Chapter 35: < Protect – Episode 34 – Jina Davis  >
Ahn Soo Ho wasn’t in a rush. In the current situation, it wasn’t about the truth behind the kidnapping incident, but how that could benefit him. It was difficult to see Deep Breath as kidnappers, but no matter what great mercenaries they were, going against a military with government support was like running into a fire.
“There has to be a story behind it.”
Even if they were not the CIA if one trusted what the Yankees would say they would regret it a lot. Lying was a basic skill that all agents need. Everyone in this field was liars. It was a place where people compete to see who could bluff the best.
He felt the air change as he became distant from the Andes. Just like Africa, the border surveillance in South America was so laid back that the natives weren’t even sure what their nationality was. It was almost as if they were stateless. Not all countries had resident registration systems like Korea.
The reason why human trafficking was so common in Africa, South America, and India, was because even if someone goes missing, no one could find them. If one would think about it, selling people was the most profitable business. The issue was whether or not it was legal. If entertainment and porn were legal, laws regarding prostitution differed by country, and any such acts with minors were crimes no matter what.
As Ahn Soo Ho passed the Paraguay border that connected to Bolivia, his phone rang.
“What is it?”
“Operation Third Eye.”
“The assassination program?”
“Langley stayed quiet about it, but many prevention methods were performed against political maneuvering, sabotage, terror, assassination, etc. of the Central and South American leaders. But they underestimated their opponents.”
The leaders of Central and South America were aware that there would be retaliation so they prepared accordingly. It was not just the States that specializes in bribery and using weaknesses to get what they want. There were many Americans who were born and raised in the States but didn’t support the country. They were always ready to switch sides as long as there was something in it for them.
Even the report of the States’ vocational ethics and government discipline that was released last year made the Americans shocked. That was because half of the police officers, firefighters, charity workers, and union workers said they would take bribes if they wouldn’t be exposed. They also didn’t think to accommodate for successful CEOs and politicians with great influence.
“Just like how Russia threw around a lot of money for bribes, the States is no joke either. If you look at the numbers, they might actually be worse than Russia.”
Foreign countries have to go through the trouble of getting US dollars, but not for the States. They didn’t have to since their currency was the US dollar. Above all, since it was legal to use lobbyists, using high-rank officials and politicians to invest in the community was a legal way of bribing people.
“As long as you have the election money, the States’ council is pretty easy to control. Of course, contributions from a foreigner is illegal, but there are many ways out of it.”
The public didn’t know this, but it was not just the States that contributes to the States’ election. And every time they talk about reforming the law, there was only one reason why the Democrats and Republicans strongly oppose. Once they got to the origin of the funds, they were met with an interest group.
“Since the number of fallen soldiers and agents due to the rescue mission are in the three digits, the National Assembly can’t dodge it. The Davis administration will be met with a very big crisis once they’re established.”
In the States, if a problem occurred, someone had to take the responsibility. As strong as the supervisor’s authority was, so was their responsibility.
“Don’t you think someone in the National Assembly hopes for the rescue mission to fail?”
“Because they want to be the star of the hearing?”
“Politics is a monster.”
Politics was a monster. Actually, only monsters could do well in politics.
“But if they know the details of a military mission…”
“It’s either the upper house or the lower house.”
“Are you thinking it’s more than one person, Soo Ho?”
“I’d like to ask you the opposite question. Would only one person be able to spill this kind of information?”
He didn’t answer, but his deep moan meant he agreed.
“Can you cover the assembly?”
“Yeah… but it’ll cost a lot.”
“Get started on it.”
This was the States’ power battle taking place in South America. After ending his call, Ahn Soo Ho looked out the window. The endless forest of trees looked very uncomfortable today.
Even now, someone was probably being used and thrown away because of a man in power. They would treat them as if they were valued but then throw them away once they were all used up. The guys in Deep Breath once used to be patriots, but they turned into mercenaries chasing money.
In the battlefield where lives were at stake, gender, age, and race didn’t matter. The weapon in a person’s hand and their comrades were everything. If a person would die, their comrade with him would die as well, The trust between comrades were decided based on skill.
“Who will point them out?”
Those who were unaware of that hideosity would forever saw the world as beautiful. He arrived in the area near the Brazil-Argentina-Paraguay border right before sundown. If a person took one step from Ciudad del Este that person was in Brazil already.
The true colors of this so-called city of pleasures would show at night. Prostitutes filled the streets, and when a fight broke out, people responded as if it was a boxing match. It was not just dangerous at night, but governmental authority was non-existent.
Ahn Soo Ho went into a night club. Someone came to greet him. His arm was covered in tattoos that symbolized a gang. In order to be a key member of a gang that preyed on tourists, one would have to be ready to kill a member of an opposing gang.
The street gangs of South America were well-built and were much more violent than those of Korea. Using guns was basic, and if they step it up a notch, one could see rockets flying everywhere in a real war. The new president didn’t mention the crimes and wars as a metaphor, because in order to weed out criminals, he had to use so much force that it would be comparable to war. They were always in the middle of a civil war.
The ghost of del Este, Carlos Costa was a gentleman dressed in a clean suit.
