Dead End Chapter 86

Dead End

Dead End Chapter 86

**Chapter 086: Is There a Survivor?**

“Are there any survivors? How much survival equipment do we have? What about food?”

The orcas grew increasingly agitated upon hearing the voice, but Han Sujin and Shepherd looked at Son Taehwan with wide eyes in confusion.

“What’s with the talk of survival gear and food?”

“Is everyone on the boat? How many more can board, dammit! Open fire! Fire, I said!”

Gunshots blared through the radio and, far off, was that something falling from the AC-130? A waterspout erupted, redirecting some of the orcas in its direction. The orcas around the boat remained still, but the situation was growing bizarrely tense.

“How many can the boat hold?”

“What are you talking about?”

“The fuel! Damn it all! Why did Jerry get on board! Catch him! Cath him, I say!”

Just before a one-eyed orca could smash its head into the boat, the AC-130 buzzed overhead, narrowly missing them.

“No way!”

“There must have been someone hiding the infection! What lunacy is this?”

Incredibly, the very Angel of Death that had hounded them to the brink of death at King George Island was now flying erratically, a zombie outbreak stirring inside.

But their misfortune didn’t end there.

“Romeo Sierra! How many can board the bloody boat!”

“Why do you keep asking that?”

“There’s no more fuel! We’re going to crash-land soon! If possible, we’ll attempt an emergency landing on the island, so we need a rescue! We also need guidance to a safe island!”

The AC-130 made another slow turn overhead. Visibly, two of the propellers had stopped; the plane’s movements were alarmingly erratic. The orcas watched the circling Angel of Death, spellbound, as another engine sputtered out with a frazzle, leaving just one struggling engine trying to keep it airborne.

“Senior!”

“I know! I’ll try to negotiate!”

The AC-130 was nearing its plunge as Son Taehwan and his party were encircled by orcas. The one-eyed orca seemed to have finally identified the thing in black on which the one who had scraped its eye was aboard.

Desperately, Son Taehwan initiated communication with the Angel of Death.

“Hey! Are you listening! We’re surrounded by orcas! We need cover fire before you crash!”

“Damn it all, orcas? What are you on about?”

“The orcas have turned into zombies! Unless we eliminate these bastards, there won’t be any way off the island even for you if you crash-land! I’ll say it again! If you abandon us, you die too!”

“FUCK! Understood! We’ll take care of the whales! But we can’t use the firing system due to a power system issue! Give us something to target!”

“Got it!”

In an instant, the one-eyed orca rammed the rubber boat from beneath. Han Sujin was flung into the air, and Son Taehwan reflexively pulled her back into his arms.

“Ugh! Senior!”

“Idiot! Hold on tight!”

Shepherd and the pastor gripped the boat as well, but some items bounced off the boat, plummeting into the sea or back onto the boat’s floor.

The orca hit the boat hard with a surge, but fortunately, the boat didn’t flip and splashed back down into the water. Seawater sprayed Son Taehwan’s face, and Han Sujin, held in his arms, let out a shriek of dismay.

Fortunately, this time the orca had struck right at the center, so the boat just fell back into place. But it was clear that soon it would ram them sideways, like flipping ice floes.

Son Taehwan urgently signaled and clasped the radio.

“Target the black smoke! Surrounding the boat, that’s your target! We’ll make sure to injure the unharmed ones so you can see the black smoke!”

“Understood!”

“We’re about to flip this boat! Fire the miniguns or whatever you’ve got!”

The AC-130 tilted to one side as it aimed its guns. Son Taehwan raised his middle finger to the one-eyed orca, directing attention to it. A minigun hammered the sea into geysers as shells dropped where the orcas clustered.

Son Taehwan once again instinctively embraced Han Sujin, shielding her as pieces of whale, mingled with the black fumes, sprayed in all directions.

With that assault, two whales floated up, their heads burst open from a single hit, while the others began to disperse. Minigun blasts caused waterspouts to scatter around the boat, barely missing them. It was a close call; the boat might have been hit by the miniguns.

Son Taehwan yelled at Shepherd while holding Han Sujin.

“Shepherd! Start the engine! We’ve got to get out of here!”

Right on cue with perfect judgement. If they lingered, nothing would change. Son Taehwan and Shepherd hurried to the back of the boat, shedding their cold-weather gear.

Son Taehwan was the first to remove his gloves and touched the engine.

“The engine seems fine! Pull it!”

“Got it, Lieutenant!”

Was it due to the chill sea breeze? The engine didn’t start, buzzing ineffectually, while simultaneously the one-eyed orca rammed the boat again.

“Damn you! You want a taste of me, is that it? Come at me, you bastard!”

The pastor almost fell into the sea again while Shepherd struggled to hold onto the engine. Due to the orca’s hit, the boat was pushed, sliding onto an ice floe. Han Sujin’s lower body was submerged, floundering.

“Sujin!”

“Start the damn engine!”

She cursed, but it was no time for manners; she was dangerously close to the one-eyed orca, which had gaped its jaws wide open. Shepherd, seeing this, frantically pulled at the engine’s starter cord, yet it stubbornly refused to start. The one-eyed orca was on the brink of ripping into Han Sujin’s flesh.

