SoJ Episode 5 Chapter 68

Episode 5: Citizenship / Chapter 68: Advancement Evaluation (2)

TL: emptycube

Editor: Obelisk


 

‘Please accept me. I will definitely be of use to you.’

That was what it seemed like it was saying. So Choi Hyuk replied,

“Okay.”

Then the artificial intelligence replied, imitating Choi Hyuk’s voice.

“Okay.”

“…”

Now that he thought about it, this fellow didn’t know human language yet.

“I said okay.”

When Choi Hyuk agreed, it simply imitated him.

“I said okay.”

“…”

Then it stealthily walked around Choi Hyuk’s group. It seemed it was reading the mood. Choi Hyuk sighed before stretching his hand out.

It stopped in its place and calculated the countless meanings behind the action of ‘stretching one’s hand out’. Attack, control, help, cursing, greeting… among others. It still couldn’t tell what that meant out of those countless scenarios. To learn more about it, it carefully stretched out its hand. When it did, Choi Hyuk quickly approached and grabbed its hand.

‘Huh?’

He thought he wouldn’t feel anything because it was a hologram, but he was surprised by the unexpected soft sensation.

Either way, it was all good. Choi Hyuk pulled on its hand.

“Let’s go together.”

Was his meaning conveyed? The fellow imitated Choi Hyuk’s words again. What was different was,

“Let’s go together.”

It took a step forward, being pulled by Choi Hyuk.

It started to eliminate the countless scenarios from its mind. Attack? No. Cursing? There was a high probability that that wasn’t the case. Rescue? No. Then greetings? Advice?

Choi Hyuk continued to pull its hand. When he took a step, so did the artificial intelligence.

The fellow spoke, changing its tone in an odd way,

“Let’s… go together.”

“Yeah.”

Another step.

Now the artificial intelligence almost knew his meaning. Since Choi Hyuk held its hand and they were both walking together, ‘He accepted my proposal!’

The artificial intelligence shouted loudly. It wanted to express its joy.

“Let’s go together!”

“Yeah.”

Choi Hyuk replied. The fellow changed its tone slightly again.

“Let’s go together!”

It would shout in a louder voice.

“Yeah. Okay.”

Choi Hyuk replied.

“Let’s go together!!!”

The fellow shouted even louder.

Punch!

In the end, Choi Hyuk hit the back of its head.

 

“That’s enough.”

Bzzt.

After all, it was a hologram. Once a strong force was applied, the electromagnetic field, created to replicate a sense of touch, distorted. Choi Hyuk’s hand passed through its head, and the hologram’s head, which was covered with a fog-like static, crackled. After a few seconds passed, it returned to its original form. The scene was quite scary, but the artificial intelligence didn’t seem to mind.

The fellow simply judged. ‘Okay, yeah’ -> ‘Assumed to be a positive signal.’ ‘Raising one’s voice or tone’ -> ‘Increased probability that this is to express joy. If repeated, an aggressive reaction will be observed, but not enough to cause harm.’ -> ‘Assumed to be a negative expression.’ That was how, at the moment, it was able to learn the information it needed.

As if it had practiced and was happy, in a cheerful voice, the fellow stretched out its hand and said,

“Let’s go together~”

As if this phrase had become a command, the city vibrated smoothly.

Whoooo.

That sound… was similar to a computer booting up.

Whoosh!

They heard the whirring of a rapidly spinning fan when suddenly, their bodies became heavier. It felt like gravity had grown stronger.

“What the?”

Choi Hyuk and his group were taken aback. The artificial intelligence’s thoughts were transmitted to their minds.

There was the Earth… And the fortress-city Choi Hyuk and his group were in was hovering in the air and orbiting the Earth.

The fortress-city was currently getting ready for take-off, and their bodies were pushed downwards due to the upwards acceleration.

“Holy… This was a spaceship?”

