SOSHI: The Roads We Have Taken – Chapter 3

July 21, 2014 in moonrise31, SOSHI, The Roads We Have Taken by moonrise31

The world weeps. There are no tears
To be found. It is deemed a miracle.
The president appears on screens
In villages and towns, in cities in jungles
And jungles still affectionately called cities.
He appears on screens and reads a story…

John Yau

Chapter 3: In which wires connect, court happens, and things continue with a bang.

“The United States, huh?” Seohyun commented as the footsteps faded away, Taeyeon’s echoing protests overruled by Victoria’s cheerful responses. “Have you ever been there, unnie?”

Sunny shook her head. “Well, technically I was born there, but we moved really soon after, so I have no memory whatsoever.”

Seohyun nodded, bending over a pile of debris scattered over the counter. “It’ll be fun, then.” She poked at the rubble with a pair of tweezers, forehead furrowed as she narrowed her eyes from behind a pair of safety glasses.

“Yeah,” Sunny snorted. “As fun as chasing down a serial bomber while also looking for Sica’s kidnapped sister can be.”

“Try to see things on the bright side, unnie,” Seohyun suggested. “Usually makes it more bearable.” She frowned, concentrating. The tip of her tongue poked out from between her teeth as she carefully extracted a fragment of wire from the asphalt and cement chunks. With the piece pinched between the ends of her tweezers, she carefully walked over to the microscope at the end of the counter.

“What’re you looking for?” Sunny asked, resisting the urge to peer over the younger’s shoulder since she knew she wouldn’t be able to see anything anyway. She did, however, wonder how Seohyun could be so efficient when one of her arms was still in a sling.

“It should be…right…here. Aha.” Seohyun allowed herself a small smile of satisfaction, but continued to peer through the eyepiece as she held out her uninjured hand. “Unnie, could you give me my notebook?”

Sunny glanced around. “Where? Oh.” She spotted the journal, already open to a clean page, by the computer. She grabbed it and a pen before handing both over.

Seohyun thanked her and scribbled down a string of characters. “Oh, this is interesting.”

“Is that a serial number?” Sunny glanced at what the doctor had written.

“Yes.” Seohyun nodded. “Of course, I don’t have the whole thing, but I already know where this wire is from.”

Sunny raised her eyebrows. “You do?”

“I do.” Seohyun shrugged. “I was the one who made it in the first place.”

“You…what?”

“The Function has a sort of electronic supply store as part of their cover in the States,” Seohyun explained, heading over to her computer. “In Los Angeles, actually.”

“The Function,” Sunny repeated. “Oh, you mean—”

“Victoria-unnie’s team,” Seohyun confirmed. “See?” She pulled up a webpage advertising a “Shock Electronics” company. “To keep their cover, they actually have to look like a legitimate store. But we’d be a pretty bad crime-fighting organization if we didn’t keep track of everything we sold to the public, so I made sure to give every piece of equipment a unique serial number I would at least be able to recognize right away.”

Sunny peered closer at the numbers written in Seohyun’s notebook.

KTY0309JSY0418LSK051…
“Are those…our birthdays?”

“Of course.” Seohyun beamed. “And seeing as yours is in there too, unnie, that means this wire was sold relatively recently. Within the past month, since that’s when you joined our team.” She tapped her chin. “I think Amber is manning the store right now, but until very recently it was Sulli.”

“Amber…she was patrolling Kim Kwangsoo’s house when he got assaulted,” Sunny remembered. “Agent Song too. I don’t think I even realized back then that we worked for the same organization.” She shook her head. “Wow, they really can do everything, can’t they?”

“Overqualified, underrated,” Seohyun agreed. “That’s the Function for you.” She quickly wrote down an address on a clean page of her notebook and then—once Sunny had leaned over and held the journal steady—ripped it out before handing it to the older agent. “Since Amber’s in L.A., you might as well pay her a visit to see if she has any records of who bought wires from them in the last month. And she might have an idea, too, of where Krystal might’ve gone. Though I think if she knew anything, she’d already have told Victoria-unnie.”

“Thanks, Seohyun.” Sunny pocketed the slip. “Anything else before I leave?”

Seohyun had already made her way back over to the counter. “If you see Jessica-unnie, tell her I’ll have the data for the intersection explosion soon. Probably tomorrow morning, if all goes well. She’ll have to work on it while in L.A. and send the results over when she’s done.”

Sunny shook her head. “Geez, Seohyun. When are you planning to get some sleep?”

“It’s a half-hour ride from here to the university—” Seohyun paused. “Oh, I guess Tiffany-unnie won’t be able to drive me anymore. But I can ask Taeyeon-unnie instead.”

“Alright,” Sunny chuckled quietly, though she couldn’t keep the concern out of her voice. “Just don’t overwork yourself, okay?”

