Apocalypse Hunter - Chapter 118
Chapter 118: The Hive (Part 4)
The convergence between the Wargrave Fortress and the Odin Corporation hadn’t happened that long ago. Three years might’ve passed by this point. The Fortress had suddenly sent a secret message saying that they wanted to build a good relationship with the Odin Corporation.
It would’ve been extremely difficult for him to refuse Wargrave’s request since they could exercise military force, along with their immense influence in the area. Besides, it wasn’t necessary to do so.
Once the underground communication began, the Fortress presented Odin Corporation with something they had desperately wanted: advanced technology.
The technology that the Fortress possessed was so superior to that of the Odin Corporation that it would be enough to make Odin’s seem like a pile of junk. For now, there was no way to know their intentions, but it was important that they had a taste of that sweet honey.
Of course, Wargrave’s Central Asian Army had sensed the atmosphere of war and was trying to make Odin Corporation their ally, but Luwin could not know as much.
Simply, he understood it in his own way: ‘There is no free lunch in the world.’
When you give something, you get something in return.. That’s obvious. But for now, he didn’t know what Wargrave was supposed to get.
Mr. Odin was with the commander of Central Command. Perhaps because of the urgency of his business, he had gone in person and with just a few guards on hand.
That meant that the matter was important enough for him to leave Fortress. There were only three guards, but Mr. Odin knew the escorts were of very high caliber.
‘Those three guys are monsters strong enough to knock this building down.’
He knew very well that even if the technology of Odin Corporation was excellent, it would fall far short of the Fortress’s technology. Those three cyborg soldiers should not be regarded simply by their numbers.
They were bodyguards of the Wargrave Commander of the Central Asian Command, General Francis.
The rank of general was held by only two in Wargrave: the chief of staff and commander of Central Command. So, they were bodyguards not to be underestimated. Each of the bodyguards also held ranks above a colonel.
Standing in front of him, Mr. Odin explained the Ramphil’s story, mentioning Dominator at the same time.
And because there was a question about their current location, he had no choice but to bring up the Hive. The ultimate goal of the small project he had started recently was to destroy the underground facility called the Hive, and Ramphil had gone there at his request on reconnaissance. That was the story.
“Did you say you’re aiming to destroy the Hive?”
“Yes, I did.”
General Francis had always spoken directly to Mr. Odin over the phone, but this was the second time they were meeting. He sometimes looked dull, and at other times, like an ordinary old man. No, he even looked a little stupid, to be exact. That was why Mr. Odin was wary of Francis. When a man of his caliber could look dull, that meant that he knew how to hide his edges.
Francis’ ever gentle look hardened, and he replied curtly, “That would be difficult.”
“Hmm… Did you say that it would be difficult?”
Suddenly, the demeanor of the ruler of Asia’s Wargrave changed.
It was more of an order than a favor. His demeanor suddenly changed from a gentle and agreeable manner into that of a soldier giving orders, which implied that this mare was important enough for him to bear his fangs, and that it was also time to sort out the pecking order.
But, Mr. Odin was also quite skilled at that kind of push and pull.
“Is our relationship close enough for this kind of talk?”
The biting answer shot out, and General Francis’ eyebrows twitched. Before he could say anything, Mr. Odin threw another statement into the mix, “But, if you provide me with a good reason, it might be possible.”
He bit back at the general, but then, he took his words back before his opponent could show his anger, all the while maintaining an agreeable attitude.
Francis was an old beast. He kept his claws hidden until the opponent got too close, then he trapped them in one pounce.
But, Mr. Odin was a fox. While pretending to be magnanimous, he taunted his opponent.
“I guess it wasn’t just luck that put you that seat.”
Francis thought so, and Mr. Odin smiled.
“I’m beginning to understand what a soldier is.”
Mr. Odin was beginning to realize that businesses with military groups were on a different level than anything he had done so far. They were sensitive to hierarchy.
