undo a mess that resulted from you trying the formula on yourself. Against the policy of Tynan And Associates." Norler reminded her.

"You knew about it and yet you didn't try to stop me! Why the change of heart now? So after we got rid of Torman and you'd benefited from it by having no real competition on the board of directors, you're against the fact that I did it at all?" she fumed at Norler.

There was a moment of silence as others in the cabin took notice of their conversation.

"I've got to tell the others. Let them decide for themselves." Alicia told him.

"Look honey. I'm sorry but you promised. If you decide to break your promise, I can't see you again until you change your mind. I can't take another night of wondering whether you'll return safely or show up dead. That's final." Norler reminded her once again.

"I'll let you know what we decide." Alicia said as she left Norler to take a seat with Heylyn and Monique.

She asked Doctor Briggs to exchange seats for the flight as he was in seat across the aisle from Heylyn, Monique and Valerie. He accepted and sat down beside Norler brandishing a psychology magazine oblivious of their earlier conversation.

"So, tell me about your Mother?" Doctor Briggs joked giving his best Freud impression holding up the magazine for Norler, who just returned a puzzled look.

Alicia sat down attempting to get the attention of Valerie who lay quietly resting across the aisle from her.

"Valerie!" Alicia tapper her arm.

Valerie came to life looking startled.

"Huh. What?" Valerie looked at Alicia.

"We need to discuss something. Get Monique and Heylyn and have them meet me at the bar in the upstairs cabin." Alicia asked Valerie.

As Alicia headed for the stairs, Valeria woke up Heylyn and Monique.

"What's up?" Heylyn asked.

"I think Alicia wants a night on the town. She wants us to go upstairs for a drink with her." Valerie told them.

"As long as she's buying..." Monique said to her getting up joining Heylyn and Valerie as they headed for the stairs.

A few minutes later and the foursome were seated around a small table tucked away enough so they could have some privacy from the other passengers.

"I just got a call from Professor Mattu. Someone tried to break into his office. They even tried to shoot him." Alicia told the other Women.

"What? Where?" Monique asked her.

"At his office. He'd returned to his office to pick up the reports we'd left him. He was assaulted by someone in his office who had tried to swap the report with a phony report that would have affected the India delegation's vote against the creation of the fund." Alicia told them.

"How are the rest of their delegation?" Heylyn asked.

"Everyone's fine. He's just answering questions with the Police. He called twenty minutes ago." Alicia informed them.

"You talked to Norler about this I take it. So where does that leave us?" Valerie asked her leaning forward a bit.

"Norler and I had an argument. About... Night Style." Alicia said sitting in a bit closer.

"I thought you said that you'd turned in your tights for good?" Monique asked Alicia.

"Well... that's what the argument was about. You see, I think that it might be handy in this situation to take advantage of our unique abilities..." Alicia said kind of hesitantly.

"Are you having the heebie geebies about being in such a tight relationship with him? Are you sure that this isn't a secret desire to get out there again? Be free?" Valerie suggested.

"Not at all. I think... No. I'm committed to our relationship. I'd never see anyone else. It's not about settling down." Alicia said considering for the first time why she'd been so adamant about returning to her Night Style alter ego.

"This is a pretty serious decision for you. Not one I think that you'd make lightly. So you came to us because you want us to back up your plan to return to the world of... super tights?" asked Heylyn.

"You're the only one of us who has continued. I thought I'd ask you what you think." Alicia told Heylyn her intent.

"I continued because I was already committed to this before I'd even seen your formula. You know who predicted you and your formula. That I'd run into you and that this would be part of my path. That at one point we'd part ways but not lives." Heylyn told her.

"Weltherwithsp? Oops. Walter Wisp?" Alicia said suddenly remembering that she was to keep the dragon's common name hidden.

"Yes Walter. Walter Wisp. I don't know what to say about you just wanting to use this as an excuse to have another girls night out." Heylyn said shaking her head.

"Someone tried to murder the Professor to keep this covered up. I think it's serious enough to warrant extra special investigation. Don't you? I mean we're on your home turf or pretty darn close to it. You have an advantage here." Alicia said to Heylyn.

"Sure, I'm Chinese and I love my Chinese heritage and homeland but my home is Toronto. Canada. North America. I'm a North American Chinese girl who is returning to the roots of her family and ancestors." Heylyn corrected Alicia.

"What I meant is that you have knowledge that most of us don't have. Knowledge that some people here don't have about history and the past. It could help us to find these culprits. I mean look, they're trying to destroy a bridge between the East and the West. One that has been precariously flimsy and is in danger of collapse. This fund is important for more reasons than the medical benefits it will bring to people of all income levels. It's about restoring that bridge. One that has been in disrepair for far too long. Like you said... We have to one foot..." Alicia began as Heylyn continued.

"...We have to have one foot on each side. One in the Yin and the other in the Yang. One in the West and the other in the East if we want to find balance. Just like my Mother used to say to me..." Heylyn said reminiscing.

"Well if we lose that bridge, how are we going to any feet there to keep balance? Isn't it clear that someone wants to destroy it for good? Don't you see there's a bigger picture here." Alicia asked the Women at the table.

"Alright. You've got my attention. So what happened? Are you just going to leave Norler to pursue this?" Heylyn asked Alicia.

"I'm going to do what is necessary to prevent these people from succeeding at their goal and I'm going to do everything that I can as a Scientist and a Woman to see that the fund gets approved. Are you with me?" Alicia asked the trio.

"The Butterfly Dragon was with you from the start Alicia. I'm just being cautious for you." Heylyn assured her.

"I'm with you Alicia. You can count on Valkyra." Valerie responded.

"You can count on me as well. The Eclipse is at your service." Monique responded affirmatively.

"What happened to the Strawberry?" Valerie asked her.

"I dropped it... Well... It's implied. Good for marketing you know." Monique answered.

"Can we count on Walter?" asked Alicia of Heylyn.

"I haven't seen Walter for ages. We'll have to wait see." Heylyn replied honestly considering whether Weltherwithsp would make an appearance.

It had been months since the last time she'd heard from the dragon, her dreams mostly peaceful and calm. Her visions of the field too had subsided and yet she could feel the dragon's unannounced presence in every dreaming moment.

"Ok. So it's settled. Just one more thing though. When they built this big West East bridge, did they build it from Vancouver or Seattle 'cause I've never heard of it before?" Monique asked drawing a round of laughter from the table.

The First Dreams In Thailand

The flight had arrived in Bangkok at three in the morning and the delegates quickly made their way to the hotel from the airport. They'd paired up in each of the rooms with Valerie being the only one of them to have their own room. Monique and Valerie had actually tossed a coin for that privilege and it had determined that Monique would share a room with Heylyn.

Alicia and Norler had not spoken since their disagreement on the airbus and as much there was no affection exhibited between them. It was as if they'd gone from hot to cold in a moment's passing and they slipped into their bed on opposite sides though they did not meet anywhere in the middle. Instead they remained close to the edges of their respective side of the bed. Cold and alone.

Monique had already gone to bed while Heylyn spent five minutes removing her makeup and cleaning her face just as she had always done as part of her nightly ritual. By the time she settled in it was just after four in the morning. Another five minutes passed as she slipped into that nether realm where distinguishing between reality and dreamworld was as difficult as figuring our which direction one faced without a compass.

She dreamt of walking a long and lonely path that stretched into the distance and beyond the faded line of the horizon. As she progressed she become shorter and younger until finally she was little Ai Yuanlin Ying, skipping her way along the path making it into a game at every step. She giggled to herself pausing only to consider the symbolism of her dream. The thought occurred to her that she might not be dreaming but that her life had been a dream, and that she was still a little girl who'd just started her first grade studies and her first martial arts classes.

Butterfly, Butterfly.

In the night.

In the sky.

To spread your wings and see you fly.

Butterfly. Butterfly.

She said to herself as she hop scotched along the path. In the distance she could see what appeared to be a pagoda. A tall structure of Chinese design stretching up into the heavens. She marveled at it wondering again about the symbolism. Was this about returning to China? The last time that she'd been she was still only a little girl of two years old. A gem in her Mother's arms and Father's eyes.

She remembered something her Mother whispered to her from that time while she was nuzzled in her Mother's arms:

[Pinyin: Cáifù jingcháng yi lóng de xíngshì lái dào women shenbian, jiù xiàng ta tongguò ni lái dào women. Dang ni niánjì dàle, ni huì jìde wo duì ni shuo, suirán ni huì tingdào, ránhòu tongguò yigè nurén de erduo. You shíhou, xìngyùn láile, qù, yinwèi ta xiàng yongyuan xuánzhuan hé jiaozhi de yinyáng zài yigè zhouqí, women you shí méiyou huáiyí. Ni de lóngye, baohù ni de rén huì lái. Hen xiàng yuèliàng yigè yuè chongman yicì. Shèng xià de shíjian yàome cóng wú suo cúnzài jiùshì cúnzài. Zhèng shì zài zhèxie shíhou, ni bìxu xuéhuì dúlì, lóng jiù huì huí dào you xuyào de shíhou.


"Fortune often comes to us in the form of a dragon much as it came to us through you. When you get older you'll remember me saying this to you though you'll hear it then through a Woman's ears. Sometimes fortune comes and goes for it is like the ever spinning and intertwined Yin and Yang on a cycle there is no fathoming. Your dragon too, the one who protects you will come and go. Much like the moon bears herself fully once a month. The rest of the time either fading from or coming into existence from nothing. It is at these times that you must learn to be independent for the dragon will return to when there is need." she could smell her Mother's fragrant hair and the breath of her voice upon her ear.

Ai tried to reply to her Mother but only child like gibber-talk and bubbles came from her mouth. She took in all that there was to take from such a vivid memory before she found herself standing on her own two feet, very much a Woman.

That was when two familiar enormous green eyes appeared before her.

"I see that once again you fend yourself to afar across the sea to be where you need to be to see me? So did you come searching or is this trip as I expect one that brings you to your origins where upon you'll introduce friends new and old alike?" the dragon's voice spoke like soft thunder.

"To what occasion do I owe your return?" Heylyn asked Weltherwithsp.

"Did you not hear your Mother's words? Her sweet voice or was it lost to your childlike state?" Weltherwithsp asked her.

"When are any words lost to a child?" Heylyn asked the dragon returning some of it's own rhetoric.

"And how true it is that statement though I think you'd find many who'd disagree. I'd suffice it to say that no good words are lost to their ears and hearts. So you were listening with both I see and hear." the dragon slowly emerged from the shadows surrounding them to reveal its long serpentine body.

"To what do I owe this visit? After all it's been such a long time? You can't expect to just drop in and pick up where we left off." Heylyn told the dragon partly scolding it like a lost pet who'd wandered in from the cold.

"And so it turns as it does. Absence on one side and familiarity upon the other." Weltherwithsp slid along an invisible surface using it's flapping wings to lift it's sternum and level it's head to hers.

"So we're back at the beginning again are we? Who should start this then. You or I?" she asked the dragon.

"All of you, for this is about you and so much more than just yourself. We'll save the part about you for later in your trip. For now let's bring in some guests." Weltherwithsp's face got close to hers and then backed off revealing to her view Alicia, Monique and Valerie.

"Are we dreaming this?" Valerie asked the other Women.

"Dare you say, for I'm dreaming of you all and by my graces you are here." Weltherwithsp spoke sending shudders up Valerie's spine.

"Valerie, Weltherwithsp. Weltherwithsp, Valerie." Heylyn introduced the two blandly as if she'd already been forced through one too many introduction before.

"Is that a flying dinosaur?" Valerie asked herself aloud.

"That's Weltherwithsp. It's a special kind of dragon. I think." Monique answered unimpressed having seen Weltherwithsp a number of times already.

Weltherwithsp's face showed no expression for the moment and seemed indifferent to their indifference.

"Why have you brought us here?" Alicia asked it.

"Always the scientist. An inquisitive mind seeks to find those like in kind by form such mind. I've brought you here to let you know a bit more about what you face, for you could fall should you not find your stance and before this is done you you'll see what real balance truly means. You'll understand if only you'd see the clues for the universe rarely hides anything." Weltherwithsp spoke in riddle once again.

"Did you get what he..." Valerie started.

"It. It is an it." Heylyn said sounding almost insensitive.

"As I would have it no other way for now and your understanding is bound to concepts you can grasp. It is a label that will suffice. For now." Weltherwithsp agreed with Heylyn.

"So what were you trying to say Barney?" Valerie asked Weltherwithsp sarcastically drawing a giggle from Monique which seemed only to amuse it.

"Your friend Professor Mattu called quickly to let you know how balance had been thrown. One side to the next. You struggled to force it back the other way only to find that it would not stay. For it teeters and it totters while these four beautiful daughters struggle to find meaning and balance its much more than chance. Is it not?" Weltherwithsp asked knowing already they'd missed the mark.

"Fate? Are you speaking of a predetermined path? Choices?" Alicia asked the dragon immediately thinking of the quantum nature of reality.

"No. Fate would imply no freedom from the grip of time." Heylyn said impressing Alicia.

"The clues lay in the way you failed to stay with your heart's say. You of all should know that price of struggling against the teeter of the totter. You nearly broke it in the fall and it wouldn't have tipped precariously so close to the ledge had you not said what you said. This concept should be clear to you, nearly as much as the Butterfly." Weltherwithsp spoke with the familiar ease of one who had complete knowledge of the future and the past but was lost in the present.

"Your heart's say. It nearly broke in the fall. Your words... with Norler. He... It is talking about what happened between you and Norler." Monique said showing incredible insight.

"Precisely though there's more..." Weltherwithsp added spiraling through the air and around the four of them it's head popping up behind Alicia.

"We had our falling out just as we caught the threat to the delegation. Like the price of keeping the delegation from failing was paid by our argument." Alicia said in utter amazement.

"Once you'd discovered that the documents were switched and that Professor Mattu had caught it in time, that pressure fell into yours and Norler's lap..." Valerie continued.

"...and threw our relationship out of balance... Like the weight of the situation fell onto us directly and was paid by our break up." Alicia said in disbelief.

"Like a teeter totter. One side to the next..." Heylyn finished.

"A concept so simple to a child yet so complex to Women such as yourselves. You owe it to yourselves to spend more time pursuing your inner child's wonder. That which brought you to this very moment and capability. You might better handle the next teeter totter for you're someone's attractive and intelligent daughters." Weltherwithsp reminded them.

"You're saying that this clue can help us in the future too?" Heylyn asked the serpent.

"Help you? I'd say for it's interwoven into the fabric of things, if the universe were a puppet I'd show you it's strings. In the days ahead you'll see this interplay more so flow as an ancient civilization awakens to confront that which pulls you together and pushes you apart. Which side of the teeter totter will you be on when it all falls? With that I bid you farewell." Weltherwithsp asked the four Women as it flew upwards and off into the distance finally to disappear completely in the blackness.

"Well I have to admit was far deeper than Barney." Valerie said once again opting for levity.

"We missed something. Weltherwithsp gave us another clue. It was hidden in what was said." Heylyn told them as she pondered what it could be.

"Something it said or we said?" Monique asked her.

"Both. It had something to do with the balance. There's more to this than what happened in New Delhi." Alicia suggested.

"I say that we get some sleep and consider this further tomorrow. We've got a busy day ahead of us." Valerie advised her friends.

"Agreed. Let's talk about this tomorrow when we have a fresh perspective." Heylyn nodded in agreement.

"Yeah. I've only got fresh perspiration. Let's get some shut eye." Monique confirmed.

"Good night. By the way. To all of you. Thanks for being there when I needed you." Alicia said to her friends.

"That's what friends are for." Heylyn answered as the others nodded.

"That and semi androgynous gender neutral flying dinosaurs." Valerie added drawing a round of laughter from the other three.



Wat Sutat

The delegation arrived the next day at the rendezvous point in the city of Bangkok. They'd all slept for most of the night (from 4 AM) and arose from their restful slumber at ten in the morning giving them six hours of rest. The trip over had been quiet, riding in taxi van which took the whole delegation and dropped them outside of the Wat Sutat (Wat being the Thai word for temple).

Norler had said little to Alicia who in turn only dealt with Norler in small does. Instead she concentrated entirely on the delegation and solving the mystery at hand. While she stood talking with Valerie going over some details related to their dealings with the Bangkok delegation she was approached by Bryce.

"Sorry for the interruption ladies but if I may have a moment of your time Alicia?" Bryce addressed Alicia and Valerie.

"I think I've got it. I read up on the history of Siriraj. I'm prepared. Thanks. I'll leave you two to talk." Valerie nodded to Alicia leaving them to their conversation.

"We haven't spoken for bit. I thought I mention that I see there's been a little bit of a change?" Bryce asked Alicia without prodding.

"Is it that obvious?" Alicia asked Bryce knowing full well that it was.

"Don't worry. I'm not the shark type looking to move in when there's no one else around. Besides I love my Wife. I'm asking because I'm concerned seeing as what we've got riding on this little investment. This is important and even more its imperative now that we succeed." Bryce suggested to her.

"Well we're not talking as much as we did before but perhaps given the situation it's better this way. We can deal with the emotions when we get back and just focus on the professional. Norler and I." Alicia assured Bryce.

"Given the situation you're doing well I have to admit. I'm a little worried myself. If someone had tried to kill Professor Mattu over this thing, that means that we could be targets should they get more desperate. That's significant." Bryce reminded her.

"We've got security now. Werner hired them last night. They're keeping an eye on us right now from a distance and the security specialist is en route from just outside of Bangkok. He'll be meeting us here in about an hour. Until then you're going to have to rely on Heylyn." Alicia told Bryce whose eyebrows raised in surprise.

"I heard. She's a mixed martial artist black belt. A Master from what I understand?" Bryce asked sounding a bit skeptical.

"Why? Because she's a Woman or because she's the owner of a Fashion company?" Alicia asked Bryce not believing for a moment that he was sexist.

"Not at all. What I meant is that being a security specialist requires much more than just martial arts training." Bryce said to her.

"I was just kidding when I said to look to her for security though I wouldn't put it past her to be protective should the need arise. She can kick but. Believe me." Alicia said confident of her friend.

"You know, I don't like to speak of the private lives of my peers but she did strike me as the kind of Woman who'd have a commanding presence in her romantic relationships?" Bryce smiled as he spoke.

"The truth is that I like it both ways. Sometimes its just as fun to be in charge as it is to be in someone else's charge." Heylyn said having overheard their conversation.

"I'm sorry. I should have taken that question directly to you. I mean that in the most confidential and respectful manner. We're adults after all." Bryce blushed.

"You didn't strike me as the type who would look for extramarital affairs. I mean you are married?" Heylyn asked Bryce more professionally than personally.

"Yes I'm married. I'm in love too. Even so I'd never look elsewhere for sex. We're very happy in that way." Bryce replied to her keeping his composure.

"It wasn't an invite anyway. I'm happily single and have been for years." Heylyn told Bryce as sincerely as she could.

"Right now I'm concern for our delegation on two counts. The first being the immediate threat we've recently received by way of a direct assassination attempt against one of our own. The good Professor Mattu. Secondly based upon the personal lives of some of the members of our delegation, though I'd be willing to bet Alicia and Norler won't let that happen. Despite the cost to their relationship." Bryce replied.

"We've got a lot of support here. Believe me. Right now we've got the security Werner hired for us not to mention that we're probably in the sights of the intel apparatus of a few other countries in the area. We're being watched more intensely than we are at home. We're safe for the time being." Heylyn said nonchalantly.

"Sounds like you've got a pretty interesting conversation going on over here." Doctor Briggs said making as he approached.

"Was it that noticeable? Well it's finished." Bryce said curtly and professionally.

"You're damn right it is. Here's the delegation." Norler said slightly more impatient than usual.

Their car pulled up a Thailand flag proudly flying from it's roof. Their security man got out of the front seat checking the area before signalling the driver to get the doors.

"Professor Sangsorn I presume? Professor Bryce Maxwell." Bryce said extending his hand beating Norler to the punch.

"The beautiful Doctor Dara Sangsorn. It's been a long time." Doctor Briggs said gently caressing her hand.

"Indeed it has Stephen. Walton Norler. Doctor Alicia Westin. Pleased to meet you." Professor Sangsorn said stepping onto the sidewalk before the Wat Surat.

"This is Doctor Anuman Yongsaijut. Doctor Pravat Leekpai and Doctor Nanda Cho Zaw." Professor Sangsorn introduced her peers.

"Professor Sangsorn is works with the Siriraj medical internship program that has been training Doctors in Bangkok since the nineteen sixties." Doctor Briggs introduced her.

"My colleague Doctor Anuman Yongaijut is a Pediatrician with Ramathibodi Hospital here in Bangkok. Doctor Pravat Leekpai is a Psychologist and sociologist specializing in transitional issues between traditional and modern medicine in Vientiane, Laos. Doctor Nanda Cho Zaw is a working surgeon for Mandalay General Hospital in Myanmar. If you can remember all of that." Professor Sangsorn said as she introduced her peers.

"You've met Alicia, Bryce, Norler and Me, Doctor Briggs. This is Heylyn Yates an international Fashion Designer. This is Valerie Aspen, a corporate analyst working for this project and this is Monique Defleur, a model under Heylyn's employ." Doctor Briggs started the introductions for their delegation.

"Now that we've got that out of the way, maybe we can make our way inside and get down to business." Suggested Norler.

"We've got a fair bit on the itinerary today so lets get going. We have much to discuss." Alicia said smiling to the delegates as Norler tried to reach her with a quaint smile.

"I have to admit that this visit took us by surprise. We'd only been informed of it a little under a month ago. Professor Mattu called us last night as well. We're sorry to hear about the incident. Perhaps that is a sign that we should prepare ourselves if not to protect our values, then to protect the importance of this meeting?" Professor Sangsorn addressed them as they walked through the gate to the temple.

"So you agree that this meeting has significance for the region?" Norler confirmed with Professor Sangsorn.

"How could it not? Our history is a living example of the tug of war between tradition and progress. Especially in the field of medicine." Professor Sangsorn's voice trembled slightly.

"Of course you're talking of King Chulalongkorn's bold steps to bring modern medicine to Siam?" Doctor Briggs asked of Professor Sangsorn.

She looked to Doctor Briggs as they walked throwing him a warm smile.

"I'm sorry, but who was King Chulalongkorn?" Monique finally drew the courage to ask the question begging to be asked.

King Chulalongkorn courtesy of Wikipedia
"King Chulalongkorn was the fifth Royal ruler of Siam during the late eighteen hundreds and into the twentieth century. During his rule malaria was a huge threat to the populace." Professor Sangsorn explained.

"It was during this time that his son, Prince Siriraj Kukattaphan fell ill as a result of dysentery. He was only a year and a half old when he succumbed to the illness. An illness that could possibly have been diagnosed and treated at the time with proper medical education." Doctor Jongsaijut spoke continuing Professor Sangsorn's history lesson.

"Hence was founded Mahidol University, the oldest school of it's kind in Thailand as well as being the largest." Professor Sangsorn looked to Monique nodding to her for her interest.

"That point in time of course was a branching point and a sore spot in the eyes of many traditional healers. Calling into question the merits of traditional medicine versus it's modern counterpart. The fact that this division is often used for political purposes, especially polarizing the populace for one against the other merely as a marketing or business tool. One of the things that I often remind my clients of is that traditional medicine for the most part is built on the same principals of modern medicine, however the methods of verifying the validity of each took a far different path thanks mostly to the placebo effect." Doctor Leekpai addressed both delegations.

"I read Eastern Medicine: Distilled Through Modern Science by the way Doctor Leekpai. An excellent book by the way. I think that we could safely say that both delegations agree with your hypothesis about the fact that the placebo effect was really the departure point that separated the two forms of medicine. That is between those on both sides of that fence that took medicine seriously and weren't just quacks trying to make a fast buck." Doctor Briggs acknowledged Doctor Leekpai taking advantage of the opportunity.

"As sad as it is, it took such a tragedy as the loss of Prince Kakuttaphan to bring about the founding of modern medicine here. Hence that time is seen as a bit of a loss of faith for the merits of traditional healing here in Thailand though there are many who hold fast to it. Here is one place you find that the two have existed harmoniously but that harmony took some time to achieve." Doctor Leekpai continued.

"That's ironic in a way and certainly a key point in the operation of the placebo effect. I mean if a medical disaster happens at that time such as malaria, many people are depending upon the over stressed traditional medicine of the time already. It in turn is heavily reliant on the placebo effect, which in turn is reliant upon the faith of the public who rely upon traditional medicine in the first place. A destructive paradox at best." Professor Bryce interjected.

"Faith in medicine has always been a key point to it's effectiveness. It took a long time for me to understand that as a Doctor and researcher. It has only been recently that we've been able to quantify that effect more precisely rather than ambiguously. " Alicia reasoned.

"But that faith has to be earned with real results." Doctor Jongsaijut reminded them.

"That's the whole point. It's a case of the chicken or the egg. If the placebo effect relies upon belief and faith, whether it's for tradition or science, then do the results come first or after?" Alicia asked the both delegation.

"In the case of Prince Kakuttaphan they didn't come at all. King Chulalongkorn's decision to found a medical school at that time was founded upon not only the loss of his own son, but the loss of the people as a result of the ravages of malaria. There are times when the objective nature of science has to be the anchor point from which both the objectivity of results and the subjectivity of the placebo can grow. King Chulalongkorn's decision exemplifies that concept in practice. Now we have a long standing medical school and facility as a result." Professor Sangsorn used the opportunity to make her point.

Hippocrates care of Wikipedia
"That is where both sides are right. Allow me to explain. The school and medical facility were the anchor points for faith and the symbol of progress in Thailand. It just happens that at that point in history that it was built upon the merits of the modern approach to medicine as a result of a wise King listening not only to his own heart but the hearts and suffering of his people. Let's rewind the clock a few thousand years to another point in history and a similar situation of particular importance to the medical profession. Keep in mind that it is not scientific progress to which I am referring but the importance of symbol in reinforcing placebo. Hippocrates was one of the founding physicians of the modern practice of medicine as we all know. Keep in mind that he lived during a time of war and struggle, including an influenza pandemic at the time. Hippocrates had during that time in ancient Greece been compared to great sculptors being a great physician who'd been born of a family who'd earlier produced other great physicians. That concept held esteem in Greece at that time as it was a common approach to carry on one's family legacy. So he was quite well known and a bit of a celebrity in the medical field and as such a symbol. A symbol around which faith in medicine could be anchored thus enabling the power of the placebo in that era. Even to distant places such as Athens which at the time was under nearly constant siege until the Treaty of Nicias in roughly 421 BC. Word of mouth at that point would be an effective transmission of the placebo especially in relation to this wonder of a physician who at that point had already made many waves in the field of medicine including the first successful chest surgery. Every physician certainly knows him by his namesake, the Hippocratic Oath, which is still used to inaugurate physicians formally even today. Almost a messiah in the world of medicine whose existence would stir the citizens of ancient Greece to believe in the progress of medicine and thus enable the power of the placebo effect to have a measurable impact upon the future of their civilization and medicine in general. So the power of placebo is not linked directly to objective results but more to the power of faith in what those results imply." Doctor Leekpai explained his reasoning as he asserted his point.

"Well said. I can only speak for myself but I'm sure that Alicia, Katya and Victor would agree that your presence would have been most welcome at a table a few months ago in the Looking Glass lounge in Toronto and a conversation we had there at the time." Bryce said reminiscing.

"Speaking of, how are Toronto, Canada and the United States responding to the SY349 and the creation of this fund?" Doctor Cho Zaw asked Bryce though addressing Alicia and Norler.

"Most of the core research as you know is done in Toronto at the Tynan And Associates research facility there. There was a lot of skepticism at first from my colleagues. I'm sure the Bryce would remember that and a talk I gave at the University Of Waterloo on the subject of using quantum entanglement coupled with decoherence to store copies of the genome in a quasi-parallel universe. When we first proposed the idea I was essentially laughed at. Bryce had the courage to stand up and ask some honest questions about my motives, my process and the theory behind it. That helped to give us a little bit more credibility. Once we had a working protein with RNA and cellular mitosis, the rest fell quickly into place. It wasn't until the first tests came back from the HPFB of Health Canada and it's counterpart in the United States, the FDA that we had confirmation of the safety and effectiveness of our project. From there the clinical trials started mounting success after success and soon the support came in droves. I started getting requests from my peers for any papers I'd written on the subject. So it took a while but once the project had picked up positive momentum it became apparent that this was big. Very big indeed. When we set our aim at Cancer using the same process and increasing the efficiency of recall for the RNA messengers it had already been hailed as a breakthrough. Toronto loves us now. Especially the political and funding arena mostly as a result of the attention from the medical world. The universities certainly like it as well, and as a result there's been an increase in university research funding projects in Toronto and Montreal based educational institutions. Insofar as the United States is concerned, the American branch of Tynan And Associates has been receptive to the creation of the fund for the SY390. Some of the treatments actually qualified for coverage under their new Healthcare program which means that it will be available to American citizens regardless of income level or social class. Not to mention that most of Europe is already on board for the idea. Many treatments requiring th use of the SY349 are already covered by health coverage in most of Europe. The fund will cover for the individual countries whose healthcare system doesn't cover the cost of treatment. Our goal is for this to be available to everyone regardless of income level. A very important issue when you're dealing with the ethics of finances and medical treatment. I'm sure that any of you can attest to that concept?" Alicia explained the situation about her home in North America.

"That's the underlying motive for the creation of this fund. We're standing our ground that such medical treatment and miracle cures must be available to everyone regardless of social class or income on a per need basis." Norler said addressing the Thailand delegation.

"Much like the stance that King Chulalongkorn had taken in building the medical school and hospital." Professor Sangsorn added.

"What do you have to say on this Doctor Cho Zaw?" Professor Sangsorn asked her associate from Myanmar.

"I'm on the same page as the rest of our delegation. I'm impressed. I don't think that you'll find much opposition here to your proposal and there's no harm in telling you that I'm certainly going to vote in favor." Doctor Cho Zaw responded her eyes bearing a heart felt smile.

"Could you two join me for a picture here?" Heylyn gestured to Valerie and Monique.

"Sure. Excuse us for a moment." Valerie told the delegations as she joined her friends.

"What is it?" Valerie asked as soon as there was enough distance between them and the delegations.

"We're being closed in. I don't even think the hired security knows." Heylyn told Valerie and Monique.

"How do you know?" Valerie asked her.

"I just know. I can sense it." Heylyn tried to explain quickly.

"Oh great. Heylyn's having a senior moment." Monique said looking to Valerie as Heylyn rolled her eyes.

"Easy. I'm not that much older than you." Heylyn responded only slightly amused.

"How many?" Monique turned back to Heylyn.

"About four. Maybe more. Most dressed as tourists and touting concealed weapons. There's one dressed as one of the workers for the temple." Heylyn told them.

"What do you want us to do?" Monique asked Heylyn looking around nervously.

"Don't let on that you know, first of all. Secondly, just keep your eyes open. Let's try to keep ourselves on the outside of the delegation so we can protect them in case anything happens. Remember, that we can't reveal our other identities to them." Heylyn reminded her friends.

"What about Alicia? We've got to let her know." Valerie said.

"No. We need her to focus on the delegation. We don't want this to ruin her rapport with them. They believe in her and the creation of this fund. They're our allies and we have to get them through this safely." Heylyn assured the both of them.

"Maybe we could take them out one at a time? I mean the baddies? Silently? I'm fast enough." Monique asked.

"If we do that, we'll separate them. You take one half I'll take the other. Valerie will mop up the ones we miss." Heylyn suggested.

"Sounds like a plan." Valerie confirmed her willingness to go along with it.

"How do we lure them?" Monique asked looking consecutively to  Heylyn then Valerie.

"You're a super powered runway fashion model. You have a gazillion guys drooling over your picture on magazines all of the time. Be creative. I'm sure you'll think of something." Valerie reminded her.

"Right. Good idea. After all, I'm... hot." Monique replied honestly thinking about it.

"Let's lure them towards the little girl's room. You're the bait Monique." Heylyn said walking with Valerie towards the public bathroom area of the temple.

Monique took a look at her skirt, which of course was one of Heylyn's designs. She eyed the slit which ran up for eight inches part way up her thigh. She grabbed the skirt and carefully tore another six inces exposing a much more ample part of her curvaceous and sleek thigh. She leaned against a wall and tried to appear provocative. She had a little trouble at first, for it felt a little artificial and perhaps even tacky. She relaxed a little bit and didn't put any effort into it. Instead she became natural and her magnetism exploded from there.

Monique Defleur dreaming about strawberries
Her first target noticed her right away. She avoided returning any kind of glance to him or his friend but she kept them on her radar. She let them know that she was thinking of them but never gave evidence to support it. When she had them wrapped around her finger, she threw them a very brief glance and smile and proceeded towards the little girls room.

They followed her both because that was their orders and because she implored them to. Almost like she'd had them on her own little puppet strings and was waltzing them to her on a line.

When she'd gotten around the corner, she immediately transformed herself into a beam of light and circled around behind her followers to reappear. Her path would have taken her ten minutes by foot, but in the form of a light beam she traversed the distance in less than a second. There was a blinding flash as she materialized behind them. As soon as she was corporeal she smashed their heads together with her hands. They immediately collapsed. Monique directed their falling weight onto a nearby bench where in all appearances they were just sleeping. Behind her the other two assailants quietly snuck towards her getting their firearms ready. They weren't taking any chances after what they'd just seen her do. They leveled their silenced hand guns at her aiming for the back of the neck for the quickest kill.

Both their arms were violently thrust upwards from beneath and twisted to the breaking point. Both their firearms dropped to the floor as they muffled their screams. Heylyn released their arms striking them both simultaneously just just below their their skull. They fell at once unconscious, Heylyn catching them and sitting them beside the other two Monique had just dispatched.

Heylyn carefully negotiates a fashion distribution deal as The Butterfly Dragon (minus her outfit of course)
"You could have left me one." Valerie said sarcastically.

"Didn't anyone tell you that this was a double date? Bring your own next time." Heylyn replied as she went through their pockets looking for identification.

"They don't look like they're from around here." Monique said looking them over.

"That's because they're not. They're from North America. Canada actually. That's what their passports say." Heylyn said as she searched the other two handing the passports and wallets to Monique.

"These passports have a lot of flights on them. I mean look. These guys have been around the block a few times." Monique said as she thumbed through their passports.

"I wish you would have told me that before we dated them." Heylyn remarked sarcastically smiling at Monique.

"They're from another security company. Not the one Tynan hired and certainly not with the Thailand delegation." Valerie stated as she looked over one of their wallets.

"Then who are they? Are they Government agents?" Monique asked.

"Government agents don't kill unarmed Women. They were going to shoot you." Heylyn reminded Monique.

"I say we take their identification, empty their firearms and leave them here unconscious. Then we'll call the local authorities and tell them that armed vagrants are sleeping at the temple. The Police will then have it on record for their investigation and we'll have handled this as best we could. More importantly the delegation will be safe." Heylyn suggested to Valerie and Monique.

"Sounds good to me boss. I only work here." Monique agreed with Heylyn.

"I'll make the call." Valerie said pulling her cellular phone and kicking one of the assailants in the leg as she did.

Valerie Aspen on a gray day

"What was that for?" Monique asked Valerie.

"That's for them standing me up on our first date." Valerie smirked at the unconscious men as she dialed the Thailand authorities.

The Economy Of Fear And A Second Chance

Steadman closed the door as he entered the office. The room was eerily still as he walked towards the executive desk and stood before it. On the other side of the desk a large chair slowly turned revealing a unusually calm Warley.

"Sit down." Warley said pragmatically.

"They knew about us. I don't know how but..." Steadman started.

"I said sit down." Warley continued unperturbed by Steadman's explanation.

Steadman looked at the seat across from Warley's executive desk. It had somehow taken the visage of an electric chair, the switch of course being in Warley's hands. Steadman thought carefully about whether he should risk sitting in the chair or just continue out the door and start a new life elsewhere. Steadman considered his options as time moved at an imperceptible rate for him. He'd started with Future Tangent Industries only two years ago. Warley had taken him under his wing right from the start. He'd been intimidated by Warley at first but as he grew accustomed to the facade Warley presented him, he often took for granted the cunning at Warley's disposal. Warley preferred it that way and experience had taught him that it was far better to be underestimated and over prepared than vice versa. Young men like Steadman had come and gone over the years. Many with far greater potential than Steadman but the fact was that if you weren't the one sitting in Warley's chair, you were merely a commodity. Easily bought and sold and seldom was there a tear shed when such commodities disappeared. Steadman had often been led to believe that they'd gone of their own accord and had started new lives elsewhere. Still in the same business but not with Future Tangent Industries. Not with Warley. The truth was though that once you'd been with Warley, there was no being without Warley. You were either with him or you simply ceased to be.

