The Tana Case Part 6

GM: Yin
Players: Lotus (Yangchen)
Synopsis: Lotus and Yin come up with a plot in order to push the missing person case (Tana Case) forward by going public. Now that Lotus has been involved with an attempted self-immolation (Tana Case Part 5) and her face was all over the media, Yin arranges for her to take part in a live news show from Asiantown, reaching out to the local Asian population in Denver. The interview session is planned ahead and then put into action.
Date: 2082-11-13

A New Plan Emerges

Text Message to Utayama Hasuko from Yin (#9019)

Pema-san! I couldnt believe my eyes when I got the news from Midtown. Are you alright? Can you come over to my place?

Mountain Hills: Room 130

The basic layout of this small apartment has been repurposed for office work. The combined kitchen, dining, and living area is iluminated by several modern but dim lamps, hanging low over the central dining table. A small window filters some street light through half opened shutters. The dining desk is covered with paperwork, sketches, a personal computer, as well as some remnants of fast food, donut deliveries, soykaf, and the occasional energy drink. The arrangement of chairs suggest that client meetings happen here from time to time. Two elegant steel chairs are placed on one long side of the table, with a third one directly opposite.

The busy desktop chaos seems to be limited to the dining table. A nearby small desk, the kitchen niche and some shelves are kept clean and in order, bordering to obsession.

Consequently, there are not many personal belongigs on display. The only exception is the selection of wall decoration. Several grey colored print photographies are placed in the center of otherwise empty white walls. There is a certain sense of symmetry. On closer inspection, the photographs have been manually painted with asian letters and delicate, colorful additions to the otherwise grey subjects.

The air in the apartment is filled with a fresh incense that reminds one of a light summer rain, a garden, or green tea.

Not too long after the text message was sent out, there's a buzz on Yin's door, with a woman in a long cloak-like garment appearing on the intercom camera. She's also wearing a facemask, of the type you often see people in Asiatown wearing when they've got a cold, or when the air pollution is unusually bad. These days with the recent VITAS outbreak, they're an even more common sight, but that's probably not the main reason why Lotus is wearing one.

Yin checks for the spyhole, frowning. There wasn't really a reply from Pema, but it would make sense if she comes in disguise. But given the latest news and events, Yin is careful. With his heavy pistol close to his right side he opens the door with his left: "Pema-san?" he asks carefully.

"Yes it's me," Pema says, not standing in the corridor one moment more than necessary once the door opens. Further down the corridor, there's a pair of Asian-looking guys - a normie and a tusker - leaning against the wall next to a vending machine. Nothing too unusual, but Yin has never seen them before so who knows what they're doing here?

Pema removes the cloak once she's inside, the fabric shimmering in a curious digital fashion and even disappears on the hook for a moment, blending perfectly into the ambience like a chameleon. It's not a magical spell, but must rather be one of those ruthenium stealth fabrics. Underneath, she's wearing a pair of skinny jeans and a tanktop with some Japanese pop culture print on it; common street clothing but very unusual for her to be wearing. "Interesting piece of news from Chen Mao, right?"

Yin quickly holsters his weapon after the quick glance down the corridor. "Oh Pema, I am so sorry about what had happened there." Amazed he observes her high-tech cloak and he can't help but smile about her resolute and resourceful way. "Can I get you anything?"

"I regret nothing," the Tibetan girl says and plops down in one of the steel chairs, throwing one leg over the other. "Asiatown is easy enough to disappear in but I'm staying away from the Digital Den for now." She wipes her brow with the back of her hand, "If you've got something cold to drink I wouldn't say no?"

The apartment looks pretty much as the last time Pema was here. Maybe work has intensified a little bit more, since the central table is completely covered with datapads, pocsecs, observation equipment and files. Yin seems to be fine today, refreshed and eager even. But also alert and obviously troubled about Pema's situation. SO he nods and bows briefly and shuffles some of the stuff on the table aside so that Pema has a decent space to have a cold and surprisingly bitter-sweet bubble ice tea in a huge glass. Yin gets it straight from the fridge but they might be self-made so some degree: "Of course, hm… cold… here you go. Green-tea flavor. - And good to see that you are in control of your situation. Speaking of, are these your goons in the hallway?"

The Tibetan girl does notice the increased amount of notes and data on the investigator's desk, but she doesn't pry. Most of it is probably unrelated to the Tana case and thus none of her business. She looks up and accepts the glass with a short "Thank you," before taking a sip and holding the drink while resting on her lap. "My goons? I thought they were yours. Or worse, on the Shining Mountain's payroll. No, I don't have goons." She has another sip of ice tea. "I am not too bad at keeping low profile though. I've ran away from corps before, and back then I was less prepared." She glances over at the ruthenium cloak, but she's probably referring to other stuff too.

"Hm, great. I don't know all the neighbors here, but they looked suspicious. We take care of this later. First of all," he sits down on a chair next to Pema, turning it slightly to face her directly. "Look, maybe this whole situation just came right down our alley, Pema-san. Your arrest warrant got forwarded to me by Supervisor Leng Chiao. That's our client from the Shining Mountains for the Tana case. So, um, well, I haven't replied yet, but he seems to be eager than ever to get a result on the Tana case. What if we contact him and clarify, that you are working together with me on the case? I'm pretty sure he would lift the arrest warrant." He rests his ellbows on his knees, looking Pema in the eye. "What do you think?"

Pema just shrugs at the topic of the two goons, that just happened to be out in the corridor. She's probably got more important problems on her mind. Not that two random punks are much of a threat to a fairly experienced mage anyway.

She has another sip of her drink and then puts it away on any convenient nearby surface as her hands are getting too cold. Her gaze shifts, not seeking contact with Yin's for long. "Does he know you've got people working with you on the case, more specifically me? Otherwise, I could just lay low for a while. I bet the Shining Mountain has more important things to attend to."

