There were humans.
Choi Jeong-Hoon couldn’t help but be stunned by the seemingly-endless sea of humans filling up his view.
He heard that five million people had gathered. Although that number didn’t feel like much, in reality it was a massive total. This number of people could easily fill up the city called Pyongyang and then some.
“Just what is the meaning of….” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
Indeed, he knew that five million people had congregated in Pyongyang. Although, he didn’t know whether the purpose was to use them as meat shields or for the sake of a bloody massacre Rhee Jin-Cheol had mentioned earlier.
However, despite that, Choi Jeong-Hoon was sure of this one thing.
“What the hell is going on here?!” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
The sea of humans before his eyes were definitely not normal. They just stood around unmoving and dazed, their eyes lacking any hint of life or focus.
It was like looking at a bunch of soulless zombies.
If there was one thing differentiating them from the movie zombies, then it’d be their lack of aggressiveness towards the incoming intruders.
Choi Jeong-Hoon gnashed his teeth.
Five million lives.
No less than five million people had ended up in this state.
At this utterly unbelievable situation, even the one and only Choi Jeong-Hoon became speechless. How was he to interpret this situation?
“They don’t seem to have any intelligence at all.”
His tightly clenched fists trembled.
It wasn’t because he thought of the North’s citizens as his compatriots or people belonging to the same ethnicity. Choi Jeong-Hoon would still be enraged if the same thing happened to the people of another country, not just North Korea.
This action was one that completely disregarded even the most basic etiquette towards human life.
“Which insane son of a b*tch would do something like this?!” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
Choi Jeong-Hoon roared out, and that prompted one of the medics examining the dazed crowd in the front to look behind and say something.
“Doesn’t seem to be the result of narcotics.” (medic)
“What then?” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
“I’m also not sure how they caused all these people to reach this state….” (medic)
A commotion was raised just then. However, that noise oddly felt so distant to Choi Jeong-Hoon.
‘Just what do they think humans are?’ (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
The representatives of all the participating nations had gathered in one place, yet none of them could figure out what to do next in this illogical situation. In a way, this was a clear proof of their incompetence, but well, it’d also be rather strange to make a snap decision after witnessing five million people standing around dazedly like a bunch of vegetables.
The whole scene was captured and transmitted in real time via bodycams, but even Christopher McLaren didn’t have an answer right now.
– “What the hell is the meaning of this? Da*mit!” (Christopher McLaren)
He had already seen the photographs taken by the spy satellites as well as reconnaissance planes. But he only thought in passing that the crowd seemed somewhat lifeless for some reason. Never did he imagine he’d witness such a scene.
Christopher McLaren just couldn’t decide what to do and hesitated for a moment there.
It was then, Choi Jeong-Hoon finally made his move.
“We’re taking a detour.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
– “Mister Choi?” (Christopher McLaren)
“If they are not going to react to us, we don’t have a reason to respond to them, as well. We’ll let them be and keep going.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
– “….That sounds reasonable.” (Christopher McLaren)
Choi Jeong-Hoon was quickly regaining his cool.
No one knew how these people ended up like this, but the North’s ruling elite must’ve had a hand in this. If these people were to be turned back to normal, they needed to attack the higher-ups as soon as possible rather than wasting time like this.
“They are just standing around because of their lack of consciousness. But I think they should be in a near-exhausted state by now.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
The medic nodded his head.
“Some of the people have begun showing signs of necrosis in their leg muscles. If left unattended for another day, the number of victims will shoot up exponentially.” (medic)
“You heard him.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
The representatives of other nations nodded their heads at Choi Jeong-Hoon’s words. Although, the Russian representative was tilting his head in confusion, so with the exception of him.
“We take the detour, then. Not because of any humanitarian reasons, but for efficiency. Trying to advance while pushing aside these many people will waste way too much time. You all understand, yes?” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
Once the next course of action was set, the plan was decided on in an instant. The new detour route was immediately mapped out, and not too long after that, the American special forces located up front began to orderly move out.
“Have the American ability users arrive yet?” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
“They’ve successfully landed on the landing point B1. They’ll join us soon. Things have been delayed a little after the rendezvous point has changed.”
“Understood.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
Choi Jeong-Hoon’s expression remained stiff as he urged them on.
They didn’t have enough leeway to stand around and drag things on. He understood that others were currently flustered by this development, but right now, they had to focus on their mission above all else.
“Let’s go.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
While heading towards the new route, Choi Jeong-Hoon looked behind him. He ended up biting his lip in anguish after seeing all those countless people silently standing around within the veil of choking darkness.
‘Just what the hell is going on in this place??’ (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
He originally thought that the assertion of both Rhee Jin-Cheol and Park Yong-Hui didn’t sound realistic, but after witnessing this scene, maybe there was some veracity to what they had said. If these b*stards were willing to do something like this, then it wasn’t so strange to think that they wanted the demon world to descend on modern Earth.
‘But, what’s their end game?’ (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
It was just that Choi Jeong-Hoon couldn’t figure out what they were aiming for. What did they stand to gain by bringing the advent of the demon world to Earth?
“I don’t get it.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
For the time being, he couldn’t figure it out. However, he should learn the truth soon enough.
The elite units centred around Choi Jeong-Hoon took a long detour around Pyongyang and advanced forward. Their speed wasn’t that great since they had no idea what lay before their path, but without a doubt, they were still making good progress towards the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun.
‘Strange.’ (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
It was here that Choi Jeong-Hoon was overcome with an ominous foreboding.
‘There’s just too little resistance.’ (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
He already heard the report that there were no patrolling enemy units. However, it was still undeniably problematic that not even a single unit observing the dazed crowd could be seen.
