It’s been something close to a month since our good friend, Joanna Chan, embarked on her epic vacation to Hong Kong, and we can only imagine what crazy shenanigans and whacky adventures she’s been up to overseas. Below is my imagining of what crazy shenanigans and whacky adventures she’s been up to overseas.
Metropolis by any other name would be Hong Kong. On the surface it’s one of our planet’s greatest cities, filled with a large and vibrant population, a rich cultural life, and a booming economy, but what you see isn’t what makes the city. It’s what lurks beneath that truly makes it come alive. Joanna Chan came to this place seeking the former, but it was the latter that she would come to know the most. Hong Kong’s seedy underbelly would suck her in, chew her up, swallow her down, thoroughly digest her, and then puke her into a gutter for good measure. She went in a bright-eyed girl looking to see the world, but unfortunately she saw too much of it, leaving her with a cold stare that turns your very soul to ice. I don’t whether she lost or found something in the dark recesses of that city. All I know is that she came out of the shadows a changed woman. But here I am telling you how her story ends when you know nothing of how she got there, or how her journey began for that matter. Let us therefore go back to the start.
Upon arrival in Hong Kong from Vancouver, Joanna’s vacation seemed as though it would be like any other complete with fine dining, visits to family and friends, and exploration of popular tourist attractions. Indeed, her first week or so in the city was quite uneventful, or at least it was when compared to what happened that morning she woke up eager and excited to spend the day with her dear Uncle Jackie (Yeah, I went there. I couldn’t resist. Sorry). He was supposed to take her on a VIP tour of the city, showing her places that only the social elite normally get to see, but this day would not go as planned. The first sign of trouble was the apprehensive look on his face when he arrived to pick up his favorite niece. Joanna perceived his troubled expression and asked what the matter was, but her uncle just smiled and shrugged it off. But as they walked through the city he was constantly looking over his shoulder. Joanna was worried, but decided not to say anything. She got the sense that they were being followed and stuck close to her uncle of safety, but as they made their way through a large crowd they became separated. She looked high and low for him, but to no avail. Just as she was about to give up, she heard some groaning coming from a back alley. She cautiously made her way down it and much to her horror found Uncle Jackie lying in a pool of his own blood.
“What happened? Oh my God, I need to call an ambulance!”
“Forget it,” whispered Jackie in a hoarse, barely audible voice, “There’s something more important at stake. The Code…” here he began to trail off and it was clear that he was fading away.
“What? The Code? What are you talking about? Stay with me Uncle!”
“The Code. They’re after The Code. They can’t be allowed to have it. Go to the Playmobil area at Harbor City. The Pharaoh holds it.”
“What is this code for? And what does Playmobil have to do with it? You’re not making any sense. I’m getting you to a hospital.”
“No, there’s no time! They’ll be back here any minute. I’m sorry to bring you into this. Here, I can give you something to help along the way. Take my hand. I will pass kung fu powers unto you. That should give you the edge you need.”
“Ummmm… doesn’t that take like years of training and physical skill?”
“No, that’s just what we like to tell people. It’s really all just magic. I got my powers from Bruce Lee and he got his from Ip Man, and now I will give them to you. Please, take my hand.”
She did as he asked, and between tears she could feel her body becoming filled with mystical kung fu abilities. No sooner was the transfer complete when Uncle Jackie passed out one final time and died. Joanna would have sat there and cried all day, but the city wouldn’t let her. A dark and menacing shadow passed over her and the corpse of her late uncle, and she looked up to see a trio of burly, tattooed thugs standing over her. She knew that she was about to face the first test of her new skills and prepared for the fight of her life. They withdrew an assortment of knives and clubs from their jackets and advanced upon her, asking all the while where The Code was. She replied with a roundhouse kick to the nearest thug’s face. He went flying and the other two quickly jabbed at her. She managed to dodge both attacks and returned fire with a flurry of fists. Meanwhile the third got up and joined the fray. Joanna performed admirably at holding her own, but she wasn’t gaining much ground on the attackers and it was clear that she’d either have to run or go under soon. However, just as she was about to break for it, a gunshot rang out followed by swiftly by a second and a third. All three men dropped dead to the ground as a handsome young man stepped out of the shadows carrying a smoking revolver.
