The Butterfly Dragon II: What Different Eyes See - Act XIII The Warrior Spirit And The Art Of War
Please note: The Japanese honorific O'Sama which translates to the term "Great God" is in no way related with the Islamic name: Osama or Usama and I make that clarification with all due respect to both Japanese culture and Islamic culture. The names literally have very different etymological origins from two distinct world cultures who've developed independently of one another. This applies to any references to Japanese honorifics in this story or any other works found here on Shhhh! Digital Media, and the term O'Sama refers strictly to the Japanese term rather than the Islamic name.
Everyone has a right to believe their religion as they choose, including non-religious beliefs (such as Science). Nobody has the right to enforce the rules of their religion upon other non-members, nor to replace the identity of non-members in such a way that makes any non-member subject to the rules of a religious trope doing so.
Shhhh! Digital Media supports a secular society that lives according to the (just, fair and lenient) rule of law in the hopes that society might benefit from science and philosophy, where religion is a personal and sometimes social yardstick by which one measures one's own self progress, rather than as a club with which to beat down or subjugate one's neighbours.
|Night Style: Alicia Westin|
There were easily more than fifty armed soldiers around her all vying to bag their first kill in this war of attrition. They were soldiers for hire amidst the brewing storm of a long dormant culture of true warriors. The rape of a culture who as recently as a hundred and fifty years ago had overcome the most enduring feudal era the world had ever seen from any nation. Alicia had been pinned during their first volley of small arms fire, though she recognized that she'd had a better chance of escape during that time for they knew not who or what they were firing upon.
When their gunfire stopped, she knew that they'd assessed their situation correctly and were waiting for her to make a move rather than waste their precious ammunition.
"You're surrounded and trapped! We know that you're atop of an armoured carrier, pinned! If you attempt to flee, we're ready to take you down by overwhelming force! We're insisting that you surrender within the next thirty seconds or we'll be forced eliminate you," a voice exclaimed through a megaphone.
Alicia clung to the top of the armoured personnel carrier as Norler's reply arrived. She spied the screen of her phone and giggled upon seeing it. She sighed heavily before she replied to their threat.
"You're all just little boys with a lot of guns, not a shred of honour or principle amongst you that can't be purchased for a dollar value, when the forces that forged most of us in the world had no financial rewards and were earned by people who paid with their lives. I'm willing to die fighting for what I believe in. I suspect there's more likely a price tag on your motivations and when the money runs out, we'll really find out what kind of warriors you are..." Alicia defied them boldly.
"Have it your way, lady. I'm sorry it had to come to this..." the spokesman replied.
Alicia pressed herself as tight as she could to the armour of the vehicle.
From her left she noticed a path of light in the sky, almost as if a meteorite had crossed her peripheral vision. The meteorite suddenly veered sharply, descending directly towards the concentration of mercenary troops surrounding her.
|Eclipse: Monique Defleur|
She'd stood before them, a thin and very sexy woman, a glowing siren drawing their attention.
"Say cheese everyone!" she shouted, prompting Alicia to bury her face for she knew what was coming next.
The mercenary soldiers looked on taking in the new threat. Some of them leveled their firearms and prepared for any contingency except that with which the were assaulted.
She'd been subtly bright when their eyes took her in during the Tokyo evening sky as she stood presenting herself before them. As they looked upon her, she suddenly brightened a thousand fold, dimming even a midday sun by comparison and then beyond all brightness that could be fathomed. Soon, all they could see was nothing but light no matter where they looked.
Some of them fired upon her hopelessly, though she'd already moved. With the force of momentum close to one millionth of one percent of capacity (the speed of light), Monique struck. Her first attack took down three of the mercenaries in one shot as the sudden brightness dimmed, though everyone who'd taken her in was blinded. The optics systems of their thermal and night vision gear were fried by Monique's light show. As the darkness of night set in, they'd be nearly blind without such equipment.
When Alicia heard the first rounds fired upon Monique, she'd rolled to the right off the far edge of the personnel carrier landing on her feet out of eye shot of any of the Future Tangent security forces. By the time Monique had materialized, she'd already taken down close to eleven of them.
"Alicia! Any time now!" she exclaimed doing her best to buy a window of opportunity for her martially superior ally.
Alicia rounded the carrier, cartwheeling into a section of four mercenaries. Her feet plunged into them first, with her fists rounding out the assault. She quickly landed on her hands pushing herself upwards into the air spinning and landing on her feet once again.
"I can't tell you how glad I am to see you Monique!" Alicia said as she leveled another five mercenaries.
"Not that I'm here for a social visit, but I think we'd better deal with our rude friends here before we retreat to help our other sincere friends on the Imperial Palace grounds, nudge, nudge, wink, wink?" Monique replied.
Four of the mercenaries piled onto Monique, pinning her to the ground.
"Ohhhh Fudge! They got me!" Monique yelled to Alicia.
Alicia dropped five more in quick succession as the remaining mercenaries regained their eye sight.
"Grab her!" yelled their commander.
The jet came to a stop on a bare strip of runway, a good distance from Tokyo International Airport itself. The crew quickly lowered the stairs and Mr. Sheng led Norler to the exit of the aircraft.
"This is the point at which we'll be finding out if our fate bodes well for us. If not, then I bid you farewell," Mr Sheng addressed Norler as he stepped over to the exit of the Chinese jet.
