“Currently, North Korea has set up a defensive perimeter around Pyongyang. Although the marching speed of the monsters isn’t that fast, they are heading straight towards the capital city, so it’s not difficult to predict the potential route they might take.” (Defense Minister)
The beam projector was switched on and the satellite photo of the monsters was displayed.
“The monster horde has moved past Pyongsan and heading towards Hoengju. They should arrive in Gangnam soon.” (Defense Minister)
“Ng? Gangnam?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk tilted his head.
“What are you talking about? Why would those creatures in North Korea come to Gangnam? To shop?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“….It’s a name of a place in North Korea. It means the south of Taedong River.” (Defense Minister)
“Wow, they just slapped any name that worked, didn’t they? Wait, does that mean our Gangnam is named so because it’s south of the Han River?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“That’s correct.” (Defense Minister)
“R-really?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk sneakily shifted his head away, looking somewhat embarrassed. The Defense Minister stared at him with criticising eyes before continuing on with the briefing.
“In any case, North Korea has….” (Defense Minister)
The Minister then drew a straight line somewhere south of Pyongyang.
“….Created the defensive line like so. They have summoned every available combat personnel, and long range artillery are set in place as well.” (Defense Minister)
“H-mm…..” (Bae Jeong-Guk)
The director of KSF, Bae Jeong-Guk, tilted his head.
“Does that mean they are gathering even the regular soldiers?” (Bae Jeong-Guk)
“Yes.” (Defense Minister)
“I’ve seen the video footage from the DMZ, and it doesn’t seem like regular soldiers would be any help whatsoever in this situation?” (Bae Jeong-Guk)
“I don’t think they have any leeway to mind that at the moment. If Seoul was in the same predicament, we would’ve also called for all the military personnel to show up, too.” (Defense Minister)
“I guess so.” (Bae Jeong-Guk)
Bae Jeong-Guk nodded his head.
Even if you knew it was useless, the current situation demanded that you grasp any straws you could find. Whether they’d serve any purpose or not, now that’s something you’d learn at a later stage.
They might be able to do something by raining down artillery like there’s no tomorrow. Even if their firepower proved to inadequate, concentrated shelling could potentially stop the monsters’ advance temporarily.
‘Even if that’s nothing but baseless hoping.’
Unfortunately, such a measure would only be at the level of ‘maybe it might work’. It had already been established that bombing had no effect – all modern weaponry didn’t work as a matter of fact, so how much more effective would ancient weapons made decades upon decades ago, be?
“Other than them, People’s Ability User Brigade as well as other ability user units are gathering in Pyongyang as we speak. Monsters are predicted to reach the target in 24 hours’ time from now.” (Defense Minister)
“You mean, at the defensive line?” (Yun Yeong-Min)
“Yes.” (Defense Minister)
Yun Yeong-Min stared at the map with a serious expression.
“If the monsters aren’t stopped by the line, what will happen?” (Yun Yeong-Min)
The Minister in charge of the Ministry of Unification, Choi Seon-Hyeong, cautiously opened his mouth.
“It’ll be the worst, sir.” (Choi Seon-Hyeong)
“…Please be more specific.” (Yun Yeong-Min)
“Eh, well. First of all….” (Choi Seon-Hyeong)
Choi Seon-Hyeong coughed to clear his throat and continued on.
“North Korea has abnormally high concentration of population in Pyongyang. So much so that you can safely declare all of the North’s core ruling class are living in the capital and you wouldn’t be wrong. The moment such a city is levelled flat to the ground, well, I’m sure you can all imagine what will happen next.” (Choi Seon-Hyeong)
“M-mm….” (Yun Yeong-Min)
“Since Pyongyang doesn’t contribute greatly towards manufacturing sector of the North, we can assume that that part of their economy won’t be affected that much. However, the moment the capital falls, the whole North Korean system will crumble to the ground. It’ll lose its ability to function as a nation.” (Choi Seon-Hyeong)
“But, you can’t say it’s a functioning nation even now, right?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk’s opinion prompted Choi Seon-Hyeong to faintly nod his head.
“Although that’s true, they still exercise the minimum level of governance. For instance, in order to produce electricity, you must bring in coal, and then burn them in a power station. However, with Pyongyang destroyed and their system collapsed, it’ll be the same as people capable of deciding where the coal will be used all disappearing.” (Choi Seon-Hyeong)
“….What are you talking about?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“That’s how North Korea is like. Without someone giving them orders, no one up there will make a move. You mustn’t think of how South Korea operates.” (Choi Seon-Hyeong)
Yi Ji-Hyuk nodded his head. He didn’t really get it, and he had a feeling that listening to more explanation wouldn’t improve his situation. Well, he wasn’t all that interested in learning, anyway.
“In conclusion, if Pyongyang is destroyed, then North Korea will collapse. And if North Korea collapses….” (Choi Seon-Hyeong)
Choi Seon-Hyeong pointed at the map.
