The Fangirl Verdict

Completely biased reviews and fangirling

Afterglow: A Choi Jin Hyuk ~ Go Ah Ra Dream Drama

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Poster art by kfangurl

Writer’s Note

I’ve gone a darker route for my third Dream Drama installment. That was bound to happen. My ideas are not all lollipops and rainbows. I need to make sure my eyes don’t roll too far back in my head with how much I see of that in Asian drama (though I desire happy endings!).

I love a good sci-fi story, even better when it combines mystery, conspiracy intrigue, action, and this being Kdrama – Romance! This idea stemmed from a composite of popular stories/shows/movies that sloshed around my imagination, and a Fan-Fic for the “Lost” fandom that I started but never finished.

~Lady G

Quick Synopsis

There is a generation of young people whose lives have been irrevocably changed by mysterious Project Afterglow. Isolated, with fractured memories and broken families, these young people possess superhuman powers that they desperately hide, in order to blend into society.

Can they ever find resolution for all that they’ve lost? Will the perpetrators behind Project Afterglow ever be brought to justice? How will these scattered survivors find one another, and will they be able to break through their defenses to trust others again? Follow them on their epic journeys of healing, love and redemption, as they set out to reclaim all that they’ve lost – and find themselves in the process.

~ kfangurl

Special Thanks

Over a year has passed since my last dream drama. My sincere apologies for the too-long hiatus. Real life stress and other responsibilities really depleted me and for the longest time I suffered from writer’s block, even though I had portions of this story created long ago. It was extremely frustrating to have it within my reach, but not have the mindset to actually work on it.

I want to give my deepest thanks to Jaime, aka The Drama Noona. Her enthusiasm for the Dream Drama series and her ideas, suggestions and all around helpfulness brought the story to vivid life. Whenever she came to me with a new idea, I ran with it, and we were always in sync. She’s a gem. I hope I did her favorite bias, Choi Jin Hyuk, drama justice!

And a huge thank you as always to our lovely Kfangurl. She’s my level-headed, intelligent editor who can streamline like nobody’s business and turn my frenzied writings into a work good enough to be published, and create stunning poster art to go with it.

This being the 3rd Dream Drama, I had offered a prize as part of a contest Kfangurl and I had for our 2 Year Blogoversary back in…gulp!…December 2014.

The winner was Miss “Lucillebrowne.” She got to pick her favorite Kdrama actor to star as a 2nd lead. It’s been forever, but I think I cooked up a good character arc for her choice…Jang Geun Suk! 

And…THANK YOU, dear readers and Kdrama fans, for your support and for enjoying this section on the blog. It’s a pleasure to share my drama stories with you.

Main Cast

  • Choi Jin Hyuk as Nam Jo Heon
  • Go Ah Ra as Park Chae In
  • Kim Gap Soo as Park Chul
  • Jang Geun Suk as Ko Min Jae
  • Jung So Min as Choi Sa Ra

Additional Cast

  • Song Yun Ah as Kim Ye Seo
  • Shin Hyun Joon as Kwang Dae
  • Shin Sung Rok as Sun In Ho
  • Park Ki Woong as Baek Hyun Shik
  • Kim Seul Gi as Ha Sook Yon
  • Kim Sang Joong as Ko Suk Jae (Min Jae’s Father)
  • Lee Ah Hyun as Park In Hye (Chae In’s mother)
  • Park Ji Bin as Kim Seung Wook

Poster art by kfangurl

~Opening Scene~

Seoul, 2:00am

A tall, handsome man (Choi Jin Hyuk) wearing a funeral suit walks dazed across the Han River Bridge after scattering his mother’s ashes. He’s unkempt, with disheveled hair and bloodshot eyes. He doesn’t have a coat despite the chilly November weather. He sobs by the railing and beats his chest – “Omma! Wae?”

~ Flashback: Four-days earlier. ~

The same man is dressed in jeans and a black overcoat, wearing a hat and thick rimmed glasses like a disguise. He sits in a dim hospital room. His manner is edgy as he grips his mother’s frail hand. Her life is ebbing after a massive stroke. She smiles gently at her son, imagining him as a baby and child.

(Heartwarming flashbacks (within a flashback!) of mother, father, and son bonding and playing and eating.)

Her face darkens; with her last breath she whispers – “You must hide! They’re back! Don’t let them use you, Adeul! All they care about is the power…”

Her voice fades as she chokes out, “I love you.” Her face flushes and her nails claw him. She grabs for her heart. Her entire body shudders with a death rattle sound he’ll never forget.

A deep-rooted fury grows inside him. He kisses her cheek and calls for the nurse. There’s no time to grieve.

~ Back to the Present on the Bridge ~

The man gazes at the choppy water and dispels suicidal thoughts. His very existence is full of too many mysteries he needs to solve, or else they’ll kill him one way or another. An ominous presence from his past has returned, just as his partner had suspected.

A sleek black car pulls up and blasts headlights on him. A middle-aged man approaches, flanked by two hulking bodyguards. They’re looking for rough action and jump him. He puts up a strong fight, but they eventually overpower him and force his gaze on their boss.

“Enough of this hide and seek. We need you to come with us. Right now.”

The young man looks for an escape. “I have nothing to do with you, old man. What if I refuse?”

The bodyguards shove him on the ground and are ready to kick him. But the older man smirks and he whisks his hand up. His light brown eyes take on a mesmerizing yellow glow. They stop frozen in their tracks – and stare ahead unnaturally. The young man rises.

“You shouldn’t refuse. If you stay here, you’ll die. They’re always watching you. I have an urgent job. All expenses paid, and you’ll work solely for me for a while. It’s much better than spying on cheating housewives and tailing bike thieves. But we need to discuss some matters.”

The younger man stiffens. His arms and legs move toward the car while his brain acts like a broken street light. Stop. Go. Stop. GO! His mind powers can’t control the older man and that’s never happened before.

The bodyguards wake from their stupor and rush to the car. The young man is utterly helpless as they speed away.

~ Meet Nam Jo Heon ~

Nam Jo Heon (Choi Jin Hyuk), 29, was born in Seoul, but from age 5 to 10 he’d been raised in a hidden compound on a small, unaffirmed island just off South Korea. It’s one out of 3,358 official ones.

Jo Heon was born with rare experimental DNA. He’s a product of a sixty-year-old, Top Secret venture called Project Afterglow.

Jo Heon is a strong and intelligent loner, emotionally scarred from childhood.

On the Island he had been raised by his father, Detective Nam Sum Shim (Park Hae Il), and mother, Nam Kang Rae, formerly a school teacher. He, along with a handful of other children, had grown up isolated. The Afterglow compound had taken the guise of a self-sustaining cult worship group and had been left alone by paid-off Government officials and other prying eyes.

After escaping the Island, Jo Heon had contended with his mother’s paranoia. She’d sacrificed her life to keep him hidden from those who’d wanted to exploit his powers. Jo Heon had grown up confused as to why people he met often came under a strange spell and did his every whim. Even animals obeyed.

His mother never told him the whole truth, but had warned him against manipulating others. When he’d broken her rules, she’d punished him harshly out of deep love and fear. She did not want her son to grow up a monster among men.

When Jo Heon came of age he’d stopped cowering, and against his mother’s wishes, had become a cop like his father. At times he’d felt like a superhero. He’d studied criminology and trained his body hard. He’d strengthened his mental abilities, determined to use them for the greater good.

{Jo Heon can control minds and manipulate the senses with brief illusions.}

~ Detective Nam~

Once a shining star on the Police Force, Jo Heon had become disillusioned with constant corruption. Before long, he’d used his powerful abilities on the take whenever making drugs-and-weapons busts and breaking up illicit gangster activities.

Jo Heon knew his way around the underworld and had tried to keep the gangsters under control, making sure they didn’t hurt innocent people. Emboldened, he’d engaged in a secret relationship with a notorious gangster’s woman.

After a time, young Jo Heon hated the man he’d become and struggled to balance his secret life with his values of justice and morality. In Jo Heon’s immature view, he felt justified because he only stole from criminals and didn’t hurt the innocent.

Everything changed when his criminal activities were exposed to the one person he admired and respected as much as his father.

~A trusted ally: Pak Jin Song ~

Pak Jin Song, (Song Il Guk) was Jo Heon’s mentor/sunbae and dear friend. He was the only person Jo Heon had allowed to break through his austere wall. Jin Song was a big-hearted man who’d learned to laugh at life despite his emotionally trying job.

Jin Song was one of the best Detectives on the force and often fooled perpetrators with his dumb lummox act. He based it off his love for the Classic American TV series, Columbo. On the job he could be a harsh task master, but was empathetic and attentive to his team.

After hours, Jin Song could unwind and party, but he remained devoted to his pretty wife, Yeon Mi (Park Jin Hee) and 7-year-old daughter, Eun Bi.

Jin Song treated Jo Heon like a dongsaeng, often inviting him for Yeon Mi’s delicious traditional meals and dragging him on family outings. They went camping, sailing, and fishing with the boys, and hiking near the homestead run by Yeon Mi’s parents. Jin Song felt indebted to Jo Heon after the younger man had saved his daughter’s life when she’d gotten lost in the woods and fallen into a trap.

It was Jin Song who’d helped rookie Jo Heon crawl out of his shell and enjoy life.

~ Suspicions ~

Throughout their five-year partnership, Jin Song had suspected Jo Heon of having powers, and had secretly investigated. Jin Song had uncovered the shocking truth, but it had never been the right time to bring it up. He’d kept alert, wondering when and if Jo Heon actually used his powers.

Jo Heon’s success rate with arrests was a giveaway. Meanwhile, Jin Song had felt sinister vibes of being watched, even while at home with his family.

One night, Jin Song received a call that Yeon Mi was in a traumatic hit-and-run car accident and near death.

Jo Heon found the culprit driver – a poor cabbie – imbibing soju. Jo Heon calmly sat in back of his cab and controlled him to drive at top speed. He forced an illusion of a cliff. Even though the cab stopped, the driver screamed and cried as if his car was flying over the edge.

The cabbie had been paid to hit Yeon Mi, but he refused to reveal who had ordered it. He needed to pay off debts, and didn’t want evil “Government suits” hunting him for being a rat.

An undeterred Jo Heon maneuvered the cabbie’s mind to ride in circles for 2 hours, and made him envision the stuff of nightmares, before finally dragging the traumatized man to the Police HQ.

~ A healing miracle ~

Jin Song kept vigil at Yeon Mi’s bedside. After three intense days, her recovery was swift and remarkable.

Yeon Mi confided in Jin Song, telling him that she’d imagined that a pretty nurse had somehow healed her. She later dismissed her thought as too absurd to be true. 

While Jin Song remained overnight in the hospital room, the nurse’s aide came to check on Yeon Mi.

Though half asleep, Jin Song could almost swear that he saw a soft, yellow glow cast on Yeon Mi.

The next morning, Yeon Mi was sitting up on her own, eating and coherent.

Jin Song spied on the nurse. Every patient she treated would improve dramatically. At times, he saw the mysterious glow.

One night, she’d left a patient’s room sweaty and pallid. She’d fainted, and Jin Song had caught her and helped her get medical attention. When she’d roused, she’d blamed exhaustion and had refused any blood tests.

Jin Song added the nurse to his case file on Jo Heon. Her name was an alias and she had more than one.

The nurse immediately quit after Yeon Mi’s discharge, and Jin Song lost track of her. He wisely connected the accident to Project Afterglow, and dropped the investigation in order to protect his family.

~ Jo Heon’s guilt ~

Asian Mafia ~ KREVA

In a tragic turn of events, Jin Song discovered that a trusted sergeant, his sunbae, was involved in recent suspicious deaths of witnesses to gangster activities.

Right before a weapon’s deal stakeout, Jin Song and Jo Heon argued and the truth came out. Jo Heon took a few punches, and swore that he had quit his double life. He wasn’t responsible for those deaths and he’d also tried to find the culprit – a firebug that left his victims charred. Jin Song believed him and they hugged. They would talk about serious matters later.

They went in to apprehend the suspects. The gun buyers felt cheated, and a fight ensued. The Police Sergeant wanted to kill Jo Heon so he’d get out of his game.

Jin Song blocked two bullets meant for Jo Heon and died in his arms.

A shocked Jo Heon rose to his feet in the center of the chaos, and a yellow glow filled the room. He’d never let his emotions go so far. The gun dealers were terrified as Jo Heon’s mind control took over.

The Sergeant shot himself in the foot; the gun dealers tore up the millions in the briefcase bill by bill; the gangsters fiercely beat each other. Jo Heon created mass hallucinations and the gangs ran out screaming right into a crowd of Police Officers.

Jo Heon ran away, mentally anguished.

After the funeral, Jo Heon personally cleared out Jin Song’s desk. He discovered that Jin Song had kept his case file on him a secret from HR. Jin Song had made recordings; his thoughts had been troubled, but he’d wanted to give Jo Heon the benefit of the doubt.

Jo Heon found a hidden folder containing disturbing evidence about his past and Project Afterglow. Suppressed memories and anxieties surfaced. Jo Heon took the Afterglow files for safe-keeping and vowed to uncover more truths.

Jo Heon got his revenge by forcing the Sergeant to prick his fingers and write his confession in blood. Under coercion, the Sergeant publicly revealed he was a cold-blooded cop killer. The gang boss went into hiding and the woman he’d once dated, Tara, was found dead after her apartment caught fire.

Jo Heon wanted blood revenge and trailed the gang boss, but stopped himself. He was prepared to face charges of police corruption.

In a strange twist, the gang boss was killed following the Sergeant’s arrest when his nightclub went up in flames. The gang dispersed, and many were arrested. They never mentioned Jo Heon.

A week later, the Sergeant mysteriously died of poisoning while in prison. Nobody ever discovered Jo Heon’s involvement.

With this second chance, Jo Heon re-evaluated his life. Jin Song’s faith in him would never be betrayed again.

Jo Heon resigned and put his skills to work as a Private Detective. He sent his severance pay to Jin Song’s widow Yeon Mi, and promised to be there for them if they ever needed him.

~ Three years later: A new start for Jo Heon ~

Jo Heon gets surefire results as a P.I. with his ability to drag out the truth. Jo Heon comes off as cold, masking his genuine empathy for people. He has a quiet, witty sense of humor and can turn on the aegyo when needed.

Despite dalliances in the crime world during his youth, he hates injustice and vows to be as good an investigator as Jin Song, but on his own terms. He uses his former connections and knows how to manipulate them to the victim’s advantage.

After the incident at the Han Bridge, Jo Heon must find a woman connected to his past. A woman who will become his biggest ally in his quest for the truth about Project Afterglow, and help to heal his wounded heart.

~ Meet Park Chae In ~

Little Girl Dreams ~ Go Ah Ra

Park Chae In (Go Ah Ra), 26, was born on the compound after her father accepted a position as a research scientist. She carries the enhanced DNA from Project Afterglow. She and Jo Heon were childhood friends for a time, but Afterglow families mainly kept to themselves in order to avoid revealing secrets or forging alliances against the project.

Chae In loved to be free outdoors and wandered around the beach and woods for hours on the Island, always looking for the next hiding spot or area to play. Although quiet and reserved like her mother, she greeted everyone and they always looked out for her.

Chae In was later raised in various countries. Her mother, Park In Hye (Lee Ah Hyun), insisted she didn’t want her daughter to be used as a lab rat. She told Chae In that her father was dead. In Hye speaks more-or-less in contempt of him.

Chae In knows her father was a mild-mannered doctor for a secret lab on the compound, but her memories are vague. She struggles with conflicting emotions, feeling positive that she’d once loved him, while rationalizing the stories her mother tells.

Chae In tried to live a normal life once she came off the island. She attended nursing school and studied Oriental medicine, coming in at the top of her classes. It’s very hard when her compassion and empathy is stirred because…

Chae In has the power to heal.

With her abilities, Chae In had felt it natural to go into medicine. Her mother had called the healing powers a gift from the heavens to be used wisely. Chae In always knew she was sugar-coating it. 

In Hye encourages Chae In to develop her power whenever possible, and keeps specific records of her daughter’s healings – names, dates, type of illnesses or injuries, and both Chae In and the patient’s physical and mental reactions during the entire process. Chae In finds it odd but doesn’t question her mother.

For every person Chae In heals, she is drained of a little energy for a short time. If she goes too far, it could weaken her to the point of death. Chae In cannot resurrect, so her healing is not a guarantee of life.

