Novel Name : Mercenary Black Mamba

Mercenary Black Mamba - Chapter 41

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“Makombo did not come to Olong.”
Captain Paul looked at Ombuti after hearing Black Mamba’s words. Not being there was very different from not even going there.
“We searched the entire town, but there was not a single person who had seen him there.”
“What about the possibility that the townspeople lied?”
Ombuti shook his head at Burimer’s words.
“We checked each person, one by one. There was something wrong with our information. You can check with that guy.”
Ombuti interrogated Kiro.
Kiro was on the bottom rung of the intel group. There wasn’t much to gain from him.
They were only able to confirm that Makombo did not show up at Olong and that FROLINAT was chasing Team Ratel into a corner at Bodélé.
Makombo’s whereabouts were still unknown. A shadow swept over the captain’s face. The Raccoon was nowhere in sight, and all they got were a bunch of flies.
The three Amal brothers were buried in the dry dirt.
Burimer extended the radio antennae.
It was the third contact with the N’Djamena army.
“Come in, Alpha. This is Bravo.”
“Bravo, I hear you loud and clear. Speak.”
“Alpha, Olong is their oasis. It is 210 kilometers from Cortaro.”
“Bravo, what happened to The Raccoon?”
“Alpha, The Raccoon did not show at Olong.”
The transmission suddenly went silent.
“Bravo, recheck the information. The Raccoon has moved to Ekiya Oasis. What is Tango’s movement like?”
“Alpha, FROLINAT is currently chasing us. We are like lions being chased by hyenas.”
“Bravo, understood.”
“Alpha, the mark is dead. The location is 65 kilometers southwest of Moussaro, in Uldi Hamarl. Coordinates are 323-274.”
“Bravo, understood.”
After finishing the communication, the captain opened the map.
Ekiya Oasis!
He couldn’t help but sigh.
They had to go to Cortaro, then to Olong, then back towards Cortaro again. As the Korean proverb says, it was like training a mutt. They had to wander around the Sahel all over again. From the beginning of the operation, the intel was shabby. They were pissed for having to be swayed back and forth all over the place.
“Fucking Colonel!”
Curse words reflexively flowed out of him.
They couldn’t get air reinforcements because of the meek colonel. Colonel Philip cared too much about how Stella 2 would react.
Thanks to their incorrect intel, they had wasted time going to Olong.
Ekiya Oasis was only about 10 square yards. Would the cunning Makombo be hiding in an oasis the size of a hand?
The captain was highly suspicious. If Makombo had been hiding at Paya, that information would have seemed more trustworthy.
“What are those DGSE punks planning?”
His sigh deepened.
“Nikimi Dougral!”
Curse words were the first ones out of Emil’s mouth as he kicked out of his sleeping bag. They were Korean curse words that he learned from Black Mamba. The consequences for forgetting to wear the mosquito-net mask was horrible. His face was swollen as if he had gotten beaten up.
Emil was from Seville, in southern Spain.
Being used to the temperate Mediterranean weather, the Sahel days and nights were torturous for him. The midday heat was like his ex-lover Kathryn’s fiery personality, and the nights were as cold as her face when she had broken up with him.
Kathryn had fallen in love with a bullfighter and left him without even bidding him farewell. The woman who seemed to be willing to give up her life for him, in one moment, suddenly turned into a witch.
He had enrolled in the foreign army out of anger.
He despised Chad and the Sahel. Every day he was bothered by its extreme heat and cold, then bothered again by the flies and mosquitoes. He cursed Kathryn then cursed himself by enrolling in the foreign army.
“Shiba, joto!”
When he opened the ration package, a hoard of flies buzzed toward him like a cloud. He greeted the rising sun but again cursed. His mouth had become accustomed to Korean curse words. He waved his hands continuously trying to shoo them away, but it was useless. The army of flies attacked the meat that he held in his hand.
He remembered a war movie set in the Pacific Ocean called “Tora! Tora! Tora!” If the steak he held in his hand was the US navy, then the flies were the bombs that rained on top of them.
“Fucking Jjokbalri!”
Emil cursed using irrelevant Japanese. Black Mamba used the word “jjokbalri” a lot, so he thought that it was a word used to reference any bad guys.