Warley had seen other men in Steadman's position. He knew exactly what each one was thinking because he'd been there at one time himself. The only difference between himself and the young men who'd been his commodities was that instead of running from the man in the big chair, he took the big chair from the man. Warley had often pondered when the man of his ilk would come walking through that door. The man who'd look him in the eye and completely deceive him enough to snatch the big chair from under him. He'd been through many during his time at Future Tangent Industries and he'd seen into Steadman's soul enough to know that Steadman would never take the big chair. Nor would he run. Steadman was somebody that Warley would never truly respect but he was useful. Recently however that usefulness had run out. Steadman looked into the headlights of the oncoming car and found that he could not budge. So he sat down.

"The security firm. The specialists that we always use for this sort of operation seem to think that there is an internal leak. Their first operation in New Delhi was compromised somehow when the target returned to his office and found the security operative with his hands in the cookie jar. He made it out but just barely. We had to pull him from India altogether and that cost the security firm an asset. In Thailand I just received word that we lost four guys to the authorities. Nabbed with their unregistered and modified weapons, their identification stolen. The security firm had no choice but to deny that it had anything to do with them. They'll likely serve a few years in a Thailand prison. The security firm will no doubt have them silenced before they talk. They were made even before they had a chance to retire Professor Sangsorn. You did not tell me that the Treadwater Island anomalies were going to be there." Steadman said keeping his composure as best he could through a slightly wavering voice.

Warley smelled Steadman's fear and it energized him.

"They're professionals. They shouldn't need to know such details. Besides, we had no way of knowing that the anomalies would be there either. Our intel said the anomalies are supposed to be inert. That the effects of the SY349 were unstable and that their unique abilities would cease within four weeks of time of the Treadwater Island incident." Warley lied to Steadman.

"Well apparently the the SY349 doesn't have an expiry date." Steadman said to Warley still very much aware of the oncoming headlights.

"You don't seem to understand the big picture. What's at stake here. You do realize that the Asian market makes up more than half of the world's global economy? Do you know what would happen if Tynan became the trusted medical supplier for these countries of the East? You will know if that vote goes through because when it does you'll see the biggest transfer of medical tech and research stocks in history. Future Tangent Industries will cease to be and Tynan will become a behemoth. We can't let that happen and to do that we have to prevent the West from becoming friends with the East through the creation of this medical fund. If it goes through, we can kiss competitive markets for medical advances good bye and that's because the treatment prices will be regulated by the fund itself. That means that we can't come along with a better mouse trap and charge amply for it. What we should get. Worse, what if by chance Western medicine and Eastern medicine start working together more closely. What if the East starts moving in on Western medical markets?" Warley said talking as if he'd pledged his undying loyalty to Future Tangent Industries.

"Sir, we believe that this delegation will not leave China or Japan with any support for the fund or the SY389. The hinging point will be Thailand and Korea. From the word we got on the matter the delegation already had India and Malaysia's support. Sri Lanka and Indonesia are leaning in favor but that's still up in the air. The Thailand delegation is in complete support for the fund. Likewise with Laos and Vietnam. If South Korea supports the fund creation initiative that would mean that both China and Japan would need to vote against it unanimously to stop it unless China vetoes it entirely." Steadman explained hoping that distracting Warley by giving him the power to decide might by him some more time.

"We need a hidden patient to surface." Warley told Steadman.

"I beg your pardon sir, a what?" Steadman asked Warley nervously.

"A hidden patient. A failed treatment based upon the application of the SY349 to a patient. Preferably someone young. Incapacitated enough to be a sympathy case but not so much that people can't identify with them." Warley suggested.

"Sir, there is no such patient. There's two patients for whom the treatment did not work but without any adverse side effects." Steadman replied indicating that he'd already examined that avenue.

"Then hire one and a few Doctors who will go along with it. We'll pay them well. Very well. We'll mount a public campaign against the SY349, SY389 and SY390. Then when the delegation gets to China, we'll set up an assassination and pin it on one of the delegates. That's our solution. That's how we solve our problem." Warley told Steadman as he leaned back in his executive chair piercing Steadman's soul with his hollow and emotionless eyes.

"Sir, we've got a situation that we might be able to exploit in that regard. It's to do with Norler and Doctor Westin. We have intel that says they're having relationship problems. Some people on the flight to Thailand claimed to have overheard them arguing. Since that point they've made no public shows of affection of any kind. Not even holding hands." Steadman informed Warley hoping he'd bought himself another chance.

"That wasn't out of their respect for countries like India where public displays of affection are frowned upon?" Warley confirmed still hesitant to trust Steadman.

"No sir. As I said several people on the airline witnessed an argument. They haven't been seen together since." Steadman assured Warley.

"Excellent work. That's exactly what we'll do. The assassination of a Chinese official from the Chinese delegation. We'll pin it on Doctor Westin who of course will have shot her own estranged lover Walton Norler there before. Arrange for our failed SY349 media patient and some Doctors to support the case we'll build against Tynan and we'll start the pressure cooker. By the time they make it to China, we can exploit the situation easily and the public will buy it! Most of all they'll hate Tynan And Associates and love Future Tangent Industries. It looks like you've got your job back and another chance. Don't blow it." said Warley who loved having his subordinates in his debt.

Another fact about how Warley had managed to stay in that chair for so long was that he understood the economy of fear. The economy of keeping others afraid of him. He was a master of profiting when his subordinates failed him for they'd work just trying to make it up to him. Then when the smoke had cleared he'd come up looking like a hero. After all he'd given Steadman another chance after all of Steadman's failures. If Steadman failed him after that, then Steadman would likely experience a similar fate as those of Norler and Doctor Westin. In order to play Steadman, he only had to convince Steadman that it was the end for him if he'd failed again. In truth though it was. For now though as far as Steadman was concerned, the oncoming headlights had stopped and he'd been able to get off of the road. That day Steadman had left Warley's office with his life, a big change from his earlier fate.

Long enough to make it up to Warley for his "extended" life and second chance.

Delegation Dinner And Drinks In Bangkok

They sat atop the roof of an enormous building in the downtown core of Bangkok as the sun set to the East. They'd separated at four in the afternoon for a break where they'd returned to their hotel rooms. Most of the delegates themselves had taken that time to recharge with a small nap or a shower to prepare themselves for the evening and their only full night in Bangkok for they'd be leaving in the early evening the next day. They'd planned to enjoy the evening together. The Thailand delegation with the Western delegates.

Heylyn, Monique and Valerie had not yet had time to inform Alicia about the assailants at the Wat Sutat and decided they'd find her alone in the evening at which time they'd tell her what had happened. Alicia and Norler were still silent and curt, saying little to each other. It was as if the wounds yielded no pain for them but instead had turned directly to hardened scars. They were both professional enough to maintain their rapport with one another both in public and private and new what lines to keep and which ones to cross. There had been an awkward moment between them when they'd come close to one another in their hotel room. When they were in India only two days earlier they'd found themselves together in their hotel room with thirty minutes to spare before their next meeting. Though they hadn't planned it, they'd found themselves making improvised love, first on the chest of drawers working their way slowly to the wall. Afterwards they'd collapsed exhausted to the floor entangled with one another for a little under three minutes. In that time they'd found more peace in one another than they had in all of the nights they'd spent away from home combined.

They'd found themselves in the hotel room in Bangkok with the same opportunity but from a much different state in their relationship. There was no relationship but there was still the sexual tension. Alicia had considered sending the signals. Letting him know that she was ripe and for the picking and then decided against doing so. They met at one point almost running into one another in the middle of the room and there was a moment of awkward silence that could have led anywhere. Ultimately neither found the want to face the other regarding their most current disagreement and so the moment ended with a whimper rather than an explosion of lust.

Alicia had left early going to the lobby to sit and enjoy a bit of anonymity and more importantly her mental space. She sat in one of the lobby sofas for twenty minutes not even aware that Bryce sat only a few seats away from her in an overstuffed chair reading one of the Bangkok dailies. He'd seen her and having been married for twenty years himself, he'd seen that look before. The look of one who needed their space. Their solitude from just about everyone. A moment to gather one's life unto themselves and get it all in order. To collect one's bearings if not so they could continue in the right direction at least so they could continue. If she wanted to speak at all, she'd notice him when the time was right and he'd oblige her.  As it so happened she did just and when the time was right.

"I'm not interrupting am I?" she asked him.

"Alicia? What a pleasant surprise." he responded feigning unawareness.

"Mind if I join you?" she asked him already knowing the answer.

"Not at all. I see you've found this wonderful haven here. And to think that it was in the lobby of our hotel all along." he smiled catching the last bit of sunlight as it slowly dipped behind the neighboring buildings of the Bangkok horizon.

"I agree. I just came here for a little solitude myself." Alicia responded biting her tongue just after she'd spoken.

"If you need some space I could..." Bryce replied sincerely.

"No. I had a bit of space already. I think that I need to talk with someone I trust." Alicia looked at him.

"By that statement, I assume that you mean me." Bryce put the magazine down on a nearby table.

"Yes. I guess that would be you." Alicia said shifting just a little closer so as not to draw attention.

"If you don't mind me asking, are you having a bumpy spot in your relationship with Norler?" Bryce asked her.

"We tried to keep it hidden but I guess its starting to get pretty obvious. Yes. We did have a little falling out." she replied looking down to her lap for a moment.

"I'm sure the pressure of this situation doesn't make it any easier but you have to ask yourself if when you've succeeded, that both of you might look back upon this time and laugh? Perhaps curled up in bed in a lover's embrace? Haven't you ever had one of those times?" Bryce asked her folding his legs and leaning in himself.

"Of course. I mean there was this one time that he'd locked the keys of my car in the trunk of my car. It was an accident of course but at the time... At the time I was really angry with him. I didn't talk with him for a day or two. Then two nights later I come home and he's got the place decorated for a romantic candle light dinner. My favorite album in the music player. Everything was ready to go. Champagne. Everything. Of course hours later we were in bed laughing about the car keys. I scolded him so much that night jokingly of course. He took it all too." she told him laughing and giggling as she reminisced.

"What's different about this time besides the weight of the world upon your shoulders, Atlas? Might I remind you not to shrug as Ayn Rand so delicately put it or there'll be world all over the marble floor in here." Bryce asked her metaphorically.

She thought long and hard about her situation before she spoke. She wondered how she was going to broach the subject with Bryce seeing as Bryce did not know about her alter ego, Night Style. Norler had known and she'd agreed to give up her nightly gallivanting as a superhero and be the hero from the laboratory and research point of view. She'd agreed that she could offer the world much more as a Scientist rather than a superhero. Their argument had seen them disagree given the current situation and the risk to their goals in Asia with the attack upon Professor Mattu and more recently with the assailants in the Wat Sutat.

"This is different. We weren't able to agree about something very key to our relationship. About trust. It looks like neither of us is willing to give in." Alicia told him.

"A little bit like our current situation if you don't mind me saying. Do you feel that there's something you need that you may not be getting? What about him? Maybe he feels the same way? Is there something that he wants you to give up in order for the both of you to keep going? Together? What about a compromise? You can afford to direct a little bit of that marvelous negotiating power the two of you share to mend your relationship. Maybe if you look at it from that point of view, that might give you a bit of motivation to solve the issue between you?" Bryce asked her pressing the point home.

"You're right. We're negotiating perhaps one of the most important issues of our lifetime together against the most important issue keeping us apart. What's complicated about this is..." Alicia began before she paused for a long while.

Bryce waited before Alicia continued.

"Do you remember the conversation in the Looking Glass Lounge? I mean about causality? About Godel's trickster? About keeping the inner workings of the universe hidden while unfolding in a way that seems like art?" Alicia confirmed with Bryce.

"Like it was yesterday. I hope nothing happened that night that led to your current issues?" Bryce asked her.

"No. I meant like its somehow related. Like if Norler and I mend our relationship, that the universe might balance it for us by denying us approval for the Fund. Like it gives something and it takes something at the same time." Alicia asked him deep in thought about what Weltherwithsp had said to her during their shared dream.

"You mean like balancing the outcomes? As in duality?" Bryce confirmed with her.

"I guess you could say it that way." Alicia asked him cocking her head a little.

"We're in the Far East of Asia. I mean what conversation wouldn't find itself on the topic of duality. I'm not so certain that it's as imperative a concept here as we'll likely find the further east we progress from here. I have two things I'll tell you on that subject. The first being that regardless of the underlying mechanisms that we can only speculate about, you must proceed regardless. When the stakes are high that might not seem a good answer for if there is an underlying duality that balances cause and effect, that would make the universe a hundred percent predicable and very easy to deal with. However that's now what we have so we must proceed regardless with our own wisdom, intent and intuition as our guide. The second thing that I was going to point out that this morning before we departed for the Wat Sutat, I received an email from an old friend from Beijing. He told me that their delegation is going to include a Professor of Eastern Philosophy specializing in Chinese philosophy both ancient and modern. Perhaps and I'm only suggesting, such a question might prove to be useful in a relationship sense and a diplomatic sense? I mean whom better to speak to about this issue than a philosopher that has grown up eating, breathing and sleeping every part of that philosophy. If you don't listen to me, perhaps you should listen to her. In Japan we'll likely broach the same topic but from a much different point of view. I don't know it you can wait for that long but you should consider that thinking about this issue is giving you a lot of insight into Eastern philosophy. The key to solving the problems with your relationship with Norler might lead to the means to negotiate with the Chinese and Japanese delegations. By tomorrow night we'll be in Beijing and I'm hoping that we're able to capitalize on what we learned in New Delhi and Bangkok to help us with our negotiations there." Bryce posed leaning in as he did.

"I have to admit that you've already given me a lot to think about. A lot of hope too but there's still a bit of doubt." Alicia told him still not quite able to smile.

"Kind of like our goal here. We've made good progress but we're still only part way there. Maybe tonight's outing with the Bangkok delegation will be a good omen for the future of of this delegation and of course for your relationship with Norler." Bryce smiled hoping that it might be contagious.

"Thanks Bryce. Your wife is certainly a lucky lady." Alicia said to him as she contracted a smile.

"Luck had nothing to do with it. Once we had our eyes set on each other we knew it was for keeps but that's a story for another time. Speaking of which, my wife is going to kill me if I don't call her. She'll just be waking up for her morning yoga right about now." Bryce stood as Alicia did.

Alicia pecked him on the cheek as he fumbled around searching his pocket for his phone. He blushed slightly as he hit the speed dial.

Neither of them noticed a mustached man sitting in the corner who'd been keeping an eye on the both of them.


En Route

Heylyn grabbed her room card as she left locking the door behind her. In the hall she joined Monique who'd ventured out ahead of her moments ago.

"Ready to go boss? You look great!" Monique commented on Heylyn's appearance.

"As do you. I take it you're looking to turn a few heads tonight?" Heylyn asked her friend and employee.

"That I am. But not away of course." Monique replied in jest.

"I assumed that much." Heylyn replied as she walked for the hotel elevator.

"What about you? You're looking a little more spiffed up than I've seen you during other social outings?" Monique asked Heylyn who looked frantically for the button.

"It's touchscreen." Monique said getting the touchscreen button.

"Right. To answer your question I thought it a special occasion enough to make an appearance." Heylyn replied looking to Monique.

"An appearance? You don't mean... as the Butterfly?" Monique confirmed that she'd heard Heylyn correctly.

"That, and in Bangkok. I mean this delegation is important and I'm hoping that I can draw some media attention to it. You did bring your costume?" Heylyn replied confirming that Monique had also brought her undergarment alter ego along.

"Yes. I have it on. The new one. I didn't forget. Do you think that she'll be ready too?" Monique replied.

"Who? Valerie? Ohhh. Alicia. I think that she'll do what she believes is right. She's got a lot more on her plate than we do. Our role here is a little bit different that theirs. Not lesser. Just different." Heylyn answered Monique and they stepped onto the elevator together.

The elevator arrived at the lobby and they stepped out looking as two Goddesses might stepping from a carriage. Doctor Briggs turned as they arrived admiring them as they approached.

"Well I must admit that of all the experiences I've had as a consultant that this one has had the most pleasant benefits. Accompanying the two of you to the Octave in Bangkok, Thailand is certainly a dream." Doctor Briggs offered an arm for each Heylyn and Monique.

"Well, we are off to see the Wizard after all. The Wizard of Octave." Monique replied.

"We're Canadian errr... North American diplomats too. Don't forget that part." Heylyn reminded them.

"You've got that right. Born in Canada but I studied in both the United States and Canada. I got a degree in Sociology at Yale. I studied Psychology and History and the University Of Toronto. That's where I built a curriculum around specializing in East/West philosophy. So I'm a North American child for this adventure." Doctor Briggs replied.

"Ok. I'll be the Chinese history representative for our little adventure tonight." Heylyn responded.

"Well that's good. We've got a well rounded group tonight to represent us in Bangkok." Monique replied to both of them.

They found a limousine outside of the hotel piling in and began their short journey to the Octave bar. Alicia had already left with Valerie, Norler and Bryce more than a half hour ago which was fine for Heylyn. She'd always liked arriving fashionably late. After all her business was the business of being noticed. Of making entrances, being seen as much as heard then making an exit. A part of that was about being the audience for someone else from time to time. Supporting your circle and what you believed to be right and true. The illustrious life of fashion and the so called vanity arts was as much about being seen as it was about seeing. Being both the subject of your own dream and the audience to another's.

Heylyn after her first two big shows she'd burnt out for time. Not grasping that the show wasn't all about her but about those she'd one day be audience to. Much like the her Mother had told explained to her. One foot on each side. Her Father often used to remind her that she had two ears and one mouth and that they should be used in that ratio. Her Mother had scolded him for she believed that one should reciprocate. Two ears was as good as good to hear one mouth after all and they should spend time listening and talking in proportion to one another.

She'd spent her first season competing against a designer with a cult like following who'd undermined Heylyn's many presentations of the first showing of her designs. They'd often taken the press spotlight from her as well on some occasions taking the credit for her creations. In the first year she thought that she was going nuts until another design and fan of her designs had told her that was one of the caveats of the business. Of show business. There were some who took the team spirit a bit too far. Taking advantage of the media eye in attempt to prop up their icon on the grounds of love and graciousness while they sabotaged mood and manner of any competitors. A predatory bunch they were seeking to make sure their icon rose to the top by any means.

Heylyn had taken this under advisement and for her third show she'd put together a conglomerate, introducing two new designers on the scene as well as mixing her show with the offerings of three other designers. She'd also introduced fund raising as an element of the show itself. Some of her models had been breast cancer survivors whom she'd gone through great lengths to procure while keeping their personal secret. The show itself had rave reviews not to mention the party after the show had made headlines around the entertainment world. That's when Heylyn had realized that the show wasn't about her. It was about the show. About making a difference. Soon after the predatory icon builders disappeared or fed on each other or both.

That was when she'd had a change of heart. With wings of course though that was long before she'd been reintroduced to the magnificent dragon of her childhood. Not long after she'd run into Monique on her way out for Chai Latte during break. Monique had just left her abusive boyfriend and was on the brink of being marginalized. Heylyn had seen her only noticing her for a moment but then it clicked. This Woman she'd just seen was a hidden beauty. She ran back to Monique eyeing her over once again taking her measurements with her eyes.

"Excuse me, but are you trying to pick me up?" Monique had asked her bluntly perhaps a little defensively.

"Don't flatter yourself. You're not my type. But if you'd be willing to listen I might be able to offer you a gig?" Heylyn had responded.

From there Monique had been discovered just like in the media and movies. Like a dream come true. She'd been hired as a model but not just any model. As the flagship model for an upcoming show of West Meet East International. It turned out to be the opportunity of a lifetime for Monique, a French Canadian girl with Ukrainian heritage who'd come to Toronto seeking her fortune. Her piece of Canada's illustrious dream. She'd been used and abused until Heylyn had discovered her, helping her to find her wings. Both figuratively and literally eventually.

Monique exited the limousine first, the concierge offering his hand. She accepted it gracefully as a few representatives of the Bangkok press snapped pictures of her tightly wrapped figure.

Heylyn stepped out in her knockout evening suit, both elegant and flexible for her physique. Her pants slit on either leg revealing her musculature up to her curvaceous thighs.

"It would seem that I've been upstaged again." Doctor Briggs stepped out of the cab announcing his presence drawing a little laughter from the press.

The three of them gathered and made their way into the Bangkok Marriott Hotel towards the elevators.

They were greeted on the rooftop bar by another concierge who led them to the bar and lounge area to find the rest of the delegation.

"Well it's about time. We were wondering if you'd ever show." Bryce stood welcoming the new arrivals.

"Fashionably late?" Heylyn offered them.

"Well better late than never." Norler said standing beside Bryce.

Heylyn noticed Alicia sitting at her own table just beside the main table. Alicia gestured for her and Monique to join her.

"Thanks for watching over me." Doctor Briggs offered Heylyn and Monique as they joined Alicia.

"Not as much as you watched over us." Monique replied somewhat sarcastically.

"I didn't think she caught that." Doctor Briggs replied quietly under his breath.

Professor Sangsorn, Doctor Yongsaijut, Doctor Leekpai and Doctor Cho Zaw each stood to greet the new arrivals.

"It's nice to meet and talk on a social level like this. We're glad you could make it." Professor Sangsorn offered her greeting.

From behind Heylyn, Monique and Doctor Briggs appeared Katya and Victor.

"Sorry we ran a bit late. We made it nonetheless." Katya announced.

"It looks like everyone is here." Doctor Leekpai said gesturing for one of the staff to arrange accommodate the extra guests.

Heylyn and Monique joined Alicia who sat in earshot of the main table where Katya, Victor and Doctor Briggs took their places. Soon thereafter their drinks arrived as did a large platter of finger food to accompany their drinks.

"So what is it like being a Doctor in these parts? In your own words of course."  Bryce asked the Bangkok delegation.

Professor Sangsorn looked to her peers two of whom were Doctors in the field. Doctor Leekpai and Doctor Yongsaijut spent a moment deciding who'd speak first.

"Working in the Vientiane, Laos as a consultant I'm often elbow deep in data and statistics related to the medical practice in Laos. That means the infrastructure, facilities and of course personnel. Most of my consulting work is done for world agencies such as the United Nations, the World Health Organization and Unicef as well. In the Vientiane area of Laos the Doctor to patient ratio is between fifteen hundred to eighteen hundred and it's from there that the highest concentration of medical professionals operate. In other parts of the country you'll find that ratio about ten times greater. That is about ten thousand patients per two and a half Doctors. I'm privy to a lot of statistics and instrumental when it comes to bringing more medical care to the area. We have a lot of outside expertise as well from China, Japan and Korea. Doctors Without Borders also play a role in shoring up the demand. Doctor Yongsaijut?" Doctor Leekpai answered first.

"I work here in Bangkok as a Pediatrician but I've done some field work in the area, even working in Laos and Cambodia for a time. Bangkok's facilities are pretty much in line with most of the Western world thanks to King Chulalongkorn's early attention to the issue of health care. We've a lot of hospitals in the city varying from Government operated to privately owned. In rural areas of Thailand there are some areas where access to healthcare is limited. Doctors might sometimes make monthly visits to such places to deal with common health care issues and to do a variety of check ups for the local patients. While working in Laos and Cambodia the most common issues I'd come across as a Pediatrician were often malnutrition and weight related in terms of infant health. In many rural areas food is scarce by our standards and many have to hunt and forage for food from an already limited food supply. Disease is also an issue in some places with Dengue fever and Malaria being at the front lines of that fight. Logistically speaking most issues are related to access and availability to healthcare, healthy diet and of course education. Lack of education and literacy is linked to many health care problems in the area. There have been recent improvements and many Doctors have been and are being trained in Cambodia and Laos to meet the challenge." Doctor Yongsaijut gave his answer.

"Remarkable. Victor and I met during our internment as acting medical staff providing relief care for a village in Cambodia. It was during a breakout of Malaria in the area. It was part of our requirements to do some field work despite the fact that most of what we currently do is research related. It was a humbling experience to say the least. Such a gracious people too. They were so grateful to have us there." Katya spoke as she reminisced.

"That was a wonderful and eye opening experience." Victor gave his wife a peck on the forehead.

"We have a lot of young students in the medical program do field work here in this part of the world." Professor Sangsorn added taking a sip of her drink.

"What about you? What's it like in Canada and the United States?" Doctor Leekpai asked their guests.

There was a moment of silence between them as they decided who'd go first. Finally it was Norler who spoke.

"Alicia and I live a lot different than most Canadians and that's thanks largely in part to my net worth and our combined income. As much as I'd like to say I know what it's like for every Canadian to live in Canada, I can't really speak. I can only say that it's a wonderful country. Certainly on the forefront of being a world model for culture and cooperation. There are still some areas where there are bumps in the proverbial road related to race and sexual orientation and many common issues you'd find anywhere but I'm not exposed to that as much as some other Canadians might be. Our living standards are certainly high as is our access to medical care. We probably have one of the best health care systems in the world. There's social programs and business incentives for both large and small business. From my point of view as a high income earner whose net worth is in the millions, I'd say Canada is a great place though it still has its growing pains." Norler answered giving his best impression of his home country.

"As the daughter of a family that emigrated from China to Canada thirty years ago I can speak having started from humble beginnings. I've faced much throughout the course of my life. Perhaps some discrimination as there is an underlying current of that nature sometimes directed towards Asian Canadians though I think we in the Chinese community have been used to that sort of treatment in North America for a long time. History is proof of it be we endured. Where we've found adversity from some, there are so many more who welcome us with open arms. As far as opportunity goes, I'd say that there's plenty of it so long as you choose to surround yourself with the right people. Try to stay away from the toxic ones who will bring you down or even attempt to pull you into their ways. There are many who will try to bring you down if you don't have that circle of support. Some might deny it but it's there but that might be the case everywhere. Insofar as once I was surrounded by motivated people like Alicia who is a friend from my childhood, I blossomed. From there life became a little less complex every day and I was as a young Woman able to find success in Canada as a successful entrepreneur. Things have been great ever since and I've seen Canada from its greatest heights to its lowest lows. Canada is my home, China is my home of ancestry and it hurts me to see others hurt my home." Heylyn spoke giving her honest testimony alluding to her time as The Butterfly Dragon.

"I'd have to say that I agree with Heylyn at least in part. Most of what I am today I'd not be if it weren't for having Heylyn in my life. I grew up in Canada in a middle class family in a house in suburbia. I'd had plans for my education but strongly thought against them thanks to bullying in school. Yes in Canada we have that too. Heylyn helped me to turn my self esteem around and for other people to see me a little bit differently. Perhaps even admiringly and maybe even regarding me as attractive. Because of that, because a newcomer like Heylyn helped me to find my confidence in myself, I was able to attend university and attain my Doctorate in Biology, Chemistry and Quantum Physics. Something I'd never have done without Canada and without the mentorship of someone like Heylyn. Canada is a wonderful place and I'd recommend to anyone to visit it at least once. Toronto is a good city too but like most cities has its growing pains as Norler put it. Some of those growing pains are as hard on its own residents as they are hard on others. I'd say that's Canada's one current obstacle to a major breakthrough." Alicia responded as honestly as she could muster.

"I grew up in a poor family for the first part of my life. The daughter of a French Canadian Mother and a hard working Ukrainian Father. Both my parents were honest people doing their best in Montreal to survive and raise their daughter. Montreal is a great city with a much different vibe than Toronto though as Heylyn said, if you surround yourself with the right kind of people, Toronto is a wonderful place. I moved to Toronto when I was nineteen and struggled for a long time. I found myself in the midst of some people with whom I should not have surrounded myself. That worked out badly and was nearly mixed up in activities of which I'd not like to speak. I was walking down the street just after escaping these toxic people when Heylyn noticed me and hired me for a photo shoot and later a Fashion Show. Heylyn helped me to get on my feet in Toronto and further more showed me the value of earning it. Thanks to Toronto, Heylyn and Toronto's art and fashion community, I'm a successful model and sometimes a creative Set Designer for the shows. I'd say Canada is a good place but like Heylyn and Alicia said, there's some hidden issues holding her back just a little. I've heard much worse as well, but thankfully I got my happy ending. I much like Heylyn use that opportunity to rescue people from that hidden issue that's a domestic obstacle to Canada's growth." Monique added to her friends' testimony.

"No offense intended to any of you, but I overheard your conversation. I'm a working class bloke and have been my whole life. I'm here on vacation with my wife sitting next to a group of stuck up over educated and wealthy people talking about life. What makes you think that any of you are better because of your education? Your money?" asked a man dressed in suit and tie sitting next to them at the neighboring table.

"Begging your pardon the pardon of your Wife and yourself, but you haven't any right to interject on our conversation. We wish you no ill so why would you bring your ill opinion of us to us?" asked Professor Sangsorn.

"Because I needed to say it. Somebody has to say it. I think most of you think that you're great because you spend too much time in that media spotlight and that swells your head and ego. Likewise many of you because of your superior education you think yourself better than the common folk. Like myself who'd worked his entire life and hands to the bone just to receive a his retirement package and a gold pen for a thank you." the man continued sounding a little irritated.

Norler was about to call for security when Bryce stopped him.

"It's alright Norler. I'll address this man's point of view. After all, he did come to it by a life of hard work. Sir I hope that in your life and years you've learned to listen and hear and more importantly to learn. You've obviously come here looking for enjoyment during your retirement and being the gentleman that you are you chose to bring your wife to this fine establishment. Let's deal with every statement you made one at a time. First of all about money and wealth. You look at us and assume that everything that comes with it is about belaying any sense of responsibility to the society that begat us and people like us. You assume that money is just the power to do whatever you want. I personally do not make that much and I'd be surprised if I made more than yourself. I do however make enough to be responsible with that money. To take care of my responsibilities and then to progress my life a bit further so as to maximize the positive effects I can have upon the world. So it's just a bit better than it was when I got here. As for my wealthier friends here I can attest for them that such riches aren't just a license to do what you want. They're a bundle of immense responsibility and pressure that most persons like yourself could not fathom. Making choices that could have ramifications for the jobs of a thousand people like yourself is no easy task and making the right choice is even that much more difficult. It's not just a license to do what you want because there is always a lot of responsibility not only to your own well being but to the lives of thousands of other people tied to it. My friend here runs a large finance and research company. His daily decisions often balance the well being of many. That includes their health. Their jobs. Their families and the economy. That's not a light weight nor is it an easy pressure to have in your lap. Try going to sleep at night when a pressing decision that you have to make the next day might result in the job losses of hundred of people if not thousands. With the rewards that money brings there is always responsibility. Some of the people here have even earned their fortunes from nothing but what they could do with their two hands and a bit of creativity. So they started from the same starting block as you my friend and one of them is a lady. So don't think that such fortune has come easy to those who have and that its without its weight because often it is nothing but pressure. People that endure that kind of pressure sometimes like to play. We're playing right now because for the most part, our work consumes most if not all of our time. Even when we sleep. Now as an educated man myself, I'm going to deal with your second accusation about educated people thinking their education is a license to regard others as being lesser. There are some that are educated that do regard themselves as privileged and in some ways they are but not the ways they think they are. Education like money once again is a responsibility. The more you have, the more responsible you are to use it for the betterment of the world. The same goes for knowledge. Education and knowledge are different from one another because one can be acquired without an education while education is a method learned to acquire and understand knowledge and its applications. To tell you the truth the one thing that most educated people sometimes forget is that the people who built the educational institution did not have a formal education. It started somewhere the result of curious and courageous people who tried to understand the world around them and more importantly to share what they'd learned with others so that humanity could benefit from their understanding and so that every generation wouldn't be starting from the same place every time. So I am very humble in my acknowledgement that my education came from some courageous Women and Men of ancient history who were curious enough to understand the world around them and were gracious enough to share that knowledge and even record it so that it could further be shared with others. Having that education for myself is a great responsibility just as it is for any of the Doctors sitting at my table here or elsewhere in the world, for they've sworn to use that knowledge to heal and to do no harm. My kind Sir, have you ever sworn such an oath in your life? Some of the most interesting people that I know don't have a formal education that is even close to mine, yet they have that wonderful ability to comprehend and learn and many of those friends I'm able to discuss a wide variety of topics related to my education including the numbers. I often wonder how such people would be had they had the means to get an education. Some of them just didn't fit into the curriculum but nonetheless they were people who were interested in learning. Pioneers themselves and likely the kind of people who created the educational institution itself before it existed. They too use their knowledge in an attempt to make the world a better place living up to their responsibility. I can think of nothing more noble myself than someone through thick and thin who lives up to that responsibility and always perseveres despite that responsibility. Please I do hope that your Wife and yourself enjoy your dinner and retirement. I would ask that you please do not address this table with such misinformed statements again." Bryce answered in defense of his colleagues and friends.

Bryce signaled to the Wait staff to give the couple their next round of drinks on their tab.

"I'd heard of your sometimes outspoken nature Professor Maxwell. I'm honored to have seen it for myself." Professor Sangsorn replied to Bryce.

"Well forgive me but I just could not stand to see those statements go unanswered." Bryce responded.

"No offense taken. You'll always have our support and friendship here." Professor Sangsorn assured him.

"Thanks Bryce. I'm glad that you're part of this delegation." Norler added.

"Glad to have been of service. Now that the music has started Professor Sangsorn, would you like to Dance?" Bryce offered her his hand and she accepted.

"I'd love to." she said standing and joining him on the dance floor.

"Darling?" Victor asked Katya.

"Of course my dear. I wouldn't miss the chance for a dance ever." Katya responded joining her husband on the dance floor.

"I have to admit that this world would be a much better place if we spent our time dancing rather than fighting. I guess there's a time and place for it though." Heylyn spoke addressing the remainders of the group.

"I couldn't agree with you more. Perhaps you'd like to join me for a dance?" Doctor Briggs asked Heylyn.

"I'd love to, but only because I'd prefer not to see you dance by yourself." Heylyn answered him as they walked to the dance floor.

Alicia sat at the table with Monique, casually checking up on Norler every so often. Monique watched the couples admiringly on the dance floor almost reminiscing.

"So what happened with you and Derek?" Alicia asked Monique not having spoken with her in close company since just after the Treadwater Island incident.

"You mean the Security Specialist? We were seeing each other steady for a few months after we returned to Toronto. I even flew to New York and Los Angeles to be with him during his off hours for two of his jobs." Monique started.

"You don't mean that you literally flew do you?" Alicia asked Monique knowing full well about Monique's capabilities.

Monique rolled her eyes unsure if Alicia was being serious or not.

"No. I mean the old fashioned way. So our schedules got to be pretty hectic and it had been a long time since we'd seen each other. He called me one day and said that he needed some space. He promised me that he'd keep my secret safe and that he'd call me again in the future. I haven't heard from him since." Monique said somewhat emotionless long having gotten over their departure.

"I'm sorry to hear. You two were... You know Monique, you really need a special kind of guy. Maybe he wasn't the one." Alicia answered trying to be supportive though Alicia did not know Monique nearly as well as she knew Heylyn.

"Maybe. So have you managed to patch things up with Norler?" Monique asked her turning the tables with no ill intent.

"It's been a little bit difficult. Especially living in such close quarters to one another. We haven't talked the important talk if that's what you mean. We're still on ice. A bit slippery at the moment too." Alicia said looking over to Norler covertly.

"I'm sure you'll figure it out. Whatever needs to happen will." Monique replied returning the support as best she could.

It had taken Monique a few months to get over Derek. She'd even slept in a few too many days showing up late for scheduled photo shoots which were imperative for her job as a model. She didn't snap out of her simultaneous self pity and loathing until Heylyn sat her down for a long talk. Heylyn needed to do it because if she didn't, the other employees would think that she was playing favorites with Monique. That would not be fair to the others in West Meet East International who worked so hard to keep the company successful. Heylyn tried to go easy on her and fortunately had managed to get through to her. Heylyn had started giving Monique a wake up call in the mornings like she had when Monique had first been hired. Monique lived in the neighboring unit to Heylyn's downtown condominium and after their talk they'd travel to the West Meet East building in the downtown core of the fashion district together. Much like they did in the beginning, until Monique had gotten back in stride. That was what friends did for each other after all. Heylyn was a friend to Monique as much as she was a good boss. In her time running West Meet East she'd never had to fire anyone and she strived to maintain a professional relationship with everyone including Monique. She'd gone out on a limb for others in her company and she intended to keep them together. Much like a family. But when it came to irresponsibility and tardiness she had to draw the line.

Monique at quietly for a moment lulled by the music as Katya returned from her dance with Victor and joined Alicia and Monique at the lady's table as Doctor Briggs had dubbed it. Victor checked with the ladies if they needed fresh drinks and when they told him they were fine, he left them to take his place beside Doctor Leekpai.

"You know, while I was on the dance floor with Victor, I couldn't help but notice someone keeping a close eye on Heylyn. Sitting on the left hand side there near the bar. Do you see him? With the moustache?" Katya tried to point out the suspicious looking man to Alicia and Monique.

"I've seen him somewhere. Maybe he has one of those faces." Monique responded looking closely at the man.

"Heylyn is a beautiful woman. There is the chance that he's just checking her out you know?" Alicia suggested.

"Perhaps. But maybe a little too closely." Katya suggested.

They watched as Heylyn had finished her dance and had proceeded towards the lady's room. She passed right by the man who'd been watching her fully aware of his eyes upon her. Her senses at full alert as she progressed into the hallway leading the lady's lounge and wash facility. As soon as she was ten paces beyond him he stood and followed her. Monique made an effort to stand only to be held coaxed not to by Alicia.

