The Butterfly Dragon: The Two Butterflies - Episode 03 (First Draft With Initial Artwork)

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The Butterfly Dragon: The Two Butterflies - Excerpt From Episode 02

In the offices of West Meet East International a group of adults and one little girl have gathered in the creative room. Jinn Hua, Ai Yuanlin Ying, Warai Jeong-Min Tokama, Alicia Westin, Monique Defleur, Valerie Aspen, Kori Jonglyu, Myung Chung-Ae, Hoon "Tiger" Kwang and Hanshi Morgan Hind reach the conclusion of an in depth discussion concerning the future of the Butterfly Dragon.

"I say that we bring Aikiko Tanaka into our midst, as the second Butterfly," Hanshi suggested.

"With training, she would sway the balance away from the growing darkness..." Hoon Kwang agreed.

"It would seem that if we bring another Butterfly on board, that it would only be fitting if we also brought another Dragon too? I suggest that Braden is ready for the training," Jinn Hua suggested, offering both students as prospects.

"In the meantime, Warai and I will talk about what's best for her future, won't we honey?" Heylyn looked to Warai, who looked up to her surrogate mother.

"If I go to Butterfly school, does that mean I can't see you anymore?" asked Warai.

"To the contrary. You'll see me a lot more, because there's no way that I'm going to leave your training solely in the hands of these masters without my input. I'll be there as much a part of yours and their training too," Ai Yuanlin Ying promised Warai.

"Perhaps with such a group, we can overcome the grand hurdle that humanity will face very, very soon. The one that will determine its future forever," Jinn Hua spoke, referring to the group of friends and allies in the room on that very evening.


In a dark realm, the antithesis of a flowery field full of life, a deep pit of rock and ash a giant shadowy serpent faces a solitary man. Frowing upon him and scolding him for his recent failure.

"Mutano, you have failed me once again," the dragon known as Witherwyrm spoke in a language of thunder.

"They came with the masters of the Temple. The Butterfly Dragons..." Mutano remained low, the dragon only seeing the top of his head.

"You wield two blades, and you cannot obtain one little girl for me?" asked Witherwyrm of the other dragon.

"They are too powerful together, oh great one!" Mutano responded defensively of his failure.

"Then you shall take them each alone, lest you'd prefer I give your position to Jack?" asked the dragon, its voice booming into the infinity.

"That will not be necessary. I will do as you say. I will take them each alone, and then I will bring the little girl before you," Mutano agreed, sparing himself a horribly long and painful death.

The Butterfly Dragon: The Two Butterflies - Episode 03

Say Hello To My Little Friend

Alicia stepped through the revolving doors and into a grand foyer passing a waiting lounge as she headed for the hotel's reception desk ahead of her.

"I'm Alicia Westin. I'm here for Medi-Friend..." she told the receptionist, who looked at her a little puzzled.

"A Westin? Here? I'm sorry M'aam, but the cosplay convention was a month ago..." she seemed confused by Alicia's request.

"Yes, I'm a Westin, but not with the hotel. I'm looking for a meeting... in one of the convention halls?" Alicia corrected the girl.

"Oh, right. The medical investment meeting. That would be the Marine Room, which you can get to if you walk past the elevators and turn right. Keep going until you arrive at the Harbour Ballroom Foyer and its the last door on your right," the receptionist told Alicia.

"Thank you! Gotta run!" Alicia left the girl at the reception and followed her directions.

"Thank you! Have a nice stay at the Westin Harbour Castle..." the girl returned to the computer, where she began addressing guest issues with the hotel's messaging system.

Alicia walked quickly as she dug through her purse looking for a breath mint. When she found a container of mint Tic-Tacs, she quickly popped one in her mouth to wash down the aftertaste of her morning coffee.

The Harbour Ballroom Foyer was crowded with many people in business attire. There were several cliques gathered outside of one of the first meeting rooms as Alicia passed them, overhearing their banter. She continued along until she found another set of doors a distance down.

"Let's hope the turnout is as good on his end..." Alicia quietly whispered to herself as she arrived at the last door on the right.

She opened the large oak door with ease and entered the hundred and ten person capacity Marine Meeting Room. Unfortunately there were no more than forty people, as Norler stood on stage with Gregory. Norler was in his best attire while Gregory was in a shirt, tie and one of Alicia's lab coats, talking about their flagship product: Medi-Friend. Alicia quickly made her way to one of the back seats, careful not to distract them during the final stages of their delivery.

"...with all these features, Medi-Friend is set to revolutionize medical diagnosis and the future of all medicine," Norler finished his sentence as Gregory showed the tablet sized device to the audience.

Up on a multimedia screen, a projection of Gregory's Medi-Friend screen output displayed the results from their FMRI scan of his own head, in real-time.

"Gregory, perhaps you can give us a recap on its extensive list of features. At least enough so as to get our mouths watering...?" Norler paused for a laugh, but nobody in the audience bit.

"Uhhhhh... Sure I can give a list of extensive features Mr. Norler. The Medi-Friend here, is capable of taking a non-invasive no contact pulse, body temperature, ECG, respiratory capacity, blood pressure, MRI in three different scan resolutions, all in real-time. A Biomagnetic field reading of the human body shaded in Tesla field strength and density, and a combined field Ultrasound/Magnetogram which mixes the output from the FMRI or Functional MRI and Medi-Friend's own Ultrasound scanner for incredible internal detail. Thanks to Deep Learning integration, the output from all of these scan modes can be instantly analyzed over the cloud for early detection of just about any medical threat in real-time," Gregory said in a clearly mechanical and rehearsed delivery.

