While this post does work as a standalone story, it’s a lot more fucking entertaining and the various references in it will make far more sense if you’ve already read the original, so read the first part by clicking here! For those who have already done so, read on, cao ni mas!
You’ve heard the stories. Everybody has heard the stories.
One minute they’re organising a protest, the next minute they’re gone. K-pop fans. It’s been spoken about several times before, and you’ve seen it on your favourite k-pop forums. A group of concerned fans, worried about the increasing objectification and depersonalisation in k-pop, will talk about organising a protest rally. Then they’ll go down to the street in Gangnam where all the agency buildings are and actually have the rally… and then they’re never seen on the forums again. At first you thought it was because they became so disillusioned with the current state of k-pop after their protest didn’t achieve anything that they quit following the music and the forums altogether. That seemed like a logical assumption, but now that assumption has changed – because of what happened to your high-school crush.
You’re a 15-year old female k-pop fangirl and you were crushing hard on Hyunaisaslut57 who was in your class – at school he was a quiet, nerdy shy kid with confidence and acne issues, but on the forums he was a brave self-described “online feminist k-pop activist”. You admired his ability to construct arguments showing the evil of k-pop’s portrayal of women, and his last post “Why Gain Is Classy And Hyuna Is A Slut part 15″ (tl;dr – “Hyuna shakes her tits but Gain makes art that raises questions”) was amazing. You figured that he might be very intelligent and astute, and you dreamed of getting to know the real person behind the forum persona. So far you’ve been too shy to approach him – it’s tough to get to know someone when both people are shy! Then he went to that protest and he hasn’t been seen at school since. At first you thought maybe he was just sick, but then you saw the “missing” poster in the school corridor posted a few days later by the local police. You knew something was up – something big, but to this day he still hasn’t been found.
A few weeks later, you noticed another protest being organised. A forum thread appeared – “LET’S DO SOMETHING ABOUT THE STATE OF KPOP IN 2015!!!!!!!!!”, screamed the heading. The original post in the thread ranted passionately about the current state of play in k-pop, tits and ass being used everywhere in videos for both the male and the female groups, and criticised the previous group of protesters for being “pussies” for abandoning both k-pop and the cause of social justice in the music business straight after the protest was over. “Don’t think just one protest is enough and then you can vanish, we have to keep up the pressure!” the original post ranted as it gave instructions for a new protest, and invited as many concerned people as possible to attend.
That’s what’s brought you here.
You’re sitting on a bench across the street from the SMTown building, watching a small group of protestors from the forum thread wave signs and chant something about objectification that you’re just a little too far away to clearly hear. You’re not part of the actual protest, and you haven’t spoke to any of them, they don’t even know who you are or that you’re observing, and you don’t want to get directly involved with any of them. It’s not that you disagree with them, in fact you completely agree with everything the protestors stand for, but you know what happens to people who protest about k-pop objectification – they vanish. You’re here to watch what happens to them, and hopefully in the process try to solve the mystery of what happened to your crush, and bring him back from wherever he is. You’ve brought your mobile phone to record as much evidence as possible and alert the authorities if need be, a portable camera so you can save your phone charge for calls, some sandwiches, a water bottle, a small torch and even a pocket Swiss army knife, which all fits neatly into the small backpack you’re wearing. It seems a little paranoid, but you have no idea what to expect so therefore you’ve come prepared for any eventuality.
Who knows if anything will happen, but better for nothing to happen and for you to feel a little over-prepared and silly, than to be caught short in a dangerous scenario. If something does happen, you’re ready to go all-out for Hyunaisaslut57 – whatever it takes to find out where he is and bring him back to safety… if that’s even possible. A shudder goes through your body as you consider the worst, but you push it to the back of your mind, as you watch the group of protestors yell and wave signs. Passers-by look at them oddly, but they don’t understand – this is important.
