In The Name of Lynch

-Chapter 01: Ai Xing's Choice -

Ped Xing, the Chairman of the Board at the Zik Zak Megacorporation, wiped his eyes as he fixed the traditional kimono he had donned for what was to be a very special occasion..

A stoic man in his late 80s, only his daughter, Ai Xing, had ever been able to bring him to tears, it had happened the first time he'd held her. When her first word was "to-san", it had happened again. And again the first time she'd walked, when she'd played a bird at a school play about extinct animals; when she'd been accepted at the Academy of Computer Sciences in London, England at the age of ten; and when she'd become one of Zik Zak's youngest employees at the age of twelve on her own merit, and not just by riding on her father's coattails.

Paying close attention to the fine details of Zik Zak's commitment to both excellence and their customers, young Ai had quickly rising through the ranks, though she often turned down quick promotions in favor of staying in one area of expertise in order to learn more about that aspect of the company.

It was this attention to detail that made Ped Xing certain that she would one day take his place in the corporate Chair.

Ai was twenty four now, and she had just made the biggest decision of her life. A decision that had stunned Ped Xing nearly as much as the rest of the Board at Zik Zak.

For several months, she had attended conferences in both London and New Tokyo, conferences involving Zik Zak's continuing association with Network 23.

"There's just something about this place," Ai had said the day when she had first seen Network 23's skyscraper. "It's different from the other big network buildings. Just like a mother tiger protecting her cubs."

"An interesting way of putting it," said a man from behind her.

When Ai had turned, she had seen that his face had been obscured by a vidicam.

"Jack Murray, Network 23," the man had said, lowering his camera and extending a hand automatically.

Having been raised in New Tokyo, she bowed instead.

Withdrawing his hand, Jack also bowed.

"I didn't expect you to be from New Tokyo," he apologized. "I thought you might be from the one of Zik Zak's American offices."

"Your apology is accept, Mr. Murray," Ai had told him.

"I didn't catch your name," Jack had then said as he'd switched his hold on his vidicam which he'd put on standby.

Part of being professional was to know when not to act professional, and Ai Xing could sense that now was one of those times.

"I didn't throw it," she said simply.

Jack Murray smiled. This woman had her own unique style, both charming and irreverent. He could see why Zik Zak had hired her.

"My name is Ai Xing," she had gone on to tell him. "Daughter of Ped Xing. And no, my father didn't get me the job, though being proud of him was my reason for going to work for Zik Zak."

Jack Murray had been present as a reporter for the majority of the conferences she had attended, but it had been in the last three that he had taken her out to dinner, the first time as an interviewee, and afterward for

the purpose of dating her.

It had been at a Network 23 sponsored Scumball game a week ago, during the intermission, that things had come to a head.

"The Druids are really taking a pounding, aren't they?" she'd said to him.

"Indeed. My father says they haven't had a good team since Mark Mason left in 2010," Jack had replied, "Hey, not to change the subject, but if you're not busy this coming Saturday, I thought we could either go see Blank Mink perform or get married. Up to you which."

Ai had stared at him in amazement at the unexpected and certainly unusual proposal, searching his eyes to see if he had been serious or indeed if he'd realized what he'd said to her.

When it had been clear that he had, she smiled and replied. "I think I can squeeze in a wedding."

Ped Xing had laughed when she had told him about the way Jack had proposed to her, though he had become very serious when she had told him that she planned to quit Zik Zak after she married.

"Mom has always been very happy staying at home and looking after me," she told explained in the long run. "I have done well working by your side, and I have been happy doing so. But now it is time for me to be happy in the way that mom is."

A knock on the door brought him back to the present. He walked to the door and opened it to find Murray, Network 23's top producer and father of Jack Murray, standing outside holding a medium sized box.

"In my family," Murray explained, "it has always been customary for the father of the groom to offer a token to the father of the bride."

Ped Xing laughed. "Your gift is graciously accepted," he opened the gift and found a roughly sculpted hand-made statuette of a sparrow within. "Made by a Blank child?"

Murray nodded, nervously.

"It is kind of you to go out of your way to find me a gift that isn't simply giving me back one of my own products," Ped Xing smiled. "Come. I believe the wedding is about to begin."

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