The Supreme Echelon [Postponed Indefinitely] by Foxrain
Summary:

The Supreme Echelon, when all else fails, they don't.

A story of brotherhood and friendship put to the test in a tangled web of lies and conspiracies, will it make them, or break them?
Categories: Korean Entertainment Characters: 2PM: Nichkhun, 2PM: Taecyeon, Co-Ed: Nuri, SHINee: Jonghyun, SHINee: Minho
Genres: Action/Adventure
Story Type: Multi-Chaptered
Warnings: Violence, Vulgar Language
Challenges: None
Series: None
Chapters: 9 Completed: No Word count: 11185 Read: 16243 Published: Oct 09, 2010 Updated: Feb 12, 2011
Story Notes:
The celebrities' names/images are merely borrowed and do not represent who the celebrities are in real life. No offense is intended towards them, their families or friends. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. No money is being made from this fictional work. No copyright infringement is intended.

1. Prologue by Foxrain

2. Chapter 1- The Supreme Echelon Origins: Kim Jonghyun by Foxrain

3. Chapter 2- The Supreme Echelon Origins: Nuri by Foxrain

4. Chapter 3- The Supreme Echelon Origins: Nichkhun Buck Horvejkul by Foxrain

5. Chapter 4- The Supreme Echelon Origins: Choi Minho by Foxrain

6. Chapter 5- The Supreme Echelon Origins: Ok Taecyeon by Foxrain

7. Chapter 6- Squad Beginnings by Foxrain

8. Chapter 7- Disruptive Assistance by Foxrain

9. Chapter 8- Sought After by Foxrain

Prologue by Foxrain
Author's Notes:
Watch the trailer:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nHe3frEzgNU

Ths fanfiction will also feature Nuri from the new kpop group, COED.


Prologue

“Keep searching! We can’t lose him!” Torch lights shone everywhere, behind counters, in-between shelves, and finally, in a dark stairway. Down a flight of stairs, a man wearing matching black coat and pants, in addition to a bloodied white shirt was leaning against a wall, semi-conscious, on a puddle of blood that one would suspect came from him.

“There he is! GUYS! Oh my god oh my god. Man, you’re gonna be just fine! Don’t go dying on me now! CALL THE PARAMEDICS!” Frantic sounds of four men, mainly the man known as Jonghyun echoed through the walls of the hollow stairway.

A fellow squad-mate is dying. This couldn’t be right! We were trained! We were the best among the best!

Another man, whom the squad called Nuri, took off his own coat hastily and used it to provide cushion for his dying squad mate’s head as he was lowered to the floor. The team’s medic, Khun, unbuttoned the blood-soaked white shirt of the man now lying down on the floor, spotted a gaping bullet hole in his chest, and-a stab wound on his stomach. He took off his coat and tried his best to put pressure onto those two separate wounds.

This is not good. This is not good at all. He’s not gonna make it. But you must make it! We are you, you are us, we are a part of each other, this can’t be happening!

“Minho, wake up. Open your eyes, look at me dude. Hell no this is happening. What about the Australian trip we said we’re gonna go together after all this is over? The five of us together!”

The man pacing back and forth was Taec Yeon. He felt like getting out of the dark stairway. Perhaps, this would be another dream. He couldn’t comprehend what was happening. As a Supreme Echelon leader, he felt terribly guilty for the person dying was Minho, and not him.

I should have known he would act on impulse. Why didn’t I stop him?! I’m sorry, I’m sorry. Please, hang on a little while brother. Help is coming.
End Notes:
The following origins story after the prologue will be written in order of appearance in the prologue. Would love to hear from you! :)
Chapter 1- The Supreme Echelon Origins: Kim Jonghyun by Foxrain
Author's Notes:
The origins of Kim Jonghyun.


The Supreme Echelon Origins : Kim Jonghyun

“You’re fired.”

“Come again Mr. Kang?”

“Read my lips: YOU-ARE-FIRED.”

“Wha-at? I just started! I’ve never ever in my entire life been in a live fire fight before! My dad’s an Echelon! He will kill me if I don’t make it! My grandfather was an Echelon too! He will come back from the dead just to pull me down with him! Please Mr. Kang! What did I do wrong? I can totally change! TOTALLY! Please let me stay, I know that I am not the best rookie ever, I---”

“Enough Mr. Kim. Here’s your letter. You don’t have to come tomorrow, or the day after it. Your father has been a good friend of mine. Please send my regards to him.”
_______

That’s Mr. Kim. Kim Jonghyun. Currently one of the top operatives in The Echelon. A proud member of THE Supreme Echelon, an elite squad of highly trained, or in this case, highly experienced young men.

And so he was fired, from The Echelon, his files stamped as ‘FIRED due to bad conduct’ and archived in a discreet location in the Echelon headquarters.
_______

What am I gonna do now? I can’t go home. Dad is gonna strangle me! Mom would be so disappointed!

Just then, an expensive looking black sedan pulled over by the sidewalk and pulled Jonghyun into the car. Jonghyun struggled, but his captivators seemed to be much stronger. His screams were muffled by their hands as they closed the car door.

“What the hell?! Who are you? Look, I’m not a rich kid, you kidnapped the wrong person! I--- Mr. Kang? What is this? A conspiracy to make me pee my pants or something? Just when I thought that today can’t get any worse. Hey, look, I just got kidnapped by my boss----this is ridiculous!”

“Mr. Kim, I only got a while to spare, so listen. Technically, you are no longer a member of The Echelon, BUT, you are still an Echelon, it’s just that you will be working solely under me, you are to report to me and only me. You have been chosen for this highly confidential mission, because I believe in you! Your exceptional skills in hand-to-hand and melee combat can almost guarantee your survival in this mission. It’s a dog eat dog world out there, so we need the best of the best.”

“Almost? You mean I might die in this?! I don’t even know what my mission is! What do you mean by ‘the best of the best’? There are plenty of senior agents, why me?”

“The main point here is that you are new. You are chosen not just because of your skills and bravery, but because of your anonymity among the dealers and bosses in Korea’s black market. You will start off as a rookie in one of Korea’s most prominent gang, The White Dragons. Your goal is to make it to the top of The White Dragons hierarchy, preferably, a trusted assistant of our most wanted black market boss, Cho Tae-Hyun. You are to provide information and help the Echelon create a solid ground to charge Cho Tae-Hyun and his accomplices to immobilize The White Dragons operations once and for all. I’ll be honest, it won’t be easy, but I can assure you, once you complete the mission, you will not only become an Echelon again, your rank will be raised to become one of The Echelon’s honorary operatives, akin to a legend.”

“And if I fail, I get the honour of having my name engraved to a tombstone. Big deal. What makes you think I would do this?”

“You have no choice. Take it or leave it. This is the only way for you to reopen your file, the only way for you to become an Echelon again. Do I have your agreement? Or you can get out of this car and show the letter to your father.”

A moment of silence soon ensued.

“All right, I’ll take it, either way I have to go down and see my grandfather. When can I start?”

“Immediately, according to my sources, they are having a recruitment session in a club nearby, I’ll drop you off, and you shall never mention me, or the organisation to them, do you hear me? . . ...
_______

In a cheap motel in a seedy area in Korea,
“It’s been three years boss! Three freaking long years! Do you have any idea what I’ve been going through? I’ve been kicked, punched, slashed, you name it. I’m sick and tired of this! I can’t see my family, my mother, my father, my sister, everyone in the world thinks I’m a thug, a useless son! I almost died the other day! Cho Tae-Hyun almost sniffed me out! Why the heck am I doing this?!”

