Yohan thought back to the things that he thought were weird. Things that defied logic. He knew Lina had a point.
“What are you trying to say?”
“It’s exactly what I said. Please stop attacking other humans. We need to fight for the survival of our species, not just ourselves. I believe everyone here has a responsibility to do that.”
“I’m sure Hyuk will love hearing this.”
“I’m right here, Yohan.”
“I know. I’m just saying that you’re going to like it.”
Yohan summarized everything in his head. Black magic had created a monster that continuously gave birth to mutants. Lina existed to receive this information through divine providence. Yohan was the only person in the world that had returned from another timeline.
‘It’s a feast of bullshit that doesn’t make sense.’
What was ridiculous was how all this bullshit fit perfectly together like a jigsaw puzzle. Someone was trying to exterminate all of mankind while somebody else was trying to prevent it. Both sides had assigned entities to carry out their will.
“Excuse me, leader.” Jae Ho spoke up. “I’m sorry for bringing this up out of the blue, but…would it be okay if we did something for our own interests?”
“What do you mean?”
“I would like to go to the National Museum of Korea.”
“No,” Yohan said, firmly, immediately rejecting the proposal. “I’ll keep the information you shared with us in mind, but I can’t put people’s lives in danger just because we’re curious about a random idea. Everyone, focus on survival. That’s the task at hand.”
Lina was convinced that two greater powers were fighting with the fate of humanity on the line. However, her words and faith were not enough to persuade Yohan. He was more inclined to believe that the gods were bored and just playing a game with Earth and its inhabitants. In the beginning it was a survival game with the zombies. In the middle, it was a ‘law of the jungle’ game where survivor groups fought each other. Now they were at the stage where the gods were watching to see if the last group of humans in the world could avoid extinction.
Thinking about it this way was more persuasive. Of course, it still didn’t make a lick of sense. Yohan shook his head. In conclusion, it was pretty simple. There was nothing they could do. They didn’t have enough information and there were too many possible futures to try and prepare for.
“Don’t even think about it, Jae Ho.”
“Leader, there’s a saying that goes ‘the quest for phenomena and knowledge is the driving force behind a man’s ability’.”
“It would be a pointless death.” Yohan said, dismissively. Such a mission was risky and he wasn’t sure if the information they might gain was worth that risk. “It’s during times like these that we need to be more cautious and keep a low profile. We don’t know what the future holds, so we’re going to stay put here. We’ll increase security threefold and forget about attacking the military bases. We’ll begin tactical and shooting training, starting immediately. As before, our goal is to complete the harvest while preparing for this unknown mutant. Of course, if those military guys notice us or attack us first, we won’t just stand by and let it happen.”
Though Lina didn’t completely agree with Yohan’s plan, at least he had changed his mind on preemptively attacking the military bases. Of course, Yohan didn’t change his plans because of Lina’s feelings. He just wanted to avoid unnecessary battles since they didn’t know what might happen. Still, Lina bowed her head appreciatively.
“Thank you, Mr. Yohan.”
“From this point on, we’ll split up into groups, which will include our new members. Be prepared.”
‘We’re going to survive and thrive on this island.’
Survival was still their priority.
* * *
Training officially started the next day. On the other side of the island, the harvest began. It was October now and the weather was cold enough that they had to bring out their thicker winter clothing.
Yohan prioritized the preparation for the big mutant. There wasn’t much they could do to train for a fight against a mutant, Yohan simply had the combatants memorize his list of mutant attack patterns and weaknesses. They learned that, when fighting against a mutant, it was important to maintain your distance and attack only after you figure out its pattern. Yohan had them memorize the patterns of all the known mutants so that they would be better prepared.
The next important thing was to improve teamwork. This was important if they had to fight on multiple fronts at the same time, which was likely to be the case.
“If there’s a battle, gathering in one place is suicide. We’ll do four things: split up, sound play, position ourselves, and surround them.”
Yohan moved some chess pieces around on a hand drawn map of the island. Everyone gathered around to listen to Yohan’s explanation.
“First, splitting up. For patrols, we’ll use two groups of four. We’ll refer to groups of four as ‘squads’. We’ll focus on staying in squads of no more than four people so that it’s harder to track us and a single grenade or crossfire won’t annihilate all of us.”
Yohan paused for questions. Everyone was giving him nods of understanding, so he continued.
“Every squad should have two shooters with good accuracy and two agile fighters. That’s the ideal squad. Watch each other’s backs and cover opposite angles. If someone gets hurt during a fight, don’t just rush in to save them.”
“Then what should we do?”
“Eliminate the enemy first. If you focus on saving the injured comrade while the enemy is still in front of you, both of you will end up rendez-vousing in heaven. Either get rid of the enemy or wait until you’re absolutely sure that the enemy has left. Only then can you afford to go out and take care of the injured. Remember this. Eliminating the enemy is the number one priority.”
The trainees nodded again.
“The two squads on patrol should stay roughly one building apart and guard opposite angles. The first squad will watch the northeast and the second will watch the southwest. If you spot an enemy, do you know what you should do?”
“Report,” Verda answered. Yohan smiled at her.
