In Training (6)
“Second Platoon Commander,” the Recruit Training Center's Company Commander, Choi Wu-Seong, moodily muttered.
The 2nd Platoon Commander immediately replied while standing at attention, “Sir! First Lieutenant Bak Gil-Su, sir!”
Listen, Bak Gil-Su.”
“You f*cking idiot!”
The 2nd Platoon Commander stood still as a stack of documents struck him in the forehead.
He watched as the papers scattered messily in the air before lowering his head in shame.
Meanwhile, the Company Commander roared in rage, “You f*cking idiot! Were you trying to kill someone?! Would their death sober you up?! Hey, I'm asking you! Have you gone bloody senile already?! You dumb sh*t!”
I have not,” Bak Gil-Su replied helplessly.
“Really? Are you seriously telling me you haven't gone senile, yet you still decided to put the recruits through a wringer just because you got a little upset? You f*cking moron! You think we're still in the 80s?!”
“I'm sorry, sir…”
The Company Commander shot up to his feet and began pointing angrily at Bak Gil-Su.
“Seriously?! You think your apology is enough to fix this, you dipsh*t! How the hell are you going to take responsibility for this?! Don't you know that the Battalion Commander was summoned by the brass?!”
“You can imagine the level of bullsh*t the Battalion Commander will have to deal with, right?! And what do you think will happen to us once he returns to base?”
Bak Gil-Su lowered his head even more.
“My apologies, sir.”
“Listen here, you dipsh*t! Didn't I say your apology ain't worth sh*t?! You crazy f*cker, your job is to train newbies, yet you tried to kill them instead?! Hah, you want me to train you personally, then?!”
“My apologies, sir…”
“Gimme a f*cking break! Why the hell do I have to deal with a goddamn moron like you…” Choi Wu-Seong muttered as he continued to smolder in rage.
How long had it been since he got raked over the coals for the grenade incident? But now, he had to deal with another incident? Just how much worse his suffering would get this time?!
After his appointment, Choi Wu-Seong had seen his fair share of new recruits come and go through his base.
But he couldn't remember any group of recruits as incident-prone as this one.
He grunted while rubbing his temples.
“By the way…”
Bak Gil-Su sheepishly looked up.
“Did I hear it correctly? It's Recruit No.100, Kang Jin-Ho, again?”
“He administered the first aid, right? While you were standing around like a helpless moron doing absolutely jacksh*t.”
Bak Gil-Su was unable to say anything.
It wasn't for the lack of suitable excuses but because he knew all too well that saying something right now would only worsen the barrage of insults coming his way.
“You dumb f*ck.
I'm gonna fry you real good, so go back to your office and properly reflect on yourself.
“Get out of my sight!” Choi Wu-Seong watched as Bak Gil-Su bowed deeply and exited the office.
When the latter was gone, he angrily threw the commander's baton to the floor.
It was rare for a single serious incident to happen in a year yet two near-fatal ones occurred in a span of a single week.
Although Bak Gil-Su had gotten his head bitten off royally just now, Choi Wu-Seong had to admit that incidents shouldn't be occurring this frequently.
There was another issue to think about here—the recruit named Kang Jin-Ho being involved in both incidents.
Of course, none of what happened was his fault.
If anything, his presence prevented the incidents from spiraling out of control and limited the potential fallout.
'Still, something just feels off, doesn't it?'
Unfortunately, humans weren't always rational animals.
Choi Wu-Seong could only feel this vague anxiety after noticing how Kang Jin-Ho's name kept popping up in both incidents.
Obviously, the Company Commander knew that Recruit No.100 wasn’t at fault, but…
Wasn't it also true that incidents seemed to be following that brat around?
“I better keep my eyes on him…” Choi Wu-Seong spat out a groan while sitting down on his chair.
Maybe he should order the instructors to keep a very close eye on Kang Jin-Ho.
Before that, the Battalion Commander should return to the boot camp, and then…
Choi Wu-Seong would have to survive a session of abuse afterward.
Did they take him to a hospital?”
I heard he's in the Capital Hospital right now.”
“Did you hear it from an assistant instructor?”
“Why did that kid with asthma agree to do the CBR training, though? Didn't the instructor say recruits with medical conditions can opt out?”
That's not how it works.
I was planning to weasel out of that training, but when the time came, I couldn't say anything, you know? Let's be honest here.
Who'd show up to training if anyone could easily say they are sick and can't participate? We'll all be weaseling out, know what I mean?”
“Well, that's true…”
While listening to the banter between his fellow recruits, Kang Jin-Ho silently leaned against his bunk.
He had been consciously stopping himself from standing out too much ever since his run-in with Ju Yeong-Gi.
Even though he didn't believe his actions were problematic, restraining himself should be the correct strategy if others felt uncomfortable around him.
