The Butterfly Dragon: We Who Stand On Guard - Episode 01 (First Draft)

FYI - The cover image will change as I design the visuals for all the characters involved in this story. I'm still missing quite a few and it does take time. Fortunately I have rough visual designs for all of my characters. Either on paper or in my head. There will be frontline responders, but it takes time to get this all done. If you'd like to motivate me, buy a t-shirt or mug from or make a donation to one of the charities below!

This content is produced artists indicated on the site, and by me, Brian Joseph Johns. 

I, under no circumstance will trade, barter or otherwise swap my own identity for that of another person and I protect the same right for those who've contributed their artwork to the various projects under my management at Shhhh! Digital Media, my own company. These rights are protected by law under the Charter Of Rights And Freedoms under section 7.

If you enjoy reading the content on this website, then please consider making a donation to one of the following charities, or buying merchandise on our shop at

Support Charity

Please support education and information access where you can in addition to these charities:

Sick Kids Foundation
Help research that provides cures and support treatment for sick children.

Creating a world of possibility for kids and youth with disabilities.

The Cancer Research Institute
The Princess Margaret Foundation
Cancer Research organizations that combine the expertise of many different research firms and Universities to find innovative treatments and cures for Cancer.

United Nations Fund
United Way Worldwide
Two organizations whose contribution of expertise, human and financial resources and volunteer efforts provide humanitarian solutions to real world problems the entire world over. These charities operate worldwide. The United Nations Fund supports the various programs part of the United Nations' global mandate, as much a foundation as it is a roof around the world.

World Veterans Federation
The World Veterans Federation is a humanitarian organisation, a charity and a peace activist movement. The WVF maintains its consultative status with the United Nations since 1951 and was conferred the title of “Peace Messenger” in 1987.

I'd like to point out that it was the incredible Gary Sinese Foundation that brought the issue of Veteran's rights to my attention. I've always had little respect for those who'd forget the great contribution made by those who've risked life and limb to defend those values that so many of us espouse. Perhaps the true measure of one's principles are by that for which they'd risk their life.

"None can speak more eloquently for peace than those who have fought in war."

Ralph Bunche, Nobel Peace Prize 1950

The Reeve Foundation provides programs for research, uniting Scientists and Specialists from many different fields to find treatments for spinal cord injury translating them into therapies and support programs.

For over 60 years, Heart & Stroke has been dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. Our work has saved thousands of lives and improved the lives of millions of others.

The ALS Society Of BC
ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease) is a progressive neuromuscular disease in which nerve cells die and leave voluntary muscles paralyzed. The ALS society provides a variety of programs to combat this disease and help those with it to survive.

Muscular Dystrophy Canada
Muscular Dystrophy Canada’s mission is to enhance the lives of those affected by neuromuscular disorders by continually working to provide ongoing support and resources while relentlessly searching for a cure through well-funded research.

Humane Society International
The Humane Society protects the health, lives and rights of animals the world over, ensuring that they too have a voice in this world. We are interdependent upon the complex web of life this entire planet over for our mutual survival. This is a world wide charity.

The Global Foodbanking Network
Ensuring that people the world over have enough food day to day in order to survive and lead healthy lives. In this challenging day and age services like this are becoming more and more essential. This is a world wide charity.

The Edgar Allan Poe Museum
Because Barris told me to put it here. If I didn't, he said he'd walk. Geez. Stardom really gets to some people's heads. Maybe I could kill him and bury his heart beneath the floor boards! Or I could encase him behind a brick and mortar wall for all eternity, for shaming my family name of Amantillado

In all truth, there's a good chance that thanks to the works of Edgar Allan Poe, Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain), William Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Jonathan Swift, Mary Shelley, Robert Louis Stevenson, Herbert George Wells, Jules Verne, Dr. Seuss, Stephen King, Clive Barker and Pierre Burton (for The Secret World Of Og and his ground breaking interview of Bruce Lee) that all of us are literate. Actually that goes back much farther to the Phoenicians and their first 22 character system of symbols, which evolved through the Greeks into the Alpha-Beta or as we know it today: the alphabet. Literacy is important. Really it is. Literally. It allows us to approach our employer at the end of the week (with a big club) and ask: where my money?! Math important too. It help us count our thirteen fingers and toes.

