Chapter 15 – Old Steel (5)

Immediately upon exiting out of the Government Office Building, Jaegil explained in detail the accident that his secretary had alerted him about.

Jungwu was shocked to hear that the gutters he had seen this morning had in fact collapsed.

“Could you please come with us? I have an urgent request to make.”

Jungwu frowned, looking troubled.

“Well…”

Jungwu glanced at Boyoung and Gitae who watched with curiosity from afar, then shook his head.

“I am still on the clock, and I am not finished with my other duties.”

“If it causes disturbance or interruption to your duties, I will compensate for the time lost. The Research vehicle just arrived as well.”

Jungwu couldn’t help but be interested in what the man had to say.

“Compensate?”

“I will provide research consultation fee. I am an acquaintance with KG Chemical’s Central Research Laboratory’s Chair, so I am confident that I will be able to get his approval.”

The fact that such a stubborn man changed his attitude in such a short time could only mean that the accident was very serious.

Jungwu wasn’t sure exactly what ‘research consultation’ was, but he guessed that it was like working part time for a bit of extra cash on the side.

‘I am running dangerously low on funds right now. Wait, how much is he paying for consultation fee?’

Jungwu asked Jaegil to wait a moment and walked over to Boyoung. Boyoung’s expression was full of curiosity as she asked

“What were you two talking about?”

“He asked for help.”

“Right now? With what?”

“There was an accident at the Han River Railway, and they want to get my opinion.”

Gitae couldn’t believe his ears.

“J…Jungwu ssi’s opinion?”

The fact that one of the key executives of Yujin Chemical was asking a KG Chemicals’ intern for an opinion in of itself was a major incident. When Gitae looked over and saw Jaegil’s impatient and anxious state, he didn’t have anything else to say. And the fact that Jungwu’s expression showed disinterest made chills crawl up Gitae’s spine.

Jungwu asked Boyoung

“Until when do we need to return?”

“You only need to return by the time your shift ends.”

“Then should I accept his offer? He offered to contact the Central Laboratory on my behalf, and the ride is on the way.”

“Of course you should. Han River Railway is an important structure for KG Chemicals as well. We are supposed to provide assistance with resolving any relevant issues in order for us to continue doing business with Korail next year.”

Boyoung then moved right next to Jungwu as she continued.

“And I need to stick with you in order to chaperone Parachuter ssi.”

“I’m fine. I’m not a three year old.”

“My my, it’s only been 5 days since you’ve been hired. A Sunbae must look after an intern.”

Jungwu saw through her ‘caring Sunbae’ act and knew she just wanted to tag along. Jungwu smirked as he said to her

“Since when were you such a considerate Sunbae? Why did I never notice it before?”

Boyoung poked his side and whispered, “Shh just play along.” She must have felt embarrassed.

Meanwhile, an oversized white bus arrived and parked in front of the Government Office Building. The bus had communication device installed on the roof, and it was readily apparent that it was a vehicle designed to fulfill a purpose.

Gitae’s eyes widened.

“Hey, that’s Yujin Chemical’s Mobile Research Lab! Something serious must have happened.”

It was a rare opportunity to be able to see a competitor’s cutting edge equipment, so Gitae moved closer to Jungwu and said

“Jungwu ssi. Can you ask if they have some extra room in the…”

Once Jaegil shouted “Let’s go!” from in front of the bus, Jungwu didn’t listen to Gitae until the end and began running to the bus.

“Ah, Gitae ssi.”

Boyoung addressed Gitae.

“Please go back and report to Sunbae Oh that the seminar went well. And let him know that I’ll give him a detailed report when I get back.”

“Sunbae, do you think you could…”

“Parachuter ssi, wait for me!”

Gitae’s shoulders dropped when Boyoung didn’t finish hearing him out and ran off after Jungwu.

*

Choo-

The door to the oversized bus opened and Jaegil climbed in first, motioning to Jungwu and Boyoung.

“Come on in.”

Jungwu stepped onboard to the specialized bus which had been hermetically sealed and couldn’t help but be astonished.

‘I didn’t know such a bus existed.’

The interior was filled to the brim with experimental tools and machinery, giving the impression of a proper research laboratory. Jungwu looked at the expensive equipment stationed all over the place as he made his way deeper into the bus. Then he made eye contact with a woman in her early thirties sitting at one of the seats.

“Hello”

He greeted her in reflex, but the woman’s gaze was rather cold.

“Who are these outsiders, sir?”

“Oh, Project Lead Ju. These are people who will help us with the incident. They’re from KG Chemicals.”

“KG Chemicals?”

The woman looked at Jaegil with a look of astonishment. Yujin Chemical just took a major hit to their reputation, so she couldn’t figure out why he would be bringing people from a rival company at this time.

“Jungwu Han Ssi. This is Yujin Chemical’s Total Care’s Project Lead, Hana Ju.”

Jungwu and Boyoung who stood behind him bowed deeply to greet her, but she turned away to check the monitors instead.

“Project Lead Ju, time is of the essence, so start by putting the Han River Railway’s files on the screen.”

The monitor showed the safety inspection results taken from last year October. Hana sorted through the X-ray photos of the steel structure until she found one that corresponded to the area where the gutter from the superstructure had fallen.