“Don’t worry about me, unnie.” Seohyun beamed at her, and for a second, Sunny almost believed it. “Good luck in L.A.”

Sunny turned and raised a hand in farewell. “Yeah, and good luck here in Seoul.”

Sooyoung glanced to the side when she noted movement out of the corner of her eye. She frowned slightly once she realized it had been Taeyeon taking out her phone. Sooyoung uncapped her pen and scribbled a message on her notepad before sticking it forcefully in the leader’s face.

What do you think you’re doing?

Taeyeon only gave her a smile before pocketing her phone and pulling out her own pen to write a reply.

Yoona just finished testifying. It’s not my fault that both of our cases are going at the same time
and I can’t be in two places at once.

Sooyoung hesitated, chewing on the end of her pen. Then she added another line below Taeyeon’s answer.

So has BAM…said anything?

The question was purposely vague, but Taeyeon knew right away what she was referring to.

Will you let me keep checking my phone so I can let you know if they do?

Sooyoung grimaced at the winking face Taeyeon drew.

Please don’t ever ever ever use emoticons outside of texting situations.

Taeyeon’s shoulders shook with silent laughter.

“The prosecution calls Agent Choi Sooyoung to the stand.”

Sooyoung took a deep breath and stood up, smoothing out her suit jacket.

The prosecutor’s questions were relatively straightforward—as expected of what they wanted to hear their own witness say—and the evidence all laid out (if only Seohyun could be here, Sooyoung reflected, to watch as her research on analyzing injuries of living bodies was finally presented in court). It was when the defense’s turn came around that Sooyoung knew she’d have her work cut out for her. Because even though Kim Kwangsoo had confessed, that hadn’t stopped him from hiring the best lawyer money could buy to try and poke any manner of holes into their investigation procedures.

“Agent,” Kim Kwangsoo’s lawyer nodded in her direction once he had been given the floor. “On what grounds did you burst into my client’s hospital room and demand a confession?”

Sooyoung raised her eyebrows. “I didn’t demand a confession. I wanted an explanation for why he lied during an earlier part of the investigation. He had told us that he returned to his home after 2 AM, but security tape footage puts him back an entire two hours before his adopted daughter, Ryuhwa, was assaulted, as has already been presented in this court.”

“Ah.” The lawyer nodded. “And once confronted, my client confessed?”

Sooyoung straightened. “He said that everyone was always after his money. And I asked, ‘is Ryuhwa-sshi included in that “everyone”?’ After which he said—”

“Let me repeat the question, Agent Choi,” the lawyer interrupted smoothly. “Once confronted, did my client confess?”

Sooyoung pursed her lips. “If by ‘confess’ you mean explicitly saying, ‘yes, I did it’, no. Not directly. But his responses to the questions we were qualified to ask because of the available evidence were quite condemning, and he gave a confession after he was arrested and released from the hospital.”

“Right,” the lawyer said, in a tone that suggested he didn’t approve, and no one else should either. Sooyoung made brief eye contact with Taeyeon in the audience, and the latter rolled her eyes once. Sooyoung felt a little better. She couldn’t really blame him for putting on a show, she reasoned. This was what he was being paid to do, after all.

“If the defense has finished cross-examining,” the judge spoke up, “we can move on to the next witness.”

The last witness was Kim Kwangsoo himself. As Sooyoung returned to her seat, Taeyeon gave her a sympathetic pat on the back. Then she plucked the notepad out of Sooyoung’s hands so she could write.

You did well!

Just a single sentence, but Sooyoung knew what Taeyeon was trying to get at. This was, after all, the first time she’d been in court since she’d last gone on the witness stand and suddenly had been unable to testify. Of course, it helped that Kim Kwangsoo didn’t remind her even remotely of her father.

The defense lawyer, of course, didn’t spend a lot of effort grilling the billionaire CEO. Sooyoung couldn’t help but tune out the questioning, because it was tailored to portray Kwangsoo in a light she didn’t believe in, anyway. Once it got to the prosecutor’s turn, though, she snapped out of her daydream and subconsciously leaned in a little closer.

“So, Kwangsoo-sshi.” Kwon Boah cleared her throat and held up a sheet of paper. “I have your confession here. Would you care to reiterate it for us today?”

Kwangsoo nodded slowly. Then he coughed politely before beginning. “I am suspected of assaulting my daughter, Ryuhwa.”

“Not suspected,” Boah clarified. “You admitted that you did. That is the essence of a confession, is it not?”

Kwangsoo clenched his fists. Through gritted teeth, he said, “I…was forced to make that confession. Under extreme circumstances.”

Sooyoung raised her eyebrows, stomach fluttering. Granted, she had never been completely comfortable with Jessica’s part in interrogations, but the tech really could become an agent if she wanted. She was just, in her own words, “unwilling to expend the effort required”. Nonetheless, Sooyoung promised herself that she wouldn’t let Jessica step into the interrogation room ever again, if only to relieve her own conscience.

