“We’ve lost contact with the 3rd Battalion! The 2nd battalion is requesting for retreat!”
“There is no retreat. Hold the ground until the end.”
The makeshift HQ within the laboratory was bustling with the continuous exchange of sitreps and orders. Tension was rising in the HQ as bad news arrived one after another, but some of the last rebel commanders leading the Korean army seemed indifferent to what was happening.
“Urgent news from the 209th regiment of the 1st Battalion! Airborne troops landing behind them! The front line has collapsed!”
“Fall back to the 2nd line! Send in the reserves to help their retreat!”
One of the generals stopped giving orders and turned to face the other commanders who were simply watching the situation.
“What the hell are you guys even doing!”
“Huhuhu, you don’t need to be so mad.”
“Shall we begin?”
As one of the commanders gave the order, a group of soldiers barged into the HQ, pointing their guns at the generals and officers.
“Are you starting a coup at this point in time!”
“We’ve done all we can. You should know just as much as we do that any further resistance is futile. Now is the time to step back and negotiate.”
“What were you promised by the Japanese?! I don’t care what they offered to you, but do you honestly think they will uphold their end of the bargain!”
“Huhu, we’ve received their confirmation. We even have proof so they can’t go back on their words.”
The enraged general tried to pull out his pistol, but the commander was faster.
Bang! At the single gunshot, the enraged general grabbed at his chest. His body trembled, but his eyes were still on the surrendering commanders.
“Our ancestors will never forgive you, you hypocrites…”
The general’s body collapsed on the floor, his eyes wide open with anger. The commanders looked somewhat disturbed by it. They didn’t surrender because they wanted to. But the situation was hopeless, and when their last ray of hope crumbled, their survival instincts kicked in.
“Dear oh dear. I guess we’re late.”
Joon-young entered the room and the commanders were quick respond.
“Who are you? State your affiliation.”
“Affiliation? When everything’s falling apart?”
The commanders refuted in anger.
“Tsk, you are the most annoying of them all. If you were going to surrender, you shouldn’t have made such a mess in the first place. How are you going to look at everyone else who died because of your fuck-ups?”
“How dare you! Shoot him!”
The soldiers hesitantly aimed at Joon-young at the order. Joon-young however, smiled fearlessly.
“Shall we die together?”
Joon-young took his coat off, exposing the claymores stuck all around his body. In his right hand was the detonator. At that sight, all of the soldiers lowered their gun and slowly backpedalled into the corners. If those claymores exploded in this confined room, the best-case scenario was a fatal wound.
“A, are you insane? Drop that thing right now!”
With his face pale as paper, one of the commanders shouted.
“How did you know I was insane? With one click I’ll guarantee a spot in heaven by killing all you traitors. I think that’s a net profit for me.”
“Ah! There’s no point in subduing me either. It’s wireless as well. Well, even if that fails, the fellows behind me will happily throw a handful of grenades in here.”
Everyone looked where Joon-young was pointing. Outside the room was a group of soldiers watching menacingly. In their hands were a pistol and a live grenade, primed and ready to be thrown.
Joon-young quickly gained everyone’s attention.
“Now! Will you die with me or surrender?”
“You crazy bastard! Don’t you know that any more resistance is futile!”
“Humans are foolish creatures, you see. They love to do something they are told not to do. Now! Last warning. Drop your weapons! Or I’m pressing the button!”
“Y, you will die too!”
Joon-young snickered at those words.
“Even better. Three! Two! One! I’ll see you in the afterlife.”
Everyone inside the HQ dropped to the floor as Joon-young pressed the detonator.
“Huh? What’s going on?”
Joon-young repetitively pressed the detonator, wondering why it wasn’t going off.
“Surrender! We surrender!”
Everyone inside the HQ threw their weapons in fear and raised their hands while Joon-young continued to smash at the detonator.
“Oi. This is a dud. Are you really in charge of the explosives?”