"Why did you help me? I mean you could have just taken the formula and everything from us. You could have made me disappear amidst this international scandal. In years of court proceedings and red tape. Why? Why did you help me?" Norler asked the mysterious Mr. Sheng.
"Never," Norler assured him.
"Then truly what has changed besides the soil beneath our feet? We find ourselves amongst women and men of like ideals and nothing has changed. Therefore we must keep going, for we are the force of change," Mr. Sheng advised Norler.
Mr. Sheng proceeded down the stairs and onto the tarmac to greet a group of forces there to meet them.
"Mr. Sheng I presume? We're with the American Marine training facility in Tokyo and have been advised to rendezvous with you here alongside our Japanese Defense Force allies in this globally tense situation," Major Clamton responded shaking Mr. Sheng's hand.
"Mr. Sheng. Mr Norler. We're representing the Royal Canadian Mounted Police from a detachment at the Canadian Embassy here to assist in this operation. We were briefed shortly before you arrived here and we have operatives assisting Tokyo Airport authorities in the search for George Steadman. We also have a couple of specialists close to Itikara Takahashi, assisting his Japanese security detachment," Superintendent Cormer briefed the two men.
"It is imperative that we find and derail Mr. Steadman in order to break the standoff between the Tokyo Police Service and the Japanese Imperial Guard," Mr. Sheng insisted.
"Mr. Sheng, we've been recently alerted that there are more inbound Future Tangent reinforcements on their way to the palace via air transport," one of Sheng's advisers interrupted.
"He just arrived on site. He's been spotted by observers near the Sukara terminal passenger drop off of the Airport," one of Sheng's men responded to Norler.
"We've got to apprehend him!" Norler shouted as he spied an unoccupied battery powered baggage cart.
He quickly ran over, commandeering the vehicle and speeding towards the terminal.
"Don't just stand there, follow him!" Mr. Sheng ordered the remaining forces, many of whom were already piling into vehicles and speeding towards the terminal.
Heylyn landed, her aetherial wings folding and disappearing into her back.
"Good thinking and quick action certainly saved us there, uhhhh, Butterfly...?" Doctor Briggs looked questioningly to Heylyn.
"You're a professional. That's Ms. Dragon to you," Valerie answered Doctor Briggs question for Heylyn.
"Hey? Where's Monique? She was here a minute ago?" asked Zheng.
"Something's wrong... We're being watched..." Heylyn responded, looking around carefully with both her eyes and her heightened senses.
"I think she went to help Alicia," Katya suggested.
"We're not safe here. We need to move closer to the Imperial Castle. We're at a tactical disadvantage here. It is very difficult for us to protect you," one of the Imperial Guards advised Heylyn.
"I think that we're beyond the point of safety" Lana urged Heylyn.
"I think we should use our diplomatic status to march out of here right past the security," Max Danford stood boldly, urging Lana to follow him as he proceeded towards the front gates via the garden path.
"Max! Its too dangerous!" she shouted at him as he suddenly stopped in his tracks, gasping for air.
Heylyn turned to Max, seeing that he'd been struck in the throat by a projectile.
"Everyone on the ground, face down! Now!" Heylyn yelled as she dove towards Max.
The second shuriken struck Max in his trapezius muscle on the back of his shoulder. He winced in pain and then fell forward slumped on the ground.
"Max!" Lana screamed running over to his unconscious body which lay stretched out face down on the garden path.
One of the Imperial Guards who operated as a medic followed Lana to Max's body on the path.
"Heylyn? What are we dealing with here?" Valerie asked, already in uniform.
"Assassins," Heylyn replied.
"What? You mean like hired killers?" Valerie tried to confirm with her ally.
"Not just hired killers. The deadliest assassins. Ninjas!" Heylyn dove, grasping Valerie and throwing her to the ground just before a shuriken whizzed by her aorta.
Before Heylyn was on her feet, a tanto was thrust at her from behind. She barely dodged the blade as it glanced off her abdominal scale armour. As she turned to face her assailant, another blade was thrust at her throat. Her Dragon scale skin immediately materialized, covering the entirety of her neck as the blade struck her throat. She fell backwards onto the grass, holding her throat in pain.
Her assailant didn't waste any time and immediately took strategic advantage of the situation, kicking Heylyn's solar plexus several times in attempt to starve her of the ability to breathe.
Heylyn rolled over her shoulders backwards and was onto her feet again quickly, though startled and in pain.
The Ninja attacked her again, this time revealing heavy gaiden. Metal claws, much like western brass knuckles with spikes. The Ninja struck at her several times, failing to connect. During his last thrust, Heylyn managed to catch his arm, looping her elbow and locking his shoulder joint, she thrust him into the ground face first with furious force.
He ate the dirt unwillingly, managing to roll forward with the momentum she'd imbued upon him, retrieving his arm from her lock. He was back up on his feet again facing her. He didn't wait for her response before retaliating.
He feinted with his arm, opening her up for an abdominal kick, which he delivered with unprecedented force. She fell backwards to the ground once again, rolling over her shoulders turning mid roll to her right. As she'd anticipated, He'd gone for the opening she'd purposely presented him on her left, leaving his lower back and kidney fully exposed to her. She did not pass up the opportunity and immediately delivered a decisive strike. He gasped once for air, but ceased breathing beyond that point as he fell backwards onto the ground.
"He's going to need resuscitation and medical attention! I don't have time!" Heylyn shouted to one of the Imperial guards as another two Ninjas dropped from the trees around them.
