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A Lady's Prerogative For Hallow's Eve: What Superstition Wields (Finished First Draft: Artwork to come)

This is my yearly Halloween story, though last year I kind of wove the Halloween and Santa Claus story into one if you remember and came up with a funny bit involving Barris and Sato early on in their friendship as they have guests for the seasonal holiday. This year I'm bringing Halloween and A Lady's Prerogative home to my country of Canada and my home province of Ontario. This story takes place in Ontario, though far north up into territory occupied by far fewer than in the Great Lakes region of Canada (and the United States). I hope that you enjoy it. As a side note, I recently did a rant post (the Rant-zilla post if you recall as it was the last one) really attacking the problem of harassment, as it has been plaguing me for years in both the online world (very covertly) and the offline world very overtly. Everything I stated in that post I meant with all of my heart and being, and I will not apologize for any of it. This has already gone way too far, and a post of that nat

The Butterfly Dragon II: What Different Eyes See - Act XI - The Gift Of Realization

Please note that this is a part of the second draft version of What Different Eyes See, originally written and published between September 2016 and June 2018 here on Shhhh! Digital Media. 


In late 2019, I decided to re-release the latest draft of What Different Eyes See just previous to the isolation orders incurred as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. What you are reading was originally finished in June of 2018, though this updated draft will include extensive changes to the original ending of the book that will lead into the third Butterfly Dragon installment. 


For myself, this whole process has been an incredible irony, seeing life itself very nearly imitate art, rather than the other way around as it most often occurs. Thankfully the COVID-19 pandemic, though serious, is much more mild than the worst case scenario as far as global pandemics are concerned, so this could be considered a practice run that may help us to deal with a serious crisis should one arise.


Fortunately, the medical community at large are discussing some of the key issues with regard to finances and supply related to the newly arrived and upcoming vaccines. One of the key issues is making the vaccines available across the board, regardless of income level, almost mirroring one of the key plot elements of my book and its main McGuffin.


This won't be achieved by blindly bashing pharmaceutical companies. After all, they too must be compensated for the enormous costs of research and development and as such, there needs to be a good business solution that addresses both challenges: making the vaccines available to all and compensating the pharmaceutical companies for their research and development outlay.


Here is the web address to one such petition, that could use your support by signing it online. By doing so, perhaps we'll have a hand at seeing life imitate art.


Brian Joseph Johns


Realization

Norler sat in bed reading a Chinese classic that had been brought to him by his mysterious legal advisor. He'd suggested it as a means of understanding the passion of the early struggle to unify China under one rule. It would help him if he needed to stand before the courts or answer to a tribunal formed by the Asian Alliance.


Walton Norler in a Chinese Hospital
In the ten hours since speaking with Alicia, his health had improved dramatically. The scar from his chest wound was nearly gone and there was no evidence of the Chinese surgery. In fact, Norler himself felt better than he'd ever felt in his life. He'd initially been told that his healing process would take as long as six months to a year, and that he'd be confined to his bed for most of that time. He was nearly completely healed in under ten days since the attempt on his life had taken place. He'd known that something was not right and perhaps when the mystery of what was in his intravenous formula was revealed he might have a better grasp on things. Perhaps that would push the court proceeding forward in time rather than having to wait another two months for his initial hearings.


He turned the page just as his phone rang. He retrieved it from his bedside table knowing that his calls were likely being wire tapped.


"Norler speaking." he answered.


"Hi honey, its Alicia. We're on our way to the Japanese House Of Councillors. I'm with Monique. I just got a reply about the lab reports for what is in your intravenous treatment...  ...and you're going to be startled by this. Forty five percent of it is common nutrients and a glucose solution. That's fairly standard around the globe. Another twenty percent is made up of a variety of anti-oxidants likely related to a Chinese herbal solution. One of their Doctors using their diagnosis probably made a recommended treatment recipe which was then broken down for inclusion in your intravenous. Its the last ingredient that is startling, seeing as there is nowhere to get it in Asia as we're currently in the process of fighting for its acceptance here..." Alicia paused.


"What? You mean the formula?" Norler responded very startled.


"Yes. The SY349B. It has the same radiological markers and the same chemical makeup. Everything down to its temporal entanglement behavior. Its our formula and I have no idea how it ended up in your treatment." Alicia answered honestly.


"Then who does? You're telling me that someone doped my intravenous with the SY349B and it wasn't you? How can I believe that Alicia? I mean that makes perfect sense, but to tell the truth I'd have thought that you would have considered the implications before using the formula on me! What about the other people in this hospital and the others in China who could benefit from it? What about the others in the Asian Alliance? Don't you understand this? We can't allow ourselves to benefit from our own advances as a guest in the home of another if they've not accepted our advances for their own use. So while I healed in less than two weeks, another five hundred people hospitalized here that could have benefited from the treatment are sick or dying." Norler was very serious about the matter.


It offended him that someone would do something of that audacity in order to save him while compromising the integrity of everything for which Alicia and himself stood.


