The Butterfly Dragon: We Who Stand On Guard - Episode 05 (First Draft Finished August 15, 2023 4:30 PM EST)

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Excerpts From The Butterfly Dragon: We Who Stand On Guard - Episode 04

Trent has managed to finagle his way onto a shift working with his friend and co-worker James, under the premise that it would allow him to get closer to a woman that had been a twinkle in his eye for some time: Rysalin.

Trent manages to break away from his current shift duties long enough to appreciate some of Rysalin's work, and of course to engage her in conversation at the buffet of a lavish wedding reception.

"So in addition to being a work of art yourself, you're also an artist?" Trent asked her, as he admired her artisanship, looking for a way to start a conversation with her.

"I'm sorry, I didn't get your name," she maintained her stature very professionally and Trent, being a writer astutely observed that many men had already likely hit on her that night.

"Forgive me. I'm Trent. I hope that it wouldn't be a bother for you to tell me your name?" asked Trent, proceeding very carefully while hiding that fact well.

"A bother? What makes you think that I would relinquish that such as my name to someone that hasn't earned it?" asked Rysalyn, her face concealing her true emotions within.

"We can continue our conversation later perhaps?" he asked her politely.

"If time permits, we can. You've been here for some time. As you venture in your quest, it might be good to check in with me so that I know your progress," she answered him encouragingly.

"That I shall certainly do milady," Trent said, continuing with their little role-play as he walked with her. 

Their progress forward was halted when Trent slammed into a very solid wall of a man.

Trent looked up and into the eyes of the biggest man he'd ever seen. The man scowled at Trent for his carelessness and the embarrassment he'd caused.

"I beg your pardon sir! I was so distracted that I missed even a mountain of a man as yourself..." Trent responded to the man, whose face flattened into a menacing scowl.

"Dare you show such a face in the presence of a lady!" Trent, though terrified of the man, spoke his mind in protection of the woman he was accompanying.

The man observed Rysalyn, whose face appeared ever so frightened if not to back Trent's words, then perhaps in sincerity.

The giant of a man quickly changed his demeanor, suddenly embarrassed that he'd frightened a lady.

"Now how about that tour?" asked another very well dressed man, who'd stepped between Rysalyn and Trent while he faced the giant.

Rysalyn winked at Trent as she and the man left on the tour.

"Sorry kid, I had to move in," the man said to Trent as Rysalyn led him on their tour.

Trent stood beside the giant as they both watched her leave with the other man.

"Don't worry. You'll see her again. I'm sure of it," the giant said to Trent reassuringly with a thick Baltic accent.

"Thanks. No hard feelings, eh?" asked Trent.

"You watch your step, I watch my face. No harm done," the giant replied to Trent.

"Deal," Trent quickly replied, barely able to shake hands with the giant due to the size difference of their paws.

Trent continues his shift, helping James to haul the luggage of a wealthy guest to the elevators when he spots Rysalin giving a tour to one of the guests. He follows them covertly, watching them.

A short distance away, he spotted Rysalyn and the man to whom she was giving the tour. They had just rounded the corner where Rysalyn was directing him towards the Mezzanine fountain area.

"Forgive me Mrs. Krantz, but I must depart. I'm sure we'll see you at the reception. I'm Trent. If you need anything, don't feel afraid to ask," Trent smiled at Mrs. Krantz, and James nodded to his friend and coworker.

Trent watched as the man to which Rysalyn was giving the tour grabbed a full plate of food from a nearby room service cart. Rysalyn by that time was looking the other way, still delivering the dialogue of her tour when the man slipped off with the plate of food, heading in the direction of an approaching rotund man. The man with the plate of food then tripped as if it were a not-so-well practiced prat fall, dumping all of the food on the plate into the rotund man's face.

The rotund man began cursing and swearing at Rysalyn's tour guest as he tried apologizing profusely for the alleged accident. The rotund man began wiping the food and sauce from his face with his hands as Trent watched from behind a corner.

"My lovely tour guide here told me the men's facility is just over there..." the man apologizing pointed out the washrooms to the rotund man.

When inside the bathroom, Trent finds a scene of foul play as Mr. Krantz has been rendered unconscious, seemingly with the assistance of Rysalin.

"Hurry up! Damn this guy's heavy!" the man said to the lady.

The lady remained silent.

"We need one of those luggage carts. That and a blanket and we should be able to get him to the pickup point," the man stated.

"I'll get one of the bellhops to bring one," the woman spoke softly, her voice eerily familiar.

"Try the guy you charmed earlier. He was practically falling all over you..." the smaller man said to her.

"You mean Trent? No. I don't want to get him involved in this," Rysalyn replied, much to Trent's surprise.

"Well you'd better find one soon before one of the other employees comes looking," the smaller man said.

"Are you always this difficult to work with, Foller?" asked Rysalyn.

"Objectively or subjectively?" Foller evaded her question.

Trent reveals himself to Rysalyn and Foller, offering to get a luggage cart for them. Foller accepts, albeit very threateningly. When he returns with the luggage cart, they load Mr. Krantz on and conceal him for the trip to the VIP parking area.

Trent pushed and the cart rolled rather easily on the marble floor. They navigated through the first door successfully but when they got out of the second, pushing the cart became much more difficult on the carpeted halls. Trent pushed with all of the strength he could muster and the cart slowly began moving once again.

They eventually arrive in the parking area without being detected, and unload Mr. Krantz' unconscious body into the back of the van, where he is examined by a Physician who attempts to identify him. Foller impatiently pushes the Doc, as their entire mission relies on having the correct man.

"Talk to me Doc!" Foller pushed the man.

"Just checking him now. He's a bit high on the cholesterol scale. He should cut down on greasy foods. Eat more veggies and the like," the Doc remarked.

"Why don't you tell him that when he wakes up, Doc. Heck, you can give him a full physical for all I care. I just want to make sure we have our guy!" Foller insisted.

"He's a very close match," the Doc replied.

"Close only counts with horseshoes and hand grenades, Doc," Foller quickly blurted back.

"No. I mean biometrically, this man is very close to Mister Eck on many levels, but unfortunately this is not the Mister Eck we're looking for," the Doc responded firmly with his prognosis.

The van very suddenly skidded to a halt, Trent grabbing hold of Rysalyn to protect her as they slammed into the front cage of the van. The car behind them skidded to a halt, nearly colliding with the back of the van. The driver pulled around cursing and swearing as he drove past them, holding his horn.

"What?!!!" Foller shouted in question at the Doc.

"As you can see from the calm look in my eyes, I said very clearly that this is not the Mister Eck for which we are looking," the Doc replied collected and rationally.


Meanwhile, back at the hotel, Electrical Engineers Elena, Dave and Stanton make their way from their room down to the main floor. During the trip, Stanton explains their tasking for the contract job he procured for the hotel. What he doesn't tell them is that the contract is actually the cover for covert operation to apprehend and extract the elusive Mr. Eck.