“There is a good chance that Russia and China will advance south. Although we’re technically still in armistice, both North Korea and we are already independent nations. We can no longer demand the right to rule the territory of a failed state, in other words.” (Choi Seon-Hyeong)
Yi Ji-Hyuk raised his hand.
“Yes?” (Choi Seon-Hyeong)
“By the way…. I’ve been told that us swallowing up North’s territory will pose lots of problems, yet won’t it be the same for them? We apparently don’t want to, so why do they want to swallow up the territory? Doesn’t make sense, right?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“It’s because the cost and work involved for them will be different from us, that’s why.” (Choi Seon-Hyeong)
“What are you talking about this time?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“China has already halfway allowed autonomy of countless minorities within its territory. Their basic stance is, they don’t have anything to support you with, so ‘you live on your own’. It’s a similar story for Russia, as well.” (Choi Seon-Hyeong)
Choi Jeong-Hoon nodded his head as if to agree with that.
“However, that isn’t the case with our country. As we’re of mono-ethnicity, the moment we accept the North’s refugees, we must treat them and support them as citizens of our nation.
“First of all, meeting their need for medical insurance and national pension alone would be an extraordinary undertaking. And when the problems of finding work for nearly twenty million refugees as well as providing the minimum living expenses overlap on top of that, our country will find itself in danger of crumbling down, as well.
“In order to prevent that, we’ll have to divide the citizens and rely on a tiered support system, but even that will prove to be difficult to sustain. After such things happen and several North Koreans either start dying of starvation, or fail to adapt to the new environment and circle around the edge of society in desperation, the resulting societal upheaval will truly be horrendous.” (Choi Seon-Hyeong)
Yi Ji-Hyuk nodded his head.
“I don’t get what you’re saying, but I guess it’ll be a huge problem, then.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Yes, that’s exactly it.” (Choi Seon-Hyeong)
Choi Seon-Hyeong must’ve not placed much faith in Yi Ji-Hyuk, because he cleanly ended his explanation there.
“And so…..” (Yun Yeong-Min)
Yun Yeong-Min spoke with some conviction.
“We must prevent the destruction of Pyongyang at all cost. Currently, the Gate War has reached an unpredictable stage. It’s already difficult trying to defend our original territory, so we simply don’t have the necessary wherewithal to deal with countless refugees and the new territory twice the original size.” (Yun Yeong-Min)
“So, isn’t that basically saying, you don’t want to unify the two countries, then?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“….Now isn’t the ideal time. Not yet. There is a right time for everything.” (Yun Yeong-Min)
Yi Ji-Hyuk whistled loudly.
“Well, fine. It’s all good and stuff, and so…. How are you planning to stop the monsters? You want to open up the Panmunjeom and send in the military?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yun Yeong-Min didn’t say anything and stared at Yi Ji-Hyuk.
“Ng?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“….That’s a problem the NDF needs to resolve, not me.” (Yun Yeong-Min)
“Ah!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk agreed enthusiastically.
“You’re so right! Okay, what then?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
All gazes focused on Choi Jeong-Hoon next.
“It is true that I’m in charge of the NDF, more or less, but we have the Director-nim of the KSF here so why I must….?” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
“Nononono, I mean, what do I know? The person with actual authority should do it, right? I shall simply follow what you decide, Mister Choi Jeong-Hoon.” (Bae Jeong-Guk)
“B-but, sir!” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
“Well, that’s the reality of this situation. I’m already up to my neck dealing with the KSF. That’s why you’ve been given the authority to make the important decisions. So, do what you think is the best, okay?” (Bae Jeong-Guk)
Bae Jeong-Guk quickly made his exit from the matters just then, and the gazes of everyone landed on Choi Jeong-Hoon once more.
“Ehh…. Mm….” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
Choi Jeong-Hoon scratched his head helplessly.
That guy would always bug him for this and that with the pretext of being his superior officer, but the dear Director of the KSF loved to take a backseat when it was time to handle serious matters like this.
However, that disposition of his was why he ended up climbing up to such a position in the first place.
“Let’s not forget, you’re a lot more famous than me outside of these walls, so this is for the best, no?” (Bae Jeong-Guk)
….And even added sarcasm as a bonus, too.
Choi Jeong-Hoon worked hard to calm his boiling mind and spoke up.
“It’s all because you’ve been supporting us from behind, sir.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
“Nononono. I haven’t done anything much, really.” (Bae Jeong-Guk)
Choi Jeong-Hoon spat out a groan under his breath. Being sarcastic was one of the most basic human rights, indeed, but did it have to be this very moment?
There were too many eyes watching, so he couldn’t even retort back. This was just getting rather uncomfortable.
Yi Ji-Hyuk studied this proceedings for a little while before suddenly asking a question.
“By the way, who are you, ahjussi?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“….Pardon me?” (Bae Jeong-Guk)
“I said, who are you?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
The flustered Bae Jeong-Guk sneaked a glance at him before speaking in a quiet voice.
“I’m the KSF’s director, Bae Jeong-Guk.”