She’d once attempted to heal a hit-and-run victim in the rain. She’d draped her coat over them so no one would see what she’d done.

She’d watched expectantly as the wounds closed, but the person was already gone. Chae In had run from the scene devastated, and heard the EMT’s remark how it looked impossible that the person had been hit by a van without a scratch. She had vowed never to be so free with her powers again, but she broke it from time to time, through the years. Her heart wouldn’t let her be a bystander.

Chae In had had her first healing experience when she was five years old. On the island, she had found a bird with a torn wing and brought him home. He was dying, so she’d wanted to find a pretty box and bury him. All the while, she’d stroked his wings. The injured wing then spread wide. He’d flapped in crazy circles, then zoomed out. She’d told her parents, and instead of being happy, they’d been fearful and warned her never to heal without their consent.

~ Compassionate Nurse Chae In ~

Three years ago, Chae In had seen Pak Yeon Mi rushed into the ER. She’d cried watching Yeon Mi’s husband break down on his knees. His friend had kept him from losing control and taking it out on the staff.

Disguising herself as a surgical assistant, Chae In had healed Yeon Mi just enough for Yeon Mi to make it through surgery alive. Chae In then healed her a little more every night.

In fact, Chae In healed regularly, which had caused the hospital’s popularity and patient survival rate to soar. Patients always asked for Chae In by name, and would return to give her food and gifts. They were impressed by her kind bedside manner.

She’d loved working, despite the drain on her energy. But after a scary home invasion, she’d suspected she was being followed. Chae In had gone to the police station to make the report, but her mother had stopped her from going to the desk. She could not inadvertently reveal anything about Project Afterglow or her powers, not to mention they’d investigate her aliases.

At that moment, Jo Heon had brushed past her with a sidelong glance and given her a faint smile. He was about to ask if she needed help, but his Captain called him to the office. Chae In recognized him as the partner who’d supported Detective Pak at the hospital. He would’ve taken her case, had she made that report.

Thereafter, Chae In and her mother quickly made new identities and moved to Hawaii. Chae In then became a beloved nurse at a small clinic in Maui, doing double duty as a veterinarian. She’s remained there since.

A lifetime of running and hiding had made Chae In introspective and dubious of others.

Chae In is very kind, but forthcoming. She has a dark sense of humor. She doesn’t like to waste precious moments because she never knows if she’ll have to leave.

All the work keeps Chae In’s mind off the past and the uncertainty about her future, but she’s no candy girl. She sometimes embraces a wild side to deal with depressed moods.

But ultimately, Chae In longs for solid, long-standing relationships and a simple life. However, it’s nearly impossible as long as Project Afterglow watches in the wings.

Chae In soon meets a man from her childhood who becomes her friend and guardian. Together, they’ll strive to break the malicious hold of Afterglow, and Chae In will learn to trust and love.

~ Meet Ko Min Jae ~

Ko Min Jae (Jang Geun Suk), 28, is the rebellious son of a government official who comes from old money. His father, Ko Suk Jae (Kim Sang Joong), was once an integral part of the Afterglow project, acting as a go-between with the outside world and other scientists and politicians. He had been kept mostly unaware of the after-effects and death toll, until tragedy had struck his own household.

Min Jae lived a pampered life. His father barely made time for him, and his mother had feared him ever since he was a toddler. During a tantrum his powers had manifested for the first time, and a bubbling stewpot had splashed onto her legs, leaving burn scars.

As a child he had been weak and bedridden, until Suk Jae had brought him to the compound, desperate for a cure. Min Jae had met little Park Chae In, and within two weeks, all his illnesses had vanished.

Although they’d parted ways after a summer, he’d never forgotten her. Those were the happiest moments of his life. When he’d returned home his relationship with his mother had improved and she’d deeply regretted her earlier attitude toward him.

Min Jae is not interested in politics or running any of the family businesses. He’s a musician at heart and owns a popular “underground” nightclub in Gangnam, aptly named Incandescence.

Min Jae had battled with depression when his mother had committed suicide during his early teens. She had been institutionalized for 2 years when he’d found a typed suicide note that said she hadn’t been able to handle the dark secrets or the stress of knowing her only son was “a freak who could move objects with his mind.”

Min Jae also learned that he was born an experimental test-tube baby on the island. He was the only one that had survived among those “specimens.”

Min Jae had acted out for a while, causing Suk Jae grief and keeping his PR people scurrying to cover up various scandals. He’d later found an outlet for his troubled emotions in his music.

Min Jae relishes using his powers and employs them in his concerts as special effects. 

One evening Min Jae reunites with Chae In and becomes determined to win her. Min Jae must choose between family loyalty and love when he discovers his father is part of a new secret organization that wants to re-ignite the Afterglow Project for the purpose of reunification with the North.

Ko Suk Jae is intent on gathering all the Afterglow descendants. Joining forces with them may be the only way Min Jae can have Chae In, but will also make him a formidable rival for Jo Heon.

~ Meet Kwang Dae ~

Kwang Dae (Shin Hyun Joon), 36, is a proud, ruthless gangster responsible for a string of unsolved arson cases around major cities with high crime activity. He rubs shoulders with politicians and people in high places. He also runs “Pyro” – an exclusive hostess bar that he’d bought after getting rid of a rival gangster in prison.

Kwang Dae is from the older generation of Afterglow kids. His parents had been injected off the island and forced to return when Kwang Dae was ten years old.

For five years he’d badly wanted to get off the compound. At fifteen years old, he’d used his pyrokinetic powers to destroy everything, killing off many residents and the remaining scientists, in revenge for his parents, who had died during a botched experiment.

Kwang Dae is hired by Ko Suk Jae to recruit the last of those born with powers.

He pretends to be a lackey, and takes on many disguises and personalities to win over recruits, playing on their sympathies, needs and desires. He looks for those with intelligence and grit.

Whenever he manages to find a remaining Afterglow descendent, his efforts are intercepted. He’s unsure of who’s responsible. However, his master plan is to run the country – the original goal of Afterglow.

Kwang Dae remains a dark and menacing presence throughout, and is responsible for many fire-related deaths and accidents. The more control he gains in the underworld, the less inclined he is to obey. He aggressively rises among the gangster ranks using manipulation, fear… and fire.

THE PRESENT

~ Jo Heon’s new Client: Dr. Park Chul ~

Comfortable Mystery 4 ~ Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

In the dead of night, Jo Heon is blindfolded and led to an abandoned office complex. Once his blindfold is removed, Jo Heon somewhat recognizes the older man in front of him, particularly by his light eyes and contemplative face.

The older man is Dr. Park Chul (Kim Gab Soo), from the neighboring family at the Afterglow compound.

Jo Heon can’t struggle or leave the premises. A force on his mind weighs him down. Dr. Park’s powers of the mind trump his, and he slouches, defeated.

The memories of his life on the compound hit him full force.

~ Flashback: Jo Heon’s Trauma ~

Little Jo Heon follows his father one night to a giant underground laboratory in the compound. His father, Sum Shim, had been spying on Dr. Park Chul. Jo Heon had sensed tension in his family because Sum Shim had been antsy to leave the island.

Jo Heon gets frightened as they enter a creepy cellar and he hides behind a stairwell. In the lab, a woman is strapped to a gurney. Her mouth is tethered. All sorts of complex computers blink on and off, monitoring her vitals.

Dr. Park Chul is expressionless and merely observes as two other doctors inject a glowing substance into her veins. In the shadows a man is tethered upright to a chair with the same glowing substance flowing into him. His eyes are open but he’s motionless.

The woman convulses. She stares Jo Heon’s way and then her eyes roll back. The electronic monitors zap off and electricity crackles. The woman slumps and dies, and it seems like the whites of her eyes are still gazing at Jo Heon.

The tethered man’s body stiffens and foam spills from his mouth and nose, as he dies painfully.

The compound briefly loses power until a loud generator behind Jo Heon kicks in. Jo Heon is terrified and wants to scream, but knows his father is hiding and would get caught.

Just before the lights power on, Sum Shim quickly carries him to safety through a secret passage. He comforts Jo Heon on the beach, apologizing in tears for bringing him to the island. He’d had no choice, but now he will do everything he can to keep the family safe and expose the deadly experiments to the world.

~ The Origins of “Project Afterglow” ~

Just after the Korean War, during the 1950s “Atomic Age,” top Korean Scientists had been requested to work in the United States’ secret base, Area 51. They had been responsible for investigating foreign objects from space.

The scientists had tapped into an unknown electro-magnetic energy force from a cluster of strange meteors. During this era, the threat of nuclear war had been imminent. The Government had used many human subjects and exposed them to different forms of radiation. Secret radiation testing bunkers had sprung up all over the world, but had been abandoned by the seventies due to human rights.

Two of the Korean scientists had retained their powers. Armed with the necessary data and space rocks, they had returned to Korea to continue the experiments with poor volunteers. Certain subjects had exhibited strange abilities, but the exposure had proved too intense and many had died within a few years. Their offspring, however, had survived.

Shady government officials had tracked down surviving test subjects, after which Project Afterglow had been initiated. The families had been forced to have children and live on the compound until 1996, when a sudden, destructive fire had ended the nightmare.

Back to the Present

~ Park Chul & Jo Heon ~

Park Chul gives Jo Heon a binder stuffed with documents on the history of the Afterglow Project. The parts he understands read like a work of Science Fiction, but it’s the only probable way to explain his powers. Park Chul opens a suitcase full of American money. It will cover Jo Heon’s commission and expenses.

Park Chul wants Jo Heon to find his daughter, Chae In. He has no ill intent and even tears up while speaking of their estrangement. Park Chul knows he’s not innocent, but insists that Chae In’s mother had brainwashed her into thinking he worked for the enemy.

Park Chul shows Jo Heon a faded photo of two children on a beach rock. The older boy’s arm is protectively around the shoulders of a serious-looking little girl. Jo Heon and Chae In had once been friends with powers no one else had understood.

Park Chul lets Jo Heon keep the photo. He has faith they will bond again and that she’ll return to Korea.

~ Jo Heon’s Hawaiian Investigation ~

Jo Heon travels abroad to Hawaii. It takes him three days to track Chae In down under the name “Kim Na Young” in a Maui village.

“Na Young” was known as a the miracle doctor in a small clinic. After visiting seedier parts of Maui, Jo Heon is amused to find that she often enjoyed the village night life too, but always went home alone.

Jo Heon relaxes on the beach waiting for her shift to start, and notices a little Hawaiian boy playing in the rough surf. The boy disappears when large waves slams over him and he doesn’t come up. Jo Heon dashes into the ocean and swims to his rescue. The boy is nearly swept out to sea and it takes Jo Heon a few dives to find him.

Jo Heon carries him to the sand to begin CPR, but the child is unresponsive and Jo Heon can’t feel a pulse.

Chae In pushes through the crowd. Jo Heon recognizes her from photos and addresses her in Korean. He watches carefully as she grips the boy’s diaphragm. The sun is bright, but Jo Heon notices the faint glow beneath her fingertips. The boy’s face regains color as he sputters and coughs up a lot of seawater. Everyone cheers and the boy’s mother thanks them profusely.

Chae In rushes back to the clinic to avoid questions. Jo Heon calls her by her real name and grabs her wrist. He knows she had saved the boy from the brink of death.

She breaks free and storms away. Jo Heon says the word – Afterglow. Chae In is shocked, but doesn’t want to make a scene, and he’s too tall and strong to fight off. Rather than argue, Jo Heon forces her with his mind, to agree to a meeting after her shift.

At precisely 5pm, Chae In stops inputting patient data and immediately finds herself outside to meet Jo Heon. Her actions frighten her because she doesn’t want to meet him.

When he smiles, though, her defenses melt a little. He appears cold, but he had saved the child after all. For some reason, she’s not on guard as usual. He’s vaguely familiar to her. They go to a nearby food stand to talk, but Chae In remains suspicious of his story.

Jo Heon reveals the truth about Park Chul, but Chae In can’t believe that her mother had lied. Her life is finally settled now, and she wants nothing to do with her father or Afterglow. Jo Heon doesn’t tell her that they share a past, or that he’s currently working with her father.

After Chae In leaves, Jo Heon secretly follows her home.

He witnesses Chae In and her mother In Hye’s angry conversation, and uses his power to stop In Hye from slapping her daughter. The information Jo Heon gave Chae In has challenged her memories of her past and her trust in her mother’s intentions. Her mother is angry that Jo Heon has interfered.

In a tearful confession, In Hye tells Chae In about Dr. Park Chul’s activities at the compound. Hearing In Hye’s story, Jo Heon feels sickened and betrayed, and now doesn’t know who to believe.

Chae In takes off into the night; she needs to think long and hard about this new turning point in her life.

Jo Heon spies her mother’s sadness turn cold as she picks up an old burner cell phone to make a call. But he doesn’t hear what she says, as she takes the conversation upstairs.

Jo Heon follows Chae In to the beach, and watches as she stands with the waves lapping at her feet as she stares off into the starry sky.

Jo Heon feels his icy exterior cracking and he experiences something real in his heart for the first time in years.

As Chae In walks along the beach, Jo Heon keeps silent vigil over her pain; it’s all too familiar to him. He knows that he is the cause, but has no ability to end it.

Jo Heon doesn’t tell Park Chul that he’s found Chae In. He wants to give her time to process the news and work things out with her mom. Park Chul is not easily deceived, but is patient.

~ OTP Bonding ~

Although she constantly sees Jo Heon around and lounging on the beach, Chae In refuses to speak to him. He keeps his distance. Throughout the week, as she tries to retain a hold on the quiet life she’s built in Maui, Chae In notices that Jo Heon is always hovering nearby.

Part of her is angry at him, but part of her likes knowing that he’s there, protecting her. She finds herself admiring him as he jogs, swims, and even windsurfs in the vicinity near her clinic.

They share a few cute moments in which they both pretend he’s not following her. She subsequently chases him off, but the chases end in laughter.

After a week, Chae In breaks her icy approach when she realizes Jo Heon has no plans to leave her side. At the same time, her mother refuses to speak further about Park Chul, and Chae In’s burning inside to know more.

On a lazy Sunday, she blocks Jo Heon’s sun and hands him a pineapple smoothie as a peace offering.

Within a few days she’s always smiling when they are together.

~ First Date ~

Jo Heon wants to reveal their past on the Afterglow compound. He asks Chae In out to a fancy outdoor dinner and is surprised when she agrees.

Jo Heon proves his powers to Chae In, in a series of funny mishaps between the waiters and customers. He makes one obnoxious man pour his drink on his own head, and has the male and female wait-staff who keep passing by all night, toss the food plates and kiss each other. Jo Heon goes a step further and makes the waiter propose and the waitress blurts out yes.

Chae In is astonished that he can change someone’s thoughts and will so easily. She calls him scary and wonders aloud if he’d been manipulating her all along to be friends.

She’s never felt this hot and bothered by any man before, but she doesn’t admit her growing feelings for him. Jo Heon’s deeply hurt and stalks off without seeing her home.

~ House Fire! ~

That night, the small house that Chae In shares with her mother catches fire while they’re sleeping. Chae In frantically calls Jo Heon, coughing and wheezing, and he rushes to her aid.

Jo Heon arrives before the fire department does, and Chae In is desperately trying to pull her mother out – she’s unconscious from smoke inhalation.  Jo Heon forces Chae In out of the house and then carries her mother to safety. In Hye is clutching a wad of sealed documents and notebooks to her chest. She’d taken them from a small safe before fainting.

Chae In rushes back to retrieve whatever valuables she can. Jo Heon drags her out just as she grabs her family photo with Park Chul.

With a final burst of flame, the roof collapses. It’s as if the fire had spread with a mind of its own.

Chae In huddles tight against Jo Heon. All they can do is watch the house burn to the ground. They’re both reminded of that terrible fire on the Island.

Just as the fire department arrives, Jo Heon, Chae In, and her mother leave in a taxi. Jo Heon sees a tall figure standing backlit against the flames. Jo Heon has a gut feeling the person had caused the fire, but he doesn’t mention it to Chae In or her mother.

Once they are safe, Chae In uses her power to heal her mother, and Jo Heon urges them to return with him to Seoul on the next flight out.

~ Return to Seoul ~

Jo Heon brings Chae In back to Seoul without telling Park Chul. She and In Hye create new identities and take up residence in a small community on the outskirts of the city.