"She's aware of him. That and she's a multiple black belt. If he messes with her he'll be in for a surprise." Alicia reminded Monique.

"I'm just a little bit protective you know." Monique replied.

"I'm watching him. Don't worry." Valerie responded from beside them.

As Heylyn rounded the corner a few strides away from the washroom door the man ran at her suddenly. Heylyn spun to defend herself against her attacker only to see someone had beat her to the punch.

A handsome and well dressed man had caught the assailant and twisted his arm pinning him to the wall.

"Would you be so kind as to check his identification. It's in his back right pocket. I've been watching him for most of the night." her savior responded.

Heylyn looked them both over carefully before reaching into her assailant's pocket to find a wallet. She opened it and found his identification.

"Frank Pheasel. American Press Association. He's a reporter..." Heylyn said aloud.

"A Photo Journalist. I have rights you know!" Frank replied.

"Not when you're stalking a lady to the washroom you don't." the mysterious man responded.

"I like you already." Heylyn replied smiling a bit for him.

"So do you mind telling me what you were doing here? Following me this far? Hoping for a front page photo for a tabloid?" Heylyn interrogated him.

"No. I was going to ask you a few questions about the delegation away from the crowd." Frank replied struggling a little against the other man's hold.

"Well you certainly picked the most dangerous and alarming way to do it. Do you know that this lady could have broken you into small pieces and left you scattered about the floor had I not intervened." the mysterious man spoke addressing Frank.

"I'd heard she's studied some kind of Tai Chi or something like that." Frank responded nervously.

"Tai Chi and then some. You don't want to mess with her that way again. Trust me. If it's alright with Miss Yates, I'm going to let you go. You'd better be scarce or she'll be the least of your worries." the man waited for Heylyn's nod before loosening his hold upon the man.

"Have a good night Frank. Next time think twice about doing something like that." Heylyn told Frank as he walked away.

The man fixed his tie and jacket as Heylyn watched.

"Now I guess I'd better take care of you. Do you have a name?" Heylyn asked him with a hint of seduction in her voice.

"That's better answered with this. Please don't read it aloud." the man handed her his wallet.

She opened it and within was a badge and identification stating him to be Special Agent Trevor Larsen.

"You can call me Troy if you'd prefer. I would. Just makes things a little less complicated." Troy asserted his wishes.

"Fine. Troy it is. So what were you doing here Troy? Are you here on official business or is this a personal call?" she asked him still unsure of his motives.

"Here on business much like yourself. You could consider me to be much like the security detail that has been assigned to your delegation by Tynan And Associates except that I'm here on behalf of the Government. Just to make sure that the little incident in New Delhi doesn't recur and to ensure that your delegation doesn't get mixed up in espionage related charges which has happened by the way." Troy answered carefully leveraging the merit of his motives to gain her trust.

"That's odd. We haven't had any skepticism about our motives here from any authorities, including from India where the attack on Professor Mutta occurred." Heylyn replied eyeing him carefully looking for any signs he might be lying.

"If you were going to be apprehended for questioning they would likely not announce it. You'd be taken and that would be that." Troy advised her.

"Even a high profile group like ours? I somehow doubt that. For one it would create an international fiasco and even cause diplomatic problems between our two countries. How can I be so certain that you aren't already trying to cause problems of that kind. To get the upper hand on one of the countries here with whom we are negotiating for this deal?" Heylyn asked Troy holding her ground.

"You're not quite as misinformed as I'd been led to believe." Troy answered her.

"Why? Because I'm in the vanity business? Did you think that I'd not have an intellect behind this makeup and glamour?" Heylyn crossed her arms purposely showing him that she could be assertive.

"Not at all. I'm just trying to warn you and to keep you safe. There's no pulling the wool over your eyes thankfully." Troy responded purposely withdrawing seeing that the information he'd been given about her was not accurate.

"I'd prefer to maintain my trust here in New Delhi, Bangkok and for the rest of the trip. If you're going to be trailing us I'd suggest that you stick to your profession and not get involved in and of the diplomacy. I appreciate the fact that you're watching over us, but I'd prefer to see this whole thing end without an international fiasco." Heylyn responded as she turned and began heading for the washroom.

"Oh and by the way. Thanks for saving me." she said as she left him in the hall.

"I'm beginning to wonder if I shouldn't have let you handle it." Troy said as he left the hall returning to the bar.

Alicia and Monique watched as Frank walked out of the washroom hall and took his original place. He appeared slightly scuffled and his shirt untucked as he made efforts to fix his attire.

"Looks like he got his." Monique turned to Alicia, Valerie and Katya.

A moment later they watched as Troy stepped out of the hall. He stopped and said something to Frank before continuing to a stool near the end of the bar.

"This is getting interesting." Valerie said as they watched.

Another few moments and Heylyn walked out of the hall and returned to her seat beside Monique and Alicia.

"So what happened?" Alicia asked Heylyn.

Heylyn turned in the direction of the two men.

"That one's Frank. That one's Troy. Troy stopped Frank. I stopped Troy." Heylyn said smiling to herself.

Monique and Alicia looked at each other wondering what had happened.

"'Fess up. Really what happened?" Monique asked her again with a mischievous smile.

"Frank's press. He tried to get at me in the private and Troy stopped him. Troy's a body guard of sorts. Troy seems to believe that we could be in trouble with the local authorities and warned us that we could be abducted. I corrected him stating that I trust in this part of the world. He seems to me the type that's looking to make a bit of trouble to benefit from the diplomatic advantage that might result so I stopped him. We'll be seeing more of him again. I'd say to keep an eye on him too." Heylyn said explaining what had happened.

"Alright. I'll let Norler know." Alicia assured Heylyn.

"Wait. I'd better let him know. That way it keeps that subject away from your dealings with him. Easier on your relationship with him right now. Your relationship with him is important. This delegation is important. Make sense?" Valerie confirmed with Alicia.

Alicia thought about if for a moment before responding.

"You're right." Alicia said as she paused to think for a moment.

"Thanks for thinking of us Valerie." she continued.

The remainder of the night was spent between social groups at their table or on the dance floor. At three o'clock in the morning both delegations made their way to their respective hotels and settled in for the night.

The next day it was Norler who was awakened early by a messaging service. He answered the call on the hotel phone still groggy from the previous night's escapades.

"Yeah? Norler here." he said his voice still groggy.

"You need to check the morning paper's headlines. Hurry and get back to me." Helmet Werner's voice addressed him sharply.

"Alright. Gimme a minute." Norler said impatiently getting out of bed.

He went to the door and found a copy of his favorite newsprint edition. He quickly picked it up noticing on the bottom of the front page a picture of what appeared to be Professor Maxwell delivering his dressing down the retired gentleman who'd broached them the prior night. The headline said Bang Bang Maxwell's Silver Hammer: Professor Bryce Maxwell Digs Into Retired Man's Night.

"Whaaat? How could they?" Norler said aloud as he stepped in reading the story.

Bangkok, Thailand

Tynan And Associates delegation to Bangkok hit a snag when senior delegation member Professor Bryce Maxwell opened up on a retired elderly couple. The attack appeared unprovoked and witnesses say Maxwell's demeanor was appalling for a Professor. When asked for an explanation representatives of Tynan And Associates only claimed they were looking into the matter and denied any further questions. Perhaps this signals the end of the doomed delegation.

Frank Pheasel

"I just read it. Werner that is not what happened at all. You know how it is. Professor Maxwell was nothing short of being a gentleman when he addressed the couple. He even bought them a round afterwards." Norler said defending his friend and delegation member.

"To some that might be an admission of wrong doing." Werner pressed him.

"To Bryce that was his way of saying no hard feelings. The man had made a statement to the effect of targeting the wealthy and educated. Bryce responded by dashing his ignorance but he did it in such a way so as not to belittle the guy." Norler said as he sat on his bed.

Alicia groaned from the other side of the bed.

"I'll do the best I can here but the real damage control is up to you. Speak with the rest of the Bangkok delegation before you leave and make sure we have their support on this issue. Call me later." Werner hung up.

"Who was that?" Alicia asked Norler as she leaned up in bed.

Norler tossed her the newspaper.

She quickly read the headline and story and scoffed.

"That's not what happened at all!" she said aloud in disbelief.

"I know. Can you tell him?" Norler asked Alicia.

"Why? Because I'm his peer?" Alicia responded defensively thinking about the situation for a moment before responding again.

"Alright. I'll tell him. I'm sorry." Alicia said quietly getting up and heading for the washroom.


"That weasel! Troy had him in his hands. That's the reporter that tried to follow me into the washroom last night." Heylyn announced at the breakfast table an hour later.

"Well I must admit I've never had press of this kind. For the most part they've been good to me so far. This is the first attack on my character of this nature." Bryce responded sounding very disappointed.

"Welcome to the club." Heylyn replied.

"Ditto that." Norler responded in like.

"Honestly the press have been very good to me and my career. I've had problems with one or two obsessive and problematic reporters before. Usually they burn out before long." Heylyn assured Bryce who seemed to deep in thought.

"Well honestly I'm more worried for my wife than I am for myself. This is stress that she could do without." Bryce responded.

"Well as Heylyn said they're usually not this bad. It sounds like this is personal or the guy was hired to do this. Maybe a payola of some time to find the dirt on our delegation." Norler told Bryce.

"Maybe the same people that tried to hurt us. The ones behind the attack on Professor Mattu?" Alicia suggested.

"I wasn't going to do this, but clearly this guy deserves it. I'm going to have him served with a cease and desist. Last night he tried to follow me into the lady's room. He denied it but he was already at the doorway when Troy restrained him. I think he's a sleeze looking for an easy sell to the papers fabricating dirt on others. At least serving him and announcing it to the press might reduce his credibility and the credibility of this story. I'll let the lawyers handle the rest. I personally think its the right thing to do. If he could do this to us he'll likely do it to someone else." Heylyn told the delegates.

"Yeah but that could be misconstrued as an attack on the freedom of the press and make matters worse." Norler advised.

"Personally I agree with Heylyn. I mean this guy's a creep. We have this Troy guy as a witness. I've had some try similar things with me. I think its time to put a stop to this sort of thing." Monique said endorsing her friend's plan.

"I appreciate the effort that you're making in your attempt to reduce the damage of this Frank Pheasel person. Consider this though, if that story hadn't been published would you have considered doing the same thing? We wouldn't be having this conversation right now and therefore the topic of pursuing this legally would not have come up. In other words is what you're doing just to conduct revenge or is it really to protect yourselves and other Women?" Bryce asked them honestly.

"Maybe that was the final straw in all honesty. Perhaps I'd have forgiven last night's attempt to breach my privacy but had I encountered the same thing again I'd likely have done what I just proposed. I can't think of a better reason to do this now. I don't want this creep trying to get a peep shot on another lady in that way." Heylyn told the delegation.

"I agree with Heylyn on this." Katya added.

"Me too. If that was my daughter he'd tried that with..." Victor cringed.

"I have to say that in all honesty I agree with taking those steps. I just hope that you're not seeking revenge and seeking to stop this person from doing the same thing again to someone else." Norler gave his opinion.

"I say let's take it out on the creep. Sounds like he deserves it." Valerie advised the delegation.

"I agree." Monique said curt and sweet.

"Then it's settled. I'll call my lawyer right now while Bryce is calling his wife." Heylyn said pulling her phone from her purse seeing Bryce already getting the speed dial on his.

"Meanwhile I'll call and deal with the Bangkok delegates. Let them know we're alright and thank them. Our next flight's at six o'clock this evening so we'll meet back here in the lobby ready to go at four o'clock in the afternoon. Everyone get that?" Norler asked the delegation.

Everybody nodded in acknowledgement and it was settled. Troy sat in his rental car watching as they left the hotel for the day.

Flight And Bryce's Football Game

Alicia and Norler had remained quiet for most of the flight speaking to each other only as required and this had gone further in making the other delegates a little more than uncomfortable. Bryce and Doctor Briggs sat beside one another on the outer aisle seats of the craft. Bryce had been verbally affronted by a few people on the flight who'd read the misleading news story penned by Frank Pheasel. Bryce had politely handled each response only losing his cool momentarily when one such person continually goaded him. It had reminded him of his school years and how he'd often been treated by the more athletic students until he'd earned their respect.

He recalled one such incident and being called an egg head by one of the key athletes for his High School. Instead of making a fuss about it, he'd opted to make a wager with his school bound bully whose name was Bill. He'd bet that he could best Bill in any one of three different sports. Billiards which was not really a sport as much as a parlor game but one that both Bill and Bryce enjoyed. Four person Football, with Football being one of Bill's specialties and the sport that had made him the school's hero in the face of academia. The last was Tennis which again was one of Bill's strong sports and one in which he possessed natural talent. Bill had initially laughed at Bryce but ultimately agreed to the bet whose stakes were simple. If Bryce won, Bill would never taunt him or any of the other so called nerds of the school ever again. Girls or boys. If Bryce lost he'd take all of the abuse directed towards nerds himself in their place. Bill had everything to gain and nothing to lose and so it was that he accepted the wager.

Naturally word of the bet traveled quickly through the school and in the time up until the three day competition Bryce had become a celebrity in his school. He'd figured that he'd have billiards in the bag seeing as his family had a billiards table in the basement. He was a natural when it came to billiards being an ace in math and physics not to mention the hands on experience he'd had with a pool cue. Bill had earned his chalk at the local pool hall and was considered one of the best by his peers and thus could make a challenge. For the other two sports, Bryce only had to ensure that he was victorious in one of them. He figured his best bet was to go for Football and in doing so he picked as his partner a member of the Women's Football team by the name of Wendy, who had kindly agreed to train him as well. Wendy had been looking for the opportunity to rub Bill's bottom onto the football field herself and this was just such an opportunity to bring a victory home for the Women of the school. Bryce had figured that Bill would run him into the ground at tennis but had practiced with Wendy despite. As a result he'd become a much stronger athlete himself and a much better tennis player to boot.

As it happened the first competition to take place was billiards and as Bryce had expected he'd whooped Bill in every game. He'd been modest about it of course even giving Bill the benefit of the doubt by purposely missing a few shots in the last game only to come back and beat him. The so called "nerds" had been there to cheer him on and when he'd finished Bill at the pool hall on his own turf, they'd paid for his snacks and video games for the night in celebration. The next day at noon they held the tennis competition and this was where Bill had the last laugh. He'd beat Bryce hands down in every game, making Bryce work through every inch of the court for little or no progress in score. Bill had left the court without even so much as a breath while Bryce fell to the court huffing profusely dripping with sweat. The win had only helped to invigorate Bill who'd goaded him about the next competition, their four person Football game. Wendy had been at the tennis game and picked Bryce up from the ground giving him a kiss on the cheek.

"Don't you worry about a thing. You just remember what I taught you." Wendy hauled him up off the ground.

"I trust you. If I can throw the ball consistently we should be alright. After all, I'm a math and physics major. I literally know how the forces will affect the ball in flight. My intuition about it, well that's another thing." Bryce responded.

"There's a bit more to it than just knowing. Sometimes life is more about what you feel. You did good out here. Not as good as Bill but good nonetheless." Wendy said walking him off the court.

Bryce had been thinking all night about what Wendy had said to him. About having to feel it more so than think it. In truth math, physics, literature and music had just come naturally to him. Like he could feel it more often than he'd have to think it. When it came to sports though he found himself having to think about what he'd do and then force his body to do it rather than feeling it happen naturally. The same way he'd become so strong in math and physics. Intuition. If he could feel throwing the ball the same way he could feel his way through physics and math, he'd have it made. If he didn't well they'd both be sacked and it was more than just his Honor on the line. He wanted them both to win this as much for Wendy's confidence too. Kind of a post Women's lib era victory for the Women of the school.

The next day being a Saturday they'd agreed to do the competition at eleven o'clock in the morning. He'd arrived to see that the school football field had many spectators at least seventy in all who'd arrived just to see the four person game. Wendy was there warming up in preparation while Bill had picked his friend Mike, one of the linebackers from the school football team as his partner for the game. Mike was a large muscular fellow who'd be rushing Bryce and Wendy on the field as part of Bill's defense. Mike was also a good receiver despite his larger frame and slower more awkward gait.

The rules were simple. They'd toss for the kick off to start the game, the other team having to retrieve the ball and make as much headway as they could up the field until they were tackled. They'd opted for the two hand touch rule meaning that instead of a full tackle the runners would only be required to hit their target with two hands to count as a tackle. They'd had six referees to discern this from a variety of different parts of the field. Each team would get three downs to gain ten yards and if they'd gained those yards they'd get another three downs until they'd safely put the ball in the hands of a player who'd made it to the other team's end zone.

Bill's team had won the toss and would kick to Wendy and Bryce who took their place at the forty yard line. Bryce watched as Bill kicked the ball with ease nearly to the ten yard line on their side of the field. Wendy caught it covering the distance and quickly circled around beginning her sprint down towards their end zone. Wendy had a compact athletic and muscular body being athletically active in school since she was a young girl. Many guys had been intimidated by her for this reason despite the fact that many had found her quite attractive. They'd definitely underestimated her for this reason as they did that day on the field. Wendy had been looking for this chance since she was a small girl and the first time she'd lost out on an opportunity simply because she was a girl. Cliche and stigma had carved their mark upon her and she'd spent her whole life trying to break it. The spectators watched her as she sped down the field towards the two larger Men who obstructed her way. She side stepped them both as one dove for her ankles trying to lay two hands on her. She jumped lifting both her feet just narrowly avoiding their tag and she continued down the field in a sprint as they struggled to catch up. She crossed the end zone with ease scoring their first six points. The spectators went wild cheering for her loudly while Bill's fans booed and taunted her.

She'd easily made the corresponding field goal kick, Bryce holding the ball nervously his hands shaking as she drilled it between the goal posts of the field garnering them another one point bringing their score to seven. Now Bryce would be required to kick the ball towards their end of the field seeing as Wendy had kicked the field goal. Bill and Mike would be required to catch the ball and gain as much ground as they could.

"Remember what I taught you. Don't look at the ball. Look at where you want the ball to go. Feel the kick." Wendy reminded him.

Bryce thought about it taking the wind into consideration and with the weight of the ball if he could just connect with it off the midpoint and put a spin on the ball, it might as she'd said travel where he was looking. He took a breath and held it running forward a step and then delivering the kick to the ball in his own hands. He'd connected with it too far towards the end and the ball cartwheeled into the air a good distance just clearing the fifty yard line. When it hit the ground it darted the opposite direction that Bill had anticipated. Bryce and Wendy ran towards the ball as Bill struggled to get it up off the field and run. He barreled towards them running directly at Bryce while Mike blocked Wendy. Bill ploughed into Bryce at the forty yard line with the force of a freight train sending Bryce tumbling to the field where he lay broken and still. The whistle was blown as it was considered a legal tackle at the forty yard line. Wendy ran over to check on Bryce.

"So this is heaven? There wouldn't happen to be an easier way to get here would here?" Bryce asked Wendy as she lifted him up giggling.

"Did we win?" he asked her making fun again as he caught his breath.

"If you'd stop taking naps on the field we might." she smiled and smirked at him simultaneously.

They played the rest of the game pretty much neck in neck with their competition. The real break for them had come when Wendy had sacked Bill while he played quarterback to Mike's receiver. Bryce had kept on Mike covering him like a pro. Bill decided to have a go directly against the juggernaut known as Wendy. He put the ball under his arm and began dodging left and right as Wendy charged him. He began his legendary sprint, one that had won the school several title championships in their borough of the city. He was fast but in this instant she was faster and much more agile. He ran back trying to circle around her to the West as she rushed him pushing him back by more than ten yards on their third down. She tagged him clearly with both hands and stopped throwing the ball to the ground pushing her back with his hands.

Bryce quickly ran over as the two stood each other down.

"What happened?" he asked Wendy as she walked away from Bill cautiously.

"He did something I was hoping he'd do for a long time." Wendy had told him.

"What was that?" Bryce asked her as they stopped.

"He forgot that I was a girl. Just for a moment in his eyes we were equals on the field and he treated me that way. I beat him at his own game." Wendy said still reveling in her victory.

"We won the game? Really?!" he confirmed with her thinking that there was a rule he'd missed somewhere along the way.

"No. It was a personal game I guess. My own. One I was playing for on the side of the Women. We've still got to make this chance count. The game's almost over and we need to score this time to win. If we don't, we're behind by five points and they win." Wendy informed him as she took her place at their thirty five yard line.

"Ok. But you're alright. So you won already? I still need you though to help us win this. I don't like the idea of being picked a pin cushion in place of all the nerds for the rest of my education. If we win this then the geeks, outcasts and nerds of this school will be free of torment you realize. This is an important victory." Bryce reminded her.

"I know. Nerd liberation though let's try to keep the cliches to a minimum. I'm an outcast too, remember?" Wendy reminded him.

"Really? Not from my team you're not." he said to her.

She stopped on the field for a moment looking at him seriously before she approached him and gave him a hug.

He stood stunned and reeling and uncertain what to do or say.

"What?" she asked him.

"Kind of like being hugged by a Goddess." Bryce said to her feigning deliriousness.

"Alright, geek. Let's win this. This time you're going to play the receiver and I'll be the quarterback." Wendy said to him giving him the ball.

"Are you sure? I don't know if I can..." Bryce replied unsure of himself.

"Remember. Watch the ball as it comes to you. Trust your body to catch it. It knows how to do the rest naturally. Kind of like kissing. You've done that before right?" Wendy asked him.

"Well once or twice but I'm no expert." he said honestly more so than jokingly.

"Just let it happen. When you've got the ball run with it." Wendy told him.

"...towards the end zone." Bryce confirmed.

"Yeah. Yep. Theirs though, not ours." Wendy pointed the direction for him.

"Ok. Just checking." Bryce confirmed taking a position in front of her.

"One... two... three.. huht!" she yelled and Bryce threw the ball back to her from between his legs.

He ran as fast as he could trying to find an opening towards their end zone as Mike covered him. Bill remained on Wendy eager for payback.

"Face it, you lost already. Geek face there is not going to catch it. He's already thinking about his math homework or his piano and band practice!" Bill taunted her covering her as best he could.

She looked for the moment and just for a second there was curved line window to Bryce. She threw the ball putting a slight angular spin on it hoping that he'd see what she'd done. Bryce looked carefully at the ball in flight. It's facing direction, trajectory and angular momentum too. She's thrown it differently he thought. It's got an off axis spin. That means that the centripetal force is going to keep the ball facing in a direction the ball isn't actually moving which means...

Mike watched trying to anticipate the flight of the ball running in a bit of a different direction than Bryce did putting yards between them leaving him the window he'd needed. He remembered what she'd said. To watch the ball and let his body do the rest. He watched the ball which had traveled exactly as he'd anticipated it. In a slight ellipse rather than a straight line. Mike had gone completely in the wrong direction and was struggling to cover the ground back to Bryce as he caught the ball. Bryce watched the ball descend into his arms not even thinking about it and then it was there. He'd caught it. He stood for a moment shocked as Wendy screamed at him to run. He reanimated when he spied Mike charging at him furiously trying to close the twenty yards between them. Bryce turned and ran as fast as he could for the end zone. He charged at full speed as both Mike and Bill closed on him, their athletic practice and prowess making up for his correct anticipation of the ball's real trajectory. As Bryce crossed the threshold Mike and Bill dove at him trying to make the tag. Bryce stumbled just a moment as he crossed the line tumbling to the ground nearly losing the ball as time stood still.

"That's a touchdown! Six points! Wendy and Bryce win the game!" the referee said as the last seconds of the game ran out.

The crowd went wild and the field was filled with the geeks, nerds and outcasts of the school who'd bore their own two heroes on the field that day.

From that point on both Bryce and Wendy had earned the respect of all the cliques of the school and it had opened many doors for them both. For one, Bryce and many of the other geeks at lunch would play billiards and in a big change, they'd often end up winning rather than losing their lunch money or lunches to the former bullies of the school who'd finally accepted them begrudgingly. For a time stigma seemed to give way to acceptance. Bryce would regularly be seen drawing a crowd on the stage during school assemblies either playing piano or trumpet as part of the school jazz ensemble band. Wendy had earned a Women's scholarship for both her athletic and academic performance and had been accepted to the University Of Toronto. Bryce of course had gone on to a life of continued learning studying at University Of Waterloo, York University and finally University of Toronto where he'd earned his credentials as a qualified Professor. Bryce reveled in their victory as time suddenly tugged bringing him back to his place beside Doctor Briggs on the flight to Beijing.

"Can you believe it? He actually changed his name to Pheasel from Gorss!" Doctor Briggs said checking out some rumors about the reporter online, rousing Bryce from his memories.

"Huh? Oh, the reporter. Thanks but it's alright. Let's concentrate on something else." Bryce said as someone across the aisle smirked at him.

"Just trying to help, Bryce. Just trying to help." Doctor Briggs told Bryce.

"I'm sure they'll stop by the time we've landed. It's still a bit fresh though. It just needs a little time." Bryce said as he lay back in his seat and fell asleep.

An hour later the plane set down in China for their only stopover for the trip and it was where one of their delegation would depart taking another route to Beijing.

Guangzhou Sunrise

Heylyn had bid the rest of the delegation a farewell as she left the plane. Alicia had offered to join her but Heylyn had stubbornly refused her and Monique's offers instead insisting that she'd arrive in Beijing in time for their meeting with the Chinese delegation, where her presence would be most precious and valued. She'd left her belongings on the flight only taking her essentials with her and what she'd need for the next day. She grabbed a taxi for the long trip to Guangzhou and her intended destination there within.

She'd left ShenZhen Bao'an International Airport as the sun crested the building tops of the old city known in it's romanised form as Canton. Guangzhou had been the head of the snake, the long winding path that had become known to the west as the Silk Road before finding a new head in what would eventually become Beijing. Heylyn's business although not related directly to the current business of the delegation held some relevance in a roundabout way. She leaned her head against the window of the cab and before she closed her eyes she spoke.

[I'll be sleeping soon. Wake me when we near Guangzhou.]
"我很快就要睡覺了。 當我們靠近廣州時醒來。" Heylyn said to the cab driver in her native tongue.

[Ok. I'll wake you. I'll turn the radio off for you.]
"好。 我會叫醒你。 我會為你關閉收音機。" the cab driver replied to her as she fell asleep.

She quickly found sleep without event and only had mild dreams recalling her childhood in bits and pieces. She remembered protecting the cocoon she'd found on the end of a tree branch from one of the neighborhood boys. She'd fallen and bumped her head while protecting it and had awoken much to her relief to see the butterfly emerging from it safely. Unharmed. She'd heard voices too. Possibly Weltherwithsp's though the Dragon made no attempt to show itself during her restful sleep. She heard other voices from her past as well both familiar and none so nearly. She'd heard two voices, that of a Woman and a Man. They were in a scuffle against unseen attackers and their voices could be heard as they pesevered. Heylyn herself struggled against sleep paralysis attempting to find them and help them. Instead she only found that she was unable to move.

She awoke an hour and a half later to the sound of the cab driver's attempts to rouse her.

[I'm awake. Thank you.]
"我很清醒。 謝謝。" Heylyn responded groggily trying not to wipe her eyes.

[We're here. Just down the road from your stop.]
"我們在這裡。 就在你停下來的路上。"  the cab driver pointed down the road.

Ahead Heylyn could see her destination. A large Temple with traditional Chinese architecture, a large garden lining it's exterior like a moat.

The car stopped and Heylyn paid the man giving him a generous tip. He thanked her repeatedly.

[Thank you! ...Thank you! ...Thank you!]
"謝謝! ...謝謝! ...謝謝!" the cab driver's voice disappeared as she walked towards her destination.

"Three's grace is enough. Don't tempt the fates." she mumbled replying under her breath perhaps clinging to local superstition after all too much was sometimes as bad as not enough.

She approached the Temple gate passing a booth on her way in.

[Hey you. You need to pay!]
"嘿,你。 你需要付!" a Lady yelled out from the booth.

[I'm sorry. I assumed that I could just go in.]
"對不起。 我假設我可以進去。" Heylyn reponded looking through her purse for her wallet again.

[We need to pay for upkeep. It's expensive not to mention the archives here require special care.]
"我們需要支付維持費用。 它是昂貴的,不要提到這裡的檔案需要特別照顧。" the Lady in the booth responded patiently waiting for Heylyn to pay the price.

[Thank you.]
"謝謝。" Heylyn said as she continued in.

[Thank you.]
"謝謝。" the Lady said as Heylyn entered the Temple.

The interior was oddly family though she could not put her finger on where she'd seen this layout before. She searched her memories trying to recall finding only clutter recall. Perhaps the travel and jet lag had caught up with her remarkable endurance. She found her way in seeking out one of the Scholars within. She found him dressed of old, a tall headdress adorning his head and a long robe wrapped his body. He stood reading a scroll which dangled from the ceiling written on the finest silk paper, very obviously hand painted in traditional Chinese calligraphy. She approached the Scholar cautious of interrupting his reading. He stood for a moment oblivious of her presence before he spoke.

[Some of the verses still cause my eyes to tear. How may I help you?]
"有些經文仍然引起我的眼淚。 我怎樣能幫到你?" the Scholar asked Heylyn without looking at her nor taking his eyes from the scroll.

[I'm looking for records relating to a specific line. The Sifu of an old style.]
"我正在尋找與特定行相關的記錄。 老風格的主人。" Heylyn inquired of the Scholar.

[Few in this day are concerned with the ways of old. Always now and me. How is it what you seek is different?]
"在這一天很少關心老的方式。 總是現在和我。 你所尋求的是什麼不同?" the Scholar asked Heylyn still keeping his eyes fixed upon the scroll.

[I'm but a humble student who seeks answers. I know not of time or my place within. I only seek answers.]
"我是一個謙卑的學生尋求答案。 我不知道時間或我的地方。 我只尋求答案。" Heylyn reponded to the Scholar.

There was a quiet moment.

[What do you seek?]
"你在尋找什麼?" the Scholar asked her apparently unmoved by her prior statement.

[I seek the archives related to Sifu Jin Hua and of the style of the Butterfly Dragon.]
"我尋找與金華大師相關的檔案和蝴蝶龍的風格。" she asked the Scholar whose eyes immediately moved from the scroll to take in Heylyn.

He stared at her for a long moment seeming hurt by her statement. He then walked away without saying another word. She watched him as he disappeared into the bowels of the Temple. She turned to the scroll on the wall trying to read the ancient script realizing where she'd seen the arrangement of the interior before. It was very similar to the Toronto Temple where she'd met Sifu Jin Hua. The Temple which she'd told Heylyn was secretly called the Temple Of The Butterfly Dragon. After she'd been graded as passing her final test the Temple had been closed. Two years later the building was destroyed and there remained nothing of the Temple in Toronto though there were many other Chinese Temples to be found in the diversity of the city. Heylyn had been so busy with school work at that time she'd not been able to put the effort required into investigating what had happened to the Temple. Why had it closed? Why had Jin Hua disappeared and where did she go?

[That is much effort for this fine day. Saturday. Are you planning on doing something? Preparing for something perhaps? Butterfly?]
"這是這個美好的一天的努力。 星期六。 你打算做點什麼嗎? 準備的東西可能嗎? 蝴蝶?" came a sultry and lyrical voice from behind her.

All at once Heylyn felt an insurgence of emotions and memories. She recalled a time when she'd been a young girl of twelve years. She'd already been a a multiple black belt in both Goju Ryu and Tae Kwon Do. Her third step was taken with Jin Hua. Sifu Jin Hua though Jin had forbade her from addressing her as such. Instead they'd call each other by their first names. Jin and Ai. From that point on it was that Heylyn or as her parents had named her Ai, had began her final steps towards her destiny as the Butterfly Dragon. It was as the ancient dragon Weltherwithsp had said. Sometimes aspects of our lives disappeared only to resurface again when we'd least expect them. Like fate and destiny were intertwined in ways we could not fathom though Heylyn had little regard for either concept. She'd accepted though that the owner of that voice had returned to her life nearly two decades later.

"Jin...?" Heylyn spoke in English turning to see a figure hidden behind a thin veil and long robe.

"It seems you remembered despite the fact that you'd forgotten so much. It's always the details that take us by surprise." Jin circled Heylyn as she spoke responding in English as well.

"You still have a way with words." Heylyn smiled as she remembered their many talks.

"Perhaps I get that from our mutual friend?" Jin posed the question.

"You obviously mean..." Heylyn started speaking as Jin interrupted.

"Don't say it's name. A rule that we keep around here. There are so few such similar forms of respect in the world. Let's keep this one." Jin said rounding her right side.

"What happened to you. I mean the Temple in Toronto. It's gone." Heylyn asked Jin.

"I closed the Temple and sold the building. Then I disappeared. My real task there accomplished for you'd taken the first nine steps into your journey as the Butterfly Dragon. Your life continued and you've obviously fulfilled your destiny and fate if you've found your way here and to me. The tendrils of life and time run through us each in ways few understand." Jin suggested.

Heylyn thought about it for a moment and it seemed to make sense though ultimately it was difficult to accept.

"I find this a little hard to believe that all of this was just for me." Heylyn responded to her former instructor.

"That's because it isn't all for you. Rather it is something of which you are a part. There is a very big difference in that concept." Jin's subtle smile was barely visible through her thinly veiled face.

Heylyn thought about it some more and what she had said was indeed true. Especially from the point of view of someone within the public eye. The public life had a tendency to fertilize and nurture strong and sometimes self centered egos when one took too seriously their role in life's stage. Many in her business had learned to deal with ego by a variety of humbling means. By helping their younger peers who were starting out. Rescuing Women and Men from poverty by offering them opportunity where they saw such potential. Fund raising and awareness had become a big part of their business too. All contributed to a bigger picture where the successful were merely pieces of a much bigger puzzle. Recognition and thanks was always a welcome reward to the lives of innovators and those who'd persevered but it never should be the sole motivation for anyone's existence.

Her introduction to the life and philosophy of the Butterfly Dragon had been steeped in mystery and coincidence that was sometimes a little unnerving. After all she'd lived this as a little girl up and into her current mid life, it was the biggest part of her. As big as her career but in and by a much different means. It was that for which she lived. To play her part in making this world a better place in ways that few could imagine, have seen or understood. Much like the delegation of which she was currently a part. It had a greater purpose and certainly greater than any of its individual members' purpose alone. Yet it was their combined effort that made it possible.

"I'm here as part of a delegation..." Heylyn began and Jin in style interrupted.

" bring a medicine to the East. How curious it is. Do you seek to repay the medicine that healed your soul from such a young age Butterfly?" Jin asked Heylyn.

"The delegation has nothing to do with the Butterfly Dragon." Heylyn assured Jin impatiently.

"Oh but yes it does. In fact the two are intertwined in ways that you obviously have not seen." Jin said to Heylyn lifting her veil.

Heylyn looked on and was amazed to see that Jin had changed little if all beneath her veil. She appeared as much a Woman in her early thirties as did Heylyn despite the fact that she had to be at least twice Heylyn's age.

"You've kept your youthful exuberance and visage I see." Heylyn said trying to appear unmoved.

"Does the mind follow the body or the body follow the mind?" Jin asked Heylyn though it came out sounding more like rhetoric than philosophy.

"Are you saying that if we think young we will remain as such?" Heylyn confirmed in disbelief.

"No. I am saying that when we discard our stigmas surrounding age that we transcend it." Jin presented to Heylyn for her consideration.

"Are you saying that we should start by seeking out and marrying children?" Heylyn responded.

"Not at all. That would be the unacceptable exploitation of innocence and those we are ushering into the era of their wisdom and ability to grow by one's self. To do as such is an injustice beyond measure." Jin responded calmly.

"But that seems to be the general consensus of any society that does not recognize an age barrier and the value of youth and innocence." Heylyn said still smoldering inside thinking about the human trafficking ring she'd assisted authorities to take down.

"Spoken like a true savior, Heylyn. I'm impressed that these thoughts and words are coming from a little girl that I taught from the time that she was twelve years old. You stand strong in your virtues to protect that same little girl in yourself whom of course is thinking these thoughts. So what is the difference between then and now?" Jin asked Heylyn.

"A coming of age. A loss of innocence. An understanding that the world is not all about me and my feelings and that people can be hurt as a result of my words, actions or in the absence of either. Just as much as I can be hurt by them and theirs." Heylyn spoke feeling her words more so than thinking them.

"So how is it that the notion of this boundary, this coming of age determines that once we surpass it that we should play our part and grow old, taking a role in the world that has already been written for us and that is based upon the ascent of the number of times the planet goes around the sun and to have that form tracks from which we cannot stray?" Jin orated looking deep into Heylyn's soul and being questioningly.

Heylyn thought about it and weighed it carefully.

"Think with your heart Butterfly. Don't let your mind take too much of it's meaning away. How do you feel by that statement?" Jin reiterated.

"Age is much more than just the tracks to which we are bound. I guess I look at it as the tracks to which we are bound that are made up of how we should direct our lives to ensuring that we don't as being older and wiser take away the challenge of learning that youth must undergo to attain that coming of age by solving their challenges for them." Heylyn said giving the most honest answer that she could.