"Honey, you understand. Its either all of us, or none of us. That's what this is about. That's what health care across the board means. Globally. So while I'm sitting in a bed in China under their care, and being given medicine that none of the Chinese citizens or nationalists have access to, I'm living and they're dying. That very fact goes against what all of this is about." Norler became frustrated and unsure of where or how to deal with this.


"Honey, I can only assure you that I had nothing to do with this! I love you and I don't want to lose you, but I'd never compromise that by undermining what we're about at our very core. Someone did this and we both know that China does not have access to this treatment nor are they engaged in any deals that allow them access. We'd both know. They might have reverse engineered the formula, or they might have through their own ingenuity come up with their own similar formula. There's plenty of sources for the SY349B in North America though applying the correct variety of wavelengths of radioactivity in their correct order is akin to breaking a cryptographic cipher. The odds of correctly identifying that sequence of wavelengths and in the correct order is in the order of ten to the power of sixty to one. Even with the best computers on the planet it would still take longer than the predicted lifespan of the universe to figure it out. So they could not have reverse engineered it. They simply may have created their own." Alicia told him backing up what she said with her years of training and knowledge.


"So how was Alomera Zek planning to reverse engineer the formula if it cannot be done?" Norler challenged her assumption.


"He likely didn't reverse engineer the formula at all. In fact, he could have been bamboozled by the people who sold him the chemical engineering device. He never used the formula. In fact Torman was the only one with the formula. So everyone they used it upon was created from that supply alone. The version of the formula stolen from our research lab. Zek's neutralizer field could eradicate any of the effects of the formula, but we overcame that weakness with the SY349B, as it only worked on the first generation A series. So chances are that Zek's machine didn't work. That's why it was so expensive to start producing the SY349B for general consumption and treatment. The equipment needed for mass production was unequivocally expensive by comparison to other pharmaceutical production facilities. So your initial outlay was massive compared to that of other companies and startups. We're the only ones producing it currently." Alicia defended her prior statement.


There was a clacking sound as the magnetic lock on the door to Norler's room was released. A second later and the door opened. Two armed guards preceded one of Norler's Doctors and Norler's mysterious legal advisor.


"Just a second honey, I've got visitors." Norler asked Alicia to wait for him.


"You may both hear what we need to say to you Mr. Norler. Press the button on the left of the phone to engage the speaker phone mode." the Doctor addressed Norler.


"Honey? Are you there?" Alicia's voice came through on the phone's external speaker.


"I'm here Alicia. I just put you on on speaker phone. Apparently the Doctor and my legal advisor have something to tell us." Norler informed Alicia who sat in the taxi listening.


"Yes Mr. Norler, you are correct that your calls are wire tapped. We heard about your discovery moments earlier and we thought that now is the time to let you in on our secret. The truth is that Chinese Intelligence had been investigating Future Tangent Industries for some time since their acquisition of Cora Hau. It seems that some of their dealings are in violation of trade laws though we've narrowed the wrong doers down to a group of people within that company. We cannot blame everyone who works for the company for the illegal actions of the few. Too many jobs are at stake as are the livelihoods of many people. Those who have been taking part in this wrong doing will be brought to justice soon enough." The Doctor began until the legal advisor continued.


"Your near fatal injury at the Forbidden City was a grave underestimation of the reach and resources of those tied to Future Tangent Industries and their criminal activities. It could have been averted but we had only assumed them to be active in financial crimes to do with trade and the markets. It turns out that they also are involved in some intrigue and assassinations as well. You were an intended target of one such attempt and fortunately that attempt was thwarted by the combined efforts of both of our security forces and yours. In order to further our investigation and without compromising the identities of our assets, we had to put the charges upon you. That way we could keep you close so that you did not accidentally and unknowingly blow our whole operation which would benefit the vote for the acceptance of the Medical Treatment Fund of the entirety of the Asian Alliance. That would result in the cessation of the progress towards Global Universal Health Care. My name by the way is Zhōudào Shēng. I've long been an advisor for the Chinese Government with regard to issues affecting China's place in the world and securing its peaceful coexistence with its neighbours." Mr Shēng advised Norler who had suddenly become uncertain about how he should feel.


"That doesn't answer how the SY349B formula ended up in his intravenous feed." Alicia queried them through the speaker phone.


The Doctor stepped forward to answer.


"When we initially found out about your crisis, your situation was much worse. The nature of your injuries would have certainly resulted in your death and that would have been a great loss not to mention that it would have exacerbated the situation by completely opening up the work that you'd accomplished with regard to the Medical Treatment Fund to the benefit of the criminal elements of Future Tangent Industries. That is what we're speculating the real goal is. We needed you to live." the Doctor said somewhat morosely.


"Well thanks, I appreciate that." Norler spoke with the sting of sarcasm.


"That still doesn't answer us. How did you get the SY349B?" Alicia pressed them.


