Dead End Chapter 53

Dead End

Dead End Chapter 53

Chapter 053

The three of them passed by the standstill Beta zombies and arrived at the air traffic control building.

Though it was referred to as an air traffic control room, in truth, it wasn’t much different from any other container building, except for its larger size.

Still, it was fortunate that it remained intact after an AC-130 bombardment and the terrifying attack from the steel spike.

The fluorescent lights were still on, and the power to the equipment was operational.

Son Taehwan thought he might lose his mind if, after all the fighting to get to the Chile base, he couldn’t even send a distress signal.

“Shepherd. You take the lead.”

“Hey, my gun’s empty. Frontline’s too risky for me.”

“Do we have a choice?”

Son Taehwan pulled the loading handle of his Dragunov to show the last remaining bullet before slipping it back into the chamber.

This one was saved for the steel spike, and Shepherd recognized it immediately.

“This conning son of a….”

Shepherd shook his head from side to side upon seeing the solitary bullet.

“Hey, miss, don’t trust this conman. That’ll lead you into big trouble.”

“I know. Our senior here is a bad man. Would probably run away if he got someone pregnant?”

“Hey you, damn brat. Quit it with the weird talk.”

“Lululu.”

“Puhahaha.”

Watching the two, Shepherd whimsically blew a whistle then gestured towards the door.

“Fine, I’ll take point. Stick close behind me!”

“Okay.”

Shepherd kicked the door wide open and expertly aimed his empty gun into the room, securing the area. Though it lacked bullets, it could still threaten zombies or be used to stab with the gun’s barrel.

His actions reflected the substantial combat experience he’d acquired in Iraq, just as the radio had reported.

Following his hand signal to advance, Son Taehwan and Han Sujin entered the building.

Inside, the lighting was on but dim, which gave off an eerie atmosphere.

Memories of Red Scorpion’s morning search operation and their incredible luck in surviving flashed through Son Taehwan’s mind.

He then slung the Dragunov over his shoulder and took the chainsaw from Han Sujin to start it up.

“Planning to shoot a Texas Chainsaw movie or something?”

“I’ll handle close combat.”

“Hehehe, I used to love that movie. Especially the scenes with pretty girls screaming. Girls just like this beauty here.”

“What’s this guy talking about?”

Thump.

Han Sujin struck Shepherd on the back without holding back, and he burst out laughing. Between the three, there was an air as if they had been survivors together since the beginning.

As they entered the cramped building, they swung open a door leading deeper inside, covering each other.

Even if there were Alpha zombies around, in such a narrow space, Son Taehwan’s chainsaw and Han Sujin’s automatic rifle made them a superior combo.

“Clear.”

“Okay, go.”

The three eventually entered the first floor of the control tower.

Flickering fluorescent lights, likely affected by the bombing, made the inside of the building seem even more ominous.

Shepherd led the way, spinning around his flashlight-topped gun searching for spaces where enemies might hide.

“Ah, look over there!”

As soon as Han Sujin shouted, Shepherd’s gun pointed where her finger directed.

It was a bloodstain.

“…Phew.”

Sighing in relief at the sight of blood spread across the wall, Son Taehwan remarked,

“I must be going crazy. To feel relieved seeing a corpse with red blood…”

“Hahaha… Not just you, senior. I feel the same.”

Feeling relieved upon seeing a corpse with red blood was not a normal reaction.

Yet, the two survivors from Antarctica found comfort in seeing ‘red blood’.

“At least that person died as a human.”

“Right, they were lucky.”

Shepherd nodded in agreement and shone the flashlight on the deceased.

A corpse with red blood meant it had died as a human.

But could a corpse with black blood be said to have died as a human?

And was it still human at all?

There was much debate even within religious circles about what constitutes a human being.

For instance, the Catholic Church considers a human being from the moment of conception and, therefore, prohibits abortion, while some religions consider a human being from the stage of cellular division.

Legislation also varies with such principles.

Criminal law sees a fetus as a human after the onset of labor pains, whereas civil law does consider a fetus a human, albeit with different conditions.

This also applied to the living dead, zombies.

Especially cunning Alpha zombies, like those with the steel spike, possessed high intelligence and learning abilities; they truly were entities that could only be called ‘dead people’ or ‘living corpses.’

“Doctor, if a corpse still has the will and shows biological activity, should we regard it as a person?”

“Well, my opinion as a doctor doesn’t seem to matter much here.”

“But medically speaking, death is when the heart stops, right?”

“…”

Han Sujin had no answer to that question.

Nor did she feel inclined to listen through a stethoscope to a zombie’s stomach.

While the two conversed in Korean, Shepherd spoke in a somber tone.

“Look at the wall.”

“Why? Something there?”

Son Taehwan looked up at the wall and was taken aback.

There were words written in blood.

Dead End.

The words, punctuated even in English, chilled Son Taehwan to the bone.