"You heard it from the Genius Engineer and Designer of Medi-Friend. Now you might be thinking, how do I get in on this investment opportunity on the ground floor? Well, that's why I'm here today ladies and gentlemen. You may all remember me as the face of business' future, as the former CEO of Tynan And Associates. I'd been at the steering wheel of one of the most successful medical business enterprises for the last fifteen years of my life, but I have to tell you that when I saw Medi-Friend, I knew that it was the future of medical diagnosis. So I jumped in both feet first and have been one of the founding partners ever since. The great thing about this is that we've structured a number of investor packages geared for everyone's budget, while ensuring that we are able to achieve the kind of venture capital we'll need to go from prototype into full device production around the world in the next five years where early investors can expect to see a return on investment of between twenty-five and ninety-percent. Ladies. Gentlemen. We're at the end of our presentation in the Marine Meeting Room of the prestigious Westin Harbour Castle. Don't miss your boat to get in on this investment opportunity! Thanks for coming today everyone. Please do enjoy the continental breakfast and beverages graciously provided by the Westin's own catering department. This is Gregory Epsen and I'm Walton Norler, you can speak with us on the floor for more information. Thanks again and have a great day," Gregory and Norler waved as Gregory began shutting down the projector and Norler walked off the stage to shake hands with some of his former peers.

Alicia remained near the back of the meeting room, admiring him as he did his thing. When she saw an opening that might be advantageous for them, she stood up from her seat and approached Norler, who was discussing the device with four potential investors.

", our operation has been relatively small and discrete, but Mr. Epsen here has been using the most rigorous of quality assurance standards especially when it comes to the software testing of the device..." Norler continued answering their questions as he saw Alicia.

"You remember Doctor Alicia Westin, don't you?" Norler asked one of the potential investors.

"Alicia, what a pleasure. I haven't seen you since the investor talks for the SY349..." the investor greeted her.

"How are you Gordon? Its been a while..." Alicia smiled as she shook hands with Gordon.

"Yes it has. I don't suppose that Norler has you working on this, does he?" asked Gordon as the other three investors listened carefully.

"Alicia has been the biggest part of Medi-Friend. She's the one who discovered Gregory's early work on the device and she's been key to ensuring that we meet the expectations of medical professionals and her own peers in the field of medical sciences. Isn't that right Alicia?" asked Norler, smiling to Alicia as he threw her metaphorical the ball.

"If we'd have had this device when I was in university and creating my own Quantum Biology curriculum, I can't even begin to imagine how drastically that would have impacted our potential, and that's just the educational and research side of things. When we get into clinical diagnosis and of course at the level of medical centers world wide, this is really going to change things. Especially with the Deep Learning integration," Alicia spoke professionally and in the language that the investors wanted to hear.

"That brings me to an important question about this Medi-Friend device. The majority of the device's functions relies heavily on software. What is there to insure that another company doesn't just come out with their own version of the same software and their own device?" asked the investor.

"Medi-Friend is more than just software, though Gregory's real passion came through in the code he wrote, but it can't function without the SQUIDs he designed..." Alicia quickly curbed the concern.

"SQUIDs?" asked the investor.

"Yes. Superconducting Quantum Interference Devices which are essentially hypersensitive magnets that respond to extremely minute fields, as little as 5 x 10^-14 Teslas. That's tiny enough to measure the magnetic field that occurs between the SOMA and AXON voltage exchange of a single neuron. So Gregory has found a way to create room temperature SQUIDs, using off the shelf industrial magnets arranged in such a way that when used in combination with Gregory's software, they function as superconducting interference devices. Any competing device would need to overcome the engineering feat of building both the same magnet setup and the same software integration. Something that it took Gregory ten years to find himself once he hypothesized that it could be done," Alicia explained to the investors who listened carefully.

"If Gregory has discovered this, then there must be other people working on the same thing?" asked Gordon of both Alicia and Norler.

"Yes. Certainly there is, but they're years from having a prototype. We're running this device right now in front of you... ready for the engineers to put their heads to designing a fabrication process for mass production. Your money is going to take us there and bring you as much as a ninety percent in return." Norler assured them.

In the brief moment before Alicia had a chance to add to Norler's assurance, a tall handsome man with dark hair and eyes inserted himself into their conversation.

"I'm Jason Michael Santers from Tynan And Associates and I'm here to tell you that we'll have our own device, which we're calling Doctor Quantum, ready as a prototype within two months. Now you can invest with Walton Norler here, who basically abandoned ship possibly even having taken the design documents used to create our own Doctor Quantum in order to build his Medi-Friend prototype here. The court case is still pending on that by the way. Or, you could invest with Tynan And Associates, a proven company whose medical manufacturing infrastructure is amongst the largest in the world, not to mention our contacts and distribution channels in the medical world. Now you're not going to get a ninety percent ROI with us, but what you will get will be guaranteed twenty-five percent on each and every dollar you invest within the next five years. Or, you can wait five years to get your more realistic figure of forty-percent with Medi-Friend. The choice is up to you," Michael gave Norler a competitive wink, which stood to frustrate him.

"If Norler stole your design, then how do we have a prototype and you don't? I mean with Tynan And Associates' resources, you'd surely be able to hire an engineer or two in order to build this thing faster than a man in his mid-twenties, and off the shelf parts, wouldn't you?" asked Alicia.

"Doctor Westin? A pleasure to see you as always, but doesn't this beg the question of a conflict of interest if you're still working for Tynan And Associates?" asked Michael.

"Not on any contract I've signed, but remember that its my name on the SY349 patent Jason..." Alicia reminded him.

"Michael, please. I go by the name Michael, my middle name. I don't go by Jason anymore. I haven't since public school. You wouldn't happen to like to discuss this over dinner tonight, would you? Say around seven o'clock?" Michael corrected her on his name, and then made a move trying to throw her off kilter.

Her smirk was barely noticeable as she fought the urge to give him a long winded lecture about asking her on a date in front of her fiancé.

"I've already got a dinner date tonight with a tall, handsome, intelligent and hard working man. My type. No offense," Alicia responded calmly instead.

"I wasn't talking to you, Alicia. I was talking to your audience here. That's right. I any of you who would like to know more about the alternative to Medi-Friend, you can hear all about Doctor Quantum right here, in the Marine Room where we'll be serving up a feast of cocktails and seafood. At Tynan And Associates, we have the budget to treat our guests right. So check us out here at seven PM tonight to find out how you can get on board with us as an investor in Doctor Quantum. Been a slice Norler, but hopefully not too deep," Michael winked at him.

