Auto Hunting - Chapter 160
“You want to change the terms of the transaction?”
The colonel frowned upon hearing Yoo-seong’s position from his lieutenant. Still, he grabbed his handset immediately and made a call. He was a soldier, after all. Regardless of his opinion, it was not his place to make judgments.
It now all depended on someone “higher.”
‘-Accept his request.’
“…Affirmative,” the colonel acknowledged the order.
‘-Report the situation by the minute. Securing the target is our top priority. We’ll deal with compensation later.’
As soon as the call ended, the colonel turned to his lieutenant. “Tell Oh Yoo-seong…”
“I’m sorry, sir.” The lieutenant looked embarrassed. “He’s waiting for you in the car. He says as soon as he hears the result from you, he will leave immediately,” he added.
“Hmm… I see.” The colonel nodded.
‘He’s taking it for granted,’ he thought. ‘It seems he is sure he’s going to be approved no matter what.’
The colonel didn’t know how to deal with this man, who had just demanded a blank check.
‘He doesn’t seem like a man who would go back and forth in a negotiation.’
The last time they were face to face, Oh Yoo-seong had humbly apologized to him. The colonel had felt the sincerity, even though it was shared through an interpreter. Of course, the colonel knew very well that personality had nothing to do with business-related matters.
He had already met thousands of hunters from all ranks. This Oh Yoo-seong was one of those who knew how to fight back.
Still, he wouldn’t stand up to a powerful opponent such as the United States without calculating his risk.
‘He must know something valuable to be that confident,’ the colonel decided. ‘I have to learn what it is…’
As the colonel walked toward the car, he took out his cell phone and began browsing. He checked the news, not as a high-ranking military officer but as a patriotic citizen.
The results weren’t very good.
The Hawaii Rift was a trending topic not only in the nation but also globally.
Unclosed cracks had first been revealed to the public in Tokyo. In that case, things had worked out well, and there had not been many questions about it. The media and the citizens had not understood what they were seeing. It was much easier to believe that a pulse breaker malfunction had caused it.
However, what had happened in Hawaii was different.
It was an area where hunters and local residents were closely intertwined. It had been the worst place for an unclosed crack to appear.
Immediately after the complex incident, a deluge of facts and rumors had flooded the Internet. And the colonel knew it was just the beginning.
Soon, the rumors would spread not only from Tokyo and Hawaii but also in those places where the unclosed cracks were. Citizens would certainly spread photos and articles about unclosed cracks in their areas. Soon, the inevitable would happen. Governments around the world would not be able to cover up the existence of unclosed rifts anymore.
‘How long will it take? Half a year? Three months?’
It wouldn’t be long before governments had no choice but to announce it to the world.
Until now, there had only been one proven solution to these unclosed cracks. The reality was surely bound to make people angry and frustrated. This would mean that a single hunter, a single country, could monopolize the industry!
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However, more than that, those who were older and had experienced life without hunters would feel something else.
It was the natural reaction to an unusual catastrophe that could not be understood or prevented. Colonel Mike Foley couldn’t help but feel it himself. He clearly remembered the horrors of what had happened twenty years ago.
Even first-world countries hadn’t been able to prevent the riots and looting in the streets. The economy was overturned, and society eventually collapsed.
It was hard to believe now, but before, every time the rift alarm went off, vehicles would crash on the streets, and civilians would die in stampedes. Opportunists had begun to build ‘shelters” and scammed people into buying occupancy rights. Pseudo-religions had begun popping up left and right, and many of the heads of these churches grew in status to the point where they were as famous and influential as present-day hunters.
‘It was apocalyptic.’ He shuddered as he remembered the experience. ‘The public won’t react as strongly this time, in the beginning.’
Even those who had already experienced the horrors of twenty years ago now felt secure because of the hunters. However, if the public considered the published statistical data, they would quickly realize that the hunters were bound to reach their limits soon.
As soon as they realized this, the fear and panic that would be unleashed would be out of control. Recognizing that there was no one who could save them, those very humans the governments were trying to protect would turn into far more terrifying monsters.
Perhaps the heads of state knew this.
However, rather than finding a solution to the unclosed cracks, they were desperately preparing something that could appease the public, and the United States already had theirs ready.
Miracle Boy Version 2.
It was more than something that could appease the public. The colonel hadn’t seen the Boy himself, but they all said that this one had more abilities and skills compared to Alvin Hawkins.
The only problem was it lacked experience.
‘But if it’s even stronger than Alvin,’ the colonel thought, ‘what would it need experience for?’
With that thought, the colonel arrived at the Humvee, where Yoo-seong was waiting.
“Nice to see you again.” Yoo-seong waved at him.
The woman, his manager, was nowhere to be seen. The colonel wanted to ask about her but changed his mind and got straight to the main point.
“We accept your terms,” he said.
Yoo-seong nodded, then spoke. “I’m going.”
The colonel raised his eyebrows at the poor but understandable English.
“Now? Immediately? Without your interpreter?” he asked.
“I do not care. Because she can’t go in with me.”
