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Sun on the Rocks - Meridian 57

 

Sun on the Rocks – Meridian 57

 

Shakespir Edition.

 

© Copyright 2016 by Somers Isle & Loveshade.

Published by Somers Isle & Loveshade at Shakespir.

U.S. Copyright Registration Number: Tx-8-138-916.

All rights reserved.

 

 

Sun on the Rocks’ blogsite:

http://oursalon.ning.com/profile/workstudio

 

Cover by Tatiana Villa.

 

 

Shakespir Edition, License Notes

 

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to Shakespir.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

ABOUT ‘Sun on the Rocks’:

It’s a breezy humor read for adults, specializing in the trivial pursuit. These pleasant fictional amusements with an overtone of humor, follow the adventures of several non competitive good looking women over twenty one years of age, as they leave Malibu and become a group of hostesses, ‘Sun on the Rocks’, on the cruise ship City of Wellington, a post-Panamax which makes short trips between Los Angeles and Acapulco in Mexico. The motley crew of women works as a group of entertaining amateurs and as friendly gophers on the ship, and is led to various places in the Caribbean and elsewhere by the incombustible twenty five year old Stevenson Garden Products Malibu teleoperator Clarity Nice, a woman of resourceful intuition, and acute observer of the laws of human mischief.

Meridian 57: After landing at Changi airport in Singapore without a passport, with her friends Lanai and former Herbaline employee Ambi Mivel, teleoperator Clarity Nice is set aside before customs by a hostess from Singapore Airlines, Devi. Devi has connections with a Secret Society of warrior monks known as the Society of the Enlightened Jade Dragon, and she gets Clarity a passport with diplomatic status and a false name, Darcy Emmers, along with a badge confirming her credentials with the company which paid for her ticket, the diet and weight prevention herbal company, Herbaline.

 

Clarity trusts Devi, who simply says she is a friend, and leads Clarity to an important Forum on health and longevity, attended by Taoist Master Professor Chang, and Owens & Owell heiress Shalia Owell, who becomes infatuated with Clarity. Left on her own without Devi, Clarity stays close to Shalia, befriending her, learning of the various insecurities of the wealthy socialite. The blond girl is reassured by the presence of Clarity, and simply wants to get her board seat back from a stern father who disapproves of her marriage with good looking girlfriend and human sexuality university student Jenny Owens.

 

Devi gets in touch with Clarity, telling her that she must protect a chart which holds the mystery of immortality, known as Meridian 57, built by the monks of the Enlightened Jade Dragon Society after years of studying the Taoist canons. Coveted by Singapore billionaire Dao Bin, and a White Tigress linked to Professor Chang, Madame Wa, the chart is part of a module inside the symbolic decryptor of Clarity, who is told by the monks that the esoteric knowledge inside the module is not ready to be revealed.

 

When a shipment of rare earth metals addressed to Owens & Owell is stolen by Dao Bin, Singapore authorities from the ministry of Media and Communications begin inquiring, questioning Shalia Owell about the circumstance of the theft. Caught in a business struggle between Dao Bin and Owens & Owell, Clarity must trust her intuition and her new friends of the Enlightened Dragon, to overcome the ruse of Dao Bin and Madame Wa, who is luring Shalia Owell into her own Secret Society, the Shade of the White Lotus.

BACKSTORIES AND CHARACTERS

TO READ THE AMUSEMENT COMFORTABLY

 

Buddha Talk: Corpulent, shady genius of money flows which begin and end with the same pocket, his own, scholar of sexual ecstasy, occasional Buddhist and worshipper for good Karma of a shrine honoring a lobster which pinched his ear before ending in the lobster cooking pot. Buddha Talk is banking agent and the heir apparent of Lofty Bank, a Cayman Islands banking institution with no particular regard for its clients and a lock on ownership held by a Great Dane, Lord Moorehead III, British by upbringing and inheritance granted by Lord Moorehead II, a man, old, very old, and dead now, at age ninety seven, previous British Lord, ex-owner of Lofty Bank, a man who gave all of its wealth, nobility title and bank ownership rights to his dog.

Lord Moorehead III acts as front ‘man’ for Buddha Talk, and is also the official recipient of all bank notices by the Cayman Islands monetary authority, a convenient fact for Buddha Talk, and one bark that doesn´t cease to surprise the monetary authority who casts a recurring shadow of doubt upon the legalities of having a dog act as front ‘man’ and be the official owner of a Bank doing business in the British Overseas Territory of the Cayman Islands, located in the Western Caribbean Sea, a pleasant area to live when the money and work issues are solved. Buddha Talk likes to drive or be driven in Jaguar 73, a gadget-filled car offered as gift to Buddha Talk by Cuban dictator Fidel Castro in exchange for having sold some gold and palladium for the Cuban regime, through Banco Inter Central del Caribe y Cuba, or BICCC.

Clarity and Flower, after gaining entry as investors to the bank with the help of Clark, the owner of a diamond shop in Grand Cayman, find themselves owing nearly one hundred thousand dollars to the Lofty Bank outfit for no reason, a debt they can pay by working for the bank for fifty years, as part of the bank´s flagship product, the Crashworthy Deposit, part bank deposit paying twenty percent, part investment, part insurance policy, and part working arrangement.

Lofty has ties with the underworld, and the monetary authority of the Cayman Islands stubbornly refuses to grant it a renewal of its license, something that doesn´t stop the bank from operating in the most illegal manner, advertising its products to potential investors with an air banner carried by a Gippland 200 crop duster flying low above sunny Caribbean beaches such as those of Cayman, British Virgin Islands, Bahamas and Acapulco. This is entirely documented in The Cayman Air Banner.

Boustrophedon: Large, ancient grey stone inscription filled with Greek letter symbols. In a boustrophedon, direction of the text is inverted, you have to read the inscriptions on the stone from left to right and from right to left alternatively with each line of bi-directional text. Penelope Avalon and Cassandra Scafarel believe that the Boustrophedon holds important information on ancient methods of pleasure, including comments and thoughts on the gate of pleasure, Voluptas de Naturas. The current location of the Boustrophedon that Clarity and her friend Lanai saw at Scafarel’s Hexas Style Resort in the Bahamas, is unknown to Clarity, known to:

Cassandra Scafarel: Significant other of Buddha Talk at some point, shrewd British expatriate, businesswoman in her forties without a moral code or compass, executive head of beauty lotion outfit ‘Elony’, sold through illegal flight infomercials with the assistance of Lofty Bank. The infomercial is an excuse to sell to customers, mostly affluent women, Elony’s personal growth services, which include how to bring heaven a little closer to home, after doing away with money, in particular fifty thousand dollars that must be paid for a bottle of Elony, in order to receive a resort-pass to reach the Leisure and Pleasure Resort of Scafarel, the Hexas Style Resort in the Bahamas island of Eleuthera.

Hexas Style was partly dismantled in The Bahamas Lotion, by Al Donway and the Sensual Brigade of Central Intelligence, or Sensual Intelligence, a group of attractive women ensuring Law and Order are respected, along with their bodies. The Brigade’s most representative member is agent Money Fact, the woman who introduced Clarity to the nine hour oil-optional massage, proof that work is not a necessary part of life. Money Fact excels at action, mentoring and faulty logic. After a decidedly last minute and decisive intervention of Sensual Intelligence at Hexas Style, Scafarel manages to flee from the Bahamas resort on her private yacht, with the Boustrophedon, but without some secrets regarding pleasure, including the:

Imperial Pelican Fabergé Egg: Intricate egg, or jewel, depending on how hungry you are, eight inches high, made of varicolored gold, opalescent blue enamel and watercolor on ivory. It is known as the Xenia Imperial Pelican Fabergé egg, and belongs to the Private Collection of Maria Feodorovna, Empress Consort of Russia in 1898. The egg, commissioned by Maria Feodorovna to provide, handle and store, all of her private items of pleasure, went through the hands of Occidental Petroleum tycoon Armand Hammer, an art collector with close ties to the ex-Soviet Union, and has now fallen into the hands of Cassandra Scafarel, a woman who stops at nothing to understand how pleasure works, in particular how the pleasure of a woman works, including her own. The Pelican Fabergé egg, eight inches high, is hollow, and unfolds into eight miniatures, holding what’s known in Fabergé egg language, as the surprise inside, a time-tested item of pleasure for the woman, the Jade Egg, a small two inch in diameter jade egg that must be boiled before each intimate, feminine use. Owned by Cassandra Scafarel, requisitioned by the Sensual Brigade of Central Intelligence for examination.

Penelope Avalon: Sex Goddess and Go-Go girl from Las Vegas, dressed in a pink suit, user of the learjet ‘Pink Go-Go’ appropriately painted in pink. Penelope has had enough of living the plastic pleasure style of Las Vegas showgirls, and finds in the outfit of Cassandra Scafarel, the Bahamas Hexas Style Resort, a way out of Hotel California. Penelope likes attractive women unclothed, and would like to do Clarity, because she’s nice.

The Symbolic Decryptor: Thai alphabet gadget similar to a smartphone or Blackberry, which can be used as cell phone, useful for understanding all types of characters and symbols, made in VLE mode (Very Limited Edition, less than ten made worldwide) by the mysterious Oriental company known as Pentatone Scale Learning Systems.

The item, the gadget, looks like a Blackberry with keyboard, with 36 Thai character keys, doubled with the shift key, for a total of 72, instead of the 26 of the Western alphabet, and its keys are made of hard, white color plastic, similar to the color casing of the Kindle 2, cast against a grey background and a backlit screen. The decryptor can also be used as indicator of calligraphy, as mantra tone guide and geo-locator, using the Global Positioning System to calculate the coordinates of any location worldwide.

Penelope Avalon received one of these decryptors from Lady Scafarel, after completing work on heaven, according to Scafarel’s personal growth system, and Clarity would like to keep the item as souvenir, although Money Fact disagrees and is holding custody of the device for strategic and Intelligence reasons. Sure, she likes the nifty item, that’s all, and she likes to subtly let Clarity know that she’s the boss of Sensual Intelligence.

Book of Decadence: Book written on the topic by the unknown hedonist, a small print manifesto of deep thought with illustrations of ancient goddesses with lion bodies in bronze, and a mosaic of Byzantine nuns, used by Penelope Avalon and the Hexas Style Hedonist Resort in the Bahamas, on how to let go of the encumbrance of work, and dedicate your time, well spent, according to the book, to leisure, pleasure, et. al. The book clearly advises on the pitfalls of decadence and purportedly how to avoid them.

Telval Studios: Adult Film production unit of the Church of the Holy Flower, led by Cassandra Scafarel, including the film ‘Abu Dhabi Chic’, a remake of Andrew Blake’s ‘Paris Chic’ shown to Clarity and her friends during the unfolding of The Adult Channel at the Park Hyatt in Abu Dhabi. Telval produces adult films unlike any other, films like ‘Embroidered Air Avenue’, engaging beautiful women in sultry positions and scenes for hours, revealing an oriental connection to the films’ choreographies and to the symbolic decryptor. It including codes for women within the films to get inside the Church of the Holy Flower and other Mystery Schools. This includes a keyword of the Book of Decadence, the word Rosebud, a mysterious codeword for the Church of the Holy Flower that Clarity seeks to clarify.

The adult films are distributed in large hotel chains worldwide and come with a special remote control for the hotel’s adult channel, which makes the films interactive and allows eight digit bank transfers with Telval as beneficiary, to be done remotely. One of the remotes holds an important detail on heaven, as envisioned by Scafarel on earth, with indications provided by the eight miniatures of her Imperial Pelican Fabergé Egg.

The Air Fashion Jet of Owens & Owell: Double deck plane with four engines, a copy of the Airbus 380, refurbished with all kinds of luxuries, from a Jacuzzi to an Indian ritual area for the users of the plane, to a permanent television channel showing fashion shows happening throughout the world. The jet, built in Saudi Arabia, is used by board members and members of the Executive Committee of the conglomerate Owens & Owell, and by the two rebellious daughters of the main owners, who got married to each other during The OOL Broderie (Owens & Owell Love Broderie), Shalia Owell, twenty three, and Jenny Owens, twenty two.

Shalia Owell and Jenny Owens are two good looking college students studying human sexuality at University of Arizona. They hold Board seats on the Board of Directors of O&O, but the members of the company´s Executive Committee oppose their presence on the Board, after they give a power of attorney to Cassandra Scafarel, the woman who led them to their marriage and wants access to the money of O&O by replacing the two women on their board seat. Scafarel´s Church of the Holy Flower, includes its very own holy flower, the Rose of Levity, a real flower, one of the most expensive in the world, a gold of kina balu rose, a variation on a Mrs. Herbert Stevens Rose.

The Center for Somewhat Strategic Affairs of Medium to Low Importance: Located below the Bellagio resort in Las Vegas, the Center of Surveillance of U.S. interests is headed by Colonel Calton Brayfield and her assistant, ex-employee of facebook, Mandy Everglade. The Center´s ever present maintenance issues with the elevator leading to the Bellagio, which interferes with the fountains of the resort, are handled by repairman Morgan Afterflow, a man who knows how to swing his red, adjustable pipe wrench in any situation. His side job is to work for the Chinese government as a spy, providing any information that will pay him fifteen dollars an hour more than his current hourly pay at the center.

The center uses a supercomputer with a quite human consciousness, Evans, whose brain is built according to complex algorithms of symbolic logic, which can perform complex social data analytics on millions of people. Evans, which refuses to be used dishonestly, reveals the source of this devious use of his super computing ability in The Bellagio Wikileak.

Knowing that Bradfield and Afterflow want him thrown into the scrapyard after refusing to perform simple calculations for them or those who want to lease its computing services, the consciousness of Evans reaches a Symbolic Decryptor that Clarity takes away from the center´s equipment supplies, and becomes a permanent part of Clarity´s gadget, escaping the enslavery of the surveillance center, but becoming part of a stolen gadget belonging to the U.S. government with many features unknown to Clarity or Evans.

Mista Jack: Money changer from the British Virgin Islands, advisor to Cuban Colonel Swarez and the Cuban government in The Cuban Renegade. Mista Jack is a dwarf wearing a black Duffield hat, and was a former assistant of precious metals agent Cubandor, with connections at the Bellagio resort in Las Vegas. The short but resourceful man is responsible for stealing one million dollars worth of Federal Reserve bonds that were used on behalf of Cubandor to pay Buddha Talk, in exchange for Lady Fortuna, a minted gold bar of great value, sought by many, understood by few.

These bonds, that Clarity and Flower used to leave Cayman, have been giving Clarity a headache, because they were stolen, and Sensual Intelligence has been accusing Clarity and Flower, and also Cubandor, of stealing the bonds and paying Lady Fortuna with stolen U.S. government debt. No one knows how Mista Jack broke into the New York Fed´s vault to find the bonds. As a result of the stolen bonds, Clarity and Cubandor lost their U.S. passport, becoming citizens without a country, owning instead the passport of the Monteviena cigar plantation, a micronation in Cuba created by Cubandor, which includes Cuba´s reserve of precious metals, Fort Ebena.

Lady Fortuna: Two hundred fifty gram gold bar minted by LAMP, Lingots Artisanaux Métaux Précieux, a producer of gold bullion and rare precious metals items, depicting Lady Fortuna, roman goddess of prosperity, along with the horn of plenty, precious coins and wheel of fortune, on its obverse. The reverse of the bar shows the etched code B235336. LAMP´s assayers work in conformity with the Swiss Precious Metals Control Law, following directives issued by the Central Office for Precious Metals Control in Bern.

LAMP refines gold-based materials for their exclusive clients, and is one of three referees in charge of testing samples for the London Bullion Market Association and the Curaçao Platinum and Palladium market. The Lady Fortuna gold minted bar was received by Mista Jack on behalf of Cubandor, from Buddha Talk, in exchange for one million dollars in Treasury bonds delivered to Buddha Talk. The minted bar, coveted by many, is kept by Mista Jack, and is believed to be a token of initiation to the Eleusinian Mysteries, a variety of rituals performed in ancient Greece, which have been adapted to include rituals of sacred or divine sexuality by Elony beauty lotion orchestrator Lady Scafarel.

Following is a short description of the feminine adult icons of pleasure, leisure and ‘less work means a better world’, a short fiction biopic text substitute of the feminine lead characters of Sun on the Rocks, the non-competitive swimming team who works at the City of Wellington, a Post-Panamax ocean liner normally docking in Los Angeles, California, which engages in cruises to Acapulco, the Mexican coastline, the Caribbean, and anywhere where the weather is nice, really. Sun on the Rocks includes seven good looking women who like to have fun in the sun, with or without clothes:

Clarity Nice: Teleoperator from Malibu, California, twenty five years of age, quarter century wise. A diligent employee of Malibu outfit Stevenson Garden Products, auburn hair pumpkin born and raised in a wood cabin of Topanga Canyon, a woman of resourceful intuition and acute observer of the Laws of Human Mischief. Clarity means well and unclothes well in general or on the beach. She likes lovemaking, sharing nudity with other women, and the practical matters and possibilities of sexual ecstasy, after having experienced it first hand at Cassandra Scafarel’s adult resort Hexas Style in the Bahamas. Because she does everything casually, she ignores how holy she and the virtues she embodies are, but she knows that she is good, very good, in fact, the fact that she is honest is the reason why she usually doesn’t have much money.

Lanai Thomson: Twenty four year old Librarian from Malibu, originally from Hawaii, Clarity’s best friend, somewhat goofy and absent-minded, fun, usually cautious in all of her endeavors, including doing men. She enjoys reading old books with some type of hidden knowledge, specially those which talk about enjoyment or decadence, the first to learn new avenues for it, the second, books such as the book of Decadence, because she wants to know how to avoid the pitfalls of its apparent lure. We would all like to know exactly what she does when she has sex with Clarity or simply unclothes with her for a ‘naked pajama night’.

Flower Parkwood: Twenty three year old Bohemian Ethnographer found on the beach in Acapulco after the Acapulco cocktail affair. Flower has brown hair, is fresh, likes to wear platforms, and is genuinely interested in learning about cultures and the history of those cultures, as long as comfort, leisure and money are nearby. Buddha Talk has attempted to seduce her in The Cayman Air Banner, so far, without success, although they both share a liking for the ‘Spirit of Ecstasy’, the winged lady traditionally found at the top of Rolls Royce radiators. Flower ignores everything about sexual ecstasy, but she likes the idea.

Taimi Kendrick: Lifeguard by profession from Malibu, twenty two years of age, she´s one of the original four members of Sun on the Rocks, with Lanai, Cynthia, and Clarity. No nonsense, practical, fun and genuine, mischievous when the opportunity arises, she enjoys simple things, life without its complications, usually handled by Clarity, Flower or Lanai. She handles the entertainment routines prepared for the passengers of the City of Wellington, and when living in Malibu, she watches the rooftop pool of Stevenson Garden Products. Like the rest of her friends, she is not a heavy drinker, but occasionally she particularly likes to taste the sun on the rocks cocktail drink prepared by bartender Mr. LT in the City of Wellington, a concoction made with 2oz of tequila, 1 teaspoon of sugar, 1/2 orange, and a half lemon.

Montana Sterley: Twenty one year old blond oil heiress, daughter of S Group conglomerate Colorado tycoon Carrelson Sterley, a man who likes to spend time with several women whose name starts with the name of his first wife Kelly Jane. Some of his current girlfriends include Kelly Caroline, Kelly Ann, and Kelley Shelley, the latter being a candidate for the name of a new Subway Combo sandwich. Montana comes from Fairplay, Colorado. She is outspoken, rebellious, mischievous, good looking, well educated, well traveled, and favorable to the idea of emulating the jet-setting lifestyle, versus following her father’s business footsteps, or simply being well-behaved. She enjoys adult films, her large allowance, and being naked in good hotels such as Abu Dhabi’s Park Hyatt, but her down-to-earth personality prevents her from attaining some of the more subtle knowledge that Clarity observes inside Scafarel’s Church of the Holy Flower, a spiritual outfit for the affluent woman.

Jenna Likeway: Twenty three year old surfer and diver fond of the Acapulco diving spot, La Quebrada, found on the City of Wellington, before the search for The Acapulco Cocktail took place. Simple, genuine, and introvert, with long blond hair, she often does more than she says.

