Mercenary Black Mamba - Chapter 642
The malfunctioning TRF had been the bane of his existence for the past year. Now, the water-supply pipe was malfunctioning again. When the reactor was halted, the TRF risked being exposed. It would fall under his responsibility but he was worried more about Genji’s nagging. They needed to detach the TRF equipment first. He was feeling very much in a hurry.
Kaeda covered his toe with his hand and jumped in place. He had struck an iron plate barefoot. No wonder his toe was stubbed. He wound his handkerchief around his bleeding toe.
Kaeda struck his forehead with his hand. He had just thought of a much more troublesome matter than the TRF. He limped elsewhere.
* * *
Ishihara craned his neck from within the inner wall. He couldn’t see the water pump that was 20 meters underwater. He could only see the roaring dark waves five meters below the concrete partition. The waves from Suruga Bay hitting the partition sounded like thunder.
Sleet fell. A lone sodium lamp emitted red light like a monster’s eye in the sea fog. The dark sea at night. It felt as if a sea serpent would jump out of nowhere and drag him into the sea by his hair.
“What? You scared me.”
Ishihara looked back, surprised at the sudden call.
“There could be a problem with the filter. A foreign object may be blocking the pump.”
“Katayama, the opening blows away any debris with pressurized air.”
“Some shrimp that likes the warm water may be blocking the opening. Shrimps have halted the operation of nuclear power plants in Korea.”
“The infiltrating shrimps may have been pulverized by the pressure of the pump. The retardant may have been contaminated. Those scenarios don’t sound realistic.”
Ishihara shook his head.
“With the opening blocked, the water pump may be overheated.”
“We removed debris from the opening with a gripper just yesterday. For the shrimps to block the opening, they would have to be as numerous as the population of Japan.”
“It cannot hurt to check.”
Katayama took out the diving suit and oxygen tank from the emergency vault installed in the inner wall.
“Hey, nighttime diving is against the rules. What do you think you are doing?”
“The reactor is being halted. Rules can be bent. My father drove his Zerosen into the fuel tank of Destroyer Evans.”
Katayama wore his diving suit and shouldered the oxygen tank.
‘What an idiot!’
Ishihara was feeling as anxious as an ant with its antennae severed. Following the rules was the most important policy in a nuclear power plant. If one violated any, they would have their salary reduced, to say the least. He would be given a warning as Katayama’s superior.
“Long live the Emperor!”
Katayama, fully equipped, jumped into the dark waters.
Ishihara’s cry was drowned out by the waves hitting the inner wall. He covered his head with his hands. Katayama, a far-right-leaning person, still couldn’t differentiate between courage and recklessness despite his retirement-nearing age. He always talked about the Yamato spirit and kamikaze and acted impulsively. Ishihara’s heart had skipped many beats because of this man.
* * *
“I knew it!”
Katayama exclaimed. The wire net over the soccer-field-sized opening was completely covered with shrimp-like small creatures. Because of the poor inflow of the water, the water pump overheated and the retardant was contaminated. Katayama, floating on the surface, waved.
“Ishihara! It’s the shrimps. Numerous shrimps are blocking the opening!”
“Great job, Katayama. Place the opening of the tube to the opening of the water pump.”
Ishihara cheered. He didn’t expect the troublemaker to do such a good job. He manned the gripper himself. The 250mm metal pipe was submerged underwater.
“What an idiot! That’s why you must retain your Yamato spirit.”
Katayama clucked his tongue. The suction tube was placed 10 meters beside the target. Ishihara couldn’t tell between the water-supply opening and the used-water expulsion opening. Katayama swam vigorously toward the tube.
Katayama wiped his goggle. He was seeing a giant underwater rock protruding from the depths where the metal pipe was headed for. He had never seen such an object in the past 10 years.
The giant creature, poked by something pointed, opened its eyes. It was the Garuda, absorbing tritium leisurely with its tentacle in the TRF. The metal tube scratched Garuda’s body and passed it by.