"Now that's typically arrogant, isn't it? You're helping them are you?" Jin came back at her.

"Arrogant? How so? I think that its a sort of sacrifice we make as we get older for the benefit of those just starting out." Heylyn responded.

"So then is that what your elders are supposed to do for you? What does that leave them and their lives? By your statement you're saying that as we get older we are confined to a prison that prevents us from using the very wisdom that we've hard learned through life's lessons to ensure that the younger generation is not denied the opportunity of solving their own problems. So as we get older we become less useful despite the fact that our knowledge and wisdom could benefit the world in many ways. Every single young person has that as their future prison whose bars are made up of how they perceive that they'll be taking away the challenge from the youth by using their hard attained wisdom? I am sorry Heylyn but I am not going to be a part of any such prison for your benefit. What is the wisdom in that statement? The one I just spoke?" Jin asked Heylyn looking into her rather than at her.

"It's taking away the prison bars of limit that exist to accommodate and ensure that the younger generation has challenges to learn from." Heylyn said thinking carefully about her statement.

"Precisely. And what does that do? It removes their bars as well for they won't be growing into a world that will more and more limit their part in it. It also leaves you free to take part in life as you see fit despite your accumulated years. A liberty of ages if you will. I am surprised that your parents did not give you that gem of Eastern wisdom for in the East, the way we value the elderly is not by imprisoning them in cages that limit the application of their wisdom but by celebrating it." Jin asserted herself.

"The wisdom of age and this concept in the East has changed considerably to accommodate youth. Especially since the reformation of China. That is why my parents did not teach me those ways." Heylyn responded.

"You speak of the fact that in the past the case was the opposite. That the cage existed for the youth and was their sacrifice so that the elderly could live their lives utilizing their wisdom while the youth had to earn theirs in order to be able to take part in society. The rank of seniority which no matter how quickly we wanted it was constrained to the rate of the passage of time. That concept was challenged through a long misunderstood philosophical text." Jin told Heylyn.

"You mean the Lao Tsu? The Tao Te Ching?" Heylyn confirmed with Jin.

"Precisely. During the reform it became the handbook for many students and a symbol against this concept of wisdom and age holding seniority over the youth, like prison bars. Like the same prison bars that age holds over the elderly now." Jin said continuing to circle Heylyn though more ceremoniously than predator-like.

"You mean over the lines leading up to the Kill the Sage passage?" Heylyn thought about it.

"Exactly. Take the rank of seniority from the elderly and at that time the ruling class their right to rule based upon that seniority. In fact at that time it was as much oppression against the youth as the current mind set is oppression of the elderly." Jin told Heylyn continuing to circle.

"But this is the way of the East. The Yin and the Yang. The two ever in opposition of one another to become one and part of ever the larger and made up of even smaller duality." Heylyn said disbelieving that Jin who'd taught her much of philosophy could be questioning these values.

"As much as the Tao Te Ching is misunderstood through the Kill the Sage passage so is the form and way of the duality. The Yin and the Yang. The two ever together and yet never as much quite one. Neither apart nor together. I never taught you of Chuang Tzu's works. I'd always assumed that you'd find them and study them yourself. After all growth is the responsibility of one's own self." Jin paused a moment to look at the scroll that the Scholar had been reading before continuing to round Heylyn's front.

"I never read or studied Chuang Tzu." Heylyn said realizing just how little she did understand.

"Then I will tell you what you need to know but you must make the effort to understand it and it's importance for it frees you of the bindings of duality. It is the philosophy of This And That. One discussed by Chuang Tzu, a disciple of Mencius by the way." Jin said inviting Heylyn into a room that appeared very much like the studio within the Temple in Toronto.

They both took a place on the brown hardwood floor of the classroom, candles, beaded curtains and scrolls lining the walls around them. It reminded Heylyn very much of her early years under Jin's tutelage.

"Not many discuss the works of Chuang Tzu yet his works bring meaning to many Eastern philosophies and free us from some of the more rigid forms of thought and principle. This And That is one such philosophy. It comes from the concept that the Way (Tao) can often seem contradictory for it is made up of actions rather than words. In the East words had at one time become as much a part of vanity as fashion had. After all, words without corresponding action are just show, are they not?" Jin asked the Butterfly.

"But that belays the whole point to the story of the Field, The Butterflies And The Dragon. The Butterflies were accused of the same thing. Vanity. Yet it was they who were often laughed at by the creatures of the field who'd saved them by exploiting the best parts of each of them to make something to deal with the dangerous collectors. So the perception of their vanity it turns out was not a liability but an asset in a way. A delicate creature who had only what it could show rather than what it could do." Heylyn argued.

"Precisely. Listen and all will be clear for it is words that I am using to illustrate this point and if actions alone were the foundation of this reality and the Way, then I'd be a hypocrite for using them to describe it. It is words that make up the wisdom of any treatise so how is it that words can be a form of vanity if that very knowledge is of words made? Again that is the dual nature of words or thoughts versus action. For every that there is a this, and for every this there is a that. That deems nothing in and of itself but confusion for what really makes up that which has direction is that which has no corresponding this and this which has no corresponding that. That which has no opposite and which is therefore of clarity. These are the signposts and anchors of reality and the universe for upon them we can fasten ideas that cannot be reduced to this or that. Just like word versus action. Words are not vain yielding no physical result other than a show of knowledge, just as action is not without education yielding only physical accomplishment. Both could be said to be vain depending upon one's point of view and neither yields any lesser than the other. Without the words: don't drink that, it's poison, there might be much needless death and in as much by preventing one from hearing those same words by way of action, it might prevent someone from using said poison to cause harm to others. Neither word nor action is lesser nor greater yet we need sustain the body through action and the mind through word. Chuang Tzu was saying that it is through concepts that have no corresponding opposite that we find clarity. After all, we are much more than ping-pong balls or see-saws are we not? One side or the other? The East is often misunderstood in this way, yet few take effort to think and learn for themselves. Is this because of the bars that the young impose upon the elderly so they are not denied the opportunity to learn for themselves or the bars that the elderly impose upon the young so that they are not denied the opportunity to apply the wisdom they've acquired throughout their lives. So you see? Clarity would come from recognizing that by keeping this tug of war that no liberation of either would result and we'd be prisoners of age, each and every one of us for the rest of time." Jin explained Chuang Tzu's philosophy to Heylyn enthusiastically.

"I definitely understand what you're saying about the prison of age, but how does this connect with the delegation?" Heylyn  asked Jin considering the question herself as she did.

"You already spoke with our mutual friend I assume about this topic?" Jin asked very obviously speaking of Weltherwithsp.

"Yes. We had a collective vision. The first one of that nature since the Treadwater incident. Our mutual friend suggested that Alicia's problems with Norler might be the fallout of balance related to duality. That for the delegation to win that her and Norler might have to lose something that they hold dear." Heylyn informed Jin hoping that she might have insight to the questions Weltherwithsp's presence always brought into being.

"I think that you may have misinterpreted the clues in that case for our mutual friend has transcended this concept and even that of the Chuang Tzu's Principle Of Clarity. I believe that you need to re-examine what was revealed to you. Perhaps the clues were more directly revealing another threat to the delegation or to Alicia and Norler? Even worse, a threat to the relationship between the East and the West. Maybe a threat from within the delegation itself? Possibly a threat you've faced before?" Jin asked of Heylyn.

"I think that everyone in the delegation is trustworthy. There's no ulterior motives. I'd have caught on if there were. It's something else. I have to warn the others." Heylyn said standing from the floor offering her hand to Jin.

"Don't think this a sign of age, just the humbling acceptance of the help of a former and current student." Jin said accepting her hand.

"I'm so glad that I found you here. I certainly did not expect it. I take it I will see you again?" Heylyn asked her former Sifu.

"That you will. There is one more thing Butterfly. There is a coming threat. An ancient one who seeks the lost Gem. One who will not cease until that Gem is within their grasp. The Gem upon your heart though there is always a choice. That is all that I can say to you for it is all that I am permitted to know." Jin informed Heylyn whose face looked puzzled.

"A Gem?" Heylyn asked her.

"A Gem. Perhaps the greatest treasure of all Gems? You must go and seek your friends. Take what you've learned with you and remember that we will always be with you." Jin responded sending Heylyn on her way.

Heylyn proceeded towards the exit of the Temple passing a scroll which caught her eyes along the way:

然後我又一個人。 步行。 說。 思維。




I once had a dream that I was a Butterfly.
Fluttering and flying without aim or anchor.
I am not aware that I was myself yet I am.
Then I was a person again. Walking. Talking. Thinking.

I then had the thought am I myself having dreamt I was a Butterfly or am I a Butterfly dreaming that I am a human being?

Are we the dreamer or the dreamed?]

Directly across from it on the adjacent wall another scroll caught her eyes:






I come again to seek the Gem.
Its shine I seek to cleanse my Chi.
Renewed I will direct it to my will.
Change will come as it has before.

Ignorance will follow and none will know for in ignorance there is no knowing.

This absence will lead all towards their final destiny and the end. It will all begin again from where it ceased to be. 

Devoured by the Dragon to be no more and then like the Butterfly born from the cocoon of it's passing.]

She left the Temple slightly overwhelmed by her newly acquired understanding of the situation and the future.

More so of her responsibility within.

That night she left on another flight to Beijing. She slept for most of the flight dreaming of Butterflies and Dragons.

The Deal Changing Imperative

"Arrangements have been made." Steadman spoke enthusiastically to Warley.

"I'm already aware. Have you spoken with him?" Warley asked Steadman keeping his back to the man.

"Not directly. He's going along with the plan so far. He has been since the beginning." Steadman replied.

"Good. For our little press photo op, I want him to be the next shot. Then you can go with the pyrotechnics. Should impress the crowd." Warley said with a sinister edge.

"It's all in place and ready to go. Should be quite the media sensation." Steadman responded still unsure of his place in the company since their last conversation.

"That's good to hear and I suspect that it will be." Warley responded still deep in thought.

"Zek is aware I take it?" Steadman confirmed with Warley gambling that the only Man alive who could rescue him from Warley right now was confined in a World Court prison in South America.

"He'll know in due time. He's perfectly safe where he is. Why do you ask?" Warley inquired already sensing Steadman's fear and panic in the situation.

"I was hoping I could get an audience with him for an investment idea I have." Steadman said lying.

"He's fully aware of the contribution you've made to the organization. You'll be recognized and rewarded for everything you've done." Warley returned a lie to Steadman.

"Will that be all?" Steadman asked Warley trying to hide his anxiety.

"Yes. I'm afraid it is." Warley replied keeping the back of his office chair to Steadman.

"I guess I'll be leaving you now. Good day Sir." Steadman said as he got up and left Warley's office.

"Goodbye Steadman." Warley said addressing him for the last time ever.

Steadman passed the receptionist throwing her a wink and a smile as he made his way for the elevator. He was relieved to have made it out of Warley's office alive. Perhaps his paranoia over Warley was uncalled for as he'd based his fears upon nothing more than rumors. Most of Warley's past subordinates had disappeared under mysterious circumstances either running from the company or outright vanishing from the face of the Earth itself. Ironic that it's name was Future Tangent Industries for that would imply that where Steadman was going ultimately would be to the same place. To be with the disappeared except that his disappearance would be the result of the reward that Mr. Zek would cut him for his loyal service.

The elevator door opened and two large well dressed men occupied it on either side. Steadman stepped into the elevator between them as the door closed.

"Almost forgot." Steadman said nervously pressing the elevator button for the ground floor.

He smirked when it didn't light up in acknowledgement of his pressure upon it.

"Huh. Technology eh? Sometimes it works..." Steadman said desperately pressing the button trying to get it to respond for his destination.

He didn't finish his sentence before the garote encircled his neck cutting off both his circulation and breath. Thirty seconds later he was unconscious as the two men carried him to the trunk of their waiting car in the underground garage. A man dressed in a security uniform opened the trunk for them dumping Steaman's unconscious body within. An hour later and Steadman was placed in a palette and buried in a limestone landfill site. He awoke within the crate twenty minutes after it had been covered by tons of dirt. His air lasted him for fifteen minutes before he fell asleep forever.

In the mean time Warley had prepared for the single largest stock purchase in history where he would take Future Tangent Industries from the grasp of Mr. Zek and become the world's most powerful industrialist in his place. Warley never actually having met Mr. Zek had gone much further as he had in the past for his real name was not Warley. Warley was the name of his last subordinate and someone whose identity he'd taken over in order to at that time get away with scamming the most powerful industrialist in the world. Alomera Zek. In fact the man who now bore Warley's name had been taking over the identities of others since his early teens and those he'd replaced most often had disappeared.

Warley dialed his phone and a voice on the other end answered.

"I take it you've taken care of our little problem?" Mr. Zek asked.

"Yes, I have. Mr. Warley has been dealt with. He'll never rip you off again. In fact he'll never rip anyone off ever again. I'm not in charge and running things here now." Warley replied as Steadman.

"Know your place in our business and you'll go far Steadman." Mr. Zek advised the new Steadman.

"Sir I can promise you that I'll not make Mr. Warley's mistake." Steadman replied.

"I certainly hope not. Life can be far too short you know. Especially if you don't learn from your mistakes." Mr. Zek responded hanging up the phone.

The new Steadman dialed another number on his phone and put the phone to his face.

"Just before those pyrotechnics go off I want you to buy the whole thing. All the shares. I want to be the majority share holder of Future Tangent Industries when we drive Tynan And Associates into the ground." the new Steadman spoke indeed very comfortable with his growing power.

"We're ready to make the purchases and everything is set." the voice on the other end spoke.

"I'll call again two hours after the purchase are done just to verify and to arrange for your payments. Don't let me down." the new Steadman said hanging up.

"I never have learned from my mistakes but Steadman certainly has learned from my mistakes. Too bad he's no longer alive to benefit from his learning. I think I'm going to like being Steadman." Steadman, the former Warley said aloud.

Heroes In Beijing

Katya and Victor were amongst the first of he delegation bold enough to find their way from their Hotel and down into the streets of downtown Beijing. They'd decided to leave early and meet the North American delegation at their scheduled rendezvous point. They'd been aware of the watchful presence of the security team Werner had hired to protect them and thus felt safe enough to venture into the streets.

Having traveled a bit in their lives, they preferred looking for the treasure troves hidden in most tourist destinations that required a bit of investigation to find. After all if they were going to have memorabilia from Beijing they'd prefer it to be representative of Beijing itself rather than a pre-idealized Western impression of the Chinese city. As luck would have it they found their way into a small market which sold authentic hand hammered cooking woks, many of which were adorned with elaborate and decorative symbols from the traditional Chinese character set. Each was also engraved with the wok maker's signature as each one was truly unique in this age old art form. While they looked for an appropriate treasure to bring home Alicia and Norler had gone with Monique to a restaurant across the street from the meeting point. The restaurant offered local cuisine specializing in Dumplings and Wontons as part of their lunch menu. The restaurant itself also employed Wait staff who were multilingual which would help with their ordering.

"Happy to see you here today. How can I serve you?" asked the Waitress who appeared to be in her early thirties.

There was a moment of awkward pause as Alicia, Monique and Norler looked at each other waiting for one of them to take the lead. Norler decided against ordering for the Women mostly because he did not want to press the situation between Alicia and himself or to avoid the presumption of him being in charge of Monique and her dealings in Heylyn's Absence. Monique was a grown Woman and free to make her own choices. Alicia elected Monique to speak first in order to avoid any further delay or confusion.

"I'm feeling a little bit tired. Do you have coffee here?" Monique asked still used to her Western lifestyle.

"Yes. We have coffee. Would you like?" the lady said nodding to Monique affirmatively.

From the corner of her eye Monique saw a little old lady waving to her. Monique smiled to the lady and waited for her to speak.

"You tired. You need to eat not too much. Try vegetable dumpling with sprouts. You need more Yin and not to eat too much. Have tea. Always good and balance in your body." the elderly lady spoke a big smile on her face.

"Maybe an Egg Drop Soup too? That good for Yin." the Waitress asked looking both to the elderly lady and back to Monique.

"Alright. I'll take some vegetable dumplings with a small Egg Drop Soup. And some tea too." Monique responded looking back to the elderly lady who nodded back smiling profusely.

"Good. It keep you good! Keep you from heart on fire. That make you feel bad very much. Especially when you try to sleep tonight. Eat good now and feel good tonight." the elderly lady advised Monique.

"I'll have what she's having." Alicia responded smiling back to the elderly lady.

"Me too. Thanks." Norler added.

"Where's Heylyn when you need her?" Monique asked somewhat rhetorically as the Waitress disappeared to get their order.

Meanwhile somewhere a few blocks away Bryce and Doctor Briggs stepped out of their Hotel standing out amidst the mid day Beijing crowd.

"What now? We still have a couple of hours to go before our presence is required." Doctor Briggs asked Bryce who fixed his tie.

"I was kind of hoping to go to the Beijing Arts Centre and to catch a bit of a live performance there." Bryce replied to Doctor Briggs just as a pair of hands covered his eyes.

"Guess who?" a sultry female voice asked from behind Bryce.

"Well now this is a surprise. If I had to go by the feel of your hands and your wonderful smell I'd say my Wife was here, though my Wife doesn't often wear that kind of fragrance unless it's a special occasion and of course only when we're in bed. Don't tell her I told you that because I'd like to tell her myself. The last time I heard that voice was at the Looking Glass Lounge. From an attractive Woman that hasn't met Doctor Briggs here if I'm correct? Doctor Briggs, this is Doctor Zheng Ni Wong. Computer Scientist. Mathematician and Biologist." Bryce spoke without losing a step.

"Please, call me Zheng." Zheng offered her hand to Doctor Briggs.

"Zheng? Zheng, you can call me anytime you'd like." Doctor Briggs replied turning up the heat a little.

"I've heard that you're a flirt. Don't commit to anything that you're not willing to follow through on is my advice to you." Zheng replied taking charge.

"Well Doctor Briggs, it looks like we've just been owned." Bryce smiled at Zheng as she gave him a hug.

"It's so good to see you Bryce. Are you surprised?" Zheng asked Bryce.

"I most certainly am and pleasantly so. It can't get much better than to have such an attractive and intelligent colleague as yourself show up at precisely the right time. I couldn't have done that any better myself." Bryce responded.

"Geez, Bryce. leave some for me. It's a pleasure to meet you Zheng." Doctor Briggs stepped in.

"...go on Bryce..." Zheng said grabbing his arm and wrapping it around hers.

"So what ever in the world is a gorgeous computer scientist and computational biologist like yourself doing here in Beijing at this time?" Bryce asked her as the three of them began walking.

Zheng gestured to Doctor Briggs to take her other arm so he'd not feel left out.

"It just so happens that Helmut Werner hired me to come here and join you for the delegation meeting. After all Doctor Hong and I have worked together before though I've never met him in person. He's currently running a distributed computational biology research program out of Tatung University and they're very close to the area of research that Alicia pioneered a few years ago with the SY349. So it would seem that somebody put two and two together and came up with twenty two..." Zheng explained pausing at the right moment.

"...I take it that you mean Catch-22? You're just going to have to explain yourself. Remember. Don't commit to anything that can't follow through with." Doctor Briggs said jumping in on the purposeful cue that Zheng had given him and for which Bryce held his tongue.

"A Joseph Heller fan I take it? I've never read it myself but yes I was referring to his famous paradox." Zheng replied.

"In what context?" Doctor Briggs asked.

"Ironically it has to do with element number 22 in the periodic table. You see, during simulation there are results that most often don't occur in reality for any number of reasons." Zheng began to explain.

"Numerical round off error? Differentials?" Bryce asked Zheng looking to her as she flashed her pretty brown eyes to him.

"Exactly but they're engineering problems that can be dealt with by ready means. Round off error is dealt with by a more accurate formalization of numbers, while differentials as you know are dealt with by varying the trade off between accuracy and time step parameters of a simulation." Zheng pulled herself a little closer to Bryce who smiled warmly.

"You lost me at differentials." Doctor Briggs stated trying to catch up.

"Well for your sake and because you're cute, I'll cut to the chase and explain differentials some other time. In the mean time do your homework on numerical integration such as Runge-Katta or the Taylor series." Zheng explained to Doctor Briggs.

"You've heard of Euler integration right?" Bryce asked Doctor Briggs.

"Just barely. In high school geometry if I recall? It was a requirement for orthopedics. I guess for knowing joint limits and angles and what not." Doctor Briggs looked to Bryce.

"Well integration and differentials deal with the problems that arise from both round off error and the time step problem. Differentials can also deal with the gimble lock problem by representing torque force, angular momentum and angles as homogenous vectors." Bryce explained.

"Such as quaternions." Zheng added to Bryce's explanation.

"Huh? So where exactly were we?" Doctor Briggs looked to the two of them.

Zheng smiled at Bryce and then looked back to Doctor Briggs before continuing.

"We'll come back to that some other time. Anyway it turns out that when you try a simulated experiment in reality that you run into unforeseen factors whose consequences however slight can affect the final outcome. So in the simulation we simulate a biological or chemical process as if it really occurred in a lab somewhere. We simulate all of the processes such as biochemical interactions between cells and an artificial composition and mitosis itself. However, when we get to the lab with the same experiment the outcome can be quite different from the simulation in certain reserved cases." Zheng stopped to catch her breath obviously excited to be speaking with her peers after the long flight.

"You're saying it's the lab equipment you're using? What in your lab is made up of Titanium?" Doctor Briggs asked Zheng.

"I'm impressed. Some of the containment vessels we use are made of titanium because it is supposed to be chemically inert for those purposes. However..." Zheng stopped between the men keeping firm hold of their arms.

"You're finding that the titanium vessels are influencing the outcome of the experiment versus the simulation however when you add the titanium as a factor into the simulation you get different results from both reality and the prior simulation." Bryce surmised.

"Now here's the clincher. I'd recently heard that Doctor Hong has overcome this in both the lab and simulation and he solved it by using his understanding of Chinese medicine and philosophy rather than Western knowledge of chemistry and mathematics which implies that the solution has more to do with how you look at a problem rather than its constituent parts." Zheng explained.

"Well my dear, you're certainly a welcome addition to this delegation. This is certainly an important part of the proceedings and might help this out more than you can know." Bryce said to her grateful for her arrival.

"That certainly lifted my spirits about the current state of the delegation." Doctor Briggs said raising his eyebrows.

"I can't wait to speak with Alicia and Doctor Hong about this." Zheng told them as another familiar face approached.

"You wouldn't mind if I join this little party would you?" Valerie asked as she ran in her heels catching up to the trio.

"Valerie this is Doctor Zheng Ni Wong. Zheng this is Valerie Aspen, the project manager for the delegation." Bryce said introducing the two.

"Pleased to meet you Valerie. Call me Zheng." Zheng smiled cordially to Valerie.

"Thanks. Great to meet you too. So what's with all of the smiles? I mean keep them. They're great. Care to share some?" Valerie inquired of the trio eager to find out what had changed their solemn mood.


Heylyn woke up quickly jumping in the shower for a quick scrub then thowing her face on much like she did any other day in Toronto. She'd arrived in Beijing only six hours ago leaving with enough time for four hours sleep by the time she'd gotten her Hotel room and settled in. Upon waking she'd realized she'd slept through her alarm and had to make up for her last time by cutting corners where ever she could.

Chances are the delegation were already on their way to the meeting point and she did not want to be the late party at such an important meeting. She debated the idea of flying there herself as the Butterfly Dragon but opted against it for the risk of exposure. Instead she grabbed her makeup kit in a purse and ran downstairs to find a cab to the Forbidden City in Beijing where the delegates had arranged to meet.

The cab driver had been a younger man whom Heylyn had of course charmed. He did his best to shave a few minutes time from her trip and ended up cutting it nearly in half by taking side streets and alleys where he could. When they arrived went through her purse to pay the young man giving him three times what he would have made otherwise.

[You creep! You didn't even get the door for me!]
"你爬! 你甚至沒有得到我的門!" Heylyn yelled at him handing him his payment.

He was ready to yell back at her when he noticed that she'd given him much more money than he'd charged her.

[Hey. I think the pretty lady likes me.]
"嘿。 我認為漂亮的女人喜歡我。" the young man exclaimed as Heylyn strode away.

As soon as she arrived someone in the press immediately recognized her as Canada's Heylyn Yates, China's Ai Yuanlin Ying who'd come home to nest again.

She braced for the camera flashes and presented herself as best she could looking for the delegation.

"I'm here representing Canada and the rest of North America and more importantly the interests of the medical community through the charitable work of Tynan And Associates." Heyly announced to the press.

It was Alicia and Monique who found her, each taking Heylyn's side and a bit of the camera spotlight.

"Hi boss. I thought you'd never make it." Monique said to Heylyn herself flashing them some teeth and a bit of her leg.

"It was close. It was worth it by the way." Heylyn said looking to each of them.

"Do you care to explain?" Alicia asked Heylyn as she grinned awkwardly for the camera.

"Not now. When we've a break from the delegation at three. It's important. How are things with you and Norler holding up?" Heylyn asked Alicia sincerely concerned.

"We're fine. Its been very awkward. Especially earlier today but we got through it. Didn't we Monique?" Alicia said finding herself posing for the cameras.

"We certainly did. We learned a lot about food today as well and Chinese medicinal diets. Did you know that to many Chinese people even cooking and eating is a healthy part of medical treatment?" Monique informed Heylyn.

"So my Mother and my Grandmother often would say." Heylyn smiled leaning in close to Monique and then to Alicia for a few playful pictures.

"Well I've got my own Grandmother here in China now. She adopted me. She joined us for early lunch and taught me about what to eat, when to eat it and when not to eat and more importantly, why. Her name is Meihui. Thanks for bringing me with you Heylyn." Monique said laying a kiss of her own on Heylyn's cheek leaving a ruby red bead of lipstick.

"You're welcome. You've already been a great ambassador. Alright? Let's go earn China's trust." Heylyn said to her best friends and they made their way through the gates to the Forbidden City and towards the Palace Of Heavenly Purity where the rest of the delegation were waiting.

On their way towards the gates they'd passed a news stand where the front page headlines had a picture of Garrett Warley (whose picture in the paper bore the face of the real George Steadman) who'd been under investigation in North America for various fraud related charges dealing with his time at Future Tangent Industries. If the newspaper had been of interest to them they'd have read the following:

George Steadman had taken over as Operations Manager from Mr. Warley following Warley's mysterious disappearance. It went on to state the Future Tangent Industries was the only real competition for the medically geared Tynan And Associates and that later this year it would release a technology that would put it far ahead of anything that Tynan And Associates had ever achieved. CEO of Tynan And Associates Walton Norler, currently in China was unavailable for comment.

Temptation Of Terror

"They've entered the complex and we're just waiting for the window of opportunity to open up on our little investment." One of Steadman's men watched Heylyn, Monique and Alicia proceed through the gates to the Forbidden City.

"Roger that. Team three is on their way to rendezvous. They'll take over keeping an eye on our package from that point. Teams four and five will maintain a distance until we're at minus twenty from our go ahead." the command center replied through their headset.

Some distance away a group of Chinese Women and Men occupied an unmarked van. The group were all well groomed and all adorned brush cuts and were of exceptional physique. They sat in front of an elaborate array of monitors and computers listening in on the communications of the first group.

"Have we got a positive ID on the package yet?" one of Men asked.

"We're not sure if they're referring to a person or a thing that one of the North American delegation is carrying." a Woman with a headset replied to the inquiry.

"Have the bomb disposal unit on standby. Have the National Guard ready too. Keep our blackout team on the press and ready to move. We don't want this to be an international incident." the Man ordered his team.

"Sir, we haven't determined if they are in fact part of the Tynan Private security detail or another group." the Communications lady replied.

"I don't care. Stay in tight with them. Don't lose their signal. Tell me if their comms negotiate a new encryption key." the Man ordered.

A few blocks away in yet another van another group watched over the other two.

"We've got a lot of traffic here. Most of it's encrypted and I can't tell if we're dealing with the Chinese delegation's security, the MSS or another group altogether. Sir, logistically I'd say that this is a very dangerous operation and that we should pull the delegates based upon that potential risk. We're in over our heads on this." one of the Communications associates spoke up unable to break the communications encryption of the other groups against which they were conducting surveillance.

"Deaf or not we're going to protect them. Just keep our clothed security detail close by and the plain clothed security on high alert. We're going to have to earn our pay today so let's do what we're trained to do and protect them." the Tynan Security Chief ordered his unit.

Steadman's group responded by putting one of their assets in the vicinity of the Tynan Security Command van. The car sat a half a block from the Security Command Center. In the car's trunk sat three M72A1 LAWS Rocket Lauchers ready for use. Three other assets watched the other vans and once they'd received the ready code, they would simultaneously deal with each van in this explosive situation.

Not long after they'd obtain the package and the real fireworks would begin.

Steadman laughed at the irony of the situation seeing as fireworks were invented in China. China did not initially create weapons with them but instead used them for amusement and magic. They were about to become victims of their own invention on a scale unimaginable and this day would be the day that brought NATO and China head to head on the battlefield. It might even herald the beginning of World War III. The blame would fall solely in the lap of the delegation. History ultimately would not be remembered for the eradication of Cancer but for the annihilation of humankind.

Heaven In The Forbidden City 

Alicia, Heylyn and Monique made their way to the meeting point under the close watch of no less than four different groups conducting surveillance upon them. They played as if they'd no awareness of this fact but the truth was that with their heightened senses they were aware on a different level. It eventually took Heylyn a moment to point it out.

"We're being watched again." Heylyn announced calmly as they walked across the huge courtyard towards the Gate Of Supreme Harmony.

"I was kind of hoping it was deja-vu. Guess not." Monique responded.

"So we're at least twice as interesting as we were during our time in Bangkok." Alicia said keeping the remnants of a smile she'd experienced days ago.

"That's one way of looking at it. The question is who are the good guys, the bad guys and the neutral?" Heylyn replied.

"I'd say we're going to find that out soon enough. The question is how does this play into what Weltherwithsp told us. What should we be wary of?" Alicia pressed Heylyn.

"I can only tell you that Weltherwithsp may not be speaking in allegory at all and it might be in our best interest not to assume that duality is involved." Heylyn assured Alicia.

"We have nothing more to go on. The list of people who would benefit from the failure of the delegation is far too long to go through using the process of elimination. Those for the delegation and those against. What Weltherwithsp stated was more related to Eastern philosophy and the role that dualism might be playing at a causal level." Alicia suggested.

"We know that the more progress we make with the delegation the more of a negative impact it has on other aspects of our being. Your relationship with Norler. The attack on Professor Mattu and the delegation in New Delhi. Weltherwithsp was explaining that as a natural side effect of causality and nothing more. Like the two slit experiment in Quantum Mechanics. That our observation reduces every problem to a state of dual being. This outcome or that one and always in such a way that all the forces involved balance out in the end at some level." Alicia explained.

"That's where your wrong in that assumption. Not everything in the universe operates that way or on that level and if the observer as you say have an impact upon the outcome, then maybe the observer also has an effect upon the cause. I don't know or pretend to know the first thing about Quantum Mechanics Alicia, but what Weltherwithsp stated was more a clue about the things that break that dualistic point of view to give us a direction. For us to get our bearings otherwise we'd be running around in circles yet making no progress in any other single direction. That's what Weltherwithsp was trying to say. Don't become paralyzed and unable to act by the fact that we may think that everything reduces to two sides, this or that. The opposition of the delegation and our nemesis can likely be seen in that way. A polar opposite to what Tynan And Associates is about but what links them to their actions against us won't be dual in nature at all. What they're doing by attacking the delegation might be in response to the threat the fund poses against them." Heylyn told Alicia adding what she'd learned from Jin Hua.

"That's it! Why haven't we been looking in the direction of Tynan And Associates opposite?" Monique stopped walking as she made her suggestion.

"What? Like people who create Cancer?" Alicia asked trying to clarify what Monique was talking about.

Monique rolled her eyes.

"Do you really think that I think that way? No. I meant a company in direct competition with Tynan And Associates. One who does the same thing but in competition to Tynan." Monique answered.

"Tynan's closest competitor is..." Alicia started as she was interrupted.

"Future Tangent Industries. What's been keeping you? We've been waiting for you for fifteen minutes. What is so important that it kept you?" Valerie said with a hint of agitation and impatience on her voice.

"How long has Future Tangent Industries been involved in the medical industry?" Alicia asked Valerie.

"I don't know. Maybe a couple of years. Just before we went to Treadwater... Wait a second." Valerie said pulling her smart phone from her purse.

"Already on it. They were Incorporated and became public few months before we took Zek down on Treadwater Island." Alicia replied having already looked it up on her phone.

"Not only that but it says here in the International Business Quarterly the financial holdings company that owned them was a subsidiary of Martech International which was owned and operated by Xinc Holdings, the company through which Mr. Zek conducted all of his business world wide. During the court proceedings Martech was liquidated and distributed by court order to the three nearest competitors. During that transaction Future Tangent Industries shares were purchase and are being held by a legal firm in South America." Valerie informed them as she digested the information from her own phone.

"So our enemy now has a name but no face. Not so nearly as dangerous as the Nameless Name." Heylyn remarked.

"South America is not our enemy. Be careful, I have friends from there. You know Helena right? The model we used for your summer line last year. She's from Bogota, Columbia." Monique reminded Heylyn.

"No you're right. They're not our enemies but remember that we took down one of their biggest meal tickets and someone who'd revitalized their tourist economy in the Caribbean. There's going to be a lot of people from that neck of the woods who don't like us for that reason." Heylyn reminded her friends.

"If you're going to discuss business don't you think that you've forgotten someone?" Norler arrived to check up on the late arrivals.

"Sorry, we're just going over some details in relation to the..." Valerie tried to cover for them.

"I clearly heard you discussing business without me. What's going on?" Norler asked the four Women.

"Look, Norler. We've been keeping a lot from you and most of it is because of the fight we had the other day on the flight from India to Thailand." Alicia spoke up.

"That fight was about you not being willing to give up gallivanting around in tights as a superhero. You're unwilling to focus on our life together and what we're doing for the world. You don't have to be a superhero to change the world or to make it a better place Alicia. The world wants you and what you have to share exactly as you are." Norler said directly to Alicia aware that the other three were already in the know.

"This isn't about Night Style. It's about you Norler and the fact that you're not willing to accept me exactly as I am. Don't bring the world into this. Your idea of commitment is about clipping my wings because Night Style is the only aspect of my old life that is still mine. You're so used to running the show at Tynan that you can't share your life with anyone without taking it over. If you want me to be a part of your life you're going to have to accept the fact that there are things about me that I won't give up for you, because part of being in love and making a relationship work is about accepting your partner and what you can't change about them. If you want me you're going to have to accept the things about me that you can't change as much as the things about me that you love." Alicia firmly dressed Norler standing her ground.

Norler stood silent for a moment thinking about what she had said. In considering her point of view carefully he'd suddenly realized that he'd treated her as if Night Style was like a character flaw that he somehow had to cure. He never realized that Alicia was Night Style as much as she was Alicia. They were one and the same and his accepting this aspect of her life was no different than her accepting the fact that she had accept Norler, the CEO. There were times when his candor with the public and the press was less than the repute through which he'd been iconified and she'd had to accept that in like. He'd seen his side as being the only side and realized the insensitivity he'd afforded her.

"Alicia. I'm sorry. If we're going to make this work, at least let me in on what you're planning. If I'm going to accept Night Style then you have to let me be involved with that aspect of your life as well. It's still your life, but I want to have input and say just as you have input and say to my life as CEO of Tynan And Associates." Norler told her.

"You always were the negotiator. Alright. I'll let you in. But don't you ever try to clip her... my wings again. Now give me a kiss, Mr. CEO." Alicia scolded him as she wrapped her arms around him.

A distance away and out of earshot the rest of the delegation looked on with relief.

"I guess it really is the Palace Of Heavenly Purity after all?" Bryce said.

"That's a relief. I couldn't take another moment of tension from the two of them. They're like..." Katya began.

"A pain in the heart...?" Victor said.

"Yes, but not like the pain from eating spicy food." Katya replied.

"I'd say that things are getting a little spicy now, don't you think?" Doctor Briggs said watching them kiss.

"I'm with Bryce. I can't think of a better place in the world for a kiss than in the Forbidden City and the Palace Of Heavenly Purity." Zheng's heart warmed.

Oblivious to the spectatorship of the delegation Monique broke the awkward silence.

"Soooo. What were you saying about Future Tangy Industries Valerie?" Monique turned from the kissing couple.

"Tangent... Future Tangent Industries..." Alicia said having broken the kiss to correct Monique.

Monique smiled coyly having accomplished her goal.

"One of our biggest competitors if not the biggest. They deal in more areas than just medical research like industrial chemicals and chemical engineering. In fact they're one of the lead suppliers of demolition explosives for the construction industry." Norler informed the Women.

"That would have made them the prime candidates to reverse engineer the SY349 during the Treadwater incident." Alicia added backing up Norler.

"Based upon what we know of Zek's way of doing business, we can assume that his associates may have operated much the same." Heylyn thought about Alicia's statement.

Norler pulled his phone and hit the speed dial.

