SPACE 4. Waking Up! (PART: 1)
He strained his eyes. It had been 16 hours since he entered hibernation state.
‘I sent the Carrier MR-II so now I just need to wait to be rescued.’
He had sent a help request before entering the hibernation state. But he encountered a ridiculous situation in reality. The real estate where his entire fortune was invested had fallen to 1/10th of the price. If he couldn’t solve the crisis then the entire fortune he gathered for 4 years would fly away. He showed a calm appearance in front of his parents and Hyung-nims but inwardly he was feeling the complete opposite. However, there was still a solution.
‘The reason the land value fell is because Lucifer occupied the nuclear power plant……’
Park Woo-seong said that Lucifer would definitely keep his promise. Ark also thought this.
Lucifer would keep his promise whether he won or lost. He wouldn’t randomly commit an act of terrorism. Ark was convinced of it like Park Woo-seong.
‘In the end, everything will be settled if I step on Lucifer in Galaxian.’
The situation hadn’t changed but Ark’s mental attitude had. It wasn’t somebody else’s problem anymore. He couldn’t leisurely explore and relax. Lucifer was somewhere within Galaxian. Right now he couldn’t do anything about that. Yet he still connected to his unit as soon as he entered his house. He connected…..
“Why am I in a place like this?”
Ark looked around with confused eyes. It was a rusty square room. An iron grille was attacked to a small window on the rear wall and was also stuck on a small window in the iron door. His hands were also cuffed behind his back.
“I…..I’m imprisoned? Why?”
Ark couldn’t understand the situation at all. He had requested help yet he was in a jail when he woke up from the hibernation state?
‘Someone must’ve changed my location while I was sleeping…..did the rescue squad arrive? So why was he stuck in jail? Wait? Hasn’t it been a fortnight since I was stranded? Perhaps they’re treating me like a deserter after having no contact for a fortnight? Is that why I’m in jail? But that shouldn’t happen. I discovered the location of the Rama’s main base so why am I thrown in jail? This is ridiculous…..’
Ark woke up and raised his body. He started tapping on the door and crying out in a loud voice.
“Hey! Is there anyone out there? Hey! Where is this place? Why am I shut in here?”
–He appears to have woken up.
Then he heard someone’s voice from behind him. The face that appeared in the small window…….
‘What, what the? This guy……a Rama?’
Ark winced and retreated. The person who appeared in the grate was a Rama with dark skin and pointy ears.
‘The Rama clan?’ Oh my god! T-then I was caught by the Rama while in hibernation mode?’
Ark grasped the situation too late and fell into a state of panic. After he heard the voice, 2 Rama entered the jail. One Rama was a heavily armoured warrior while the other one was dressed lighter and had a backpack with a cross on the side. The Rama warrior sat down in front of Ark and began to talk.
–You fell asleep and woke up in the jail. You must be puzzled. However, you won’t understand even if I explain it. I’ll explain the main subject simply. We brought you here instead of killing you because we wanted to ask you some questions.
–It’s no use pretending not to understand.
Ark’s heart dropped at the Rama warrior’s words.
‘What the? This bastard, how does he know I understand the Rama’s language?’
The galactic federation and even the Royal Guards didn’t know that Ark understood the Rama’s language. So how could the Rama warrior know his secret? Did they do something while I was in hibernation mode? Ark thought suddenly. The Rama warrior laughed and tapped a machine like a hearing device in his hear.
–This is a translator that specializes in the language of the galactic federation. I know that you are hearing the federation language. Of course, your words will also be translated into the Rama language. So there is no reason to waste time pretending you don’t understand.
‘……Luckily it wasn’t what I first thought.’
It was fortunate but he still couldn’t be relieved. He was a prisoner of the enemy. It was impossible to think of that as a good thing.
–We recently had a small incident that occurred on the base. There’s also a few bikes and soldiers missing. It was difficult to trace it through the storm but we saw evidence of digging when we looked around. We missed the signs for a while…..but we eventually found you. We also saw the light signal from the enemy communication so don’t try to pretend it’s not you.