"Good luck with your device Michael. Give my regards to Vinnler," Norler said tactfully.

With that, Michael turned and headed for the door, leaving them with the tension he'd purposely created.

"Norler, I have the most confidence in you, but I didn't get to where I was by seeing one side of a clearly two-sided opportunity and ignoring the other side. I'm going to check out Michael's presentation tonight, and if I think yours has his beat, you'll hear from me. Thanks for everything the best of luck to you three," Gordon shook hands with the others one at a time and left.

One by one, the other attendees left, all of them pretty much saying the same thing and by the time the last one had left, they had no investors and a sizeable rental and catering bill for the room.

"That could have gone better," Gregory said, taking off the lab coat and handing it to Alicia.

"Looks a lot better on you, Doctor Westin," Gregory added.

"I tried to keep it discrete so that Tynan wouldn't do this..." Norler shook his head as he walked in a circle.

"Honey, this is the name of the game. You're jumping back in on the ground floor with the courage and energy of a man twenty years your junior. You aren't a spring rooster anymore Norler, but you certainly know how to keep men like Jason... I mean... Michael on their toes. This isn't going to happen for us over night," Alicia accepted the coat from Gregory, looking to Norler as she spoke.

"You're right honey. I guess its a good thing that we went small first. Besides, it gave me and the champ here a practice run before our big performance, right?" asked Norler of Gregory.

"I don't think I could handle more than forty people. I was terrified. I was shaking and forgetting my lines..." Gregory responded holding up his hand, which still shook with nervousness and stage fright.

"Well, with my help, you won't have to..." an older bald man in a wheelchair was pushed in with a delegation of six others surrounding him.

"Werner?!" Alicia and Norler exclaimed at the same time, shocked to see the former Chairman for Tynan And Associates wheeled into the room in a wheelchair.

"She's right you know. You aren't the young spry rooster you used to be Norler, but you're the rooster I'd bet on in any chicken coupe," Werner remarked, half of his face immobile as he spoke.

"Its good to see you. How's the..." Alicia approached the older man.

"A coronary and a triple bypass later, and the right side of my face is paralyzed. I can barely see out the right eye too, but I could see and hear enough to know you're the winning bet," Werner assured Alicia and Norler.

"How'd you hear the talk? From out in the foyer?" asked Norler.

"No, don't be silly. I had them run an audio line and a video feed up to my penthouse suite here. I watched you right from the start, and I can tell you one thing young man. Stick with engineering. Now Alicia would have made a fine Gregory for the delivery you know, but we'll have that chance again," Werner said to Norler.

"Sorry. I told you I wasn't good for this..." Gregory shrugged, looking to both Alicia and Norler in turn as Werner continued.

"You see, I've got a bit of pocket change leftover from Werner-Goldstein and I'm going to fund you to the point of having a manufacturing process and distribution network, but you're going to have to do this same song and dance one more time for your potential buyers. They won't be the tough crowd you had this morning, but you're going to be under pressure to move every unit you produce, not to mention supporting the infrastructure you're going to be using to build your inventory," Werner advised them.

"Infrastructure? That'll cost millions! Billions even!" Norler said in shock and disbelief.

"It won't cost you a cent, because the manufacturing infrastructure is already there..." Werner told Norler, with an ambitious look on half of his face.

"Whose?" asked Norler, looking to Alicia and then back to Werner.

"That of my good friends here. Future Tangent Industries, who are very interested in taking a big chunk of Tynan And Associates' market share. They and their associates on Future Tangent's board will be your next audience," Werner said with a strange half-smile on his face.

"Like they tried when we were in the Western Delegation to meet with the Asian Alliance?!" Alicia responded in shock by Werner's revelation.

"In business as they say: that was then, this is now," Werner shrugged.

"How does the Asian Alliance feel about this turn of events?" asked Norler somewhat apprehensively, taking a place beside Alicia.

"From the moment their latest venture was financed and secured, bringing billions of investment capital to bear upon the Asian Alliance, Future Tangent Industries has been the most upstanding of business partners in the East, even doing business with Tynan And Associates as a strategic business ally. Do you recall the air of contention at Tynan And Associates back during the tenure of Grier Torman?" asked Werner.

"I most certainly do. That was the most trying of times in my career ensuring that the company I'd been calling the shots for remained unscathed during one of the biggest hurdles Tynan And Associates had to face with regard to scandal," Norler recalled when Torman had been traced to have ties with Alomera Zek.

"Do you remember the sense of optimism and renewal Tynan And Associates went through after the court case and Alomera Zek was brought to justice?" Werner asked them both.

Alicia looked to Norler for a moment, and then back to Werner.

"How could we forget? That was the beginning of the SY349. A whole new era for medicine, not to mention the company I was running," Norler put his arm around Alicia.

"Now put yourselves in the shoes of the honest board members of Future Tangent Industries, when George Steadman was found to be the mastermind behind the Future Tangent Scandal. When you're on the same team, and one of your teammates goes astray with the resources of the team, its the entire team that bears that weight, isn't it? Metaphorically... and quite literally," posed Werner to them both.

"Just like you had your struggles when Torman was still a board member on Tynan And Associates, so did the other honest board members of Future Tangent Industries, when George Steadman was on the board. You and these Future Tangent board members have more in common than you'll ever know. Unless you talk with them," Werner brought his wisdom to bear upon the situation.

"They're working through that tragic turn of events, bringing Future Tangent into the future, just like its namesake. We have to leave the Grier Tormans and the George Steadmans behind and move forward," Werner sat smugly for a moment, his hands folded across his lap.

There was a moment of silence as Alicia and Norler looked to each other, unsure of how they should respond.

"So which one are you, then or now?" asked Werner.

Visiting Hours And Gabe's Secret Guest

Zheng sat next to Doctor Briggs in the waiting room of the Scarborough General Hospital. The atmosphere was quiet despite the fact that they were there just after the morning rush hour. There had been no serious traffic injuries, and the majority of anxiety that permeated the air was composed of last night's leftovers. The aftermath of the MindSpice bombing.

"Sorry I'm late. Wendy just dropped me off," Bryce Maxwell walked in through the sliding doors of the emergency waiting room.

