In Training (4)
“Please stand straight, recruits! Straight!”
The voice coming out from under the gas mask sounded a little artificial and turbid.
“Stand at attention, please! recruits, stand straight!”
“Raise your head and look at your front!”
“Maintain the current gap from your fellow recruits! Please stand abreast and maintain the line!”
Yells coming from all directions at once were bothering Kang Jin-Ho's ears.
Still, he paid them no mind and stared at a small tear gas canister with some interest.
The instructor sitting in front of him had just placed it on top of a grille.
They were about to conduct a CBR drill, a training to prepare the recruits in case the enemy forces resorted to chemical and biological weapons.
'Hmm, is it like simulating a poison attack?'
Kang Jin-Ho couldn't fully understand the concept of CBR.
Obviously, there were sects and clans back in Zhongyuan that relied on poison, such as the Tang family and the Five Poison Gates.
However, their poisons were derived from living organisms.
'Whatever the case may be, this will be an invaluable experience.'
When thinking about it, the organization called the South Korean military was a very helpful place that aided you with understanding modern weaponry and how they were used.
One should remember that most regular citizens of other nations wouldn't get to receive training of this nature unless they voluntarily enlisted in their own armies.
This training might be no more than skimming the surface compared to what the volunteer soldiers received in countries like the United States, but Kang Jin-Ho still found even a shallow introduction like this a valuable chance at acquiring new information.
An experience like this could not be gleaned unless you were in the army.
“Huh? I think my gas mask is leaking?”
The recruits standing abreast began whining as the smoke wafted around in the enclosed CBR chamber.
Kang Jin-Ho was too busy calculating this and that in his head while studying the thick smoke to care about their complaints, though.
'Poison spreading through the air is impossible to fully defend against.
You can hold your breath, but you'll still be poisoned if it's absorbed through your skin.'
The best way to defend would be to escape from the target location faster than the speed of the canister's explosion, but…
There was no guarantee that only one poison canister would go off.
And what if several exploded in various locations simultaneously? It could mean that all avenues of escape might be cut off at that moment.
If escaping was not feasible, then the next logical question would be, how long could Kang Jin-Ho hold out?
“Remove your filter cartridges!”
“Remove them, now!”
“Lift up your cartridges!”
Kang Jin-Ho loosened the straps and removed the cartridge, letting the unpleasant smoke seep under the mask.
“Recruits, you will be singing war songs during this training! As for the tune choice, it will be Cool Men! Recruits, load!”
“We're! Cool men!” Kang Jin-Ho joined the other recruits and started singing the song, but his mind was still busy analyzing the tear gas.
Pain instantly erupted from the smoke that entered his nostrils and mouth.
Withstanding it isn't as easy as I thought.'
Tears and snot began trickling down all on their own.
Meanwhile, he could hear resentful voices leaking out pitifully from either side of him.
This level of toxicity shouldn't be much of a hindrance to him.
However, he had to remind himself that this particular tear gas was designed to be deployed in training and was much weaker than those used on actual battlefields.
If a CBR situation was to occur in battle, it'd be safe to assume that the majority of combat forces would be rendered ineffective.
“…Cough!” Even Kang Jin-Ho couldn't stop a sneeze from escaping from his mouth.
This so-called weakened intensity of the gas was still too strong for regular humans to endure.
He raised a little bit of qi and protected his eyes, nose, and mouth.
Having found some leeway, he scanned his surroundings to see what was going on.
More and more recruits stopped singing the war song and toppled over to cough their lungs out.
'This isn't bad enough to kill…'
Kang Jin-Ho rubbed his chin slightly.
Obviously, the gas would negatively affect the bodies of these recruits to some degree.
However, this was still a drill at the end of the day.
Surely the instructors weren't planning to kill the recruits today, so these poor suffering sobs should be released from their torment soon enough.
Unfortunately, the 2nd Platoon Commander who was taking care of the tear gas canister didn’t have the same thoughts as Kang Jin-Ho.
'Why the f*ck does that punk look so relaxed?'
The 2nd Platoon Commander's mood instantly soured.
Truth be told, the CBR drill wasn't exactly fit to be called training.
Tear gas wouldn't be used in real combat, to begin with.
Besides, only a lunatic could have come up with a drill where recruits would get to experience a CBR attack without gas masks to protect them.
Even then, the CBR drill remained on the boot camp's training regime.
All because the brass still believed that this drill was effective in sobering up the recruits who had started losing a bit of their military discipline by this stage of training.
