“Oh my goodness. What will happen to them now?” (mom)
Park Seon-Duk stared at the TV screen, hints of worry clearly visible in her expression.
The massive horde of zombies utterly filling up the screen was unsteadily marching towards the makeshift barricade made up of all sorts of military vehicles.
The thoughtful director of the TV station must’ve decided to erase all signs of English cuss words, because there was a constant stream of bleeps coming from the TV speakers, as well.
In the midst of the heady mixture of screams and swearings, as well as loud yells, the members of the local police force were busy pushing back the tide of zombies clinging onto the vehicles with lengthy clubs and truncheons.
“Aaaaahhk-!! God d*mn it!!”
A policeman got caught by the zombies and was in the middle of getting dragged away. The people around him freaked out and hurriedly yanked at the safety rope tied around the poor policeman’s waist.
The copper somehow managed to get out of that sticky mess. He threw his helmet down and plopped on the ground, his entire frame drenched in cold sweat.
– The incident that began in Los Angeles not too long ago is deteriorating with every passing day as you can see, ladies and gentleman. The American government is still hard at work trying to find a solution as the crisis is entering yet another day.
The screen was immediately switched to a middle-aged white man with half a head of hair making a speech at a press conference.
– We at the federal government are doing everything we can to find a permanent solution to this crisis. As we speak, scientists are hard at work, trying to find a cure through the avenues of biological and medical research. We at the federal government may have designated this incident as a natural disaster, but we still haven’t forgotten that those infected with the virus are still our citizens. Therefore, we’re doing our utmost best to ensure that every single one of them can safely return to the loving embrace of their families before long.
Next up, it was the scene of the zombie horde shot from the air.
– As you can see, the federal government is insisting on going with the plan that supposedly will result in the lowest possible number of victims. But, realistically speaking, they haven’t been able to put forward any long-term solution. Even now, as the crisis persists on, the opinions of the American citizens are slowly changing from their initial desire to see the crisis resolved as peacefully as possible.
And then, it was now the turn of footage where a passerby walking on the street was asked with a question on camera. Seeing as these people’s faces had been mosaic-censored, what they said couldn’t have been pretty.
– It’ll be wonderful if all those people could be reverted back to how they were. But, if that’s not possible to do so, shouldn’t the government consider other alternatives? If they just try to stop the zombies without any plan, like what they are doing right now, they surely will get overrun sooner or later, and we’d just end up with even more victims, you know? It’s just hard to carry on when you’re this worried, you know??
– For sure, you should do your best to save the victims, right? I mean, those folks are our fellow countrymen, so like, the country can’t just give up on them like that. Am I wrong? If I end up a zombie like that, man, I’d be sh*t scared inside. That’s why we gotta save those people.
– Let’s be realistic here. Those people are basically as good as dead already. Does it make any sort of sense to risk the lives of the living just so you can save the dead?
– By the way, what are those ability users doing right now?! Don’t we pay them huge salaries with our taxes so they can fix situations like this? They strut around when things aren’t so bad, but when sh*t hits the fan, all they do is sit around twiddling their thumbs? How is that fair?
The interview segment came to an end and the screen now showed the interior of the TV studio.
– This is our foreign correspondent, reporter Park Sahng-Cheon. Mister Park, does this mean that there is basically no solution in place?
– Yes, the current situation is that, the American government hasn’t been able to come up with a tangible solution to this crisis yet. They haven’t even been able to identify the reason for this zombie outbreak, and that seems to be hampering their efforts to find a solution to this crisis.
– If that’s the case, shouldn’t they try to capture the zombies roaming around and keep them locked up somewhere? Or is that simply too much of a task?
– The Americans have indeed considered doing precisely that. Initially, there were some suggestions that, since these zombies could scale any wall quite easily, they should be confined to a dome-style sports stadium for the time being. However, that idea has been shelved after the research indicated that such roofs wouldn’t be able to withstand the combined impact force of the zombies. Others suggested that the zombies should be marooned off on a deserted island, or be kept inside of Alcatraz, but now that the number of zombies has swelled up to this degree, even those ideas have been deemed unrealistic now.
– Even if that’s the case, those methods should be able to decrease the overall numbers or be able to redirect their movements, won’t they?
– The American government is considering many different ideas at the moment, but quite unlike the past, they are only relying on passive measures as we speak. The members of the foreign press corps believe that the current impasse has come about solely because, regardless of which road the American government takes, none in the office right now will be able to survive the ensuing political fallout.
– I see. Our foreign correspondent, reporter Park Sahng-Cheon, everyone. Thank you for your hard work, Mister Park.