“No shit it’s a dud! I’ve cut the line just in case but I didn’t think you’d really press it.”
At this point, even the soldiers on Joon-young’s side realised just how insane he was. There aren’t many in the world who wouldn’t hesitate to kill themselves with a smile on their face.
“What do we do with them?”
A captain of the air force asked as he watched the commanders shake in fear.
“What do you mean? Wasn’t this the whole point?”
Joon-young reached for one of the rifles and loaded the gun.
The commanders began to plead for their lives at the sound of the gun.
Bang! Bang! Bang! Joon-young ignored their pleas and hummed as he massacred the commanders and everyone who were in their league.
“Damn, that felt like shit. We’ve really crossed the line now!”
Joon-young grumbled with a cig in his mouth. He just killed multiple high ranking officers, many of them being generals.
“Let’s take that thing off you first. I can’t stand you wearing it.”
As one of the sergeants approach to help Joon-young take the claymores, some of the high ranking officers quickly took command of the HQ.
“Send the word to all the battalions we can! All personnel are allowed to surrender at their own judgement! But all volunteers will gather here! This is our grave! Only those of you prepared to be buried here are allowed to gather!”
The soldiers in the HQ began to move instinctively at the sound of those orders.
“Now! Shall we make a plan? Let’s make them curse our names for all eternity!”
With the surrender of the Korean troops on the frontlines, there was a brief moment of silence and tranquillity. But when they lost contact with the Korean Army’s HQ and received news of what had happened from the surrendered Korean troops, Japanese troops initiated an airborne assault on the research centre. The security forces of the research centre resisted with their utmost efforts, but the sight of the continuous stream of parachutes forced them to retreat into the tunnel.
An explosion accompanied by the scorching flames filled the corridor. Many suffered burns from the fire and troops were sent to rescue them.
PR Note: “Chikusho” is a Japanese derogatory term that translates literally into “dumb animal” or “beast,” but can be generally used as an expletive.
“Ah ah, Korean please…”
Ratatat! The rescue team screamed as Joon-young fired blindly around the corner, which was followed by a storm of bullets by the Japanese as they returned fire.
“Charge is set!”
A combat engineer from the air force came to Joon-young and handed him the detonator.
“Is that so? Let’s move.”
After watching his remaining troops retreat in order, he approached a man with a wound on his chest, gasping for air.
“Is it my turn?”
“Seems like it.”
“Kukuk, feels good to have some company for my death.”
“Don’t forget. You have to let them get as close as possible.”
“What are you even worried about. You’re just gonna detonate it remotely if I failed anyway.”
“Well then… You’ve done well.”
“Kuku, I’ll see you soon.”
With the retreat finished and the resistance gone, the Japanese began to encroach slowly.
With an ok sign from the scouts, the main army began to move. Once most of the squad entered, the man who had been lying flat on the ground turned his body and shouted.
“Kuhaha! Hello, mother fuckers!”
Bang! The improvise claymore exploded, sending mountains of shrapnel flying into the tunnel’s confined space.
Joon-young’s intent wasn’t to cause as much deaths, but to cause as much wounded as possible. To give them a scar to remember for the rest of their lives.
“Uhahah! Let’s die together!”
“Tennoheika Banzai, fuckers!”
Suicide bombers had been hiding amongst the corpses, waiting for their chance. Whenever they could, they would jump into the midst of the Japanese squadron with improvised bombs made of chemicals from the research centre. Just as Joon-young had wished, the Japanese were terrified, and their push became slower.
Booby traps were sprinkled across the entire tunnel, and the Japanese began checking nearby corpses by shooting at them. This had allowed Joon-young and his men to survive inside the tunnel for a whole week. At one point, the Japanese used chemical weapons but Joon-young retaliated by burning the oxygen with a napalm. This had caused the ventilation system of the research centre to break down, but he had no wish to live in the first place.
Despite having the option to starve them to death, it seemed their sense of pride wouldn’t let them do it. The Japanese continued to send in their troops despite heavy casualties.
