Asleep Are the Dogs: Chapter 12

July 12, 2013 in Asleep Are the Dogs, moonrise31 by moonrise31

A dog afraid of his own shadow likes nothing better than to be kept in the dark.

Chapter 12: Of Details Forgotten and Texts Unread

“Well, great. Now all the ice cream’s going to melt.”

“It’s called a backup generator. The ice cream will be fine.” Jessica rolled her eyes at Sooyoung before noticing what the taller girl was holding. “And hey! I want that glass back.”

Sooyoung waved the other’s protests aside as she swallowed the last of the second helping she’d grabbed on her way out. “You should really add a drive-thru extension. Grab-and-go ice cream will be great for business.”

“I’d go for it,” Taeyeon chimed in helpfully, laughing when Jessica shot her a glare.

“Hey guys.” Sunny jogged up to the small gathering outside of the therapist’s practice. “So what happened?”

“Ahn got into the power grid,” Tiffany replied from her seat on the curb, her face lit by the glow of her laptop screen. “The entire city’s out.”

“So we’re all running on battery, huh?” Yuri checked her phone. “I’ve got a couple hours still.”

There was a chorus of agreement from the other girls. Hyoyeon cracked her knuckles. “Then let’s hunt this guy down while we can, yeah?”

Yoona bent down to look over Tiffany’s shoulder. “I suppose it’d just be wishful thinking for you to somehow be able to trace his location.”

“You can tell me your wish, but that’s all it’ll be,” Tiffany confirmed grimly as she rapidly entered another line of code. “When I say the entire city’s out, I mean the entire city’s out. The fact that I haven’t been able to get in at all yet means that he’s actively fighting me right now, but he’s not plugged in somewhere. Basically, whoever has the longer battery life is gonna win.”

Taeyeon clapped her hands together decisively. “Then I’m sure we can speed things up a little.” She tapped her temple with one finger. “Ahn sees this as a game, but he won’t play unfairly. So that means that we should be able to figure out where he’s hiding. My guess would be somewhere we’ve encountered him before.”

“Then the obvious one is my practice,” Yuri murmured with a frown. “I really need to get a better security system for that place.”

“Or his apartment,” Sunny spoke up. “Yoona and I were the first to actually meet him, before he put his fancy hostage plan into action.”

“What about Park Jeongsu’s office?” Seohyun asked. “We found the bomb from Ahn there.”

Sooyoung snapped her fingers. “Even before that—the fake one he had for me the day of the Dongdaemun bombing.”

“Don’t forget Jongno,” Jessica added. “That’s unfinished business since we beat him there, so to speak.”

“It’s still sealed off though,” Yoona pointed out. “They’re still disinfecting it.”

Jessica shrugged. “Maybe he’s sitting outside of it like we are now.”

“Okay, this is good.” Taeyeon grinned. “It’s always good to be safe, Yul, but I think that system can wait for now. It’d be too boring if he went back to your place, but Sica’s answer is plausible. So that’s four places we need to check out.” She paused, closing her eyes for a moment before opening them again, her gaze sharper than ever before. “Soo, go back to where you lost your phone, but take Sunny with you in case he’s got a real explosive for you this time. Yoona, give Yuri a tour of Ahn’s apartment. Hyo and Seohyun know the Assembly well, so you guys go to Jeongsu-ssi’s office. Text the moment you need help, okay?”

She got six immediate affirmatives, and she replied with a wink as she pumped her fist into the air. “Alright, hwaiting! Stay safe, kids.”

“That’s three of the four places covered,” Jessica said as she watched the designated pairs disappear into the night. “Does that mean you and I are going to Jongno?”

“You stay here with Fany,” Taeyeon corrected. “We can’t let the star hacker be unprotected now, can we? And I know you hate running,” she added with a snicker.

“It’s, ‘never run no matter how late you are,’ not, ‘never run no matter how much danger Seoul is in’,” Jessica retorted. “We’re not gonna let you go by yourself, especially if he really is there.”

“I’ll be fine.” Taeyeon waved a hand. “I spent a few hours alone with him just earlier today, remember? Maybe we can throw in some stargazing now, too.” She began walking down the street backwards, yelling last encouragements while she was still within earshot. “Keep up the good work, Fany! Don’t worry about me, guys. I’ll be fine—hwaitaeng!” She cackled at her pun, then spun around on her heel and dashed off.

“That dork,” Jessica muttered, crossing her arms. A few seconds passed, filled only by Tiffany’s frenzied keyboard tapping. Taeyeon was now several blocks away, and Jessica watched her pause for a few moments before turning the corner, out of sight.

Jessica blinked once. Twice. Her frown darkened. “Hold on.”

“What?” Tiffany asked distractedly, not even looking up from her computer.

“She just…” Jessica trailed off and whipped out her phone, skimming her contacts list before selecting Taeyeon’s name, and then the “call” option. “That’s not the way to the hospital.”

Both girls jumped at the sound of a ringtone. Tiffany swore and pulled Taeyeon’s cell out of her pocket. “I forgot to charge mine last night, so she lent me hers a while ago and I never gave it back.”

“Where the hell is she going?” Jessica demanded, already one step off the curb. “I’m gonna go after her.”

“No!” Tiffany reached up and grabbed the other woman’s sleeve. “She’s too far away now. Think. Why did she decide not to go to Jongno without telling us?”

Jessica squeezed her eyes shut, willing her brain to move faster. “She stopped down there for a while before she turned. Maybe she realized where he was hiding all of a sudden and headed there instead.”

