Summary of the amusement
Rejected by socialite Shalia Owell, who has discovered Clarity's false identity as Herbaline employee Darcy Emmers, Clarity becomes agenda and damage control assistant of Elsie Chu, the wife of Singapore billionaire Dao Bin, owner of wireless and telephony company Hunan Enterprises. Disenchanted by a rocky marriage and the lack of influence she has on the business matters of her husband, including the new health phone project to sell longevity services, Elsie Chu has purchased an expensive ring sold by a luxury jeweler, labeled 'Rose Property', which has some wireless equipment built into it to protect her privacy. Convinced that she can take part in her husband's business, she instructs Clarity to spy on Dao Bin and his moneytician Lim Li, to know more about her husband's activity.
Clarity becomes a confidant of Elsie Chu, who has begun instruction as a White Tigress, following the esoteric teachings of Madame Wa. But the cheeky doyenne does not trust her esoteric teacher completely, and she uses her ring in order to stay in touch with a secretive group which keeps her away from sexual esoteric practices, the Privilege Club. The secretive club is the group who issued the vanity ring of Elsie Chu, and instructs her to stay away from Madame Wa and instead carry out the filming of an adult film, 'Golden Lamp of Casa Mollino', to vent out the impulses of her outrageous libido.
Clarity stood in front of the entrance at Science Park Drive building, watching troops step off one of the trucks in the distance, coming towards them. A red flag on their arm, almost at shoulder level, indicated their allegiance. These were definitely Chinese soldiers, brought from China. Although nearly seventy five percent of its five million population was Chinese, the city-state of Singapore was not part of China. After being a British colony for more than one hundred years, dubbed the Lion City, and the Garden City, Singapore had achieved autonomy, and Singapore's Oxford-educated Lee Kwan Yew had proclaimed independence in 1965.
After long negotiations with the Malay parliament, Lee Kwan Yew had favored Talak, government and political divorce from the Malay in Malaysia, a predominantly Muslim peninsula, after creating the People's Action Party, PAP, and launching anti-colonial, non-violent protests. The protests labeled Lee Kwan Yew a 'left-wing lawyer', and the protests turned the PAP into a 'socialist' party, which made an alliance with pro-communist trade unions. Deep down, though, the party included middle-class, English-educated, beer-swilling bourgeois, favoring self rule and putting an end to colonial rule. It was safe to say that the presence of soldiers from China on Singapore ground had been allowed by high level politicians, the cabinet of Singapore, its president, or the Prime Minister. Clarity looked at the receptionist and glanced at Vanity, who was not completely comfortable with the troops coming towards them. She spoke to the receptionist in very direct terms.
"Enlightened Jade Dragon Society? Pentatone Scale? Right hand path monks?" The receptionist, a good looking blond girl in her late twenties, pointed to the floor. She was wearing a call center headset, which reminded Clarity of the one she used in Malibu as a teleoperator at Stevenson Garden Products.
"This way, please, come behind the counter." The blond receptionist lifted a hatch covered by parquet floor, leading to an extension ladder made of aluminum.
"Just go down for a minute or two, someone will be with you down there."
Clarity placed her feet on one of the rungs of the ladder and stepped into a dark space, followed by Vanity. The receptionist placed the hatch on the opening, blocking all light, plunging them into darkness.
"I can't see anything," said Clarity.
After a short descent, Clarity stepped on a solid floor. Her eyes were getting used to the dark, and a flashlight beam lit up her face. Another flashlight beamed a ray of light into the face of Xiaolu, the daughter of the head of the Secret Society who had welcomed her to Singapore. The Enlightened Dragon member led them to a door, which led to a large room, a crafting area equipped with machines which looked like those used to make expensive watches. The science lab of Pentatone showed eight employees, including a gemologist, wearing white robes, some of them were using electron microscopes. Another area displayed complex robotic equipment used to assemble smartphones. Led by Xiaolu into the main lab area, Clarity noticed the slender silhouette of Wen Jhi peeking over the shoulder of one of the scientists who was holding a sleek crystal display device in his hands that used rare earth metals. In his hands, he was holding a decryptor similar to the one she owned.
"Good to see you," said Wen Jhi. Clarity sensed he was talking to her.
"You knew we were here?" Asked Clarity.
"We saw you through the wall camera at the entrance, and told the receptionist to lead you here. Infocomm has been tracking our decryptor wireless signals. I think that they've been sharing surveillance information with the Chinese."
A computer screen linked to the camera on the first floor showed about ten Chinese soldiers storming into the reception area. Neither Xiaolu or Wen Jhi seemed very alarmed by the intrusion.