“Okay! Everyone hold on tight!”

As if to mock them, just as the engine sputtered hesitantly, it finally started, and the rubber boat leaped across the water’s surface. Han Sujin clung onto the bow’s rope tightly as the one-eyed orca crunched into the nearby ice and sank into the sea.

“Shepherd! Head for Robert Island!”

“Don’t worry! But how do you steer this thing?”

“For Christ’s sake! What don’t you know!”

Swearing, Son Taehwan rushed towards Han Sujin, then cursed again, seizing control. A collision with ice could flip them, or at worst, Han Sujin could fall into the sea, or they could even be crushed between boat and ice.

“Shepherd! Pastor! Help her!”

The boat smoothly carved through water away from the orcas, and Han Sujin clambered back onto the boat, drenched.

“Ungh! Yesterday it was you, senior!”

“Just be glad we’re alive! Shepherd! Shoot any orcas not yet smoking with your rifle!”

As the orcas scattered under barrage, Shepherd carefully aimed at the fins not yet emitting black smoke. With each accurate shot, black fumes spewed as if from smoke grenades.

Then, miniguns hammered from the sky above where black smoke burst. The orcas were under attack, and it felt like watching a war movie – submarines being bombed.

“Lieutenant! They’re not following us!”

“Don’t underestimate their cunning! They will have dived underwater!”

The AC-130 had no anti-submarine warfare equipment and seemed to have a total malfunction in its firing control system. If the whales submerged, they had no defense.

“Boat! Are you all right? What about the food supplies?”

“Dammit! Haven’t you guys resupplied at McMurdo Station?”

“Can’t you see? McMurdo Station is also in ruins!”

Those words pierced Son Taehwan’s heart.

He had hoped Antarctica might remain unscathed. McMurdo Station, being a U.S. base camp, was a hub of extensive supplies.

“Sujin! McMurdo Station might’ve fallen just like the Chilean base!”

“Like the Chilean base? Then, could it be…”

An aircraft like the AC-130 should have received priority supply. But even that plane was now shakily flying, ill-supplied.

Annihilation.

Son Taehwan had planned to hop from Livingston Island to McMurdo Station if no path was found on Livingston Island. McMurdo, with its concentrated American technological prowess, offered a chance of survival.

“Senior! Come to your senses! There’s the island!”

“My neck hurts, you brute!”

As Han Sujin forcibly turned his head to face forward, Son Taehwan hissed.

“You what, a wrestler? You almost wrung my neck off!”

“Woah, if you’ve got the energy to yell like that, you’re alright!”

They had discussed countless ways to escape Antarctica. She was supporting Son Taehwan in her own way.

The boat sped toward Robert Island, a great improvement from when they’d been rowing among ice floes.

“Hey! Lieutenant! What are you doing?”

“It’s like football! When you have an advantage, gain as much ground as you can! I absolutely detest the idea of repeating the journey from Robert Island to Livingston Island again!”

The distance from Nelson Island to Robert Island was eight kilometers, and then another two kilometers to the coast of Livingston Island. To that, add the grueling task of dragging the boat overland.

“I’d rather fight orcas bare-handed than take that flight floating in the sky when I could be advancing a little!”

“That makes sense!”

Not heading for Robert Island, the boat rushed toward Livingston Island, seen in the distance. Son Taehwan managed the engine throttle and steering wheel, negotiating through ice. Slalom around large icebergs prevented the boat from full speed.

‘They feel faster, but in the water, they’re even quicker. They’ll definitely play dirty!’

Especially the one-eyed orca who had already shown a tendency to ambush Son Taehwan. He zigzagged the boat, narrowly dodging as the orca swiped and splashed beside them.

“That bastard! No, whale bastard! Continuous attacks, huh?”

The orca’s ally burst up beside the bow, sending up a column of water – a technique often used in hunting seals or penguins.

The boat narrowly missed the whale’s sidelong assault, and Son Taehwan wildly gestured behind him.

“Fire at them!”

The two attacking orcas quickly tried to dive but were met with futility. Waterspouts ripped through the sea one after another, decapitating the second orca. The body sank while the head floated on the ice.

“Did we get them all?”

“No! At least one more remains!”

“We just made a maneuver and, damn it! Which island is safe? We’re out of fuel! We’re completely—”

“The island in front of you! Livingston Island!”

Whether Livingston Island was safe was not something Son Taehwan knew. Purely for their own survival, he lied. Following this, the AC-130 crossed overhead, heading to Livingston Island before them.

“Good luck to you! Survive!”

Both Son Taehwan and Han Sujin could only offer a bitter smile at these words. The Angel of Death, while devastating Antarctic bases and killing survivors, now oddly wished them luck.

Perhaps because of its infamous record, the AC-130’s fate couldn’t have been bleaker. Its last engine totally ceased, and after gliding for five kilometers, it could not reach Livingston Island.

The plane’s nose struck the sea, and as it flipped, the wings broke and fuselage tumbled onto the ice. Though there was a considerable distance, the thunderous crash and shattering sounds pierced the ears of those aboard the boat.



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