“The KSF?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Yes.” (Bae Jeong-Guk)
“How come I’ve never seen you before today, ahjussi?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
In that very moment, Yun Yeong-Min’s brows twitched.
Never seen him before? But, he’s the director of the KSF?? (Yun Yeong-Min’s inner monologue)
The President’s knife-like glare stabbed into Bae Jeong-Guk, causing the latter to shift his head away in embarrassment.
“W-well, you’re a very busy person, that’s why.” (Bae Jeong-Guk)
“I am??” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Y-yes, of course. You’re always preoccupied.” (Bae Jeong-Guk)
“Even though I’m the only one with nothing to do back in the office?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“….I-is that so?” (Bae Jeong-Guk)
“If you were at least a little bit interested, you’d have known that, so why do you sound as if you had no idea?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Bae Jeong-Guk became utterly speechless.
Who didn’t know that out of everyone working in the NDF, no, the KSF, Yi Ji-Hyuk was the ‘freest’?
The director simply didn’t bother to meet him, because he didn’t want to get involved. Besides, it was a matter for Choi Jeong-Hoon and Seo Ah-Young to handle anyway – not to mention, it wasn’t as if a non-ability user had any business with an ability user, to begin with.
However, the current atmosphere was becoming rather weird with every passing second.
“Ahahaha, well, it’s because Mister Choi Jeong-Hoon is doing such a wonderful job, you see.” (Bae Jeong-Guk)
“Yeah, that’s true. Still, a man I’ve never seen before sitting around here as the ‘top representative’ of an organisation just feels off to me.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Flames burned brightly within Yun Yeong-Min’s eyes.
He appointed that man to do a job, so there should be a limit to one trying to weasel out of his duties. Bae Jeong-Guk was none other than the director of the KSF, yet he never even met Yi Ji-Hyuk once?
Seriously, was there a job more important in the whole of KSF than managing Yi Ji-Hyuk’s matters?
“Mister Director.” (Yun Yeong-Min)
“Y-yes, sir! Mister President!” (Bae Jeong-Guk)
“Why don’t we have a chat separately later?” (Yun Yeong-Min)
“….O-of course.” (Bae Jeong-Guk)
Bae Jeong-Guk’s head dropped low, and in the meantime, Yi Ji-Hyuk snorted loudly.
“Besides all that. I guess you’re also really free like me? Pretending to be all busy and stuff, yet still have enough time to rake your subordinate over coal in front of your President, even? Maybe, you can go and take a nap until the end of the meeting and it’ll still be alright?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“I’m sorry.” (Yun Yeong-Min)
Yun Yeong-Min ended up involuntarily apologising.
He gritted his teeth and glared murderously at Bae Jeong-Guk. The latter trembled while keeping his head low. No radical reformist in their advanced years had escaped from being called a madman. Bae Jeong-Guk knew very well what Yun Yeong-Min’s personality was, so he couldn’t help but tremble.
“You son of a….” (Yun Yeong-Min)
“Ehhei!! Mister President, you must collect yourself, sir! There are people present.” (Park Du-Jin)
Park Du-Jin’s timely dissuasion worked like a charm and Yun Yeong-Min turned his body away to pant like an angry bull for a while. He then smiled and stared at Yi Ji-Hyuk.
“I’d like to apologise for showing you something quite embarrassing.” (Yun Yeong-Min)
“Eii, that’s not true. By that logic, it should be us apologising for presenting you with an incompetent director. I mean, I’ve never seen him before, never even talked to him before, and I’ve no clue what he does actually, but still, he’s supposed to be our director, after all.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“….You sure do have a gracious heart.” (Yun Yeong-Min)
And very nice manners, too.
Yun Yeong-Min gritted his teeth again.
“Still, there’s something I really don’t get….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Yes?” (Yun Yeong-Min)
“I’ve said this before, but here’s the thing. Mister Choi Jeong-Hoon does a crap ton of work, you know?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“He does?” (Yun Yeong-Min)
“He can’t go home, sleeps for only three hours a day and needs to continue working afterwards. I’ve been asking for additional people for a couple of times by now, yet that didn’t seem to work, so…. was it the Foreign Affairs Minister? I requested that geezer and got a few new people, then I asked him to block the phone calls coming through to us, but that also didn’t work, which eventually led me to showing up in the Blue House.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“I-is… that so?” (Yun Yeong-Min)
“So, like, I can’t figure out what you did exactly to support us and stuff until now. Considering the job we do, I don’t think it’s too much of an ask for additional personnel, you know? Didn’t you give them enough money, President ahjussi?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
There was no freaking way.
The KSF and the Defense Ministry took up the lion’s share of the annual budget. If the budget allocated was so tight that hiring a couple more people was proving to be difficult, then well, the KSF would have closed its doors by now.
So, the President did his absolute best to support them financially, so what on earth was this??
“Please hold.” (Yun Yeong-Min)
Yun Yeong-Min’s brows shot up as if he remembered something.
< 302. So, you want me to go there now? -2 > Fin.