"Let's even things up here a little!" Valerie shouted as she managed to get hold of one of them, tossing him effortlessly at a neighbouring stone wall with her immense strength.
The Ninja hit the wall with a wallop and fell to the dirt, unmoving.
"If you can't use smarts, then toss 'em like darts..." Valerie wiped her hands in success.
While the second Ninja was momentarily distracted, Heylyn struck him dead center of the chest. He gasped for air as he fell backwards onto the dirt.
"...You'd better make that three that need prompt resuscitation and medical attention..." Bryce yelled to the guards.
"...and probably an orthopaedic surgeon and a year or two of therapy..." Doctor Briggs added.
Heylyn's wings flew out of her back as she quickly took to the air, looking for any remaining assassins.
"How's it look?" Valerie asked Heylyn.
"We're clear though that was probably just a distraction," Heylyn replied from forty feet in the air.
"A distraction from what?" Valerie asked her.
The answer struck Valerie full force in the back as the first round fired in on the palace grounds erupted. Valerie winced in pain, rolling on the ground from the wound.
Heylyn turned mid-flight to spy a large group of armed men taking up positions some hundred and fifty meters away on the Imperial grounds. Three large helicopter troop transports had landed during the Ninja attack as the assault on the Imperial Palace began.
"Get down! Everyone!" Heylyn yelled as the gunfire erupted from all around to the south west and various flanking positions nearby.
Bryce crawled through the dirt over to Valerie, trying to assist her as Doctor Briggs helped Lana and the Imperial medic carry Max to the safety of cover.
"Is he going to be ok?" asked Doctor Briggs as they arrived.
"He's very fortunate. Another inch over and his jugular would have been severed. There's no obstruction to his breathing, he must be in shock and a lot of pain. He'll recover though as long as we keep an eye on him and make sure his airway is clear," the Imperial guard responded.
"So no tracheostomy?" confirmed Lana.
"No, as long as we detect no internal bleeding in his throat, he'll be fine," the Imperial medic replied as the gunfire continued around them.
The Commander of the team that had just landed on the Imperial grounds watched as the remainder of his troops took up their positions.
"Fine deployment. I need a fireteam to take up position along their south flank! Move it!" yelled Commander Harrigan as he watched the assault commence.
"Sir, we've got the anomaly spotted. She's currently taken up a position about forty or fifty feet above ground. She appears to be reconnoitring our forces," advised Corporal Sterson.
"We've got three sniper teams. Use them! Take her down!" Commander Harrigan barked his order.
"Sir, confirming that you want the target taken down? Doesn't Mr. Steadman want her?" asked Corporal Sterson.
"He's not here. He's not the one under threat. He's not commanding this force. I am! Now move it!" Commander Harrigan ordered.
"Sir, we've got response from the team at the front gate. They just captured another one of the anomalies. There's still one more on the loose. They're asking if we need any more indirect fire or artillery support?" asked Corporal Sterson.
"Tell 'em we're fine and that we'll rendezvous according to schedule. When we have the targets, we'll leave via the transports. Now make all of that happen!" Commander Harrigan ordered.
"Right away!" Corporal Sterson set about relaying the orders through his comset.
The three sniper teams changed their target to Heylyn, as she landed near Max.
"Is he alright? I can fly him to a hospital if necessary," Heylyn asked the Imperial medic.
"No, he's going to be alright. He's in shock," the Imperial guard replied.
Heylyn wasted no time before she was in the air again flying to Valerie's position.
She quickly landed near her friend taking up a covering position beside her and Bryce.
"How is she?" Heylyn asked Bryce.
"She gets a bit grouchy when she's been shot. Why don't you ask her yourself?" Bryce responded.
"I'm alright dammit! That really hurt like @$%!" Valerie cursed under her breath.
"But you're going to live?" Heylyn confirmed somewhat sarcastically.
"Yeah. I'm healing very quickly, thanks for asking," Valerie lay still on her stomach as the pain subsided and her body's accelerated healing had fixed all of her wounds.
"The delegation are like sitting ducks out here. We're have to act as distractions and draw the fire away from them so they can get to better cover on the other side of that interior wall," Heylyn pointed out the delegation's path of retreat.
"I think I can handle that," Valerie responded.
"Good. Let's do it. One thing though," Heylyn responded.
"Don't get shot," Heylyn replied.
Monique lay still as the security forces cuffed her hands and lifted her onto her feet.
"Looks like you're not as fast as you thought," one of the Future Tangent security team commented to her.
"I guess not, but I do know one thing," Monique replied to him.
"What's that?" he asked her.
"I'm a lot brighter than you," she replied.
As she spoke, there was a thunderclap as she simultaneously transformed to light. The security forces that had captured her were once again blinded.
"Gotcha again!" she quiffed at them in mockery as the hand cuffs slipped off of her translucent body with ease.
Alicia leapt over one of the personnel carriers, landing in the midst of the security forces that had apprehended Monique, dispatching three of them at once and with ease as they struggled with their eye sight.
"Thanks for the distraction. You should get back to the delegation. I'll keep these guys occupied until I can't anymore," Alicia advised Monique.
"Alright. Just holler if you need me again," Monique replied and then immediately took to the air and within half a second she was once again with the delegation.
Alicia took another three of the security forces down before she attempted to retreat to the safety of cover. As she turned to flee, she was jarred by an electrical charge.
Her muscles tightened, contracting involuntarily as she fell forward stunned. She suddenly realized that she'd been tazered.