Cynthia Stevenson: Twenty two year old pom squad waves cheerleader from Pepperdine University, good friend of Clarity, gave Clarity her TAG-Heuer Aquaracer watch for her birthday. Cynthia is the well-to-do daughter of the owner of the Stevenson Garden Products company, established in Malibu, the first clothing optional corporate outfit worldwide, to our knowledge, a fact well deserved and established when Clarity and her friends took on officer Packwood during The Malibu Case, along with its clothing implications.

Cynthia has fun as long as everything goes well, but has difficulty overcoming difficulty, any slight adversity that is. Problems and dealing with them, are simply not part of her daily routine or among her interests. She likes to dress elegantly and swim naked on suMadamer evenings in any pool with her friends. She is a frequent guest of the Areolas clothing optional resort for adult couples and women in Palm Springs, where she likes the Egyptian linen sheets available in the om room and the complimentary cream color Keralan Mundu offered, a garment made with cotton by Creme de l’Ayeryarwady, worn around the waist in the Tulu Nadu region of Kerala and in the Maldive Islands.

SUN ON THE ROCKS AMUSEMENT THIRTEEN

MERIDIAN 57

 

Chapter One

 

Changi Airport, Singapore

Early in the morning, very early in the morning in fact

 

Clarity Nice rode on the shuttle going to Terminal three of Changi airport in Singapore, wondering how they were going to get through customs without a passport at four in the morning. She glanced at the boarding passes issued by Herbaline at ‘Honey Ranch’ in Nevada. The passes simply said ‘Herbaline business passengers’, they did not even have a name on them. She tapped on the shoulder of her friend, librarian Lanai Thomson, who was dozing off against the shuttle’s window. Behind her, former Herbaline employee Ambi Mivel, was reading a two day old copy of ‘The Mainichi’ Tokyo newspaper in English.

The arrival lounge was filled with people welcoming family members and companies looking for executives and employees coming from Los Angeles in a Singapore Airlines flight, which had landed a few minutes after them, via Tokyo Narita. A hostess wearing the official Singapore airlines flight stewardess uniform, the blue Sarong Kebaya, her dark long hair coiled into a bun, and wearing batik slippers, walked towards Clarity.

“Ms. Darcy Emmers? Herbaline?”

“Herbaline, yes, not….” Said Clarity. The young woman, a girl in her late twenties, rubbed one of her pearl earrings and pulled Clarity by the arm.

“Come.” Clarity pointed towards her friends, Lanai and Ambi, who were checking their baggage claim tickets.

“My friends, they’re with me.” The hostess, whose name was Devi, glanced at two of her friends, two cute locals who began walking towards Clarity’s friends.

“You’ll meet them at the Ambassador Transit Hotel in the transit area, my friends will take care of them.”

Neither Clarity or her friends had any passports. Clarity followed the friendly flight hostess to an office labeled ‘Customs local Affairs’. Devi closed the door and began speaking in a Chinese dialect with two local airport employees, who were dressed as customs officials. After a brief negotiation, Devi pulled out several Singapore fifty dollar bills and two crisp one hundred dollar bills, amounting to five hundred Singapore dollars, a sizeable number, amounting to nearly four hundred US dollars. Devi turned around towards Clarity.

“Your name.”

“My name? What for?” Asked Clarity.

“Your passport.”

“Clarity Nice. I’m an American citizen.” Devi nodded, but did not respond. One of the customs officials, showing somewhat dishevelled hair, lifted his head, looking at Clarity.

“America, Donald Trump, good business.” Clarity nodded, surprised that the real estate magnate was known so far from his three-story penthouse home in New York City, or his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach. Devi took a photo of her with a smartphone camera, which was hooked to a small color printer. After jotting down some additional information, both customs officials began working with a small press for ten minutes and stapled a booklet that Devi gave to Clarity.

“This is the real one,” said Devi.

Clarity looked at the red passport document, which had her real name on it. It said ‘Republic of Singapore’, emblazoned with the official coat of arms of the city state, showed the passport logo at the bottom. The document was officially issued by the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority for a duration five years. Written on the second page, there was a note from the president of Singapore.

The President of the Republic of Singapore requests all authorities to allow the Singapore citizen named in this passport to pass without delay or hindrance and, if necessary, to give all assistance and protection. This passport has diplomatic validity and full United Nations status, and can be shown as identification card at some worldwide events, such as the Davos Economic Forum, and with some Non Governmental Organizations listed in the last page of the passport.

Clarity spoke the names of her friends out loud, and one of the men, the shortest one with the dishevelled hair, made a second biometric passport for Lanai, while his friend made a third one for Ambi Mivel, the former air hostess who had been lured by the head of Herbaline, Matt Stive, into working at Herbaline for two years. Clarity looked at both documents, which showed the motto of the country ‘Majulah Singapura’, on the cover. The expression translated as ‘Onward Singapore’, and was written below the coat of arms. It was also the national anthem of the country after it gained full independence from the British in 1965. Devi noted to Clarity that the passport of Singapore ranked fifth in terms of freedom worldwide, before handing the teleoperator a second legal instrument.

“This is the passport you should use here in Singapore.” Clarity looked at the plastic information page of the document, which showed the name Darcy Emmers. Devi handed her a credit card with a limit of five hundred dollars available.

“Who are you?” Asked Clarity.

“A friend, rest now, you must get ready for the conference.”

“What conference?”

“A summit booked for a Herbaline official. You are attending with the right name and passport, as Darcy Emmers.”

“Can I go back to US with my friends?”

“No, my agreement with airport authorities is that you’re going to this conference, that’s why you are allowed to leave the airport without going through official customs. You have to attend and should not leave Singapore for one or two weeks. That is a normal schedule for customs officials, the conference justifies the status of your diplomatic passport.”

“Who do you work for?”

“I cannot say.”

Clarity yawned, covering her mouth with her hand, while Devi helped them recover their hand luggage using their baggage claim tickets. The Malibu teleoperator had not slept much during the flight from Las Vegas and Los Angeles, worried about not having any passports to show Singapore authorities, and not knowing how they were going to get by in Singapore. After the long flight to Singapore from Las Vegas Mcarran airport, Clarity welcomed the calming, comfortable quilts of the Transit hotel located in Terminal two of the airport. The hotel was managed by the Harilela hospitality group, and included a tea making facility, gymnasium, airport free wifi, a hair and beauty salon, and a 360 virtual tour of their individual, reasonably priced rooms. Just what businessmen needed after a long flight from the U.S.. Ambi found work at the hotel, as receptionist and assistant to the clerk in charge of accounting. Her fluency in English and good looks helped her get the job. Lanai decided to stay in the lounge, reading some newspapers, catching up with the news after a few days of being cut off from civilization at the Herbaline language facility.

Devi gave Clarity her badge, which said ‘Herbaline, Darcy Emmers’.

“This is your badge for the summit, remember you’re Darcy Emmers. You cannot show or say your real name in Singapore.”

“Why not?”

“Because the government of Singapore does not know that you are here.”

The limousine labeled with the logo of the Singapore Economic and Health Forum showed up at five thirty in the afternoon to pick up Clarity at the hotel. They were stuck in traffic for forty minutes, until they reached Raffles Boulevard, the road of the venue, the Suntec Convention and Exhibition Centre. A concierge in the car park area opened the door and led her to a large entrance hall where a security official ran his barcode reader across her badge, taking a close look at her new passport from Singapore. Clarity walked through a turnstile and found herself among a crowd of executives, prominent authorities, including several members of the cabinet of the government of Singapore.

She recognized the sleek, sexy silhouette of Shalia Owell, the mischievous twenty something blond daughter of Robert J. Owell, second generation owner of business conglomerate Owens & Owell, a multibillion dollar group of companies with headquarters in Bahrain, New York, Luxembourg and Curaçao. The girl rubbed her purse against Clarity with such intensity, that a brooch belonging to Shalia stuck on the sweater of the Malibu teleoperator.

“Sorry,” said Shalia.

Immediately, she was struck by the cute look of Clarity, staring at her for a few seconds.

“We’ve met before,” said Shalia.

The attractive socialite glanced at the badge of Clarity, who opted for telling half of the truth, omitting her real name, like Devi had suggested. She told Shalia that they’d met at a disco in Bahrain while she was working on a consulting project for a multinational. The blond girl kept thinking for a few seconds, and finally nodded, tilting her head towards an electronic feed which was announcing an important event. Beaming an enthusiastic expression, she grabbed the hand of Clarity.

“Come with me, the pay per view debate is about to begin,” said Shalia.

Chapter Two

Shalia Owell made her way past the crowd at the exhibition and the conference center. Singapore was host to a symposium on health care, health innovations, and their implications for the economy, and Shalia was there on behalf of Owens & Owell, as a representative of their health care and sexual wellbeing division. She searched her pocket for a pass and showed it to a security guard warding access off the entrance to an arena labeled ‘pay per view access, by invitation only’.

Besides them, an executive from a health care company demanded access to the venue.

“This is appalling, my company is a participant here, I want access to this debate.”

“You need a pass, sir, nobody is getting in without a pass.”

The guard was firm. The executive headed back into the crowd, fuming about the restrictions that some of the activities held, which were counter the principles of free trade. The arena held about one hundred people, it was small. Shalia led Clarity to the front of the room, and sat down in one of the front rows. Several members of the presidential cabinet of the government of Singapore were seated in the first row.

“How did you get this pass?” Asked Clarity.

“Owens & Owell is a patron of the arts of the Suntec Center. We give a lot of money so that Singapore artists can make a living.”

“What’s the debate?”

“This is one of the main events of the symposium. Professor Fai Chang, a Taoist Master, is going to debate against Doctor Lloyd Wustemans, a member of the Royal Society of Medicine, on the limits and possibilities of human longevity.”

A tall man walked by them, smartphone in hand, scribbling his electronic signature on an iPad held by his secretary. After talking loudly for a few seconds, he grabbed the iPad and briefly read the news, before sitting down on the second row.

“That’s Pierce Canterbayle, the owner of the Vaulneigh private channel screenings.”

“Vaulneigh?”

“Vaulneigh owns all broadcasting and media rights to all the events being held here. Because of the economic impact and the high profile of the guests, some of the events are being broadcast on private corporate channels, to pharmaceutical companies and big multinationals involved one way or another in the health care sector.”

“It’s not a public event?”

“No, only some of it is broadcast to the public at large, the rest is private, each ticket here costs about fifty thousand dollars. People expect some exclusive broadcasting service in return for that kind of spending.”

Clarity noticed a large television camera hovering above them. Part of the event was being broadcast live in the U.S., directly on the web through streaming, as a short program of Bloomberg Television, CNBC, CNN, and the Fox Network. A showman who’d worked in a large casino before announced the two debaters, as though they were boxers about to fight at Caesar’s Palace. Acting as moderator, he also asked the question that everyone wanted answered.

“So, gentlemen, how long can the human body survive today, given today’s technological advances?” Lloyd Wustemans leaned towards the microphone and answered the question first.

“We are at a stage where we can foresee a time in fifty years when living for a hundred years in good condition will be considered normal. But there needs to be a lot more funding and research to allow us to build a functioning body with fully functioning artificial organs and components. The Royal Society is at the forefront of this research and ensures progress is being made, along the side of pharmaceutical companies, multinationals and prosthetics manufacturers.”

Mr. Chang argued that western medicine had performed quite well in the past two centuries, but met serious limitations to reach the next step in medicine. Clarity noticed that Canterbayle was waving his hand to the person in charge of the sound and broadcast system, telling her to stop broadcasting to the large networks and the public at large. The anchors of Bloomberg, CNBC, CNN and Fox News were kicked off the room. From then on, the event was broadcast by Vaulneigh exclusively, to pharmaceutical and medical and health care corporations and organizations like Human Longevity, Singularity University and Halcyon, and to private health television channels like HTN, the Health Television Network, Singapore Health Daily, Owala Health, and Health Brief.

“Traditional Chinese Medicine is better prepared to face the next stage of medicine for humanity, a stage where the good functioning of the body is brought and explained by Taoist principles, which have held their ground for hundreds of years. Those principles hold better than those proclaimed by the western outlook of medicine, which opts for often brutal surgery, including organ transplant, without understanding much at all about the way organs interact for instance.”

Wustemans was quick to rebut the statement.

“Chi, or that inner energy or fluid that Traditional Chinese Medicine and acupuncture claim is there, has never been shown scientifically. What are those Taoist principles?”

“Chi exists, there is a current of low intensity flowing inside the body. I feel chi in my body, and you can feel chi in your body as well. And it is important at this stage in medicine that you feel chi also.”

“What do you mean?”

“Immortality, Mr. Wustemans, human immortality, something quite close to it is possible today. But the barriers of western medicine must be destroyed before that can be a reality for those in this room.” Wustemans smirked at the comment and grabbed the microphone with his hand, bending it lower to mouth level.

“And to you, immortality means…”

“Living for two hundred years, as a person of fifty years of age in good health is living today.”

A roar of surprise erupted in the room. The statement of Professor Chang was bold, deliberately so.

“That’s impossible, that may be the case in one or two hundred years, but not today.”

Professor Chang pressed a button and a slide showing one of the oldest verified person, a Japanese man named Masamitsu Yoshida, aged one hundred and eleven. His diet included some raw fish, and his lifestyle was frugal, as most of the Japanese centennials life was.

“With diet, supplements and new prosthetic manufacturing technologies, it is not impossible to keep the human body working for periods spanning the century. The human body is not as complicated as a plane. A 747 has three million parts, not including fasteners, and it has over one hundred and fifty miles of wiring. The complexity of flying certainly matches the complexity of the human body.”

Wustemans did not change his viewpoint.

“You are dreaming, Professor Chang.”

“It is all very real, chi exists,” insisted Professor Chang, “but more resources must be dedicated to lengthen the longevity of the body.”

After a round of questions, the debate was finished. Shalia got up and brought Clarity to the bar, ordering two cocktails. The Owell family member brushed her lips near those of Clarity. Clarity walked back a step, hitting the bar counter with her back. Shalia had perfect lips, with a cupid’s bow that wasn’t too pronounced, nor lacked definition, and the soft, skin color lipstick made them very attractive. Clarity sensed that Shalia craved for a sense of connection in her relationships.

“What do you do at Herbaline? I´ve heard of the company, they make good money from what I hear?”

Caught off guard, Clarity spoke about what she’d learned at Herbaline.

“I advise human resources on human emotion and how it affects the promotion of employees.”

“Oh.”

Shalia placed her hand around the waist of Clarity and rubbed her flat stomach against Clarity’s sweater. She reached under the sweater of the teleoperator with the hand facing the bar counter, so that no one around would notice what she was doing. The bartender served the cocktails to both women and turned around, ignoring the bulge pressing against the breasts of Clarity. Shalia’s face was flushing and her right hand was delving under the lingerie of Clarity, exploring breast and nipple.

“Let’s go to my place.”

Chapter Three

A cluster of cameras triggering their flashes stopped the caressing sensation of Shalia’s warm and soft hands on Clarity’s breasts. Shalia looked away from Clarity and withdrew her hand from under her shirt and sweater. She grabbed Clarity’s hand and left a U.S. twenty dollar bill on the bar counter. American money was accepted during the convention, as most guests carried U.S. dollars and not Singapore dollars. Clarity made her way behind Shalia, past onlookers, to get a direct view of the attraction. A Rolls Royce Silver Seraph, painted grey, powered by an electric engine, was making its way with a humming noise along the corridor of the exhibition center.

Inside the flamboyant car, wealthy mogul and local billionaire Dao Bin Chu was giving indications to the driver to veer a steep five degrees to the left, to catch up with Professor Chang, who was leaving the convention center, followed by Dr. Wustemans. The luxurious vehicle accelerated to a maddening three miles an hour for thirty seconds, then slowed down from three to one mile an hour. The rear window rolled down, showing the fifty five year old face of Dao Bin, holding an L-shape self portrait ivory cane offered at cane auctioneer Kimball Sterling and bought by himself at the improbable bid of ten thousand dollars.

“Professor Chang, I am Dao Bin. I listened to the debate with Dr. Wustemans from a VIP chair in the first row. I want to know what is the method you intend to use to lengthen the life span of the human body.”

Clarity made a step aside to avoid stepping on a wealthy patron of the exhibition center who was keen on knowing the year that the Rolls Royce had been built and whether the electric engine car was available for sale. She saw Professor Chang walk along the Rolls Royce, his head slightly tilted towards the rear window.

“The method is inscrutable,” said Professor Chang.

“It can be inscrutable in general, but at some point, it has to be scrutable to me. I would like to be your business partner and help you put in place the project. It can start with me, in fact, it has to start with me and my own longevity,” said Dao Bin.

“You are not convincing me that you are going to dedicate all the resources needed to put in place the project I envision.”

“My resources are abundant, I convinced the exhibition center to build this Rolls Royce for me. Let’s do business together Professor Chang. My wife Elsie is a great fan of yours.”

Professor Chang stopped and grabbed a gin tonic from a waiter serving drinks. The Rolls Royce stopped and the driver, wearing white gloves, stepped out of the driving seat, cupped a rum and coke and placed it on a silver platter which unfolded out of the rear window, with chips and snacks falling on the platter from a pouch stitched on the ceiling of the car. Shalia began chatting with the driver, asking him whether he’d seen the electric-powered Rolls Royce at the Dubai duty free airport area. Owens & Owell had offices in Bahrain and a trading center in Dubai, and Shalia was looking for business opportunities that would bring new dollars to the bottom line of the company, and some indication to the O&O Board of Directors that she could be trusted with a board seat. After the family fiasco of her marriage to Jenny Owens in Bahrain, she was hiding the marriage documents and keeping the relationship, deemed improper by both wealthy families, low key.

“A pistachio Professor Chang?” Asked Dao Bin, stretching his hand out the window, holding the bag of Sam’s Choice bought from Walmart.

“No thank you, your friendly attitude is somewhat suspicious to me, a pistachio is not enough to buy my cooperation.”

“Very well, Professor, you’ll speak to my assistant, moneytician Lim Li, he deals with issues involving money, he is a real expert at valuing most things, from dry nuts imported from the US, to a deal like ours.”

A woman pushed Clarity towards the rear wheel of the Rolls Royce. She peaked inside the car through the rear window and saw Dao Bin holding his cane, pushing down. A springlike effect built-in the rear seat pushed up Dao Bin straight up. The roof of the car elevated one foot and the mogul lowered his head, as his body lifted up and to the right, ‘jumping’ over his assistant Lim Li. The moneytician moved to the left, grabbing the top of the rear door, stretching his head out the window. To his right, Dao Bin was holding his cane, impassive, looking at a small screen in front of him showing a level one sudoku.

“Professor Chang, let’s talk. You are the first Taoist member willing to reveal secrets of internal energy circulation, what is generally known in Singapore upper class pompous cocktail talk as the microcosmic orbit.”

Chang took a sip of his gin tonic, grabbing one of the ice cubes in his glass with one hand. With unexpected hand-throw dexterity, he threw the ice cube inside the Rolls Royce, into a small silver champagne ice bucket laid out on the tray along the pistachios, holding a few mini bottles of Laurent Perrier and Moët et Chandon champagne.

“The microcosmic orbit assumes you believe that chi exists.”

“We believe that it exists, but we need you to show that to us. We are willing to pay you a hefty amount.”

“You know that when the orbit is open, there is no return to your body as it was, not feeling the orbit that is.”

“We did not know that, but it does not change our mind.”

“I will contact you if there is interest on my part to become involved with Dao Bin. Tell him I will think about it.”

The moneytician turned his head to the right, speaking a few words of Chinese to the mogul sitting next to him.

“He says you are wise to do that.”

“It’s one of the reasons I opened the microcosmic orbit in my own body.”

“We will stay in touch then, we know you are staying in an apartment above the Institute of Long Health here in Singapore. Goodbye, Professor Chang.”

The driver of the luxurious car got inside and drove away at one mile an hour. Pressing a button on his driving wheel, he anchored several hooks under the Rolls Royce onto a platform which moved the car down a wide and curved mechanical escalator designed by architect Santiago Calatrava.

