Chapter 34: Half a Head
Translated by: kevin1782, Spot (Tl’ check)
Edited by: Isalee
The so-called ‘freelance mercenary’ sounded beautiful but was actually extremely brutal. These mercenaries couldn't find a mercenary corp to rely on. They could only find just themselves or two to three partners to complete missions. They were willing to risk lives for those who willing to pay, with totally no guarantee of safety or money.
Freelance mercenaries didn’t have friends for cover fire, or reliable and guaranteed supplies, or reinforcement. To be honest, they were the ‘cannon dust’  among the mercenaries. They were the fastest to die.
In general, freelance mercenaries were those who weren’t wanted by the mercenary corps. Yet as long as anybody wanted to earn a living under the muzzle, provided that they’d be proficient in a particular skill, they would find a job in some mercenary corp. It was just a question of how much. For instance, Grolev’s skill was the acme of machine gunning and he was a retired veteran that had also participated in bloody wars. Any mercenary corp would be vying for him.
“Grolev, with your standards, why did you become a freelance merc?”
Bob asked because he really wanted to know why Grolev was a freelance mercenary.
Grolev’s expression gloomed before sighing, “I was originally from a corp. It’s just that my friend ran into some trouble and was fired by the corp. So, I followed him and my friend just died in the war.”
Gao Yang and Bob’s impression of Grolev increased once again. Someone who was willing to become a freelance mercenary for their friend was trustworthy.
Gao Yang was silent for a moment before facing Grolev. "You have entered Grozny twice, is it a very fierce urban war?"
Grolev nodded and said, "The first time was to meet my maker, total manpower was ninety-six people, sixty-one dead and eight handicapped casualties. I had two gunshot wounds. Luckily I wasn’t killed or disabled. Second time was for vengeance, I refused to retire so I could re-enter Grozny. That day, I was happy to have waited for the war. Once again I got out alive, and at the second Chechen War, we had one hundred and thirteen people in total. Twenty one killed-in-action (KIA). I was slightly injured again, but came back alive again at least. "
Grolev paused momentarily before pointing to his own head and said, “My head was brutally smashed by the our commanding officer’s head. All that blood on my head was seen by some big shot. He felt that I was brave and thus gave me a medal. When the war ended, I immediately applied for retirement. Fortunately, with a medal, my retirement application was approved very quickly.”
Gao Yang and Bob’s faces were written with puzzled expressions. Bob doubtfully asked, "Your head was smashed by your commander's head?What does that mean?"
"Oh, I didn’t make it clear. Our commander was a young captain, very handsome, and the top student at the military school. I really liked and admired him. He always took the lead, but when we were attacking a building, he was totally shattered by a **, his head flew tens of meters from the window and hit my head. His jaw disappeared, and the bare upper gum chewed on me. It looked scary, in face it wasn’t really serious. "
As Grolev spoke, he separated the hair on his head and let Gao Yang and Bob look at the scars on his head. They saw a crescent-shaped scar mark.
Gao Yang and Bob’s eyes met as they sucked in a puff of icy air simultaneously. Grolev, however, just grinned and continued, “Our capt’n only had half a head with busted eyeballs. I still recognized him. His hair was just shaved, a heart-shaped one. Took a photo before the war and sent it to his fiancee. If it wasn’t for his hairstyle, I really might’ve not recognized ‘im.”
Gao Yang didn’t mean at first to ask for what he went through, he just wanted to get some urban warfare experience from Grolev. He didn’t expect that after a few words from Grolev, he’d become very interested in Grolev and his personal stories.
“Then what happened after? Did you take revenge? I mean, did you storm into that building?”
"Of course, I put the my commander's head into my satchel, and with the rest of my brothers we scrambled into the building. I shot anyone I saw, and there was really very few left in that building, only four black widows. Do you know what a black widow is? It’s those d*cks whose bodies are tied full with bombs. We didn’t give them a chance to detonate, and turned them into dices. Not too long after, the fight was over. A manager general saw me whilst inspecting the battlefield. He thought I looked terrifying, and then he asked me how many b*stards I killed. I replied that there were around twenty to thirty, I don’t know, maybe more, maybe not enough. Then he gave me a medal and that's it."
Gao Yang only knew that the Russian military fighting in Chechnya, especially in Grozny, was very tough and the casualty rate was very high. However, he never knew the details. Notwithstanding the fact that Grolev seemed to be casually narrating the war, even though it would just be a limited view as a listener, its appalling and cataclysmic nature was lucidly illustrated.
Gao Yang thought briefly before saying, “You have some rich urban warfare experience, and I think the imminent battle is also most likely an urban one. Is there anything we should pay attention to?”
Grolev contemplated for a moment and said, “The war here, how do I say it, if you keep me company, I can fight from this side of Benghazi to the other side. Well, I'll just say it. Compared to Grozny, it’s a haven here. All you need to do is find a shelter and shoot. As long as your luck isn’t particularly bad, you won’t die. "
“Too much of an exaggeration, right?”
“Nope, not at all. Before these citizens know how to fight a war, my definition of ‘citizens’ include the Resistance and the government troops. As long as you’re not facing mercs, you’ve got nothin’ to worry ‘bout. Compared to those Chechnya b*stards, I can only say that the people here are just sheep waitin’ to be slaughtered.”
Gao Yang cogitated about the battles he’d seen, and it was indeed as Grolev had depicted. They lacked the most basic military qualities. If the government forces were also like that, then there it really was not much of a pressure.
The most crucial point was the news from Morgan informing them of no mercenaries. Those besieging Morgan were just the government forces and some sort of armed militias from the Intelligence Department.
Gao Yang who was originally somewhat wrought with nervousness couldn’t help but smile joyfully as he eased up a bit. He shook his head and told Grolev, “Alright, I hope our enemies didn’t hire mercs. Strange, when did mercs become the war’s main force? Okay, tell us about your commander, how did you handle his head?”
Grolev shrugged with a face full of helplessness and said, “Those clearing up the carcasses were unreliable. It was just a head so they couldn’t identify it. They’d certainly lose it or just bury it anyhow in a public cemetery, so I always held on to his head, and handed it over to his parents later. His fiancée also saw it, though she shouldn’t have seen it. She fainted immediately after taking a look at it. It was difficult as she kept sobbing after she woke up. Forget it, I can’t describe it. In a nutshell, I’m very glad that my wife didn’t have to bawl and wail at half my head.”
- ‘Cannon dust(s)’ means cannon fodder, or expendables nobody really cared about. Just wanted to keep the Chinese meaning since this is a Chinese novel, and thus I didn’t use cannon fodder. (https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E7%82%AE%E7%81%B0/82272 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WutNI7RX5So)