“A dead end…”

After overcoming AC-130 snipers and countless dangers to reach the Chile base, the words waiting for them were ‘Dead End’?

Shepherd alternated his flashlight between the written blood and the head of the corpse that had died as a human.

“It seems like this person committed suicide. I’ve seen him a couple of times before.”

“Suicide?”

This was a chilling revelation to Son Taehwan.

It wasn’t Red Scorpion who killed this person and wrote the message, but they wrote ‘Dead End’ themselves before dying?

It meant that the person had run to this point to escape something and had given up here.

Son Taehwan couldn’t shake the feeling that whatever it was, it wasn’t Red Scorpion or zombies.

The air traffic control room was still free of zombies, and Red Scorpion had scattered to different bases.

“Who was this person?”

“I don’t know well. But I heard something about CDC.”

“CDC? Centers for Disease Control?”

Shepherd shone his flashlight on the dead researcher’s ID badge on his lab coat.

“Why would someone from the CDC be in Antarctica…?”

“Ah!”

At that moment, Han Sujin quickly showed an empty syringe cylinder that she found.

It resembled an atropine injector but was designed transparent and completely empty.

“This is the one a Red Scorpion member had earlier. Could this have something to do with it?”

“That injector… Yeah, there was one in the gas mask of that black guy. Hey, Shepherd, do you know anything about this?”

Looking at the injector, Shepherd recalled and nodded.

“Oh, that. During the briefing, we were told to use that injector if we thought we got infected.”

Both Son Taehwan and Han Sujin locked eyes before speaking simultaneously.

“It’s a vaccine!”

“It’s a vaccine!”

Shepherd could not grasp their excitement.

“Why are you folks so happy? It’s normal to get atropine or oxime injectors before an operation.”

Han Sujin swiftly responded,

“This injector’s design isn’t for commercial distribution; it’s something you’d expect in a lab. Meaning, it’s not a common vaccine; it’s for that ‘black blood.’”

“So, CDC has already created a vaccine for black blood?”

“That’s right.”

Shepherd glanced between Han Sujin and the dead CDC researcher, confused.

“If they’ve got a cure, why issue a civilian incineration order to us?”

“That, that’s…”

Han Sujin faltered at Shepherd’s question.

Indeed, he was right.

If the vaccine was complete, there’d be no need to kill, just cure.

Instead of incinerating all of Antarctica, treatment was a much more sensible and logical way to deal with the situation.

‘Now that I think about it, the man had already used this syringe. But the man turned into a zombie after dying… What’s going on? Is this not a vaccine? Didn’t they say to inject it if we got infected?’

The puzzle seemed solved but ended up more confusing than before.

If it wasn’t a vaccine, then why hand it out for use upon infection?

Unable to make sense of it, Han Sujin looked towards Son Taehwan.

He too stared back at the empty cylinder with a grave face.

“A placebo… that doesn’t make sense. Red Scorpion was meant to be taken care of anyway, so was it just a smokescreen? Damn it…”

Son Taehwan bit his lip and looked again at the writing that read Dead End.

A dead end.

The fact that it was a CDC employee who had written such words made it feel even more ominous.

Perhaps the CDC had given up on the vaccine or found it impossible to produce, and this employee, knowing the truth, chose to end his life early.

‘Becoming a zombie if infected…?’

It was a maddening thought.

If someone in a weakened state of mind came to learn of this, they might well end up like the CDC employee, committing suicide.

Son Taehwan deliberately made a fuss to ensure no one would dwell on unnecessary thoughts.

“Everyone, let’s move on. What’s important now is the radio. Who needs a darn vaccine? If the radio works, we can say goodbye to this wretched Antarctica!”

Shepherd nodded at these words, and Han Sujin slowly did the same.

Shortly after, the trio climbed to the second floor where windows were blown open.

The equipment was somewhat damaged, likely scratched by the mini-gun rather than bombed directly, but was largely unscathed.

However, Son Taehwan noticed that only this place had lost its power supply.

“Damn AC-130, they must’ve cut the power line.”

“Be glad they did just this before leaving.”

“That’s true but… Anyway, I’ll get the power sorted first. Wait here.”

Son Taehwan placed the chainsaw down and began working on the electrical distribution board.

Some wires were severed by gunfire, but with his experience as an officer in charge of facilities, it was no daunting task.

“Were you into engineering as an Air Force lieutenant?”

“Yeah. I did all sorts of jobs around the base. Just say the word. Once out of Antarctica, I can even install toilets at your place.”

“Puhaha. Now that’s a useful connection. Me, I only know how to wreck and smash things.”

“In times like these, that’s also necessary. …All right, done. Sujin, flip that switch.”

“Yes!”

With the switch flipped, a low humming sound followed by the activation of various devices confirmed their success.

The outer radar had been destroyed by the bombing, but lights on the radar module flickered on.

Son Taehwan easily located the long-range communication device amidst miscellaneous equipment.

At the same time, the equipment’s speaker crackled to life.



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