SOSHI: The Roads We Have Taken – Chapter 9

August 31, 2014 in moonrise31, SOSHI, The Roads We Have Taken by moonrise31

The stems of the sun bent over the eye
     The sleeping man
The whole of the earth
     And this head heavy with fear
In the night
This complete hole
          Vast
And even so streaming with water
The noise
     The peals of little bells mingled with the
          Clinking of glasses
               And bursts of laughter…

Pierre Reverdy

Chapter 9: In which deals are possibly extorted and progress is probably made.

“Jessica-sshi,” Senior Agent Kim Youngmin said calmly, although the fine sheen of sweat on his forehead was noted by everyone else in the room. “You are aware that assaulting a senior agent is a serious infracton, correct?”

“I haven’t done anything yet,” Jessica retorted, eyes narrowing even further, fist curling tighter into the collar of Youngmin’s shirt. “So if you think this is assault, Senior Agent Kim,” she ground out the title from between clenched teeth, “you’re going to be very unpleasantly surprised.”

Tiffany took a step forward then, one hand outstretched to attempt to placate her friend. But then someone quietly clearing her throat drew everyone’s attention.

“I have a room set up,” Irene informed them politely. “Would you like to sit down?”

Which was why Sunny found herself seated across from Youngmin in a conference room, Jessica to her right and Tiffany another seat away. Sunny had offered to pull her chair to the side so Krystal could sit beside her sister, but the younger agent merely shook her head and took a seat behind the row of SOSHI agents. Krystal managed to keep her head held high, but Sunny still noticed her bone-white knuckles as she gripped the back of Jessica’s chair.

“Alright then.” Youngmin, having outwardly composed himself once more now that Jessica’s hands were no longer centimeters from his neck, laced his fingers together and looked each of them in the eye. “I’ll let you agents explain yourselves first.”

“What I want to know,” Jessica replied, steely edge still very much embedded in her voice, “is why you were unlawfully detaining my sister this entire time.”

Youngmin sighed through his nose. “I assure you, Jessica-sshi, that nothing about this situation was unlawful, besides you three breaking into this building. Either way, this case is not under your jurisdiction, so you shouldn’t be investigating anything related to it in the first place.”

“With all due respect, Senior Agent,” Tiffany interrupted before Jessica could snap something in return, “what’s done is done. I’m sure there is a valid reason for you to have…detained Agent Jung,” Tiffany suppressed a wince as Jessica shot her a deadly glare. “But you realize how this looks to us right now. And if you continue to keep us out of the loop, we’ll be forced to wonder…speculate…and it wouldn’t be very good for the organization if it looks like we’re abusing our own, now would it?”

“I’m sure the director would understand the circumstances,” Sunny added helpfully. Her unspoken my uncle lay heavily in the air between them.

Youngmin closed his eyes and rubbed his temples. “Very well.” He looked up again, meeting Jessica’s sharp gaze. “Agent Jung is currently under investigation for bugging our Seoul headquarters.”

What—” Jessica was already halfway out of her seat when she felt a tug at her elbow.

“Unnie,” Krystal said softly, eyes sad. “Please don’t.”

“So there’s evidence?” Sunny prodded as Jessica huffed and sat back down.

“Security camera footage,” Youngmin answered. “I’ve been…trying to get answers from her for the past several days.”

Sunny hadn’t thought it possible, but Krystal’s grip on her sister’s chair tightened even more.

“Well, you won’t get any,” Jessica told him icily, crossing her arms. “How do you even know if the footage is real?”

Krystal coughed, uncomfortable. But she sat up a bit straighter. “It’s me, unnie. I’ve seen it. I don’t know how, but…it’s me on film. Every frame.”

Jessica raised an eyebrow. “Then they’ve got a hacker who’s better than most, with a side job of doctoring tapes. Is that all, Senior Agent?”

Youngmin frowned. “I detained her when she was sneaking into this building, most likely to plant bugs here as well.”

Tiffany turned to look at Krystal, placing a gentle hand on the younger girl’s shoulder. “You snuck in too?”

