SOSHI: The Roads We Have Taken – Chapter 15

October 12, 2014 in moonrise31, SOSHI, The Roads We Have Taken by moonrise31

But O heart! heart! heart!
  O the bleeding drops of red,
   Where on the deck my Captain lies,
    Fallen cold and dead…

Walt Whitman

Chapter 15: In which temperatures rise at an alarming rate, before dropping just as quickly.

“Yuri.” Taeyeon adjusted her earpiece with one hand, keeping the other on the steering wheel. “Has he left yet?”

“He’s been coming in and out for the past ten minutes or so,” Yuri replied. “He just went out again. I’ll let you know if he’s not back in a minute.”

“Make that forty seconds.” Taeyeon glanced briefly at the GPS mounted on her dashboard. “I didn’t miss the turn, did I?”

“It’s coming up right now,” Sunny assured her. “Right there. Eyes on the road, Taeng. If you don’t trust the GPS, at least trust me,” she teased lightly.

“I’m calm. I’m calm,” Taeyeon muttered.

“The turn,” Sunny warned.

Taeyeon made a hard left, causing her passengers to jerk in the opposite direction.

“Geez,” Sooyoung grumbled from the back. “And you call maknae a bad driver.”

“We’re here,” Tiffany’s voice announced through the radio. “You want us to go in?”

Taeyeon hesitated, gritting her teeth. “Yeah. We don’t have enough time to wait around, and I’ve got another minute or so before I get there. Use your best judgment and stay on the line.”

“He’s back,” Yuri interrupted. “I dunno why he seems to be planning to move every single last crate out of there, but that’s his loss and our gain.”

There was a sudden crackling over the radio, and an unnie, please move over. Moments later, Seohyun’s voice told them, “Unnies, be careful. He—he’s a bomber,” she finished lamely.

“Bomb squad’s on their way,” Yuri informed them, probably from somewhere behind Seohyun since she now sounded rather far away. “I made sure they got the right coordinates this time.”

“We’re going around the back,” Yoona announced then. “He’s still inside, right Yuri-unnie?”

“Hyo, wait here,” they heard Tiffany instruct. “Cover the back in case he slips past us somehow. Yoong and I’ll go in and try to corner him.” She paused. “Or maybe, Yoong should stay here with you and I should—but to go in one-on-one against him—”

“We’ve got you covered,” Jessica spoke up. “And in either case, hopefully he won’t get within ten meters of Hyo before Taeng and the others get there.”

“Twenty seconds,” Sunny said. She gestured to the side of the road. “Just park here, Taeng.”

“Okay, we’re going in.” Tiffany slipped through the back door, gun at the ready and Yoona close on her heels. “Is anyone inside the store? We should get them out now.”

“You’ve got cameras in other parts of the building too, right, unnie?” Seohyun piped up.

A few seconds of furious clicking later, Jessica reported, “Just that Park Chorong girl manning the cash register. You can just go through the door that leads from the back to behind the counter—”

“Unnie,” Yoona hissed, reaching out to grip the back of Tiffany’s jacket. “There’s a crate in front of that door.”

“I see that,” Tiffany grumbled, eyeing the box suspiciously. “Did this come from the back room?”

“It’s not beeping, is it?” Hyoyeon suddenly spoke up. “If it’s beeping, it’s probably a bad sign.”

“Don’t go near it, unnie,” Seohyun warned. They heard the soft thud of palm meeting forehead. “I knew I should’ve tried to replace all of the ammonium nitrate with sand or something. I should’ve made time for it.”

“Hey, maknae, we aren’t kids,” Sooyoung reminded her lightly. “We can handle ourselves. Fany, Yoong, you back away from that crate, okay? We’re heading in through the front, so we can tell everyone to get the hell out of here.”

“You don’t need to tell me twice,” Tiffany muttered, lifting her gun once more. “So how exactly are we gonna talk him down when he’s got a room that’s still half full of explosives?”

“Hopefully he values his life as much as we do ours,” Yoona replied solemnly.

Their earpieces crackled, but otherwise stayed silent.

A few moments later, they heard Taeyeon politely informing the owner of “Seven Springs” that it would be best if she left the premises. Up ahead, their targeted storage room door was already flung open, casting a rectangle of light onto the floor of the otherwise dark hallway.

“I’m going around the back,” Sooyoung said. “There’s an emergency exit in that room that I’m sure he’d love to make use of once he’s realized you guys have blocked off the other entrance. Sunny’s going to back up Hyo.”

Tiffany meant to answer, but then she froze when she saw a shadow flit across the rectangle on the floor. She turned over her shoulder slightly, meeting Yoona’s stare from the corner of her eye, and then took one, two deep breaths.

