Dead End Chapter 60

Dead End

Dead End Chapter 60

Chapter 60

Han Sujin swallowed nervously as she looked down at the lower floor, overwhelmed with worry. The decision they faced could potentially have devastating effects on humanity. Han Sujin was a perfect partner for Son Taehwan. Throughout their guard duty, they had mapped out their tactics in great detail. She complemented Son Taehwan’s strategies by pointing out areas he missed.

“Senior, if all of this works, how many of us do you think will survive?”

“Well, if it all works out? Maybe all of us.”

Han Sujin flashed a faint smile at his reply. As they resumed sipping coffee, a sudden crackling noise interrupted them from the walkie-talkie. Han Sujin beamed with excitement and exclaimed to Son Taehwan, “Senior! It might be the rescue team!”

Son Taehwan, too, was taken aback and grabbed the radio. But the sounds weren’t coming from the stationary device connected to the antenna, but from the very walkie-talkie they had brought, which was intentionally tuned to the enemy’s frequency.

“Senior… This is…”

Her smile vanished. Then, from the static-laden walkie-talkie, another voice pierced through, along with the loud echo of gunfire. The rapid bursts of shots caused both Han Sujin and Son Taehwan to flinch, trembling at the sounds. What was happening? Who were the enemies? Son Taehwan’s thoughts raced, his entire body freezing with fear at the possibility of facing foes other than the Red Scorpions. If they were survivors, he couldn’t imagine them being easily overrun.

Could the AC-130 have returned?

He quickly glanced at the sky. Although it was snowing, the weather seemed clear enough for a plane. But the messages that came next were even more unclear; amidst the buzz and static, only two words were clear:

“Coming… many…”

The transmission cut off abruptly. Since yesterday, the erratic communication felt like solving a cryptic puzzle.

Coming. And many.

Mulling over these two words, Son Taehwan deduced a possibility. Many? It didn’t make sense for those who hired PMCs to save costs to send even more troops. The simplest explanation is often the most efficient and close to the truth. What was the most numerous entity on King George Island?

“Senior, could it be them?”

Son Taehwan quickly hushed her, covering her mouth. Han Sujin blinked her eyes adorably in confusion.

“Keep what you just heard a secret.”

“Mmmph.”

“Ah, sorry.”

“Senior, you are harsh.”

Seeing Han Sujin acting playfully offended, Son Taehwan snorted in amused disbelief before returning his gaze to the map.

“No matter who the enemy is, the plan doesn’t change. We need to use everything at our disposal to divert the enemy to the east.”

Han Sujin looked at Taehwan with renewed concern. The Red Scorpions could count on their numbers to challenge from the east. But how could they possibly lead zombies to the east?

As dawn began breaking, people sluggishly got up and came upstairs. Though unspoken, they were all curious about the situation outside. They shared anxious looks, pondering what lay ahead.

“More snow.”

“Is that a good sign?”

“What sign?”

Everyone filled their cups with coffee from the pot or munched on leftovers from yesterday’s rations. Having eaten their fill the day before, they took a light breakfast. They remained silent, their gazes fixed on Son Taehwan, silently urging him to shed light on their predicament.

Son Taehwan drew the curtains on the hillside windows and sighed deeply. Although they were at a safe distance from snipers, it was best not to let survivors loiter in sight.

“Let’s be clear about one thing: the number of us here and any weapons we possess, it’s all top secret.”

Son Taehwan, sitting down, began explaining the basic situation, much the same discussion he’d had with Han Sujin. He outlined a strategy of utilizing snowmobiles to reduce the enemy’s numbers and inflict maximum damage. He also detailed the potential presence of formidable zombies like the alpha with the iron spike.

“So, that means we…”

“The best option is not to engage at all, second is to repel the enemy, whether zombies or mercenaries, by inflicting heavy casualties. Considering that the iron spike retreated yesterday, it’s feasible.”

“And after that?”

“Yesterday, you heard the radio communication with Punta Arenas. Our plan is to hold out here. We can’t easily give up this place where we have food, water, and heating. It’s a survival competition.”

Xiao Wen nodded in agreement, murmuring in Chinese. Son Taehwan’s explanation was neither overly optimistic nor pessimistic; he simply laid out their situation and options. But he suddenly remembered the moment he first shot a man and swallowed hard.