Jo Heon helps them settle in and makes himself available whenever they need him. Although she’s still a little standoffish, Chae In’s warmed up to Jo Heon since Maui. She tries to hide her attraction. Jo Heon is still up in the air about everything, and he does his best to hide his.

Jo Heon tells Dr. Park Chul that his daughter is refusing to see him for now, and keeps her whereabouts a secret. But he’s taken the money from Park Chul and honors his agreement to eventually reunite them. Jo Heon still isn’t sure who to believe: Park Chul, who is aloof but shows genuine love for his daughter, or In Hye, who swears Park Chul was a monster.

Park Chul has spies watching In Hye. She’d been caught on a few secret meetings with a handsome, middle-aged man.

For now, Jo Heon keeps his contract with Park Chul a secret from Chae In and In Hye. And he keeps their location a secret from Park Chul.

Jo Heon has a recollection. He digs through all the Afterglow files his partner Jin Song had investigated. The man in the photos is Ko Suk Jae, a Government Security Official for the Blue House. Jin Song’s untidy but thorough notes connect Ko Suk Jae to the Afterglow project.

Suk Jae was supposed to have received DNA injections, but his wife hadn’t wanted him to ruin his chances of a political career with a scandal. She’d taken them instead, believing in the greater good, but her body had reacted poorly. From that moment it’d appeared her mind had also been afflicted.

The scientists had pressured her and Suk Jae to try in-vitro fertilization. The injections had branded enough DNA in her, for Min Jae to inherit abilities.

As his wife’s condition worsened, Suk Jae’s career soared. He’d been pressured to secretly institutionalize her until the day she’d killed herself.

~ Meet Kim Ye Seo ~  

Chae In joins a veterinary clinic as an assistant and enjoys her work, bringing joy to the children’s and the elderly’s faces when their beloved pets are healed.

Kim Ye Seo (Song Yun Ah), 39, the Head of the veterinary clinic, does work that goes far beyond helping sick animals. She is the granddaughter of a Korean scientist from Area 51, and the first generation born from the original experiments. Ye Seo has the distinct power to warp the density of objects, but it comes at the cost of severe migraines. She uses her abilities sparingly.

Kim Ye Seo had created an “Underground Railroad” off the island and had secretly kept the Afterglow children safe, including the gangster Kwang Dae, until he’d disappeared without a trace. She’d helped Park In Hye obtain fake passports, identification and all sorts of legal documentation.

When Chae In had come in search of a job, Ye Seo had hired her right away. She had heard a rumor through her network that Park Chul’s daughter was back in South Korea, and she had purposely placed the ad for her to follow up on.

Kim Ye Seo has seen the blossoming feelings that Jo Heon and Chae In have for one another, and the way Jo Heon lingers and watches protectively over Chae In.

Ye Seo often creates situations to throw them together; simple and cute scenarios that neither of them are suspicious of. Like asking Jo Heon to come and help move things in the stockroom and then putting Chae In in charge of the project while she does a house call. Or asking them both to dinner and then faking an emergency text from a patient, leaving them to enjoy the meal.

Later on, Ye Seo is amused when both Jo Heon and Min Jae vie for Chae In’s attention.

Both guys would bring stray animals in for treatments, often at the same time, and then argue over who gets treated first, which always embarrasses Chae In.

Ye Seo keeps tabs on Min Jae; she doesn’t trust him, because she knows who his father is. During girl talk with Chae In she learns that Chae In’s heart really belongs to Jo Heon while she considers Min Jae her friend.

Kim Ye Seo is a powerful ally for Jo Heon and Chae In, and all the former Afterglow children.

~ Meet Baek Hyun Shik ~

Baek Hyun Shik (Park Ki Woong), 27, is a brilliant young man working on Kim Ye Seo’s team. He’d been the child on the Island with the highest IQ.

A few months before the destruction of the Afterglow project, when he was 8 years old, North Korean officials had been given specific data on him and had coerced his parents into bringing him to their country. They’d tricked them into believing their son could help bring about reunification and that they worked with the South Korean Government.

His parents had taken a heavy pay-out, basically selling their son to the “enemy.” Once there, he’d trained for years at a science sector inside a Military Base camp. He never saw his parents again.

Hyun Shik secretly tapped into satellite and radio waves from around the world, absorbing news, foreign culture, lifestyles and entertainment. He remembered from his early childhood that North Korea was not the center of the universe. This went on for many years right under his superiors’ noses.

At 18 years old, Hyun Shik brainstormed his escape from North Korea and plotted every step down to the last detail. He memorized escape routes and schedules so that he would be able to avoid the guards on the base. Hyun Shik managed to scramble their communication devices and lockdown signals. It was a harrowing escape; he had to be as stealthy as a ninja.

He endured hunger and stormy weather while traveling. He didn’t want to trust anyone because of their misguided loyalties to the regime, but a few poor, kindly elders along the way provided him with food and lodging. He left them money he’d taken from the military base. He kept in the shadows at night. Once across the border, he stayed in China for 3 years, quickly assimilating into the culture and saving enough money to travel.

In South Korea, Hyun Shik held a series of odd jobs. His social awkwardness caused him difficulties, and he found himself making enemies with the wrong crowds. Despite suffering a few beatings, he was always able to outsmart them and move on. There was one woman he desperately needed to find; she held the key to Project Afterglow.

The Afterglow injections had enhanced Hyun Shik’s visual function and he maps out and creates illusions only he can see, to aid his problem-solving. He has a stark, photographic memory. Because of his background, Hyun Shik is often withdrawn and lacks social skills. During conversations or when faced with a question, he often immediately zones out as his illusions hit him full force. If he doesn’t get proper rest and avoid too much stimulus, he’s prone to dizzy spells and fainting. He tries his best to relate to others and keep focus.

~ Mind Games ~

Hyun Shik had had a job as a delivery boy for a fried chicken place (owned by a former Chef on the Afterglow compound). He’d noticed the cashier stealing from the register. Hyun Shik had confronted him and accurately told the owner how many of each bill and coin she had. He’d known the last few register counts since they opened at noon and she’d started with $200.

“She’s exactly $65 short.” The owner had been amazed, and assigned Hyun Shik to take care of register duties.

One night, diners bet on a televised baseball game. Hyun Shik gave them an exact play-by-play of the winning pitch and hit. He visualized the human body, the pitcher’s stance, eye signals, facial tics, and did the same for the hitter and catcher. He calculated the distance of the ball to the plate and into the field, accounting for weather and wind pressure. He memorized the players’ stats. Hyun Shik’s mind wandered and he stood on the field in the midst of the game. When he finished explaining, he opened his eyes to see everyone staring at him dumbfounded. The game continued exactly as he’d predicted.

The owner was suspicious and called Kim Ye Seo. She didn’t realize that Hyun Shik was on to her, and that he knew of Ye Seo’s “Underground Railroad” project. Hyun Shik had discovered Ye Seo’s location.

~ Meet Ha Sook Yon ~

Propose ~ Park Ki Woong

Ha Sook Yon (Kim Seul Gi), 24, is a loyal receptionist for Kim Ye Seo at the Vet clinic. She’s a bubbly, fun young woman, who adores animals and children and has a smile for everyone.

Sook Yon’s father had once been a loyal office manager at a prestigious bank in Seoul. The family had been well off. It was discovered his CEO and a few co-workers were embezzling funds, manipulating stocks, and getting kickbacks. This activity had come under the Government’s radar. Sook Yon’s father was innocent, but because he’d signed off on documents as per his job, Blue House officials came to his home and arrested him.

He’s been imprisoned for the last 7 years.

Sook Yon and her family were ostracized. They’d changed neighborhoods and sold their expensive possessions. At 16, Yon became a breadwinner for her mother and spoiled 10-year-old sister. Her mom became weary and harsh on them. She claims Sook Yon is just like her father, always the naive optimist who refuses to see the wickedness in others.

Sook Yon turns a deaf ear to insults and covers up the hurt with humor. When she was 20, she’d answered a receptionist ad for Kim Ye Seo’s office, and has been working there since. Ye Seo had gradually entrusted her with Afterglow’s secrets when she’d inadvertently stumbled on information. Ye Seo had encouraged Sook Yon to go to college, and helps her with tuition by pulling strings. Sook Yon is successfully finishing up a degree in childhood education.

~ The new Sherlock ~

At the Vet office, Hyun Shik is cheerfully greeted by Sook Yon. It’s near closing time and the office is empty. Kim Ye Seo is in the lab treating a kitten. Sook Yon is immediately drawn to Hyun Shik; he looks lost and a little sad. She remembers the cake she’d baked and gives him a slice with tea. She doesn’t allow him a chance to decline. All along she bubbly chats – telling him she’s working on her baking skills, asking if his pet is sick, etc.

Hyun Shik doesn’t eat much sugar or snacks, but he doesn’t want to be rude. Her cake is delicious. He quietly listens to her prattle.

His intense gazes make her nervous. She gets down to serious conversation, “You’re not here for a sick pet, are you? I think you’re in need of a safe haven.”

Hyun Shik evaluates her head to toe. He knows she’s 24, needs glasses but avoids wearing them. She loves snacks and sweets. She works with children, she’s a college student, unmarried, a romantic at heart but currently single, once wore a retainer, prefers bangs to hide a little scar on the right side of her head. He casually mentions her father’s scandal.

Hyun Shik doesn’t even realize he’s spouting information and she’s amazed. He notices she’s teary-eyed and he quietly assures that her father’s not a criminal and neither is she. She covers up with a smile and calls him “Sherlock Holmes.”

Surprisingly, Hyun Shik doesn’t know who that is. She starts explaining about the famous fictional detective, when Ye Seo comes in to meet him. Hyun Shik’s behavior confirms he’s the same boy she remembers from the Island.

Sook Yon finds Hyun Shik cute, and over time she tries hard to break him out of his shell. She pays no mind to his awkwardness.

Hyun Shik is secretly charmed by her. He knows she’s not as ditzy as she first appears, and they share moments of serious talk. She loves to give advice. In time she offers to be his tour guide through Seoul.

Sook Yon is not shy about her crush on him. She leaves healthy food, drinks, and snacks for him at his door, knowing he’s often behind computers and tracking consoles most of the day. She puts up encouraging notes – “Fighting!” “Keep up your strength!” “I believe in you!” with little hearts and flowers. When he’s very busy he writes his own funny notes and leaves the empty containers and thermoses.

Jo Heon is following leads about suspicious fires and other cases in the area. Hyun Shik is bored so he tags along on his investigations. But Jo Heon gets annoyed because Hyun Shik keeps interrupting with questions and accurately pinpoints criminal activity everywhere.

Jo Heon is exasperated. “Do you have to steal my thunder every time you open your damn mouth, Sherlock?”

“There goes that name again. I don’t get it.”

Jo Heon and Hyun Shik butt heads and banter, but in a good-natured way. Jo Heon reluctantly admits Hyun Shik is a major asset to Ye Seo’s team.

Sook Yon gifts Hyun Shik the complete set of Sherlock Holmes books by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and sets up his TV for him to watch the current BBC series, and some classic Sherlock movies. He eagerly reads and watches them all within two weeks and finally understands why everyone on the team had started calling him “Sherlock.” The British detective becomes his favorite character in the world.

Sook Yon keeps Hyun Shik down-to-earth, and shows sincere interest in his ideas and theories. She sees the conflicted emotions and hurt in Hyun Shik and wants to take care of him.

~ Sook Yon consoles Jo Heon ~

Mere days after Chae In settles into working at the vet clinic, Sook Yon can’t help but notice Jo Heon’s feelings for Chae In. All his attempts at closeness are given the brush off and Sook Yon feels sorry for him.

While on her way to work, she sees Jo Heon sitting dejected on a park bench. She gives him a canned coffee and allows him to vent. Jo Heon understands that Chae In’s worked hard at living independently for so long, but he doesn’t know how to make her happy.

Sook Yon tells him how Chae In is feeling now – full of hurt and confusion. She’s most likely scared to be part of this Afterglow power struggle but she doesn’t want to worry him. Sook Yon offers him a woman’s perspective, and assures Jo Heon that if he gives Chae In space, she’d come to him.

~ Club Incandescence ~

Save Me ~ Jang Geun Suk

One night while rehearsing for a number, Min Jae notices Chae In drunk by the bar, and vaguely recognizes her. An irritating guy sitting nearby slips a roofie in her drink. Min Jae “mind” moves the pill out and into the guy’s glass. Min Jae marches over and takes control of the situation, leaving the guy to drink, stumble and fall into the center of the dance floor.

Min Jae drags Chae In by the wrist to his office and lays her on the couch. She’s completely out of it – mumbling about running away, hiding from “Them” and mildly cursing a “bad guy” for causing all this trouble. Studying her closely, it dawns on him that she’s Park Chae In, his best friend from the island.

Min Jae goes through Chae In’s phone. It’s brand new and he contacts the only person in the call history.

When Jo Heon answers, old memories resurface and the rivalry begins.

Meanwhile, a young woman watches from the darkened hallway. Her expression is pained and jealous. She’s Min Jae’s co-manager, and she’s been in love with him for three years.

~ Meet Choi Sa Ra ~

Sa Ra (Jung So Min) is a quirky, colorful punkette to Min Jae’s dark brooding punk. She’s business up-front and party in the back. By day she handles clerical affairs of the club.

Sa Ra keeps tight watch on Min Jae’s activities, and “takes out the trash” whenever a new woman appears in his life. She’s the perfect hostess, keeping a sharp eye out for shenanigans that might ruin the club or Min Jae’s reputation. She and Min Jae joke that he’s Tony Stark and she’s his Pepper Potts.

Three years prior, Min Jae had rescued Sa Ra when she’d staggered in the club alley before sunrise. A vicious gang had beaten and chased her as she’d walked home from her mini-mart job. Before passing out, she’d witnessed Min Jae toss objects at them without ever lifting a finger and remembers a few of them go flying into the walls.

Sa Ra never realized that he’d always watched her walk that way past the alley whenever he went out for a smoke or fresh air. Min Jae knew the time she normally passed. 

She’d woken up in a hospital the next day with her arm in a sling and bandages all over. Min Jae had been asleep in a chair nearby, and a bouquet of red, purple, and pink flowers had bloomed on her bedside table. Her favorite colors.

Min Jae had needed a pretty woman with brains to represent Incandescence. He’d seen charm, sass, and potential in Sa Ra, even though she’d never attended college.

He’d supported Sa Ra with business courses and set her up in an apartment away from her abusive parents.

Sa Ra, forever grateful, is Min Jae’s right arm and feels he’ll be lost without her. She’s comforted Min Jae through dark spirals.

Sa Ra’s the only one who knows Min Jae’s secret. She gladly keeps it despite his drunk tirades early on in the relationship, that he’d kill her if she told anyone. Sa Ra is willing to die for him and Min Jae knows her feelings, but he’s built up a wall of despair around him.

Sa Ra feels threatened when Chae In reappears in Min Jae’s life.

Chae In makes him smile, and his eyes light up whenever she calls or visits. Sa Ra knows Min Jae constantly makes excuses to see Chae In throughout the day, even buying a “club cat” just to make vet visits.

Sa Ra tries to investigate her, but comes up with dead ends. While snooping around Min Jae’s office she finds a childhood picture of Min Jae, Chae In and Jo Heon. She pieces together that they’re from the Afterglow project.

Sa Ra is torn about reporting Chae In to Ko Suk Jae. When she sees Min Jae attempting to win Chae In romantically, though, she makes her decision. However, this sets up a dangerous chain of events for everyone.

~ Sook Yon’s empathy for Sa Ra ~

Sook Yon volunteers to drop off Min Jae’s club cat while the vets are busy. The club is not open for business yet but she walks in anyway and hears an argument. Sa Ra is ranting because she feels Min Jae has lost focus on club business and she’s over-worked and under-appreciated. Min Jae doesn’t argue back much until Sook Yon hears her yell Chae In’s name. His temper flares and he backs Sa Ra into a wall.

“Don’t ever mention her again! You don’t know anything about us or my past. I pulled you from the streets; if you don’t like how I run things, then go back there! I don’t need you interfering in my personal life!”

Sa Ra cries and runs away. Sook Yon gives Min Jae his cat. “Gatsby” was only puking so much because he’d been chewing on fake plant leaves. Min Jae’s mood shifts and he warmly inquires about Chae In. After exchanging pleasantries, Sook Yon leaves through the alley and nearly trips over Sa Ra – she’s crouched down with her face in her arms.

