Chapter 43
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Chapter 43


    -Chemical setup is complete.

    A spirited voice came through the loudspeaker.

    With most of the evaluation from the equipment company coming to an end, a considerable number of people gathered around the control line. Despite not being participating companies, the majority of the observers were interested parties rather than casual onlookers.

    Song Boyeong looked around at the growing crowd with admiration.

    It seems like spectating is popular no matter where you go.

    Thats true. Because this is the biggest opportunity. They must be here to observe and learn for their next challenge.

    Nodding in agreement with Oh Seung-jus words, Song Boyeongs gaze lingered on the H Innovation team and her eyes widened.

    They have another person joining them to extinguish the fire over there.

    Beside the responsible student, an employee wearing a fire helmet was waiting. Since the flaw in the product was discovered during the 11th test, the employees were in a state of confusion, but they seemed to have made their own decision in the meantime.

    Will it turn out well if they imitate it?

    As Song Boyeong turned her head, startled by a sudden appearance, Jeong-woo asked, What are they imitating?

    You surprised me.

    Song Boyeong swept her hand across her chest and looked up at Jeong-woo.

    Were about to start. Why are you here?

    I have a favor to ask.

    What kind of favor?

    Just a moment. These clothes are all good, but the pockets

    Grumbling, Jeong-woo put his hand into the fire-resistant suit. Oh Seung-ju and his two colleagues turned their eyes, wondering what he was up to.

    Jeong-woo found what he was looking for inside the pocket and quickly pulled it out. It was a wallet.

    Even though the final test only allows 15 minutes of preparation time, I heard that we can at least get some snacks or food from the convenience store during that time. It would be great if they have a variety of options.

    Well, that shouldnt be a problem, but why are you asking me, Jeong-woo?

    Im not the one asking.

    Jeong-woo took out a corporate card and handed it to Song Boyeong.

    Use this.

    A, a corporate card?

    We should use it in situations like this. Well buy things for the equipment team too. Everyone is working hard in the cold.

    The equipment staff who were gathered nearby looked at Jeong-woo with surprise.

    Please, senior.

    Watching Jeong-woo return to his seat at KG Chemical, Song Boyeong couldnt speak for a moment.

    Why are you carrying a corporate card? Did the center director give it to you?

    Its Jeong-woos.


    Song Boyeongs eyes widened at Oh Seung-jus response.

    Observing Jeong-woos confident figure, Kim Jong-chan let out an exclamation of admiration, and Won Jin-soo whistled.

    So this is the power of someone wielding a corporate card?

    Indeed, hes impressive. When will we be in charge of a project and have the opportunity to use something like that?

    -21st round. Ignition.

    Over there! No, there, there!

    Im doing it.

    Oh, the fire is getting bigger!

    The people outside the control line, who were observing H Innovation, the first in line, chuckled. The advice from the interfering observer had even caused the record to reach 35 seconds.

    Jeong-woo noticed Jeong Pil-du standing beside him, smirking, and pointed to the test site composed of a gas discharge device model.

    This new agent, based on halogen compounds, seems more challenging than I thought. It might be due to the weather. When the liquid vaporizes, it needs to blow away a lot of oxygen in the air to extinguish the fire properly.

    Oh, Im sorry.

    No need for apologies. Lets just be cautious.

    Ill keep that in mind.

    At some point, Jeong Pil-dus attitude changed as if he were following a teacher, rather than being cooperative. Jeong-woo had to force a bitter smile.

    At least Jeong Pil-du had improved. Because of the previous incident, the number of winks from the command seat, where his face was patched up, kept increasing every time he entered the test site.

    Its terrifying, but it gives me a strange sense of satisfaction.

    Despite their restless appearances, their intentions felt pure. The same was true for Park Il-sung, the team leader of a rival company.

    Suddenly, Jeong-woo had a thought. Perhaps this wasnt a competition where you belittle each other, thinking Im better than you. It might be a competition to handle life-and-death situations in split-second times, laughing and crying together.

    Those who were saving others. The equipment and agents that supported them.

    Being in the midst of constructive work made Jeong-woo feel excited and proud.

