Chapter 66 – Bucket List (1)
The sky was cloudy.
The dreary sky seemed to herald an ominous event. The color of the sky was like the color of the end of the world. It truly felt like the world was going to end.
“Kooleuk, Kooleuk…… “
Kim Tae Hoon was coughing in this dreary weather.
It wasn’t just a simple cough.
Every time he coughed, he felt a sharp pain in his nose and at the back of his throat. His spine would be racked with pain.
Whenever he stopped coughing, his mouth would feel numb.
A stream of blood would pour out of his mouth and passes through his fingers every time he coughed.
‘What’s going on?’
It was the sign of death.
Seeing his future self in a vision, Kim Tae Hoon couldn’t help but be surprised at his future self’s condition.
Kim Tae Hoon’s five senses were out of commission.
He couldn’t hear very well, there was no sensation in his fingers, and he couldn’t smell nor taste the blood in his mouth even though it was streaming out of his mouth.
Even his vision was dim.
‘Just what did I do……’
For Kim Tae Hoon who had superhuman vision and hearing thanks to the Black Snake’s Evil Eye and the Rattle-Tailed Mouse’s Hearing, it was an impossible situation.
Kim Tae Hoon desperately urged himself to say something.
Say something to yourself who will soon die, give him a clue so he can avoid this death!
But his dying self could not hear his urgent cries. That was why Kim Tae Hoon didn’t say anything.
On top of that, there wasn’t anybody around that could explain what was going on.
Chang Sung Hoon wasn’t present to talk to Kim Tae Hoon, Ahn Sunmi wasn’t there to reveal the contents of a wishlist, and there weren’t any enemies around to explain why he was dying.
There were no words.
Kim Tae Hoon wordlessly looked at his left palm.
– 170712 Colonel Lim Hyunjoon is killed, prevent.
– 180203 Cho Sungyeon dies, make president.
– 180504 Kori Nuclear meltdown, prevent.
Kim Tae Hoon’s left palm contained a message for his past self in the case of near death.
In addition, it wasn’t just a normal message.
A bucket list, a list of activities that he should complete before dying.
It was also a means to send a message without having to speak.
Napoleon’s Golden Goblet allowed the user to peer into the future. Words spoken within his vision would just be words within a dream.
His death was inevitable, and he would see this message from start to finish.
In other words, Kim Tae Hoon was waiting for death. He was waiting so that this death may be avoided, not challenged.
‘Just what happened to me?’
A sudden sound came from the distance.
Kim Tae Hoon lifted his head from looking at his palm and looked towards where the roar had come from.
Through dim eyes he saw something that looked like an angel. An angel made of gray smoke.
But of course it wasn’t an angel.
AC-130 Gunship had earned the nickname ‘Angel of Death’, and it was a plane that Kim Tae Hoon was familiar with.
It shot a flare, but the scene didn’t last long.
Even as the harbinger of death approached Kim Tae Hoon, he simply looked at his palm instead of concerning himself with it.
He focused all of his senses on his palm.
The vision ended there.
Incheon International Airport.
The enormous size of the airport and the various VIP lounges of the various airlines would often times astound first time visitors.
Inside one of the VIP lounges sitting on comfy couches were two men staring at each other.
The expressions of the two people were not good.
One of them had his eyes closed while massaging his temples while the other was simply frowning.
The frowning man opened his mouth.
“Boss, can I ask you something?”
Kim Tae Hoon didn’t reply to Chang Sung Hoon’s question.
“Whenever you have a vision, your situation should improve, but it seems like the more visions you get, the worse your situation becomes. Is it just me?”
Again, Kim Tae Hoon did not answer.
There was no need to give an answer, since the answer was in the question.
Already knowing the answer, Chang Sung Hoon answered the question himself.
It was Kim Tae Hoon’s fourth dream.
In that dream, Kim Tae Hoon wrote a bucket list for himself on the palm of his hand.
It was just like that. Bucket list, he had left behind what he needed to do before he died.
It was a wise decision.
They weren’t just clues, but clearly things that he needed to do. It was by far the cleanest death he had experienced yet.
“I’m going to go crazy, first it was killing the dragon, now a nuclear disaster? What’s next, stopping a meteorite? Do we have to create a space ship, go out into space and land on the meteor, and then blow it up with a nuclear bomb? I swear there was a movie like this…… I think a movie starring Bruce Willis……”
But the contents, as always, was not kind.
No, it wasn’t to the point of being unkind.
“Then I guess we need to go save Colonel Lim Hyunjoon.”
There were three things on the bucket list.
To save Colonel Lim Hyunjoon who is soon to die.
“Cho Sungyeon, just who is he that boss wants to make him the president?”
Cho Sungyeon, someone that Kim Tae Hoon has to save and make as the president.
“And Kori Nuclear Power Plant…… aish, what the fuck.”
Lastly, to prevent the Kori Nuclear Power Plant meltdown.
Mentioning the last thing on the bucket list, Chang Sung Hoon covered his face with both hands.
His hands, wrapped around his face, were trembling.
“It certainly isn’t something that you should ignore. If you don’t do it, then everyone will die.”
The Kori Nuclear Plant meltdown was that shocking.
“The land around the meltdown would become hell. It would be a disaster like Chernobyl or Fukushima and there won’t be any available personnel to go handle it.”
Even someone like Chang Sung Hoon who wasn’t an expert on nuclear power plants was shocked and terrified at the prospect of what the future would be like should the power plant have a meltdown.
“No, rather, there are some good sides to it. The monsters won’t be safe from the radiation either.”
Chang Sung Hoon couldn’t help but amend his pessimistic statement with a desperate hope that monsters wouldn’t be safe either.
“Do you think that regular humans could perhaps become Awakened if exposed to radiation? Should we test it? Do you perhaps know? Could I become like Doctor Manhattan from Watchmen?”