Yin stands up again, circling the chair and resting his hands on its back. With one hand he makes a reaffirming gesture: "He does know that I have expanded the investigation. He pays the bills, after all. But I kept the names of you and the others out of the game so far. The thing is this, Pema-san: … " he takes a breath, "We could step up with the whole investigation, it would give us public and media attention on Tana's fate again. This … attempted self-immolation brought attention to the issue, but it won't stay on top for long. Shining Mountain wants to keep the whole thing under control. They certainly don't want to arrest someone who is actually investigating on a missing Tibetan boy, right? And your … selfless deed gave the whole thing," he rubbs his neck, "well, a face, literally. Why not go public and tell the people that you tried to prevent a loss of life and you are working on the disappearances, as part of an official investigation?" He picks up one of the datapds on his table, activates it and offers it to Pema to read.

Yin adds, while offering the datapad: "I mean, you don't have to show up on media again. Shining Mountain just would have to issue a fitting statement and I would try to get a media coverage on the Tana case. This could put pressure on possible suspects. Maybe new wittnesses come up and new reports get in. This case months old."

Pema looks somewhat distraught as Yin begins explaining, as if she is only partially paying attention. However, as it comes to the second part, it's as if something hits her, causing her eyes to widen a bit. She turns over to the investigator. She takes the datapad. "I never thought of it that way… perhaps that could get long quiet voices talking." She looks down at the pad, then up at Yin again. "So… how'd we go about this? Ask your employer to get an interview with someone in the media? I'm not sure how comfortable I am with standing in front of cameras again, but perhaps it is an opportunity…" she ponders that for a moment. "An opportunity that won't stay around for long. People have short attention spans."

Yin seems to be relived by Pema's reaction. The datapad is quiet self-explaining after a rbief moment of study: It's a transcript of the monks' projection at the crossroad two days ago. 'Tanaka Tana' is highlighted in yellow. He was on the list.

"Pema-san, in /that/ case we would more or less play a leverage against the Shining Mountain, striking a deal with them: they lift your arrest warrant and issue a statement on the investigation. At the same time you could make the public announcement about the Tana's disappearance. The Shining Mountain would get a little reputation boost. And, actually, I think it could help the community as a whole, in these days, if the accusations the monks brought forward are true. However, I still don't believe the Shining Mountain is behind Tana's disappearance. This would make even less sense after the latest events."

"So, to answer to your initial question: Yes, I talk to Leng Chiao about you, and the possibility we have here. Then we synchronize a Shining Mountain statement and your interview. I think Channel 9 would be intzerested," Yin adds.

Pema leans forward in her seat, coiling up her hands and resting her chin against them. Clearly, she is not overly enthusiastic about the idea. "It makes sense, but… I am not overly comfortable with the idea of appearing in public, you know, name and all. It makes life in the shadows a lot harder."

Yin nods. "I understand that," he says sympathetically. "The pro is this: Tana's mother and all the other people in the disapora would see and recognize you. And they would learn that there was a wrong decision and it was corrected and your quest for the truth behind Tana's disappearance is still going on. It would rebuild trust again, and your charisma and authenticity could help the case. The con is: you will be exposed. Not your name, but your face, one way or the other.

Lotus throws up her hand in resignation and rolls her eyes a bit. "I've already been exposed on local news, might as well do it again, right?" She shakes her head and grabs her glass for another sip of tea. "Alright, fine. If you arrange a meeting with the Shining Mountain and the media, I'll be there. I might even prepare a little speech or something." Then there's a loud sound coming from her pocket as her phone rings. Without hesitation, she takes the old flip-up phone and turns it off. "I better head back to my hotel for now, though."

Yin nods in understanding and makes sure that Pema gets to her hotel safely. Especially the two asian dudes in the hallway are double checked and tricked if necessary.

Preparations at Tenzin's Restaurant

Tenzin's Restaurant is a small establishment located in a food court by Golden Orchard Square, in the outskirts of K-Town. It's perhaps the only Tibetan-style restaurant in town, and it tries to evoke a glimpse of the hidden kingdom through its decor. The bare concrete walls are covered with framed photographs of spiritual leaders and views of famous landmarks like the Potala palace, and prayer flags and paper lanterns hang from the ceiling. The tables and chairs are all old and re-used, but the place is cosy and inviting and the food is good. A large menu poster is on the wall written in Tibetan and English, containing himalayan favourites like Momo dumplings, Thukpa noodles, stir-fries and bread. All washed down with a choice of beer, home-made rice wine or butter tea.

Almost exactly twenty minutes after Pema sent the message to Yin, she arrives at Tenzin's restaurant. She greets the owner by joining her palms and exchanging polite blessings, the older man then offering her a table. A moment later, he comes out with a thermos filled with buttered tea, that he puts on Pema's table together with two bowl-shaped teacups. She nods and sits down, pouring herself a cup as she waits.

Yin enters the location for the first time, amazed. He wears his usual dress, a simple, casual suit. He changed the jacket though. It seems rather new and doesn't fit so well with the trousers. It's more greyish. After greeting the owner with a similar gesture, he approaches Pema with a friendly smile on his face: "Pema-san. Greetings. A Tibetan restaurant? I didn't even know one exists here. A good place to meet, actually. Almost iconic. - Thank you for your time and this spontaneous meeting." Yin settles down on Pema's right hand side.

Pema is also dressed in her usual fashion, the student-inspired mix of shirt, tie, oversized sweater and pleated skirt with long socks. Despite everything that has happened recently, she looks much the same as before. She gets up as Yin comes in, bowing only very lightly until she sits down again. "Tenzin was the only Tibetan I knew in this town for years." She picks up the thermos and pours up a second cup of butter tea for Yin, not taking into consideration if he likes that stuff or not. "I happened to be in town anyway, to pick up some supplies. Trying not to, though, since I don't know what the Shining Mountain wants from me at this point."

