Damocles Overthrown: Chapter 16

May 26, 2016 in Damocles Overthrown, moonrise31 by moonrise31

16. Damocles could not see beyond his agony — but his view is not gospel.

Sunny was just about to give up going anywhere against the current congested state of Seoul’s roadways when she saw a familiar pair walking along the adjacent sidewalk. She immediately pulled over and rolled down the window. “Hey! Yuri, Sooyoung.”

“Oh thank goodness.” Sooyoung pulled open the back door of Sunny’s car and collapsed inside. “I don’t even have the strength to make it all the way to the passenger seat.”

Yuri slipped in next to Sunny. “We only walked three blocks.”

“Five,” Sooyoung corrected. “Which is five too many, if you ask me.”

“What’re you doing here? I thought you were with Yoona.” Sunny glanced at Sooyoung’s reflection in her rearview mirror. “And where’s Fany? I thought she was with you?”

“Woah there.” Sooyoung held up her hands. “One question at a time. First, Yoona went with Hyo to make sure Taeyeon doesn’t trip over her own casted foot. Don’t know where they are now. I left the trailer as soon as some weird guys in sunglasses came sneaking up — it was an impressively complicated process involving somersaults and very small kitchen windows, which I do not care to replicate ever again. And I haven’t seen Tiffany since yesterday.” Sooyoung paused to inhale. “What’re you doing here?”

Sunny groaned, running a hand through her hair. “I thought she was with you, so I was driving around trying to find you guys before she convinced you to do something dumb like fly to the United States.”

“Okay number one,” Sooyoung held up a finger, “is that really the sort of thing she would do? Because now I’m not sure if that makes her way cooler or just way scarier. And two, what makes you think I would be that easily convinced?”

“You jogged five blocks with me even though the first thing you said when we met up just now was how you were never gonna exercise again,” Yuri pointed out.

Sooyoung huffed. “Well, you probably won me over with the fact that Seohyun’s been kidnapped.”

Sunny barely stopped herself from slamming on the brakes. “Seohyun’s been what?”

“Maybe don’t drop bombs like that when our driver doesn’t know about it yet,” Yuri commented. Then she sighed. “Oh no. Bombs.”

“Yuri and maknae figured it out,” Sooyoung explained. “Woolen’s making some secret weapons that aren’t nuclear but are close enough, and that’s what Seo Jisoo walked in on.”

“Okay,” Sunny said slowly. “I guess this puts us on a little more of a level playing field.”

“What do you mean?” Yuri demanded. “We totally have the upper hand here now. That must be why they took Seohyun in the first place.”

Sunny shook her head. “Sure, if you forget the whole part where we did some hardcore breaking and entering while we were on jury duty of all things, and then took a picture of a bunch of files that I’m sure are patented and/or copyrighted. ”

“They did also threaten us,” Sooyoung pointed out. “Which I’m pretty sure isn’t very legal. So we still come out pretty even, right?”

“Tell that to the judge,” Sunny snorted. “But we’ll figure this out later. I’m not sure why they decided to take maknae, but it definitely wasn’t just to tell her good job.”

“So we’re going to get Seohyun back now, right?” Yuri asked.

Sunny flicked on her turn signal as they approached the next intersection. “Woolen, here we come.”

“Juhyun-sshi.” Director Nae nodded as Seohyun was ushered into his office by her two kidnappers. “Please, have a seat.”

Seohyun sat down, back straight. “Why am I here, exactly, Director Nae?”

“I apologize for the…unique circumstances under which you were escorted,” the director rested his elbows on his desk and steepled his fingers together. Seohyun reflected briefly that the office looked rather different now that she was in it, as opposed to looking down at it through a security camera feed. “But I am about to make a request that is really only feasible if we meet face-to-face.”

Seohyun could hear Hyoyeon commenting that next time, shooting us an email or something would work just as well, you know, but she refrained from voicing the thought out loud. Instead, she smoothed out a crease in her pants. “And what request would that be, Director?”

Director Nae fixed her with a stare, which was either enhanced or negated by the glare from his glasses — Seohyun wasn’t sure. “Rule Seo Jisoo guilty once the jury reconvenes on Monday.”

“Director,” Seohyun said evenly, folding her hands neatly in her lap, “I am not at a position to be discussing the case before a ruling is made, much less with the plaintiff of said case.”

“Tell you what.” The director leaned forward. “You and your fellow jurors don’t tell the authorities about this little meeting, or anything…untoward that has transpired before, and I won’t tell those same authorities that you violated regulations in addition to committing a series of crimes in this very building.”

Sunny pulled into what she swore was the remaining empty parking spot on the street the Woolen building stood on. As she switched off the engine, Sooyoung bent her elbow around the head of the driver’s seat to awkwardly pat at Sunny’s cheek. “Hey, hey, isn’t that Tiffany getting out of — yeah, that’s Yoona’s car!”

