A/N: I apologize in advance for any spelling errors in this update; I'm currently away from my computer and had to edit on my phone. I didn't want to wait any longer to update. I hope you enjoy, thank you for your patience!
Neo Seoul University of Technology and Applied Sciences
Neo Seoul, Mars
(four years prior to incident with the girl in white)
On a sleepy street in the heart of Edinburgh, there lies a tea house that has been in business for over 100 years, despite the sign on the door always proclaiming it closed. It provides a haven for a specific type of traveler: one who journeys, not from place to place, but through time.
Frankly, Hynek Zikmund could go for a cup of tea right about now. It didn't help that the new recruit he had been assigned to mentor wouldn't shut up about the stuff. The kid had managed to spend the whole tram ride mumbling about oolong.
"Have you ever had baozhong?" The kid- Lee was his name- rambled on even as Zikmund motioned for him to follow him into the university board's meeting room. "It's a type of oolong from Taiwan, though it's barely oxidized- some might even mistake it for green tea at first taste. The name actually means "the wrapped kind" in Chinese. They used to wrap the tea leaves in paper during the drying process, though now it's not really necessary. But you can still find some places that wrap their leaves."
"Fascinating," Zikmund muttered, pulling Lee by the lapel to the front of the room.
"Yeah, it is," Lee replied, smiling a ditzy smile. Zikmund wanted to roll his eyes, but he didn't have the heart to. Something about this perpetually dazed agent was oddly endearing. And he was a good agent. If he could get out of his head once in a while, Zikmund felt that Lee might just be a great one.
They settled into their seats at the board table just as the university chairman and another man entered. The chairman was a wooden man with carved features and flat eyes overshadowed by strong, stoic brows. An interesting enough character, but neither Zikmund nor Lee nor anyone else at the table paid him any attention. All eyes were on the man who was with him- the reason why everyone was here. The man they called Misha.
Zikmund prided himself on being able to piece together where and when someone was from, but Misha was a mystery to him. With his tanned skin, sharp amber eyes, and dark but graying hair and beard, Misha could easily belong to any race, yet at the same time, none of them. And he didn't carry any characteristics- whether it be his walk, his hair, or his clothes- that could pin him to any particular time period.
"Good evening," the chairman began. His monotone voice was surprisingly compelling as he continued, "My name is Dr. Suresh Park, chairman for the Board of Education and Professor of Applied Physics. I've gathered you all tonight to address the accusations charged against one of our professors." He gestured towards Misha, whom had leisurely poured himself a cup of water and taken a seat at the table. Misha smiled pleasantly, his attention immediately going towards Zikmund, and then Lee next to him.
"Dr. Park, was it really necessary to call the Butterfly Corps?" he said, raising an eyebrow so thick that it rivaled the chairman's.
"It depends on whether or not we find you guilty," Park replied coldly. "Dr. Gunawan, will you please read the accusations?"
To Zikmund's left, petite Indonesian woman in all white stood, tablet in hand. Running her hand across the screen, Gunawan read the charges, "Pressuring students to participate in unsafe experiments under the threat of a failing grade, using university funds and equipment for personal projects, taking bribes from student's parents and outside companies... and killing Gwen Mendoza."
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The Time Traveler's Tea HouseScience Fiction
(Watty "Wild Card" Winner 2018) In the heart of Edinburgh, there lies a tea house that has been in business for over 100 years, despite the sign on the door always proclaiming it closed. It provides a haven for a specific type of traveler: one who j...