“Mr. Kim, I think we are really close to solving the case, now, what you have to do is to regain Cho Tae-Hyun’s trust again, don’t give up, I have faith in you boy. Think about your family, when this is all over, you can see them again.”
_______

“Mr. Kim, I think the information that you have brought us today is the final piece of the puzzle, I can’t confirm it yet, so you keep your cover, as soon as The Echelon nabs Cho Tae-Hyun and his accomplices, which will include you, I will personally see to it that you are freed and you will regain your post as an Echelon. Five years of hard work Jonghyun, good job. You are going to be a free man soon.”
_______

Finally, it’s over. I’m a free man now, is it even worth it? According to Mr. Kang, I am now a part of a new elite unit called The Supreme Echelon, what is it? Who will be the members? I’m lost. My sense of self-worth is lost. The Supreme Echelon will just be another fancy name like The White Dragons where I work my butt off. So what if I’m like a legend, it’s the stares, the whispers from my so-called colleagues that I can’t bear.

“I heard he was an undercover. He must be pretty good at stealing info huh?”
“He can’t be trusted, you can never trust an undercover. Who knows what kind of dirty work he did in the gang?”
“He might even be a mole for Cho Tae-Hyun, for all you know.”

The Supreme Echelon, is it as good as it sounds?
End Notes:
Next up: Nuri's origins.
Chapter 2- The Supreme Echelon Origins: Nuri by Foxrain
Author's Notes:
The tragic tale of Kang In-oh.


The Supreme Echelon Origins: Nuri

Extending his hand, Minho greeted Nuri cheerfully. “Hi! You must be Nuri. I’m Choi Minho. Just call me Minho. It says here in your portfolio that you are a highly skilled expert in rifle marksmanship, earning the ‘expert’ title in just three years of training and also highly qualified to be a sniper! Impressive!”

Hiding his bewilderment as to how Minho got the data, Nuri questioned, “How did you know so much about me?”

“Oh, I’m sorry, I haven’t properly introduced myself yet, I’m assigned to be the Supreme Echelon’s technology specialist, so naturally, I get to safe-keep any Supreme Echelon related data plus unlimited excess to The Echelon’s database and network. I got the info about you from the database, look.” Turning his laptop to face Nuri, Minho added, “It also states here that your name is just Nuri. There might be a glitch in the system, tell me your full name, I’ll update your portfolio.”

“It’s Nuri.”

“No, I mean your full name.”

“It’s just Nuri.”

“That’s it?”
_______

At a high school located in Ulsan, a 15-year old boy sprinted alongside other runners on a running track framing the lush, green soccer field of the school, while being spurred on by his ever supportive friends.

“KANG IN-OH! KANG IN-OH! KANG IN-OH! Yes!!!! He won the sprint!!!”

Beaming happily on the podium, Kang In-oh received his 3rd gold medal in his school’s annual sporting event for the year.

I can’t wait to go home. Mum and dad would be so proud of me!

The boy named Kang In-oh literally skipped happily home after school, greeting every single neighbour he met on his way home, ignoring the scorching afternoon heat, all the while thinking how to break the good news to his family.

Do I fake a sad face or just tell them the truth? Ah, I can’t wait!

Kang In-oh saw his house just around the corner, and tried hard to hide his smile, he decided to pretend that he lost the event. He arrived at the front gate of his house and proceeded to open the front door. It was locked from the inside. He called out to his mother, but no one came to open the door. He knocked, shouted, called, and even kicked the door, but to his frustration, no one came. He walked around the house and spotted an open window, and climbed into the kitchen. It was empty.

“I’m home! Mum! Dad! Inyong! Injung! Where are you?” Now frantic, Kang In-oh rushed upstairs, and to his horror, he saw his sister Injung hanging from the ceiling, her whole body drenched in a viscous red liquid, blood. He rushed to his parent’s room and saw his mother lying face down on the floor, and his father in bed, both drowned in their own blood, Kang In-oh could not bear the smell and sight and threw up on the floor. His only hope to find anyone alive is Inyong, his 13 year old brother. He rushed into his brother’s room, only to find it empty. He yelled for Inyong, “Inyong! Inyong! Where are you!” Suddenly, he heard a soft grumble coming from the toilet. He opened the toilet door to find Inyong lying down on the floor, bloodied, just like the others, the only difference is that Inyong was still conscious and alive, a glimmer of hope for In-oh.

“Inyong! I’m here, I’ll call the ambulance! Wait here!” Just then, Inyong grabbed In-oh’s arm, and breathed, “They did it, they, they...shot at us...” Shocked, In-oh stammered, “Who are they Inyong? Who did this? Talk to me! Inyong!” Before Inyong could reply, he breathed his last breath. Kang In-oh was lost for words, he was thrown down from cloud nine into the deepest of hell in just a few moments. He lost his whole family.

He ran out of the house and told his neighbour about the grotesque scene he saw in his house, and went back sitting on the doorsteps of his house. He was so shocked that he couldn’t cry. He felt that he should, but the tears wouldn’t come. What he saw was too much for a naive 15-year old. Mrs. Park next door accompanied him on the doorsteps until the police came. The police took Kang In-oh to the police station. They took down his statement and released him after finding no evidence of him being a suspect in the murder of his family, although they found it quite strange that a young boy who just lost his whole family could stay so calm.

The story about the murdered family made headlines on all major newspapers and news programmes in Korea. All mentioned that the only surviving member was Kang In-oh. Everywhere he went, Kang In-oh received sympathising words and condolences from his teachers, his friends and the public who saw the news. “Kang In-oh is the only survivor, poor boy,” they would say. Kang In-oh this, Kang In-oh that, Kang In-oh felt sick and tired of being labelled as ‘the boy whose family was murdered’ wherever he went.

A certain Mr. Kang, a senior middle-aged Echelon operative, approached Kang In-oh who was walking from school back to Mrs. Park’s house, a temporary home for him until the semester ends. Mr. Kang uttered an invite for In-oh to have lunch with him,
“Why don’t I drive you to the fast food restaurant there for lunch, we could talk, my treat.”

“Who are you?”

“You can just call me Mr. Kang.” Mr. Kang handed what looks like a business card to In-oh.

“Why do you want to talk to me?”

“Just follow me and we’ll talk.”

In-oh hesitates for awhile but gave in as he couldn’t care less who takes him where, anyway he wouldn’t have a family to go home to.

At lunch, Mr. Kang invited In-oh to train under The Echelon over a cheeseburger and fries.

“Where will I stay?”

“You can stay at the dorm for trainees in Seoul near The Echelon headquarters. Of course all the trainees will be older than you but I think you’ll fit in just fine. How about that?”

“What am I training for?”

“You are training to be an Echelon, boy.”

“All right, but I have a request, I would like to change my name.”

“What for? Kang In-oh, that’s a nice name.”

“That’s a name that I never want to hear again. When my family died, Kang In-oh died too. You have no idea how much I hate being In-oh, how much I hate being a Kang even. Everyone is so sympathetic, everyone says that they understand what I’m going through, everything that they say is bullshit! Have they ever lost their entire family in one day?! No! Kang In-oh just reminds me of the day I won three gold medals just to find my family dead! Please Mr. Kang, I don’t wanna move to Seoul just to be reminded of that day over and over again. Please, let me move on.”