"Sorry, that was one of my old friends. So here's what we've got to do. Dave, I'm going to need you to get over to the power relay which should be in the Oak room behind one of the panels, which is closed and off limits right now or so I've been assured. I'm going to need you to cut the power to the lighting for the Mezzanine and Ballrooms at a specific time, and only for a few moments, giving me enough time to rewire their Muzak, Intercom system and A/V System, routing it through the lighting relay, as its currently routed through the industrial rated 600 volt line for some strange reason. I'll be switching it to the 120 volt service," Stanton explained to Dave.

"And what can I do while he's doddling with the 120 volt service?" asked Elena, poking fun at Dave.

"I have something special in mind for you, however we're going to have to be covert about this. The service window for emergency repairs to CRTC covered communications systems states that outages of longer than two minutes are required to be reported to the CRTC and Hydro One. We're going to be fixing a system that powers the cellular receiving tower of the Sheraton Centre, but because we're doing these repairs within the two minute window, we aren't required to fill out CRTC paperwork and because we're Hydro One Engineers, we can oversee this ourselves without the paperwork. So when Dave cuts the line for the 600 volt to 120 volt transfer I'm working on, you're going cut the line powering the cellular tower for exactly one minute and thirty seconds. Within that time, I should be able to patch both systems, while ensuring that the interoperability of the Intercom and Cellular systems of the hotel are up to standards. Got it?" asked Stanton of Elena.

"Pre or post transformer power?" confirmed Elena.

"Between the cellular tower and the transformer, not between the transformer and the power source," Stanton raised his eyebrows to be clear to Elena.

"But won't that cut off cellular communications for that time frame?" asked Elena, already knowing full well that Stanton understood what he was doing.

"Yes, it will, but given the fact we're doing a transfer from the 600 volt service to the 120 volt service, there's the risk of a capacitor spike or even a rapid discharge. There's a rather large capacitor between the cellular tower and transformer, so I need you to avoid the spike. A one minute and thirty second outage is negligible. Two or more minutes is out of the question and will get us in trouble. A lot of trouble," Stanton clarified to Elena.

"Alright. I think I can handle it," Elena smiled, enjoying the technical challenge.

"I know you can. The both of you. That's why I picked you for the gig," Stanton smiled at both of them, nervously checking his watch again.

"Wait a second big guy. You didn't choose us. We chose you," Dave smiled from behind his steampunk goggles.

"One more thing. We have to have all of this done before nine-thirty. I'll be giving you the go-ahead signal via the conference line I setup on our field radios in exactly thirteen minutes. Have everything ready by that time and those systems down for that minute and a half window," Stanton told them as they stepped out of the elevator.

"And what time is it now?" Elena asked Stanton.

"It's nine-twelve," Stanton responded, handing them each a toolkit from his tool cart and sending them on their way.

Stanton in the meantime quickly pulled his tool cart into the service corridor beside the elevators, parking it behind some of the dinner and luggage carts already there. He then left the corridor and started on his way towards the ballrooms to find his target.


Meanwhile, Inspectors Tricia Camden and William Halmand of the RCMP along with CIA operative Linda Delmore have recently finished a meeting with and the debriefing of MindSpice founder Gabriel Asnon, who recovers from the MindSpice bombing in the lap of a secret intensive care unit. After their debriefing, Tricia and Halmand volunteer to drop Linda off at a hotel party.

"So this is the place we're dropping you off at, its a party?" asked Halmand.

"Not exactly. Its a wedding reception. There's going to be a lot of nationals from around the globe there. Its a big deal, and the bride and groom have a lot of connections. One of those connections, thought it might be in our interest to attend, so he sent me," Linda told Halmand as they drove east along Queen Street, just passing Yonge Street.

"You're sure there's nothing more that might interest us?" asked Tricia.

"Why, are you looking to crash the wedding reception of the family of some well known globalists?" asked Linda with a healthy dose of American sarcasm.

"No. Not at all. I was just trying get the best value on our end of the deal," Tricia admitted.

"I'll tell you what. If I hear anything related to your case log, I'll be happy to negotiate another deal to exchange information," Linda kept her cards close.

"Fair enough. Just have those financial spreadsheets to us by noon tomorrow," Tricia said as they pulled up in front of the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel.

"Consider it done. Thanks for everything. Its been a real pleasure," Linda said, smiling as one of the porters opened her door for her.

"Have a good time!" Tricia said to Linda as she stepped out.

"Don't forget to call us later if you need us to come and pick you up. Don't talk to any strange men, and be home before the street lights come on young lady!" Halmand said to Linda, who laughed at their antics as she got of the car.

Tricia and Halmand pulled off into the streets of downtown Toronto as Linda made her way into the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel. 

Linda would head to her room first to freshen up, and then to the wedding reception where Elena, Dave and Stanton would also be.

After all, they were all there for the same target: Mister Eck.

The Butterfly Dragon: We Who Stand On Guard - Episode 05

First Date

Foller drove towards the hotel, in a van that was entirely silent except for the creaking of the wheel locks fastened to Mr. Krantz' gurney. The failure of their mission was a great thorn in the side of everyone in the van, except for three.

The Doctor, who'd correctly identified that Mr. Krantz was not in fact their mission target but in all probability, a well chosen look-alike. A security measure to protect the real Mr. Eck.

Trent, who'd felt terrified with the whole prospect of what they'd done, though he'd invested in it only because of his faith in the only woman in the van.

Finally, Rysalyn, for she was never comfortable with such missions, nor working with maniacal, egotistical men such as Foller though she knew that men like him were often the right ones for missions such as this.

Trent leaned in closer to Rysalyn and spoke.

"So how did you become involved in this other line of work?" Trent asked her.

"That's a long story. One I'd rather not get into," Rysalyn spoke into his ear.

"But you've been involved the whole time you've been working for the hotel?" asked Trent of Rysalyn.

"Yes, though I applied for the job on my own. They gave me references and contacts, and the rest is history," Rysalyn replied.

There was an awkward moment of silence between them, before Rysalyn spoke again.

"What about you? When did you start working for the hotel?" Rysalyn asked him, perhaps trying to change the subject.

"Six years ago. I was a struggling playwright who thought he'd be inspired by working for the hotel industry. I was very much, but because of the sudden change in economics, writing for live theatre became a sort of passing interest to me, so I focused on film and television scripts, while developing my lucrative career as a bell hop," Trent spoke into her ear, just barely touching her cheek.

"Has that changed because of tonight?" Rysalyn asked him.

Trent shook his head, a smile barely visible in the passing streetlights as they drove.

"Yes. You could say that, but mostly... I've been inspired by you," he admitted to her honestly.

"Then things are very complicated. You picked a very difficult person over which to feel inspired," she turned away from him for a moment, looking out of the tinted windows of the van at the passing streetlights.

She then turned to him and gave him a kiss on the cheek.

"What was that for?" asked Trent.

"It was a thank you. Its been a long time since I've had a boy... I mean man, feel that way about me. I've got baggage you know. Not just in working for a covert organization," Rysalyn told him.

"So do I. No better. No worse. Just on a different channel, that's all. My life's kind of like the White Lotus, you know that show? And yours from the looks of it is more like The Little Drummer Girl," Trent told Rysalyn.

