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.
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 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."
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."
TO BE CONTINUED, HERE, MERIDIAN 57
All characters over 21
BANANA HUMOR for Adults previously released:
Nook, Apple Ipad, Samsung Galaxy Tablet,
Iphone, Android, Smartphone, Kobo Books, pdf, Kindle.
THE MALIBU CASE.
Or Whether Corporate Nudity should be part of the Dress Code.
THE ACAPULCO COCKTAIL.
Or How a single Drink can turn Thirst 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 ABU DHABI CHANNEL.
Or Whether renting pleasure is different from owning it.
THE BAHRAIN BRODERIE.
Or Whether a Wedding can be Arranged as a Matter of Levity.
THE BELLAGIO WIKILEAK.
Or How to Rely on Information before the Information relies on You.
THE CUBAN RENEGADE.
Or Whether gold can be backed by a Renegade,
when 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 How those who want you to leave your place are those who should leave in the first place.
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 how you think.