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    Inside the exhibition hall, a large English sign read “[The Sea, the Great Birth of Life and Time].” Yoo Geum-yi was seated next to Seo Jihyuk and Shin Hae-ryang. Seo Jihyuk was panting, and Shin Hae-ryang had his eyes closed.

    “Shin Hae-ryang-ssi?” I asked, wondering if he was asleep.

    He opened his tired eyes and said, “Let’s go.”


    As I helped Seo Jihyuk walk, I recounted the recent events to everyone. Shin Hae-ryang sighed deeply, looking ahead. Baek Ae-young, gripping a gun, moved ahead of everyone, commenting on how nice ‘that sister’ seemed. Despite his pain, Seo Jihyuk chuckled and asked me if I remembered the hairstyle of the man Jennifer bit.

    “I didn’t see, I was too distracted.”

    “I was curious if it was Daniel or someone else,” he mused, then winced in pain again.

    The exhibition, though titled a jewelry show, featured a 360-degree view of primordial seas, showing the formation of Earth, the creation of oceans, the emergence of cells, and the evolution of life. Under normal circumstances, I might have enjoyed the exhibition immensely. Images whirled around us, reflecting off our bodies. As we moved, the screens changed, showing dark scenes transforming into sea colors, accompanied by music and the sound of waves. As we progressed, the displayed marine life grew in variety and quantity.

    The exhibition made it feel like we were walking through the ocean itself, surrounded by blue water. Yoo Geum-yi, marveling at the images projected in 360 degrees on walls, ceiling, and floor, commented, “It’s quite well-made, isn’t it?”

    Indeed, holograms of dolphins had gracefully swum through my stomach. I saw a school of flying fish emerging from Shin Hae-ryang’s head, passing through me and Seo Jihyuk, and rays gliding past Baek Ae-young’s side, while mackerels swam by Yoo Geum-yi.

    As we walked through the exhibition, we reached an area titled “Legends of the Sea.” A life-sized holographic mermaid with blonde hair swam through my body and past the statues on display. The mermaid, among others, passed through everyone in the exhibition, showcasing various mermaid legends from around the world on a map with accompanying scripts. A mermaid’s tail whisked past Shin Hae-ryang’s head.

    “Korea has its own mermaid legends too?” I mused to myself, readjusting Seo Jihyuk’s arm on my shoulder as I briefly skimmed over the Asian mermaid legends. Then, a nearby statue moved.


    Startled, I froze, and Shin Hae-ryang and Baek Ae-young quickly aimed their guns at it. What we thought was a statue turned out to be an android. The android, a long-haired blonde male with an almost non-human appearance, wore strange attire reminiscent of ancient Greece, draped in white cloth. Had it not spoken, one might have mistaken it for a woman. Baek Ae-young, who had scouted ahead, must have thought it was just a statue or an exhibit.

    “Damn it.”

    I heard Baek Ae-young swear for the first time, her expression clearly indicating immense surprise. The android did not look entirely human upon closer inspection. Its body and face resembled well-crafted marble. It had an incredibly handsome face for an android, almost like that of a movie actor, making me think of several famous actors.

    Although androids were used in various places, they usually did not resemble humans closely. This one, however, looked strikingly human. I had thought the team leaders of the undersea base were chosen for their abilities and looks, but I didn’t expect androids placed in exhibition halls to also prioritize appearance. Shin Hae-ryang, still pointing his gun, asked, “What are you?”

    “I_am_a_traveler. Waiting_for_the_life_born_in_the_sea_to_pass_through_this_time.”

    The responses varied. Baek Ae-young and Shin Hae-ryang remained motionless with their guns aimed, Seo Jihyuk muttered something about madness, and Yoo Geum-yi opened and closed her mouth in disbelief. I responded casually, “Then I’m a traveler too, trying to find a safe place. Can you help us?”


    Its eyes, like molten gold, looked at me. I wondered if it was lost in thought or if its eyes were naturally that large. It would be quite frightening to see in the dark. Its response was oddly philosophical, but seemingly irrelevant. None among us seemed capable of matching or appreciating this android’s poetic sensibility. Why was it programmed this way? I would have placed it at the entrance to assist children, the disabled, or pregnant women.

    As the conversation drifted, Seo Jihyuk abruptly said, “This android seems weak, doesn’t it? Whoever programmed it must have been drunk.”

    Shin Hae-ryang and Baek Ae-young seemed to agree with Seo Jihyuk’s opinion. Time was precious. Baek Ae-young cautiously circled the android, checking its surroundings and even peering inside its Greek-style white garment. I was startled by her boldness, but she dismissed my concern, saying there were no weapons.

    “Doesn’t seem related to any cult?”

    “Is there anyone else in this exhibition hall?”


    “How big is this exhibition hall, and how far have we come?”


    Yoo Geum-yi, looking at Seo Jihyuk, said, “We need help. There’s someone with a gunshot wound to the knee.”


    Seo Jihyuk sighed and shook his head. I quickly asked the android, “Can you carry an adult to the end of the exhibition hall? You must have a program to assist the elderly and disabled?”


    I looked at Seo Jihyuk, and he looked back at me, then at Shin Hae-ryang, Yoo Geum-yi, and Baek Ae-young.

    “You’re seriously considering leaving me with this blockhead robot?”

    The “blockhead robot” knelt down, extending its arms with palms facing up. Seo Jihyuk sighed deeply, then reluctantly grabbed the android’s shoulders.

    Hearing Baek Ae-young swear for the first time was surprising. She expressed her astonishment with such directness. The android didn’t look entirely human upon closer inspection. Its body and face resembled well-crafted marble. Despite being an android, it had an incredibly handsome face, reminiscent of a movie actor. Several famous actors came to mind.

    The android, having been asked to help Seo Jihyuk, who had a gunshot wound in his knee, responded with practicality. Seo Jihyuk, while being lifted by the android, gave it a warning about his condition and the critical state of his knee. The android assured him that he could sit on its arms.

    The group then moved on to the next exhibition space, with Baek Ae-young keeping a cautious distance from the android, ready to subdue it if necessary. This area showcased various minerals, but to me, it seemed more like a jewelry exhibition. There were large stones like Obsidian, Peridot, and Quartz, some bigger than a person. Yoo Geum-yi and I were fascinated by these shimmering, large stones.

    However, Shin Hae-ryang, Baek Ae-young, and Seo Jihyuk on top of the android remained vigilant, constantly looking around to ensure no one else was hiding. Yoo Geum-yi pointed out a large stone labeled ‘Carnotite.’

    “What’s Carnotite?” I asked.


    Yoo Geum-yi explained it was a uranium-related mineral, glowing fluorescent under the UV lights in the exhibit. I wondered about the presence of radiation, but Yoo Geum-yi was unsure, as minerals weren’t her specialty. She speculated on the value of these minerals due to their potential uranium content.

    Baek Ae-young, from a distance, informed us that uranium cost about a million won per kilogram. I was surprised at the price of uranium; I had heard of uranium prices rising but didn’t realize it was that expensive. Looking at a large chunk of ore that seemed to weigh about 100kg, I pondered how much uranium could be extracted from it.

    When I asked how Baek Ae-young knew the price of uranium, she mentioned learning about it while researching the prices of gold and platinum. She then resumed her cautious vigilance, keeping an eye on the surroundings. The area, displaying either gems or minerals, was quite vast. The lighting, focused only on the minerals, left the rest of the area dimly lit, making it difficult to notice if anyone was hiding. Baek Ae-young seemed worried about this possibility.

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