"Where are we?" Asked Clarity.
"This is the home of the Meridian 57 project."
"We found you by following our intuition," said Clarity. She showed the head of the Secret Society the copy of the 'Casa Mollino' adult video. "I don't have the decryptor though." Wen Jhi grabbed the DVD case and gave it to Xiaolu.
"That can be a problem. Where is it?"
"On its way to China," said Clarity. She watched Vanity taking a look at a pack of gems which looked like emeralds. The monks traded expensive gems, including diamonds, in order to finance their projects and the Science Park facility.
"You have to go and recover the decryptor then. No problem, you go back up the ladder and you will reach China." Clarity's eyes widened. She thought about rubbing her ears to ensure she'd heard the elder man speak correctly.
"I can't go back up there. There are Chinese soldiers. People are looking for me." She added. "Because of what I've been doing for you."
She glanced at the computer screen linked to the camera and saw the face of Barand Kishin and Elsie Chu talking to the receptionist, who was shaking her head repeatedly. They were asking for her.
"No problem, you are a good negotiator, I can tell. You will create a diversion while we leave through this exit. We will take our health phone with us, and all of the information regarding our project."
It was pointless to refute a right hand path sage. Wen Jhi pointed to another ladder leading to the street opposite Science Park Drive, at the south entrance of the Park. He began to speak to the scientists, telling them to turn off machinery and get ready to leave the lab. Xiaolu grabbed the arm of Clarity and led her away from the elder of the Secret Society, to a table that showed a horizontal crystal screen running various interacting software, the core of the Meridian 57 project.
"It is important that we continue our work. Immortality is at stake. We are very close. Our simulations show that the body can last one hundred fifty years. You can help us make it happen." Clarity was not convinced.
"What are these Chinese troops looking for?" Asked Clarity.
"Us. They are here thanks to Dao Bin and Professor Chang. And to Elsie Chu. They all want to live forever." Xiaolu showed Clarity a simulation showing a human body cell dividing into two, in order to regenerate.
"Immortality has several angles, one of them is human cell repair. True immortality requires faster repair of cells, than their damage. We have found a way to upregulate telomerase, an enzyme which is built by the body to do just that, repair cells, so that telomeres, cell endings, or caps, leading to the DNA material of the cell, does not shorten with repetitive division of the cell, the main cause of aging and death. In addition to this, we have also found an alternative to bone structure. It's a ceramic made of calcium phospate which can become a bone graft, potentially replacing the whole human body skeleton. The third reason why our project is sought is that we have linked human emotions to the twelve organ meridian system. By managing and adjusting the functioning of the organ system, we can potentially adjust human emotion, if the person feels there is a need for balance. This also contributes to longevity. This is what Professor Chang doesn't understand completely, how emotions are stored by organs, he wants all of our simulations regarding the meridians."
"That's why the project of immortality is called Meridian 57?"
"Yes, five and seven add up to twelve, the number of organs in the meridian system."
"Where is fear stored?" Asked Clarity.
"How about anger?"
Clarity began thinking about the chart of emotion under study by Herbaline.
"What is your relationship with Herbaline? They have been working on a chart of emotion."
"We have our own chart. But we do not share it with Herbaline." She pressed a button and a file appeared visually listing over one hundred different human emotions. The emotion 'cloud' of the chart described how a person worked. Emotions were depicted as text, in words, and also visually as areas, colored.
"Do you have my emotion blueprint?" Asked Clarity. Xiaolu searched for the name Clarity Nice on their bio-database, and a balanced chart describing a sociable, balanced and pleasant personality appeared onscreen. The areas of hostility, animosity, impatience, irritability, belligerence, resentment or complaint were very small, nearly inexistant.
"Yes, here it is, the basic personality information came from Herbaline actually. They asked us if we would agree to give you all of our knowledge on the chart of emotion, and we refused. But we kept your profile. It looks like you're pretty sociable."
"Yeah, I sort of knew that. Can I keep it?"
"No. This is all ours, the intellectual property is confidential. Maybe if you recover the decryptor, Wen Jhi will allow you to have your own chart. He dislikes sharing information on the emotion chart of people, because other people can take advantage of you. Herbaline attempts to know your emotion blueprint to sell you something, they press on your emotional vulnerability to create a need to buy their products. Say you're a bit chubby, and you like to wear trendy stuff, they will lead you to the belief that you can look better, not only for yourself, but also to please others, and they'll offer their diet and weight prevention herbal items. Knowing your blueprint, they place you as a number on their scale, and they can generate an impulse to consume something that will resonate with your personality, but which is not necessarily good for you, or that you don't need at all. They omit to tell you what you're really looking for, the way you work with your emotions. We obviously don't share their way of applying the emotion chart, it's not legitimate, so we are very careful about who receives the complete version of it. What is relevant about the personal emotion blueprint of a person, is what underlies emotion. We think the organs underlie the way you feel."