So, the moment you found yourself at the bottom, it was all over. It was necessary to have a plan of action that gave the impression of not wanting to be on top, while at the same time, letting them know that you were not someone to be messed with.
Francis, again, hid his claws.
“That’s the place where we did our ‘little experiment,’ Mr. Odin. I’m asking you to stop not for our sake, but for yours. .”
Mishandling the beehive could cause a catastrophe. That was the superficial statement. But, the real message was more like a warning not to touch their dirty laundry. Francis did not elaborate.
“I can fully understand your view. But, Commander, we’re people conducting business.” Mr. Odin smiled calmly and complained, “When we’ve made an investment, we expect to get a result that matches it. We put a lot of money into organizing Dominator. We’ve put in capital, including the expected return of destroying the Hive.”
“I understand what you mean.”
Francis smiled back. Francis was not opposed to dialogue and compromise, and Mr. Odin’s intentions were obvious: Because of your external pressure, we’re going to suffer a loss. Therefore, give me something to make up for that.
Francis, however, was rather straightforward in negotiations.
“Would the plasma gun design plan be enough?”
“You have a great instinct for business. That’s admirable.”
Mr. Odin smiled broadly. The fact was that Dominator’s forces would be preserved, and he had obtained a plasma gun design plan for free.
However, that was also not a loss for Francis. If Odin Corporation were to arm themselves with Wargrave plasma guns, their military power would be strengthened, and they would face the coming war with that strengthened force.
They would’ve spent their money producing weapons for the Wargrave War, but they were blowing their noses without using their hands. Francis was a straightforward negotiator, but he was not a simple negotiator.
It was a very satisfactory negotiation agreement, with each walking away with a pleasant result.
“But why are the whereabouts of Executive Agent Ramphil important to you?”
“Ah, that’s an internal matter.”
Francis assumed the posture of not wanting to tell him, and Mr. Odin wasn’t the type to push for answers on things like that.
Now that they exchanged the destruction of the Hive for plasma guns, Ramphil was virtually useless to Mr. Odin anyway. As things were in a constant flux, it was generally not a good idea to hold on to them.
“In any case, we’ll take care of that matter once Executive Agent Ramphil arrives.”
“Yes, of course.”
To Luwin, that was strange to hear when considering Ramphil wasn’t even his own man, and no matter how he looked at it, it didn’t seem like they had much power over the agent named Ramphil.
But, whatever the case might be, from that point on, the matter was in their hands.
Even after discovering the shocking facts, the recon team scouted the Hive a little more. The monsters in the Hive were either byproducts of or chimeras of a devil production experiment. Unfortunately, a chimera’s demonic traits didn’t recharge Darkborn’s power. Zin, however, leaned on a different possibility.
The chimeras had the characteristics of devils, but not the blood of devils. However, if he were to look through that huge experiment facility, he might be able to get some of Wargrave’s data or even devil’s blood.
However, Wargrave was a tough opponent.
After the search, he realized that they had retrieved or destroyed all the data. And as it became a monster’s nest, no such electronic data remained. Even the facility was bare-boned.
He had expected that, so Zin wasn’t terribly disappointed.
But when the recon team went down to the deep underground of the Hive, they discovered something entirely new.
As they went deep underground, the vines that covered the entire Hive became increasingly rare, and they discovered a huge open space.
As relatively less plants covered the space, they could see its shape in full.
Taehone and Yoohwan didn’t know, but Zin and Ramphil knew.
The capsules filled the wall like eggs, and Ramphil blurted out, “… This is crazy.”
Most of the capsules had a uniform size for exactly one person. The space, which had countless capsules, had columns touching the ceiling in various places, and the capsules were attached to each of those columns. That was done to take advantage of the small space.
And all the capsules were already broken, as if they had already hatched.
“So, this is the space where the monsters of the Hive were created. Is that it?
If so, that would mean that the total number of monsters was fixed.
“To be exact, it’s the place where the earliest monsters were made.”