"I don't get to watch much television, but I'd be open to watching an episode of each of those shows with you. If you can get past this stuff..." Rysalyn offered, whispering in his ear.

"That's a date. I'm on it," Trent replied as their lips were about to meet for the first time.


"If you two have something to talk about, make sure the rest of us hear it!" Foller shouted back to them, having spied them through the rear view mirror.

"Can I offer you something for your high blood pressure? Perhaps some cyanide?" asked the Doctor.

"Are we all clear on how we're going to handle this? Stick to the story we discussed, and we should get through this fine. Oh and Trent, if you mess up, I'll be on you like a dirty shirt. Dirty enough that you'll never work in a job like this one again, let alone for the public. Do you understand?!" confirmed Foller as the van pulled into the VIP parking lot once again.

Trent nodded once affirmatively, but said nothing in response.

When the van stopped, Foller and the service men got out of the van, walking around to the back and checking to make sure that nobody was looking.

They then opened the back door and hauled Mr. Krantz off of the gurney. The service men carried him over to a space between two cars and leaned him over the hood of one, slowly peeling his clothes from his body, leaving only his undershirt and pants.

Foller then returned with a full bottle of whiskey. He opened it and began pouring its contents onto Mr. Krantz' body and clothing. When the bottle was nearly empty, he balanced the bottle against the windshield between the wiper blades. Foller then leaned under the van, and wiped the clothing they'd pulled from Mr. Krantz in the grease beneath the transmission of the van. He then got went over to Mr. Krantz and wiped his hair, face and shirt with some of the grease, leaving some for his pants. He then tossed the clothing into the back of the van, and sent the service men away with it.

"Trent. Watch and learn. If you mess up. This is going to be you," Foller threatened him.

Foller then pulled his cellular phone and dialed a number.

"Hello? Yes, I've got an emergency. There's a drunken man swearing at hotel guests and threatening them with a bottle in the VIP parking lot of the Sheraton Centre. I think he's vandalized some of the cars too... Yes, send someone over right away before somebody gets hurt," Foller hung up the phone and pocketed it.

He then walked over to Mr. Krantz and checked him one last time to ensure that they'd taken all of his identification. When he was certain, he made one last call.

"We're finished. You can re-activate the security cameras now," he said to whomever was on the other end of the phone and then hung up.

"Won't they just give him a breathalizer to determine if he's drunk? I mean he didn't actually drink anything. Won't that be a giveaway?" asked Trent.

"No. I had the Doc inject him with the equivalent of Moonshine. A very high potency alcohol. He'll exhibit all of the symptoms of drunkedness for hours and will likely spend a week or two in their custody before the dust settles. By that time, we'll be well away from any risk of exposure. Now quick, get back into the hotel. The cameras will be coming back on soon, and I can't risk us being seen together. Most of all, stick to your story and don't tell anyone a thing!" Foller said, pointing to the door.

Trent walked with Rysalyn, getting the door for her and the two of them returned to their work assignments. As they parted ways, Rysalyn turned to wave to him, finding him walking backwards if only to keep her in his eye sight as long as he could. She blushed, and then urged him to continue. He reluctantly returned his gaze forward and made his way back to the ballroom reception area.

Diplomats And Dignitaries

Linda had changed into an elegant black dress, with matching heels and was now on her way to the wedding reception, her purse in hand. After she'd signed the registry, one of the wait staff offered her a glass of sparkling wine, which she accepted, taking a sip before she continued onwards and into the ballroom.

As her view panned across the room, she saw many people she'd recognized from around the world. The Canadian Finance Minister was in a conversation with her counterpart from the United States. The Polish Ambassador to Canada was there with his wife. There was the Chief of INTERPOL Northern EU Operations. The new CEO of Future Tangent Industries, a woman of remarkable achievements. The frontrunner for the position of CEO of MindSpice, in the aftermath of the bombing was also present, and Linda kept it all secret with her best poker face.

When she spotted the clique of people for whom she was there, she immediately looked for anyone neighbouring them with whom she could speak. When she saw Ema Dusanka, the Slovakian Minister Of Agriculture in a conversation with Lucas Oliver, her counterpart from Alberta, she quickly strode over and introduced herself.

"I'm so sorry to interrupt, but I'm here alone and I'm in desperate need of some conversation and company," Linda gave them her opening line.

"You're Linda Delmore, aren't you? I met you last year at the Slovakian Bazaar Conference. How are you Linda?" asked Ema of Linda.

"Of course. Ema, how have you been keeping?" Linda asked politely.

"Good. Under a bit of pressure given the current economic demand for grain throughout the EU, but fine nonetheless. Oh Lucas, this is Linda Delmore. She specializes in territory sales for a large importer exporter out of the United States," Ema introduced Linda to Lucas.

"Pleased to meet you Linda. Are you in agriculture?" Lucas asked her.

"No, we're in office supplies, with a bit of office tech as well, but we provide critical office supply support to many in the agriculture business. Especially for crop and land management," Linda replied, ensuring that their conversation didn't abruptly.

"That's good to know. Well Ema and I were just discussing the challenges to meeting the demand for grain, given the recent strain on supply in the EU..." Lucas began as Linda focused on the conversation with her target clique.

"...we'll be moving ten thousand coin by the morning into that account..." Linda overheard part of the conversation from her target clique.

She quickly calculated the value of that transaction to be close to thirty million USD.

"Miss, could I have a word with you?!" a man in a construction hat, wearing very casual work clothing had approached Linda.

"I'm sorry, but this engagement is by shirt and tie you realize?" asked Ema of the man.

He quickly fished a stand of silk cloth out of his pocket, and hand tied a bow tie in front of them without a mirror.

"Look, I'm doing some work in the hotel and I need to warn you that the power is going to be interrupted momentarily. Now Miss, if you could come with me for a moment, you asked me how much trouble it would be to have an extra phone line installed in your room?" Stanton asked Linda.

"Oh... yes... I remember. I'm so sorry. I've got to deal with this for a bit. I shall return," Linda said gracefully as she followed Stanton just outside of the ballroom.

"What the heck are you doing here?!" asked Stanton of Linda.

"I could ask you the same," Linda responded just as accusingly.

"I'm here on business," Linda replied.

"Company business?" Stanton confirmed.

Linda nodded innocently.

"Great! You'd better not be here for the same reason, and regardless, stay out of my way!" Stanton demanded of her.

"I've got permission to be here too you know," Linda corrected him.

"Alright big guy, I'm in position, ready to go with the service change when you're ready," Dave's voice came in over his ear piece.

"Same here, Stanton. I've already got the preliminaries ready, so I just need to snip one line, and wait for your signal to reconnect to the secondary service," Elena assured Stanton.

"You're stars," Stanton responded to Elena and Dave through his ear piece microphone.

"Stars? Just who are you talking to?Are you on a job?" confirmed Linda with Stanton.

"I can neither comment nor discuss the nature of my activities here. Now if you'll clear out so I can get this done without cleaning up after your mess like the last time, we'll be fine," Stanton asserted.

"My mess? That wasn't my mess!" Linda responded, but by that time the PA system had come to life and the band was readying themselves on stage.