Although there was no way Boah knew what Kwangsoo could be alluding to, she didn’t seem interested in diverting the court case from what was supposed to be a relatively straightforward path, as far as those that had already gained confessions were concerned. She set down the paper and folded her arms. “Then, Kwangsoo-sshi, please explain what else could have happened.” She took a step closer with each question she rattled off. “Why were you home hours before you told investigators you were? Where are the missing security tapes? The missing weapon? Why was your blood and scraps of your dress pants caught on the shattered glass from your office window?

“Why,” Boah finished, now face-to-face with a slightly flustered Kwangsoo sitting on the witness stand, “did you believe your own malicious thoughts about your daughter’s apparent greed instead of her heartfelt pleas to help her twin sister have a better life?”

Kwangsoo’s mouth opened. “I—” Then his jaws snapped shut again.

The judged banged his gavel. “That will be all. Return to your seats.”

Sooyoung looked down when she felt the corner of her notepad nudge her in the forearm.

Boah-unnie’s scary, isn’t she?

Sooyoung nodded meekly and uncapped her pen to write out more of her reply. But the judge raised his gavel once more.

“Kim Kwangsoo-sshi has been found guilty on all charges.”

Sooyoung didn’t even hear the pronounced sentence that should have followed. Her gaze was immediately drawn to the indignant CEO, who had stood up as soon as the verdict had been announced. Red-faced, he’d finally found his voice from the safety of the defendant’s desk. “You can’t! I have information. Very helpful information.”

“It’s too late for negotiations, Kwangsoo-sshi,” the judge replied, looking slightly bored. “Any appeals will have to be made at a later date, with the proper paperwork.”

“The drug lord Ryuhwa’s sister worked for! I know his name,” Kwangsoo sputtered.

“So do we, Kwangsoo-sshi,” Taeyeon broke in. Her calm tone somehow cut across the room, above the startled murmurs of the reporters present, making the billionaire whip around, frantic stare reaching her cool one. “Bang Yongguk and his gang are finishing their own trial as we speak.”

“No, that’s not him,” Kwangsoo declared, his mouth curved in some sort of maniacally triumphant smirk.

Sooyoung felt her heart stop. Breathe. I have to breathe.

Taeyeon reached out and grabbed her hand, which she was sure was clammy and cold and not comfortable at all. But Taeyeon squeezed tightly all the same.

They knew what was coming. But knowing didn’t soften the blow.

“His name is Jeongnam.”

“We have no reason to take him seriously, Soo,” Taeyeon reminded her as they stepped into the SOSHI office. “He wasn’t officially testifying. If anything, he was just being hysterical. We shouldn’t be paying attention to him at all.”

“What happened?” Yuri demanded.

“Kwangsoo-sshi got a bit upset that the ruling went against him, is all,” Taeyeon replied nonchalantly. “Look sharp, kids. We’ve still got a couple of hours to get some work done before you’re off for the day.”

Sooyoung frowned, but she knew that Taeyeon had good reasons for answering so vaguely. It didn’t stop her mind from reeling, though.

“Kwangsoo-sshi named Jeongnam,” Yoona whispered as she passed by Yuri’s desk.

The tech’s eyes widened. “What? How could he possibly know?”

“Does it matter?” Hyoyeon pointed out. “We have no obligation to chase after it, so let’s not. We’ve got some very real bombings to deal with right now, anyway.”

Sooyoung shook her head. “The only way is if Ryuhwa told him. And she could only have known if…” She snapped her fingers. “Ryuyoung.”

“The twin,” Yoona agreed. “We’ll remember to track her down once everything else is settled, okay, unnie? Remember, we aren’t any the wiser right now.” She winked.

Sooyoung managed a smile. “Right.” But what about all those reporters? The thought nagged at her. How long until one of them decides to start sniffing around?

Then Taeyeon burst out of her office, attempting to shove her phone in her back pocket as she rushed across the room. “Hyo, Yoong, let’s go.”

“Woah, what’s the hurry?” Hyoyeon demanded, getting up as Yoona grabbed her hand. “You’re not due to pick up Seohyun for another couple of hours, I thought.”

“I wouldn’t need you two for that, would I?” Taeyeon retorted. “Soo, you can come too if you’re feeling up for it. But it’s not gonna be pretty.”

“Wait.” Yuri stood up. “You mean—”

“The fifth bombing,” Taeyeon confirmed grimly. “At the United States embassy.”

“Casualties?” Sooyoung asked, following them out the door.

Taeyeon’s expression darkened. “I guess we’ll have to find out.”

…Whose story is he reading and why?
What lessons are to be learned from this story
About a time that has not yet arrived, will not arrive, is here?

…Only an effort to leave more than a string of words behind.