Damocles Overthrown: Chapter 9

August 16, 2015 in Damocles Overthrown, moonrise31 by moonrise31

9. And now, dear reader, some say that Damocles begged to be let go, suddenly realizing how unworthy he was of having the weighted responsibility now hanging over his head.

“You’re being serious,” Sunny deadpanned.

“One hundred percent,” Yuri replied, stiff. “I think it’s the only way.”

“Alright, alright.” Tiffany held up her hands. “Let’s back up. First of all, what makes you think we need to see those tapes?”

“Seo Jisoo practically told us herself.” Yuri glanced around the room. “Really? No one else was getting this?”

“Oh…” Seohyun began nodding slowly. “I think I’m starting to see, Yuri-unnie. That would make sense with what she was saying, right?”

“She did say that the police should already know,” Tiffany mused. “So it had to be through something they already had access to. Like the camera footage.”

Sooyoung frowned. “But the police wouldn’t necessarily know everything just from that. What if the company was hiding evidence?”

“Even more of a reason to break into their building.” Hyoyeon cracked her knuckles. “We’ll just get it ourselves, yeah?”

Sunny stepped forward. “Hold on. Even if we do manage to get hold of some sort of incriminating evidence, how would it ever hold up in court if we committed a crime to get it in the first place?”

Hyoyeon lifted a finger. “Good point. Which is why we aren’t going to think about it.”

“This isn’t about following the rules anymore,” Yuri continued, ignoring Sunny’s indignant jaw-drop. “Our lives have been threatened, and it doesn’t seem like there’s anything the law that’s supposed to be protecting us can actually do. So why can’t we fight fire with fire?”

“Not even fire,” Hyoyeon corrected. “We’d be fighting with, like, a super small flame.” She pinched her thumb and pointer finger together. “Not even a flame. What’s smaller than a flame? An ember? A spark? Really hot ashes.”

Taeyeon shrugged. “I guess in the grand scheme of things, breaking and entering isn’t the worst we could be doing.”

Sunny threw up her hands. “I can’t believe we’re even having this conversation.”

“Yeah, count me out.” Jessica rustled the papers in her hands before hiding her face behind them.

Hyoyeon shrugged. “Told you guys you weren’t gonna like it.”

“Okay, okay.” Tiffany crossed her arms. “Say we do decide to do this whole breaking-and-entering thing. How would we even start? None of us have the skills. Unless we count Seohyun watching her spy — her crime dramas.”

Seohyun nodded approvingly, already tapping her chin as she sank deep into thought.

“I might know someone.”

The room’s focus shifted to Yoona.

She lifted her shoulders slightly. “You meet some pretty talented people in show business. I could probably get some equipment, if we don’t need to get too high tech about it.”

“Actually, unnie,” Seohyun spoke up, “I think all you have to do is get some wigs.”

After a few moments, Sooyoung finally found the words to break the silence. “What?”

Seohyun smiled. “I also have to make a call.”

“You know what?” Yuri murmured, pushing the large sunglasses further up the bridge of her nose, “I’m starting to think this idea was pretty bad, after all.”

“Too late to back down now, unnie. It was your plan to begin with, anyway,” Yoona chuckled, brushing the bangs of her wig to one side. “I actually think this could be kind of fun.”

“It might even work, if you think about it,” Hyoyeon agreed as they stepped up to the enormous revolving doors of Woolen Incorporated. “We’ve got Jessica’s oddball reputation in our favor, in either case.”

Yuri elbowed the other two as subtly as she could before she walked up to the receptionist’s desk. “Hello. We’re the representatives from BLANC & ECLARE.”

The receptionist nodded. “Ah yes, the last-minute booking. Fortunately, Director Nae had a free block before lunch. Right this way, please.”

Hyoyeon glanced around the building interior as the receptionist led them to the elevators. With every step, she felt the flash drive in her pocket poke her thigh.

“I have a friend,” Seohyun had explained, “I met back in college. She’s a computer genius, and she’s a big advocate of freedom of information, so maybe she can figure out something that can help us.”

One call later and the friend, Lee Hwanhee, had apparently programmed some hack onto the flash drive that would be able to get access to the company’s servers, and thus security footage, once plugged into a computer on the network — or something like that, since Hyoyeon had tuned out sometime between the words “programmed” and “how fast can you get to the costume department, Yoona-unnie?”

The next problem had been getting out of the mansion undetected, assuming that they were being watched at all times. But Sunny had a secret underground passageway — because of course she did — that had allowed them to exit into a perfectly normal parking garage, with a perfectly normal car waiting to be driven to Lee Hwanhee’s place, followed by a stop at one of the lesser known sets Yoona had worked on recently to pick up the rest of their disguises.

Now, the elevator dinged as they arrived on the 19th floor. The receptionist led them into a meeting room with frosted glass walls and opened the door, gesturing for them to step inside. Yuri was first, immediately dipping her head at the man standing at the conference table. “Choi Anna. Director Nae, I presume?”

“I am.” He inclined his head and then swept an arm, indicating the empty chairs opposite of him. “Please, have a seat.”

“We apologize again for the short notice, Director,” Yoona spoke as they sat down. “As you may know, Director Jung is in the middle of fulfilling her civic responsibilities at the moment, but business must go on as usual. I’m Jung Hana.”

“Bi Yeongsae,” Hyoyeon supplied. Yoona barely suppressed a snicker.

Director Nae tilted his head. “Is it too bright in here? I could dim the lights if needed.”