    If only KG Chemical products win here.

    Even though they were already in the 21st round of the agent competition, it didnt seem easy. When adding up the previous records, it was 11 wins and 9 losses. The gap wasnt closing, which worried him.

    While lost in thought, Park, the team leader, took his position.


    Flames erupted simultaneously in the space surrounded by 1-meter-high concrete walls in the shape of a . Within that space, the cylindrical gas tank structure lit up with red and blue flames.

    Jeong-woo carefully observed the magnified chemical world, interpreting it to the experienced firefighters Jeong Pil-du in detail.

    Because its difficult to determine the ignition point, theyre targeting the valve line rather than the areas with intense heat. Starting with blocking the gas inflow? We should learn that too.

    In the fantastical chemical world, smoke thickened above the gas lake, with small flashes continuously flickering.

    As Jeong-woo observed the halogen agent elements gently covering the surface, they emitted a ray-like light, causing him to tightly close his eyes.

    Ive been watching for so long that Im getting tired.

    Rubbing his forehead, he turned his gaze back to Team Leader Park.

    There seems to be fog-like particles hindering the gas combustion, distributed evenly throughout the area. Its effective.

    Thats fog-proofing.

    Pil-du, you can change it like that too, right?

    Well, thats basic.

    Jeong-woo smiled with satisfaction at Jeong Pil-dus slightly confident words. They were now synchronized, as if their hands and feet were in perfect harmony.


    Jeong-woo saw an incomprehensible action from Team Leader Park.

    You almost extinguished it, but suddenly changed the spraying method?

    Its a high-speed misting fireproofing. Its not usually used for containment.


    Jeong-woo swallowed a groan as he watched Team Leader Parks spraying, which covered the entire 1-meter space like a barrier, settling the smoke that was seeping out.

    A purpose to block specific ingredients.

    Rather than focusing on time reduction, Jeong-woo found himself admiring Team Leader Parks attitude of taking precautions outside the test site to prevent any potential accidents involving gas and smoke.

    I see. Trying to win from afar seems less effective here.

    With a record of 36 seconds, Team Leader Park took more time than H Innovation, leaving those outside the control line puzzled.

    However, Jeong-woo couldnt help but ponder.

    While others might not understand, just before he put his mouth to the loudspeaker, Jeong-woo raised his thumb, showing that he understood the intention behind Team Leader Park move.

    This competition also included the subjective evaluation of current firefighters. By using the best firefighting methods derived from their experiences, it was a vital selling point as important as the records themselves.

    It moves the hearts of rescue specialists.

    Moreover, a difference of 1 or 2 seconds could be considered within the margin of error. Winning with just that wasnt enough.

    A way to extinguish flames and quickly block smoke. Jeong-woo pondered intensely, burning his mind for a short period.

    I have a rough idea of the components of the combustion gas.

    Combined with the compounds in the agent container. The two comparisons intersected rapidly.

    [H] [OH] [CH] [CFClBr]

    The flames are rich in hydrogen and hydroxyl radicals. If we mix a suitable halogen catalyst, tailored evolution is possible. Its about inducing complete combustion as much as possible.

    Fire suppression and smoke blocking simultaneously.

    With a sudden thought, Jeong-woo turned his head to Jeong Pil-du.

    Pil-du, this time, Ill do it alone.

    What? I didnt hear you correctly.

    Since it doesnt matter if we exceed the time, like Team Leader Park just did, try to block the smoke as much as possible.

    Jeong Pil-du responded in surprise.

    What about you, Jeong-woo?

    I still have two more steps for the halogen agent. We need to be prepared for that.

    With that response, Jeong-woo rushed towards the stack of KG Chemical boxes.

    Manager! Assistant Manager Gong! Please bring out all the boxes containing Halon compounds!


    Jeong Pil-dus test, conducted alone, recorded 39 seconds. However, Miles raised his thumb in response to the effort to block the smoke.

    With Taijin Precision Chemical recording 34 seconds, this unexpected competition placed the two lower-ranking companies side by side in the top two positions.

    Just before the start of the 22nd test.