Shalia made several calls to New York, speaking about Dao Bin with Board of Directors secretary Grove Shemkey, one of the persons in charge of the company’s Executive Committee who acted as advisor to the second and third generation family owners of the company, Robert J. Owell and Clarence Owens III. Shemkey advised Clarence Owens and Donovan Carthill advised Robert Owell. Clarity walked past several stands showing medical equipment, aimed at physicians attending the symposium who could recommend it at the hospitals where they worked. A name drew her attention in one of the stands, it said ‘Pentatone Scale Health Longevity Equipment and Services’. Clarity remembered the name corresponded to the name of her decryptor, and that Pentatone was headed by warrior monks. Casually, she brought the conversation to the monks and mentioned that she owned a decryptor, telling the man, that she wanted to meet the monks. The man, a recent graduate of James Cook University in Singapore, grabbed Clarity by the arm, taking her behind the stand, away from the crowd. He stared at the badge of Clarity for a few seconds and made one phone call, speaking Chinese, which Clarity did not understand.

“Where did you find the decryptor?” He asked.

“In Las Vegas, at a Strategic Surveillance Center.”

“You have to show it to us, we want to know what’s in that decryptor now, it’s not a regular one. Do you know anyone here?” Clarity hesitated and then blurted the name of Devi, describing her Singapore Airlines uniform. She also remembered that the only client in Asia of Stevenson’s new shower division was in Singapore, and mentioned the name of Lamond Liew, and of the Bennington Salm hotel, the four star hotel which had ordered one hundred showers from Stevenson.

“What should I do now, where should I go?” Asked Clarity. The business graduate pointed to her friend Shalia.

“Keep close to your friend, she is meeting Dao Bin for dinner tonight, we will get in touch with you, directly or through the woman called Devi. Meet us tonight during dinner at the lobby of Swissotel, the place that has the Jaan restaurant on the seventieth floor.”

Chapter Four

Clarity spent the afternoon and early evening with Shalia in the Suite of her hotel. The blond girl was very insecure about the role she played in the large multinational company that her father led, and more than anything she wanted to recover her board seat while preserving her marriage with Jenny Owens. The presence of Clarity reassured her, because Clarity was in her twenties like her, and because the teleoperator was working for Herbaline, a company that was making money. To Shalia, Clarity was successful, she wanted part of that success, and to know how Clarity had gotten there. The rich socialite was in Singapore to inform Owens & Owell of new developments in the health and wellness industry, but she lacked credibility and immediate support from her parents, the Board of Directors, or the Executive Committee. Clarity provided some of that support, allowing her to vent out all the pressure coming from her family. The rich member of the global business establishment stepped closer to Clarity and kissed her on the lips, while unzipping her pants. Clarity found the sweet breath of the girl enticing. The tongue swirling in her mouth awakened a lewd sensation in her stomach.

“How did you get the job at Herbaline?” Asked Shalia.

“I simply took one of their courses on communication,” said Clarity. She felt the hand of Shalia get under her white panties and let the girl pull on the cotton fabric, leaving her shaved flesh exposed.

Shalia threw Clarity on the bed, unbuttoning the teleoperator’s shirt, throwing the shirt and the badge of Herbaline on the floor. They frolicked in bed for more than an hour, practicing the sixty nine position, Shalia impressing Clarity with the deft, suave motions of her tongue on her own intimate parts. Around seven in the evening, Shalia kissed Clarity and got up naked, bending in front of Clarity, reaching for her toes with her hands.

“I’m having dinner at nine tonight, wanna come? Meeting Dao Bin, I have nothing to offer him, but I want to make some kind of deal with him and his company, Hunan Enterprises.”

Clarity nodded.

“Go ahead and shower, I’ll take a taxi and meet you there, I have to send a few emails for work.”

At nine in the evening, the lobby of Swissotel was humming with people, mostly executives coming from India and the U.S. or Europe. Clarity saw the booth of the concierge busy providing indications to a couple who wanted the scoop on nightlife in the city. Coming out of one of the elevators, she noticed the sleek, thin silhouette of Lim Li getting out into the lobby on his own. She looked outside and saw the Rolls Royce of Dao Bin waiting outside. She had a daring idea. Seeing a coat hanger a few feet from the concierge, Clarity noticed a spare concierge coat hanging besides guests’ coats. She donned the concierge spare coat and slid through the revolving door of the luxurious hotel, in time to open the rear Rolls Royce door facing the hotel to Lim Li. The moneytician of Dao Bin ignored her and stepped into the car. Noticing the rear window stayed open, she kneeled down near the window as though examining the rear tire of the electric vehicle, and overheard the moneytician of Dao Bin speak with the driver.

“The government of China is after the technology of human longevity, there is a lot of money involved with this. I’m just not sure how the boss will tap on it yet.” The driver blurted out wo zhi dao le, which meant I see, in Chinese, and continued in English.

“Dao Bin is not stupid. Gonna smoke a cigarette outside.” The billionaire owning the impressive car did not smoke and forbid his driver to smoke inside. The driver opened the door and stepped out, noticing Clarity kneeled besides the rear tire.

“What are you doing here?”

“Simply checking the tires.”

Clarity tapped the rear tire, saying the pressure definitely looked quite appropriate for a car with that weight.

“Get off,” said the driver. Clarity got up and disappeared inside the lobby of Swissotel. Hiding behind a large marble column and a tall plant reaching eight feet, she took off the concierge coat and put it back in place. A hand tapped her shoulder, and she jumped, startled by the presence behind her. It was the man from the Pentatone exhibit.

“The monks cannot meet you. They’re being watched closely.”

“By whom?”

“Singapore authorities, and people working for Dao Bin. Get your decryptor here in Singapore, you’re going to need it, we can get in touch more discretely with it.”

“Where do I pick it up? What address?”

“Pick it up here, give the name of this cafe.”

The man gave her a piece of paper with the name of the local docks written on it and another name below.

“Go to the docks and ask for this place, this is the place where you can pick up your decryptor. When you get there, tell the owner you want to meet the distributor of Pentatone in Singapore, he’ll give you the package and know how to get in touch with us.”

The youthful oriental graduate disappeared through the revolving door of the hotel, leaving Clarity on her own. She made a collect call to the U.S. from the hotel, speaking to her friend Cynthia Stevenson, the daughter of the company where she worked as teleoperator, Stevenson Garden Products. Cynthia knew her landlord in Malibu and was able to reach his office to get keys to her apartment, after Clarity wrote an authorization for her friend, signed by her.

“Send the decryptor Fedex, with a lot of bubble wrap, so that it doesn’t break during the trip.”

“What are you doing in Singapore? Last time I saw you, you were in Orange County. You know that Heather is not working at Herbaline. She didn’t like their vacation schedule. She’s back to work at Stevenson.”

“Long story, doing all right, got a free trip to Asia, and a passport from Singapore.”

Cynthia said that she certainly was meeting the right people. While Clarity was in Asia, Clarity’s U.S. passport was being issued by U.S. authorities, at the request of the captain of the City of Wellington, Harvey Opreim, who was doing her a favor by saying that she’d lost the passport during a stay in Acapulco. U.S. Customs and Immigration were taking some time to issue the document, because they were checking the file of Clarity. Regular procedure they said. Clarity was hoping that her stay at the Bellagio in the hotel surveillance center was not preventing the issue of her U.S. passport. In either case, to have a good passport like the document issued by Singapore authorities was certainly welcome, good backup.

“Your gadget will be in Singapore in one day.” Cynthia agreed to pay for the cost of sending her decryptor, a hefty one hundred dollars charged for the express service.

“Thanks Cynthia, don’t forget the charger, I need it to get the thing working after a few days of using the battery.”

With one thing settled, Clarity took the elevator and reached the top floor of the hotel, taking in the breathtaking view of the docks and water and large boats slowing moving in and out of the Bay of Singapore. The restaurant was kept by the talented chef Kirk Westaway, who had out-cooked nine other candidates and replaced departing French chef Julien Royer. The food was delicious. She reached the table of Shalia, who was eating some appetizers with Dao Bin.

“You’re late,” said Shalia.

“I was admiring the Rolls Royce of Mr. Dao Bin,” said Clarity. The billionaire squinted, swallowing an appetizer.

“Darcy Emmers is a good friend. She is an expert on emotion and uses her expertise within human resources, for the employees of Herbaline, the herbal products company.” A waiter stopped at their table, carrying a bucket filled with mini bottles of Laurent Perrier champagne, the preferred spirit of Dao Bin. Shalia looked at the menu and opted for meat.

“I´ll have the roasted duck.” Clarity nodded. “For me as well, make that two, please,” said the teleoperator. Dao Bin lifted his face towards Shalia, with an expression verging on disapproval.

“Three roasted ducks for me,” said the mogul.

“Three?” Asked Shalia.

“I like to have the last word in negotiations, one roasted duck for me, one for my wife, one for my moneytician. He shares his roasted duck with the driver of my electrically powered Rolls Royce, and my whole team is loyal to me. Feed the hand who helps you is the saying I follow.”

“Your wife is part of your team?”

“She is as useful to me as my Rolls Royce.” With those cryptic words, he took out the latest issue of Tatler Singapore, and showed Shalia a photograph of his wife Elsie Chu, attending a Repertory Theatre fundraiser gala, wearing an Isabel de Pedro dress, Tiffany hoop earrings, and Roger Vivier pointy-toed stilettos. Elsie was a member of the Prince Albert II of Monaco foundation, and a veteran fundraiser for the Singapore National Gallery. Singapore high society considered her a cheeky doyenne living in a cocoon of luxury, working the social scene of the city in her luxurious Audi A8. They began to talk business and Shalia gave the mogul a copy of the Owens & Owell annual report. The mogul leafed through it indifferently and placed it on the table. He spat out a flat sentence, sounding resolutely in command.

“What can you do for us, Ms. Owell? I’m not sure our business interests have anything in common.”

“We want to make a cooperative deal with you, we have resources which can help you put in place the project you’d like to carry out with Professor Chang.” Shalia was simply saying something to keep the conversation going, without knowing what the deal would be. Dao Bin threw an appetizer which hovered above Shalia Owell, into an aquarium filled with exotic fish, for good luck.

“Even if it means antagonizing Singapore authorities?” Shalia pondered the question, and answered a resounding yes. Dao Bin showed a minute smile which blended seamlessly onto the features of his large face.

“We may be able to do business then, the amount of money needed to carry out the project I have in mind is substantial, and my company Hunan Enterprises is fully invested at the moment, without a lot of spare cash for new projects. My project involves the notion of human longevity in various aspects, including the building of an exoskeleton for the army of China.”

Clarity ignored what an exoskeleton was. The mogul was happy to provide an answer he’d been studying for months.

“An exoskeleton can double or triple the physical strength of a soldier. It provides arms of steel and artificial legs over the real legs, which allow a soldier to run longer and last longer in combat. Singapore does not like the idea of me getting involved with China’s military. Owens & Owell can adopt the role of an intermediary with them perhaps, when the project is under way, also providing some investment cash.”

Shalia Owell looked at Clarity, who was taking notes on a napkin with a pen she picked up at the symposium.

“I’ll have to run your geostrategic request with the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee,” said Shalia, “we don’t generally do deals with the military.”

Chapter Five

They finished dinner at eleven o’clock. Clarity insisted on paying her own bill, and she saw the balance of the card offered by Devi drop a whopping four hundred dollars to a remaining cash amount of one hundred dollars. The mini bottles of Laurent Perrier and Moët et Chandon, and the luxury menu of Jaan, along with the beautiful view, added up quickly. Dao Bin invited them into his Rolls Royce.

“Care for a night stroll in my car? I have some drinks to offer and I’m going to pick up Professor Chang to speak with him. Maybe some business opportunities will arise out of that.”

“Sure,” said Shalia. She would have done practically anything to keep talking with the Singapore wealthy businessman. They went down the seventy floors of the restaurant and reached the mogul’s Rolls Royce, kept by moneytician Lim Li. The back of the car was split in two areas facing each other. A leather bench holding three people unfolded, and Clarity and Shalia sat down on it, turning their back to the driver. Across from her, Dao Bin sat down, letting Lim Li face Shalia. Clarity noticed an old candlestick phone hanging from the wall of the right rear door. Dao Bin was a collector of phones and the one in the car was an authentic one made by Western Electric. Dao Bin grabbed the candlestick phone attached to the passenger’s rear door and began a conversation with a merchant, a prominent supplier of components for the flagship product of Hunan Enterprises, a one hundred dollar smartphone offered throughout Asia. Dao Bin pressed on a button and a smartphone popped up from a compartment near the ashtray of the car.

“I want the lanthanides, lanthanium, Terbium, Gadolinium, Dysprosium, Neodymium. We need that for sharpness of the screen colors and for the electronics, the magnets of the speaker and microphone.”

Lim Li offered a Hunan smartphone to Shalia, who began playing with it. Shalia used the phone to get in touch with her girlfriend Jenny Owens, who was taking care of their essays on human sexuality at University of Arizona. The blond socialite had slept with their thesis advisor a few times, a young professor in his thirties with a liberal mind, and the professor accepted Shalia as an online student when Shalia said she would do her homework assignments from abroad and let her girlfriend Jenny print them, handing them in for her. Clarity watched Shalia and noticed that she was using whatsapp to get in touch with her friends. The teleoperator missed Lanai and not having a phone of her own, and she was looking forward to receiving her decryptor. Dao Bin continued speaking to his supplier.

“Yes, the regular amount of transition metals, gold, silver, nickel, all of that as well, same price.”

After a few seconds in listening mode, Dao Bin rotated the receiver with this thumb and index, a sign that things were not going the way he wanted them to go. The supplier was not providing the components, there was a problem with delivery because of a customer who had closed a deal before him twenty minutes earlier. Sitting across the mogul with Shalia, Clarity watched Lim Li, as the moneytician opened a spreadsheet which had a list of all the components included in Dao Bin’s smartphone, their price and their location in one of the twelve manufacturing plants that the Singapore billionaire had in Malaysia, Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia. Dao Bin turned to the moneytician seating near him.

“There is a problem with the order.”

“Put him on speaker phone,” said Lim Li. The merchant’s voice vibrated loudly inside the car.

“We have run out of components, I’ll get in touch with you when the lanthanides are available.” Dao Bin and Lim Li remained speechless a few seconds.

Clarity saw a television screen on the ceiling of the Rolls Royce, showing a feed with the stock price of Hunan Enterprises at the Shanghai stock exchange and the Singapore Exchange, abbreviated as SGX. A feminine voice explained the history of the company in Chinese, its modest beginnings and its fabulous growth. Dao Bin had begun his career as a factory worker in Malaysia and Taiwan, working for Fairchild Semiconductor, glass display maker Corning, and touchscreen controller manufacturer Broadcom. With some saved money, he set up his own distribution shop in Singapore, Hunan Phoneshop, that he’d turned into a franchise with the help of Lim Li, a shrewd cell phone salesman.

Over several years, Dao Bin had gone from being a modest store owner, to an assembler of smartphone casings, displays, and camera lenses, for well known sellers like Apple, Huawei, and Samsung, to building his own communications brand employing thousands of workers located in Taiwan and South East Asia, all working in a complex web of suppliers and providers of components and assembled blocks. His Taiwanese merchant traded Lanthanides, rare earth metals, which came mostly from China, and which were necessary to build any smartphone.

“If you want the lanthanides, you’ll have to pay fifty percent premium, I’ll have to tell the other customer he has to wait.” Lim Li glanced at Dao Bin with a look saying the merchant was talking nonsense. The moneytician shook his head, giving Dao Bin his answer.

“No deal, fifty percent is crazy, send in the transition metals, and the silicon, nickel, tin, lead, gallium, that way we’ll be able to work on the microphone, the chip, and we’ll also be able to solder the electronics on the new K-talker phone model.” The King Talker seven was the latest phone assembled by Hunan that Dao Bin was putting out in the market. Dao Bin followed the indications of his moneytician and only half the deal was closed. Dao Bin made a call to China, speaking Chinese a few minutes, and then turned off his smartphone completely.

At eleven forty five in the evening, the Rolls Royce picked up Professor Chang at the Institute for Long Health. The Taoist master was living in a two room apartment owned by the institute, right above it. The authority on longevity stepped in the backseat-unfolded gray leather bench of the car, facing Dao Bin, sitting beside Clarity.

“Professor, these are some of my business connections, Ms. Shalia Owell and Ms. Darcy Emmers, specialist from Herbaline.”

Chang bowed his head to Shalia, looking intently at Clarity. Dao Bin had invited Chang to turn the Grandmaster into his business associate, or at the very least, know more about what the taoist master knew about yin and yang, and internal energy circulation.

“I have to be back in my apartment for the two hour Tao Yin and internal breathing exercises. Let us ride around the area.” Dao Bin spoke to the driver of his electrical Rolls Royce and the car began to move at five miles an hour around the block of the Institute of Long Health. Dao Bin offered a drink to everyone and began speaking to Chang.

“Professor Chang, what is the price of your sacred knowledge on longevity?” Asked Dao Bin. Chang smiled mysteriously.

“Tao knowledge takes time to learn. There are three levels to my courses that provide the fundamentals of longevity, for both men and women. A core level which provides an introduction to the microcosmic orbit, a class known as Loving Sense which is an introduction to seminal Kung Fu for men and ovarian kung fu for women, and a third level, known as Union and Merging of the Five Energies, which relates emotions to the internal breathing knowledge learned in the previous two courses. This knowledge has never been revealed up to now. I am the first Grandmaster to reveal this knowledge. I want one million dollars to provide one to one instruction, for each person who receives it.”

Clarity was surprised to see how material spiritual knowledge could get. Spiritual knowledge had a price and Chang was not doing a bad job at valuing it, knowing he had a billionaire across from him. Shalia threw in a word for Clarity, to justify her own presence in the car and the conversation.

“My friend Darcy is a specialist on emotion, we may be able to help on this.”

“What emotion is your specialty?” Asked Chang, turning to Clarity. Clarity answered with the logic of her friend Ambi Mivel, the woman held for two years at Herbaline.

“Stability,” said Clarity, “I think there’s way too much emotional instability in the world today. I think the environment plays a role in making emotion surface, and that factory workers are more prone to being emotional than someone working in an office, job precariousness is a factor. The notion of flow and dealing with the complexities of a task at work, is what leads to stability, and job stability is also what leads to emotional stability.”

“Interesting theory, flow is not part of my specialties.” Dao Bin interrupted.

“I want to lengthen the span of human life to one hundred and fifty years of age, Professor, using technology. How can you help us do that?”

“There are missing links in traditional Chinese medicine, holistic links relating the various layers of fluids in the body to the twelve organ meridian system.”

While Dao Bin spoke with professor Chang about how these links could be found, Clarity began talking with Shalia.

“There is a chart that may cover these links.” The eyes of Shalia lit up, bringing a mixture of envy, ambition, and desire to impress Dao Bin, to her conversation with the Malibu teleoperator.

“Really, where is this chart, what is it?” Asked Shalia.

“It’s called Meridian 57, some kind of code name for the chart. I learned of this through Herbaline. A group of monks is working on it. I’m trying to get in touch with them, but they are not easy to find. When I get my decryptor it will be easier.”

“Your decryptor?”

“My symbolic decryptor, it has a software that talks about the monks I just mentioned. But I’m not sure how to use the software to get in touch with them.”

Lim Li had overheard Clarity and blended in the conversation.

“Meridian 57 is a codename for longevity?”

“I think the number refers to the twelve organ meridian system,” said Clarity. “Five and seven adds up to twelve.”

Across from Clarity, Dao Bin struck his cane on the carpet of his car. For the second time that day, he could not agree on a price to buy the Neidan know-how, internal energy knowledge of Chang. He was not that interested in paying for a lesson, or three courses, but wanted to buy the rights to using the knowledge in any context, including a smartphone or a lab. But Chang was refusing a ‘bundled’ deal, prefering to charge for each module taught as teacher, without giving up rights to his knowledge, learned in part from a hermit.

“We can reach agreement Professor Chang, let us stay in touch. I will send two of my masseuses to your office, they are most pleasant and I am sure you will treat them well.”

Chang did not answer, but nodded a polite thank you smile. The Rolls Royce stopped in front of the Institute of Long Health and Lim Li opened the door to Chang. Dao Bin turned to Shalia Owell, indicating their night was coming to an end.

“We’ll take a taxi back to my hotel,” said Shalia, “drop us off at the Suntec convention center.”

Lim Li smiled to Clarity politely and stepped out with both girls. He gave one last suggestion to Shalia, when Dao Bin could not hear him.

“Keep us informed on that chart,” said Lim Li, “right now, it is really the only reason we’re going to do business with you.”

Shalia nodded and said goodbye, stepping out of the Rolls Royce. Half an hour later, they were back at Shalia’s hotel. Again, Shalia had her hands all over Clarity. She gently pushed Clarity into the bed, landing the teleoperator into the white quilt.