"We entered into a side deal with someone that you know quite well. Helmut Werner. He agreed to provide us with the SY349B for your treatment and Chinese research interests in exchange for a yes vote to the Medical Treatment Fund. In exchange we agreed to share research data with regard to our attempts to understand the aspects of the formula that have confounded your best scientists. Namely how the formula can be affected by the placebo effect. Subjectivity. Chinese Traditional Medicine and Ayurvedic  Medicine both have long dealt with aspects that Western medicine has ignored, just as Western medicine has benefited Chinese medicine in ways not taken into consideration by our medical experts. We stand to benefit from this relationship as do you." the Doctor explained.


"Mr. Norler, the concept of balance is of extreme importance to our people and our cultural history. We spend every day walking the tightrope between two extremes and learning to balance between them in a way that leaves no vulnerability due to any extreme having precedence. Everything you've fought for are perturbations upon the surface of the waters of that ocean and have consequences that diametrically oppose that for which you stand." Sheng adived Norler and Alicia.


"But how could you live without bias? Don't you feel love for the world? The tragedy of the needless loss of life? Those are aspects of our being that define us and move us to action." Alicia replied to Sheng's statement.


"You misunderstand that concept Alicia as many do. In fact, the way is not a thing or a place that can be defined so easily. Every attempt to understand it obscures it further, while seeking to ignore it brings one closer to it. It defies logic. Much like the counter-intuitive nature of quantum physics. Chasing a concept such as any duality for the purposes of managing it brings us closer to chaos while allowing for the natural way of things with regard to our dealings with other people within the protection of rights brings us closer to order. Trying consciously to define and manage any concept in such a way takes us further from understanding and closer to regimented thinking whereby we become predictable all of the time. Being predictable all of the time is a lack of mind and consciousness. Chasing any concept for the purposes of consistency and control actually is the same as giving up our minds and thought. Defining two extremes and then chasing them and reeling them in when they are too big, and expanding upon them with they are too close to the center. Chasing that idea like you have any control over it or understanding of it relieves you of the greatest gift you've ever had. Your life and consciousness. I cannot think of a worse plight to any God or the Universe than that despite what you may believe. In this case of the medicines of the West and the treatments of the East, we've had our senses upon very different aspects of our being from the beginning. It is harmonious that one day - that understanding will become one which itself will become the other side of another concept that will follow it and one that we likely do not currently understand. Struggling to chase it or avoid it is irrelevant. It is inevitability. So long as we nurture our ability to think and be mindful, will we be a guide to our own universe. So please do not be too hard on Helmut Werner or us for that matter. You are now in on the secret. We need to work together to stop what is about to happen." Mr Sheng lectured them both quietly.


"And what is that?" Norler asked.


"Your friend. The Butterfly is about to be assassinated with all of the evidence that we need to break this case against the correct people at Future Tangent Industries. She'll end up with the blame for the entire thing as the real criminals will rewrite her history and yours to place all of you in responsibility for the tragedies that have befallen us. They will become the heroes of the world, while you will be remembered as the villains responsible for all the treachery that has befallen us of late." Mr Sheng told them.


"We're on our way to see Itikara Takahashi. We've got evidence suggesting that he is being puppeteered by someone at Future Tangent Industries. They've got a closed web site setup with a compromising video of him with a mistress from years ago. They've been using threats of making that video available publicly in order to use him for their plans. My Butterfly friend as you put it, is being hunted by the Japanese Police. We guess that whoever is behind all of this asked him to use the Japanese authorities to hunt her. Now you're saying she's also the target of a professional hit?" Alicia shared her information hoping for some direction in exchange.


"We just received intelligence that your Butterfly friend had been sighted at the Imperial Gardens. May I suggest that we'll call for an emergency meeting with Itikara Takahashi through the Chinese Embassy in Tokyo and have it take place in the Imperial Gardens. We'll send an undercover team there to assist your Butterfly friend and protect Itikara Takahashi while we brief him on the situation. We'll also bring the Japanese Intelligence service in on this. The Canadians, the Americans and the European Union are also providing us with intelligence and resources in Tokyo. India, Malaysia and Indonesia are also already heavily involved in this investigation and have been working closely with us on this from early on. Morocco and Kenya have been sharing ground based intelligence as well, given the number of medical support programs in their region and the fact that Future Tangent Industries is attempting to secure them as a future medical market. Malta has operatives working on this investigation and for the first time in history, we've seen an unprecedented level of cooperation between Saudi Arabia, the Middle East and Israel regarding this matter. PAMA, the Pan-American Medical Association is also working with us on this matter, especially in the area of the health coverage regarding Tynan's Medical Fund proposal. As you already know, Thailand, Vietnam and Korea are on board and have already thwarted a number of violent plots, including two targeting your delegation directly. As you have clearly heard, with the support of those standing with us, we might be able to stop the tragedy ahead from unfolding. Once we've got Takahashi's trust, he can use his influence to call off the Police and assist us in bringing the real criminals to justice." Mr. Sheng explained his plan.


"The delegates are meeting at the Imperial Gardens as we speak. You do realize that they're also in danger!" Alicia shot back over the speaker.


"Then get there as soon as you can to warn them and help protect them. We'll contact The Imperial Guard for their assistance in this matter as well. We've got your number. We'll contact you with further information should the need arise." Mr. Sheng directed the Doctor to examine and debrief Norler.