"Good evening everyone and welcome to the Wedding Reception And Ballroom Party of Nina and Rene Rostislava! Tonight we will be playing a set of popular big band music with a focus on Slovakian tradition, though for our first piece, we'd like to introduce to you Professor Bryce Maxwell on Piano as he and the band play the first dance for the bride and groom," the master of ceremonies introduced the band and the spotlight focused on the bride and groom on the dance floor.

"This is The Way You Look Tonight, by Harry Connick Jr. For the bride and groom," Bryce introduced the song as he played the first phrases on the grand piano.

"Look, we'll continue this later. I have a party to attend," Linda finished their conversation and returned to Ema and Lucas as they watched the first dance.

"Stanton, you aren't going to cut off their power in the middle of their first dance, are you?" asked Elena of him through his ear piece.

Stanton checked the time, and saw that they only had nine minutes remaining.

"No... But we're going to do so right after," Stanton said, now sounding a bit frustrated at the challenges this mission presented.

"Alright. You two stay on standby. When I give the word, we're going ahead with it whether you like it or not," Stanton asserted to them.

"Party pooper," Elena said to him playfully.

"I'd have to agree with her big guy," Dave added.

Stanton remained silent and kept close to his target area, while maintaining a low profile. He then switched channels on his headset and spoke into the microphone.

"Have the team ready in eleven minutes and standing by in the receiving area. The VIP parking lot is ripe with heat right now," Stanton told the extraction team as the song played in the background.

Meanwhile, both Elena and Dave could hear the music playing in the background just beyond where they were performing the service transfer.

"I have to admit, this is kind of a fun job to be working on. I've always liked weddings," Elena admitted, though she'd never settled down herself.

"Really? You oughta try it. I remember when Carol and I got married, and our first dance..." Dave said, reminiscing.

"What'd they play for Carol and you?" asked Elena.

"You can't remember? You were there!" Dave responded in shock.

"It was a long time ago, Dave," Elena responded.

"Yeah, it was. I still remember it like it was yesterday. Back before we had Hana, Sherry and Joey," Dave recalled the time long before they had the responsibilities of raising their three children.

Hana, at seventeen was the oldest, while Sherry was eleven and Joey was eight.

"No wonder weddings are such emotional times..." Dave said as he remembered everything.

"Alright you two, knock it off. We're just about to do the transfer. Just another minute and a half. When I say go, you've got to be right on the line. Timing is of the essence," Stanton said, keeping his eye on the same circle of people Linda had been since she'd arrived.

"Gotcha big guy. We'll time this one perfect," Dave said, already waiting at the starter gate. 

"I'm as ready as I'll ever be," Elena said confidently.

The time ebbed away as the first dance finished. Those in the ballroom applauded the bride and the groom, including Bryce, who stood up from the Piano for them before the applause finished and he left the stage.

"Let the festivities begin!" the master of ceremonies took to the microphone and the party was about to start.

Somewhere just outside of the ballroom, Stanton gave the order.

"Alright team, let's do it on three. One, two... three!" he said into his headset, watching for his target, Mr. Eck to became sufficiently distant from his clique for Stanton to make his move.

Under The Light Of Darkness

Mr. Eck applauded for the bride and groom as did most of the other guests. Those who didn't were likely personal body guards or hired security for the premises. Before the lights went out, Stanton had been able to discern who were the sheep and who were the wolves within the room. Mr. Eck was definitely one of the sheep, but protected by many wolves.

"Lights are out. How's it going on your end big guy?" asked Dave of Stanton.

"I'm just doing the transfer now. I've got a couple high gauge leads to replace, should take me under a minute..." Stanton stuck to his cover story in order to spare Elena and Dave the real details of what was actually going on.

As the screams started in the ballroom, he removed his construction hardhat quickly and replaced it with a full face balaclava and a pair of low profile night vision goggles. He flicked them on and made his way into the pitch black ballroom.

Stanton being able to see as if it were a bright day, was able to zero in on his prey, for he was the wolf of wolves amongst them.

Mr. Eck felt the cold steel of a sub-sonic silencer pressed to the lower back right of his skull, just beneath the ear. Into his other ear Stanton spoke:

"You so much as make a peep, and these guests are going to be dry cleaning your brains from their party wear..." Stanton said quietly and fiercely enough to ensure that Mr. Eck immediately knew who was in charge.

"Walk. I'll steer. No funny moves or its game over for you..." Stanton said again, pushing Mr. Eck forward.

Mr. Eck began to walk as Stanton steered him towards the service door at the back of the ballroom. Stanton steered him through most of the guests, pushing others aside as need be until they arrived at the service door.

"Open it and step through. Don't try anything or they'll be cleaning your brain matter from the floor..." Stanton assured him.

Mr. Eck opened the door, and walked through it slowly and carefully guided by Stanton. He was surprised to find that there were only five of the catering staff in the service corridor, whom he assumed must have been caught by the blackout. They were probably on their way into the ballroom when the darkness struck.

"We're turning a corner left up here, and then you're going to walk twenty paces, turn right and face the wall," Stanton ordered him.

Stanton had to prey upon the fact that a man like Mr. Eck had many enemies. Not just law enforcement or authorities, but numerous enemies from the underground with whom he chose to deal. Some of those contacts from the underworld wanted him dead, and it was this camouflage that Stanton was employing to ensure that Mr. Eck followed his orders. If Mr. Eck for a moment suspected that Stanton was a member of investigating authorities, he'd have made a commotion and gotten his own body guards involved. They would have quickly overwhelmed Stanton and the mission would have been over before it had started.

 By ensuring the Mr. Eck was kept under the impression that he was being taken by someone from the underworld, Stanton was guaranteeing that Mr. Eck wouldn't try anything. As long as he feared that his assailant might at any moment blow his brains out, something investigating authorities would never do unless under fire from him themselves, he was very compliant.

Mr. Eck turned left as Stanton guided him.

"Look, I can pay you more than Torino's paying you. I'll give you double. You can tell him you blew my brains out and..." Mr. Eck's panic set in and he now feared for his life and was trying to find anyway he could to save himself.

"Quiet!" Stanton pressed the silencer hard against Mr. Eck's ear, and he quickly got the message.

After twenty paces, Mr. Eck turned and faced the wall. By that point Stanton had holstered his weapon under his arm.

He was preparing the cuffs and gag when someone thrust a bright light into his night vision field of view.

Stanton immediately went for his weapon, rolling to the floor and back up onto his feet again to quickly change position in case he'd been made by an armed assailant with a flash light. Still blinded, Mr. Eck turned and fled in the direction of the flash light, thinking that it might be his body guards. Stanton quickly hit the filter on his night vision goggles and they adjusted to the sudden intrusion of light. 

Back near the corner they'd turned, he saw another man wearing a similar balaclava to his own. Mr. Eck ran for him, only following the beam of the flash light assuming that to be his safety. When Mr. Eck arrived, the man in the balaclava quickly grabbed him. Once again, Mr. Eck felt another sub-sonic silencer pressed to his ear.

"Half and half!" the man now holding Mr. Eck said to Stanton.

