There was a brief silence. Instead of making Ran’s lack of spontaneity obvious to him, Xin avoided an awkward moment by changing the topic immediately. “Well, I mean,” she continued, “Christine is a biologist by trade, and yet you are behind her in physics. I doubt that Ying will ever take you if you can’t even complete reentry to this universe. You have to be realistic.”
“I’ll see what I can do about it.” Ran laughed, “We don’t want to be beautiful losers.”
They quickly had a shower together and headed to the meeting room for the physics session.
Qin didn’t show up, leaving many to wonder what had happened last night.
Ying started her physics session with the explanation. “Qin told us that he would need at least 24 hours more to complete the physical solution,” she said, “so hopefully, he will join us tomorrow.” A few of them seemed more relaxed.
“Christine already can enter and exit a closed room through space-time manipulation. However, we are here to talk about a permanent parallel universe, a simple requirement to get us the basic membership of the United Blades, an intergalactic organization that approached us a year ago.” Eyes wide open, some of them seemed shocked. Ignoring the amusing reactions, she continued, “I am actually sorry about my poor translation, because I couldn’t find a more suitable term other than blade, the king of all weapons in the ancient Chinese world, a status equivalent to piano among musical instruments. I started with the term clade, but realized that it would hint at the existence of an intelligent common root. So, I abandoned it. In fact, if we could make it this year, we would be the first Primates to join them, ever. It would be a historical moment indeed. We may include the humans on this planet once we get there, but for now, we want to keep it to ourselves, because they will only slow us down in the process. A blade is the beginning of personal defense, which is why I sort of like the term as an appropriate translation, because we are one and here to defend ourselves.”
The audience concurred with applause.
Well, I am going to take a break from this novel for a while. After all, this is not my full-time job so I have to work on it only when I have the time. I am sorry if you happen to like the plot. By the way, an arrogant speech can mean a sense of humor or of superiority, depending on how the speaker intends it. However, Wen’s confidence in her shooting skill hints at superiority rather than humor (https://simplyjet.wordpress.com/2014/09/16/how-many-sunsets-red/). On the other hand, Ying’s tolerance of Wen’s public behavior indicates the possibility that Wen was an outstanding achiever in the circle.
Sadly, I have to clarify with my Chinese readers, who may wonder how the United Blades may be rendered in Chinese. Well, it’s Jian-Meng or Blade Alliance, sort of. So, why not Blade Alliance instead of the United Blades? Well, why not Global Alliance instead of the United Nations? The United Blades as a name does connote the existence of a common law, while Blade Alliance does not. A common law makes it easy to settle disputes before military actions are taken. So, why not Lian-Jian instead of Jian-Meng? Well, Jian-Meng makes it clear that each blade functions as a person, that is, a group in perfect unity. The original term in the common language is actually beak, a weapon to use only as the last resort, which forms part of the facial expression of a bird, who normally fights with claws if unarmed. The beak also signifies the initiation of a combat through verbal agreement and the final claim of victory through a bite. One beak, one voice, the ultimate unity of a community committed to defend itself and their common friends.
So, why blade for beak? Well, haven’t you heard?
That is, a blade is like its master, reflecting his character and one with him.
(Zheng ke wei, jian ru qi ren, ren jian he yi.)