* * *
He didn’t know if it was a good thing or not, but the navy stayed quiet. They had settled down by the pier and were doing ship maintenance. Yohan didn’t know what they were doing exactly, but they looked busy.
They kept their distance from the camp; it felt like there was an invisible border between them. This was a good thing. If they just needed to land somewhere and didn’t need supplies or human resources, then they wouldn’t need to hide for much longer. Of course, things could suddenly change, so Yohan had to keep a constant eye on them.
Yohan watched the navy through his binoculars. Captain Jin was talking with his officers and looking at the rice fields. He must have realized how good they had it here.
“Yohan, Ji Hye is asking how long they need to keep hiding,” Saeri said.
Yohan thought for a moment. It had been half a day since the warship landed. He wouldn’t be able to hide their non-combatants for long.
“Tell them to go back to normal for now, but avoid the sailors as much as possible.”
“And, for now, tell the combatants to stay near non-combatants. We don’t know what might happen.”
“Okay, I’ll tell them that as well.” Saeri revved her motorcycle and headed off.
Problems didn’t start until it was dinner time. A group of navy officers entered the cafeteria on the first floor of the wellness center.
“What are you…” All the dining camp members were glaring at the navy men.
“I was hoping you would be able to provide some food to our sailors.” The one making the request was an officer who had a rank equivalent to a sergeant. In the army, he might have been a platoon leader.
“Yes food. It looks like you guys have a lot, so please cooperate.”
“How many people?”
That was a lot of people. If they fed all 83, it would make it difficult for the camp to last even a month, based on the supplies they had stocked up. On top of that, they weren’t supposed to touch the combat rations and canned food. They had to prepare for the future and that was emergency food that needed to last them over the next five to seven years.
They wouldn’t be able to feed an additional 90 people every day. They simply didn’t produce that much food. With just their current numbers, they were barely able to save up at all. Thus, Yohan was hesitant. Just then, another sailor arrived. He saluted the officer quickly and then asked a question.
“Petty Officer, the Chief of Operations is asking when the food will be ready. The captain is waiting.”
“Ask him to come in 30 minutes.”
The petty officer looked at Yohan again.
“I would like you to provide a private table for four officers. Since this place is small, it would be best if those who have finished eating leave. Please cooperate.”
Yohan frowned, along with several other camp members.
‘This bastard, who does he think he is to be barking out orders?’
* * *
“I can’t believe you agreed. Everyone is worried,” Saeri grumbled as she watched sailors take over the cafeteria and devour their food.
Even though he had frowned at the request and hesitated, Yohan ultimately decided to provide food to the 83 sailors. Additionally, he even cooperated in providing a special table just for the officers.
“I know you have a plan, but…this is a bit too much. Everyone put their lives on the line to gather this food.” Saeri voiced the doubts and concerns that the camp members had over Yohan’s decisions and actions.
Given Yohan’s personality, he would consider people to be an enemy the moment that they started to boss him around and try to get rid of them. That’s how things normally went. However, Yohan didn’t do anything this time around and people felt like something was off.
‘Why is he letting them boss him around?’
‘Are the soldiers at the top of the food chain?’
The camp members had their doubts. Yohan never started a fight that he wasn’t confident in winning. They just couldn’t understand his thinking and had to start making wild assumptions.
Meanwhile, Yohan had locked himself in the situation room. Saeri, who had watched Yohan closer and longer than anyone else, could tell that he was extremely upset. She wanted to tell him just to flip everything over, but before she could say anything, uninvited guests appeared. It was the four officers.
“This looks like some sort of operations control room.”
“You’re right, captain. Haha.” The officers laughed as they looked at the broadcast system and radio set up. There were various maps and tactical boards hanging on the walls.
“This must be your office,” the captain remarked. Yohan spun around in his chair.
“It’s our situation room.”
“If other people heard that, they would have thought that you were running a military operation.”
Though he didn’t show it, Yohan was leering at them internally. Saeri frowned.
“You have a supplies warehouse as well as a weapons and ammunition warehouse, along with this type of equipment. Isn’t it really dangerous for an ordinary citizen to have all this?” the captain asked. He was looking at Yohan, but one of his officers answered the question.
“You’re right, captain. The Korean military should help take this burden off of their shoulders.”
Yohan didn’t say anything. It was clear that they didn’t have a high opinion of the camp.
“What the hell did the navy ever do for us…” Saeri started. Yohan waved his hand to signal her to stop talking. The atmosphere in the room became awkward. Some of the officers coughed. The captain changed the topic.
“I noticed that you have some homebrewed alcohol on the first floor.”
When they first landed on the island, the camp had brewed their own alcohol to celebrate. The captain had a greedy expression on his face as he licked his lips.
