Chapter 10

While exhaling cigarette smoke, he brought the cell phone up, which was blinking red due to the low battery level, and re-read the ‘unbelievable’ cell phone message. His gaze then fell on the dark wall in front of him.

Biyeon, with her arms holding her knees, looked outside helplessly. She wanted to focus on something, anything, but her mind was chaotic from the unexpected situation and message.

“Why the hell am I here?” she muttered in a weak voice. In the silence, the web of time and place was becoming further entangled in both of their minds.

“This place is called ‘Pian’,” muttered San. He started chewing on the burnt-out cigarette butt. He placed his gaze outside while falling deep in thought inside his mind.

Tu-

He threw the cigarette butt outside. The cigarette quickly disintegrated under the heavy rain. In the darkness, San’s eyes gleamed like that of a predator.

“Specialist Kim…” 

“…” Although his voice was low, she raised her head and acknowledged San. She saw a man with a determined expression with tears starting to fill his eyes.

“I don't know what these sons of bitches have planned for us, but let's go as far as we can. Let's find a way. It feels dirty to be treated like a bug. This whole situation is shitty…”

“…” She answered his words with a silent nod. Thoughts that she couldn’t make sense of were screaming within her mind, tormenting her internally.

The available data was scarce, but her mind kept pushing here to come up with an answer.

‘However, what’s with this cell phone that has no battery?’

The two, who had been blind-sided and absentminded for an hour, were now looking at each other. They were both mad with anger. However, there was no target to vent their anger and frustrations. They could only pathetically punch the air. This feeling of helplessness made them even more tired.

However, a soldier's instinct slowly awakened within the two. They had to find a sense of reality in any situation. Their eyes slowly regained focus and became calculatingly cold, and their expressions reflected a sense of calm.

They had to recognize the reality at hand. Whether they wanted it or not, for whatever reason, the ‘mission’ was now laid out. It became clear to both of them that the mission wouldn’t be resolved through worrying. This was the time to be more calculative and logical. They had to be as emotionless and clear headed in their logic as a swinging blade. This is what the situation demanded.

Biyeon clenched her fist. She then opened her phone's message folder. In the dark, the LCD backlight’s light spread out, revealing the silhouette of her face. She gulped aloud before pressing the message titled ‘Mission’.

San also opened his phone and reviewed the message he received. An animal named ‘Algon’ appeared on his screen. The message also had a video attachment. The ‘Algon’ was reminiscent of a dinosaur, the velociraptor, from a bygone era. The animal seemed like something that would come out of a Jurassic Park movie. ‘Are we in the era of the dinosaurs?’ Information necessary for hunting the species appeared next to the picture.

- Species Name: Algon

- Height: 4 meters 

- Length: 2 meters 

- Weight: 1 ton 

- Forefoot Length: 1.5 meters 

- Vertical Jump Capacity: 3 meters

-Horizontal jump capacity: 7 meters

“How nice of them to write such important information in our King Sejong’s [1] language. Sons of bitches…” muttered San. His words were filled with bloodlust.

“Catch two monsters like this, right? Risk your life without giving any reason… or I can die for all anyone cares…” San’s words flowed out like a deranged person’s monologue.

“Kekeke… This isn’t some online game… Are you kidding me? Fuck. I’m going to go crazy.”

San closed his cell phone. He had scrunched and twisted his hair so much that his image now perfectly fit the image of a deranged person.

Biyeon fiddled with her cell phone with a somber look.

‘Who’s sending this? The sender’s name is Nil and Null? Does it mean these messages were sent from emptiness and nothingness? But how is messaging possible? Is there a mobile phone base station nearby? Does it make sense that it works even when there’s no power supply? How are we able to receive messages? Is it the same principle as Active RFID? And what the hell are these things? These disgusting beasts… Someone wants us to catch and skin them by tomorrow?’