“It looked as though you needed some help,” he said with a wry smile on his face.
“I did. Thank you. Do you know who these men were?”
“All I know is that they work for someone called The Tiger.”
“Somebody who you don’t want to find yourself on the bad side of. Come with me. It’s not safe here. Oh, and my name is Jae.”
“Joanna, pleased to meet you.”
Joanna instinctively trusted her attractive savior, and went with him as he led her up to his nearby apartment. He gave her some food and dressed her wounds as she sat by the window watching the day pass by over the city as she thought of her eventful day and how her entire life had just changed. She lounged there contemplating for quite some time before Jae broke the silence.
“So what do you plan to do now?” he asked
“Huh? Oh. I guess I’ll go get this thing my uncle told me to find before he died.”
“Oh, was Jackie your uncle? I’m sorry for your loss.”
“Thanks. It doesn’t look like I’ll have much time to mourn.”
“Unfortunately not. What is this “thing” he told you about.”
“I don’t know. Something called The Code. Apparently it’s at Harbor City.”
“Well first thing tomorrow morning we’ll head on over and look for it, whatever it is.”
“Cool. Oh, and thanks for everything by the way. I don’t know how I can repay your kindness.”
“Hey, just doing my part. You can sleep in my bed tonight. I’ll crash on the couch.”
“Oh, you don’t have to do that.”
“Don’t worry, it’s not a problem.”
After this they were once again silent and sat their staring into one another’s eye for some time until the door suddenly burst open. A man clothed head to toe in black and wielding a katana stormed in. He made straight for Jae, but Joanna was quick to react and delivered a well-timed punch to his gut before disarming him. But before she could pin him down, he rushed out of the room as abruptly as he had entered.
“Well it looks like I owe you now,” observed Jae.
“Who the hell was that? One of The Tiger’s men?”
“No, I don’t think so. I’ve seen him around a few times, but I have no idea who he is or who he works for.”
“Do you think he’ll be back?”
“I doubt it. He doesn’t have his weapon anymore, and you bested him quite easily. He’ll think twice before hitting us up again.”
“How do you know so much about all this?”
“I’ve been following The Tiger’s movements for quite some time now and it is my task to take him down.”
“Are you a police officer then?”
“Something like that. Anyway it’s getting late, and I think we’ve had enough excitement for one day. Good night.”
Considering the trauma she had just been through, Joanna slept quite soundly that night and woke up in the late morning feeling fresh and well rested. Jae had already made breakfast and was gathering some things together for their trip. She ate quickly, packed what little she had with her and, together with Jae, set off for Harbor City.
“So, Harbor City is a pretty big place. Did your uncle give you any clues as to where in there The Code is?”
“He told me something about a pharaoh and Playmobil.”
“Well that should narrow it down sufficiently enough.”
They wandered the mall for some time with Jae leading until they reached Playmobil exhibit. A cursory glance over the area revealed a zone dedicated to the Ancient Egyptian toy set and they made their way over to a live-sized Playmobil version of a pharaoh.
“So somewhere on this guy is The Code, eh?” said Jae looking the figurine up and down.
“I remember Uncle Jackie telling me that he holds it, but all this guy has in his hands is an ankh.”
“Maybe it’s inside the ankh.”
Neither of them had a better suggestion, so they looked around to make sure nobody was looking and then snatched the ankh and ran outside with it to a secluded area without a soul around. Joanna smashed the ankh to against the wall and amongst the shards was a slip of paper.
“This must be it!” she exclaimed excitedly, “Now I just have to figure out what to do with it.”
“I can help you with that,” said Jae in sinister voice. Joanna turned around to find that he had pulled his gun on her. “Hand it over,” he demanded.
“What? But Jae, I thought you were… I thought you…”
“Were trying to help you?” he finished for her, “Yes, you are quite the fool indeed. The Almighty Leader will be very pleased to finally have The Code in his hands. Finally, we will have a weapon to wipe the smirk off the faces of those American pig-dogs and their Japanese lackeys.”
