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Thread: Michelle Kwan Mystery-The Missing Bronze Horseman

  1. #1

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    Michelle Kwan Mystery-The Missing Bronze Horseman

    I am starting a MK Mystery, just starting it mind you. It stars Michelle Kwan, Alexei Yagudin, the US team and Russian team. I'm thinking of starting it and letting others add on to it. Here goes:

    It was in the middle of August in Washington DC. The humid weather stopped abruptly at the door of the MCI arena. The presidents of the United States and Russia were seated together in the stands awaiting the start of the US/Russia Friendship Competition.

    Six months ago such a competition seemed a doubtful event. There was acrimony at the Olympics. Accusations had flown back and forth of cheating and corruption. Today however, all parties wanted to move forward. Not only was a skating competition planned, but for the first time, selected treasures from the Hermitage were on display at the National Museum of Art.
    Prize among these was the statue of The Bronze Horseman. The filigree and craftsmanship was such that had not been seen until the Renaissance, yet it was 10,000 years old. How it was created was an enigma.

    The competition was set up so that both a Russian and an American would win the competiotion. An American skater or skating team was paired with a Russian skater or skating team. An industrialist even set a $1,000,000 purse for each winner.

    Michelle Kwan was pleasantly suprised at finding that her "team mate" was Alexei Yagudin. She practiced her new Short Program with confidence. The music, choreography, and jumps were different than anything she had attempted before. That Irina and Sarah Hughes also had new programs made her even more eager for the competition.

    The audience was apppreciative of all the teams. However, it was evident that they had come to see the Ladies Olympic Gold, Silver, and Bronze medalists. They did not disappoint. They and their teams were in a virtual tie at the end of the first evenings of Short programs.

    During the press conference, the teams fielded questions. Alexei Yagudin was suddenly tapped on the shoulder and abruptly escorted out of the building. The skating teams were curious.

    Michelle was startled and frazzled. She turned on the Late Night News. The anchor sonorously stated,"The Bronze Horseman, one of the rare art treasures of the Hermitage Display has been stolen from the National Museum of Art!" A camera panned on the display room with broken glass of the showcase. "The Olympic Mens Figure Skating Champion Alexei Yagudin is being held for questioning!".

  2. #2

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    Re: Michelle Kwan Mystery-The Missing Bronze Horseman

    AliceLouise -- I like it. I wrote another part, but then I didn't know if I am supposed to post it here, or what. I was afraid that what I wrote might take your story in a different direction from what you planned. Or is that the idea?


  3. #3

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    Re: Michelle Kwan Mystery-The Missing Bronze Horseman

    Mathman, you must post your story here.

  4. #4

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    Re: Michelle Kwan Mystery-The Missing Bronze Horseman

    The Missing Bronze Horseman, by AliceLouise.

    Chapter 2, by Mathman.

    Archaeology Department, Professor Werthe von Hingenboogle, PhD.

    "Well, this must be the place," said Michelle Kwan.

    As soon as her friend Alexei had been arrested Michelle knew that it was up to her to investigate the crime and to discover the true thief, if she could. The only thing that she had to go on was the description of the Bronze Horseman from the museum officials. So bright and early the next morning she had called the Archaeology Department at Georgetown University and asked if she could get an appointment with an expert in Bronze Age artifacts. She had been referred to the renowned Professor Hingenboogle. Upon arriving on campus the first thing that had impressed her was the old-money smell of the ivy-encrusted outer walls of the archaeology building. Entering, Michelle quickly found the right office and knocked confidently on the door. which presently opened to reveal a small bespectacled man wearing an apron and covered with dust.

    "Oh, hello, my dear," the professor greeted her. "You must be my 8:30 student. Come in, come in. I was just sawing up these old plaster casts. Do come in. What can I do for you?"

    "I'm the one who called about the Bronze Horseman," Michelle answered. "I'm Michelle Kwan. The figure skater."

    "Of course, of course," replied the professor. "I am a great fan of yours, Miss Yamaguchi."

