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    Inside room 38 of West District, there is a small studio-type room furnished with a bed, a desk, a chair, and a wardrobe. The room was clean when I arrived, either because no one else had used it or it had already been cleaned. Section 100 itself is said to be the most recently built building, except for Central District which is the research building.

    The excitement of having a new room still lingers in my heart even after five days. Although the room is small, consisting of a bed, a desk, a chair, and a wardrobe, I felt the happiest in the world when lying down.

    I wonder why lying down feels so good. It’s a mystery why humans have to walk on two legs when our bodies naturally search for the soft bedding.

    Would I not work if I had enough money? I’m not sure. No matter how much I think about it, working for something other than money seems like it would bring happiness. If I had a lot of money, I would first give some to my mother, pay for my younger brother’s college tuition, and then never leave my bed. Rolling around in bed, convincing myself that this is also a form of stretching, I eventually got up to brush my teeth.

    The 4th underwater base itself had a large cross-shaped structure. Mining District in the north is where the mining teams live with their mining robots, Blue District in the east is where the engineering teams reside, Central District in the south is filled with researchers and research facilities, and White Tiger (West) District in the west is where I and others like me with special jobs, such as cleaning and cooking, live.

    In each of the four districts, there are accommodations, facilities, various equipment, escape boats, showers, laundry rooms, and lounges. It is said that in the past, accommodations were on the mainland, and people would come down to the underwater base to work and then go back up to the mainland.

    However, as the underwater base began to operate 24/7, 365 days a year, temporary accommodations were created inside the base, and later, permanent accommodations were built. Eventually, most of the people working at the underwater base no longer lived on the mainland but instead lived underwater.

    Before joining here, I agreed to collect data on any mental or physical changes I experienced while living at the base. The information of about 1,000 people at this North Pacific underwater base would probably be used for the construction of the Atlantic underwater base or someone’s research. I also had to collect data on the dental health of people living in the underwater base, but not as many people came as I expected.

    Most people work in 4 teams, 8 hours each, and don’t seem to come unless their work hours align. During their breaks, most of them sleep, eat, or watch dramas and movies now that the internet is available.

    Many people make phone calls, play games, or exercise, as Kang Soojung mentioned. I tried to take up exercising as a new hobby, but my new hobby became the aquarium with jellyfish collected in the underwater base.

    A research team is said to be raising jellyfish inside the base for some jellyfish-related research. I thought it would be really fun to raise them. Watching the sparkling jellyfish felt like looking at the lights on a Christmas tree. While admiring the beauty of the jellyfish swimming in the water, I would occasionally think about practical concerns, like how to clean the tank, and then move on to another place.

    These days, I would walk to the aquarium while brushing my teeth at the dental clinic, watched the jellyfish, spit out toothpaste foam in the central restroom, and then returned to my room after looking around the aquarium again. It was a sight and a luxury that could never be experienced if it wasn’t an underwater base. While brushing my teeth, I looked at the pad. In 5 seconds, I would officially enter my day off, as long as there was no emergency. With the toothbrush in my mouth, I started walking out of the dental clinic holding the pad.

    [Dentist Park Mu-hyun *Working]

    4, 3, 2, 1. 0.

    As soon as it became 0, it changed from working to ‘on vacation’.

    [Dentist Park Mu-hyun *On Vacation]

    Vacation. Ah. What a sweet word.

    It’s not just “resting” because my work is over; it’s truly a “vacation.” Ugh, it’s so good.

    I was glad I wasn’t on a 4-shift schedule like others. Of course, it wasn’t bad having four teams on a 4-shift schedule, but for someone like me who was used to working 5 days and resting 2, having separate days off was more comfortable.

    On the other hand, I don’t have the 10 days off every 3 months that only shift workers have. I’ll just have to be envious when that time comes. For now, I love my current days off. I brought the orange whale stuffed animal, Noeul, who was tormented by patients, and went to the laundry room to wash it with my clothes.

    Once the laundry is done, I should go play at the beach. Do they sell beer around the beach? I wish they did. I want to walk along the beach with a beer in hand. Did they say they don’t sell alcohol on the artificial island? I just wish they sold carbonated water, too.

    As I thought this, I heard a voice in the multipurpose room right next to the laundry room.

    “How expensive do you think you are!”

    It was a loud voice. I could only see the back of a man when I turned my head. When I heard the swearing, I realized that my translator could also translate swear words. A man who seemed to be over 180cm tall staggered back for a moment, revealing a woman standing in front of him.

    The woman immediately punched the man’s jaw before he could raise his guard with both arms. The man’s head tilted at a right angle from the force of the punch. The woman delivered another blow to the man’s empty vital point as if her fist couldn’t hold back its rage. In an instant, the adult male fell to the ground without a chance to intervene.