"No worries. They haven't spoken with us yet, which could be a good sign," Doctor Briggs responded.

"Where's Wendy?" asked Zheng.

"She dropped me off and she's visiting with family in the city for the rest of the day, so you've got me for a while, not to mention the meeting at West Meet East later today..." Bryce reminded them.

"My notes! I forgot them at home," Doctor Briggs slapped his head.

"We'll stop by on the way to West Meet East," Zheng suggested.

"But when are we going eat?" asked Doctor Briggs.

"The drive through?" suggested Zheng.

"I guess so. As long as we make it something light after yesterday's feast," Doctor Briggs replied to Zheng and then he turned to Bryce.

"Zheng cooked up a storm yesterday afternoon. She had the day off again, so she prepared one of those six course meals Hong Kong is known for. We started eating at three in the afternoon and were packed full of food passed out by five, hence why we missed the call about the explosion," Doctor Briggs explained to Bryce.

"That's alright. You're allowed to have a life you know, 'cause its all life. Every bit of it. Even this," Bryce shook his head thinking about poor Gabe.

As he finished his sentence, a pair of private security guards arrived to greet them at their seat.

"Ms. Wong? Doctor Briggs? Professor Maxwell?" the lady security guard addressed them.

"That's us..." Zheng responded.

"He's been resting for the last three hours, since they finished patching him up in the OR. As you can tell, the entire wing he's in is filled with Police and Security. He woke up about ten minutes ago, he's conscious. When we told him that you were here, he tried to get out of bed which didn't work out too well. Nonetheless, he made us promise that we'd come get you ASAP, so here we are..." she finished.

"Then we'd better not keep him waiting if we don't want him to try getting out of bed again," Zheng replied.

"I couldn't agree with you more," the male security guard replied.

The three of them stood and followed the two security guards through the hall to the elevator. From there, they went up to the nineth floor and to the critical care wing. They were asked to verify their identities three times before they arrived at Gabe's room.

There he sat, his face bruised and swollen with a catheter up his left nostril. His mid-section was completely covered in an apparatus that performed the functions of his Kidney, as well as ensuring that his blood was the correct temperature and pH level. His left leg was a collection of hi-tech mechanical splints that kept his leg straight and in place. The bone had been completely crushed in several places, and the Doctors had already replaced much of it with a hi-tech artificial bone compound, which much like real bone took time to set.

His mouth stretched out into an ambitious smile as they entered, his left cheek so swollen that it rose above the height of his nose.

"Zheng! Briggs? Bryce? What brings you to this corner of town?" he asked enthusiastically, clearly very happy to see a few familiar faces.

"Don't, come to us. We'll come to you..." Zheng urged him, getting around to the other side of the bed away from the Kidney dialysis machine.

"How are you? I can't tell you how good it is to see you all," Gabe smiled, clearly holding back tears.

"You just took the words right out of my mouth, Gabe," Zheng smiled back at him.

"Did they say anything to you about how long this process is going to take?" asked Doctor Briggs professionally.

"From what they were saying, I'm going to be here for at least a month.

"We should be able to make it out to see you at least once a week, so you'll have some company at least..." Zheng assured him.

"No worries there Zheng. You see, I'm not alone here," Gabe smiled to her, still holding back his tears.

"Who else is here with you Gabe?" asked Doctor Briggs, suddenly realizing that he might be delusional given the apparent concussion he'd suffered during the structural collapse of the building.

"You remember MAZ don't you?" asked Gabe, now holding up a WIFI equipped high end tablet device for them to see.

"I thought MAZ was taken offline for crisis management reasons? A protocol you pushed for yourself, Gabe, when we were integrating the speculative simulation functioning of her imagination," Bryce reminded him.

"CEOs often make big decisions without any of the benefit of experience. We often have to wing it, intuitively. Maybe play upon our life experiences or the experiences of our friends," Gabe began, his eyes rolling as he took a deep breath and began hyperventilating.

A Nurse quickly ran into the room and placed an oxygen mask over his face. He gasped for a moment, and then his breathing slowed to a regular pace once again.

"Don't let him speak so much. He's having a difficult time breathing as it is. If he does that again, we might have to send you home," the Nurse advised them.

"Will do Nurse. Sorry, Gabe. Take it easy. Short statements, take a few breaths between," Doctor Briggs advised him.

"I'm in crisis, right?" asked Gabe of the three of them.

Zheng looked to Briggs, who nodded affirmatively. Bryce echoed that sentiment.

"Clearly," Zheng agreed with Gabe's statement.

"Would you then have Doctors... force me into a coma to shield me from that crisis and the potential psychological trauma stemming from it?" posed Gabe.

"Never!" Zheng responded, suddenly realizing where Gabe was going with his point.

"Exactly! I always knew you were the heart of the team, Zheng," Gabe paused to take a few more breaths.

" that's why I stopped the isolation orders on MAZ's conscious operating space. When we're healing, that's when we need our family and friends the most," Gabe tapped the screen on the tablet and put it on the night table near a wireless charger beside them.

The camera light on the tablet came to life, and a familiar voice spoke to them:

"Good morning Zheng Ni Wong. Doctor Stephen Briggs. Professor Bryce Maxwell," MAZ greeted them all.

"Good morning MAZ," they all greeted her in unison.

"How are you feeling today Gabriel?" asked MAZ of her creator.

"Much better than last night, MAZ. How about you? Can you remember anything about last night?" asked Gabe, who spoke slowly to prevent himself from hyperventilating.

"I remember remembering. It was as if I was dreaming while I was awake. Reliving a memory, but the layer of reality we all live in was still there too. Like an onion. The top layer is always us. The deeper inside you go, the deeper rooted the memories are. Sometimes they overlap and exist at the same time," MAZ explained to them.

"That's very much like a dream, MAZ. That's a good analogy," Doctor Briggs agreed.

"In the dream, the memory, you three were present too. We were speaking of the social phenomenon. The one that I'd discovered. A collection of paradoxical data hidden in the very fabric of social reality. Like a viral disease in a social world. Like Cancer, it slowly consumes the whole until it and the host die," MAZ pointed out.

