* * *
“I would like to see the helicopter.”
“Follow me please.”
Yohan followed Paulina to a helipad. Yohan had served in the air force for his military service. He was familiar with the helicopter he saw. The AW-139. He recalled that it was a fairly new model.
“How did you manage to get a helicopter?”
“Hehe, I looted the coast guard post that I worked at. I knew the layout of the place pretty well.” Luca, the pilot, replied. He seemed pretty confident and proud of the fact that he was a helicopter pilot.
It was understandable, since it was a rare skill. Having this kind of mobility would definitely come in handy one day. The addition of Luca to the camp was significant, this fact was irrefutable. Yohan couldn’t hide how happy he was. They obtained a medical professional, two useful combatants, and a helicopter with a pilot. The camp had levelled up significantly. He felt like he had acquired the equivalent of a thousand troops and didn’t have to sacrifice anyone to do it. He was so happy that even Pio, who was now pouting after getting badly beaten by Sweeper, looked cute.
“I’ll have to see if there’s a place on Sindo that we can use as a helipad. First, we’ll move you guys and the supplies. How should we deal with the supplies? If you want, you can maintain ownership of your own supplies until it’s all gone.”
“Thank you for your consideration, Mr. Yohan. You can proceed however you like.”
“Are you sure?”
“I trust that you won’t let us starve.”
‘Why does she trust me so much?’ Yohan was glad that Paulina trusted him, but it also made him anxious. He still believed that people didn’t do things without a reason.
As they travelled back by boat, he thought over Paulina’s situation. However, he couldn’t understand her attitude and decisions. Even if they didn’t join up, they wouldn’t have any trouble surviving on their own.
‘They’re not like kids that don’t understand the world…’
Yohan didn’t think of them as typical church followers. Paulina didn’t save her companions because she was a nun. In fact, she abandoned many believers when she decided to follow her visions. And yet, Yohan couldn’t call her a sacrificing fool. In the end, Yohan decided to ask the source directly.
“I’m honestly not sure why you’re trusting us so much.”
“All of my actions are based on the divine visions I received, Mr. Yohan. If you saw my dreams, you would understand.”
“The future…out of all the futures that you’ve seen, is there anything worth noting?” Yohan asked. Paulina’s face suddenly became flushed.
‘Why is she blushing?’ Yohan looked at the nun curiously. It was a weird time to get embarrassed.
“I didn’t tell you the most important part.”
“The first time I dreamed about you…I saw a future where you and I were getting married.”
‘What the hell is she saying?’
Saeri, who was eavesdropping on the conversation, suddenly started coughing even though she wasn’t drinking anything. The atmosphere on the boat suddenly became awkward. Yohan frowned as everyone stared at Saeri, who had a complicated look on her face.
“…So that’s why you’ve been so accommodating right from the start.”
Paulina nodded shyly like a little girl. Yohan started to understand why she trusted him. However, the atmosphere on the boat became cold. Yohan looked around with a blank face, trying to figure out what happened. Sweeper looked back and forth between Saeri and Yohan and eventually reached out to poke Yohan, prompting him to say something.
The recon team members were already familiar with his personality. They should know that such a future with Paulina was not possible. He didn’t know why they were looking at him and expecting him to say something.
“I’m not saying it’s impossible, but…”
“Sorry, but I’m not interested in dating, marriage, or parenting. Not now, not in the future.” Yohan’s expression was neutral as he rejected Paulina’s confession. This wasn’t anything new for him. Love was a luxury and dating was out of the question. It had been something that he emphasized since day one. Thankfully, Paulina was understanding.
“It’s fine. It’s just one of many possible futures.” Paulina gave Yohan a sweet, soft smile.
“I like your positivity,” Yohan replied. The exchange was enough to dissipate the tense mood on the boat. Yohan still wasn’t sure what to make of their new comrades, but he knew at the very least that Paulina’s kindness was a big boon.
“Okay, any other dreams?”
“Hm…” Paulina thought deeply once again. It seemed like it was a habit for her to get lost in her thoughts before speaking. “I saw you fighting people. A lot of people died and…during the fight, you became really sad.”
“Of course it’s sad when someone dies. I feel like people are always dying in your dreams.”
“That’s just the kind of world we live in right now.”
“You’re right. It is that kind of world.”
“However, you weren’t sad because someone died. It was like you didn’t like the fight itself. You had tried to avoid it and was sad that you had to fight.”
This was an important detail. A fight that he wanted to avoid and was sad to participate in. Yohan thought about it, but couldn’t think of a situation where he would feel that way. Certainly, there was always danger involved in a battle. If possible, he always tried to avoid violence, but he never felt like the actual battle itself was sad. Sometimes it was natural that people had to die so that others may live.
Suddenly, the boat ride started getting shaky.
“Jung Hwan! You’re making us want to throw up!” Sweeper yelled towards the cockpit.
“Sorry!” Jung Hwan, the sailing novice, apologized. The boat quickly became stable.
“Leave him alone. He’s pretty good for a beginner.”
The group engaged in small talk with their new comrades until they arrived at Sindo. They had left this morning with a large group and came back with even more.
“There happens to be a church here too, so you can stay near there if you like. I’ll have one of the junior recon team members show you the church and cafeteria. Everyone, take a short rest, get some dinner, and then meet back up in the situation room.” Yohan ordered. Everyone replied energetically.