He would be coming with them to Japan aboard one of China's fastest and most advanced passenger jets.


Progressive Digression


Valerie struggled with the challenge that this meeting had presented their delegation. Alicia, the real expert for the SY349B was not present to speak of it or to draw the curiosity of her colleagues about its qualities or effectiveness. In fact to Valerie the formula had been nothing less like a magical potion or elixir. She had little understanding of the science behind the SY349B and here she was on the front lines of progress, promoting it to another culture on their ground and in the absence of its creator.


Bryce was the closest bet with regard to understanding its nature enough to be able to discuss it with these Doctors and Professors of Medicine and the Sciences. On this occasion though he seemed to have withdrawn somewhat perhaps hoping for the input of his colleagues. Valerie sometimes had glimpses of the strained efforts of scientists to obtain the spotlight and its importance to them, if not for a moment to voice their progress, and perhaps to earn the public's attention and the accolades of their peers and certainly their crucial funding.


Valerie considered whether that was the real issue. After all, human kind had overcome many near global catastrophes in its past and most of them had been related to disease rather than war and conflict. Perhaps there was something more to this issue than conflict or disagreement. At least in terms of this particular discussion. Prior to their trip, they'd undergone the playing of many scenarios involving hypothetical disagreements or stand offs between delegations or the individual representatives themselves. In a sense training each other for the better understanding of possibility with regard to the issues the SY349 presented that did not border on science but rather social comprehension and understanding.


Valerie and the magnificent Imperial Garden House,
Edo Castle, Japan.
Valeria had never been a scientist nor scientific for that matter. In fact, her major had been in Business and Statistical Analysis. Her social focus was on the interpersonal relations between people doing business. It was that simple and as she'd so fathomed. She struggled to get around the technical issues which involved the SY349 despite the fact that it was a part of her being. After all, if she so wanted she could have hefted any of neighbouring five ton sculptures through the air easily by herself. Almost no effort at all to her gargantuan strength.


She reasoned to herself that the problem was not so much about being capable. It was about understanding when and where to apply such capability. This did not apply to her superhuman abilities so much as it did her business, interpersonal and life skills. She was always a very confident woman until she'd been lured in by Torman's guile. With him it was different. The older man who'd come up from the hood had brought with him an air of danger, all of which she'd found enticing upon first meeting him. The allure of what she'd understood as the masculine. The potentially dangerous man. Even after his passing at Treadwater Island, it had taken her a long time to get him out of her system. To reestablish her sense of self and independence, all the while her former business associates would treat her with dismay. Regarding her as Torman's understudy and never recognizing the fact that she'd been a success long before she'd met him. More importantly, she'd lived on and rebuilt her career sticking to her core values first.


This was why she'd been considered for the role of Project Manager for the Western Delegation. It was even Helmut Werner himself who'd suggested the role for her to Walton Norler. Norler had been hesitant at first, not really understanding her at that point. It wasn't until a consultation with Alicia and Heylyn that he'd agreed to the proposal at all. Alicia had pushed the point to Norler until he'd finally given in. She deserved her chance to prove herself after all, though using this historic delegation as a venue for character reference was highly risky. In the end she'd won them all over, proving herself with flying colours. She'd become one of the greatest assets of the delegation, maintaining an important balance between the alumni to which most of the delegates belonged and everyone else outside of the institutions of science and research.

 

Now in the midst of much disapproval by the Eastern representatives in Tokyo, she had to overcome their defensive stance as being the last line of protection for the Asian Alliance. They truly believed that they were keeping Western interests from invading and changing the region beyond what its rich tradition would allow.


Doctor Tunagi
"There have been a great many advances for us here in the Cancer research unit in Tokyo. For instance, we are working on a method using both Immune Cells and Stem Cells to incubate healthy, Cancer free cells that we reintroduce to the patient's body to compete with the Cancerous cells. The Immune Cells having been genetically modified to recognize Cancerous cells, fighting them as they would any other virus. Shortly after which we introduce the Stem Cells, which replace the consumed Cancerous cells beginning a healthy, Cancer free generation of mitosis. I am quite hesitant to introduce this possibility of a specialized RNA that is able to reference its host genome across multiple 'possibilities' or 'permutations of reality' as the quantum physicists are saying, thanks to the SY349 and its Quantum Mechanical properties. This reminds me of the first snake oil salesmen that arrived in Japan aboard Galleons from the West in the fifteen hundreds, trying to sell their wonder cures and tinctures. To bridge the long withstanding trade gap and to prey upon what they believed to be the ignorance of a country of native savages." Doctor Tunagi spoke as she walked.


