44. Use It
Armata’s eyes widened. A bat like monster appeared in front of him, flapping its wings. It had just returned after engaging with the Kwang Hwi Faction. Meeting Armata’s eyes, the Bett lowered its head.
“What happened?” Armata asked. He pointed toward a spot and the Bett carefully landed there. Soon after, the monster transferred memories of what it had witnessed to Armata. As if he had seen it in person, vivid images flashed past Armata’s eyes.
He saw the humans riding something and flying toward the building with blue tiles. It was an open territory he had given to the Keku so that they could settle in. However, the lack of obstacles made it difficult for the monsters to find shelter against the flying objects that spat fire. Before they could even counterattack, the Keku were slaughtered.
Armata thought that the long range weapons that humans possessed were too powerful. All that Keku had were crossbows or blunt weapons to throw. Their defeat was a natural outcome.
He saw the humans land on the ground and disappear into the building. Soon after, they reemerged with new faces and took off. While the Bett chased after the humans and engaged in another fight, they were completely annihilated. Only a small one managed to survive.
After seeing what had happened, Armata gnashed his teeth. He thought that if he put a pile of Mud Golems to block all exit paths, the humans wouldn’t be able to leave the city. Never did he expect them to ride flying vehicles. If he could, Armata wanted to go after the humans and crush them under his feet. However, he couldn’t do that right now. If he were to leave his current position, the dimensional transporter would collapse and his remaining comrades wouldn’t be able to cross worlds.
From the sound of a whimper, Armata was snapped back to reality. He raised his head and found a Bett looking at him with glittering eyes, filled with anticipation.
“You did great.”
A blue aura sparked from his fingertip and Armata carefully caressed the Bett with it. In response, the Bett rubbed its head against the finger with affection. Then, Armata opened his mouth and a soundless reverberation headed towards the small bat.
In response, the blue aura swallowed the Bett. The monster rapidly grew in size, going through multiple stages of instantaneous growth. Its wings that produced feeble winds were now causing strong gales. Its cute appearance disappeared and was replaced by a dignified look. Long horns grew on its forehead, distinguishing it from the Giant Bett the Kwang Hwi Faction had defeated. Its horns emitted a blue light, while the blue aura wrapping around the monster slowly disappeared. Soon after, the small and weak Bett was nowhere to be seen. Instead, a large creature sat in front of Armata. After receiving Armata’s power to evolve into a Giant Bett, the monster bowed to its master.
The Giant Bett flew into the sky. Seeing that, Armata waved his hand in the air. Above him, odd symbols appeared once again.
‘They can fly? Then, I’ll make it harder for them.’
“Try flying now.”
Armata grinned, flashing his teeth.
After capturing the president, Kwang Hwi stayed at the Uijeongbu forward operating base before returning back to the Dongducheon HQ. His schedule was hectic. Once he returned to HQ, he attended the funeral for the men who had died for him and then discussed how to utilize the captured president.
“We should milk everything out of him we can.”
“Scrap every ounce of his flesh, down to the bones.”
Kwang Hwi agreed with his subordinates’ sentiment. He had always intended to do so when they went to pick up the president.
“Are there any broadcasting stations in Dongducheon, Yangju, and Uijeongbu?”
“We would need to confirm it, but there should be one.”
“Find one and put the president to use.”
The president’s existence allowed the Kwang Hwi Faction to strengthen its cause. Although the world had been overrun by monsters, the citizens wouldn’t ignore the representative they had elected.
Up to this point, his militia had been ruling over the people with military power. From here on, it was going to be reborn as a legitimate power of the Korean Peninsula. The president was not just a pretty face. He was a puppet controlled by the Kwang Hwi Faction. Once his use was gone, there was no need to keep him alive.
“Do you have the laptop?”
Soo Min carefully removed the laptop from his thick bag and placed it on top of the desk. Unlike the regular laptops that were thin and slim, this one in particular was thick and sturdy looking. It even had the Blue House’s logo in black and white.
“The Blue House staff cooperated with our technician to remove and replace the president’s access.”
“Soo Min, grant yourself an access too. If I’m not here, you’ll need to use this in my place.”
Kwang Hwi put his hand on the laptop’s touchpad. With a flash, his palm was being scanned. After verification, the laptop automatically turned on and its screen became bright.
[Welcome, Commander Kwang Hwi Baek.]
[You can use Speech Recognition, Direct Search, and other features to work on the tasks you want.]
A unique interface greeted Kwang Hwi.
[Speech Recognition Keyword : Satellite]
[Searching for task…]
[Currently connected satellites]
[Heaven’s Eye Reconnaissance Satellite]
– A spy satellite in sun-synchronous orbit that observes the Earth.
[Heaven’s Ear Military Communications Satellite]
– Satellite in geostationary orbit. Deployed to ensure smooth communication system for the ROK Armed Forces.
“Current location of Baengnyeongdo-class.”
[Dokdo-class Amphibious Assault Ship, Baengnyeongdo (LPH-6113)]
– Location : 100km off the coast of Jeju Island.
– Status : Limited operations.
– Weapons : None.
“What? Jeju Island? These bastards lied to us.”
“Sons of bitches!” exclaimed Jackson.
The notebook had many capabilities. It had removed the facility lock placed on the underground military and granted Kwang Hwi access to the satellite. He could now find and control any military or government facilities in the country.
“I like it.”
It was similar to the nuclear button carried by the president of the United States. As a matter of fact, it was highly likely that nuclear weapons were damaged beyond use. If so, it was better to have the notebook rather than a weapon that lost its functionality.