Ark frowned after hearing those words. Leaving a trail of holes from digging was clearly Ark’s mistake. He could’ve died from starvation so he hadn’t been worried about leaving a trail. He soon realized his mistake and covered up the hole after that. He also applied the method of Swamp Walking to move on the snow without leaving footprints. However, he ruined that by sending a signal which emitted light. The Rama warrior laughed as he saw Ark’s confused face.
–It is like I expected. You don’t have to pretend you don’t know. Let’s cut to the chase. Are you the one behind the missing soldiers?
‘Is he stupid?’
Ark looked at the Rama warrior with amazed eyes. What crazy person would answer ‘yes’ in this situation? Ark held his tongue but the Rama warrior acted like it didn’t matter and continued.
–If it was you then how did you manage to get past our defences and sneak into the base? Were you by yourself or did you attack with other colleagues? What about the main army? Do they already know the location of our base? Oh, and another thing. Does your GPS contain the coordinates of the federation’s main base? If you give me the answer then I’ll let you live. Because the chance to catch an enemy is rare.
This guy was stupid as expected. Handing over the GPS information of the military strong hold was like helping the enemy. Naturally he would receive enormous penalties. The penalty would be to the extent that he couldn’t continue playing within the galactic federation. Of course, Ark hadn’t registered with the Fairy yet so he would lost 13 levels and a 5 star rated skill. If he was killed then everything would be lost. But that would be nothing compared to the penalty received if he helped the enemy. If he didn’t want to quit the game then obviously he couldn’t answer. So Ark said something to them. It was an answer that often appeared in movies.
It was regrettable that he would lose everything from the last fortnight but he had to survive. There was no choice now that he had become a prisoner. He would lose a lot of things but luckily he had sent the Carrier MR-II with the position of the Rama base. If the federation won the war with that information then he would still receive huge achievements.
“I have to be satisfied with that much.’
-I told you. This is a rare opportunity. Killing you is too easy.
The Rama warrior smiled and got up.
–You now understand what I need to know. If you want to tell me then you should say it.
“Let’s see? I will tell you when the army comes.”
-You’ll see soon. Hey, Relief.
The Rama warrior shrugged and turned around. The Relief that the Rama warrior called pulled out a syringe from the backpack with a cross on it. Ark sensed something sinister as the syringe was plunged into him.
|-You have received a highly concentrated nutrients injection.
<Your health and satiety has recovered by 50% due to the concentrated nutrients injection>
‘Eh? Nutrients injection? This guy, he is a medic?’
There was also a job similar to a healer in Galaxian. Some possible different jobs were a cleric or a medic. The cleric used a type of recovery magic while the medic prepared supplies and dispensed drugs. There weren’t that many clerics in Galaxian at the moment but there were quite a few medics. The Rama warrior smiled and said.
–I can’t let you die of starvation.
“Isn’t that a waste? That injection, isn’t it expensive?”
–It is worth it as long as I can figure out the base of the enemy.
“It is futile if you want me to tell you.”
–I said that you would see soon.
The medic then pulled out another syringe. The Rama warrior shook his head when the medic tried to give the injection to Ark.
–No, that’ll never work. He is a user. You won’t know but a user won’t be threatened by an injection like that. Instead…..yes, SMT-518 is good.
-Huh? But SMT-518 is……
–My experience with users shows me that this is better than torture.
–If you say so…..then I understand.
The medic nodded and pulled out another syringe before sticking it in Ark.
|-The special bacteria SMT-518 has been injected.
<In the case of a bacterial injection, a special effect will be triggered for 30 minutes>
“A bacteria injection? What are you…..heok!”
Ark was looking around doubtfully when he suddenly screamed. The moment it was injected, a frightful feeling spread from the tips of his hair to his toes……
“I-it tickles! Ohit! Uk! Hak hak hak! Ack! I-I’m going crazy! W-what did you do? Ohit!”
A ticklish sensation started to spread around his entire body. Now Ark could understand what the Rama warrior meant. At first he thought the medic was trying to give him a pain causing bacteria. However, a user were different from NPCs and the game unit was able to adjust the degree of pain.
He would only feel a slight sting like static electricity when being horrifically tortured. But other than pain, his other senses were 100%. The Rama warrior suspected Ark was a user after finding him in hibernation mode and ordered the SMT-518 injection. The itching sensation was even more horrible than pain. This was a type of pain that the unit’s control device couldn’t prevent. Besides, he was handcuffed so he couldn’t scratch no matter how much he itched. It was a situation where he wanted to run and jump around. Ark never imagined something like this even when he was New World’s advisor.
