Mercenary Black Mamba - Chapter 651
Hae Young’s mood just became slightly happy. It’s pretty common for people to mistake Koreans for Japanese or Chinese. So it was unusual to meet a foreigner, especially from a remote location in Africa, who recognized a Korean.
“Yes, this is Lynn. How did you know?”
She put her hand out with pleasure. The mercenary officer had a rough and muddy-toned British accent in which “t” was pronounced and “r” was silenced, but it was not difficult to understand.
“It’s nice to meet you. I don’t know Korea very well, but I do have a Korean friend whom I like. Thanks to him, I’ve been to Korea twice.”
Paul gently held Hae Young’s hand and released it.
“Oh, you have. What is he like?”
Living abroad made anyone patriotic. His polite manners and the mere mention of having a Korean friend quickly made her like him already. A hostile face immediately turned into a friendly one.
“He is a friend whom I respect the most and also my mentor, more like my spiritual master. He also likes to stare at the sea from here.”
“He sounds like a good man. He must also be a mercenary.”
“That’s right. A mercenary who earned his freedom. Or should I say a freelance mercenary?”
Paul showed a big grin. Heard Wakil found his missing mother last month. Governor Ombutti named December 23rd as the “meeting day” and designated it as a public holiday. A friend’s happiness was also your happiness. Just thinking about it made Hae Young feel happier.
“Is he young?”
Hae Young was curious. Koreans going overseas were extremely limited. These limited Koreans were usually workers who went to the Middle East during the construction boom, international students in US and Europe, and businessmen wandering around the world. A Korean mercenary! This person was refreshing and cool.
“He is much younger than me. He is a complicated man who hates and loves his country, and who loathes and yearns for the woman he loved. Hahaha!”
Paul was enjoying the conversation. Soldiers existed to fight. There was nothing to do when there was no battle. During this time of boredom, there was no reason not to enjoy the conversation with a beautiful woman.
“A woman he loved? A past tense?”
A guilty conscience needed no accuser. Hae Young’s reaction was a bit sensitive. She felt pathetic asking useless questions but tried to rationalize it as killing time.
“Yeah, he was an old-fashioned friend who couldn’t let go of his fantasy of the woman who left him. When the adrenaline pours in, even a prostitute can look like an angel. It’s like a 20th-century collaboration work between Romeo and Hamlet.”
Paul chuckled. It was fun to make fun of the master.
“Even a prostitute can be seen as an angel!” Hae Young muttered without realizing it.
It broke her heart.
“Mademoiselle, I heard Bucab was your destination. The Rwenzori Mountains are dangerous, but the Ituri jungle is hell. Don’t go anywhere without a bodyguard. It will take at least 48 hours to repair the transport plane. The mercenary’s bed is hard, but the food is decent.”
“Thank you for your concern.”
Hae Young bowed her head.
“See you later, Idiot (in Gyungsang dialect).”
Paul said his goodbye just like the way he learned from Black Mamba. It was his additional service for the beautiful Korean lady.
Hae Young’s heart dropped. The accent was clumsy, but it was Gyungsang dialect.
“Excuse me, wait.”
Hae Young’s voice trembled.
“How can I help you?”
Paul stopped and turned around.
“Did you also learn that goodbye from your Korean friend?”
“Yes, that’s right.”
“Can you say it one more time?”
Paul was puzzled, but he repeated the goodbye one more time.
“See you later, Idiot (in Gyungsang dialect).”
This time, he tried to mimic Black Mamba as best as he could with more accent on the word ‘idiot.’
“No way,” said Hae Young to herself.
Hae Young felt dizzy all of a sudden. The goodbye that Musang used to playfully say, even the accent on the ‘idiot’ sounded the same.
“May I ask what his name was?”
Her voice trembled.
“I am sorry. It’s classified.”
Paul refused. Black Mamba’s identity was highly classified. On the other hand, he felt bad. The beautiful lady seemed so desperate.
“Is mercenary’s identity a secret?”
“Yes, there are many mercenaries who hide their identity and use nicknames. France respects privacy.”
“Can you at least tell me his nickname?”
“I am sorry. It’s classified.”
Paul repeated like a parrot.
“Are you close with him?”
