Damocles Overthrown: Chapter 8

August 9, 2015 in Damocles Overthrown, moonrise31 by moonrise31

8. A single thread secured the blade from ensuring Damocles’s untimely death.

“Okay, that’s it.” Yuri stood up and stretched towards the ceiling. “I need a break.”

Sooyoung looked up from her copy of the files Seohyun had taken from the courthouse. “You do know that we’ve only been here for thirty minutes, right?”

“And that’s about twenty minutes longer than I’m willing to sit still for,” Yuri shot back. “Don’t mind me. I’m just going to walk around a bit and clear my head.”

“I’ll join you.” Hyoyeon jumped to her feet and dropped her own set of papers in Taeyeon’s lap. “Here. More doodle pages for your tortured artist mind.”

Taeyeon scoffed, saying, “As if I’d draw on something as important as this,” while discreetly slipping a page full of wandering ink marks to the very bottom of her packet.

“Come back soon, please,” was Tiffany’s parting comment as the two exited the room.

Hyoyeon and Yuri had made it down two flights of stairs before the latter paused to scratch her head. “Do you think…we could wander outside or something? Without putting one of us in mortal danger?”

Hyoyeon wrinkled her nose. “I can hear the others now. ‘No, you have to stay inside.’ ‘It’s safe….er here.’ Blah blah blah.” She grinned. “Let’s do it.”

After enduring just one disapproving glare from Sunny’s butler, the two finally stepped outside into the soft afternoon light. Yuri inhaled deeply. “I wish I’d brought my running shoes. This would be a great place to just jog around for a couple of hours.”

“And maybe if there’d been a pool, too?” Hyoyeon teased as she arched back, stretching her arms behind her.

“Only if you’re actually wishing for some snow-covered mountains to ski down,” Yuri retorted. She stepped out and turned, squinting as she looked up and attempted to distinguish where the mansion ended and the sky began. “Although I’m starting to think Sunny might have both stashed around here somewhere. Want to take a lap around? Then we still might be able to make it to dinner.”

“I’ll take those odds.” Hyoyeon threw an arm around the taller girl’s shoulders and steered her to the right.

Several minutes after Hyoyeon and Yuri had evacuated, Sooyoung plopped down on the couch beside Yoona. “So how’s that scratch of yours?”

“It’s doing well thanks to you, unnie.” Yoona grinned and pulled up her pant leg. A thin red line ran up the length of her calf, dark against her pale skin.

Sooyoung winced. “Nothing I can do about it scarring, though.”

“That’s fine.” Yoona let the pant leg drop down to her ankle again. “I’ll look really tough and cool this way.” She glanced knowingly at the older woman. “Are you getting a little antsy too, then?”

“A bit, I guess.” Sooyoung shrugged. “It’s almost time for Taeyeon to call the judge for today, but we seem nowhere closer than we were when we started. And even if we do miraculously figure out what exactly has been going on this entire time…I mean, I know I was the one who said all we had to do was dig up some dirt to hold over the people threatening us, but…in principle it’s a lot harder to do than it is to say.”

“Ah.” Yoona wrapped an arm around Sooyoung and rubbed the other’s back. “I’m scared too, unnie.”

“I guess we all are.” Sooyoung glanced around the room, taking in the occupants. “I mean, Taeyeon’s always drawing, but she seems to have the best gut instinct out of all of us. The fact that she hasn’t said anything remotely cheerful in the past couple of hours isn’t promising. Jessica’s not even trying to sleep anymore, but she glares at anyone who comes close. Sunny and Tiffany have been in their own little corner this entire time — ”

“Being worried without saying that they’re worried,” Yoona agreed. “Since Sunny-unnie hasn’t cracked a smile since breakfast and Tiffany-unnie keeps waving her hands around like there’s a cloud of mosquitos in her face.”

“Exactly.” Sooyoung sighed. “Hyoyeon and Yuri actually had to step out, of course. And then there’s Seohyun, who didn’t even comment when I opened my fifth bag of chips an hour ago.”