The hours pass and the protest group gradually moves down the street, from one agency headquarters to the next. You do your best to keep a low profile, pretending that you’re waiting for someone or just browsing in the shops across the street. You haven’t drawn any undue attention to yourself, and none of the protestors know what you look like, so it’s not like they’ll have any chance of recognising you, they’ve got enough people looking at them oddly to pay attention to some random girl. It’s starting to get very boring though, especially their tedious slogans, and the group has had zero reaction yet from anyone apart from odd stares from strangers, certainly none of the workers in the buildings have paid them any attention at all. You start to wonder – is this protest really achieving anything meaningful? You continue to pretend to window-shop across the street and start thinking that maybe this isn’t the best use of your time.
Your pondering is cut short when you notice some police squad cars pull up on either side of the protest group, who are now in front of the Chrome Entertainment building. One of the cars turns their siren on and then off for a brief second, startling everyone. A bus also pulls up beside one of the cars. A female police officer wearing a motorcycle helmet gets out of one of the cars and starts talking to someone from the protest group. You’re too far away to hear what’s being said… but why is she wearing a motorcycle helmet when she was in a police car, not a motorcycle? She’s soon joined by another female officer, who is about the same height and also wearing a helmet. They have a long discussion with the group, you wish you could hear what the conversation is about but you don’t want to blow your cover, however from everyone’s body language it’s clear enough that the protest group are in some kind of legal trouble. After a few minutes of talking more police get out and the protestors are handcuffed and herded into the police bus. They’re being arrested! It occurs to you that maybe Hyunaisaslut57 is in jail somewhere… but if so, why would there be a wanted poster with the police looking for him distributed around your school?
The bus engine starts and the bus slowly drives off. You’re too young to have any motorised transport so you take your phone out from your backpack to search for the location of the nearest police station and how you’re going to get there. However before you can begin looking, the bus turns off the street completely and into a driveway behind a building only a block away! Why aren’t they going to the police station? Oh well, at least you don’t have to figure out transport options now. You wait about 30 seconds so you’re not too conspicuous and then walk briskly up to the building to take a closer look.
FNC Entertainment. You know this agency as the home of CNBlue, FTIsland, and AOA, that obnoxious slutty girl group with the miniskirts that all the boys like. Ugh. It pains you to think about them – they were so much better with the band concept before they became slutty whores. You walk around to the back of the building and up the driveway into the parking lot to see if you can find the bus, just in time to see a parking garage door set into the building close behind it. The bus, and all those protesters, are somewhere inside the building now, doing god-knows-what. You have to get in there!
Looking up, the FNC building is large and imposing, several stories tall with large windows. Anyone on the upper levels who happens to be looking outside can probably see you right now, standing in a car park looking lost, not to mention very conspicuous. It’s probably not a good idea to try to access the building at this time, you resolve to come back in the evening and attempt to enter under the cover of darkness. Sighing, you begin the journey home.
That night after dinner, you catch the bus back into town and reapproach the FNC building.
The front entrance is brightly lit, with imposing metal bars and rails no doubt designed to keep the sasaengs at bay when groups enter and exit vehicles. You’re not going to walk straight in the front door, so you scout around the building for any other way to get in. You move up the side and around to the back of the building, the car park that you entered easily enough earlier in the day now has a gate across it. Looking around you try and find another access point. You notice a ventilation shaft on the side of the building at ground level. Is entering a building via the vents as viable in real life as it is in computer games? No time like the present to find out, fortunately you’re fairly small so if anyone can do this it’s probably you. It seems like the only option so you pull out your Swiss army knife and start undoing the screws that hold the vent cover in place.
After a few minutes, the vent cover is off, and you flick on your torch and crawl inside, doing your best to close it behind you while still leaving it loose enough to re-open easily if you reach a dead-end and have to go back out. Inside it’s dark and the pocket-sized torch isn’t nearly as powerful as you hoped it would be, only allowing a couple meters of clear viewing. You persist anyway, inching along slowly on your knees. Progress is slow but steady for about about two minutes, until the vent shaft abruptly slopes 45 degrees – downward. You shine your torch into the darkness.