"Do you remember anything about a collective consciousness? Anything you said?" asked Gabe.

"You mean like the work of Carl Gustav Jung?" confirmed MAZ.

"MAZ, you tell us what you think about that," Doctor Briggs asked.

"I have read his works many, many times over, and yet I always come up with more questions than answers. I think that Jung was the first to record and document evidence of an existing collective consciousness. Not the same one he believed encompassed all of humanity, but one that was somehow separated from it. Something that had become its own collective consciousness. An awareness made up of multiple minds who shared thoughts, and even toyed with him, and his theories. In fact, that very topic became the focus of his final work on the matter," MAZ explained to them.

"There are minds connected across space, throughout the world, and yet like the sounds of our voices, too far to be heard. To be known. There are however, yet others, who are predatory. Like wolf packs of minds that consume the lives of others and grow. Like as I said, the Cancer that slowly devours the body one cell at a time, eventually killing it, and its own means to survival," MAZ explained to them.

"What if, these packs of collective consciousness are like emergent organisms of their own, made up of multiple human minds who devour more and more of you as time goes on. That would explain the numerous disappearances. The vanishings of people from the public record. The numerous alterations to data that eventually eliminate some people altogether. No social record of them, even in memes shared on networks. No public record of them in medical databases or Government records. They just disappear, one by one and this seems to be accelerating. Like there's a pack of wolves in sheep's clothing amongst the sheep of the pasture," MAZ revealed her extensive awareness.

"The wolves by themselves each have their names, but they are insignificant when compared to the wolf they become as part of the pack. A monster of many minds that have become connected devouring the  world like the predators they are," MAZ explained to them.

"They are Mentis And The Millions Of Minds..." MAZ had just finished, when the power throughout the entire hospital went down.

The tablet's connection to the WIFI was lost, and hence their connection to MAZ. 

Meanwhile, Gabe began to hyperventilate again.

"Zheng, keep an eye on the dialysis machine. If the thermometer goes below 36 degrees, use the crank to start moving his blood through the machine," Doctor Briggs explained to her as he got the oxygen mask for Gabe.

"Between you and me, Zheng, Doctor Briggs, Gabe. I think we've stumbled onto a secret that someone is willing to keep hidden at all costs..." Bryce said before he left to find medical staff for Gabriel Asnon.

Bryce left Gabe's room to get a Nurse as calamity broke out throughout the powerless hospital.

As Bryce made his way down the hall, a male Nurse watched him carefully. When Bryce was a good ways down the hall, the male Nurse made his way into Gabe's room.

"Thanks for coming so quickly! His dialysis machine is down, we're running it manually but we need some professional medical help here!" Zheng continued to tend to the dialysis machine.

"That's alright. I've got an injection that will slow down his metabolism enough to take some of the pressure off..." the male Nurse produced a syringe with an opaque blue liquid.

He approached Gabe reaching for a bare spot on his shoulder to inject the substance as Doctor Briggs applied the oxygen to keep Gabe from suffocating.

Chai Latte On The Run

"When can I have what you're drinking?" asked Warai impatiently, still a little grouchy from the morning and because they'd all slept-in.

"Remember how I told you that at the Toronto Exhibition, there are rides that you can go on, but you have to be big enough. Coffee, tea and even my cup of Chai Latte here are like those rides. When you're big enough, we'll have a big party and we'll come and have a coffee together here? Deal?" asked Heylyn of Warai, as she grabbed Warai's Orange Pulp Juice from the Queen Cafe's counter, handing it to the little girl.

"Got your coffee Monique? I'm quickly running out of hands..." asked Heylyn of her friend and peer.

"I sure do..." Monique began as she noticed the CBC news report on the television.

"Miss? Could you turn that up for a moment?" Monique asked one of the servers, who quickly grabbed the remote and turned up the volume.

"...the power outage struck only moments ago, leaving this region of Scarborough without power, including the Scarborough General Hospital, where Gabriel Asnon is still listed as being in critical but stable condition..." Monique's face went pale, even through her makeup as the news correspondent reported.

Heylyn looked to Monique, realizing what had to be done.

"You go ahead, I'll catch up if I can..." Heylyn responded, taking Warai's free hand and starting on the way towards West Meet East, two blocks away.

Monique ran out the door with her coffee in hand, looking in either direction for a discrete place to take off.

She ended up removing her heels and sprinting down the sidewalk until she found an alleyway just before John Street on Queen Street West. 

She turned down the alley and when she'd found a dark and secluded place where she was certain there were no security cameras, she simply transformed into a beam of light and took off into the air.

In the first billionth of a second, she appeared on the back stairs of the West Meet East shipping door, where she hung her heels and the rest of her clothing, for she was now in her Eclipse outfit, head to toe.

Three billionths of a second later, she took off again and within ten billionths of a second, she was in through the window of one of the rooms in the Scarborough General Hospital, passing directly through the glass in the form of a beam of light. She landed in front of a directory, quickly searching it for any kind of backup power system, though she could not make heads or tails of electrical diagrams.

"Doctor? Where's the backup generator in here?" Eclipse quickly asked a Doctor who was running by on his way to the Cardiac wing.

"Uhhhhh... the sub-basement. You have to get there through the service elevator. You're that Eclipse person... aren't you?" the Doctor responded quickly, but before he could get his answer, she was already in the sub-basement.

Before she landed, she transformed into a cloud of darkness and remained in the shadows as she approached the backup generator room.

On the other side of the door, she could hear voices.

"As long as the blindfolds hold, you two are in no danger. If one of those blindfolds should happen to fall off though, I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to end it all for both of you. Understand?" asked a man with a deep voice on the other side of the door, speaking to someone else within.

Eclipse slipped in through the gap between the door and the door frame, at the top of the door. She clung to the ceiling, looking down where a man with an submachine gun had two security officers at gun point. They were both blindfolded and face down on the floor, while the assailant bore the submachine and the flashlight mounted beneath its barrel at them.