The model for what may become the Encyclopedia Galactica, a complete reference and record of history, events and knowledge of humanity and its journey beyond. Perhaps even somewhat like the Codex Universalis of the Sanctum. It is the encyclopedia of all that we know, what we surmise that we've known and will learn in the future. Yes, Wikipedia is a charitable organization of great importance. If you enjoy what I am doing here then please take the time to donate to Wikipedia. Surprisingly only 1% of Wikipedia's users donate yet the site serves pages to millions every day.

Humble Bundle
A video gaming storefront benefiting a vast variety of different Charities in the United States and United Kingdom (hopefully soon to be expanded to include other areas of the world?). By software their software bundles and choose which Charity your money benefits and how much of your money benefits that Charity. See? Gamers can do their part too.

Multiple Sclerosis is a degenerative disease currently affecting an estimated 2.3 million world wide. By donating you are contributing to effective research in finding a cure and tipping the scales of MS research to change lives forever.

If you're a resident of Ontario then please consider supporting Building Better Schools.

Other Ways To Help Using Your Computer

Donate your idle computer time to science! Join the World Community Grid by clicking on one of the links below and follow the instructions for how to participate:

Thank you for your support

Shhhh! Digital Media
Brian Joseph Johns

People sleep peacefully in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.

George Orwell, Richard Grenier

People live in terror of death mostly because rough men stand ready to do violence against them.

Edmund Foller (to Bradley Alexander Stanton)

Of the two, the difference between attacking independence of thought and defending it deems the side you're on, though in action we are all truly known.


From The Butterfly Dragon: The Two Butterflies - Episode 01

From Activation...


"Honey, my job is... complicated. It just doesn't run according to our schedules. I've gotta be flexible for it, rather than the other way around. Why don't we just wing it? No plans, you call me when you two have a night. Better yet, call me on the day of that night. An hour's notice is all I need. Why don't we try that. I really want to meet him, cause any guy who's going to take my little girl away from me has to pass my approval, but I trust that you're old enough to do what you choose to do regardless of my opinion. I'm alright with that too, because my little girl is already a strong minded independent woman, just like her mother was. So how does that sound?" Stanton asked her a bit more quietly, yet firmly.

"I wish mom was here to meet him. I think she really would have liked him," Jennifer started to weep.

"Then I've definitely got to meet him. You keep that chin up, and never forget that this tardy old man here on his way to fix another problem is always rooting for you. Talk to Anthony and you two setup the time and call me last minute. I promise I'll make it for you sweety," Stanton paused for his daughter.

"Alright, Dad. Next time. We'll try again. Love you," Jennifer told her father.

"I love you too honey," and with that they both hung up.

"Damn!" Stanton tapped the steering wheel with the heel of his palm.

Stanton made his way through the late afternoon traffic until he arrived at the Kennedy Road South exit.

From there, he traveled south to Ellesmere and the location of Transformer Station 132.

And Now: The Butterfly Dragon: We Who Stand On Guard - Episode 01

Ground Zero

The headlights on Stanton's all wheel drive pickup truck cut through the dust and floating debris around the GPS location of transformer 132, though he had to check his dashboard instrumentation for to know how far he was from it for certain.

When he was satisfied that he close enough, he fished through his equipment for a field respirator. One with a full face guard, breathing diaphram and its own oxygen source. Once he'd secured it on his face, and tested it, he grabbed his toolkit and opened the door to the vehicle.

"If this wasn't Cemtech, it had to be one hell of payload. TATP maybe?" Stanton immediately commented upon seeing the entirety of the damage around him.

He started the audio recorder on his mask equipment and began logging his observations verbally.

"From what I'm seeing thus far, its looking like TATP but has some signatures of an RDX based device," Stanton spoke as he approached the charred remains of transformer 132.

"From the immediate blast indicators, it looks like it was spiked explosives. They probably delivered the more stable RDX package, and then compounded its exterior with a Nitrogen Dioxide based compound. Much more unstable, but still safer once they had the detonation package in place. This likely means that the people who planted this were disguised. Possibly as Hydro workers, but possibly with just work coveralls. Enough to fool the local populace, but I bet there's likely a lot of people going over the details of their memories about who was close to this area recently. Might help the investigation," Stanton concluded as he evaluated the blast center within the transformer.