He frowned deeply.
‘What is happening here, seriously??’ (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
Pyongyang felt like a city of the dead right about now. Not a single trace of any living soul could be felt. A city from a movie where its population was wiped out by a pandemic should feel pretty much like this one.
The only difference between it and this place was that the people who should be dead were still somehow alive and without any consciousness whatsoever, filled up the plaza.
And in a few days, none of them would be left alive anymore.
Everyone did their best to speed up the preparation, but Choi Jeong-Hoon still felt the lingering regret after thinking that the operation launch date came about far too late.
“I can see it, over there.”
Choi Jeong-Hoon nodded his head.
The Kumsusan Palace of the Sun.
Something was happening underground of that building. According to what Yi Ji-Hyuk said, there didn’t seem to be a plethora of guards or defensive measures put in that place.
‘Those wouldn’t have mattered, anyway.’ (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
Even after excluding the armed forces diligently making their way towards Pyongyang right now, just this group of people alone was more than enough to utterly obliterate your average global powerhouse nation in an instant.
No matter how the North Koreans intricately planned their defences, they still wouldn’t be able to stop such a combat force.
‘But why do I feel so worried?’ (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
The statues of the father-and-son pair of Kim Il-Sung and Kim Jong-Il located right in front of the Kumsusan were the only things still brightly lit up. That spectacle came across as indescribably creepy.
A short order came from the Americans taking command, and a hand was raised from there.
“The front entrance is too narrow. It’s not possible for everyone to enter at the same time. We’ll be the first to enter, of course, but we need to decide who will come in right after us.”
A poignant silence descended on the group.
Honour of their respective nations, the desire to survive, and suspicion of the reasonable-ness of the situation. Elites of each nation unpacked and assessed everything in the brief window of time and began voicing their individual opinions.
“How about we pick a few people again and reposition them to the rear?”
“That’ll compromise the command structure.”
“Then, how about sending in the group with the highest number?”
“If an unexpected situation develops, it’ll become trickier to respond with higher numbers.”
It seemed that a consensus couldn’t be reached after so many countries had gathered in one spot.
‘D*mmit.’ (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
Choi Jeong-Hoon sighed in frustration.
According to their original plan, battles should have been fought by now. The discussion involving the entering of the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun would’ve been all about the post-victory rewards waiting back home or securing the final targets.
However, things ended up this way after not a single battle occurred in Pyongyang’s streets.
“How about the NDF taking the lead? As far as the strength of a single group is concerned, no one can best the NDF, am I correct?”
The Americans probed Choi Jeong-Hoon for his thoughts.
“Mm….” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
His expression crumpled slightly.
The American side did say something rather logical just then. And as they had agreed to take the lead, their potential sacrifices would be a lot higher than the ones following right behind them.
‘Even then, I don’t like it.’ (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
What Gwok Min-Ho said before the operation perfectly surmised his opinion on this. If sacrifices had to be made, then they would deal with that when the time comes, but he certainly didn’t want to stand out in front and act as meat shields for the other nations.
Even if that was a rather selfish way of looking at things.
“We….” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
“We’ll take the lead.”
It was then, some folks cut Choi Jeong-Hoon’s words abruptly to step forward. His expression brightened as he glanced to his rear.
‘Oh!!’ (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
The Japanese side was now stepping up to the plate.
Then again, these folks were in a position of needing to achieve something somehow during this operation. Well, you wouldn’t get much justification or pretext by simply tagging along as the so-called ‘peacekeepers’, after all.
“For sure, your group’s number is small. Also, the Japanese personnel are all from the JSDF, so one could say that this job is well suited for them. In all honesty, our organisation is not all that different from a civilian entity, so a military operation like this presents us with somewhat of a problem.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
Choi Jeong-Hoon naturally took a step back.
“In that case, we’ll support your group from the rear.”
Now that the Japanese had stepped up, the Chinese side was quick to follow up, as well. After they returned home, quite a few heads might roll if they said they simply watched on as the Japanese stepped up to take all the glory.
And as for Russia’s representative….
“Someone bring us a Russian translator. Please.”
“Sir, yes sir.”
Things went on and on for a bit, and eventually, the NDF was tasked to manning the rear of the group. Choi Jeong-Hoon had to try his hardest to suppress his rising laughter as he got back to his group.
“We’re stone last??” (Seo Ah-Young)
Seo Ah-Young sounded deeply dissatisfied, but other agents were over the moon at the moment.
“Keuh, as expected of our vice director!”
“Choi Jeong-Hoon, my man!!”
Choi Jeong-Hoon replied with a hardened expression.
“Everyone, it’s fine to label me as a coward. Because, it’s all true. Kekekeke.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
“You live a lot longer by being a coward, you know!”
Regrettably, the NDF didn’t have a single noble soul willing to risk their life all for the honour of their country. This moment was exactly when you’d feel the anguish in Song Jeong-Su’s heart – the one where he had to send in a bunch of people like these as the representative of their country.
“If you die here today, you won’t even get a proper pension or insurance payout. Meaning, you must survive like a cockroach until the end, and live out the rest of your natural lives. You all understand what I’m talking about, yes?” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
“Now, please be quiet. We’re about to enter the palace. As a pretext, I said we’d be guarding the rear since everyone would be massacred if the enemy hits us from behind, so please do not let your guard down. I wasn’t kidding on that one, as it can really happen.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
Choi Jeong-Hoon saying all that stared at the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun with a pair of slightly anxious eyes.
‘What will happen if everyone rushes in there and the building explodes?’ (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
He felt this chilling, creeping feeling, and began dashing towards the front.
< 380. Ah, so I was that kkondae -5 > Fin.