“We should be able to smoothly absorb the ROK Armed Forces. By doing so, we’ll be able to recruit all the talented people we need,” said Soo Min.
From Kwang Hwi Faction’s standpoint, the president was a figure of hatred and love who served his purpose all too well. If it wasn’t for that, he would have killed the president for taking away the lives of his loyal men.
“For the time being, focus on stabilizing our internal structure.”
Seoul had a population of 10 million people. The metropolis was now overrun by monsters. The men did not know how many monsters or survivors were at Seoul. Given that they barely had enough people to maintain current operations, trying to eat Seoul now would only make their stomach burst open. Not to mention that once they absorbed Seoul, they needed personnel to train the new recruits. While it was impossible to take in all of Seoul, it was necessary to gain access to the northern part.
“To avoid problems, we should secure Paju and Yeoncheon County.”
Both territories were bordering North Korea. They were a must get locations for the Kwang Hwi Faction which needed to bolster its strength. To fend off against an invasion from the North, the best military facilities were located there. If the Kwang Hwi Faction were to secure them, they didn’t need to worry about their backs and could focus on expanding south.
“Isn’t Pocheon also a military area?”
“We’ll visit Paju and Yeoncheon County first. We can get Goyang and Pocheon City later. For now, use the president as a propaganda device and then double check the government and military facilities in our territory.”
— “Greeting to all survivors. This is the Kwang Hwi Faction’s radio broadcast on 108.5 MHZ. On the 22nd, the Kwang Hwi Faction rescued the president from an underground bunker at the Blue House. President Shin Myeong Lee praised the Kwang Hwi Faction for its hard work in restoring the Korean Peninsula during its lowest time.”
“Huh? What was that?”
“Increase the volume!”
The Sergeant Major next to the radio hurried to raise the radio’s volume.
“Did they just say the president?”
The gathered men looked at each other in astonishment. While they have been keen to follow the radio broadcasts by the Kwang Hwi Faction, this was the first time they heard the news about the president.
“Did they… really rescue the president?”
“There should have been a lot of monsters in Seoul. How were they able to break past all of that and safely reach the Blue House?”
— “President Lee has issued a public statement to all citizens that are currently hiding. Please listen.”
— “Dear citizens, how have you been? I’m the president of the Republic of Korea, Shin Myeong Lee. The past month was no different from hell. All weapons we possessed had broken. Due to this, our military could not respond properly to the crisis. Unidentified monsters stomped over our soil and brutally slaughtered our citizens. Seeing it pained my heart. I felt so bad, at one point I thought it would be better to just die. Thankfully, I found a new ray of hope.”
The military soldiers held their breath as they listened to the radio broadcast. For an entire month, they hadn’t heard or received any orders from the higher ups. Naturally, they thought the president, their commander-in-chief, had died.
— “The Kwang Hwi Faction. They saved the powerless me trapped at the underground bunker and gave me a new hope. Hope that we could return to our peaceful world without monsters.”
Silence ensued the shelter, only to be interrupted by the sound of someone swallowing their saliva.
— “My dear citizens. We plan to recreate the Republic of Korea with the Kwang Hwi Faction. Our first mission is to reclaim the northern part of Gyeonggi Province. Very soon, Kwang Hwi Faction will conduct military operations at Pocheon and Yeoncheon County. Please lend us a hand in creating a new Republic of Korea during this time of crisis. Kwang Hwi Faction will always welcome citizens and military soldiers alike. Thank you.”
The broadcast ended soon after the president’s speech. In return, the military soldiers discussed among themselves. They didn’t have anything better to do as they were essentially trapped in the shelter.
“The voice does sound familiar. Maybe it’s not fake.”
“How can you decide with just that?”
Suddenly, the soldiers heard a knock. The noisy shelter became quiet once again until the interim commander issued an order.
“Corporal Kim, check the cameras! As for the rest, be combat ready!”
Soldiers rushed to pick up bayonets and blunt weapons that were placed nearby. Their primary arms had rusted, so all they could use were these. After checking the visuals, Corporal Kim yelled.
“T-there are armed soldiers!”
The Captain looked at the screen. Just like what Corporal Kim said, there was an armed group waiting in front of the entrance. Unlike the ROK Armed Forces, they wore a black military uniform and carried various equipment typical soldiers could never get hold of.
“W-What do we do, sir?”
The Captain couldn’t answer. Biting onto his lips, he grabbed the walkie-talkie and pushed on the transmission button.
“Who is it? This is a military shelter. It’s off-limits to unauthorized personnel.”
— “We from the Kwang Hwi Faction. Under the president’s order, we are rescuing surviving soldiers. Please open the gate.”
Hearing what the Kwang Hwi Faction had said, the shelter became noisy once again. They still couldn’t believe the news.
“Under the president’s order?”
After calming the soldiers, the Captain pushed to talk once again.
“I’m sorry, but we would need to verify the legitimacy of that order.”
As if they were expecting it, the commanding officer from the Kwang Hwi Faction nodded his head.
“Smartpad,” he ordered.
A soldier from behind pulled out a smartpad and passed it to the officer. The officer turned the smartpad so that those in the military shelter could see. On screen, a tired looking president was present. Unconsciously, the Captain saluted.
“M-Mr. President! Captain Sang Hoon Lee present!”
— “Nice to see you, Captain. I’m President Shin Myeong Lee. These are our allies, so don’t be afraid. Open the gate. We’ll move you to a new HQ so that you can all rest until we assign you a new mission.”
“U-understood! We will immediately open the gate!”
The Captain could tell that this was not a pre-recorded video as the president was able to recall his name. Immediately, he pushed on the switch. The orange warning light flashed as the iron gate opened.