“1 40 PM, A bolt came loose and the gutter fell towards the Gangbyeonbuk-ro Highway. The length of the gutter was about 10 meters, and the cause is thought to be that the gutter couldn’t sustain its weight once the bolt had fallen off.

Jaegil checked the metal stress map the durability chart before turning to Jungwu and asking

“Is this the same place you saw in the morning?”

“I am not sure. Don’t you have any regular photos? Higher res ones if possible.”

Hana turned to look at Jungwu when he made the request.

“What can you possibly find out from checking a live photo?”

“I just need to visually confirm it.”

Hana shifted her gaze to Jaegil as if to ask ‘who is this guy’.

“Do it. He’s got an uncanny ability.”

And so the high-resolution photos were placed on the screen.

Jungwu checked the screen closely until he noticed the bolt where the free Electrons had run amok and nodded.

“This part. I don’t know how old these photos are, but the corrosion is a lot less severe than when I saw them this morning.”

“Corrosion? The reason why the gutter fell was because it couldn’t handle the increased vibration and stress from the rise in rail usage.”

“How can that be? It’s not that bad in this photo, but the bolt was in a really bad shape.”

“Look. Check the durability charts.”

Jungwu didn’t want to argue with her because of her strict personality.

“I guess you are an expert on bridges?”

“It is as you can see. And you?”

“I’m not an expert on the field per se.”

Hana looked like she wouldn’t believe anything Jungwu had to say. And Jaegil didn’t say anything as if he wanted Jungwu to convince her on his own.

‘I knew it. Trying to talk about chemistry is hard.’

Jungwu glanced at Jaegil and recalled the method he had used during the seminar. Jungwu was starting to become more confident.

‘Here goes nothing.’

Jungwu narrowed his eyes and scanned Hana’s face. He saw common cosmetic components, food particles, bread crumbs, and evidence of coffee. And finally, a peculiar molecular structure. It was someone else’s saliva.

“I guess you like kisses.”

“Excuse me?”

Jungwu saw the particles arrange itself into a cute form akin to a cat, complete with legs and a tail. Jungwu watched the image lick its front paw before adding

“You have a lot of cat saliva on your lips and cheeks.

Hana’s expression changed as she quickly covered her cheeks. But no matter how she thought of it, there was no way that this man could have known that she had buried her face in Kiki and Toto’s fur at the lobby right before work.

“Don’t randomly guess other people’s private lives.”

She was even more on guard than usual because this was a man who had claimed there was a flaw in her company’s Total Care System.

“You must have two cats. Their Lysozyme enzyme has subtle differences. One of them seems to have been livelier than the other. Are their personalities like that as well?”

“I…”

Hana gave Jungwu an extremely confused look.

“It’s a deduction based on chemistry and perception. Something like that.”

Once it appeared that Hana has somehow accepted Jungwu’s completely baseless deduction, Jaegil couldn’t help but grin. He even wondered if there was any chemist out there that wouldn’t be convinced with Jungwu’s elegant chemical insight.

“Project Lead Ju, I thought you said you lived alone.”

Hana was flustered that Jaegil was giving her a look of sorrow as if he was pitying the 33-year-old unmarried single woman who only shared kisses with her cats.

“Please don’t misunderstand, sir.”

“I won’t. It’s just, I didn’t expect cats.”

Hana swallowed back her sigh. She simply loved working more than the company of a man, but anything she now says would probably sound like a desperate attempt to conceal her loneliness.

“That’s a misunderstanding.”

“Ah, sorry sorry.”

Hana’s face turned bright red due to having the detail of her personal life she did not want to share be revealed to her superior. She glared at Jungwu and asked

“How did you know?”

“I don’t think there is a need for me to reveal my chemical know-hows to a project lead of a competitor. Going back to that bridge…”

While Hana was off guard for a moment, Jungwu quickly spoke.

“I am not saying that the inspection from Yujin Chemical is flawed. It’s a plausible story based on what happened.”

Jungwu tried to explain without using intuition and his ability to see individual molecules, trying to be as down to earth as he can. He tried to draw out his explanation based on the knowledge of chemistry he had.

“You can’t guarantee that you will make a delicious meal just because you have excellent ingredients. The flavor can change from cook to cook depending on how the ingredients are prepared and how long the food is heated. Just because the formulas and data look good, does that guarantee a perfect structure? Let me use the mouse for a sec.”

Jungwu accepted the mouse from Hana and began to look through the information on the screen.

“From what I had seen this morning, there was a large discrepancy between the material used in the bolts for the gutter. Some had high voltage difference, some had lower. Obviously, the ones with the higher voltage difference had a greater degree of corrosion.”

All the bolts looked identical from the outside.

“There should be an easy way to spot the problem, even for a lay person.”

Jungwu searched through the photos for a while before expanding a picture as large as it could grow and pointed using the mouse’s pointer on the screen.

“The chemical reaction I detected is due to this. The fact that not all bolts were made of the same material.”

Two slightly different colored bolts came into view.

“Here you go.”

 


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7 thoughts on “Chapter 15 – Old Steel (5)”

    1. Thats usually often happend in many country nowdays right?
      Its already normal haha…
      If just bolts, many people will not notice. And the one who is in fault of course contractor civil engineering… sigh.. my future job in dark evil road…

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