    "Um, Kwan. Michelle Kwan," Michelle corrected him.

    "Yes, yes, of course," agreed the scholar. "I have followed your career ever since that unfortunate incident when Nancy Cardigan cracked your patella. Very interesting from a professional point of view. It was the very same type of fracture, of a fossil kneecap, that allowed us eventually to expose the fraud of the Piltdown Man. Hmph. Eoanthropus Dawsoni, indeed!"

    Michelle shook her head. "No, that was... Oh, never mind. Professor, I am sure you have already heard that someone stole the famous Bronze Horseman yesterday from the National Museum of Art. My friend was accused of being the one who did it. I am trying to help him. I was hoping that you could tell me something about this statue that would give me a lead to go on.”

    “Oh, goodness, yes, Kristi. May I call you Kristi?” was the reply.

    “Uh, you can call me Michelle if you like.”

    “Excellent, Miss Yamaguchi. And you may call me Hans-Peter.”

    “I thought your name was Werthe,” Michelle answered in confusion.

    “It is,” was the reply. “But now about the Horseman. Please sit down.”

    Michelle seated herself in one of the straight-backed chairs in the professor’s office as Full Professor and Chairman von Hingenboogle (“in Germany I would be titled Oberprofessor," he confided) strode to the blackboard and launched into lecture mode.

    “The fascinating thing about the Bronze Horseman,” he began, “is its astonishing antiquity. Who were the people who made it? Where did it come from? Consider this, Miss Yamaguchi. Copper came into use in the Aegean area towards the end of the predynastic age of Egypt about 5500 B.P. (before the present). The earliest known implement is a flat celt, which was found on a Neolithic house-floor in the central court of the palace of Knossos in Crete, and is regarded as an Egyptian product. Bronze was not generally used until a thousand years or more later. Its first appearance is probably in the dagger-blades, cast in molds by the cire perdue method, of the Second City of Troy, where it is already the standard alloy of ten per cent tin to ninety per cent copper. Bronze work was not established in Crete until the beginning of the Middle Minoan, or Mycenaean, age, c. 4000 B.P."

    "Well, professor," said Michelle, "that's all very interesting, but I don't see..."

    "The dates, Kristi, the dates!" the professor shouted. "The Bronze Horseman has been dated to 10,000 B.P., more than 5000 years before any known civilization developed metallurgy of any kind! Think about it. If you skaters unravel this mystery, you will not only solve a contemporary crime, you just might discover an entirely new ancient civilization!"

    But Michelle took a more practical view.

    "Maybe the date for the Bronze Horseman is wrong," she offered simply.

    Professor Hingenboogle looked at his new student with new curiosity.

    "No, no, out of the question," he responded. "The Horseman has been very accurately dated using the Libby-Arnold radiocarbon dating method. You see, Miss Yamaguchi, carbon 14, a radioactive isotope of carbon, is produced at a fixed rate by collisions between cosmic rays (high energy neutrons created in distant supernovae) and free nitrogen atoms in the upper atmosphere. These isotopes enter into organic tissue in the form of carbon dioxide. When the animal or plant dies, the unstable isotope decays radioactively with a half-life of about 5500 years. So, for instance, if you find a fossil bone with only half as much carbon 14 left as you expect, then you know that the fossil is 5500 years old. Do you see?"

    "Sure," answered Michelle. "That's obvious. And if there is only a quarter of the radioactive element left, then it's twice as old, -- 11,000 years."

    The professor rubbed his hand together in glee.

    "Excellent, excellent," he exulted. "So the exact formula is A(t) = A(0)*2^(-t/H), where A(t) is the amount that you have at time t, A(0) is the amount that you started with, and H is the half-life. Or, solving for t and converting to per cents, the age of the artifact is t = 5500*(2 - log(P))/log(2). In our case, the Bronze Horseman has retained P= 28 per cent of its original carbon 14 content, so according to the formula, it is 10,100 years old."