“You mean, you’re North Korean?”
“Indeed I am. Now hand over The Code. I won’t ask again.”
Even with all her kung fu power, Joanna knew that there was no was no way she was going to beat a bullet, so with no other options she grudgingly handed over the paper. Jae then proceeded to chain her to a pipe and strapped a bomb with a fifteen minute timer to her chest.
“You know it would be a lot faster if you just shot me,” hissed Joanna.
“Yes it would, but I want to give you time to reflect on the boundless wisdom of The Almighty One and your own infinite stupidity.”
“You’re an asshole. I can’t believe I ever trusted you.”
“That may be, but I’m also beautiful and I can get away with murder,” he sneered and with a laugh and a wave he disappeared around the corner leaving Joanna to almost certain death. Or at least this would be the case if Joanna weren’t a kung fu master who simply broke the chain with ease and subsequently ripped off the bomb. Jae was not as clever as he liked to think. Not wanting to cause vast amounts of property damage and potentially injuring or killing thousands, Joanna took the bomb and ran straight for the ocean and hurled the explosive device as far out as she could. The explosion killed several fish and capsized a nearby fishing vessel, but otherwise no harm was done. After this somewhat disappointing climax, Joanna realized that she had no idea where to go or what to do next. As she cast her eyes around in vain searching for Jae, a hand fell on her shoulder causing her to instinctively grab it and throw the would-be assailant over her shoulder. Much to her surprise she found somebody she knew staring up at her in a daze from the ground.
“Snake-Eyes?” she queried as she helped him up, “What are you doing here.”
“I came here to settle some personal business, and by grace of an unusual coincidence I think you can help me. I’m looking for this North Korean guy named Jae. I heard that he was with you. Know where I can find him?”
“I’m in the same boat as you. He ran off with The Code.”
“Oh, that’s not what you’re after? Isn’t that what you meant by ‘personal business’?”
“I see… Well, Jae’s gone. He’s probably on his way back to North Korea now.”
“Well, he’ll have to stop at his apartment. I noticed that he left his passport there.”
“You were in his apartment? Wait, are you the Katana Man?”
“Yes to the first question, no to the second.”
“You’re being very mysterious.”
“Whatever, let’s head back to his apartment, maybe we can catch him before he leaves.”
“We probably will. I took his passport from his apartment.”
“Well now he can’t leave the country.”
They rushed back to Jae’s place, but when they got there they found that somebody had already beaten them to the punch. The place was a mess with bullet holes in the wall, smashed furniture strewn about the place, and a number of bodies lying motionless including that of Jae’s. Joanna took his pulse, but he was long since dead.
“I guess you could say we’ve reached a dead end,” joked Snake-Eyes. One of the bodies slumped in a corner groaned in response to his terribly corny pun.
“This one’s still alive. Maybe he can give us some useful information,” suggested Joanna as she made her way over to the bleeding man. She held him by the collar of his shirt and began to demand some answers. “Who sent you here? Where’s The Code?”
“I ain’t sayin’ nothin’,” replied the thug with poor grammar.
“Hold on. I’ll handle this,” said Snake-Eyes as he took out his IPod and stuck some headphones over the man’s ears. Within a few short minutes the man began to cry and blurted out that The Tiger had sent him and that the rest of his crew was located in an abandoned warehouse on the other side of town.
“What did you play that made him talk so fast?” asked Joanna.
“‘Ms New Booty’ as performed by a girl who doesn’t understand the internet,” came the reply.
Without wasting another second they made their way over to the address given to them by the man who was probably dead by now. Stealthily they penetrated the warehouse via an open window and hid behind some boxes. A small gang of thugs were gathered anxiously in the middle of the room, apparently awaiting the arrival of The Tiger. Suddenly the doors flung wide open and a short figure strode into the room surrounded by four tough-looking bodyguards. Joanna’s eyes widened in surprise when she witnessed just who this Tiger was.
“Lily!” shouted Snake-Eyes as he stood up from behind his cover, “I’ve been looking all over for you!”
Lily (i.e. The Tiger) turned towards him with an inquisitive look on her face.