Sa Ra had treated Sook Yon coldly in the past and now only glares at her. Sook Yon crouches beside her. She assures Sa Ra that Chae In only loves Jo Heon, but she’s afraid to be in any sort of relationship.

Sa Ra is afraid to admit her love for Min Jae. Sook Yon reminds her that Afterglow kids grow up emotionally damaged. She believes Min Jae loves her, but just doesn’t know how to say it. Her wise, warm words comfort Sa Ra.

The women don’t realize that Min Jae is listening behind the door. He knows the situation is just as Sook Yon says, but he can’t admit it to himself and still wants to get close to Chae In. 

~ Flashback: Childhood on the Island ~

Min Jae is walking on the beach with Chae In. It’s his first week out of bed after the healing. He’s a bundle of energy, finally able to be himself, but Chae In is tired and weak and not up to playing.

They see an older boy riding his bike and suddenly the bike’s front wheel hits a fallen tree limb and he flips over with the bike. Chae In screams and rushes to help. He’s badly cut on his leg and is banged up all over. The boy is Jo Heon.

Chae In tears a piece of her skirt and wipes the blood away, but the cut is deep and the skin around the gash is torn. Chae In yells to Min Jae to get help. He agrees, but keeps saying not to use “it.”

Chae In’s little heart goes out to the boy as he lies crying with a lot of blood puddling around his leg.

The boys are stunned as they notice the yellow glow; even her eyes light up. Jo Heon’s wound closes and the skin heals shut. Chae In is happy, but suddenly faints. Jo Heon rushes her on piggyback to the village, but doesn’t reveal that Chae In had healed him.

Min Jae follows along, upset that Jo Heon knows their special secret, and that he wasn’t able to protect her himself. He tells Chae In’s parents the truth and they limit her contact with Jo Heon.

~ Date with Min Jae ~

Min Jae has been lurking around Chae In, but Jo Heon always thwarts his plans. Lately, though, Jo Heon is busy with cases that keep him away from Chae In. Without him there, Min Jae pounces on the opportunity.

Min Jae charms Chae In into agreeing to have a meal at a street vendor. They drink soju together and laugh and giggle as Chae In talks about some of the people she’d met on her travels. Min Jae stares at her with adoration, but she’s oblivious.

After their third bottle Sa Ra appears and scolds Min Jae. He’s late for a performance on stage. Sa Ra accuses Chae In of ulterior motives and of trying to sabotage his career.

Min Jae is intoxicated and Sa Ra drags him away, leaving a bewildered Chae In at the street vendor to finish off the drinks.

~ Hunted ~

In Memoriam ~ Paul Mottram/Garreth Johnson

In the shadows, Kwang Dae watches and his eyes glow amber under a deep hood. A light rain starts to fall and begins to smoke as it hits his clothes.

Chae In shivers and looks around. Years of running and hiding have given her a sixth sense. Knowing she’s being watched, she quickly leaves the vendor. This provides Kwang Dae the perfect chance to follow in pursuit.

Chae In’s pulse pounds as she zigzags through the maze of homes and alleyways. She senses his nearness every time the rain fogs and puddles boil over. Sweat pours out of her despite the cold air.

Just before Kwang Dae can grab her, Jo Heon appears from around the corner and rushes over. He’d seen her take off from the food stand. Kwang Dae disappears into the shadows and the air cools.

Chae In is glad to see Jo Heon and allows him to be overprotective and take her home. Jo Heon takes his coat off and lets her use it as an umbrella.

Kwang Dae skulks behind a building. He’s now positive of the connection between the former Afterglow children.

~ Flashback: Kwang Dae on the Island ~

15-year-old Kwang Dae races to the medical building. He’s desperate to find his mother and father.

They were the poorest family on the compound and even on the tiny island they were shunned because of class distinctions. His family was supposed to leave that weekend, but Kwang Dae had overheard them being given a suitcase of money to stay for one more round of injections. The higher-ups felt the experiments had failed because Kwang Dae had not yet manifested usable abilities for the project. His parents were still relatively young and after the next injections they needed to conceive within a year. They’d foolishly accepted.

Kwang Dae felt smarter than his parents. He’d constantly snooped around and figured out the truth about Afterglow. He didn’t trust anyone, so during his evaluations he suppressed his powers to a minimum.

Kwang Dae finds his parents’ bodies abandoned in an unused lab. He goes into a shock and the air in the room overheats. Before a flame can ignite he’s splashed with ice cold water and loses concentration. His family’s doctor, Park Chul, invades his thoughts and calms him down. If Kwang Dae wants revenge he has to think and react with his head, not his heart.

When they leave the area, they notice a distraught Nam Sum Shim on the beach rocking his son Jo Heon. Park Chul knows the detective saw everything but he won’t reveal it. He wants the Nam family to escape after he convinces Kwang Dae to destroy the complex. He brings the grieving teen home and lets him stay in a separate bunkhouse for the remainder of the time.

3 months later, Kwang Dae puts the plan into action and unleashes his fiery wrath.

~ Kwang Dae’s Threats ~

In the present, Kwang Dae visits Jo Heon at his P.I office to discuss Jo Heon joining forces with him. He knows all about Jo Heon’s fall from grace as a cop and shows him an Afterglow group photo. Kwang Dae has little Jo Heon on his shoulders and they look happy.

Jo Heon suddenly remembers calling Kwang Dae “hyung” and spending time tagging along with him. But he also remembers Kwang Dae was hot tempered. Jo Heon is not swayed by the past or his convincing talk. Afterglow had brought nothing but pain and misery for many people.

Kwang Dae agrees with Jo Heon, but only because the wrong people were in charge and behaved in barbaric ways. His poor parents had been tricked. They’d only wanted money to put him through school.

As Kwang Dae’s temper flares, so does the temperature in the room and Jo Heon strips off his jacket and tie and dabs sweat all over.

Kwang Dae blames everyone on the project, because they’d behaved like cowards. He inches closer to Jo Heon and sneers, “There was a Detective on the island. He knew everything, I know he did. But he kept his mouth shut, didn’t he? He only cared about his own son.”

Jo Heon is panicked. His water cooler bubbles and the plastic melts. His body feels a burning sensation and his breathing is constricted.

Chae In arrives to meet Jo Heon and realizes that Kwang Dae was the one who’d followed her in the alley. She grabs Kwang Dae’s arm in an attempt to stop him but she burns her fingers.

“And here comes the little healer. Show me what you got!”

To test her, Kwang Dae deeply slices his hand with his Swiss army knife and demands she heal him. He’s stone-faced despite the gushing blood. He gives Jo Heon warning glances to stay still, or else he’d put her in flames.

The heat is unbearable but Jo Heon won’t leave Chae In alone with Kwang Dae. She grips Kwang Dae’s hand and the yellow glow emits around his wound as it seals up. Kwang Dae’s very impressed.

Jo Heon uses his mind control and Kwang Dae is stunned, imagining he’s encased in ice. The room temperature cools instantly and the illusion fades. Kwang Dae’s only faced one formidable opponent from Afterglow, and no one else had ever broken from the heat unless he’d allowed them.

Kwang Dae covers up his agitation and leaves Jo Heon his club card and a cryptic warning, that in the end, they’d have no choice but to join him.

Chae In washes the blood off and looks Jo Heon over for injury. She wets his handkerchief and dabs his face and neck with cold water.

Jo Heon’s cheeks are red and feverish and his heart is racing. She grips him in a hug, allowing her healing powers to lower his body temperature and slow his heart rate to normal. They gaze at each other and Jo Heon notices she’s sweating and her breathing is fast. He feels completely well. Jo Heon tenderly embraces her while she rests against his chest.

~ Min Jae’s breakdown ~

A week or so after the incident with Kwang Dae, Chae In is working late at the clinic and hears noise from the back alley. She’s frightened when someone forces the door locks and they open by themselves. Min Jae approaches her drunk and spouting how they can live together back on the island.

While trying to keep him calm, she calls Jo Heon. He had been nearby because he’d been secretly watching over her. He hears scuffling, and Chae In shouts for help.

A fight ensues between the men and her equipment trembles; Min Jae sends sharp objects flying at Jo Heon.

Chae In grabs Jo Heon by the wrist and they race out the back entrance until they are clear in the alley maze. In a creepy scene, Min Jae follows slowly, shattering street lamps. Discarded boxes and garbage shake and block their path. He babbles about the greater good of the new Afterglow project.

Jo Heon hides Chae In by a dumpster. He sneaks up on Min Jae and shoves him against the wall. Min Jae’s defenses are down, he pitifully apologizes. They are all trapped, so they might as well join forces. Jo Heon takes the opportunity to control him.

“You are drunk!”

“I am drunk.”

“You need to go home and sleep it off.”

“I need to go home and sleep it off.”

Chae In feels sorry for Min Jae as he stands there with the gaze of a lifeless puppet. She asks Jo Heon if he can make it so that he doesn’t remember. Jo Heon is fuming, but does it for her.

Before he knows it, Min Jae is in a cab heading home. The next morning he has a mean hangover, but can’t recall a thing from the moment he left the club. This makes Sa Ra upset and suspicious.

~ Vandalized ~

The next day, Jo Heon picks Chae In up from work. He tells her she’s no longer safe and she must stop being stubborn and trust him. When they get to her apartment, they find it ransacked with a red warning scrawled on her walls. “WE’RE COMING FOR YOU.”

Her mother returns home. She suspects who’s behind it because she’d been negligent in reporting her daughter to Ko Suk Jae and is losing faith in the project.

Jo Heon immediately brings them to a safe-house Park Chul provided, but In Hye has important business to attend to and she’ll return in the morning. She’s experienced too much and isn’t afraid of a little graffiti. Jo Heon becomes more suspicious of In Hye.

Jo Heon is hesitant to leave, so Chae In cooks him a meal and they manage to enjoy themselves and relax. Chae in falls asleep on the couch while they’re watching a fantasy drama about Gumihos. Jo Heon strokes her hair and remarks, “Yeah, I got bored with it after the cool Gumiho father died too.”

He carries her to bed and kisses her cheek. She smiles when he tiptoes away. He doesn’t go home, but cleans up the kitchen and dishes and sleeps on the couch.

~ Park Chul’s mind games ~

Park Chul is displeased with being kept in the dark and has Jo Heon brought to the warehouse where he first took him hostage. He’s searched high and low for his daughter for nearly 20 years but every time he’d come close, he’d been blocked. He’s not about to let it happen again.

Jo Heon’s blocked all his attempts to spy and tail him, and destroyed his hidden cameras and tracking devices. Suspecting that Park Chul has not given him the whole truth, Jo Heon refuses to help any longer and will not tell him Chae In’s whereabouts.

A fierce battle of the minds begins. With vivid imagery, Jo Heon puts up shields and walls, flashes of Korean armies, guards, towers, anything to stop Park Chul from picking his mind. But he’s thwarted each time. As the “palace” of Jo Heon’s mind crumbles, Park Chul sees flashes of Jo Heon spending nice times with Chae In, the fire in her Maui home, his ex-wife…Jo Heon’s doubled over and grasping his temples. Park Chul smiles and whispers – “You love her.”

Park Chul’s powers are too strong and there are only seconds left before Jo Heon’s mind is broken into and Park Chul learns everything.

After getting Jo Heon’s whereabouts from Hyun Shik, Kim Ye Seo appears with few ragtag tough guys and Park Chul’s hold is broken. The images fade.

She’d suspected Park Chul was still alive and snooping around. Park Chul is weakened from the display of power but doesn’t show it. He tells her she’d always assumed the worst of him, but never understood his intentions even though he was her beloved mentor. All he wants now is to see his daughter. He must protect her at all costs from someone they both know well.

Park Chul violates Ye Seo’s mind and learns she’d helped his young North Korean refugee wife create a new identity and had taught their daughter how to care for animals and pets. Ye Seo was also aware of In Hye’s relationship with Ko Suk Jae but had suffered in silence. She didn’t want her mentor hurt.

Ye Seo realizes what he’s done and she attacks with a display of her powers, causing crates and lighting fixtures to warp and crash down.

While everyone starts fighting, Ye Seo and Jo Heon make an escape. She reveals her true connection to Afterglow and they agree not to tell Chae In for now, to keep her safe.

Kim Ye Seo is troubled; fighting has never been the objective of her team. She’s even more distressed when she finds out who Kwang Dae’s silent partner is.

~ Sun In Ho ~ The Iceman cometh ~

Stay ~ Jang Geun Suk

Sun In Ho (Shin Sung Rok), 33, is an eccentric artist who had developed the power to freeze by the time he was five years old.

In Ho’s parents were wealthy but had doted on his two older half-brothers so he’d grown up thirsting for attention. He’d tried to keep his abilities a secret from his family, until one night when they’d thrown a large banquet for an Assemblyman. Hoping to impress his parents, In Ho had used his powers to create an ice sculpture in the shape of South Korea with falling snow. His mother had fainted and his father had fallen into shock and denial.

The elder Sun knew of the Area 51 experiments and he’d always worried if the injections he’d taken as a foolish college grad would have any lasting effects on his children. He arranged for 9-year-old In Ho to live on the compound.

In Ho was witty and mischievous, he hated school work, and became a class hero when he frosted up all the chalkboards and teachers’ lesson plan books. They called him the “Tall Imp” because of his long legs and devilish smile. The kitchen staff adored him when electricity waned because the labs used up all the power.

In Ho was introduced to Kwang Dae, and they became known as “Fire and Ice.” The leaders allowed them more contact than others but they had a secret agenda. In Ho was the only one who could potentially keep Kwang Dae in line if Kwang Dae used his powers in a destructive manner. So, although they became friends, there was a slight enmity between them.

~ In Ho’s Noona love ~

At 14, In Ho’s childhood Noona crush for the beautiful, 19-year-old Kim Ye Seo grew into love. At the time, Ye Seo was in the planning stages of her “Underground Railroad” movement for Afterglow families. By day she worked in the hospital and trained to become a Veterinarian. In Ho was like her puppy. He followed her to protect her, ran errands, and brought her meals and snacks when she worked nights.

Ye Seo appreciated him, and never made light of his feelings, but she didn’t return them. He was still just a gangly boy. In Ho jealously believed she only had eyes for the “old” Dr. Park Chul. The truth was, she merely admired Dr. Park as a mentor and father figure in her life. In Ho gave the stink eye and harmless “cold snap” to any guy trying to give her attention.

Although a number of the young men were attracted to her, Ye Seo had little time for romance, and focused solely on rescuing the Afterglow kids from further experimentation and exploitation. She knew the secrets the scientists and officials kept. She’d seen people grow permanently sick or die after injections, while others had gone mentally insane. She hid her grandfather’s Area 51 files at her aunt Chun Ja’s house.

The information would’ve horrified anyone, with pictures of scarily mutated people from failed experiments, who’d later died of mysterious causes. (Her grandfather guessed they were murdered.) Ye Seo knew that “gifted” people thrived all over Asia and some in the United States, people of all races. She hoped to one day make contact and create a positive network.

In Ho would gladly sneak off to find her newspapers, and she collected clippings of unexplained phenomena or feats of strength, dexterity, etc. by seemingly normal people and kept explicit notes on their locations.

One very hot night, the electricity failed and Ye Seo, dehydrated and exhausted, fainted in the office. In Ho gently created a mass of cool air around her until his own body temperature dipped and he had to stop. He made her drink cold water and take a nap.

While she slept, he spied her private journal and read the shocking stories. He made up his mind that he’d always help Ye Seo with her “Underground Railroad” no matter the cost. He also hated the idea of being anyone’s guinea pig.

~ 1996 – In Ho and Ye Seo’s escape from the Island ~

The night of the deadly fires was pure chaos. In Ho was mentally scarred for life watching people getting toppled by collapsing structures and burning to death even as he desperately tried to save them. A generator was believed to have exploded, but In Ho knew the truth. He’d seen Kwang Dae’s growing fury and restlessness and often had to play the fire extinguisher when Kwang Dae was “training.” The Scientists kept In Ho on alert, and put him through grueling tests to secretly build up his cold powers.

In Ho remembered Ye Seo’s “backdoor” plans to get as many families out as possible. He ran to help her load them on hidden boats. The last families to leave were Park and Nam. Dr. Park Chul returned too late and couldn’t find his wife and daughter. Detective Nam Sum Shim never came.