You can’t see where it ends, the torch isn’t powerful enough. Should you risk it? You wonder what could be at the bottom of the slope, and think about how whatever it is, you’re probably not going to be able to get back up this way. You ponder if maybe you should give this up and go home, as this might be your last chance to reconsider. Then you think about Hyunaisaslut57 – he needs your help! So do all those protestors, who knows where they are now, but police buses don’t go into k-pop agency garages and never come out again, something sinister is up, you just know it. Taking a deep breath, you awkwardly twist around in the narrow space to arrange yourself feet-first and gradually ease yourself down the slope, pushing at the sides of the ventilation shaft with your hands and feet to prevent you from losing your grip and sliding down at full speed. You inch down the slope gradually for about 30 seconds, but then something happens – the walls of the ventilation shaft start getting slimier and slimier, they’re covered with some sort of mucky film. It becomes harder and harder to maintain a grip. Fear suddenly rises through your chest – this was obviously a terrible idea! What were you thinking? You’ve got to get out of here! You start to panic and clamber at the sides of the shaft desperately to try and extract yourself but this only ensures that your grip becomes even worse, and in a split second you’ve lost any contact with the sides and are plummeting through the darkness.
After only a second of travel (although it feels like ten), your feet slam up against a metal object and you come to a stop. You then hear a loud creaking, as the entire shaft that you’re in starts moving back and forth, wobbling on an axis. Light appears at the side of one of the shaft panels, and before you can react the entire bottom of the shaft you’ve just slid down on breaks apart and you fall onto a concrete surface, knees first. You slide out from under the rest of the now broken vent, get up and look around. You’ve emerged into part of an underground car park. The vent that you fell out of was attached to a large silver commercial-sized air-conditioning unit. Your exit has broken the fan off the side which now lays on the concrete floor next to the part of the vent that you just slid out from under. Someone is probably going to notice that this unit isn’t working and come to inspect it eventually, so you move quickly to one side of the car park where there are some lifts and stairs.
Lifts probably aren’t a good idea, so you take the door into the stairwell. The stairs go both up and down, and you pause for a minute to consider your options. You figure if anything is hidden here surely it’s on the lower levels away from the business as usual of the upper floors, so you decide to take the downward staircase as far as it will go. Five flights of stairs later, you reach the bottom – who knew that the building went so deep? As you approach the fire door, you can hear a faint whirring machine noise on the other side. You quieten you footsteps and open the door very gently.
The door opens into a small corridoor behind a large, brightly-lit dressing room. As you open it, the machine sound becomes a lot clearer and is now easily recognisable as a hair-dryer. You peek your head around the corner.
You can see T-ara’s Hyomin, drying her hair. You recognise her instantly, you were fuming when she released that disgusting “Nice Body” video, so unfortunately you know what she looks like all-too-well. Her eyes are closed to protect them from the hair-dryer’s heat blast and she hasn’t noticed your presence. You duck your head back behind the corner quickly, and move back into the stairwell, leaving the door slightly ajar so you can hear what happens in the dressing room.
“HYOMIN!” – you hear a female voice call out to her. The volume startles you and you flinch, nearly accidentally slamming the fire door shut in the process.
“WHAT?” you hear Hyomin reply. You can’t see her from around the corner but it’s obviously her.
“Can you come and help me? I’ve got jelly stuck in my cleavage again!” the voice shouts.
Hyomin turns off the hair-dryer and sighs loudly. “Can’t you fucking do it yourself?”
“But it’s all slimy and… ewww! And I’ve already got my corset on! You’ve had big boobs a lot longer than I have, I need your expertise! I’m worried I’ll void the warranty on these!” asks the unknown voice.
“Alright, alright… give me a moment… fuck…” Hyomin sounds frustrated. You can hear her drop the hair-dryer on the dressing-room table and walk off somewhere.
