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110 The Defectors 2

Jongil returned in pride with Kim Ilkwon's company three days after he left Baku. The family of Kim Ilkwon's fiancé all looked so thin out of poverty, that all of their new clothes were too baggy for them. They were at least looking like that after having been eaten well on the train for the past week. Even though they were not prisoners, they had suffered hunger and poverty for a long time in North Korea. Luckily, there were more rooms in the lodging where Kim Ilkwon's family was staying, so until a new house for them was built, the new family could share the lodging. "Youngho, we need to educate them before they go into society. They're just so naïve and have no idea how things work in here. They'd be ripped off by people if we don't teach them well." Shaking his head, Jongil continued, "They had been so blindfolded, they had been serving KIm Il Sung and Kim Jong Il as their gods. It's just extreme. I don't understand why the dictator father and son made them such fools. They have no self-driven willingness. You know on the way here, they would not even start eating on their own unless I told them to do so." "Well, they'll change now that they're starting to open their eyes toward the world. We need to teach them little by little like kindergarteners. At least they have pure, untouched souls. I want to teach them, so that they can be our future resources too." "I know about the naïve aspect but I don't know about their characters. They can be bitter and evil because of their hard lives. We might have a better chance with children but I don't think we can expect much from adults." Jongil had many shocking moments while he was traveling with the North Korean defectors on the way to Baku. They had only been living a passive life, only acting upon receiving orders, so they had a hard time making their own decisions. Those awful dictators only made poor and unwilling people out of them. Only some people on top lived wealthy and the rest of the common people were only blindfolded and exploited by the high class. Only some people who heard about the outside world dared to escape the nation to seek for better lives. People who could not even dare to think about escaping, lived on in the country only to survive, believing everyone in the world lived like themselves. Youngho was helping them because they were related to Kim Ilkwon, but talking with Jongil, he realized how naïve he had been thinking to save North Korean defectors and make jobs for them in the storage warehouse complex in Vladivostok without any specific plans. Even if he helped them settle down, if they did not understand the free market economy and get used to living in the free world, they would live unhappy lives henceforth. They might rather be in North Korea under the dictatorship. His idea to create a workplace town for North Korean defectors was only good for people who already have learned to live in the free world. If they settled down immediately after escaping North Korea, they would never be able to get used to their new life, and they would not appreciate Youngho's favor since they were used to receiving their share from the government. Instead of thinking that they earned their payment and supplies, they would think that they were receiving the distributed supply and money from the authorities as they used to in North Korea. Then, it would be impossible for them to learn about the free market economy. Realizing about the bitter fate, Youngho decided to be satisfied with only helping Ilkwon's family for now. *** Insoo's wife, Sunghee, gave a birth to a sweet little baby girl. The whole farm was excited for the new life on the farm. She was the first newborn on the Zeynep Farm, and the second would be Jongil's child. Youngho was swelled to see the new change of the farm. He was reminded of the beginning days of the farm. He had planted grapes in the empty waste highland and made a farm out of it and then now, there was a new life in the farm. It was such a dramatic change of the farm. There had been births of new lambs on the farm but that was no comparison to this. Other than the baby products that had been prepared, the farm family bought new stuff for the baby to use when she gets bigger. On hard ground, they planned to plant grass, so that the child would not get hurt even if she falls, and they even decided to make playground facility on the farm. The oak cask factory technicians made a cradle out of oak and gave it to Insoo's couple as a gift. Insoo's parents were a little bit disappointed because they wanted a boy as many old Korean generations would do but they were joyous to see their first grandchild born in a foreign country. After the baby's birth, a new trend took over the people on the farm. Since Baku did not have rules against smoking, people could smoke anywhere in the city of Baku. Workers of the farm were also spotted smoking all around the farm but after the baby was born, Youngho claimed the farm a smoke-free working zone. It seemed unfair for many but since he reinforced the policy by giving rewards to employees who quit smoking, workers started quitting smoking on the farm. Fatima and Zeynep almost lived in Insoo's house now to help out Sunghee. Naturally, they were in charge of bathing the baby and adults did not have to do the difficult jobs. Sangchun's mother looked at Fatima taking care of the baby and made a comment. "It's time for her. When an unmarried girl starts to like babies like that, it means that she wants to have a baby. Youngho, why don't you take her already? I'll take care of your baby." "Mother, she needs to finish her studies." "Is there a rule in here that college students can't get