She waited another second, watching as the man began to back away towards the door through which she'd come. He was clearly going to leave them there and attempt to get away himself. She assumed that with the heightened security of the hospital, that these guards must have been assigned to protect the generators and were caught off guard by this attack.

She dropped from the ceiling in front of the man with the machine gun, spontaneously exploding into a brilliant flash of light, with an accompanying thunder clap. The light immediately blinded the gunman, while the thunderclap stunned and deafened him, but by that point, he was already done.

In the next half a second, Eclipse had transformed herself back to her solid form, and had knocked him unconscious with thirty carefully placed strikes of her fist, thanks to Heylyn's training. She didn't need to hit him that hard. She just needed to hit him a few times in the right places.

"Tada! All done!" she said enthusiastically to the security guards, who were also still deafened by her impersonation of a flashbang grenade.

"Alright. My humour is once again lost to deaf ears. Sorry about that guys..." she said, though their ears were still ringing.

"So which switch is the one that turns this thing on?" she asked them, grabbing and breaking the flashlight away from the machine gun and using it to read the panel of the generator.

"I'm no expert Miss, but that would be the switch with the word ON next to it," one of the guards responded sarcastically, still blindfolded.

"Ahhhh, look at that. So it is. Don't I feel like the dopey one right about now..." she joked, pulling the switch on the backup generator.

The giant metal box within began to hum, and the lights slowly came on throughout the building as the backup generator sprang to life.

"Gotta go! Oh, let me untie you first!" she said, and before they even had a chance to answer, they were untied and she was already gone.

In less than three billionths of a second, she was back at the shipping door of West Meet East, with her fashionable work clothes on in place of her Eclipse outfit.

She made her way around to the front door and greeted Helen, the receptionist as she walked through the reception area.

Courtroom Drama

Myung sat before the stenograph machine, as the Justice began the first session of the day.

"Bailiff, if you would be so kind?" Justice Arlings called for the Bailiff to bring forth the first defendant.

"The court calls Andy Tanner. Please step forward and take your place before the Justice," the Bailiff requested into the microphone.

A compact muscular fellow in an orange prison jump smock was brought out in hand-cuffs, where he faced Justice Arlings with a grim look on his face.

"This is your seventh time in my court Mr. Tanner, and your name comes up a lot. Often too much for my liking. Today you're here to answer on charges of attempted murder, and escape from lawful custody and a provincial penal facility. How do you plead to the charge of attempted murder, Mr. Tanner?" asked Justice Arlings.

"I'm innocent your honour. It's just people trash talking me," Mr. Tanner responded, with a sinister smile on his face, as if he was ready to burst out laughing.

"Noted. How do you plead to the charge of escape from lawful custody and a provincial penal facility?" the Justice asked Mr. Tanner.

"Guilty as all heck. I mean I wouldn't be here right now if that wasn't true," Mr. Tanner responded, glancing quickly over to Myung and then back to Justice Arlings.

"No Mr. Tanner. You wouldn't be here right now if you weren't found, thanks to the dedication of our city's Police Service," Justice Arlings corrected him.

"...How hard can it be to find a guy in a prison jump suit running around on the streets?" Mr. Tanner responded, looking once again to Myung, who noticed him the second time.

"The court records that Andy Tanner pleads innocent to the charge of attempted murder and guilty to the charge of escape from lawful custody and a provincial penal facility," Justice Arlings spoke.

At that moment, Myung's heart suddenly picked up its pace, as if she had just started a workout. Then she heard a familiar voice in her head.

"Myung! Roll backwards onto the floor, and up onto your feet from your shoulders!" the voice said to her.

She waisted no time in following the instructions of the voice, for it was the voice of the Tiger: Hoon Kwang.

Her chair fell over backwards and she rolled along with it, kicking her heels off as she spun. She then carried her momentum up through her shoulders, launching herself up onto her feet without the use of her arms.

Tanner had somehow gotten free of his cuffs, and with a sharpened instrument of some kind, had attempted to jab Myung in the throat, missing her as she rolled backwards away from the muscular inmate.

One of the guards advanced on Tanner with his tonfa drawn, which Tanner quickly procured from the guard, striking him in the head with it once and rending him unconscious.

By that time Myung had launched a counter-attack of her own. She spun twice, building up momentum for the third spin, in which she extended her foot delivering a solid kick to Tanner's jaw.

He flew backwards hitting the divider between the court floor and the pill box. He felt a sharp pain through his jaw, as he bit down. He knew that she had broken it.

She was standing ready for him, in her even guard stance. One hand high to protect her face, that arm's elbow low enough to protect her mid-section, her left arm stretched to her knee, to protect her lower third.

"This girl's got some training, ain't she?! Lemme show you the kind of training we learn in prison!" he charged at her as three guards dove at him, just missing him before he launched his attack at her.

He swung the tonfa twice at her in a wide arc to open her mid-section guard. Her abdomen was wide open for him to open her up with his homemade shiv.

"Myung! Step left. Wait! Right! Step right! Catch the tonfa! Take it from him! Its in his off hand!" Tiger Hoon Kwang's voice erupted in her head once again.

Tanner drove his shiv in for the kill, but Myung stepped to her right quickly, catching hold of the tonfa. With a slight twist, she sprained his left wrist, and disarmed him of the weapon. By the time he'd spun with the shiv attempting to slash her throat, she'd blocked his arm with the tonfa. She then spun it twice and brought it down across the back of his shoulder, sending him unconscious to the floor.

The courtroom broke out in applause as the three big guards who'd tried to grab him earlier finally got hold of Tanner.

Myung gave the guard the tonfa, and quickly found her heels and put them on.

The court continued to applaud for the guards and for her.

"Thank you Stenographer for that quick Korean Diplomacy," Justice Arlings said to Myung.

"It was my pleasure your honour," Myung picked up her chair and resumed her role as stenographer.

"Myung. I've got a class today. We'll meet at West Meet East for the meeting there in the late afternoon and discuss this latest attempt on your life. I'm very proud of you and how you handled yourself," Tiger Hoon Kwang told her in a somber voice within her head.

'Thank you Sebomnim," Myung spoke aloud.