Tiffany nodded. “Okay. Should we assume it’s some place we didn’t think of yet?”

“Wouldn’t hurt,” Jessica agreed grimly. “I’ll ask the others. You keep trying to get the power back.”

Jessica figured that the two of them must be an odd sight in the middle of the darkened city, one sitting with a computer perched precariously in her lap and working at a furious pace while the other stood, feeling utterly useless and only able to fidget with her phone. Both of them spared a brief glance at Taeyeon’s cell lying on the sidewalk as it lit up with Jessica’s latest message, but the question would go unread by the one who needed to see it the most.

[Jessica] 8:23 PM: Taeng MIA, no phone. Where else can Ahn be?

Sooyoung groaned. “Why now? That midget therapist is always running around by herself without telling anyone.”

“You’ve got long legs,” Sunny replied nonchalantly. “Catch up with her.”

“Okay, okay.” Sooyoung frowned, deep in thought. “If it’s not where we’re going, or his apartment, or the Assembly, or the hospital, where else is there?”

“Where else have we seen him? Or what he’s done?” Sunny sighed. “I assume he’s in Seoul somewhere, so the border’s out. Otherwise, that’s where it all started.”

“He does seem to have a special place in his heart for you,” Sooyoung agreed, ignoring Sunny’s unamused glare. “Alright, well, the first time I ran into anything from him was the Park Jeongsu scandal, but that’s all Assembly-related. Then Dongdaemun, he texted me, I came here, he was a no-show.”

“But if he’s not here, then…” Sunny stopped.

“Yup,” Sooyoung agreed as she typed into her phone. “Got it.”

[Jessica] 8:23 PM: Taeng MIA, no phone. Where else can Ahn be?

Yoona sighed. “Do I have to be Taeyeon-unnie’s secretary outside of her office as well?”

“She’s got a lot going on up there,” Yuri laughed and patted the other on the head. “Phones are a lot less interesting than people, so you can’t blame her for forgetting. In either case, now we’ve got to think like her and figure out where she went.”

“Oh, that’ll be easy.” Yoona brightened. She began walking forward once more. “Okay, I’m Taeyeon-unnie. I’m running to Jongno, probably by myself ‘cause I made Sica-unnie keep Fany-unnie company. I’m thinking. What am I thinking?”

Yuri snapped her fingers. “Games. Taeyeon’s said it a lot already—it’s always games with this guy.”

“Right.” Yoona nodded. “So if I were Taeyeon-unnie thinking like Ahn Tisong, I would be thinking of other places to continue this game. And since we’re on a brand new level, so to speak, a good place to start would be—”

“—the beginning,” Yuri finished. She frowned. “But where’s that?”

Yoona laughed and rubbed at the older woman’s scrunched-up forehead with one hand as she handled her phone in the other. “Smooth those wrinkles, unnie. I figured it out.”

[Jessica] 8:23 PM: Taeng MIA, no phone. Where else can Ahn be?

“Uh oh.”

Seohyun turned to see that Hyoyeon had stopped walking and was frowning at her phone. The younger woman pulled out her own and read the message. “I thought Taeyeon-unnie would know better than to forget something as important as her cell phone.”

“We’ve all been a little off our game lately, I think,” Hyoyeon replied lightly as she pocketed her device. “So any bright ideas, maknae?”

Seohyun tapped her chin. “We were too rushed and caught up in the moment just now. Let’s go back to the very beginning.”

“Define ‘beginning’.” Hyoyeon made a face. “Back when he planted that bomb in Jeongsu-ssi’s desk? Or when he bombed Dongdaemun? Or way back to when he was harassing Sunny’s group on the border?”

“Even before that,” Seohyun corrected. “He used to be military, but he got kicked out, remember? Then he starts making bombs to take revenge on the people he used to work with, we think. Then he moves to Seoul and begins to take over all things considered bad, sinful, our worst vices. Tiffany-unnie catches onto him, but he doesn’t know it yet. Cue Sunny-unnie and G7 deployed to the border. They start fighting back, they start winning, so he notices. Probably along the way also realizes that some other hacker is onto him. Sunny-unnie’s last bomb, Tiffany-unnie is getting nowhere, then Jeongsu-ssi’s scandal. Sooyoung-unnie jumps in. Then Tiffany-unnie gets Jessica-unnie involved, there’s Dongdaemun, Sooyoung-unnie gets his text but it’s a false alarm, Yuri-unnie gets kicked out of Jongno and I get fired, we all meet at Taeyeon-unnie’s—” Seohyun stopped abruptly. “Unnie, I got it.”

Hyoyeon held her head in her hands and gave the other an exaggerated pleading look. “Seohyun-ah, that was too many words. I’m mind-blown. Just tell me the answer please?”

“Sunny-unnie brought me to the arcade the other day,” Seohyun began to explain.

Answer, please,” Hyoyeon whined. “Before I die of impatience, maknae.”

Seohyun ignored her. “There was a game there that got harder every level, but you always started at the same place.”

“Oh.” Hyoyeon paused her act. “You mean that we should go back to where this game first started.”

Seohyun nodded. “He made the first move, unnie, to drag us in. Where was that?”

“Ah, you’re smart, maknae.” Hyoyeon grinned. “I got it.”

Seohyun giggled and held up her phone screen in front of Hyoyeon’s face. “Looks like we all did.”

[Sooyoung] 8:24 PM: Dongdaemun

[Yoona] 8:24 PM: Dongdaemun!!

[Seohyun] 8:24 PM: He’s at Dongdaemun Market.