Biyeon unconsciously touched the call button again with trembling and clenched hands. She shuddered while thinking about the impossibility of it all. The hellish memory of just a moment ago came back into her mind. They were 'tortured'. When she previously pressed the call button…

‘K-Ke-Kik-Kik-Kik-Ki-Ki-Ki-‘

The sound rang in her head, not from her cell phone. It was a sound from hell. It was the sound of fingernails scraping a chalkboard times a hundred. Within the sound, a dense, cold yelling sound was mixed in. The sound reverberated through her mind.

Even ten seconds would be too much to bear for any normal person. The two rolled in the pit like crazed dogs. Though it rang for just one minute, saliva flowed from their mouths and became foamy. After exactly one minute, the sound ceased. How many times did they scratch the floor? Once they regained consciousness, their fingernails were broken, and blood was flowing out freely. Afterwards, they spent the past two hours in a silent, vegetative state.

“But, we… have to survive,” stated Biyeon while turning her bright eyes towards San. They were gradually regaining their coolness.

“Damn right! We can’t just roll over now, can we? Even if I die, I still need to know what sick bastard put us in this situation. If I’m a soldier and a man, I can't just roll over and die. It’s too unfair… It’s embarrassing… Shit! I'm pissed just thinking about it," San replied while touching his bandaged finger.

“Anyway, it's the real thing now. We’ll see what it's like tomorrow. Let’s prepare for the battle that he, she, or they want. I don’t know what kind of beast it is, but I’ll fight. Soldiers are meant to fight, right? We’ll either become the hunter or the prey. If that’s the case, we’ll prepare for the opponent. Let's get the equipment first and plan an operation.”

“Okay.”

The two stood up and packed their own items and equipment. They didn’t know what was going on, but if the message turned out to be true, they’d have to risk their lives. There were many reasons not to believe the message, but there were so many reasons to believe it as well. Now was not the time to doubt. They needed to clench their jaws and prepare thoroughly for the possibility.

‘Survive... Let’s think of this as a game. What do they call this? Right, a survival game.’

San checked his rifle and live round magazines. He holstered his handgun on his right. He thought about giving it to Biyeon, but a handgun was a burden rather than a weapon to someone who had no shooting experience. It was hard to hit a target by chance.

He then sharpened his bayonet blade, pulling his leather belt taunt and rolling the blade against the raw-hide leather. Considering the opponent, he also took out the parachute helmet he packed previously. He took out his Ray-Ban sunglasses and pocketed them into his chest pocket. These Ray-Bans were the hallmark of a paratrooper officer. He carried the sunglasses to coordinate with his beret and uniform for photography purposes. He never would have imagined that he would be faithfully using the sunglasses for their original purpose of protecting his eyes and vision.

Biyeon took out her own K-1 rifle and bayonet. The species that she had to hunt were relatively small and agile. The ‘Alpin’ seemed to be a reptile that looked like an ostrich, and the other seemed to be the first creature they saw in the sky. She felt that her equipment preparation was complete. All that was left now was to analyze the mission and coordinate their strategy of attack.

“We should plan on how to catch our prey,” stated Biyeon, her voice ringing inside the pit. 

San raised his head and looked at Biyeon. He could see the wide, clear eyes of a strong, wise, and beautiful soldier staring back at him.

Episode 1. Book 2: Unravelling – Chapter 5

“This is my analysis of the current situation,” stated Biyeon. She felt as if she just finished a military strategic planning presentation.

“Thanks. Your analysis helps out a lot,” replied San, as he looked at Biyeon with admiration. 

He had to reassess this female companion. It turned out that she had great observation, analysis, and judgment skills.

“Your analysis was great. You did quite a lot of research and analysis in a short amount of time,” he continued.

“Of course, it was something I had to do. We have to live and return.”

The rain was pouring down noisily outside while the operation meeting was taking place inside. The two became serious in their discussion and assessments, as they both considered this meeting essential for their survival. Their faces were almost touching as they perused the text messages and observed the video clips on each other’s cell phones. They played the short video clips repeatedly, making detailed observations and analysis of what they needed to do to face these beasts.


1. A King in Korean history who created the Korean language.

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