Chapter 40
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Chapter 40


    Sure, Mr. Manager. If you need anything, just let me know. Ill support you as much as possible, even with the basics.

    Thank you, Director.

    Jeong Cheol nodded to Jang Tae-sun before turning to Jeong-woo.

    The other department members are also gathering in the conference room. Lets go.

    Jeong-woo hesitated as he walked out the door. Jang Tae-sun sent him a heavy, oppressive gaze, as if to say Make sure KG Chemicals reputation is elevated.


    Jeong-woo could only respond with a smile. He never imagined that he would start working here as a representative researcher for the basic materials center on his first day.

    Mr. Han Jeong-woo.

    The manager spoke as they walked down the hallway.

    I heard rumors that you were specially hired.

    Oh, yes.

    If you see something you can help with, please let us know. We need as many opinions as possible from a variety of experts. This area is heavily influenced by Yujin Chemical, so we need to prepare as much as possible.

    Ill do my best.

    Lee Jeong-cheol was a key practitioner in the TS&D market development team at the headquarters. Jeong-woo learned from their conversation that he was risking his life on this bid.

    Im not sure what I can do, but

    The place Jeong-woo arrived with the manager was the research building conference room, which was familiar to him as a basic materials researcher.

    Many people in suits and lab coats were gathered around a U-shaped table, so Jeong-woo found a seat and started moving around. Then he spotted Oh Seung-ju, who was sitting among the researchers.

    Senior Seung-ju?


    Come to think of it, Jeong-woo vaguely remembered hearing that Oh Seung-ju was going on a business trip during the morning briefing. Jeong-woo bowed and greeted him.

    What brings you here?

    Director Lee asked me to come.

    He sent you here for a collaborative project?

    Oh Seung-ju looked surprised for a moment, but then nodded as if he had expected it.

    Youre new here, right Jeong-woo? These are Jong-chan and Jin-soo. Theyre my colleagues.

    Jeong-woo turned his gaze to the two researchers who were the same age as Seung-ju.


    As he exchanged greetings with his seniors, Oh Seung-ju pointed to a chair next to him.

    Dont stand there, sit here.

    No, Ill sit in the back

    You came here as a representative researcher for the basic materials, so why are you sitting in the back? Didnt the director send you here because he trusts you?

    Thanks to that trust, Jeong-woo ended up sitting next to three responsibility researchers. However, he wasnt happy about it at all.

    Its great to have high expectations, but what if I mess up? Is this the fate of an ace?

    He laughed at the thought. When else would he receive such attention in his life? Jeong-woo tried to enjoy this moment and calm his racing heart. As long as he did what he could without breaking the rules, that was all he needed to do. And then he would receive his first paycheck on the 25th of this month.

    Hmm, I guess Im just a commoner after all.

    As he thought about money, his tension gradually disappeared.

    Jeong-woo sat quietly and listened to the conversation of the three researchers. Soon he learned that Oh Seung-ju had come for the fire equipment side, while Kim Jong-chan and Won Jin-soo had come for the fire chemical side of the collaborative project.

    Behind them were senior researchers who came to assist them.

    I dont see Senior Boyeong. Where is she?

    The atmosphere was quiet as they exchanged greetings, so maybe she took a nap. Then Jeong-woo noticed the related documents in front of Kim Jong-chan.

    Senior Jong-chan, can I take a look at that too?

    Sure, go ahead.

    Kim Jong-chan handed him the document and turned to Oh Seung-ju.

    Seung-ju, is he the one who impressed Dr. Shin and got an intern badge?

    Yes, thats him.

    He looks smart.

    He is smart. And hes a researcher who carries a company card with him.

    Wow, hes like a team leader.

    Jeong-woo chuckled at their joking conversation. He received a corporate card from the HR department but didnt know when to use it, so he just carried it around.

    Jeong-woo turned his attention to the document and started reading it with interest. It was a bidding report titled [10 new chemicals and 20 enhancements to existing chemicals].

    Meanwhile, the manager turned on the projector and stood in front of the podium with a microphone.

    Everyone is here


    Someone entered the meeting room, so the manager paused for a moment before speaking again as the person sat down.

