Dead End Chapter 57

Dead End

Dead End Chapter 57

Chapter 57

Son Taehwan gestured with his chin for a black man and a Japanese man to check the pass. The two men snatched the documents from the pastor’s hand and alternated their gaze between the passport photo and the pastor’s face. Upon a closer look, his obese and unsightly appearance didn’t seem like that of an agent at all.

“What on earth are you? Are you really a pastor?”

“Yes! I even have a Bible!”

He desperately tried to turn around.

“Don’t move!”

“Ah, ah… yes, yes, I got it.”

Frozen in place, the pastor stood as Son Taehwan switched on the light mounted on the gun. In the hideout where the pastor had been, there was a box of canned food and indeed a Bible, but no communication equipment or other suspicious items.

“What exactly are you? What are you doing all the way here in Antarctica?”

“Didn’t I tell you? I’ve come to spread the Word of God, all the way to the end of the earth. I have permission, too.”

“But why were you hiding here?”

Son Taehwan, holding the gun in one hand, opened the envelope with the plane ticket in the other. As he fumbled with the envelope, tickets marked ‘MS-Female’ beside the name dropped out along with several others.

Keeping his gun aimed, Son Taehwan cautiously checked the boiler room. The others also suspiciously eyed the pastor as they scanned the surroundings.

“Where are the others?”

“That is…”

“Aren’t they with you? Where are the rest of your group?”

Son Taehwan pressed the rifle to the pastor’s head, and the pastor began to cry out loud.

“They are… outside.”

No more explanation was needed. Son Taehwan sighed as he looked over the flight tickets for about four members of the evangelism team.

“How did you end up hiding here?”

“That was…”

The pastor recounted what had happened after his arrival at the Chilean airport. His plane had arrived about two hours before the transport plane carrying Shepherd. A blizzard blew in just as he arrived, and while Son Taehwan and Han Sujin were at the German and Peruvian bases, respectively, the pastor had faced misfortune here.

“How could you escape when the Red Scorpion had arrived? You must have been trapped with these people; why were you here?”

“That is…”

“Stop hiding stuff and speak!”

“After I escaped, suddenly… the number of zombies increased a lot!”

Son Taehwan grimaced at his clumsy response.

“But it’s true! The guard… he turned into one of those zombies, and my group is…”

“When was that?”

“This morning! At dawn!”

Son Taehwan fiddled with the gun’s trigger. He still couldn’t decide whether he could trust this man’s words.

“…Let’s decide after everyone’s gathered. But you’ll have to be frisked.”

While still aiming his gun, Son Taehwan watched as the large black man meticulously searched the pastor’s body with an eerie lick of his lips. However, no weapons or suspicious signs were found on the man. Even as the Bible he carried was checked thoroughly, no dangerous items were found.

Tension lingered until the Japanese man breathed out a sigh of relief, and right then a transmission came through from Shepherd.

“Hey, Lieutenant sir. What are you doing? Something happen?”

“No, we found another survivor.”

“Survivor, you say?”

“Claims to be a pastor.”

“…We had a pastor here?”

The atmosphere cooled once more, but the pastor awkwardly grinned and looked towards Son Taehwan.

“Let’s take him with us.”

Son Taehwan handcuffed the pastor with cable ties found in the boiler room and led him forward. After about an hour of searching, the survivors reconvened in the air traffic control center in the middle of the runway. In front of them lay all the useful items they had collected, and outside, snowflakes began to drift down. The search yielded abundant food but meager weapons, leaving both Son Taehwan and Shepherd quite distressed.

“Do we take the optimistic view? At least we won’t starve for the time being.”

At Son Taehwan’s words, everyone wore wry smiles. They had already stacked MREs pilfered from a forklift inside the building, and in front of those were weapons Shepherd and Shaowen had brought.

“A machine gun with one loading and this many rounds?”

There were two ammo boxes filled with 200 rounds each fitted to a U.S. military squad support weapon, and a single magazine for Sergei’s Dragunov sniper rifle found among the wreckage.

Their weapons were paltry compared to an imagined enemy.

“Lieutenant sir, when we saw those at the Chilean airport, there were heavy weapons, but they seem to have been blown up in the bombardment. Or maybe they were taken.”

“Does that mean they might have heavy weapons too?”

“Possibly. They could have rocket launchers or grenades, at least.”

“Huh. Then we better try to find and eliminate those first.”

“We have a sniper rifle, so that shouldn’t be a problem. Although we have to rely on the Air Force lieutenant to take the shot, and that’s the problem. Hell, that sniping earlier was a mess. Right?”

“I know. I hardly ever did any sniping, apart from rifles.”

“Still, you handle it. You have to take overall command, and we don’t have binoculars, so a sniper scope will have to do.”

Indeed, the sniper’s scope could serve as a makeshift binocular.

“Alright then.”

As if naturally, a magazine and the Dragunov ended up in Son Taehwan’s hands.

While weapons distribution was underway, the pastor bound in plastic cable suddenly burst out.

“Ah, you mustn’t recklessly shoot people!”

Son Taehwan sighed and shook his head.

