Mercenary Black Mamba - Chapter 649
Hae Young squinted her eyes in excitement at the mention of Africa.
Africa was an old continent. The reason why it had fewer rugged mountains and high peaks, compared to Asia or America, was that the geography of the continent had been through wear and tear caused by its weather for the longest period of time. In fact, a sacred place to a geographer was not Jerusalem or Mecca, but rather Africa.
It offered plenty of opportunities in gaining knowledge. Africa was diverse and colorful, with an endless spread of black rocks and red sand, and stars dancing and filling up the sky as if they were about to pour out. It was an endless green carpet, the bare skin of the earth whispering ancient secrets. Hae Young’s brain was filled with adrenaline rushing from all of the excitement. Her heart was racing. The excitement building up within her was enough to even calm an upset stomach.
“Oh, the smell is driving me crazy! Can you do something about it?”
Robert shuddered while pinching his nose.
“Get out if you don’t like it. I don’t want to argue with you over cultural differences. I don’t always enjoy the foul smell of Caucasus either.”
Hae Young raised her eyes. He always sucked at reading the atmosphere.
“All right, all right.”
Robert raised both of his arms in surrender.
“As an aftermath of the huge earthquake that took place in the Great Lift Valley in June, massive landslides have occurred in the Republic of Zaire and the Western Highlands of Rwanda. The Cambrian metamorphic rock strata in the northeast of Lake Albert has been exposed.”
“Precambrian Era! Which period?”
Hae Young’s eyes sparkled. Even though the Pre-paleozoic Era was lumped together with the Precambrian Era, it still spanned a long period of four billion years, which was made up of 2.6 billion years of the Archeozoic Era and 1.4 billion years of the Proterozoic Era. Though the secrets of the early Earth’s creation and chemical evolution process were hidden well, to discover a vivid nodule (just a stratum revealed on the surface) was like finding a needle in a haystack. If one was lucky enough to find a fossil, a doctorate thesis would not seem so far away.
“The distribution of potassium-argon (K-Ar) isotope spectrum in a sample ranges from 600 million years to 1.2 billion years. As always, it’s not certain, but we can’t just measure carbon based on that.”
Hae Young nodded. Carbon radiation measurements were relatively accurate, but the half-life was short, making it difficult to apply to Precambrian stratigraphic dating.
“Who’s the leader of the investigation team?”
“Naturally, it is Professor Samuel, and the professor nominated you specifically. By any chance…”
Robert glanced sideways at Hae Young’s chest, mumbling the last part of what he was saying. Hae Young pretended like she didn’t notice. He was not even worth getting angry at as it was tiring to have to confront another animal who only recognized sex.
“What do I need to prepare for?”
“Not much. This investigation team has a strong support team. You just need to prepare your personal hygiene products. Such as…”
“Okay. Get out now if you’re done talking.”
Hae Young cut him off mid-sentence. It was easy to predict what he was about to say. Not only was he vulgar, but he was also a dastard.
“Honey, can I sleep here tonight?”
“Damn you bastard! Die!”
Hae Young picked up a kitchen knife with kimchi sauce still on it. Her pent-up anger was about to explode.
“Oh! Blood, blood!”
Upon seeing kimchi sauce left on a cutting board, Robert was frightened out of his wits and opened the front door to run out.
“You pigeon-hearted bastard!”
Hae Young, still panting, threw the kitchen knife into the sink. As her agitation and anger subsided, she was now filled with sadness and depression. She stared at the food that looked like a greasy virus floating in the soup, which could hardly be called Kimchi stew. Though she put in so much effort to make it, she still could not bring herself to dip the spoon in it. Without a second thought, Hae Young poured the cold Kimchi stew into a trash can.
Africa was no strange place. The academic advisor, Samuel, was someone fascinated by the mono-layer of the Precambrian Era in the Great Eastern African Territories. The professor, who discovered the rock layer from the Preproterozoic Era in the mono-layer zone, went half crazy. He left for Zaire once the exploration expenses were ready. It was understandable since he had looked into a strand of the mystery of the formation of the earth. This exploration was his fifth expedition.
It turned out rather well. After all, an African mole cricket covered in dirt was a hundred times better than a slut.
Hae Young rushed to the lab at once. Topographic maps, aerial photographs, ruler, denominator, clinometer, telescope, magnifier, camera, hammer, hand ax, sample holder, power drill… the list of geological survey items she needed to pack had no end.
“And the evil bastard said that all I’d have to pack were hygiene products!”
