December 28th, 2015 15:30. NIS Safe House Hospital Room. Seoul.
"Yes, come in."
Maybe it was because of the kinship they had developed after practically living together for a week, but Hye-jin entered the room with a rambunctious greeting, offloading plastic bags from both hands. "Lots of good stuff today. I even got the banana milk you were craving yesterday."
Watching In-jik in agony may have awoken her maternal instincts, as her demeanor towards him changed from an administrative one to that of a sisterly neighbor. As she took out a banana milk and handed it to In-jik, she said, "Here."
Hye-jin sat on the bed and put her hands in and out of her pocket. She watched him drink the banana milk, then curiously prompted In-jik, "Is something wrong?"
After a few awkward minutes passed, Hye-jin made up her mind. She pulled an SD card from her pocket as she started to open up by saying, "Here, take it. It's a video of your parents' and your brother's funeral. There's a video for your friend's funeral, too."
It wasn't until then that In-jik understood why Hye-jin had hesitated.
"Thanks, Hye-jin. Really."
"I'll leave you be now. Watch it when you want to, okay?"
Hye-jin left. She wanted In-jik to be able to cry his heart out in solitude. If it was up to her, she would like to have stayed so she could console him, but she left the room because she thought her presence could make In-jik feel uncomfortable.
When she came out of the room, she ordered the two special agents who infallibly guarded the room to take a quick break. She kept watch herself outside the room. Soon enough, as about ten minutes had passed, the wailing and crying sounds of a sorrowful voice spread from inside the room and filled the air far down the hallway.
* * *
December 28th, 2015 17:30. NIS Safe House Hospital Room. Seoul.
"Hello, is anyone outside?"
Since In-jik hadn't called out once since his arrival here, Hye-jin, who was standing by, was surprised to hear his voice come out of the room. She responded, "Yes! What is it? Do you need something?"
"No. It's not that. I wanted to talk to Manager An, if possible."
"Is that right? Hold on."
Hye-jin took out her smartphone, dialed, and handed In-jik the phone.
"Hello?" Manager An asked.
"This is Kim In-jik."
"Yes, what is it?"
"I've had time to think about the offer. I'll try the work."
"Really? It's a good choice. When I visit on Friday, I'll bring a new identification card, so let's talk then. Rest up and hang tight."
"Okay, got it."
After staring at In-jik's face as he hung up and handed the smartphone back to her, Hye-jin said, "So, that makes me your senior? Be warned. I'm known to be a fearful mentor."
"Really? It doesn't seem like that to me."
"Ask the employees outside what kind of a person I am. They'll probably say I'm scary."
While Hye-jin went out of her way to make jokes to ease In-jik's devastated mind during his saddest moments, she had a feeling that couldn't be distinguished between compassion and love that began to settle in the deepest depths of her mind.
* * *
December 30th, 2015 13:10. NIS Safe House Hospital Room. Seoul.
As the hospital room door opened, a computer and unfamiliar equipment entered the room one after another, followed by Manager An and Hye-jin.
"Hello Kim In-jik! No, from now on, you are Agent Namgoong-won."
After taking out an NIS identification card from a small bag and waving it in In-jik's face, Hye-jin said, "That's right! Agent Namgoong-won. That's your new identity. This is your ID card, smartphone, and this... Wow, are desk agents issued a gun, too?" She found a K5-A1 handgun.
As Manager An hurried to focus on his task, he replied as he sorted through various devices, "With the situation being what it is right now, we have to be careful, so I made a special request to the director."
"Is that right? Hey, Agent Namgoong, have you ever shot a handgun before?"
"I haven't shot one before, but it doesn't look difficult."
"Look at you! Where's all this confidence coming from?"
"I completed the ROK military service, and I served another month in the reserves."
"Really? Let's go to the shooting range sometime. Fulfill a wish. You down?"
"Don't do something you'll regret."
Manager An, who was engrossed in his task, blurted out, "Namgoong-won, Hye-jin is the champion of last year's NIS handgun shootout! She has been for three years in a row."
Hye-jin taunted Namgoong-won as she spun the gun around in circles around him, treating him to a performance of taking the gun apart and putting it back together in less than a minute.
* * *
December 30th, 2015 15:00. NIS Safe House Hospital Room. Seoul.
After he set up his devices, Manager An started to explain the various documents and files he was showing. "As I told you before, you are Namgoong-won from now on. Your personal information is in this document. You absolutely have to learn it."
Hearing that it contained all the information from his birth to the present day, Namgoong-won read the document carefully.
Resident Registration Number: 900507-1******
Age: 25 years old
Address: Hyosung Officetel Unit 910, XXX Jamsil-dong, Songpa-gu, Seoul
Education: Shilla University Political Diplomacy Major
Blood Type: O-positive
Height: 182 cm
Weight: 73 kg
Vision: 1.5(Left) / 1.5(Right)
Personality: Mostly calm, but capable of losing his temper.
