2 – The Derailment(2)
I try touching my hands. There didn’t seem to be anything wrong with either hand. My toes were wiggling. It seems like neither feet have any big problems. I slowly lifted my body. I meticulously looked through my back, chest, butt, thigh, and calves. Fortunately it didn’t seem like anything was injured or broken. My mood lifted a little.
“At least I didn’t get hurt, so it’s not a big deal. Looks like I was fortunate. Oh right, is that stupid recruit alright?”
San fished out a lighter from his left shoulder pocket.
‘Snap – hui reureuk’
A flame lit up.[TN: Author writes 사위가 밝아졌다 which means “Son-in-law lit up” so I just put 사위가 as flame, not SOL] Apparently he was in a forest. He spun around, shining the light on his surroundings. Behind him was his parachute draped over a small tree whose parachute lines were still connected to his shoulders. After taking a look around again, he saw the stupid recruit towards his right, slumped, like a shrimp, over a tree branch. San lit a cigarette and placed in his mouth. He doesn’t smoke very often, but when there’s a big enough event, the habit of smoking surfaces to commemorate such an event, in this case– surviving. A cigarette in such a circumstance tastes the best. .
After taking a long puff of the cigarette in his mouth, San busied himself in preparation for what may come next.
The priority in this damned darkness is to secure visibility. With one hand, San lit a lighter, after which he hoisted the large sack off his back and placed it on his lap to search through it. First, he found a military flashlight and a privately manufactured high-performance flashlight. In this case, the lightweight and easily mountable privately manufactured flashlight is more favorable. The flashlight mounted on his shoulder pads fit the bill quite nicely. San disconnected the parachute harnesses, and left the parachute draped over the tree. Although he was now free to move his body, the recruit’s status still itched at the back of his mind. He would need to be kept safe. Looking at the recruits body hung over the tree branch, it didn’t seem like anything would be broken. Well, removing the helmet first…
San’s eyes went wide. The face was too delicate.
“Eh — it’s a girl?”
He had a little bit of awareness in regards to the physical contact between him and the female soldier,but the idiotic San simply turned her around and then dragged her down, dodging her body as it fell.. He stripped of her parachute, and took off her backpack. Briefly tilting his head to the side, he shook her shoulder. The problem is that the species known as women don’t really have a non-special area where one can casually touch them.
“Hey! Wake up!”
‘This isn’t good enough. Tch! Whatever, she’s done for. What..’
With a bitter smile, San slapped her cheeks. A very hard slap at that.
‘I’m sorry, but I just don’t have the time.’
“Lieutenant Kim Biyeon get up! Is this your bedroom?”
She opened her eyes with a flash. Her action was as fast as she was nervous. She instinctively looked around. While rubbing her swollen cheek, she carefully observed the stranger in front of her.
“Higik- Who are you!”
Because of the flashlight, he could only see her dark and sickly eyes.[TN: Really didn’t know what the author meant, but based on the next sentence, I assume he only saw her eyes and because she was hit and knocked unconscious before, her eyes had a sickly look to them] Her appearance looked as terrifying as something from a horror film. Looking towards her ‘opponent’ she noticed a twinkling red light near his mouth and a hazy smoke slowly rising upwards from the cigarette sticking out of his mouth, helping her to release her tension and calm down.
“Seeing how you’re suddenly moving your body, there probably isn’t anything wrong with you. Now hurry and closely examine your body! Since you were unconscious while falling, who knows if you got injured in a few places or not, it’s important to meticulously take a look. But be quick. We’ll be late for the rendezvous time.”
“Who may you be?” [TN: This and the next line were kind of awkward to translate. There were military terms that I couldn’t find the definition to. The author says 귀관은 누구십니까 where 귀관은 is the term a military superior would use to reference a subordinate ie. “you”– the rest is “who are you” but in polite speech.]
“Captain Kim Biyeon, Squadron Commander of the Korean Task Force sir.”
After receiving her introduction, San began to engross himself in the task at hand. A big problem at the moment was cutting free from the parachute stuck in the tree. Parachutes are expensive equipment that must be retrieved and reused, therefore they could not be recklessly cut. Meanwhile Biyeon carefully checked over her body. Fortunately, it is unlikely that she had broken anything or received significant injuries. She had noticed that while falling she had scraped against the trees and felt that her whole body was tingling, but her head in particular was still throbbing.