Lee Jinhee’s body trembled. Even Ryu Hyunsung, who had constantly been tired, had shining eyes, whilst Baek Seoin had an amazed expression. Feeling the force pulling him downwards, he excitedly said,

“… If what we understood just now is true, since it said it was a frame that traveled through dimensions… It’s not just a spaceship, but a spaceship that can warp and be used for deep space exploration!”

Intergalactic exploration!

How many hearts wouldn’t flutter at that word?

Yet, Choi Hyuk hit the back of the artificial intelligence’s head.

Punch! Bzzt!

The hologram’s head distorted with static.

“That’s too much!”

Lee Jinhee protested, feeling sorry for it, but Choi Hyuk didn’t have a choice. Since he couldn’t communicate with words, there wasn’t any other way.

The spaceship’s take-off, which was even able to make Chu Youngjin’s eyes wistful, came to a stop with Choi Hyuk’s words and a hit to the back of its head.

“Hey. Go down.”

Then he added,

“Our friends are down there.”

 

The artificial intelligence wasn’t able to completely understand his words, but the moment it was hit on the back of its head, he understood, ‘Ah, it seems he doesn’t want me to do this.’ He canceled the take-off. The fortress-city, which landed on the ground, took off only after the Berserkers, who were resting, had gotten on.

 

**

“Oh my god… Oh my god.”

Lee Jinhee twirled around excitedly. Seoul’s night scenery was spread out below her feet. The night scene they saw in the air gifted them a surprising sense of freedom and sweetness. She twirled around with her arms spread. Because she only had one arm, her body was tilted.

“It’s unfortunate. I thought this place’s technology could have helped.”

Baek Seoin clicked his tongue as he watched Lee Jinhee twirl.

“What can we do? Naro says it’s still unfamiliar with earthlings. It said all the equipment here was meant for narolings. And this isn’t as bad as it looks.”

Lee Jinhee coolly glossed over it as she twirled her arm around in the air.

Naro was the name she gave to the artificial intelligence. It seemed that their takeoff had left quite an impression on her. Baek Seoin said that the name felt unlucky, but Lee Jinhee stubbornly said, ‘Our Naro isn’t like that!’ and that was how its name was decided.{1}

“But, I never thought that video calling wouldn’t work on this great spaceship and that we would have to resort to simply calling.”

The president, who had escaped from the mess, wanted to video call, but because they were in outer space, they ended up communicating through a simple phone call. If Naro analyzed human technology, then it would definitely be able to support video calling, but that was too much right now since they weren’t able to communicate smoothly yet.

Baek Seoin looked at Choi Hyuk, who was on the phone.

 

Choi Hyuk and the president’s conversation couldn’t help but be sensitive. There were too many casualties on both sides.

Although they could agree that this accidentally began because of the eyeless observers’ curse and that either side had no intentions of fighting each other, the problem was how the situation was resolved.

Choi Hyuk acted in a way to minimize losses in the Berserkers, but that looked like excessive killing from the president’s perspective. The mood of his military was chaotic. They wanted Choi Hyuk’s apology.

{So I clearly understand Leader Choi Hyuk’s circumstances, however, in their perspective in which their comrades died, they can’t help but feel disappointed. It’s a formality. Please express your condolences to the dead and apologize. If you say those few words, we will also give the Berserkers the appropriate compensation for their losses.}

That was President Shin Woojin’s proposition. But, Choi Hyuk felt that his words were useless efforts. The perspectives they viewed this situation in were too different.

Cho Hyuk flipped the president’s proposition.

“No. I will offer you a proposition. Hunt down everyone under your command who is affiliated with Lao Ban’s followers. They are the ones who are fully responsible for today’s event.”

Yet, President Shin Woojin continued to bring up Choi Hyuk’s apology.

{I know. But, to do that, there’s a need to smooth our relations with an apology. In this current mood, those who would normally cooperate won’t.}

However, Choi Hyuk ignored him and continued,

“Lao Ban and the groups who cooperated with him are no help to humanity’s fight. They will only create unnecessary division and casualties like today. We need international cooperation.”