    Jeong-woo was anxiously looking around in front of the box filled with Halon compounds.

    Ah, dizzy.

    Dozens of molecular universes overlapping in one place, a sight that one couldnt even see in dreams, kept appearing before his eyes.

    Assistant Manager Gong approached.

    So, youre saying youre going to enhance the catalytic extinguishing effect?

    Rather than enhancement, I would say its a customized extinguishing system suitable for the combusting gases.

    And have you figured out the composition of the mixed gas?

    Without taking his eyes off the compound container, Jeong-woo nodded.

    As the entangled molecular universes untangled and found stability, Jeong-woo immediately went into the combination.

    Start with the fluorine-bromine compound, please.

    He poured the measured liquid solution into the portable extinguishers agent container.

    As the operation was conducted in real-time, H Innovations 22nd turn began.


    Their confident approach, driven by their previous test rankings, recorded 34 seconds.

    Jeong-woos hands became even busier.

    This is Halon 1301 compound, right? The purity should be adjusted to 99.6 instead of 99 mol, and the hydrocarbon content should be reduced to below 0.4. The same ratio applies to the 23rd one as well.

    I understand, Jeong-woo.

    Under Jeong-woos non-stop instructions, Assistant Manager Gongs hands were also busy.

    The developers closely followed, recalculating the composition ratio of the compound, closing the lid of the container, and charging nitrogen. It was completed just as Team Leader Parks turn ended.

    Yujin Chemical also recorded 36 seconds this time.

    Along with the voice of the department head, Jeong-woo managed to stand next to Jeong Pil-du just in time.

    Phew, safe. Please change this tube for me.

    Seeing Jeong-woo gasping for breath, Jeong Pil-du quickly replaced the agent tube.


    Now that Jeong-woo, who was absent a moment ago, stood in front of the test site again, Miles smiled and winked at him.

    Pointing to the side and mimicking the action of spraying water, it was a gesture that said, You should become a firefighter.

    This time, Jeong-woo also smiled and demonstrated the gesture of pouring reagents into the test tube and shaking it, indicating, I want to do chemistry.

    Jeong-woo, how do you spray it?

    Just a lot.


    To have as much contact with the surface area as possible. Since it was hastily combined, the spraying may not be precise.

    Instead of expressing doubt, Jeong Pil-du followed his instructions as they were.

    Halogen agent poured like mist into the 1-meter concrete space filled with flames.

    With a refreshing sound that was different from the usual swoosh, the flames subsided all at once.

    The flame that should have spread through the injected gas instead diminished, and the smoke hardly appeared.

    After a few seconds, only the hissing sound of gas escaping could be heard.

    Miles lowered the microphone and stretched his neck. Observing quietly, he had an expression of What on earth is that? despite having a long career as a firefighter.

    Good, pour it in!

    Jeong Pil-du approached a bit closer and began targeting the gas tank at maximum output. The flames, including the last ones from the gas pipe, disappeared instantly.

    The extinguishment was complete even before the gas injection was finished.

    17 seconds!

    The department head shouted in astonishment.

    The appearance of a significantly special agent that was twice as fast as H Innovations agent and captured the smoke left all the competitors representatives in silence.

    Jeong Pil-du walked towards Jeong-woo with a bewildered expression.

    It will extinguish soon. Its fascinating.

    You did well, Pil-du.

    What did I do? But what on earth happened?

    Well, it must be the power of analytical chemistry, right?

    As the two returned to their positions, the department head rushed over and grabbed Jeong-woos hand.

    Showing such a significant effect like this has great advantages. The possibility of winning the bid has greatly increased!

    While the department head was all smiles, Yoon Jae-gil, who was in the position of Yujin Chemical, had a darkening complexion.

    Looking at Jeong-woo, who was preparing to mix the 23rd agent, Yoon Jae-gils gaze contained not anger but a slight sense of melancholy as if yearning for affection.

    The next round was also a victory for KG Chemical.

    The current results were Yujin Chemical 11, KG Chemical 11, and Taejin Precision Chemical 1.

    In the intense competition between the two companies, the people outside the control line became fully interested, forgetting about the cold weather.

