SOSHI: The Roads We Have Taken – Chapter 7

August 17, 2014 in moonrise31, SOSHI, The Roads We Have Taken by moonrise31

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore—
 While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
“’Tis some visiter,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door—
     Only this and nothing more…”

Edgar Allan Poe

Chapter 7: In which answers are given and chased after, but perhaps there is a bit more than meets the eye.

“This is it?”

Yoona looked down at her phone to recheck the apartment number. “Yup. Are you gonna knock, unnie, or shall I?”

“I got it.” Sooyoung raised her fist and rapped against the polished wood.

They heard some shuffling from the other side for a few moments, and then a young man dressed quite comfortably in sweatpants and an old hoodie opened the door. He blinked at them. “Hello. May I help you?”

“Hello, In Nosung-sshi. We’re from SOSHI,” Sooyoung informed him. “I’m Agent Choi Sooyoung, and this is Agent Im Yoona. We were hoping to ask you some questions about the bank bombing a couple of weeks ago.”

“Oh. Of course.” He frowned, but then stepped aside, expression brightening slightly. “Please, come in. Would you like anything to drink?”

“We’re fine, thanks.” Yoona smiled, subtly jabbing Sooyoung in the side when a frown started to pull at the corners of the elder’s mouth. But then, Yoona glanced down at the coffee table in front of them. “Actually, Agent Choi here needs some tea to properly wake her up, if you have any.”

Nosung nodded and turned to the kitchen.

“You’ll share with me, right, unnie?” Yoona asked cheerfully, bending down to adjust a magazine lying by the half-closed laptop on the coffee table.

“And they call me ‘the shikshin’,” Sooyoung muttered. But she smiled warmly and thanked Nosung when he handed her a mug. The two agents sat down on the sofa, Nosung settling into the armchair to one side.

Yoona pulled out a sheet from the folder she was holding. “Okay, Nosung-sshi, let’s get right to the point. Can you show us where you are in this picture?”

Nosung leaned over so he could examine the printout of the security camera footage more closely. He indicated the man at the far corner of the frame, opposite of where Yuri had determined the bomb to be. “Right there. I was on that side the entire time, actually, from the mint to the bank.”

“Oh?” Sooyoung raised her eyebrows. “Is that unusual?”

He shrugged. “I guess it doesn’t really matter usually, but the fact that Koyu straight up told me to stay on that side is sort of odd, I guess.” Nosung frowned. “He…wouldn’t have had anything to do with the bombing, would he?”

“That’s what we’re trying to find out,” Yoona informed him. “So he explicitly told you to stay on that side of the money.”

“Yeah.” Nosung nodded. “He said something about the handholds not being as good on that side, so he’d take care of it. It wasn’t that weird at the time, but if you’re looking for out-of-place things, I suppose that’d be a start.”

“I see.” Yoona finished writing a note on the pad inside her folder, stealing a sip of Sooyoung’s drink as she did so.

Just then, the laptop on the coffee table beeped twice. Nosung grinned sheepishly. “Sorry, someone’s video calling me. If there’s more you’d like to ask, I’ll just tell them to call later.” He reached over to slide the computer closer towards him, flipping it open all the way.

“No, we’re finished for now.” Sooyoung stood up, draining the last of the tea from her mug. She bowed. “Thank you for your help, Nosung-sshi. We’ll follow up later if we have any more questions.”

“No problem.” He typed something quickly before standing up and walking the two agents out the door.

“We’re back,” Sunny announced tiredly as she stepped inside the apartment.

“You guys were out late.” Jessica spared a glance at the clock. “It’s almost midnight.”

Tiffany sighed, kicking off her shoes. “Well, you wouldn’t believe all the places your sister managed to get to while she was here. We didn’t chase down the last location ’til after 11.”

“Yeah.” Jessica smirked slightly. “That’s my Soojung.”

“Any luck with unlocking Amber’s computer?” Sunny asked, pulling open the refrigerator door and ducking her head inside. “Ooh, mango juice.”

Jessica shrugged. “I’m sorta close, but not really. Whoever did this was really good.”

“Sleep and try again in the morning?” Tiffany offered, picking up the glass of juice that Sunny placed on the counter. She set it in front of the tech.

“It’s already morning, technically,” Jessica pointed out, reaching for the glass and taking a sip. “Just give me a couple more hours. The jet lag hasn’t gone away completely, anyway.”