"Dammit!" she yelled as another tazer hit her.
"Got her Chief!" yelled one of the security operators.
The recovered security team members apprehended Alicia, quickly restraining her with several cuffs at once. More than she could have broken even with her heightened strength.
"Lock her in the personnel carrier immediately!" one of the security team ordered.
Alicia was hauled into the back of one of the personnel carriers where she was secured to one of the seats by a chain.
"You aren't going anywhere this time..." one of the security forces advised her.
Norler pushed the cart to its limit, speeding towards the terminal weaving between airport workers and aircraft alike across the tarmac as three utility trucks followed behind him carrying the Marines, Mounties and Mr. Sheng.
On the tarmac in the distance, Norler spied a large group of suited men and women leaving the terminal building. He spied their destination: a large transport helicopter.
"That's them... Steadman must be there..." Norler commented aloud as he gestured to the trucks following him, directing their attention to Steadman's group.
One of the trucks pulled up beside Norler's cart, the driver giving him a thumbs up and directing Norler to pull over.
Norler ignored the driver's instructions instead aiming right for the group. His plan was that he'd attempt to throw them into disarray, making it much easier for the professionals to apprehend Steadman and his security detachment. He'd have to be sure to veer left or right in order to stay out of the line of fire of the Marines and Mounties.
"Here goes nothing..." he commented as he tucked himself behind the dash of cart and drove directly for the group.
"Dammit! What's he doing? He's going to get himself killed!" Major Clamton cursed as he turned the truck presenting its broadside to Steadman's group for his Marines to use as cover.
Superintendent Cormer saw Norler's intentions and became concerned for the businessman.
"It looks like Norler's trying to run distraction for us. We're going to take one of the flanks and hope its the same flank that Norler picks. What do you think? Is he an Ottawa, Montreal, Edmonton or Toronto fan?" asked Superintendent Cormer of one of his Mounties.
"I don't know. I'd have him pegged as either an Ottawa Senators or Toronto Maple Leafs fan," Constable Davies replied as she readied her service pistol.
"Pick one...!" Superintendent Cormer pushed her to make a choice.
"...uhhhh Ottawa... wait! Toronto!" she hesitated, then corrected herself.
Superintendent Cormer steered the vehicle to a hard left, drove for another fifty meters and then a hard right before stopping.
"Mr. Sheng, the vehicle is bullet proof. I'd suggest you stay put and let us handle this..." Superintendent Cormer jumped out of the truck with Constable Davies, as four move heavily armed Mounties emerged from the back of the truck.
Major Clamton had already taken up position with his detachment of Marines using their truck for cover.
The Mounties quickly took up their positions, lining up members of Steadman's security team.
Norler drove through Steaman's security group causing them to dive for cover and break their protective formation.
As he passed the group, Norler then veered a hard left and drove for about thirty meters before veering to the right and pulling his cart to a stop. As the gunfire erupted, hitting his cart he dove for the tarmac. Once he was beyond visual range of Steaman's security forces, they ceased their fire.
"Good choice! Now put down your weapons, place your hands visibly behind your head and step backwards away from your weapons five paces!" Superintendent Cormer presented himself, speaking firmly into the megaphone.
Two of the security team members took aim at the Superintendent. The first one leveled themselves ready to fire. As they squeezed the trigger, a sharp report sounded from the Marine truck, and the assailant's gun flew out of their hand.
"Good shot Marine." Major Clamton noted.
"Good training Sir!" the Marine Sniper responded.
The second assailant readied their shot at the Superintendent Cormer just as Constable Davies fired her handgun.
Davies' shot impacted the assailant's body armour, knocking him clean off his feet and winding him. He lay on his back coughing.
"What kind of ammo are you using Davies?" asked Superintendent Cormer.
"I knew they'd have body armour. I opted for impact force over penetration. Hollow point Sir," Constable Davies replied.
"Hmmm. Good choice. Good shooting Constable. Carry on," Superintendent Cormer commended the Constable.
"In case you didn't hear me the first time, I said: put down your weapons, place your hands visibly behind your head and step backwards away from your weapons five paces! Do it now!" Superintendent Cormer repeated his earlier orders.
Steaman's security team hesitated, then one by one they complied with Superintendent Cormer's request.
Steadman watched from his vantage face down on the tarmac. As his security team backed away from their weapons, Steadman was on his feet, running full tilt for the transport helicopter, brandishing a briefcase tightly in his hands.
"Nobody take him! He's not wearing any armour. Major Clamton, can you get his briefcase with that Marine Sharp Shooter on your team?" Superintendent asked over his comset.
"Turner!" Major Clamton addressed his sniper.
"Sir?!" the sniper responded.
"Relieve Mr. Steadman of his briefcase!" Major Clamton ordered.
"Sir yes sir!" the sniper leveled his rifle at the handle of Steadman's briefcase.
He exhaled slowly and delicately pulled the trigger.
Steadman's briefcase became separated from its handle and fell to the tarmac, tumbling for a distance before coming to a stop.
Steadman didn't turn to retrieve it, instead keeping running for the helicopter.
Norler jumped back onto his cart and sped towards Steadman as the Mounties and Marines advanced, and made the arrest of Steadman's security team.
Steadman jumped into the helicopter screaming as he did.
"Lift off dammit! Get us the hell out of here!" Steadman screamed, keeping himself low in the transport interior.
The blades began spinning up as Norler sped towards the helicopter.