“I noticed that Irene-sshi was following me,” Krystal replied tiredly, as if she’d given this explanation many times before. “I recognized her from my previous visits here, so I thought something was weird. And the only way to get answers in this situation would be to not ask questions; instead, I should find them for myself, right?”

Jessica reached out to lightly stroke Krystal’s hair. “Hey, next time, ask unnie, okay? We would’ve made it out today if Sunny hadn’t gone and walked through the front door.”

“And who’s idea was that in the first place?” Sunny muttered.

“Show me the footage,” Jessica demanded. “I’ll figure out how it was faked.”

Youngmin raised his eyebrows. “Forgive me if I remain skeptical about your…objectivity, Jessica-sshi.”

Tiffany was impressed that Jessica managed to keep from rolling her eyes. Instead, the tech’s glare intensified: defiant, challenging. “Alright, then get someone else to do it. They’ll find the same thing I will, except ten times slower.”

Youngmin blinked, as if he’d been physically struck in the face by Jessica’s words. “That is a risk we’ll have to take.” He stood up. “Until then, Agent Jung will have to stay here.”

“No,” Jessica said, with a calmness that usually preceded a storm. Or perhaps a Category 5 hurricane. “She’s coming back to Seoul with us. Take her off duty or whatever, but she’s not staying here one second longer.”

Sunny noted a glint of something in Youngmin’s eyes—uncertainty? Uneasiness? Fear? She was starting to get a better idea of what it would be like to sit in an interrogation room with Jessica.

The thought was unsettling, to say the least.

Youngmin leaned back slightly, as if the minuscule extra distance he had created would give him all the protection he needed. “Very well. I’ll make arrangements with the director.”

Jessica nodded.

“Thank you,” Tiffany added, for politeness’s sake. The four stood and turned towards the door.

“In any other circumstance,” they heard Youngmin mutter, “I’d be thanking every higher power in existence that Jung Jessica is on our side.”

The corner of Jessica’s lip quirked upward. She threw an arm around her sister’s shoulder as they stepped into the hallway. “Come on, Soojung. Let’s go home.”

Taeyeon strode out of her office, ready to get away from work after another frustrating day with no real leads. Besides uncovering the fact that In Nosung—the mint worker that Sooyoung and Yoona supposedly visited the day before—had been the actual victim of the U.S. embassy bombing, they were really no closer to catching the other mint worker—and apparently the real mastermind behind the bombings—Dae Koyu. Or whatever his real name is.

“I can’t believe we were right there, standing in In Nosung’s apartment, but it was Dae Koyu all along,” Sooyoung had griped after she’d entered the office to announce Seohyun’s latest discovery.

“We drank his tea,” Yoona had added glumly, breaking the dumbstruck silence. “His computer even beeped while we were there. I bet it was really telling him that Yuri-unnie was onto him, or that Sica-unnie was chasing him down, or something. ‘Video call’, my a—”

“No worries, guys,” Hyoyeon had interrupted. “Anyone would’ve done the same. Except me, of course.” Then she’d grinned, quickly adding, “Just kidding!” But while she patted Yoona’s shoulder, she’d mouthed, “not really”, in Yuri’s direction.

The tech then suppressed a chuckle and had assured the two distraught agents that they would catch Dae Koyu soon enough.

That prediction turned out to be rather optimistic, however. Taeyeon had sent Sooyoung and Yoona back to In Nosung’s apartment, of course. But when they’d arrived for the second time, the place was as deserted as it was supposed to be since its real owner was no longer alive. So the agents were left to pass the next several hours rereading files and poring over evidence, hoping to reveal some other sort of lead. Needless to say, Taeyeon was ready for the day to end. They all were, no doubt.

Which was why Taeyeon was surprised to find herself facing something quite the opposite of an empty office. Instead, everyone was huddled around Yuri’s computer. “You guys aren’t going home yet?”

“They found Krystal,” Yuri reported without looking up from her screen.

“What?” Taeyeon rushed forward, going on her tiptoes to peer over Yoona’s shoulder. “Why does no one tell me these things?”

“Our bad,” Sooyoung said absentmindedly. “But anyway, Fany sent over the photos Krystal had been taking before she got kidnapped. By the senior agent, if I may add.”