    "But what about the burning of fossil fuels in modern times?" asked Michelle, really wanted to know, now. "Wouldn't that introduce a lot of carbon 14-depleted carbon dioxide into the air, and make things seem older than they really are."

    Professor Hingenboogle beamed with pride upon his new prodigy.

    "To be sure, to be sure. If you were to drop dead this very moment, God forefend, and if I were to pop your bones into this grinder right here and now, and then analyze their carbon content, I would conclude that you had died about the same time as George Washington. So in the case of the Bronze Horseman, perhaps it is as late as 9000 B.P. But there is another difficulty. Do you see it?"

    "Well," said Michelle, "how about this. Bronze is a metallic alloy. It doesn't contain any carbon or organic compounds. But then again, I suppose that the metal might be corrupted by charcoal smoke during the smelting process."

    The professor slapped his forehead.

    "Miss Yamaguchi," he enthused, "would you like to come and work for me as my graduate assistant? I can promise you a stipend of $10,000 per year."

    "Well," answered Michelle with a little shake of her head, "that's about half as much as I make for one four minute performance on tour. Plus, if I can get my partner out of jail by Saturday, I'm going to make a million dollars in this competition alone. So I think I'll pass."

    "But the thrill of discovering a new civilization that no one has ever known about!" answered the professor. "Who were they? We are pretty sure that the copper came from Hungary, but whence the tin? And one final point. Horses."

    Professor Hingenboogle turned back to the blackboard and pulled down a large chart. It showed a time line depicting the evolution of the horse.

    "As you can see," he exposited, "the domestication of the horse dates back certainly to no more than 4500 B.P. And the first extended use of the horse motif in fine bronze work was by the Etruscans, c. 600 B.C. At the time that our Bronze Horseman was created, the horse had not even attained fully modern evolutionary form! Yet here we have a mystery civilization of prehistoric antiquity that not only has domesticated the horse but also has developed metallurgy to a point of excellence 5000 years ahead of its time. Who were these people? What happened to them? It almost recalls the legends of the lost continent of Atlantis!"

    "Well," said Michelle Kwan, "I would be satisfied to solve the mystery of who stole it. How would someone go about fencing such a thing?"

    "That's a good question," was the reply, "and one that is outside my field of expertise, I’m afraid. Certainly no museum or respectable art dealer would touch it. The only way would be to sell it to an unscrupulous and wealthy private patron for his own collection."

    At these words a sudden thought flashed through Michelle's mind. WHO WAS THE ANONYMOUS WEALTHY INDUSTRIALIST WHO HAD PUT UP THE PRIZE MONEY FOR THE SKATING CONTEST? Thanking the professor for his help, she hurried out of the academic hall and jumped into the waiting taxi.



  5. #5

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    Re: Michelle Kwan Mystery-The Missing Bronze Horseman

    Thanks Alice and Mathman for the wonderful story.

    BTW, Mathman

    "So the exact formula is A(t) = A(0)*2^(-t/H), where A(t) is the amount that you have at time t, A(0) is the amount that you started with, and H is the half-life. Or, solving for t and converting to per cents, the age of the artifact is t = 5500*(2 - log(P))/log(2). In our case, the Bronze Horseman has retained P= 28 per cent of its original carbon 14 content, so according to the formula, it is 10,100 years old."

    Where did you come up with P = 28? Did you just rnadomly pick 28? How does one know the Horseman has retained 28% of the original C14?

  6. #6

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    Part 3 of the Missing Bronze Horseman

    Part 3

    Michelle wrote down the formula for the carbon 14 dating system. "It may be important later." It was time to visit the wealthy industrialist.

    Ivan Von Petrick was native to Luxembourg. However, his grandparents had emigrated from Russia in the 1920s. They had been upper class, not aristocrats. Ivan's father, Dmitri, had marrried the Countess von Egan. After the marriage Dmitri had been bestowed a countship by King Peter of Luxembourg. The Von Petricks were stalwart supporters of the Alllies in WWII. They had been the key backers for Russia in the 1990s. They supported charitable hospices for the victims of Chernobyl. This did not sound like a family that would steal one of the Hermitage's prize artifacts.