Mr. Kang, surprised by the request from the young teenager, amazed not by the request to change his name, but by the request to let him move on, smiled, “Are you sure? Do you want to keep the Kang in your name, Nuri? You are still a Kang no matter what you know.”

“I’m sure, I just want to be a Kang on the inside. What did you call me? Nuri? What does it mean?”

“Nuri literally means ‘world’. You yourself have to give meaning to it, what does the world mean to you?”
_______

“Yes. And that’s all you should know.” With that, Nuri left.
End Notes:
Reviews are loved :)

Up next: Nichkhun's origin
Chapter 3- The Supreme Echelon Origins: Nichkhun Buck Horvejkul by Foxrain
Author's Notes:
Glossary:
KIA- Killed in action
MIA- Missing in action
chopper- a helicopter
bird- slang word for helicopter

Chapter cameo: Choi Siwon and Chansung


“Team Bravo, come in. Over.”

The was silence, except for the sound of crackling fire eating up the plastic tent that team Bravo had worked under just moments ago.

“I repeat, team Bravo, come in. Over.”

A few metres away from the radio, a man named Nichkhun, fondly known as Khun was struggling to get back on his feet. He managed to do so albeit clumsily, and kneeled in front of now on the ground radio receiver.

Nichkhun huffed into the receiver, “Team Bravo, copy.”

“Identify and report position, over.”

“Roger that. Codename, Gecko. Golf-Echo-Charlie-Kilo-Oscar. Team Bravo’s assigned combat medic reporting. We were ambushed by unknown enemy squads in black choppers. Heavy gunfire rained down on us, we were overwhelmed.”

“Requesting Team Bravo’s commander to report immediately, over.”

Nichkhun looks around and realizes that amidst the injured squad members, the team commander, fellow Echelon operative Choi Siwon was nowhere to be found.

“Negative. I don’t know where he went.”

“Team commander presumed KIA. Remain in your position, we will send a bird to pick you up. Over.”

Choi Siwon was Nichkhun best friend, they went to the same high school together, courted pretty girls together and joined the Echelon together. While Nichkhun received combat medical training in addition to the regular training, Choi Siwon chose to receive in-depth tactical training in the Echelon. Even so, they remained steadfast friends.

Nichkhun was not going to leave Choi Siwon behind.

Nichkhun, flared up by the Echelon headquarters decision to leave Choi Siwon, countered the person at the other end of the line, “What?! KIA? As far as I know, a missing operative can only be tagged as MIA, and if you have not realized already, I implanted a tracking device on Choi Siwon’s uniform, tune in to the signal and send a chopper to pick us up 200 metres southwest from the enemy’s camp by 0300 hours, or you can choose to lose us, Gecko, out.”

“Gecko! Do you hear me! Retain position!”

Nichkhun ignored the noise from the radio. He proceeded to check out all the injured squad members before getting their reassurance that they will be fine waiting for the Echelon’s chopper to come. He hastily equipped himself with a sniper rifle, a silencer-equipped pistol and a backpack containing a first aid kit. He was getting ready to walk to the location shown on his GPS tracker in the wilderness, he knew where the enemy’s camp was, he just didn’t know who they were, before a fellow operative stopped him in his tracks.

“Khun, let me go too.”

“Chansung, no, you stay here with the others. It will be better if I go alone. There’s no way I’m gonna go in guns blazing, there’s too many of them. I’m going to go stealth all the way and hopefully gets out with Siwon undetected. Besides, I’m not gonna get you in trouble with the Echelon.”

“It doesn’t matter. Choi Siwon is MY commander too you know. Co-op is always better than single. I’ll grab my things.”
_______

Nichkhun and Chansung successfully infiltrated the enemy’s camp. They managed to stay in the shadows most of the time, and avoided detection by the enemy’s operatives. Chansung, took position on a tree with a sniper rifle and managed to snipe out a few operatives who happened to stumble across his line of sight. Meanwhile Nichkhun, crawled around and finally followed an enemy’s officer who was going into the tent where they were holding Siwon. He held his breath outside the tent and tried to listen in on what they were saying. What he heard were Siwon’s muffled groans as they tortured him. And bits and pieces of whatever they were saying.

“...knows.....much......operative......lose him....”

Nichkhun waited outside until all of the officers left the tent and slipped into the tent and found Siwon, tied to a chair, battered, and unconscious with blood trickling down from his forehead.

An officer who left the tent before remembered his forgotten keys and turned back to retrieve them from the tent.

Nichkhun who was busy cutting the ropes that bounded Siwon heard footsteps, froze, and realized that the dimly lit tent had nothing but a chair with Siwon on it and a table, worst still, the only way out was the way in. As the footsteps neared the tent, Nichkhun leaned himself against the wall of the tent near the entrance and was prepared to put a bullet into anyone’s head that happened to pass through the entrance.

As the man stepped into the tent, Nichkhun pointed and pressed the killing end of a silenced pistol to that man’s head.

“God! Khun! It’s me!” The man turned out to be Chansung. Nichkhun immediately kept his pistol away. “What are you doing down here?”

Dragging an unconscious enemy’s operative into the tent, Chansung pointed to the man and answered, “This. I saw him walking back to the tent, if he sees you, he’s going to remotely sound the camp’s alarm, and we’re done for.”

“Thanks Chansung. Now help me move Siwon.” Glancing at his watch Nichkhun added, “It’s gonna be 0300 hours soon, let’s go.”

“Do you think the Echelon will pick us up?”

“I don’t know for sure. Perhaps yes, perhaps no. We gotta try our luck.”

“What if they don’t? What are we going to do?”

“Come on Chansung, we have no time to think about that, get moving.”
_______

200 metres southwest from the enemy’s camp, Nichkhun and Chansung saw an Echelon chopper coming to pick them up.

“Khun! They came back for us.”

Nichkhun said nothing and just smiled.

With the help of an Echelon’s operative, they loaded the injured Siwon into the chopper before climbing into the chopper themselves.
_______

At a hospital in Seoul, Nichkhun paced back and forth in front of the operating theatre. Getting disciplinary action was the least of his worries now. He had sent Chansung downstairs to the hospital’s canteen to buy food.

A doctor came out of the operating theatre and informed Nichkhun that Siwon was going to be placed in a critical care unit for the time being, as he had suffered from a severe blunt force trauma to his head and parts of his brain might be damaged. In other words, Siwon will most likely be in a coma for the rest of his life, even if he recovered, he will lose functions of his body, like being unable to walk, talk, or even think for himself.

Nichkhun could not believe his ears. “But doctor, there’s surely something that you can do right? He, he’s got a family to support!”

“I’m sorry, there’s nothing that I can do.”

As the doctor walked away, Nichkhun felt his knees grow weak and sat down on the bench beside the operating theatre.

Just then, a certain Mr. Kang sat down beside him.

“Don’t be too sad Mr. Horvejkul. Siwon has been a good agent to the Echelon.”

“Mr. Kang? I-“

Just then, Nichkhun remembered what he did, he defied the orders of the Echelon’s headquarters, and immediately stood up and apologized to Mr. Kang. “I’m sorry, Mr. Kang. I know what I did was wrong. But, I just couldn’t leave a good friend behind, he’s like my brother. I am prepared to face any disciplinary actions that will be taken against me.”