“I heard you’re on sabbatical.”
“How far have the rumors spread?”
Ahn Soo Ho never went around telling people he was on sabbatical, but most people knew.
“Everyone’s keeping an eye on you, Soo Ho.”
“It’s not good to be the center of attention in a place like this.”
“You’ll have many challengers. But you probably don’t care who that is.”
“I want to avoid unnecessary conflict.”
If one would consider his evil reputation, that was a rational response. But Carlos thought Ahn Soo Ho’s reputation had been reduced quite a bit.
“The angel of death.”
Before he knew it, his name was accompanied with words such as “blood,” “death,” “destroy,” and demolition,” so cartels and gangs avoided him. A guardian angel for one person was an angel of death for another.
“Do you know that the States pointed you out as the one behind the kidnapping, Carlos?”
“The ones after the reward money will be on your tail.”
“I dare them. They’ll find out why I’m known as the ghost of del Este.”
Ciudad del Este was a territory reigned by Carlos Costa. As long as the States doesn’t siege warfare, this place would be impenetrable, and even the president of Paraguay had to receive Carlos’ permission to leave after a visit. The influence of the criminal organizations wasn’t so different from that of governmental authority.
“I’m sure you didn’t come here to just chat… Did you accept the job?”
“Yeah. But it’s more complicated than I thought. Do you know anything that can help, my friend?”
“Hm. According to the PCC guys, there are rumors that it was Brazil’s self-fabricated scenario.”
“Self-fabricated? What will they get out of that?”
The kidnapping incident made Brazil’s state credit go down.
“Have you ever seen a corrupt public official worrying about their country? It’s all a poker game. There’s a field that grows the more Brazil and Argentina gets dangerous.”
“Apparently, the top one percent battle about how skilled their guards are.”
Just like trophy wives, trophy guards were on the rise, and private military companies were becoming more active.
“The Brazilian government probably can’t bear it. If they want public order they have to expand their police force, but since half of the police are corrupted, funds that are given to those corrupt policemen will just end up in their pockets. But if they just leave it the gangs will multiply and lead to a war. The place that arrived in such a crisis…”
It wasn’t just Brazil, but also Argentina, Columbia, Venezuela, and Bolivia who were interested in the civilian police business. It was a plan to trust mercenaries to establish public order in a place flooding with violent crimes. They trusted that international mercenaries wouldn’t fool around with their funds.
Ahn Soo Ho smirked.
“They’re leaving a cat with a fish shop.”
“How would office workers know anything about mercenaries? Anyway, there are many politicians who were won over by Aragon.”
Organized corruption that went after rights was hard to get rid of without a widespread situation. The problem was that insisting on justice to a government like that could lead to getting killed. Not even the president could magically dodge a bullet.
“From their point of view, it’s better for the kidnapped to be killed in a cruel manner.”
“Deep Breath might have sunken to a new low, but they don’t kill innocent civilians.”
“You’re right. That’s why Aragon signed a contract with Deep Breath.”
“They signed a contract? What does that mean?”
“Think about it, Soo Ho. No matter how skilled Deep Breath is, will they be able to beat the top special forces of the States?”
“There are many variables in an open battle. The U.S. military isn’t invincible.”
“Yeah, they’re not. But about that Cill and Delta. Not even the Deep Breath grandfather could beat active soldiers.”
Countless movies and dramas glamorized and exaggerated it a bit, but the States’ special forces were very scary in real life as well.
“I’m sure the States wants to cover up their embarrassing failures. Aragon is looking for that crack. To them the best scenario is to make sure no one survives at the end of their battle with the States’ special forces.”
The States’ who was probably getting fed up with their multiple failures would give everything they had in a final confrontation.
“If you keep a foot on both sides, get information, and use them, you’ll lose both sides. That’s a dangerous plan… If the States finds out, Aragon won’t be safe.”
“That’s why we need a lobbyist. Once the National Assembly hearing begins, the White House will burn to the ground. You know that. The truth isn’t important. It’s all about face.”
That was true. The Pentagon could bury the full story regarding the mission with the excuse of protecting their status and authority.
“How much of this should I believe, Carlos?”
“If you don’t believe me, call him.”
Ahn Soo Ho took out his phone.
“Oh, Soo Ho! You finally called.”
“Is the U.S. military starting a new mission?”
“Yeah. I was against it, but the higher-ups pressured us.”
James sounded like he had more to say, but he hung up and typed in another number. His business with Carlos Costa ended. Ahn Soo Ho handed him a note with his bitcoin account and password and walked outside.
It was ringing, but no one was picking up. Instead of heading toward the entrance, he took the lift to the top floor. He saw a door to the roof as soon as he exits the emergency exit. The handle wouldn’t turn, so he kicked the door open. A view of Ciudad del Este unfolded in front of him. He didn’t hang up the phone and waited. The phone had been ringing for 2 minutes but the other line was still not picking up, so Ahn Soo Ho decided to hang up the phone.
“Hm. This isn’t good.”
He tried to refrain from armed intervention.
“This is getting tiring.”
In an instant, Ahn Soo Ho’s body disappeared with the light.
< Protect – Episode 34 – Jina Davis  The end.