Katya and Victor Piotr
"Doctor Tunagi. Victor and I had worked with Phages for years during the early days of research upon these cellular scavengers which are harvested from human and animal feces and refuse. They are quite unique little creatures and certainly to many Westerners at the time regarded much the same way as how you say? Snaky oil? We were often laughed at in many science circles until we were allowed to present our findings at a Medical Conference In Europe. We came equipped with our research, data and even our snaky oil for a live demonstration, which we applied our refined phages to a particularly Antibiotic resistant strain of bacteria known as Staphylococcus aureus. Using our refined phages, my Husband and I were able to demonstrate that they were effective treatment against this bacteria, even while operating within the human body. It wasn't until this demonstration that our work was taken seriously by the West or for that matter, at all in the medical world. All this despite being regarded as snaky oil. Perhaps you will consider?" Doctor Katya Piotr responded to Doctor Tunagi's accusations.


"Look, I don't think that Doctor Tunagi is so much talking about actual snake oil or other seemingly hokey medicines so much as she's speaking metaphorically about the Western attitude of showing up to save a quote inferior culture unquote from their own backward ways. To liberate them with Western technology and ideals and lead them into the twenty-first century. She like many people on this delegation believe that tradition is what's at stake here which in essence can be the defining core of a people or culture. Your miracle medicine is just another step to take that away and to replace that tradition with so called Western values." Max Danford addressed the Western delegation as a whole just as they passed into the Cherry blossom orchard.


Both delegations momentarily stopped to admire the scenery around them. The pinkish and reddish hues of Cherry blossom trees amidst the inspiring Japanese feudal era architecture. The trees and their root systems had been carefully trimmed and maintained. The roots themselves were hidden beneath interlocking stone work with openings allowing each tree to introduce itself and its magnificent foliage to the passersby. They marveled at the spectacle for a few more moments before their conversation and perhaps debate continued. It was Doctor Briggs who broke the silence.


"A beautiful scene here for sure. An aspect and symbol of Japan, these trees and this style of garden which has been a part of it since 1968. One that will certainly remain as such just as Buckingham Palace will always be a part of British tradition and heritage. When we were in Seoul, South Korea, Zheng and I had taken notice of how Korean tradition had intermingled with modernism, showing a little bit of its western investment and influence while certainly not losing itself or its traditional compass whatsoever. Seoul has western influenced infrastructure, but its own cultural tradition and flavour remains strong and prevalent throughout the entirety of the city. South Korea has not lost itself in the growth of trade between itself and the West, if anything it has helped to define that difference and significance as a member of the Asian Alliance, with its own distinct heritage and modern culture apart from its closest neighbours; North Korea, China, Japan and Vietnam all of whom many would wrongly assume have a more pronounced cultural brand. So western cooperation did not change South Korea for the worse at all nor did South Korea lose its identity or heritage in the process. I wish that Doctor Chul or Professor Iseul were here themselves to speak on this matter. Perhaps you'd be willing to reconsider your stance on this issue after considering my point." Doctor Briggs presented his informed perspective on the issue of cultural heritage in the East.


Hiroyuki Hori
"I as a resident of Tokyo myself must side with the view point of the Western delegation. I believe that this stance that you're taking is harmful not only for Japan, but for much of Asia. We as are the West are very much a part of this world. It would benefit us greatly to allow for us to close the gaps between us by business, scientific and medical cooperation. Most certainly upon the grounds of human rights, one of which I believe is the right to health. I believe that taking the stance that you're protecting the Asian Alliance from the greedy virtues of the West is misleading. Japanese culture and tradition has persevered through bigger challenges." Hiroyuki added backing up Doctor Briggs.


"I must admit, I'd hoped for a much different discussion having arrived here and finding out who was on the Eastern itinerary. Why have we not spoken about Emergence and Adaption Professor Ono? Lana, I can't believe that you're standing for this. I had so hoped to have a discussion on Biophysics, something very close to my heart as a Quantum Physicist myself. Doctor Astoria, you and Zheng would have had a field day talking about computational biology and simulation but instead we've squandered our time arguing over semantics and politics that are better left for our representatives and elected officials. We're scientists after all. Philosophers. Lovers of the world and universe, so much so that our very profession is in praise of it by seeking to further understand it. If we're going to argue or debate, then let us debate about the science of this issue. Endorse or don't endorse the vote based upon your professional opinions, not your subjective ones. The SY349 is another opportunity for making modern medical treatments available around the world. The Medical Fund proposal deserves at least that much of your attention rather than you squandering for publicity in hopes of luring more investment dollars to your own personal research projects." Bryce suggested.


"I'd really hoped that Alicia could have been here to make this sell to all of you herself. She isn't and I'm not about to let this fall apart on the last leg of this tour of the Far East. What we're here to discuss has nothing to do with cultural misappropriation or the eradication of tradition or heritage. We're talking about human lives here, and it it is irrelevant where those lives started for those lives have the same right to have access to every possible means that would protect their health and well being as do any. Rich or poor. That's what our delegations are about. This isn't about creating a fervor around which you can sell another book timed for release around the height of this issue Professor Danford and photo ops with your screaming fans. This is about lives, and we're here because we care about yours and those of your children. We wanted this to be the day that you could look back upon and realize that you'd made a big difference in the world. You'd used the power of the understanding that your education had allowed you to make the right decision in the face of policy makers who rely upon your opinion to make these policies in the first place. If Alicia was here, she could have discussed the science of this with any of you and with all of her heart in it. She's not so you're going to have to make this decision on the basis of how many lives will be lost if you don't go with this proposed fund. We're not here selling snake oil. We're here to save lives." Valerie spoke firmly and confidently, her voice piecing the foliage around them.