“Who said that I was going to penalise you for your actions? What you did was courageous and very honourable. You have the spirit that many Echelons have forgotten, the spirit of brotherhood. Back when I was your age, we had this policy among ourselves called ‘no one gets left behind’. It’s a shame that many of the Echelon agents nowadays have become individualistic in pursuing their own personal goals.”

“But I was too late Mr. Kang. Maybe, if I had acted faster, Siwon would not end up like this.”

“Stop blaming yourself. You did good. I am setting up an elite unit in the Echelon, called The Supreme Echelon, and I need the best agents I can find, and I think I found one today. You. Your courageous act deserves credit and acknowledgement, plus your experience as a combat medic will be a useful addition to the team.”

“But Mr. Kang, Chansung was with me too.”

“It’s undeniable that Chansung is one of the best marksman in the Echelon, however, I have chosen another agent who’s just as good, maybe better. Certainly, I won’t forget what Chansung have done for us and will reward him accordingly. From now on, you are not just an Echelon, but a Supreme Echelon.”
End Notes:
Up next: Minho's origins

Hope you like this chapter :)
Chapter 4- The Supreme Echelon Origins: Choi Minho by Foxrain
Author's Notes:
Watch the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nHe3frEzgNU

It is my first time, so its not that good. Hehe.


In a clean and sleek all white interrogating room in the Echelon headquarters in Seoul, a 17 year old boy with shabby clothes, sat shivering on a chair facing Mr. Kang.
“It’s ok boy, I’m not going to hurt you, you can call me Mr. Kang.”
“I don’t want to go to jail!”
“Don’t worry, I’ll make sure you don’t have to. You just need to answer a few questions. Ok?”
Desperately needed to get out of the room, the boy nodded in agreement.

“Now, let’s start with something simple. What’s your name?”

“Choi Minho.”

“Where do you live?”

“Under a bridge.”
_______

As the rain poured down heavily, a 12 year old boy sat shivering on a sidewalk opposite a cyber cafe. Hungry and cold, the hot porridge a middle-aged man was eating across the street looked more tempting than ever. Under the pouring rain, the boy ran across the street and sat beside the man. The boy looked at the porridge in the polystyrene bowl being scooped up by a plastic spoon, and then the plastic spoon being put into the man’s mouth. After a few spoons, the man offered the bowl of porridge to the boy, of which the boy received gladly.
“What’s your name boy?”

Not hearing the man’s question, the boy continued eating. The man tapped his shoulders, and repeated the question, this time, in a more serious manner.

“What’s your name?”

Shocked, the boy dropped the bowl of porridge that he was keen on finishing, and stuttered, “Choi Minho.”

“Look what you have done! A good bowl of porridge down the drain. And I thought of enjoying it by myself tonight.”

“I’m so-so-sorry.”

The man chuckled, and asked Minho, “Where are your parents?”

“I don’t know. I have been living on the streets since last year, when my uncle moved out from his house together with his family without me. I have never met my parents.”

“It’s tough surviving by yourself out here. Didn’t the authorities catch you?”

“I ran. I ran every time. I don’t want to live in a children’s home. I don’t want to be adopted.”

“Looks like you stumbled across the right person. Care to join me under the bridge? That’s my shelter. I prefer to call it home though.”
_______

“Then, Choi Minho, have you ever been to school?”

“No. My uncle never cared. The guy under the bridge, uncle Noh, taught me everything.”

“Including your tech skills?”
_______

A month after Minho lived with the man under the bridge, he asked Minho, “Would you like to learn how to use the computer?”

“A computer? I’ve never even touched one! My uncle had one, but it’s only for my cousins. Can you really teach me?”

“Of course. Let’s go to the cyber cafe over there.” The man took out a tin from under his makeshift plank bed, and took out some notes. “Don’t tell anyone that I keep my money here.”

After paying the fees, they chose a computer at a secluded corner, and Mr. Noh explained the basics of an operating system to Minho. It became a routine, whenever they had extra money from the odd jobs they did during the day, they spent it all on food and the cyber cafe. It went on for years. They ran whenever authorities came to catch them, but they always went back to sleeping under the bridge.

As the years progressed, the man stopped teaching Minho directly. He wanted Minho to learn by himself. Minho learned most of his skills from the Internet including hacking. He hacked into various sites, most of the time getting out as quiet as the moment he hacked into them without changing the site or leaving anything malicious behind.

One night, Minho playfully hacked into the Echelon database. An hour later, just as he was getting out of the cyber cafe, a few Echelon operatives caught him and dragged him into a black car. He ended up in an all white room, with a man named Mr. Kang interrogating him.
_______

“Did you know that you were hacking into the Echelon’s system?”

“I---I know. BUT I didn’t do anything to the data!! I just looked through the profiles. I never hacked into the confidential part of the system! Please believe me!!”

Mr. Kang smiled, “You are going to be a valuable asset to the Echelon. You are a prodigy! How would you like it if I let you stay in our dorms and train under the Echelon? I promise you that you can get access to our computers 24 hours a day, plus, you’ll have a steady job as an Echelon after you get out. When you become an Echelon trainee, it is legal to view the Echelon database, thus, we can forget the fact that you hacked into the system, because, by then you will be authorised to view the database. You won’t be charged for cyber crime, no jail, it’s a win-win situation. What do you say?”

“Really? But I can’t just leave uncle Noh! He would worry!”

“Don’t worry, I am sure he that will understand. We can always drop by and check on him from time to time.”

“One more thing.”

“Hmm? What do you need”

“Will there be three meals a day?”

“Of course my son. Not only three, you are going to have 6 piping hot meals a day. You’ll need all the energy that you can get when you start training. We don’t starve our trainees.”

The next day, Mr. Kang drove Minho to his previous shelter, under the bridge, to look for Mr. Noh. When they arrived, nothing was there. Everything had been wiped clean. There were no traces of the things that Mr. Noh and Minho used to keep there.

“Uncle Noh? Uncle Noh!! Where are you?”

Mr. Kang drove Minho around town to look for Mr. Noh. The search ended with disappointment though, as Mr. Noh was nowhere to be found.

“Like I told you before Minho, he will understand why you are gone, he will. Now let’s get you back to the dorm.”
Chapter 5- The Supreme Echelon Origins: Ok Taecyeon by Foxrain
Author's Notes:
Finally! I can dive in the main plot after this!


Sprawled lazily on the white duvet in an expensive hotel in Italy, was Ok Taecyeon. He opened his eyes to the sight of his girlfriend’s back, Im Yoona, busy tapping away on his computer on the white dressing table that complimented the chic decor of the room.

“Yoona? What got you up so early? Hmm?” He went on to hug Yoona from the back, to which Yoona tried to respond to warmly, before turning off the laptop hastily.

“Nothing, I was just reading some news online.” Yoona stood up, turned around and kissed Taecyeon on his forehead before pushing Taecyeon away gently. She gave him a teasing look before dropping the oversized Taecyeon’s shirt she was wearing at her feet and continued to walk seductively into the bathroom.

He traced the movement of Yoona’s hips until she disappeared into the bathroom and put his gaze back to the laptop. He turned on the laptop, and true to Yoona’s words, she was just reading news online. However, Yoona had forgotten to do one thing, she had forgotten to unplug her pen drive from the laptop’s USB port. It stuck out from the computer like a sore thumb. Taecyeon tried to open the folders in the flash drive, but they were all restricted, a password would be of use to open them.