    The assaulter was a small woman who appeared to be around 160cm tall. She wore long training pants and a short-sleeved t-shirt, her long hair tied up and looking agile like a squirrel. Seeing that I had witnessed the assault scene with my mouth agape, the woman with slightly scraped knuckles approached me.

    There were CCTV cameras in every area of the underwater base, so there were hardly any blind spots. The woman quickly checked the camera and saw that the area where the man and woman were standing was out of the camera’s view. Was she handling the witness? When I took a step back, the woman smiled brightly, raised both palms, and said awkwardly,

    “Hello.”

    Although she was speaking clearly in Korean, it seemed like she said that after seeing the title of the [Underwater Base Guidebook Korean Edition] in my hand. No matter how much I thought about it, it seemed like the man was unilaterally beaten and had fainted.

    The woman approached, walking nimbly. “It seems you haven’t been here long since I’m seeing your face for the first time.”

    “Uh… yes. Hello. My name is Park Mu-hyun.”

    It was only after I blurted out those words that I thought it might have been better to just run away. It couldn’t be helped. For the past five days, I had been reflexively greeting people I made eye contact with.

    “I’m Baek Ae-young. Nice to meet you.”

    When she asked for a handshake, I shook her hand without thinking. I pretended not to notice the blood on Baek Ae-young’s scraped knuckles. I didn’t want to let go of her hand in case another fist came flying, but after an acceptably unawkward handshake, I made my most important request in this situation.

    “Please, avoid hitting my teeth. There’s no dentist at this underwater base or on Daehan Island besides me.”

    Baek Ae-young shook her small hand as if I had misunderstood. “Huh? No, I’m not the kind of person who beats someone up without a reason.”

    It was hard to believe that, considering what I had seen 20 seconds ago.

    “That… man.”

    “Sometimes, women need to use their fists for various reasons.”

    I see.

    For a brief moment, there seemed to be a legitimate reason, and I almost let it slide. “Doesn’t he need medical help?”

    Looking at the man lying quietly on the floor and asking Baek Ae-young, the woman casually shook her head while brushing her knuckles. Baek Ae-young probably didn’t need help, but that man, who seemed to have fainted, appeared to be in dire need.

    “Are you an engineer of Team A, by any chance, Baek Ae-young?”

    “Yes. You’re the new dentist, right?”

    “Yes, that’s correct.”

    It seems that Team A engineers all solve things with their fists. Or perhaps the underwater base boxing team is simply named ‘Team A Engineers.’

    “Doctor, you’re currently the most famous person in the underwater base.”

    “Because I’m new?”

    “That too, but no one thought a dental clinic would really open in this cramped space. It’s not a place that just grants everything you ask for.”

    “Is that so? …How do you find life in the underwater base? I’m curious.”

    I gestured at the fallen man as I spoke. I thought it was an ambiguous expression, but Baek Ae-young gave a bitter smile and shook her head. “It’s gotten a bit better for me now.”

    “Why?”

    “You’ll find out as you stay here. I’ll come by for scaling later. You should go first.”

    “There’s an injured person here.”

    What if he dies right there if we just leave him? I didn’t back down and stood my ground, making Baek Ae-young sigh heavily. It felt like my small show of courage was being slapped away by that sigh.

    “He insulted me and threatened me, saying he was bigger.”

    “From what you’re saying, it seems like that guy is entirely at fault. …But won’t he die like that?” I said, looking at the man lying like a frog.

    Baek Ae-young replied coldly, “He won’t die. Actually, I dealt with him quite gently.”

    Scary. It seems his nose is broken. Did she punch him in the nose at first? I’m not sure about his ribs.

    Seeing her punch his solar plexus, I awkwardly nodded my head, “If punching is your gentle way of handling things, what’s the rough and malicious way?”

    “Well, something like suddenly disappearing from the underwater base.”

    I couldn’t hide my shocked expression. Is this place really a den where violence often occurs, and ordinary people like me can get caught up in it?

    “Are engineers thugs?”

    “Oh, please tell the Chinese and Japanese teams that too. Their accident rate is really high. Ah, and the Canadians and Australians. They’re deceptively dangerous.”

    “What will you do with that man?”

    “I won’t do anything more. I’ll just kick his side a few more times and leave him here. When he wakes up, he’ll go back to his room on his own. Or maybe he’ll go to the hospital.”

    I desperately wanted to escape from here. Not because I was afraid of a person who swings her fists, but because I didn’t want to be around someone who casually uses violence on others. However, I couldn’t leave Baek Ae-young here alone. Who knows what might happen? The guy lying on the ground could get up in an instant and take revenge on her, or she could damage him more than his nose and ribs.

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