"Two for the price of one!" Stanton replied, referring to the fact that if the other man shot Mr. Eck, that Stanton would shoot him, and essentially have them both.

"You get the credit, but I share in it," the man holding Mr. Eck clarified, knowing all too well that Stanton wouldn't shoot.

Stanton clenched his teeth. There was only one man who'd have attempted such a thing with him.

It was Foller.

"Deal! Lights out, now!" Stanton responded.

"Very well," Foller responded, pushing Mr. Eck away from him and then delivering a quick strike to the head with the butt of his hand gun.

Mr. Eck fell to the service corridor floor unconscious.

"Not that light, you idiot! I meant your flash light!" Stanton holstered his weapon as he quickly made his way over to Mr. Eck.

"Oops. You know, when you say oops, that just makes any mistake alright," Foller responded sarcastically, switching off his flash light and switching on his own night vision goggles.

"He'd better not have suddenly developed a case of amnesia after you hit him, or I'll be dealing with you directly," Stanton threatened.

"Look. I'm suffering from a little job insecurity anxiety right now, and you as my co-worker should be just a bit more supportive. Oh and thanks for letting me in on your gig here," Foller responded to Stanton's threat.

"You always were an asshole," Stanton said, hefting Mr. Eck up in a fire fighter's carry.

"I take it the swiss chair and harness on your combat webbing is for him? Clever, but its easier to put this on a conscious man you know? You should have let me in from the start, that way I would have known not to knock him out when you said lights out," Foller said sarcastically.

"Do you have an off switch, or am I just going to have to unplug you?" Stanton asked Foller.

"You're bigger than me. You hold him up, and I'll put the harness on him," Foller suggested.

Stanton had little choice but to go along with the idea.

A fifteen seconds later, Stanton was checking to ensure the harness was secure.

"What? You don't trust me? I'm shocked!" Foller responded to Stanton's double checking.

"If he 'accidentally' fell to his death, it'd be on my dossier and you'd be clear of whole thing. I'd be a fool to trust you," Stanton responded after he'd ensured that the harness was secure.

"Not much of a fall from the ground floor here," Foller reasoned.

"Out front, the hotel's ground level. Out back here in the receiving area its four floors down. That's enough to kill a man. Get the window. There's a latch," Stanton ordered Foller.

Foller unlatched the window, and opened it, surprised at how easily it did.

"So you were here earlier. You even greased the hinges. Good thinking. And look at this! There's a rigged line with the pitons already set. Someone was really thinking ahead!" Foller continued with his sarcasm.

"You're observant today. I rigged it earlier, and checked it with the AutoRig drone," Stanton told him.

Stanton reached out the window and grabbed the line, fumbling with one hand for the clips as he held Mr. Eck up with the other. Once he'd clipped Mr. Eck securely to the line, he clamped the swiss chair to the side of the window frame and then hauled Mr. Eck up and over the window ledge. There, four floors above the receiving area, Mr. Eck dangled from the rappelling line.

Stanton then switched his radio on.

"Extraction team. Sending the package down now," Stanton spoke into his headset.

"Copy that. At the pickup point now," one of the extraction team members responded to Stanton.

Stanton them slowly eased the pressure off the clamp of the swiss chair, and Mr. Eck's unconscious body slowly descended along the wall. Stanton let him down carefully until he was on the receiving ground floor. He watched to ensure that the extraction team got their man, and then quickly disconnected the swiss chair and grabbed a hammer from his tool belt to extract the pitons. When he'd done that, he wound the line up, wrapping it quickly around his arm and then clipped it to his tool belt.

"All done. Now close and latch the window, and remove your night vision goggles," Stanton ordered Foller.

Lights On

Dave sat in the dark, an LED on his hard hat illuminating his work area.

"How are things on going your end Elena?" asked Dave.

"Just fine. Waiting for Stanton's word to switch the line back on," Elena responded.

"Same here. Just a little quiet, that's all," Dave added.

"Do you remember that time you were fiddling with installing that emergency backup generator in your home?" asked Elena, recalling the situation quite well.

"That I do. I think I had just finished wiring it and was about try it, when Hana tossed a firecracker down the stairs after I'd thrown the switch on the power," Dave started telling the story.

"And..." Elena urged him onward with the story.

"I smelled the firecracker and I was thinking... Oh no, I've cooked a capacitor. So I check the LED readout I installed on the panel to see if the generator was running or not. Then right at that moment, thwap! The fire cracker went off!" Dave recalled.

"I screamed at the top of my lungs, thinking that a capacitor on the generator had blown. I was cursing and swearing at that point that it might cost me another thousand bucks to fix the whole mess, when Hana came down the stairs laughing. At that moment, I knew that was my daughter," Dave smiled, recalling the situation.

"I thought you might like to know, that it was Carol and I that put her up to it," Elena told him.

"Nooo! You two definitely have one coming to you then!" Dave responded.

"Yeah. See if you can top that," Elena egged him on.

In the meeting room where Dave was situated, the door suddenly opened, though from his position in the room, he couldn't see who it was nor could they see him on account of the blackout.

"The sofa's here... come on honey!" Dave heard the sound of a man's voice.

"Should we be doing this? I mean its sooo risky..." a woman's voice responded.

"Isn't that the idea?" the man said to the woman.

Dave then heard the sound of silence as the couple began kissing. He then heard the sound of what sounded like clothing being removed, and a belt buckle hitting the floor.

"Uhhh, Elena? I'm not alone in here!" Dave said, whispering into his headset.

"What, you mean there's guests in there with you?" asked Elena, still laughing about Dave's earlier story.

"Sort of... I think they're a couple... they're... doing it!" Dave told her.

"They're doing what? The electrician's work?" confirmed Elena.

"No. I mean they're doing it! Like the birds and the bees!" Dave said to her.

"Really?!" confirmed Elena.

"Alright, how are you two holding out?" asked Stanton who suddenly arrived on their radio channel.

"Good, just waiting on your word," Elena responded.

"Fine, I've still got some stuff here to do before I'm ready..." Dave bluffed, not wanting to interrupt the couples moment or for him to be found there in their midst.

"We need that power now! We've got ten seconds before we're in violation of the CRTC laws about having that cellular tower down...!" Stanton asserted to them.

"I'm ready!" Elena confirmed.

"Uhhh... alright. I'm ready..." Dave responded uneasily.

"Then hit it! Light it up!" Stanton ordered them.

Elena closed the circuit first, waiting for Dave to finish up with the main power rerouting. A second later, Dave had finished his work, and had flipped the main switch on the power.

Throughout the entire hotel, the lights came on after having been out for a little under a minute and a half. Dave struggled to quickly get the cover to the panel on, when the couple spotted him. He turned to face them.

"I'm sorry... I was just in here doing some electrical... and uhhhh... you must be with the wedding? Tell the bride and groom congratulations..." Dave said happily, trying a to change the subject, a completely different strategy to weasel his way out of the room.

The shoe hit him first, and then as he ran for the door, her shoe and words.

"Get lost you pervert!" she yelled at him as he got himself out the door, her other shoe hitting the door as it closed.

As Dave stepped out into the hall, he saw one of the hotel supervisors on his way to the door and ready to enter the room.