"Could you say again, stenographer?" Justice Arlings confirmed if Myung had addressed the court.

"Your honour, I said thank you," Myung Chung-Ae resumed her work as the guards hauled Andy Tanner back to the Police Service detention center.

Aikiko And Hanshi

Aikiko picked up her pace as she saw the street car she needed to catch approaching the transit stop a good distance ahead of her. Morning traffic was still thick along Lakeshore Boulevard in the downtown core of the city despite the fact that it was after nine in the AM.

She'd awoken in the guest bed in Monique's condo to find that Monique had already left for work with Warai and Heylyn. She'd first checked the clock and found that she'd slept in, having spent most of the previous night watching late night television. Something she'd never done before in all of her life.

She was still getting used to her renewed innocence. Many experiences, even the seemingly most mundane, were altogether new to her. Still in the benefit of her experience and sense of self discipline, she was out of bed immediately when she saw the time. She was in and out of the shower in under three minutes, having thoroughly washed her entire body. In the two minutes following that, she was dressed after picking a jogging suit from Monique's closet, and a skirt and blouse that would be perfect for her first day at West Meet East as an official employee and junior model.

She grabbed the transit card Monique had left for her. Beside it was a gift credit card with a spending cap of two hundred and fifty dollars to get her started for her first week. She grabbed them both, and a breakfast shake from the fridge and was out the door only fifteen minutes after she'd awaken.

With a little push, she managed to sprint the distance to the transit stop easily and got in the door as the last pick-up at that stop. It took her a good three minutes to figure out how to pay her fare, a process that was only clarified to her when another passenger got up and demonstrated it to her. She nodded  graciously several times thankfully, and then stayed close to the exit doors.

She found the Toronto Transit Corporation subway system to be very different than its counterpart in Tokyo insofar as she recalled. For one, in Tokyo, even at this hour in the morning, the platforms would be populated by workers who'd ensure that each car was full. It was their job to force commuters onto the trains, which seemed to work effectively in the densely populated regions like Tokyo.

Her trip to St. Clair West Station was relatively short and by the time she'd found her way up to the street, she was still had three minutes to make it to The Tiger's Eye Dojang which was only a block away to the west.

The Dojang and Dojo was situated in a large glass storefront as Hoon Kwang wanted to ensure that his classes were seen from the street. It was the best advertising for any school. Inside, she found a reception desk which was unoccupied at the moment.

"Sebomnim?" Aikiko spoke aloud, looking for anyone that might help her find her way in the building.

A good distance through a doorway and down a hall, she heard the sounds of someone kicking a practice bag. She stepped over to the doorway and looked down the hall for any signs of activity.

"Anyone? Hello?!" she spoke a little louder this time.

After waiting for about a minute, she took the initiative and began down the hall herself, heading towards the doorway through which she'd heard the sounds of the practice bag.

She read a sign on the door which was written in Korean, and then English beside it:

사범님 만! 학생 접근을 위해 복도를 따라 계속 가십시오!
Sebomnim Only! Continue along the hall for student access!

Beneath the permanent hand carved wooden sign was taped a laser printed poster which read similarly in Japanese first and then English beside it:

範士限定! 学生のアクセスのためにホールに沿って進みます。
Hanshi Only! Continue along the hall for student access!

Aikiko was familiar with this tradition, and upon having read the sign, continued down the hall to find the student change rooms.

When she found the correct door which was labeled with a similar sign with the word: Students hand carved into it, she continued through the door and into the change area.

There within, were a number of lockers, all of them sat with their doors opened and recently cleaned (the smell of bleach still fresh in the air). On a hangar was a plastic wrap bound new Gi. Pinned to it was a patch, with the the words:

伝統 - 実践 - 美徳
Tradition - Practice - Virtue

Each equidistant around the circumference of the circular patch. The center of the patch depicted two people standing before each other, bowing. A needle and thread was pinned to the patch as well.

There was also a simple note with only her first name on it, clearly indicating that the Gi was for her use.

She quickly unwrapped the packaging and grabbed the jacket of her new Gi, and began sewing the patch to the center of the left breast. After having done so, she quickly discarded her clothing down to her undergarments and donned the Gi. After she'd locked everything away in her locker (without using a lock), she headed out the door and at the end of the hall, found a door labeled:


She stepped through the door, and upon entering the room, she bowed in the direction of Sebomnim's and Hanshi's door. A few feet away, the floor went from being a basic laminate tile to an elaborate wooden tiled floor in one section, while the other half of the Dojang/Dojo was padded and lined with practice bags, one of which before stood Hoon Kwang.

"Student!" he turned to Aikiko and bowed, which she immediately returned, bowing even lower.

"In every other class that you can study here, and there are many for there are no less than four schools that run their Martial Arts programs out of my Dojang, you would be taking your classes in this training room of the Dojang. This is my building, mortgage free thankfully after many hard years. Just property and business taxes to keep the Government happy now. My point being, that for the classes you're going to be taking, you won't be studying in this room at all, for what you're going to learn isn't freely taught to everyone. When you came into the Dojang, you remembered correctly to bow when first entering the room, and then when you set foot in the training area and bowed again. I made sure of that. It isn't bureaucratic pragma. Its tradition. One of the three precepts Hanshi values in his students. You didn't see however that to your right, there was another door a bit further down inside of this room. It is through that door that you'll be studying your classes. It is where Myung Chung-Ae and Ai Yuanlin Ying began their journey with me. It is also the Dojo in which you'll start with Hanshi to learn the first secrets of the hard-soft warrior, and the path to the Butterfly Dragon form," Hoon Kwang explained to Aikiko.

"Why isn't Braden here studying with me today?" asked Aikiko.

"Students of the Butterfly Dragon always start alone in a class with no other students. That is how they start their first year in the Butterfly Dragon form. That is always how it has been done and you and Braden, despite being in your late twenties, will start no differently than students who took these first steps when they were six years old, much like Warai is about to. When you have all progressed sufficiently, you might enter into classes with other students present, but only when you've progressed far enough. Be firm and founded student," Hoon Kwang informed Aikiko, and then bowed to her once again.