Subsequent ecosystems would have risen through biological evolution through breeding, but a very obvious conclusions could be drawn from what was visible: Asia’s Wargrave had laid the foundation for devil creation here, the means of which was human experiments.
“Why…? Why did they experiment on humans?”
Yoohwan stared at the overwhelming number of capsules, seemingly unable to wrap his mind around it.
Zin said, “Not necessarily humans.”
“Look over there.”
Zin pointed to huge ports that obviously weren’t made for human use. And there were also ports that were too small for humans to enter. Some capsules were as large as humans, while others capsules were comparably larger or smaller.
Obviously, non-human things had been used in the experiments as well. However, it was also true that most of them had been human beings.
“Well, then, why did they have to use humans?”
“They were easy to get,” Zin easily came to the very cruel conclusion.
Large cities had more people than any other place in the world, and hundreds of people were killed or disappeared every day. This was just a huge experiment that needed life, and the easiest things to capture were not monsters, but humans. That was why Wargrave had collected countless human beings around them and used them as a material for their experiment. Humans became monsters by becoming vagabonds as well.
So, the reasons for using humans as materials for devil testing were many.
In the first place, there were demons among human beings. People disappeared every day, so no one would bat an eye when someone went missing.
The space they saw in front of them wasn’t the end of it. There was a facility beyond the long passageway. The place, once Wargrave’s laboratory, had served as a hatchery for the giant monster’s nest, but now, it appeared to have lost its function.
It would be safe to say that the monsters born there, fighting each other and surviving, had created the current Hive, which meant that most of the monsters there were either offsprings of monsters that had once been human, or humans that had become monsters.
This avant-garde yet overwhelming sight angered everyone except Zin. Above all, was the fact that the Hive was not a natural disaster, but an artificially created one. Zin silently observed the scene.
Rather than conscience and ethics, it was evil that triggered some of the essential parts of man.
It was, of course, to Ramphil that the truth came most cruelly. The grimly stiff-faced Ramphil was hardened like a stone, unable to say anything.
After a long silence, Ramphil opened his mouth, “This is terrible.”
‘What have I been engaged in?’
The question was beating against Ramphil’s brain.
“Let’s go back now.”
They hadn’t scouted every part of the Hive, but they had found out what they had most needed to know.
Now the hive was just a shell, and there was nothing Zin wanted there. No one raised any objections as they all wanted to get out of that unpleasant place quickly. Beyond mere fear and terror, the place instilled unpleasantness.
‘They were the first to create a witch…’
Zin now understood how that had been possible.
The entire map of the Hive was not complete, but even with what they had, the recon team’s mission had to be deemed a success. Also, the areas that they weren’t able to explore could be fleshed out using the structural map of the Fortress.
Which monsters were dominating which space were already mapped in Zin’s head. Passing through relatively less dangerous places would safely get them out of the Hive, even if it was a little bit of long way around.
The two old hunters marveled at the devil hunter, who moved quickly and carefully as he searched for safe routes without a moment’s delay.
It was impossible for them to use the knowledge they had just gained so skillfully. Continuing the hide and cover maneuver, the reconnaissance group moved quickly in a line, following Zin’s signal.
When there was a group of monsters, they would wait until they had passed, and if they were forced to confront those monsters, they had to deal with them as quickly as possible.
The problem, however, occurred when they were quickly passing through the relatively less dangerous, huge open space. In the center of the hollow cavity was a pool of rotten water, like a pond, and they were moving away from the huge pool.
Ramphil quickly turned his head like lightning at the sudden sound that came from behind him, and the whole party stopped.
There was a water-dwelling dinosaur that looked to be only fifty centimeters long gazing at Ramphil with its head tilted.
Of course, the fearless Leona would have said it was cute, but no one in the recon team could relate to that feeling. The little dinosaur did not seem ready to attack yet, so Ramphil looked at Zin.
His eyes seemed to say, “What are you going to do?”
Zin pointed silently forward, a sign that meant, “Just ignore it.”