“You haven’t been to Board Game Club in months! What have you been up to? And don’t give me any of that having a job crap!”
“Well, you see, I’m actually the ringleader of a multinational criminal organization and I’ve been rather busy lately attending to some business,” Lily replied with a disturbing amount of calm.
“Oh, ok. Fair enough. Oh, and I have Joanna here with me. She’s looking for something called The Code. You have any idea what or where that is?”
“Actually, I just happen to have it right here in my hand and am about to leave the country with it. I’m sure that it will fetch a hefty price on the black market. I stopped here first to tell my associates to kill anybody else searching for me or The Code. And on that note, guards kill these interlopers, cut them up into little pieces, and throw them to the sharks.”
Snake-Eyes was about to say something else, but Lily’s retinue opened fire forcing him to dive back behind the crates.
“Shit! What do we do now?” Snake-Eyes asked Joanna.
“Well my original plan was to quietly sneak up on them, but you kinda threw that plan out the window. I guess now we’ll just have to fight them head on.”
With that she proceeded to take out every single ruffian in a truly epic and action-packed fashion that is impossible to describe here. Suffice to say, she did all the work while Snake-Eyes cowered behind a forklift. Once they were all disposed of Joanna looked around and saw that Lily had escaped with her four bodyguards during the fray.
“Alright, you can come out now Snake-Eyes. It’s time to take out Lily.”
“Na, I think I’ll sit this one out.”
“Well I got what I came for. I had to cross four continents and pay an obscene amount of cash in airfare and bribes, but I finally found out why Lily wasn’t coming to Board Game Club. Also, I can’t help but notice that things got a lot more dangerous to my well-being. And I can hardly condemn her for a being a brutal and sadistic crimelord. I pretty much fit that description. Besides, I'm not very useful in a fight anyway."
“Just take some of the guns her thugs dropped. C’mon, I need you on this one. I don’t think I can handle her bodyguards by myself.”
“You seem pretty capable.”
“If you bail out now, I’ll never come to Board Game Club again.”
“You wouldn’t dare!”
“Man, you’ve changed Joanna.”
“Yeah, I’m a cold hard bitch now.”
“No, it’s not that. There just seems to be something different about you. Oh, I see! You got a haircut!”
“Ok whatever. Are you coming or not?”
“Fine, I’ll come. But I’m not happy.”
“Ok, now we just need to figure out where she went.”
“Probably to that airport next door where she keeps her private jet.”
“Dammit Snake-Eyes! Why didn’t you say something earlier?”
“It never came up in the conversation.”
They ran as fast as they could to the airport where they caught up with Lily inside the main hangar. She seemed surprised, but not all that perturbed to see them alive. She sent her elite bodyguards after them, each one a master of a different martial art. Unfortunately, none of them had any guns and were quickly disposed of by the magnum Snake-Eyes had picked up. Now Lily was scared. Joanna pounced on her and began demanding that she hand over The Code, punctuating each sentence by smashing her head into a wall. It didn’t take too many hits for her to cave. Joanna triumphantly held it above her head in victory, but it was to be short-lived as she felt something sharp jab her in the back.
“I believe you have something that belongs to me,” said a male voice as the slip of paper was snatched from her hand. Joanna turned around to see the Katana Man once again and Snake-Eyes standing disarmed in a corner.
“Pardon me for the nature of my behavior, but I’ve found that if you want to get anything done in this crazy city you need to use force,” he explained politely as he took off his mask to reveal that he was none other than Shigeru Miyamoto. “I’ve been looking for the code to access the secret level in Mario 3 for years. I can’t believe I lost it.”
“You mean it’s a video game code?” gaped Lily in disbelief, “I’ve spent all this time and effort and got a bloody face for a video game code?”
“Did you even look at this thing? The code is up, down, up, up, left, A, A, B, A, right, right, A, down, B. What the hell did you think it was for?”
“I can’t believe how many died over this. This is so stupid!” exclaimed Joanna.
“Well, that’s that,” said Snake-Eyes, “can I expect to see you guys at Board Game Club soon?”
“Yeah, I guess so.”
“Ooooooh! Bring Apples to Apples!”