Taeyeon blinked. “You mean the senior agent, Kim Youngmin? I can’t wait to hear about this one.”

“Later.” Hyoyeon waved a hand. “Right now, someone should be in the middle of telling me what’s in all these pictures.”

“Fany said that Krystal caught Senior Agent Kim’s secretary in a bunch of her photos,” Yuri explained, “which is why she decided to break into our L.A. building and investigate further, and that’s how she got caught. That, and some nonsense evidence implying that she’s planted bugs in our headquarters.”

“Sica and the others got her out now, even if she’s off duty,” Sooyoung continued. “Though they may have had to do some sneaking of their own,” she said quickly, under her breath. Taeyeon just sighed and pinched the bridge of her nose with one hand. Sooyoung smiled brightly at their team leader before changing the subject. “Fany sent the photos just now for us to look at, to see if we can spot anything else odd.”

Taeyeon nodded. “Got it.” She squinted at the screen. “So…the secretary is that woman? With the pink-tipped hair?”

“Yup…” Yoona trailed off. “Wait a minute. Sooyoung-unnie, look.” She pointed at a face, ignoring Yuri’s protests to not touch the screen.

“Woah.” Sooyoung frowned. “That’s In Nosung. The fake one, I mean. As in, Dae Koyu. Which isn’t his real name anyway, but you get the point.”

“He’s here too.” Taeyeon gestured at another photo. “And here…here.”

“In every single one,” Yuri murmured. “What a creep.”

Yoona snapped her fingers. “On the coffee table, that day we went to interview Nosung-sshi. I saw a plane ticket from Los Angeles.” She winced. “I distracted him by asking for tea so I could take a better look, but I really didn’t think it was that important.”

“So he’d just gotten back from stalking Krystal or whatever.” Taeyeon grinned. “It’s alright, Yoong. What’s important is that now we’re one step closer to getting him. Good work, team.”

Yuri picked up her phone. “I’ll let Sica know they can probably get on the next plane back. Dae Koyu’s here on this side of the ocean now, wherever that is.”

“Great. We can have them back sometime tomorrow, and this case can finally get somewhere.” Taeyeon clapped her hands together. “Alright, everyone, go home, or I’ll kick you out myself.” She turned to raise her eyebrows at Yuri. “You too. If you really want to keep working, do it where I can’t see. As in, not here.”

“You got it, Taeng.” Yuri saluted. “Shutting off the computer now.”

Taeyeon glanced at the clock. “Okay then. I’m off to pick up maknae.” She frowned when her phone chimed.

“Director?” Sooyoung asked, recognizing the tone.

“Yeah.” Taeyeon groaned, reading the message. “I have to meet with him right now. Great. Why did those three have to go off and do illegal things? I could be home within the hour if they hadn’t.”

“Why did Senior Agent Kim have to do illegal things?” Hyoyeon reminded her. “I’d think kidnapping is much higher on the list than breaking and entering. And technically, Sica didn’t even break anything, so they only entered. So really, you should use this meeting to ask for a raise as compensation for going to said meeting.”

“Right.” Taeyeon rolled her eyes in mock exasperation. “Why don’t you try that and let me know how it works.”

“Will do.” Hyoyeon gave her a thumbs-up.

“I’ll pick up Seohyun then,” Sooyoung offered. “You know how she gets if she’s not on time. Hyo, let’s go.”

“And wear your seatbelts, unnies,” Yoona called after the two.

“Really, Yoong?” Hyoyeon yelled over her shoulder. “One maknae is enough!”

Taeyeon exhaled after the office had quieted down again. “Alright, time to get chewed out. If I’m still alive after this, I’m going to throttle those three when they get off the plane. And then hug them for getting Krystal back. And then throttle them again.”

“No worries, Taeng.” Yuri patted the other’s head. “I’ll take a look at the plane ticket info, and with any luck I’ll be able to track down Dae Koyu. Then the director will have more to be happy about than anything else.”

Taeyeon sighed. “Yeah. Here’s hoping.”

…The head moves
On the carpet the body shifts
And turns over the warm spot
     At the slipping feet of the animal
It’s that they’re waiting

For what will come: the shock.