    Now that everyone is here, lets get started. The evaluation bidding scheduled for 2 p.m. will be the same as three years ago

    Jeong-woo was reading the document when he suddenly felt an odd presence behind him.

    He turned his head and saw Song Boyeong, who had been sitting there with her mouth open. Why are you sitting there? she asked, and Jeong-woo gave a short reply, It just happened and then focused back on the document.

    He quickly understood the situation from the document he was reading. Today was the day of the bid competition for various firefighting products held by the Korea Fire Institute of Industrial Technology. The practitioners, developers, and research institute support experts who produce related items gathered here to prepare to enter the bidding competition against other companies.

    In the most intense competition of the 28 firefighting agents, we plan to appeal based on improvements compared to the other companys product adopted three years ago. Your close cooperation is needed, especially for real-time analysis of our strengths compared to the new product made by the competition.

    After a short explanation of the schedule, which included leaving at 11:30 AM, everyone began their meetings on their respective fields.

    Jeong-woo was just observing the conversations between the practitioners. The new Lightwater developed by KG Industry can be used overall for combustible substances with a low flash point.


    As he recollected the information from the document, the action of the agent came to mind. A transparent, shimmering alcohol lake. A fire had broken out, and foam-like bubbles had formed. The bubbles stuck to the surface of the lake, creating a barrier between the flame and air.


    This reaction was different in scale from the chemical fantasies he usually had.

    The extinction and combustion of fire are both chemical reactions. Like the center director had said, Jeong-woo easily understood their conversation.

    We focused on the rapid generation of polymer gels and reduced the oxygen supply from the previous 15% to the 13% range to inhibit combustion.

    Then, Jeong-woo thought of adding a comment to the statement made by Development Team Assistant Manager Gong Gyeong-ho.

    Excuse me, Assistant Manager Gong.


    In this Lightwater, it seems like there is a way to reduce the oxygen supply even more.

    Jeong-woo carefully examined the areas where oxygen flow could be more quickly obstructed within the fantastic world of the flaming lake and the bubble rain.

    Fluorine-based surfactants with 3-dimethylaminopropylamine. Uh, thats not an easy word to pronounce. Anyway, adding this substance in a different ratio seems to make the reaction more efficient. Roughly calculated, we can reduce the oxygen supply to about.

    He had roughly calculated the reaction speed of the other bubble rain.

    Around 11%.

    2, 2% more?

    Jeong-woos explanation was met with an incredulous expression, so he took out his pen and wrote the chemical reaction formula to show them.

    About a 1:0.35 additive ratio seems to be okay.

    We need to review this.

    The development team members gathered and began to talk excitedly about the suggestion.

    By the way, fire in an alcohol lake? Terrible.

    Thankfully, it was in a fantasy world.

    Jeong-woo boasted that he was able to convey the video that only he could see relatively clearly to others and turned his head. As he did, he met the gaze of Song Boyeong, who was looking at him.

    As if waiting, Song Boyeong asked, Youre improving a product thats already been researched? Is that really possible?


    After agreeing to bring the newly assembled items that the researchers had discussed, Song Boyeong looked at Jeong-woo with surprised eyes.

    When did you ever do pharmaceutical research?

    Welldo we really have to try it to know?

    When Jeong-woo asked back, Song Boyeongs expression became sullen, and she began to grumble in her own way.

    Whoever is not my junior, killing our enthusiasm from the first day of basic materials. What? Do we really have to try it to know? Acting like its no big deal after revealing some amazing opinions. If they were older than me, I would be less upset.

    Once again today, Song Boyeong expressed her jealousy towards her rival Jeong-woo, unable to hide it.

    Senior Boyeong, why are you looking at me so fiercely?

    Mind your own business. Im just jealous.

    Jeong-woo turned his gaze away from Song Boyeongs eyes to avoid triggering her, and discovered something attached to her hair. He barely held back a laugh.

    Im overwhelmed too. Theres no way I could beat you in any way, Senior Boyeong.

    Song Boyeongs expression became full of curiosity as she asked, What do you mean by I couldnt beat you in any way?. Jeong-woo pointed to the slightly oversized hair clip that was hanging on her left shoulder.