"Looks like the bomber knew what he was doing. He clearly used one of the large scale capacitors as the trigger. The blast center isn't too far from it and it looks like most of the debris is bent away from this epicenter," Stanton examined the remains of the tremendous capacitor contained within the wreckage.

"So from what I'm seeing, he used a secondary device to overload the capacitor. A momentary switch that short circuited the negative pole of the large capacitor, causing it to overload and explode, hence triggering the RDX package, which in turn detonated the Nitrogen Dioxide based addition," Stanton took a sample of the blast dust that had coated the torn metal structure of the transformer casing.

Stanton walked back to his pickup truck and opened the door, removing his mask.

He autodialed a number on his dashboard computer.

"This is Stanton, Bradley Alexander, Unit 54109621EF following up on Papa India Alpha Niner Six One. Do you copy?" asked Stanton of the operator.

"I copy. What's your status 54109621EF?" asked the operator.

"Be advised, there's no NBC threat present onsite. The Autobird read negative on all readings. The explosive was most likely RDX based with a Nitrogen Dioxide compound outer shell for effect. The capacitor was used as the detonator via remote short circuit. Hell of a punch at short range. The transformer's screwed," Stanton reported in.

"Any signs of the device?" asked the operator.

"That's a negative. There's definitely dust from the device packed onto the outer shell of the transformer housing, but its all ripped to crap. There might be enough for a sample or two," Stanton reported as the first fire truck arrived.

"Alright 54109621EF. Keep us advised," the operator responded.

"Fire crews just arrived. I've gotta throw on the weenie outfit for a bit. I'll be in contact before I vacate the sight, over and out," Stanton hung up the dash phone and reached into the glove box for a pair of thick framed glasses, which he quickly donned as the fire crews approached.

"Sir? You are aware that this area is a hazard to your health?" asked the responding Fire Chief.

"I'm with Hydro One. I'm part of their ERIE team? Early Response Investigative Emergency? You might have heard of us before?" Stanton spoke with focus, yet just enough off kilter that it was slightly unsettling.

"I'm sorry sir but no we haven't. I am advising you for your own safety to remove your vehicle until we've thoroughly evaluated the area for any possible threats to your health or safety," the Fire Chief asserted to Stanton, who looked back at her through his thick framed glasses.

"Alright, but I've got to finish up with this transformer first. You never know when these are just going to go off like a whopping load of thunder! See that capacitor there, it can explode with enough force to send a blade of grass through a half an inch of metal. Did ya know that?" Stanton asked, pouring it on thick.

"No sir, I did not. Thank you for warning We'll let you finish up with your evaluation and then let you leave, of course after you've told us of the potential risk," the Fire Chief replied.

"Thank you...?" Stanton began.

"Wendy. I'm Chief Wendy Stipple, thanks for asking," the Fire Chief responded.

"Nice to meet you Wendy. I'm Bradley Stanton at your service. If you ever have a problem with your electrical service, never feel afraid to call the Hydro One ERIE service! Never!" Stanton smiled at her, giving her the heebie geebies.

She left, returning to the firetruck as more crews arrived in the aftermath of the blast.

"Worked like a charm," Stanton said, removing the glasses and returning them to the glove box as he dialed another number on his dash phone.

The phone rang for a moment before he heard a familiar voice.

"Hi Dave, Stanton here. How are you back at HQ?" asked Stanton of his engineering coworker.

"Good. We've got a pool going on how long Elena's date lasts tonight. Are you in?" Dave asked Stanton.

"No. I'm not, but I suggest that you ensure that at least half the proceeds of such a pool go to a charity in Elena's name," Stanton asserted himself.

"Great idea party pooper! So, why the reason for the call big guy?" asked Dave as he monitored the control panel.

"I'm here at transformer substation 132. There's a couple of supercapacitors here that have clearly blown. I'm not too familiar with them but I understand they're a part of your expertise?" asked Stanton.

"That they are as is anything of an electrical engineering nature big guy!" Dave said confidently.

