Blowing hot heat and dusty sand broke into the barracks.
“Today’s operation is to neutralize the head of the Sunni follower group, SISS. The participants are five squads with a total of 49 people, including us. The enemies are individually armed, and the expected troops ranged from 350 to 500 people.”
Commander Shahran explained the operation, pointing to the draped map with a baton.
“What did he say?”
Kang Chan replied briefly when the Algerian Dayeru asked in English, which was a little better than his French.
“The third squad is in charge of the base of fire1I’m not sure about the translation here, so I just looked up some offensive military tactic that went along with the cover role. You can propose a better correction. and cover. Keep in mind. The operation is to kill the enemy’s head, Masallan. If the operation is successful, withdraw regardless of the remaining enemies.”
“Hwak!”2An intimidating sound with implied threat if the opponent doesn’t stop his act. Similar to “Shut up or I’ll blablabla you” but in one word. Can be used both in serious or joking tone.
Dayeru pulled his neck back and rolled his big eyeballs.
“Departure in 30 minutes. Any questions? Kang Chan there!”
Shahran, who finished talking, gestured his chin with his eyes focused on Kang Chan.
“Is the fallout time3This is a direct translation, probably mean the time limit of the ops and they must retreat whatever the result. the same as before?”
At Kang Chan’s fluent French, Shahran nodded his head without any hesitation. That was the end of the operation meeting.
The time left until the departure was 30 minutes, which was enough to check the equipment and smoke a cigarette.
Dayeru’s protruded arms from his sleeveless shirt were just as big as Kang Chan’s thighs. He was born in Algeria with a bald head, large eyes, black skin color, as well as his particularly bright eyes and white teeth.
Once the viciousness arises, he would go through fire and water4Will go through anything., and because of that personality, he can never lose. Such a man came to the squad leader Kang Chan because he was more strong-tempered5A very strong-tempered person. Actually a single term. Please suggest better term. than himself.
“Kill. And if I said it, retreat. Okay? Kill them! If I signal! Retreat! Understand?”
In dozens of large and small battles, Dayeru only followed Kang Chan. Kang Chan’s simple and clear explanations and instructions were the only lifeline for him, who could not understand urgent French from the radio.
Chiit. “We are going.”
Kang Chan stood up when the command of the troop leader was heard, and the squad members followed him.
Three people had not been added to the 12-members squad.
A Korean squad leader, three Algerians, one Australian, two Americans, and two Frenchs. The official language was French and was the most important test, but Dayeru passed it because he was so clingy to Kang Chan that finally brought him all the way here.
The winds in Africa were dry and hot.
When breathing, the heat seemed to melt the nose and lungs, so covering the nose and mouth with a muffler gave off a cool feeling.
About 20 minutes still left to the destination, Kang Chan pulled a cigarette out of his pocket and bit it in his mouth.
Clang. Chit. Chit. Chiiit.
On hot days, the gasoline of the zippo lighter vaporizes and burns. There was also an accident of caught in fire due to fiber friction in the pocket. So in places like this, oil was mixed in the zippo lighter. Instead, the fire didn’t easily ignite, but it’s better than not being able to lit a fire because of the blown gasoline.
Kang Chan emitted a long cigarette smoke.
He hated the habit of counting the dates every time he went to battle, so he thought about training repeatedly. He was out of a pledge not to become a mayfly6A term for fleeting life. So he promised to not live his life fleetingly., but now it had become like a habit.
Kang Chan spoke Korean so much that he would only speak Korean unless in a special situation. And in urgent moments, the emotions conveyed strangely and precisely.
“Is harem okay tonight?”
Smithen was an ignorant American.
He had always dreamed of marrying a pretty French woman, working in a ranch and vineyard then building a wine factory, but no one else believed he would make it happen. The downside was that he liked women too much, and the upside was that his colleagues could rest comfortably while he was looking for women like that.
At the words Kang Chan spoke like self-talk, the squad members became stiff and didn’t move.
