Meridian 57 - 14 - Sun on the Rocks

Summary of the amusement

After landing at Changi airport in Singapore without a passport, with her friends Lanai and former Herbaline employee Ambi Michaels, teleoperator Clarity Nice is set aside by a woman dressed as a hostess from Singapore Airlines, Yi Ling, before reaching the customs and passport area of the airport. Yi Ling 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 Yi Ling, who simply says she is a friend, and leads Clarity to an important Forum on health and longevity, at the Suntec Center, attended by Taoist Master Professor Chang, and Owens & Owell heiress Shalia Owell, who becomes infatuated with Clarity. Left on her own without Yi Ling, Clarity stays close to Shalia during the conference, 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 company board seat back from a stern father who disapproves of her marriage with good looking girlfriend and human sexuality university student, Jenny Owens.

Yi Ling gets in touch with Clarity after the conference, 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.


chinese compass

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 Yi Ling 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 Yi Lingce 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 Yi Lingce 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."


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