"I wouldn't go in there if I were you..." Dave told him, quickly walking back to the elevators.

The hotel supervisor ignored Dave's suggestion, and he heard a woman's scream moments later.

"I warned him..." Dave said as he picked up his pace.

Sudden Recovery

Mr. Krantz sat in the back of a Police cruiser, uncuffed, for he'd not yet been arrested. The Police claimed to have put him there for his own safety, but in all honesty, they were as concerned for their own for Mr. Krantz was in no condition to be dealing with people.

He was clearly intoxicated, more than three times over the legal limit to drive, though they'd taken him into their custody and were looking into the possibility of charging him with Drunk And Disorderly. What had really angered him though was that his identification had been removed from him and that he'd clearly been setup.

When the Police had questioned him on the matter, he'd become unruly. He'd even claimed that he was a guest at the wedding reception, and that several people in the party could positively identify him.

One of Mr. Eck's security team emerged outside through the VIP parking doors. He then walked over to the Police and began speaking with them. A few harsh words were exchanged, and a phone call was made. Several minutes passed as they waited. Then, a radio bulletin came through on one of the officer's radios, ordering them to free Mr. Krantz and relieve him into the custody of the wedding reception security on orders from an unnamed high ranking official.

Mr. Krantz was then escorted to security, where he was taken to a change room and given a clean change of clothes and told to shower.

When he'd emerged from the change room five minutes later, the chief of Mr. Eck's security spoke with him.

"Who did this to you?" he asked Mr. Krantz.

"Take me, I show you," Mr. Krantz replied.

Service Corridor

By the time the lights had come on in the ballroom, several of Mr. Eck's security detachment had pieced it together that he was now missing. Six of them had disappeared into the service corridor, while four of them began searching. The Chief Of Security had gone to deal with a matter concerning Mr. Krantz and was now on his way back to assist in the search.

The four members of security team alpha met up with the Chief of Security and Mr. Krantz.

"One of them was a gentile. Well spoken, but purposely irritating. He had skills in how to fight. Very good skills. The other was a bell hop. A young man I seem to recall. I only caught him for a moment, as I fell in and out of consciousness," Mr. Krantz explained to the Security Chief.

"Take me and show me. We will then deal with it," the Chief of Security urged Mr. Krantz, who then led the six of them (including himself) as they searched for Foller and Trent.


Stanton walked with Foller as they made their way back to his tool kit through the service corridor.

"Oh and you're welcome," Foller said to Stanton.

"For what?" asked Stanton, sounding more and more agitated by Foller's banter.

"For helping you to get your target," Foller replied, polishing his nails on his designer jacket.

"I had my target without your help. He almost got away because of you," Stanton reminded Foller.

"Now, now? We had a deal. Half and half, remember?" Foller in turn reminded Stanton.

"My word's good, but you're going to pay for this. You're a discredit to our unit," Stanton came back.

"That's more like it. That's the Stanton I know and love," Foller smiled as he walked.

"You're too much," Stanton said, now thoroughly agitated.

"Alright big guy, we're back in the hotel room. So are we going to the restaurant for dinner and drinks? You promised us!" Dave reminded Stanton of their deal through his headset.

"That sounds about right. What do you feel like? Wings or Seafood?" asked Stanton.

"I'm good either, but spicy wings would be good," Elena suggested.

"I'm a father of three kids. My life is all about dodging stress and ulcers. I'll pass on the spicy wings, but mild wings sounds pretty good," Dave added his suggestion.

"Alright, wings it is. I should be up there in about ten minutes. Be ready and we'll leave from there,"  Stanton told them.

"Still baby sitting your Engineering friends are you?" asked Foller.

"They're on the ball. A lot more so than you," Stanton admitted.

"Does that mean I'm not invited for wings? I'm offended!"  Foller continued to agitate Stanton.

"You got all you're going to get out of me tonight. Consider yourself lucky not to be thrown in the brig and court martialed," Stanton reminded him.

"Yeah, I've dodged that bullet a few times. I'm a survivor, where as you, you're a relic. Don't get me wrong. You're my favourite relic of all. But a relic nonetheless," Foller joked, though Stanton knew that was how Foller truly regarded him.

"What's this. Looks like ducklings are looking for the mother hen..." Foller pointed to the corridor ahead of them, where a group of six of Mr. Eck's security team members searched.

"Just walk like you're a manager, and I'll play the role of worker..." Stanton tapped his hard hat, addressing Foller as they got close.

"...and I'd like you to make sure that all the lighting in this corridor is operating correctly. That means checking every ballast, because I know we have a lot of problems with the lighting in here. So fix it, and do a better job than you did the last time or else I'll have you fired for incompetence," Foller played the role of manager quite well as he walked beside Stanton, who simply ate it all.

"I'm sure those are your supervisor's words to you," Stanton replied as they passed the security.

"I beg your pardon?!" Foller shot back.

"Nothing. I was just mumbling," Stanton replied as they continued down the corridor towards the door back into the ballroom reception area.

The ruse worked, security team bravo no longer paid attention to the two and instead focused on the service corridor and any clues they might find.


Trent pulled the couple's luggage cart down the carpeted hall towards the elevator as the couple followed in his tracks.

"...there's also whirlpools, saunas and an Olympic sized swimming pool for your enjoyment," Trent made the pitch as he walked.

"Do you know what the catch of the day is in the restaurant?" asked one of the couple.

"I believe its sole. They serve a very nice Fillet Of Sole in Hollandaise, with a side of broccoli or asparagus. That comes with a setting of freshly baked buttered rolls. If you add the garlic shrimp appetizer to that, they'll bring you a candle warmed decanter of clarified butter, with lemon and garlic of course. Great for dipping your shrimp or just soaking it up with your rolls," Trent informed them.

"My mouth is watering. I'm Florence by the way. What did you say your name is?" asked Florence.

"Trent. They know me well at the desk. If you need anything else just ask for me," Trent arrived at the elevators after the long haul.

Down the hall from them, Trent spotted Rysalyn. She waved to him from the distance, and he waved back, trying his best not to be rude.

"Is that someone special?" asked Florence.

"She's a friend," Trent responded, not willing to give away anything.

"I see a little spark in there," Florence responded intuitively.

"Me too," answered her partner.

The elevator doors opened and Trent hauled the luggage trolley into the elevator and led them up to their room.

After he'd given them the tour, he went to leave. He was out the door before Florence stopped him.

"Here. Take this. Take her out to a movie. You'll have a good time. Trust me," Florence said handing him a fifty dollar bill.

"Thank you. If you need anything, just ask for me by name. Nice meeting you Florence. Enjoy your stay," Trent smiled and made his way back to the elevator as Florence closed the door.

When Trent arrived at the floor of the ballroom reception, he was immediately greeted by Rysalyn, who took him by the hand and led him to their right along the hall.

"What's this for?" asked Trent, somewhat startled.

"You saved me, now I'm saving you. Take off your vest," Rysalyn admitted to him.

"I'm not finished my shift yet. Are you off now?" asked Trent, caught off guard by her sudden interest in him.