Birthplace: Born in Choongnam-do Seocheon. Lost parents at a young age due to a car accident. Spent his youth in Myungsung Orphanage in Daejun...
Realizing that his new age was two years older than his actual age, Namgoong-won looked at Hye-jin after carefully reading the document and asked, "How old are you, Assistant Manager Lee?"
"Look at you! A fledgling like you already asking your mentor her age? Do you want a proper hazing ritual?"
Seeing Hye-jin awkwardly react in half-jest, Namgoong-won asked again in suspicion. "Come on, tell me. Assistant Manager Lee, no, my mentor...how old are you?"
"Hey rookie! The age of an NIS agent is a classified, first-class secret. Especially a woman's ageit's an S-class secret."
Manager An interrupted, "Says a 26-year-old turning 27 in a few days..."
"Manager An! How can you?"
"How's your age such a secret that you can't even tell your colleague?"
Hye-jin rolled up her sleeves, shot lasers of fury from her eyes to Manager An, and expressed violent intentions with her fist to Namgoong-won. She almost fell over foaming at the mouth when she heard Namgoong-won say, "Well then, you're legally the same age as me. Can I call you Hye-jin when we're not in a professional setting?"
"Hey! Namgoong-won, do you have a death wish?"
"I'm just joking. Sorry. Ha, ha."
They met him as Kim In-jik, and he had been gloomy until he changed his name to Namgoong-won. Manager An and Hye-jin looked at each other and smiled after seeing Namgoong-won laugh out loud for the first time.
"These files are NIS documents, so get familiar with them whenever you get a chance. These are devices you'll need to do your work. I'm sure you'll be operational with basic instructions since you're a well-known master in the IT field. An agent will be by later for training, so enjoy. Rest up until the end of the year, and ask Hye-jin if you have any questions, okay?"
"Yes, I got it. Manager An! I'll do my best."
* * *
December 30th, 2015 16:40. Busan International Passenger Terminal, Busan.
After parking his car in the parking lot, the Asian man, who wore the same dark jumper jacket and low beanie as when he entered the country, was heading to the customs and immigration desk at the international passenger terminal.
Another man wearing a black suit spoke into his radio as he saw this. "This is New Year, New Year. The fish is in the net, over."
"Is the fish edible? Over."
"The fish is definitely edible, over."
"Please stand by, over."
"There's not much time, over."
The man in the black suit was tracking the Asian man, maintaining a close proximity to him so he could arrest him at any time.
"This is Nest, Nest. Let the fish go, over."
"This is Black Bird. What's going on? Over."
"This is Nest. Confirm that the fish has safely left the scene, over."
"This is Black Bird. Please confirm again, over."
"This is Nest. Confirm safe departure of the fish, over."
"This is Black Bird. Is it orders from the top? Over."
"This is Nest. Affirmative, over."
The Asian man arrived at the customs and immigrations desk, was asked a few questions, and disappeared behind the automatic doors. Frustrated and wondering why he had stayed awake tracking someone who he was going to let go, the man in the black suit grabbed and threw his headset as he called someone.
"Hey, Ji Dong-chul. You bastard! What the heck is this?"
Assistant Manager Ji Dong-chul from the Counter-terrorism Investigation Unit 2 Team 2 answered the phone in a terrified voice. "It's the Director's orders to just check to see if the terrorist suspect safely left the Busan harbor. Sorry, sir, but did the fish leave?"
"Yes, you punk! He's gone! I can't deal with this crap. I'm hanging up!"
NIS Counter-terrorism Investigation Unit 2 Team 2 Leader Ma Dong-suk stared at the automatic door by the immigration desk, then headed out to the parking lot.
* * *
December 30th, 2015 19:15. Waiting room, Incheon International Airport, Incheon.
A rugged looking foreigner in a black suit was heading down the Incheon Airport highway in a taxi from the Grand Hyatt Hotel.
Another man in a black suit, who had crept up quietly behind him, was Counter-terrorism Investigation Unit 2 Team 1 Leader Cha Tae-sik. Team Leader Cha Tae-sik followed him to Incheon Airport, meticulously watching him until he passed through the departure process. As he saw him leave the immigration desk, he reported through his headset, "This is Yellow Bird. The fish in the river has reached the ocean, over."
"This is Mother Nest. Confirm again that he's reached the ocean, over."
"This is Yellow Bird. It's gone, over."
"This is Mother Nest. Return to base, over."
The two Scorpion agents returned home under the misjudgment that the mission of destroying the hacked documents and assassinating the hacker was a success.