“I wonder, what will happen?” (mom)
Park Seon-Duk shifted her gaze away from the TV screen and looked at Ye-Won busy popping roasted peanuts into her mouth next to her.
“I dunno.” (Ye-Won)
However, Yi Ye-Won’s reaction was lukewarm at best. Her eyes might be watching the screen, but her mind seemed to be elsewhere.
“Aren’t you worried about what’s going on over there?” (mom)
“Why should I, mom? It’s happening on the other side of the ocean, you know?” (ye-Won)
Well, she wasn’t wrong there.
Back when those weird bugs appeared out of nowhere, everyone was worried that those things might affect the rest of the world. But then, the bugs suddenly lost all energy as they tried to cross the ocean and eventually became fish food. Those crossing the North American continent also started losing all their powers after a short while, which meant that they couldn’t increase the number of the infected anymore.
Even now, a handful of still-surviving bugs were found here and there, but none of them displayed the previous violent streaks anymore, and all died within a few days of being captured, as well.
“Even then, our country will be affected a lot if America is ruined like that….” (mom)
“But, why? Another country is going down the crapper, so why would my country get affected by that?” (Ye-Won)
Just who should Park Seon-Duk blame here? Because, it was her fault for not educating her own daughter properly, wasn’t it?
At this point, saying something like, “You’re my daughter, yet I have to ask how stupid can you be”, would only amount to her spitting in her own face.
“Your older brother is keeping himself busy with this matter, but as his little sister, you….!” (mom)
Park Seon-Duk couldn’t use that line of attack, so she changed her strategy.
“Mom, it’s not like he knows what he’s doing. I’m pretty sure he’s stumbling around like a blind fool only because Mister Choi Jung-Hoon told him to do it.” (Ye-Won)
Park Seon-Duk suddenly felt saddened by the fact that what her daughter said made some sense to her.
Indeed, she failed spectacularly at raising her kids right. Her one and only son had turned into a no-answer fool, and her one and only daughter turned into a no-brain fool.
“But, a third one…..” (mom)
“It’s nothing.” (mom)
Maybe, it’s not too late?
Should I try with one more child and make sure to raise that one properly? (mom’s inner monologue)
“Dear, I think I’m a bit…..” (dad)
Park Seon-Duk heard a voice coming from her back and turned her head around. She spotted her husband, Yi Cheol-Joong standing there with an awkward face.
“What is it, dear?” (mom)
“….Wouldn’t a third one asking for a bit too much?” (dad)
The man lowering his head – even today, father of the family had to powerlessly avoid Park Seon-Duk’s knife-like glare in that manner. But thanks to his efforts, the potential man-made calamity of the third child of the Yi Family didn’t come to materialise.
Of course, the real problem was with the calamity of their first child….
“What did you say you want from us?!” (Seo Ah-Young)
Seo Ah-Young stared at Yi Ji-Hyuk with a dumbfounded expression on her face.
What on earth was this crazy man telling them now?
She had experienced the madness of this man countless times until she was feeling genuinely fed up with him. But this guy’s talent for coming up with newer and more colourful ways of madness was really driving her up the wall now.
“So, like…..” (Seo Ah-Young)
So, like, he wants us to disperse those zombies into smaller groups, purify them and get them out of there? And repeat that over and over again?!
While making sure that not even a hair on those zombies are harmed, to boot??? (Seo Ah-Young’s inner monologue)
“Excuse me, Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk….?” (Seo Ah-Young)
At least for today, Seo Ah-Young decided to let it all out. She figured that, she’d die of an ulcer first if she kept on minding that man’s whims and bottled up everything inside of her.
“You can’t be saying that your plan is feasible, right? No, wait. I’m sure it is feasible. You may mutter out a lot of crazy rubbish all the time, but you have also never told us to do something that was impossible, too.” (Seo Ah-Young)
Why did Yi Ji-Hyuk feel this weird sensation, the one where it was like, he was being praised but at the same time she was being snarky with him, too?
He tilted his head at this weird feeling.
“Okay, so what about it?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Isn’t this matter a bit too ambiguous for us to butt our heads in? The only reason why I hadn’t said anything when our government requested us to go and help out was only because I believed that our agents wouldn’t be in a dangerous situation. However, if we press ahead with your plan, our agents will definitely suffer damages and losses. What will you do when that happens? The American citizens? Yes, they are important. All human beings are important, I know that. However, I’m a Korean who draws her salary from the Korean government. I can’t accept this plan of yours.” (Seo Ah-Young)
Yi Ji-Hyuk nodded his head.
Well, she isn’t wrong there.