She dashed forward, sliding to a sudden stop in the doorway, immediately noting the man standing not five meters away from her. She trained her gun at the box Do Shibak was holding in front of his chest. “We’ve been looking for you, Shibak-sshi.”

“Ah,” the bomber said slowly. “An agent from SOSHI, I presume?”

Two agents, actually,” Yoona corrected, appearing from behind Tiffany. “You’re outnumbered, Shibak-sshi. I suggest you put that crate down. Very. Slowly.”

Shibak bent his knees, lowering himself a centimeter at a time. “We meet again. Agent Im, was it?”

Yoona scowled. “We don’t appreciate being lied to. And to use In Nosung’s identity after you yourself sent him to his death—just how do you live with yourself?”

“A day at a time, much like you, I imagine.” Shibak shrugged. He was now crouched, arms still wrapped around the crate.

“Let go of that crate, Shibak-sshi,” Tiffany demanded. “And step back, stand up, and raise your hands above your head.”

“Or what? You’ll shoot me?” Shibak challenged, smirking. “I don’t care how good of a shot you are, Agent. One twitchy finger and you’ll have the whole room crashing down around you, crushing you to bits. If the explosion doesn’t burn you alive first.”

“I’m quite confident in my skill, thank you very much,” Tiffany replied coolly. “This is all for your benefit, Shibak-sshi. Because I really don’t care whether you make it out of this alive.”

Shibak frowned. “I suppose my head’s sort of unprotected, isn’t it.”

“Unnie,” Yoona hissed.

“I guess we’ll have to even out the playing field.”

Yoona turned, belatedly noticing the crate sitting quietly behind them.

Duck!” Tiffany lurched backward as Shibak suddenly whipped out an object from his pocket and flung it in their direction.

Yoona swore, launching herself at Tiffany’s back and reversing the latter’s direction. Her momentum hurtled them both forward into the room, thankfully skidding towards the wall opposite the stack of crates. The lighter Shibak had thrown arched over them, metal body flashing as it passed, before landing squarely on the box in the hallway.

The explosion was louder than Yoona had expected.

It rattled her teeth and made her ears ring. She felt heat at her back, heavy chunks of something thudding across her shoulders, down her spine. Through the fog now clouding her mind, she hoped the explosion wouldn’t reach the crates inside the room, because otherwise…

The ringing from the aftermath of the explosion scattered her thoughts, leaving a sharp, throbbing pain behind. She winced, pressing a palm to her forehead until the dizziness lifted slightly.

She remembered Do Shibak then. Blearily raising her head, she caught sight of his retreating back as he dashed towards the emergency exit door. She felt Tiffany underneath her right arm, but the other woman wasn’t moving.

The realization burst through her daze, bringing their situation back into focus. “Unnie! Fany-unnie!”

The emergency exit alarm blared then, blasting her eardrums and leaving her head ringing for a second time. But faintly, over the din, she heard Shibak shout. Then, a thump that sounded very much like a body being tackled to the ground. Seconds later, Taeyeon rushed into the room. Yoona saw her leader’s mouth move and hazily wished that she’d bothered to learn how to lipread at some point.

“Yoong.” Taeyeon’s voice finally echoed, dim and kilometers away. “Im Yoona, answer me right now. That’s an order.

“F…Fany-unnie,” Yoona answered weakly. She lifted up a hand, suddenly realizing the dampness on her fingers. “She’s bleeding.”

Taeyeon swore, pressing a finger against her earpiece. “Yul, get an ambulance down here now.” She knelt down beside the two injured agents, reaching out to hold the back of her hand above Tiffany’s mouth. She let out a sigh of relief when she felt the unconscious agent’s breath ghost against her skin. “She’ll be okay. Thank goodness.” Taeyeon turned to Yoona, expression still concerned, now lifting her hand to brush a strand of hair out of the younger woman’s face. “How are you feeling?”

“Like I got hit by a truck, unnie.” Yoona managed a lopsided grin. “I think I’m okay, though.”

“Good? No broken bones?” Taeyeon leaned back a little to examine the other critically.

“All good.” Yoona tried to lift both her arms and flash Taeyeon two V-signs, but a bolt of pain lanced up her left forearm.

Taeyeon noticed the wince immediately. “Your arm?”

“I…I think I landed on it,” Yoona said slowly, remembering her frantic dive just minutes before. That’s funny, she thought absentmindedly, wondering how her brain hadn’t bothered to process the fact until now. “I guess the adrenaline’s wearing off.”

Taeyeon exhaled loudly. “Great. Two of my agents are out of commission. If we hadn’t caught the guy, I’d be willing to set off a few bombs myself.”

Unnie,” Yoona gasped, scandalized.

Taeyeon’s expression remained blank for just a few seconds before a relieved grin spread across her face. “We did it, Yoong. And more importantly, you guys are all okay.”