“Kukuku, I guess this is it.”
They no longer have anything to make bullets or bombs. Food and water had run out long ago.
“We did pretty well huh?”
Joon-young spoke as he looked at the firmly closed steel doors behind him. There were a total of 10 combatants left. After sacrificing one after another, they had been pushed and pushed again up to this point. Behind that door is the nuclear fusion research centre holding the researchers inside. What will happen to the researchers after he died was a mystery.
They may die to the enraged Japanese soldiers, or taken prisoner as valuable human resources. Whether they surrender or die is up to them. Joon-young had no intent on forcing the researchers to sacrifice themselves.
“Have you got any bullets left?”
Joon-young asked as he started to hear footsteps from afar.
“… We might have one.”
The colonel answered, taking out a bullet from his chest pocket.
“Ha, You can’t even commit suicide with that thing.”
The bullet’s cartridge was crushed significantly, which probably happened during combat. Joon-young snickered at the pathetic bullet and the colonel followed. Soon the snicker spread to other soldiers and it turned into a giant laughter.
Once the laughter stopped, the soldiers looked at each other and began shaking hands.
“Now! The climax of a battle is the hand to hand combat, isn’t it?”
“Ofcourse! You seem to know a few things about wars!”
The soldiers busied themselves with attaching bayonets onto their rifles when suddenly they heard broken Korean coming from the other side of the barricade.
“Surrender! If you surrender now, we will let you live!”
“They’re saying they’ll let us live.”
“Funny bastards. What should we do?”
“What else? We should let them live instead.”
Joon-young made a wicked smile at the confused colonel, and shouted back.
“Hey! You know we’re the last ones right! We’ve got some biological weapons in our hands! Since we’re dying, why don’t we die together! According to the researcher who gave it to us, a single drop can wipe half a city! And we have an entire barrel! Uhahahah! Ya scared?”
Other soldiers tried their best to stop their laughter. It was a bluff. If a biological weapon were to be used within the tunnels, which also had its ventilation destroyed, death was a certainty for both sides. Sending someone who could speak Korean was a mistake on Japan’s part.
If they simply made the final push, Joon-young and his men would have made little resistance. But all the despicable acts Joon-young and his men had performed until now would convince them to believe the bluff.
Soon, they could hear dismayed voices, and their footsteps began to fade.
“Now! Let’s go! This will be the last time we’ll see them run!”
Joon-young and the soldiers charged over the barricade. With that, the Japanese forces ran hastily, even throwing their guns away.
As Joon-young laughed to his heart’s content, a heavy thud echoed through the entire tunnel.
Then the giant steel doors behind him smashed open, covering Joon-young and the soldiers in bright light. A gust of wind swept their bodies, making them fly for a brief moment. Then as the burning heat came, Joon-young remembered the bright smile Han Yoo-ra made.
‘Did that lady really do it?’
The sickening smell of blood brought his consciousness back. He sluggishly looked around as if he had just woken up. The sky was black with a faint light of dawn helping him to see that he was on an open plain. Around him were flags with symbols he had never seen before; moreover, dead bodies covered the entire plain.
He could smell burning flesh in the air. He looked down to see his body drenched in blood from head to toe. But strangely, he did not feel any pain.
How much time had passed? As he sat with a blank face, a group of men began to approach him atop the pile of bodies. These men, clad in armour, were checking the bodies and respectfully moving them over.
Soon, one of them noticed him and approached quickly with a surprised face.
“Hey! Are you alright?”
“Doctor! There’s a survivor!”
He called out for others to come, then asked again.
“Hey! Child, wake up! Shit… Is he in shock? Child, what’s your name?”
As the child’s voice just barely escaped his mouth, he began to moan and touch all over his own body as if he could not believe it.
The soldier who had found the child tried to ask as gently as possible, fearing that the child may have gone insane from shock.
“Can you remember your name?”
“My name… Joon-young? No, my name is Isaac. Isaac Rondart.”