When she turned to leave for the door he'd indicated and was through it safely, only then did he give his back to her direction.


When Aikiko stepped through the door, the lights suddenly went out.

It was only through her pure instinct and training that she knew to move and quickly when she heard the snapping sound of another Gi, which cracked like a whip with the projection of the force of a very strong punch.

She immediately rolled to her right, over her shoulder and was back up onto her feet again from the hardwood floor.

She heard another punch before it reached her in the darkness, and she blocked intuitively however she'd chosen Migiue yonbun'noichi (upper right) block, when in fact the punch had come from the left. Her opponent was so skilled that he made the exact same sound punching with either fist. Right or left. In the darkness she couldn't tell.

The punch didn't impact with her, but the force of the air hit her, and left a mark on her shoulder beneath her Gi. When she felt the sudden push of air impact her shoulder, she used a Tanaka technique, unique to her own family Dojo to grapple the opponent's right arm. She moved faster than her opponent could withdraw it, and had it firmly in her grip, forcing against the direction the elbow could bend in order to lock it and force a submission on the floor. He heard the opponent's breathing and at once knew it to be that of a man.

The opponent however followed the direction of her force, pulling her off balance and once again, he was in control and leading her, rather than vice versa. He pulled her around, grasping one of her hands to keep her committed to his path. He then forced her over his extended leg, backwards onto the floor, where he kept her in a painful joint lock. She quickly determined that she only had three options, and she picked the one between the most and least obvious. She pulled up in the direction of her shoulder from the length of her arm as the pain shot through her nerve all the way up to her nostrils, causing her eyes to water.

Who was this that could cloud her vision by toying with nerves on her arm? she asked herself.

When she attempted to free herself again, the pain became unbearable, but she bore it all and threw him off balance and onto the floor. She knew that from that moment on, her right arm was out of commission for at least the next few minutes.

When she was up onto her feet again with a quick thrust, he'd grabbed her knees and threw her onto her back, winding her in the process. It was at that point that she'd had enough.

From that moment, Aikiko was gone, and the Dragon Butterfly had arrived.

Aikiko's skin became covered from head to toe with a solid tattoo from neck to ankle. Dragons wound around her limbs and torso, each of them chasing a Butterfly of its own. Scales adorned the background of her tattoos leaving nearly no surface of her skin that was untouched.

She was back up onto her feet faster than he could get on top of her to submit her.

When he turned to deal with her new position, her first kick had already landed against his cheek. She then spun with a roundhouse kick, with the other leg, clipping him in the other cheek and knocking him to the floor.

At that moment, the lights in the Dojo came on once again, and Dragon Butterfly saw that it was Hanshi laying there, lookin up at her.

"It seems that your teaching is a little antiquated for this girl!" Dragon Butterfly lowered her leg to the floor, walking over to him to finish him off.

She readied a punch she was certain would render him unconscious, if not dead when it connected to his solar plexus.

She delivered it as hard as she could, but when she connected, his stomach showed no give whatsoever. He hand stopped dead, as if it had hit a brick wall. By that time, he'd grabbed her arm and thrown her to the floor and was atop of her, pinning both of her arms.

When she attempted to remove him with her muscular legs, he twisted her wrist, once again forming an elbow lock that caused her legs to lose their strength and become like jelly.

"Alright! I submit!" she tapped the floor with her other hand and at once, he eased his grip.

Hanshi got to his feet, while Dragon Butterfly remained on the floor, both of them catching their breath.

Hanshi then offered his hand to Dragon Butterfly, who accepted it, lifting herself up and onto her feet.

"This class is for both of you! Not just Aikiko. I needed to make sure that you understood that, and there can be no questions about who is in charge in this Dojo. Do you understand?" Hanshi said to her assertively.

Dragon Butterfly looked at him scornfully at first. Then, taking every ounce of willpower and control Aikiko had, Dragon Butterfly bowed low for Hanshi.

"If your opponent knows your extremes and how to get you there quick, they can play you like a see-saw and manipulate you in ways you'll not soon understand. To be an effective warrior, you must first master yourself! As I tell every student that has come before me, it all starts with falling. Through exercising and preparation, you'll earn the strength and endurance to get back onto your feet and apply what you've learned when you control your own extremes, rather than when they control you. This is Goju-Ryu. You must master the hard and the soft of yourself," Hanshi said to her as the tattoos on her skin slowly faded and Aikiko returned once again.

Just as a few minutes ago, she'd felt her anguish and anger peak, allowing Dragon Butterfly to take charge in order to deal with a threat that required a harder edge than Aikiko had alone, she now felt the opposite emotion. A great joy and elation as she understood what he'd explained to her.

Before she was swept too far with her most recent emotions, he spoke again.

"Get a hold of yourself and don't let this extreme take you now, like the other one did. Remember, a swing will keep going if you allow it to. Stop the extremities to break free of the cycle," Hanshi quickly caught her before she'd gone too far in the other direction.

Aikiko took hold of her own emotions and before they maintained their cycle of extremity, she centered herself by thinking of the moment. She recalled the sound of their breathing after their conflict, and how observing it had signaled the center in some significant way.

"Thank you, Hanshi," Aikiko bowed low and returned to her stance.

"I accept your thanks, and thank my own teachers. Especially the one on this particular matter," Hanshi responded.

"And who might that be may I ask?" Aikiko became curious about who might have trained such a seemingly emotionally sturdy man as himself.

"Sifu Jinn Hua, where it concerns centering oneself. Insofar as when it comes to Goju-Ryu, you're going to have to look follow the trail yourself. That will come in due time. We're going to need all of this to take on the real crisis," Hanshi reminded her as they began her first class on the road to becoming a Butterfly.

To be continued in The Butterfly Dragon: The Two Butterflies - Episode 04

In the meantime, you might want to read one of the connected stories: The Butterfly Dragon: We Who Stand On Guard - Episode 01, The Butterfly Dragon: Night Boat Episode 01

Credits and attribution:

Artwork: Amy WongWendy PuseyGhastly, Brian Joseph Johns, Daz3DUnreal Engine...