{Yes, yes. But, don’t we need to resolve national matters first? If things continue like this, the relationship between the Berserkers and the military will reach a point of no return. Please think of the citizens.}

“Because we left them alone while knowing it was wrong is why it came to this point. We can’t push it back further.”

{Of course. We will definitely look into that issue. However, first…}

The president felt like his throat was burning.

This wasn’t even a conversation. Choi Hyuk didn’t bother to respond properly. As if reading a script, he only said what he had to say. The president was suffering because their conversations were parallel. He even felt frustrated. ‘Is this guy even understanding what I’m saying?’

 

Just then, Choi Hyuk changed the mood.

He, who had taken a ‘listen if you want to’ attitude, began to directly interrogate the president.

“Let’s properly divide right and wrong. We can’t overlook the government’s liability in this incident. The majority of the assassins who targeted me were foreigners. What did you do while they entered the country and were crawling up Marronnier Park? Did you not know that Lao Ban was targeting me? There’s no way you didn’t. You clearly knew this. Yet, you didn’t do anything. What was the result of that? From my perspective, is there any reason for me to not believe that the government was on the same side as the assassins? If you want to smooth our relationship, first hunt down those who are related.”

The frustrating mood turned razor-sharp like the tip of a blade.

The president felt a chill on his throat.

{No, that is… don’t tell me you think that I had a hand in this? That’s a misunderstanding. Leader Choi Hyuk. You know the circumstances on our side.}

As he listened to the president’s excuse, Choi Hyuk turned his gaze to the outside of the spaceship. Although he wasn’t sure what technology it was, he could clearly see outside as if it was made from glass. From the outside, however, it was definitely an opaque fortress, but he never thought he would be able to see something like this. He could see Seoul’s night scenery beneath his feet. If they went a bit higher, he would be able to see the world below his feet.

Choi Hyuk felt that all of this was comical. He replied to the president, who was justifying himself.

 

“I know. Your circumstances. You can’t perfectly control the country. The discipline of public officials has slackened, and the majority of the colonizers and soldiers under your command only look for what’s in front of them. It was probably the same this time. There will certainly be those in important positions who had connections with Lao Ban, and you were unable to control them. You consider them as a strength that is maintaining Korea. For the security of the country, you can’t hastily wipe them out. Isn’t that right? So you need my apology. Since you need to cater to them so they continue to cooperate with you. So that you can continue to maintain Korea.”

Shin Woojin was momentarily at loss for words. Choi Hyuk plainly knew what was going on. Which made him even more uneasy. ‘A person who knows all this still acts this way?’ Although bitterness surged inside, he worked hard to appease Choi Hyuk.

{That is right. It’s all because I am lacking. I am truly sorry. However, please reconsider and take a step back this time. I don’t plan on continuously minding them. I will definitely handle this once I can maintain safety. However, it isn’t possible right now. I still need their strength. And there is a need in setting them at ease. Taking a step back in order to take two steps forward. If you yield this time, I can repay you by double or triple the amount. Please. Look at it from the long run.”

Shin Woojin suggested once again. Choi Hyuk snorted,

“Long run? From the long run, you say?”

Then he spat,

“Do we even have the time to?”

{…}

Shin Woojin couldn’t reply. Choi Hyuk exposed the president’s inner thoughts.

“Mr. President, I will say this clearly. Country, safety, forget them. Can’t you see? The Earth is collapsing. The only thing we need is an army. Not an army that uses its brain to fill their bellies. A real fighting army. Trashy soldiers aren’t soldiers but trash. They aren’t needed. Clean them out. Only then, can we live.”

He was disgusted.

While the world was collapsing… there were those who were satisfied, those who only thought to fill their own bellies, those who plotted and killed outstanding warriors, those who stepped on potential, and those who made unity difficult.

“Where is safety when we’re already living in hell? Now is not the time to be looking for safety, but a time to cut things down and rebuild. If we don’t, the world will die out. Don’t you understand?”

{…}

President Shin Woojin was silent.