Without Yoona’s knowledge, he took the thumb drive and kept it in his coat pocket. He joined Yoona in the bathroom, brushed his teeth, and put on his pants, a shirt and a tie, before leaving Yoona in the room for the Echelon branch in Italy.

“I’ll be back soon, I promise.” He planted a kiss on Yoona’s lips before stepping out of the room.

“Are you sure you don’t want any breakfast?”

“I’m sure. Don’t worry about me. You get your own breakfast.”

Closing the hotel room door, Taecyeon walked down the hotel’s hallway to a lift at the end.
_______

As Taecyeon stepped out of the lift into the fourth floor of the Echelon office, he greeted all the operatives he met before stepping into the room of Mr. Facinelli, his supervisor.

“Good morning sir.”

“Good morning. Please, have a seat Taec.”

Taecyeon sat down, facing Mr. Facinelli, and handed the pen drive he found to him.

“Sir, I found this. The suspect put a pass code to the pen drive. I couldn’t access it from my laptop, so I brought this here.” Taecyeon looked sullen as he gave the pen drive to his supervisor. “Whatever’s in the drive, I would like to be the first to know.”

“Of course Taec. I hope you know, that this is part and parcel of being an Echelon. The woman you love could be an enemy. Remember the mantra; trust no one but yourself.”
_______

Taecyeon went back to the hotel in the evening, and opened the door to his room to a warm and welcoming Yoona, the sweet scent of the rose petals scattered on the bed, and the sound of romantic music.

“Taecyeon ah! You’re back! I’ve ordered room service. The food will be here soon. Come on, I’ll take your coat off for you.”

Taecyeon did not reciprocate Yoona’s gentleness, instead, threw the pen drive he found in the morning on the bed angrily.

“Tell me, what’s in the flash drive?”

Yoona, surprised by Taecyeon’s sudden change in behaviour, immediately hugged Taecyeon, “What’s wrong baby? You had an argument with your boss again?”

Taecyeon grabbed Yoona by her arms and made her look at him, “WHAT-IS-IN-THE-FLASH-DRIVE?”

Wide-eyed, Yoona replied, “Just, files, you know, documents for my work.”

“WHY are you doing this to me Yoona?” Taecyeon let go of Yoona’s hands before grabbing the pen drive on the bed. He held the pen drive in between his fingers, and stared at Yoona furiously, “You know what the Echelon found in here?”

Yoona’s gaze followed Taecyeon hands, before turning her back to Taecyeon.

Taecyeon continued, “Two months ago, an entire mission failed because it was sabotaged, almost killing all my men. The Echelon found out that a transmission of sensitive data was made from MY laptop to an unknown receiver. I almost got booted out of the Echelon, but Mr. Facinelli stood up for me, and cleared my name. He knew that I would never compromise the safety of my men. I never told you about that. Why? Because I knew that you were the only one who had access to my laptop. Because I refused to believe that it was you. Because I believed we have a future together. Because I loved you.”

Yoona responded to the sudden outburst matter-of-factly, “So, you already knew.”

“I gave you a second chance, but you blew it! Today, they found confidential data about my next mission in the pen drive.”

Just then, Taecyeon’s mobile phone rang in his pocket, he answered the phone just to hear two words, “Kill her.”

“You were stupid and naive.” Yoona pulled out a gun and pointed it to Taecyeon’s head.

He kept his cool, “Before you kill me, who are you working for?”

“I can’t tell you. It’s been a fun ride Taec. Bye love.”

BANG!

The sounds of gunshot and the shattering of the hotel glass window were deafening. Shards of glass flew everywhere and the curtains flew wildly due to the wind rushing in from outside through the gaping hole where the window used to be.

Blood splattered onto Taecyeon’s face as he saw a bloodied Yoona falling on the carpet floor.

Taecyeon, who was still holding on to his phone, pressed it back to his ear to hear Mr. Facinelli’s voice, “Since it’s difficult for you to do it, I had our sniper finish her for you. Some Echelon operatives are being sent to your room before the police arrive. As for you, clean yourself up and get your ass back to the office, NOW.”
_______

As a glum-looking Taecyeon sat facing Mr. Facinelli in his office, Mr. Kang walked in.

“Good to see you Mr. Facinelli!” Mr. Kang shook Mr. Facinelli’s hand briefly, before asking, “I take it that this is the agent you were talking about?”

“Yes, yes Mr. Kang. I’ll leave him to you.” Mr. Kang sat beside Taecyeon after Mr. Facinelli left the room.

“Mr. Ok Taecyeon. I have a deal for you. I’m setting up an elite unit called The Supreme Echelon, based in our home country, Korea. And I would like you to lead it. I know that you have your own squad here, your experience would be beneficial to the new team.”

“I am not the only squad commander here.”

“Yes, but you have always been on the front line in combating our nemesis. Like the one tonight.”

“You knew what happened just now?”

“Yes. Since there’s just the two of us, I’ll be open, I used to love a woman deeply too, until I found out she was working for an enemy’s agency.”

“What happened to her?”

“Just like you, I pretended that I didn’t know it at first, until she got careless. I--”

“What just like me? You knew?”

“Mr. Ok, you remind me so much of myself. From the look of things, you were the one who put her on the table. You made it known to the Echelon that she was the suspect.”

Taecyeon snapped at the sudden accusation, “I DID NOT PUT HER ON THE TABLE! Sure, I suspected it was her, but I never breathed a word about it to anyone. The Echelon found out about it through their own devices!”

“But YOU tried to investigate for yourself, didn’t you? The pen drive, you gave it to the Echelon yourself.”

“It was given to them because I knew they were hot on her heels. I just needed the truth. I hoped it would come from her, but it didn’t. As for the Echelon, I have never seen such drastic action.”

“Exactly what I was saying Mr. Ok. But it doesn’t matter now, she’s dead. And you will be seeing more of those ‘drastic actions’ if you join The Supreme Echelon.”

“I never thought it would come to this.”

“The difference between you and me young man, is, I shot my own lover dead. And you couldn’t do it. Did you love her?”

Before Taecyeon could answer, Mr. Kang ended the conversation by handing an air ticket to Taecyeon, “The flight is 11 o’clock tomorrow morning. I hope to see you reporting to me back in Korea. ”

As Mr. Kang walked out of the room, Taecyeon muttered under his breath, “I did love her.”
_______

As Taecyeon walked towards the departure gate to leave Italy for Korea in Florence Airport, he gave one last look at the picture of him and Yoona together, before crumpling it in his hands and throwing it into the trash bin.
End Notes:
Reviews are loved ♥
Chapter 6- Squad Beginnings by Foxrain
Author's Notes:
Sorry for the long hiatus, I was preparing for my exams, now my exams are over!! Yay! To refresh your memory on their Origins story, here are short summaries on each of their Origins.


Taecyeon went to the Echelon headquarters in Seoul, Korea as soon as he got off the plane from Italy. After asking around as to where Mr. Kang’s office were, he immediately went to Mr. Kang’s office.

“Mr. Kang.”

Looking up from the file he was reading, “Oh, Mr. Ok, you’re here. I was expecting you.”

“Why are you so sure that I’m going to come back to Korea?”