Hae Young released her anger by kicking Robert’s locker, and then she packed her feminine hygiene products.
Edwards Air Force Base, located in Antelope Valley on the western tip of the Mojave Desert, was the world’s largest air force base, known for its military aircraft, rockets, and other missile tests. But actually, only a small portion of the information was known to the public.
The U.S. Air Force and NASA jointly used a vast 400 km^2 site in comparison to Incheon Airport of 56km^2, which boasted the dignity of the Cheonjo Kingdom (One quadrillion kingdom). The 06R/24T area facing the desert at the southwest side of the base was a high-flying reconnaissance aircraft main station. It was also the area where the dead alien body controversy took place in the 1960s.
A figure entered the 06R/24T parking ramp of the C5 Galaxy, a strategic transport aircraft. It turned out to be a taxi that had brought the exploration team to Africa for a non-stop flight.
The sound from a nose cone came. Three Humvees that were waiting started to climb the slope.
Two M113 armored vehicles followed. The Galaxy could easily be able to gobble up five combat vehicles.
Subsequently, tug cars pushed their heads in one after another, while workers in green attire moved busily on the Caesars Plate. By the time loading of exploration and experimental equipment was finished, three limousines had entered a parking ramp. Civilians carrying personal backpacks descended from the first limousine. There were 15 exploration teams led by Professor Samuel. Then, 33 soldiers dressed in black got off the limousine that followed. The soldiers were immediately sucked into the body of Galaxy, without sparing a look at the exploration team nor making any sound.
Hae Young tilted her head. A cold feeling of lacking emotions emanated from the soldiers dressed in black. They were similar to Spector who prevented them from going to Korea. It was also hard to understand the composition of the exploration team. There were only four geologists, including herself, Professor Samuel, Robert, and Kerry.
The remaining 11 were personnel coming from the physics and chemistry fields. There was no rule that prohibited physicists and chemists from accompanying the geological exploration team, but it seemed way too much. On top of that, there was no assistant in sight such as interpreters, medical personnel, correspondence personnel, and cooks.
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“Should I eat Ugalina Fufu (an African style Bindaetteok, which is Korean mung bean dough but made of casava dough instead) that the natives rubbed with their bare hands? They are not going to serve Yakori (edible larva) putty, are they?”
Hae Young was rather concerned. Africa was not bad, but she hated its food and water. Furthermore, the area to be explored was close to where the entire Areva resource team was kidnapped. Hence, the heavily armed safety team accompanying them was understandable. It was assisting personnel that was the problem.
“We’re not going to fill up our stomach with military C-rations, are we?”
Hae Young looked at Samuel, the advisor. She hated unsanitary food, but the leery water filtered through the filtration system and injected with disinfectants was disgusting as well. That was the limit for Hae Young, who had never tasted tear-stained bread.
“Lynn, do you know about black and white rice in Africa? Black rice is food made from scorched fire ants.”
Professor Samuel grinned.
“Is white rice made from white ants?”
Hae Young crinkled her forehead.
“Excellent! As expected, the human cerebral neocortex is great. Only humans are capable of the process of association. Don’t forget that we are mole crickets. Being obsessed with incomplete vision and taste will destroy the identity of mole cricket.”
Professor Samuel spoke in a backhanded manner. In other words, he was saying, “eat whatever you are given.”
“What about an interpreter?”
“I’ll bring in the chimpanzees that Mrs. Jane Goodall adores.”
Professor Samuel glossed over with a soulless reply. Hae Young got emotional. This meant that she was not the key personnel.
“Lynn, you don’t have to worry. The advanced team has already paved the way and is building a camp.”
Robert tried to wrap his arm around her shoulder. Hae Young didn’t even look at him and slapped his arm away.
By the time the committee sent a dual-purpose expedition team, the jungle outside Mombasa, the Jair Ituri province, was suffering. The loud gunfire and roar of dozens of heavy equipment engines shook the jungle, and the insecticide, emitted by the fumigation company and thus covering the workplace, was white.
The site where The Engineering Battalion of the U.S. Army Corps that the committee deployed a month ago was paving a 6m wide and 125km long road from Brina to Ngongpanwaza. Man-made machines were great. The Corps of Engineers used their strength to dig through the jungle at a speed of 30 kilometers per week.
When five X-Cabeta logging saw machines cut off a giant tree at once, an extraction machine picked it up and threw it out of the road. When the excavator pulled out the tree trunk, the bulldozer pushed the ground while the vibration roller pressed down on the ground and flattened it.