Yoona chuckled. “Maybe she’s just too into reading the transcripts and looking over anything else we might have missed.”

“She also has the ears of a bat,” Sooyoung deadpanned. “Before, if I so much as crunched on a chip fifty meters from the mansion, I’d bet you that lollipop in your pocket that she’d come running out to tell me that I was gonna die early from it.”

“Fair enough, unnie.” Yoona pulled out the stick of candy from her pocket and held it out for Sooyoung to take. “So yeah, we’re all afraid of what’s to come. But,” she turned and smiled, pulling the other woman close, “I also know that we can figure it out. I get the feeling our selection wasn’t random, you know? And whether they planned for us to be exceptionally resilient or not is up in the air, but I do know that if any group can get to the bottom of this, it’s us.”

Sooyoung smiled back, the other’s confidence catching. She opened her mouth to reply.

“Ah…”

Six heads whipped around to stare at Seohyun, who was frowning intently at the paper in front of her.

“You have something, maknae?” Taeyeon finally asked, pen still in midair from where she had just finished her umpteenth doodle of the hour.

“Hm.” Seohyun’s frown deepened. “Maybe.”

“So tell me. How’s life saving drowning souls from over-chlorinated water?”

Yuri raised her eyebrows. “Not bad. People who go swimming can usually take care of themselves. The last time I had to save someone was probably a few months ago…I mean, besides…last week.”

“Yeah.” Hyoyeon’s smile fell. She wrapped her arms around herself, the shade under the mansion suddenly becoming cooler than before. “I’ve been wondering how I got myself into this. I mean, it wasn’t even my choice. So I guess it was just bad luck?”

“I’ve been thinking about that too.” Yuri sighed. “I wish I’d lied about my objectivity so the lawyers would’ve had to pull me off the bench.” She paused. “But maybe they would’ve found a way to keep me on anyway.”

Hyoyeon grimaced. “This whole thing is fishy, isn’t it? The prosecutor actually withholding information, even. Whoever’s paying off everyone has seriously deep pockets.”

“Yeah.” Yuri hummed. “Speaking of ‘fishy’, Seo Jisoo’s entire interview just stinks, doesn’t it?”

Hyoyeon groaned and made a face. “I thought we’d come out here to avoid thinking about that.”

“I can’t just drop it,” Yuri protested. “We have someone’s livelihood on the line here. Even if we ruled her innocent, we’d be putting someone else in jail instead. Treading lightly is the last thing we should be doing. We have to be one hundred percent sure of our verdict.” She hesitated. “And then make sure it’s absolutely safe to actually deliver it.”

“Yeah yeah, I know.” Hyoyeon squinted into the distance, thinking that perhaps she could make out the far corner of the mansion. “But what exactly made you decide that her interview is suspicious?”

Yuri raised her eyebrows. “Besides the fact that someone went really out of their way to try and hide the entire transcript from us? Just take a look at the parts that were later censored.”

“You’ll have to remind me.” Hyoyeon smiled sheepishly. “Memory isn’t my strong suit.”

Yuri closed her eyes, recalling the portions that had been blacked out before Seohyun retrieved the original files. “There’s one point when they ask her what she was doing the night of November 3rd. She said that she was working late. Then they asked her why she clocked out at 11:04, but security cameras don’t record her entering the parking garage until a good ten minutes after midnight. It certainly doesn’t take over an hour to get from her office to the garage, even with say, a bathroom break in between.”

Hyoyeon nodded. “I do remember that part from the trial. The prosecutors made a big deal out of it.”

“Well, they had to.” Yuri shrugged. “It’s one of the bigger pieces of evidence besides the money actually being in her account.” She paused. “But her answer to that question is what gets interesting. She just says, ‘You should know why’. And refuses to add on anything more.”