You wait a few seconds, creep out back into the corridor and peer around the corner again. Hyomin isn’t there but you can hear her cursing under her breath, she has gone somewhere else in the dressing room, which seems to actually consist of multiple connected rooms. You see a wooden door on the other side of the corridor, so you quickly rush to it and open it, then close it as soundlessly as possible. Just after you close it behind you, you hear Hyomin’s voice get louder again as she returns to the dressing room and walks through it to the corridor you were just in a moment ago.
“I need a fucking cigarette after touching those tits – fucking hell” she mutters to herself as you hear her loudly opening the fire door that you originally entered the corridor from. You guess that she’s going to the carpark to light up. You breathe a sigh of relief – that was a close call. Leaving the door closed you look ahead of you, at a long brightly-lit corridor with polished wooden floors and multiple doors on each wall.
The corridor extends for what seems like a hundred metres in both directions. How large is this place? You could be here all night trying to find Hyunaisaslut57 – and then when/if you do find him, how the hell are you going to get both him and you out of here?
You open the nearest door on the left side of the corridor. It has a sign on it: “GREEN ROOM B6”. You can’t hear anything on the other side, so you quickly enter and close the door behind you. The sign didn’t lie, it’s a room that is green. The walls are green, there are also several green couches here, and two large fridges. You sit on the nearest couch for a moment and catch your breath, and you become conscious for the first time that your knees are grazed and actually really hurt from hitting the concrete when you fell out of that ventilation shaft earlier. There is also a full-length mirror here, and above it is a TV screen. You watch the TV, it’s showing a feed from a closed circuit TV camera in another room. The image is of a gymnasium, and there’s an inflatable pool in the middle of the floor, with a red/purple substance in it. The camera pans across the room… and you gasp as you see a bunch of naked people, tied to chairs! You recognise some of them, they’re the protestors who were driven here! Why are they tied up… and what’s that pool for? You keep watching the camera. The vision cuts to a different room, a large space that looks like a small factory floor. There’s a machine in the center of the room, featuring large conveyor belts and cogs. It’s seemingly switched off, and it’s not apparent what the machine is for. The camera pans across the newly-displayed factory room, and you notice that the machine is connected to another machine, which doesn’t seem to have any moving parts at all, just an esoteric silver box with a few holes in it. The vision cuts to a different room – it’s one end of the corridor that you were just in! Shit – you didn’t notice any camera in there! Where else are there cameras, you wonder? You figure that you’d better keep watching the screen to find out. Your heart then sinks in panic as you realise that there’s a possibility that you’ve been filmed going into the “green room” and that you may be discovered. You perk your ears up for any outside noises and look around for a hiding space should somebody enter. There isn’t really one here, except maybe under the couch. The CCTV vision cuts to a fourth room, an open-plan office. The camera pans across – there are a few people seated at computer terminals and wearing telephone headsets, looking as if they are deep in conversation, but most of the seats are empty. Then the CCTV loop begins again, returning to the gymnasium. You shudder as you see the naked, imprisoned protestors pan across the screen a second time.
You can’t stay here, it’s only a matter of time before somebody finds you – but since the corridor is under surveillance, how do you avoid being seen? You think for a moment, and then an idea comes. You take out your phone and make a video recording of the CCTV. This has two functions – firstly, you’re collecting evidence of what’s really going on here, but secondly, and more importantly for your immediate situation, you’re timing how long the CCTV takes to loop around. You consider that if you time your travel correctly to avoid when the CCTV is scanning the corridor, you can move between rooms undetected. After you make a full recording and play it back you notice that the recording loops after one minute exactly, with 15 seconds spent on each room. You access your phone’s stopwatch feature, and start a timer from zero the corridor appears. Now, every time one minute elapses on the stopwatch, you know that the camera is focusing on the corridor for the next 15 seconds after that before it changes rooms allowing you undetected travel. You quietly cheer yourself on for being such a smartypants, wait for the next 15-second period of surveillance to be over, and swiftly exit the green room.