"Oh give me a break," in the background, Stanton heard Elena responding to Dave's overenthusiastic reply.

"So how much juice would it take to set one of these babies off?" asked Stanton.

"You mean like, pop it? Explode?" confirmed Dave.

"Exactly. How much juice?" asked Stanton.

"The current is stepped down in stages, so the amperage goes up, but the voltage goes down considerably. So total energy would be in the ballpark of plus three to five percent voltage over its rating. Anything over that and you're looking at immediate explosion rather than its regular discharging behaviour," Dave fogged his nails with his breath, and then shined them on his lab coat.

"How much force are we talking? How many kilopascals?" asked Stanton.

"For a big one? We're looking at metric tonnes per square centimeter at the epicenter. Enough to give you a real bad day if you're close enough," Dave's head was hit by the same crumpled up paper projectile Elena had earlier crafted.

"Thanks Dave. I should be back at the shop in about an hour. Give Elena my best wishes on her date tonight, will ya?" asked Stanton.

"My money's on an overnight at his place, but I'll give her your regards anyhow. Chow for now!" Dave said, hanging up.

"So that verifies how they crafted their device. They remotely short circuited the payload, causing the capacitor to blow, which triggered the RDX and then the Nitrogen Dioxide compound..." Stanton noted aloud.

Stanton then got out of the truck again, and headed over to the twisted hunk of metal that was once the outer housing of the transformer unit. He swabbed a sample of the burnt dust from the blast caked against it, and put it into a sealed plastic bag. He then sealed that in an unmarked envelope, which he pocketed for the CSOR Nuclear, Biological and Chemical team.

Though he played ignorant, he was well aware that he'd been watched carefully the whole time. Not by the firefighter crew, but by someone else. By someone with skill and then some. By a professional not unlike himself.

MindSpice Crime Scene

"This place looks like the surface of the moon for crying out loud," Halmand commented from the passenger seat of the unmarked car.

"High yield center. Low radius blast," Tricia responded as she parked the car along the side of the street.

"Are you bomb squad now?" asked Halmand sarcastically.

"I did six months in device forensics. Didn't like it, but like all things in our tasking, it stuck," Tricia got out of the car, Halmand following suit.

They walked together as the last ambulance with a medically stabilized victim drove off.

The crime scene was already marked off and several officers were tagging samples all over the property as they advanced towards their person of interest.

"Detective?" Tricia confronted Farnham.

"Glad you could make it to the party. One hell of a fireworks show though you're a little late," Farnham responded.

"Thanks for calling us on this. We probably wouldn't have found out about it until we watched the evening edition," Tricia looked around at the destruction around her.

"I hope I didn't take you off more pressing matters, did I?" asked Farnham.

"No. We were just going over the accounting evidence from the bank in the Forseth case when you called. Their books are as watertight as a frog's ass. You did us a favour by calling us," Halmand added.

"Well you're going to love this one. You know MindSpice obviously?" asked Farnham as he began leading them through the debris to a particular spot in the destruction.

"Who doesn't? They make the operating systems for the majority of smartphones the world over. Their research into Quantum Computing is cutting edge and unparalleled at this time. Their recent entry into the field of AI is kind of startling though," Tricia affirmed that she had a background in the company.

"So we're right now in the dead center of the MindSpice special projects area. This is where the software engineers wrote and tweaked the code for their most advanced AI  software. They call her MAZ," Farnham advised his peers.

"MAZ? Was she killed... uhhh deactivated in the blast?" asked Tricia, unsure of how to word it when an AI is eradicated.

"That's the funny thing about machine intelligence. Its non-local. So as it turns out, MAZ's brain is located in about fifteen different server locations throughout the world, most of them in offshore server hubs. Barges built by MindSpice that operate in international waters so as to avert the steep legal penalties for such research, not to mention the taxes," Farnham explained to them.

"So MAZ is still alive?" asked Tricia.

"MAZ right now, has better chances of surviving the next week than her daddy: Gabriel Asnon who is in stable but critical condition at this time," Farnham told them.

"Detective, I assume there's a good reason that you're telling us this?" asked Halmand as he examined the technology amongst the debris.

"That I am. I though you might like to hear something that one of my technical team found. A tech head I recently enlisted onto my team. Let me show you," Farnham led them over to the wreckage of what appeared to be a speaker and PA system. 