“That certainly sounds suspicious.” Hyoyeon tapped her chin. “And it makes sense that the prosecution wouldn’t want us to see that part, I guess. Because it would mean they were hiding something from us, right?”

“Right.” Yuri nodded as they finally turned the corner. “Which gives them every reason to try and rig the shelf storing the entire interview transcript once we basically got gassed out of the courthouse.” She frowned. “Although it doesn’t make sense why they would want to push us out in the first place, then. Wouldn’t it be more straightforward to just let us make a decision as quickly as possible, without all this extra time to get a good look at the case? Ugh.” She hit her palm against her forehead. “Think, Yuri. Think.”

“Maybe they thought the threats would be enough,” Hyoyeon suggested. “Just scare us into submission and there you go: case closed.”

“I guess.” Yuri ran a hand through her hair. “It just doesn’t sit right with me, though. So say Seo Jisoo didn’t actually embezzle all of that money. That means it was planted there, most likely by someone in or close to the CEO circle, in order to frame her before she does something else that threatens them. So the question is: what can she do that would make the company decide that framing is the best option? What do they have to hide?”

Hyoyeon looked down, watching their feet move up and down through the grass. She scuffed the toes of her left shoe against the dirt underneath. “I suppose we also have to consider the fact that she actually is guilty.”

“Then why threaten all of us into making sure we rule it that way?” Yuri pointed out. “Why hide evidence? Why try to sabotage us every step we take? You have to admit that if this is as straightforward as it’s trying to look, life would be a lot easier for us now.”

“Alright, alright. Yeah, I don’t think this seems quite right to any of us. And that’s assuming there isn’t some third party lurking.” Hyoyeon stopped, realizing that Yuri was no longer beside her. She turned around. “What?”

“I think,” Yuri said slowly, “that I know what we have to do.”

“Oh, that’s great!” Hyoyeon walked back towards her. “A plan is always good. I think we’ve been pretty lacking in that department lately.”

“Yeah, well.” Yuri winced. “A plan is a plan, but I don’t think any of us is going to like it.”

“Okay,” Tiffany said for the third time after Seohyun had read the suspicious line in the transcript out loud for all of them. “Okay. So she tells the interrogators that they should already know why she took so long to get to the garage.”

“But how would they?” Jessica demanded. “They’re police officers with no connection to the company. Is she trying to say that they were there that night or something?”

“I don’t think so,” Seohyun said, tapping her fingers against the desk they were all gathered around. “I think she’s trying to imply that with the evidence already presented to them, or through some means they already have access to, they should be able to figure out why it took her so long. The question is, why won’t she just come out and say it?”

“Alright.” Sunny shuffled through her own set of papers. “So let’s go through the entire interview. First, they ask her how the funds got into her bank account. She doesn’t know. Does she have access to the information necessary to transfer such a large amount of money? No, she doesn’t. Did someone tell it to her? No, no one did. Did she have contact with any of the higher-ups within the last three months? No, she didn’t…and so on. Nothing too eye-catching.”

“And then there’s the part where they ask her about why it took her so long to get to her car after she clocked out,” Sooyoung continued. “So somewhere between then and the beginning of the interview, we might be able to figure out why she thought the investigators should already know the answer to their question.”

“Guys!” Yuri burst in, Hyoyeon hot on her heels. Before going on, she paused to rest her hands on her knees and take a few deep breaths.

“You guys okay?” Sunny rushed toward them. “Did something happen?”

“No, no.” Hyoyeon waved the shorter woman’s concerned hands away. “Yuri just has a brilliant idea, is all. One that I strongly dislike, and you all are going to hate even more.”

“Oh?” Taeyeon straightened. “You’ve got my attention.”

Yuri cleared her throat. “I think,” she said quietly, suddenly aware of eight pairs of eyes fixed on her, “I think…that we need to do some breaking and entering.”

“What?” Sunny raised her eyebrows.

“The tapes.” Yuri turned her head to meet Sunny’s gaze. “We need to get a look at the Woolen Incorporated security tapes.”