Friday, July 1, 2016

The Butterfly Dragon II: What Different Eyes See - Prologue

Prologue: The History Of The Butterfly Dragon

The colorful offices of West Meet East International 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.

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.

"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.

Walton Norler
"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.

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 as if under its own curiosity.

Continued in The Butterfly Dragon II: What Different Eyes See - Act I

Copyright © 2018 Brian Joseph Johns

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