[Was I just attacked? Is it so?]
The Garuda felt offended. It had made an energetic bowl by compressing methyl mercaptan and hydrogen sulfide and was actively replenishing its tritium reserve. It did not like to be disturbed when it was eating.
‘What is that?’
Katayama’s eyes widened. The object, that he thought was a rock, moved. Sediments from the sea floor rose and clouded his field of view. He made out vaguely a body as big as two commute buses and a tail as long as the body.
“I have never seen any whale that looks like that.”
Katayama wondered. Sperm whales, blue whales, humpback whales, etc. The names of various whales passed rapidly in his mind. Nothing matched what was in front of his eyes.
“Great! I shall prove my Yamato spirit.”
Katayama was scared but decided to observe the creature accurately and report back. His father never feared falling from the sky. A soldier full of Yamato spirit would be recognized by a creature like a whale as well. He may be in the newspaper as the discoverer of a new whale species.
The creature raised its head. Its neck was as long as a slide in a playground. Its head was as big as a refrigerator. Its eyes were bigger than sushi plates. There were two horns protruding from its forehead. It wasn’t a whale. It was an unimaginable monster.
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The proverbial Yamato spirit was ineffectively faced with the existent, immediate fear. Katayama, startled, swam up with all his might. Nitrogen poisoning was the least of his concerns at the moment.
The Garuda was quite bothered by the little creature that disturbed its mealtime. It flung open its folded wing and waved. A blade-like undercurrent rose. The current tore down the inner concrete wall and engulfed Katayama, who was swimming up.
The was a muffled scream. Katayama was swept by the current and disintegrated like a soybean in a stone hand mill. Blood spread across the water. Katayama was Heca or Garuda’s first prey after it had tumbled across the planet for 150,000,000 years as a jade-colored stone.
[Oh no. It’s not really my fault.]
Garuda flinched. Its master’s order that forbade any hostile act upon a human being, echoed in its head.
[I didn’t know it was a human!]
Garuda feigned ignorance. It had such a cheeky side. It had even pretended to be a plain duck in front of Jin-sun’s sisters.
Chubu Electric had chosen Suruga Bay despite its unstable faults as a location for its power plants because of the 150-meter high rocky mountain. Nuclear power plants required a plot for their nuclear waste. Chubu Electric had perforated the rocky mountain in the back and built a nuclear waste treatment facility.
Kaeda appeared at the entrance to the radioactive waste dump 100 meters underground. With busy fingers, he wore a hazmat suit and entered the restricted area.
A lead-filled 500mm iron door opened. Kaeda glossed over the guard’s greeting and got on the linear car. The linear car, after running through a corridor, stopped in front of a yellow iron door. Kaeda manipulated the panel on the wall, then the wall to his left slid open.
Kaeda walked down the corridor where four red or yellow barrels were stacked on top of each other, four by four. At the end of the corridor, a 300-meter wide and 50-meter tall silo showed itself. It was Kaeda’s destination.
Officially, there were five silos at Hamaoka Nuclear Power Plant. The silo in front of him was a secret sixth silo tasked with recycling nuclear fuel. It extracted plutonium from the used nuclear fuel and mixed it with uranium to make MOX (mixed oxide fuel), which was used in a boiling reactor.
Of course, the true intent behind the secret silo was not to make MOX but to extract plutonium. Japan was the only country that was ever struck by atomic bombs. Their constitution mandated peace and only allowed the use of military force for self-defense. They had a park dedicated to peace. But it was all showmanship. The totalitarian mindset still prevailed in the country, which still regarded people as a means to an end.
The atomic bombs shocked the entire country greatly. Their fear turned into an obsession over owning atomic weapons as well. Plu-Thermal and TRF facilities were truly a preparation for the development of atomic bombs. Kaeda, a far-right-leaning person himself, advocated the re-arming of Japan.