He was referring to the DC character from Watchmen, Doctor Manhattan. He was a scientist that gained supernatural powers due to a nuclear incident. But seeing as how Chang Sung Hoon was talking about superheroes for no reason, who knew if he was going crazy or not.
Kim Tae hoon stopped rubbing his temples after listening to what Chang Sung Hoon said.
Kim Tae Hoon opened his closed eyes.
“A nuclear meltdown happens when the core isn’t cooled properly. There are three major stages when it comes to a core melting. A nuclear fuel element exceeds its melting point and melts through the fuel cladding, at which point the nuclear fuel rods and further layers of containment are breached. In the end, the molten metals of the containers and the nuclear plant along with the melted fuel rods will be released into the atmosphere and onto the ground.”
Listening to Kim Tae Hoon, Chang Sung Hoon looked at Kim Tae Hoon with a grave expression on his face.
“You are very knowledgeable.”
“It’s because one of the things that special forces units learn about are nuclear power plants.”
“Is that so?”
“One of the most effective targets that terrorists can aim at are nuclear power plants. Instigating a nuclear meltdown at a power plant incites more fear in the populace than hijacking an airplane or blowing a building.”
Kim Tae Hoon’s explanation went on for quite a bit.
It made the person who was listening feel anxious and more tense.
Kim Tae Hoon opened his mouth again amidst the tension.
“If it was a melt through or a melt out, I would have said so.”
“It’s not the worst situation?”
“If left alone it would be, but at the very least, it should be ok for now.”
“I’m slightly relieved to hear that.”
“The most important thing right now is the first vision.”
“Do you remember what I said to you in the first vision?”
Faced with an unexpected question, Chang Sung Hoon recalled something.
Chang Sung Hoon wouldn’t have remembered it if it was an average story, but this was a story that was as unbelievable as Kim Tae Hoon, and it was a story that Kim Tae Hoon had told him one night in front of the Wonmi Library.
“You’ve worked hard, go to Gyeongju by yourself, find Commander-in-Chief Lim Hyunjoon and pass on my message……”
Chang Sung Hoon’s face stiffened.
“Gyeongju! The Kori Nuclear Power Plant didn’t have a meltdown during the first dream.”
The Kori Nuclear Power Plant was located in Busan’s Gijang County.
The distance to Gyeongju was approximately 60km if traveled in a straight line.
If the reactor does meltdown, then Gyeongju could never become a stronghold.
In the circumstances of the first death, the Kori Nuclear Power Plant had not suffered from a meltdown. “In that first dream, the Kori Nuclear Power Plant never ran into any problems.”
“Then just why……”
“Someone must have caused the problem.”
“What? No, just what kind of a crazy bastard would do such a thing? The person who causes the problem would also die!”
“It must be someone with no affection, interest, or concern for the country known as the Republic of Korea.”
Kim Tae Hoon closed his eyes again.
It was clear that all these things were the work of the Six Snakes.
The Six Snakes should be lacking in firepower right now.
Having learned many things through the three deaths, Kim Tae Hoon could not let the Six Snakes to grow.
‘That must be the reason why.’
In other words, the Six Snakes abandoned Korea, ignored Kim Tae Hoon, and instead opted to open a Pandora’s Box in Korea in order to destroy it.
‘Beating the grass to surprise the snake?’
It was a damnable task.
‘Rather, it was an AC-130.’
However, it wasn’t the meltdown that put Kim Tae Hoon in a bad mood.
Kim Tae Hoon saw the lighted path of the projectile that the AC-130 had fired before he died.
Angel of Death.
The AC-130 Gunship, though it had an eerie nickname, did not fire lethal flares. Flares were initially designed to disrupt the infrared sensors of a guided missile. It was unlikely that Kim Tae Hoon was killed in that attack.
The important thing was the owner of the Angel of Death.
It was obvious that the United States of America would show hostility towards Kim Tae Hoon.
‘It was an attack by the United States.’
The evidence was the Kori Nuclear Power Plant meltdown.
‘After the dragon is the United States.’
To be honest, there wasn’t a clear solution to winning the war. It just simply wasn’t imaginable.
In other words, it was all that was left.
There was no way to win the war so he had made a bucket list so as to prevent the war itself.
It was the only light amidst all the confusion and fear.
That’s why Kim Tae Hoon made it clear.
‘Prevent the assassination of Colonel Lim Hyunjoon.’
The first thing Kim Tae Hoon should do is to save Colonel Lim Hyunjoon as the bucket list stated.
There was nothing else to worry about at the moment.
‘The tasks I have to do are simple. So I should think simple.’
He took a moment to arrange the information in his head.
But such peace didn’t last long.
“E, excuse me…….”
A soldier wearing the uniform of the Mek Guild suddenly entered the VIP Lounge.
Chang Sung Hoon took the initiative to speak instead of Kim Tae Hoon.
The soldier looked at Chang Sung Hoon and spoke after a bit of hesitation.
“We’ve found a survivor.”
Chang Sung Hoon had an incredulous expression on his face.
Incheon International Airport was a place that hadn’t seen the vestiges of life for the longest time, so how could there be a survivor?
Furthermore, why would the soldier approach Chang Sung Hoon and Kim Tae Hoon about a single survivor?
Kim Tae Hoon was the head of the Mek Guild, and more.
For those living under the banner of the Mek Guild, he was like a god.
A single survivor was not a big enough issue to personally bring to his attention.
“Just who is this survivor? Is it the daughter of the president of the United States?”
In other words, it was likely that the survivor was not an average person.
“That…… she said she was Kate Kennedy, the daughter of the United States Ambassador to Korea.”
Hearing that, Kim Tae Hoon started rubbing his temples again.