    A whole floor of the Ritz Hotel was set aside for Ivan Von Petrick. Michelle announced herself at the desk. The concierge stated, "Count von Petrick sees no one without an appointment Miss Kwan."

    "Could you leave a message for him? Maybe I could see him tomorrow."

    The concierge dialed to the suites. He looked at Michelle with bemusement. "The Von Petricks will see you now." A muscled bodyguard materialized and escorted her to the elevator. This elevator was different than what was used by the regular customers. The cab was inlaid with real mahogany.

    The man who greeted her looked like a taller older version of Mikhail Baryshnikov. "Miss Kwan, Ivan Von Petrick. I'm pleased to meet you." He extended his hand.

    "And I also....Count Von Petrick?"
    "Mr. Von Petrick will do. This is America after all!" He smiled warmly at Michelle.

    At that moment a tow headed four year old boy came running out of one the rooms. He was followed by an equally blond haired woman. "Dmitri!..." Michelle couldn't catch all of the rest but, she knew it was Russian.


    Michelle! I'm so glad to see you!!" Vera Oblenskaya was in the top 10 of Russian ladies skaters in the early 1990s. She never competed internationally during her career. She had met Ivan von Petrick as well as at the 1994 Goodwill Games. She and Ivan had a storybook romance. They had a fairytale wedding in 1996. They later had a son. People magazine had chronicled it as the Daughter of a Factory Worker marrying a European count.

    Michelle noted that for someone that had such an idyllic existence she didn't seemvery happy. There were dark circles under her eyes and she seemed nervous.

    "Dimitri has a play date does he not Verushka? I didn't know that you and Miss Kwan were such close acquaintances."

    "Vera showed me around at the Goodwill Games. I would have been lost without her."

    "Anyhow you can catch up later; no?" Vera quickly left the room. "Now what can I do for you Miss Kwan?"
    A servant noiselessly brought in ice water.

    "It's about Alexei. I'm concerned."
    "Mr. Yagudin has representation. I have seen to it that he has the finestattorney. Are you concerned about the competition? There is another Russian skater that is coming from Hackensack to take Alexei Yagudin's place."

    "It's not just the competition. He is my friend-"
    "Would that he had more friends like you, Michelle. However, he hads fallen in with quite a bad sort in his homeland. It has cought up with him here. I would suggest that you don't involve yourself further and let the proper authorities solve the case. I would suggest that you practice you skating for Saturday." The count looked directly at Michelle. "I hope we understand each other."

    "Yes sir, I do. I'm so glad that you are helping Alexei."

    "Mr. Burns will show you out."

    Michelle went to the corner Starbucks to order her afternoon latte. A woman in dark glasses slipped into the booth next to Michelle. It was Vera!

    To be Continued

    Ok Mathman take it away!!!

  7. #7

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    Re: Part 3 of the Missing Bronze Horseman

    For Eltamina --

    Coda -- not perhaps so sweet as one by Sarah Chang, but coda none the less -- to Chapter 2.

    "But professor," objected Michelle, "there's still one thing that I don't quite understand. Where did the number 28% come from?"

    "Well, you see, my dear," replied the obliging fellow, "cosmic ray bombardment is believed to be sufficiently constant over historical time -- the universe is, after all, some 15 billion years old, according to the standard inflationary model -- that we can be sure that in every organic creature, whenever it lived, the ratio of C14 to the standard isotope C12 is a fixed constant. A miniscule one, to be sure. Over time the C14 decays, while the amount of C12 remains the same. So all we have to do is measure the ratio of C14 to C12 in the artifact to determine the percent of decay, and hence the age. Now how do you think we might go about doing that?"

    Michelle thought for a moment.

    "I suppose," she offered, "that the two isotopes could be separated in a centrifuge, since by atomic weight the C14 is heavier. Does this have anything to do with Avogadro's number?"