After hesitating for a moment, the colonel nodded and got into the car. The Humvee started right away.
“So… you know how to speak English,” he remarked to Yoo-seong.
“Just”—Yoo-seong showed him a small gap between his thumb and index finger—”little.” He chuckled before asking once more, “You? Which is it?”
The colonel looked confused. “I don’t know what you mean.”
“Politics. I’m talking.”
The colonel bit his lip as he considered. Then he gave a politically correct answer.
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“I am a soldier. I will always stand on the side of my country.”
“Me too. Although the standards will be relative.” Yoo-seong nodded. Then his forehead furrowed as if he were trying to compose another question.
“Do you have anything else you want to ask?” the colonel prompted him.
Instead of answering, Yoo-seong nodded his head to beyond the Humvee’s windshield.
“From now on, where I am going. Very dangerous. Why you send a valuable hunter there?”
The colonel considered for a moment. Then he answered the question he shouldn’t have.
“Because it’s an excellent opportunity.”
“We wanted the hunter to accumulate experience and results in such a difficult situation.”
“Nonsense.” Yoo-seong cut through the colonel’s words.
“It’s not an area where you can judge…”
“It does not make sense. From the factory, you throw out the sample like that?”
In an instant, the colonel drew out his gun and aimed it at Yoo-seong. It was of a caliber that could stop a high-ranked monster in its tracks.
“How did you know about it?!” The veins on the colonel’s neck stood out.
“Someone told me,” Yoo-seong responded matter-of-factly.
Even though a gun was being aimed at him point-blank, Yoo-seong behaved as if it weren’t there.
“You can’t deny it. It’s nonsense, right?”
The colonel was silent.
Yoo-seong was right. He could not deny it.
Obviously, Miracle Boy Version 2 was destined for greatness. There had been mass productions of elite soldiers with slightly lesser abilities than Alvin Hawkins, but this one was even greater than the original.
More so, the existence of a second Miracle Boy could mean that a third and a fourth might soon follow. As soon as the production process was perfected, countless hunters could be turned into Miracle Boys.
It was one thing that the government could use to appease the American public, no, the whole world!
In addition, the United States would be in a perfect position to dominate the industry, not only with equipment but also by supplying Miracle Boys.
And so, it really had been nonsense to send out the first successful copy just like that.
‘For what reason?’ the colonel questioned himself. ‘To gain experience? Bullshit.’
When he’d heard the news that the Miracle Boy Version 2 was being dispatched, that was truly how he had felt.
Anyone of American nationality would have felt that way. Version 2 did not need to go through an actual hunt. His purpose was to serve as the key to mass production.
‘Then why was he sent to Nashville?’
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The colonel knew the answer in his heart. It consisted of two words.
The original Miracle Boy, the unique American hero, was now on the verge of losing his title.
His influence and power had been enough to send his father into the Vice President’s seat. Still, even if he or the Vice President had wished it, the government shouldn’t have wasted Version 2. But no one could stand in their way.
It was as Yoo-seong had asked him before.
‘-Politics. I’m talking.’
“You’re right,” the colonel admitted grudgingly. “It’s nonsense.”
Then he asked Yoo-seong, “I’m… not on either side, but which side are you on? Alvin Hawkins’? Or vice versa?”
“Well? Who said I was on his side?” Yoo-seong shrugged.
The colonel felt relieved. Deep in his heart, he had wanted to hear those words from Yoo-seong.
Unfortunately, it did not end there.
“If I rescue it…” Yoo-seong stared into the colonel’s eyes.
“Maybe. Maybe you can talk. To the living Miracle Boy. He knows why he was put in.”
Suddenly, Yoo-seong’s hands moved.
The colonel reflexively pulled the trigger, but nothing happened. His pistol, cut in half, fell to the floor of the Humvee with a clang.
“How do you think he will react?” Yoo-seong added.
Even if he hadn’t said it, the colonel understood what Yoo-seong was insinuating. Miracle Boy Version 2 was also human. Perhaps he was now feeling confused about his situation. They had probably told him that the operation he was being sent into wasn’t a big deal. However, now, trapped in a dangerous place, in need of rescue…
If he realized that it was all because of political maneuvering…
Yoo-seong’s voice turned cold. “They say the U.S.A. respects individual freedoms…”
The colonel felt beads of sweat flowing down his back. The American Miracle might no longer be an ‘American’ Miracle.
If the Boy chose to leave the country…
Or if, in doing so, he opened his mouth to the public about the injustice he’d suffered…
“No!” the colonel yelled unintentionally.
“Okay,” Yoo-seong casually answered. “So, what do you think is the right compensation for me?”
The colonel was stunned as he realized what Yoo-seong was saying.
The blank check Yoo-seong had demanded wasn’t for a simple rescue operation. He was asking the colonel how much he valued the heart of America itself.
“Oh, we’re here. I can see it.” Yoo-seong smiled with excitement.
Beyond the Humvee’s windshield, there was Nashville and Miracle Boy Version 2 waiting for them.
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