Yohan went to the situation room ahead of the others. Even though it had a grandiose name, it was actually just a lecture hall on the third floor of the wellness center that was converted into an office of sorts. There was a large map, the ham radio, and the control panel for the public announcement speakers set up around the island.
“Sir.” Yohan greeted Kim Go In. He was one of the treasures that Yohan had obtained. A talented technician that could handle any equipment and hardwire electricity.
“Oh, you’re back.” Mr. Kim didn’t like the sound of his own name and preferred to be called sir or Mr. Kim.
“Yes. As always, thank you for your hard work.” Yohan replied, politely. Thanks to Mr. Kim, they could operate smoothly.
“Haha, it’s nothing.”
“Shall we take a look?”
Mr. Kim was occupying the ham radio controls. There was a large antenna installed on the outside terrace and it was hooked up to a bunch of equipment that took up one side of the room. It was essentially an amateur wireless ham radio set. Yohan wanted it installed so that they could maintain communication with the old man at the Bupyeong District Office 20 kilometers away. He wanted the mercenaries to be a sort of forward base for them, so they needed to keep in touch. Currently, there was no signal.
“I haven’t heard from them.”
“Well, I’m sure we’ll get them if we keep checking.” Yohan and Mr. Kim tried a few more times. They were about to give up when they heard some static and noise coming through the radio.
— “Hey…you, kid?”
— “Stand by.”
There was more static. It lasted for a long time before they heard some clicking.
— “Can you hear me now?”
“Yes, I can hear you.”
— “You’re late, kid.”
“I got caught up with something. Did anything happen?”
— “A lot of things happened.”
“What sort of things?”
— “First, this kid I know took some of our stuff and never called back…”
Yohan burst out laughing.
“It sounds like you’re okay.”
— “A mutant appeared.”
— “It was on the list. It was the one you called Long Legs. It wasn’t that hard to deal with.”
— “You’re right. The info was a big deal. The products did their jobs too, so that was a relief.”
Long Legs were on the same level as the Golem, maybe a bit weaker. As long as they dealt with the zombie wave and were mindful of airborne infections, then it wasn’t hard to defeat the mutant. However, there was something that bothered Yohan.
“Why did you get hit by a zombie wave? Did you not separate the people?”
— “No way, kid. The camp that got hit had twenty people only.”
— “That’s why we made another camp with only fifteen people in it. Also, I got a new client in Seoul. I can probably start giving you information from Seoul in the future.”
“Please be careful when dealing with strangers.”
— “What am I, a kid? Huh?”
“How are the people that I gave you?”
— “Oh you know, I’ve been running them around like dogs. They’re trash.”
Yohan laughed again, even louder this time. He had no sympathy for the former freeloaders of his camp. They had the wrong mindset for the current state of the world. They deserved to suffer.
— “Yeah, but some are starting to show some potential.”
“That’s good to hear. Really.” Yohan also had some intel to share with the old man. “On the way to our new camp, we saw a line of zombies.”
Yohan described the horde that behaved differently than a zombie wave. He didn’t leave out any details. It was definitely a noteworthy occurrence. The old man cursed like a sailor.
— “Shit. They really aren’t leaving us alone. Anyway, thanks kid.”
“I’ll contact you again soon. Please be careful.”
— “Got it.”
Yohan felt a headache coming. It was rare for a group of 20 people to get hit by a zombie wave. Yohan got lost in his thoughts as drowsiness and a short nap eventually overcame him.
* * *
It had been a long day. Everyone, aside from a few recon team members left on guard duty, gathered at the situation room. The agenda for the meeting included a debrief on the recent expedition and the raid on the neighboring island. The most important details were around the soldiers near Yeongjong Bridge and the fact that a mutant may be attacking their camp in the near future. Most of the people present had the same opinion regarding the soldiers, which was to sit by and watch.
“We don’t know how big their forces are and we don’t know where to find them, so attacking is pointless.”
As usual, Ha Jin and Hyuk were semi-hopeful when it came to dealing with other humans while everyone else was happy to leave the decision making to Yohan. This was normally how things went, but their new members didn’t fully understand.
“Mr. Yohan said that he might fight them…were you all going to fight with him?” Verda asked, pushing her horn rimmed glasses up.
“Of course. If he says so, we’ll fight.” Sweeper answered, with a smile.
“But they’re soldiers…”
The camp members simply laughed.
“Great. If there are no objections, we’ll keep an eye on the soldiers near Yeongjong bridge. There are more pressing matters before us. Well, honestly, the most important thing is the upcoming harvest. How we do next year will depend on how good the harvest is. Regardless if you’re part of the production group or in the recon team, if Elder Park asks you to do something, support him with your mind, body, and spirit.”
“And regarding the mutant…”
Since it was the first time Yohan had heard about this mutant, he didn’t have a perfect plan. However, he summarized the information he got from Lina and shared it with everyone.
“First, there is a new mutant that isn’t on my list. Based only on what we’ve been told, it seems like it doesn’t have a set attack pattern. Even though it was just a dream, it was able to wipe out the whole camp, so it’s probably on the same level as David.”
The recon team members got nervous. They could still remember their battle with David. This was especially true for Ha Jin, who had lost his arm in that fight. He could feel the upper part of his arm getting chills.
— Ω —