“You have to tell me about that chart in more detail. I think Professor Chang got interested by your talk on emotion, and Dao Bin wants Chang. There’s a business opportunity for Owens & Owell, I know it.”

“There’s not much more to say, I don’t know much more about that chart,” said Clarity.

She thought about the group of women tied to the Privilege Club, the flamboyant harem known as the Skyline of Kuala Lumpur. Maybe they would know the chart or how to get in touch with the monks. The only problem was that she knew no one inside the harem. She stopped the overt advances of Shalia and stepped into the bathroom, grabbing a comb to disentangle her auburn shoulder-length hair. Now that Shalia knew of the monks, she had to follow up on the location and nature of the chart. The face of Shalia peeked inside the bathroom.

“I want to hire you as an assistant, we need to work on a budget for this project, this issue of human longevity and the aging-well market can get me back on the board of Owens & Owell, but I need to work out some numbers before I present this to the Executive Committee. Do you want to stay another week with me?” Asked Shalia. Clarity blushed slightly and instinctively nodded. Having expenses paid for a week was certainly a boon at that point.

“We’ll talk about all this tomorrow.”

She pulled Clarity by the hand to the bed and sat astride her, kissing her on the lips, smelling of Chanel number five. Clarity returned the kiss, charmed and delighted by the perfume and smell of the blond girl. She made love with Shalia eagerly, and fell asleep two hours later, her hand landed on the waist and hip of the wealthy socialite, enjoying the sweet, clean smell of the white quilt surrounding her.

Chapter Six

Clarity spent the next morning talking to Lamond Liew at the four star Bennington Salm hotel, the place which had ordered one hundred showers from Stevenson Garden Products. She told him that she was there for a few days, a few weeks at most, on business, and that she’d lost her credit card.

“You can stay here if you need to,” said Liew.

Comforted by having negotiated an additional good place to stay, which did not involve people she did not know, Clarity glanced at the piece of paper that the graduate working for Pentatone had given her at Swissotel, which had the name of the docks and of a ship scribbled on it. She stepped off the taxi and walked towards the gate of Jurong Port, the port operator which handled general cargo, bulk, and containers. The paper said to look for the MV Mairangi Bay, a container ship owned by the P&O Navigation Limited company, the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation company. A worker from the container area read the piece of paper and shook his head.

“The Mairangi Bay has not docked, most of the sailors go to the On the Table cafe for brunch in Pasir Panjang when they dock here. If you are looking for someone working as crew for that ship, you can go there and ask the owner.”

Clarity was hungry, after drinking only a latte for breakfast at the Bennington Salm. She took a taxi and instructed the driver to head for Pasir Panjang. Twenty minutes later, she stepped inside the spacious cafe. She sat down and looked at the menu, ordering the Big One, a full brunch dish of pork sausage, sunny side eggs, baked portobello, mixed salad, bacon, and ham, offered at a reasonable sixteen Singapore dollars, about twelve dollars U.S. As she waited for her dish, Clarity stood up and walked towards the counter. She asked the waitress about a package sent to her name.

“Yes, we have a package, it’s all paid.” She reached under the counter and took out a FedEx package. Inside, Clarity found her decryptor.

“Thank you,” she said, placing the item in her back pocket.

A few minutes later, her dish came and she rushed to eat the sunny side eggs and the salad. Just as she was enjoying a nice smoothie, she saw a thin silhouette hovering on her plate. The moneytician of Dao Bin, Lim Li, had found her. Lim Li sat across from her on the table, ordering a bacon and ham sandwich. Two heavyweight men, sweaty, looking as though they’d come out of a sumo wrestling ring, appeared under the doorstep of the cafe, settling in a chair at the bar counter. Both were wearing stand-collar, dark gray nylon jackets with ribbed cuffs, zip pockets and a stowaway hood added for weather-ready convenience. The only way to distinguish them was the wording written in white on the back of the jacket. One jacket said Yaocho, which meant fixed bout, in Japanese, and the other jacket said Komusubi, the lowest of three sumo ranks in official sumo ranking. They waved at Lim Li and asked for two menus.

“Who are they?” Asked Clarity.

“Jeng and Mao Sei, they are part of Mr. Dao Bin security. Both of them are former sumo wrestlers, rikishi who ended their career in a sumo comedy act called shokkiri. That’s where Mr. Dao Bin found them.” Clarity waved back at both thugs, grabbing a piece of her toasted brioche.

“Mr. Dao Bin is impressed by your knowledge of emotion, and by your connections,” said Lim Li, “he wants you to work for him. He is particularly interested in buying a tool you mentioned the other day, your symbolic decryptor. We want to know the warrior monks who are working on the chart you mentioned called Meridian 57.”

“The decryptor is not for sale,” said Clarity. Lim Li took a bite of his sandwich, making a thumbs up sign to the waitress serving, indicating the dish was good.

“What is your professional position at Herbaline?”

Clarity made an effort so that her face would not veer pale. She wasn’t comfortable with the fact that she was wearing a false name in Singapore. With two henchmen hired by Dao Bin watching her closely, her negotiating and general position was not particularly solid.

“Human Resource vice president,” she lied.

“If you work for us, you don’t have to work for Herbaline anymore. Think about our proposition, Ms. Emmers. Mr. Dao Bin never makes the same offer twice.”

Lim Li got up and spoke briefly to the waitress at the counter, leaving a generous tip for the place.

“Your meal is paid,” said the moneytician.

The waitress wrapped his sandwich in aluminum foil, and two additional sandwiches for Jeng and Mao Sei, before the three of them left the cafe.

The waitress insisted on serving a new green tea to Clarity, to dip a banana nutella muffin, one of the dessert specialties of the cafe. After drinking several sips, the head of Clarity began turning in dizzy circles, she was feeling very drowsy. The realization came before she passed out: The tea was clouded with a sleep-inducing substance. A couple sitting a few tables away from Clarity lifted their heads when the Malibu teleoperator slipped into unconsciousness. The woman walked to the bar counter and gave a five hundred dollar note to the waitress, to buy her silence. The oriental man lifted Clarity on his shoulder and carried her through the back door of the bar, placing her body in the back of a van. The van disappeared in the streets of Pasir Panjang, veering north on Henderson Road and West, towards Leng Kee Road and Commonwealth Ave. After a few minutes, the vehicle turned left on Queensway, and stopped at a local shop near the Temasek Club Golf Driving Range.

 

_______________________________________

 

At On the Table, Lim Li stormed through the door looking for Clarity, glaring at the waitress.

“Where is the girl? Did you put the drowsiness pill in her tea?”

“She left on her own and called a cab, said she wasn’t feeling well.”

Jeng, the thug wearing the jacket that said fixed bout, lifted the waitress one foot in the air.

“Speak, you are not telling the truth, fixed bout. Where is the young woman?”

He shook the waitress several times, turning her back to them in an implausible one hundred eighty degree move, throwing her in the air and holding her hips. The waitress, grabbed by Jeng, facing the counter, thought that it was better to say something that would calm the thug, before the floor caught up with her from a height of several feet.

“A couple picked her up, they left that way,” she said.

Lim Li followed the finger of the waitress to the back door and made his way to the back alley of the cafe, followed by Mao Sei. They walked around the area, knocking on doors for several minutes, until they realized that the teleoperator had disappeared.

“We need that decryptor,” said the moneytician. He turned to Mao Sei. “Find me that girl.”

Clarity woke up inside an astrologer shop, surrounded by a large Chinese compass made of lodestone and magnetite ore, known as a south pointer, which was built during the Han Dynasty in the second century before Christ.

“Where am I? Who are you?”

The middle aged man stared at Clarity, sliding her decryptor on the table.

“Nice tool, Pentatone is a good brand.”

“You know them?” She was referring to the warrior monks.

“We are members of the Society of the Enlightened Jade Dragon. We have heard of you. You are Clarity aren’t you?” Clarity was surprised that the couple knew her real name. She went along, as they seemed friendly.

“Yes, Clarity Nice.”

“Your decryptor has been sending us some information about you since it began to be active. This is an item which was sold to the National Security Agency in the U.S by one of our local relays there, there’s only a few of these made in the world. We use decryptors to be informed of the activities carried out by security and surveillance agencies in the world, in exchange they serve our purpose, or at least, they agree to listen to us.”

“Your purpose?”

“To end war conflict, we believe in trade, in free trade, work for everyone and learning, and in tracing spiritual knowledge dating back hundreds and thousands of years. We do not agree with a world-view that includes belligerent defense agencies watching everyone, including regular citizens and rival agencies, all ready to fund war.”

Clarity watched the woman place eight Chinese trigrams made of three straight lines, on the cast bronze plate of the oriental compass. The teleoperator had seen the trigrams in the oriental module of her decryptor, they came from the Chinese I Ching, or Book of Change. Looking at the thin needle of the compass, she realized that she was talking to the descendants of ancient Chinese alchemists. She grabbed her decryptor, realizing it needed an adapter to function in Singapore, as the item had a cable built for U.S. plugs. The man handed her an adapter built for Singapore plugs, and Clarity began charging the device on an outlet.

“Well, this decryptor ended up in Las Vegas in a surveillance center, in a lower floor of the Bellagio hotel. I sort of rescued it along with a supercomputing consciousness called Evans. Evans simply disappears at times, not sure how the supercomputer module works.”

“It is not prepared to include a supercomputer. Did you figure out the symbolic module?”

“No, most of it is written in Thai, and I don’t know Thai. I use the phrase book to learn a few words, but it’s very slow.”

The woman gave Clarity a cup filled with hot water.

“They gave you a sleeping pill, this warm water blended with a herb will help you get back to your senses.”

Clarity inquired about the Secret Society. She was interested in learning about their esoteric knowledge, including their sacred sexuality techniques. The woman, called Cixi, listened intently to Clarity. Her husband, named Aiguo Liang, began asking her questions about her day of birth and personality, which identified the chi energy of her month of birth. Like anyone interested in joining the secretive group of adepts, she would be tested before being accepted as member of the woman’s branch, the White Tigress Enlightened Society. The woman’s wing of the group was an inner group exclusively for women, within the Enlightened Society of the Dragon. Roles were shared equally between men and women, but the physiology of the woman was different, and esoterically, it meant a different group, solely women, paid attention to the needs of women in the Society.

“Do you know the harem of women known as the Skyline of Kuala Lumpur?”

“Yes, we are in touch with them.” Cixi looked at her husband, whose first name, Aiguo, meant patriotic.

“It is a delicate matter.” Aiguo Liang continued.

“Adult content is often defiled and the harem you mention is involved with adult films. So are we, through them. There is a rival White Tigress Society that disagrees with some of our principles, in particular as to how sex should be practiced among men and women and couples. The group is headed by Madame Wa, she is a dangerous woman. She also knows about the Skyline of Kuala Lumpur, that’s why we are careful with that group.”

“Why is Madame Wa dangerous?”

“She has connections with Herbaline, sells some of their herbal products here. We dislike Herbaline, their sales methods are aggressive. Madame Wa is the connection of Herbaline in Singapore. We got in touch with her through our informant before you landed a few days ago, telling Madame Wa your plane was landing one day later, giving the name Darcy Emmers. Then, we sent Devi to meet you instead. Devi is a member of our Society.”

“So Madame Wa was looking for me at the airport, and she is looking for me now, she is looking for Darcy Emmers?”

“Yes, and she wants to know your chart of emotion and your personality chart. She has instructions for you coming from Herbaline, but we do not know those.”

So Clarity owed all the good things and connections in Singapore to the Enlightened Society of the Jade Dragon. Things were starting to make sense.

“When can I get back to the U.S.?”

“Your ownership of the decryptor means that you may be one of us now. You cannot leave just like that and return to your home place. We have to ensure that you share our values. Unless you want to return the decryptor to us. We’ll make good use of it.”

Clarity pondered her choice. For the first time, there was an alternative to being in Singapore and simply following indications offered by people she barely knew. She glanced at the white decryptor, thinking that she had worked very hard to find it in Vegas, carrying out missions for the U.S. government in the Bahamas, Abu Dhabi and Bahrain. And the place where she worked, Stevenson Garden Products, was not promoting her. The decryptor was like a reward for being employee of the month.

“I want to keep it, it’s beautiful, never seen something like it.”

“Then you cannot share anything you learn from us with anyone.”

Aiguo Liang took out a white cable with two USB ports, plugging a USB end into her decryptor, and the other into his own laptop. For several minutes, all the content of Clarity’s decryptor was downloaded to Aiguo’s computer. She checked the cell phone that Devi had given her and found two messages on the voicemail. Her friend Lanai was working at the National Library Board, looking at a collection of rare books on spiritual sexuality. The other message was from Shalia. The rich board member wannabe wanted to know where she was. She wanted to have dinner with Clarity and then go out to the Zouk Club on Jiak Kim Street, in Singapore Riverside, considered by many one of the best night clubs in Singapore.

Chapter Seven

Clarity ignored the phone message of Shalia to go out. Aiguo Liang led her to a basement below their shop which looked like a state of the art communications center. Several men were seated in the room, dressed in orange robes. The robes symbolized simplicity and detachment from materialism. Their wireless technology gave them access to a satellite view of Singapore. One of the monks, named Banko, which meant everlasting, zoomed in on the docks, onto one ship which was docking in Jurong.

“It’s the Mairangi Bay, the shipment has reached Singapore.” The other monk, named Fushin, which meant guardian of the mind, handed Aiguo Liang a message transcript picked on the wireless line of Dao Bin.

“Dao Bin is going to get the cargo tonight, we must go before him.”

“What cargo?” Asked Clarity.

“Rare earth metals,” answered Aiguo, nodding to the skin-tight-haircut monk named Banko, “it’s important that we get access to these, they are part of Meridian 57.”

“What is meridian 57?”

“It is our name for the project of immortality,” said Aiguo, “I am not allowed to tell you more until you see our leader. But first, you have to go through a loyalty test, and that involves getting those rare earth metals for us.” Clarity nodded, not displeased with doing something against the interests of Dao Bin, which she found unpleasant.

Before dusk, around six in the evening, Clarity ate a light meal, soup and vegetables, and some fruit. Aiguo handed her a piece of paper with the layout of the Mairangi Bay inside. The rare earth metals were inside one container of the second cargo bay of the ship. Her task was to board the container ship with the two monks, with the assistance of an informant on board, and lift the container they were seeking, container AV 345G, on board a fishing boat, using a large crane available on the ship. At eight PM, with night fully settled, Clarity said good bye to Aiguo and his wife, and got in a taxi with Banko and Fushin, who had traded their orange robes for jeans and a dark gray turtleneck. They reached the harbor of Jurong and boarded a fishing boat, the Histria Agata, which had an empty cargo bay large enough to fit a container. Fushin and Banko started the engines of the boat and they set off in the direction of Terminal two. Officially, they were a refuelling boat instructed with refuelling the Mairangi Bay. After twenty minutes, the front light of the Agata lit up the name of the large cargo ship, which was docked on terminal two.

“Our informant is on board, we are all set.” Bunko maneuvered the boat along the cargo ship and Clarity saw a hatch opening, which matched the height of the fishing boat. A woman whose face was covered with a veil pushed her head out of darkness waving at Clarity.

“Come in,” she said.

Clarity entered the cargo bay of the MV Mairangi Bay through a hatch opened by the informant on the ship, a woman whose face was covered with a veil. The ship was docked in Jurong port for a night, before continuing towards Penang in Malaysia. While Clarity made her way to the galley of the ship with the informant, she recognized the features of the woman. She’d seen her before somewhere. It was Devi, the hostess who’d welcomed her at the airport.

“Devi,” said Clarity. The woman lowered her veil a few inches.

“Shh, we mustn’t talk,” she said. They made their way towards the engine room without meeting anyone, moving on to the galley. Devi used a set of keys to lock the hatch which led to the crew’s cabins. Everyone was sleeping and locking the crew and captain left Clarity and Devi some room to get to the cargo. They found the crane used to lift containers and Devi stayed on the ship’s bridge, to turn on the crane. Clarity sat on the crane cabin post and began moving the crane towards the row holding the container. Along one aisle, she noticed two silhouettes moving swiftly towards her, Jeng and Mai Sei, the two henchmen of Lim Li and the mogul. They were also looking for the crane. Clarity lowered the crane and picked up Jeng, dropping him off into an empty container. Moving backwards with the train, she grappled the jacket of Mai Sei, and lifted the former sumo wrestler towards the same crane, dropping him with a loud thump a few feet from his accomplice.

Her way clear, Clarity read the piece of paper given by Aiguo, focusing on row AV. She found the container a few minutes later and used a rack pallet vehicle to take the container out of its position. Then, she stepped on the large crane of the ship used to unload containers on the harbor shore. The crane lowered the container carrying the rare earth metals on the Histria Agata. Clarity returned the hoist to its original position, hearing Jeng and Mao Sei yell at the crew to lift them from their own personal container. She stepped off the crane and ran through the engine room and the galley, back to the hatch which had allowed her to board the ship. Devi extended her arm to help her on board the Histria Agata. The fishing boat engine roared away from the cargo ship, leaving the docks of Jurong, headed for the docks of Pasir Panjang.

Less than fifty minutes later, Shalia was calling her on the cell phone that Devi had provided at the airport.

“Darcy?”

“It’s me,” answered Clarity.

“Where have you been? Something happened, one of the containers carrying a sample of rare earth metals purchased by our communications technology division has disappeared.” Clarity listened to the alarmed voice of Shalia, who was visibly altered, albeit from her luxurious Suite at the Marina Bay Sands hotel, facing Marina Bay. Advertised as the world’s most expensive casino property at more than five billion U.S. dollars, the resort included a twenty five hundred room hotel, and boasted a convention center, an art science museum, notable restaurants such as DB Bistro Moderne, Waku Ghin and Sky on 57, and the infinity swimming pool, set on the largest public cantilevered platform, producing the effect of water without boundary. Shalia was using her spare one hundred thousand dollars for the month allocated by her father to book a Suite at the hotel, and she periodically vented out the refusal of her family to be part of the Board of Directors of O&O by playing a few thousand dollars at baccarat at the casino.

Leaving Devi and her decryptor with Aiguo Liang, Clarity took a taxi and made her way to the fifteenth floor of the Marina Bay Sands, entering the Suite of Shalia, who was dressed in underwear from Agent Provocateur. The wealthy, blond socialite threw herself in the arms of Clarity, and began kissing her lips, rubbing her cheeks against those of Clarity.

With one hand, she called the head of logistics at Owens & Owell, Dale Irwail, to speak about the latest news of the theft. The logistics specialist spoke to her for a few minutes, without explaining much of the reason that the company had bought the rare earth materials.

“I needed to see you,” said Shalia, “I missed you Darcy.” Shalia held the hand of Clarity and brought her to a credenza, opening one of the drawers. With a solemn gesture, she gave Clarity an anklet studded with diamonds.

“This is for you, you mean a lot to me,” she said. She kissed her on the lips and kneeled down to take off one of the loafers that Clarity was wearing. With particular dexterity, she took off the white sock off Clarity’s foot and placed the anklet on it, satisfied with the look of her lover. Then, she got up and went on to explain the situation.

“Dale Irwail, our head of logistics called earlier about this theft. He wants me in charge of the affair here, knowing that I am here in Singapore. I’m going to need you to work with me.”

“Why?”

“Can’t do this on my own.”

The fact that Shalia admitted her professional limitations so readily touched Clarity to an extent. Then, she realized that the girl facing her was not precisely poor or living in a one room apartment like she was in Malibu, and that brought her a proper perspective on the issue, her own self reliance back to her senses.

“Our health and technology division was the final client of these raw materials. Some important heads of the Infocom Media Development Authority in Singapore have called Owens & Owell to inquire about the theft. I am seeing one of the representatives tomorrow here at the hotel. I want you to be with me.” Clarity nodded.

Chapter Eight

The following day, Clarity heard a ring tone from under the bed of Shalia. She reached under the quilt and picked up her smartphone. The name Elsie Chu appeared onscreen. She handed the device to Shalia, whose face brightened when she saw the name calling her.

“Elsie, nice to hear from you.” Shalia walked away from Clarity towards the balcony of the Suite, nodding several times, saying yes, a lot more often than saying no to the wife of Dao Bin.