    "Indirectly, my dear," the professor said. "Yes, your method would work in principle, but the plumbing is quite challenging. There is an easier way. I'll give you a hint. Suppose that you were marooned on a desert island with nothing but the clothes on your back and a Geiger counter. As you are sitting on the beach, watching in despair as the last mast of the ship slowly submerges into the briny deep, dooming your erstwhile shipmates to a watery grave, you notice a particularly well-preserved mummy sitting beside you. How would you determine its age?"

    Michelle thought quickly.

    "Well, first I would unwrap part of the mummy's cloth and burn it, having started a fire with the little concave mirror in my compact, which I also saved in addition to the Geiger counter. Then I would collect the ash, which is almost pure carbon. Now let's see... I suppose that a carbon 14 atom must decay into inert beryllium by emitting an alpha particle. So assuming that I am not accidentally sitting on a uranium lode, I could just count the number of clicks and determine the number of decays per minute per ounce of carbon -- Oh, by the way I have a balance scale and an earring that I know weighs exactly one ounce -- and compare it to the standard rate. What IS the rate of decay for the standard organic carbon mix, by the way?"

    "It's about 20 decay events per minute per ounce," was the reply. "So suppose that in your experiment you observe 3 ounces and count 50 clicks in 3 minutes? By the way, you have a waterproof watch with a second hand."

    "Well," Michelle answered, "that's five and five-ninth emissions per minute per ounce. So comparing 5 and 5/9 to 20, that's 27.78 per cent. And that's where the 28 per cent came from!"

    "Well reasoned, my dear," beamed the professor. "This very study was done to a small scraping of the Bronze Horseman by the professional staff of the Hermitage, the results of which were published in the prestigious and much quoted journal Archiva de Taurus Excrementum de R-puella. Of course they had to go to New Guinea actually to carry out the calculations properly with make-up kit, watch, earring and Geiger counter under pristine conditions. Anyway, it is a very famous number which all archaeologists know by heart, since it is so much smaller than the corresponding figure for any other known bronze work, due to the great antiquity of the piece. Are you sure that I can't interest you in a research assistant's position, Miss Sato?"

  8. #8

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    Re: Part 3 of the Missing Bronze Horseman

    Alice Louise -- Is it on me? I think I'm in over my head.

    "The humid weather stopped abruptly at the door of the MCI arena."

    "The concierge dialed to the suites. He looked at Michelle with bemusement. "The Von Petricks will see you now." A muscled bodyguard materialized and escorted her to the elevator."

    Now that's good writing. Economical, expressive, with just the right choice of word and turn of phrase. I don't want to mess up your story with a lot of foolishness, especially if you have a solid plot in mind which doesn't necessarily involve anything about secret codes and James Bond derring-do.

    Hey Buzz366. You want to jump in?


  9. #9
    Freddy the Pig 2

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    Part 4 of the Missing Bronze Horseman

    Get back, Mathman, you wimp.

    Have no fear, Freddy's here.

    When the moon rides high on the pine tree branch
    Then two-gun Freddy of the Lone Pig Ranch
    (Oh hi yi yippy yippi yip!)
    He takes his guitar, and he tightens up the strings,
    And he jumps in the saddle and this is what he sings:
    Oh hi yi yippy yippy yings.
    Oh hi yi yippy yippy yap, yop, yowp,
    Oh hi yi yippy yippy yings!

    The Missing Bronze Horseman, by Alice Louise

    Chapter 4, by Freddy the Pig

    Michelle looked across the table at the small woman, instinctively noting again her trembling lip and the dark circles under her eyes. At their brief reunion a short time before, Vera had seemed frightened. Now she looked simply sad, as if an insupportable weight of sorrow had finally crushed her once irrepressible spirit. Michelle remembered well the vibrant personality of the tiny Russian skater, plain Vera Oblenskaya then, now the Countess Von Petrick. Vera had skated with such abandon and joy in those days, Michelle recalled -- so much so that the 14-year-old Michelle herself had consciously patterned her own approach to the sport -- bare your heart and soul and just have fun! -- after this exiting and passionate role model.