Just as Norler arrived at the helicopter, it began to rise into the air. Norler jumped attempting to get purchase on the helicopter, coming up empty handed. Instead, he fell to the tarmac rolling and tumbling as the cart came to a stop inches from him.
"I'm definitely not cut out for this," Norler responded, gaining a new admiration for Alicia.
He quickly got to his feet and ran for the briefcase as Constable Davies and Private Dale arrived.
"Are you injured?" asked Constable Davies.
"No, I'm fine," Norler said, out of breath as he attempted to pry the briefcase open.
Davies asked for it as she retrieved a utility tool from her belt. She used the tool to pry the briefcase open, snapping both of its locks. She then handed it back to him.
Norler began going through its contents looking for a set of specific documents. He came across a technical paper with what appeared to be network addresses and a variety of usernames and passwords.
"This is it! This is what we need!" Norler handed Davies the papers.
"Sir, Norler found the networking documents. Its got all of Steadman's usernames and passwords for what appears to be his little blackmail scheme," Constable Davies reported to Superintendent Cormer.
"Good work! What are you waiting for? Get over here so we can take those servers down!" Superintendent Cormer ordered her.
When they got to the truck Norler shook hands with Superindent Cormer.
"Thanks. We lost Steadman, but at least we got his servers," Norler nodded gratefully to Cormer.
Davies, take these documents and fax them over to our SIGINT Unit. They've got a tech team standing by ready to take those servers offline," Superintendent Cormer advised Constable Davies.
Davies stepped over to their truck, and using the integrated fax machine she sent the documents as Cormer had requested.
"How did you know I was going to flank left then right?" Norler asked Cormer.
"I didn't. I do however know you're a Canadian like myself, and most Canadians know a bit about hockey. Davies here guessed that you'd be either a Senators or Maple Leafs fan. Senators favour a right flank, while the Leafs favour a left flank. I chose both," Superintendent Cormer thanked Davies.
"Good call," Norler smiled.
"So which one is it?" Mr. Sheng asked appearing from behind the truck.
"Yeah. Are you an Ottawa fan or a Leafs fan?" Davies asked.
"Hmmm. I'll opt for no comment..." Norler smiled.
Davies put her hand to her comset.
"Sir, they've got the servers offline. Itikara Takahashi is free," Davies advised Cormer.
"Good. Let's get the Tokyo Police back on our team, shall we?" Cormer looked to Norler and then to Mr. Sheng, who was already dialing his mobile phone.
"Mr. Takahashi, Mr. Sheng calling. I have some good news for you. Mr. Steadman is no longer in the picture nor is his internet server. You know the one of which I'm speaking, don't you?" Mr. Sheng asked Mr. Takahashi.
"...yes. Unfortunately I do, Mr. Sheng. That is very good news. Where do we go from here now that the Imperial Palace is under assault by Future Tangent security?" Mr. Takahashi asked Mr. Sheng.
"We need you to advise the Tokyo Police to support our operations and to back the Imperial guard. Return them to the service of Japan, not the interests of Mr. Steadman. You're a free man, after all. Do the right thing," Mr. Sheng advised Mr. Takahashi.
"Perhaps there is more cooperation in our future, Mr. Sheng. A good day to you," Mr. Takahashi replied.
"And to you as well and the difficult work ahead," Mr. Sheng replied as they bid each other farewell.
"...Alicia... I've got to get to the Imperial Palace, now!" Norler urged Mr. Sheng and Superintendent Cormer.
"We've got a helicopter here. The Marines have secured the assailants and the crime scene. They'll hold the assailants until the Tokyo Police arrive. Davies, get my Mounties. We're going to the Imperial Palace where we'll meet a small international team of operatives here to assist in this situation," Superintendent Cormer requested as he headed for the truck.
"Yes Sir!" Davies replied, a determined smile upon her face.
Norler and Mr. Sheng followed. As the Mounties piled into the back, the truck sped off towards the international service terminal and the Mountie helicopter.
As Heylyn took to the air, she was joined by a familiar face.
"How's it going boss?" Monique appeared beside her having flown nearly instantaneously the distance between the front gate and the delegation.
"How's Alicia?" Heylyn asked Monique.
"She's fine, though there's a large force there. More than she'll be able to handle alone for sure," Monique told her.
"We're in the same boat here. Another contingency force arrived. Maybe a fifty or sixty men? We're severely outnumbered here, Monique. Valerie and I are running distraction and we could use your help," Heylyn explained the situation to Monique.
"I'm on it, boss!" Monique replied as the gunfire continued around them.
Valerie had hefted a massive stone block from one of the surrounding walls and was carrying it before her, using it as mobile cover as she advanced on the force.
A grenade fell on the ground beside her. She quickly dropped the stone block and grabbed the grenade, lobbing it in the direction from whence it came.
The popping impact sound of the explosion dwarfed the gunfire around her as she braced herself behind the stone block.
Another grenade landed beside her, then another. She quickly tossed them both back in the same direction.
"You can keep the grenades! I don't need any, thank you!" Valerie yelled back at her assailants sarcastically.
A double pop as the grenades ignited. Then the sound of pain and screaming. After that, there were no more grenades thrown her direction.
Heylyn flew as fast as she could towards the front lines as the sniper's shot impacted her armour, passing cleanly through it.
She cried out in pain, as she fell towards the ground. She landed with a thud, grasping at her abdomen. She looked at her wound, to find that the round had passed through her cleanly. It must have been armour piercing she reasoned as she lay low on the ground.