It was a meadow.
There were still some bushes left before the dry season came.
Stepped on the cigarette thrown on the floor, Kang Chan quickly looked around.
The most obvious reason for Kang Chan’s survival in this bloody land so far and also the reason why the squad members believe his words over weapons was in the hunch he felt like now.
2km left to the destination.
The squad members were desperately looking around and tried to find the cause of Kang Chan’s halt.
Kang Chan pointed his eyes with index and middle finger toward Malkov and then directed his fingers again toward ten and two o’clock directions. That means to look in that direction with a telescope.
Malkov shook his head.
“What is it?”
If someone did not participate in the operation without a specific reason, they would be forced to leave the country if lucky, and if they’re unlucky then the death penalty was possible.
But what on earth was this anxiety that made his heart stiff.
Kang Chan regulated his breath.
He attached his index and middle finger to designate each position from the left. As if the battle had already begun at his hand, the crews moved quickly and swiftly.
Even Smithen jumped behind a skinny tree with a clear view, like a scene in a movie.
‘That son of a bitch!’
When he saw the dust created by Smithen that bloomed like a signal flare, Kang Chan took two breaths to press and calm down his urge to kill him.
Now the one remaining was Dayeru.
‘Daye’, leaving out the last syllable like the Japanese’s way to call, from one point on became the name the entire crew used to call him.
His bulky body moved left and right then quickly approached.
His eyes glistened to Kang Chan’s face, which had become a chocolate-colored face. There were not just one or two people that were beaten by someone with slim faces, big eyes, and Asian in addition to a slender body after looking for a fight. Well, there were many rumors nowadays so no one was messing around.
From Kang Chan’s mouth, the word “unconditional” came out. Of course it was the Korean ‘unconditional’7The word 무조건(mujogeon) can be translated as “must”.. This was the third time since they’ve been together for the past one year and six months, and that means today would be a very tough day.
Dayeru nodded and thought that Koreans were very strong people. The Korean word he knew “unconditionally” means to kill everything he sees. What kind of people lived with such a word?
“What are you doing?”
Dayeru hurriedly moved to the place he was appointed.
Kang Chan spread the eight members of the squads like a bow and squatted behind Dayeru.
‘Let’s not make any regret.’
He was thinking in case his current choice was wrong. Deportation was almost certain because of his merits so far. It was better to be deported than to kill all his men in this goddamned land.
At first, he thought it was a coincidence.
However after he neglected his hunch, he met death throes and lost several of his colleagues there, so his mind changed and the effect was almost perfect.
Piung. Piiiung. Piung. Piuuung.
At that time, sharp sounds cutting through the air was heard.
Malkov threw his telescope down and called him.
Kang Chan had already seen it too.
Almost all of the allies that were walking were knocked down by the sniper’s rifle.
It was a trap. Perfectly fell at that.
“Which son of a bitch.”
At this degree, the information must be leaked from the inside.
Kang Chan looked back in a hurry. Enemies were approaching from a distance. They were surrounding like a net that spread wide.
In this case, he spoke Korean unconditionally.
Kang Chan glanced over his colleagues.
“The retreat is alpha kilos. Understand? The retreat is alpha kilos.”
It was a place designated by Kang Chan before departure. This was the method Kang Chan used since becoming a squad leader, so of course it was not known by the headquarter.
This frigging mercenary had no rescue after the time of retreat.
Hence Kang Chan always designated a place to wait there and they would join separately. That was the reason why he was still a squad leader despite his tremendous contributions, and also why the crews even prepared for death following his words.
As he turned his head, Dayeru’s bright eyes fluttered and spewed out a murderous glare.
Dayeru widened his big mouth to reveal white teeth. It means he knew it too. The meaning behind Kang Chan to gave all his might like this.
Kang Chan quickly turned his gaze.
The distance to distinguish the enemy’s face was in ten steps. They covered the front with a scarf and the tip of the turban turned from the left to the chin, so Sunni was correct.