In Ho was supposed to get in their boat but noticed Ye Seo was missing. He raced to the lab and found Ye Seo getting overcome by smoke and flames. She bade him to escape. The flames burst higher and leaped onto her leg.

When she screamed in torture, In Ho summoned all his power and blasted her until the flames turned into ice. He was weakened and freezing cold, but adrenaline and fear kept him alert. He tossed a shivering Ye Seo on his back and ran out before the hospital exploded.

The following weeks were a blur, but he remembered staying in Chun Ja’s homestead along with a few other families. They were given food and clothing, and further directions. He was reluctant to leave Ye Seo because she was badly burned on her leg and fell ill with Pneumonia. He blamed himself and cried, but she insisted he wasn’t at fault and had done all he could. She hadn’t expected to live either way because her plans had been revealed.

In Ho’s father sent a helicopter to retrieve him and In Ho demanded they airlift Ye Seo to a nearby hospital. It was the last time he ever saw her.

~ In Ho’s present life ~

In Ho’s family treated his time on Afterglow like a bad dream, and In Ho was never allowed to mention it again. He didn’t want his gift to go to waste so he made a name for himself as an artist, and founded a company that designed life-like ice sculptures.

He sometimes performed dazzling ice shows for the fun of it to creatively display his work.

During his twenties he traveled the world, preferring cold regions like Alaska and the Netherlands. He climbed mountains for sport and to clear his mind of the past.

In Ho’s life took dark turns because of his past trauma and inability to find Kim Ye Seo. He kept his name out there in hopes she’d find him. He eventually got involved with gangsters who commissioned him for their parties. He later came in contact with Kwang Dae and his former rival played on his emotions. Kwang Dae said if Ye Seo had cared, she would’ve found him a long time ago. He was a dumb kid she’d merely used to support her misguided cause.

In Ho was hurt, but not easily swayed by the rhetoric. Kwang Dae persisted and made subtle threats on her life. In Ho reluctantly sided with Kwang Dae and funneled money to support his future enterprise. He also went along with Kwang Dae on gangster take-downs to put the fear of fire and ice in them.

~ The limits of power ~

In the midst of all the action, romance and melo, Ko Suk Jae has secret meetings with politicians and the wealthy. He tries to extol the virtues of Project Afterglow and gain monetary support to resurrect it.

In a restaurant meeting, Park In Hye enters the room. She makes a cruel deal with the richest Chaebol in Korea to have Chae In heal his ailing wife, if he will fund the project and help find other investors.

That night, In Hye explains to Chae In what needs to be done. Chae In is dubious, but agrees since it’s an indirect favor for Min Jae’s family.

Min Jae is present at his father’s request. He cheers Chae In on but inside he’s worried about her. He remembers the energy she’d lost healing him as a child. This healing takes longer than usual, because the Chaebol’s wife has an aggressive form of cancer. Min Jae and his father are allowed to watch. There’s a collective gasp as the yellow glow envelops the woman’s entire body, her mottled skin grows supple and her muscles expand with health. When it’s over she sits up and demands food.

Chae In is satisfied that the cancer is gone when she feels the woman’s weakness course through her. The woman runs to her mirror and complains that she’s still bald. She’s assured in time her hair will grow back healthy and she’ll put back weight she lost. Min Jae is disgusted by her attitude and her husband is apologetic, claiming she’s been through a trauma and she’s not herself.

Min Jae tells the woman that it’s too bad her attitude wasn’t healed and storms out, dragging Chae In with him.

Min Jae scolds her to never do this again and pulls her in for a hug. Chae In senses his feelings for her but keeps quiet and doesn’t prolong the embrace.

Chae In had been requested not to linger at the mansion so Min Jae drives her home. She requests to get out in the neighborhood Jo Heon works in. Min Jae is seething. He tries to convince her to go home and rest but she insists she’s fine. Min Jae is ready to drive off with her regardless, but his phone rings. Sa Ra reminds him he’s supposed to audition new bands and he must be there. He reluctantly lets Chae In out.

Chae In had lied about her health so he would leave. She’d felt very awkward and she hadn’t wanted to be around those people any longer, not even Min Jae and his dad. And she doesn’t want to deal with Sa Ra either. She staggers down the block.

A tteokbokki stand owner brings her out of the cold and lets her rest, she is groggy, but insists he doesn’t call an ambulance. The owner calls Jo Heon. He’s at his P.I. office dealing with a pesky loan shark client. He quickly mind spurs the loan shark to call in favors for money and takes off to help her.

Chae In falls in and out of consciousness and Jo Heon remembers that he can’t take her to a hospital. He’s about to call Ye Seo, when a limo pulls up. The driver brings them to Park Chul’s mansion.

Chae In is put into a cozy room to rest after being given a strong medicinal tea. Park Chul had always made it for her when she was a child and had needed to rejuvenate.

Chae In will have to stay two days to fully recover. Jo Heon refuses to leave her, but he’s touched by the love the doctor shows for his daughter.

When Park Chul learns what Chae In did he’s very angry at In Hye for making deals knowing Chae In could be harmed. Park Chul is also concerned for Chae In’s safety now that the Chaebol knows his daughter’s secret. He sends out his men to spy on the Chaebol and his wife to make sure they keep quiet.

Over dinner Park Chul tells Jo Heon his side of the story with Afterglow.

~ Park Chul’s story ~

Flashback 1985 – 1996

Park Chul met In Hye when he was a doctor assigned to give health check-ups to refugees. She was beautiful, aloof and quiet, but with a benevolent nature. For the first time he fell truly in love.

She needed time to warm up to him. She distrusted most men, but his kindness and attentiveness won her over and they married within two years. A year into their marriage, Park Chul was assigned to Afterglow and In Hye was pregnant with Chae In.

Park Chul came to his senses about the entire project after the death of young Kwang Dae’s parents. He’d mentored the grief-stricken Kwang Dae and told him that the only way to stop them was to destroy everything – all the proof, papers, and computers, by fire. However he hadn’t realized that Kwang Dae was also out for blood.

Park Chul helped his family escape, but then he’d seen men quickly leave the facility with his boxes of data and head for the docks. He’d tried to stop them, but was knocked down and left for dead. He was saved by Detective Nam Sum Shim, but the ceiling had collapsed on the detective during their escape and he’d died.

Park Chul returned to his wife and daughter, but they’d disappeared. He knew In Hye saw him as a monster, and he doesn’t deny his part in the experiments. But at the time he’d been just as brainwashed as the others, into believing that Afterglow could help bridge the 2 Koreas.

He regrets that she never learned it was his idea to destroy the project. He still has compassion for his wife, knowing that she was brought up in the North Korean regime and had lost most of her family to starvation and sickness at a very young age.

Jo Heon is shocked to learn that Park Chul had paid for his schooling, among many other things, through the years. Jo Heon’s mother had never told him that she had a mystery benefactor. The Doctor had been truly grateful to Detective Nam for saving his life. It was no fluke that led Park Chul to Jo Heon that night on the bridge.

Jo Heon is speechless even as he thanks him. He pities the Doctor, but he’s also furious at Kwang Dae for killing his father and other innocent families on the island. Park Chul hadn’t thought young Kwang Dae would kill people, but he’d been uncontrollable.  

Chae In awakes and hears their entire conversation. She feels utterly confused and betrayed. She hides her feelings from Jo Heon when he comes in to feed her breakfast in bed and more bitter tea. He can tell she’s hurt and needs to be left alone for a while.

Chae In falls into a depression. She stays out late nights, clubbing and drinking. She ignores her mother’s warnings and refuses to respond to Jo Heon’s calls or visits. She eventually makes her way back to Incandescence. If anyone knows what she’s going through, it’s Min Jae.

Min Jae is thrilled to have Chae In around, even though Sa Ra is shooting daggers with her eyes. She tries to tell Min Jae that Chae In’s just using him because she has problems, but he doesn’t care and shoves her off. He protects Chae In while she’s at the club and curbs her from drinking too much.

After enduring a few days of this, Sa Ra calls Jo Heon to pick up his girlfriend. He arrives while Chae In and Min Jae are singing a love ballad at Open Mic night. Jo Heon is hurt by the closeness he senses between Chae In and Min Jae and almost leaves. Suddenly Chae In spots him in the front and they lock gazes…

For the rest of the song it’s as if all the lyrics are meant for Jo Heon. Min Jae tries to lead Chae In away from Jo Heon, but she’s caught in between them. Chae In shakes loose from Min Jae and Jo Heon protectively blocks her. He won’t move and threatens Min Jae to try and make him.

Min Jae’s powers send Jo Heon reeling into a table. Jo Heon lunges again but his body is forced back and he crashes against the bar. Sa Ra knows Min Jae is about to make the liquor bottles shatter on Jo Heon and she begs him to stop. Jo Heon blocks Min Jae’s forces and retaliates with frightening illusions. Min Jae backs off, but his nerves cause tables, glasses and fixtures to rattle all over the club.

Sa Ra breaks Jo Heon’s focus and calms everyone down, claiming it was just a slight tremor but nothing to worry about. Many clubbers leave, afraid the building may explode. She glares at Chae In and Jo Heon and tells them to get out of the club and not to come back.

Sa Ra takes a trembling Min Jae to lay down. She undoes his shirt collar and pours him a stiff drink. She dabs his sweat with a cool rag and waits patiently while objects go flying around his room and smack against walls. It’s Min Jae’s version of a temper tantrum. She reflects on the times she’d allowed him to vent on her and she’d been struck with everything from wine to flour and eggs.

Sa Ra hugs and consoles Min Jae. Just because she doesn’t have powers, doesn’t mean she can’t understand his feelings. Min Jae calms down and apologizes. She’s about to leave when he grips her arm and tugs her to his chest. “I’d really be lost without you, Sa Ra-ssi. How do you put up with me?”  Min Jae aggressively kisses her, but she stops him because she needs to be out on the club floor. She cries as she leaves. He’s forever teasing and confusing her.

Min Jae’s face darkens and he phones his father. He’s ready to join forces with Afterglow.

Outside, Chae In stomps away from Jo Heon. He catches up to her in the park but she won’t forgive him for behaving like such a jerk to Min Jae. Jo Heon shakes her up a bit, demanding to know why she’s been acting out and ignoring him. Chae In demands to know why he thinks he can control her life and assumes it’s all for money. Jo Heon clams up. Park Chul had been right. He’d fallen in love with her.

Looking into his sad, worried eyes, Chae In knows the answer. She tearfully breaks down. Jo Heon hugs her for a long time until she can speak.

They huddle on a bench and she reveals that she’d heard the entire conversation he’d had with her father. She’s tired of all the mystery and lies and can’t help running away. It’s all she’d ever done since the Island.

Jo Heon knows they need each other more than ever. But in order to have a future they have to unlock the past. He takes her to the clinic and demands Kim Ye Seo tell them more. Hyun Shik is there and also agrees to help them.

~ Return to the Island ~

With Hyun Shik’s directions, Jo Heon and Chae In travel to the Island to investigate. But they’ll need to stay on a nearby occupied island just a short boat ride away. Kim Ye Seo’s older aunt Kim Chun Ja and her 17-year-old grand-nephew Kim Seung Wook (Park Ji Bin) live there. When the compound had existed, Chun Ja had used her homestead as an “Underground Railroad” for the people Ye Seo helped escape.

Seung Wook develops a huge crush on “Chae In Noona” and in funny moments he makes googly eyes and offers her as many comforts as he can by pouring her drinks, serving her dinner and supplying extra cushions and quilts.

Chae In is amused when Jo Heon acts jealous. Seung Wook warns them about the dangers of sneaking around on the compound. Even though it’s abandoned, it’s like a death-trap with broken buildings and homes – twisted metal, stone, and glass. He tries to claim it’s haunted and that outsiders had mysteriously disappeared. Jo Heon knows the kid only wants to keep Chae In around as long as possible.

Seung Wook reluctantly leads them to the hidden entrance and balks when Jo Heon tells him to leave. He wants to protect Chae In and see what’s really inside. Chae In thinks he’s cute, but she understands Jo Heon’s emotions are riled and that he needs privacy. Jo Heon is ready to use his mind control but Chae In steps in.

Knowing Seung Wook’s a budding musician, she promises to let him play a few numbers and asks if she can play acoustic guitar. Seung Wook is thrilled that Noona is not only beautiful, but knows music, so he happily waits on the beach to guard the boat.

~ The Compound ~

Comfortable Mystery 3 ~”Comfortable Mystery 3″ Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Jo Heon’s brought his father’s old casebook; it contains a map of the compound. Sum Shim had jotted down secret areas to investigate with arrows and instructions. While trekking past the spooky burned-out buildings, Jo Heon grips Chae In’s hand, staying ahead in case of any dangers. She doesn’t pull away and feels a satisfied glow inside her.

They pass the rubble of her former home and Chae In comes to a stop. She remembers it had never felt like a warm home and as a child she had always run away from it. In Hye had let her play around the beach often. Her childhood hadn’t been isolated, but it had been hard to find friends.

Jo Heon puts an arm over her shoulder and she smiles up at him. “Thank you, Jo Heon-ssi, even though you were older you still came to play with me.”

“You were the little princess who saved my leg and nearly died for it. I never forgot that. I felt like I had to protect you too,” Jo Heon admits.

They find Jo Heon’s childhood home in ruins. The casebook directs them to a rusted metal strong box under kitchen floorboards. There’s little damage and it’s stuffed with papers and photos Nam Sum Shim had collected over the years as proof of Afterglow’s wicked activities.

Jo Heon’s hands shake as he pulls out a photo of Kwang Dae’s parents strapped to gurneys. Chae In had never seen this aspect of Afterglow before; she’s saddened to see her father half in shadows in the background.

They soon find the secret testing lab through a passage in the Medical building. It smells rank. Jo Heon feels sick to his stomach, thinking of his poor father getting crushed by a burning ceiling. He’s grateful to know that Park Chul had set up the beautiful funeral arrangements.

Painful memories return and Jo Heon crouches down, terrified, like he’d done as a child. He can’t bear to look at the operating table, charred and stained with old blood. The poor woman with the white eyes and her husband had often haunted his dreams. More recently Kwang Dae appears in them as an adult – wickedly vowing to burn everybody he loves.

Chae In kneels and holds him until his fear passes. She coaxes Jo Heon outside and they rest on by the shore on the same branch where Sum Shim had consoled his son.

~ Love confessions ~

Save Me (Music Box version) ~ Jang Geun Suk

Chae In strokes his hand, healing a few tiny cuts and scrapes he’d gotten digging through the rubble. Jo Heon adores the feeling and looks for any little nicks and scratches he can find on his other hand and arms.

Chae In laughs at his aegyo antics. She reveals how her abilities work: she can somewhat feel the pain, and even scattered emotions, which is why she’s affected when she heals an extremely sick person. She cannot heal herself without difficulty.

Jo Heon assures her that despite his mental abilities he’s not out to save the world or cause it harm. The conversation lulls as it dawns on them: they may die while investigating Afterglow. A tear rolls down her cheek and he brushes it away.

Jo Heon holds her face and searches her gaze. Her glowing eyes catch the moonlight.

“I’ll keep you alive, Chae In-ah. And I want you to heal all of me.”

He brings her hand to his chest and she massages over his heart. Jo Heon’s fear palpitations turn to love.

They share a long, slow kiss, building up in fervor until a loud boat horn cuts it off.

Seung Wook watches them from a distance. He makes a fist and lightning zigzags overhead. He’s jealous, but he knows he can’t have Noona and pities Jo Heon because of the anguish on his face.

Back at the homestead, neither of them can sleep. Jo Heon puts on his coat and tiptoes to Chae In’s doorway. He promises to keep a distance, but he just wants to talk and make sure she’s safe. They chat about mundane things: music, dramas, hobbies. Chae In enjoys music – singing and playing guitar. He enjoys sports and excels in basketball and soccer. They both love bimibap (with extra sesame oil) and BBQ.

Jo Heon notices her room is colder than his so he offers to switch.

After a lot of back and forth banter, Jo Heon pouts and curls up next to her. Chae In relents. It’s a chilly night, so they huddle together and for the first time Jo Heon drops into a deep peaceful sleep.

Jo Heon wakes up first and stares at her as she mumbles and scratches her neck like a puppy. He plays with her nose until she snorts awake and he rolls over. Chae In tugs at his hair and coyly kisses his cheek. Jo Heon scares her when he rolls back to her side and they engage in a pillow death-match. He lunges on top of her and sneaks in a kiss.