It took some time but the wound began to heal, eventually sealing itself closed and moments later the pain subsided.
"How can we ever hope to defeat this?" Heylyn asked aloud as she got to her feet.
Another barrage of gunfire erupted and her wings emerged from her body in an instant, wrapping her protectively. The rounds bounced from her wings harmlessly as she stepped forwards using them as protection.
Monique had tried the same trick again, landing directly in the midst of these newly arrived security combatants in her light form.
The gunfire immediately ceased near her as they quickly surrounded her.
"What is it with you guys? You're so gullible!" Monique laughed as she ignited her brilliance.
The combatants around her were immediately blinded as Heylyn approached from the southern flank.
With the absence of gunfire she dropped her wings and let her martial arts speak for her.
Valerie too had advanced during the cease fire and progressed up to the northern flank as she began tossing the security forces like rag dolls, one by one.
The Imperial guards had observed the ceasefire and immediately gathered the delegation.
"We have to move! We need to get to a wall about a hundred meters from here. We need you to stick together as we cover you. Follow the directions of the guards at point," the Senior guard advised the delegation.
Bryce and Doctor Briggs helped Max Danford walk as Katya, Zheng and Lana followed closely behind the point man. Professor Astoria, Doctor Ono, Doctor Tunagi and Hiroyuki Hori accompanied Victor covering their backs as best they could.
They moved carefully and quietly, yet during the whole trip they were not once fired upon.
"Heylyn and Valerie must have been successful in their distraction. Let's hope for their sake they're alright," Zheng noted.
"We're going to get through this alive. All of us," Lana insisted, sharing her determination with her peers and the Imperial guard.
"That's the spirit!" Bryce remarked as they rounded the corner of the large interior wall and safety.
Valerie had cleared nearly the area of twenty of the Future Tangent security officers when she was impacted by a shotgun blast.
She quickly fell to the dirt unmoving.
"Valerie!" Monique flew to her friend's side, still in light form.
"Get yourself to safety!" Valerie struggled to get to her feet but fell flat on her face.
Monique could not move her or interact with any solid matter while in light form so she quickly transformed back to her material form.
One of the security forces quickly took advantage of her change and fired his weapon, hitting her square in the back. She fell beside Valerie, quiet and motionless as the remaining combatants quickly secured both her and Valerie.
Heylyn continued dispatching them until she'd suddenly realized that she was surrounded.
"We have both your friends. If you attempt to fly away, we'll kill them both. Surrender and we promise we'll treat you fairly," the Commander insisted to Heylyn as a group of assailants arrived with both Valerie and Monique in their custody.
Monique was clearly injured, a wound apparent on her shoulder, while Valerie was healing from a shotgun blast she'd sustained to her side.
Heylyn reasoned that Valerie would probably be fully healed within the minute and could break free easily, but Monique was vulnerable. Even if they could break free, these combatants could easily kill Monique and that was not a risk that she was willing to take.
Heylyn slowly raised her hands.
"I surrender," she spoke to the cheers of the Future Tangent Security forces.
"That's all of them. Break out the champaigne," the Commander addressed his men as he laughed.
Alicia sat in the back of the carrier, alone and cold. She'd tried struggling against her restraints several times finding that she lacked the strength to break them. She'd managed to bend the chain keeping her bound to the chair, but not enough to break any of the links. Essentially, she was their prisoner.
A sense of calm resolve came over her. She'd done everything she could to stop Future Tangent's effort to steal the SY349 and to sabotage the Western Delegation's progress with the Asian Alliance. Deep in her heart she knew that they'd already won in principle but had lost in practice. The Asian Alliance would regard the efforts of the delegation as sincere and honest and without Future Tangent's interference, they'd might have overturned the vote and gained another chance to procure a global fund to ensure that everyone benefited from the discovery of the SY349. Young and old. Poor and rich.
Without the vote, there was a good chance that Future Tangent would even in the midst of this scandal, come out on top. They had the manufacturing capacity and the market contacts to turn the SY349 into a money well. Tynan And Associates would spend decades in court suing them and fighting it all the way, but in the end and within her lifetime, she'd never get to see the SY349 become the miracle she'd intended it to be. For everyone.
Then her mind fell upon the fact that she'd be a prisoner and would likely become a guinea pig for experiments testing the capabilities afforded one by the SY349. Perhaps Future Tangent would even discover the secrets of how to reproduce the super-formula Alicia had created with the SY349. Where Alomera Zek had failed, they might succeed.
She suddenly heard the sound of gunfire outside of the personnel carrier. Then silence. There was a metal tapping sound coming from the back of the personnel carrier, like someone knocking with a metal hammer. Then the lock disengaged and the door opened.
Alicia could hear voices, but she couldn't see clearly any faces.
"She's here...!" Davies advanced into the personnel carrier.
"Are you alone?" Davies asked, keeping her pistol ready for any surprises further in the carrier.
"Yes. I'm alone. Nobody else in here either. They tied me up and left," Alicia said recognizing the Officer's patches.
A moment later and she was greeted by a familiar face.
It was Norler.
He ran over to her and kissed her tenderly.
"Are you alright? Any injuries?" Norler confirmed.
"I'm alright! Shut up and kiss me!" Alicia demanded and Norler complied.
A moment later and one of the other Mounties arrived with a keychain.