"Trust me. Take it off. Now!" Rysalyn ordered him.

"OK. Ok. Hold onto your eyelashes, could you?" Trent responded, removing the dinner vest from his uniform and folding it in his arm.

He then took her hand again.

"When we turn this corner ahead, I want you to take a look back the way that we came," Rysalyn suggested to him.

They began their turn to make the corner and Trent casually glanced back for a moment as they did. Down the hall, near the elevators they'd just left, Trent could clearly see Mr. Krantz, now wearing a new suit. He was being escorted by four guards who were very obviously helping him to search for his assailants.

"Is that...?" Trent began, fumbling his words.

"Yes. That's him. He's looking for Foller, and for you. He walked right by me before I realized who he was. He didn't recognize me, but I heard him say something about looking for a bell hop," Rysalyn warned him.

Mr. Krantz then pointed in Trent's direction, where he'd stopped to watch just before making the corner. Mr. Krantz and five other members of Mr. Eck's security team began running at Trent from the elevators.

Rysalyn quickly pulled Trent around the corner and they began to run together.

"Look, they don't know who you are. We have to split up!" Trent said to her, and she realized that he was right.

She pulled him in close, giving him a warm and passionate kiss.

"Run! I'll do my best to look out for you," Rysalyn promised him.

Trent immediately began to sprint, replacing his vest as he did, while Rysalyn began walking in the direction of his pursuers.  When they reached her, they stopped.

"Did you see a young man, with short dark hair, about six feet tall running this way?" asked Mr. Krantz of Rysalyn.

"No speak English very good," she said with a thick accent, nodding as she did, and then she pointed in the opposite direction Trent had taken.

His pursuers began in the direction she'd given them, buying Trent some time to escape.

Trent by that time had circled back to the elevators as his pursuers went in the opposite direction, towards the service corridor entrance.

"This is security team bravo. We are pursuing the bell hop. We found him. He went through the north service corridor entrance. He's on his way to you," the Chief of Security told team alpha.

"Right. We are closing in then. Will converge at service door," the alpha team leader responded.

The six of them began running down the corridor in the same direction that Stanton and Foller had passed them moments ago.

As Stanton walked he heard the sound of running footsteps and immediately knew something was up. He stopped and turned to focus on a nearby table, reading the items on the wedding reception's catering menu. Foller stopped, turning to face him.

"What's up? What are you doing, sight seeing?" asked Foller, when he suddenly heard the running footsteps.

"You think they're onto us? Come on, we were pretty slick back there. They don't suspect a..." Foller stopped when he looked to see all six of them pointing in his direction, not realizing that they were pointing at Trent in the distance further down the hall.

"They didn't find me. They found you," Stanton said, almost ignoring Foller.

"Alright, you win this one. But I'll get you for this!" Foller said before he turned and began sprinting away from the six.

"I'm looking for to it, asshole," Stanton said as Foller ran.


When Trent saw the six members of team alpha closing on his position, he immediately turned and started running back the other way as Foller closed in.

Trent went back out through the service door, and was back out in the hotel at a three way intersection. He could keep running forward, and run into Mr. Krantz and the other security team. He could turn right and make his way back to the hotel reception, or he could turn left and attempt to find Rysalyn again.

He turned left as Mr. Krantz spotted him again.

"Stop him!" yelled Mr. Krantz in his own accent.

Trent sprinted a good distance before someone reached out for him and stopped him dead in his tracks. He was suddenly lifted off of his feet, as the giant body guard held him.

"You again. You shouldn't run in here. You hit someone. Then bad," the body guard addressed him.

"I know, but I've got some people who really want to hurt me running after me!" Trent said to him.

"Hurt? Then you'd better go and quickly!" the body guard urged Trent, putting him down on his feet.

"Thanks again!" Trent said to him.

"What are friendlies for?" asked the body guard, turning to face Trent's pursuers.

He caught the first two, one in each hand, his palms nearly as big as their entire face. He then smashed their heads together (not too hard), immediately knocking them both out.

Mr. Krantz backed up away from the giant body guard, who stepped forward to pursue them. Two others ran forward to deal with the giant, and once again, he flung them helplessly against the wall, sending them off to the land of nod. Only the Chief of the security team remained and Mr. Krantz, who both turned and were now running in the direction of Foller.

The other six members of alpha team burst through the service door running after Foller as he sprinted towards the elevators.

"Hold the door! Hold the door!" he screamed as he ran for the elevator.

Unfortunately, whoever was in it didn't hear him or merely didn't want to wait. He arrived in the elevator foyer, looking for a way out. There was only a service door, which he quickly checked to find was locked as the six security team members trapped him, along with the Chief of security and Mr. Krantz.

"Now its time for payback!" Mr. Krantz said, recognizing Foller.

"Look, why don't we just sit down over a beer and talk this through?" Foller did his best to weasel his way out.

"Why don't you tell us where Mr. Eck is? Torino sent you, didn't he?" asked one of them.

"So what if he did? I'm a man of my word and if someone wants someone else taken down, then I'm all too happy to oblige," " Foller said to them clearly bluffing as he readied himself for a very dirty fight.

The eight men closed in on Foller when all of the sudden they were all surrounded by Police.

"Toronto Police Service! Hands in the air! Now!" one of the Officers yelled.

One of them was ready to draw his weapon, and one of the Officers advised him against.

"Nobody's that fast! Hands up now! Last warning!" one of the Officers with a Taser leveled at his target spoke up.

The Police quickly converged on everyone, including Foller. As a group, they were all arrested and quickly hauled from the premises.

In the distance down one of the halls, Stanton watched as they hauled everyone out.

"I had to save him, but I had to make it hurt a little. He'll spend the night in jail before my unit is able to post bail for him and clear his charges. He probably won't have such good night's sleep, especially if they put him in the same holding cell with his friends there," Stanton explained to Rysalyn.

"Thank you for letting me know. What about Trent?" asked Rysalyn of the spark in her eye.

"Not a problem. You're practically like a sister, just with a bit of a different tasking. We'll keep a security detail on Trent for some time, and check up on him now and then. They won't likely be bothering him again, if we got his whole operation," Stanton assured Rysalyn.

"Mr. electrician, I hope I'm not interrupting but do you have a moment?" asked Linda who approached having come from the ballroom.

"We were just finishing up. Thank you," Rysalyn left them to their conversation.

"Now the fact that Mr. Eck seems to have suddenly disappeared, along with most of his clique wouldn't have anything to do with you, would it?" asked Linda of Stanton.

"Is that an official request on behalf of the company?" asked Stanton of Linda.

"No, its a personal request. Level with me here, Stanton. We're both pros. What the heck happened?" Linda asked him.

"I think Mr. Eck's time just ran out. That's all. He might have just up and left. One thing for sure, I don't think he'll be providing his services again to the highest bidder for some time. Now if you have nothing else to ask, I'll be on my way. I've got a dinner and drinks date with some good friends. Enjoy that reception for me, will you?" Stanton asked Linda.

"How? You took all the fun away!" Linda responded.

"No. On the contrary Linda, I took all the trouble away, and left you all with nothing but the fun. Enjoy yourself. Look me up next time you're in Toronto again," Stanton said as he turned and made his way back to the elevators.