But, there is something a bit off in her speech…. (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
“Excuse me.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“So, what did you mean when you said damages and losses?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“We’ll be contending against those zombies, yes? So obviously, there will be some sort of injuries rising from that, right? What would you do if some of our people get infected?” (Seo Ah-Young)
“Ahhh. Infection, is it?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk maintained his I sort of get it, but I also don’t eyes and stared at her, before pointing at a certain person with his chin.
“Will she be fine, then?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Roabell was standing there with a prim expression on her face.
“Oh…..” (Seo Ah-Young)
Wait, now that I think about it, we now have someone who can purify anyone getting bitten by zombies.
I completely forgot about that! (Seo Ah-Young)
Seo Ah-Young forgot what she wanted to say and started hesitating. Choi Jung-Hoon quickly stepped forward as her relief hitter.
“If you think about this, the risk factor for this mission has greatly been reduced. Yes, I know that this assignment is a difficult one. But, by making the Americans owe us, we will be profiting big time in the end. Trust me on this.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Really?” (Seo Ah-Young)
“Don’t you agree?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Seo Ah-Young tilted her head.
“I have to say this, because I’ve been hearing ‘that’ for a few times now….” (Seo Ah-Young)
“Excuse me?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“You also said the same thing last time, about making Americans owe us and all that. You also said that we’ll be scoring big time later down the line, too.” (Seo Ah-Young)
“Of course. That’s the truth.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Okay, so…. When will they pay us the debt, then?” (Seo Ah-Young)
“….Ah?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Seo Ah-Young asked back, evidently not very impressed.
“You keep saying that we’ll get something out of this deal, but if you get really technical about it, isn’t the situation heading in the direction of us having to do more and more for them? Gates will keep appearing and tougher problems will keep happening in the future, so if you keep saying that ‘we’ll get something back’ again and again, wouldn’t we be stuck in a cycle of not getting anything back but continuously slaving over for them?” (Seo Ah-Young)
“………..Ah???” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Choi Jung-Hoon’s dazed face was directed to Seo Ah-Young now.
Now that he heard her…. No, objectively speaking, wasn’t what Seo Ah-Young said completely on point?
“S-so, that, that is…. Well, I, uh…..” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Even Choi Jung-Hoon and his slick tongue couldn’t immediately come up with a rebuttal.
Thanks to the carefully-cultivated image of the United States being the global superpower, he couldn’t throw away the idea that Korea would progressively need more and more of their help in the coming days, even though the Americans were going through the crapper right now.
However, when the current situation was analysed objectively, even he could tell that it’d be the Koreans helping the Americans out more and more, not the other way around.
Sure, Korea could demand stuff like economic aid, but realistically speaking, Yi Ji-Hyuk doing his thing in other overseas territories would potentially net more than what the Americans might offer, so, like…… Huh…
“Hmmmmmm???” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
It was precisely at that moment, the whispers of a devil entered Choi Jung-Hoon’s ears from his back.
“Sooo, we’ve got nothing to gain?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Hah, hahaha….” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Sooo, we’ve been whipped around like dogs and ran around all over the place, but there’s nothing for us at the end of the day? We slaved over for nothing? We only made the other party happy? I hope you ain’t saying something like that.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“T-there’s no way that’s true…..” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Of course that won’t do.
Yup, indeed. That can’t be.
Who knows what calamity would befall us if that happens, so I’d never sit on my butt doing nothing like that! (Choi Jung-Hoon’s inner monologue)
“Surely, such a thing would neeeever happen, right?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Yes, something like that will not happen!” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
If I want to live, I need to produce results! (Choi Jung-Hoon’s desperate inner cry)
Choi Jung-Hoon made up his mind right away.
“It’s Mister Choi Jung-Hoon’s job to get the results. In any case, I can’t help but think that we’re simply following what the Americans are asking of us. At first, I kinda liked the way they were prostrating before us, but when you think about it, all those people have to do is bow their heads for a couple of seconds and get away with all the benefits, no?” (Seo Ah-Young)
For the first time ever, Choi Jung-Hoon’s lack of ability had been painfully pointed out, causing his facial features to harden like a piece of rock.
“…..I guess you can look at it that way. I admit to it.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
However, Choi Jung-Hoon was quick to come up with a rather cool response.
“That is why I shall demonstrate to you.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Seo Ah-Young heard the sound of Choi Jung-Hoon gritting his teeth and quickly corrected her initial impression of his response being cool.
‘This is going to get really bad.’ (Seo Ah-Young)
It was sometimes a pretty scary thing to see a man and his wounded ego. Especially when that man happened to be none other than Choi Jung-Hoon!!
< 182. Please, just go back to where you came from! -2 > Fin.