"These should work. Let's give 'em a try," the Mountie approached Alicia and tried several of the keys on her bindings until he found the right one.
Moments later and she was freed.
She wrapped her arms around Norler and kissed him again. And again. And once more.
"I heard the radio. They've got Heylyn, Monique and Valerie. They're going to transport them somewhere," Alicia told Norler as Mr. Sheng arrived.
"No they're not. They're not going anywhere," Mr. Sheng assured Alicia.
"They're not?" Alicia asked.
"Nope," Norler smiled.
Mr. Sheng also smiled, a little.
"We brought friends..." Norler told her.
As the security team loaded their prisoners onto the helicopter, the blades began spinning up.
"Alright. We need to get the rest of that equipment stowed. Clean up any remaining ordnance and then we're on our way home. Keep in mind men, that we'll be celebrated as heroes," the Commander grinned as the Future Tangent team gathered the remaining equipment.
A group of five security team members scoured the area they'd taken the prisoners, looking for any equipment they'd left behind.
"I think that's it, guys. We just gotta make one more sweep of the area for any ammo boxes or clips," one of the security team advised his peers.
When he heard no reply from his men, he turned to address them directly only to find that they were all gone.
He quickly searched for them and yelled their names as he did.
A burly pair of arms wrapped around his neck.
"Your mates are fine. I'd suggest you drop your weapons unless you'd like to spend the rest of your life in a wheelchair, eating your food through a straw?" a man with a thick British accent spoke.
The Future Tangent security officer dropped his weapons, quickly complying with the man's request.
"Alright. The area's clear. Tell the Shogun its alright to move in," the man reported over his comset.
Back at the three helicopters, a remaining force of men kept their landing zone protected and the Commander sat with his feet up.
Heylyn sat in the back of the transport looking out one of the windows. It was then that with her heightened senses she noticed a completely new threat. When she realized who they were, she turned to Monique and Valerie.
"Follow my lead," Heylyn told them quietly.
Heylyn began furiously struggling against the restraints with all of her strength. Valerie nodded seeing what she was trying and did the same thing. Valerie's restraints snapped like twigs under her immense strength and she stood, freed from her captors. She at once broke Monique's retraints as Heylyn managed to break her own.
Her wings flew out of her back and created a protective wall as the guards leveled their guns at the women.
The rounds fired, bouncing helplessly off of Heylyn's wings as the Commander nearly fell out of his chair from the assault.
Soon, all of the guards in the landing zone had turned their attention to the helicopter and Heylyn, Monique and Valerie.
As their magazines emptied, Heylyn let her wings down and began dispatching the guards one by one. Three of them had managed to reload before Heylyn could vanquish them, and as they opened fire on her, they were struck from behind.
"KIIIIA!" a loud fierce yell accompanied the man's strike as his fist impacted the lower abdomen of the guard.
The rest of the guards turned to see that they were completely surrounded by a variety of unarmed men.
"Do you pretend warriors want to face off against the real thing?" Heylyn asked the Future Tangent security forces.
"They're unarmed. We can take 'em," the Commander replied.
"Not with all your ammunition stowed, you can't," the man with the thick British accent addressed the Commander.
"Who are you?" the Commander asked.
"Major Beckford. Special Air Service," the man replied.
"I am Tadori Musaka Hanshi. O' Sensei of the Tokyo Shotokan Society," another one of the men confronting the Commander spoke.
"I am Toro Saku Ryoji, tenth generation Kenshi. I am a direct descendent of Samurai," another man spoke.
"I am Orico Shunase Sensei. I am direct descendent of the original instructors of Aikijutsu. Developed as an unarmed martial form and part of the original Samurai curriculum," another man addressed them.
"I'm Ernhardt Lanziner Dernst, of the GSG9," another man answered.
"I'm Cynthia Basner of the Joint Task Force," a women spoke from behind a balaclava.
"I'm Greg Warbartford of SIGINT Nine. You'll never see us coming," a man stepped out from behind Ernhardt Dernst.
"I'm Anson Pooler of the Princess Patricia Light Infantry," responded a man beside Cynthia in a similar balaclava.
"I'm Braden Kwok Thandral of the Forty Eighth Highlanders," a man from behind Cynthia addressed the Commander.
"I'm Eric Gardner Weisenbard of Seal Team Six," another man spoke, his face obscured.
"I'm Sandy Exetence, airborne trooper of the Queen's Own Rifles," a lady spoke confidently from behind her camouflage mask.
"I'm Peter Boravski of the Black Watch," a man arose from behind the cover of a small bush.
"I'm Sam Lam Chow, Warrior Monk of the Shaolin Temple and the Chinese Special Operation Forces," the man presented himself, clasping his fist with his other palm.
"You have our friends, one of whom is one of our students. Unhand them and you will be allowed to go unharmed," a man with a Yumi (bow) stretched to its limits leveled his arrow at the Commander.
"I'd simply ask if you believe that you are going to stop all ninety five of us?" the Commander asked, unamused by their brash disrespect.
"No. We will try to convince you to do the right thing. If that fails, then all three hundred and thirty three of us are going to stop you together," Musaka Hanshi answered the Commander as their forces stepped out of the surrounding brush of the garden.
They were surrounded by women and men with Katanas, Han swords, Bo, Jo and a variety of other weapons they simply did not recognize. Women and men with Yumi (bows). Women and men with Sai (knives used in defense against long bladed weapons). Women and men armed with nothing more than their hands, feet and their bodies.