"The company will be in touch to exchange info about our notorious friend, Mr. Eck and anything you might want from us. I'll be with Ema Dusanka and Lucas Oliver, enjoying the rest of the reception with them. I'll use it as a chance to schmooze. You take care of yourself Stanton. You're good people," Linda smiled as she left him and returned to the ballroom, and another drink.

"You too. Make sure you're good on Inspector Camden's deal. She wants those spreadsheets by tomorrow at noon and no later," Stanton said as he stepped into the elevator.

For the next four hours, until two in the AM, Elena, Dave and Stanton enjoyed a healthy helping of wings and beer, reminiscing over old times together, while Linda enjoyed her night with Ema, Lucas and many of the other notables at the wedding reception. At the end of the night when, when the bride threw her garter, it was Linda who caught it, on a fluke as she happened to be passing by.

Rysalyn and Trent, who by some miracle of scheduling ended up finishing their shifts at the same time. They both immediately took advantage of the sudden opening in their schedules to have their first date together. Trent splurged, ordering in food and two bottles of sparkling wine. They curled up on the couch together at his place and watched White Lotus and The Little Drummer Girl on the streaming services. 

"Now I understand what you meant when you suggested these shows..." Rysalyn said, kissing him tenderly before they turned in for the night.

When they were both still awake as the sun came up the following day, they drank orange juice and sparkling wine cocktails in bed together before they curled up for the day's sleep.


Mark, Fergus, Petaro and Hewart were all separated, each within their own squawk box as the Police interrogators called them.

"So why were you up there and will to take such risks to kidnap a little girl?" asked one of the interrogators.

"Where's my frickin' lawyer. I'm not saying a word until he's here," Mark responded.

"You do realize that this isn't going to be a trial by jury. Its definitely going to be a trial by press. By social media. By the internet. How do you think you're going to be treated in the holding tank?" asked  the interrogator.

"Nothing until I have my lawyer," Mark added.

"If your lawyer isn't here soon, you realize that we can put you in a general population holding cell. Those places are rife with their own rumour mills too. They can find out things about a person's case very quickly, and a lot them really have it out for people who'd commit crimes against children," the interrogator continued.

Mark remained unshaken by the interrogator's push.

There was a knock on the door, and then it opened, as the person on the other side of the door preferred not to wait.

"Round 'em up. They're in the jurisdiction of Federal Law now. Looks like some Federal Agents have some interest in their case?" the Staff Sergeant handed the interrogator their new orders.

The interrogator read the instructions on the tablet computer, indicating the all four suspects were to be remanded into Federal Police custody, signed by the Attorney General Of Canada.

The two men left Mark in the squawk box alone, closing the door behind themselves.

"Just for the record, did you get anything from them?" the Staff Sergeant asked.

"Not a thing. These guys are wired pretty tightly. They've been briefed, probably by their own legal advisors before they even attempted the crime. So we have to assume that there's some level of professional criminal apparatus supporting them. That's the best we can share with the Feds, beside the fact that they've all got firearms training. Both restricted and unrestricted weapons. Some melee combat training as well. We're still waiting on the response from INTERPOL with regard to their files," the interrogators responded.

"Any leads on the motives for attempted kidnapping?" asked the Staff Sergeant.

"Negative. I could speculate on the fact that it could be child trafficking, or even in a worst case scenario, for organ trafficking, but it doesn't fit with the modus operandi employed in such cases. Usually the victims, cattle as they're called, are treated as sub-human. More like livestock. The shrinks say that's a defense mechanism that traffickers develop to deal in that business and retain their sanity. So I'd say these guys are not a part of something like that. There's something else going on here. Maybe someone looking to buy a specific child. Who know," the interrogator suggested.

"All right. I wish you could have got more, but good job anyway. I'll have them moved into a private holding cell picked up from here. That'll be all," the Staff Sergeant left the interrogator, who headed back to his desk to finish up on what they used to call the paperwork.

A Good Day's Catch

"Thanks," Tricia said to Halmand, accepting her coffee as he got in the passenger seat.

"No sweat. Just real coffee," Halmand replied.

"Har har har," Tricia smiled.

"You're up early today. Don't tell me they called you in too?" asked Halmand.

"At 3AM they called. Told me the good news," Tricia said, peeling the tab open on her coffee and taking a sip.

"They must have left that part out when they called me. They just said be in at 5AM, so here I am," Halmand responded.

Tricia put the car in drive and they began on their way to the RCMP facility across the street from Bay, just north of College.

"Is the sudden sound of silence all for dramatic effect?" asked Halmand.

"They told me they had a good turn of events over the last twenty four hours," Tricia took another sip.

"And..." Halmand pressed her.

"And that means we have no less than five mouths from which to regurgitate leads for our star case," Tricia told him.

"Five?! Who?" asked Halmand.

"Four kidnappers, who attempted to kidnap Warai Jeong-Min Tokama from the custody of Kori Jonglyu yesterday. The escapade ending at the top of the CN Tower before Warai was eventually rescued," Tricia told him.

"Who was the suspect... wait, don't tell me: it was King Kong right?" Halmand said, drawing a smirk from Tricia.

"No. Four suspects. Not one giant hairy suspect," Tricia corrected him.

"Then who..." Halmand began.

"Butterfly Dragon... Eclipse and Dragon Butterfly. They allegedly appeared at the scene and stopped the kidnapping before they succeeded, however, the hero sandwich really includes Kori Jonglyu, Hoon Kwang who is a respected Tae Kwon Do Sebomnim and Officer Darrell Garthers, who acted above and beyond the call of his traffic assigmnent duties to successfully protect the child during the whole ordeal," Tricia recalled the exact wording in the case notes.

"So they got all four of them? So what makes them so special?" asked Halmand.

"We received word from the KPN that these men had been watched from the moment they'd entered Korea several years ago with Habus Macill. They're suspected to be part of his core group. The inside team," Tricia informed Halmand.

"Now the question of the day is who else do we have that could top that?" asked Halmand.

"We officially as of 4:34AM this morning, had a man under the alias of Mr. Eck remanded into our custody for questioning and interrogation. It seems that an investigative organization whose name has been redacted from the official record, wants to sit in on our interrogation. Whether that's to share pointers or to learn from us remains unclear," Tricia told Halmand.

"Mr. Eck. You say that as if I should be excited about that or something," Halmand goaded her slightly.

"You should be. He's the man most singly responsible for the MindSpice bombing. Providing both the materials and the expertise that yielded a hybrid bomb that utilized the city's own electrical infrastructure as the detonator," Tricia revealed to Halmand.

"Looks like this case is finally coming home," Halmand said, holding up his cup of coffee to Tricia, who clanged it against his for their own private toast.

"When we receive that spreadsheet from Linda later today, most of the pieces will be in place," Tricia assured Halmand.

"Then let the day's festivities begin," both Halmand and Tricia smiled over the fact that the end of the tunnel might be in sight.

To be continued in... The Butterfly Dragon: We Stand On Guard - Episode 06

Credits and attribution:

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