    We will start in 15 minutes!

    During the break before the final test, the KG Chemical employees who had come on a business trip, led by Song Boyeong, approached the gathering of the agent team.

    We brought snacks~

    They brought bags full of snacks, and the employees who were almost feeling hungry as it was almost dinner time were very pleased.


    Thank you so much!

    One by one, they sat down and started eating bread, drinks, and sausages. The tense atmosphere of the test site seemed to transform into a leisurely outing spot.

    Song Boyeong approached Jeong-woo, who was sitting next to Jeong Pil-du with a bundle of bags in hand.

    Here you go, Jeong-woo.

    Song Boyeong handed him the snacks along with the corporate card. Jeong-woo nodded in gratitude and took out a hotdog from the bag, offering it to Jeong Pil-du.

    Have it. Milk, soda. What would you like? Theres also bread.

    Anything is fine.

    You dont have to keep answering so stiffly. Im younger than you. Speak comfortably.

    No, its not like that. Im learning a lot today. This is more comfortable for me.

    As Song Boyeong sat next to Jeong-woo, she asked, Learning? What?

    Jeong Pil-dus cheeks turned slightly red as he caught a glimpse of Song Boyeongs face, which was leaning slightly closer.

    Ah, no, its nothing.

    No? What is it?

    Jeong Pil-du looked at the distant mountains and took a bite of the hotdog, avoiding Song Boyeongs gaze.

    For Jeong Pil-du, who usually only interacted with men, having a pretty girl close by made his breath quicken.

    Jeong-woo also took a bite of the hotdog and asked Song Boyeong, Have you eaten, senior?

    I tasted a little bit of everything. The convenience store here is amazing. The convenience store owner boasts that he stocks a wide variety because the firefighting students have good appetites. No point going to the supermarket, right?

    When Song Boyeong suddenly spoke, Jeong Pil-du, who was drinking milk, nodded with a cough and a startled expression.

    Senior, dont keep talking like that because it makes Pil-du feel burdened.

    Jeong-woo scolded Song Boyeong. In response, Song Boyeong widened her eyes and looked at Jeong Pil-du.

    Oh my. Are you feeling burdened?

    Ah, no, not at all.

    You seem burdened.

    With a wide smile, Song Boyeong snatched the cream bun that Jeong-woo had just unwrapped and took a bite, holding it in her hand.

    If youve already eaten, then why are you here?

    You looked so delighted while unwrapping it. Go and try a different pastry.

    If you keep eating like that, your eyes will become puffy.


    Jeong-woo turned his attention to the red bean bun, changing direction from the cream bun. He smiled and held it out to Jeong Pil-du, who seemed to be eyeing it with drool.

    Would you like some?

    Thank you.

    Only the red bean bun remained in the bag. It wasnt his favorite style, but since he was feeling hungry, Jeong-woo opened it up.

    I actually like red bean buns.

    With a rustling sound, a deep voice appeared out of nowhere. Jeong-woo looked up, surprised.

    Unexpectedly, it was a different person.

    Im Miles, the captain of the Central Fire Departments Team 1. Youre Han Jeong-woo, right? You didnt introduce yourself earlier.

    Why do you keep winking without even knowing my name


    Miles burst into a hearty laughter. Song Boyeong, who saw his rough appearance up close for the first time, became wide-eyed like a startled rabbit and leaned closely next to Jeong-woo.

    Jeong Pil-du stood up abruptly, setting aside his bread.

    No, no. Sit down and eat Jeong Pil-du. The smoke containment earlier was good. Thats how we handle it. Its not about suppressing complaints.

    Speaking affably, Miles approached Jeong-woo.

    I really like red bean buns

    Help yourself.

    As he handed over half of the bun, a radiant smile bloomed on his face resembling that of a mountain thief.

    Hes quite unique.

    Jeong-woo ate the remaining half of the bread and asked Miles, Why are you here?

    Just wanted to ask you something.

    When the person in charge of the chemical evaluation, a responsible position, appeared, the manager who was far away rushed over in surprise.


    Oh, theres no need to come running like that.