"Hi, Werner. It's Norler. We think that we may be onto something regarding the attack in New Delhi against Professor Mattu and more recently at the Wat Sutat in Bangkok. What do you know about Future Tangent Industries?" Norler started.

"It's ironic that you're calling me because I just received word that the men found unconscious in the Wat Sutat were part of a private security firm used by Future Tangent Industries. Not only that but there was a recent change in their ranks. Garrett Warley was replaced by his former aide George Steadman as the Operations Manager for their medical division." Werner informed Norler.

"Steadman? He was hardly management material if I remember him correctly. He plays a great second gun but he was never possessed of any strong leadership skills. He used to work for Tynan before he was lured away to a position at Future Tangent Industries. There's definitely something wrong with this picture." Norler advised Werner.

"How's Beijing so far?" Werner asked Norler.

"Good so far. We're just a few minutes off of our meeting with the Chinese and Taiwanese delegations. I'll call you later and let you know how it went." Norler replied.

"Alright. If there's anything new related to what we just spoke of I'll call you or have someone call you to keep you updated. Good luck." Werner said hanging up the phone.

"The men you took down in the Wat Sutat were a security team hired by Future Tangent Industries." Norler told Alicia drawing a look of surprise from her face.

"How did you know that we took them down?" Alicia asked Norler.

"I didn't. I just took a guess and it looks like I was right. I'd appreciate it if you'd keep me in the loop when you can." Norler pleaded with Alicia.

"I have to agree with Norler. I mean look at how much ground we've covered just by sharing information and working together." Heylyn said looking to each of the Women in turn.

"Agreed. So let's do this as a team." Valerie added.

"What else was there?" Alicia asked Norler to continue.

"George Steadman has taken over as Operations Manager at Future Tangent Industries so there's been a recent shake up which can only mean that they're under stress resulting from Tynan's mover to get approval for the fund in Asia. They know the Asian market is huge and this literally could make or break their future. They'd certainly benefit from the failure of this delegation. I'd say the fact that they've changed their Operations Manager is a direct indication of that." Norler told the Women around him.

"You said he worked at Tynan. Did I ever meet him?" Alicia inquired.

"I think he was at the purchase announcement when Tynan bought the lab where you developed the SY349. He has light blondish thinning hair. About five foot ten?" Norler told Alicia.

"Here's a picture of him from the Future Tangent press release." Valerie handed her phone to Norler who accepted it examining the image very carefully.

Alicia reached for Valerie's phone so she could see the picture.

"Wait. That's not George. That's Garrett Warley's picture. They must have made a mistake in the press release." Norler said turning to his own phone and searching for news of the change of leadership.

"No, it's the same person in every news clip. There has to be a mix up somewhere." Norler said puzzled by the mystery.

"So now we have Future Tangent Industries putting their security detail on us after they've had a change in their operations leadership which is being run by a Garret Warley masquerading as George Steadman. All this from a company formerly part of Martech International and Mr. Zek's holdings. If we fail it would be of great benefit to them for they could move in and mop up the Asian market." Alicia stated looking to the rest of her team.

"Do you think we should bring this to the attention of the Chinese delegation?" Valerie asked.

"No. They might see it as slander against Future Tangent Industries and think less of us for it. We've got to check this out ourselves. What do you think?" Norler asked the Women.

"I agree but it wouldn't hurt to let the Chinese authorities know something about this. After all we can pretty much assume that Future Tangent's security team is running around conducting covert ops on Chinese soil. It might help us to earn their trust." Heylyn gave her opinion.

"I'm with Heylyn on this too." Valerie agreed.

"Me too." Alicia gave her nod.

"I have one question. If our delegation is full of such brilliant minds, why are we not taking advantage of that?" Monique asked.

"They don't know or suspect anything about our alter egos. If we let them in on that we'd be putting them in grave danger and great risk. The less they know in that department the better." Alicia responded.

"Yeah, but we can share what we know so far with them and get their help without giving away the fact that we're also super powered heroes." Valerie reminded her friends.

"Who said anything about heroes? We're still not out of the woods yet. We're not heroes until that fund proposal is signed and approved by the Asian Alliance." Norler reminded the group.

"Heroes or not it's agreed that we let the Chinese authorities know what we've learned so far so they're not blind. We also let our delegation in on this information as well so we can benefit from their insight. Good suggestion Monique." Heylyn looked at each of her peers.

"Alright. We have a plan. I'll call Werner right now and have him send an advisory to the Canadian and North American authorities and the Chinese Embassy in Canada. You get back to the rest of the delegation and let them know what's afoot so far and what we've learned. We'll still have five minutes to make it to the Temple entrance to meet the Chinese and Taiwanese delegates. I'll see you in a few minutes." Norler said as he dialed Werner once again.

The Women began walking to join the delegates who stood waiting for their return.

"Heylyn, I need to thank you. Again. I think that little talk that we had opened the door for Norler and I to overcome our differences." Alicia spoke with a sense of sincerity.

"You would have found the courage to say what you'd needed to say to him without me just as he found the courage to face his own misgivings against you. I'd say that the two of you found common ground enough to overcome your disagreement. Maybe you'll both be much more accepting and understanding of each others' lives. Even the aspects of your mutual lives of which you have no control. You can accept Norler the CEO. He just needs to learn to accept Night Style the superhero. It's good to see you smiling again." Heylyn's face lit up.

"I'll say. That takes a load of tension from my plate. I hope there's no left overs either." Valerie said clearly relieved.

"Alright. Me too. I'm happy to see that you've mended your relationship with Norler. Maybe its a sign of things to come?" Monique's smile crowned them unanimously and they made their way back to the delegation and Heaven.

Tradition And The Book Of Changes

The delegation walked through the Hall Of Supreme Harmony marveling at the design and architecture of the illustrious building and the complex in which it stood. For Heylyn this was like a return home in many ways and she'd occasionally notice cues linking her knowledge of the The Butterfly Dragon to the design work around her. The very design of the Forbidden City was riddled with symbolism that connected the rest of China with it's ancient and sometimes turbulent history.

They exited the Hall and proceeded towards the main walkway to the Palace of Heavenly Purity where the other delegation was waiting. Alicia, Bryce, Valeria and Norler stepped forward to make the introductions.

"Professor Bai Huang He? This is Doctor Alicia Westin, Valerie Aspen on my left here. You already know Professor Bryce Maxwell. I'm Walton Norler. Behind me from their left to right is Doctors Katya and Victor Piotr. Beside them are Heylyn Yates and Monique Defleur of West Meet East International. Beside them on the right is the beautiful mathematician and computational biologist Zheng Ni Wong. Beside her is Doctor Stephen Briggs with whom I'm sure you'll find much to discuss." Norler said getting through the first round of introductions.

"It is a pleasure to meet you. Allow me to introduce our delegates. On my left we have Professor Jun Ling Jie, a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Chinese Medicine. She'll advise us on issues of tradition and morality with regards to our ways versus those of the West. Beside her is Doctor Jiao Lin Soo, the Medical Director at Beijing Hospital. She's the youngest person ever to have achieved that position at the age of thirty one. We're very proud of her. Doctor Waitak Te Kong is someone you may already know having recently made news with a discovery achieved through distributed computing and simulation at Tatung University in Taiwan. I'm Professor Bai Huang He of the Peking University International Hospital. We welcome you to China and the Forbidden City." Professor Huang He finished the introductions.

"The purpose of our visit should be obvious by this point. You're already aware of the Fund Proposal and the prior vote. We're here to appeal any prior decision with regards to the fund and to open the doors between the East and the West in terms of our respective medical traditions." Norler addressed the issue at hand very directly.

"We'd been advised of your sometimes direct approach to negotiations. At least in terms of how we do things. We understand that this trip has already been pressing for your delegation but we mustn't dispense with the formalities. We will get to these matters in due time." Professor Ling Jie replied addressing Norler's direct approach.

"Forgive me for saying so but we think that pressing the time importance of this issue is in line with Chinese tradition and values, for the longer this process takes the more lives there will be at risk. Whose life do you want to play with in this regard? The lives of your daughters and sons?" Alicia took a much bolder approach.

"Your itinerary is already set. If we discussed all the issues at hand in just five minutes here and now and resolved what took years to grow in terms of the gap between the East and the West, your flight to South Korea would still leave and arrive at the same time for which you'd prepared ahead of time. Your flight from there would leave for Japan soon thereafter all according to your schedule. So getting to the point quickly presents no time benefit to the realization of the fund. It only serves to relieve each of  you of the stress associated with the investment you've already made in making this work. There is no time lost by the presence of formality for that is what separates from our other nature. The nature which would hinder such negotiations. We must foster both carefully and in balance for the moment we favor one is the moment we set the future rule of the other." Professor Ling Jie responded to Alicia's comment.

"I have a question for your delegation. Why did you choose the Forbidden City as our meeting place?" Valerie asked hoping to break appease both sides.

Professor Jing Lie looked momentarily to Professor Huang He. Heylyn noticed Professor Huang He's eyebrow elevate slightly at Valerie's interest.

"The Forbidden City is one of our treasures here though not only for it's grand architecture and dazzling beauty. It is a reminder to us of our history. There is much symbolism hidden within these walls. One could literally spend a lifetime investigating and trying to understand such mysteries and many have. Like a journey in which one travels for years and finds themselves no farther from their starting point or closer to their destination yet has seemingly learned more than such time would allow. Perhaps this is not unlike your own journey to see us here in the Far East? If not, why then have you really come to see us. What brought you to China?" Professor Jing Lie spoke considering her words carefully, her accent thick and embracing.

"We chose to come here to build a bridge between us. Between the West and the..." Norler began one of his charismatic rhetoric filled orations only to be stopped.

"Please Mr. Norler. Not from a script. Not from what your P.R. advisors have asked to you to say. The bridge you speak of has always remained. In your own history the only times we'd not allowed you in was when you brought with you that which would harm us both. So you could say that the bridge has always been there though at times throughout history neither of us were worthy of it's crossing. Perhaps now after so much has transpired we are both ready to embrace once again? Ready to accept the bounded history which each we have traversed. Why in your heart have you come on this journey here?" Professor Jing Lie spoke not so easily beguiled.

"Are you saying that we in the West are not worthy of your audience? That the reason for divisions of past have to do with our problems and mistakes?" Alicia spoke sounding a little bit offended.

"No. What I have said is an honest question and we've both tread through the precarious and sometimes treacherous journey and arrived each with our own scars and often of our own doing. You are no lesser, we are no greater. I assume that your comfort in being able to speak so candidly at the risk of your delegation Doctor Westin, is because of your long standing friendship with Heylyn Yates. Ai Yuanlin Ying as we know her. That is good because you regard speaking with us like speaking with a close friend rather than a distant acquaintance with whom you'd rather bite your own tongue than speak truthfully. Again I ask you why you really came here?" Professor Jing Lie walked looking forward, her hands folded behind her.

There was a long pause as the delegates looked to one another as if unsure of what Jing Lie was asking them. Heylyn stepped a bit closer to Alicia and nudged her side. Alicia looked to her friend mouthing the word what? Heylyn mouthed her own words. Go on. Say it.

"We're here... we're here because for the first time in our history... for the first time in my life... I've seen something that could change the world. Not just one part of it, but all of it. It's something so powerful as to give life or to mend it, yet so fragile that if it was kept from others based upon their level of income or other social demographics that it could be misused to decide who gets to live and who gets to die. It's the doorstep that every Doctor in the world knew that we would one day arrive, and here we are. We've discovered something that puts the power into the hands of those who wield it the ability to decide who gets to live and who doesn't. A power that nobody should wield and a right that everyone should have. Not just one part of the demographic or subsection of the globe. Everyone. We all knew that day would come and it did. Now we've gone from being Scientists, Doctors, Physicians and Researchers to understand the immense responsibility that we have in ensuring that it is available to everyone. That it isn't misused by those who want to prune the genetic tree and shape the future of humanity by their criteria. Clip a few people with bad genes from it. A few poor people here. A few sick people there. A few with special needs here. A few of another culture there. It's capable of saving so many lives that it is also capable of taking. We're here knocking at your door and hoping that you'll see this for yourself as a people with a long history and understanding of medicine through your own unique perspective. It's important that you embrace this idea and the fund. For us to do this it has to be paid for by some means because it takes someone's time, effort and technology to produce. That production, research and development has to paid for and the time of the people who work on it needs to be paid for otherwise nobody would work on it. More importantly nobody could work on it and if we don't do it that way, someone else will come along and set a price for it that only the privileged could afford. When that happens then the power to give life has a price tag and that price tag means that economy and demographics can be used to prune the genetic tree. Our business model does not support that idea at all nor do we as moral human beings. We're here to ensure that everyone can reap the benefits of this discovery despite those demographics. We need you to be on board for this to happen. That is why we came here from Canada. From and for the work of our peers in North America, South America, Europe, Oceania and Africa. To the Far East. To India. To Thailand. To Myanmar. To Laos and Cambodia. To Korea both South and North. To Japan. To Taiwan. To China." Alicia said speaking from her heart and very much a heart with wings.

Norler leaned in close to whisper something in her ear.

"We are so going to have a romantic week long stay in bed vacation when this is done. Not to mention I'll be giving you a lifetime of massages any time you ask." he moved closer but kept distance enough to hold the tension between them.

"I'm going to hold you to that." Alicia replied in whisper.

Professor Jing Lie spoke with Professor Huang He in their native tongue and dialect of Hebei Mandarin. There was more silence before Professor Huang He spoke.

"Many have arrived on our doorstep throughout history. Sometimes to ask for something from us. Sometimes to demand it. Sometimes to take it by force. We're grateful for the diplomacy of the twenty first century but yet still guarded for many reasons most of which our recent history and transition would likely speak. We must consider our position and that history before we can give you any decision. We've seen the research. The years of papers Doctor Westin has written on the subject. We as Doctors and Scientists, your peers are certainly in support of the creation of this fund. Convincing the Party is not going to be as easy as we'd like it to be but you have our support. Our views are certainly in line with yours that this technology should not be kept in the hands of those who'd use it to decide the fate of so many lives, families and lines of ancestry. Any time that decision has fallen upon the hands of even a few people, it almost always ends in bloodshed and genocide. All of us the globe over have dirtied our hands with that crime at one time or another yet has any generation ever learned from it? Many speak of high ideals yet so few act thereupon. Sometimes to speak is to act as to remember is to fuel the fires of a written history and record. We therefore agree that this power to decide the fate of so many based upon demography, social class or any other number of factors as you say would sew the seeds of a new form of genocide. You have our support for the fund though we here have our own people to convince for our support to make it to the final vote. We'll do everything that we can to ensure it passes. Everything. We'd like to see a more open attitude in the West with regard to our forms of medicine. We hope that this acceptance will foster cooperation between us. Medicine. Trade. The possibilities are many and we have much to learn and share in the way of prosperity." Professor Huang He assured the delegation.

"We agree for certain. I guess that really takes much of the stress off of us for this leg of the journey and in China. I guess we're free to talk shop as of this point, though I'm with Valerie in wanting to learn more of your history." Norler addressed the Chinese delegation.

"Professor Jing Lie. Thanks." Alicia said sincerely looking over to the Professor.

"For what may I ask?" Professor Jing Lie inquired.

"For pushing aside the rhetoric and regimen so we could really get to the heart of the matter. For allowing me to speak so freely." Alicia said to Professor Jing Lie.

"I can't accept the credit for you speaking freely, but I do appreciate the gratitude." Professor Jing Lie responded.

"You too Heylyn. A little." Alicia nudged Heylyn's shoulder slightly as they walked.

"Just so you know, I'm getting in on some of reward from Norler. A romantic week in bed? A lifetime of massages? I want a piece of that you know." Heylyn joked with Alicia.

"I can't believe you heard that? Did you...?" Alicia asked her in disbelief.

"You know how good my senses are. Yeah I listened in. Really listened in." Heylyn replied.

"Well little miss my senses are so good, I hope you've been keeping an eye on things around here. I mean there's definitely something going on. Not just our security team either. There's a lot of plain clothed agents running around. I mean why would so many people be carrying concealed weapons?" Monique said slipping in close to Alicia and Heylyn as Norler and Professor Maxwell began a conversation with the Chinese delegation.

Heylyn looked around taking notice of what she'd missed only a few minutes early since her last sweep. Heylyn gestured to Valerie urging her closer. Valerie politely excused herself from Norler's side and joined her friends.

"Things are going so good. What now?" Valerie asked afraid that something had gone wrong.

"We have company. A lot of company." Heylyn replied.


From the unmarked Future Tangent Industries van one of the men addressed the other members of his team.

"Confirmed. Professor Huang He just gave the word on their support for the delegation." a man in front of a communications computer spoke.

"Alright. I guess that means we're going ahead with the operation after all. Let the teams in the Forbidden City know. Pull the rest out to their vantage points. Take us to our designated area in the zone of safety. When the delegation has left the north gates, we'll start the show." spoke the team commander.

"Roger that." the communications man began notifying the operatives by team.


Meanwhile the delegations continued their trek north to the Palace Of Heavenly Purity.

"Decisions like this would have gone through a much different process of approval in our history." Professor Jing Lie continued speaking with Bryce as Doctor Briggs and Doctor Zheng Ni Wong joined them.

"You must be referring to the Court advisors?" Bryce asked Professor Jing Lie.

"During Imperial rule right up until the revolution our leaders relied on such advisers. The so called Sages. Philosophers. Court magicians even. They would often combine their knowledge and experience with the results of many different forms of divination to come to their advice for the Kingdom. Sometimes with startling accuracy. There are still many who rely upon such means." Professor Jing Lie answered Bryce.

"Are you referring to the I Ching?" Doctor Briggs asked.

"Yes in some context. There are many books of changes as the West might know them. Many have been lost to history and the records. The most common deals with divination using a series of trigrams which could be discerned by their selection from Yarrow stalks of varying lengths. A random selection process much like dice or tarot cards of the West. An interpretation would be applied to each series of trigrams of which there are a possible sixty four. Through their interpretation the future could be divined. The Sages used them to advise the Imperial court on matters of administration, finance and even war." Professor Jing Lie answered.

"I understand. During the revolution it became a liability rather than an asset to be one of these Sages from what I understand?" Doctor Briggs asked.

"You're referring to the people's revolution. To many students around the time of the revolution the Tao Te Ching became a symbol of their revolution. At least that's what a friend told me." Heylyn spoke of what she'd learned from mentor, Jinn Hua in Guangzhou.

"Well at that time much of the establishment was symbolized as being and run by the old who did so with the old ways. Of course to many people the Tao is Yin and Yang. The battle between two polar opposites over the hearts and souls of the land which has its own. So it was that the young students made up most of the drive behind the revolution against the old. Each side has its own ignorance and arrogance and yet time only flows in favor of neither. So the young waged war with what they themselves would eventually become. The elderly of the established order. By the time you've aged to join the elderly after having waged a war against it, you begin to realize that you've become what you fought. Of course much paranoia takes its course for you know your own enemy because at one time it was you. A vicious cycle that finds the emerging order in conflict with the young and often students. The students themselves come to ideas that the old symbolize the system and the ways of the old, and must be overthrown. Yet this understanding of duality is only the door mat of the Tao and it is what keeps conflict alive, for in conflict there is control. Whose compass points in the right direction when forward to one is seen as backwards to the other? How far a journey can such people make for they'll always arrive exactly at the point from where they departed having traveled no distance at all." Professor Jing Lie spoke sounding very much like Jinn Hua to Heylyn.

Bryce and Doctor Briggs looked at each other in astonishment.

"You have remarkable insight into these concepts." Doctor Briggs commented.

"That is both the curse and blessing of age. It is not unlike the western tales of the Arthurian legends. To ascend to rule by overthrowing the ways of old. Arthur pulling the sword Excalibur from the stone. A lowly squire who is not of the blood or heritage of a King. By pulling the sword from the stone he has overcome the barrier of tradition and the ways of the old. He brings a new hope establishing the round table to bring justice to the land. Through treachery and deceit he is beguiled into producing a child with his own half sister, Morgan Le Fay. When the sword that forged his rule and that symbolized his sense of truth, justice and honor breaks as he uses it for revenge, he must redeem himself by seeking the Grail. This pursuit of the Grail costs him nearly every Knight that founded the Round Table. Upon finding it Sir Galahad returns from his quest having redeemed Arthur. The lady of the lake returns Excalibur anew and Arthur dies killing his own offspring Mordred and the Mother of his illegitimate heir Morgan Le Fay who have essentially just challenged the established order. Excalibur is returned to the lady of the lake and the order of the land is restored and the cycle begins anew. It is the same tale. A tale of the young challenging the established order by challenging the rules of that order to usurp its power only to misuse it and draw the ire of the next generation who will once again overthrow the established order but not before the order has redeemed itself by some quest worthy of their redemption. The question to ask is whether it is intended as a tale of caution to heed those that might challenge the established ways, or whether it is a road map that always seems to lead to the same outcome in a cycle that has been in place for a very long time. Would challenging this idea lead to the same place yet again because it too symbolizes the established order? These are the questions of philosophy and we both know those ideas transcend our origins here. It would seem we are not always as different as we would like to pretend to be yet so different that we will never cease learning from each other." Professor Jing Lie addressed her peers.

"To be aware of that cycle and to look beyond is what philosophy is all about. For instance I'd say that to seek a way that does not divide the young and old but unites them while recognizing their differences is one way through this problem. How we relate to people is forged by the experiences of our lifetime. That's what divides us by age and generation and those concepts are what foster innovation by establishing new experiences and new ways of thinking about the same problems and solutions. The internet is breaking that barrier already by establishing a place where we keep our collective knowledge. The knowledge of ages and the living generations who all can peruse and share that medium. Even how we use that tool is indicative of our generation. Our experiences. Our demographics. It likely factors into big data and analytics. Information technology and mass data." Bryce added.

"Yes, but this is also a tool which can divide us by not keeping those barriers where they should be. Some boundaries are meant to be traversed by all and some are meant to be protect some. Like the barriers between our homes and our community. There are times when we should have few barriers with community in some aspects, but in personal life there should be barriers between our neighbors and our community. Just as there should be some barriers between young and old. If not to protect either from exploitation by the other." Heylyn spoke giving her point of view.

"I agree with Heylyn. I mean the internet is vast and overwhelming sometimes. It can be used for many purposes and a social life is certainly amongst the forefront of such uses. How though do you guarantee someone is who they claim to be? How about age? I mean both sides of the fence need protection in that regard. The old seeking to exploit the young. The young seeking to exploit the old. It can happen both ways." Zheng expressed.

"I think that when it comes to sexuality on the internet, that's going to be one of the biggest draws but one of the least addressed. That's certainly an area where there needs to be some boundaries to protect the youth from exploitation for certain and from peer pressure or market forces that would lead to exploitation. I'm a married man and I'm not saying that I haven't seen things on the internet of a sexual nature, but I believe that there should be boundaries as Heylyn has stated to protect the young from exploitation. I mean there's many on youtube who use that medium to broadcast their own channels. Some of whom are in their teen years and are impressionable and chasing the numbers associated with viewership much like a television station tries to draw viewers. Drawing those viewers is almost a form of peer pressure because if your peers and fellow broadcasters are older, and are able to offer content that includes something that might be more geared to adult and mature viewers, the younger broadcasters competing on the same market might consider exploiting themselves to follow suit so as not to lose viewers. There's no guarantee to an older viewer that they aren't viewing a younger broadcaster that if they'd known more about that broadcaster's age and situation they might not have so readily checked that content. Likewise there's peer pressure generated by the older broadcasters which results from the demand they create by offering content that might be more geared to adults that some broadcasters that are much younger might be tempted to follow suit hence exploiting themselves. I speak as someone who has no children." Bryce said speaking with some insight.

"You mean to tell me that the newspapers that we read on a daily basis are wrong in offering up page three girls, sunshine girls or last page girls? Many of those Women are in their late teens. As young as seventeen or eighteen. They're being gawked at by guys and girls three or four times their age. In Britain they're topless. This is more about how different cultures understand and accept the taboo of sexuality and how it relates to age. It also relates to our concepts of sexuality, morality, gender and age. We spoke this topic in India. Don't you remember? The Kamasutra? The age of ascension?" Doctor Briggs spoke reminding the delegation.

"Yes but is it necessary to turn Women into a purely sexual object? I mean come on Stephen! If that's the peer pressure and market forces that we expose young Women to, that's how they'll be shaped and how they will perceive society wants them to be. How they'll be able to earn enough money for food and to support themselves without ever having explored other avenues like what they have to offer by way of their mind. Their education. Not by how big their bra size." Zheng said scolding Doctor Briggs.

"Who said that an intelligent Woman is not sexy? Who said that sexiness is determined by bra size? Besides that's a moving target and one that changes more often than we are aware. That's subjective and how we see the members of the sex we're attracted to is subjective as is what attracts us to such people. It's like arguing over what color is better, red or blue. It's possible to be sexually attracted to a Woman without objectifying her as a sex object." Doctor Briggs responded to Zheng's mild attack.

"Yes but I think that what Zheng was saying is that a younger Woman might not have the experience or confidence to come to her own conclusions on that concept. Confidence is important when it comes to this issue. I mean confidence in being able to withstand peer pressure and retain one's own sense of self and comfort with their own views and opinion rather than to be manipulated by outside forces which aren't always looking out for their best interests. I used to have a weight problem in school and I was very self conscious of it. If I hadn't learned to be self confident with the help of a friend, I might have gone a much different path in life. So self esteem and confidence is of vital importance for young people being able to withstand such incredible pressures that information technology brings with it." Alicia spoke addressing their argument.

"We'd not be having this conversation because if Alicia's path had been different and she hadn't the confidence to pursue her education and become a researcher, there would have been no SY349." Norler told the group.

"This is a subject that historically is not discussed, though with the revolution of nineteen fourty eight things had changed significantly. Since the nineteen nineties and a cultural revolution in some of the bigger cities like Hong Kong and Beijing in China, sexuality is discussed and it has come a long way, but it is still regarded as the subject of those involved for a secret lover is one of the most highly considered treasures. Hence the open discussion of sexuality is sometimes seen as giving away one's treasures by revealing their secrets whereas what you don't discuss is seen as what you protect and therefore treasure even though that is often not the case. Many use those ideas to take advantage of our ways in that regard. Taking our treasure from us while leaving us with secrets that we would never protect as treasure at all because they're more like the refuse of others. Perhaps another barrier between West and East. One that is known by few and those who do, often use it as a means to deposit their trash upon our culture. Some might say that's a form of cultural exploitation." Doctor Lin Soo spoke for the first time addressing both delegations as they slowly walked together.

"How do you feel about the issue of sexuality from the perspective of a Woman and a Chinese resident in relation to what we were discussing?" asked Doctor Briggs eager to get another point of view besides Zheng's.

"Sex and love historically have been regarded as utilitarian in China. Only a necessity to maintain a household and a another chore. Insofar as a Woman being a sex object? There are pressures present that direct Women in that direction just as it is likely in the West. I think that the movement to recognize that regardless of the path a Woman chooses, whether it be a home maker and housewife or a an educated professional like a Doctor, or of the vanity arts like a model that a Woman can be as sexual an object as she so chooses and allows. The more Women that realize that it is their body and that they have the final say as adults about what they do with it, the more Women might be empowered rather than someone else determining and wielding the power of their sexuality for them." Doctor Lin Soo answered Doctor Brigg's question much to his chagrin.

"You look disappointed Stephen." Zheng said to him playfully.

"Not disappointed... per se. I half expected a different answer maybe from yours. You're both successful and Chinese but from different upbringings ultimately. I expected a bit of a different answer and that's based upon my understanding and my area of expertise. After all I'm required to keep up with regard to Eastern and Western societies and their demographics. Knowing people and what issues might surround introducing new ideas and ways to their corresponding societies. So I'll take it as an eye opening experience and a lesson." Doctor Briggs answered.

"There's no sense in taking it any other way Doctor Briggs. I mean its still a Woman's body and her power and gift I might add to give that up to whom she chooses or even to give that power to the lover of her choice. No less empowering and no loss if you've earned her respect and love I'd imagine." Bryce smiled to him and Zheng reading their proximity very accurately.

"So we could surmise once again that this problem of age has much to do with confidence and the self esteem of youth so as to reinforce their belief in themselves and their independence. No easy task for any parent in this day and age seeing as the time that you need to start reinforcing that is the very age when they are most dependent upon their parents. I have this feeling though that if the old watch out for the young and the young watch out for the old, we might not have to fear a smiting by the younger generation when we reach our retirement age. Likewise the younger generation might not need to fear being bested by an older, wiser and much more knowledgeable opponent. Put the two together and you'd have a pretty unstoppable society of course keeping those boundaries in the right places as I said to protect from exploitation either side. Now that should be a book of new change?" Heylyn summed up their talk.

"I was wondering if I could have a say as a model? After all, it's my body that's often in front of the cameras not only as a sex object but as a object to sell what what I'm wearing on a lifestyle and look. A life and line of work that I know and love." Monique asked the group.

"Your opinion is always welcome." Alicia assured Monique.

"Well, you were talking about exploitation and I thought that I'd give you my views. I agree that its all about confidence but also environment. Maybe that's what makes confidence and independence so important because any young Woman has be able to maintain it alone and sometimes in a hostile environment. If you grow up in the wrong area you might be at more risk than someone else just based upon the environment. Maybe that's why confidence and self esteem makes such sense. That's because for any Woman at all there would be risks regardless of where you start in life. Peer pressure can come from so many different places now and being able to stand against it and independently requires confidence. There's nothing wrong with wielding the power of your own sexuality but even that has a time and place. An age when we are in charge of whom we share that aspect of ourselves with a mate but rounded with confidence so as we don't give that away to someone who doesn't deserve it or who does not share our goals in life. As a model I guess I share some aspects of myself with the public but even I keep some things on reserve for that special someone. There are some people who make a living being exploited in one form or another and that's alright in my opinion so long as the means by which that occurs and how is always their choice and they are in full understanding of the consequences if any." Monique added.

"That's the point. If everyone knew the consequences they'd likely not make the choice depending upon what that choice entailed. That's what exploitation by age is about. It can be someone older seeking to trick someone younger into a compromising position that profits others having little or no return for the compromised. Likewise it can be someone older who is tricked into a compromising position by someone younger that has little or no return compared to the cost of the older person. It works both ways so it's better if we have each other's back." Bryce looked to Monique smiling.

"Perhaps our trip here will break down many obstacles to our very different understanding of the world and society." Monique suggested.

"We welcome this open and fresh point of view and certainly with regard to this topic, but I'm sure that Doctor Hong is eager to speak with you as you are to speak with him." Professor Ling Jie reminded the delegation.

"Good because we too have many questions and this is more in our area of expertise." Katya said a little bit uneasy with the topic they'd discussed.

"You seem eager to change the topic?" Doctor Briggs inquired of Katya.

"It is really a personal issue. I'd prefer if you didn't speak to my Wife of this matters..." Victor asked Doctor Briggs.

"No Victor. It is alright. He doesn't know how things were during the Russia's reform. In the early days the economy was rough and just starting. Many rackets and scams abound. Much exploitation too of Women. Some not so bad and others very bad. There is nothing wrong with a Woman who is intelligent or educated or both who seeks to profit by presenting her beauty or body for money in some way... to a degree. Some take this a little too far and don't appreciate the beauty of a Woman in this regard and it can go a bit far. My sister had problems with people who did this in such a way during the reform as there were many Women seeking work but not all were aware of what such work entailed. My sister was one such Woman and it took her a long time to break away from such people. She eventually found a nice man to settle down with who accepted her despite this scar in her past history. Things of that nature can make a Woman like a marked person. Nobody wants to be with again. She was fortunate to find a good man who accepted her regardless and she built a new life. In the last decade and a half Russia has changed drastically and Russia is now home to a people that seek comfort and predicable income. A steady job and profession. A steady household and solid families as their economy has grown strong. I always kept in contact with her so I had a direct line on all the happenings. You understand?...maybe?" Katya addressed Doctor Briggs and the delegation through her Russian accent.

"That explains much as to why we didn't hear from you. Don't be afraid to speak ever with us Katya. It's not just the qualities that we think people will like about us that make strong bonds of friendship both domestic and international. Its the qualities that we think people won't like us for that bond us sometimes even more so than the ones we want to advertise about ourselves. Besides, people who need the help of getting away from such volatile situations need other people to be able to deal with those issues openly. Some of the worst travesties in history are the ones that were kept under the carpet. Often they're the most long lived." Bryce said drawing from his own life experiences.

"This applies as much here as it does anywhere. Sometimes it is a bit difficult to break new ground in proud China. To give to pressure is sometimes regarded as weakness and a way to break the foundations of society. With the taste of revolution still fresh in our society after nineteen forty eight, it has taken some time for us to regard these issues though China is definitely a leader when it comes to Women's participation in society. From our earliest Taoist and Buddhist temples and Monks to our administration. Women have always been the cornerstone. Always considered the balance to the Yang which is the masculine aspect. So Women have always been regarded as equals." Professor Huang He responded.

"Though in early history the role of Women in China was one of subservience within the household under a Man's rule. This was challenged with the leadership of China's first Woman Emperor Wu Zetian who changed much about society with regard to this arrangement and the power structure which had long been the domain of Men only. With her leadership and the efforts of the Buddhist and Taoist temples of the land, they'd managed to change that impression in China and inspire and grow one of the greatest trade dynasties in China's history. Here up until recently she was regarded as a tyrant, but much has been uncovered that overthrows that impression and her accomplishments during her rule were remarkable. Perhaps for the obstacles that she had to overcome it required her to sometimes like a jiàn {sword} more so than a flower. Since her time marriage slowly became another manifestation of the Yin and Yang forces. Two equals that are both needed, becoming one and part of a much bigger whole." Professor Ling Jie agreed with Professor Huang He.

"It is said that this too was seen in the yarrow stalks and the trigrams, predicted by an early Sage that predates the Song dynasty. It is like this line from an ancient song. The Summons Of The Soul from Songs Of The South:

Their long hair and thick tresses now fall in splendid disarray.

Two lines of eight dancers in perfect symmetry begin the dance of Wu,

Their outspread sleeves as straight bamboo, swaying downwards.

Winds and strings crescendo wildly to the drum beat,

And the palace halls rock and shake as the musicians begin the
exhilarating airs of Ch'u;

Songs of Wu and ballads of Ts'ai resound to the grand pitch-scales.

Men and Women now sit together openly,
without reserve;

The entirety of the piece says much of the time. It reminds us that there is a hidden truth to her impact upon our history." Ling Jie continued adding a melody to the song much to the amusement of the delegation.

"Perhaps will come a day when Women and Men of all nations will be able to sit amongst one another. To dance and to love one another. A special soul bound to another's despite borders and culture. By the will and decree of the lovers involved. Openly. Without reserve." Doctor Briggs spoke feeling Zhang pressing herself to his side as he did.

Discoveries And Minds In Like As Distance

"So Doctor Hong, one of the real reasons that some of us made this trip was of course to get a chance to speak with you about your team's accomplishment. You know the one I speak of?" Bryce asked somewhat invitingly tweaking his bow tie as he did.

"Yeah. Fess up. I'm looking forward to hearing this too." Zheng added increasing the attentiveness of the others towards Doctor Hong.

The group stopped just outside the entry gates to the Palace Of Heavenly Purity where they stopped for a moment. Doctor Hong very obviously was taken back by his colleague's interest, his face turning a slight shade of pinkish red with the attention.

"It was nothing really. Well it was a team effort as Doctor Bryce said. I think that we all believed that it was an obstruction of mind and a way of looking at the problem that was the real obstacle." Doctor Hong began.

"You're being modest on purpose Doctor Hong. So how did you overcome that hurdle. The problem of simulation especially with regard to chemical engineering in terms of the bonds? In simulation versus reality?" Alicia asked Doctor Hong.

"You've peaked my interest too." Victor said folding his arms somewhat skeptically.

"Victor and I shied away from simulation for a long time. He always argued that there were so many factors in the real world that simulation could never be used productively in biology and especially in work evaluating and modifying the genome of phages. Don't mind him. Really Doctor Hong. How did your team do it." Katya asked Doctor Hong while Victor held his stern face.

"More often than not is is a way of looking at a given problem than the parts of the problem itself. The fact that the world is very complex plays no part in making simulation impractical for research because with enough fast hardware and efficient programming models you can do just about anything." Doctor Hong advised the delegates.

"But don't most simulations take longer to run than real time?" asked Doctor Briggs.

"Not at all. In fact with fast enough hardware you can run simulations that operate many times faster than reality. Not only that but you can run many such simulations concurrently on the same hardware quite often which means you can run many experiments in parallel. So the incentive for overcoming the complexity problem is also a financial benefit. You get many laboratories in one simulation but you always need real world laboratories because simulation is never a replacement for a lab. It should be a tool present in any lab." Doctor Hong explained to Doctor Briggs as the others listened.

"You know, my cousin plays video games all of the time and they're simulations. I mean there's things that happen in those games that is very similar to what happens in real life. Are they linked in any way to what you do?" Monique asked Doctor Hong.