“Ohit! T-this bastard! Hihihi, stop it!”
–If you’re happy then I’m happy as well. Are you going to speak now?
“Hak hak hak! H-how funny! Hik hik hik! Y-you bastard! Hihihi! I’ll never leave you alone!”
–He hasn’t had enough fun yet. It’s okay. There is still a lot of time to change your mind.
The Rama warrior and medic left the room. He was about to say something to the medic when he looked at the jail and turned off the translation system. It was a behaviour to guard against Ark but Ark was proficient in the foreign language.
–He was in hibernation mode so there might still be others in the area. Troops are exploring the area. The troops moving from the other direction will join us tomorrow. We will wait until the troops accompany us before returning to the base. Don’t forget to inject the SMT-518 every 30 minutes.
–I understand Captain-nim.
He heard all of their words through the grate. Ark’s eyes shone while he rolled across the floor suffering.
‘Ohit! Return to the base? Hihihi! That means this isn’t the Rama’s central base!’
Ark had been in hibernation mode so he thought he had been brought back to the Rama base. And escaping from the central base himself was impossible. With the medic there, he couldn’t refuse to eat and starve to death.
‘Even if the Beltana war is finished, I would still be a prisoner. Ohhhh! The Carrier MR-II contained information about the Rama central base but how the federation will handle it is still unknown. Hak hak hak! It might take a few days depending on the federation’s response! I’m going crazy! I might even rot a few months in jail.’
Ark was anxious about that fact. SMT-518 was really difficult to withstand. He was in a state where he was being tickled and he couldn’t scratch it. This wasn’t something he could withstand with patience. In other words, the SMT-518 was more painful for users than torture. However, this was a game so the user had a way to escape any type of pain. It was to end the connection. He could enter hibernation mode and then exit the unit. The more fearful part was that he was stuck in jail.
He couldn’t do anything. Level up, items…..he would just have to wait around even if connected to the game. Ark started Galaxian with a clear goal so this was the most dreadful penalty.
Ark bit his lip. He should’ve thought that someone would’ve chased him after setting fire to the Carack’s food and fleeing with the bike. But he couldn’t consider it. He was so busy trying not to die of starvation every day that he couldn’t think about anything else. He dug holes to catch the bugs and the Rama scouting troops eventually found him. The light signal that the Rama warrior saw was the second problem. His prisoner status was a result of Ark’s carelessness. But it was too late to regret it.
‘However, it is still too early to give up if this isn’t the central base.’
Ark bit his lip against the maddening itch and organized his thoughts. If this was the central base then it was impossible for him to escape by himself. Base on the dialogue he heard, Ark was certain that he wasn’t far from the mountain where he entered hibernation. They weren’t convinced yet that Ark was the criminal behind the event at the base. They thought his colleagues might be around and wouldn’t return to the base until the searched the area.
‘But they will return to the base after the search ends. Pant pant pant! According to the Rama warrior, that will be tomorrow. Kikiki! Once the unit scouting the circumference returns then we will head to the base. In the end I only have one day. If I fail to escape before that happens then I’ll rot in the Rama’s jail. I have to escape before then. Hek hek hek! That’s not…..I have to look for a way to die!’
He was impatient thinking about it. But both his arms were handcuffed behind his back. He couldn’t even pull out an item let alone escape.
‘First I need to deal with these handcuffs……’
Ark looked around desperately but there was nothing inside the jail. He was surrounded by thick steel walls. Yet he still had to find something. If he didn’t then it was over. Ark twisted his body despite the itch and checked every corner of the jail. He finally saw a bent iron plate in a corner of the room. The iron plate’s edges bent outwards.
Ark approached it quickly. He place the handcuffs on the edge of the iron plate and started scraping away. He was going to use the sharp edge as a hacksaw to cut off the handcuffs. However…..
Kkaduk! Kkaduk! Kkaduk! Jik! Jik! Jik!