"We have the best trained Ninjas that money can buy," the Commander responded.
"Not anymore you don't, and as is the case with all true warriors, money means little in comparison next to principle and honour," some of the Tokyo Police force stepped into view with several Ninjas, hand-cuffed and in their custody.
"Nobody has to be injured by your foolishness. Surrender and you will be treated fairly by the courts. The alternative is nearly unthinkable, but not completely. Not to mention, it is something with which we are all very familiar, as real professional warriors," Musaka Hanshi advised the Commander.
One by one the Future Tangent guards dropped their weapons until the only person defying the force confronting them was the Commander.
He kicked the helicopter.
"We surrender dammit!" he cursed as the forces protecting the Imperial palace and there to rescue Heylyn, Monique and Valerie cheered.
Alicia and Norler emerged from the midst of the Yumis, and proceeded with a line of Police Officers towards the helicopters.
Heylyn, Monique and Valerie met them as they arrived.
"We did it!" Alicia ran for Heylyn, giving her a friendly hug.
Monique and Valerie joined them for a group hug.
"We stopped them. The delegation is safe. Their plan is unearthed. We might even have the support of the Asian Alliance," Alicia reminded them.
"You have our support," Doctor Tunagi arrived with the rest of the delegation and the Imperial guard.
"And ours too," Professor Astoria and Doctor Oro added.
"And ours too, though I can't speak for Max," Lana agreed.
"How is he?" Heylyn asked.
"He's being taken to the hospital. He's alright though," Lana assured Heylyn.
Constable Davies arrived with Superintendent Cormer to accompany the Western delegation to the Canadian Embassy for debriefing.
Scandal arose in the week that followed, finding Future Tangent Industries under criminal investigation, though ultimately the charges focused upon the activities of three executives and a number of management staff who'd worked together to misappropriate company resources for one of the biggest scams in history.
Norler knew that Future Tangent would survive, and that likely such a fiasco would never find them involved in such matters again. Everyone in the market would benefit from the experience of having stood against such actions and behaviour. Corporate responsibility would benefit in the end so long as it kept the interests of the people first.
Norler and Alicia spent the following week relaxing and recovering from their ordeal and preparing themselves for the Asian Alliance hearing and vote. Meanwhile the rest of the delegation too spent much of their time relaxing and enjoying the sights in Tokyo, under the guidance of Hiroyuki Hori. Alicia in the mean time worked on her book, documenting the journey of the Western Delegation.
Valerie had even met a man in Tokyo and been on her first date since her breakup from Alomera Zek's former right hand man, Grier Torman. She'd initially become terrified by the prospect of the dating scene after so many years of being single. She vowed not to compromise her own integrity nor sell her own confidence short in order to appease any man's ego. She realized that it wasn't unrealistic to be searching for such a thing. The world after all had changed much since Treadwater and so had she.
Monique spent most of her time by the pool, in one of the local dance clubs or at a spa, lavished by the pampering of skin and health care specialists. She'd not treated herself in a very long time and by the struggles they'd endured, she had no trouble justifying it to herself.
Zheng Ni Wong and Steven Briggs spent most of their Tokyo vacation holed up in their hotel, let alone their room as is often the case with newly found love. When they did emerge after their first two days off from the delegation, they had long walks together while Doctor Briggs would act as tour guide and cultural historian for Zheng, who played along with him. Their hands clasped tightly together as much so as their lives would continue with one another.
As soon as Bryce found out that the delegation had been afforded a week off, all paid by Tynan And Associates, he immediately contacted his wife. She'd been attending a conference in South America for sustainable growth when she answered his call. She spent her final day at the Ecuador conference before flying round trip to Tokyo to meet her husband. They spent the a day with each other in the room, enjoying movies and room service together until Hiroyuki Hori called Bryce, asking for his presence as a Professor, celebrity and pianist/entertainer for a cosmetics conference. He agreed, so long as his wife would also be included as part of the package. He attended as a charismatic and knowledgeable piano player and entertainer, while she delivered an impromptu lecture for the conference. Her topic: environmental sustainability in cosmetics.
Superintendent Mark Cormer, who'd been working with Constable Ellen Davies for five years as part of a joint training operation sponsored by the Canadian Embassy, The British Consulate, United States Marine Corp and the Japanese Defense Force had found a quiet moment amidst the storm of Future Tangent scandal, not to mention the world attention and sympathy now focusing on Tokyo and Beijing. Cormer had been hired a number of times by Reuters, CBC, CCTV, CityTV, CTV, BBC, CNN and Al Jazeera for his connection with the investigation. For each of the interviews he'd ensured that Constable Davies accompanied him as consultant. After days of reports and interviews, when Cormer found a silent moment, he proposed to Ellen Davies, who refused him. When she later met him at his Tokyo condo, she told him that she was a private kind of girl and that she'd let him know in the morning. That night, she stayed with him at his residence. They've been engaged since.
Heylyn on the other hand had spent much of her time at the local Dojo, working out with the class as if she were just another student. For all intense purposes, she was and this was her way of grounding herself once again. To define herself from the bottom up rather than vice versa. She too would find time for pampering at the spa and even attended a fashion show put on by one of her competitors. Before long and despite being in Tokyo, she felt comfortable and could finally relax before the big day of the hearing. To hear the final outcome of the vote.
To be continued in The Butterfly Dragon II: What Different Eyes See - Epilogue
Brian Joseph Johns