Xiaolu showed Clarity a chart of the main twelve meridians that governed the way the body worked. They included the lung, large intestine, liver, gall bladder, and stomach meridians, the spleen, small intestine, heart, and kidney meridians, and the triple warmer, pericardium, and bladder meridians. Each of the meridians running inside the body had a two-hour cycle of activity during the day, adding up to a balanced mechanism for regulating the body.
The daughter of Wen Jhi showed Clarity several papers and books, among them The Age of Spiritual Machines, and The Singularity is near: When Humans transcend Biology. According to futurist Ray Kurzweil, anyone alive by 2040 or 2050 would be close to immortal, thanks to a variety of nanodevices sent inside the body, repairing cells, regrowing limbs, and regenerating memory.
"We are also working with nanoparticles to facilitate regeneration. Then, there is another angle to immortality, one you may be able to address."
"Me, what is that?"
"Well, to be immortal, a person has to remain conscious. And what exactly is consciousness? Or what is it made of, physically? That is something which is not exactly known. And it is a good thing to find out. Professor Chang likes that aspect of immortality."
"What's the purpose of finding that?" Asked Clarity.
Clarity glanced over her shoulder, sensing a presence. Vanity was finished admiring the emeralds of the monks, and was carefully listening to the conversation behind Clarity.
"To transfer consciousness from one body to another. When your body wears out, you would simply change bodies. Taoists have been trying to do that over centuries, transferring their consciousness from the physical body, to the energy body, and to a third body, known as the spiritual body, through various meditation techniques. Professor Chang is a big believer in transfer of consciousness, that is his main approach to immortality. And what he has sold to Dao Bin and the Economic Counsellor's office of China, in addition to his meditation practices."
The horizontal computer screen stopped flashing simulations and displayed a sign which said, time to go upstairs to meet Chinese enemy Clarity.
"We want you to find out about those meditation techniques, that's one reason you're going back upstairs," said Xiaolu. She said it so casually, that it all sounded easy.
"Why do I have to go up?"
"To find out where Dao Bin has established his immortality facility in China. And to show that you are loyal to us. We will see how resourceful you are. When you find the decryptor, turn it on. We need to know that it is working and that you recovered it."
"All right, but then, how do I get out of the facility? And how do I get back here to Singapore?"
Wen Jhi came walking to the table, to reassure Clarity.
"No one knows that. But you will know, you are a woman of good fortune and intuition, I can tell."
She made an attempt to refute the elder's argument, and to walk towards the south exit, but two monks blocked the passage. She pivoted, leaning her body towards the right, and then switched to go left, like a football player going over the defense line. The monks mimicked her and blocked her passage again.
"Up," said Wen Jhi. "We will meet you in Singapore. Don't forget the decryptor."
Clarity climbed up the ladder, thinking that the right hand path still had to figure out ways to improve strategies to keep their members out of jail. She saw herself shipped out of Le Freeport into Las Vegas, without a passport, and with a recommendation to put her in jail, signed by Shalia Owell herself. She lifted the hatch and slid out of the passage, followed by Vanity. As soon as she rose up beside the receptionist, a group of soldiers surrounded her, comparing her to several photographs of her coming from the bungalow during the filming of Casa Mollino by Elsie Chu. She raised her arms, commanding attention from the clueless troops.
"All right, all right, yes, it's me, Clarity Nice. I want to see Elsie Chu. Let me negotiate with her."
She didn't know what exactly there was to negotiate but she knew that Elsie Chu lived comfortably. It was better to be with her than to be prisoner of Chinese troops. One of the soldiers led her to a limousine which was familiar, the white Cadillac XTS Royale of Shalia Owell. She peeked inside, noticing a crowded backseat area. Sitting in the car, pouring drinks, were Elsie Chu, Shalia Owell, Dao Bin, and his moneytician Lim Li, who was talking to the Economic Counsellor representative of China in Singapore, Jiong Xiang. Only Professor Chang and Madame Wa were missing from the motley crew of shifties, unethical business persons, shady politicians and corrupted retainers. The voice of Barand Kishin from behind gave her an instruction which would bring her more details about her next destination.
TO BE CONTINUED, THE VANITY RING
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.
Or how the merchant of longevity
can sell a claim to live longer by monetizing wisdom.