"It's funny you should mention because video games were the number one market force that resulted in the creation of hardware complex and fast enough to run medical and engineering simulations and eventually to make that power affordable to labs everywhere." Doctor Hong looked to Monique in recognition of her question.

"I thought that computing power of that kind came from weather tracking bureaus, automobile manufacturing and military?" Alicia looked to Monique and then back to Doctor Hong.

"Well that's not entirely true. They did have a big role in making simulation accessible on a global scale but it took the market forces of modern home computing and console hardware to result in hardware that is powering most medical simulations. That hardware upon entry into the new millennium was running MRIs, Gene sequencing computer stations and microsurgery hardware. It was showing up in more and more places. As far as automobile manufacturers go, they've always used simulation at least for design. It was an engineer at one car manufacturer that came up with a way to do parametric curves on a computer. Something that opened the door to none planar geometry which again led to many areas of application in simulation. Weather simulations too are the area that you run into factors making accurate simulation of real world events nearly impossible. That's why weather reports are given as probabilities. The market for fast computer hardware was strongest in the consumer market from the mid 1990s onward and resulted directly in many medical imaging breakthroughs. The early gaming and business markets drove for the creation of fast mathematical hardware and the math co-processor was born. I mean you can't very well recalculate a ledger with a hundred thousand entries and wait all day for it to finish. So the math coprocessor was a logical step that led to modern graphics and geometry processors. The first non-gaming application for those processor was medical imaging. So one could say that computer gaming led directly to technology that saves lives." Zheng patted Monique on the back for her question.

"Many of the nodes for distributed computing projects such as World Community Grid and BOINC run on the systems of gamers because their hardware is actually quite good for it. There's many volunteers too from the gaming community who donate their computing time for projects that run medical simulations. For everything from pharmaceutical engineering to gene sequencing. A number of breakthroughs have been yielded in many areas of research as well." Bryce pointed out.

"So that still doesn't explain what your team did." Victor looked piercingly at Doctor Hong.

"Victor! Lighten up. My husband is likely more grouchy from all of the traveling. Please do explain more." Katya said pushing herself in closer to Victor trying to lighten his mood making Norler chuckle a bit.

"As you already know we discovered the problem when we tried to simulate the lab process of producing a particular enzyme needed to initiate mitosis artificially despite what the cellular clock wants. We had set it up to use every factor that was part of the laboratory including the equipment and what it was made of, how much energy potential it had in terms of static electricity and according to relative humidity and temperature of the lab. The air purity as well in particles per million cubic micrometers, basically a cube with sides of a hundred micrometers each. We had factored everything into the simulation meaning that the simulation program itself factored everything we'd included as a mathematical model. We'd done the experiment in the lab and had run into snags with our process. Given the time heavy approach to the experiment we decided it would be more economical to simulate because we could run it faster than real time. In something called phase time which can be either faster or slower than real time. When we ran the simulation, it did not do what we expected which should have mirrored our own results in the real world experiment. Instead we were getting erratic anomalies. The chemical bonds would not form on some of the atoms and we wouldn't end up with molecules that were required for the final enzyme. We looked at everything. The model used to simulate the atomic forces that bind atoms one to the other. The make up of the lab equipment. It wasn't until we looked closely at titanium that we discovered something that wasn't factored into the simulation because it hadn't been discovered." there was a pause as Doctor Hong cleared his dry throat.

"We discovered that in the simulation the artificial titanium lab hardware was affecting the production process of the enzyme by ionization." Doctor Hong continued.

"I though titanium was inert?" Alicia asked sincerely interested in Doctor Hong's findings.

"Yes it is inert. Usually. Except for a special case involving interaction with a radioactive isotope we used as part of the process." Doctor Hong's replied.

"So how did you overcome that quality and discrepancy in your simulation? I mean few robust simulations go so far as to simulate ionization unless you're dealing with weather prediction?" Zheng asked Doctor Hong.

"Well we weren't dealing with something as well funded as accurate weather forecasting but this particular obstacle was imperative to the success of our project and our progression through the next milestone. That is in terms of our project life cycle." Doctor Hong explained, his throat feeling dry from speech.

"So how did you make the simulation fit the discrepancies with the lab experiment?" Alicia thirsted for the answer.

"By modifying the system model with regard to how we deal with the micro and the macro. The alpha and the omega so to speak." Doctor Hong answered.

"Sorry?" Alicia verified she'd heard correctly.

"We modified our physics model to regard everything in the simulation as being the same thing or part of it rather than distinct pieces of it. We utilized wave slash particle duality in a physical experiment. That is we regarded the interaction of atomic forces on the molecular scale as being both wave like in terms of probability and particle like in terms of Planck determination." Doctor Hong introduced the concept to Alicia.

Alicia thought for a moment about Doctor Hong's explanation. One of the important parts of creating the SY349 had to do with the enzyme that initiated mitosis artificially. When creating the enzyme in the laboratories of Tynan And Associates she and her colleagues had used Caesium for the process which had presented no problems in the lab. That part of engineering the SY349 had been the smoothest part of the project. Seeing as Doctor Hong's process was similar it had a few points which were highly optimized comparatively to her process.

Doctor Hong's phone suddenly rang and he answered reflexively. He spoke in disbeliefon the phone as a security team approached both delegations.

"We've been asked to escort you out of the Forbidden City." one of the security team spoke addressing Norler and Professor Ling Jie.

"What? Why? Is there a problem?" Norler turned to the security team leader.

"There's a high risk situation unfolding. Please accompany us." the security team leader gestured to the rest of the delegation to follow them as another part of the team took up their rear.

"I'm sorry Doctor Hong, we'll get back to conversation again after this delay." Bryce assured Doctor Hong as he remained calm.

Alicia looked to Norler. Norler looked back to her.

"So?" Alicia asked him.

"You make sure that you come back in one piece. I don't want to spend that romantic vacation alone." Norler replied to her.

She leaned over throwing her arms around his neck and kissing his cheek.

"Love you." Alicia said as she let go and made her way to Heylyn.

Monique and Valerie were already there. They spoke quietly to each other.

"There's something going on. There's a lot of activity." Heylyn advised.

"Did you bring your costume?" Alicia asked already having hers on under her clothing.

"I did." Monique replied.

"Me too. It's a bit hot but I have it on." Valerie answered.

"I have what I need." Heylyn said still looking around to ensure their perimeter was safe.

For a moment time seemed to stand still as the first explosiong threw them to the ground. It was not inside of the Forbidden City itself but near the front entry gates. It was followed shortly thereafter by another not far from the first. There were screams as panic set in amongst the tourists. The security force scrambled to their feet helping the delegation to theirs. By that time Heylyn, Alicia, Monique and Valerie were already gone.

Heylyn and Monique took to the air first flying as fast as they could towards the gate and the source of the explosion. They'd quickly put their masks on and discarded their over garments unnoticed. Alicia and Valerie took off running for the gates unnoticed in the commotion and hidden by the crowd. They too had their masks on drawing a little bit of caution from the crowd around them.

"It looks like we flushed them out of the wood work. Warley errr... Steadman was right. It is the anomalies from Treadwater." one of the mercenary teams from Future Tangent Industries was already out the door of the van.

It was one of their teams which had rocketed the Tynan security team vans which had yielded two large explosions and started the chaos. The Chinese security forces would still need a bit a time to respond to the crisis giving the Future Tangent team the time it needed to finish it's mission.

"Does anyone have a clear shot at Norler yet?" radioed the one of the Future Tangent team members to a corresponding team inside of the Forbidden City.

"Both delegations are in cover right now but they should emerge in about a minute or two." responded a plain clothed security team member.

"Take the shot as soon as you have it. Likewise with Professor Ling Jie. Remember to drop the gun as soon as you have and run. Make sure nobody sees you." the Future Tangent team leader replied.

The assault team left their cover and started running in the direction of the delegation. Each member of the team were in plain clothes and looked like tourists themselves. That was the plan. To get in and out undetected in the fray caused by the decoy of the exploding vans. To get Alicia, Heylyn, Monique and Valerie away from the delegation so they could do their dirty work.

[Author's Update: Thursday March 16, 2017 3:20PM Keep in mind that this following section is in first draft is the preceding chapter.]

Cooperation, Conflict And Masquerade

"You're faster! Get to the source of the explosions and I'll catch up!" Heylyn yelled to Monique as they streamed through the air Heylyn's wings shaping themselves aerodynamically for speed.

"Meet you there!" Monique said as she transformed into a streak of light and disappeared towards the entrance to the Forbidden City.

Armed men had poured in through the front gates and were charging towards both delegations and the security personnel leading them to safety. Far ahead of them taking up their point were Alicia and Valerie who unable to fly were still on foot. They charged the threat as quickly as they could and as they did gunfire erupted from outside of the Forbidden City gates.

The first wave of armed men stopped leveling their firearms at Alicia who charged them in her Night Style costume. As the first shots left their SMGs she dodged anticipating correctly their trajectory leveraging her balance to gain as much distance towards them as she could while distracting them from the delegation and Valerie. She cartwheeled landing in a roll thrusting herself into the air arcing down to her first target. She slammed him face first into the paved ground of the Forbidden City, using him as a human projectile to take down another on of his comrades. One from behind her turned to fire on her. She jumped straight up into the air as the gunfire missed her ploughing into one of the other armed men.

The Chinese security forces surrounded the armed men taking firing positions from cover.

"Hold your fire! Those two Women are from the delegation security team!" the Chinese security chief yelled to the rest of their security forces.

Eight of the remaining armed assailants focused their efforts on taking Alicia down. Norler watched from a distance with baited breath as she did her thing.

"Honey. Please don't leave me by myself..." he said under his breath.

Valerie approached taking advantage of Alicia's distraction. She picked two of the armed men up off the ground slamming them together.

"Nice doing business with you." she said to their unconscious bodies as she moved forwards to take on the next pair.

Alicia swept her leg in a low arc taking the feet of three of them from under them.

They fell to the ground as she rolled towards them taking two down with her free hands then leaping onto the third with her knee.

From one of the towers in the Forbidden City a sniper leveled his rifle trying to get a clear shot at Norler or Professor Ling Jie, who sat just behind a brass statue of a lion with wings. The sniper adjusted his position hoping for a better shot waiting for Norler to expose himself enough to take him.

The armed men outside of the front gates were behind cover watching the two security vans that had been incinerated earlier by one of their members with an RPG. The rocket propelled grenade had made quick work of the Tynan Security vans which were fortunately unoccupied at that point. The armed men waited for any signs of either delegation as they'd been instructed to eradicate them.

One of them retracted in agony as a blinding flash exploded in his face. For a moment he thought he might have been flash banged by one of his own team members until a solid fist connected with his face. He folded to the ground unconscious.

Monique quickly transformed herself into a shadowy dark cloud moving with lightning speed to circle around to one of the other armed men. She once again exploded into the brilliance of a bright light blinding him. She took advantage of his predicament to incapacitate him.

Another one of the armed men had gotten behind her with his SMG leveled at her back. He'd just pulled the trigger when he was thrown into one of the walls of the Forbidden City with incredible force by Heylyn. Heylyn had landed her wings disappearing into her back.

"I've got your back." Heylyn said to her friend.

"Thanks boss. I've got the next one." Monique replied disappearing as she sped towards the next target.

Heylyn examined the vans outside of the gates for any injured parties.

Four of the armed men had taken advantage of the opportunity to sneak up behind her unaware that she could see behind herself as well as she could in front.

"You're that Butterfly lady I've heard so much about. I thought you were only in North America? Aren't you?" one of the armed men asked her.

"Sorry to break it to you but I'm everywhere. We can do this the quick way with the guns or the fun way, without them. What do you say?" Heylyn asked as she turned making her proposal.

"I say we mow her down now." one of them said opening fire on her.

The others followed suit and as the first shots impacted Heylyn, her skin took the form of metallic dragon scales as her wings shot out from her back wrapping her body protectively. She winced as the rounds impacted her wings and body bouncing harmlessly from her. A moment later their guns were empty and smoking. She remained standing and largely unscathed as her skin returned to its smooth complexion.

"Ok. I guess we do it the quick way. At least you can say that you got your bottom handed to you by a gorgeous Woman." Heylyn said as she moved into a butterfly kick sweeping both legs through the air taking all four of them down in one move.

"Leave some for me." Monique said having returned after dispatching another two.

"We've got some people injured on the other side of that van. We've got to get that van clear so the emergency medical staff can get to them." Heylyn informed Monique.

"Alright. I don't think I can quite move a van. My powers don't work that way. Sorry boss." Monique told Heylyn.

"Get Valerie and fly her here. I'll do what I can in the meantime." Heylyn asked Monique who disappeared as soon as she'd been asked.

Back inside Alicia had just taken down the last of the armed men with Valerie's help. They shook hands nodding to each other.

"A pleasure working with you again Alicia." Valerie said to Alicia.

"Likewise. Let's do this more often." Alicia said as the Chinese Security team approached their guns at ease.

"We've got control of this situation ladies. Thank you for your assistance. You will be required to stick around for questioning." one of the Chinese Security forces informed Alicia and Valerie in a commanding tone of voice.

"We really don't want to blow our cover. Why don't you take the credit for this and keep us out of it?" Valerie suggested being the better negotiator.

The Chinese Security Chief stepped forward and spoke.

"We understand. I thank you for protecting this place of our heritage and our people. We will gladly keep you out of our report. You heard that men. That's a standing order. Any man who violates that order will answer directly to me. Restrain these men before they regain their consciousness." the Chief yelled to his security forces.

Alicia and Valerie began walking back to the delegation as Monique landed. Valerie jumped back startled and ready for anything. She relaxed when she saw that it was Monique.

"We need to get a bell to put around your neck or something. You scared me half to death." Valerie said stepping back from Monique.

"Nix the bell around my neck idea. We need your strength Valerie. There's injuries at the front gate." Monique said slightly out of breath.

"Alright. Let's go already!" Valerie grabbed Monique's hand as she carried both of them into the air.

"I guess that's settled. Don't worry about me, I'll check on the delegations." Alicia said calmly if not sarcastically after them.

Alicia turned continuing towards the delegation on foot looking frantically for Norler in the distance.

Meanwhile both delegations remained in cover waiting for a signal from the security teams.

"They're interesting Women, aren't they? There's obviously more to this story than you've been telling." Bryce said to Norler.

Norler looked to Bryce assessing him for a moment.

"That's up to Alicia to speak to you about it." Norler replied.

"It seems like she's got a greater weight on her shoulders than we've been led to believe. I agree. If she wants to speak to us about it, she will. If not, then mums the word." Bryce responded.

"I agree. They have a lot of potatoes on their plate as we might say back in our Russian homeland." Katya said in agreement with Bryce.

"I'm with Bryce too. I didn't see anything except for a group of brave and heroic Women and a protective security team." Doctor Briggs agreed.

"Well I have to admit, Alicia just doesn't seem the type that would have a secret of these proportions. She's a surprising lady for sure. I'm with Bryce." Zheng added.

"I'm with my wife Katya for certain but I have to admit, I have no idea what means the word mums?" Victor said looking puzzled.

"I think that you can expect the same from each of us too. Your secret is our secret." Professor Ling Jie spoke on behalf of the Chinese delegation standing as she did.

"Thank you. I'm sure that Alicia will want to thank you herself. There she is now." Norler said as he stood waving to Alicia who began running back to their position.

Just as she took her first step the shot was fired from the tower and Norler fell to the ground.

Meanwhile at the front gate Valerie had quickly moved the remains of two vans out of the way with her tremendous strength. Heylyn and Monique quickly moved in carrying the injured a safe distance from the flaming debris.

"Uhhhh... Butterfly...? Eclipse...? take a look at this. Take a look at this..." Valerie said directing her attention to Heylyn and Monique.

"What is it?" Heylyn asked as she and Monique made their way to Valerie.

"Look at the side of this van. There's still a bit of the side panel here with a logo on it." Valerie indicated to a door sized piece of the van wreckage.

"That's the Future Tangent Logo, isn't it?" Monique commented aloud.

Heylyn was already looking at the undamaged vans. They were clearly marked with the Tynan and Associates logo.

"There's something wrong here. Check the uniforms of the men we took down. Quickly!" Heylyn said frantically looking about for one of the unconscious men they'd earlier dispatched.

"Hey! This one has a Tynan and Associates crest on his body armor." Monique said in shock.

"So does this one." Valerie said indicating another.

"How is it that we took down Tynan's entire security team?" Monique asked looking to both Heylyn and Valerie.

"We didn't. We've been setup to make it appear that we did. Whoever did this was trying to make Tynan look like the aggressors in this attack." Heylyn suggested.

"Attacking Future Tangent security. But why their security forces? That would make no sense?" Valerie asked her friends.

"These other damaged vans. They're part of the Chinese Security Forces." Heylyn said checking the wreckage of the other vans as the sound of sirens approached.

"So they set this up to look like Tynan security attacked both Future Tangent and the Chinese forces here in the Forbidden City? Why attack the security and leave the delegations unscathed?..." Monique asked Heylyn and Valerie.

Monique and Heylyn grabbed Valerie at the same time taking to flight speeding towards the delegations as they realized the full implications of what had happened.

Unfathomable Mystery; Subtle and Ineffable 莫名其妙

"Everyone down!" Alicia yelled as she scanned her surroundings for any traces of a gun man.

Doctor Lin Soo crawled over to Norler's body as he writhed in pain. Beside him was Doctor Waitak Te Hong who too was in the throws of agony.

"They've been shot!" Doctor Lin Soo yelled as she applied pressure to Norler's chest wound.

"I need a bandage! Your jackets. Tear them up into strips if you can! Anything long!" Doctor Lin Soo yelled.

"...arrrhhh... the gun man... he's on the west tower... I see him just before he fired the shot..." Doctor Hong struggled to speak.

"Alicia! There's a sniper in the west tower!" Bryce yelled just as another shot rang out.

Alicia was struck by the force of a large caliber round which spun her clear around. She dropped to the ground struggling to crawl to cover.

"Arrrrrgghhhhh! Dammit that hurts! You son of a...! Arrrrggghhhh!" Alicia yelled as her bodies accelerated healing began to repair the wound on her shoulder.

Heylyn and Monique dropped Valerie barely slowing for her. Valerie rolled coming to her feet a few steps from Alicia. She quickly picked Alicia up in her arms and began running for the delegation.

Heylyn proceeded in the direction of the sniper in the west tower having found him with her keen senses. Monique proceeded to the delegation transforming herself to a dark shadowy cloud and placing herself between the sniper and the delegation.

As she reached the tower the sniper dropped his rifle and went for his side arm pistol. He drew the gun as Heylyn breached the tower firing at her several times. The rounds bounced harmlessly off her dragon scales as she folded her right palm delivering a punch to the center of his rib cage. Despite the body armor he wore, he folded to the floor of the tower gasping for breath. She took the rifle and threw it off the tower along with his pistol.

"Who put you up to this?" she asked him as her scales disappeared becoming smooth and soft skin.

"Go to hell! I ain't tell you sh...." he barely had time to finish his sentence before he was hauled into the air. Heylyn flew hanging onto him by his ankle lifting him up to a height of a kilometer from the ground. She then hovered, her aura and wings glowing intensely.

"A fall from this height and they'll be picking up your pieces for years to come. Who put you up to this!" Heylyn demanded.

"I'm not saying a word!" the sniper yelled back to her.

Heylyn let go with one hand quickly catching him with the other.

"I'm still not talkin!" the sniper responded.

Heylyn grabbed him tight flying downward as fast as she could as he screamed. Just as they were about to impact the ground she turned sharply taking for a trip through a nearby orchard. She dangled him at treetop height, the branched impacting him they flew. She carried him like that for thirty seconds before landing on the ground with him.

"The next ride you'll do with me. Who put you up to this?" Heylyn demanded.

"There's nothing that you could do that would be worse than what Warley would do if I talked!" he said his face battered from branches and leaves.

"That's better. Did you get that Valerie?" Heylyn asked pulling her cellular phone from her belt.

"Every word. You'd better get back here quick." Valerie advised Heylyn through the speaker phone.

"Let's get you back to the authorities. I'm sure they'll have some questions of their own." Heylyn told the sniper picking him up.

"I shot your friend. Norler. Even if he lives, he's going to be breathing through a tube for the rest of his life." the sniper said a sinister look on his face.

Heylyn ignored him instead concentrating on getting him back to the Forbidden city as quickly as possible.

By the time she'd arrived they'd already gotten Norler to an ambulance, Alicia riding with him. Heylyn did her best to arrive unnoticed, dragging the sniper behind her. She took a moment to knock him unconscious so she could remove her mask and return to her own identity. When she was confident she looked the part, she emerged from hiding dragging the sniper behind her.

A group of Chinese security officials took the sniper from her as she presented her Chinese visitor's visa.

"He tried to attack me. I was so scared but I just remembered my training." she said to them as they took him.

"You did good. Thank you. We have the rest of the delegates at the front gates. We'll send an escort with you." the security team sent Heylyn with an armed escort.

Heylyn arrived as the authorities were finishing their questioning and she thanked her security escort as he left her with the delegation.

"How's Alicia and Norler?" Heylyn immediately asked.

"Alicia's much better. She's practically healed already. Norler... if he makes it through the night he should be alright though it's going to take him a few months before he can leave a bed under his own power and unsupervised. Doctor Hong's injuries were superficial by comparison. He should recover in about two weeks." Doctor Lin Soo advised Heylyn.

"Doctor Hong observed the reflection of the sniper's scope and tried to push Norler to safety as the round impacted them both. It went through the length of Doctor Hong's arm proceeding through Norler's back and exiting his chest from what we can tell. Norler would certainly not be alive right now if not for Doctor Hong's actions." Bryce explained to Heylyn.

"Alicia is going to call us tonight and let us know the fate of our delegation. Whether we continue on to South Korea as scheduled without Norler given his injuries. He would likely want us to continue without him. That decision is up to Alicia ultimately." Valerie said as compassionately as she could.

"I got the sniper to admit he is working for Warley... or Steadman... whichever one he is now." Heylyn informed the delegation.

"From what we've pieced together of this so far, they were trying to make it look like this was a Tynan organized hit on Future Tangent. I'd be willing to bet that the sniper's real target was someone from the Chinese delegation in addition to Norler." Bryce suggested.

"That makes little sense. Why would they make it appear that Tynan was attacking Future Tangent Industries and it's own CEO?" Doctor Briggs asked playing the devil's advocate.

"As far as the press were concerned, Norler and Alicia were having relationship problems. Maybe they were preying upon that impression in some way?" Monique suggested.

"Alicia and Norler made up earlier this afternoon. Nobody would have known that except for us. As far as everyone else was concerned there was a divide between them." Katya said rubbing her chin in thought.

"Maybe the people setting Tynan up were using that as their false motive. But that still doesn't make sense. I'm going to inform Werner of these new findings. I'm sure he's up to his neck in problems right now." Valerie said dialing her cellular phone.

"When the disturbed waters of the pond clear, the stones at the bottom of the pond become visible." Professor Ling Jie said to both delegations.

The delegation members waited for to be cleared from the scene and to their respective hotels. Alicia sat in a waiting room as the Doctors and Surgeons of Beijing Hospital prepared Norler for emergency surgery.

A Pond That's Clear

"...The news came earlier today when a representative from Future Tangent Industries went public with the accusations and a pending law suit. They are suing Tynan And Associates for corporate espionage regarding research that we've come to know as the SY349 formula program. Future Tangent Industries has released documents and research papers that it claims proves that it was working on the same concept for the SY349 before Tynan And Associates. The two formulas are identical in composition and process which is leading some experts to believe that the court proceedings in this case could take years to play out. That comes when the Tynan And Associates delegation is officially under investigation for hiring a security service to conduct a series of violent attacks which resulted in the destruction of an estimated seven hundred and fifty million Yen in damage and the near fatal shooting of its own CEO, Walton Norler. Chinese delegation official Doctor Waitek Te Hong, from Tatung University in Taiwan was also injured as were a number of security force members hired by Tynan And Associates. Tynan And Assciates Senior Executive Officer Helmut Werner responded in a press conference held earlier today in Toronto, Canada." the news anchor paused as the footage of the press conference began.

"First of all we are keeping our fingers crossed that our Chief Executive Officer, Walton Norler will recover from this tragedy with his health intact. He's currently in surgery as I speak and in the best care facility in Beijing. Chinese delegation member Doctor Jiao Lin Soo is directly overseeing the surgery herself with a team of their best surgeons. We're grateful that there were no further serious injuries to either delegation or any members of the public. As far as the other issue is concerned we'd like to assure our shareholders and the public that these allegations are completely false. Our legal team is investigating and we are putting together a counter suit against Future Tangent Industries." Werner spoke in a calm and collect voice addressing the press.

The doors to the surgery unit opened and Doctor Jiao Lin Soo emerged. She proceeded to the television and thumbed the volume down dimming the audio of the rest of the press conference. She looked stressed and worn after the fourteen hour intensive operation. She approached Alicia who sat in the waiting area with Heylyn, Monique and Valerie.

"It was a long surgery and there were complications but Norler should recover with time. He won't be leaving our care anytime soon nor are we going to release him for any reason for at least three weeks until we're sure his condition is stabilized. The round from the rifle pierced his side passing through his right lung. It continued through his body passing through his liver before exiting his belly. The injuries to his liver will recover with time however his lung had collapsed by the time he'd arrived in the surgery unit. He's on a respirator and will remain on it for a week as his condition improves." Doctor Lin Soo advised the Women.

"Is he conscious?" Alicia asked tears welling up in her eyes.

"No. He'll be unconscious for some time. Possibly the next day or two." Doctor Lin Soo responded as clinically as she could.

"Thank you Doctor." Alicia said wiping her eyes.

"I'd advise that you get to your hotel and get some sleep. It will certainly help his recovery. We've found that in cases where relatives and loved ones are stressed that it can have a measurable effect upon the process of healing. If not for your sake then get some rest for his. I'll be available any time if you want updates to his condition and we'll keep you notified. Do you have any questions?" Doctor Lin Soo asked them.

"How's Doctor Hong?" Alicia asked sniffling.

"He's fine. His injuries were superficial. We'll be releasing him by tomorrow. He probably saved Norler's life by his actions." Doctor Lin Soo replied.

"How about the others injured in the attack?" Heylyn asked.

"They too suffered only superficial injuries and most will leave tonight if not tomorrow." Doctor Lin Soo replied to Heylyn.

"Thank you Doctor so much for your efforts and for saving Norler. We'll be at our hotel rooms if we're needed." Alicia said standing giving Doctor Lin Soo a hug.

The four of them proceeded out to the front of the hospital seeking transportation. They were flocked by reporters as the left the building. Heylyn addressed the Chinese speaking reporters while Valerie addressed the english reporters. Monique quickly found them a taxi bus and the four of them got in and began their journey back to their hotel.

It was a quiet trip for the most part until Alicia broke the silence with a statement.

"Unless the authorities prevent us from leaving, we're going to continue the delegation's itinerary as scheduled. I'm sure that's what Norler would want in this situation." Alicia said with determination and confidence.

"Whatever you decide Alicia, we're with you." Heylyn assured her.

"To tell you the truth, while we were waiting in the hospital I was making arrangements for that decision. I'm with you Alicia. Between us all we can cover for Norler." Valerie responded.

"You can count on me too. So I guess we're leaving for South Korea after all?" Monique asked.

"Not tomorrow but the day after at two in the afternoon." Valerie answered.

"That should be enough time to rest and more importantly it should give Norler some stress free space to recover." Heylyn said tapping Alicia's lap.

"Monique and I can call everyone and let the others know how everything went at the hospital." Valerie said volunteering herself and Monique for the task.

"Just take it easy tonight sweetie and get some rest. We've still got a lot of ground to cover." Heylyn said to Alicia.

Alicia remained silent and deep in thought for the rest of the trip.


"It looks like this fiasco has caused quite a stir in the East." Steadman said reading the headlines on his tablet.

"It played out almost exactly like you said it would. We predict that this will impact the vote negatively for Tynan And Associates if the Asian Alliance even agrees to it." responded Tainer, Steadman's new advisor.

"Good. How's the acquisition in the Pacific coming along?" Steadman asked Tainer.

"The facilities should meet our criteria for large scale production of the SY349. The island is in international waters meaning our operations there will go unregulated. We suspect that we'll be able to produce enough to satisfy the entire Asian market once Tynan is out of the way." Tainer adjusted his tie.

"Good. That leaves the issue of our counter proposal to the Asian Alliance." Steadman leaned back in his chair looking down his nose at Tainer.

"Our consultants advise that we should wait at least a few weeks before submitting the proposal to take advantage of the deteriorating support for Tynan And Associates in the area. We can use the press to accelerate that process." Tainer said looking to his own tablet at the plan and time table.

"And to think, all of their efforts will be twisted to benefit Future Tangent Industries while driving them into bankruptcy court and litigation. I don't think that Warley could have done a better job himself." Steadman said referring to his former identity.

"I'm sorry Sir, I've never met Warley so I can't comment." Tainer replied pragmatically.

"My boy, I'd be willing to bet that you have. Most certainly." Steadman replied with a sinister smile on his face.

Minds Walk Together In Beijing

"Is there something wrong?" Heylyn  grogily answered her phone recognizing the incoming number as Alicia's.

"I just got a call from Professor Ling Jie. She'd like to meet us at ten this morning if that's alright with you?" Alicia responded pushing aside the morning pragma.

"Umm.... Sure? Who's invited?" Heylyn asked rubbing her eyes.

"The entire delegation, but I couldn't get a hold of Doctor Briggs." Alicia advised Heylyn.

"I think Doctor Briggs and Zheng are an item if you know what I mean..." Heylyn responded.

"Really? That would explain why he didn't answer his... Ok. Can you and Monique meet us in the lobby in about an hour?" Alicia confirmed with Heylyn.

"Alright. Have you heard anything about Norler? Everything alright?" Heylyn asked grogily.

"Still the same. He's unconscious... still... My fingers are crossed." Alicia responded hesitantly.

"So are mine... and Monique's." Heylyn replied.

"He'd have wanted us to continue... We agreed to continue. Even if one of us were suddenly... gone?" Alicia expressed reaching for Heylyn.

Heylyn could feel it.

"He's not gone. He'll be with us every step of the way." Heylyn paused feeling Alicia's nod on the other end of the cellular phone.

"Anyway, I've got to get up and shower before Monique does. You know how long she likes to take in the shower." Heylyn told Alicia drawing a chuckle from her.

"I heard that." Monique said groggily from her bed in their shared room.

"Yeah, I still remember our time at the Treadwater resort." Alicia replied.

"Then... I've got to put on my peace paint." Heylyn continued.

"...And we all know how long that takes..." Monique responded nearly face down from her bed.

Alicia laughed from her end of the phone.

"Good morning Alicia." Monique said as she propped herself up and out of bed running for the shower.

"Ok. See you in a bit sweetie." Heylyn replied.

"Bye." Alicia said as she started her morning routine.

An hour and a half later and both delegations made their way to a modestly sized conference room within the hotel for a continental breakfast.

"We're saddened by the events of the last few days, but encouraged by the work of both our delegations. It is good to see that our mutually different approaches to medicine can be beneficial to our different forms of diagnosis and treatment." Professor Huang He stated addressing both delegations.

"You've been most hospitable to us on this difficult journey. Perhaps the future will see us friends and neighbors by the bridge we've built together despite our different approaches to medicine. I know that's what Norler wants to see." Alicia responded.

"There is a tale that some of us were taught when we were young." Professor Ling Jie began speaking.

On a warm starry night three star gazers lay upon the top of a hill, a clear view of the magnificent sky.

The first one, a man spied an as of yet unnamed constellation and spoke:

Look, it is a fisherman on a boat trying to catch a big fish.

The second one, a lady said looking at the same constellation:

No, it is a lady, her hair tied by red and gold silk lace. She holds a flower in her hand.

The third person, a wise old man then said calmly:

I see a fisherman out on a boat trying to catch the day's supper for a lady whose hair is tied by red and gold silk lace. She waves to him, a flower in her hand.

"Let us think of our different points of view in this manner. Two different ways of looking at the same thing can be brought together." Professor Ling Jie finished.

"In Russia we used to say: Just because they're different does not mean that the cow and the horse have to graze in different fields." Katya added.

"In Canada I think that there's a saying from an early explorer in our Country's history that goes: best to hear the mountain lion, the wolves and the moose out before turning any of them away." Bryce said intuitively.

"I think Benjamin Franklin said: If we do not hang together, we will all hang separately. I guess you could say it's the American version of what we speak." Doctor Briggs spoke having an American citizenship.

"To give up individuality in the name of cooperation is to give up freedom in the name of liberty. The truth is that you can't have cooperation without individuality. Individuality is a must at my company. Cooperation is sought but not enforced. Even I have to be reminded from time to time. Right Monique?" Heylyn spoke then looking to Monique drawing her into the conversation.

"Well, you can be a control freak. Sometimes. But all in all I'd say you're the best employer that I've ever had or known." Monique smiled at Heylyn who smiled back graciously.

"Boss, can I have a raise?" Monique quickly continued drawing laughter from everyone.

"No! Now get back to work!" Heylyn blared sounding like a dictator.

A moment later a smile appeared on her face and she began laughing.

"Monique, everything in life is timing..." Valerie replied shaking her head as she giggled.

"We've been privy to some information regarding the investigation. Your delegation will be allowed to leave China though you might be required at some time in the near future to return for a court hearing. We believe that Future Tangent Industries is using this situation..." Professor Huang He began.

"Using? They set it up!" Monique blurted out.

"Monique, let him finish." Alicia countered Monique.

"As I was saying, FTI is using this situation to leverage their market hold in Asia while running a smear campaign against Tynan And Associates. We've heard that they are attempting to file their own case against Tynan based upon the evidence at the scene outside of the Forbidden City. We've been contacted by them to act as witnesses against you. They even offered us a very large sum to do so. We are supporters of your cause and will not bend to their tactics. We thought that we should warn you before you left for Seoul. You best be careful for the rest of your journey while in Seoul and Tokyo. Future Tangent Industries will most certainly try to finish you and your delegation before you gain their support." Professor Huang He finished what he had to say.

"Thank you for letting us know. We'll be in contact with you. Oh and we have a gift for you. Please set these upon the river during the Festival of Lanterns... to symbolize our future together." Alicia said as her delegation members placed their elaborately detailed lanterns on the table.

Later that afternoon their flight left Beijing for the trip to Seoul in South Korea. Norler lay still in the hospital bed unconscious but dreaming. He dreamt of a magnificent Dragon. A serpent like creature with glowing butterfly's wings who slithered it's way through the air towards him before landing on the ground before him.

"Walton Norler I presume? You've come to join us in this realm of dreams, in the field or perhaps its your world that's a dream as it may seem depending of course on the one who deems?" the Dragon spoke to him.

Flight And Scandal

"I can't believe that they'd do this!" Doctor Briggs said fuming as he watched the news through the lcd television mounted on the seat ahead of him.

Zheng who sat beside him nearest the window of the aircraft tried her best to comfort him, rubbing his tense arm with her warm hands.

"We'll get through this. I hope." Zheng responded leaning her head on his shoulder.

The news story repeated again showing a video clip which had been censored. It was a video of his night with Zheng which had very obviously been taken by a hidden camera. That had been the night they'd broken the last of the ice between them and succumbed to their mutual attraction. It was in fact a very steamy night they'd tried to keep low key despite the attention the delegation was getting. In the clip they were both naked (their privates hidden by censorship bars). Doctor Briggs had just overpowered Zheng and pushed her onto the bed where he quickly mounted her. Their positions then reversed a moment later with Zheng on top holding Doctor Briggs down. They kissed one another passionately reversing positions once again before the news clip ended.

"Both Doctor Zheng and Doctor Briggs pictured here are representatives of Tynan And Associates. This is how Tynan representatives are using their time while in Asia. It isn't too hard to see that they have no real concern for the future well being and prosperity of Asia. Rather, more so they appear to be concerned with sewing their oats while there." the publicist from Future Tangent Industries spoke authoritatively for the press.

"Turn it down and ignore it. They're in the wrong and most people know it. They clearly abused your privacy with illegal surveillance. I mean there's nothing wrong with affection is there? Affection happens everywhere. Its not a crime." Valerie asked them rhetorically.

"Exactly but they exploited ours. A private moment between us to damage the delegation." Zheng responded.

"It hurts for a bit but it goes away. Ignore it and don't think about it. Think about each other. Think about the fact that while you were on this difficult journey that you found each other. We have a chance to seal this deal so to speak and build that bridge we've been so longing for. We are not required to give up our humanity in the process. If anything it is the reason we're doing this. Your relationship is not a crime. Their exploitation of you and your privacy is. Let that settle your minds." Bryce advised them.

"Really. Valerie and Bryce's advice is good. You should heed it. I know that Norler and I have been through the mill of public infamy a few times. If you need us we're here for you. Tynan's lawyers are already on this. In the mean time, enjoy the ride." Alicia added from across the aisle.

"I don't find it enjoyable someone exploiting a private moment between us." Doctor Briggs responded.