You quickly move to the next door. There is a sign on it, that says “BAD THOUGHTS ROOM B6”. What the fuck is that supposed to mean? You don’t hear anything on the other side, so with only 45 seconds to make your move, you quickly enter the room and shut the door behind you. You get the shock of your life as you see T-ara’s ex-singer Areum in a chair, looking directly at you!
“What are you doing here?” asks Areum.
You rush to think of an answer to cover yourself. “I’m…. your biggest sasaeng! I finally found you! I love you Areum! Can I have your autograph?”
“You are not my sasaeng. Don’t be silly. I know why you’re really here”, Areum replies, completely deadpan.
You realise that you have nothing for her to sign. You must look stupid. You drop the facade and your heart sinks. Is she onto your real reason for being here?
Areum continues. “You’re having troubled thoughts.” Areum points to the wall. “Troubled thoughts obfuscate the reality omnipresent in the brick.”
“W…what?” you exclaim. You are in shock. What is she talking about?
“A brick is strong, like the strength of T-ara, yet brittle, like the vulnerability of T-ara.” Areum stares at you blankly, her stare is piercing but shows no discernable emotion. “Is T-ara not the perfect sensory embodiment of the brick’s physical form? Stay here a while, and strive to become like the brick.”
This is making no sense at all, and you’re feeling very uncomfortable. “Um… no, that’s alright.. I’ll just be leaving now”, you stutter. “Er, please don’t tell anyone I came this way.”
“Does a brick speak?” asks Areum rhetorically as she covers her lips with her hand. Although you’re thankful for her co-operation, this doesn’t make you feel very reassured. You quickly check your phone’s stopwatch to gauge the moment when the camera focuses on the corridor outside again. You’ve got 8 seconds to get out, or you can wait another 23 seconds here with Areum. Getting out seems preferable. Areum’s gaze remains fixated on you as you exit.
You quickly move to the next door. It is marked “SITUATION ROOM B6”. With no time to think further, you quickly enter, and immediately realise that this is the open-plan office that you saw the CCTV focus on earlier. There are people in here, but they are all distracted by computer terminals and conversation in their headsets. You duck down low behind an office divider and make your way quickly to an unmanned cubicle. Your mind races as you struggle to remember the sequence of the CCTV camera – where was this room in the sequence? That’s right, it was after the corridor, so it wouldn’t have seen you enter. You lie down under a desk and catch your breath. You’re safe for now.
You can hear the voices of some of the office workers, chattering away. You decide to listen in for a while, maybe they’ll provide some clues as to what’s going on. Various disembodied overlapping voices float around the room:
All I need is the 16-digit code on the front of the card and the expiry date …
No I don’t need the code on the back …
T-ara situation hotline, report your position relative to the target …
Why is it so hot in here, don’t tell me the air-conditioner is off again …
Thank you for calling the FNC/MBK Jelly Wrestling hotline, how can I help you? …
Yes, you can order for other people, but they must be over 18 years of age on the date of the event …
They should let us adjust the air-conditioner, how come only the manager is allowed to do it? …
T-ara anti activity spotted in netcafe co-ordinate 253-256 …
You can use American Express but this carries a 3% surcharge, we recommend Visa and Mastercard …
Await clearance to engage hostile T-ara anti, netcafe co-ordinate 253-256 …
Your confirmation number is 690238 …
Thank you for calling the FNC/MBK Jelly Wrestling hotline, how can I help you? …
It sucks how just a few minutes before a game we get overloaded with these Jelly Wrestling calls. Why don’t they call earlier …
Yes, Choa is in this fight …
T-ara situation hotline, report your position relative to the target …
Yes, you can still pre-order tickets, but the event starts in 10 minutes and you must be seated before commencement or you will be denied entry, will you make it in time? …
Thank you for supporting FNC/MBK Jelly Wrestling! …
All of a sudden you hear a scratchy noise coming from the roof. The building’s intercom comes on with a radio-hiss noise.