Yoona glanced down at Tiffany, the gentle rise and fall of the latter’s chest relaxing her more than Taeyeon’s words ever could. She looked back up, fighting the dulling pain in her arm with a smile of her own. “Yeah, unnie. We’re gonna be okay.”

“Krystal?” Sunny glanced up, surprised, when the younger agent walked into the room. “I thought you were resting?”

“Jessica-unnie told me to come here,” Krystal murmured. “She said…she said you had the guy who framed me.”

“Ah.” Sunny nodded slowly, gesturing to the other side of the one-way mirror. “Yeah. That’s him.”

Krystal walked closer to the glass, examining the young man handcuffed to the table in the interrogation room. “He…he doesn’t look much older than you, unnie.”

“Seoul’s best and brightest,” Sunny replied drily. “So, you wanna head the interrogation?”

Krystal hesitated. “It’s your investigation though, unnie.”

“Correct. So I’m allowed to choose who gets to do the honors for our special guest.” Sunny paused. “I’m all for it, but something tells me a certain senior agent might have a protest or two.” She tapped her chin. “Then again, I think I can sway him over to my side.”

“You can?” Krystal asked, surprise coloring her tone.

Sunny winked. “Your sister may have incredible persuasion powers, but I’ve got some tricks of my own.” Or connections, rather. She jerked her head in the direction of Do Shibak. “So if you want it, he’s all yours.”

Krystal bit her lip.

“I’ll go in with you,” Sunny offered softly.

Krystal glanced down at her toes. “Thanks, unnie.”

The door slammed open. “Alright guys, let’s get the show on the road.” Sooyoung looked from Sunny to Krystal, and then back again. “So, Krystal’s gonna do our dirty work for us?”

“I’m going in too, just so they won’t have anything to complain about later,” Sunny answered easily. “You’ve got things taken care of back here, Soo?”

“Sure thing.” Sooyoung gave them a thumbs-up as she seated herself in front of the recording panel. “And if you wanted to know, Fany’s awake and alert now. Just a minor concussion, thank God. Taeyeon went to pick them up from the hospital.”

Sunny let her shoulders relax slightly. “That’s good to hear. With all that blood…”

“Head wounds bleed a lot,” Sooyoung reminded her. “But yeah, I know what you mean. And now both our maknaes are in slings, so that’s a treat.” She narrowed her eyes at Krystal. “You stay out of trouble, okay? Otherwise Victoria-unnie will be going after us for passing the curse on to the Function.”

Krystal cracked a smile. “I’ll try my best, unnie.”

“Alright.” Sunny took a step towards the door before looking back. “Are you ready?”

“Yeah.” Krystal took a deep breath. “Let’s go.”

Sooyoung watched with bated breath as the other two agents entered the interrogation room. Do Shibak looked up.

“Hello, Shibak-sshi,” Sunny greeted. “I’m Agent Lee.”

“Hello.” His gaze flickered over to Krystal. “And I don’t think we’ve had the pleasure of meeting before, either.”

“I suppose stalking and framing is more of your forte,” Krystal retorted. Sunny retreated into the shadows, crossing her arms and leaning against the wall by the door.

Shibak shrugged. “I imagine that your own profession comes with much the same duties.”

Krystal raised her eyebrows. “Is that a confession?”

Shibak smirked. “You want me to write it out for you, Agent?”

The room fell silent.

Then, Krystal slowly stalked forward. She gripped the edge of the table across from Shibak with both hands and leaned forward. “I don’t care what kind of twisted reasoning you use to justify yourself, Shibak-sshi. Unless it pertains directly to why you did this. Bugging our offices. Bombing the city.”

Shibak leaned back, lacing his fingers together. The handcuffs around his wrists clinked against the metal tabletop. “Well, I have a job just like you, Agent. We can’t really be blamed for doing our jobs, right?”

“Who hired you then?” Krystal pressed.

“Oh.” Shibak’s grin widened. “I think Agent Lee here knows that very well.”

Sunny raised her eyebrows. “If you’re trying to get under my skin by implying how long you’ve been listening to our conversations, it’s not working, Shibak-sshi. Need I remind you who’s interrogating who right now?”

“If only Agent Choi were here,” Shibak commented. “I’m sure she would appreciate knowing that her father was the one jeopardizing every one of her colleagues.”

The comment was so casual, so fleeting. No emphasis placed.

But he didn’t have to. Sunny stiffened imperceptibly all the same. She gave the briefest glance at the one-way mirror before returning her stare to the bomber seated at the table.

On the other side of the glass, Sooyoung stood completely still. Over the beating of her heart, each thud crashing in her ears, she barely heard Do Shibak’s next words.

“Yeah, the guy who hired me? His name is Choi Jeongnam.”

…My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still,
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse or will,
The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done,

From fearful trip the victor ship comes in…is the object won?