They’re about to go for a deeper lip lock when Seung Wook blasts his guitar outside their door. He doesn’t stop playing until he’s sure they’re awake (and hopefully apart).

Jo Heon angrily opens up. “YA! What are you doing so early?”

Seung Wook smirks; he’s their personal wake-up alarm and it’s time for breakfast.

Seung Wook entertains them. He gives Chae In a mix CD and sticks his tongue out at Jo Heon when she’s not looking. Jo Heon wags a fist – “Aigoo.. Gaesaekki.. Nappeunsaekki…” He grumbles through the meal, but he likes the kid. 

Chae In plays a lovely rendition of her favorite classical piece, Pachelbel’s Canon. It brings Jo Heon to tears and he vows in his heart to always keep her by his side.

After a hearty meal they thank Chun Ja for her hospitality and Jo Heon makes her take money. She refuses at first, but he tells her to keep it for Seung Wook’s schooling.

While Jo Heon is dressing, Chae In hugs Seung Wook goodbye and kisses his cheek. She whispers for him not to tell Jo Heon and they take a few selfies.

Seung Wook shakes Jo Heon’s hand vigorously and Jo Heon is literally shocked as blue electrum emanates from the kid’s fingertips. Seung Wook winks at him.

“I’m told I was the very last child born with awesome powers. My aunt keeps me trapped on this island for safety. But in a few years, I’m gonna be a musician by day, X-man by night.”

Jo Heon laughs and says to look him up so he can join his team.

On the boat ride back, Jo Heon and Chae In are inseparable. He creates little illusions to her delight and they talk, cuddle, and kiss.

~ Reunited ~

Meanwhile, Kim Ye Seo admits to her team that she’d kept tabs on Sun In Ho. She didn’t want to ruin his peace and drag him into her hectic, dangerous life. But she’d also learned of his dealings with the Korean mafia and she couldn’t risk exposing the “Underground Railroad” project. Now that she knows he’s teamed up with Kwang Dae, she blames herself for allowing it to happen, despite Chae In and Sook Yon’s sympathies.

She spends her days staring into space and worrying. Chae In catches her digging in a box of old photos with tears and they go through it together. Ye Seo had salvaged pictures of all her “children” from Afterglow. 

Because Jo Heon has a heavy case-load, it’s Hyun Shik who tracks In Ho down. In Ho’s traveled to a small farm and fishing village for a mini-vacation. Hyun Shik notices reports of crop and lake freeze despite the warmer weather. Hyun Shik claims it was as simple as following unusual cold patterns to learn In Ho’s location. Sook Yon comes to the conclusion for the team that Sun In Ho is obviously a lost soul and it’s up to them to bring him home.

While boarding the train, Hyun Shik keeps spying the same flowered hat bobbing through the crowds. He’s being followed by Sook Yon. She sits next to him and tells him how exciting it is to do field work for the team. She opens up a small cooler and it’s stuffed with kimbap, hard-boiled eggs and drinks. Hyun Shik relaxes and allows her to feed and pamper him the entire trip. He enjoys her company.

As they’re nearing their stop, there’re only a few people left on board. The air turns cold and their car lurches and skids backwards and off the tracks. Hyun Shik grabs for Sook Yon but she tumbles and is knocked unconscious. The train car halts and Hyun Shik sees the steam billowing off ice encrusted wheels.

A tall man with a long coat stares at him from the clearing. It’s Sun In Ho. His eyes fade from silver to black and his expression is filled with guilt. Hyun Shik wants to follow, but Sook Yon rouses and grips his hand, begging him to stay.

Sook Yon is hospitalized overnight and Hyun Shik remains vigilant at her side. He blames himself for not forcing her to go back. She wasn’t on assignment, she’d only wanted to be with him.

In Ho has a change of heart and goes to the hospital to check on Sook Yon. While Hyun Shik goes to the restroom, In Ho hovers over her bed, relieved that it’s only a mild concussion. He didn’t wanted to hurt anyone, but Kwang Dae had alerted him to their exact location. In Ho had stopped the train car from sliding into heavy trees by freezing it on the spot.

Hyun Shik returns and chases In Ho. They fight, and In Ho barrages him with ice pellets and air blasts cold enough to give frostbite. Hyun Shik’s mind anticipates each move and he manages to block the worst of it, letting In Ho weaken himself. Using deft martial arts he knocks In Ho face down and keeps him in a vice grip.

They remember each other from classes on the Island. Hyun Shik had been known as the maknae because he was 5 years younger than everyone. But his grades had surpassed them all. In Ho remembers cheating until the teacher had caught on and made him sit front row and center. Hyun Shik had known all along and had supplied him with wrong answers.

It only takes the words, “Kim Ye Seo sent me,” for In Ho to calm down and listen. Hyun Shik calls Ye Seo because he doesn’t trust In Ho. But In Ho is apologetic and Ye Seo is adamant to meet with him.

Sook Yon is touched by In Ho’s apology and insists they give him a chance. He was the reason they’d traveled out there. She’s moved to pity when In Ho touches the screen with teary eyes after seeing Ye Seo for the first time in nineteen years.

Sook Yon is dying of curiosity about the romantic vibes she senses between the long-lost Afterglow friends and she convinces Hyun Shik to let him go. In Ho knows leaving right away will put Kwang Dae on alert and put Ye Seo in more jeopardy. He pays for their trip back and promises Ye Seo to return.

In Ho confronts Kwang Dae and says he didn’t succeed in catching the two. Kwang Dae always sensed rebelliousness in him, but now he’s sure In Ho will betray him. He calls In Ho a traitor.

They attack each other with their powers. For the second time, Kwang Dae is nervous as he remembers that the scientists on the Island had enhanced In Ho’s powers. In Ho’s cold will trump his angry heat.

~ A new life for In Ho ~

Boiling ~ Shin Sung Rok

In Ho cuts his ties with Kwang Dae. He closes down his company temporarily and changes his image. He buys a penthouse in Seoul and starts hanging around the veterinary clinic.

His heart swells like a love-struck teen again when he sees his Noona. Ye Seo is flustered over how handsome he’s become and denies that she’s aged well or is still beautiful.

He shows her a lovely weathered portrait he’d swiped from an album and had kept since he was 14. He claims that he nearly died while mountain climbing, but looking at her portrait had pushed him to go on. Every time he scaled another summit he’d take out her photo to “tell her” his accomplishment.

Ye Seo is mortified by all this attention, but her staff and team members find it cute and can’t resist teasing her. Jo Heon stands on a stool and pumps his fist with a make-believe photo. He pretends to echo. “Ye Seo-ssi…ssi…ssi…!!! I’ve climbed this mountain just for you!!”

There are times when In Ho would see Ye Seo at her desk with her head down while rubbing her leg. He knows she’s very self-conscious about the burn scars on her calf and they sometimes still cause her pain. He remembered watching her cry herself to sleep at the homestead after her aunt Chun Ja said the scars would never fully heal. It broke his heart. In Ho had slept by her door, prepared with salves and bandages. But Chun Ja wouldn’t let him see her legs.

In Ho swoops her up to an operating chair and despite her protests he gently massages Ye Seo’s damaged leg. He tells her compassionately that she has nothing to hide. Her scars are a badge of honor. Most of them would be dead today had she not risked her life that night.

“When it pains you, let me soothe it.” He sends wisps of cold air around her leg and she’s at a loss for words. It feels wonderful. She can’t stop her heart from racing whenever she sees him over the next few days.

As part of his repentance, In Ho takes a big brother role to Sook Yon, even helping out at her house to fix things her mother has let go, buying groceries, etc. He’d always wished he’d had a cute sister. This arouses jealousy in Hyun Shik. In Ho catches onto his mood and insists he’s not interested romantically. But if Hyun Shik feels that way he should do something about it.

In the nicest way possible In Ho says that Sook Yon is happy-go-lucky and child-like. He prefers his women serious-minded and mature. It thrills him to be the joker in the relationship and “turn their frowns upside down.” Hyun Shik is relieved and Sook Yon is happy because she’d hidden behind a desk and overheard the conversation. In Ho’s sly wink towards her confirms it.

In Ho gets closer to Ye Seo and acts as her bodyguard because he realizes his past might present a danger to her. He knows her concerns about keeping her project under wraps. She’s risked her life for it. Kwang Dae’s threats still hang over his head, but he never tells her.

He greets her in the mornings with breakfast and meets her after hours to bring her dinner with a smile because she’s working late as usual. At the risk of appearing like a stalker, In Ho attempts to spend time with her on her days off.

Against his better judgement, Hyun Shik helps him out with a hidden tracker and In Ho gets to know the “real” Ye Seo behind the Afterglow persona. She enjoys jogging, dancing, going to libraries, museums, and comedy movies. He resolves in his heart that her days of going solo have ended. He buys a track suit, gets a library card, and signs himself up to be her partner with a “permanently-filled Dance Card.”

In Ho generously gives Ye Seo the funds for Hyun Shik to buy advanced tracking equipment to aid in her “Underground Railroad” project. He vows to be their benefactor for whatever they need. He’d made that promise on the Island, but never got to fulfill it and had supported the wrong cause.

Ye Seo is crippled with guilt over him, but any bitterness he’d felt he covered over with his charm and manners. On a quiet night over beer and fried chicken, she cries and apologizes, and gives him permission to hate her. In Hyo drops his drumstick and takes her hand. He could never do that. And he’s tried, over the years. Now all he wants is a tiny space in her heart. She tells him he has a penthouse there. In Ho wipes her tears and kisses her softly on the lips.

In Ho helps Ye Seo see the brighter side of life and makes her laugh. He’s not shy about making romantic advances, but she’s like a lost little girl when it comes to love. And she realizes she feels it deeply for the first time.

~ Afterglow’s Resurrection ~

Park Chul gets wind of a secret meeting with Ko Suk Jae. He takes along Jo Heon and In Ho and some bodyguards for back up. The gathering’s at Suk Jae’s mansion. They also see Min Jae, In Hye and Kwang Dae, along with a number of investors. Jo Heon and In Ho subdue the bodyguards out front and they enter unannounced.

Park Chul furiously accuses In Hye of using Chae In for her own selfish gains and she argues that Chae In had done it willingly – just as he had so many years ago when he joined the Afterglow scientists. He’s to blame for the failed experiments just as much as anyone. Park Chul can’t deny his past actions, but he’d changed his ways long ago and saw the horror that comes with trying to play God.

Kwang Dae and Min Jae face off against Jo Heon and In Ho. Min Jae makes his father’s sword collection hover, aimed to strike at them. Kwang Dae swirls a tiny flame that he can turn into a fire ball at will. In Ho creates pulsating ice shards and frozen mist above his palm and waves it at Kwang Dae with a smirk. Jo Heon’s thoughts keep Suk Jae’s bodyguards stiff in line after they surround them.

Kwang Dae laughs at Park Chul and the investors’ stunned faces and calls their “parlor tricks” the tip of the iceberg. He boasts about what this could all mean for South Korea, and how they could reunite with the North and become the next World Superpower, larger than the United States, the former USSR, China and the Nazi movement combined.

Jo Heon calls a superpower like that a world axis of pure evil. Kwang Dae insists these grandiose plans can only happen if all the “Afterglowers” cooperate. The DNA and cells which give them powers can be isolated and controlled. Technology has advanced and recipients of the DNA wouldn’t suffer as they used to. As a scientist, Park Chul should understand all that.

Park Chul’s mind forces Kwang Dae to be led along to the fireplace and Kwang Dae trembles and thrusts his arm into the flames against his will.

“How do you like it, boy? You talk about science! Is burning people alive merely science to you?”

The flames lick at Kwang Dae as his mind is coerced to turn the fire on his own hand. In Ho’s seen enough and freezes the flames. He’s not on Kwang Dae’s side, but he can’t stand fire anymore.

Kwang Dae warns Park Chul that he’ll pay for his stupid trick as he wraps his burned hand.

“You got your vicious revenge years ago when you destroyed Afterglow! Now you want to bring back the same horrors that befell your parents!” Park Chul warns him.

Jo Heon gets emotional. It hits him hard that his father died because of Kwang Dae and not some faulty generator. He barrels Kwang Dae into the table, scattering all the investors. He threatens to torture his mind until he begs to die. He had destroyed countless lives and futures.

A deep fear springs in Kwang Dae’s eyes and he ‘s forced to stare at Jo Heon as his image takes on a monstrous form.  The hold is only broken when Suk Jae shouts “Enough!”

He orders everyone to leave. No matter what happens, the plans for a new Afterglow have already been set in motion and if its a war Park Chul wants, then he’ll get it.

Everything is calm for over a week. But Ye Seo and Hyun Shik fear a storm gathering and call an emergency meeting. In Ho, for one, has seen Kwang Dae’s wickedness firsthand. But he knows the fire-starter also fears him. He assures the group in his usual witty manner that he’s good for more than “chilling drinks and wine and making snowballs” and that he’d do his best to keep Kwang Dae under control.

Jo Heon agrees, he’d also been practicing to focus and strengthen his mind control in secret sessions with Park Chul. Chae In is sorry that Min Jae’s decided to be on his father’s side. She could never be part of an organization like Afterglow. Ye Seo warns everyone to be alert and look out for suspicious activity. She has her other contacts around South Korea doing the same.

~ The Confession ~

A week later, Jo Heon and Chae In go on an “official” first date to a magic show. The magician’s tricks flop, but he gets a lot of laughs. Jo Heon doesn’t want her to be disappointed.

They visit a high peak and he creates the illusion of fireworks that spell out “I love you, Chae In.” As the words fade, they share a hug and deep kiss under the colorful, explosive sparks.

A few days later, Jo Heon plans another date, only this time, he doesn’t show up; Park Chul does. He hasn’t seen his daughter since she’d stormed out of his mansion.

Chae In wants to leave, but when she sees her father’s tears, she sobs and runs to him. “Appa, I want to remember you.”

With soft tears, Park Chul gently holds her temples and uses his extraordinary powers to bring her suppressed memories to the fore. At home he’d been a pleasant, calm man who’d read her stories, played games and cooked delicious meals. He had taught her compassion for the sick, and some basics in Oriental medicine. Park Chul sorts through her troubled memories with guilt and sadness, and brings up their happier times with In Hye. 

Father and daughter later enjoy a delicious dinner and despite all the darkness, manage to speak of pleasant things in their lives. Chae In does most of the talking, because he wants to hear everything about her. Park Chul is careful not to make accusatory remarks about In Hye, but he knows Chae In’s trust in her mother has waned.

They stroll through a park arm-in-arm, and Park Chul begs her forgiveness for the traumas she’d faced since leaving the island. In Hye had always been one step ahead of him in keeping them apart. Chae In wants to believe in him. He tells her that now he can “be at ease, knowing she’s loved and will have someone to take care of her.” At first she thinks he means himself, but his smile is cheeky. He’d meant Nam Jo Heon.

As they leave the park, they are ambushed. Park Chul’s men, who’d been following at a distance, put up a strong fight, but Chae In is kidnapped by Kwang Dae and his henchmen. Kwang Dae sets a large fire to block their path. He holds back from killing Park Chul so that he can spread the word to the others that his war has begun.

Kwang Dae brings Chae In for a secret exchange with Ko Suk Jae. Min Jae is present. He’s very sorry for his father’s ruthless tactics, but insists they can be powerful together. Chae In spits that he’s finally drunk the kool-aid about this horrible dehumanizing project Afterglow. She tells him that he doesn’t really love her and she refuses to cooperate.

Kwang Dae threatens everyone she loves if she doesn’t cooperate. Min Jae hates seeing Chae In crying and miserable. Once he’d fully realized the scope of the new Afterglow, he’d wanted no part of it. He turns on the GPS he’d confiscated off her to alert Jo Heon.

~ A gathering of forces ~

Kwang Dae’s men gang up on Jo Heon as he leaves his office. A fight ensues, but Jo Heon is outnumbered. He uses mind control, desperate to find out where Chae In’s being held captive; the men let him go and drive off. He hurries to the vet clinic.

Sa Ra brings Chae In’s mother to Jo Heon at the clinic after the woman comes to the club in hysterics. Jo Heon’s wounds are being treated by Ye Seo. Sa Ra decides it’s time to confess that she’s the one who’d alerted Ko Suk Jae about the dinner date with Park Chul, out of jealousy for Min Jae. She’d had no idea the situation was so drastic.