“Hey guys.” Hyoyeon jogged over. “What brings you here?”

“Seohyun’s been abducted,” Sunny said flatly, closing her car door as Yuri came around the front of the vehicle to join them. “I’m glad you guys found Tiffany, though.” She glanced over at the other side of the street, where Tiffany was still attempting to cross without getting run over.

Hyoyeon shrugged. “Met up with her at the hospital. We thought we might find Sooyoung there. My apartment got invaded by the Henchmen of Woolen Corporation, so we figured Yoona’s trailer would’ve been overrun by now and Soo would need a new place to hide.”

“You got that right,” Sooyoyung muttered.

“Wait.” Hyoyeon held up a hand as Tiffany finally came up behind her. “You said maknae’s been taken?”

What?

Hyoyeon winced, rubbing her ear. “I don’t think that was loud enough, Fany. They still can’t hear you over in Pyongyang.”

“Tiffany,” Yuri interrupted. “Why exactly were you at the hospital, anyway?”

“Oh.” Tiffany grinned. “I have some news to share with you guys.”

Seohyun tilted her head. “With all due respect, Director, whatever I may personally feel about the subject, I’m only one of nine. You will need to successfully convince more than one person on the jury if any of what you hope to accomplish is actually to go through.”

With all due respect, Juhyun-sshi,” the director’s lips quirked upwards slightly, “I know that the rest look to you. So you will lead, and they will follow.”

Seohyun blinked. “Taeyeon-sshi is the head juror.”

“Please.” Director Nae waved a hand. “In name, perhaps, but I have…inside information that you’re the one in that group calling the shots.”

The invader in Sunny’s mansion, Seohyun recalled. I guess he watched us a little and came to his own conclusions. She pressed her lips into a thin line before speaking again. “The others value my opinion as much as they value any member’s. We all have our own areas of expertise, and we all recognize that.”

The director leaned back in his chair once more. “Be that as it may–”

“No, Director,” Seohyun interrupted. “I don’t think you understand.”

“I’m sure you all have been through a lot together these past few days,” he said easily.

“And you still think it’ll be so simple to take it all apart?” Seohyun prodded. “Taeyeon-sshi may not be the most outspoken, but she understands people better than anyone else does. Jessica-sshi likes to stand apart from the rest, but that doesn’t mean she won’t put her all into what we do. Sunny-sshi literally stared down a gun for us.

“Tiffany-sshi smiles not because she’s happy, but because she cares so much that it hurts. Hyoyeon-sshi pretends to approach life without a care, but she’d rather lose her own leg than have any of us go through the same. Yuri-sshi physically took down two of your men just so I wouldn’t have to.

“Sooyoung-sshi makes sure we don’t do anything stupid, because she’s really seen it all as an emergency room nurse. And Yoona-sshi is strong enough to carry us all through, in every sense of the word.” Her eyes flashed, daring the director to try and override her. “So it is my misfortune to inform you, Director Nae, that expecting us to cave is not how you should be playing this game.”

“First, I asked the hospital staff if they had records on a Nae Taesung–”

“Fany.” Sooyoung cleared her throat. “You know those are strictly confidential, right?”

Tiffany waved a hand. “I never said that they said yes.”

“You never answered Yuri’s question. Why were you there in the first place, again?” Sunny prodded.

“Sooyoung — Red Velvet Sooyoung — got a cold last night, so we were just there to make sure it wasn’t anything worse. And then I figured I’d check, since this hospital is where all the high profile people in Seoul go to: idols, actors, big company CEOs…” Tiffany raised her eyebrows. “Anyway, that’s what I was trying to tell you over the phone, Sunny. Hospitals,” she pointed at Sooyoung, “nurse. Yeah?”

“Right,” Sunny sighed.

“Speaking of nurses,” Tiffany grinned, “one of the nurses let me in on Director Nae’s little hospital secret.” She leaned in, and the others automatically followed.

Hyoyeon blinked once Tiffany had murmured her discovery. “You really think that would sway him?”

“I’m almost positive,” Tiffany confirmed. “He’s completely neurotic about it. So if we sell it with enough confidence, he’s done for.”

“Almost positive?” Yuri shrugged. “Those are the best chances I’ve heard all week.”

Sooyoung raised a hand. “So just checking: you guys are getting ready to barge in there and somehow find the director so you can blackmail him with this piece of information?”

“Yeah pretty much,” Tiffany said.

“Great. How about,” Sooyoung pointed a finger at the car on the other side of the street, “I replace Yoona in keeping Taeyeon company, and then you five can do all the storming-the-fortress shenanigans you desire.”

Yuri raised her eyebrows. “Are you actually still panting from our five-block jog?”

Sooyoung narrowed her eyes. “Maybe.” And made sure to breathe as lightly as possible while they crossed the street.

“As heartwarming as your little speech was, Juhyun-sshi,” the director said, “our little problem still remains.”