However, his silence wasn’t of agreement but of helplessness. He was currently thinking that Choi Hyuk’s words just now were immature.

Choi Hyuk realized this as well. He judged that there was no meaning to talking any further.

“Okay. Do as you wish. Act like a king in a collapsing world. However, don’t get in the way when I deal with Lao Ban’s followers. You will regret it.”

{Leader Choi Hyuk… Don’t act so emotional…}

The president tried his best to appease Choi Hyuk, but Choi Hyuk cut him off. It was comical. They still didn’t understand their reality.

“But do you even know what we obtained from this Sovereign Mission? You don’t, right? Your air force is in an utter mess. I hope you live long with them. S-a-f-e-l-y.”

Then he hung up.

“Hoo…”

A sigh came out by itself. He was frustrated.

The reason why he decided to attack Lao Ban was due to his endeavor to colonize and to concentrate the colonizer’s capability. However, when he opened the lid, it felt as if the dirty politics of different influences were clearly seen. As if you pulled on an annoying thread, only to make it longer?

Those like Lao Ban were simpler to handle. Since he could simply kill them all. This was simply frustrating, and it wasn’t like he could just kill them…

“Earth… collapsing. Earth… collapsing.”

Behind Choi Hyuk, who hung up, the artificial intelligence, Naro, mumbled as if babbling. It was currently gathering the conversations of the 8,000 Berserkers onboard and analyzing the human language system.

 

**

While Choi Hyuk was sitting still and organizing his thoughts, the Blue House was going crazy.

“What? What? There’s what above Yeouido?”

“UFO? The castle in the sky, Laputa? Military spacecraft? Just what is above it?! Either way, you said the Berserkers are aboard it?”

“Why is this report only coming in now?!”

“Whether it could or couldn’t be detected with radars, you should have seen it if you have eyes! What was the satellite doing?”

“What? It was under maintenance because you were lacking technicians? What the…!”

It wasn’t only the Blue House.

Every organization, that observed the fortress-city take off from Seongbuk District, was going crazy. While they were already astonished by the Berserkers’ military strength, an aircraft of unperceivable over-technology{2} fell into the hands of the Berserkers.

 

“Just what is going on…”

 

The playing field they had become familiar with over the past two years had collapsed, and a new one was created.

 


{1} Naro-1 is South Korea’s first carrier rocket. The first two attempts failed to reach orbit, succeeding on the third attempt.

{2} Extremely advanced technology on a similar level to alien technology.

 

[Prev] [ToC] [Next]

[T/N] Please keep the comment section clean. Thank you to all who support SoJ!

Comments 8

  1. Thanks for updating!

    In a world crisis like this, Choi Hyuk is technically more correct than the President. Well, conflicts between humans during apocalypses are also natural and interesting to read too.

    1. The president isn’t totally wrong in trying to uphold the old standards or by just changing some parts of them, but Choi Hyuk has gone straight into the extreme pragmatism necessary to survive, which some would call extremely cold-blooded, and some would call as a survival necessity.

      There’s also the fact that the president was already in an established position of power, so he can’t throw all the ‘traditions’ that come with that position away just to adapt fully to the new situation. Choi Hyuk established his position by himself, following his own morals and ended up as a powerhouse.

      And the common people aren’t yet fully aware of the crisis, because they haven’t gone through anything that awakenees have.

      From the start it was impossible for both of them to be able to take the same steps necessary, because they haven’t survived the same things, they don’t have the same perception of what is necessary.

      That being said, i’m curious what the flying fortress has. Is it just transport, maybe it has hydroponics labs or something else necessary to supply a certain population with living materials, maybe even a lot of firepower somewhere?

      1. Yup on one side you got the Extreme leftist argument = need for change and then you have the extreme right = thinking it can stay the same. The most ideal situation would be to slowly ease into the change route however…they don’t have the time for that. They are still in a limited time = deferred expendables so if they did things slowly= thrown right into the expendables category.

Leave a Reply (No Spoilers)