    Its quite big to call it a hairpin, that clip. Its cute in its own way, though.

    It seemed that she had hurriedly come to the meeting room while managing her hair in the bathroom.

    As Jeong-woo spoke, Song Boyeongs expression changed as she held the clip in her hand.

    Youre really good at making your colleagues laugh. I learnt a thing or two from you since this morning.


    Holding the clip, Song Boyeongs arms trembled. Jeong-woo told her to calm down and not to be so agitated, and changed the subject.

    Why did you participate in this research, Senior?

    At this question, Song Boyeongs eyes lit up.

    Its for the coating material that goes into the fire-resistant suit. I thought the result of the new polymer project would be useful here Oh, that expression on your face. That curiosity. Dont ask me any more. If you learn this too, youll damage my self-esteem.

    I understand.

    Dont even laugh.

    This is because of a seniors unstoppable talent

    Song Boyeongs eyes widened. After just calming down she got agitated again, she glared at Jeong-woo. He thought she would explode if he teased her any further, so he closed his mouth.

    Mr. Han Jeong-woo.

    A researcher from the development team approached Jeong-woo.

    If we adjust the proportion of 3-dimethyl, will it not affect the films effect?

    Just a moment.

    Jeong-woo stared closely at the foam layer on the lake and said.

    If the oxygen barrier increases but the bubble retention time decreases, we can add silicon-based surfactants. If we subtract the amount of ethylene glycol added as a stabilizer from the fluorine-based surfactant in proportion to the amount added

    Seeing the researchers puzzled expression, Jeong-woo picked up his pen again and began to write in the language of real-world chemistry, rather than an intuitive image.

    If we reduce the amount of ethylene glycol added as a stabilizer to less than 7%, while maintaining the viscosity that adheres to the water surface when sprayed, it may show some improvement.

    This is also a suggestion worth considering. How confident are you about the effect?

    I would say its a personal intuition about molecular recognition. If you dont trust it, you should test it enough.

    Mr. Han Jeong-woo, I also have a question.

    Just a moment, me too.

    As all the researchers from the Light Water Development team gathered around Jeong-woo, Oh Seung-ju, who was in a discussion with the equipment development team, turned his head and smiled with satisfaction.

    Then he noticed Song Boyeong, who was sitting behind Jeong-woo, listening intently.

    Boyeong, youre on this side, right? Why did you suggest a transfer based on basic materials? Is it because Jeong-woo is so good?

    No way, Ill burn myself like that.

    Song Boyeong stood up abruptly and walked towards Oh Seung-ju.

    At 1:30 p.m., on an outer road in Cheonan, Chungcheongnam-do.

    A bus carrying employees of KG Chemical and its affiliates passed through winding mountain roads. A 2.5-ton refrigerated tanker carrying chemicals and equipment followed closely behind.

    Jeong-woo sat alone in the middle seat of the bus.

    Inside the car were only product developers and field workers who briefly met in the conference room.

    Senior researcher Oh Seung-ju went with his colleagues in a sedan, so Song Boyeong went with them to make things less boring. It was nice to have her around to share ideas.

    Jeong-woo turned his gaze to the winter scenery outside the window.

    It still feels like a nice outing.

    Although it was heavily overcast, there was something relaxing about the smell of the countryside with its hills and dirt fields covered in last months snow.

    However, the strength of the villagers breath as they passed by gave him a sense that it would be much colder than Seoul.

    Ah, I shouldve brought a parka.

    Jeong-woo felt a chill run down his spine as the front-seat worker, who was already leaving, spoke.

    He wanted to hurry up and get to the site where they were going to simulate a fire and its extinguishing process.

    Weve arrived.

    The manager in the front seat opened the window as the bus stopped in front of the main entrance of the Central Fire Academy. He spoke to the staff member who was controlling the entrance.

    KG Chemical.

    Please park in front of the training center, and gather in the main hall as the event will begin there.

    Jeong-woo saw a series of large university-style buildings in the countryside.

    I didnt expect to see anything like this in the countryside.