The huge Abyssinica, which was more than 3m in diameter at the bottom, could not stand a chance, and a murder swamp covered by midge could not stop machine corps from advancing. Poisonous insects and snakes covered with powerful organic phosphorus insecticide were dying in piles, and the beasts took flight at the sound of gunfire and roar. The fearless terror bird was turned into a hive by gunfire.
There were no external factors to hinder the rushing construction work. There were no landowners to play tug-of-war over acceptable prices, no environmental protestors lying on the ground, and no conservationists calling for the protection of salamanders. The Jungle Road, later called 27 North Ituri Road, was almost completed.
The survey team of the Army’s Geographic Intelligence Bureau, which was dispatched with the Engineering Battalion, also showed as much power as the Engineering Battalion. In just three weeks, the survey team drew a contour topographic map, cross-sectional diagram, and structural contour (corner line) in a 10-kilometer radius around Ngongpanwaza.
Since contours were lines that connected places of the same height, the geological boundary was parallel to the contours. Once the contour map was completed, the recapitulative stratification was considered to be almost over. Professor Samuel’s team did not need to waste time on preliminary work, and Hae Young’s worries were also temporary.
A Humvee galloped through rough ground that showed its red inners. A lieutenant colonel whose uniform was covered in white salt jumped out of the Humvee.
“Commander, it’s opened.”
The engineering battalion commander’s expression was full of pride. In 35 days, they broke through the 125-kilometer road and built a sector. There had never been such powerful and hasty construction work done in the history of the U.S. Army of Engineers. He lost 40 men, but it was an inevitable sacrifice.
“Nicely done. Two days ahead of schedule.”
A firmly-built soldier with a shining star on his shoulder tapped his palm with a baton. He was Freemason’s handicrafts-man and also the supervisor of Green Flow appointed by the committee, sector commander Brigadier General McKinley.
“There were casualties today as well. Sergeant Davis, who was hit by Black Mamba, didn’t even have time to inject anti-toxins. Sergeant Peterson, who gave up his leg to a crocodile, is preparing to be evacuated.”
“Hmm… that’s too bad.”
McKinley offered his soulless condolences. Lieutenant Colonel Weaver’s face fell. The commander was heartless. His subordinate died while the other was crippled, but all he could say was that it was too bad.
“The crew is exhausted. We need a break.”
“All right. Take a break in the sector and continue working on the outside of the barbed wire at night.”
“There are too many poisonous insects running into the light. The fumigation company is also dying and falling over.”
Lieutenant Colonel Weaver showed some discontent.
“We are soldiers. Reinforce the insecticide sprayer and proceed. The research team will arrive tomorrow.”
A cold-blooded and dry order has been dropped.
Lieutenant Colonel Weaver retreated without a word. Soldiers obey orders and there is no excuse.
“Hahaha, the promotion of the Major General is just around the corner. Can’t waste time.”
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McKinley grinned. No organization was as closed and unreasonable as the military. Whether it was a developed or underdeveloped country, the sigh and sacrifices of countless soldiers were bound to follow until a star was made. Some countries were overflowing with money for building high-end officers’ hotels and golf courses, even if there were no medical expenses for soldiers whose ankles had been blown away by landmines.
At the headquarters of the DGSE in Paris, Bonipas pushed a thick report he was reading and opened the map. Scale 1: 5,000. This was a military map of eastern Zaire. The exposed strata in the Mombasa region caught by the satellite were not much of his interest. The problem was the uranium mine in Areva S.A, 110 kilometers west of Buni. Large-scale mining facilities had been built and platform mining had begun. If anything happened, there would be huge damage.
“The master cleared the room, but the credit is for Yankees to take. I can’t turn a blind eye to national interests just because I don’t like Javer. The bullies gathering in Ennedi is also a problem.”
Bonipas cut off the end of the Gauloises with a cutter. Cigarettes were the best when one couldn’t concentrate. After the destruction of the Voodoo forces led by Kamuge, the area of Mambasa became an owner-less mountain. This was because the existence of the terrifying Mahaduraka (Black Mamba) and Bodoon (Ssamdi) was spreading through the mouths of the Pygmy tribe.
The Black Forest was the realm of the Great Spirit that swallowed the Damballah led by an evil sorcerer. In Africa, zombies and monsters possessed by the evil spirit such as the Great Spirit, Bodoon, and Houngan, were not beings in fairy tales but in reality. Fear brought forth another fear. No armed forces, including the Mai-Mai rebels, dared enter the jungle of Ituri ruled by the Great Spirit.