    But now Vera seemed sunken into herself, withdrawn from the fast pace of the world around her.

    "Michelle, my friend, my friend," the Countess began in a breaking voice, seizing Michelle's right hand with both of her own. "Michelle, listen to me. Nothing is as it seems. My husband..."

    A large hand clapped roughly upon the Countess' frail shoulder. She jerked upright with a gasp. Michelle looked up to see the scowling face of Mr. Burns, the burly bodyguard who had escorted her previously.

    "So here you are, Lady," he said in a voice devoid of emotion. "His Excellency was worried about you. May I join your little party. Good afternoon again, Miss Kwan. An unexpected pleasure to see you again so soon."

    Michelle mumbled a greeting as the Countess rose.

    "No, no," Vera replied. "We are finished. I was just leaving. Kindly escort me back to the Ritz, Burns, if you would be so kind."

    "My duty and my pleasure, Countess," was the reply. Then to Michelle:

    I hope that you consider well Count Von Petrick's advice in the matter of Mr. Yagudin, Miss Kwan. The Count has matters well in hand. Any meddling by clumsy amateurs would be, shall we say, counterproductive. Your new skating partner is being flown in this evening. I have been authorized to tell you that in the event that Ms. Slutskaya and Mr. Goebel win the competition on Saturday, you will nevertheless receive an appearance fee of $1,000,000 for your performance."

    "Mr. Burns," Michelle responded with an outer calm that she was far from feeling inside, "I don't understand why Count Von Petrick has an interest in the outcome of the competition, nor what he thinks I can do to affect the results of the other two teams."

    "I have said all that I have been authorized to say, Miss Kwan, was the short reply. "Good day. And one final thing. The Countess has a very busy social schedule this week. You should not expect to see her privately again until this is all over. Again, good day."

    Just as coldly came Michelle's response: "Good day, Mr. Burns."

    Michelle waited some minutes after the two had left before opening her hand to examine the crumpled piece of paper that the Countess had pressed into her palm with such urgency. She spread it out on the red and white checkered tablecloth. Here is the entirety of the text:



    After turning the paper over to make sure that there was nothing written on the other side, Michelle sat back in the wire-framed cafe chair and considered her position. Obviously she could not trust the Count, yet somehow in her gut she did not believe that he was the mastermind of an evil plot. The Countess was beyond her help for now. As for the skating competition, she had no idea who her "new partner" could possibly be, but unless he was Ulrich Salcow called back from the grave, he certainly would not be able to step in for Alexei Yagudin. Just exactly how she was supposed not only to throw the competition herself but also contrive to make Irina and Tim come out ahead of Sarah and Evgeni was yet another enigma, and one that she had no intention of trying to solve.

    Michelle sat back and let that old familiar competitive rush sweep through her, taking possession of her mind, body and soul. She would solve the mystery of the Missing Bronze Horseman, spring Alexei from jail, win the skating contest, uncover the plot BEHIND the plot -- what the heck, she might even discover a lost civilization before she was through!

    The waiter at last came over to take her order. But he drew back in alarm when he saw her face. Yes, it was the celebrated Michelle Kwan game face, devoid of any whisper of emotion, the face that alone had crushed many a would-be challenger, the face that said, when she momentarily locked eyes with the other girls, then contemptuously turned away: "Sweetie, you have just been judged, and you have been dismissed." The face that proclaimed, more plainly than mere words could ever express, "HAVE YOU LOST YOUR MIND, TO GO UP AGAINST MICHELLE KWAN?!"

