Dead End Chapter 85

Dead End

Dead End Chapter 85

Chapter 085

“Damn, it’s farther than I thought. Huff, puff.”

They were on the western edge of Nelson Island, and even from there, Robert Island appeared as a mere blur. Son Taehwan frantically rotated the Dragunov’s scope, assessing the speed of the oncoming zombies and the position of the orcas.

“Damn it, they’re chasing us.”

“Huff, puff, don’t we have to go to the sea now?”

“No, haa, haa, timing our entry is crucial. The orcas will be faster than this boat.”

Taehwan shifted his gaze to the engine covered by a thermal suit. The Czech had done the appropriate maintenance, but they had not been able to check how much gasoline was left. In the worst-case scenario, they might have to row with all their might using the oars attached to the side.

“This is maddening.”

It was Taehwan’s oversight to not have checked the map properly, assuming the nearby islands would be closer. The distance of 8 kilometers was driving him insane.

‘If we had sea lion meat, we could try something, but we have nothing.’

What came to mind naturally was the tragedy that had occurred in front of the Sejong Base power station. Taehwan shook his head to dispel the horrific scene. Using people as bait again wouldn’t have changed the outcome this time. The number of orcas was too great, and this was not a situation that could be handled with deception.

“No other choice, huff, huff. Let’s launch the boat.”

“The whales, will they be okay?”

“I can’t guarantee this time, Shepherd.”

The pastor mechanically recited a prayer as the four of them climbed back onto the boat. Like before, if they were to run across the snowfield, they would splash straight into the sea. Before boarding, Taehwan surveyed the sea toward Robert Island again, hoping the short voyage would be uneventful.

“Von Voyage!”

As Taehwan yelled, the rubber boat plunged into the water, and soon after, they encountered another threat.

“Damn, icebergs!”

“What now, Lieutenant?”

“We have to row!”

The ice floes that had been their saviors were now a wall obstructing their path. Moreover, everyone in Antarctica had been educated on how dangerous it was to navigate a rubber boat over these icebergs. Many accidents involving ships crushing under the ice had resulted in casualties, both from the Korean base and other stations.

Without a word, Taehwan and Shepherd immediately grabbed the oars on both sides of the boat and pushed against the ice floes.

They had thought that they would find safety once they were at sea, but the boat moved slower than expected.

“Senior! Wouldn’t it be better to walk than to continue like this?”

“8 kilometers?”

While pushing the ice with an oar, Taehwan sighed deeply. The conditions in this strait were completely different from those around King George Island. At least when they crossed from there, the narrow path was jammed with large ice floes which actually made crossing easier. It was also fortunate that the length of the strait was short.

But the path to Robert Island was replete with small ice chunks, and massive icebergs broke loose from the island, scattered everywhere. Starting the engine here would have just recreated the unfortunate accidents of Antarctica.

“I’m losing my mind! If we could just row, but no, we have to push through!”

“Damn it, Lieutenant! It’s a good thing we ate well last night. I’m getting hungry already!”

They had thought they would be able to cook a fancy meal with sea lion that morning, but the situation was only worsening.

“Se-, Senior.”

“Sujin! Use that pipe to push too! We can’t just row forward anymore!”

“Senior! What is that?!”

At first, they thought it was the surf at the beach. However, as it got closer, they realized it was something ‘alive’—the four on the boat soon took note.

“Se-, seriously…”

“Pe-, penguins and seals!”

Breaking through the orcas’ defenses, the penguins and seals were searching for a path and, unfortunately, headed straight towards them.

“If they come this way…”

“We’re finished.”

Orcas, even when full, could hunt for sport. Sure enough, behind the desperately swimming cluster of penguins appeared a black steam like that of a steam locomotive.

“Senior! What do we do!”

Taehwan and his group hadn’t yet managed to advance 200 meters from the island. At this rate, they were bound to collide with the orcas.

“Captain. What are we going to do now?”

“Have I been promoted from Lieutenant?”

“Gentlemen, this isn’t the time for jokes. What’s the plan?”

Taehwan looked at the boat and ice floes, and the approaching penguins with anxious eyes.

“If we stay still… it might just work.”

“Stay, still?”

“Think about it. Yesterday, it was all because that Runner bastard stirred everything up, and the corpses fell into the sea. Unless human meat is particularly tasty, they might not target us, right?”

Shepherd nodded while looking at the vast number of penguins. There were plenty of prey and toys; there was no need to bother with Taehwan’s group.

The wave of penguins came closer, showing how desperate they were as they climbed up Nelson Island or onto the ice floes. Eventually, the leading penguins even started climbing onto Taehwan’s boat.

“Damn! Shake them off! If too many come aboard, we’ll capsize!”

“This is just ridiculous!”

Taehwan and Shepherd pushed the penguins and seals trying to climb aboard back into the sea with the oar shafts. The boat was now filled with the squawks of animals from all around, and the group was shouting at each other.

“Hey! Bugger! Don’t kill them! If there’s blood, those damn whales won’t leave us alone!”

“I know!”

The penguins were trying to survive desperately, and Taehwan’s group was pushing them back into the sea to stay alive themselves.

“Senior! At this rate, it seems like all of Narevsky’s penguins are here!”