Yin nods: "I feel sorry about what happened, Pema-san." He bows his head excusingly again while he accepts the cup with butter tea. At least he seems to be aware of what it contains and he does not cringe back. "I want to clear this situation as soon as possible, so that you can move freely again, without having to duck away from every patrol car. I know, you know your ways around Denver, but Asiantown seems to be… well, your natural habitat… So, please excuse all the delay. But yesterday, I finally nailed it down. I sent you a diary record. Maybe you already had a chance to listen into it. I am quiet positive about the possibility to get air time. But I also have some concerns I mentioned."

He holds his cup in both hands, leaving it to Pema to raise a toast - or not. Yin appears to be quiet worried and maybe he blames himself for Pema's situation.

The tea itself doesn't taste all that different from a rich milk tea, except that it's salty instead of sweet. Pretty good for a hot summer's day when you need a bit of extra sodium, and warms you up in the winter.

After pouring it up, Pema closes the thermos and puts it aside. "You hungry? Shall we order some food? The momos are good, tastes somewhat like mandu or xiaolongbao." She looks somewhat unperturbed by all this, certainly less than Yin, given his tone. "To be honest… I've become used to it. We lived outside of society back in Hong Kong, I got into Wuxing's training program on a fake SIN, and have been an illegal immigrant in North America since. That's just life in the shadows." She shrugs, and lifts her cup, but she doesn't seem too eager to toast. "That said, it would be lovely to have all of this resolved. I did listen in on the record. It sounds good, but… it feels like I don't know what I should say to them. Speaking out too openly about the community's grievances might earn me more enemies than just the Shining Mountain.

Yin follows Pema's lead here and orders a small plate of momos for both to pick from.

"I see", he nods, "Well, I think we should stick to the plan we had when you came to my place last time. You could connect to the attempted self-immolation, that's what brought you to the trideo in the frist place. You could just explain what happened there and connect it to the Tana case. No politics involved. Just a single fate the Shining Mountain decided not to give up so easily." He shakes his head, grinning for a second, "Em, you know what I mean. You, a Tibetan woman, had the chance to support the investigation. You are part of this community. This is actually not a role you have to play here, it IS you situation, in a way. Just think it through from that point on. What would you like to elaborate on?"

"I would hope that most people can sympathise with not wanting people to kill themselves in one of the most painful ways imaginable," Pema says with a bit of frown on her face. "And how unreasonable that is to be viewed as a criminal act. But you're right, I think it can be addressed without making it too political." Her gaze lingers over to a portrait of one of the former Dalai Lama, hanging on the wall near them. "To be honest, I don't really feel much like a part of that community. I don't have a Tibetan family here. My boyfriend isn't Tibetan. For a long time, this place was as close as I would get, and even back then Tenzin didn't even have this shop - only a hole in the wall and a share in the food court. At the same time, of course I care for them, but… I can't help but feel it is a bit like an outsider."

Yin listens carefully, then he comments gently: "You might be right. But this is how you feel about it, not how others, who see and hear you on trideo, will perceive you. I can imagine that noone from that community would be willing - or would be in the position - to do what you have agreed to. Sometimes, an outsider can serve a community in a unique way. You don't have to fear for your neighbor or family. You can show your face without loosing your job or contacts. But still, I, personally, can't help but see you as part of them, however remote. As you said, you share a common fate, ike all other diaspora alike. - When it comes to the interview, I don't think you have to fake or lie about your outsider role. Just think as yourself as an advocate for Tana's cause. An advocate who can truly relate to the situation."

Eventually, Tenzin emerges from the kitchen carrying a bamboo steamer tray. He sets it down on the table, with a small side of pickled vegetables and home-made chilli sauce. Pema waits for Yin to try first, simply gesturing with a hand towards the tray without saying anything. "I guess Wuxing won't be happy seeing me again, running away from their comfy wage-mage employment offer. I can only hope they've already forgotten about it all." She shrugs, and sips some tea. "You are right that there's merit in the outsider perspective, though. It is possible to point out their hardships without putting blame on anyone. Just raise some awareness, especially for the Tana case. Finding him is what this is all about, after all." She sighs, "If there's anything left to find at this point."

Curiously, Yin picks one of the momos with a humble gesture and leaves it on his small plate. He then decorates it with a bit of vegetables and chili topping. "It is funny, in some way, how your sheer presence demands a rememberance of the old ways. I used to eat and drink much more consciously when I was younger. But since I work on the streets I sometimes feel totally disconnected to where I come from." Yin then focus solely on his neatly decorated food and explores its smell and, finally, taste. Actually, he succeeds in shoving away the Tana case completely for this moment. Certainly a hard task for him. But he enjoys the moment.

"Us Tibetans have a lot in common with the natives of this land, in a way." Pema says, her voice calm and thoughtful. "For centuries, our existence has been plague by occupation and oppression, a colonial power seeking to stamp us out and reduce us to a footnote of history. Fortunately, neither the Westerners or the Chinese succeeded, and we're still here. However, us Tibetans that never got a chance to see our ancestral homeland before the Maya Cloud fell… we're trapped yet again, as outsiders. We're forever a diaspora, a minority wherever we go. The only thing keeping us alive is our culture and our traditions." She picks up one of the momos too, dunks it into the chilli sauce, then takes a slow bite, covering her mouth with her other hand. "I didn't care much for it when I was younger, either, but I understand it now. Perhaps that is what urged Tana to learn to read the U-Chen script." Referring to the Tibetan writing system.