  10. #10

    0 Not allowed!

    Re: Part 4 of the Missing Bronze Horseman

    Hey Freddy, don't you mean


    instead of



  11. #11

    0 Not allowed!

    Part 5 of the Missing Bronze Horseman

    Michelle Kwan Mystery- Chapter 5
    "What an odd experience." Michelle thought to herself as she headed back to her hotel in the cab." I can't imagine what all these numbers mean , but I'm sure I'll find out. " She was deeply upset that Alexei stood accused of a crime she was certain he didn't commit, but the best thing to do and the only thing to do was to try to clear him. "I've got to find out who our mysterious benefactor is." she thought.
    Arriving back at the hotel, she pushed the plastic key into the door and as it opened she found her foot on top of a large envelope. It was very elegant and closed with a red seal bearing the initials RT. She opened it quickly.
    Robert Tan would like to invite you to a private pool party.
    This evening on the roof of this hotel.
    Dinner, Dancing and Music from 9pm till ???
    "Who is this guy?" she wondered . Suddenly her room phone rang. It was Elaine, her friend and assistant in the room directly upstairs. "Did you get it?" she said excitedly. Elaine was an excitable person. Michelle always felt calm by her in comparison. "Did I get what?" Michelle asked calmly.
    "The invitation, Michelle, you had to get one, even I got one!" she giggled.
    "I don't want to spend any more time with celebrity seekers Elaine, I've got to work on clearing Alexei." she said flatly."I don't think I'm going."
    Elaine souned very disappointed. "Do you know who this guy is?" she said emphatically.
    "No, tell me." Michelle said sounding bored
    "Well ", Elaine went on ,"his father is a super rich industrialist from Singapore."
    "Wow." Michelle responed with as little emotion as possible. "Another rich Asian guy who wants to meet..."
    "His family has one of the world's largest private art collections." Elain piped in.
    "Did you say art?" Michelle asked sharply.
    "Yes, Michelle art, a collection so big that no one is even sure what all the pieces they have are."
    " I wonder if he had anything to do with planning this Friendship Competition?" she wondered.
    "It's got to be him Michelle, this is the way this guy operates, he does something anonomously and then spills the beans at a big party so everyone can tell him how wonderful he is. I think you know the type."
    "Yes, I've met that ego before. Anyway, I'm going."
    "I thought you said...."
    "Forget what I said Elaine, this could be the link I need to free Alexei. Now here's what you do Elaine, go up to the party around nine and when Mr. Big Shot makes his grand entrance , call me on your cell phone.
    "Are you trying to upstage him?" Elaine asked.
    "I just want to meet him on a level field. He's got to know something and I'm going to find out what it is."

  12. #12

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    Part 6 of the Missing Bronze Horseman

    Michelle knew it was imperative that she meet Robert Tan. Undoubtedly, she was invited for her celebrity, but she needed a bit more than a hello, she wanted his undivided attention. She unzipped her still unpacked suitcase and rummaged through it. She pulled an item, a gift ,she previously thought unusable till now. It was a very skimpy leater thong bikini. "This should keep him focused." she thought.
    Holed up in her room, Michelle watched TV, drank some botles of water and waited for the call from Elaine. As time passed slowly, she began to think about what she might be getting herself into. "What if this guy is dangerous ?", she thought."He could be in cahoots with all these spooky characters I've already met."
    At about 11:30 the phone finally rang. It was Elaine again very excited. "He's here Michelle! And he's asking for you! Better get up here fast!"
    "Don't worry." Michelle said in a calm competitive way."I'll be up ASAP."
    Checking herself in the mirror, the bikini was daring indeed. She covered herself with a short, black silk rob, applied some make-up and stepped into her sandals. She headed toward the door when the phone rang again. "What now Elaine?" she mused impatiently. But it was not Elaine. "Don't get too close Miss Kwan." a deep garbled voice warned."Ask too many questions and you may get some unpleasant answers."
    "Who is this!" she shouted back.
    Fearing another call or worse, Michelle decided to head up to the pool at once.
    She took the staircase. It was only 3 flights up. "Too many scary possibilities in elavators." she thought.
    The party was indeed in full swing, but Michelle slipped in quietly and unnoticed. Choosing a dark corner she decided for the moment at least to not see or be seen. She ordered a lemonade from a passing waiter and sat down in a lounge chair. Noticing Robert Tan and his noisy entourage approaching, she casually slipped out of the black robe and sat up waiting.
    In a flash Tan came over to her, a few bodyguards and ditzy looking models in tow. "Weeeel Michelle Kwan!" he bellowed. "Have you been here long? I didn't notice you arrive." he laughed.
    "Not too long." she said cooly. "She looked around ignoring him. "It really is lovely up here."
    "And my goodness do you look lovely Michelle!" he laughed again mischieveously. "Have you thought of wearing that costume on the ice?"
    "Skating is work." Michelle shot back. "I'm here for pleasure."
    She was hooking him good and he was playing right along.
    He laughed again even louder. "May I join you?" he said.
    Michelle paused a moment. "Alone?" she said. "Certainly."
    As Tan snapped his finger, the girls bodyguards and the aura around himsuddenly disappeared.
    All that was left was a big show off in a off-white tuxedo.
    She had her level playing field.