Chae In’s mom admits the full truth about working with Suk Jae to restore Afterglow. There’s still time to stop it. As she’s on her knees begging forgiveness, Park Chul appears from the shadows. Compassion is evident on his face. He’d never stopped loving his wife, even when he knew she’d fallen for Suk Jae and all the lies.

The GPS alert goes off on Jo Heon’s phone. They rush to track them down.

~ THE HANGANG (HAN) BRIDGE BATTLE ~

Disintegrator ~ David Tobin (PRS/BMI) / Jeff Meegan (BMI) / Mark Armstrong (PRS)

Kwang Dae stops all the cars in the center of the bridge and orders everyone out. Over a dozen of his men are waiting for his orders. He’s ready to reveal his full power. With rousing, volatile speeches, he announces that he wants to bring Korea to its knees or else he’ll destroy it all by a cleansing fire. To prove his point, Kwang Dae causes a river boat to erupt into spectacular flame. Kwang Dae will rule by fear and a searing iron fist.

It’s a complete stand-off when Jo Heon, Park Chul, In Ho, and Ye Seo arrive. Just off the bridge, Hyun Shik is in a black van with Sook Yon, monitoring all the activity. He’s prepared to guide the team into battle while Sook Yon came stocked with bandages and healing aids. 

Park Chul and Ye Seo’s associates gather around them. The bridge is blocked off. Sa Ra stays behind with In Hye but she stares heartbroken at Min Jae.

Min Jae’s emotions get the best of him. He pushes his father aside, telling him to run and throws a hidden blade straight for Kwang Dae. The blade disintegrates before it touches his face. Kwang Dae creates a fireball that erupts on their limo and forces everyone to throw themselves down. Suk Jae orders his men to shoot Kwang Dae, but the bullets melt before they make contact and he melts the gun in the bodyguard’s hand.

It’s a cue for all the henchman, who lunge and attack one another in a wild frenzy of beatdowns, explosions and powers.

Hyun Shik’s illusions map out the best fighting techniques and he rapidly tells Jo Heon and In Ho through their earpieces when to duck, punch, kick and run. After a while, he decides to run out and use his fighting skills to help, despite Sook Yon’s teary protests.

Jo Heon and Park Chul can finally focus enough to use their mind control abilities to thwart the gangsters in the center of the chaos, ordering everyone to stop fighting. The men fall under their illusions and lay flat on the ground.

Hyun Shik signals Ye Seo. It’s getting too hard to handle out there. She stands them down in the center and with all the power she can muster, she warps the density of the bridge. The metal creaks and groans, rippling like shockwaves straight toward their assailants.

The men tumble everywhere, their empty cars flip and roll into the water.  She’s losing control, and the team implores her to stop or else the entire bridge will collapse.

Jo Heon stares in horror at Chae In. If they’re going to die, he wants to be at her side. While Kwang Dae’s distracted by the havoc in the center of the bridge, Jo Heon crawls and claws his way to Chae In’s side. She reaches out for his hand and the metal underneath them contorts. She rolls right into his arms.

Two of Kwang Dae’s men manage to grab Sa Ra and drag her to the edge of the bridge. She twists her ankle trying to escape and screams for Min Jae. To his shock, Sa Ra gets thrown over the side with the gangster when the bridge curves and buckles under their feet.

Min Jae is enraged and the other gangster flies into a burning car. He screams for Sa Ra and uses the last of his energies to stop her in mid-air. As he pulls her up, she collapses in his embrace and he cries and apologizes.

In Ho breaks free and staggers to Ye Seo, but a gangster nearby jumps her. He’s about to smash her face on the ground but In Ho freezes his hands. Park Chul enters Ye Seo’s mind to calm her down. Ye Seo grips her head in pain and curls in a fetal position. She’s gasping from the pounding in her head. The bridge ceases wobbling and the metal straightens itself out.

Enemy Lines ~ Mark Denis (SESAC) / Randy Gist (SESAC)

In Ho races Ye Seo to Hyun Shik’s van. He orders her to stay out of the fighting. No matter what happens, she’s needed to keep her “Railroad” moving forward. Ye Seo grips his hand, the pain is so intense her vision’s blurred. She whispers for him to “take over” if she dies and that she loves him. In Ho kisses her forehead. “I’ve loved you forever, Ye Seo-ssi.…” He struggles with tears. “Dammit! You won’t die, Noona! You owe me another dance.” In Ho winks at her, then runs back to the battle. 

Chae In and Jo Heon find their footing. Jo Heon is drawn back into the fight and Chae In rushes to help Min Jae when he faints from overuse of his powers. Like a slow-motion action sequence, Chae In watches Jo Heon getting beaten up as his aura diminishes.

He catches her gaze and nods in understanding while Sa Ra and Suk Jae beg her to save Min Jae.

Park Chul is exhausted and grabs Jo Heon’s hand. He urges Jo Heon to forget everything else around him and focus all his thoughts and energies on Kwang Dae alone.

A young man in black leather crashes through the blockades with his motorbike. He pulls an electric guitar off his back and aims the nose at Kwang Dae’s gangsters. Electric blue lightning bolts stream from his hands through the guitar neck, zapping them one after the other.

Seung Wook laughs and shouts that he’s got Jo Heon’s back. He’s not killing, just incapacitating them. All the men finally stand down, shocked, exhausted, and injured.

Kwang Dae swings around and burns his guitar to cinders. Chae In screams for him to duck and Seung Wook tosses himself down. Kwang Dae snarls and focuses on Chae In. Despite her distance, the heat is so powerful her clothes billow smoke. Seung Wook tries to cover her and In Ho sends streams of cold air over them to ward off the heat.

Min Jae rouses and in a last ditch attempt to help, he careens a piece of the exploded car onto Kwang Dae, but it just misses him. The angrier Kwang Dae gets, the more powerful he is and even In Ho’s best attempts to freeze his fire are quashed. In Ho has to back down, he was never much of a fighter. He calls out to Jo Heon.

“Ya! Now it’s on you, chingu! Think cold thoughts!”

Jo Heon braces himself across from Kwang Dae and stares him down. He shifts through the hot anger of his mind and gives Kwang Dae another monstrous illusion of himself in a snow-covered forest. A swirling, freezing snowstorm begins to rage and Kwang Dae becomes desperate for heat. Kwang Dae falls on his knees, terrified, at the images of the blustering flakes and wind. His body shivers up and down, it can’t take extremes in temperature.

Jo Heon starts to pity him, remembering his parents in the lab and why Kwang Dae had turned to badness. The storm eases up.

When he falters, Park Chul steps in. He cannot let this monster have his way. He intercedes in Jo Heon’s illusion and creates a burning desert. At first Kwang Dae is thankful and he laughs and rolls around what he believes is sand. But Park Chul soon commands Kwang Dae to turn the firepower on himself and Jo Heon is helpless to stop it.

It’s a gruesome sight as Kwang Dae is immobilized and his skin sears, melts and burns.

In Ho jumps on a car and sends a cold blast over Kwang Dae. He commands everyone’s attention and shouts, “We can’t allow ourselves to become like the Afterglow we’ve despised and feared all these years. Their hate can’t push us to murder!”

Jo Heon breaks down; he concedes, allowing In Ho to put out the flames. Kwang Dae staggers to the edge. The heat still emanating from him is enough to overpower everyone at a distance. He screams in agony, throws himself into the river, but never rises.

Jo Heon sinks to the ground, his headache is so intense his nose bleeds and he throws up. Park Chul falls unconscious. Chae In cradles Jo Heon, gently building up his strength. In Hye hugs Park Chul and cries over him, apologizing for all her deceptions.

Jo Heon grips Chae In’s hand and puts it in Park Chul’s. Her healing energies course through her father, but it’s too late.

“Chae In-ah, it’s over now. I’ve paid for everything, and destroyed the monster I created.” He smiles, tells her he loves her, and dies. Chae In screams as healing power surges out of her but it’s no use. Jo Heon carries her away from the carnage.

The police, ambulances and fire trucks finally arrive at the scene and they start making arrests, extinguishing fires, and clearing away the dead. The Bridge is in need of immediate repairs and they force everyone off. They seem to be under special Governmental orders through Ko Suk Jae, so very few questions are asked.

Ko Suk Jae hangs back in despair and closes his eyes. He’s now well aware of the destruction Project Afterglow can cause in the wrong hands. He vows to put an end to the Project once and for all and leave those with powers in peace.

~ 1 YEAR LATER ~

Love Letter ~ Jang Geun Suk

Choi Sa Ra’s put the Afterglow trauma behind her and manages her own low-key entertainment bistro in Seoul. The  jazzy, indie-punk atmosphere is a hit with the young crowd. A young man comes often to play original songs and draws a ton of teen girls. She helps him promote his first single.

Kim Seung Wook has plans to make it big in the music industry.

Sa Ra was cut out of Min Jae’s life while he recuperated and came to his senses. Min Jae needed to do a lot of soul searching. Sa Ra became friendly with Hyun Shik and Sook Yon. They did her the favor of keeping tabs on him. Min Jae sometimes traveled to exotic places far away from the wild night life he’d been used to. Min Jae later took study courses about Korea’s history and delved into the secrets of Afterglow during the Korean War.

Min Jae made reforms in the Institution that once housed his mother. He gave Jo Heon his sincere apologies, but it took time for Jo Heon to forgive him. Min Jae then went to his P.I. office as a client and requested Jo Heon’s help in investigating the ones who’d mistreated his mother.

They discovered certain doctors and staff were paid by Ko Suk Jae’s political peers to make sure she was never released or coherent. But Ko Suk Jae had thought her insanity was all from the Afterglow injections. Min Jae avenged his mother’s death and made peace with his past. 

The money to run her business kept appearing in Sa Ra’s account. She’d anxiously awaited Min Jae’s calls and emails and wondered if he’d ever reach out to her again after her betrayal.

Deep down she knew his father also disapproved of her. She spent most nights imagining Min Jae partying hard with a beautiful woman on each arm, or worse, marrying a plastic, materialistic phony from a rich family.

But the reality was that he was watching over her, until he felt confident enough to be the man she deserved.

Sa Ra’s fears subsided when she found a letter tucked into her precious vase, the one Min Jae had given her at the hospital when they’d first met. It’s like poetry, and a usb is inside with a beautiful song he’d written. The letter and song was his last contact.

As she prepares to close up alone one rainy night, the Bistro’s locks click open, but no one is there. The streetlights flicker off. She backs away, frightened, and picks up a tray as a shield.

“Stay away from me! I’m armed!” She shouts.

Min Jae steps out from the shadows, carrying a bouquet of roses in her favorite colors. He looks better than ever. The doors close and lock behind him. He gives her an adorable lopsided smile and holds out his hand. Sa Ra is levitated to his side and is too shocked to talk. 

“I’m fine now, Sa Ra. My father and I are speaking again, but we’ve decided to go our separate ways for a while. Sa Ra, I’ve learned a lot of hard lessons. I love you and I’ll never make you worry about me again. The nightmare is over. For now on, I’ll worry about and take care of you …and only you.”

Sa Ra cries on the spot and calls him a big jerk. He tosses the roses aside and Sa Ra drops her tray. They embrace and kiss greedily.

After the catastrophe on the bridge and her father’s death, Chae In numbly retreats into hiding again. There’s a rift with her mother that still needs time to heal.

Thinking back, Chae In realized that her father was the one who’d supplied all the comforts of home and a warm family atmosphere. She knew In Hye loved her, but her troubled life experiences in the North had made her cold and ambitious to help her country, not settle into domestic bliss.

Park In Hye settles down and becomes a refugee administrator in a new aid program sponsored by Ko Suk Jae. Min Jae’s father had resigned from politics, truly repentant for all that had occurred. He’d felt the best way to bridge the gap between the North and South was to help their lost brothers and sisters from the North find freedom. He’s still in love with In Hye but she’s cooly unresponsive to him – until one day she tells him to marry her.

Chae In accepts that and is not surprised when she reads her mother’s wedding announcement to Ko Suk Jae. She gets a text from Min Jae. “I’ll miss you, my dongsaeng. Be careful. Jo Heon and I will always be here for you. Fighting!”

Chae In’s goodbye with Jo Heon was bittersweet. Neither cried, but they hugged closely for a long time. Jo Heon wanted to absorb the feel of her and Chae In loved the feel of his powerful embrace. He kissed her gently and they parted ways.

~ Afterglow’s New Beginning ~

Jo Heon had remained stoic and supportive when he’d learned of Chae In’s plans to leave. Although burning inside, he hadn’t tried to stop her. He believed he should have, and spent many restless nights beating himself up. He imagines her betrayed feelings. For all his protective bravado at the outset of their relationship, he hadn’t kept her by his side.

Jo Heon visits the Island alone and spends the day on the beach. The withered branch is the only spot that could comfort him. He allows himself to ugly cry and wail about everything that had occurred, and for letting the love of his life slip through his fingers.

After a few hours, he gazes long and hard over the ruins and the shore, and has an epiphany. Despite the horrors, it’s beautiful. It always was. He allows himself to absorb the natural surroundings. Underneath the ash and decay, it’s lush with trees; there’s some fertile farmland. The waters are clear blue and calm, and the beach white and pristine.

Unburdened by destructive, evil men, it’s a perfect place of solitude, reflection, and serenity.

For so long the descendants had tried hard to escape it. But now Jo Heon imagines it as something bright and wonderful – a safe haven.

~ Project Ember & Happy Endings ~

Enough To Die ~ Choi Jin Hyuk

Seung Wook is tired of being referred to as an “Afterglow leftover” or plain “descendant.” He officially names his aunt Ye Seo’s entire venture “Project Ember” because they’re all that remain after Kwang Dae’s fiery destruction.

In Ho also thinks the name serves as a warning sign for them. An ember may be a tiny piece of a dying fire, but it’s still an active burning force that can ignite and wreak havoc again. It’s a unanimous decision to use the name.

Jo Heon’s P.I. business has thrived and Seung Wook calls him “Professor X with hair.”  Jo Heon tries not to let his loneliness show even though everyone around him is dating and marrying. He knows Chae In’s a complicated woman, but he’s secure that she loves him. Every so often he receives a meaningful gift and message with no return address.

Jo Heon continues to support his partner Pak Jin Song’s wife and daughter. He encourages her to mingle again, because Jin Song wouldn’t have wanted her to remain unhappy and alone forever. He was never a selfish man.

Ko Min Jae and Sa Ra run both Incandescence and her bistro. They make apologies to the team and Ye Seo officially allows Min Jae to join Project Ember. He’s full of Government secrets his father had supplied, and he makes it his mission to never let Afterglow or any insidious experimentation like it rise again.

Hyun Shik becomes fully assimilated into South Korea and, as expected by everyone, he and Sook Yon become a cutesy couple. They sometimes wear matching clothes and he tries to impress her with the corny romantic gestures he learns from Dramas – like balloons in his trunk, love locks, and sending a courier dressed as a dog to the vet office with flowers and cake. Sook Yon gets her Masters degree and becomes a fun Kindergarten teacher. Hyun Shik continues his work for Ye Seo and her contacts answer to him and report the latest findings.

Hyun Shik’s biggest loving surprise for Sook Yon was digging deep into her father’s case and proving him innocent. With a little mind control help from Jo Heon on the real culprits, the case was overturned and Sook Yon’s father became a free man with a clear record.

Kim Ye Seo accepts Sun In Ho’s love and they marry and move into his penthouse. She’s finally able to relax and her life becomes a whirlwind of refreshing activities she’d never experienced. In Ho brings joy and laughter into her life and treats his Noona like a queen.

In Ho re-opens his sculpting company. But Ye Seo cannot stop her life’s work. They travel around Asia to find scattered descendants. A few months later she gets reports of an abandoned baby in Korea with Afterglow DNA. For years Kim Seung Wook had been thought to be the last Afterglow child. Project Ember is put on alert that a new batch of enhanced chemical DNA may be floating around.

The baby shows odd signs of controlling water. Ye Seo never dreamed she’d be a wife, much less have a child, because she’s biologically unable. Her heart goes out to the infant. In Ho is thrilled to adopt the adorable baby boy and create a family with her.

Jo Heon hosts the first Project Ember meeting to reveal his ideas about the Island. If they pooled their resources, they could buy and renovate the land, because the Government wants nothing to do with it. He shows drawings and plans that he mapped out with Hyun Shik and In Ho about how to turn the Island into a paradise for the descendants.

