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What one might ask was Mark Verne from the United Kingdom doing in Hong Kong? In fairness it was NOT the first time he had been to this sprawling metropolis.

No, it was not the bright neon lights or the amazing sights and sounds of such cultural diversity to be found in in what had once been an outpost of the British Empire. His companion Han Su would gleefully nod his head to sharing a passion with this Englishman for; food.

Ah yes, certain open market places that served up such a magnificent array of authentic Chinese foods, most of them fresh from the seas or slaughtered that morning freshly cooked before your eyes to feast upon and with relish; delight the palate.

No one, not even some of his closest family, work colleagues held such an affection to Han as did ‘Marki’, but then they had ties with a quota of some magnitude re past history.

The fact that he loved food and the odd ocassion in the past when they had been drinking to the point of staggering to wherever, crashing out and not having any recollection the following morning of what had transpired the night before? was minor in comparison to this ‘past resume’.

Han was a detective in the Hong Kong central police force. He had transferred over from his past British allegiances to be part of the new Chinese force. However, Han was originally from Shenzen.

His family owned a prominent electronics business there and despite early pleas for him to join them in their ventures, he had made it clear that his love of the work he had done for the past fifteen years was not going to be thrown away so lightly.
Sat at the table the female approached them, took their orders and left. Han put the package on the table and slid it across to Marki.

 “A present from my sister; Su Lin.” He smiled, paused as Mark unwrapped it peered at the contents and grinned. “I often wondered if you and her stayed in touch, rumour from brother Won that you, you sly Fox regularly talk to each other on Skype.”

Su Lin was a twenty two year old ex Paris University graduate who spoke three languages AND was one of the youngest top listed Forbes business wormen of the year. If Mark had fallen in love with her it was no surprise, she was featured in several of the worlds top magazines and on some of the many screens advertising beauty products.

In China one could say that an important aspect for any of its citizens was not what you know but WHO you knew. Connections, ah yes. Her extensive list on those included some of Chinas ruling elite in the government.  It literally gave her an all access pass on a scale few would ever achieve.

What Su Lin and Mark shared however was a very special bond that had caught a few of the family off guard. It might have had something to do with the locket she wore, it’s contents were guarded with a ferocity none of the family dared challenge.

“I won’t ask how you manage to circumnavigate the security in place re talking to her obviously on some VPN (Virtual private network) and suitably encrypted?” Marcus smiles as he nods his head then adds.

“I feel as a police officer of some standing, the least you know in that respect the better.” On hindsight given some lingering memories, Han was quick to agree especially as he suspected his specialist computer skills brother definitely had some part in that scenario.

The food! Steaming hot Shrimps, Pork rinds served up with an assortment of rice, noodles and vegetables, also of course the usual soup dishes and other tasters for starters. Chopsticks at the ready as this veritable feast was soon demolished with relish.

Han respected Marki’s appetite that was more than equatable to his own?! Dish after dish washed down with rice wine and beer; not quite as much as might have been the case in the past and for good reason.

“Stocking up on the proteins.” Han took out a piece of paper, it was a betting slip as we would know it. “I saw you at the gym earlier, couldn’t hold on until you finished as we were in pursuit of a wanted scammer. You’re looking on good form for the martial arts match tomorrow. Your Judo skills would make Kanō Jigorō proud, as for your Korean adaptation of Taekwondo not forgetting your Juji, my bets on your winning.”

“Mostly due to Doo when I was training with him in Shenzen, that guy taught me a few styles a lot of others haven’t yet mastered. I still can’t thank you and Su Lin for all the help you gave me re accommodation and more so that I could learn about Chinese policing techniques re anti terrorists and at the same time able to pursue my other skills.”

“We had a good time there and let’s not forget that it also gave you the opportunity for you to not only speak but write Mandarin.” “and for you to practice your English.” There was a clink of bottles as they swallowed back the beers.

“I hear you are part of this new international anti terrorist group.” Mark nodded.
“Which brings me, to the other reason I invited you here. You should know that you will receive an invite to join my team within the next few days.

I value your worth Han, your deductive and reasoning let alone problem solving is something I want  and you know I always get what I want.” A smirk forming casting back to a memory in Shenzen?

“I only want the best on my international team but what I also want is assured fidelity, those I KNOW I can trust with OUR lives, who I know in any given situation that puts it at risk we as a TEAM would have each others backs.”

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