"For sure it isn't right, but for sure it has happened. We're here for you if you need us." Heylyn said sitting beside Alicia

The rest of the flight was quiet and nobody brought up the subject again. A few passengers commented as they passed the delegation on board the flight but for the most part it was peaceful until they arrived at Seoul International Airport.

Heart And Seoul

Heylyn and Alicia took point at the arrival terminal first just behind their security detail with Monique and Valerie following closely behind them. The rest of the delegation followed shortly thereafter less conspicuously. Zheng Ni Wong and Doctor Briggs kept their hands tight following closely behind Bryce and Valerie. Heylyn and Alicia hit the press first trying to lead them away from the main attraction at that point which was Zheng and Doctor Briggs.

The questions flew as readily as the ammunition from any firearms they'd faced in more dangerous encounters. A situation for which Heylyn was better armed and experienced with which to deal. A common experience with which Alicia had become familiar as a result of all the attention Norler had drawn during their time together so far. The flashes fired reminding Alicia of muzzle flashes from her numerous encounters with armed assailants.

The tactic worked as Zheng and Doctor Briggs were able to slip by unnoticed.

"May I direct your attention to these marvelous Women, Heylyn Yates and Alicia Weston! Two Women who represent the most motivated and brilliant Women of our time." Bryce said stepping back for his peers as they stepped forward.

"How did you find out about Doctor Briggs and Zheng Ni Wong?" the first question flew from a journalist.

"My dear, how long did you study journalism just to learn to ask that question rather than to ask my friend Alicia here about how she came to the realization that the SY349 might be a solution to many real health problems in the world?" Heylyn asked the journalist.

"Are you related to Doctor Zheng Ni Wong Ms. Yates?" asked another journalist.

"We're sisters in spirit." Heylyn responded.

"Is Doctor Briggs a part of your research team at Tynan And Associates Alicia?" another journalist queried.

"No. Doctor Briggs is a delegation expert on Eastern Medicine and Philosophy whose expertise has been invaluable. Doctor Wong's contribution in China has been immense as has her expertise in mathematics and simulation." Alicia replied.

"Is Walton Norler guilty of the assassination attempt for which he might be charged and are you involved in the current foul play foible?" another journalist asked Alicia directly.

"Walton is guilty of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. His life was saved by Doctor Huang whose injuries were minor despite his life saving intervention. There is no assassination conspiracy. Walton Norler and I are in a serious relationship I am confident to say and will continue to be so for the rest of our lives." Alicia responded.

"Is it true that he's being held by Chinese authorities until an upcoming court date?" another question came.

"He's being treated in Beijing Hospital under the supervision of Doctor Lin Soo, the Medical program director and Chief of Surgery." Alicia responded.

"Do you need help here Boss?" Monique asked Heylyn.

"Could you cover for Doctor Wong and Doctor Briggs however you can if you know what I mean?" asked Heylyn.

"I think I get your drift. So I'm alright to use my talents am I?" Monique confirmed with Heylyn.

"As long as you can be discreet you are..." Heylyn responded trying to keep the press' attention on her.

"I'm on it..." Monique responded turning to find Doctor Zheng Ni Wong and Doctor Stephen Briggs.

Katya and Victor passed behind them just as Monique made her way forward to catch up.

"Did we miss the something?" Katya looked out into the array of flashes and microphones trying to look innocent.

"Maybe something happened over there..." Victor pointed off into the distance causing many of the journalists to do the same.

Monique used their distraction to catch up to Doctor Wong and Doctor Brigg.

"Found ya!" Monique responded as she ran cover for them.

Meanwhile back at the mini press conference Katya and Victor had become the life of the show. Victor had set about re-enacting a traditional Russian dance he'd done before in his youth much to Katya's amusement. She cheered him on enthusiastically as he struggled.

"Just like in Saint Petersburg and Moscow. Remember Katya?" Victor said as he struggled profusely to keep his balance in front of the onlooking press.

"I remember though isn't this a little cliche Victor?" Katya clapped for him.

"I'd say it's more... how you say...? Nostrastalgic?" Victor continued his dance.

"You mean like Nostradamus? ...or Nostalgic?" Katya said amused by her husband's play on simile.

"Hmmmm.... I never thought of it... maybe both?" Victor said as he collapsed to the floor exhausted the press' cameras flashing about him.

"You floundering fish, I've never been more proud of you..." Katya smiled leaning down to kiss him on the cheek.

"I'd say our delegation is slowly turning into a circus." Bryce commented upon turning to see Victor's dance.

"Slowly?" Heylyn replied beginning to clap for Victor.

Victor went about it for another minute before collapsing in exhaustion to the floor of the terminal. A moment later he was on his feet grasping for his breath.

"Whew! I haven't done that for ages. Maybe too long as my breath would say." Victor coughed.

He then raised his hands in victory (perhaps intending a pun based upon his first name) and proceeded through the terminal after Doctor Zheng Ni Wong and Doctor Briggs. The cameras flashed about him and he took Katya's arm pulling her close as they walked.

"That should give them something to talk about for a bit rather than our friends Zheng and Doctor Briggs." Victor whispered in Katya's ear.

"Perhaps you'd like a nice back rub when we get to our room?" Katya asked him seductively.

"Only if you are the one delivering this back rub." Victor smiled.

Heylyn, Alicia, Valerie and Bryce quickly caught up with the rest of the group.

"Looks like Zheng and Briggs made it ahead a good distance. With any luck they're already on their way to the hotel." Bryce said to the ladies he escorted.

"Remember that we have the evening meeting with the other delegation tonight." Heylyn reminded them.

"That's going to be formal at first. It will become casual after the introductions and familiarization. I'll be giving our delegation a briefing in the hotel lounge before we leave." Valerie reminded them.

"I don't know how we're going to do this without Norler. I mean sometimes just his presence was a comfort. Knowing that if things went awry he could throw that charisma of his into action and get everything back on track. People listened to him. I guess what I'm saying is that I've relied on that since we've been together. This will be the first occasion where we won't have that benefit at our disposal." Alicia expressed herself sharing a bit of her anxiety with her friends.

"He's with us in spirit. I mean just by being around him we've all learned from him and been inspired by him. That leaves each of us with something we've gained from him. His way of thinking. I mean when we encounter future situations, we just have to remember to ask ourselves: what would Norler do? Maybe through our mutual friendship he'll be with us in another way." Valerie spoke sincerely for the first time in a long time.

"It's that kind of thinking that will do us good. Especially here in South Korea and later in Japan. There's a strong belief in this part of the world that people rub off on each other. What you do after being with someone is most often as important as what you do while you're with them. This idea is heavily tied in with the concept of Honor in Japan. In South Korea it is a form of bonding between people. Both countries are a mixed combination of Buddhism followed by Christianity with other beliefs rounding out the remainder. The region being the foundations of early land trade in civilization through the Silk road has a history of cooperation despite their differences in belief. China, Vietnam, Laos and the Siam region which in their early history had been invaded several times nearly losing it's indigenous religions in the process became very guarded in this respect which eventually brought about the construction of the Great Wall as a result having experienced invasion and upheaval more than a few times in it's history. Japan too which had remained isolationist from the rest of the world until the late 1800s. Still this idea of the fact that we rub off on one another and our choices after we meet with someone are as important as our choices while with them. You could say they follow this idea very much. That is why so many ideologies that hold opposition to the Far East of Asia attempt to sabotage a person's behavior during or after a person has interacted with someone of a Far East culture. Believe me, I know from personal experience. A sort of hidden racism that still exists in society to this day. Not so much common in this part of the world but to be aware of it is important because your behavior after dealing with someone from the Far East is often as important as your behavior while dealing with them as I've said. If someone spurs you to a bad reaction or bad behavior, it could be seen as dishonoring the person or persons with whom you met. Remember this because this concept is important. It has in history resulted in the loss of big deals in business and trade, just by strategically coordinated attempts to bring out the worst behavior in a diplomat or merchant at a key moment in time to the benefit of an interloper. Defending and protecting this concept is an integral part of rebuilding the bridge between West and East." Heylyn advised her friends.

"I don't think that Doctor Briggs could have put it better himself and this is his area of expertise." Bryce tried to compliment Heylyn academically.

"Well growing up in a Chinese household in North America you tend to figure out about these things. You find your friends quickly and hang onto them for life. Alicia and I have been friends since we were sixteen. Besides, I do a lot of business in Europe and the Far East of Asia with many designers, fabric manufacturers and cosmetics companies. From France and Great Britain eastwards across the board to Japan. As far as the art of the deal goes, this is mandatory to know when trading with the Far East as much as being fair in your business dealings. One area I'm thankful for is that my martial arts training didn't focus solely on fighting or defense techniques. It included history, art and culture as well. I even learned to play the Guzheng through my martial arts classes as well as studying Chinese calligraphy and reading some of the ancient languages in China. I'd say that in martial arts, that the word arts is the key word. The martial part is more about being skilled in order to protect the arts. I'd say that it's the same in traditional dojos and dojangs for both Japanese and Korean martial arts. There's a physical component, but there should always be a spiritual one as well and certainly one for the heart and mind. It's not strictly about fighting except perhaps fighting your own self limitations. The concept of developing martial prowess came from two origins. The first being a formalized method of combat utilizing farming tools as weapons." Heylyn continued.

"Farming tools? Why would a farmer ever want to attack someone?" Valerie asked in surprise.

"Farming tools along with the discovery of the means to create fire are the foundation of every civilization. Once you get to the point that you're cultivating land for the purpose of growing food to support your population and feed your livestock that's usually the starting point at which a civilization requires weapons and an army to protect it. In fact in just about every civilization the world over, the development and advancement of farming tools coincides with the development and advancement of weapons." Bryce interjected as they walked towards the baggage area.

"Precisely. In China much of the early development of civilization was spread across it's vast territories in farming villages. There were few concentrated settlements so the farmers had no local army to protect their produce. Marauding was common in the fringes of the territory against these farming communities and so they developed a martial system which employed the use of farming tools as weapons. This was the first form of early martial arts employing weapons for an organized martial system of training." Heylyn told them as they arrived at the baggage area.

"And what was the second?" Alicia asked sincerely interested as she looked for her baggage.

"The second originated from Buddhism extending from as far as India and it's eventual spread to Gojoseon, through Angkor and up into China and Japan. Since in the early days much of the time of early Buddhist monks and practitioners was set aside for development of the mind and spirit through meditation, some Buddhists got together and decided that the body was as much a part of the process of enlightenment and Nirvana as was the mind and spirit (or Chi). So they developed a brutal regimen of exercise to fine tune their bodies to peak performance that is difficult for many Westerners to comprehend. It could easily be likened to the kind of constant training that Navy Seals and other mission critical forces might undergo but on a daily basis continuing well into their old age. These Monks were hardened beyond any fathomable measure. Slowly they began developing techniques by observing the nature around them and the beginnings of unarmed martial arts combat training began. It is said that in one instance that ten such Monks were dispatched to deal with pirates raiding the shores of China in the South China Sea. Ten were sent to deal with a hundred pirates. One Monk was lost during the battle and all of the pirates were dispatched. This could easily be taken as folklore but having seen some of the modern greats during my training, I'd be inclined to believe it. The history is much the same in Korea (or Gosojeon at that time) and Japan. Japan and Korea had been many times in their early history mortal enemies. Their history of martial arts developed as a result of this conflict between them strengthening the development of their martial arts through warfare with each other and a few civil wars fought during their feudal periods." Heylyn picked up her suitcase placing it on the floor beside her ready to wheeled away.

"So how did a Woman such as yourself become involved in martial arts?" Bryce asked her honestly.

"I'll take that as a compliment." Heylyn responded.

"It wasn't meant any other way but as you're taking it." Bryce replied getting his luggage.

"It was sort of a calling for myself really. I began when I was around seven years old. I started with Goju Ryu. A form of Japanese Karate in the Shotokan tradition. Goju in Japanese means hard soft, while Ryu means warrior. So it literally means hard soft warrior. I achieved my black belt around the age of nine under the strict and wise instruction of Kyoshi Morgan Hind and then continued by studying Tae Kwan Do thereafter under our instructor Hoon Kwang whom we simply referred to as "Tiger". He was another great instructor like Kyoshi Morgan Hind, both teaching about the history, culture and arts as much as fighting style. I received my black belt. I then continued studying Kung Fu and a specialized form of Wing Chun under Sifu Jinn Hua. So when you say a Woman such as myself, I take that as a compliment because other Women such as myself like Sifu Jinn Hua and many in history were in fact expert practitioners of these arts. In fact, Wing Chun was developed by a Female Buddhist Monk. Nobody wanted to fight her because she was a Woman, and she'd only take students who did challenge her. Many of those that challenged her were trained in other martial arts and experts in their own schools. She defeated them all of course and hence they became her students. She taught them the original Wing Chun and they carried on the tradition and the school creating schools of their own, some combining it with the arts they'd previously known or sticking to her pure form. So you could say that I'm in good company with ladies like her. It's humbling." Heylyn replied confidently but modestly.

"It's an Honor to be in your presence." Bryce responded both bowing to her and presenting her with the open palm bow.

"Bryce, would you turn down the charm for bit? We're trying to get our luggage here." Valerie replied sarcastically drawing a bit of laughter from the rest of them.

"Thanks Heylyn. Knowing these things will come in very handy in this leg of the journey." Alicia said having retrieved her luggage.

"Alright. It looks like we're in business. Let's get to the hotel and catch up with the others. We've got a busy night ahead of us." Valerie urged them.

They wheeled their luggage out to the carport and taxi pickup where a large van awaited them. Their security detail had shadowed them the whole way keeping them as safe as they could but the real test had yet to come.

[Sunday April 16, 2017 6:34PM Updates proceeding]

As luck would have it, Zheng and Doctor Briggs arrived somehow managing to remain low key in the lobby of the hotel while Monique dealt with the front desk for their respective rooms. Their hotel room doors were opened by way of smartphone software which interfaced with the hotel's management system. Monique quickly figured out the software after installing it on her phone. She then made her way back to Zheng and Doctor Briggs showing them as they made their way to the elevator and up to their rooms.

Alicia, Heylyn, Valerie, Katya, Victor and Bryce arrived shortly thereafter making their way to their rooms just in time for a short rest before the soirée. Monique rested in her bed quietly while Heylyn spent an hour speaking on the phone with the three staff she'd left in charge of her company West Meet East International back in Toronto.

Geoff had been the studio manager for the last year and director of photography in the years prior. He'd the most seniority in her company next to Heylyn herself. He'd been given the task of handling her day to day business and coordinating all current projects while Delia Welmer managed everything relating to the models and photo shoot scheduling. Meanwhile Kori Jongliyu kept the production pipeline going, producing Heylyn's backlog of designs working with the sewing and fabrication room. She also ensured that any sets in the studio were built and decorated in a timely manner. Between the three of them they managed to just barely fill Heylyn's shoes or so they'd joked with her on the phone. Heylyn happily conceded that they were probably exceeding her's by a margin by working together.

Victor enjoyed the backrub he was promised by his wife Katya. She poured on the gratification much to his enjoyment and relaxation. When she was done, he reciprocated much to her delight.

Bryce had the room entirely to himself while Doctor Briggs and Zheng spent the rest of the day together in her room enjoying their mutual company. Bryce spent most of his time catching up on the scientific periodicals he'd missed during the course of their trip. He'd cleaned and readied himself an hour before the soirée and headed up to the lounge sitting in with a guitar based jazz trio on the grand piano. It was an unannounced cameo much to the amusement of the patrons many of whom were tourists in Seoul. The Piano's rich timbres and percussive rhythm filled out the melodic presence of the Jazz Guitar, the Upright Bass and three piece Drum kit, which was played deftly with brush sticks of course.

Not long after he'd started Alicia and Valerie arrived at the lounge looking ravishing. Bryce joined them at their table after they'd finished their piece Got My Eyes On You. The guitarist thanked Bryce and the trio continued their set.

"I somehow knew I'd find you up here." Alicia smiled to him as he arrived.

"Would you mind if I join you?" he asked ceremoniously.

"Please do." replied Valerie flirtatiously.

"Thank you. So it looks like we've got the right table. We should be able to seat everyone here between this one and the neighboring one we'd reserved. So what brings you two loverly ladies up here so early?" Bryce said eyeing over the seating arrangements.

"I guess we wanted to dig ourselves in and get comfortable before the other delegation got here..." Valerie started as the Hostess arrived with another patron beside her.

"I'm sorry to interrupt but one of the South Korean delegation has arrived." the Hostess addressed the table.

Bryce stood as did Alicia and Valerie. The tiny framed Korean lady stepped over to the table and introduced herself.

"Hello. I'm Hye Seung Ki, Chief Nurse at the Seoul University Hospital." she said with a tiny but confident voice.

"This is Valerie Aspen our delegation project manager. Next to her is Professor Bryce Maxwell. I'm Doctor Alicia Weston." Alicia introduced her peers to Hye.

"I am pleased to make your acquaintance. May I join you?" Hye asked politely.

"Allow me." Bryce stepped over and pulled her chair out for her.

"Its our pleasure to meet you Miss Seung Ki." Bryce responded to her introduction.

"Please, you may call me Hye. Thank you." Hye replied.

"Well then you can call me Alicia." Alicia smiled sitting back down.

"...Valerie. My friends call me Valerie." Valerie responded.

"Please call me Bryce, Hye." Bryce continued taking his own seat.

"We came up here early to get comfortable and to hear a bit of the music." Alicia began their conversation.

"Speaking of which, I have to go for the next song. If you'll excuse me ladies." Bryce excused himself jumping up onto stage as the trio finished their song.

He spoke with the guitarist for a moment before taking his place at the grand piano.

"Our guest tonight Professor Bryce Maxwell is going to sing the next number. It's a little traditional jazz piece from the golden age. We hope you like it." the guitarist finished as Bryce began with a melodic piano intro.

"This song goes out to Miss Hye Seung Ki. Chief Nurse at the Seoul University Hospital." Bryce announced as he played.

12/8 Moderate tempo with a triple feel


F#m7 B7#9 Em7 A7#9 Dm7 G7#5

After the intro phrase the rest the band came in quietly and Bryce's voice emerged from the speakers.

I've been on this road a long time.

You know I've seen it all.

With every step I take,

its not often that I fall.


But when I fell for you,

there was little I could do.

I knew from the start.

Nurse that you would heal my heart...
Dm7                  G7#6    CM7


I've been a little bruised.

I've been a little broken too.

'Cause in the game of love.

Feelings get hurt and hearts sometimes break.


But when I fell for you,

there was little I could do.

I knew from the start.

Nurse that you would heal my heart...
Dm7                  G7#6    CM7


I know it makes no sense,

all the other girls they want insurance.

When all I wanted was a bed,

and your bedside manner.

Your sweet medicine every night,

Should I call you in the morning?


And now I'm on my feet again.

I'm feeling like myself.

And it was all because of you my friend.

That I can get in the ring again.


But when I fell for you my dear,

there was nothing I could do.

I knew from the start.

Nurse that you would heal my heart.
Dm7                  G7#6    CM7


Nurse. You healed my heart.
Dm7    G7#6          CM7#11 13

Bryce finished drawing an applause from the audience and a few tears from Hye's eyes.

"Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. Wade Sunny on guitar. Jeong Joon on upright bass and Mr. Steve Morgan on percussion." Bryce introduced the band one by one, each stepping forward or standing for the applause.

"Nothing like an old classic to heal the heart. So where were we?" Bryce said as he returned to the table.

"I think you were about to get the Hostess to bring a tissue for Hye." Valerie replied with accented sarcasm.

[Tuesday April 18, 2017 3:00PM Update proceeding]

"Forgive me if that was a little bit over the top but I really feel that there has been no mention of the importance of Nursing in any approach to healing. Certainly a big part of Western medicine and one that we've neglected on this journey. Hye here is the first delegate representative that we've encountered from the field of Nursing. If the left leg of medicine are Doctors then surely the right leg must be the Nurses. If you'll excuse me, I'm going to get the Hostess to bring a tissue for Miss Hye." Bryce announced to Valerie and Alicia.

Alicia grabbed his arm as he walked by stopping him.

"Forgiven. I can honestly say that's why Norler made the suggestion that you be a member of this delegation." Alicia admitted to him.

"I'm not surprised. After all the man obviously has great taste in the company he picks not to mention Women. I'll thank him myself when he's on his feet which I'm sure will be soon." Bryce smiled and winked at Alicia continuing towards the Hostess.

"Let's hope." Alicia whispered.

Bryce returned to the table a moment later.

"She's bringing one for you now." Bryce assured Hye who thanked him.

The Hostess arrived with the tissue leading three more guests, a lady and two more men. The guests thanked the Hostess and introduced themselves as Bryce stood. It was the lady who stepped forward first.

"Hello. I'm Professor Areum Iseul from the Seoul National University. I see you've already met our Chief Nurse Hye Seung Ki?" Professor Iseul smiled gesturing to Hye.

One of the men, the younger one in his early forties stepped forward introducing himself.

"Pleased to meet you. I am Doctor Joon Myung from the Asan Medical Center." he smiled genuinely and earnestly accepting Bryce's handshake as the last guest waited before introducing himself.

"I'm Doctor Kyung Chul. I'm the Chief Physician at Asan Medical Center here in Seoul." a well dressed Korean man in his late forties said introducing himself.

"I'm Doctor Alicia Westin, Chief Of Research for the SY349 program at Tynan And Associates." Alicia stood greeting the new arrivals at the table.

"I'm Valerie Aspen, Project Manager for our delegation." she smiled throwing a bit of charm as she introduced herself.

"I'm Professor Bryce Maxwell at your service. I've heard much about your pioneering work here in Korea. Especially with regard to the integration of traditional dietary medicine as an integral part of treatment." Bryce said to his peers as they were seated.

"Much like China, food has always been an important part of the medical practice here in Korea. Since our relations with the West over the last fifty years and the integration of Western medicine with both our traditional and modern practices we've lacked an official program that sought to exploit that feature of treatment. It was actually Hye and Doctor Chul here who proposed merging traditional Korean dietary treatment with our modern facilities and methods. Dietary traditional medicine has always played an important role in our culture. It only made sense that it become a part of modern treatment as well, where applicable of course." Professor Iseul replied to Bryce's observation.

The Hostess arrived with a few more guests.

"I'm Doctor Zheng Ni Wong." Zheng said introducing herself.

"I'm Doctor Stephen Briggs. I assume that we're fashionably late?" Doctor Briggs asked.

"No. You're fashionable early by twenty minutes." Valerie replied to Doctor Briggs as they made the rounds of introductions.

Heylyn and Monique arrived a moment later with another two men following behind them.

"I'm Monique Defleur. Pleased to meet you." Monique said smiling to the delegates at the table.

"I'm Heylyn Yates." Heylyn introduced herself following Monique through the rounds before taking her seat beside Alicia, Valerie, Monique and Bryce.

Professor Iseul stood.

"You must be Advisor Gun Kwan Suk?" Professor Iseul asked.

"Correct. I'm Advisor Gun Kwan Suk of the North Korean Ministry of Medical Affairs. This is my personal escort who shall remain anonymous. He is required to accompany me at all times during this delegation." Advisor Suk announced perhaps a little defensively.

"I'm Professor Areum Iseul from the Seoul National University Hospital. We welcome your presence at these meetings Advisor Suk. Please if you will be seated." Professor Iseul responded diplomatically.

"Thank you Professor. I'm familiar with you and your peers here. Perhaps you will introduce me to the Western delegation?" Advisor Suk responded.

There was a moment of silence as the table became acquainted with the diplomatic pressure they'd be under.

Professor Iseul patiently went through the pragma of introductions once again and the tensions at the table eased. Advisor Suk's escort sat quietly beside him looking over the table's occupants in detail.

"Please do not be intimidated by my escort. It is a diplomatic requirement on all foreign dealings outside of North Korean soil. To prevent any representatives from defecting or giving up information deemed as a national secret to foreign powers. Rest assured that I am a loyalist and here strictly as a representative of North Korea's medical interests as part of the region. Perhaps we should keep our discussions to the matters at hand so as to avoid international embarrassment for either of our delegations. Something for which I've seen that you have quite a knack already." Advisor Suk spoke perhaps trying to ease tensions through bluntness only elevating them slightly.

"I can assure you that what the press has to say about the personal lives of our delegation's membership has nothing to do with the scope of the goals of our delegation. That comes with the territory as I'm sure you'll agree. There have been many times I've seen North Korea plastered across the headlines in scandal that may have been largely misinterpretation of the actual truth at it's source." Valerie responded in defense of Zheng, Doctor Briggs, Bryce, Norler and the recent events at the Forbidden City.

There was another moment of intense silence. Valerie's heart began to speed up as she questioned her response. Perhaps he might have been intimidated that a Woman had confronted him rather than a Man. She held her emotionless glance waiting for a reply. The table lay poised precariously close to teetering over the edge.

"Well stated Miss...?" Advisor Suk began.

"Valerie. Valerie Aspen." Valerie gave her name, her heart still beating fiercly.

"Well stated Miss Aspen. I apologize if I offended any of you. Perhaps my sharp sense of humor should wait until we are more familiar. Your statement was due and considerate. With that in mind these negotiations should go smoothly so long as we stick to the agenda and stay away from scandal and our political differences." Advisor Suk smiled still withholding an edge of sarcasm that made her uncomfortable.

Both Alicia and Heylyn could see that Advisor Suk recognized the pressure they were under and was using it to usurp the power of discussion for himself. There seemed no malice intent. Perhaps it was the playful sarcastic humor to which he'd referred. North Korea had been a pin cushion for world disapproval many times before. That had likely resulted in a firm stance to foreign relations that probably manifested itself in the hardened and defensive attitudes of it's foreign representatives. Advisor Suk was no different. He was just using this impression to his advantage and it was a power that the world had given them. It certainly wasn't as simple as one side is the good and the other side is the bad as most people are led to believe. He was a diplomat on foreign soil where the many tensions of recent history had left scars on either side. Some of these scars were still tender for both parties. Not to mention the importance of the principles of governance and how it becomes manifest were at hand. It was in these few moments that they'd received a lesson in diplomacy that they could not have been taught any other way other than experience.

"So it is my understanding that you seek approval for your miracle cure, the SY349 treatment by way of a fund that pays for its costs across all income boundaries so as to make it available globally. For the sake of our dealings, specifically here in East Asia?" Advisor Suk confirmed.

"That's correct. That's exactly why we're here." Alicia replied confidently.

"The fact that it was voted down the first time holds no bearing to you in these proceedings?" Advisor Suk asked.

"That fact is of the utmost importance. We're here to ensure that Eastern medical principles are preserved and that both Eastern and Western medicine can coexist and benefit from one another. This miracle cure is at the current forefront of Western medicine. It needs to be available to everyone everywhere despite income levels and boundaries." Alicia replied staying her ground.

[Wednesday April 19, 2017 12:00AM Updates proceeding]

"I hope that we haven't missed anything important. Sorry we ran a bit late." Katya arrived moving quickly on her heels practically dragging Victor behind her.

For moment the tension seemed to pass with their distraction easing Valerie's concern.

"You're not late by our clock. There's still ten minutes." Professor Iseul stood as did Bryce.

"Good. I hope that we're not interrupting. Please let us be seated. Oh, I forgot. I am Doctor Katya Piotr." Katya managed a playful curtsy for the guests.

"And I am Doctor Victor Piotr at your service." Victor said bowing in jest, his arms spread wide.

The table got through another round of introductions and finally settled into silence.

"...As I was about to say, have you given any thought to what this is going to mean for Korean healthcare and the state of healthcare in East Asia? In this another Western attempt to monopolize the East and rob us of our cultural identity by instilling your superior Western values?" Advisor Suk asked continuing his pressure right from where he'd left off.

"I can assure you that our goals are about getting this treatment into the hands of everyone. This is the front line for this issue. If we put a price and market value on the right to health, especially when it comes to the future treatments the genetic sciences will allow, we'll be making the process of natural selection dependent upon market system and economy. The market prices for such treatments will determine who gets to live and who doesn't. We believe that when a ground breaking medical treatment that has a high success rate is available, it should be available to everyone. The research and development has to be paid for though or nobody will develop such treatments. Health care standards are not the same the world over nor is there universal coverage everywhere. What we propose with this fund is that it will cover the cost of any treatment that employs use of the SY349, given its track record and success rate. Tynan And Associates is creating the fund itself. Your support and vote in the Asian Alliance is needed to implement coverage in the Far East. Your vote will make this cutting edge treatment available to all of your citizens. We believe that despite its high rate of success that it can be improved. Given our research we believe that much of the treatment would work well with existing Eastern philosophies from India all the way through to Japan and augment the effectiveness. You could say it's where our two systems of medicine meet and finally benefit one another. The fund is about making sure that is available to the people. Everyone. Imagine being the Medical Advisor that brings that kind of healing ability to your people." Alicia responded throwing Advisor Suk a bone.

"What I think Advisor Suk is speaking of is, will this treatment replace our current practices with Western practices?" Professor Iseul challenged.

"No. Not at all. It is the same as giving you another tool to fight disease. In fact one that you can improve with your existing traditions and knowledge. We expect that you will share what you learn if you improve the treatment by combining it with your existing traditions." Alicia replied.

"Our traditions combine many different aspects. Just what do you mean when you say by combining it?" asked Hye.

"One of the aspects of this treatment is a remarkable breakthrough that actually seems to be tied in with the placebo effect." Alicia explained.

"Wait... are you trying to sell us on the idea of charging people for a placebo? Are you trying to sell us the Emperor's new clothes? Selling us nothing for something? Do you take us for fools?" Advisor Suk responded.

"No. What I am saying is that the SY349 treatment has some remarkable qualities. It is applied in two stages. The first stage is in the form of an ingestible pill which we call the marker. It is quickly distributed throughout the body to each and every cell, painting them with an enzyme making them receptive to the stage two treatment. The stage two treatment is applied in the form of a spray which contains the radioactive isotope. This isotope has some remarkable qualities when it is received by the marked cells. It affects cellular mitosis giving the RNA messenger access to the original first copy of it's originating genome. The prime genotype through Quantum Dynamics. So when the cell reproduces, it using this other copy of the genome for error correction and even improvement." Alicia continued explaining the properties of the SY349 to the delegates.

"Where does this other prime genotype come from? Is it hidden in our cells already?" Doctor Chul verified with Alicia in amazement.

"No. It's existence is the result of the interaction between the stage one marker and the stage two isotope. It exploits the Quantum soup that make up the atomic particles of the cell and genome itself." Alicia tried to explain to them getting close to the limits of her understanding of the SY349's mysterious operation.

"These genome copies are manifestations of a genotype from another universe. Another time/space manifold if you will. It doesn't damage our space/time at all. It merely remembers or foretells of the same genome in another part of space time. The genome is recalled from either direction of time. Forwards or backwards. Actually in this case the direction of time seems to be irrelevant. Even subjective which is both bizarre and beautiful if you think about it." Bryce interjected.

"So how is it that you expect that our traditions might affect this or improve it?" Doctor Myung leaned forward in his seat.

"One of the most amazing qualities is the aesthetic design of whatever the second stage is applied to has an effect upon cellular mitosis. So in other words, artistic design can shape the effects of the SY349 and this is tied in with the artistic tastes of the person being treated." Alicia struggled to explain herself effectively.

"So I take it this is where the placebo effect ties in?" Professor Iseul confirmed.

"Precisely. The fact that the aesthetic design of whatever the stage two treatment is applied has an impact is an important cue that tells us that the subjectivity of the treated has an effect upon the treatment. A very measurable effect. In fact, that's an area that we haven't even begun to explore." Alicia assured them.

"And you feel that given this nature, that the treatment could benefit from Eastern philosophies?" Heylyn asked strategically more for the benefit of the other delegation.

"Absolutely. It's miraculous that at the very boundaries of where our Western science can take us that we find ourselves once again returning to some of the foundations of Eastern philosophy. We can benefit from each other in this way." Alicia finished.

"I move that we will continue this discussion tomorrow. You have given us much to consider." Advisor Suk seemed taken back.

"I agree. In this short conversation we've covered much ground. Let us examine this in detail tomorrow. The rest of tonight is about relieving some of the tension so we may have fresh energy tomorrow." Professor Iseul suggested.

"I'd say the best way would be a dance? Shall we?" Bryce offered his hand to Professor Iseul who smiled for him.

"I'd be delighted." she replied.

"What's up Doc? Are you up for it?" Zheng asked Doctor Briggs.

"I wouldn't have it any other way." Doctor Briggs accompanied Zheng to the dance floor.

"Shall we?" Victor asked Katya.

"We shall. But do not pull what you pulled in the airport terminal here on the dance floor." Katya reminded Victor.

"Despite your massage I'm still very sore from that. We'll stick to less strenuous dance, ya?" Victor grabbed his wife's hand bringing her out to the dance floor.

Doctor Myung asked Hye out to the dance floor who of accepted graciously.

Doctor Chul in turn asked Valerie who too accepted.

Advisor Suk sat quietly in his chair eyeing the delegation.

"Well I guess that leaves us to hold the fort." Heylyn said to Alicia and Monique.

"Forget that! I'm dancing with or without a partner!" Monique jumped up and onto the dance floor by herself.

Alicia and Heylyn looked at each other for a moment. Both stood simultaneously running out to join Monique on the dance floor.

Another moment later and Advisor Suk joined them while his escort kept a close eye on him.

The Life Of The Night (In South Korea)

Alicia awoke the next day to the sound of her cellular phone ringing. It chirped happily as she shred off the fog of her enjoyable prior night.

The night had found both her and Heylyn dancing and singing the Alma Mater of the high school they'd attended together. Monique had tried to envision the two of them in school but instead watched their display for an approaching thirty something approximation. The night had become an enjoyable fog to her and in light of Norler's situation it was the first time she'd spent with her friends in a long time.

Hye, the Korean Nurse and Professor Iseul had even joined them on the dance floor. Hye had kicked her shoes off for comfort much to the admiration of the many men who'd eyed her thin and curvaceous legs. Monique had watched Heylyn in amusement not used to seeing her boss letting loose in such a manner. In the end Alicia, Heylyn, Monique, Valerie, Zheng, Hye, Professor Iseul and Katya had danced up a storm while Bryce, Doctor Briggs, Doctor Chul, Doctor Myung, Advisor Suk and Victor had talked shop. Their tongues and inhibitions loosened by alcohol, music, good service and environment.

Alicia had remembered the dance she'd talked her friends into, each of them taking the role of one of the four amino acids: Adenine, Cytosine, Guanine, Thymine and turning the spectacle into a dance much to Heylyn's amusement.

"We're experimenting! Come on!" She'd encouraged.

Once her friends had understood what Alicia had been implying they played along happily enjoying every moment. A friendly thought experiment between peers on the dance floor.

Doctor Chul had managed to lure Bryce, Advisor Suk, Doctor Briggs and Doctor Myung into a heated debate about the benefits of dietary medicine. They'd debated the issue from their respective areas of expertise much under the influence of Soju. In the end it was Doctor Chul and Bryce who'd trumped the debate with their combined knowledge of Medicine, Biology and Quantum Physics.

At the moment of their victory Bryce had tapped his ally Doctor Chul on the shoulder when he'd realized that the Women were simulating the genetic formation of amino acids through RNA on the dance floor. Doctor Chul had nearly choked on his Soju when he'd seen Hye and Professor Iseul taking the positions dictated by such a nuclear structure. The ladies danced as if it was natural to them, making the science and medicine of it appear like art.

Bryce spied a tear emerge on Advisor Suk's eye as he marveled at the creative inventiveness of these free minded Women and Scientists. His peers.

"Never underestimate the power of art and the dance. Nor the beauty of the female mind." Bryce responded a smile stretched across his face.

"No doubt here my friend. Just admiration and wonder." Doctor Chul replied.

A moment passed.

"...and a healthy quantity of Soju." Bryce smiled at Doctor Chul who patted him on the back.

"Drink up boy. Its good for you in moderation." Doctor Chul responded.

"I guess I'm moderating. I've only had two and that was an hour ago." Doctor Myung said clearly amused by his peers.


Alicia awoke startled by the ringing of her cellular phone a little shocked to find herself in her hotel room.

"Hello?" Alicia answered the phone groggily.

"Hi honey. I'm awake." Norler replied almost oblivious to their time apart.

Alicia held her breath for moment unable to speak. The tears welled up in her eyes. Perhaps the tears she'd held for Norler when he'd fallen to the sniper's round.

"Its alright. You don't need to answer right now. I'm alright. How are you babe?" Norler asked.

"I'm good. I... I'm so... I..." Alicia responded choking on her own speech.

"I'm going to be here for a couple of weeks. Doctor Jin Soo told me about what had happened. She told me that there's going to be a legal hearing here. I haven's spoken to Werner yet but I'm calling him next. You're the only one who knows I'm awake." Norler spoke to her intuitively.

"Honey. So much has happened. Someone tried to hurt you. They tried to hurt Professor Jing Jie too. Future Tangent Industries seems to be involved though we don't have the evidence we need. Remember the identity mix-up you pointed out? We think that's somehow connected." Alicia cried to him.