Kaeda wiped his sweat-covered forehead with his sleeve. He climbed an iron ladder and looked down at the silo. Thirty meters below his feet, a blueish liquid sloshed. A giant head of an alligator broke the surface. It was as big as a small car.
It was one of the three Predators that Ishihara received from Freemasonry. Japan paid a tremendous amount for this one creature.
Vertically slitted yellow eyes glared at Kaeda. It was a predator’s gaze upon its prey. In its maw slightly open, razor-like teeth glinted in the light.
Kaeda, startled, stepped back unconsciously. That very creature robbed him of his sleep. It absorbed radiation for 15 months in the silo and ate 300 kilograms of meat a day. It was quite a hassle to move in tremendous amounts of meat and fish disguised as waste barrels.
“Wretched creature! I hope it commits suicide after getting tired of life.”
Kaeda complained. It grew three times its original size and 10 times meaner. He was ready to sacrifice himself for his country, but taking care of the monster was way too much work.
Kaeda took out a palm-sized controller and shouted. The monster dove into the water. Kaeda stared at the controller. The monster was not bothered by automatic rifle rounds. With one blow of its tail, it could tear down the hangar’s door. What would happen if the controller ever got broken or the control chip implanted in its brain lost power? He shuddered to think of the outcome.
“It’s so stupid. Unleash that thing near Jeju?”
Kaeda shook his head. Koreans were not going to lose their territory just because some sea monster roamed their shores. Koreans were a distasteful bunch. They didn’t bow to the strong even when they were weak.
They routinely fought amongst themselves but once invaded, they united and fought. They were very different from the Chinese or Southeast Asians. They would have a better chance by unleashing the thing in between the Spratly Islands.
The islands proved to be part of an important trade route for Korea, China, and Southeast Asian countries. Most Middle Eastern oil imported by Asia passed through the area. If they blocked this area, Korea would have to surrender.
“The guards and Ishihara must get the situation under control as soon as possible.”
His heart felt heavy. When the reactor was stopped, it would automatically be reported to the prefecture’s office. The residents would protest. International auditors would raid them. What if the TRF and the sea creature were revealed? Kaeda shuddered. He surely would need to commit seppuku.
* * *
The metal pipe hit Garuda’s head.
[Why do they keep bothering me?]
The tentacle wound around the metal tube. The 20-ton gripper was dragged down to the edge of the inner wall helplessly. Dark seawater rumbled in front of his eyes.
Ishihara, startled, stepped down on the accelerator pedal in reverse with all of his might. The 500-horsepower engine rumbled and exuded dark exhaust. But it didn’t budge. The gripper, now just beside the edge of the concrete structure, lost balance.
Ishihara cried out. The heavy machine fell at last.
The Garuda placed its head in the falling machine’s trajectory. It mimicked Mu-ssang’s personality. The Garuda, which was like a blank slate, inherited Mu-ssang’s wit and pettiness. The gripper bounced off Garuda’s head and sank toward the bottom of the sea.
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[I was attacked. Twice in a row.]
The Garuda’s eyes turned into vertical slits. A great roar echoed in the mountains. The Garuda expanded its wings and stretched out its body. It was 60 meters from its head to its tail. Its head was disproportionately smaller than its body. It had a long, slender neck and body. Its tail was as long as its body. The jade-colored, fan-shaped crest turned into two horns.
Golden pupils bigger than dinner plates shined and its massive legs stepped on the sea floor and supported its hefty body. The two horns emitted electric sparks. The Garuda was finally here in its full form.
It elongated its neck. The bionic fusion reactor in its chest was started. Electric sparks ran along its metallic skin. It had overflowing energy. It opened its massive beak, five meters long.
Kkamdung’s ELF was not comparable at all. The strong ELF poured. The underwater speed of sound was three times faster than in the atmosphere. As a medium, water was dozens of times superior to air. A meter-wide hole opened in the body of the gripper.