At least, that was what he thought…
How bad is that guy's condition?”
But it must be pretty bad if he had to be taken to the Capital Hospital, right?”
Kang Jin-Ho continued to listen while thinking that the recruit in question should be fine.
He had eliminated almost all the turbid and corrupted energy in the recruit's body before it could threaten that kid's life any further, after all.
With that taken care of, the recruit with asthma should return to being normal soon enough.
Didn't he survive because of Jin-Ho?”
“Yeah, that's right.”
The fellow recruits present in the CBR training knew that Kang Jin-Ho was responsible for shoving aside the assistant instructors and pulling the convulsing recruit out of the gas chamber.
“Sheesh. If someone's having a seizure, shouldn't the instructors take that person outside first? What were they thinking, trying to keep him in the chamber like that?”
“That's how the military operates, you know…”
“Even then, it's still not right.”
The recruits continued to chat away, but Kang Jin-Ho decided to close his eyes and ignore them.
Being mentioned by others didn't feel all that nice.
Especially when he was in a wide-open space like this and could sense people sneakily glancing at him.
Those glances peppered in between the chatter pricked Kang Jin-Ho's skin.
Since his senses could pick up movements in his surroundings dozens of times more accurately, such probing gazes felt even more awkward and hard to bear.
“Wow, did you all see how Jin-Ho handled those instructors, though? Even though they were clinging to him, he just kicked the door down and exited the chamber!”
“Right! I thought he was a Terminator or something!”
“Actually, how can a human being do that? I'm telling you, special people are special for real.”
For some reason, the living quarters’ atmosphere was turning rather cozy.
Unfortunately, a wet blanket almost always existed to spoil every party ever in history.
“But didn't this whole mess start because of that punk in the first place?”
The recruits looked behind their backs at the one who said that out loud.
The recruit responsible defiantly cocked an eyebrow.
“What? Did I say something wrong?”
Jin-Ho didn't do anything wrong, though.”
The defiant recruit scoffed derisively.
If that punk hadn't tried to stand out so much, the instructors wouldn't have gone nuts trying to take him down a notch.
And that poor kid would've been fine, too.
He was the cause, so how dare he act all haughty and stuff for saving that kid?”
Kang Jin-Ho briefly pondered whether or not to correct that recruit since he never acted haughty, to begin with.
“W-Well, I guess…”
The atmosphere in the living quarters changed once again but in a different direction this time.
“Still, Jin-Ho didn't do that deliberately, right? It's not his fault that he's good at stuff.”
Besides, it wasn't that bad.”
The defiant recruit replied in dismay, “One of us got taken to a hospital, yet it wasn't bad? Are you for real?”
Logically, what he said sounded wrong.
Yet, something about his argument emotionally resonated with other recruits.
“Tell me, wasn't it all the fault of that bastard trying to show off?!”
Despite the naked accusation, Kang Jin-Ho didn't try to retort or explain himself.
It was pointless to speak logically to people driven by emotion.
Besides, he might end up causing a new incident by talking to them now, too.
As such, Kang Jin-Ho chose to stay in his bunk without saying anything.
“Look, Look! Look at that bastard! We're talking about him, but he doesn't give a sh*t! Isn't that like—he doesn't care whether that kid dies or not?”
“Come on, man.
You crossed the line.
Jin-Ho pulled that kid out, so you shouldn't be saying that.”
The defiant recruit clamped his mouth shut as if he had no comeback for that.
The chatter abruptly ended there.
However, it got going again soon enough.
The defiant recruit broke the silence once more.
“Still, I don't like that punk.”
“Why not? What got your knots so twisted, dude?”
“Let me ask ya, have you ever seen that bastard chatting to one of us in the last three weeks?”
“There's a limit to how much you can look down on people, no? But he just loves to fly solo, doesn't he? Do you really think he saved that kid because he wanted to save a life? I'm guessing no.”
That last statement made Kang Jin-Ho's forehead crease up a little.
He didn't expect others to always hold a favorable view of him, but that didn't mean they should fabricate nonsense like that.
What made that recruit say such dumb things with so much conviction when he couldn't even read other people's minds? Kang Jin-Ho couldn't understand it.
The defiant recruit, Recruit No.82 Lee Sang-Hu, finally began addressing Kang Jin-Ho directly.
“That's why you better stop trying to show off, get my drift?”
“Hey, I know you can hear me! So, stop pretending.
Open your damn eyes and say something, you f*cker.”
Kang Jin-Ho opened his eyes and raised his torso.
Before he could say something, though, the living quarter's door flew open without any warning, and Ju Yeong-Gi carrying a half-polished combat boot entered while emitting a scary aura.
“What the f*ck was that, you little sh*t?”