"I honestly say that I'd have to agree with you Miss Aspen." Professor Tibees replied.


"Valerie is fine..." Valerie responded cordially.


"Valerie. I believe that you are using this issue as a catapult, Max. I for one would prefer it if you would not patronize us into this rebellion. I think that what Valerie is saying; what the Western delegation is saying is sincere and the data backs it up. They've passed my rigorous standards. Please consider this when you evaluate your own stance." Lana responded in a timid yet confident voice.


"Lana, you know what happened in the Forbidden City. You saw the news yourself. We're talking the interests of a Western global conglomeration of corporations who wish to replace the Eastern medical institution with their own. Don't buy into it! Crikes, have a spine!" Max began as a chorus of voices throughout the garden could be heard screaming.


"Mothra!" one of the voices cleared yelled as many of the passersby in the garden began to run.


Some of them pointed upwards towards the sky. Bryce noticed one pointing and craned his neck in the direction to see a large bird, or insect falling towards the Garden at incredible speed. Suddenly a pair of wings erupted from its center spreading to a breadth of at least forty feet across. The screams crescendo-ed as the wings spread slowing the descent of this creature. Valerie looked up to see Heylyn descending gracefully into the Gardens a distance away.


"Oh no. Must be very important..." Valerie spoke under her breath in utter disbelief that this was happening during their meeting.


A moment later a group of Imperial guards arrived surrounding the delegation.


"Miss Valerie Aspen? We have been sent to you in order to protect you and your delegations until the contingent force arrives." the Chief Guard spoke.


"Contingent? What contingent?" Valerie asked the guard.


"That is all that I can say. Please do not go with the Police. Even if they arrest you. You and your delegations are both under the protection of the Emperor of Japan until further notice." the Imperial guard advised them.


Valerie looked to Bryce, who nodded in agreement.


"Alright. What do we need to do?" Valerie asked.


"Please sit down and remain low. We will cordon off this section and keep you protected. Do not leave this area." the guards surrounded them covering all entrances and exits from the orchard while the delegations sought cover behind some of the metal benches setup throughout the orchard.


Butterfly In The Garden


Heylyn's wings had stretched to such a huge size to assist in slowing her descent that she was clearly visible throughout the Garden. Inside the Palace in fact, protective measures were being taken for the Emperor and Empress. Had Heylyn known this she might have found a little solace in the humor of the situation but instead she descended quietly into the Gardens landing solidly on her feet as her wings disappeared into her back.


She was truly exhausted not having fully rested after her two hour flight from Cora Hau, only having recharged momentarily on a Tokyo Harbour pier before being chased off by the Police. She came to the Garden hoping to unite with the delegates anonymously for none of them would know her as the Butterfly lady except the members of her own delegation. After all, they'd witnessed her in action in the Forbidden City and she'd known they'd likely spied her descent into the Garden. It was only a matter of finding them incognito.


Her senses were suddenly on full alert as something did not seem quite right. She realized just as the first report rang out the air breaking the momentary silence that she was being hunted. The round flew by her head missing her by mere centimetres as her skin instantaneously transformed to shiny metallic dragon scale. She looked around the Garden hoping for any signs of her pursuer as another shot rang out. This time the shot impacted her left shoulder spinning her around completely and throwing her onto her back.


She gasped in pain realizing that the shot had nearly pierced her dragon scales. She quickly rolled over and flipped over her head onto her feet.


"He's got a sniper scope. He's doing this safely from a distance. Weltherwithsp, can you help?" she asked.


"I thought you'd never ask for such a task 'pon which I may bask." the dragon's voice broke the air and at once her line of sight was removed from her own body.


Suddenly she was looking at herself from a distance. A tiny set of crosshairs slowly followed her body trying to steady itself long enough to bite her like a blood thirsty mosquito. She took a moment to measure up the direction from which she was looking at herself in relation to her current orientation just as a shot was fired.


Time suddenly seemed to slow to a crawl as her viewpoint followed the projectile itself speeding towards her body. She twisted just in time just as the round drove itself into the ground a few feet from her point of landfall.


Knowing the attackers' direction, she leapt into the air speeding towards the location on her newly emerged wings. Upon seeing his quarry advancing the gunman dropped from the tree upon which he'd perched himself onto the brush below and hurried away from his prior vantage point just as Heylyn impacted the tree.


She rolled to the ground spinning quickly looking for her quarry for she was not the hunter. She noticed her attacker as he leveled a large handgun in her direction, from less twenty paces. The round fired as her wing solidified, enveloping her body and absorbing the energy of the impact as the round impacted, falling helplessly to the Garden grounds. He quickly emptied the entire magazine hoping that the cumulative damage would eventually penetrate her protection. It didn't.


As soon as he'd stopped firing she advanced upon him as he took up a defensive stance.