On the ground beside it was a car battery someone had jury rigged to the PA system. Farnham clipped one of the leads with an alligator clip to a metal pin sticking out from the wreckage. When he closed the connection, the speakers came to life:

Mentis And The Millions Of Minds... Macill... Mentis And The Millions Of Minds... Macill


The Lieutenant ran the length of the deck of the aircraft carrier with the hard disk he'd procured from the pilot of a recent reconnaissance mission to the Marshall Islands.

The Lieutenant was careful to stay inside the yellow line, for he wasn't authorized for deck operations. In this particular case, he was baggage. Intelligence baggage, but still baggage as far as all the other sailors were concerned on the American built Nimitz Class Aircraft Carrier.

He continued to jog along his path, eventually finding his way to a set of metal stairs, which he ran up for three flights, and then struggled walking up breathing heavily for the last flight. From there, he let himself into the Strategic Data Center for the craft.

"Major! The hard drive you requested from the Harrier AV-88C Ethel reconnaissance mission sir!" the Lieutenant handed off the hard disk to the senior officer.

"At ease, Lieutenant. Take a seat. Can one of you techs plug this in to the patch bay, so we can see this recon data?" the Major ordered the other crew in the data center.

One of the crew immediately grabbed the device and carefully plugged it into an array of similar drives. He then hit the power button on that specific channel for that drive.

"Drive bay 43, active!" he echoed to one of the station operators, who immediately brought up the RADAR/LIDAR/RECON cross-section, superimposing against their MILSAT feed.

"Alright son, what are we looking at here?" asked Major Harris of the station operator.

"Sir, this is a high detail scan returned by MILSAT at 0630 from the region of the Marshall Islands. North of Submarine Monitoring Station DELTA FOTROT 37-NINER by about five nautical miles or about eight clicks, sir," the station operator reported.

"What's that glitch in the image, sailor?" asked Major Harris.

"Sir, you tell us?" the station operator responded.

"Why are you even showing this to me then? Are you reporting faulty equipment?" asked Major Harris.

"No sir. Because sir, yesterday at the same time, about two hundred and thirty nautical miles or three hundred clicks, we detected this... at 0629..." the station operator reported.

The image on screen looked eerily similar to the other. A large misshaped glitch in the image as if they were looking through a giant magnifying glass at the ocean floor near that spot.

"How would you explain this anomaly son?" asked Major Harris.

"Sir, I've never seen anything like this before, but I have a friend in the University Of Washington in the special operations survey program that indicated to me that a recent stealth technology would produce warped images like this one," the station operator confirmed.

"Son, you realize that sharing strategic data with civilians is grounds for a court martial?" asked Major Harris.

"Yes sir, but my friend hasn't seen these images. Instead, he's working with a software simulation that renders the technology employed for that stealth system. Here's the image of a Montana Class Battleship employing this theoretical stealth technology. It was sent to me by my friend directly from his software," the station operator showed Major Harris the image.

Although it had the tell tale signs of computer generated imagery, it looked uncannily familiar.

It appeared like someone had taken the screen capture in the presence of a large magnifying glass lens that had warped the image and magnified the sea floor beneath the allegedly concealed Battleship.

"There's an entire Battleship in that glitch?" confirmed Major Harris.

"Yes sir. They call it ELSA. Electromagnetic Lensing Stealth Aperture technology," the station operator reported to his command officer.

"Son, you may have just earned yourself a promotion for taking the initiative on this like that. These details are to stay in this room. I've got to make a call to Washington and a certain Five Star General there. Dismissed sailor. To everyone in the data center, next port of call, your drinks are on me," Major Harris left the data center and made his way to communications.

The station operator examined the lensing image from their reconnaissance mission, realizing that they had enough intel to rebuild the scale of the lensing effect, which he immediately began working on. If they had a scale key of the image, they could determine the class of ship concealed within.

To be continued... in The Butterfly Dragon: We Who Stand On Guard - Episode 02

PS: NO, I'm not trying to be Tony Stark. Is that now the destiny of every man who grows a beard and goatee?

Copyright © 2023 Brian Joseph Johns