  13. #13

    0 Not allowed!

    Re: Part 6 of the Missing Bronze Horseman

    Sorry to take such a different direction, but I meant to put this in earlier. It still kinda fits. Just hang on, let me set up a cliffhanger and you guys finish it . O.K.?

  14. #14

    0 Not allowed!

    Re: Part 6 of the Missing Bronze Horseman

    Hey Buzz, I was hoping that you'd check in. So, I wonder what hold Robert Tan has over Count Von Petrick! I can hardly wait for your cliffhanger.


  15. #15

    0 Not allowed!

    Part 7 of the Missing Bronze Horseman

    O.K. Here's a cliffhanger. I'll leave it to you guys to get her out of this and pick up the story.

    "Could you put that out please?" Michelle motioned toward Tan's annoying little cigar.
    He dropped it immediately and crushed it emphatically with his shoe.
    "So you're here for pleasure Miss Kwan." he mused "Dare I ask what is your pleasure?"
    "My pleasure tonight is information, Mr. Tan." she said shortyly. "First of all, are you the one responsible for this recent competition?"
    He just smiled. "Well it's no secret anymore. I just announced to all the partygoers that I was behind it. But it's really just a prelude to my bigger plans here in Washington."
    "Do these plans concern your art collection?" Michelle asked.
    Tan was taken aback. "so you're familiar with my family's obsesssion." he said startled.
    "Yes as a matter of fact I'm here for art, on my father's orders, of course. We're lookingh to make some new additions."
    "Like the Bronze Horseman?" she cut in.
    Robert Tan suddenly lost his smile. "What do you know about it?" he said gravely.
    "I know my friend has been accused of stealing it." she snapped back. "And I'm certain he's innocent!"
    Tan began squirming and became more visibly upset.
    "I'll bet you know a certain Russian from the former nobility don't you?" she went on.
    "A Russian?" he said again statrled. "Maybe. But this is not the place to talk. I know a small cafe..."
    "So do I. " Michelle cut in. "It's downstairs in the lobby. I'll see you there in 15 minutes. Alone.
    Leaving Mr. Tan alone, Michelle made a determined strut out of the pool area and toward the staircase.
    Pulling the door open she noticed the stairs were much darker than they had previously been. She paused a moment and that's when it happened. She felt a large damp cloth cover her face. She tried to scream but a sweet noxious liquid began to overtake her as she fell losing conscioussness.

    Overwhelming heat. That's all she could feel. Michelle felt her arms raised over her head and soon realized that her wrists were tied above her. Trying to speak she also realized that she had been tightly gagged with what felt like a strip of a terry cloth towel around her head. Beads of sweat trickled down her face and body as she writhed and squirmed in her bindings. She suddenly realized where she was. In a sauna. Along with her wrists, her ankles were also tightly tied to the wooden slats. She spied a thermometer in the corner approacing 122 degrees ...and getting hotter.
    She was still groggy from the chloroform and being gagged did not make breathing easier. She tried to keep herself awake while the sweat dripped down her soaking her bikini. She began to feel herself drifting off......

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