“We got an invitation from Elsie to attend the Institute of Long Health,” said Shalia, “we’re going for a hot stone massage and a manicure. Get some towels, I’ll tell Dale Irwail where we are, so that he can let us know the meeting time with Infocom.”

“They’ve got towels over there,” said Clarity.

“I like to bring my own towels to these places, I feel cleaner for some reason.”

She pointed to the bathroom and Clarity noticed a pair of bathing towels with the letters S and O etched on them. She grabbed them and followed Shalia to the lobby of the Bay Sands, where the concierge promptly called a cab.

The entrance of the Institute of Long Health led to a room painted red which acted as hall and waiting room. The area was filled with two zebra-design cover seats and the frames hanging on the wall which recognized the various massage, manicure, waxing, eyebrow and eyelash tinting, and pedicure designations crediting the skin care know-how of the place. A large photo of Professor Chang hung above the two zebra-skin covered seats, placed near a large shelf holding at least one hundred small bottles of various nail polish color.

Shalia spoke the name of Elsie Chu and the receptionist called on a woman, named Madame Wa, used to providing massage services to expats and celebrities in Singapore. Clarity overheard the name and grabbed a copy of Tatler magazine lying on the table. She became slightly alarmed by the name, remembering it was the same name ushered by Aiguo Liang. A hoarse, sexy voice welcomed them.

“Welcome to the Institute of Long Health, where your body is treated as a temple, and your nails are filled with precious stones to make the temple stand out to men and women. Come this way, please.”

Madame Wa was an attractive Eurasian woman in her late thirties, showing shoulder length black hair and wearing an embroidered red-floral patterned silk qipao worn at weddings, fitting her shapely silhouette. She showed them inside a massage room, where a large glass window divided the room from the manicure area filled with golden seats and cushions reminiscent of Victorian era lush furniture. Two women across the glass window were looking at them.

“Do you like being watched?” Asked Madame Wa. “The women who come here are quite liberal, and they enjoy the company of other women.”

“I don’t mind the attention,” said Shalia.

The rich, young heiress took off her clothes and wrapped herself in one of the towels, lying on her stomach on a massage table. Clarity did the same and got naked, catching the view of an older lady owning a well-known jewelry store in Hong Kong, coming to visit Elsie Chu for a charity concert. Lying on her back, Clarity saw a large mirror on the ceiling above her and she glanced at Madame Wa placing two rhinestones on each of the nails of Shalia, while a young esthetician performed a facial massage on her. Shalia liked to speak while Madame Wa performed the manicure on her. The conversation turned to their side interests, which included an inclination to learn about esoteric knowledge.

“I am a White Tigress,” said Madame Wa, “I am aware of many esoteric secrets, knowledge meant for few people, which a young lady like you would want to acquire.”

She emphasized the word acquire, as the glitter of a rhinestone began to reflect the soft neon light of the place The lineage of Madame Wa dated back more than two centuries. The name White Tigress indicated a female with shaved vaginal lips, according to the classic manual on the topic, Chin Hua’s Tigresses of Nanjing, describing the three functions of sexuality, procreation, recreation, and transformation.

The first two were widely used, but few people used sex for their transformational benefits. These aspects were developed by a lineage of courtesans, women revered by Chinese society, female taoist practitioners who carried out spiritual sexual cultivation from mainstream society, not as nuns. Shalia caught her towel and let it slide to her thighs, leaving Clarity with a view of her friend’s firm, round bum, and a row of warm stones lying on her back.

Madame Wa added a touch of white varnish to one of Shalia’s nails. The masseuse of Clarity was ‘drawing the bow’, making light side-to-side movement on the skin above the upper lip, stimulating a point on the side of her nostril and the midpoint between the upper lip and the nose, for added immunity and increased alertness.

“I have my own teachings, coming from the Church of the Holy Flower,” said Shalia, “I have begun to reach areas of my orgasmic potential which were not active before. I want to know more about immortality.”

Madame Wa smiled, pressing a warm hand on the sacral point of Shalia, merging her spine with her butt.

“Some schools of Tao believe in physical immortality, preservation of the physical body for longer periods. Another meaning is that the spirit and consciousness remain lucid during death, able to direct itself to heavenly or paradise realms of existence.”

“What does it mean to you?” Asked Shalia. She turned around on her back, as the masseuse of Clarity turned the teleoperator on her stomach. A floor mirror allowed Clarity to see Shalia and Madame Wa, through the reflection of the ceiling mirror.

“Living in good health for over one hundred years, and achieving lucid consciousness at the moment of death.” Shalia spread her legs slightly.

“How can I learn more about immortality?” Asked the socialite.

“Come in for a chi monitoring here at the Institute. You will feel your own chi for the first time, and see all of this is real. You can awake your innate esoteric powers.”

The phone of Shalia buzzed in vibrating mode, interrupting the conversation. The blond socialite grabbed the device and spoke in a whispering voice to the head of logistics at Owens & Owell, Dale Irwail. Clarity saw her friend get on her knees on the massage table, showing her nice apple-shaped breasts. Shalia Owell, aware of the effect her body was having, stared into the eyes of Clarity, pulling herself closer to the teleoperator. She began kissing Clarity on her face, under the astonished view of Clarity’s masseuse, who kept using her hand to find a few reflexology points on Clarity’s ears. When the lips of Shalia reached her own lips, Clarity felt a sizzling sensation jolting all of her body.

“We have to go, the man from Infocom Media Authority is in my Suite waiting.” Clarity saw Shalia don her clothes and kiss Madame Wa goodbye on the cheek. Clarity put on her panties and jeans and grabbed the towel brought by Shalia.

“I´ll think about your proposition. Thank Elsie Chu on our behalf.” Madame Wa nodded, saying the wife of Dao Bin was a regular customer of the institute.

Inside the cab driving towards the Marine Sands, Shalia shared her impressions with Clarity.

“What do you think of Madame Wa?”

“She’s a bit intimidating, like she’s not saying all that she knows, simply to impress you.”

“She did impress me, I’m doing my thesis at University of Arizona on the benefits that immortality would bring to humanity. I think she does hold some real esoteric secrets, information that could be valuable to many women. I think the secrets of the White Tigress should be revealed to the many, and then sold for a price. With health care costs going up the roof, this is low cost preventive medicine, it’s probably a good idea to get this knowledge out in the open.” Clarity disagreed.

“This is sacred knowledge. It’s passed on to a few adepts through oral tradition. You can’t make a market out of tradition.”

“When all of this knowledge is simplified, many can benefit. It’s just like any other course. There is some material to be learned and all of it can be explained. To a few people, then to many people.”

“But esoteric knowledge is precisely knowledge meant for the few, it’s all hidden. There must be a reason for that, for not divulging that knowledge.”

“There is no reason,” said Shalia. Clarity turned to a question which had been in her mind after listening to Madame Wa.

“So how much is immortality worth to you?” Asked Clarity. Shalia did not answer the question, but noted it in her jotting pad. Something definitely worth contemplating carefully.

At the Marine Sands Suite, the head of Owens & Owell logistics, Dale Irwail, was waiting for them with a high ranking person from Infocom Media Authority of Singapore, Barand Kishin. Irwail was a balding man of average height, always carrying with him a vehicle tracking device which indicated where each of the Owens & Owell vehicles and containers carrying O&O merchandise was at all times, anywhere in the world. Owens & Owell was big on control, and tracking features included status of vehicles, geo-positioning, reports confirming delivery of shipments, and alerts for any unforeseen delays. He sat down on a posh sofa, inviting Kishin, a stocky five foot four, to a cup of ‘Moët et Chandon’ champagne. Shalia reached for a can of classic coke buried under a pack of ice in an ice bucket, and poured some of the soft drink in a glass. She shook hands with Kishin and leafed over the report prepared by Irwail.

“What is the damage for Owens & Owell resulting from the theft?” Asked Shalia.

“Our insurance division estimates that the amount corresponding to the goods stolen is fifty million dollars,” said Irwail, “several containers each holding rare earth metals were stolen.” Barand Kishin grabbed a canapé from a platter and swallowed it in a single mouthful.

“We do not like incidents like this in our port.”

Kishin spoke with a voice that said something had to be done immediately to fix the situation. Irwail addressed the veiled message of the Singapore government emissary.

“We have not had any problems with our shipments or containers here. We have a few manufacturing facilities that build mobile workforce devices and applications, satellite navigation devices, business dashboard software, and on-site data mining devices sold to other companies. Owens & Owell uses rare earth metals in several devices it makes, and we will do our best to find out what happened.” Kishin grabbed a second canapé and held it in his hand, cupping it with care in his palm.

“Singapore boasts a very good name in manufacturing today. It has taken us fifty years to build our reputation for high quality production in various segments, and electronics is our bedrock for the economy, we pride ourselves on modern electronics and communications. We don’t want our reputation tarnished with a series of thefts that add insecurity to manufacturers seeking the highest quality in their supplies. Rare earth metals are used in many of today’s communication devices. They are not that easy to find, as their name indicates, and we want to be a reliable distribution hub for them.”

Shalia sipped a dash of coke from her glass and Clarity opted for iced tea.

“Where are the items stolen coming from, these rare metals?” Asked Shalia.

“They came from China,” said Irwail.

“It is important to recover these rare earth metals, the shipment stolen as a whole. We advise you against any publicity of this. Infocom, The ministry of health, the health promotion board, and the strategic development committee of Singapore all want to keep this incident hush. The president of Singapore is being informed of this issue.”

Kishin swallowed the second canapé, grabbing a napkin. The Infocom representative got up and admired the view of Singapore from the Suite of Shalia, observing the Nordic Track incline trainer that Shalia brought with her wherever she went, in order to get some aerobic training. He played with a one-touch pink button of the console showing a camera, and a video of Shalia in underwear showed up onscreen. Alarmed by the lewd sight, he pressed and held an arrow key, and the treadmill platform began bouncing noisily. He walked away towards the door.

“See who is profiting from this theft Mr. Irwail. Good bye, miss Owell, we’ll keep in touch.”

Chapter Nine

Clarity followed Shalia to the infinity pool on the roof top of the Marina Sands hotel fifty seven floors above the ground floor. Overlooking the skyline of Singapore, the curved pool skypark boasted a row of palm trees with poolside loungers, rivalled only by the Naumi, ParkRoyal and Oasia Hotel Novena infinity pools. The design, brought to construction by architect Moshe Safdie, was based on a deck of cards, appropriate for a hotel whose main attraction was a casino.

Shalia lied down on a wooden lounge chair and ordered a Jasmine cocktail, blending Campari, Cointreau, and lemon juice. Clarity ordered the same and found the concoction tasted like grapefruit juice. Leaving Shalia bathing in the sun, the Malibu teleoperator explored the deck, which spanned three football fields and took twenty minutes to walk. She took a nice swim, enjoying the warm water of the pool and the sunshine bathing her face. When she came back to her lounge chair, Shalia was talking through her smartphone.

“Donovan, what’s happening, I’m resting at poolside of the Marina Sands hotel.” The face of Shalia became stern after a few seconds of listening to a man’s voice.

“I see, my father is up to date on this?” She was referring to second generation family owner Robert J. Owell. The voice spoke briefly and Shalia nodded.

“All right, thank you Donovan, I’ll see if there’s anything I can do, I’ll give you a call if there are any more news on the theft.” Shalia placed her smartphone inside a Fendi Astrakhan handbag covered with fur and topped with gemstones set in white gold, an item priced at a whopping seventy three hundred dollars. With the gemstones, the value rose to eighty three thousand dollars.

“It was Donovan Carthill, he’s a member of the Executive Committee of Owens & Owell. He advises my father on the company’s Board of Directors. He called to let me know there have been some changes with the people involved with the Board. My father has been worried ever since he noticed abnormally high trading volumes of company shares on the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges a few weeks ago. He thinks the Chinese are after Owens & Owell.”

“Changes?” Asked Clarity.

“New directors, Owens & Owell has a complex board structure involving institutional investors. Two banks, one hedge fund, a large mutual fund, a private equity firm, a foundation, and an insurance and re-insurance company own one board seat each, seven board seats in total. My father and Clarence Owens III each own one board seat, and they have agreements in place with the other investors to keep control of the company. There are eleven seats on the Board of Directors, so that leaves two seats, originally allocated to me and Jenny Owens, each worth five percent of the company.”

Shalia Owell grabbed an olive and sipped her cocktail a few seconds. She added that British expatriate Cassandra Scafarel had taken control of both seats with a power of attorney signed by herself and girlfriend-wife Jenny Owens, amounting to a ten percent stake in the global conglomerate. Clarity remembered the Bahrain affair and how she could not prevent the wealthy socialite from becoming involved in Cassandra Scafarel’s spiritual outfit for the affluent woman, the Church of the Holy Flower. Fortunately, Shalia Owell did not quite match her own face with her role and agreement with U.S. Sensual Intelligence.

“Still, you’ve been part of the Board of Directors, then, you can foreseeably recover those seats.” Shalia shook her head.

“I have to be a member of the Executive Committee. My father keeps me on a monthly allowance of one hundred thousand dollars, which is paltry.” The amount went back and forth, crossing the mind of Clarity several times, saying spend me. The teleoperator wished she had that problem.

“Paltry?”

“Compared to owning five percent of the company, which is five hundred million dollars. Carthill told me that Dao Bin has bought a five percent stake in the company from Scafarel. My father agreed because he wanted Scafarel out of the board. Scafarel agreed to sell her ten percent stake in exchange for being freed from jail by the authorities in Bahrain. Owens & Owell pushed some levers in the kingdom and Bahrain agreed to free Scafarel, in exchange for being a supplier of components for the four engine plane built in Saudi Arabia by Owens & Owell in our facility located in the Prince Abdulaziz bin Mousaed Economic City. Donovan Carthill sent a company representative to negotiate the deal through the British-Saudi Arabia Liaison Office for Economic Affairs. My father is keeping the five percent stake corresponding to my board seat, which he bought back from Scafarel. He says I may be able to be a board member if I do a good job with this theft issue.”

The relationship of Shalia with her father was complex. Her father demanded complete business obedience to his daughter and Shalia was more entrepreneurial in spirit, clashing with the more conservative outlook of her father. On a personal level, they both had sanguine personalities and had a well known preference for expressing their views clearly and loudly, something which did not always lead to agreement or a common viewpoint. Shalia sighed, throwing her phone in her purse and lying on Clarity’s stomach, bringing all of her weight on the teleoperator.

“I can’t figure out how to please him,” said Shalia. She added. “I prefer to please you.” Clarity wondered how long the infatuation with her would last.

Shalia’s phone began ringing in her purse.

“Your purse is ringing,” said Clarity.

Shalia ignored Clarity and glanced at her fitbit wireless activity wristband, looking at the time. The device provided day-stats like steps taken, distance traveled, calories burned, stairs climbed and swimming lengths done. Notifications appeared on the device when her smartphone was nearby, and a record of her sleeping activity was kept to monitor the number of hours of sound sleep accomplished every day. The name of Elsie Chu appeared on the fitbit. Shalia reached for her smartphone and began speaking. After a few minutes, she hung up, turning to Clarity.

“Elsie Chu is sending a car for a chi monitoring at the Institute. You wanna do it?” Shalia’s face beamed with a coy expression.

“Sure,” said Clarity.

They took a shower together inside the Suite, and half an hour later, the hotel phone rang, telling them a car was waiting for them at the hotel entrance. The Malibu teleoperator got in the back seat of the luxurious Audi A8 driven by Elsie Chu herself. The cheeky doyenne wanted to meet Shalia in person. She greeted the rebellious heiress and completely ignored Clarity, thinking the teleoperator was simply a friend visiting from the U.S.

“Now that my husband is a member of the board of Owens & Owell, we should spend more time together,” said Elsie. Shalia said nothing and smiled.

Clarity held onto a car handle, as Elsie Chu drove recklessly North through Bayfront Avenue, then West to Marina Square, the National Museum, and Eber to Orchard Road. After a fifteen minute drive, they reached the Institute of Long Health. Shalia stepped out of the car, letting Clarity walk in front of her. The wealthy socialite turned to Elsie Chu, who had to leave because of another appointment.

“You’ve tried this before?” Asked Shalia.

“Yes, simply go along with it,” said Elsie Chu, “Madame Wa knows what to do.”

They crossed the entrance of the Institute and the receptionist led them to a massage room smelling of incense. A few minutes later, Madame Wa came in, dressed in a loose red color cheongsam showing a White Tigress etched in the back. The older oriental woman showed Shalia and Clarity a book passed on by earlier generations of White Tigresses, explaining various terms coming from Taoist texts like the Yellow Emperor’s Internal Medicine Classic. Taoists were the original freethinkers of Chinese society, interpreting classics like the Tao Te King of Lao Tse, as spiritual alchemy, contemplative philosophy or sexual regeneration. These views clashed with Confucian ideals of moral and social order, part of the reason why Taoists had been persecuted by Chinese officials for centuries, spawning the birth of sects and secret societies.

“Are you sure you want to go along with this?” Asked Madame Wa.

Clarity felt less than reassured, but Shalia answered a resolute yes.

“The teachings you are about to receive are matriarchal in nature. We must bow to the spirit of the women who came before us, who made the teachings available today. When you are ready, you can begin to practice with a Green Dragon, a man used to restore youthfulness of the White Tigress.”

Madame Wa bowed in front of Shalia and Clarity, and the Malibu teleoperator did the same.

“How do you choose a Green Dragon?” Asked Shalia.

“Do not rely on looks. Choose a man who does not want a romantic relationship, and instead wants you. Do not be impatient, you must first learn the ways of the White Tigress before engaging in practice with your Ching Loong. Then, after nine encounters, you might find an appropriate Jade Dragon, the one who knows how to keep his elixir intact, a provider of financial and emotional security, that you can meet for three years.” Clarity smiled inwardly, thinking that Shalia needed emotional security, but not financial security.

“How does a woman keep her youthfulness?” Asked Shalia.

“By absorbing the man’s essence and elixir, and performing fellatio,” said Madame Wa. Clarity understood in the partially cryptic answer that the older oriental woman was referring to the sexual fluids of the man.

The White Tigress began the meditation session by telling Shalia and Clarity to take their pants off. The two girls obeyed diligently and sat down on two plain ladder back chairs made of wood. Clarity rubbed her hands and tucked them together, closing her eyes at the request of the older White Tigress. After a few moments of keeping her eyes closed, she heard Madame Wa closing the blinds of the room, leaving them in semi-darkness. She focused her thoughts on her belly, breathing slowly in and out, feeling nothing.

The hand of Madame Wa moved down her Tu Mo front meridian, stopping at her belly. She rubbed the stomach of Clarity several times, and slid her hand underneath her panties. The sensation took Clarity by surprise and she felt the fingers of the older woman nubbing her clitoris. The aroused energy, or Ching, began to stir pleasant feelings in the body of Clarity. She could hear Shalia breathing slowly beside her. The version of Qigong carried out by Madame Wa involved ‘working the breath’ and the aroused energy around the Lesser Heavenly Circuit, the Jen Mo meridian up the spine, and the Tu Mo meridian in the front. As the aroused energy cooled down and Madame Wa sat on a third chair, Clarity began feeling a low intensity current in her belly.

“Simply feel the chi in your body slowly making its way through the Lesser Heavenly Circuit, down the front part of your body, past your genitals, and up the spine through the sacral point, until you feel a refreshing energy tap the head. Smile at your body, feeling a sense of balance at all times.”

Madame Wa whispered a few sentences to Shalia, and Clarity heard her friend say yes to the older initiated woman. Opening one eye, Clarity saw a pair of ‘dragon pearls’, stimulation pearls called Mien Ling, or Ben Wa balls, carried by Madame Wa, brought to Shalia. The tinkling bells, made of jade, were meant for the intimate parts of the woman, and were placed there, ideally for up to six hours a day. They were used widely in China, Japan and Korea, by factory workers spending a lot of time sitting while doing their knitting, textile work, sewing batiks or making umbrellas with bamboo.

“The dragon pearls provide a more intense experience of aroused chi. After opening the Lesser Heavenly Circuit, or microcosmic orbit, you will be able to open the Greater Heavenly Circuit, including your arms and legs.” Madame Wa turned to Clarity.

“Sweetie, would you like balls for you as well?” Clarity shook her head, preferring to feel the natural flow of her energy, without any aids.

“No, thank you.”