Afterglow would no longer be associated with death and destruction. They could build cottages and create a village for these needing refuge from a world that would never accept them and their powers. A world that would take advantage and use them for wicked ends. Everyone at the meeting cheers and spurs the idea on.

Ye Seo is at first dubious, but seeing the happy, enthusiastic faces of the people around her brings her to tears.

In gentle flashbacks, she remembers each of them as the frightened but grateful children she’d rescued long ago.

There’s a touching montage of people with Afterglow powers of varying ages all over Korea, some lonely, depressed, and in hiding, while Project Ember reaches out to them. They track anyone with remnants of Afterglow DNA to let them know they’re not alone and aid them to be productive members of society.

Within months, the island rebuilding project gets underway. Ye Seo’s main team leads the clean-up and the people they’ve helped join in the work of beautifying the island again. Chae In’s mother and Ko Suk Jae help raise money for the rebuilding and institution of programs and activities for the families who’ll live there. 

Jo Heon had vowed to wait for Chae In but he’s ready to help whenever she needs him. 2 months into the second year, with only a few letters and messages from her in-between, Jo Heon impatiently hunts Chae In down. He’d taken the time all along to text her daily and record weekly messages.

Jo Heon meets her at the airport before she can fly to Japan. She’d been working at a wine vineyard in the countryside to clear her mind. When he sees her again, she’s even more beautiful. He senses a contentment in her.

Jo Heon sits beside Chae In on the plane, shocking her. She cries, and reveals that after a while she’d been afraid to face him again. She’d been selfish, and hadn’t left out of “noble idiocy.” Jo Heon understood. Over a year ago he was the one who’d uprooted her life, and while many things were gained, others were lost. 

Chae In longed for Jo Heon and knew that when he was ready, he’d find her. She had saved every message, and replayed them often. Jo Heon tells her he’ll always care for and protect her. Whatever she wants to do, wherever she runs away to next, he’ll follow her to the ends of the earth.

Chae In accepts the challenge – and they’re thrust into a romantic montage of a partial world tour in Japan …then Thailand, India, and Egypt over a one month stretch.

When they finally return, Jo Heon presents her with an engagement ring at their welcome home BBQ and she readily accepts. That night she forgives Sa Ra for the betrayal. She also makes peace with Min Jae, now her step-brother, and she starts calling him Oppa.

In Ho remarks, “Am I the only one who finds that weird?” Min Jae “mind moves” a bowl of popcorn on his head and Ye Seo has the loudest laugh. 

~ Epilogue: 5 Months Later ~

After a lovely wedding in South Korea, Jo Heon and Chae In are on their honeymoon. Jo Heon walks along Maui beach and Chae In lazily hangs on his back. He pouts and complains because she’d healed a dying old dog and weakened herself. She calls him mean and says it was the halmoni’s only friend and protector.

Jo Heon lets her down and hugs her. He runs his fingers through her hair and plays cute with her nose. He leans in for a kiss but Chae In pokes him instead. “You’re annoyed because I’m too tired. But somehow I never am whenever you want something.”

Jo Heon quietly laughs while she prattles on. “I know you always somehow change my mind, Jo Heon-ssi!”

Jo Heon pouts innocently. “Who me?”

He gives her a longing kiss, then breaks it off. “Okay, I won’t use mind control, I’ll let you nap, then just wake you up like this!” He tickles her all over.

She gasps and laughs uncontrollably and he throws her over his shoulder and races back to their beach house.

Fade out…

~ The End ~

Poster art by Jaime of http://thedramanoona.wordpress.com/

Did you enjoy this Dream Drama? Share your thoughts in the comments! 😀

Creative Commons License
Afterglow by LadyG and Kfangurl is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at https://thefangirlverdict.com/2015/11/23/afterglow-a-choi-jin-hyuk-go-ah-ra-dream-drama/.

Author: Lady G.

I love to research Old Brooklyn and New York. I am a history buff, retro-fan girl and a bit of a sci-Fi geek. I run websites and FB groups for certain fandoms. I'm a major Korean and Asian Television Drama enthusiast and have developed a deep interest in marvelous British dramas as well. I make a hobby of creative writing, video editing, and I enjoy working in Photoshop and restoring photos and occasionally guest-writing for blogs.

25 thoughts on “Afterglow: A Choi Jin Hyuk ~ Go Ah Ra Dream Drama

  1. Sooo.. I don’t usually comment coz it feels a little odd commenting on something when I was privy to the creative process, BUT, I just had to go on record to say, FANTASTIC WORK, my dear! You truly outdid yourself, and this sprawling story, with ALL of its threads and ALL of its characters, totally works. It’s amazing to me that you kept ALL of that straight in your head, AND managed to thread them all together so meaningfully, and with heart, to boot! Kudos.

    I can totally feel the love that you have for these characters, and I also sense your satisfaction in where and how you leave them, by story’s end. Thanks for sharing your extraordinary storytelling talent with us, my dear. Hugs ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • Wow, I’m very touched you wrote a comment. I know what you mean by that awkward feeling of commenting on your own work or something similar. I’m happy to share these stories! Thanks very much.

      Again, I have to thank Jaime for popping ideas at me. After that, the floodgates finally opened and I really fell for all the characters. I’ve had years of experience writings stories (and series stories with tons of stuff going on) so I think I got the knack of keeping plot threads together. 🙂 But it isn’t easy, I’ve read and re-read this story so many times my eyes crossed. Every time I did a new thought came to me and I added it in. Then as we talked about, pictures, music, random stuff, all of that were inspiring too. Stealing bits and pieces of my own ideas from the past, and “Stealing like an Artist” by melding a bunch of sci-fi stories I’ve watched and read over the years. It’s not easy to write a “Superhero” epic story! I’m glad it’s done, but I love the results. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This was absolutely riveting, been reading it for the last hour………thank you for such an enthralling narration. You’ve described it so vividly, for all its sinister undercurrents, it was good to know that they all blended into each other’s lives and are now creating a safe haven for others.

    Liked by 2 people

    • It’s a high compliment for a writer to know their reader spen an hour reading! I really appreciate that. And look, you get an entire 20ep. Drama condensed to an hour. Hehee. The safe Haven part came to me last…I was so stuck with a proper ending then I had a lightbulb. Hello! The island itself is gorgeous, nobody wants it, turn it something positive and beautiful.

      Like

      • Sorry I’m typing on a tiny keyboard and skipped words. So much for writing skills. I wanted to add, I love making my stories as vivid as possible, especially because it’s supposed to be a televised Kdrama. I love it when my readers can visualize the actions and settings.

        Like

  3. It’s truly superlative, the narrative, the characters and all their extraordinary powers with accompanying traumas. I wish you could tidy up some of the meandering plots in the current dramas………absolutely loved reading how seamlessly all the different characters and plotlines intersect and conclude so satisfactorily………thank you again

    Liked by 2 people

    • Wow, another lovely compliment. Thanks! It’s very important for the plot to make sense, and I also hate drama drag. I’ve dropped many more than midway through because of it. I don’t fully blame the writers, they’re under so much pressure by producers, advertisers, crazy fans and viewers forcing plot changes and not letting the writer tell the story they want to tell. And who knows, maybe spoiled idol stars who refuse to cooperate with scenes. I couldn’t deal with all that. So I give them a lot of credit. But…sometimes, they just tell wonky stories that go all over the place and you wish you could rewrite or create your own. That’s how this section got started for me. 🙂

      Like

  4. Uwah! Awesome story! So rich and complex – quite riveting! I don’t know all the actors that you’ve chosen for each character but for the ones that I have watched on screen, they are spot-on. I wish it could become a real drama! Isn’t there some way you could pitch this story to one of the Korean broadcast channels – preferably TvN? 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    • Every drama I write I wish it could be real, so I try to give the readers a real drama experience. TvN is awesome! I love their dramas! I’d take that or even OCN for this story. Thanks very much!

      Like

  5. Yes,please do continue to captivate us with these soooooooo plausible scenarios, you have a special gift for intricate storylines and bringing out each character’s special traits

    Liked by 2 people

  6. This is awesome! Like someone else here said, absolutely riveting! And soooo vivid.

    You should also know that I started with the story right away (initially skipping the acknowledgements at the top) because the poster was so engaging and the cast so insanely stellar that I wanted to find out more about the story…. I though it might be a recap/review/recommendation of a drama that was on air (or had already aired) and I wanted to know a) wether it would be worth checking out and b) where to find it.

    By the time I got to the end I was wise to what was the what and I still wanted more. So I read the intro notes (finally), read all the feedback and all I can say is, “Brava bravissima!” Very nicely done.

    Have not watched any KDrama in months(!) and your story made me want to find something to watch… Thank you for the storytelling. Cheers!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yay! Thank you for reading, it’s cool you jumped right into the story, and it’s cool that it seems like a real drama on air. If only! Choi Jin Hyuk can read this while he recuperates.

      I’m thrilled that it encouraged you back to kdrama. Sometimes you need to step away for a while. For me that means watching some C and Jdrama! lol.

      All these positive comments have made my day!

      Like

  7. There MUST be a way for us to turn this into a drama.I’d even settle for a drama special or a movie. This is truly awesome. I can feel the love and sweat that went into this. Lady G I was transfixed. I felt the feelings, enjoyed all those perfectly chosen pictures.The depth and detail of your writing ia aomething to behold. I honestly felt likw I was watching something on screen. This must have taken and long time and it was truly worth it. This story is the best Kdrama plot I’ve seen or read for this year, bar NONE. Can we start a petition or something to fwt thw attention of a production company in Korea? This is a masterpiece.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m totally flattered with all the positive responses I’ve gotten for this Dream drama. During the course of writing I almost thought it wasn’t even going to work.
      My brain always thinks like a movie or show, and when I write I do my best to capture those visions for the readers. I want them to see what i see, and I leave it a little open to everyone’s imagination/interpretation. Which is why i’m content to write plots rather than full blown stories.

      Woooow, you really think it’s the best plot of the year? Where’s my Drama Fever award?? LOL. That’s so nice of you. I think if a show like this aired, it’d be my favorite too. I write the dramas I want to see. I’m glad it resonates with others!

      Oh wow, I’d be a little scared to think what SK would do to my drama. They can throw in their product placements, etc, but no changes to the storyline and cast.
      I’m really happy you feel this way about the story, please share it with all your Kdrama fan friends. 😀

      Like

  8. Chingu!!!!!!! I adore you and this story and Kfangurl! Like way more than is probably healthy 😉

    When you first hinted that you were going to use my ultimate bias for your next dream drama I was way super excited. Then you teased me with bits and pieces and even let me help with naming the hero! Even with such small glimpses into the story I was insanely excited for this one. Now, I’m a huge supporter/love of the Dream Drama series so I’m always excited when a new one is being built. But this one held a special place in my heart from the beginning!

    When you came to me and asked for some brainstorming help I couldn’t type YES fast enough! It has been an absolute honor to help out with this drama. The creative process was fun and inspiring! And gave me several reasons to stare at Choi Jin Hyuk! I had so much fun working with you and watching each new evolution of the story. The way it grew and matured was amazing! It has come a long way from the kernel of an idea! I am just super happy that my bits and pieces helped to open the floodgates of your creative brain once more!

    I’ve read this so many times now that I think I could possibly recite it! But I’m already prepped to read it again! THAT ENDING! GUH!!! SO MUCH YES!!! I can’t believe that never occurred to me! I mean talk about absolutely perfect! And the Noona Romance! Yup, love that so much they are now one of my top favorite couples ever! There’s just so much to love about this story that I can’t possibly fit it all here! SOOOOOO GOOOOOOOD!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Chingu! We adore you too!

      I knew how excited you were for this story from that moment I said Choi Jin Hyuk is in the lead. 😀 And i really like him, but I mainly cast him with you in mind. I’m glad our creative juices got flowing with this, because I noticed during the process you blogged more and more. That’s great. And I’m hoping I can pitchfork you to finish your lovely CJH story soon!

      I never would’ve thought of the Noona romance if you didn’t suggest it. And then I loved it so much I made them epic characters with a dramatic backstory on the island as teens. I don’t have favorite Noona couples, but now this one is it! LOL I swear, Shin Sung Rok’s “Boiling” song – if you read the english lyrics-goes absolutely perfect for them. And I love it so much it’s my morning alarm- shoo beee doobeee la la la…hahaha! He’s a beautiful singer.

      And the ending just hit me like a jolt of lightning. I was thinking of the show Lost, and how everyone lived on the island. Then I thought of this Korean movie about a little modern village that thrives on an island and I had a duhhh! moment. Of course! The island is not at fault, it’s the people who were on it. But if the people on it were decent and non-exploitative, imagine how nice it’d be for those lost souls to live there. It’d become one of those hidden wonders of the world.

      Thank you for all YOUR hard work and dedication to this story and the Dream Dramas section. I’m sure we’ll be working together again. 😀

      Liked by 3 people

      • I can’t deny my adoration and fangirl love for Choi Jin Hyuk, that’s for sure! Wouldn’t it be just the best thing in the world to see him in a drama like this when he returns to dramaland! And you’re so right! Brainstorming for this drama with you helped me get out of my blogging slump! I’m still a slow-poke when it comes to posts and all, but I’ve had way more inspiration, so thank you!!! Hahaha! I’ve committed to attempting to review Oh My Venus as it airs, BUT when it is done I do plan on working hard on Heart Murmurs! Pink Promise!

        Well it might be a big secret here in the blogverse, but I’m sort of obsessed with the Noona Romance hehe so I thought since you already cast CJH for me, you might be inclined to add in a minor Noona Romance too! I’m super-duper happy I suggested it because you made them epic and I love them! Boiling! Yeah, that song, wow! So beyond perfect and his voice is like silk!

        Seriously, that ending was a major stroke of epic genius! I read it and was blown away. I love when that happens, the thought just bubbles up and it turns out to be so on point and perfect! I love that the island has come full circle. It was a place of natural beauty that was corrupted by the project and then destroyed, burned down, like a forest fire getting rid of dangerous undergrowth and debris, then years later brought back to life and given love. Seriously you’re brilliance is stunning!

        OF COURSE! I was so happy to help, like I can’t even describe the fangirl moment when we started haha. I am all yours when you start your next one!!!

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Pingback: Dreamed Up Drama | The Drama Noona

  10. When I started it, I couldn’t stop from reading it! You have such an awesome quality, drawing people in with your talent and never letting them go ❤

    I read this story with such pleasure and it left me wanting more and more and MOAR… :))))

    What I found really cute was the fact that you mentioned western characters like Sherlock and Professor X. I was like "HA! That crossed my mind too" :))))

    Such a good read and satisfying from so many points of view! You tied everything up so beautifully and, as I've said before, I only wish Dramaland would produce this awesome drama ❤

    Please, keep up the good work because whenever I read your works my imagination starts working in such a positive way! Thank you ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • Awww, thanks so much Georgiana! I hope that if it draws me in as I’m writing, it will do the same for the readers. I’m so glad you want moaaarrr! ❤

      I can't help mentioning Western characters, at least the superheroes, they all seem to come from the West. lol. Kim Seung Wook obviously loves the X-men. "D I also mentioned the Detective Columbo early on with Jo Heon's late partner , both he and Sherlock are MY absolute favorite Detectives.

      I'm so relieved the story makes sense and I was able to tie all the little threads. That's cool it got your imagination revved up. It sure did mine, as I'm thinking and writing I also had to continuously "act" out scenes, sometimes even out loud (though in English. haha) just to make sure it made sense and the feel was right.

      Thanks for your support! ❤

      Like

  11. Wow.. As I was reading, I can see imagine the actor and actresses chosen in their characters. The story is so vivid and captivating. I hope you will continue to write more.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I don’t know what to say, the people commented before me said all the words that came to my mind on this drama. But let me try anyway. This was Epic, Genius and Perfect. So is the auther, it’s just impossible to find a flaw. Looking forward to your next dramas

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much! I never want to take all the credit, I had a lot of support and suggestions that I ran with. I love having this place to put Kdrama story ideas. It was so fun to write, and took a lot out of me, but I’m gearing up for the challenge again. I have a sequel planned for Afterglow, it’s in early drafting stages, but I’ve been so busy lately. I’m not giving up though. I think this story and its world & characters are too big to contain. There are more people involved, good and bad. I left the possibility of a sequel open in this too. 🙂

      Like

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