Kang Chan howled then stuck two fingers together and pointed at 11 o’clock. His French name was too long and difficult to call during the battle, so his name was also cut.
When he pointed to an enemy holding tank or heavy weapons to be used, Monachell who was an excellent sniper, immediately aimed.
“Hey! Can’t you shoot straight!”
“Je suis désolé!”8“I’m sorry” in French.
Click clack. Taaaang.
As dirt rose, the enemy holding the grenade launcher scattered on the floor. At the same time, soil sprung up under Kang Chan’s feet.
Kang Chan quickly grabbed the gun and pulled the trigger.
The familiar smell of gunpowder broke through his nose and the target immediately disappeared to the ground.
Various gunshots mixed up caused his ears to tingle.
Each time he pulled the trigger, they fell one by one.
‘There are enough bullets.’
Kang Chan turned over his body to prone position and lifted only his upper body.
He raised his left index finger and wrapped it in a circle with three right fingers. The operation was grimly simple. That means three people to wrap and cover the sniper Monachell. When someone died, put their gun on the floor and lean them over, making them as a cover.
Kang Chan turned his body back and pulled his trigger in succession.
Taaang. Taaang. Taaang.
In this goddamned land, even gunshots sounded like shit.
He pulled the trigger as quickly as possible. This was because of the beating heart that told there was still something left.
At that moment, Smithen’s shout was heard.
There was no time to look back now. It was the time when the colleague by the side had to take care of themself. They had to kill at least one more before all the enemies fell. Monachell aims at the enemies with heavy weapons and the heads of the enemies lying face down, meanwhile other squad members killed those who approached them.
Taang. Taaang. Taaang.
He heard chatter over there, all lie down on the floor and didn’t come anymore. Only then, Kang Chan went to Smithen with his gun attached to the floor.
“Fuckshit. Does it hurt a lot?”
Smithen gasped and looked at him. Another Algerian, Absala, pressed hard on the right belly and red blood spilled through his fingers.
“No morphine. Chani. Huuk. Huuk.”
There would have been a hole over a hand span in the back if there was a hole that big in the front, so the intestines must have touched the dirt. Kang Chan looked around again, thinking he had to make a way.
When Kang Chan turned his head, Smithen was struggling to grab a strand of hope with that ignorant gaze.
“Am I nokay?”
“Moron. Who am I? Smithen! Who. Am. I!”9The first “who am I” is in Korean, the second in English.
Smithen smiled with his mouth wide open.
“God. Of. Huuk. Huuk. Blackfield. Huuuk. Haaa.”
He barely finished speaking and exhaled a big breath.
Absala looked up and saw him.
He knew. There was not much time left.
Then, a loud mechanical sound hit the surrounding area.
But his heart was still throbbing. That means there was more risk left. Now was the time to make a decision.
‘Let’s breakthrough like this.’
He was determined to go to the headquarter where the enemy’s head was hiding.
When he was just about to explain the situation.
A dull sound was heard and the whole world turned white.
And his head and neck hurt like it’s torn.
An intense light broke into his eyes.
It’s hurt like the back of the head and neck was broken, and there was no energy as if the whole body was vacuumed.
He tried to open his eyes, but he couldn’t lift a finger.
His throat was dry. The inside of the throat was burning as if swallowing cracked rice, so even the words could not come out properly.
‘I want water…’
Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep.
It was only then that the mechanical sound began to be heard.
He felt someone turned his eyelids over with their hand, but all he could see was a white light.
‘I want water.’
“Can you hear me? If you hear it, please blink your eyes.”
‘Stupid bastard. It blinks only when you let go of your hand.’
This time he felt someone holding his hand.
“Try to grab the hand.”
Kang Chan tried his best to move his hand with the desire to have water.
“That’s good! Good!”
What was good, he heard loud noises but didn’t give the water.
Kang Chan consciousness blurred as if he asleep again.