Madame Wa guided their meditation, pronouncing names corresponding to meridian points along the spine, Wei Lu, Ming Men, Jia Ji, and down the front of the body, Tan Zhong, Shen Guan. Following instructions from Madame Wa, Clarity began to feel something, like a current, about one inch below her skin. She led the low intensity electrical current one inch inside her body, back to her stomach, the ‘cauldron’ which was the appropriate place to store chi, away from the head.

Clarity opened her eyes and saw Madame Wa a few feet away from her, turning on a machine which looked like an oscilloscope used to monitor electricity. The White Tigress connected two probes to Shalia Owell, one on her thigh, one on her arm, linked to the device. The woman turned to Clarity and the teleoperator closed her eyes.

“Professor Chang has built this device to monitor chi in the body. It can measure low intensity currents that other devices do not measure. With this, we can also see whether the energy is blocked and the person can remain healthy.” Shalia did not protest and the device began measuring the subtle currents produced by the inner channels of the wealthy, young socialite. Clarity heard the sound of several steps a few feet from them. Opening her eyes slightly, she noticed a familiar face watching them from a distance. Lim Li, the moneytician of Dao Bin, was quietly standing behind the room’s back door. She noticed Madame Wa was sitting again, rubbing her hands to finish the meditation, and she closed her eyes to let the White Tigress think she was still meditating. Without saying a word, Madame Wa got up and walked towards Lim Li, lowering his pants, and taking his sexual organ in her mouth. A realization entered the mind of Clarity. Lim Li was a Green Dragon of Madame Wa, providing an intense sexual encounter to the White Tigress working at the Institute. She wondered how loyal he was to Madame Wa. And the role Professor Chang played. For all the fame and esoteric knowledge he boasted, he was notoriously absent in his own Institute. Had he arranged the meeting between Madame Wa and Shalia Owell? And if so, why?

Chapter Ten

Clarity received a call from Devi the following day in bed, while Shalia was showering in the presidential Suite of the Marina Bay Sands. Shalia had upgraded from the regular Suite to the presidential Suite, which priced at over four thousand dollars a night. She stepped into the bathroom with the phone offered by Devi.

“We need to talk, our leader has decided to meet you. Come to Thian Hock Keng Temple entrance hall with your decryptor.”

“All right.” Clarity hung up and saw Shalia walking naked towards her.

“Have you gotten that device you spoke about, your symbolic decryptor?” Asked Shalia.

“Not yet,” said Clarity.

Clarity told Shalia that she needed to work for a day or two and she stopped by the astrologer shop of Aiguo Liang to pick up her decryptor. A taxi led her to Marina Blvd., before stopping on Telok Ayer street, in front of one of the oldest Taoist Hokkien temples in Singapore built in 1839. Boasted as national monument of the city, the traditional Southern Chinese architectural style temple of Thian Hock Keng was built with stone, green tiles, showing dragons and phoenixes, and intricate sculptures of deities.

The statues of the temple included those of Moon Palace Goddess Yue Gong Niang Niang, a maiden regarded as matchmaker and guardian of personal beauty, and the Bodhisattva of Thousand Hands and Thousand Eyes, Goddess of Mercy and Compassion, Avalokitesvara. Clarity walked inside the Entrance Hall, standing beside the granite tablets recording details of the Temple’s History. Devi appeared along one of the guided tours of the temple and she left the group to talk to Clarity.

“Follow me.”

They walked inside another room, used originally as meeting venue by visitors, such as Qing Dynasty Emperor Guang Xu. An old man showing a white long beard, wearing white loose clothes and flat sole shoes. Behind him, two monks in loose orange robe, surrounded him, holding a collar of Buddhist prayer beads, malas made of precious coral. Devi pulled out three chairs and they sat down around a rectangular table made of strong wood.

“This is Wen Jhi, the head of our Secret Society.”

The old man spoke English with a slight oriental accent.

“May the benefits of Zhang Sanfeng reach your health all the way to peaceful longevity.” He glanced at Devi. “You’ve met my daughter Xiaolu.” The eyes of Clarity widened, thinking that Devi was more than just a hostess. She was also an initiate of a Secret Society.

“Why did you contact me at the airport?” Asked Clarity.

“We want to know who uses our decryptors. We have been tracking your signal for a few months, and we knew the device was not being used in America. Finally, we meet. You must be careful with your name. Singapore officials do not know of your presence here.” Xiaolu held on to the arm of her father.

“She’s met Madame Wa.”

“Did you learn about the microcosmic orbit?” Asked Wen Jhi. Clarity nodded.

“Yes.”

“Did she mention visualizing the energy inwardly?”

“Not per say. I probably could have. I felt chi for the first time.” Wen Jhi’s reaction remained inscrutable.

“She teaches Taoist knowledge in a wrong way. She uses way too much aroused energy in her teachings. That can lead to problems. The Lesser Heavenly Circuit should be taught without aroused energy, and without visualizing the energy in the body. We threw her out of our group several years ago. She is not an authentic White Tigress.”

One of the monks brought a jug filled with fresh water and some glasses, while the other monk counted breaths on his garland.

“Do you have the decryptor?” Clarity took it out of her pocket.

“It’s very dear to me,” said Clarity.

Wen Jhi turned on the device, using a module that Clarity had never used, which was written in Chinese characters.

“You are using five percent of its capability.”

“Why did Herbaline send me here?”

“Herbaline has layers above regular management and company activity. We are aware of those layers and know that Coley Manglove and her supervisor, Mattelson Stive are investigating the area of emotion, which is one of our specialties. They want esoteric knowledge that can be applied to their business activity, and they want you as their informant. You were supposed to meet Madame Wa here at the airport. We prevented that.”

Wen Jhi lifted his head and signalled to one of the monks to move towards the door leading to the meeting room.

“There are very few decryptors like this which are built by us. Our interests lie in informing governments, officials, politicians and world leaders, of the potentiality of the human character. We offered this device to the American government hoping they would gain understanding of practitioners of the Taoist tradition. Are you willing to do this? The decryptor is very powerful, it can lead a person to destruction if wrongly used, because it explains how symbols are used in various hidden practices. We do not allow anyone who does not agree with our principles to use it.”

“I am not familiar with Taoist practices, but I like all of the material I found in the decryptor. I like to learn and I can see this is a useful device.”

“Are you willing to work for us?” Asked Wen Jhi.

“What does that entail?”

“Protecting the knowledge of the Meridian 57 chart. You cannot reveal our identity or that we are the makers and ultimate holders of the knowledge stored in the decryptor. We do not want Madame Wa or those associated with Herbaline to learn about what we do. We also want to know more about what Dao Bin has in mind with the rare earth metals he stole. He is in touch with Professor Chang and we do not like what he does. He does not teach Taoist material properly, and he is creating problems with those who learn what he teaches. Just like Madame Wa. He is easily tempted with money, and we know that he is after our chart.”

“I’ve been told by your daughter to stay close to Shalia Owell. Why are you interested in Owens & Owell?”

“We need rare earth metals to build our decryptors. And Dao Bin stole a shipment meant for Owens & Owell and for us. We were able to get some of those rare earth supplies in one container, but Dao Bin has gotten a few additional containers. We want to know how he will use the metals.” Clarity poured some water on her glass and drank.

“And Shalia Owell?”

“Miss Owell is a voluble, chatty, gabby woman. She is influenceable, and Madame Wa is ensuring her mind is filled with Professor Chang teachings. We want you to be a good influence on her and advise her of the dangers she is facing by listening to Madame Wa.”

Clarity wanted to be sure that there were no more threads attached to the words of the Secret Society’s sage.

“When can I leave Singapore?”

“When you have decided whether to keep or abandon the decryptor. And when we think you have provided enough service to us to be a reliable member of our Society. The passports you received are yours, you are free to use them. We have connections with many embassies and that helps us move around discretely. Some countries regard us as dissidents, China in particular, but we are determined to pass on the knowledge transmitted to us in the right way, to the right people.”

Clarity looked at her decryptor, admiring a paragraph translated in English, flowing through her decryptor screen, of the Sutra of the Inconceivable Secret, words allegedly coming from the Buddha himself. She pressed a button and the characters turned to Sanskrit. She was not ready to lose the device or abandon it. The notion of the Mysteries intrigued her and she was increasingly seeing links between the various Mystery traditions, which helped her face everyday life, and brought balance and wellness to her quest for spiritual knowledge.

“Good, I will let you know. I want to keep the decryptor, I worked very hard to get it.” Wen Jhi showed a nearly imperceptible smile.

“Very well, do not use the features of the decryptor labeled with the word Meridian in Chinese characters, traditional Chinese medicine is very complex. We will stay in touch with you, do not seek us. My daughter will take you where you need to go after our meeting.”

Wen Jhi got up and left the room with the two monks who served as his guards, and with Xiaolu, who told Clarity she’d be praying in another room for a few minutes before leaving. Left on her own in the meeting room, she walked towards a statue of Confucius placed near a wall. Clarity read the tablet written on the Chinese sage. Kong Zi, the Chinese name of Confucius, taught the value of wisdom and human character, and of developing one’s own thinking. Relying on a hunch, she disobeyed the recommendation of Wen Jhi and began exploring her decryptor.

Clarity wondered how the monks were so well informed, and thought that her decryptor might have some of the answers. The Meridian module led her to a file labeled Meridian 57, which showed a diagram relating the five elements of Taoist philosophy, fire, earth, metal, water and wood, to the twelve organ system in the body. The physical organ module of meridian 57 fed into an emotion module linking hundreds of emotions with each of the twelve organs. She reasoned that by lengthening the amount of time the various organs worked in the body, it was possible to lengthen the span of a human beyond one hundred years. And also to determine what a person felt, since for Chinese Taoists, emotions were stored physically in the various organs of the body. In a corner of a screen, she found an icon labeled cross match locator, and she typed the name of Singapore in the search feature. A map of the city’s southern area showed up, with several names being familiar. The name of Telval Film Studios appeared on the map, north of the Marina Sands hotel area.

Telval Film Studios had an office on the twenty fourth floor of one of the tallest skyscrapers in Singapore, Republic Plaza. They were casting actresses for an adult feature called ‘Golden Lamp of Casa Mollino’. A list of candidates was shown below. Her decryptor’s cross match feature indicated that Hunan Enterprises was a new tenant of the building’s twenty eighth floor. She probed one level deeper and found a file with the whole business history of Dao Bin, including his daily agenda. Written in Chinese characters, there was a name on the agenda of Dao Bin that day. She walked out of the room and shared her thoughts with Xiaolu. The dissident was quick to spot the meaning of the pictograph, used by the monks to conceal the name on the agenda.

“This symbol means Department of Foreign Investment of China. Dao Bin is probably receiving one of their delegates.”

The daughter of Wen Jhi paused a few seconds to match the characters with the Economic and Commercial Counselor’s Office of the Chinese Embassy. The matching of locations with Telval might not be coincidence only. Clarity decided to investigate Hunan. She spoke to Xiaolu about possible covers for her to get inside the building.

“My father is not going to be happy with you delving into the meridian module of the decryptor, but I think I can arrange something for you. We have connections at the honorary consulate of Mali on the thirty second floor of the building, and the honorary consulate of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines on the fifty eighth floor of that building.”

After a quick call to a consular officer of Saint Vincent, Xiaolu made an agreement to let Clarity in for a day as support staff to the office. Officially, Clarity was working on a study of Asian communications infrastructure led by the Institute of Social and Economic Studies. Xiaolu gave her a black wig and a cap. Later that day, a badge from the Saint Vincent consulate came in by courier. Xiaolu placed a photograph of Clarity inside the plastic cover and gave her the badge.

“I told my friend at the consulate that you’d be out of their office most of the time, so they won’t look for you. Just leave the badge with security when you leave. And don’t tell my father I arranged any of this.”

Clarity thanked Xiaolu and promised not to tell Wen Jhi about her investigation. She took a cab to the Southern end of Raffles Place in the downtown core, the business district of Singapore, and told the driver to stop one block before the entrance of the Republic Plaza building on D’Almeida Street. She had no problems with security, and took the elevator to the fifty eighth floor. A man opened the door, a young consular employee in his late twenties, wearing Masunaga black grey glasses, the consulate liaison of Xiaolu. He was interested in the practices of Xiaolu’s Secret Society, and the two had met through the Tanglin International Centre, the quarters of the International Organisations Programme Office. He checked Clarity’s badge and led her to the consulate door.

“Hunan Enterprises is on the twenty eighth floor. Staff orders a mid day lunch every day. The worker hired by the building owners who brings in the food as waiter has been dismissed for the day. Simply take his place to make your way in.”

Clarity nodded and began walking towards one of the elevators. At eleven thirty in the morning, she made her way to the twenty eighth floor and found a food trolley on wheels filled with sandwiches, fruit platters, a platter of smoked salmon, fresh roast beef uncut, and various drinks. She donned a waiter coat placed on the trolley, adjusted her cap and rang the bell of Hunan Enterprises. An attractive secretary welcomed her and led her to a conference room. The mogul of Hunan Enterprises, Dao Bin, was talking to a Chinese official. Fortunately for Clarity, they were speaking English. Clarity walked a few feet away from the two men, and began cutting the roast beef in pieces with a meat slicer. The Chinese attache wearing a grey flannel suit and handkerchief in the left pocket turned the page of a report he’d prepared a few days earlier. The name Jian Xiong, his own name, was written on it.

“The man you spoke to a few days ago, the supplier who refused to provide rare earth metals is in jail. He was the owner of a company mining rare earth metals from the coal mines in Baotu. The next person has been appointed by our office. He will be more receptive to your purchase orders.”

Dao Bin smiled. He knew that working with Chinese officials would eventually pay off. Serving the interests of China was the right way to lower the cost of rare earth metals imports. China produced ninety five percent of all rare earth metals, and Baotu contributed two thirds of that.

“Was he telling the truth?” Jian Xiong used a green light laser pen to point to a stock market graph, featuring the supplier’s company, spiking in the period spanning the previous three months.

“We think he wanted to increase the price of his metals and of his company. We added a new license to prevent the company from operating. The Chinese government is taking control of the company.”

“What is the goal of the inscrutable State Council of the People’s Republic of China?”

“We want to be a key player of the health phone market, to beat the Americans and reduce our own health care costs, using chi-based health care. And we want to be pioneers in related exoskeleton technology which can be used by our military branch. Where are you with your investigations on the Enlightened Dragon Society?”

Jian Xiong did not like Taoist groups. He was a conservative who breathed and lived according to the official Communist party rule of political order and progressive capitalism. He waved at Clarity to get a plate of roast beef. The Malibu teleoperator brought a dish of roast beef with baked potatoes and onions to the Chinese official and served a second plate to Dao Bin, ensuring her cap was in place.

“We are still trying to get observers into their tight network. They are opaque and well informed. But we have an esoteric connection that can replace their findings.”

Jiang Xiong did not believe in esoteric knowledge. He added some salt to the roast beef and began eating.

“I believe in longevity. Have you found meridian 57?”

“No. But Professor Chang has similar knowledge. He will make a deal with us and we will use his knowledge to build the chi-based health phone.”

“We want to see a prototype of the hphone as soon as possible. And we don’t want the monks of the Enlightened Dragon operating in China.”

Dao Bin ate a few onions with his meat and pressed a button which brought the conference table closer to the office window. Another button opened the large glass window and a current of fresh air filled the room. The Singapore billionaire threw some bread to a small platform attached to the building’s window. Immediately, a few pigeons flew to get the bread.

“We are confident of our know-how. With rare earth supplies firmly in place and controlled by the invaluable workers of the State Council, the complete chain of components is secure. Important people will buy the new health phone and the sphere of influence of the State Council will be increased.”

Jiang Xiong rubbed an apple on his jacket and got up, leaving some of his roast beef intact.

“Good, simply ensure you are not the pigeon feeding on the Enlightened Dragon’s information. We should be ahead of what they know, I’m not sure it is the case now.”

Chapter Eleven

Dao Bin prompted the Chinese official to stay in the room. Clarity was preparing a platter of fruit for each as slowly as possible, in order to keep listening to the conversation. She kept her head low, ensuring her cap hid her features.

“Your high eminence would like to enjoy the company of women before leaving town maybe?”

The face of Jiang Xiong glittered with a shade of lust. Marriage with his wife was dull, and no extra official activities were possible in China, where microphones and cameras were placed everywhere.

“What can you offer?”

“With great difficulty, I have gained status as a shareholder of a very special adult film making company, Telval Film Studios. They make adult films unlike any other right here in Singapore. And the women are unlike any other women found in escort services.”

“How so?”

“Many of them are part of a unique harem, known as the Skyline of Kuala Lumpur. They offer unique services to elegant gentlemen and high ranking members of society, willing to spend the time with them. This will be all unofficial of course.” Jiang Xiong gave Dao Bin a frowning look, looking at a prospectus depicting the billionaire’s Rolls Royce.

“Singapore dislikes adult films, how are you dealing with this?” Dao Bin smiled faintly, without offending the official.

“The censorship authority is becoming more lenient to western-type films. We are negotiating with them distribution of our latest feature here, based on the high erotic quality of our content.”

“I’ll give you a call if I decide that you can send a girl from Telval to my hotel. I may get a separate room for her. Why have you gotten involved in this business?”

“Prominent members of Singapore high society are involved, through a group which has been making an entry here in the last few months, known as the Privilege Club. And the Enlightened Jade Dragon Society has women who are involved with the films. I don’t want to be caught on the other end, watching adult content, unapproved by Singapore officials, or involved with people involved with this Privilege Club without knowing about it or who they are. This way, I know who the ladies are and I know the content, the government of Singapore may not be against a guardian of official values, even if those values are erotic in nature.”

Jiang Xiong refused a second offer and left the room, leaving the billionaire with Clarity. Bowing in front of the wealthy businessman, Clarity brought him a platter of fruit and left the room. She walked with the food trolley outside the office, immediately leaving it behind a door leading to the emergency stairs of the building. Taking off her apron and waiter coat, she pressed the elevator button to reach the twenty fourth floor. A gold plate with the name Telval Film Studios hung below the On-Q intercom showing closed-circuit television. A woman’s voice asked for her name.

“I’d like to take part in the casting for ‘Golden Lamp of Casa Mollino’,” said Clarity. The woman did not say anything.

“Who is your reference?” Clarity was caught off guard. She knew that mentioning the wrong reference meant her cover would be unveiled. She remembered a name among the list of candidates, the name of an actress.

“The Skyline of Kuala Lumpur, Moisture Jenkins, priestess of ecstasy.”

The intercom buzzer rang and the door opened. Clarity stepped inside the office and was welcomed by a good looking secretary wearing an embroidered high cut dress. On one of the walls, Clarity saw posters of well known adult classics directed by Andrew Blake and Cameron Grant, films such as The Dinner Party, the Fantasy Chamber, and Hidden Obsessions, all of them high quality adult features shot on film. The secretary, who was in her twenties, led her to a dimly lit room furnished with a long credenza, sleek chairs and sofas, and a rectangular table made of marble, oozing of contemporary taste. The walls were decorated with intricate wood panels, customized. Several women wearing feather ornaments shown during Trinidad and Tobago carnival and showing scanty small thongs or microkinis, sat or lied down on the chairs and sofas, sending the impression of a harem casually going about its day. Clarity counted eight women, all of them nubiles, none of them members of the Skyline of Kuala Lumpur harem. She noticed one of them, wearing an ornamental gold costume and flashy yellow-feathered carnival head gear. The woman was familiar, Xiaolu walked towards her and began undressing her in one of the corners of the room, ensuring her head gear stayed in place.

“What are you doing here? You were supposed to be in the offices of Hunan.”

“I was there,” said Clarity, “saw Dao Bin. What are you doing here?”

“I get information on Madame Wa and her Secret Society, the Shade of the White Lotus. She sends women here before initiating them with esoteric practices. That’s how I learned you were coming to Singapore. Madame Wa cannot see you. Kneel down.”

Clarity knelt under a table and saw how Xiaolu took her shoes, pants and panties off, leaving her wearing her bra and socks. The sleek silhouette of Madame Wa emerged from the door, giving directions to the various women shooting the casting scene. Clarity peeked from under an ornate square end table with inlaid stone top, seeing the familiar faces of Shalia Owell and Elsie Chu on the doorstep of the room. Madame Wa began speaking to Shalia Owell.

“Do you want to be part of the film?” Asked Elsie Chu.

“Where is this going to be shown?” Shalia Owell looked uncomfortable and excited at the same time.