Yin nods, "This case is weird in some way. That Tana decided to learn the script is maybe part of his quest for the discovery of his heritage. But after all the interviews I did and all the people I talked to I have the feeling that there is something left unspoken, some aspect noone talks about." Thoughtfully he observes the restaurant's interior, including the portraits. "If we could use that interview to reach out and touch that great unknown somehow, maybe that would break the spell…" - "On a more practical side of things, Supervisor Leng expects a good PR boost, with the Shining Mountain opening the invstigation to members of the community and private investigators. So, he will most likely dwell on that a bit. You should play along. But don't loose the track. You just nailed it down already: you are investigating Tana's fate and any hint or help is welcome! There will be two trix-adresses in the subtitles and the interactive media. One for the Shining Mountain and one for my firm. Both work as a hotline of some sorts."

Finishing off her dumpling, Pema finally takes her hand down and washes everything down with some silky buttered tea. "Sounds like a win-win for all parties involved. I would not be surprised if there's someone out there sitting on useful info on the case that might finally gather the courage to speak." She grabs another dumpling and adds even more chilli sauce to it this time. "We can get the help we need to crack the case, the Shining Mountain gets to look good for once, and you'll get some publicity for your firm. It all depends on me, I guess." She chuckles, covering her mouth again. "I promise I'll do my best at the interview, but I am good at saying stupid things sometimes."

Yin agrees: "Yeah, a win-win situation. Hopefully. I mean, since you agree to the interview, I think your arrest warrent is off the table within a few hours. That's a good thing already. Seems like all we have to do is wait for our air time then. I'll be around behind the cameras as well, of course. And I'll pick you up and get you back home if you want me to. If you need anything else, let me know." Yin finishes his share of momos and drinks his cup of buttered tea.

"Wonderful. I'll write up a little script to prepare in the meantime. What language are they holding the interview in, anyway? Guess it doesn't matter… as long as it's not in Mandarin. Bleh," she says in a perhaps somewhat surprising display of dislike. "And you've got my number, if there's anything you think of that should be brought up. I will head back up to the mountains after this; got some laboratory work to attend to. In an emergency, I can fly down to Denver in minutes, but I try not to. It attracts attention."

Yin raises an eyebrow when the mountains and a possible flight are mentioned: "Oh, so you /are/ well prepared, I see. Probably more than I am," he chuckles, "The show broadcasts in Cantonese, usually, with automated translations in Mandarin and English. But for this special issue on the Tibetan diaspora they also have subtitles in Lhasa Tibetan as well as synchronizations in Lhasa, Khams and Amdo for people who watch it on demand later." He seems to be ready to depart and he would offer to pay for the tea and momos.

The Trideo Interview

«Plot» Lotus does bring her Japanese SIN in case someone asks for it, but will otherwise simply go by the name Yangchen, which is the name her parents call her by.
«Auto-Judge[]» Lotus (#7659) has the Fake SIN JAP-07659-001PJG-000COH-7DV (Hasuko Utayama) with the following information:
----------—[ Shadowrun Denver ]—-
SIN: JAP-07659-001PJG-000COH-7DV
Name: Hasuko Utayama

The time has come for Lotus to come out of hiding and return to Asia, for the first time since she put herself in the limelight and the Shining Mountain being after her since. She may never have considered herself a part of the Tibetan community, she's still there to represent them so she shows up dressed in a full traditional Tibetan outfit, with a high-collared shirt, long skirt and a full-length chuba on top with only one sleeve worn, the other tied around her waist like a sash. She also sets up her hair in braids like a crown, a style that she normally never wears but is traditional enough. After that, she takes a taxi towards Asiatown, to the studio where the interview is set to take place. A bit worried there may be prying eyes there, she leaves all her foci and similar objects behind in safe storage.

Plot Room #1(#452RJ$)
HUANG HUN STUDIO BUILDING: Mid Chinatown lies low under heavy clouds that brought a lot of rain recently, mixed, in the early hours of the day, with the first shy snowfall of this year. The temperature circles below freezing point. The vast stretches of open-air markets in this Red-Dragon controlled commerce zone are already preparing for the winter with wind shields, gas heaters, electric fires and even more colorful lights against the early night.

Right next to one of this open-air markets, in second row to the Golden Monkey Street, the trideo station for the "Huang Hun News Show" is located. It's a narrow, five-story building compressed between a shiny storefront for designer clothings to its left and a stack of five airline offices to the right. The trideo station's front is dominated by a large glass-cladded stairwell and elevator that runs from ground level all the way up to the top where three radio masts blink in red and green. Stairwell and elevator promise a magnificient view on the gleaming open-air market below.

The Huang Hun building houses administrative and editorial offices as well as the actual broadcasting studios of the Huang Hun News Show. It's a subsidiary of the larger Channel 9 North America Network. The "Channel 9" logo beams in red neon colors across the fourth story of the building. Right below the logo, large blue chinese characters read "Huang Hun News Show".

Yin is already on site, searching his way to the studio building. As it was agreed upon beforehand, both want to meet right before the entrance.

Yangchen gets off the taxi and pays them, wrapping a scarf around her as the car drives off and rejoins the busy Asiatown streets. Right in the business district of the Asian enclave, the streets are busy with people wandering by underneath the ever-colourful Kanji street signs. She finds a spot on the sidewalk that isn't quite so trafficked and stands there, waiting.

Several people who pass right next to Yangchen take note of her rather unusual traditional style she adds to the already colorful mix of the open-air market. Some are curious onlookers, others seem to disapprove, but some also seem to be fond of her traditional dress, greeting her with a nod or slight bow. If they really know what kind of tradition Yangchen represents remains unknown though.

While Yin is not to be seen yet, Yangchen looks around a bit, recognizing a large trideo screen right behind a huge glass front of the studio building. It shows the currently running show. The host for tonight, a Nadine Wuang, is doing some interviews right now. It's all about minorities and unrests in Asiantown this evening. Pictures can be seen, showing the crossroad blockade where Yingchen met the monk.

Nadine Wuang, the host, is a chinese beauty and one of the news anchors for the Huang Hun News Show. Rumored to be an actual member of the upper-class family from Shanghai that originally financed the Huang Hun show, she's practically part of the shows inventory. Her long black hair, woven into artistic headresses that immitates past eras of chinese history, usually stands out against a conservative woman's suit of Armante design in dark grey. Despite her beauty and status as a role model and fashion idol, she usually delivers a punch in the debates, backed up by academic education on three continents.

