Damocles Overthrown: Chapter 5

July 19, 2015 in Damocles Overthrown, moonrise31 by moonrise31

5. Elated, Damocles sat on this highest of thrones, feeling the splendor beneath his feet, under his fingertips.

“Wow.”

No one bothered to look up at Hyoyeon’s quiet remark, because really, there wasn’t anything else to say. They all stood, huddled around one end of Sunny’s enormous mahogany table, staring at the crumpled note Tiffany had stormed in and thrown down not thirty minutes after Sunny had called her in front of everyone.

“Fany,” Sunny finally said, “did you ever manage to go to the police last night?”

Tiffany shook her head. “I drove all the way to the station, but then I remembered promising the girls that I’d grab them some takeout to celebrate their first win.”

“I almost wonder…” Sunny bit her lip. “The note doesn’t say it, but maybe they threatened Red Velvet because you tried to go to the police?”

“That’s certainly not the most far-fetched scenario we’ve encountered since this whole jury duty thing started,” Sooyoung commented.

“That would mean they were watching Fany-unnie the entire time though,” Yoona pointed out. “Does that mean we’re all being stalked?”

“Cellphones.”

This time, they all turned to look at Juhyun. The youngest shrugged. “We all have smartphones, right? Those are easily tracked these days. If Sunny-unnie can get all of our numbers within twelve hours, I don’t see how these people couldn’t somehow be tracking us through our phones right now.”

Yuri frowned. “So what do we do? We can’t just take ourselves off the grid or whatever.”

“But we can certainly make it harder.” Juhyun tapped her chin. “We could all get those disposable flip phones, maybe. They’re cheap, and they’d be much harder to track unless we’re making a call. And even then, zeroing in on the nearest cell towers takes time, since they’d need to locate at least three before we hung up to get a decent estimate of our location.”

Hyoyeon whistled. “Dang, where do you learn all this?”

Juhyun blinked. “Crime dramas.”

After a few beats of silence, Jessica exhaled through her nose. “You think she’s joking, but she’s not.”

“Well, it’s worth a shot,” Sunny decided. “That still leaves the problem of us all having our phones now, though. So they know we’re all here.”

“I was hoping you had some beefy security guards hanging around,” Taeyeon piped up. She gingerly lifted the crumpled note up by a corner and brought it closer to her face. She squinted, almost cross-eyed, at the handwriting as she continued. “Besides, I’m pretty sure this place is so secluded, we’d be able to see anyone coming from at least a couple kilometers away.”

“Do you think they could be listening in on us too, then?” Tiffany grimaced and pulled out her phone from her purse, holding it away from herself as if it might bite. “Since it seems we’re going by spy movies, there really isn’t anything they can’t do.”

Crime dramas, unnie,” Juhyun corrected.

Sunny groaned and ground her palms into her eyes. “Okay, everyone leave your phones here. We can go somewhere else to continue talking.”

Sunny led them up two flights of stairs (Yuri glanced up warily as the staircase continued upwards, further than she could feasibly see, after they disembarked on the third floor) and into an office only marginally smaller than the room they’d previously been in. The CEO plopped onto the nearest leather couch and sank down a few centimeters as the cushion underneath her deflated. She sighed. “Alright, ideas?”

“Well, there’s obviously way more to this case than meets the eye,” Sooyoung said after several seconds. “I’m not saying we have to go all detective on this entire situation, but a closer look at all the evidence presented might not be a bad idea.”

“Can we even get to the evidence?” Yoona frowned. “I mean, without going back to the courthouse and possibly getting gassed out again.”

“I have all of it.” Juhyun pulled out her laptop and opened the lid. “I asked for copies of everything before we left yesterday.”

“Of course you did,” Yoona said cheerfully, sliding next to the younger woman and leaning over to peer at the screen. She raised her eyebrows at the amount of data Juhyun pulled up. “Wow, I don’t see why the rest of us are even here. You’re clearly ahead of the game enough to decide the verdict by yourself.”

Juhyun shrugged. “But I’m not nine people.”

“Okay, so what do we have here…may I?” Sunny, resigned to another day of contemplation, had managed to get off the couch and come up behind them. Juhyun obliged, shifting closer to Yoona, and Sunny began scrolling through the files. “Alright, they’ve got a recording here of the entire proceeding too. Great. Should we start with that?”

Jessica exhaled through her nose and flopped onto the couch where Sunny had been. She leaned back and closed her eyes. “Nothing would please me more.”

“Ugh.” Hyoyeon groaned and threw her head back. “How many days have we been here?”

“Almost half of one,” Taeyeon noted with some amusement. She produced a plastic package from her jacket pocket. “Here, want some sugar?”

“Exactly how many of those do you have, anyway?” Sooyoung plucked the bag of candy from Taeyeon’s grasp and opened it, plastic crinkling as she reached in to grab a handful before tossing the rest to Hyoyeon.

“Enough, I think,” Taeyeon said, already pulling another unopened bag from the other pocket.

Tiffany suppressed a yawn and blinked several times. She shuffled through a stack of evidence — who knew how many trees Sunny had sacrificed to print it all from Juhyun’s computer — and then set it down. “Hey, Seohyun, do you mind…” Her eyes widened. “Ohmygod, sorry. I was thinking your last name, and then your first name, and then it just kinda…”

“It’s fine, unnie.” Juhyun laughed. “Actually, I kind of like it. No one’s really given me a nickname before.”

“Oh, great.” Tiffany grinned in relief. “ ‘Cause there’s a Juhyun in the group I manage too, so I was getting confused already.”

“There’s a Sooyoung too,” Sunny reminded her from the couch opposite of the one Jessica was still nestled in. “Are you going to give Choi a nickname as well?”

