"I love being shot at," Ivanov said.
I glanced over at him, ready to chuckle at his sarcasm, but it seemed as though having heavy artillery shot at Ivanov had put him in a sour mood. Muffled apologies streamed forth from the bunker, although we were too far to make out the words exactly.
"I wonder what they're so jumpy about?" I mused. It paid to be cautious, but the fellows within the bunker seemed a little uptight, wasting ammo like that. Ivanov didn't respond, instead shouldering his pack and continuing the slow march toward the bunker entrance alongside me.
Within the bunker, we were greeted by the dour faces of "soldiers" dressed in fatigues and armed with a mishmash of different weapons. Ivanov scanned the group and it took me a minute, but I realized he was looking for the poor sap who had shot at us. I put an arm in front of him, drawing his attention.
"Let's not cause trouble," I said. "We both have business here and I don't want things complicated." It took a minute, but Ivanov settled down finally.
One of the soldiers approached us. "I'm sorry for uh...almost killing you." He paused for minute at the ridiculousness of the statement. "Sorry, there's really not much I can say to make up for it." He waved a hand at his comrades. "We're all a bit jumpy. Rumor has it that a branch of the Marauders are marching toward our position."
I was unaffected by the declaration. Ivanov perked up at the mention of this. "It seems like you have enough artillery to hold them off." He waved his pack. "And I have brought refreshment with me."
The soldier's nervousness did not quite abate. "I know but, still...I mean, you've heard the stories, right?"
No, I thought.
"They're mental," the soldier continued. "Not right in the head. I heard they..." He lowered his voice, glancing about. "I heard they eat human flesh. To make themselves stronger."
Well, I thought, if that were true, then I'd probably be nervous for them, but it's bull@#$%.
The man glanced over at me. "I can see you're skeptical," he said, "but you'll see."