“Wha — ? Oh.” Yuri lifted a hand to touch the sunglasses perched on her nose. “This is just something Director Jung has been having us do recently. Have to advertise the brand and all, right?” She laughed nervously, unable to stop until Yoona casually stepped on her toes.

It was a true statement, though. When Jessica had seen that they were going to go through with the scheme after all, she’d announced that she’d actually been in talks with Woolen for a couple of months now, and had just booked a meeting with one of the directors at Woolen and three of representatives. Then she’d pulled out three pairs of sunglasses from her purse, commenting that if all else failed, as it most likely would, the least they could do was look the part.

Hyoyeon, Yuri, and Yoona were the first three to reach out and accept the challenge.

Apparently requiring her employees to wear her brand wasn’t the weirdest thing Jessica had done, because Director Nae didn’t even bat an eyelash at Yuri’s explanation. Instead, he cleared his throat and opened a folder. “Then let’s get down to business now, shall we?”

That was Hyoyeon’s cue to tune out, because she hadn’t been paying attention anyway the previous night, when Jessica gave Yuri and Yoona a crash course in negotiating company contracts so her business wouldn’t be entirely ruined by the time they all got out of this mess. All Hyoyeon really knew — and needed to know — was that Woolen was one of those corporations that did everything from making hand sanitizer to selling real estate, and so it was perfectly understandable that Jessica would want to make a contract with them to create safety goggles of some sort that were both fashionable and durable — or some other catchphrase that the collaboration would undoubtedly come up with (that wouldn’t be nearly as good as the one Hyoyeon had just come up at that moment).

“We’ve got some preliminary designs to show you,” Yoona finally said, after what Hyoyeon assumed was hours of pointless discussion (the clock said it had been thirty minutes, which was about the same time span, if you really thought about it). Yoona cleared her throat. “Ah… Yeongsae-sshi?”

“Oh. Right.” Hyoyeon pulled the flash drive from her pocket and held it out. “If you could just plug this into your laptop, we can go over everything now.”

Director Nae smiled apologetically. “Unfortunately, I seem to have left my laptop in my office. Why don’t we finish the discussion now, and then go over the designs later?”

Yoona shifted in her chair, and Hyoyeon figured that Yuri was looking a shade less tan than usual. Either they both really need to go to the bathroom, or they’re running out of business nonsense to spout. And with thirty minutes already past, that meant they had less than thirty more before the Director had better things to do.

Wait. Bathroom.

Hyoyeon cleared her throat as politely as she could, standing as she did so. “If you’ll excuse me, Director, where’s your nearest restroom? I’m afraid I drank too much coffee on the way here.”

“Oh, of course. Just out the door and to your right.”

Hyoyeon nodded and smiled in thanks, ignoring Yuri’s semi-subtle warning glances. She stepped out into the hall and walked back as quickly as possible the way they’d come, remembering a large room of mostly empty cubicles they’d passed on the way. Thank goodness for mass lunch breaks.

She ducked inside the room just as a security guard rounded the corner.

Hyoyeon made a beeline for the nearest open laptop. She touched the trackpad, frowning as the login screen popped up. She opened the desk drawers, rifling through the mess of post-its and cereal bar wrappers. “Okay…come on, come on. You’ve got a password written here somewhere, right?”

In the hallway, booted footsteps steadily approached. She tensed, ducking down and holding her breath. Peeking slightly around the bottom edge of the cubicle wall she was crouched behind, she glimpsed the security guard passing the doorway once more. That’s weird. I don’t even remember the entrance of this building being so heavily patrolled.

Once his footsteps were no longer audible, Hyoyeon looked up, almost missing the yellow post-it note stuck to the underside of the desk, a string of numbers and letters scrawled across it. “Daebak.”

Two seconds later, she had logged into the computer and connected the flash drive. She stayed half-crouched behind the desk, wary of the security guard dropping by for another round. Thirty seconds later (in other words, an eternity), she felt her phone buzz in her pocket.

[12:43 PM] Seohyun: It’s done!

Hyoyeon exhaled, pulling out the flash drive and closing the laptop lid. She sped out of the room, nearly running into an employee returning early from lunch. She gave him a polite smile, amused at his bewildered look and the fact that it must be reflecting back at him on her sunglass lenses, and was five steps from the meeting room when the guard appeared around the corner. She gave him a cheery wave before walking the remaining distance, opening the door, and poking her head inside.

“Sorry to interrupt,” Hyoyeon said, “but Director Jung just called. She said there’ve been some major changes to the design that she wants to get back to you on. Perhaps we can continue our negotiations another time?”

Director Nae nodded slowly. “I’m sure that can be arranged. We were just wrapping up here anyway.”

Hyoyeon threw out some more apologies and reasonings about how Jessica is much too swamped nowadays to keep everything in perfect order, we’re oh so terribly sorry, and didn’t bother to take a real breath until the three of them were out on the street once more.

Yoona waited until they’d entered the car before leaning forward from the backseat to poke her in the shoulder. “Well, unnie? Did you do it?”

“Yup.” Hyoyeon nodded. “I think they were already suspicious, though. There was a security guard in that hallway the entire time, and we didn’t even see one on our way up.”

“Who forgets to bring a laptop to a business meeting, anyway?” Yuri grumbled as she started the engine. “Whatever happens, I hope this deal falls through. For Jessica’s sake. No one should be able to make someone else that uncomfortable at a meeting and still be this successful.”

Hyoyeon grinned. “Well, we’ll find out all the tricks they could have up their sleeves any minute now.” The flash drive felt warm in her pocket. “Now we’ve finally got a fighting chance.”