“I just know. Besides, there’s nothing for you there in Italy anymore. Am I right? Im Yoona is dead. No reason for you to stay. Mission accomplished.”

“It wasn’t a mission! It’s- Never mind. It’s over. Stop talking about her. Whatever happened in Italy is enough to last me a lifetime.”

Mr. Kang smiled, “Good for you. Now follow me to the boardroom. I’m going to make an announcement for all the Supreme Echelon members to gather there. You will meet your squad mates soon enough.”
_______

Taecyeon went to the boardroom with Mr. Kang and saw Minho already sitting on one of the chairs in the boardroom.

Minho stood up from his seat and walked towards the door where Taecyeon was standing and extended his hand, “Hi! Nice to meet you. You must be our leader.”

Taecyeon took his hand and gave Minho a smile, “You are...”

“The tech specialist. Choi Minho. I have read all about the Supreme Echelon members on the database. So you can say that I know all of you. But I can’t say the same with the other guys though. By far, I’ve only met Nuri, the cool sniper guy and of course, you.”

Mr. Kang then added to the conversation, “Actually Taec, the other members had never met each other before, today is the first Supreme Echelon meeting. There are certain reasons why I picked them all. They are not your regular Echelons. They have been through a lot. There’s bound to be some, let’s just say, rough edges here and there. I’ll be honest, some of them might have a hard time adjusting with each other. Your job at this initial stage is to smoothen those edges. Minho should be able to help you with that. Right?”

Minho agreed, “Right. No problem. I’ll help Taecyeon with that.”

Jonghyun was the next person to enter the room.

“Hi Mr. Kang.”

“Jonghyun. I want you to meet Ok Taecyeon, your leader and Choi Minho, the Supreme Echelon Tech specialist.”

“Oh, hey guys.” Jonghyun then sat down on one of the chairs.

Jonghyun could not be bothered with all the pleasantries. All the years working as an undercover had weathered Jonghyun. There’s nothing that he had never seen, nothing that he had never heard. He was indeed, like what Mr. Kang said, rough at the edges.

Ignoring the awkward atmosphere, all of them sat down while waiting for the rest to come.

Nichkhun then entered the room and proceeded to introduce himself to all the members and sat down.

The last to come was Nuri who was slinging his sniper rifle over his shoulders, to whom Jonghyun stared at.

“What are you staring at?” Nuri questioned Jonghyun.

Jonghyun then muttered under his breath, “How can someone be so late for a first meeting? Even gangsters are punctual.”

“What exactly is your problem? Do you have any idea how far it is to walk all the way from the Echelon shooting range?” Jonghyun, who was irked by Nuri’s question, stood up from his seat.

Taecyeon immediately stood up and attempted to stop the brewing dispute between Nuri and Jonghyun.

“Guys! We’re in this together. So pull yourselves together and sit down! The both of you!”

Taecyeon’s booming voice of authority managed to silent the two members and also the whole room.

Mr. Kang who was sitting at the head of the conference table chuckled quietly to himself. He was pleased that his choice of a leader was not wrong. Taecyeon proved to be good in handling such a situation, a situation that Mr. Kang expect would reoccur in the future, given the members that he picked.

Jonghyun, was not actually annoyed by Nuri’s delay to the boardroom, he was just staring at Nuri because he felt that Nuri was a tad familiar. He felt that he had seen Nuri somewhere during his 5-year stint as an undercover. But being the rough-and-tumble man that he was, he definitely wasn’t going to explain the real reason behind his prolonged gaze, hence, the complaint.

Nuri went and sat down on one of the seats, opposite Jonghyun.

Mr. Kang then broke the silence of the room, “Alright. I believe that everyone is comfortable and settled now.” Mr Kang directed a quick gaze to Nuri and then to Jonghyun.

“All of you must be wondering the reason behind the setting up of the Supreme Echelon. On the surface, the Supreme Echelon is set up to aid the operations of the Echelon in combating national and international crime. That, is the side of the street that was illuminated under the street lamp. The side where data of the missions that you guys do is documented and is freely available to anyone who had authorized access to the database. The real reason behind the Supreme Echelon is the minor, unlit side of the street. In the shadows.”

Nichkhun commented, “You mean, we’re doing black-ops?”

“Right, but not accurate. Sure, underneath the normal operations that you guys carry out, there will some covert operations that you guys do. But, by all means I can assure you that you will not be doing anything that’s against your conscience, in fact, you will be doing the Echelon, or even the country a favour. Sometimes, it won’t be, strictly speaking, legal though.”

“Perfect.” Jonghyun mumbled.

Nichkhun questioned, “So, what are we looking for?”

“Honestly, I’m not so sure what we are actually looking for. There’s no specific target, yet. There’s been an increase in botched Echelon operations. Although reports stated otherwise, I suspect that they were sabotaged. I think that these failed missions were used to cover up something bigger, but what? It’s up to you to find out. I wish I can do it myself, but I am only one man, and unfortunately, I’m not young anymore.”

Mr. Kang handed each of them a file, “You can start with this. An independent mercenary group named Cerberus was sighted at 3 out of 5 failed Echelon missions. Apparently, Cerberus was there to save our men and was hailed as heroes to some of our men.”

Taecyeon frowned and expressed his opinion, “It can’t be that simple.”

“Exactly. They were members of the Korean police force but decided to resign for what they say, ‘the greater good’. Like Korea’s Batman and Robin. But I doubt that what they are doing is completely legal. However, they had never interfered with any of our operations before and we appreciate that so we kept our noses out of their business. But things have changed. I need you to find out why did they save our men and how did they know that our men were in trouble. Remember, this is a covert operation. The ‘upper’ level of the Echelon would never agree with us trying to investigate Cerberus. Apparently, they said that they want to keep things calm and cool between us. But I suspect that it is not that simple. Right now, I will hand everything to you Taec. You have a big responsibility, not only in ensuring the success of this mission but also, to unite the squad members. Brotherhood is key. Come and see me later Taec, after you have settled down in your apartment, I’ll give you the files, documents and the things that you might need. I’ll leave all of you here. Mingle around, get to know each other better, because I assure you that this won’t be over anytime soon.”

With that, Mr. Kang walked out of the room, leaving the 5 of them together. The staring game soon ensued between Jonghyun and Nuri again, while Nichkhun shook his head to the tension between Jonghyun and Nuri.
End Notes:
Reviews are appreciated :)
Chapter 7- Disruptive Assistance by Foxrain
Introducing Kan, from F.cuz.



_______

Jonghyun walked into a busy casino and spotted a man wearing a hoodie sitting at a poker table, rubbing his two miserable poker chips, the only chips that were left from a night of gambling, in between his fingers.

He walked right up to the back of the man, “Those chips won’t breed even if you keep rubbing them together you know.”

The man turned around to see Jonghyun, standing over him.

Jonghyun then invited the man to a drink, “Wanna drink? My treat.”

“What, alcohol early in the morning? No thanks. What about coffee at the cafe?”

“Wow dude, you’ve changed, Kan. No problem, I guess I needed coffee too.”
_______

Jonghyun took a sip from his morning brew, “I thought you would never quit the Korean police force AND join Cerberus. Isn’t that your dream to go back to becoming a police after The White Dragons? You were an undercover longer than I was.”

“That was what I thought. But, the Korean police force has, rules, rigid systems, I guess The White Dragons stint changed me. I can’t take all those shit anymore, especially after so long, so I joined Cerberus. We lack structure, but we get the job done.” Kan sat back and crossed his legs.