Yin steps closer from behind, as Yangchen watches the broadcast for a moment: "Greetings … Yangchen. In about half an hour, you'll be standing right there next to her. Nervous?"

When Yin shows up to come speak to the Tibetan girl, she is still looking at the big trid screen. "I've probably been through worse, but… I'd be a liar if I said no." She looks down and draws a little sigh. "Not because of me, but because if I mess things up now, it will reflect badly on a lot of vulnerable people. It's for their sake that I'm here, after all… anyway, let's get inside." She tucks her hand inside the fold created by the single-shoulder robe, and begins attempting to navigate through the crowded street.

Yin nods and tries to provide her some cover against pedestrians, shielding her a little bit in order to give her some comfort. He knows better than bother her with anything now. At the entrance, a quick SIN check at the security post is in order, but both are expected visitors so this seems to be not a problem. Yin handles the formalities, leaving his weapon behind.

A few minutes later, Yangchen, Yin, and one security guard are standing in the glass elevator, climbing up to the fifth floor.

«Plot» Yin says, "A perception roll please. TN is 8"
«Auto-Judge[]» Lotus (#7659) rolls Intelligence vs TN 8 for "Perception":
1 2 3 5 5 8 9 23 = 3 Successes

The elevator is almost completely silent and perfectly shielded from the busy street noise. However, Yangchen spots a little detail down below. There is a quiet group of people, looking poor and miserable, clad in brownish and greyish colors. Obviously a patchwork from some gutters. But two or three of them seems to be more like middle-class people. All are Asians. Quietly and solemnly they are occupying the middle of a major crossroad in the open-air market, raising signs above their heads in all directions. Yangchen spots one sign in detail, it reads: "A deed of compassion, not words, for those in need." Clearly the group solidarize with the local minorities. A young boy seems to look up to Yangchen, across half the open-air market.

A small Shining Mountain patrol is already on their way to the quiet protesters. But before they reach them, the elevator comes to a halt and opens to the fifth floor.

Noticing the street below, Yangchen turns around and looks down. She remains silent, but she puts her hand gently against the window, a set of buddhist prayer beads wrapped around her wrist and fingers. It's like a silent gesture of sympathy. When the door open, she quickly withdraws the hand and tucks it back inside her robe, facing the exit and heading out, trying to look as unperturbed as possible.

"Everythin alright?" Yin asks quietly, not really expecting an answer. He couldn't spot the details down below, obviously. Both are then led through a white corridor, then into a co called Ready Room. Its purpose seems to be to prepare guests for upcoming recordings and broadcasts. There are some sofas, small tables, refreshment and one young Japanese man, ready to serve. Also, a huge mirrored window offers a view into the actual studio. There is one other guest already present:

Supervisor Leng Han Chiao, this grey-haired, somewhat elderly, man of chinese origin stands about 6 feet tall. He wears a black officer's uniform of the Shining Mountain security authority, ranking as a Supervisor to Denver's Korea-Town. His tight fitting jacket sports the iconic outlines of three silver-topped mountain peaks across the chest, as well as several commendations that display his seniority and experience from many years of service. An iconic service cap completes his outfit. Leng Chiao is known to be some kind of father figure to many of his Shining Mountain underlings. He radiates that natural authority that comes with age and social status, especially in asian communities. However, if encountered in non-official situations, he gives the impression of being approachable.

Plot Room #1(#452RJ$)
The Huang Hun News Show airs from an ultra-modern broadcast studio on the fifth floor. A large room with high ceiling is completely painted in black in order to reduce any possible reflections and irritations. Two large doube-doors allow entry from the hallway. A third large door leads to the control room, make-up, and the news anchor offices.

A lighting and camera system stretches across the whole room, operating on a quiet rail system right below the ceiling. Two giant robotic arms operate the two main trideo cameras, heavily padded for noise reduction and reduced risk of injuries. Repurposed from powerful industrial robotic arms, they move with an eery precision and quietness across one half of the room. Yellow markings on the floor indicate the arms' area of operation, aka danger zone.

The second half of the studio contains the actual studio set. A giant curved trideo wall makes for the backdrop. Currently, Denver's nightly skyline slowly moves across, partially covered by a shifting blue and red gradiant with the show title in chinese characters up front. The set has been prepared for three people: the host and two guests. While the host has a more solid desk to the right that allows for a standing position, both guests have a kind of a light bar table on their own. Little bouquets of real chinese roses and peony adorn each table.

"Yosh," the Tibetan woman answers to the question, using a normally fairly masculine expression of affirmation which sounds a little odd coming from her. She's not normally the type of use masculine-coded language to sound tough. No explanation given, really. Her eyes dart about the room, taking in all the equipment with a bit of concealed amazement as she's probably never been in a place like this before. She also notices the officer but says nothing, instead walking over to the big window giving a view into the studio itself.

"Ah, there she is, hm?" Supervisor Leng remarks, "finally, I get to see the fugitive hero." With both hands behind his back, he walks over to Yangchen, standing right next to her, watching the preparations on the other side of the window. "Miss Yangchen." He turns his head, studying her closely, "I'm honored to meet you." His voice has some sharp undertone in it, but he bows his head politely.

Yin remains standing a little bit behind, next to the entrance, crossing his arms. If he expected a welcome from Supervisor Leng - both know each other for a few months now - he is sadly disappointed.

Yangchen wrinkles her nose a bit, but she does bow her head back in return. Whatever emotions she might have about him or the situation, she doesn't let it show. "One that doesn't consider herself neither a fugitive nor a hero," she says and slowly looks back towards the window. "But I guess that's what we are here to discuss."