“Exactly! Damn it! A penguin show might be interesting to watch! Fucking landmark of Antarctica, the penguin!”

While saying this, Taehwan looked down and suddenly flinched with surprise. It wasn’t just the penguins that were moving. Startled fish leaped onto the boat as well.

“Ah! He provides our daily bread! Hey, pastor! Shouldn’t you be praising Him? This is a veritable Exodus!”

“Praise?”

“Your singing is good! Before the orcas come!”

The pastor, while pushing a penguin into the water, hesitated to sing a hymn, then shut his mouth tight. The orcas were steadily approaching.

Having passed by where Taehwan’s group was, the crowd of penguins had moved on, and the four observed the daunting presence of the orcas from their rocking boat.

“I feel like I can’t handle this sober. Shepherd, you don’t have any booze, do you?”

“If I did, I would’ve drunk it by now. Shh.”

Like sharks showcasing their dorsal fins above water, the orcas advanced slowly. They played with the penguins like balls, bumping them with their noses, tossing them into the water, and flipping over icebergs to capture squawking penguins on top.

These were the tyrants of the sea. Everyone on the boat crouched down, barely making a sound, as orcas approached and the boat rocked. Taehwan felt the trembling of Han Sujin who was clutched to him.

Even Shepherd, having faced many dangers, shook at the sight of the black fins. Up close, the orcas were enormous, making the rubber boat seem insignificant—a few tanks seemed to be passing by.

The boat rocked and, fortunately, due to the numerous penguins following them, the orcas didn’t show much interest in this ‘boat’.

‘Damn, but that one!’

However, as fate would have it, the same orca, whose eye Taehwan had destroyed yesterday appeared at the back of the procession.

Black steam rose as if the sea were on fire, and the one-eyed orca headed straight for the boat.

Han Sujin saw it too and grabbed Taehwan’s hand tightly.

Everyone aboard recalled the fierce battle on the ice the day before and shook with fear. If the orca simply flipped the boat over, it would be over.

Moreover, the boat was carrying various supplies and losing them here would make survival difficult. There were no bases on Robert Island, and nowhere to resupply.

‘That damn bastard. Why won’t it leave?’

Taehwan was at wit’s end. The one-eyed whale was nudging the boat with its nose, circling around. Some other orcas were straying from the group and approaching the one-eyed one.

‘There’s nothing I can do. Damn it, nothing at all.’

On land, he could have wracked his brain to escape, but on water, there was nothing to do. Even with the proper equipment, the orcas could simply tip the boat over.

Neither explosives nor guns worked.

Even yesterday, despite using all his gear and courage, Taehwan had been unable to finish off the orca.

Once again, the one-eyed orca approached, nudged the boat, and nearly caused the pastor to scream. Han Sujin also clung to her senior’s hand and silently prayed.

Groan.

Another orca approached and touched the boat. Three black dorsal fins all seemed to be chugging out black smoke like steam locomotives. The people on the boat lay flat, holding hands.

The orcas swirled around, occasionally poking their heads above water to see what was on the boat. Luckily, the penguins’ feathers and fish scales stuck all over made the boat hard to distinguish from the surrounding ice.

‘Even an alpha zombie’s basic intelligence seems to be somewhat degraded.’

Iron stakes possessed frightening strength and intelligence, but still not enough to shoot guns. The orcas seemed to be enjoying the texture of the boat as if they were seeing it for the first time. If they had retained their original intelligence, this would have been unimaginable.

The problem was not knowing when they might flip the boat over in their enjoyment.

“Se-, Senior.”

Han Sujin, the first to notice, cowered and rotated her eyes to point in the direction of the sound. Taehwan angled a mirror to look out at the sea, but her gaze was directed upwards.

In the worst moment, the worst enemy reappeared. With a low drone, the Angel of Death, the AC-130, appeared in the sky.

Seeing the silhouette of the plane made Taehwan feel like urinating in fear, and Han Sujin, who had also endured the bombing, trembled violently.

Orcas in the sea, Angel of Death in the sky.

And misfortune didn’t stop with just one. A crackling radio noise filled the air, and the orcas’ movements stopped all at once.

‘Damn it, I left the radio on!’

In Punta Arenas, they said they would send a rescue team, and Taehwan and his group had kept their radio on just in case.

– Is there a survivor? If there is a survivor, respond!

The radio crackled with a desperate voice calling for them. Taehwan quickly weighed his options during that brief moment. The calls continued almost like an announcement, repeatedly asking for survivors.

‘Are they here to finish hunting the survivors? No, there’s no need anymore! If they look at the Czech’s notebook, they’ll see the situation has spread even to the U.S. mainland! So why are they here?’

Meanwhile, orcas, puzzled by this strange black object, started to hit the boat hard with their heads. If they’d been curious until now, their movements were becoming more hostile.

Taehwan pulled Shepherd closer and whispered urgently.

“Shepherd. What was your call sign?”

“Didn’t really have one.”

“What about Chief or Red Scorpion’s call sign?”

“Romeo Sierra Zero One.”

“Romeo Sierra Zero One? Okay.”

“What are you trying to do?”

“Let it be what it will be.”

Taehwan grabbed the radio and replied to the repeated calls.

“Romeo Sierra Zero Two. Where the hell have you been!”



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