“I think it would be best if we had a discussion on a long term cooperation system with the military. How about we talk over some drinks?” The captain was basically ordering Yohan to set up a table with drinks and snacks. Yohan did his best to not laugh in his face. Instead, he stared at the captain right in the eyes. Finally, Yohan gave a soft sigh and turned to Saeri.
“Ask Ji Hye to bring out some alcohol and snacks. Also, gather all the elite recon team members…plus Jae Ho and Lina.”
“…” Saeri glared at Yohan. She was clearly unsatisfied, but she left the room quickly. Even though she was acting up, she still did her job and never ignored orders.
“Jeez, that’s definitely not a docile woman. A woman ought to be modest and…”
“Let’s head down. I’ll prepare a table.” Yohan cut the officer off mid-sentence. He didn’t need to hear his useless opinion. The officer realized this and frowned, but no one said anything. At least they had some sense of consideration.
Yohan sat down quietly at the table that they had previously set aside for the officers. Soon, he was joined by the recon team members, minus Sweeper and Corporal Ong.
“Where’s Sweeper and Ong?” Ha Jin asked.
“They said Yohan assigned some work to them and asked if they could be excused.” Saeri replied.
Sweeper was guarding the ammunition warehouse and Corporal Ong was still in hiding. No good would come if the navy men found out that he was a soldier. Additionally, if things turned sour, Corporal Ong had the important role of neutralizing the warship. The meeting ended up being larger than what the captain had anticipated. Seeing that seven extra people were joining them, he called for three more sailors to join them as well. They wanted to show a strong front in this important meeting.
“This island is basically the last island before the western sea line, right?”
“Right. Aside from Baengnyeong island north of here, all the other islands have already been looted.”
“Jeez, during the Imjin War, the Joseon military’s counterattack was the turning point, so maybe mankind’s revival will start with the Korean navy. Haha.”
“We need to make it that way. That’s the duty of the armed forces.”
There wasn’t much conversation. The navy men were chatting among themselves, making them seem like they were the world’s last hope. Though high command had been annihilated, they had managed to survive so far thanks to their leader, so Yohan could understand why they felt like they were special. In fact, Yohan thought that they were amazing. Amazingly thick-headed, that is.
‘Control your expressions.’
Yohan looked at his pouting recon team members and flashed a bright smile, indicating them to follow suit. Ha Jin and Hyuk were stubborn as a mule. Jung Hwan and Saeri clearly didn’t like the current situation. And since Yohan and Paulina weren’t the talkative types, the navy men dominated the majority of the conversation. It was as if the guests were the hosts.
Thankfully, Jae Ho seemed to be right in his element. He joined in on their conversations and most of their questions were directed at him. Of course, Jae Ho had the skills of an interviewer and managed to avoid any talk about the camp. He simply laughed off all of the sailor’s attempts to get information on them.
“Anyway, everyone here is so quiet. If it wasn’t for Reporter Choi, one might get the impression that you guys were trying to kick us out or something. Right? It’s like we’re being treated like unwanted guests.”
“That’s nonsense. You’re the Korean navy,” Yohan replied. Jung Hwan was sitting next to him. He had heard the details from Saeri and looked like he was forced to chew on a bug. Yohan nudged him.
‘I told you to loosen up.’
It might not seem like it, but Jung Hwan did have a temper. Maybe it came from all the time he had been spending with the recon team?
“You said your name was Saeri, right? Man, who knew a beauty like you would be on a rustic island like this? It’s surprising. Please pour me a drink. You know that a drink from a beautiful lady tastes better.” One of the officers gave Saeri a sly smile and held out his cup. He looked her body up and down without a hint of shame. It gave Saeri the creeps, as if a bug was climbing up her body. Instead of frowning, Saeri gave him her sweetest smile as she responded.
“Do I look like a woman that pours drinks, Mr. Sailor? Should I shove a bullet in between your eyes instead?”
‘Oh my god…’ Yohan rubbed his forehead. The cafeteria was suddenly silent, as if someone had splashed cold water on all of them. However, Saeri tilted her head the other way and gave a sing-song giggle.
“I’m just joking. Let me pour you a drink.”
“Oh my, you…scared me.”
The previous atmosphere returned as Saeri played off her comment as a joke.
‘Oh, that’s a good one. I should try that some time.’
After pouring the drinks, Saeri left, saying that she wasn’t feeling well. Their company was old-fashioned and conversation wasn’t going anywhere. After a few drinks, the captain finally broached the main subject.
“I was honestly surprised,” The captain said, meaningfully. Yohan looked up. “We’ve visited many islands. This is the first place that is completely clear of zombies. It also has equipment and is prepared for the future.”
“Thank you for the compliment.”
“So you see…” The captain paused for a moment. Yohan knew that he wasn’t going to like what was coming next. “I would like to use this place as our military base.”
— Ω —