Leng chuckles briefly. "No fugitive anymore, right you are. All charges have been dropped two days ago. Thank you for cooperating. If you are as reasonable as Mister Yin promised, something good will come out of this at last." He hesitates a bit, then it seems like he is trying to break the ice a little bit: "Tank you for your engagement on behalf of the case, by the way. Detective Yin keeps his assets a little bit shielded from me, as I learned, but since I have the opportunity now, I can at least catch up with saying thank you, Miss Yangchen."

«Plot» Lotus says, "What language are they speaking at the moment?"
«Plot» Yin says, "Cantonese! Actually, the interview will be in cantonese"

Noticing that Supervisor Leng does seem to be sincere, the Tibetan does seem to warm up a bit. Perhaps it's not so surprising that she's developed a bit of distrust for the Shining Mountain recently. And her past running the shadows… well, let's not even go there. Her stern, expressionless lips thus purse just a little bit, but not enough to show teeth. "I hope not to disappoint," she says in a manner very typical of Asian courtesy. "What got me here in the first place had nothing to do with the case, but it seems it all ties together. It is as all things, bound by their Karma," she says, the last few words quoting a popular Chinese Buddhist saying.

"I have a strong sense for Karma," the Supervisor replies. He then adds something, that appears to have a special meaning or purpose. He tries to catch Yangchen's eyes with his: "I am Supervisor to K-Town. I have a colleague who was responsible as Supervisor for the dealing with the unrest at the Silver Lotus Temple. I told him that my streets don't see any self-immolations. He wouldn't see the truth of it…"

The door to the studio area slides open and Nadine Wuang, the host, suddenly rushes in like a fresh breeze, taking in the situation quickly and cutting off Leng's words: "Sooo, welcome to the Huan Hun Show, Miss Yangchen, Supervisor Leng. I am honored to have you tonight." She extends a hand with a charming smile, looking for eye contact.

She radiates a reassuring aura: "And don't worry about anything. I will get you through this in no sweat. Just don't curse, keep your eyes on whoever is speaking to you - or on whoever you are talking to - and if you don't know what to do or say, just smile." She offers a wide grin to Yangchen. The last part probably was a joke of some kind. "Also, I am really sorry that we did not have much time for preparations, business is waltzing like a maniac these days. But I get it that Mister Yin over there did arrange all the necessary things. Topic is set on the incident with the almost-burning monk and the Tana case. Just be natural. Follow my lead. - Any questions?"

Yangchen just listens to the supervisor's words, and she nods in silence, in a manner as if she tacitly understands the sentiment behind his words. It looks like she's about to say something, and then the host comes in. She looks a little caught off-guard and is especially not used to shaking hands, but she does return the gesture to the host. She slowly takes out the other hand from her robe and unwinds the prayer beads, finally putting them around her own neck like a necklace. "Thank you for having me, miss Wuang." She bows her head and listens to the quick instructions. "We stay on topic and it'll all go fine. No questions, I don't think."

Supervisor Leng listens patiently and returns the handshake. He seems to be a bit more experienced with such situations. He simply nods: "It's been a while, Miss Wuang. Nice to meet you again. ANd it's your floor, of course. You just put me where you need me," he smiles.

Nadine Wuang nods and shortly after, studio personnel enters the Ready Room, ushering Supervisor Leng and Yangchen into the studio setup. Yin only has the chance for a final: "Good luck…" directed at Yangchen, but he then manages to enter the studio as well, behind everyone else, looking for a quiet spot next to some technician on overwatch." Trideo-friendly make-up is applied on all faces in limelight, glasses are filled with fresh water, the flower bouquets are prettied up once more. Soon after, camera and lighting move into position on quiet tracks, light is dimmed down in the back areas. Nadine Wuang skims relaxed through some digital notes while a male employee informs the whole studio: "We're back live in two minutes. All stations prepare." Nadine has the table to the right, Supervisor Leng has the table in the center, and Yangchen is standing on the far left.

The Tibetan girl offers an OK sign with her thumb and index finger to Yin before they are taken out of the room and into the studio. She tags along quietly and with dignity, more or less just moving over wherever she's told to go because she knows nothing of trideo production. She finds herself standing by the table on the left. She adjusts her garments, straightening out any wrinkles from the long robe and making sure the other sleeve is tied properly. In the heat of the studio, an outfit designed for the Tibetan plateau is probably very hot, but too late to do anything about it now.

«Plot» Yin says, "Please roll a CHarisma Open Test"
«Auto-Judge[]» Lotus (#7659) rolls Charisma: 2 3 4 8 10

The make-up girl, a young Chinese, seems to have some sympathy for Yangchen in her beautiful but warm dress. She speaks to one technician and some airstream is redirected to offer her some relief. Then, the show jingle suddenly fills the room and the digital backdrop flashes to life with scenes from violent unrests in Mid Chinatown. The Silver Lotus Temple can be seen in the distance, then another cut and the backdrop shows a slow motion clip of how the monk Dhana is covered in gasoline by two fellow monks. Another flash cut and the Asiantown skyline makes up for a more neutral background. Nadine Wuang commences the moderation.

Nadine Wuang: "Welcome back, dear viewers, after our little break. This evening, we are discussing the situation of minorities and related unrests in Denver and Asiantown from different angles. Before our commercial break we had seen and discussed the events surrounding the attempted self-immolation of the Tibetan monk, Danha, during the Chen Mao Crossroad blockade. We now have the incredible opportunity to talk directly to the brave woman who saved the monk's life by literally hugging the gasoline-soaked monk, just seconds before his demise. A demise that, thanks to her intervention, never happened."

Nadine Wuang: "Also, our second guest for now is respected Supervisor Leng Han Chiao, from the Shining Mountain in K-Town. He is currently working on the solving of several legal cases from the Tibetan diaspora in K-Town. And today we want to look at a very special case. The one about Tana Tanaka, a missing boy from the Tibetan community. Supervisor Leng commissioned a private investigation in order to solve this case. And, as it happened, our honored Tibetan guest here is actually an active partner in this ongoing investigation, working for the Yin Detective Agency in Asiantown."