Sunny exhaled, sitting down on one of the bar stools and propping her legs on another. “I guess we have a long night ahead of us, then.”

Jessica looked up. “You guys don’t have to stay up with me, you know. You must be worn out from running all around the city and stuff.”

“Hey, jet lag, right?” Tiffany waved a hand and made herself comfortable in the opposite corner of the couch from where the tech was seated.

Jessica shook her head, rolling her eyes. “Whatever. You guys do what you want.”

But Sunny didn’t miss her smile even as she tried to cover it up by lifting the glass to her lips. The agent winked. “Hey, what are friends for?”

The hours ticked by slowly, Sunny mindlessly playing games on her phone while Tiffany occupied herself with uploading Krystal’s photos onto her own laptop and scrolling through them over and over again.

Sunny felt her eyelids drooping—jet lag or not, the day had been exhausting, to say the least—and she was contemplating calling it a night.

“Got you!”

Two heads whipped around to stare at Jessica, who had shot up in her seat and was now typing furiously at her laptop, practically glaring at her screen.

“You got in?” Tiffany asked, excited, as she scooted over so she could look over Jessica’s shoulder.

“Even better,” Jessica said triumphantly. “You know why it’s been taking me so long? ‘Cause the hacker keeps countering everything I do. So I stopped going after the system and started going after him instead.”

“Woah, nice.” Sufficiently awakened, Sunny slipped off the stool and made her way over to the sofa. “The hacker’s getting hacked, huh?”

“Oh, you bet.” Jessica’s eyes narrowed. “And he just made a very big mistake.”

“Hey, guys.” Taeyeon strode into the office, car keys swinging around her finger. “How’d the interview with Nosung-sshi go?”

Yoona shrugged. “He didn’t seem to know much. I guess it’s quite possible he wasn’t aware of the bomb at all, and Dae Koyu, or whatever his name really is, did the whole thing by himself.”

“Why’re you back so late, Taeng?” Hyoyeon interrupted. “You left to drop maknae off like, five hours ago.”

“Four and a half, thank you very much,” Taeyeon huffed, glancing at the clock. “It’s not my fault she needed to pick up some stuff for her lab—stuff with names much more scientific than I care to pronounce, I might add. And of course we had to drive across Seoul and back to get them all. If I didn’t know better, I’d say she was doing it on purpose.” She snapped her fingers. “Oh, right. Soo, Hyo told you that you could stay over at her place, right?”

Sooyoung nodded. “Yup. All out of the goodness of her incredibly kind heart. I am forever in her debt.” Although she was still seated at her desk, she bent forward in a mock bow, swinging her arm in a dramatic sweep.

“I know that you know that I know what you’re doing, and that doesn’t make it any less annoying,” Hyoyeon complained. “You are definitely doing all of the dishwashing.”

“Well, it’s six now,” Taeyeon announced before Sooyoung could argue further. “Time to wrap things up for the day. What else needs to be reported…status on identifying the victim of the U.S. embassy bombing? And on tracking down Dae Koyu?”

“I’m tracing Dae Koyu’s fake records right now,” Yuri answered. “The guy’s good, whoever he is. But I’ll get him soon, no worries.”

“And maknae just got the dental records this morning,” Hyoyeon added. “She’s expecting results in the next day or two.”

Taeyeon nodded. “Sounds good. I guess you guys are off for today, then. The rest of the time is all yours.”

“Ha! Gotcha,” Yuri suddenly pumped a fist in the air as she typed furiously with her other hand. “Yuri, you’re the best. This poser’s got nothing on you. Nothing.”

“Go unnie, go!” Yoona cheered, rolling her chair over to Yuri’s side. She blinked at the screen, the flashing characters making her dizzy. “Wait, what’s going on?”

“The guy’s online right now,” Yuri explained, bringing her other hand down so she could hit her keyboard twice as fast. “Now, if I can get through his defenses long enough—and I will, that’s for sure—then I can at least pinpoint his actual location for you guys to chase him down.”

“Great.” Taeyeon popped up on Yuri’s other side. “In that case, you guys will have to get ready for a bit of overtime.”

“Anything’s better than sitting around in this dump,” Hyoyeon sighed. She inched her way over until she could reach out to where she knew Sooyoung’s shoulder would be. “Hey, someone tell me what’s happening?”