“How about ‘Satan’s Child’?” Taeyeon offered. “I’ve already got a shirt design and everything.” She shrank a little when Sooyoung mock lunged at her. “Sorry.” Yoona cackled from somewhere behind another gigantic stack of papers she’d dropped onto one of the two sizable desks in the room.

“Okay, that’s it. If I stare at one more accounting ledger, I’m going to scream.” Hyoyeon groaned and stood up, the packet in her lap sliding off. Yuri lunged forward and barely caught it before it spilled across the floor. “I’m going to grab those cellphones for all of us.”

Seohyun frowned. “But unnie, won’t it look weird if you just went and bought nine of them at once?”

“I’ll go to different stores.” Hyoyeon grinned.

“Someone please go with that kid before she gets lost in the middle of Seoul with nothing but a bag of flip phones,” Taeyeon said without looking up from her notepad.

“Hey now.” Hyoyeon put her hands on her hips. “I’d be able to find food, at least.”

“I’ll go with you, unnie,” Yoona offered, getting up and stretching her arms towards the ceiling. “I was a stunt double for a spy movie once. I can help you be stealthy.”

Hyoyeon rubbed her hands together. “Ooh. Secret mission. I like it.”

Yoona grabbed her car keys from the desktop and strode out of the room, followed quickly by Hyoyeon. The remaining occupants heard the latter’s faint “so how do you wanna bet we won’t even be able to make it outside before getting lost” echo in the hallway.

A few minutes later, Sunny flopped over, still only taking up half of the couch space even though she was now lying entirely across it. “This case just doesn’t make sense.”

Seohyun looked up. “What do you mean, unnie?”

“To make a transfer this big, or even any transfer at all, Seo Jisoo would have had to use one of two ways. One,” Sunny held up her pointer finger, “go to the bank in person to request the transfer. But this would be impossible without the proper signatures from higher-ups, and no record of her actually attempting this exists anyway. The second option,” her middle finger joined her pointer, “is transferring the funds electronically, which I suppose she must have done if she did it at all. But even that would require access to the company’s bank account information, and I doubt they give that to every worker there.”

“Not to mention all the extra security the bank no doubt has put up for huge money transfers like that one,” Tiffany added. “There’s no way billions of won are shifted without someone noticing.”

Sunny pointed at the other woman. “That’s another thing that’s weird. If I were to go about embezzling, I wouldn’t shift so much money all at once. In fact, most people who do this sort of thing just skim off a bit at a time. Makes it less suspicious to anyone who might just take a glance at it. Some make it years without getting caught.”

“Yeah,” Taeyeon spoke up from her place, sprawled on one of the more ornate rugs in the room. She lifted her notepad and examined the page she’d flipped to. “Seo Jisoo definitely doesn’t look like someone who’d do something rash like that.”

“Looks aren’t enough, unnie,” Seohyun reminded her. “We have to judge from the evidence in front of us, no matter how illogical it seems.”

Taeyeon hummed. “Yeah, I know.”

“But it doesn’t add up, right?” Yuri set the packet she’d saved from Hyoyeon aside. “There’s definitely something fishy going on here, especially since we’re all getting very real threats about it all.”

Sunny sat up again, tapping her chin thoughtfully. “So the question is, who is powerful enough to be able to pull all of this off? And why do they want Seo Jisoo gone, of all people?”

“Ugh.” Tiffany threw her pen down and pulled her knees close to her chest. “I can’t take this. We don’t have the resources, we don’t have the skills, we don’t have the support, we don’t have the whole story. How the hell are we supposed to make a decision we’re actually able to live with?”

“We can do it.”

All eyes turned to Sooyoung, who hadn’t spoken for the better part of their renewed investigations. She cleared her throat. “We can. Even though we don’t have as much money as these guys — though some of us come close,” she glanced at Sunny, “that doesn’t mean we can’t fight back. We just have to get enough dirt on whoever’s threatening us so that they can’t hold anything over us anymore. Which means that we have to actually get down to the bottom of this.”

“It’s probably Woolen.” The room’s attention switched to Taeyeon. She remained on her back, speaking to her notepad, absentmindedly tapping doodle-Seo-Jisoo’s nose as the defendant sat stiffly in the barely outlined witness stand. “You know, the company she works for. I’d bet anything the CEO or one of his inner circle is neck deep in this. As Soo said — I can call you ‘Soo’, right? — Sunny isn’t even rolling in as much dough as they are, and she’s already pulled all of this off,” Taeyeon waved vaguely at the spacious room, “somehow.”

Seohyun snapped her fingers. “That would explain how the funds got into her account then. Maybe they put it there themselves.”

Taeyeon blinked. “Oh, yeah.” She glanced at her sketches of the CEO sitting behind the prosecutor. “I mean, I just thought he looked kind of evil, but your way makes sense too.”

“The only question is why?” Tiffany frowned. “Why would they want to get rid of her?”

“Guys, it’s almost five,” Jessica announced before anyone could answer. “I think Taeyeon still has to notify the judge of our progress, yeah?”

Taeyeon sighed. “Yeah. So…what’s the vote?” She glanced around the room, eyes glinting. “Hyo and Yoona are still out, but I’m gonna count theirs as they were before, since I certainly haven’t changed my position. And no one else has either, right?” She barely paused before continuing. “Oh, what a shame, still not a two-thirds majority. I guess we’ll have to push this to tomorrow.”

“Well, that solves one problem.” Tiffany glanced around. “But how are we gonna get to the bottom of this, exactly?”

Seohyun turned back to her computer, replaying one of the videos of Seo Jisoo’s police interrogation that she’d already watched countless times. “We’ll do it somehow, unnie. I know we can.”