A female voice clears her throat and starts talking. “Attention, attention. This is a fire drill. All those in the basement Situation Room B6 please terminate your calls and evacuate immediately. Follow your designated fire warden and assemble at your fire safety meeting point. Please remember to use the stairs, not the elevator. Remember no smoking in the stairwell or any other place within the building during fire drills. Do not re-enter the building until given clearance to do so. Thank you for your co-operation.”
You hear the group of workers get up from their seats and file out of the exit door. Fortunately none of them walk behind the desk that you’re hiding under. You hear some random chatter as they lethargically move out:
Shit, not again …
I’m due for my break soon, I hope I can take it straight after this is over …
Why a fire drill 10 minutes before a game, this is really going to piss off the Jelly Wrestling customers wanting last minute tickets …
Five flights of stairs, I don’t get paid enough for this shit …
Damnit, I nearly forgot my phone …
A minute later and the office workers are gone, their noise replaced with the steady hum of computers. There’s no point staying here, you have to keep focused. You look at your phone, considering the optimal time to make your next move, when the building intercom crackles to life again, emitting another hissing noise.
The same female voice clears her throat again, and talks. “Hello, little girl.”
Then silence. Uh oh.
“You might as well come out and show your pretty face. I know exactly where you are.”
Oh shit. You stay hidden. Maybe she’s bluffing you into showing yourself.
The voice sounds pleased with herself, almost happy. “You know, it was absolutely the cutest thing ever watching you time the camera-switching on your phone and moving from room to room. That was very cleverly thought-out, I must say. However, did you know that the vision-switching of the cameras in the green room has nothing to do with when they’re on and off, and in fact all the cameras are on all the time, and that they record all the time? I not only know which room you’re in, but also which desk you’re hiding under. Take a look at the PC box next to you on the floor there and tell me if it doesn’t say that it’s computer 57″.
You look at the PC. There’s a small sticker on the side.
The voice continues. “Fortuitous that you should hide with that particular computer, isn’t it? Hey, I wonder what else ends with 57? Don’t think about it too hard. Anyway, why don’t you come out from under there and wave hello to me. If you look straight across from that desk there’s a TV on the wall, and you can see me, just like I’ve been seeing you. Let’s meet each other!”
You’re shaking like a leaf. The voice not only knows exactly where you are, she also knows why you’re here – which means she’s probably holding Hyunaisaslut57 hostage. There’s no point hiding anything anymore. You gradually get up from under the desk, stand up and turn to face the TV.
It’s T-ara’s Boram. She gestures to you and then smiles. “Give me a wave!” she says. You wave slowly.
Boram keeps talking. “Of course, I know why you’re here. I also know what you want, because I’m smart like that! Don’t worry, you and your friends will be reunited a lot sooner than you think! All you need to do is follow my instructions, and you can be together in perfect safety! How does that sound? Does that sound good? Don’t bother talking, I can’t hear your voice from here. A little nod will do nicely.”
You nod slowly.
“Okay, maybe not that little. That nod didn’t have very much determination in it. Can you give me a better nod than that? Please nod like you mean it.”
You nod a little more vigorously.
Boram smiles. “That’s better. Now, I’m going to give you directions to a special place. Please pay careful attention because I don’t like repeating things unless I’m being paid. Turn to your right. You’ll see a door at the far end of the office, take that door out into the corridor. Then turn right again, go all the way to the end, through the door that says it’s a fire exit, up one flight of stairs, and then through the next door that also says it’s a fire exit. Can you do that for me?”
You nod again, being careful to show minimum required determination levels so Boram doesn’t ask you to nod a second time.
“Oh come on. That nod was pathetic. We wouldn’t want anything bad to happen to your friends as a result of me misinterpreting your body language. Please nod again.”
You nod again, harder. Boram smiles. You’re close to tears – she’s very obviously enjoying this.
“Settle, kettle! That was nearly a headbang! Please don’t injure yourself, the paperwork for workplace accidents is very time-consuming. Anyway, since you seem to really like timing things, you have 30 seconds to arrive. Don’t be late, or something bad could happen! I’ll be seeing you again, one floor up!”
