She must have fallen asleep. Taeyeon opens one eye then the other with reluctance, yawning and stretching. A tilt of her head emphasises the strain in her neck. Darn it. It’s going to bother her all day. Raising her wrist, Taeyeon checks her watch for the time. It’s nine in the morning. Like always. Her body seems to have tuned to this time. It’s all very strange.
As she lies on her bed, she tries listening for sounds outside her room (or cell, which is what it feels like at the moment) but all is quiet. Is she the only one who has woken up? Where is everyone? Her stomach growls and she pats it, another thought coming to mind. Does the budget include breakfast in this place?
Yoona sifts through the bag of clothes delivered to her late last night after a thoroughly insufficient dinner. She is glad to see the clothes she likes most, sitting atop the stacks. It is a consolation to have some of her belongings after being captured and chucked into this depressing place. Deciding on a black tank top and pants, she changes into them before stepping out of her room.
There are several doors on both sides of the corridor. When they were led down the corridor yesterday, Yoona had counted sixteen doors and wondered what they would find behind them. Sixteen. How many of them are occupied? Who occupies them? Taeyeon and Summer are two doors down either way, Sunny is to her right and Yuri to her left. What about the rest?
She knocks on Yuri’s door. Yuri is her go to person for long chats whenever she is troubled or bored. Right now, it’s more of the former.
“Yoong?” Yuri opens the door, rubbing her eyes.
Yoona enters the room without invitation, not needing one. She sits on the only chair and folds her arms while Yuri plops down on the bed. “Still tired?”
“I didn’t sleep well last night. The bed’s too hard,” Yuri complains with a pout. “Did you sleep okay?”
“Yeah, it was okay for me. But I’m worried, Yuri.”
“The thing we have to steal.”
“Don’t you think something’s wrong?”
“Of course there’s something wrong. We’re stealing from a multi-national company.”
“I’m not talking about that.”
Yuri frowns. “Then what?”
“S.N.S.D., I’m not sure about this secret organization.”
“You don’t think they’re legit?”
“That’s one problem. But the bigger issue is the fact that we have no way of knowing if they’ll keep their word.”
“You’re worried about the jail threat?”
“What if they’re still gonna throw us in jail after we steal the chip for them?”
Yuri is silent for a beat. “Are you suggesting we escape before the job is done?”
Yoona meets Yuri’s eyes and gives her a subtle nod.
“We’ll have to talk about this,” says Yuri. “All of us.”
A bell rings, interrupting their talk, followed by an announcement telling them breakfast is served.
Yoona nods again, feeling better after talking it out with Yuri. “We’ll find some time to talk about this later. It’s breakfast time.”
Yuri chuckles. “Of course, food comes first.”
Yoona grins. “Food is life.”
Ushered into a room downstairs, all five of them gasp when the solid gates on the other side of the room slide open.
“Is this their idea of a joke?” Yuri exclaims upon seeing the web of laser sensor beams draped across their path to the other door.
“More like an insult,” Sunny says as she folds her arms. “We’re not rats in a lab.”
Summer tries to open the door they entered through. It doesn’t budge. “They got us trapped. It’s forward or nothing.”
“It’s not that dense.” Yuri shrugs. “We can get through this.”
“Guys, I’m not that flexible,” says Taeyeon. “Is there another way around this?”
“We could disarm the thing but it’s more complicated and we don’t know where the system is,” Summer replies.
Suddenly, the girls find themselves staring at the number sixty flashing on a large board at the other end. It changes to fifty-nine, then fifty-eight and the girls understand that time is running out.
“Shit,” says Taeyeon. “What do we do now?”
“Move fast,” Yuri replies as she lifts a slender leg between two laser sensor beams.
Sunny follows suit and so does Summer, leaving Yoona and Taeyeon standing at the starting line. Sunny gets past a couple of beams and stands in a tight spot between four beams. “Come on. Follow our path.
Yoona turns to Taeyeon. “I’ll go after you.”
Hesitant but left without much choice, Taeyeon lifts her leg gingerly and bends to squeeze her body between the beams. She manages to get through the first couple of beam webs but the seconds are ticking away and the stress of going faster is slowing her down. She can’t give up though, so she ploughs on, following Sunny’s direction as quickly as she can.
Five . . . four . . . three . . . two . . . one . . . zero.
Alarm sirens go off in deafening volumes and the girls wince as they cover their ears with their hands. Doors, front and back, slam open and in pour armed figures in black and grey, nuzzles pointing at them.
“Hands behind your head. Now!” barks one of the masked gunmen.
Taeyeon can recognize the husky voice however. It is definitely Tiffany behind the mask. The rest must be the other agents they were introduced to yesterday.
“Squat down!” another agent orders.
As she does as told, the eyes of Sunny catch her attention. Those gleaming eyes seem to be suggesting something . . . a wink. Something’s definitely up. She looks to her left and right. Yuri and Yoona are squatting too. So she squats for now.
“Heads down!” Tiffany barks.
Taeyeon lowers her head but keeps her eyes on the roving feet of the agents. There are also Sunny, Summer, Yuri, and Yoona’s feet. She keeps them in view.
Knowing that to be Sunny’s voice, Taeyeon ducks, throwing herself flat on the floor and rolls towards her friends. She looks up just in time to see Sunny’s elegant foot smacking the agent’s gun holding hand but much to her dismay, the agent catches the foot and twists it, forcing Sunny to flip onto her stomach to avoid the pain. Alarmed, Taeyeon rolls over and throws both feet at the agent’s face, forcing the agent to back up and thereby releasing Sunny’s foot.
On the other side, Yoona and Yuri are tag teaming another agent, dodging the nuzzle and getting behind it to avoid being shot. Unfortunately, the other agents are quick on their feet and soon, each girl has a nuzzle to their head and their hands up in surrender.
The agents cuff them and sit them on the floor before removing their masks. Taeyeon recognizes them now. Tiffany, Seo, Hyo, Amber and . . . who is the last one?
“A fair attempt,” Tiffany says with an unreadable expression. “But you girls are just rookies when it comes to organized violence. Get up. We’ll take you to breakfast then training starts for real.”
Not a single one of them voices any complaints as the agents help them up and march them to the next room where their breakfast awaits. Taeyeon looks at the bread and cereal placed on the long table and knows that this isn’t going to be enough for the two hungry giants they have in their group. But after going through a defeat like the one they just went through, maybe they won’t have much of an appetite anymore.
A few minutes in, however, Yoona empties her plate and holds it up. “Do you have more bread?” she asks.
Taeyeon chuckles under her breath. She was wrong after all.
After breakfast, they are led back to the room with the drop-down projector. Seated in a straight row of five, they face the two agents who are standing near the wall. Tiffany and Hyo. The other three are missing. Tiffany steps forward, hands on her hips, the furrow in her brows meaning nothing but business.
“Let’s discuss what you did wrong this morning.”