"I've heard you're the dragon karate girl, aren't you?" the man asked Heylyn.


"Close, but not quite." she replied as her wings collapsed into her back.


She took up her own stance which was one he'd not seen before.


"I've studied mixed martial arts for most of my life. I've been hoping for this opportunity for a long time. Ever since Zek ordered a hit on you." he snarled at her.


"Be careful what you wish for..." Heylyn stood her ground.


He approached with an attack trying for her seemingly exposed ribs and left knee. It was a ploy to lure his first attack and he'd bought into it. She caught his arm, following his own force allowing his energy to complete itself as she tugged him to the ground over her left leg. Her free hand locked his elbow painfully close to the point of dislocation.


"Who sent you! Who are you working for!?" she yelled asking him.


He replied spitting on her boots.


She applied pressure to his fully extended elbow and he screamed.


"Future! I'm working for Future dammit!" he cried.


"Whose future? Yours obviously. Future who?" she pressed a little harder and he screamed again.


"Future Tangent Industries!" her responded spitting on her boots again.


"Don't play cute with me. Who in Future Tangent?" she asked him pressing just a little bit harder than last time.


"Arrrrrrrgh! ... Mister... Mister... Steadman. Mister George Steadman. You're the anomaly." he replied relieved as she eased the pressure on his elbow.


"What anomaly?" she continued her questioning.


"From Treadwater Island. I... I... I don't know. Steadman's got some data from Zek. You're big news on the dark web. A lot of people want to buy your tech. Whatever made you that way..." he responded again sweat dripping from his nose to the ground.


"Made me what way?" asked Heylyn.


"Like Mothra lady. Into a freak!" he spit on her boots again.


She dragged him over to one of the metal benches, folding it like tin foil around his body tightly.


"Have a seat... er rather I think a seat will have you." she toyed with him politely as she continued through the Gardens.


"You're dead! You know that? Steadman's got enough firepower here to level an army...!" He struggled attempting to break free from his solid iron bench prison.


Brute Force

The Police had cordoned off the streets outside of the Japanese Imperial Palace. They were not to, under any circumstances, step onto the property of the Imperial Palace while on duty. Officers could only use the Public Gardens while off duty, for their authority was not recognized within the grounds of the Palace itself. The Palace for all intense matters was almost a country unto its own.


The Superintendent himself had overseen the operation upon the first reports of the unidentified flying object that resembled a large winged insect. It had already become infamously known as Mothra throughout the media giving authorities less control over the situation as it developed. The Chief Superintendent had made it very clear that he'd wanted this thing apprehended and brought to justice. When the Superintendent asked what justice that might be, the Chief Superintendent responded that this was a matter being handled directly by Councillor Itikara Takahashi and related to a national defense program. In fact, the Chief Superintendent had made it clear to give complete access to Future Tangent Security Services and to brief them upon their arrival.


When asked about whether the Future Tangent Security Services would be given access to the Palace grounds, the Chief side-stepped the question effectively leaving the entirety of responsibility in the hands of the Superintendent. The Superintendent was a particularly sharp individual and had recognized that something was not right with this assignment. He instantly recognized that he and his Officers were possibly being used as scapegoats. If any of his Officers stepped onto the Palace property, there would be a national incident resulting in their shaming throughout Japanese society. They would become an international embarrassment and likely be treated as mura hachibu. The outcasts of society without honour or shame.


If on the other hand Future Tangent Security Services gained entrance to the Palace grounds, he and his Officers would be scalded much the same for not defending the Imperial grounds from incursion by unauthorized individuals, and foreigners not to mention. His Chief Superintendent had left this decision in his hands knowing of this conundrum, and likely to avoid the same conundrum himself. Perhaps he and his Officers were being sacrificed to protect Japan herself. Surely he would not let it come to this. He intended to ensure that neither his Officers nor Future Tangent Security Services would be allowed access to the Imperial Palace or its grounds unless by direct order from the Chief Superintendent. In such a case, it could only mean that the Chief Superintendent had gone through the correct diplomatic channels and had received permission through the National Police Agency who would have only been authorized by the Emperor himself. As he pondered these possibilities the Future Tangent armoured personnel carriers pulled into the section that they had previously cordoned.


Several platoons of heavily armed men jumped out of the backs of the carriers and took cover behind their vehicles. The Security chief jumped down from his Commander's seat in the carrier and lit a cigarette.


"Howdy? Who might be the Superintendent around here?" he said addressing a handful of Japanese Officers that stood before him.


"I'm Superintendent Mako Tutsubi. I have been informed by my superior that you will be given access to our operation here. We will brief you about the situation though none of us are to step onto the grounds of the Imperial Palace until I have the go ahead from my superiors." the Superintendent told him firmly in broken English.


"I'm sorry. That won't do. We'll be needing access to the Imperial grounds immediately." the Security Chief said addressing the Superintendent.


...


Alicia and Monique stepped out of the taxi a few blocks down from the section that had been cordoned by the Police. Alicia quickly paid the driver and the two of them made their way by foot towards the Police blockade.