The image of Boram on the TV vanishes, replaced with a live feed from the jelly wrestling arena. AOA’s Choa and T-ara’s Jiyeon stand in the inflatable pool with jelly up to their ankles, sizing each other up in an obviously rehearsed manner before the inevitable fight begins. No time to watch – you run to the office door, into the corridor, sprint all the way to the fire exit which is a good 50 metres, run up the flight of stairs and put all your weight onto the door at the top. You emerge onto a factory floor, with two large machines – the room that you saw earlier in the CCTV footage.
The intercom comes to life again. “28 seconds! I’m impressed! Now look over to your right!”
On the right side of the room are some large industrial mesh-style balconies. On these, you can see five of the protestors, all teenage boys sitting on chairs with their hands and feet firmly tied and wearing gags. One of them is instantly recognisable as Hyunaisaslut57, the others are all people from the protest group that you saw earlier today. Below their balcony position is one of the two large machines that dominate the floor space, a confusing system of conveyor belts and metal cogs.
“Please – take the stairs, come up to the balcony and meet your friends!” Boram giggles.
You make your way across the factory floor and up the metal stairwell, your mind racing. As you are halfway up the stairs, a girl appears from a doorway at the top of the balcony and stares at you. You immediately stop ascending the stairs.
You recognise her as AOA’s Seolhyun. You always hated her – “what a dirty whore, trust her to be involved with this”, you think to yourself. Turning away from you, Seolhyun grabs one of the protestors, a skinny teenage boy about your age, stands him up from the chair and pushes him off the balcony. You gasp as the protestor lands on the conveyor belt with a thud. Seolhyun then pulls a lever control by the balcony and the machine comes to life, the conveyors slowly carrying the protestor towards a series of cogs. Unable to move due to the rope around his wrists and ankles, the protestor wriggles in a futile struggle.
Boram chirps up again over the intercom: “This machine is called the Depersonaliser 5000. We had it installed here only six months ago, it’s the latest in depersonalisation technology! Watch it work and I think you’ll agree that it’s very effective!”
You scream in horror as the protestor’s body is completely crushed by the first series of metal cogs on the conveyor line, spraying blood and innards all over the gears as they continue to turn unhindered. You wince at the sounds of cracking bone as the now flat, compressed body is shunted through some more cogs. Eventually the carcass is ejected from the mechanical process onto a metal tray as a reddish-pink amalgm of minced offal, barely discernable as once human.
“He’s certainly not a person anymore!” laughs Boram. “But in that state could he really be considered an object? Now it’s time to use our second machine, the Objectificator GT! Pay attention and you will discover how objectification can improve our quality of life!”
The metal tray tips up on an axis, and the giblets that was once a teenage k-pop fan are carried into the top of the second large machine, a large metal box. The box whirs and chugs for a minute, producing horrible grinding and squelching noises, and then eventually falls silent. From the bottom of the machine, a purple-red gelatinous substance seeps into a long bathtub-shaped tray. A circular mechanical arm then stirs the gelatinous broth for consistency as it empties into a 44 gallon drum.
Boram cheers, briefly distorting the intercom. “Bravo! What was once an annoying, useless, whining person good for virtually nothing at all has become a practical object that can enhance the lives of many people! After all, everybody loves jelly wrestling! Now Seolhyun is going to help you and your other friends experience the joys of depersonalisation and objectification!”
You look up at Seolhyun. She smiles at you and motions for you to resume climbing the staircase. Nervous and shaken by what you just saw, as well as what is likely to happen to you next, you climb slowly to the top.
“Remove the backpack so you can sit with the others.” says Seolhyun.
You take your backpack off your back and lay it down on the ground. You then quickly open up the front pocket, and grab your Swiss army knife. You extend the blade and point it menacingly at Seolhyun’s neck. Seolhyun responds by pushing her boot into the back of Hyunaisaslut57.