Simply put, this was a torture session officially sanctioned by the government, disguised as a drill.
Yet, a mere recruit was going through such a torture session with nary a worry in his expression.
Seeing that triggered the 2nd Platoon Commander's irritation.
He issued a new order right away.
“Remove your masks altogether!”
But that order wasn't a part of the education the recruits received before entering the chamber.
Feeling confused, the recruits raised their teary faces and blankly stared at the 2nd Platoon Commander.
Even the assistant instructors were flustered by this development.
The 2nd Platoon Commander yelled in annoyance, “Didn't you hear me?! Remove your masks, now!”
“R-Remove your masks, recruits!”
The commander’s murderous tone jolted the recruits, and they began removing the gas masks in a hurry.
The masks helped limit the gas from touching the recruits' faces.
With them gone, however, the recruits immediately felt stinging itchiness on their skins, followed by nonstop streams of snot, tears, and drool.
The 2nd Platoon Commander roared out.
“And now, you'll sing a new tune! This time, it's the Torch of Commie Hunt! Three, two, one, three, two, one!”
The recruits started singing despite all the heavy, continuous coughing.
However, none of them could sing properly as the pain shooting up from their bloodshot eyes, burning nose, and mouth stole most of their attention.
“What the f*ck is up with that recruit?” The 2nd Platoon commander muttered.
His attention wasn't on the recruits currently throwing pitiful fits while on the floor.
No, he was focused only on Kang Jin-Ho.
The commander's anger level was sneaking up even higher while staring at the relaxed mug of the recruit standing tall and singing the dumb song.
'You think you're some special sh*t, huh?!'
Thanks to a certain incident from not too long ago, the 2nd Platoon Commander was dragged through the proverbial burning coal.
The frustration and stress accumulated during that incident hadn't been alleviated yet, so his anger could only get worse after a mere recruit decided to act this way.
What did he hear the most during the last inspection period following that incident? Wasn't it how much more useless he was compared to a recruit?! Of course, like everybody else, he was thankful that Kang Jin-Ho had prevented the losses of life during that incident.
But that gratitude was eventually replaced by sheer irritation at the mere mention of Kang Jin-Ho's name after getting berated constantly like that.
'Fine, let's see how long you can last!'
The 2nd Platoon Commander gritted his teeth, then issued a new order.
“Recruits, put your arms around the shoulders of your fellow soldiers next to you!”
This so-called training should have ended some time ago.
The recruits were clearly suffering from the gas, yet the 2nd Platoon Commander still wanted to carry on with the training? The flustered assistant instructors hurriedly looked behind at the commander.
Unfortunately, the 2nd Platoon Commander wasn't in the mood.
“Put your arms around the shoulders, now!”
Despite all the wheezing and coughing, the recruits followed the order and put their arms around the shoulders of their fellow recruits.
“And now, sit down!”
The recruits ungainly plopped down on the floor.
However, the 2nd Platoon Commander was just getting started.
With his eyes coldly gleaming, he yelled out a new order.
“Shout loudly at the enemies in front of you for five seconds! Do it, now!”
The voices of the recruits were clearly getting desperate.
The assistant instructors were progressively getting concerned, but before they could do something, a recruit at a corner collapsed to the floor while covering his face as he screamed.
“Damn it! Get up, recruit! You must get up!”
Just as one of the assistant instructors ran over to him, another recruit nearby suddenly jumped up to his feet and made a beeline straight to the exit.
He kicked at the door and tried to force his way out of the chamber.
The 2nd Platoon Commander roared out, “Stop him!”
The assistant instructors rushed over and grabbed the recruit before dragging him back to the chamber.
“Uwaaaaah! Let me go, you sons of b*tches!”
The assistant instructors used force to suppress the recruit and dragged him back to where he started.
The recruit seemed to have been drained of energy as he was no longer on his feet but was almost crawling on his face.
“Second Platoon Commander, sir!” One of the assistant instructors urgently called out to the commander.
'Damn it, what a bunch of soft-kneed weaklings…'
The 2nd Platoon Commander groaned to himself.
Sure, he might have gone a tiny bit overboard here, but this level of training used to be a common occurrence only a decade ago.
Kids nowadays only wanted to go through the easy training while busy bringing up human rights and other nonsense.
Even now, officers, both the commissioned and non-commissioned variety, had to go through this level of CBR training as a matter of course, didn't they?!
“Sit up straight, recruits!” The 2nd Platoon Commander roared once again.