“There are lots of words,” Yoona informed her. “They’re going by very fast. Yuri-unnie’s typing at the speed of light—”

Yes!” Yuri grinned, triumphant. “His location is—” She squinted at her screen. “…Los Angeles?”

“Jessi, you’re going way too fast,” Tiffany complained. “We can’t keep up.”

“Oh, I’m sorry. Let me slow down, so the hacker can get away and we can start all over again,” Jessica deadpanned.

Sunny reached around behind the tech to put a hand on Tiffany’s shoulder. “Maybe we should just let Sica do her thing.”

“Oh, the words! They stopped!” Tiffany grinned.

“This…” Jessica narrowed her eyes.

“Seoul?” Tiffany started.

Sunny leaned in and read the address on the screen. “Hold on…isn’t that—”

Jessica growled and snatched her phone from its spot between the couch cushions. “That kid has some serious explaining to do.”

“Unnie,” Yoona glanced down at the vibrating phone. “You’ve got a call.”

“Oh.” Yuri glanced at the caller I.D., brow furrowing in confusion as she answered. “Sica? What’s up? Shouldn’t you be in bed by now—”

Yah, Kwon Yuri, what in the world do you think you’re doing?” Jessica demanded. All the other agents in the room winced.

Yuri jerked back a little, now holding her phone half an arm’s length away from her ear. “Sica? I’m sorry, I don’t exactly understand—”

They heard a loud exhale from the other end of the line. “Please don’t tell me you’ve been chasing down some hacker for the better part of this last day or two.”

“Not exactly,” Yoona piped up as Yuri put her phone on speaker. “Yuri-unnie’s been looking for the real name behind some guy’s fake I.D.—one of the people connected to the bank bombing.”

“I think I sent you an update about that before lunch today,” Taeyeon added.

As if I actually read your emails, Taeng,” Jessica muttered.

Taeyeon turned to Sooyoung. “I should be hurt, but somehow I’ve become used to it by now.”

“So I don’t have to read your emails either?” Sooyoung grinned.

Taeyeon placed a hand over her heart, struck with mock horror.

Anyway.” Jessica cleared her throat, as if she knew that they were goofing off and did not want any part of it. “I guess we’ve figured out one thing: your fake I.D. is the same hacker who locked Amber’s computer. Because he just sent us both on a wild goose chase that ended with each other.”

Yuri’s eyes widened. “Wait, so, this entire time I was actually—”

Hacking me, yes,” Jessica replied irritably. “So I suggest that you stop now. Bye.”

The dial tone echoed in the now silent office.

“Well.” Taeyeon cleared her throat. “I guess it’s safe to say that you’re all off for the day.”

“Yay.” Yoona grinned weakly.

Yuri slumped, forehead hitting her desk with a dull thud. “Sica is so gonna kill me when she gets back.”

“Okay then.” Sunny exhaled once Jessica had hung up. “What now?”

“I’ve had enough of this.” The tech shut her laptop with a glower. “You said Senior Agent Kim Youngmin is pretty suspicious. Why don’t we just go beat some answers out of him?”

“You really don’t care about your job anymore, do you.” Tiffany raised her eyebrows. “But here, have a look at this. In all of these photos Krystal took, do you see something in common?”

She held out Krystal’s phone. Jessica grabbed it and began flicking through the pictures impatiently, Sunny watching over her shoulder.

“Maybe someone,” Tiffany prodded.

“Hey, wait a minute.” Sunny put a hand on Jessica’s to stop the latter from scrolling. “Isn’t that…Irene-sshi? The secretary?”

“Yup.” Tiffany nodded. “So Krystal was definitely tailing her.”

“This makes it certain, right?” Jessica set her sister’s phone down. “We can go there and find her? Get her back?”

“It’s definitely a solid hunch,” Sunny allowed. “Worth checking out. But,” she continued, “only after we’ve gotten some sleep.”

“Sunny’s right,” Tiffany agreed, patting Jessica’s head softly. “We can’t expect to face a senior agent and get answers, much less your sister, if we might topple over any second.”

“He definitely knows more than he’s letting on,” Sunny mused. “We just have to play our cards right, and we might end up with the upper hand.”

“You can play your cards however you want,” Jessica told them. “I’m not leaving that building without Krystal.”

 …And the silken, sad, uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me—filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
 So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating
 “’Tis some visiter entreating entrance at my chamber door—
Some late visiter entreating entrance at my chamber door;—”

     But I knew it was something more.