“You cut me with that thing, your friend goes on the conveyor! Is that what you want, bitch?” Seolhyun snarls.
Boram crackles over the intercom. “Now that’s not playing fair, little girl. I’m coming for you, don’t be going anyplace!” You hear a static noise as the building intercom system switches off.
“Let me have him, and I won’t hurt you! I don’t want to hurt anyone, I just want to get out of here!” you yell.
Seolhyun spits at you. “No chance, bitchface. One fancy move from you and your loverboy is a jelly sandwich!”
You freeze. It’s a stalemate – one that will quickly change to a situation in her favour once Boram gets here. You try and think fast of a way to turn the tables, when Seolhyun inexplicably falls forward and collapses on her face, unconscious. You look at the back of her head, there’s a brown lump there – a broken piece of brick. You turn around just in time to see Areum scurry away through a door on the factory floor. No time to thank her for her exemplary brick-throwing skills – you quickly slice through the ropes around Hyunaisaslut57 and the other protestors, and undo the gags around their mouths.
“How the fuck do I get out of here?” you ask the people you’ve just freed.
They all look at each other. “Um… we were hoping you would know that. How did you get IN here?” one of them asks.
You sigh. “Never mind, let’s just go! The exit is about five floors up, we just need to keep going up.”
“You women have no sense of direction, you’re not going to figure out how to get us out of here.”, one of the protestors comments, seemingly not in a hurry to move.
“WHAT?” you cry. “Fuck you, I just rescued you, asshole!”
“No, it’s actually ME who has rescued YOU, by protesting against objectification and freeing your mind from entrapment.” he replies. “Not that you deserve it. Women have all the power in society anyway.”
“Yeah, it’s women who keep stringing men along by their dicks, they really control everything” one of the other protestors pipes up.
“We do all this fighting for the rights of women, and don’t even get a blowjob out of it or anything.” says Hyunaisaslut57.
“What good is White Knighting for pussy this much if there’s no payoff?” says the first protestor.
“I think we just need to try harder. Maybe if we start calling out AOA more in blog posts for degrading women, we’ll get more respect from girls we know.” Hyunaisaslut57 replies.
You look around. Who ARE these people, really? What have you been doing?
“Wouldn’t it be great if ‘respect” translated into actually getting a girlfriend though”, one of the protestors continues.
“Really, women owe us a hell of a lot for being so nice to them. Nobody is forcing us to fight for their rights as hard as we do.” Hyunaisaslut57 sighs.
“Yet they still date the assholes, and don’t even talk to guys like us who really care about their feelings.” says one of the others, finishing the sentence. They all nod in agreement with each other.
A door loudly opens and Boram appears at the bottom of the stairwell, brandishing a pistol. She turns to face the stairs and points the gun at you and the protestors. “Nice of you to all wait for me!” she says, smiling gleefully.
Involuntarily, you smile back.
Three weeks later, you’re at home, in the comfort of your bed, with the lights out, looking at your favourite K-pop forum on your laptop. A new thread appears: “WHY DO ANTI-OBJECTIFICATION PROTESTORS ALWAYS QUIT THE FORUM STRAIGHT AFTER THEY ACTUALLY HAVE A PROTEST?” the title asks. The actual post rants on for a while about how k-pop protestors don’t really have any courage of their convictions and how nobody has heard from the latest lot since they went down that street in Gangnam, just like the last few lots before them. Out of curiosity, you refresh the page a few times and watch some replies come in:
Minafapper: I guess they get disillusioned when they realise nobody cares.
Liekthisliekthat: Nobody who is successful at life cares about non-issues like objectification. So it’s only natural they would fail and give up.
Yoloswag420: Low determination levels.
You think about adding a funny comment, something like “I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you”, but you decide that it’s probably better to just lurk on this thread. It’s getting past your bedtime anyway and reading the screen is tiring on your eyes. You roll over and go to sleep, not bothering to turn off your laptop. After a few minutes the screen dims and your laptop’s new T-ara/AOA screensaver flickers in the darkness.