“Of course. He saved my life more than ten times. We are brothers.”
“Ahhh, did he ever mention a name, Hae Young, by any chance?” Hae Young pronounced her name very clearly and stared at Paul with eagerness. It’s ok even if it’s not him. She still wanted to retrace anything associated with him.
“Hae Young?” Paul repeated to himself.
Paul dug into his memory. It was definitely a Korean name that sounded familiar. Then, it flashed. During Operation Chad, it was the name Black Mamba cried out on the hills after completing the first Holocaust.
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“Unbelievable!” said Paul in his mind.
The smile disappeared from Paul’s face. Black Mamba said his lover had left for America to pursue a degree. The woman standing in front of him just arrived from America to Galaxy.
“Can you re-pronounce your name again?”
“Hae Young. In-Hae-Young!”
Hae Young pronounced each character one by one in a clear voice. Paul stared into the woman’s eyes shaded by long eyelashes. The master frequently mentioned her scent and sparkling eyes. Those watery eyes drew out the protective instincts. No doubt that it was the master’s woman that left him.
“Should I kill her?” asked Paul deep inside.
Paul had a sudden urge to kill. Master currently had a woman by his side whom he needed to protect with his life. Edel was a young girl with dazzling beauty and a noble personality. Paul himself, Oh Hyun Ja, and the seven hammers also would do anything to protect her. Samdi and Dino also cared for Edel deeply.
Jin Soon made Oh Hyun Ja and the Seven Hammers, who once claimed that there was no better bride than Edel, realized that there was another sky above the sky. Her innate dignity and noble personality solidified her as the queen.
This woman would make waves and ruin the master’s peaceful family. How could he let the precious angel suffer? Putting humans aside, would the protector of Jin Soon, Dimangshi (Blacksie), tolerate this woman? Would the protector of Edel, Samdi, and Dino, accept her? No chance. She was lucky if Dino didn’t swallow her.
“I can’t kill her myself,” thought Paul.
Paul shook his head. Murder was normal in a mercenary’s everyday life. He became a human butcher who took lives too easily. The Black Mamba was the angel of death, but Tubaiburpa, the master of the spirit, valued life and sought the path of humans. It might be the Servant Master’s decision but definitely not for him to decide.
“No, I’ve never heard of it.”
Paul shook his head.
Hae Young lost the energy in her legs to stand still. She was hoping it was him, but it didn’t seem like it. The mercenary officer didn’t seem so trustworthy, but there was no reason for him to lie.
“Mademoiselle, are you alright?”
The mercenary’s words echoed as if they were in deep water. Hae Young bit her lips hard and pulled herself out above the water. There were so many Koreans who spoke in the Gyungsang dialect… just wasted energy…
“It’s the girl who left the master. Unbelievable. Women can never be understood,” said Paul in his thought.
Paul felt bad. He wanted to say something to comfort her, but he had already said enough. She appeared to be naive with dazzling beauty, but Paul wasn’t naive enough to believe at face value.
“Paul, have you ever loved someone so much that you would throw away your life?”
Hae Young’s voice sounded like she was on the verge of crying. She wanted to be comforted. She wanted just one word of encouragement.
“I loved my wife. But even love has an expiration date. After about ten years, she wouldn’t even be surprised at my sudden entrance or care to respond to my farts. After about twenty years, I began to ask myself, what is left of me? What have I given my wife?”
“So, what is left of you?”
“Nothing! Only the time we spent together. Mademoiselle, the journey to a must-eat place is said to be much more fun than the place itself. Isn’t love more beautiful when it’s left as memories? When the love is over, only treasure the pictures. As soon as you peel the crusty skin, the blood-shedding pain will follow.”
Paul gave his sincere advice as an elderly person. Even if she came back, there was no room for her.
“You know love very well. You are more of a philosopher than a rough mercenary.”
Hae Young was sour and shot right back at him. Those words “treasure only the pictures” hurt like needles piercing through her.
“Have you ever put back together the pieces of your comrade’s torn body? Have you ever stopped a bullet with your own body to save your comrade? Only noble souls are worthy of noble love. A love that puts oneself first is not true love. Well then, I wish you the best.”
Paul threw out somewhat harsh words and strode away.
