Part 57: Lead: Key Fob
[BGM: Pensive Moments]
So, at first blush, you could be forgiven for thinking this is an impossible puzzle to solve- and if you're playing this game yourself, this definitely can be a bit of a speed bump. But this puzzle is solvable the moment you get to this letter, and that's because we already have the solution within our grasp... you just have to go on a bit of a hunt for it.
Specifically, to a previous letter.
Say... the one from Update 16? For those who don't want to click through, I'll instead post the relevant image here now:
It's a little hard to see, but there's a string of numbers and equations that've been hastily doodled in the corner of the letter here. Chang never acknowledges them at all during the letter, which is meant to be a hint to the fact he wasn't the one to write that... because it's been a seeded solution for this letter 40 updates in the future.
Those of you in the thread did discover this, but stopped at assuming the first number was the solution, but if we try it, we get the same outcome. That's not enough to get us the solution, we need to also pay attention to the other stuff he said in the letter- specifically, that it seems like the correct passcode changes on a regular basis. Looking at the equations, there's seven passcodes in total, which makes it most likely a code that changes daily on an automatic cycle (it'd waste a lot of time to manually change the code daily), and we know from Chang's thinking that Min-Jun prefers calendars that start on Monday, not Sunday- which means the first passcode would be Monday's. From there, we have to determine how many days it has been- we know he was killed on Wednesday, and it's been three days since his death, which means the passcode for today is...
[BGM: The Darkness]
Beep. I heard an electric beeping.
Before I could figure out where the beeping had come from, the body mirror in the middle of the living room wall suddenly rotated by itself!
It revealed a long and narrow tunnel behind it.
I climbed into the tunnel and took a sharp right turn.
At the end of the tunnel there was a long and narrow room hidden between two walls, barely wider than the tunnel itself.
I entered the narrow space and was surrounded by stainless steel walls. It was lit by several daylight bulbs, which somehow gave the room a feeling of holiness.
There were all kinds of hooks and shelves attached to the steel walls, while numerous firearms and grenades were placed upon them.
There were a dozen AWMs, even RPGs.
It was indeed an arsenal.
Now I understood why Officer Min-Jun would always tell me that he would lend me a grenade. He hadn't been joking.
Since I was the one in possession of the fob, I assumed that no one in Unit 3 had found this place yet.
Maybe there might be some clues in here.
Most of the guns were covered with a little bit of dust, but the floor, on the other hand, seemed unusually clean.
I kept walking back and forth in the room.
I sat down, crouched down, even lay down, which is when I finally saw it.
Next to the wall opposite of the door, there was a small wooden table, on which there were all kinds of firearm cleaning and maintenance tools.
One of the table legs next to the wall seemed to have a slightly darker tip than the others.
It looked like it had been covered with something dirty.
I turned on the flashlight and pointed it at the table leg.
It wasn't just something dirty. It was blood.
I could also see two small seams in the table leg where the bloodstain was.
I reached out with my hand and touched the seams. The middle part between the seams suddenly sprang open!
It was a secret slot, with something inside of it.
I took the item out of the slot. It was a recorder, and it was still recording.
I pressed the stop button first, and then pressed play.
Voices came out of the speaker.
One was the familiar voice of Officer Min-Jun.
When are you going to stop bothering me?
You think you could just hide from me by not coming to the station?
It was another familiar voice.
My eyes opened wider. I stared at the recorder in my hand and I couldn't believe my ears.
Although it wasn't as loud and clear as it had usually been, there was no way I would have mistaken that voice.
The second voice belonged to the lieutenant of Unit 3, Kim Jeong-Ho.
I have done enough for you. Everything is over now. I'll resign and go back to my hometown next week.
You want to go home? Hahaha... Don't be ridiculous. Did you forget about your dirty little secret? Illegal possession of weapons is one thing, but being a murderer is another. You don't need me to tell you how many years you'll be spending in jail for manslaughter, do you?
C-0795... Are you going to blackmail me with that my entire life? You think I'm going to just let you do that? I have done so much dirty work for you, and you think I never kept my own evidence?
Haha. Are you talking about this?
You! How did you get that?! How did you know where I hid them?!
Did you really think I wouldn't know about your little tricks? I have my men tailing you 24-7. After all, you're just a pawn in my hands, and I couldn't just let you wander around as you wished now, could I? Hahahaha! You want to threaten me with just some tapes? You are so naïve.
Even without those tapes, I still have other ways. You have conspired with Joo Min-Gyu and told me to murder Choi Yo-Han's son during a mission, just to instigate a war between Choi and Lieutenant Kang, so that you and Joo could benefit from their losses. If I leaked this information to the Musun Gang, I can guarantee that those people who are against Joo would want to take you out. And they don't need too much sound evidence. Oh, and speaking of Lieutenant Kang, if he ever learned about what you have done, he would never let you get away. I don't care if I will be sent to prison or not anymore. I want my conscience back, and I swear I will take you down with me!
Well, that's really unfortunate. You weren't like this a few years ago when I first sent you into Unit 4. Back then, you were just a coward who didn't even dare to look me in the eyes when you were talking to me. I guess you've grown these past few years with Kang Baek-Ya. What a shame. I will really miss you, kid, since I'll never see you again.
As long as you let me go home, I swear I will never tell anything to anyone else. I will have nothing to do with any of this anymore.