‘Speaking of which, when my parachute connected with that officer guy’s parachute, I think he hit me in the head really hard when we were still in the air, causing me to pass out. That rude officer probably did it.’
When the parachutes tangled together, Biyeon felt like she was going to die, but considering how she survived, she felt relieved. However, she was in a slightly bad mood. No, a very bad mood. Nobody would feel good after being hit that hard. Why only her? Why?
“Hey, can you shine the light over this way? This is truly an impenetrable darkness. Why is it that there aren’t any twinkling stars up in the sky now? When we were falling the sky was pretty bright, even the stars were glittering…” San muttered to himself, trying to liberate the parachute lines from the tree branch while brandishing a military knife. His hands were very swift and adroit. Worthy of being an officer in the task force, he skillfully handled the sharp knife blade. He had already separated the entirety of the parachute from the tree branches, and roughly folded it and laid it on the floor. San promptly when to work on Biyeon’s parachute. The task would be fairly difficult as a result of the parachute being draped over a small tree about four meters tall. Especially in this pitch black darkness, it would take more time. San was fairly impatient. In these military exercises, where recruits were dropped after crossing a mountain, they would usually be found. There’s the chance that after searching all night, they’ll find this recruit, who had previously passed out, hanging from the tree. Naturally advisors would follow along to ensure all of their lives. However if a senior officer were to be late, it would be very difficult.
San hesitated for a moment.
‘Should I just leave her here? After all she isn’t a part of my unit…’
San turned to face the flashlight. Behind the flashlight would be a female officer whose facial expression he wouldn’t be able to make out. He had seen her face before by chance, but she seemed like a beauty without a brain. She doesn’t seem like a nurse… Why is she in this violent men’s world, and a bloody one at that– did she choose to participate in this squad exercise?
‘Whatever, considering the large scale of this joint coalition exercise, there would be translation officers present, right?’
San shook his head and began to climb the tree. With the help of the flashlight’s gloom penetrating light, San meticulously extracted the parachute. It took quite some time. He suddenly looked at his watch. From the drop at 9:00, he had to reach the primary rendezvous point by 10:00…
“Huh? Is the watch broken? It’s 3:20?”
San pulled out a cell phone from his pocket. After waiting for the phone to turn on, the start up screen appeared on the handset display. A message saying “Leaving the service area” appeared, soon followed by the time, which read 9:01. Even with the power off, the internal clock would still function. Also, as soon as the phone turned off, the time would synchronize with the cell phone towers. If it reads 9:01, then that means that was the exact time at which he had fallen out of the plane. Then does that mean after he had left the plane, time didn’t move forwards whatsoever? Did the phone’s internal clock die then suddenly come back to life? Does that even make sense? [TN: Author writes 수정 진동자가, which translates to quartz crystal, which I’m sure is ultimately an idiom referring to time keeping device]
“There’s something strange with this watch. Officer Kim, what time is it?”
Biyeon also looked confused. Her wristwatch also read that it was around 3:00 while her cell phone read 9:02.
“I think my watch is broken sir. It reads 3:21 while my phone 9:02.”
Biyeon curtly replied. San furrowed his brows. He had precisely synchronized the time on his watch before the exercise. There was no reason for the watch to have broken during the drop. Even more, the chance of two people’s watches breaking at the same time is incredibly rare. Not to mention the probability of both watches displaying the same time being near zero.
Having been relieved of any operational responsibilities, his senses felt like they were warning him about something. This area he was in, there was something awry about it. The smell, air, atmosphere, and sensation… furthermore training usually takes place in March, but the atmosphere felt more like that of a summer night in the woods. In addition, he had just climbed a tree that wasn’t even found in South Korea. There was a lot of moisture in the surroundings, and the leaves were broad like those from tropical trees and also crumbled in his fist.
San was nervous for the first time. Come to think of it, even the amount of time it took to fall was abnormally long. Because two parachutes ended up entwined together, only one had opened, so logically speaking, they had descended much faster than normal, but he had definitely felt that the drop was much deeper than normal even when he had felt that they were falling faster.
“Seriously what is this place? Where did you take me?”
Biyeon yelled, face stricken white with fear.