    Oh, why such rude words. Please, relax.

    After savoring the red bean bun with a delightful bite, Miles asked Jeong-woo.

    The one used in the 22nd and 23rd rounds, right? You added new agents based on the analysis of ignition sources at the scene, right?

    Yes, thats correct.

    Ha, as I thought.

    With a short sigh, Miles stuffed the remaining red bean bun into his mouth all at once and turned away.

    Manager Lee Jeong-cheol.

    Yes, sir.

    If KG Chemicals acquires it, will they include him too?

    As Miles finger pointed towards him, Jeong-woo flinched. A reflexive response came out instead of the managers answer.

    Im not for sale.

    If youre on sell, Ill buy you right away.

    Are you kidding?

    Of course, Im serious. If Han Jeong-woo joins, well purchase all the supplies used at the Central Fire Department from KG Chemicals, regardless of this bidding competition. They say were the second largest in Seoul, right after the headquarters. Even if I have to forge my fire chiefs signature

    It was a truly serious tone. Jeong-woo stood up abruptly and stood next to Jeong Pil-du.

    Pil-du, we need to get ready. Lets go!

    Pulling Jeong Pil-du along, Jeong-woo disappeared into the distance. Seeing Jeong-woos figure, Song Boyeong covered her mouth and giggled. Miles turned to Song Boyeong.

    Who is this student? Did you come along with your father to watch?

    Im a researcher too. Im twenty-six, no, actually twenty-seven now. I had a birthday for the new year. Im twenty-seven.

    You looks quite lovely. Since this test is dangerous, make sure you stay outside the control line.

    Yes, sir.

    Miles glanced at Jeong-woo once more, then smiled contentedly and returned to his command post.

    Final test preparations! Officials, please take your positions.

    The voice from the loudspeaker echoed throughout the evaluation site like an echo.

    As Song Boyeong returned to the control line, something fell on her forehead, causing her to look up at the sky.

    They said it wouldnt snow today according to the forecast.

    Since it was just a single snowflake, she didnt think much of it and quickened her steps.

    Foam, carbon dioxide, powder, alkali, clean agent, halogen.

    Over a period of three hours, competing with a total of 23 compounds, Jeong-woo learned the fact that fire classification methods are truly diverse.

    Gas fires are classified as Class E, electrical fires as Class C, and flammable liquid fires as Class B.

    The structure set up in the testing ground at the moment was a wooden structure model. This time, they were going to conduct tests on real wood fires, the kind of fires encountered in everyday life.

    The Class A fire test mentioned by Park Il-seong used the most basic method of using water. By mixing the five classified additives together, the result was determined in a single attempt.

    If its all in one go with five elements, its quite remarkable.

    Three years ago, Yoon Jaegil achieved significant results here and secured a contract. No matter how impressive the performance of the product, the foundation of firefighting is water.

    There must have been a reason to postpone it until the end.

    H-Innovation and Taejin Precision Chemicals, who judged that there was still a possibility if they achieved remarkable results, were also eagerly waiting.

    Since the setup time for each company takes a long time, please dont move in between. H-Innovation, get ready!

    Jeong-woo looked at Team Leader Park. As their eyes met, Park Team Leader bowed politely and greeted him.

    Phew, Im nervous.

    Jeong-woo took a deep breath and thought about the strengths and weaknesses of Team Leader Park.

    Their ability to see fire was almost similar. The other side had an advantage in handling tools. This side had an advantage in knowing the precise use of chemicals.

    It was impossible to predict the results.

    Ah, Im so tense.

    Ring, ring.

    A text message arrived on Jeong-woos cellphone, and he hesitated before taking out his trembling hands from his firefighting suit.

    [Hyung, can you finish work early today? Bring me some real bread when you come back. I cleaned the room. It was tough, hehe~]


    Jeong-woos expression turned bewildered at Chans text, who had no idea how important of a position he was in and how important the task at hand was.

    Real bread? Is that guy out of his mind?

    However, because of that, he felt a slight relief in tension. Of course, his younger brother would be caught up in Headrock later and embark on a journey in the world of UFC.

    -The test begins. Get ready!

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