“There is one person who hasn’t come to his senses yet. Do you have any better ideas?”

“I do!”

“What?”

Son Taehwan’s eyes sparkled. Perhaps this pastor knew how to escape from the island. If everyone could escape safely, there was no need to confront the Red Scorpion.

“Do you know where there’s a boat? Or your own plane? Yeah, is your plane elsewhere? Even if it’s crashed and wrecked, anything would be good.”

The other survivors also swallowed hard as they awaited the pastor’s words. The pastor smiled kindly and said,

“God will lead us. What is there to fear? I have God with me. Do you believe? If you believe, say Amen.”

“…”

Both Shepherd and Son Taehwan had to exert control to keep from raising their guns.

Out of so many Protestant believers, this guy seemed like a blind zealot.

“Don’t sigh. The Lord will lead us down the right path. Jesus said, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me!”

“Why were you hiding in that office, then?”

“That is…”

At Son Taehwan’s words, the pastor became suddenly mute.

“If that almighty God was around, it’d be nice if He descended here and took us back to Chile, or better yet, to our respective home countries.”

“Thou shalt not test the Lord thy God.”

“You’re the one testing my patience. Don’t make me shoot.”

In the end, Son Taehwan pointed the gun at the pastor again.

Silently, the pastor shut his mouth. Son Taehwan glanced outside once more through a slit in the curtains. Another weary blanket of snow was settling, and the few remaining zombies were crawling out, strolling aimlessly around the runway. Without the Iron Spearhead, the zombies seemed to have lost their purpose.

‘So maybe we can use those things. If the Iron Spearhead returns, the Beta zombies’ behavior would change. Should we leave some instead of wiping them all out?’

Then Son Taehwan took out his broken wristwatch.

It was 6:40 in the evening.

Night was creeping in once again, a wearisome one.

Survivors were standing watch on the second floor, but it seemed unlikely that the Red Scorpion would attack immediately.

“Let’s have dinner for now. I have no energy to be angry when I’m hungry.”

Everyone nodded in agreement.

They hadn’t eaten anything all day.

A U.S. military MRE box was opened, and a scramble ensued as everyone grabbed their favorite dishes. Han Sujin stepped back from the commotion and approached Son Taehwan.

“Senior, which one’s tasty?”

“I don’t know either. I haven’t really eaten these much. More importantly, I’d prefer if there were cigarettes… You take this one.”

“Will you do something if it tastes bad?”

“Damn it, am I responsible for the menu, too?”

“Sniff, unreasonable people. Would you listen to me, folks?”

“Ah, damn it! Hey, Shepherd! What’s the tastiest here?”

Shepherd yelled from above to pick anything with meat, but they all looked the same to Son Taehwan. Eventually, the two grabbed what was left and sat down against the wall. Even though Son Taehwan had some experience with these rations, he haphazardly pulled out the menu and munched on chocolate balls.

“Seems better than yesterday.”

“Right. Corn cans yesterday. Mixed stew for lunch today. Wow, a full-course meal tonight.”

While the survivors gathered to cook together, Son Taehwan and Han Sujin sat a bit apart. Son Taehwan had distributed weapons, but he didn’t trust those people entirely. Coincidentally, Han Sujin was the only doctor and the only woman among the survivors.

‘There’s no guarantee that these people won’t have the same ideas as those Red Scorpion bastards. This place really drives people mad.’

Deliberately, Son Taehwan positioned the Dragunov between them, intending to protect Han Sujin even if it meant shooting everyone if necessary. The automatic rifle was given to figures whom Son Taehwan somewhat trusted. One naturally went to Shepherd. The other one was for the watchkeeper upstairs. Similarly, the machine gun, a crew-supporting weapon, was stationed where the rifles were for the same reason. Unless one was standing guard upstairs, they couldn’t approach with a gun, and the only firearms moving around where people were located were Son Taehwan’s Dragunov and Han Sujin’s pistol. The people didn’t find it odd that Son Taehwan was walking around with the Dragunov because Shepherd had mentioned that he was the officer in charge. Besides, the Dragunov was a weapon brought by Son Taehwan’s group, which had saved them; there was no reason for complaints. Son Taehwan mixed water with the combat ration as he whispered to Han Sujin.

“Soo-young. You haven’t shown it, have you?”

“What?”

“That.”

Han Sujin gestured to her chest and glared at Son Taehwan.

“Senior, really. Sometimes I might sue you for sexual harassment.”

“Hah. What are you thinking about, you seductress?”

Son Taehwan subtly showed the shape of a pistol, and Han Sujin finally nodded in understanding, looking serious.

“Ah… “

“If you feel threatened, take care of yourself.”

“Will do.”

“Of course, they won’t bother you since you’re a doctor, but you can’t predict people’s behavior. If that happens, forget about the Hippocratic Oath.”

Han Sujin quietly nodded. There, all morals and laws had disappeared. That’s why Son Taehwan had purposefully kept secret the fact that she had a pistol. He had told Han Sujin not to take out her gun while they were checking weapons and supplies.

‘Let’s hope she never has to use it…’



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