“That’s right. Use your walkie-talkies and report what you see to everyone. Tell them how many enemies you see, how far away they are, where they are, etc.”
Location, distance, and number. Yohan repeated this for emphasis.
“Next is what I call ‘sound play’. There are many sounds that are unnatural, such as gunshots, footsteps, things falling, etc. Limit the noise you make as much as possible. If you hear these sounds, try to predict the direction and distance of its source. Whenever we’re moving, be wary of your own noise. When we’re in a fight, even the tiniest sound is a death wish. I’m looking at you.”
Yohan pointed at Saeri, Jung Hwan, and a few other chatterboxes.
“Stop talking unnecessarily.”
“The third is positioning. Being able to see the enemy while staying hidden is crucial. Find a place that has the advantage of height and cover.”
These were the basics of Yohan’s strategies.
“Finally, the core of teamwork. Surrounding the enemy. The pincer.”
“…Pincer?” Pio asked, he was unfamiliar with the term.
“That’s when we position ourselves on opposite sides of the enemy. In the case where both forces have shields or cover and they’re too far away for grenades, have your two shooters pin down the enemy while the agile squad members hide from their sights and quickly get behind them.”
“Basically, take the backdoor,” Sweeper explained, smiling.
“Okay, now let’s talk about reporting. When you’re surrounding your enemies, it can be hard to explain things over the walkie-talkie. Don’t just say ‘left’ or ‘right’ from your perspective, be specific. For example, say the color of the house that the enemy is in or how many meters away they are from a landmark. Say how many people are on which floor. Things like that. If all four members of your squad have a good grasp of north, south, east, and west, then it’s okay to use cardinal directions when reporting. Regardless, try to be descriptive and clear.”
Yohan ran the trainees through various reporting exercises, getting them to practice everything that he had just taught them. Location, distance, and number. Waking up in the middle of the night and practicing in the darkness. The training continued for a few days before they moved onto full-scale training.
“There will be a total of four squads. Squad one will be me, Lina, Pio, and Corporal Ong. Squad two is Sweeper, Ha Jin, Saeri, and Ji Won. Squad three is Hyuk, Verda, Jung Soo, and Eddie. Squad Four is Jung Hwan, So Hee, Jin Soo, and Jae Ho. The first person I named for each squad will be that squad’s leader.”
Sweeper tilted his head. The groups were a bit different than what they were used to.
“The one-armed pirate isn’t a leader? I’m worried about squad three and four’s combat power.” He commented. Sweeper didn’t mention it, but one of the leaders was much younger than the others and one of the squad consisted mostly of new and inexperienced members. It was natural for him to be worried.
“Squad one and two are our main forces. Three and four are the backups. If possible, squad one and two will finish the job. If three and four are required, you can consider the battle to be a full blown war.”
“What about Jung Eun and the others?”
“They’re the reserve forces.”
There had been a power shift recently with the new members, so it was natural for Yohan to swap around their combat members. No one really thought much about it.
Full-scale training did not involve using survival equipment. There wasn’t anything to do except practice tactics and do firing drills. At first they thought it was fun to train with an empty gun, but they were put through the paces and started training seriously once Yohan started barking at them. Whenever a report practice was unsatisfactory, Yohan would shout out in a thunderous voice.
“Do your reports properly. There are two houses with blue roofs, isn’t it confusing to use that as your detail? Also, walkie-talkie reports should be short and concise. Once you’re done, take your finger off the transmit button.”
“Your reports are overlapping. Don’t press transmit when someone else is transmitting.”
“Back up! Too slow!”
“Why are you attacking when you haven’t reported yet? Do you think you can take down all the enemies by yourself?”
There was no end to Yohan’s criticisms. He was especially harsh to Jung Hwan. Although he was trying his best, this type of tactical exercise didn’t suit Jung Hwan. However, since he was a squad leader, Yohan criticized him non-stop.
“Jung Hwan, come here. If you act like this as a squad leader, you’re basically asking your squad members to follow you and die.”
“I’m sorry Yohan.”
“Do it properly.”
For shooting practice, Yohan had everyone practice shooting from the standing, sitting, and prone positions. Afterward, they started practicing shooting while moving and then, finally, shooting at moving targets. However, they didn’t have many silencers, so it took a long time for all of them to progress to the final step. Still, Yohan demanded that they perform with ridiculous accuracy.
The huge shipment of drones that Jung Hwan had scavenged were put to good use. Sweeper and Ha Jin trained the combatants in martial arts. Yohan put emphasis on physical training. He trained everyone as hard as national soccer players preparing for the World Cup. He trained them until they were drooling and vomiting.
‘The only thing we can do right now is training.’
Yohan had to be firm, there were too many enemies: Yeongjong Island military bases, the mutant Shark (the one that Lina saw in her dream wiping out their camp), and the mutant Piccolo (The one that Lina saw giving birth to other mutants. Sweeper nicknamed this one.). Threats and danger were all around them, but there wasn’t anything specific that Yohan could do to prepare for them.
All they could do was train while the threats slowly closed in on them, squeezing their throats. This was why, even though they were enjoying a period of peace and leisure, Yohan was training them hard.
— Ω —