"They've already got the place closed up! How are we going to get in?" Monique asked Alicia.


"I think that you already know the answer to that question, though keep in mind that we're unlawfully gaining entry to the Imperial Palace grounds. If we can't do this without being seen, we'll cause an international incident and should our identities be found, the entire delegation is done." Alicia told Monique grimly.


"I could get in there without being seen. Maybe I could find the delegation or Heylyn before the Police do?" Monique suggested as they jogged towards the blockade.


"You might have to. I can't get in there myself unless I swim the moat or sneak in through the main entrance. We need that data for the criminal case against them. If they get to Heylyn first, we're done. It seems that Councillor Itikara Takahashi is being blackmailed and puppeteered by our primary suspect. I wouldn't be surprised if they'll be looking directly for The Eclipse or Night Style as well. If they knew about the Butterfly Dragon, then we'll likely be on their list as well assuming they got their data from the Treadwater incident." Alicia said to Monique completely unstressed by their run.


"They've got Valerie in there. If anything goes down she could certainly help protect them." Monique reminded Alicia who had forgotten about Valerie's alter ego, Valkyra.


"Alright. Here's what we're going to have to do. You're going to get over to them and assist them in any way you can. If you find the delegation first, then inform them of the situation I told you about in the taxi and then search for Heylyn in the Gardens." Alicia told Monique who smirked.


"What about you? What are you going to do?" Monique asked Alicia.


"I'm going to get to the blockade and prevent them from attempting to make an entrance." Alicia said stepping between stopped cars as she got closer to the blockade.


"Alright. I'll call you when I'm in and let you know who I find first." Monique replied as she stepped over to the side of the road.


"See you in a bit!" Alicia said optimistically.


"You bet!" Monique replied.


Monique found a tree surrounded by a few bushes where she might be able to transform without drawing any attention. She stepped over the road barrier and onto the other side of the road shoulder. She quickly tried dipping in behind the tree finding that she had to squat to effectively hide behind the bushes. She noticed a couple of drivers watching her so she stood and addressed them.

"Do you mind? Little girls room? You know?" she tried to use hand gestures and symbols to communicate.


The drivers gawked at her completely without the faintest idea what she was talking about.


"Tinkle tinkle?" she responded gesturing with her hands to indicate rainfall.


"Ahhhh! I understand!" one of the drivers nodded and yelled out his window in Japanese to the other motorists.


"彼女はバスルームに行く必要があります。 見ないでください!" he screamed.


Monique blew him a kiss and stepped behind the tree and bushes. A moment later she was gone in a flash of light and circling the Imperial Palace looking for her targets.


...


"You cannot have access to the Imperial Palace under any circumstances." Superintendent Tutsubi exclaimed to the Security Chief.


"We've got authorization from Councillor Itikara Takahashi himself. You are in possession of our property and we're going to get it one way or another unless you want to create an international incident?" the Security Chief replied.


"Do not make me repeat myself... I did not get your name?" the Superintendent responded.


"You can call me Chief Ruthers Superintendent and yes, me and my troops are going in there with or without your permission.


"役員。 武器を持って警備員を標的にしてください。 私が言っていない限り発射しないでください。" the Superintendent yelled to his Officers.


The Police retrieved their .38 Calibre revolvers from their holsters. A few pulled shotguns from their trunks and took cover behind the doors of their squad cars.


"Men! Take up arms! If any of these Cops fire on you I want you to level them. Gunner? That means you too. Don't worry, air cavalry is on the way." the Security Chief yelled his orders and no time was lost.


The superior armaments of the Security force became apparent immediately. Each of the Security team members was armed with a grenade launcher endowed assault rifle and ballistic armour. The 20mm cannons on the personnel carriers suddenly came to life and whirred as they turned aiming towards the Squad cars.


As the last of the turrets finished lining up, a large gunship helicopter could be seen approaching the scene.


"This is FTI Air Cavalry. We advise that you do not hinder our troops in any way from their orders. There is something that belongs to us on that property and we're going to leave with it." the voice blared on the loudspeakers of the helicopter as the gunship lined up the Superintendent's Command vehicle.


The Security Chief ordered the four platoons onto the Imperial grounds.


"You have twenty minutes to retrieve the package and return. If you're not back by then, the cavalry is leaving without you." The Security Chief advised his men.


With that the two teams jogged along the main causeway over the moat and onto the Imperial Palace grounds. As they approached one of the platoon commanders shouted.


"Biggs. Neutralize those cameras!" the big man shouted.


"Hua!" responded one of the Security Team who dropped to one knee and leveled his assault rifle as he aimed. He pulled the second trigger and a high velocity grenade erupted from the launcher. It clipped the wall of the Imperial Palace, sticking to it. A few moments later it exploded in bright flash. All electronics in a radius of ten meters of the burst had been obliterated.


The two platoons continued their trek across the causeway and past the first set of walls where a section of the Imperial Guard was prepared to meet them.


To be continued in The Butterfly Dragon II: What Different Eyes See - Act XII...


Brian Joseph Johns

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