"So, thank you very much for your contributions tonight. - I'd like to start off with a question that many of our viewers share: Miss Yangchen, why did you rush forward and hug the monk soaked in gasoline, right in the middle of this illegal and escalating protest? What thoughts rushed through your mind in that very moment?"

The backdrop recalls slow-motion scenes from this very protest but all cameras focus on Yangchen. She actually gets her five minutes of fame just now.

As the cameras turn on and the studio is live, Yangchen blinks once and tries to focus. For a few moments, her lips might be seen moving as she silently mouths a mantra, but then only recites it in her head. Fortunately, she's become quite good at Centering by now, a skill dedicated to focusing the mind, much like meditation. Then, when the host begins to speak and introduce her and supervisor Leng, she looks up and is still and has a timid little smile on her face.

Then, the camera turns to her, and she begins by joining her palms in a wordless greeting. It is done facing the host, but actually it is a gesture intended to all those who watch her at this moment. "The Tibetan people has suffered much injustice throughout modern history, from the time of the Qing Empire and - alas - even today. While some peoples have risen to arms in rebellion against such injustice, sometimes very rightly so, violence does not come naturally to the Tibetan people. We strongly believe in the message of non-violence that Lord Buddha taught us. For this reason, why others may strap bombs to themselves or take hostages to get their message across, Tibetans have developed a tradition of self-immolation.

Even though it is intended to promote a message that I may agree with… seeing it before your very eyes it becomes difficult to condone." She lowers her head and raises her hands a bit. "Perhaps it was selfish of me to step in, but I could not bare to watch him die. I believe his message could come across without having to leave this lifetime behind. And perhaps, us standing here today proved me right."

Nadine Wuang nods attentively, then replies: "These are brave words. And obviously inspired by a deep understanding of the underlying thoughts that might lead a man or woman to burn themlselves as an act of nonviolence, which is, indeed, hard to grasp und understand for many of us," she replies in a very sincere tone, underlining the serious nature of the topic at hand. - "Miss Yangchen, can you tell our viewers a little bit about yourself? Where do you come from, what is your situation in Denver right now? And, since you mentioned injustice and violation, what kind of marginalization, injustice, or opression against the Tibetans do you see in Denver these days?"

Yin is gnawing on one fingernail in the dark, waiting for Yangchen's answer.

The questions that Nadine Wuang are posing to her lead her to ponder something for a second or two, a time that however short might seem long when on live trid-vision. "I moved to Denver about three years ago, and initially I was not even aware of there being a Tibetan community in this city. It is largely thanks to the investigation into Tanaka Tana's case that it became clear to me. It was then that I realised the situation for many minorities in Asiatown; they do not exist in the public eye. They exist in the shadows, only illuminated when sparks fly from the friction between the Chinese and Japanese giants. Most of us are not even in possession of SINs." She puts her hands on the little table in front of her. "The names on the list that venerable Danha produced during his protest were not only Tibetans, after all. It was merely that he had the audacity to speak for the sake of people forgotten by the system, a gesture that clearly led to the loss of face for some powerful people."

Nadine Quang nods slowly and her eyes transport a sincere respect for her: "Sharp, as your words are, they also fall very well in line with what we've discussed over the whole afternoon: visibility and acknowledgement."

Nadine Quang then turns to Supervisor Leng, lifting some pressure off Yangchen: "Supervisor Leng. One striking detail of the whole affair is that Miss Yangchen was first subject of an arrest warrant. An arrest warrant, that got only invalidated and retracted two days ago. Can you elaborate?"

Supervisor Leng: "Miss Yangchen was wanted as a witness, first of all. But of course, there had been a certain chance that she was conspiring with the monks on that day, taking an active part in an illegal blockade of the crossroad. And, as you all know, the Silver Lotus Temple is another Shining Mountain district than Korea Town. So, it took my colleagues a while to learn about Miss Yangchen's status as a member of the Tibetan community who is actually taking part in another ongoing investigation."

Nadine Wuang: "If I get that right, District Supervision for the Chen Mao Crossroad did fail to realize that Miss Yangchen was a subcontractor to an ongoing investigation. And it took them more than a month to lift the prosecution from her?"

Supervisor Leng: "We learned quickly from Detective Yin, her superior in this case, who that brave girl was. But it took some time to settle the formalities attached to it."

Nadine Wuang: "Was that an example of systemic prejudice against an obvious member of the Tibetan minority? Are there resentments and disbelief, when it comes to Tibetans who take part in investigations regarding the Tibetans themselves?"

Supervisor Leng: "Em, the arrest warrant was never enforced. It simply took a while to arrange the retraction. More importantly, I'd like to say that we are working together with members from the minorities in order to make sure that everyone is treated fairly and protected by the law. Miss Yangchen, as a member of the Tibetan diaspora, is one example of how we integrate the perspectives of minorities into our investigations and prosecutions. Maybe she can elaborate a bit, how she helps the community with this investigation?"

Nadine Wuang: "We certainly will come to this topic momentarily, Supervisor Leng. - Miss Yangchen, you are here today, not only in order to talk about the attempted self-immolation, which makes you a hero in the eyes of many. Actually, as one of your colleagues told me, your primary concern is an ongoing investigation about a missing person case in K-Town, the so called Tana Case. And you are hoping to find a platform here tonight, to get the public's attention for the case. So, what is the Tana Case about and what is its significance for the situation of the Tibetan community as a whole?"

As the spotlight fades from the Tibetan girl and towards the Shining Mountain representative, she can take a sip of water and relax, gathering her thoughts. She looks over towards the Chinese man as he speaks, largely motionless save for a little smirk of mixed feelings on her lips.