“Eh?” Lee Sang-Hu the instigator hurriedly clamped his mouth shut after noticing the scary expression on Ju Yeong-Gi's face.
Ju Yeong-Gi's tattooed-all-over physique was at least twice as big when compared to the average person’s body.
That helped him become the subject of fear in the living quarters.
Although he hadn't bullied any of the recruits, no one dared to go against Ju Yeong-Gi.
“I'm asking you, what the f*ck is your problem?” Ju Yeong-Gi growled menacingly.
“W-Well…” Lee Sang-Hu, responsible for generating the current atmosphere, began stuttering a little, “I… I mean, he's just a showoff, isn't he?”
“You stinkin' b*tch!” Ju Yeong-Gi suddenly threw the boot in his hand right at Lee Sang-Hu's head.
Lee Sang-Hu ducked, and the boot missed him by some margin, but it still clattered against a locker behind him and bounced around noisily.
Ju Yeong-Gi roared once again, “What is your problem, again? Tell me, you little sh*t!”
Lee Sang-Hu lowered his head and desperately avoided meeting Ju Yeong-Gi's glare.
“Jin-Ho saved a dying kid, yet you little sh*ts actually have the gall to talk crap about him? F*ck off! Do you really think you have the right to run your mouths off when you did f*ck-all during that situation? You bunch of little p*ssies.”
The recruits all silently looked away from Ju Yeong-Gi's glare.
The last thing on their minds was arguing about whose fault it was since none of them wanted to get on Ju Yeong-Gi's bad books.
“So? What did Jin-Ho do wrong? Ah?”
“He's done nuthin' wron', so why the hell are ya badmouthin' him fer?!” Ju Yeong-Gi's anger reached a point where his accent began slipping out.
“H-Hey, Yeong-Gi, dude! Calm down, man.”
They are still kids, you know? They are still immature and stuff.”
The recruits enjoying cordial relationships with Ju Yeong-Gi tried to calm him down.
Ju Yeong-Gi growled menacingly once more.
“Listen, you f*ckers…
If any one of you start badmouthin' Jin-Ho again, I'm gonna shove my boot right up your a-hole until you taste leather.
Ya hear me?!”
His spine-chilling threat forced everyone to shut up and remain unmoving.
The living quarters filled with people became deathly quiet in an instant.
The silence was so deafening that it even felt rather eerie.
Ju Yeong-Gi huffed like a bull as he started shouting again, “What the hell? Why aren't you bringing me my boot back already?!”
A recruit cautiously looking around picked up the fallen boot in front of him and carried it over to Ju Yeong-Gi.
“Dammit! And I was almost finished polishing it, too!” Ju Yeong-Gi muttered in irritation at the new smudges of dirt on his boot while exiting through the doorway.
The door slammed shut behind him.
Only then did a chorus of relieved sighs come from various corners of the living quarters.
The recruits immediately started chatting away again.
What's gotten into him? Wasn't he like the most anti-Jin-Ho out of us not too long ago?”
“Well, Jin-Ho saved his bacon back in the grenade training, so that's understandable.”
“Even then! How can anyone change his tune that quickly?”
That's the correct reaction.
Still acting like an as*hole after being saved would be the stupid thing here.”
guess you're right.”
While they continued to chat, Kang Jin-Ho remained half-upright on his bunk, his expression demonstrating how stupefied he was.
Eventually, though, a faint smirk crept up on his face.
'It seems there's no need for me to step up here anymore.'
Why did it feel like someone was always there to stop Kang Jin-Ho whenever he was about to do something?
He leaned back on the folded blanket propped against his locker, then closed his eyes.
'Things have already gotten to this stage, huh.'
Even though everyone here was a recruit, they still tried to pick a fight with Kang Jin-Ho despite him not doing anything in particular.
That could mean something about him was getting on their nerves.
In that case, what would it be like once Kang Jin-Ho reached his assigned base filled with higher-ranked soldiers than him? Since they held higher ranks, would they try not to pick a fight with Kang Jin-Ho, or would they be even more sensitive about such things?
'This place doesn't suit me, after all.'
Kang Jin-Ho had to accept that the military wasn’t a good match for him.
He had also finally figured out why his father and Park Yu-Min were so worried about him days before his enlistment.
By nature, Kang Jin-Ho was simply unsuitable for a life in a rigid organization like the military.
Still, there was one saving grace, and that would be…
Kang Jin-Ho opened his eyes and glanced at the person approaching him.
“Mm? What is it?”
“No, it's nothing,” Ju Yeong-Gi replied with a slight blush.
Kang Jin-Ho chuckled a little at that sight.
Things like this made the army experience somewhat entertaining and tolerable for him.
“What a boring bastard,” Ju Yeong-Gi muttered with an awkward look while climbing into the bunk next to Kang Jin-Ho's.
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