Kang Jin-Ho didn't pay that order any mind and looked to his side instead.
A recruit with his head drooping and drool leaking out of his mouth could be seen.
Recruit No.100 Kang Jin-Ho here.” Kang Jin-Ho raised his hand.
“What is it now?” The 2nd Platoon Commander frowned.
“Sir, this recruit's condition is strange,” said Kang Jin-Ho while pointing at the recruit next to him.
However, the 2nd Platoon Commander frowned even deeper instead.
“Stop faking it, recruit! Raise your head, now!”
“But sir, his condition really is not great.”
“What did you say?!” The 2nd Platoon Commander glared murderously at Kang Jin-Ho.
The gas mask obscured the burning light in his eyes, but the scary aura he exuded was still felt by everyone nearby.
“Hey, Recruit No.100.”
“Recruit No.100, Kang Jin-Ho, sir.”
“Are you an instructor?”
“Is it your job or the instructor's job to determine stuff like that?”
Kang Jin-Ho flatly replied, “Sir, it's the instructor's job.”
“Since you know, stay still on your spot.
Do you understand this order, recruit?”
Kang Jin-Ho didn't bother to reply.
He simply turned his head again to look at the recruit next to him.
This recruit was already half-unconscious, and the circulation of his internal energy was getting more distorted at an alarming pace.
These were signs of a looming crisis.
Not just any, but a serious crisis, as well.
“Sir, we need to save this recruit.” Kang Jin-Ho freed his arm, walked over to the fallen recruit, then picked him up before slinging the half-conscious man's arm over his own shoulder.
“Hey, you son of a b*tch! What the f*ck do you think you are doing?!” The 2nd Platoon Commander exploded in rage and yelled, but Kang Jin-Ho ignored him and walked up to the exit while supporting the unresponsive recruit.
The commander pointed at Kang Jin-Ho and cried out.
“Stop that motherf*cker!”
The flustered assistant instructors grabbed and held on to Kang Jin-Ho.
“Recruit No,100! Let him go!”
“Stop! I said, stop! You punk!”
Despite their efforts, however, Kang Jin-Ho's expression didn't even twitch once as he continued to march toward the exit like a bulldozer, with several instructors clinging to him.
“What the hell?! Why is this bastard so strong?!”
The instructors became even more flustered and tried desperately to stop him, but Kang Jin-Ho still walked up to the door in seemingly unhurried steps.
Once he reached the exit, he knocked on the door and yelled out, “I'm opening the door! Please step aside if you don't want to get hurt!”
“Huh? What was that?” One of the assistant instructors on standby outside the chamber tilted his head in confusion.
He and his colleagues were charged with stopping any potential escapees from opening the door and fleeing.
“I think someone is telling us to move away from the door?”
“Huh? Why? Should we open the door, then?”
“Well, let's just…”
Right at that moment…
The thick door suddenly cracked as if it would splinter into pieces before breaking loose from the hinges and flying into the empty air.
The assistant instructors outside stared agog at this sight, unable to process the situation.
“W-What the hell?!”
Their bulging eyes caught another unbelievable sight next—a recruit with '100' printed on his ballistic helmet waltzed outside the chamber while lugging around another recruit and four; no, five assistant instructors.
Technically, it was more like he was supporting another recruit while the assistant instructors were desperately clinging to him.
The instructors guarding the door outside watched with their jaws on the floor.
They couldn’t understand what this situation was supposed to be.
“How in the hell…”
How could a person do that?! Even though five well-built young men were clinging to him, Kang Jin-Ho looked like he was on a pleasant Sunday stroll.
You might be able to find someone physically strong enough to drag five men around in South Korea if you looked hard enough since it wasn't out of the realm of possibility, after all.
However, would they be able to waltz around unaffected with that many people clinging on to them? The sight was so unrealistic it had to be a CGI scene from a movie or something.
Kang Jin-Ho suddenly stopped walking.
He carefully placed the recruit leaning against his shoulder on the ground and stepped back.
“Hey, you as*hole! What the hell do you think you're doing?!”
The assistant instructors clinging to him threw off the gas masks and glared daggers at Kang Jin-Ho.
They weren't sure what happened here, but they could still tell that this recruit had done something completely unacceptable.
In addition, a mere recruit ignoring them had also wounded their pride.
Just as the assistant instructors were about to bite Kang Jin-Ho's head off, he silently pointed at the recruit on the floor.
The recruit began to spasm and violently convulse.
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