“If we have to fight, it’ll be tough. You saw the iron spike zombie yesterday, right? If all of the Red Scorpions come…”

He kept the Red Scorpion’s recent transmission to himself. If a group of well-armed elite mercenaries were pushed back, it spelled certain annihilation for everyone at the Chilean base.

“But we have guns too, right?”

“Ah, but you see what happened with Shepherd. They’re professionals. The gap between pros and amateurs is vast.”

Shepherd shrugged under everyone’s gaze, as Son Taehwan, with a trembling voice, explained their dire straits.

“We’re isolated on King George Island, like being first up on a drifting plank. The Red Scorpions clearly want to push us off that plank, and the zombies want to devour us. I don’t claim we’re in the right; this is about survival. You all…”

Everyone looked at Son Taehwan with solemn expressions. It seemed he had to convince them to use potential repellents.

“We have to use whatever we can.”

“Hold on, Lieutenant. Cut the nonsense and get to the point. You have something to say, don’t you?”

Shepherd, with his keen intuition, didn’t miss a beat.

“We’re going to cut up uninfected corpses and use the pieces as bait.”

“What? Cut up corpses?”

“Yes, to create a defense line, we need to use this open terrain. To attract the zombies, we need ‘bait’.”

Son Taehwan had discussed survival with Han Sujin, and now the crowd murmured among themselves. Undoubtedly, using corpses as bait was a sly tactic – the majority of zombies followed the scent of blood, not caring whether it came from a dismembered limb or a punctured wound.

Son Taehwan reinforced his point by recalling their encounter with Han Young’s zombie, which had feasted on the captain’s body until he appeared. Dead bodies, even frozen, seemed to attract zombies more strongly than living humans.

“So, looking back, those living bodies, or those who were bleeding, were the first to be attacked.”

“That’s right. With that approach, we can lure zombies into the open field.”

Son Taehwan’s mention of using Cadena’s boards as bait served as a pretext for overcoming any disgust they might feel. The survivors nodded in agreement, on the verge of backing Son Taehwan’s plan, when suddenly…

“We shouldn’t do this!”

Amid the shifting atmosphere, someone shouted loudly, drawing everyone’s attention to the bound pastor. Stumbling to his feet, he yelled again, “It is wrong to treat people this way!”

“People… But those are corpses.”

“A body that once contained a soul, crafted in the image of God, should not be treated so. You will be cursed for such sacrilege!”

“Hey, Pastor. Then should we all be happily devoured by zombies together? We have to use what we can to survive.”

“Even if it means forsaking our humanity?”

Son Taehwan felt pierced by the sharp retort. Sensing his discomfort, the pastor spread his hands in prayerful gesture and preached.

“Now Pastor, we’re in a crucial moment, you said it yourself. And they’re already dead. They’re dead!”

“Could you, then, tear apart the woman beside you, if she became a corpse? Could you shred her and use her as a weapon?”

The pastor’s face was different from their first encounter, intensely serious as he targeted Son Taehwan’s vulnerability. Son Taehwan imagined Han Sujin as a roaming zombie.

“Quod Sumus hoc eritis… what we are now, you will be.”

The pastor’s tranquil voice seemed to speak for the bodies littered around them. A Latin phrase, it was a memento mori, a reminder of the inevitability of death. Son Taehwan had come across it in various readings before; a phrase that, under the dire Antarctic conditions, felt hauntingly appropriate.

The pastor’s words sent ripples through the group. Could they really desecrate the bodies of friends or themselves, cutting them apart for use as weapons? Son Taehwan thought the pastor was being unnecessarily precise but poignant.

“When we lay the torn apart to rest, we stitch them back together to resemble a human form as much as possible. Why? We hope that when we die, we’d be treated with the dignity afforded to humans. As children of God, we hope our bodies, God’s creation, receive humane treatment. Surely we and those corpses outside wish for the same!”

Some Catholics in the group made the sign of the cross and nodded at the pastor’s words. Son Taehwan hadn’t often contemplated death by zombie.

“Pastor. That’s a sophistic argument. Do you want to extend humanity even to the dead, risking your own life in the process?”

“Yes. I want to die as a human being.”

The words Son Taehwan had told Han Sujin and promised to himself, although for different reasons, made him speechless in response to the pastor’s wish to die a human.

“And you still haven’t answered my question. Would you have the courage to sever the head of that beautiful lady and throw it away?”



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