    The bus arrived at the dome-shaped building with the words Central Fire Academy written on it.

    More than thirty people got off the bus one by one.

    Jeong-woo shrunk his body from the chilly air that came at him.

    The wind chill felt about 5 degrees colder than Seoul. Maybe it was because there were only trees around that it felt colder.

    Jeong-woo looked around.

    This place was a space where each company would compete for the bid. There were buildings for fire training, fire trucks, and rappel training towers.

    He even saw a special vehicle that he recognized among the parked cars.

    Its impressive that our mobile research lab is deployed in so many different places.

    Lets go!

    Led by the manager, the group moved towards the main hall.

    As soon as they entered the auditorium, which was equipped with 500 seats, hundreds of people seated according to their companies came into Jeong-woos view. Namyoung Industries and Yujin Chemical were at the forefront, followed by KG Chemicals, H-Innovation, and Taekjin Precision Chemical.

    The manager turned around and said, Please use the restroom now and be seated until 2 oclock. When the bidding begins, it will be chaotic, so please move to your respective locations. Contact me directly if necessary.

    Jeong-woo looked towards the entrance, but he didnt see Oh Seung-ju and his team anywhere.

    He didnt have any close friends here, and since he came alone from the basic materials center, he thought he would be lonely, but someone spoke to him from the front seat.

    This is for you. Its nice to see you here, Han Jeong-woo.

    When he turned his head, he saw Director Yoon Jaegil sitting in a suit, waving his hand.

    Oh, its been a while, Director.

    Jeong-woo immediately bowed and greeted him. Yoon Jaegil turned his body towards Jeong-woo and spoke.

    After the city hall seminar, Joo Hana was so impressed with your work that she created the total care team. She wonders why she didnt discover you earlier. Thanks to you, our efficiency has improved so much. Haha.


    Jeong-woo felt a little sorry for the researchers under Joo Hana because he thought they must have had a hard time.

    She didnt come with you?

    Its not her field. There wont be any fire on a bridge with only concrete and steel. Manager Bak came instead.

    Yoon Jaegil briefly glanced at the middle-aged man sitting at the front without his hair, then turned his head.

    By the way, Jeong-woo, did you receive my gift?


    Yoon Jaegil faintly smiled and said, I sent the consulting fee under your name. I thought you deserved a bonus.

    Oh, you did that?

    When Jeong-woo looked puzzled, Yoon Jaegil smiled with satisfaction.

    Ah, I see. They just got away with it. Tsk tsk. With our company, Yujin Chemical, we guarantee rewards for individual achievements. There are even additional bonuses.

    As Yun Jaegil was trying to scout for talent, Jeong-woo suddenly remembered something and spoke up.

    Oh yeah. Was it because of that, that they suddenly gave me a corporate card?


    Yoon Jaegil was incredulous. He asked again, not believing his ears.

    Are you saying that because of your performance, your team leader let you use their corporate card? A reward for your hard work is just a company dinner?

    No, the corporate team created it for me. They said it was a grant in my name. Its for research support, so I can have as many company dinners as I want

    That, that cant be true, can it?

    Yun Jae-gils eyes widened. He couldnt believe it. What company in the world would give an intern their own personal corporate card?

    Jeong-woo scratched his chin and said, I find it strange too. I should check with the president to clarify. The head of the basic materials center seems like a daring person too.

    Jeong-woos muttering made Yoon Jae-gil gulp. If the director was a high-ranking official, then he must be a well-connected person. He recognized Jeong-woos abilities and gave him special treatment.

    Why did you come here today, Jeong-woo?

    I came to assist Manager Lee Jeong-cheol. Its my first business trip as an official researcher.

    Yoon Jae-gil shook his head inwardly, feeling uneasy watching Jeong-woos calm demeanor. He couldnt imagine how he could excel in an entirely different field.

    Meanwhile, Han Eun had prepared a secret weapon to ensure the successful completion of todays bidding.

    Well talk later, Jeong-woo.

    Yes, Director.

    Yoon Jae-gil turned around with a smile on his face.

    Soon, it was almost 2 oclock, and the bidding competition with 12 companies participating had begun.

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