He had only been enduring the itching and scraping at the handcuffs for 3 minutes. At first it seemed like the iron edge was working. Then despair appeared on Ark’s face as he turned his edge.
‘Damn! Why are the prison walls so weak?’
Iron powder was piling up on the ground underneath where he was scraping away at the handcuffs. However, the iron powder wasn’t coming from the handcuffs. The iron powder was coming from the iron wall. The iron piece was being scratched away by the handcuffs. On the other hand, not one mark could be seen on the cuffs. This meant the material of the handcuffs was several times firmer than the iron wall.
‘I made a mistake! I can’t escape the handcuffs like this!’
Ark leaned against the wall with a blank expression and sighed.
‘It would’ve been better to starve to death……’
Ark thought as he absent-mindedly stared at the ground. Then an ‘!’ popped in his head.
‘Wait? The handcuffs are stronger than the iron wall?’
Ark looked at the small window where he could see thick snow and strong blasts of wind.
Of course, the window had an iron grille across it. It was red and rusty but there was no way to cut it without any equipment. But now Ark had an incredibly strong metal. The metal was strong enough to even grind down the iron wall.
‘I can do it! It is possible with these handcuffs!’
Ark approached the window and placed his back to it. Then he started moving the handcuffs across the grille with as much strength as possible. Ark was using the handcuffs to scratch away at the window.
Kkaduk! Kkaduk! Kkaduk! Kkaduk!
He continued scratching against the grille for a while. At this point, Ark had been doing this for 10 minutes and managed to destroy one of the crosspieces. However that wasn’t enough.
‘I need to destroy at least 3 bars in order to escape through the window.’
He continued scratching at the grille with the handcuffs behind his back. His handcuffed wrists weren’t perfect. The handcuffs tore the skin and caused blood to flow. However, Ark couldn’t feel the pain thanks to the control device of the unit. The itch caused by SMT-518 transcended imagination. So it was difficult for him to sit still. However, the pain from scratching the skin actually reduced the itching. Now he could withstand it to some degree.
‘I will escape!”
Kkaduk! Kkaduk! Kkaduk! Kkaduk!
Ark bit his lips and continued moving without any breaks. And he had finally separated the 2nd iron bar from the 3rd……
-Eh? It is already this time. His spirit should’ve dropped by now.
‘Dammit! Has it already been 30 minutes?’
Ark thought frantically as he heard a voice outside the door. The itching from SMT-518 was really intolerable. The duration of SMT-518 is 30 minutes. It was time to be re-inoculated.
‘If the medic comes in then he will see the cut crosspieces! Dammit! Just one! Just one more……’
Ark rocked his arm like crazy and scraped his flesh on the window. However, the crosspiece just wriggled side by side and didn’t break easily. And……
–I have to enter the injection even if he is in hibernation mode.
The door was opened.
“The reply has come from the central government.”
Inside the headquarters of the federation’s base. A middle aged man with silver hair spoke in a low voice.
“Are they sending reinforcements?”
“No, the central government can’t afford to send any more regular troops.
Beltana’s garrison commander called Haman shook his head and explained.
“There are internal conflicts with the Aschulat while the federation is struggling against the Rama. Beltana is one of the most important and strategic planets left in the Bellin constellation. The federation is also being damaged by the Rama warrior nicknamed the Red Slaughterer. It is difficult for the federation to send more troops.”
“But this is an opportunity.”
“Of course. I’ve been waiting for this moment.”
“Yes, I visited Marquis Martin who is a councillor of the central government through the Star Gate and explained the circumstances. It is hard for Sir Martin to send regular troops but offered to send some mercenaries to act on behalf of Istana. They will send 200 mercenaries by tomorrow.”
A bold smile appeared on Haman’s face.
“We will get 200 reinforcements tomorrow. The storm hasn’t completely cleared but we know the exact location of the Rama base so it won’t be a problem. We will march as soon as reinforcements arrive tomorrow. And before the storm clears up, all the Rama on Beltana will be exterminated.”
Haman looked at a young man with a satisfied look.
“This is all thanks to you. How did you get this information when there is a snow storm?”