"Those are pretty serious charges. Are you sure?" Norler asked her verifying.

"Yes. Heylyn and Monique uncovered evidence at the crime scene at the Forbidden City that link Future Tangent Industries to the ownership of the vans which employed the gun men used in the attack. Whoever did it tried to make it appear as if Tynan was responsible..." Alicia explained.

"Alright. I'm going to speak with Werner. You continue with the delegation and use your heart Alicia. Stick with your friends. They're your best advisors in this situation. If you need to use your other identity. You know the one that I mean, you do it. I support you and your choices all the way honey. Do whats right. We're standing up for more than just our own rights. These are the rights of all people. I'm healthy and I'm fine. We'll be together soon." Norler said with confidence from his bed in Beijing.

"Promise me that you're fine." Alicia asserted.

"I promise Alicia. I'm fine. We'll be together again.  Bye. We'll talk soon." Norler said with presence and confidence.

"I love you." Alicia replied.

"That's the only reason why I'm alive. You know I love you." Norler replied.

"Talk soon?" Alicia asked.

"Soon Alicia. You know it. Bye." Norler answered.

Alicia called Heylyn first and then Valerie letting them each know the situation. Within the hour the entire delegation was aware and the news began to spread throughout the press.

Alicia and the other ladies had managed to stave off the after effects of alcohol by keeping herself regularly hydrated with water during the the prior evening's events. They'd also enjoyed a healthy and well balanced meal before dancing for the night. She surmised that with a combination of regular hydration and physical activity like dancing her body felt great the next day.

Bryce, Doctor Briggs and Doctor Chul on the other hand were a little under the weather. They'd still managed the early continental breakfast but had stayed away from anything that would further dehydrate them, instead opting for water and fiber rich foods such as fresh fruit and juice.

"So how does this great news affect our current itinerary?" asked Zheng.

"For now we'll be continuing as we've planned. Norler will be advising us at a distance. A representative at the University of Beijing has been in correspondence with Seoul University and they're working on getting us a portable video conferencing system before today's late afternoon meeting." Valerie told the delegates.

"Norler will only be taking part as long as he has energy. He's still very drained as a result of surgery and recovery. Doctor Lin Soo will be present to advise on such decisions." Alicia added.

"What about our discoveries with regard to the alleged involvement of Future Tangent Industries in the latest attack?" Monique asked.

"Werner has a legal team working on this around the clock. They have an investigative team in Beijing right now. Arrived a few hours ago. We've given them our evidence and they have access to the same evidence that the Beijing Security Service does. They'll be building Norler's defense from this and the case against Future Tangent Industries." Valerie replied answering Monique's question.

"What about the misidentification of this Steadman person on Future Tangent's staff?" Heylyn asked looking to Alicia and Valerie.

"We're going to have to check that out ourselves. We're at a bit of a loss because Norler is the only one who remembers what Steadman looks like. He says we me at one of the presentations that him and I attended a while ago and that I'd recognize him once I'd seen him. He says their not the same person as they're touting him to be. That's something we'll be checking out between  here and Tokyo." Alicia said thinking hard about what Norler meant.

 "Where does that leave the rest of us?" Bryce asked taking a healthy sip of his water.

"We'll be doing everything together. We'll travel together. Attend the meetings together. The only thing we won't be doing together is what Heylyn, Monique, Valerie and I are better equipped to do. I'd rather not discuss that here but I'm sure you know to what I'm referring." Alicia addressed them.

"If that situation is related to the SY349. I mean that of which you four are capable. How is it that we know that the SY349 is stable enough to be used on other people?" Zheng asked an honest question a look of concern on her face.

"The SY349 that made us is not the same SY349 that is distributed for treatment. They are two different versions of essentially the same thing. However. The SY349 Series One operates in both directions of time, the past and the future when referencing the optimum RNA generations for cellular mitosis. Series Two operates in only one direction of time. The past up until the present which means its RNA referencing can recall branches in genome that are unmodified or bypass harmful dormant sequences. The effect is that it can only exceed what is possible with the patient's current bodily health by a small margin versus the Series One formula." Alicia explained.

"Just enough to overcome Cancer or other degenerative diseases is what you are saying?" Katya verified.

"Exactly. But that effect is shaped by the design of whatever the garment that the formula is applied to. As I stated before, the patient takes a pill and wears a garment or jewelry of some form that shapes how the treatment affects their body. It is still a mystery to us the possibilities of this relationship between the effects of the pill and the garment which the treatment is applied. The Series Two formula never has negative effects. It either heals the patient to varying degrees or it doesn't work at all. The Series One formula theoretically could be very dangerous in the wrong hands." Alicia looked to each of her peers at the table as they listened.

"So where is this formula locked up?" asked Doctor Briggs.

"Here." Alicia said tapping her head.

"And that's what Future Tangent wants?" Bryce asked astutely.

"Just like Zek on Treadwater Island." Heylyn answered.

"I understand your concern now. We're with you one hundred percent." Zheng replied.

"As are we. Aren't we my darling?" Victor said to his wife agreeing with Zheng.

"That we are." Katya replied firmly.

"Werner has some people back in Toronto looking into Future Tangent Industries. They have an Asian branch that operates offshore for legal purposes and to get around international laws regarding their research. They purchased the island of Cora Hau privately for this purpose. It's north of the Marianas and accessible only by helicopter." Valerie informed them.

"I had some of my studio hands check into their dealings in Asia. They're apparently trying to veto Tynan's deal with the Asian Alliance by using a contact they have in the Japanese Congress." Heylyn announced to the table.

"I thought the early signs were that the Japanese were supporting the delegation?" Valerie said looking at both Heylyn and Alicia with a look of shock on her face.

"They absolutely do, but they've got to make the sell to their Congress just the same as the other delegations have to sell the idea to their respective Governments. Future Tangent Industries is trying to undermine that through one of their contacts who in fact is a member of Japanese Congress. They want the Asian Alliance to dump us, I mean Tynan and go with Future Tangent Industries instead. The thing is they have no cure like the SY349. Future Tangent is not promising any fund that will revolutionize medicine or treatments in the region. This is just how they're doing business." Heylyn advised the members of their delegation.

"Let's hope that we can have success here in Korea and then onward to Japan." Valerie pressed the table.

"I propose that we split up the delegation. I think that we should be investigating the Future Tangent angle a bit more closely." Heylyn announced.

"What are you proposing?" Alicia challenged her.

"Heylyn's proposing that she and I investigate Future Tangent Industries in person and try to get to the bottom of their dealings. Find out about this Steadman person and where he comes from. Who he is." Monique answered.

"...I was going to volunteer myself but I'd much rather have you accompany me Monique." Heylyn agreed to Monique's proposal.

Alicia thought about it and for a long time the table was silent.

"We've got this covered between us. Some of the most brilliant minds of time are here amongst us. Heylyn and Monique's suggestion is just what we need to break them open. To find out what they're up to." Valerie urged Alicia.

"Alright. But I talk to Norler first. They attend this afternoon's meeting and they leave tomorrow for Cora Hau Island." Alicia agreed.

"Now this is really starting to get interesting. What can the rest of us do to help with this situation?" Bryce asked.

"Yeah. I'm in." Zheng said leaning forward.

"You already got our answer, or do I need to give you the Russian dance again?" Victor asked pulling his chair out.

"No! No. It's alright." Valerie responded quickly.

"Good. Then let's get down to business and science." Alicia said as they began outlining their plans.

History, Art And Culture

"A good choice though I would have assumed we'd have been meeting for our first foray into Seoul at the Statue Of Peace. After all it is a symbolic land mark given the presence of Advisor Suk." Katya said as the delegation walked the front stairs up to the National Museum Of Korea.

"It also sits in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul. It would be considered saber rattling if we did attend the site. Let us say that it is a site dedicated to Women who often fall victim to sexual abuse and are often used as sexual cattle during times of war. I discussed this with Valerie and Professor Iseul and they agreed that we should keep this visit away from such matters. After all South Korea and Japan have been very active council members in the United Nations movement for Women's Rights. To make such a visit would be to open scars that might set Women's Rights back a step. Turn it into a circus rather than a serious matter that deserves careful attention. I'd say we avert such issues given our track record with publicity lately." Doctor Briggs spoke answering Katya's question diplomatically.

Zheng pressed herself against him and their hands momentarily clasped.

"Well coming to the Museum makes sense. It's right on track with what we're here to discuss. A good mixture of history, art and cultural influences that forged the region." Alicia agreed with Doctor Briggs.

"I'm hoping that this teleconferencing system works. One of the students is scheduled to meet us here at the top of the stairs. If it works as they claim, Norler will be here with us in a little more than spirit today." Valerie added clearly unfazed by the hike up the stairs.

"That's music to my ears." Bryce responded trying to keep up.

Alicia looked back to see Bryce hiking up the massive flight of stairs before the museum. She stopped on the steps and waited for him. Not far behind him were Katya and Victor who were not used to the climb.

"Whew! This must be part of the South Korean physical education program funding?" Katya remarked sarcastically.

"At least its a nice day for this my beautiful wife." Victor replied.

"You try walking in these heels." Katya commented.

"You insisted. I tried to tell you this morning but you insisted." Victor quickly responded defensively.

"Its formal." Katya said keeping on her toes.

"Semi-formal. Casual footwear is alright." Valerie reminded her.

Katya stopped on the steps pulling a compact pair of bright pink court sneakers from her purse.

"Thank you Valerie." Katya said as she pulled the heels off and stepped into her sneakers.

"That's quite fashionable with that day dress, Doctor. Careful. You might start a trend." Heylyn admired her combination of dress and footwear.

"Good darling. Now could you please carry me." Victor said pinching his wife's ticklish side much to the amusement of the rest of the delegation.

"Race you to the top." Zheng said to Doctor Briggs who was startled by her sudden burst of energy as she took the steps two at a time.

He ran up the stairs trying to catch up with her.


The phone rang piercing the darkness of a quaint downtown condominium. Werner rolled over groggily and reached for the phone.

"Hello?" Werner said rubbing his eyes.

"Is this Werner?" a voice on the other end of the line asked.

"Who is this?" Werner asked a little cautiously.

"It's James from the Legal Department. I have some news. Important news." James responded excitedly.

"What is it son?" asked Werner who was twenty years James' senior.

"Police pulled a body from the lake about twelve hours ago." James started.

"I'm sorry to hear. Where is this going son?" Werner asked impatiently.

"The body was identified as that of George Steadman. You know? From Future Tangent Industries?" James said trying to get to the point.

"Again, I'm sorry to hear. What's the relevance?" Werner pressed James.

"It's George Steadman but not the George Steadman running the Projects Division for Future Tangent Industries. It's a different one, but the same person. I mean they're sharing the exact same identity." James tried to explain to Werner.

"Has anyone approached the other one? The one still alive about this?" Werner asked.

"Who's calling at this time?" Fern, Werner's wife asked.

"Just a minute honey. Its important..." Werner assured her.

"That's the funny thing. The other George Steadman, the one we've been trying to contact since finding the identity of the body seems to have fled to one of Future Tangent's remote operations in the South Pacific. He fled to a place called Cora-Hau." James informed Werner.

"That's not all. It seems they've arranged for an emergency meeting with representatives of the Asian Alliance to be hosted at Cora-Hau. I think they're going to try to beat us to the deal signing table Werner armed with all the dirt about our delegation members they've drudged up in the last few weeks." James' voice took on a serious tone.

"Thanks for letting me know. I'll get this over to Norler and Alicia just so they have a heads up. In the mean time make sure we have a verified identity on this other fellow. The one masquerading around as George Steadman. Once you have it, we'll need everything about his background and time with Future Tangent. We're going to need all of it for the court hearing and our case against Future Tangent Industries. Get back to me when you have it. Bye for now." Werner spoke assertively.

"I'm on it right away. We'll talk soon." James answered with a renewed vigor before hanging up.

Werner lay back down as his Wife snuggled up to him.

"Is it serious?" Fern asked Werner.

"No more so than it already was. Let's get some sleep." Werner replied pulling his wife close.


Norler sat in bed while the two technicians finalized their tests of the conferencing equipment.

"So are we ready yet?" Norler asked them patiently.

"We're just calibrating the cameras." replied Wen as he adjusted the angle of one of the cameras.

"You see, we're not just sending a video image of you but a holographic image with an eighty degree view able area from side to side." Xiao said eyeing Norler behind her black framed spectacles.

"A hologram? I thought that technology was a long way off?" Norler asked the technicians.

"Not really. The University of Beijing is partnered with other Universities around the world. University Of Waterloo. University Of Toronto. Montreal. Vancouver. All in Canada. MIT and Yale. New York all in the United States. University of São Paulo in Brazil, South America. University of Praetoria in South Africa. Oxford and Cambridge in the United Kingdom. Paris, France and many other places in Europe. Moscow in Russia. Mumbai in India. Jerusalem in Israel. Amman in Jordan. Vietnam. Australia. Taiwan, Korea and Japan of course. You name it. Not to mention we work with a number of large well known tech firms on cutting edge research. This is one such project collaborated upon integrating voice recognition, real-time translation technologies and of course holography and holo-presence." Xiao explained as she adjusted her glasses nervously blushing at Norler.

"I thought you needed more cameras for holographic imaging not to mention hours just to make one image?" Norler commented looking perplexed.

"No. Just three cameras. Special cameras. They have depth and heat tracking sensors." Wen said pointing to the three lens on the camera he was adjusting.

"The data and visual output from the three cameras are combined. From this we can extrapolate a three dimensional model of your face in real-time one hundred and twenty times a second. The model is then texture mapped with the visual output from the cameras and turned back into compressed data stream which is sent via satellite to the holographic projecting computer in Seoul, South Korea." Xiao explained the process to Norler.

"But how does the receiving computer produce a hologram?" Norler asked her.

"By using LISPEC." Xiao said assuming he'd heard the acronym before.

"The next logical question would then be is what is a Lispec?" Norler asked her.

"Oh. I'm sorry. You work with so much high technology in your research investment firm I just assumed you'd heard of it. LISPEC is Laser Intersection Spectography. The holographic projector contains a series of special variable multi-colored multi-phase lasers. The lasers themselves are invisible. Each laser's frequency is set to oscillate out of phase from the others. The lasers are directed by high speed motorized mirrors to project the holographic image a half a meter from the projector in space. Where two of the lasers overlap the difference in phase creates a harmonic resulting in a visible pixel in the air. One that we can see with our eyes. Where multiple lasers overlap the harmonics produce the color and intensity of the three dimensional pixel through the same technique. Put all of the pixels together and we have a full motion hologram." Xiao turned back to the computer mouse and began running the calibration sequence.

"I'm impressed. Great to see the results of so much collaboration. Maybe we can get the same attitude going for the field of medicine world wide. How long have you been studying this?" Norler asked her.

"I'm a senior student doing my last year in the University of Beijing before my first internship while Wen here is working on his second year in the Computer Engineering program. He's coming along quite good. Wen initially worked on the camera system for the field of materials stress testing. The first generation cameras were used to stress test passenger jets for unseen damage to their wings after each flight. Wen worked with the optics team in one company to modify them for relatively high speed synchronized photography. A requirement of telepresent holography. The process is being miniaturized so that it can be used in surgery. A high quality real-time holograph can be broadcast to the other side of the world allowing surgeons to collaborate during risky surgerical procedures where the expertise of many can be combined for one operation." Xiao smiled.

"Xiao, you should be a teacher. I'm sure we'll be speaking to each other again in the future." Norler smiled and nodded to her making her blush.

A nurse entered the room "Save some of your energy for the conference meeting Mr. Norler." she spoke as she brought him a tray of liquid nutrients.

"I'm feeling much better thank you. At this rate I'll be ready to leave in no time." Norler happily accepted the tray taking a sip of the concoction through a straw hoping to quell his growing hunger.

"I didn't just come in here to feed you Mr. Norler. You have a call from an outside party and I'm a little hesitant about whether I should allow you to take it." the Nurse looked at him maintaining a stern presence.

"Now why would you want to do that?" Norler asked her trying purposely to charm her with a boyish smile as he folded his arms.

"Do I have to remind you that you have serious internal injuries that are going to take a while to heal. Not mention the effects to your Chi." the Nurse seemed unmoved by his attempt at jest.

"My Chi? I don't feel too hot or cold. My head is not as foggy as it was when I first awoke not to mention the acupuncture treatment an hour ago left me feeling very well balanced thank you very much." Norler nodded to her reaching for his nutrient concoction again taking a long and healthy swig.

"Alright. I will let you take this call but you better not be telling me what you think I want to hear. This is for the benefit of your health after all. I'll have the call directed to your phone." the Nurse said as she turned to leave the room.

"Thank you Nurse. Did I mention you have the cutest smile?" Norler said to her as she left.

"I'm warning you!" she replied clearly impatient with his boyishly playful nature.

"I think she likes you. As a person I mean." Wen said to Norler.

"Really? What ever gave you that idea?" Norler responded.

"Just a guess really." Wen answered Norler holding something back.

"Are those cameras ready yet?! I need them to finish the calibration!" Xiao said sharply to Wen.

"Sorry." Wen said focusing himself on his task.

"I need you to hold still for a moment Mr. Norler!" Xiao said to him impatiently.

"I'm as still as I can be for you Xiao my dear." Norler smiled scrunching his face up trying to make her laugh.

He spied the smallest hint of a smile from one corner of her quivering lip as she struggled not to laugh.


"Doctor Westin? I'm Taeyoo Sung. I'm supposed to meet you to setup the teleconferencing system?" Taeyoo held out his hand shakily as he bowed for Alicia.

Alicia looked at Taeyoo's boyish face realizing he couldn't have been more than twenty.

"So you're the technical genius whose going to bring Norler to us for this meeting? I'm Alicia. Just call me Alicia." Alicia accepted his hand shaking it lightly.

"I imagine we're going to be walking around in the Museum a bit first before we actually proceed to the arranged meeting room where Advisor Suk will be meeting us. You'll be hauling the equipment all that time. Maybe what I'll do is have them give you access to the meeting room first so you can set up while we accompany the Korean delegation for a tour of the Museum." Alicia advised Taeyoo.

"That would be most gracious of you." Taeyoo said bowing for her.

Heylyn leaned over to Monique.

"What do you think? He's kind of cute isn't he? He might be your type. He's got a good future. He's smart. Polite." Heylyn commented to her quietly.

"I don't know. I might be a little bit out of his league technically you know." Monique said to Heylyn obviously joking.

"Come on, you're only a few years older than him. I hear that many guys love older Women. I mean look at Alicia and Norler. Zheng and Doctor Briggs." Heylyn nudged her.

"What? Alicia and Norler are only a year apart if that. Zheng and Doctor Briggs are well. Special. Lets just put it that way. Besides if that's the case then why don't you date him?" Monique retracted.

"He doesn't look quite like my type but he's cute and obviously very eager to please." Heylyn whispered back to Monique.

"I'm still getting over my breakup with Derek." Monique reminded Heylyn using it as an excuse.

"I have to get in on whatever you two are saying. Sounds juicy." Valerie pressed herself between them as they waited at the top of the stairs for the Korean delegation.

"I was just encouraging Monique to go after a younger guy. Like the technician over there." Heylyn said to Valerie observing Monique blush slightly.

"What? You're cougarizing Monique already? She's only twenty seven." Valerie replied.

"Gotta start somewhere." Heylyn replied.

"Dare I ask what you are talking about?" Bryce asked the three Women.

"Oh... Cougars and other wildlife." Valerie replied.

"Yeah. That's we were talking about." Monique agreed clearly embarrassed.

"I've always wondered how Women who date younger men ended up with that label myself. I mean my wife is a few years my senior and nobody ever regarded her as a cougar or robbing the cradle." Bryce said to them bypassing their ruse completely.

"Well I have to say that your wife has done an excellent job training you. You turned out great and such a gentleman too." Heylyn smiled flirtatiously for Bryce.

"Yes, I was but a lost stray when she found me. A few years later and Rex Harrison would likely eat his own hat by comparison. Of course I'm referring to My Fair Lady." Bryce smiled for the three of them.

"A bit before my time but I've heard of it. Watch it buster. You weren't alluding to my life before I was employed as a Model by Heylyn are you?" Monique said seeming offended.

"Not at all my dear. As a matter of fact the best of us have experience from a variety of social circles and paradigms. It does a person no good to be accustomed only to one way of life and one social circle. Pretentiousness may have many faces but it often only bares one mask. As a matter of fact I'd say that you have valuable experience applicable to your membership in this delegation. Now insofar as dating younger men, that's a call that you're going to have to make yourself. As a man in just such a marriage I'd highly recommend it though I really think that you should go by your own instincts and tastes." Bryce said to Monique honestly.

"You caught us right while we were trying to corrupt this young and malleable Woman to our ways." Heylyn smiled once again.

"I'm with Heylyn on that one." Valerie buddied up to Heylyn.

"Who are you calling malleable?" Monique said sharply.

"I'm sorry to interrupt this but I'd like to introduce you to Taeyoo Sung, the technical wonder that will be setting up our teleconferencing system to bring Norler back into the delegation for this meeting." Alicia presented Taeyoo.

"Hi. I'm Taeyoo." Taeyoo bowed for them each in turn.

Monique looked to Heylyn smirking at her playfully before punching her lightly in the shoulder. She stepped forward charmingly and introduced herself.

"I'm Monique. Monique Defleur." she purposely accented her curves for him.

"Most gracious to meet you Monique." Taeyoo bowed for her accepting her hand blushing profusely to the point that he remained bowed until his complexion cleared.

"What's so funny?" Alicia said as she observed Heylyn, Valerie and Bryce staving off their laughter.

The Archaic And The Stoic

As Taeyoo erected the holographic display much to Monique's amusement. Bryce examined the contraption in amazement trying to figure out how it might have functioned.

"I can see your projection lenses but where's your screen?" Bryce asked.

"We don't need a screen for this technology." Taeyoo replied still somewhat shy of Monique's smile and piercing eyes.

"So it is holographic? How have your team overcome the projection surface problem?" Bryce asked rubbing his chin thoughtfully with his hand.

"We create pixels in thin air. Our process uses the frequency variance of two or more intersecting beams to create a pixel." Taeyoo answered paying careful attention to level the projection tower at one half of a meter or one foot and seven and a quarter inches.

"Yes but even assuming that the modulation between the two or more intersecting beams is creating a frequency in the range of visible light, it still needs a medium to reflect off of to be seen." Bryce posed the question astutely.

"They could be using Argon?" Heylyn responded carefully recalling Alicia's chemistry tutoring in high school for which Heylyn paid by making Alicia's Graduation Dress.

"Precisely. That's it." Taeyoo answered.

"I'm impressed that you remembered that Heylyn." Alicia smiled to her life long friend.

"Good teacher I guess?" Heylyn replied.

"And a bad dresser at the time fortunately for us both." Alicia responded drawing a chuckle from the room.

"I'm curious, does the machine then spread Argon into the room?" Bryce asked Taeyoo.

"It doesn't need to. There's already Argon gas in the atmosphere." Katya answered Bryce's question.

"But less than one percent if I remember correctly." Doctor Briggs responded looking around the room.

"At that density you'd be finding it just a little difficult to find a consistent surface for projection." Victor said thoughtfully nodding to Katya.

"We send a small electrostatic charge through the air at the same time the projection of each frame occurs. This lines up the Argon evenly across a one meter cube about half a meter away from the projector. By the time the frame has been projected into this cube of evenly distributed Argon and the viewers have seen it, the Argon falls back into the chaotic effects of fluid and gas dynamics until the next frame. This occurs sixty times a second at a resolution of about a quarter pixel per cubic millimeter or two hundred and fifty pixels per cubic centimeter. It was our team in Seoul who designed the device for aligning the Argon spatially during projection. The timing circuits were designed in Russia by the University Of Moscow. Most of the micro-controller software was done in China at the University Of Beijing while the system software was designed at MIT in the United States. I believe that University Of Toronto also designed the Projection Lasers collaboratively with Beijing. Universities in Tokyo, New Delhi and Praetoria also contributed to the project. So it was a group effort." Taeyoo explained.

"I can't wait to see it in operation." Bryce replied very impressed with the device and Taeyoo's knowledge of it.

"That's assuming that it's not on the fritz today. We've had some problems that result from temperature variance in the room which affects the ability of the device to line up the Argon as needed. That's why I've asked them to turn the fans off in here." Taeyoo explained as he went back to work running the diagnostics.

"We are anxious to show you a little bit of our art and history. If you will please follow me we would like to proceed with the tour of the Museum." Professor Iseul beckoned the delegations to join her as she proceeded out of the meeting room and into the Museum.

Professor Iseul led them from the meeting room as Taeyoo continued setting up for their holographic conference with Norler. Monique flagged Heylyn as she was leaving. Heylyn approached her trying to remain inconspicuous of separating from the rest of the delegation.

"What gives?" Heylyn asked her.

"I want to stay here and chat with Taeyoo a bit. I could probably learn a lot more directly from him about South Korean culture than I could from a tour. Besides, I don't exactly have expertise to contribute to this delegation." Monique said hanging onto her chair.

"That's nonsense. You have a point of view as a professional who appears in photographs of monthly and quarterly fashion publications world wide. Do you think that doesn't lend you some insight? I'd beg to differ." Heylyn advised Monique.

"I know. I just feel... out of place with the delegation. I mean here we are gallivanting around the Far East of Asia and I've barely been out of Toronto or Montreal. The delegates are all PhDs and Professors and graduates of programs I've never even heard of. I mean where do I fit into all of this?" Monique said looking down as she spoke to Heylyn, perhaps afraid of making eye contact.

"You don't need a degree to have a point of view. Education sure helps the opinion that you might form about issues by challenging those opinions and forcing you to consider them in real life. However others will never have the same point of view as yourself exactly because they've not walked the road that you have. Nobody has except yourself. Therefore you have insights that even a PhD might not have or have come to by their education or experience. In other words we all have value in our insights but owe others professionalism and merit with the skills we offer them. Just know the difference Monique. You're a part of this delegation whether you like it or not. We want your opinion. It has helped us already more than once. I'll cover for you for now. If you want to stay here, then so be it. Just know that you're important for more reasons than the fact that you can transform yourself into a streak of light or a cloud of darkness. We're here because of our experience rather than our pizzazz. Now be good." Heylyn winked at Monique and continued after the delegation.

"That's so boring... but alright. I will." Monique replied as Heylyn disappeared into the Museum.

Monique turned back to Taeyoo trying to appear sultry.

"So what do you do around here in Seoul at night?" Monique asked him.

"Me? I work. I code and eat Kimchi. On Friday I might drink a Soju." Taeyoo smiled keeping his eyes on the holograph projector.

"We can work on that..." Monique replied sitting down closer to Taeyoo.

History And Seoul Arts

[My recent updates have been focused upon giving Doctor Hong a much more dignified and significant presence especially related to Alicia's work with the SY349. The next chapter will focus upon the South Korean progress with regard to medicine and their historical approach to medicine.]

To be continued...

[ Thanks to my loyal readers and Helen Yi Chen and Lianne L, I miss you more than words can say.

I am Brian Joseph Johns and this is The Butterfly Dragon]


"Never has there been one possessed of complete sincerity who did not move others. Never has there been one who had not sincerity who was able to move others."



“As a woman in science, I sincerely hope that my receiving a Nobel Prize will send a message to young women everywhere that the doors are open to them and that they should follow their dreams.”

Linda B. Buck


"Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall."



"Fashion is what you're offered four times a year by designers. And style is what you choose."
Lauren Hutton


"The dress must follow the body of a woman, not the body following the shape of the dress."

Hubert de Givenchy


"In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different." 

Coco Chanel

"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day I can hear her breathing."


"Clothes mean nothing until someone lives in them."

Marc Jacobs


"Women? I like them. I don't understand them, but I like them."

Sean Connery


"It's the human body that is the art. What I design is like gift wrapping for the body. I'm sure that there's as many Women and Men who enjoy taking it off of their partners as much as they enjoy putting it on themselves."

Heylyn Yates (Ai Yuanlin Ying) - Fashion Designer


"The walls of history are lined with the merits of the partnership between Women and between Men. Cleopatra and Marc Antony. Penelope and Odysseus. Josephine and Napoleon. Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal. Marie Curie and Pierre Curie. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Amelia Earhart and George Putnam. Gracie Allen and George Burns. Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas. George Tokei and Brad Altman. They're all living proof of it. So let's get something going here."

Professor Bryce Maxwell - Introduction of his lecture: Great Partnerships In Science And History


“The road to health is paved with good intestines!”

Sherry A. Rogers


"You should never let your fears prevent you from doing what you know is right."

Aung San Suu Kyi


"I take tips from Canada on a lot of things."

Barrack Obama

[PS: I took a bit of flack for posting this quote and in all honesty I don't vote in the United States but I thought Barrack Obama was a good President and achieved many landmark goals for the country especially with regard to equal access healthcare much like our own Nobel Laureate Rt. Hon. Lester B. Pierson and Rt. Hon. Pierre Elliot Trudeau (who in my time fostered a lasting peace treaty between the powers of the Middle East, respecting and preserving their sovereignty while progressing human rights amongst many other accomplishments). I'm sure that Donald Trump will likewise do the same for some neglected areas of business and economic growth are an important part of supporting programs that further social protection and global human rights. I support America's free vote just as I do for Canada and the world. Much as I support the United Nations.]


"I'd hate to be the peer of the scientist who'd have supported limiting the procreation rights of Mr. Hawking's mother." 

Professor Bryce Maxwell - On eugenics


"Let's not just do business. Let's do business the right way."

Walton Norler - CEO Tynan And Associates


"If a caterpillar can undergo a metamorphosis at the cellular level to become a completely different creature; a butterfly, then science with dedication can overcome cancer and most if not all disease."

Doctor Alicia Westin


The Butterfly Dragon is a series of books and stories about Alicia Westin, Heylyn Yates, Valerie Aspen, Monique Defleur and Walton Norler.

Alicia Westin is a Quantum Biologist and Biochemical Engineer whose research work in her field results in the discovery of a miracle cure for many degenerative diseases and even Cancer itself. Her first batch of the initial forumula gives her super powers.

Later when it is discovered the same formula is stolen by a corporate spy and traitor, she and her friends team up to investigate and hunt down the thieves of this formula with the help of many Women and Men.

There is much more to their opening story than just this as the book is very thematic taking on issues such as bullying, self confidence and self esteem, perseverance, overcoming obstacles and empowering one's self through themselves and their friends. For more information see the rest of this blog.

This story will be published at over the course of the next few days.

Copyright © 2016 Brian Joseph Johns

It is written by Brian Joseph Johns from 200 Sherbourne Street in apartment 701 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Please Direct All Business Inquiries To:
Brian Joseph Johns
200 Sherbourne Street Apt 701
Toronto, Ontario
Canada M5A 3Z5

647-461-4978 (Mobile)
416-203-0928 (Landline)

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Bibliography and Videography

This is the bibliography section. Many of the entries here provided some insight or explain the principles that I'd already researched many years ago (from the age of fourteen) when I'd began questioning the nature of existence. In publishing these entries I am not saying that I concur or that I don't concur with all of the beliefs discussed here but they do show up in one form or another within the context of this story. My beliefs are my own as are yours. The preceding story merely presents a point of view for consideration which is all that we can really ask of any art form. Here are some sources of information with regard to the topics discussed and some (not all) are sources of information that I've used in learning about these topics.

As far as Quantum Mechanics is concerned, it combines two of the most attractive qualities of any field of study in the form of mathematics and philosophy into the concept of an abstraction to describe reality both objectively and subjectively. To describe something as much by what it is not as what it is and this is certainly the case of with Quantum Mechanics and String Theory, which both abstract matter as both infinite points and probabilities simultaneously. Somehow groping with the fact that for the most part what we call solid reality is in fact mostly empty space and energy which corresponds at higher scales to solid matter. Often for theorists looking for real world practical applications of Quantum Mechanics, they've seen this nature as a mixed benefit/bane if you will. It draws many to the proverbial flame, some seeking a determinate set of answers while others are drawn to this abstract nature that often finds itself mixed with mysticism, a quality that many physicists would rather avoid. Perhaps the most intriguing of physicists have managed to maintain the determinate mathematical qualities of Quantum Mechanics while building upon the abstract nature of reality and its relationship as a bridge between the worlds of objectivism and subjectivism. A difficult line for anyone to walk especially in a world that wants us to be one or the other. Perhaps that is what is the way. Not just to be as a result of the fact that you can think, but to think as a result of the fact that you are. Your thoughts on this matter are what really counts for it does affect how you perceive the world around you and as such, has an effect upon the determination of reality itself as per the collapse of the wave function. That effect results from the observer and according to experimentation to isolate and discern the nature of observation selection effects in Quantum Mechanics, the observer does have an effect upon what they observe that is not already entangled with another observer. The question is does observation create or affect entanglement and if not, how do two particles become entangled?

I remember reading about Quantum Physics and it's spiritual offspring, String Theory in the now defunct OMNI magazine as a youth as far back as 1981. Perhaps one of the most important things that I and my friend Scott Maple used to read as growing boys as it offered as much science speculation as it did hard facts and great articles coming from some of the most prolific scientists and writers of our time. OMNI's was the science publication renaissance of my time long before the net was popular or of a graphical nature. This was certainly the future that was to come. It is a shame that the mystery and wonder that magazine had raised has still to this day never been filled though there are certainly some contenders mixing wonderful cover art with science and speculation. I'm sure it spawned the X-Files generation as much as it was following in the footsteps of Stanley Kubrick while inspiring the footsteps of the Wachowski Brothers and many great writers, philosophers and scientists alike.

Holistic Healing
National Geographic December 2016 Issue Print Edition

Ancient History
Ancient History Of Greece - Wikipedia
Hippocrates - Wikipedia
Map Of Ancient Greece

Ayurveda And Near Eastern (India, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh) Philosophies
Ayurveda - Art of Being
Ancient Wisdom In Modern Times - Deepak Chopra and Sadhguru, moderated by Ms. Chandrika Tandon

Recombinational repair of double stranded breaks

Cancer Treatment
Immunotherapy Treatment - Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation

Medical Treatment And Practice - World Wide
World Health Organization - Web site
United Nations - Web site
Unicef - Web site
Doctors Without Borders - Web site
Medical Support in Laos - Koby Shimada c/o YouTube
Lao NEWS on LNTV - LNTV English News

Many Worlds Of The Quantum Universe - PBS Space Time YouTube
Wave - Particle Duality Of Matter - MIT Open Courseware YouTube Channel
This Is A Butterfly - Smarter Every Day YouTube Channel
D-Wave - Company that designs and builds the first and most powerful Quantum Computers
Nick Bostrom - Must see and read. I've been reading Mr. Bostrom's work since 2000.
VSauce - YouTube Channel and personal favorite
Science Learning Hub - Titanium Extraction And Applications

Toronto Talent
Agnes Zee

Traditional Chinese Medicine
Ontario College Of TCM
Yin Yang House - A Resource For Accupuncture
China Highlights - Chinese Medical Cuisine/Food Therapy

Traditional Martial Arts
Aikido Tendokai
Toronto Shaolin Temple
World Shotokan Karate
Eagle Tae Kwon Do

Traditional Korean Medicine
Wikipedia - Korean Traditional Medicine

Miss Mina - YouTube East Asia travel vblog. Excellent vblog.

Opening Tao
Dancing Wu Li Masters - Gary Zukav (A book mixing Taoist principles with the Copenhagen interpretation of Quantum Mechanics)

The Summons Of The Soul and Songs Of The South
Curiosity Stream (A great source of knowledge and education, it's the Netflix of Science!)

Author's Note:

Give credit where credit is due.

Brian Joseph Johns

Octave Bar Bangkok, Thailand and Marriott are trademarks of Marriott Hospitality Inc.

The Song "Nurse, You Healed My Heart" is by Bryce Maxwell, Wade Sunny and Brian Joseph Johns and dedicated to a certain Char and to Nurses around the world.

None of the points of view presented in this story represent in any way any other real world entity that is mentioned in the story or outside of it.

Ferretina Michael Schwab. Andrew R, John M, Tom B, Nelson Chu, Chris, TJ, Bernard, Dylan, Bernard, Greg, June M, Lisa, Fiona, Barry, Miguel, Angela: You're awesome people each of you. Oh and McDonald's lady, when I gifted you a stuffed tiger toy, that was because you were an awesome person for every one of your customers every single day and so awesome. Likewise Donut Show Mary. Don't ever let anyone, husband or not mistreat you ever again. Women deserve so much more and that so much includes you. I hope that life is good for you. Don-Skippy? You're an example for so many to live by. You changed my life brother. Bruce R., you have the right stuff. You could be anything and most importantly if others pay attention they'd learn. Mom and David, you're the two best parents a guy like myself and by talented brother could have. Granny, so much of my life has been influenced by you. You are among the most incredible people I've ever known. I wouldn't have read a thing without you. Cheryl, Gordon, Maryilyn, Bob and Terry, thanks for the courage to be curious, especially by the Kingslake pool table. R. Bautista I am so grateful I met you because taught me there's no limits but what is in your mind.

Copyright © 2016, 2017 Brian Joseph Johns

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