"First of all… it does not make much sense to consider me a co-conspirator in the protest, unless the Shining Mountain thought my part in it all to be little more than an act. A sort of complex play to garner sympathy from the masses, which frankly is a little insulting to the sincerity of a man who clearly was set to die for the cause of getting his message across. Never mind the fact that it had probably proven more dramatic and memorable in the eyes of the crowd, had he actually succeeded. But perhaps that is what takes for certain minorities to be heard. The Communist Chinese tried to silence our voices for half a century, without success. I hope we can remember that, with compassion for those who gave their lives."

She stops for a moment to take another sip of water. "Tanaka Tana is a Tibetan boy who went missing about a year ago, receiving little attention from any authorities. Now, I am not looking to blame the Shining Mountain for this, as I am well aware they have dozens upon dozens of files of missing people in Asiatown, and more keep disappearing by the day. What I truly hope to achieve here is to tear up the blanket of silence that has been laid over all of this. Too many people reticent about what they know, preferring to maintain the status quo so as to not ruffle any feathers, because we know well what happens when protests become too loud. In this moment here, I urge that all people of the Asiatown community, if you know anything… speak up. If we can find this missing boy, who spent all his life living in the shadows, then what is there that we cannot achieve?"

Yangchen's reply to the Supervisor's words were probably unexpected, but Nadine Wuang makes a subtle gesture and quickly tries to undermine any attempt of Leng to reply again. She only succeeds to some degree, as Leng manages to squeeze in a quick: "Suicide is not honorable, after all. I find it a bit harsh to take it as a necessary last option. There are other means to get heard."

Nadine Wuang then takes over: "Visibility is a key issue, for minorities as well as for those people who investigate the crimes we suffer from, who take it as their obligation to not give up hope for others' sake. And, visibility is key for victims as well. - Miss Yangchen, you outlined the Tana case briefly. And here, our viewers can see a portrait shot as well as a picture of a blue winter jacket, his father's jacket actually, Tana Tanaka wore when he went missing."

The backdrop visualizes some imformation on Tana, also, Yin Detective Agency is mentioned as point of contact for any information.

Nadine continues: "Can you maybe give our viewers a little bit more details about the case, how they can help, where to look out, and what for?"

Yangchen nods in agreement with the supervisor's words, holding out her hand as if pointing out what it is she's nodding to. She doesn't try to squeeze in any more comments, and instead waits her turn, allowing Wuang to take over and lead the discussion onwards. However, once the question comes and the ball is back in her court, she says, "Just want to say I agree with the Supervisor's words, but my actions on that day should speak louder on that than any words. As for the case… we have leads pointing towards Simsense-addict communities in the Denver Tech Centre area," she says, deliberately not mentioning any names because she doesn't want to get sued, "But more importantly we'd like to hear from anyone who has been in contact with Tanaka Tana or his girlfriend at the time of the disappearance, May Naru. You can get more information about the case by contacting Yin Li's agency."

After Yangchen has outlined the case and how to contribute, Supervisor Leng speaks up again: "I want to support Miss Yangchen's call for help. The Shining Mountain cooperates very closely with the private investigators. And I would like to add that I take security and freedom of all inhabitants of the Korean-Town district very seriously, no matter their SIN status. I hope that Miss Yangchen inspires people to find confidence in the ongoing investigation, and are willing to support us." He makes a thankful and inviting gesture to Yangchen.

In the meantime, Nadine Wuang's body language communicates clearly but subtly that their time is almost over, if Yangchen would like to add anything else, this would be the last chance.

Yangchen closes her eyes and nods along with the supervisor's words, but doesn't seem to have anything more to add, so she goes silent, allowing Wuang to wrap things up if she so desires.

Nadine Wuang picks up the lead and closes the interview section with routine: "Miss Yangchen, Supervisor Leng, I want to sincerely thank both of you for your visit and your shared views and opinion. And I also wish you all the luck, sharp wits, and public support you can muster in order to reveal Tana Tanaka's fate - and that you find him well and alive." She then puts both hands together, bowing in a clearly Tibetan fashion to Yangchen, and then to Supervisor Leng. She puts on her lively and winning, professional face again, turning to camera 1 which zooms in on her for a close shot: "While we talked, some of our live crews are presently patrolling the streets of K-Town and Mid Chinatown, talking to the people who struggle through their daily life. We'll hear about what it means to be an invisible citizen first hand. And we also have the opportunity to talk to experienced Shining Mountain street patrols about how the latest virus crisis worsened the situation on all sides. Please stay tuned and leave any comments on our live host. There, you also find all the details on the Tana case and how to contribute. Our next studio guest will then be Professor Lau Wei from Hong Kong, talking about segregation and the latest influx of illegal immigrants to Denver."

A few seconds after her final words the studio is lit again and the studio crew starts to buzz about. The young Chinese employee takes care of Yangchen again: "Very well done. It was a good performance," she smiles. "You were so serene! Please follow me outside." In the background, Nadine Wuang is already occupied with a live feed projection, talking through the next scenes. However, she finds the time to wave Yangchen goodbye with a warm smile and calls across the studio: "Thank you, and all the best, Miss! You did a wonderful job. Maybe some other day we have more time to chat! Stay tuned to us!" Then she's drawn back into the busy routine of hers, with make-up, editors, and technicians orbiting her like the sun.

Yin awaits Yangchen at the Ready Room. Somehow he feels compelled to offer a careful hug, probably to reassure himself as well as her: "Thank you, Yangchen-san. I think it went very well."

Since Nadine Wuang takes the courtesy to bid a farewell in a Tibetan fashion, Yangchen returns the gesture, smiling a little awkwardly. Then, as the cameras turn off, she draws a little sigh in relief. She follows along with the assistants, and silently receives the hug from Yin. She looks obviously relieved. "Thank you," she says to the detective. "If we're lucky, you might just have to set up a new hotline for all the calls."

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