I do believe that you won't tell anyone. I am very confident about that, because... dead men tell no tales.
[BGM: Whispered Feeling]
Then, I heard the sound of silenced gunfire, the sound of a body falling down, and a weak and brief groan.
Neither voice said anything else.
All I could hear was the sound of a door being opened and closed, as well as something being dragged through the floor.
Those must be the sounds of Kim Jeong-Ho cleaning up the crime scene and taking Officer Min-Jun's body away.
After that, the recording kept going for a long time, but there was no more sound at all.
Officer Min-Jun must have started the recording via a remote control, but he was never able to stop it.
I pressed the stop button again and stared at the dark red mark on the table leg.
I could almost see how he struggled to paint the table leg with his own blood in the final moments of his life, while avoiding being seen by Kim Jeong-Ho...
I opened my clenched fist, and I gave him a salute.
And now the events of archivist Chang's letter have finally clicked into place. The file that Min-Jun would steal if given the opportunity, the case that has no electronic copy- almost intentionally so- and Kim's anger upon the case file being stolen, too. Much to think about...
[BGM: Lost Memories]
[BGM: Friend of Mine]
The nightly roll call had just ended.
All of the gates were locked.
It had finally quietened down and the guards had left.
I pulled a chair up to the bottom bunk and sat in front of Hotaru with a smile on my face.
I... I need to ask you a favor.
Hotaru and I had been in the same cell for over two months.
We were still not friends who would chat with each other.
So he had to be a little surprised at what I had just said. I figured that even if he didn't want to respond, he would be curious at what I wanted.
I'd like to play a card game with you.
The whole thing began about a month ago.
Ye had come to visit me in prison and warned me to get out of here as soon as I could.
A prison break sure sounded cool to me, but it was an incredibly difficult task.
Then I was caught by Pi while trying to hide the tools.
I had no choice but to tell him everything. To my surprise, he offered to join me.
Sigh... what kind of luck did I have?
I used to watch a movie with Ren about a prison break.
In the movie the prisoner had been secretly digging a hole in his cell for years, until he finally managed to escape on a stormy night.
Would I have to do this for years, too?
Besides, this was not something that would get easier with more people involved.
We even lived in different cells.
Someone was bound to grow suspicious about him and I talking to each other during every yard time.
Therefore, to succeed, the first thing I needed to do was to get Pi in the same cell as me.
While Hotaru was a greedy, conniving and disgusting weasel of a man, he had his own weaknesses.
Rather, there was something about him that I could exploit.
Hotaru loved card games, and he was a great player.
He played with the other inmates a lot, sometimes with wagers of over 5 figures.
He had won a lot of money in here with his special skills.
Nevertheless, many people were still willing to play with him.
For one single reason------
He never bet any money himself. Instead, he only bet favors.
If Hotaru lost, he would do one favor for the winner, as long as it was within his power.
Hotaru got along really well with all the guards.
He had no trouble smuggling in some contraband, or getting some privileges for someone.
Even the guards enjoyed playing a hand or two with him every once in a while.
It was always a sweet deal for Hotaru.
And so it was time for me to ask him for a favor.
If I could win, there was no doubt that he would agree to switch cells.
I didn't have to worry about him being suspicious of my intentions, or reporting it to the guards.
Hotaru's only good quality was that he would always hold up his end of the deal.
The only problem was that it would not be easy to win.
I had never played poker when I was in Mexico. After coming to Hong Kong I had only played a couple of times, when Ren would teach me.
Besides, I didn't have any money to gamble with.
This wasn't my idea. It was Pi's.
Pi agreed to lend me a lot of cash. He had even blackmailed some of the inmates to help train me.
Soon, everybody seemed to think of me as Pi's sidekick, and they began to show me more respect.
A month had gone by and I was finally feeling a little confident.
Win or lose, it all depended on tonight.
I took out ten 1000 Hong Kong dollar bills, and counted them in front of Hotaru.
He was ready to lie down, but I saw his eyes glisten.
He sat back up and crossed his legs.
Fine... Let's have a quick game then.
The rules were simple.
Both sides drew 4 cards from the pile after shuffling.
The players then exchanged one card with the other.
Whoever had the hand that added up closest to 21 wins the hand.
An ace's value could be either 1 or 11, while jacks, queens, and kings all counted as 10.
If both players had the same sum, the hand was a tie and they drew a new hand.
The one whose hand was closer to 21 wins half of the opponent's bet and the game continues.
If the winner had a hand of exactly 21, he wins half of the opponent's stake, and the game ends.
Both players should put down the same bet at the beginning.
And whoever had more winnings wins the whole game.
While the rules made the game sound like it could go on forever, it usually ended quickly as there were numerous combinations that added up to 21.
Still, I didn't expect for him to play Blackjack with me, since it relied a little more on pure luck than skill.
Then again, I wasn't so sure if that was a good thing for me or not...
I stared at my cards, thought long and hard with my heart pounding in my chest, and decided to keep these cards ----
And I gave Hotaru this card ----
Ah... I wish I had this card in my hand ----
I took the card from Hotaru. It was an ace!
Why would he give away an ace?
Hotaru slammed his cards on the bed.
8, ace, ace, ace.
Hotaru grabbed the 5 bills, stuffed them in with his other winnings and went to sleep.
Only one game.
I was still sitting in my chair, stunned at my unbelievably bad luck.
Would Pi's plan really work?
Was there any other way?