married until they graduate from school?" "No, not at all." "Phew. Hey, why the wait? If you miss the time, you might never have the chance again." "Well, I already talked with her. We'll think about that when she becomes a senior." "Okay, that's better. I'm just saying because I've never seen a girl who likes a baby that much like her." Now, Youngho was not embarrassed talking about getting married since he was officially dating Fatima. The other day, he had gone to sleep late and he was still asleep after 9 AM in the morning. Even though Fatima came to wake him up, he still did not move, so she started tickling him. Tickling was a weak spot for Youngho, and while he tried to stop her by force, they were on top of each other's body on his bed. Youngho could not stop his desire towards her and held her tight. He did not lose his composure, but for a moment, he was driven by his strong desire. Fatima was surprised by his short but strong kiss. Embarrassed, she did not come near his bedroom in the morning time ever since then. *** Youngho was back in Frankfurt for the CIA's monthly meeting. When he landed in the airport, the person who came out to greet Youngho was not Michael, it was Eriksson whom he met in Sweden. He was startled to see him but he reckoned that there must be a reason that Michael had sent him. "It's been long, Mr. Eriksson." As Youngho recognized him at once, Eriksson gladly asked for a handshake. "Mr. Lee, did I surprise you?" "I was but I thought that there must be a good reason for this." "Wow, I thought you'd be upset to see me in an unexpected situation." "No, not at all." "Actually, I've been bothering Chief Michael for the past few days, just so that I could meet you again." "…" Youngho was more surprised by the fact that Eriksson had spent days to convince Michael to see him. Since the information agency would not waste their valuable resource and time for nothing, he could guess that Eriksson's appearance must be a huge deal. They went to a quiet café from the airport. They started out with having a daily conversation. "Every time I come to Frankfurt, I don't feel the business even though this is a pretty huge city." "That must be because of Germans' character. They look quiet from the outside but they're hiding such passion on the inside." "To think about it, you're speaking the truth. Whenever I see you Mr. Lee, you're very much like German people." "Well, I have to agree with you. In a Korean expression, I have a few serpents living inside me." "Hahaha..." Although Eriksson was laughing lightly, Youngho could catch tension in his face. It seemed that he could not cut to the chase, so he decided to bring up the reason for his unexpected visit. "Mr. Eriksson, let's cut to the chase. Can you tell me why you are here? I reckoned that you're here to request something directly to me." "You've seen me right. Our organization usually uses satellites and electronic information and sometimes buyout people from other organizations, but…" Eriksson was reluctant to say fearing that he was exposing too much of his organization. "I'll forget about our conversation today. Agents like me also get trained to do so." "Thank you for being thoughtful. After tomorrow's meeting, I'd like you to come with me to go somewhere. Of course, I'll pay you for what you deserve." "Wait a minute. We, agents, are instructed to report our destinations whenever we go somewhere. I don't think my organization would allow me to do that." Youngho knew that Eriksson had already talked with Michael in advance but he only refused to find out about the destination. "I already got Michael's permission for this." "Then, what would you do if I refuse to come with you?" "Your chief said that you'd never refuse." Michael considered Youngho as an agent who likes to work directly in the field. However, he was wrong. Youngho only worked hard since it was a job given to him. It seemed that Eriksson was going to a somewhat dangerous place with Youngho. He needed him as a bodyguard and perhaps for other purposes as well. "If you tell me where we are going, I'll come with you." "I knew you'd say yes. I needed a person to guard me, so I requested for you." "I thought you have your own guards from your agency." "They can't be compared to your strength, Mr. Lee. Also, we'd be an easy target if I moved with many guards." It sounded like a dangerous job since Eriksson was mentioning being a target. He needed a person to move swiftly alone with him. After the monthly meeting was completed, Michael waved at Youngho to talk privately in his room. "Did you hear already?" Youngho knew exactly what he was talking about even though he was not giving much information. "Why, me? Isn't our job just giving them information?" "A high ranker from the information agency politely requested this, so I had to take the job. Also, I thought that you'd be the perfect person who could deal with this. You'll make a great impression in their organization for this job. Lee, I trust you from the bottom of my heart. Aren't we on the same boat anyway?" Michael talked smoothly saying that he trusted Youngho but in fact, Youngho was picking up his mess. However, Youngho could not hate him for that since Michael had faith in him. In his heart, he also had a desire to take the challenge and to ensure his position in the information agency. He was even getting paid by the information agency and he knew that this was a huge deal. Also, Michael was sending him for another reason. Through this job, Youngho could bring information or connection that would be helpful to the CIA. Since information agent, Eriksson, was taking a risk, this must be related to the world economy. Youngho wondered if this was also related to Korea's economy.