“Do you ever think about the good old days Kan? When we were still undercovers?”

“We may think that it’s the good old days now but hey, let’s face it, it was hell at the time. Me spying for the police force, you for the Echelon, superiors breathing down our necks to get the job done, getting chased by a bunch of guys holding sticks and axes....”

“Oh, I remember that one. We took them for a ride around town didn’t we?” Jonghyun let out a laugh, “And the best thing was, we set fire to the drugs they were carrying, they had to carry their sorry asses back to their boss. I would never forget the face of their gang leader. Hilarious.”

Kan started laughing but awkwardly, their laughter trailed off as quickly as it began.

We both know that those things were not the worst, the worst was when we were facing our own brothers, shot at or chased down by them, Echelons agents for me, the police for Kan. We had to hurt them, to avoid suspicion. It was hell. I had to stab a fellow Echelon agent just because Cho Tae-Hyun was watching me. I’m so sorry. Are you still alive?

“Jonghyun? You seem distracted.”

“Sorry. What were you saying?”

Kan let out a small chuckle, “You are unbelievable Jonghyun. You can just switch off like that? I didn’t say anything.”

“Oh, really? Sorry bout that. Now’s not the time to get nostalgic I guess. So, how’s Cerberus been treating you?”

“Better than the police force I say. Flexible working hours. Small task group, easy to handle.”

“I can see that, living the good life huh? So what was Cerberus doing at an Echelon mission site?”

“So you heard. I knew you didn’t come to just talk about the ‘good old days’ with me. We were saving Echelon’s ass, what else? We just happened to be in the neighbourhood. And I guess someone doesn’t trust you.”

“What?”

Kan took out a small microphone that was stuck on the underside of the table and put it on the table.

“See you later Jonghyun. And next time, I prefer we talk without someone listening in to our conversation.”

Kan got up from his seat and left the cafe, leaving Jonghyun looking at the small mic in between his thumb and index finger.

What the hell?

Enraged, Jonghyun called Taecyeon on his cellphone.

“You have some trust issues don’t you?! I TOLD you that I can handle this myself!
What’s with the mic? Damn it!”

“Just in case if you needed assistance.”

“WHAT ASSISTANCE? I could be getting something from him if it weren’t for YOUR assistance! And he’s my friend!”

Minho chimed in to the conversation, “The mic is the smallest that I can find, I swear. I guess he saw it when the waiter stuck the thing to the table while delivering your coffee.”

Taecyeon then continued, “It’s just standard procedure. Please remember, you are part of a team now. We need to know.”

“I thought this is a ‘secret’ mission. No one is supposed to know we’re on the Cerberus trail, and I was trying to help by being as casual as possible about my meeting with Kan.”

“I know, that’s why we didn’t tie him up and interrogate him. Jonghyun, stay there.”

“What for?”

“We’ll have breakfast together. The whole squad is in the van outside the cafe.”

“You were tracking me too?!” Jonghyun then let out a frustrated outcry audible to those around him, gaining him some unwanted attention, to which he quickly dismissed by putting away his cell phone and drinking his coffee, in an attempt to avoid the curious looks from the cafe’s patrons.
_______

As Jonghyun literally ‘stabbed’ the last piece of omelette on his plate with his knife, “I guess I should have told you I’m meeting him. You are the leader anyway.”

“No, this is not about me, this is about the team, we need to know where you are going.”

I’m the one who needs to know where you’re going. I can’t trust these people; they have way too complex backgrounds. Remember the mantra Taec. Trust no one, but yourself.

“Hey, are you still gonna eat that?” Minho asked Nichkhun about the salad on his plate.

Nichkhun responded, “Huh? You can take it if you want. I say you eat an awful lot for someone your size. Not that it’s a bad thing.”

As Minho took the salad from Nichkhun’s plate, “I used to live on the streets. Food wasn’t an easy thing to get.”

The five members, still strangers to each other then continued eating in silence before dispersing to different locations for their own activities on that Sunday morning.
Chapter 8- Sought After by Foxrain
Author's Notes:
The Supreme Echelon recap:

“You mean, we’re doing black-ops?”

“Honestly, I’m not so sure what we are actually looking for. There’s no specific target, yet. There’s been an increase in botched Echelon operations. Although reports stated otherwise, I suspect that they were sabotaged. I think that these failed missions were used to cover up something bigger, but what? It’s up to you to find out. I wish I can do it myself, but I am only one man, and unfortunately, I’m not young anymore.”

"Right now, I will hand everything to you Taec. You have a big responsibility, not only in ensuring the success of this mission but also, to unite the squad members. Brotherhood is key."

Glossary

Hyungnim - a way to address an older male


"Right now, I will hand everything to you Taec. You have a big responsibility, not only in ensuring the success of this mission but also, to unite the squad members. Brotherhood is key."


In a meeting room especially for the Supreme Echelons, Taecyeon sat casually at the head of the table with the rest of his team members, discussing their next move.

“Cerberus is in Japan as we speak.” Jonghyun said as he was turning his chair, a habit he picked up when he rejoined the Echelon 6 months ago and before he joined the Supreme Echelon 2 weeks ago. Well, those office chairs were made to turn, right? That was exactly what he thought.

Minho leaned forward to the table and asked, “Did Kan tell you what they were doing there?”

“Nope. He just told me they went to Japan. I didn’t ask. Obviously it was for a mission that they didn’t want us or anyone to know. Mercenary groups, they are like that.”

Nuri chimed in, “So, why are we still sitting here? Let’s go to Japan.”
_______
Osaka, Japan

As Jonghyun talked on the phone with Kan, Minho was in front of his laptop trying to get hold of Kan’s location through that single phone call.

“What’s this Kan? I thought you were on a mission. You sound like you’re on a vacation to me.” Jonghyun then chuckled a little and looked at Minho.

Minho then shook his head, an indication for Jonghyun to speak longer so that Minho can pinpoint Kan’s exact location.

Kan replied, “Well, we’re out of Korea right? Consider this a vacation. So, what are you doing in Japan?”

“Oh, I was assigned on a mission too. It’s nothing important, just an observation mission to the Japan branch of the Echelon, boring.”

He looked at Minho again, and this time, Minho nodded and gave Jonghyun a thumbs-up.

“Hey Jonghyun, I gotta go, we’ll meet up for coffee when I’m finished.”

“Sure Kan. Bye.”

Taecyeon asked Minho, “So where’s Kan?”

“He’s in Osaka, he’s, here?”

Minho stood up and looked outside the window of the hotel room they’re in, and he saw Kan, in the building opposite to them, aiming a sniper rifle towards someone on the streets.

“He’s in the building opposite to ours! He’s trying to assassinate someone!”

Jonghyun took a pair of binoculars and looked outside the window, down to the streets, “Shit, we need to find out who’s his target.”

Taecyeon and Nichkhun ran downstairs to the sidewalk, trying to look for the person that Kan was trying to kill. Nuri took out his sniper rifle and placed it on the windowsill, aiming his sniper reticle to the people on the streets, and then at Kan, trying to determine Kan’s target.

After a few frantic seconds, Jonghyun saw someone familiar on the streets, it’s an Echelon informant, more specifically, Mr. Kang’s informant and he immediately assumed that’s Kan’s target.

