K. Ceres Wright

Thia Wayan stared at the people eating dumplings at eight o’clock in the morning. Yes, she was in China, and when in Rome, yadda yadda. But still… Dumplings?

Others ate sweet potatoes, sticky rice, and noodles and meat, washing it down with hot soy milk, all while hoofing it to work. She shook her head in befuddlement, thankful she didn’t eat breakfast and had found a Starbucks. Black coffee, two sugars, would hold her until lunch.

She had changed her schedule at home several days before traveling to China so jet lag wouldn’t be an issue during her mission. On her first day in Guangzhou, she needed to acclimate to the smells and sounds of the city, to program her reptilian brain—the oldest layer of the human brain that controlled basic functions—to remember normal patterns in order to instantly recognize when something out of the ordinary happened.

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