“No, that’s okay. The results matter not the process. You brought the information to the strategy team so how you got it doesn’t matter. The most important part of fighting on a disputed planet is to find the main base. Over the past year, numerous scouting units had been sacrificed and they couldn’t figure out this information. This achievement will award you a silver medal of valour.”
|-You have earned 5,000 achievements for figuring out the location of the Rama base.
In addition, the Beltana garrison commander Haman has recommended you be awarded a silver medal of valour.
<When participating in battle on a disputed planet, acquiring special information that will lead to the destruction of the enemy such as the location of the enemy base will give special achievements. The medal of valour has significant meaning in the galactic federation and different classifications such as gold, silver and bronze will be awarded based on separate acts>
‘Silver medal of valour!’
The young man’s heart beat wildly. The silver medal of valour was the second highest medal!
If he received that then he could get ahead of other people! It would guarantee him success. The young man couldn’t hide his thrilled expression. Haman smiled and raised his hand to his shoulder.
“You shouldn’t be satisfied with this much. Like I said, we’ll be able to drive those dirt aliens from Beltana once reinforcements arrive tomorrow. I will leave the 200 elite troops to you. You will have a large role in the battle and I have no doubt that you will win. Then you will be awarded a gold medal. Do you understand?”
“Please leave it to me!”
“You are reliable. Then please go. You also need to make some preparations.”
“Yes, Commander-nim. Thank you!”
The young man saluted and went outside.
“The silver medal of valour, I never thought he would help me this way.”
The young man muttering was Valencia, the leader of the 1st armoured platoon. It was an accident that Valencia discovered it. Ever since Ark went missing a fortnight ago, the soldiers couldn’t move due to the snow storm so Valencia’s greatest pleasure was watching the Royal Guards waiting for Ark. On that day, he had been happily watching the Royal Guards sobbing near the Fairy. He discovered a flying object heading towards headquarters. Valencia realized it was the Carrier MR-II and intercepted it along the way. If something like that was sent to the defense base then it was highly likely to be sensitive information. Valencia just thought he would see a scouting report when intercepting the Carrier MR-II. It wasn’t much but he could raise his achievements like this. However, the Carrier MR-II had more information than he expected. It contained the GPS information of the Rama main base! And the person who sent the GPS information……
‘Ark! That bastard, he’s still alive?’
Thoughts started turning over in Valencia’s head. If he took the Carrier MR-II to headquarters then Ark would receive the huge achievements even if he wasn’t here. And Valencia would be left with nothing. But now the Carrier MR-II was in Valencia’s hands. Ark was also missing for a fortnight so he was treated as a deserter.
‘Can I download the data from this Carrier MR-II to my Nymphe?’
He could intercept the achievement! But there was a problem. If Ark returned then all that would be gone. If Ark returned alive then an investigation would be launched and the information was registered on Ark’s Nymphe so Valencia wouldn’t be able to hide the fact that he intercepted it.
‘But that is only if Ark comes back alive.’
If he died then all the information registered on the Nymphe would be erased. If that happened then there was no way to prove it even if Ark protested.
‘According to the message, Ark is currently stranded 290 km away from the base. He entered hibernation state to await rescue after sending the Carrier MR-II. If a rescue party isn’t sent then it will be difficult for him to return. But that isn’t enough. That guy definitely has to die. There is a Rama outpost near that mountain area. If that guy is hiding there then the solution is simple.’
Valencia inputted a new coordinate into the Carrier MR-II that Ark sent.
|* Current Stranded Location: X-#@### Y-#!#$|
The message was encrypted and the Carrier MR-II was sent to Ark’s location. Of course he didn’t just send it. He added one additional gift.
Flash, flash, flash, flash!
It started emitting light once it reached the destination. That was why the sleeping Ark was caught by the Rama. It was the light signal the Rama warrior was talking about.
‘If he is in hibernation mode then the Rama will 100% take him. If he hasn’t resurrected yet then he must’ve been captured alive. No, I won’t let him return alive.’
Valencia smiled meanly as he continued walking.
|-The galactic federation has sent an emergency message.
Hired mercenary troops shall be dispatched to the disputed planet Beltana.
The message appeared on the Nymphe’s of all the mercenaries on Istana. The central government was hiring mercenaries after the request by Beltana’s garrison commander. The mercenaries…..
“Yes, that is where Ark is located.”
……They received it as well.