“Taec! The man with the brown jacket and red tie!! He’s the target!!”

Taec immediately ran to the man and stood in front of him, blocking Kan’s view of the man, much to Kan’s frustration.

The man then tried to walk sideways, but was blocked by Nichkhun.
Taecyeon gave the man a stern look and warned him, “I am the only thing that’s between you and the bullet that’s going to pierce your head. So stay put.”

A big truck then passed by, buying Taecyeon and Nichkhun time to drag that man into the hotel.

Kan yelled in frustration and thrashed his backpack when he realized that the man he was aiming for disappeared from his view.

The man struggled and kept begging Taecyeon and Nichkhun to let him go all the way from the hotel lobby and to their room.

That man resorted to yelling to get other people’s attention, “HELP! I’m mmmmph-”. Nichkhun covered his mouth before he could say anything and smiled to the ladies who saw them.

They released the man only after they reached their room and literally forced the man to sit on the couch. The man then tried to leave the room but froze when he saw Nuri pointing his rifle at him. “You, sit down.” Nuri gestured for the man to sit down on the couch with his rifle.

He immediately put both of his hands up and went back to the couch slowly and gave a nervous chuckle, “See? I’m sitting down. Now, no need to blow my head off for such a small matter right?”

Taecyeon then shook his head to Nuri, some kind of warning for Nuri to which Nuri responded by putting down his rifle.

Minho then put his hand on that man’s shoulder and persuaded him, “Calm down. We’re not gonna hurt you. We’re Echelons.”

“You people? Echelons?! You should have said so earlier!”

“Do you know that someone was trying to kill you just now?”

“What? Why?”

“We were hoping to ask you about it. Who are you?”

Jonghyun then answered for the man, “Han Jaesuk. He’s Mr. Kang’s informant.”

“Oh...I know you, you’re an Echelon now? Heh.”

Jonghyun then asked him, “What brought you to Japan?”

“I’m just running errands for my boss.”

“What kind of errands?”

“I can’t tell you.”

“You need to tell us. We can’t help you if you don’t tell us. Someone is after you and we need to know why.”

“It’s confidential. I really can’t tell you.”

Nuri then stood up and dragged the man to the door, “Then get out.”

“Okay okay okay! I’ll tell you, I’ll tell you! I would like to live longer. Please help me!”

Han Jaesuk then ran back and sat on the couch, this time determined to not get thrown out of the room again.

Nuri gave out a lopsided smile to which Nichkhun smiled back.

Han Jaesuk sighed and said, “I was supposed to deliver a briefcase, to a person. They asked me not to open it, and well, it looked expensive so I opened it and as luck could have it, they crept up on me and saw me opening it. But I ran, and then there were fierce fights, of course I used my outstanding kung fu-” He stood up and punched the air with his fists “-and they fell and I ran like a maniac, and I escaped.”

Jonghyun gave Han Jaesuk a look of amused disdain, “You? Kung fu? Uhuh. So what’s in it? And who were you supposed to hand it to?”

“It was a device of some sort. I didn’t know what I was looking at. But it looked really high tech. Like my story, I didn’t even get close to the person who’s supposed to receive it. I ran.”

Taecyeon queried Han Jaesuk, “So where’s the briefcase now?”

Han Jaesuk answered, “It’s in a safe. In a bank.”

Jonghyun then thought aloud to himself, “Then why did Cerberus wanted to finish him off? It’s not like he knows what that thing is. Hyungnim, is there something else that you know, anything at all?”

“I don’t know. There’s nothing really!”

“Please think harder hyungnim.”

“I really don’t know.”

“Fine, you think about it first, tell us if there’s anything. We need to get you somewhere safe. Just stay with us for now. “

Just right then, the windows shattered and continuous rounds of bullets made their way into the room, sending all six of them on their feet and shooting back with their own handguns while trying to run out of the room and keep the now hysterical Han Jaesuk safe.

Nuri stayed behind with his sniper rifle near the window, alternating between ducking and firing his rifle. He ordered the rest of them to go while he snipes out the enemy one by one. “I’ll buy us time. GO!!”

Taecyeon ran back to the windowsill, “I’ll stay with you Nuri. The rest of you, take Mr. Han elsewhere!!”

The other three obeyed Taecyeon’s order and escaped with Han Jaesuk to the streets.

As Nuri and Taecyeon fired back to their unknown enemies, Nichkhun, Minho, Jonghyun and Han Jaesuk were being chased by a bunch of armed men, sending them into the alleys.

The four of them tried to formulate an escape route as they were running down the alley, while yelling at the people in the alley to get out of their way. Minho then suggested that they separate before those men catch up to them, “Mr. Han! Take off your jacket!!”

Han Jaesuk obeyed and tried to take of his jacket albeit clumsily to which Minho took and exchanged with his blue hoodie. “Wear this Mr. Han!!”

Minho wore Mr. Han’s jacket and ran straight ahead while Nichkhun turned to the left with Han Jaesuk and Jonghyun to the right on the three-forked alleyway.

The men mistook Minho for Han Jaesuk and chased after him, exactly what Minho intended to get those men off Mr. Han’s trail.

Minho ran into a busy morning market and slowed down, took off the jacket and threw it in a dumpster, and tried to blend in with the crowd. He then stopped by a vegetable vendor and pretended to look at the vegetables. The men ran right past him. Minho breathed a sigh of relief and called Nichkhun, “Hey, is Mr. Han ok?”

Nichkhun replied, “Yeah, he’s alright. Taecyeon called, he said they’re alright too. Nuri got a slight scratch, he should be ok. So where do we meet?”

“Let’s go back to the hotel and get our stuffs back. I’m calling the Japan branch of the Echelon to help clean up. Call Jonghyun, will you?”

“Ok.”
_______

All six of them, plus Han Jaesuk, sat around a meeting table in a conference room in the Japan branch of the Echelon, in a teleconference with Mr. Kang.

“Why would Cerberus try to kill Mr. Han? First with a sniper and then with a bunch of men?”, Nichkhun said, directing the question to anybody who could answer.

Jonghyun retorted, “No, those men who were chasing us were not Cerberus. Cerberus is a mercenary group. There’s no organisation behind them, much less a big group. Those men, they were working for someone else.”

Han Jaesuk chimed in, “Whoa, I’m that popular?”

Minho added to the conversation, “Could it be the briefcase? Maybe Cerberus and those men were looking for the briefcase.”

Mr. Kang responded, “If they wanted the briefcase, they wouldn’t kill Mr. Han, if they did kill him, they would never get the briefcase.”

Jonghyun added, “Perhaps, Cerberus wanted to prevent anyone from getting the thing that’s in the bag. And to do that, they have to kill Mr. Han because only he knows where the briefcase is. The other group was trying to get their hands on the briefcase, they were trying to catch Mr. Han, interrogate him. Find out where it is.”

Taecyeon replied, “That, seemed like a plausible theory for now. I’m sure they got a clear shot of Mr. Han, but they didn’t kill him. I guess they needed him. Unlike Cerberus.”

Han Jaesuk waved his hands in the air, “Ermm, hello? You people talk like I’m not here.”

Nuri leaned towards the table, “Take us to the safe.”
End Notes:
Please point out any spelling or grammatical errors if you see them :) Thanks
This story is published on Asian Fan Fiction at http://www.asianfanfiction.com/viewstory.php?sid=852