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House of Gao

Gao stands looking out the window towards the harbour.  His fleet is assembling for the National Convention.  The citizens are arriving via the trains.  They're wearing their finest gear.  They're all glistening and shiny. 

Gao looks in the mirror on the wall.  "Small and pasty," he says to himself.  But he doesn't have time for areobics.  He has a country to run.  Still, he can't help but feel inferior standing next to his people.  That's why he's had his team to make him a large pair of fake legs he can stand in, so that he will feel better about himself.  The legs throw the rest of his body out of proportion, and he looks ridiculous, but no one ever says anything, lest they are forced to walk off.  

Chow rings the buzzer from his desk outside. "Sing is here to see you," he says.

"Send her in," replies Gao.

Sing walks in wearing her long white summer shirt.  The belt is tied high on her waist making her legs look that much longer, but her legs aren't fake.

Gao and Sing give a standard embrace.

"Have all the preparations been made, Sing?"

"Yes, Gao. Everything is in place."

"You have gathered all the actors?"

"Yes, Gao."

"You have the caged monster?"

"It is ready to be rolled out."

"Excellent," Gao says and steeples his hands.

"So you think this will work," asks Sing.

"It has to.  The people are willing to suspend their disbeleif in order to contiune their quality of living."

"Is it quality?"

"It is more quality than on the other side."

"How do you know?"

"From the legends: The Great Beleaguering."

"Legends and nothing more, Gao.  The people want real answers.  If this doesn't work you might be ruined."

"I would be ruined otherwise, Sing.  I think it's a very good idea."

Sing looks at Gao with concern in her eyes.  Gao returns a hard gaze.  He walks to the window.  "If we manage to pull this off, Sing, I'm giving you that boat."

Sing joins Gao at the window.

"Do you see it?" he asks.  "The Dong Wen Pow."

"It's a very big boat," Sing says.

"It can hold 5000 people, and several hundred goats."

"You know I no longer tend goats, Gao."

"I know, but it's never too late to start again," Gao turns to Sing and smiles.

Sing returns his smile despite herself.

They exchange standard greetings.

"To Gao," Sing says.

"To me," Gao replies.

Sing leaves on clicking heels. 

Gao returns to the window.  He looks out at the shimmering horizon and swears he can see them now: The invading hoards.  But despite all their war cries and immanence, they never arrive.

"That is about to change," he says and throws his small glass into the garbage.

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