“I agree.” Seohyun met his stare. “My problem is sitting right across from me.”

A strained smile flashed across the director’s face. “Be that as it may, I think it would be expedient for both of us if we just settled everything now.”

“I don’t think there needs to be any more settling done,” Seohyun said, unflinching. “You went to the extent of abducting me in broad daylight, Director. It seems to me like you’re getting a little desperate.” She paused. “But I suppose that would make sense, as Woolen illegally manufacturing those cesium weapons. Hardly something that should be public, especially after being overheard by a certain unfortunate employee of yours.”

The director shook his head. “Now, now, Juhyun-sshi, don’t get ahead of yourself. Those weapons cannot possibly be manufactured illegally if our government itself requested them. And you only have Jisoo-sshi’s word about what she overheard.”

“We have her word versus yours,” Seohyun corrected. She paused. “You know, Director, Jessica-sshi mentioned something interesting about your company’s accounts the other day.”

“Oh?” The director settled his chin on his knuckles. “And what did your brilliant CEO have to say?”

“Just that the money that ended up in Jisoo-sshi’s account did so in a very roundabout way,” Seohyun said slowly. She frowned. “You say you were making those weapons for South Korea, Director Nae, but whom were you planning on selling them to?”

The director chuckled, leaning back again. “I think you’ve watched one spy movie too many, Juhyun-sshi.”

“I only watch crime dramas, Director,” Seohyun corrected. “As well as the stock market. And Woolen’s stocks have also taken quite a hit recently, which I had assumed was why you were so willing to meet representatives of our ‘brilliant CEO’ on such short notice. But that would also explain you giving up South Korea’s latest weapons technology to the highest bidder.” She watched the director’s face, careful not to smile. “I’m just speculating, of course.”

Your move, Director.

“Hi!”

The guard blinked at the brightly smiling woman in front of him — and then the four grimmer-looking women behind her. “Uh, hello?”

Tiffany continued to smile. “Could you tell me where to find Director Nae? We have some things to discuss with him.”

“Um, well, I mean, he’s on floor nineteen, but,” the guard coughed. “I’m sorry, but you’re not allowed up there; he’s in a very important meeting right now–”

“Thank you!” Tiffany stepped aside, a cheerful bounce in her step.

“Sorry,” Yoona said, and then swung her prop sword into the side of the guard’s head.

Yuri nodded as he dropped to the floor. “Nice.”

“Guys, we don’t have all day,” Sunny reminded them. She pushed past and stepped over the unconscious guard, following Tiffany’s already disappearing footsteps.

“Yeah, we’d better catch up…” Hyoyeon squinted at the silhouette having a currently amiable conversation with the guard by the elevators. “Oh no, she’s rolling up her sleeves. Hurry!”

“Speculation, I see.” The director cleared his throat. “You have quite the imagination, Juhyun-sshi. Now, if you’re quite done with the daydreaming, I think we can still reach a reasonable agreement.”

Seohyun turned at the sound of scuffling behind the closed office door. Two sound thumps and some furious stomping later, the door slammed open, and Tiffany marched in, an almost wild grin on her face. “Director Nae Taesung. I have a proposition.”

“I’d listen to her if I were you,” Hyoyeon panted from behind the other woman. “You would not believe how many of your goons she beat down to get this far.”

“I see your friends have joined you, Juhyun-sshi.” The director leaned back and nodded. “Very well, Tiffany-sshi. What is your proposition?”

“You leave us alone, let us rule how we want, and don’t complain about the outcome,” Tiffany said. She walked up behind Seohyun, leaning on the back of the younger woman’s chair. Her smile widened. “And in return, we won’t have your doctors stop giving you your medications.”

Seohyun watched the director semi-discreetly swallow the lump that had suddenly formed in his throat. “And how would you manage to carry that out, Tiffany-sshi?”

“A lot of the idols from Sunny’s company go to that hospital. She’s really friendly with the director there.” Tiffany leaned in closer. “I’m on good terms with a lot of the staff there too — how else do you think I learned about your myriad of treatments? And Sooyoung even works there. We can make your medical life pretty difficult, if I do say so myself. We’ll make sure it follows you wherever you go. Any hospital in Seoul. In South Korea. You’ll be shut out everywhere.”

The director clenched his fists. “This is unethical, Tiffany-sshi.”

“Yeah, sure, but ethics didn’t stop you, now did it.” Tiffany shrugged. “Your illnesses aren’t life-threatening, Director.” She raised her eyebrows, eyes twinkling darkly. “It’s just whether you can stand going untreated.”

“Fine,” Director Nae spat out through gritted teeth. “You have yourself a deal.”

“Great.” Tiffany stepped back. “It was a pleasure doing business with you, Director.”

“One more thing.” Sunny popped out from behind Tiffany, holding out a sheet of paper. “Can we have that in writing, please?”