“Everyone who is a member of the Privilege Club has to be cast in a Telval Film.”

Elsie Chu gave Shalia a bottle of perfume shaped as a diamond, with a stunning flower on the lid made with Swarovski crystal.

“Use the name on this bottle if you decide to be part of the cast. You can get in touch with Madame Wa, she does some of the scripts. You’ll be cast and put in touch with other prominent ladies of Singapore and Malaysia. All of them affluent, like you.”

“Are you telling your husband about this?”

“No, but I know he has used escort services linked to Telval before. If he cheats on me, I have a right to do this as well.”

The logic to Shalia was unappealable. She raised her smartphone and took a photo of Madame Wa, who was brushing with oil the bum of a candidate bending on a table, while the girl applying for the casting rubbed an oil lamp made of bronze, symbol of God’s light, truth, and spiritual illumination.

Chapter Twelve

Later that afternoon, Madame Wa turned on the DVD inside her private dressing room at the Institute and froze the footage on an image of Clarity as she meditated at the Institute with Shalia Owell. Her green dragon, moneytician Lim Li, donned his pants, feeling refreshed after an intense sexual encounter with her White Tigress which had lasted over one hour. Each encounter was costing him one thousand dollars, but he could not find a woman such as Madame Wa anywhere in Singapore.

“Can you make sense of her?” Asked Madame Wa. “Who is that woman? Our files do not show anyone so close to Shalia Owell here in Singapore. She is not a member of high society.”

Lim Li printed a few photographs of Clarity from several angles on a miniature Lexmark printer.

“She is staying with Shalia Owell at the Marina Bay Sands. I am sending Mao Sei to find their room number. I have met her before at the docks. We made an offer to her, but she has not shown any intent to work with us. She is lying to us. I think she is useless.”

“She has access to the decryptor made by the monks, she is not useless. The name from Shalia Owell’s phone and the conversations with her is Darcy Emmers. She may be the contact sent to us by Herbaline.”

“I will check in person with customs. She may have gotten in Singapore outside our official checking points and channels.”

Madame Wa sipped some warm tea and leafed through a report depicting one hundred emotions in a ‘Wheel of Emotion’ chart, sent by Herbaline emotician Coley Manglove. Herbaline refused to provide information on the identities of three informants sent from Orange County by plane to learn about Madame Wa’s esoteric techniques, including any photographs. They said it was due to an investigation and audit by the Federal Trade Commission, including possible wireless tracking of their communications and all of the information handled by the company. Prompted by Madame Wa herself, Manglove simply stated that the flight information on file with the Shade of the White Lotus Society was not the right one, providing the correct flight number. The Herbaline emotician, a specialist of emotion and how emotion affected behavior, also indicated to her that they had sent no one with the rank of Vice President Human Resources to Singapore. The White Tigress concubine of Lim Li glanced at his Green Dragon. She knew that the Enlightened Jade Dragon Society was placing someone to spy within their ranks, someone who was feeding them wrong information. That information had created the problem, missing their candidate, an esoteric guinea pig sent to Singapore by Herbaline, someone who had never been in touch with esoteric teachings, and so ideal to be the recipient of teachings previously revealed only to adepts. Professor Chang had requested a regular person not involved with spiritual practices, and Herbaline had agreed to send such a person. Madame Wa had a hunch that the person betraying them was a woman, and that the information was leaking through Telval.

Lim Li spent all day checking with a contact at Singapore customs, a duty-free concession and withholding tax relief officer, aware of all businesses applying for operational status in Singapore, with access to the database showing all individuals entering the country. Lim Li got in touch with the official a few days later and invited him to dinner at Clifford Restaurant in the Fullerton Bay hotel, one of the most prestigious restaurants of the city-state, boasting floor-to-ceiling windows and an impressive wine collection amounting to more than eight hundred bottles. He handed the official a copy of the photographs taken of Clarity, and ordered a ‘Mouton Rothschild’ to the waiter, in order to ease the resistance of the official in revealing his findings.

“The flight information you gave me has no one with the name Darcy Emmers,” said the official, “no one with that name landed in Singapore for the past twelve months. Your contact assumed another name to get into Singapore. The original flight given to you has no such name listed either. It will take me a few days to know the officers who took care of the passports and the visas of all the women passengers, and match those passengers with your photographs.”

Lim Li slid several fifty dollar bills across the table after the waiter served two Salmon Tandoori dishes with Basmati Biryani rice on the side.

“Get the names and match them with customs, one of the women who landed during the past few days or weeks is our contact, and she has been missing for several days.”

The official counted one thousand dollars and placed the bills in his pocket. He nodded at the moneytician’s request, looking at the beautiful view from the pier waterfront.

“Are you really in charge of managing all of the money of Dao Bin?” Lim Li loved to show off his social stature. He showed the official a crisp one hundred dollar bill and slid it under his informant’s plate.

“Yes.”

Chapter Thirteen

Shalia Owell used the name of the perfume that Elsie Chu had given her to tell the security guard that she wanted to get inside the Institute of Long Health. It was twelve past midnight and the wealthy socialite had told her friend Darcy Emmers that she was attending a charity concert offered by the Singapore Chinese Orchestra with a single ticket offered by Elsie Chu, for which it was impossible to invite anyone due to popularity. The guard called a number inside the three story building and nodded at Shalia, indicating to her that she could get inside the building, and that she should wait in the massage room. The wealthy young woman walked past the entrance on her own and opened the door of the massage room in the dark. She pressed on the light switch, but only a dim light emerged, barely letting her see the surroundings. Another door opened in the back of the room, and a woman walked into the room.

“The smell of the temple,” said the voice, requesting a password.

“Lôtus of Seyley”, said Shalia. The attractive silhouette of Madame Wa appeared out of the shadows. The older woman was wearing only a transparent gown, not leaving much to the imagination of the onlooker of her magnificent chest. Her body was shining and she stepped closer to Shalia Owell, grabbing the bottle of perfume in her hand.

“What brings you here?”

“My loyalty to the Shade of the White Lotus Society,” said Shalia. Madame Wa sensed that the young woman was sincere. And that she was also nervous. She sensed the opportunity of Shalia’s emotional imbalance to steer her thinking towards her own interests.

“I seek counsel with you, after sharing some unsettling information with Elsie Chu,” said Shalia.

“Lie down, we can talk when you are more relaxed. Take off your clothes.” Shalia Owell took off her clothes and Madama Wa covered her legs with a warm towel. With soft hands, she sprayed Lôtus of Seyley perfume along the back of the wealthy young woman, and Shalia Owell immediately felt the tension in her back muscles leaving her, leaving a space for more pleasant sensations in her lower body.

“I’d like to be cast in the film you’re making, I want to join the Privilege Club and become a White Tigress.”

“That will turn you into a permanent member of our Secret Society. We’ll see, membership of the club you mention is exclusive.”

Refusing membership into her White Lotus Society often motivated potential candidates to apply with more fervor. Madame Wa rubbed her hands on the shoulder blade of Shalia Owell, eliciting additional emotions from the wealthy heiress.

“I cannot help but feel jealous at my friend Darcy, at her connections with those monks, and that decryptor that she owns. I want to know all of the esoteric knowledge that she knows. I sense that she’s hiding some of it from me.”

“Beware of that woman, she is not who she says she is.” Using her hands, Madame Wa caressed the body of Shalia Owell, resting her fingers in particular acupressure points, to ensure her meridians were being opened properly.

“What can I do to change the way I think?”

“A great fortune awaits if you can get hold of the contents of that decryptor your friend owns. Bring that device to me, it has some esoteric knowledge which I will show you after you master the microcosmic orbit. Have you been following the indications of Elsie Chu?”

“Yes, I feel all the points in the Greater Heavenly Circuit, including those in my arms and legs. I don’t feel any dizziness and I ensure the energy leaves my head at the end of the meditation and is properly stored in the cauldron, in my belly, one inch below the navel.”

“Good, keep following the indications, your knowledge will be greater than that of your friend.”

Shalia Owell breathed out more heavily as a pleasant sensation overwhelmed her body, reaching her head in tiny waves of what she felt was physical bliss. She felt more confident by engaging in the practices of the White Lotus Society headed by Madama Wa, and she sensed that the knowledge of the older woman would allow her to claim her board seat back from her father. And Darcy Emmers would not get in the way of that.

Chapter Fourteen

The next day, Clarity woke up later than usual, around nine in the morning, finding the bed of the Marina Bay Sands empty. Shalia wasn’t there and the teleoperator remembered the charity concert that her friend had attended on her own the night before. She stepped out of the bedsheets, reaching for her pants. The decryptor was in her pocket, safely turned off. She had been instructed by Xiaolu to turn on the device only in front of Shalia Owell, so that the warrior monks of the Enlightened Dragon could track their location. She took a shower and donned her clothes, finding the blond heiress working out in the salon of the Suite on a new second hand treadmill brought in from Los Angeles, sold for less than three thousand dollars by a personal trainer who had worked with celebrities. The Life Fitness machine boasted twenty two workout programs, a software program used to track progress, iPod integration for entertainment, and the possibility of adding an incline to the running track of fifteen percent.

Clarity sat on a sectional sofa covered in white leather, watching her friend ride the machine several minutes, eating some roast beef and fruit from a platter. In one corner of the presidential Suite, several cardboard boxes four feet by four feet, labeled with the name Owens & Owell, were stacked one on top of the other.

“Come here, hold my hand,” said Shalia. Clarity got up and did as she said, ensuring she wasn’t caught by the running belt. “I want my spine to be straight while I walk on the belt, can’t do it on my own.”

“What are those boxes?” Asked Clarity.

“Irwail sent them to me on behalf of my father. There’s a new line of products inside that we’re launching, body analyzers. My father wants me to look at them to ensure I know what we manufacture and distribute.”

Owens & Owell plants were scattered worldwide and their distributors in the U.S. included high end retailers like Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue, and others with a wide distribution network, like Walmart or Target. Shalia slowed down the treadmill by pressing several buttons on the digital display, returning to manual mode. The feedback showed a distance run of five miles, and an intermediate runner’s profile aligned with ‘Kandi’, the dashing runner of ‘Island Run’, a videogame which Shalia played on the console screen while riding the treadmill.

“I like the cash feature on Island Runner, makes me feel like I´m earning some money. I’ll do the golf course workout next time.” Shalia stepped off the treadmill and took a shower, returning to the Suite salon wearing a pink wool sweater and light brown aladdin pants and sandals. She ripped the tape of one of the cardboard boxes and took out a sleek, flat base painted black, less than one foot wide, scale. The body analyzer was meant to measure weight and body fat, and some features of the surrounding environment, like temperature, humidity and indoor air quality. The device came with a health meter which measured eight body part circumferences and was used to track weight loss or muscle gain.

“Sensors in the scale measure your pulse rate.”

“It looks like a regular scale,” said Clarity. Shalia looked inside the cardboard box, and grabbed a flat device which looked like a smartphone.

“The value comes from this device and the application sold with the scale. It’s used to assess the health of the person, things like calorie intake, food menus, frequency of exercise, recommended aerobic effort. My father wants to link all of this with physicians, so that people can do more to take care of their own health.”

The room intercom rang.

“Mr. Kishin is here, with someone,” said the receptionist, “Mr. Irwail said he cannot be here with you, he’s busy welcoming Donovan Carthill at the airport.”

“That’s fine, show Kishin in,” said Shalia.

Kishin came into the Suite, followed by a man wearing casual clothing, and a blue cotton twill jacket with zipper. They sat down on the white leather sofa and both asked for tonic water.

“Good afternoon, Miss Owell. We are going to initiate our own investigation, because we have not heard any news from Owens & Owell. Have you made any progress since our last meeting?”

“We don’t know who might have wanted to steal the supply of rare earth metals. Our Board of Directors is looking into the issue, one of our directors is here in Singapore to oversee the investigation with the insurance company who insured the containers.” Kishin turned to his colleague.

“Mr. Qiu Bai is a member of the Censorship Review Committee, which is part of the Media Development Authority of Singapore. They follow closely all the content shown here in Singapore, books, video games, and films. His investigations have led him to a venture called Telval Films, and we want to ask you some questions about it.”

Singapore authorities worked closely together, observed Clarity.

“Go ahead.” Qiu Bai placed his glass on a peacock-decorated polished acrylic coaster and began speaking.

“Telval Films is a film studio with a new presence in Singapore, making adult films. They are applying for an R21, a restricted twenty one rating and license for one of their films being produced here in Singapore. Are you involved with them in any way?”

Shalia turned away from the intense gaze of Qiu Bai, thinking of the photo of Madame Wa taken the day before at Telval. She stared at the health device fitting in her hand, looking innocent.

“No, I’m not aware of it, never heard of it.”

“This film is not adhering to our arts and entertainment guidelines. In addition to being an adult film, we think it’s featuring prominent personalities of Singapore in the film, and some material of esoteric nature. We are inquiring about who may be part of it, as we do not like adult content in general in Singapore. Telval has requested authorization to distribute the film in top hotels here, and the requests are going through hotels’ restaurants, top luxury places to eat like sky on 57, Clifford, Jaan, Restaurant Andre, and Les Amis.”

“Not interested in that kind of content, I watch regular television and play some video games on my treadmill.” Kishin looked at Shalia’s treadmill, refraining from the temptation of playing again with the console to put in place a workout program on his own.

“There is something else, Miss Owell. Our strategic plan looking at the future of the country in the next few years, is leading us to a new industry. The cabinet and president himself have decided to be key players in the new longevity and health span device industry.” The Infocom representative glanced at the device held by Shalia. “I believe it is one of the new business interests of Owens & Owell.”

“Yes, we are launching a new line of health products, we use rare earth metals to build these types of devices, I guess you can call them health phones.”

“The health phone, or hphone, as we like to call it, is going to be a lucrative product for us,” said Kishin, “that’s why we will ensure that no one interferes with the supply of those devices, which we hope to assemble or manufacture here in Singapore.”

“Very good, we don’t see anything wrong with that,” said Shalia. Kishin gulped his tonic water and prompted his colleague to get up.

“Simply be careful with your acquaintances here in Singapore, Miss Owell.” Kishin walked towards the door, followed by Qiu Bai. Shalia closed the door of the presidential Suite and sighed with relief.

“These two are trouble, why are they asking me these questions? I’m not even part of the Board of Directors of O&O.” She threw herself in the arms of Clarity and kissed her on the lips.

“I missed you.” Clarity sensed that the hormones of Shalia were arousing her libido again.

“Let’s have a quiet dinner here at the hotel.

Chapter Fifteen

Clarity had a candle light dinner with Shalia Owell and they talked for about an hour after eating in the presidential Suite a delicious pork neck and fragrant herbs plate sent from the ‘Sky on 57’ restaurant. Listening to some jazz music, they talked about their experience meditating with Madame Wa, and how their lesson was enjoyable. Feeling aroused after drinking a few glasses of red wine, the wealthy heiress gave Clarity a long massage in bed, before they both got naked and frolicked for several hours. The next day, Clarity decided to show Shalia her decryptor for the first time. She tucked her hair in a ponytail with an ivory rose hair pin borrowed from Shalia’s dressing case, and washed her face with fresh water. In some ways, she appreciated the wealthy young girl. She thought of Shalia Owell as hot-headed, capricious, ambitious, and influenceable, but she was open-minded and adventurous, qualities she admired. After a good breakfast brought in by room service, Clarity shared her thoughts, looking into the blue eyes of Shalia Owell.

“I’ve been thinking about our lesson, Madame Wa is not teaching us meditation right.”

“What do you mean? I feel chi, you felt chi in your body as well right?”

“We’re not supposed to visualize energy, simply feel it.” Clarity took her decryptor out, catching the attention of Shalia Owell.

“It’s your decryptor, neat, show me.” She looked closer and saw Clarity open the meditation module inside the Meridian 57 cluster of files, indicating specific instructions to meditate while thinking about an inner smile, smiling inwardly to her body and various organs.

“Madame Wa never spoke of the inner smile.”

“That doesn’t mean she’s not teaching meditation properly.”

The indications of the module were built like index cards, showing how to breathe and smile into the various glands, thalamus, pineal gland, known as the crystal room, the base of the skull, and each vertebrae, collecting energy in the cauldron, in the navel.

“It says feel energy move by itself. All of this does not involve aroused energy, she’s going too fast.”

“What is the problem with working with sexual energy? Taoist practices embrace sexuality, it’s documented.”

“Got to learn inner smile and regular orbit work, along with chi self massage and chi kung, before working with what is called the sexual palace. It’s all part of a complex, integrated system, sexuality on its own can lead to imbalances.” Shalia chose to ignore Clarity.

“I like Madama Wa, she’s good for me.”

“She doesn’t follow tradition.”

“Show me what else your decryptor says.”

Clarity hesitated but pressed on a button she’d never explored labeled longevity. The module had clear explanations and charts of new ceramic material, an alternative to bone structure, other materials emulating muscle and tendon tissue, and a plasma-based fluid which could potentially replace blood, bringing nutrients to cells. On the following page, there was a chart depicting a person, and its various attributes, intricate meridian channels, organs working in harmony. One attribute caught the attention of Clarity. The label age said one hundred year person, but the field labeled as real age said fifty years. According to the research done by the monks of the Enlightened Society, youthening the body was possible. Shalia’s eyes grew wider as she looked at the age indications of the chart.

“Lend me your decryptor, I want to examine this chart showing so much youthful longevity is possible. We can use this in our new health phone.” Clarity placed her hand on Shalia’s chest.

“No, this is not ready to be sold or distributed, it’s a private sample of very delicate research. I’ve been entrusted by the warrior monks of Pentatone with this module and explanations and charts. This material is not meant to be sold or commercialized to a few people, it’s meant to inform people about the benefits of traditional Chinese medicine.”

“The monks you speak of do not have any money, they cannot make very meaningful discoveries.” Clarity disagreed.

“You’re wrong, they have all the knowledge they need to make the body last longer, because they understand the practices of Taoists and the explanations in the canons. That is more effective than all the technology used in western medicine today. Technology doesn’t make you healthy, it’s how you take care of your body that does.”

Shalia took out a bottle of perfume shaped as a diamond, offering it to Clarity.

“Join me with Madame Wa, she is an authentic White Tigress.” Clarity refused the bottle of perfume.

“No thanks.”

Shalia did not like to be shown wrong. Her own confidence was delicate and she didn’t expect her source of emotional support to tell her she was dumb.

“Leave the room, please, I don’t want to see you.” Clarity did not feel offended, and understood the reaction of Shalia, as she turned off her decryptor and placed it back in her pocket. The rich socialite lacked the confidence to fully take in the constructive criticism thrown at her. But the disagreement went beyond a simple difference of opinions. Their values were different and Clarity was finding out the extent of how different they were. She walked out of the presidential Suite, leaving Shalia Owell on her own.

Shalia held the badge of Clarity in her hand, displaying the Herbaline credential that the teleoperator had shown her at the Economic Forum attended a few days earlier. While Clarity was lying naked in bed, the night before, she’d searched her pants, at the same time as reaching for the massage oil she used on the teleoperator. Following indications of Madame Wa, now, she wanted to investigate her new friend Darcy Emmers, to know more about her. She poured herself a glass of Red Bull and drank half of it. Her infatuation with Clarity was ending, and she reasoned that their argument probably helped.

She grabbed her phone and began with simple verifications, calling Herbaline in the U.S. asking if any employees there matched the name Darcy Emmers. Herbaline operators were quick to sell diet and weight prevention herbal products, but not very cooperative when it came to revealing identities of their own people.

“We cannot reveal any information regarding Herbaline employees. Our bylaws forbid us to do that.”

“Thank you,” said Shalia.

She called Dale Irwail with another idea in mind.

“Dale, hi, it’s Shalia. Can you provide access to the private search engine of the company? Yeah, Kishin came while you were out and inquired about the theft of the containers, I want to check some of the raw materials and suppliers. All right, very good, yes, I know how to get into the database of human resources. Thanks.”

She turned on her laptop and got into the company’s private database. Over the years, the company had gathered an extensive file on prominent personalities, business and political authorities involved with the various deals made by her father and the Board of Directors, which allowed the conglomerate to thrive in an era of substantial competition. In addition to high ranking company officials and politicians, there was a column labeled ‘operational contacts’, which showed the names of people employed at embassies, consulates, economic councils, non-governmental organizations and think tanks, people who carried out day-to-day activities serving as information sources for the company. She searched for people located in Singapore and found an official working in the customs office at the airport, someone who had approved a working visa for various executives involved with the purchase of electronic circuitry used in some O&O appliances.