Hae Young took in a deep breath. It was as if he was talking about himself. She didn’t even get to say goodbye and silently stood there in her thoughts. “Only noble souls are worthy of noble love” rang in her ears. You can un-button and re-button a suit, but you can’t re-live the past.
On January 10th, 1987, Hercules which had recently completed its maintenance transported the expedition team to Bucab. Chinook, which was waiting at the municipal airport, loaded the exploration team and flew to Benia. Although the blunt rotor sound shook her eardrums and the turbulence was so intense that lifted her butt up and down, Hae Young, nonetheless, fell asleep with her nose tucked into her lap. Even the majestic green carpet that stretched endlessly under her feet could not interrupt her sleep. It was partly due to the jet lag, but she couldn’t sleep for two days because of what the mercenary officer Paul said to her.
“Lynn, it seems we’ve arrived.”
Cary tapped on Hae Young’s shoulder. Hae Young, who woke up in surprise, looked down below the window with a blank face. She could see white cigarette burn marks as if they were intentionally dotted on the green carpet. Tu-Tu-Tu-Tu! Chinook descended. The cigarette burn marks rapidly enlarged.
“What in the world!”
Hae Young couldn’t contain her astonishment. Countless heavy machinery and humans were moving about like ants.
The rest of the team members were equally astonished. A jungle of the size of dozens of football stadiums vanished. Buildings and facilities took their place. At a glance, it was not a simple base camp but a large research institute.
“This was not a simple geological expedition.”
A cold breeze rubbed against Hae Young’s chest. A man named Specter said she needed to work for five years. Not sure what it was, but a heavy burden like that of a hefty lunch price was pressing down on her chest.
A soldier dressed in black escorted the group who just got off the plane to the corset research village. When Sector General McKinley finished the welcome briefing, Professor Samuel hurried the team without any time for organizing belongings.
“Mac, take your kids to Chamber 3 to set.”
“You got it!”
An elderly white man disappeared with ten researchers. That meant they were not in a geological team. Shortly thereafter, seven little puppies with green overalls and red hard hats entered the conference room.
Jeeeeing! A screen fell from the wall of the conference room. Spot! A mountain slope with a broken waist was projected onto the screen. The signs and numbers indicating contour lines and strikes, outcrops (where rocks or strata are directly exposed to the surface) lengths, and strata thickness were making ့နမ dizzy.
“The first survey was completed by an earlier team. Your job is to collect samples. The outcrop exposed by the landslide has a thickness of 70 meters to 180 meters and a length of 1,850 meters. The areas where we will investigate start from here and end here where a grayish-white deposit has been revealed. Your body will be tired, but the stress will not be great.”
Samuel used a laser pointer to mark the target. A red mark was stamped and the 700-meter distance was automatically marked. The attendees nodded their heads. The hillside was cut into chunks and the stratum was cut in a direction perpendicular to the strike as it descended. This was the best condition for sampling.
“We are going to start collecting the samples now. Each of you will take positions from Point A to Point J and collect samples. Follow the white deposits and collect samples of the exposed deposit every ten feet. Collect samples from the following: ten feet from the top of the outcrop and ten feet from the bottom, one foot above the white deposit and one foot below, and one foot inside of the center. In other words, collect samples from five different spots at each point. The first set of collections would be approximately 350 points.”
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“Collect samples from one foot above and below the white deposit?” Hae Young asked in her mind.
Hae Young tilted her head in confusion. Professor Samuel did not even mention essential work such as rock separation, stratum thickness, contained fossils, joints, and strikes. The grayish-white deposit reflected on the screen showed that the thicker area was over 10 feet thick and the thinner area was over 5 feet thick. Stratum samples were important data for revealing the relationship of strata. This meant that they were not interested in stratification or chronology. The instructions were not in line with proper sampling logic.
“So, no geological survey but instead gold veins?”
In reality, a geological survey was like groping a blind elephant. This order was like a robber who knew where to dig and went in to excavate. Geologically, gold veins often infiltrated crystal deposits. As suspected, instructions soon followed that supported the suspicion.
“As you are collecting samples, if you come across any unknown objects, make sure to collect them regardless of weight, shape, or material. And…”