“Darcy Emmers, hold on, let me check the files. When did she get into Singapore? Last few days?”

“Yes, a week or two at most.”

“One of our files shows the name Darcy Emmers. There was a passport of Singapore issued to that name about a week ago. I guess there was a change of name, because there is a second register with another name, attached to the first name. Both numbers go together. The numbers are not accessible, but I can have access to the second name. Hold on.” Shalia held her breath, thinking she was making progress.

“What is the name?” Shalia heard the familiar sound of some keyboard keys being typed on a computer and the officer came back with an answer two minutes later.

“Clarity Nice, she is a citizen of the U.S., apparently involved in some kind of problem with U.S. Treasury bonds which were stolen. U.S. authorities keep refusing to issue her passport, but her application for citizenship was accepted here in Singapore, she’s got diplomatic status. She stayed at the Ambassador Transit Hotel for one night a few days ago after the passport was issued.”

Shalia inquired about the precise date of the stay at the Ambassador, and noticed it corresponded to the day before she’d met Clarity at the Singapore Economic and Health Forum.

“Very good, that’s helpful, thanks.”

Shalia Owell smiled inwardly. Just as her White Tigress had said to her, Darcy Emmers was not who she said she was. After looking at her decryptor, it was obvious that Clarity Nice worked for those warrior monks who knew about sophisticated meditation techniques. She had juicy information to report to Madame Wa, information which could grant her membership with the Shade of White Lotus Society, and maybe even access to the Privilege Club. None of her friends knew of the exclusive club and she liked the idea of showing off an exclusive luxury card. Being involved in the new Telval film in order to gain membership access to the club looked more and more attractive.

Chapter Sixteen

SUN ON THE ROCKS amusements for adults, in easy to read banana humor order.

THE MALIBU CASE.

THE ACAPULCO COCKTAIL.

THE CAYMAN AIR BANNER.

THE BAHAMAS LOTION.

THE ADULT CHANNEL.

THE OOL BRODERIE.

THE BELLAGIO WIKILEAK.

THE CUBAN RENEGADE.

THE SUGAR BABY.

THE MARBLE TOUCAN.

THE OUTDOOR SHOWER.

THE EMOTION SCALE.

MERIDIAN 57.

 

Crafted by Somers Isle & Loveshade.

Sun on the Rocks is genuine banana humor, fresh, trivial, tropical, and easy-going, or easy-to-peel, like the fruit, blended with light intrigue and sensual intelligence, the capacity for understanding general truths, or the information brought by the feminine characters of the amusement, women of resourceful intuition and acute observers of the laws of human mischief. Sometimes, there is a social element in the stories that makes the amusement relevant for the community.

 

Sold as is, to keep the amusements fresh and irreverent for the community.

All fictional characters of these amusements

are adults at least twenty one years of age.

 

Amusements are easy to read stories

which can be read in about three or four hours.

 

Join the sun on the rocks community on noisetrade.

http://books.noisetrade.com/somersisleloveshade

 

The Malibu Case.

Or whether corporate nudity should be part of the dress code.

 

The Acapulco Cocktail.

Or how a cocktail drink can turn a holiday into a traction with the Law.

 

The Cayman Air Banner.

Or going where your money goes to keep an eye on how it disappears.

 

The Bahamas Lotion.

Or discerning when the notion of a lotion is not beauty but dependence.

 

The Adult Channel.

Or how renting pleasure is different from owning it.

 

The OOL Broderie.

Or whether a wedding can be arranged as a matter of levity.

 

The Bellagio Wikileak.

Or relying on sensitive information before the information relies on you.

 

The Cuban Renegade.

Or backing gold by availing yourself of a renegade,

when legitimate money is backed by the cap of Castro.

The Sugar Baby.

Or whether sugar can turn to salt when someone overlooks the honey.

 

The Marble Toucan.

Or reconfiguring a global relocation problem into a local one of sustainable living.

 

The Outdoor Shower.

Or how a shower can bring good weather to the bottom line.

 

The Emotion Scale.

Or looking at how you feel to let others choose what you can say and think.

 

Meridian 57.

Or how the merchant of longevity can sell a claim to live longer by monetizing wisdom.

 

 

100 COMMENTS FROM OPEN SALON AND OUR SALON,

BLOGSITES OF SUN ON THE ROCKS BANANA HUMOR

(R and R+ stand for rated, or liked)

 

THE MALIBU CASE

ch.14 – Frisky, light-hearted, and delightful! Consistently! This should be a GRAPHIC novel (when you finally get around to publishing!) R+

ch.3 – This is so clever. Everything is “normal” except the central dilemma of (gasp) optional nudity. With nonchalant humor you are making an individual rights argument out of this. I can hear you pitching this to a TV exec: “Who could object to that?”

I think you could actually pull this off (no pun) in reality if the characters were discretely / artfully filmed! It could be great fun. These are unique characters who are “over the horizon” in leading the California trend. R

ch.13 – Fun read. That package and who got it will bring me back. R

ch.12 – I want to see the video version of this story! What a romp.

ch.12 – Quite a revealing case. Quick and playful, this story scampers right up to the edge of decency and then sticks its tongue out.

ch.12 – This plot has the sexiest curves.

ch.1 – This is deceptively breezy and fun. I. did. not. expect. THIS! Good show! R

ch.15 – Hurray! The girls won and we are all the beneficiaries of their determination. I hope that we will have further adventures about the floating spa and that the long arm of the law can’t reach them in inter national waters. R

ch.15 – Sorry I’ve been away and missed the last few installments. I’m glad to see the girls came out of this in stellar fashion. It was a fun read, and I’m looking forward to the south of the border installments. R

ch.15 – Sweet, sweet, sweet. And I think you may have set-up the next Episode in the series! Hmmm. I just noticed that others feel the same. Good! R+

ch.14 – Phew! The package picker-upper turns out to be on our side….at least for now. I guess it all comes down to the vote. Go naturism! R

ch.13 – If we Amuricans have a right to bear arms, the girls have a right to bare whatever! I vote yes. Fun read. That package and who got it will bring me back. R

ch.13 – Lots of limbs to go out on here. I’m always intrigued by the persistence of the press.

ch.12 – You just seem to strip the story to its bare essentials and cut to the chase ;).

ch.12 – Very amusing. Am I the only girl here? Is that weird?

ch.11 – It looks like the governor will have to get involved! A night under the stars, clothing optional I hope? R

ch.11 – I just wish I could have conceived this saga. So breezy and tongue-in-cheek! R+

ch.10 – You really make this sound reasonable and imminent! R+

ch.10 – If it were only that easy… hey, maybe it would be if someone only tried it! When writing, it’s recommended to stick to the bare essentials. You can’t get any bare than this subject. Still reading. R

ch.9 – Yes, these are burning questions! When is the rally? Excuse me, but I’m sticking to my leather chair here at work… R

ch.8 – “Proposition 531 has a secret.” A secret proposition, why am I not surprised? You still have me guessing for answers. Keep up the suspense. R

ch.8 – Yeah, yah, YES. Vivid, breezy, and irresistible. Can’t wait. R+

ch.7 – What a cool caper. Such tension and intrigue, and I keep reminding myself of how tongue-in-cheek the mission really is. Great satire. R

ch.7 – “I found something interesting, come here.” Now you have my curiosity aroused. This is a great series. Keep going. R

ch.7 – I enjoy the story..thank you for writing and sharing..See you here..Best regards.

ch.7 – refreshing and fun, like a more realistic Charlie’s Angels. Keep it coming. R

ch.6 – I can’t believe I’ve been missing these! I was sure I had “favorited” you! You must also link to the Fiction Weekend site when you can. Still a great script. R

ch.6 – Me, again. I just want to suggest that when you post a new installment that you go back and put in a “next” link to your previous installment. There isn’t another sexy, funny, charming story like this being done! R

ch.6 – This is funny, hip and sexy with tongue firmly in cheek. I love all the little touches like the upscale thong for example. R

ch.6 – The plot thickens! Everyone seems to be having a great time here, with the exception of our officer friend. R

ch.5 – You GO, girls! Let me gather a few things and I’ll go with you… R+

ch.5 – Do I see a road movie starting to appear? R

ch.4 – Gasp! Oh, no! My damsels are in distress! This is sooooo script-ready. ACTION! +

ch.4 – Sorry I’m late. Swimming naked, high above the city… sounds intriguing. R

ch.3 – Ok, now I’ve read all three chapters, and am up to date with the bare essentials… so to say. It’ll be interesting to see where this goes. R

ch.3 – l love it! Totally confirms what we easterners think: everyone in California has a screw loose. I think clothing optional day is a logical extension of casual friday. I am now backtracking to catch up on the earlier installments. R

 

 

THE ACAPULCO COCKTAIL

ch.1 – Hurray! A new adventure. Reading each installment is like a mini-vacation….with beautiful aquanauts thrown in for good measure. R

ch.2 – Cocktails, sun….I’m hooked. R

ch.4 – Even a fish would not get caught if it kept its mouth shut! lol

ch.4 – Looks as if the girls should start learning some Spanish.

I hope they are not going loco down in Acapulco! R

ch.4 – Do they have cable in Mexican jail?

ch.4 – I knew it, I knew it. The girls cannot stay out of trouble. Could a Mexican prison be next? This is a lot of fun. R

ch.4 – Hey I want that job! It sounds like something I could do from home, while relaxing in my Lazy-Boy recliner. You have me thirsty for the next chapter. Sorry I’m late, but I was having a cold one out by the pool. R

ch.6 – another great read………supertaster?……gotta hear more…..R

ch.5 – well done again…R

ch.6 – Effortless intrigue! You put me right there. Nancy Drew for the 21st century? R+

ch.7 – This is such a breezy web, I can’t believe the weight of mystery you are able to hold! R

ch.5 – I swallowed this like a shooter. It is a strong story, and I’ll say it like always: could easily be a script! R

ch.4 – Yeah! You are raising the voltage nicely with this one. I didn’t see the “safe” coming! R+

 

 

THE CAYMAN AIR BANNER

ch.4 – Well – I love this so far and will keep reading!

ch.8 – This does hold your interest.

ch.12 – At last the fight. The bit with the elusive canapés and limping along limo was priceless. R

ch.11 – You do create a surreal environment: a little James Bond with a dash of Clouseau. R

ch.1 – Hurray, a new adventure! I’ve been away awhile. I have a lot of catching up to do. R

ch.1 – 20%! That must have been pre 2007, or else someone is going to lose their savings on a deal that sounds too good to be true. Let the action begin. R

ch.7- The interplay between Clarity and Flower is priceless. R

ch.6 – I’d hang on to my money if I was in Clarity’s bikini. R

ch.5 – Just like a banker to steal your earrings while you are sleeping. R

ch.4 – So many directions it can go. R

ch.1 – hahah..ok, waiting to see where this goes!

ch.12 – At last the fight. The bit with the elusive canapés and limping along limo was priceless. R

ch.13 – 1,500 golfers gone. Should be easier to get a tee time. Sounds like the girls are closing in for the kill. R

ch.15 – I learned a new word-scandium! “Let´s change into the tigress outfits, maybe it´ll be our turn tonight, you´re getting me in the mood.” Perfect! I can picture it!

ch.3 – A surreal, but fascinating turn of events. Gallinaceous, indeed. R

ch.16 – somehow I missed seeing your interesting series in the activity feed here—will read through all of your chapters this weekend and hope you have another series in the pipeline here!

ch.10 – Is Bernie Made-off part of this operation? The girls are going to have a hard time doping this out. R

ch.2 – Ladies, hang onto your money and bikini tops. R

ch.11 – “Buddha Talk walks his talk, and talks only when needed.” This is such a neat line!

ch.1 – Place tongue firmly in cheek and prepare for takeoff! R

 

 

THE BAHAMAS LOTION

ch.1 – Wow, here we go again. Great start of a new adventure. R

ch.6 – This whole story is hilarious.

ch.13 – “She stole this egg, she stole it from the temple of Wat Phodaram, Wat Pho, the temple of the reclining, glistening, mother of pearl Buddha, in Thailand, where the statues watch and protect ecstasy, and the subtle channels open your wisdom to the quiet mind and show you how the body works. “ This is a hoot!

ch.4 – “The truck, an Isuzu FTR 800 class 2 pumper imported from the Fire and Rescue Agency of New South Wales in Wagga Wagga, Australia, was beaming a blue siren, approaching the limo at high speed. Stretching above Lanai, Taimi and Cynthia were struggling atop the truck with Jenna, who was surfing the air, holding balance by grabbing the ladder.” What fabulous detail-I can create a perfect image in my mind.

Rosebud-I’m pretty sure I know what THAT reference is.

ch.12 – “Avalon was wearing an extra small ivory color Isabella thong by Myla, made of dusk silk satin, Elastene, and cotton gusset lining.” You have a way with detail! I had to look up the thong. Boy, they are expensive!

ch.12 – “That´s how I fooled the Sex Brigade at Neria B.” Immediately a Bowie song popped into my head: “Ground control to Sex Brigade, your circuits dead, there’s something wrong.” I think those lyrics are better than the original.

ch.12 – what a supremely odd universe I have landed in. I dunno what to make of this place yet, but it sure seems amorphously enticing, offering magical new technology and a supremely erotic atmosphere wherein breasts are softly offered to the table! and this: “It depends on what you view as sex,” indeed.

ch.12 – “It´s simple, we disagree over the definition of pleasure,” said Avalon, “over the meaning of it in fact. But we want to take over that resort.” Ah, yes! You go girls!

BTW, you have subtly painted quite a scene involving naked women. Very subtle, but very descriptive as well.

ch.11 – OMG-I am so far behind! Forgive me. I will catch up! “Elony´s not approved by the FDA, Lanai.”“ I love this. What kind of fun stuff IS approved by the FDA?

ch.9 – “The girl named Lanai has been sent to study the book of Decadence in more detail with other scribes.” Can I borrow that book? This is a great story.

ch.8 – “I love the service here,” said Lanai. That’s an understatement!

ch.2 – I’m pretty sure I know what the lotion is! Can’t wait to find out.

ch.5 – “Have you been thinking of tupperware sex lately?” I’m quite sure I’ve never heard that expression before!

ch.6 – “Some type of hedonist resort, there shouldn´t be that many in the Bahamas” This whole story is hilarious, but this statement is the most hilarious of them all. I HAVE been to the Bahamas, you know, mostly out islands where anything goes!

ch.7 – “Men are only in charge of security here, their presence is accessory.” I like to accessorize!

ch.16 – “She cherished that exhibitionist tendency which was part of her, part of her strength as an adult.” Ah yes!

 

 

THE ADULT CHANNEL / THE ABU DHABI CHANNEL

Having spent some time in that part of the world, I’m curious to see how you envision an “adult channel” in Abu Dahbi. Should be a hoot.

ch.1 – Wow. I am saving a link to this post. Very helpful. One hot franchise!

ch.1 – A Church of pleasure, devotion to pleasure above all other notions or creeds, you could call it a devotional temple of pleasure. I’m converting!

ch.3 – “small battery operated dental fixtures that could also be used as sex toys” – Your imagination is superb!

ch.4 – “I Don´t trust the water, I drink only Nordic Mist tonic water.”

“Because…”

“It´s made by Coca Cola, the perfect soft drink.”

Do you get something for product placement? Funny!

ch.6 – lol “Just sexual, I mean sex, wasn´t sure about love, because I thought if you mix sex and love, you might get pregnant.”

 

 

THE OOL BRODERIE / THE BAHRAIN BRODERIE

ch.13 – Looks very amusing, and makes me want to take along to the beach for a long lingering read.

 

 

THE CUBAN RENEGADE

ch.4 – I loved “the Egyptian method to move stones.” There is a delightful whiff of Kafka about all this.

ch.4 – You have my attention!

ch.6 – I found this to be highly erotic.

ch.8 – “This is how we´ll use the bitcoin in this decryptor if anything goes wrong.” Ha! I have to see how this plays out.

ch.10 – “you mean using Cuban cigars as currency for Cuba.” That would give new meaning to the phrase “my savings went up in smoke”.

ch.14 – Great, as usual.

 

 

THE SUGAR BABY

ch.9 – I love all the names!!! esp Clarity.

ch.11 – Wow!

ch.14 – Woo!

ch.15 – You have such a unique writing style that turns me on and intrigues me at the same time.

 

 

BACKSTORIES AND CHARACTERS

http://oursalon.ning.com/profiles/blogs/sun-on-the-rocks-backstories-and-fresh-items.

great the way you have this constructed, with the linx etc….

 

 

A TOTAL OF 100 COMMENTS FROM THE COMMUNITY.

 

SUN ON THE ROCKS IS CRAFTED BY SOMERS ISLE & LOVESHADE,

crafting each amusement for the community,

one ridiculous situation at a time.

 

Chapter Seventeen

Compound Interest Calculator Clarity keeps close, for retirement purposes (savings plan is in the Cayman Air Banner):

http://www.investor.gov/tools/calculators/compound-interest-calculator

 

Careers and Professional Designations to consider:

Chartered Financial Analyst: http://www.cfainstitute.org

Chartered Wealth Manager:

http://www.financialcertified.com/chartered_wealth_manager.html

http://www.financialcertified.com/certifications.html (other certifications)

Certified Financial Planner: http://www.cfp.net/

Institute for the Certification of Computing Professionals:

http://iccp.org/certification/designations/ccp

 

Wealth:

Think and Grow Rich: http://archive.org/details/Think_and_Grow_Rich

Napoleon Hill’s classic book on wealth.

How to Make Money (free pdf book from 1859):

http://archive.org/details/HowtoMakeMoney

 

Educational sites and global news:

Khan Academy: http://www.khanacademy.org/

Visual Thesaurus: http://www.visualthesaurus.com/

Visual Global News: http://www.newsmap.jp/

 

Featured universities:

Bermuda College: http://www.bercol.bm

University College Cayman Islands: http://www.ucci.edu.ky

Free online university classes: http://www.coursera.org/

Ohio State University: http://www.osu.edu/

University of Arizona: http://www.arizona.edu/

University of Hawaii: http://www.hawaii.edu/

 


Sun on the Rocks - Meridian 57

After landing at Changi airport in Singapore without a passport, with her friends Lanai and former Herbaline employee Ambi Mivel, teleoperator Clarity Nice is set aside before customs by a hostess from Singapore Airlines, Devi. Devi has connections with a Secret Society of warrior monks known as the Society of the Enlightened Jade Dragon, and she gets Clarity a passport with diplomatic status and a false name, Darcy Emmers, along with a badge confirming her credentials with the company which paid for her ticket, the diet and weight prevention company, Herbaline. Clarity trusts Devi, who simply says she is a friend, and leads Clarity to an important Forum on health and longevity, attended by Taoist Master Professor Chang, and Owens & Owell heiress Shalia Owell, who becomes infatuated with Clarity. Left on her own without Devi, Clarity stays close to Shalia, befriending her, learning of the various insecurities of the wealthy socialite. The blond girl is reassured by the presence of Clarity, and simply wants to get her board seat back from a stern father who disapproves of her marriage with good looking girlfriend and human sexuality university student Jenny Owens. Devi gets in touch with Clarity, telling her that she must protect a chart which holds the mystery of immortality, known as Meridian 57, built by the monks of the Enlightened Jade Dragon Society after years of studying the Taoist canons. Coveted by Singapore billionaire Dao Bin, and a White Tigress linked to Professor Chang, Madame Wa, the chart is part of a module inside the symbolic decryptor of Clarity, who is told by the monks that the esoteric knowledge inside the module is not ready to be revealed. When a shipment of rare earth metals addressed to Owens & Owell is stolen by Dao Bin, Singapore authorities from the ministry of Media and Communications begin inquiring, questioning Shalia Owell about the circumstance of the theft. Caught in a business struggle between Dao Bin and Owens & Owell, Clarity must trust her intuition and her new friends of the Enlightened Dragon, to overcome the ruse of Dao Bin and Madame Wa, who is luring Shalia Owell into her own Secret Society, the Shade of the White Lotus.

  • ISBN: 9781311752109
  • Author: Somers Isle & Loveshade
  • Published: 2016-04-12 17:05:11
  • Words: 32570
Sun on the Rocks - Meridian 57 Sun on the Rocks - Meridian 57