He had heard about Africa’s mosquitoes and flies, from the senior mercenaries, until his ears were sore. As expected, experiencing it once is a much better lesson than hearing it a hundred times. His comrades were going insane fighting off the flies.
One person was an exception.
It was the kukri-swinging Black Mamba.
Swoosh swoosh swoosh—
The sliced flies fell to the ground. Other than the flashing of white light, it was hard to follow the blade’s path.
He swung upward, diagonally to the side, then downward; the blade swung faster and faster. The glistening light from the reflection hid his body. His comrades’ jaws dropped in disbelief.
They cheered. Once the light disappeared, the ground had turned black. The cut-up flies littered the ground.
“Why are you all making such a fuss?”
Black Mamba was embarrassed by his comrade’s gaze. He put the kukri back into its sheath.
His teacher was skilled in the arts of wielding a lance or sword. His teacher had only taught him how to wield a lance thinking that the sword would be unnecessary except for criminal acts. When the sword skills learned from Legion Etranger combined with his physique, its strength multiplied. The kukri was like an extension of himself.
Black Mamba was also sick of the flies.
His target was not the resistance army but the flies and mosquitoes. The mosquitoes could be kept at bay with the netting and spray, but there was nothing that could be done about the flies.
At this point, he was hoping that the same amount of guerrilla forces as the flies would come charging in. The flies were more difficult to destroy than the resistance army because guns and swords could not be used on them. Among one of the fly species, there was one that was the size of a fingernail, that, when bitten, would cause such a sharp pain that it would cause anyone to jump.
Full of anger, he had trained using flies as his targets.
He trained his vision to test how well he could see the flies stopping mid-flight. With his burst of speed and agile muscles, it was a weird sort of training that only he could do.
In the Sahel, the native flies were about the same size as house flies in Korea. They were notorious for wandering into holes. Ear canals, nostrils, eyes, whatever holes there were, they would pop into it.
After Bellman finished his sample survey, he realized that some of them were Tsetse flies. Tsetse flies suck blood and spread sleeping sickness. Eastern Africa was home to the Tsetse flies, but in western Africa, the Tsetseflies were known to inhabit southern Chad.
The Sahel belt had recorded instances of sleeping sickness. They couldn’t be sure that they would be safe from it.
That morning, he required the soldiers to get their sleeping sickness vaccinations. Bellman uncovered his comrades’ bottoms and stabbed them with the needle.
“Stupid imperialist punks!”
Chartres spit out sand as he pulled down his pants to reveal his bottom. He muttered that the greedy and ignorant ancestors had caused his current suffering.
The Tsetse flies became an infestation in Africa because they were introduced there by the European invaders. In the latter half of the 19th century, Europe invaded Africa and started to grow food there to increase supplies.
The Italian army occupied Ethiopia, in 1887, and had been the first to start raising livestock. It garnered the opening for other Europeans to bring over their livestock, too.
The Rinderpest virus present in the imported livestock started to spread within Africa. It was highly contagious and lethal.
Unlike European livestock that had grown resistant to the Rinderpest virus, Africa’s herbivores were wiped out by it. The infected animals got fevers and gum ulcers that killed them off in less than 10 days.
The Incas had been wiped out by Spain’s smallpox disease. Africa’s herbivores were on the brink of extinction thanks to the Rinderpest virus that had come with the imported livestock.
In east Africa, the Rinderpest virus killed off 4.9 of the 5 million cows. Wild herbivores met a similar fate.
When the large herbivores started dying off, it started a famine. At the time, about 30 percent of the Ethiopian population died. Like in America, the greedy Europeans’ invasion caused devastation to the natives of East Africa.
When the large herbivores started to disappear, Africa’s food chain changed drastically. It was the second wave of losses.
When the large herbivores started dying out in the wild, the Savannah started to be overrun by weeds and shrubs. It became the perfect habitat for Tsetse flies.
The Tsetse fly’s original habitat was heavily forested areas with swamps. When the Savannah changed to a forest, the Tsetses spread upward in Africa. They soon started to spread throughout the continent.
Because of this, Africa’s losses were devastating.
The wildlife, livestock, and even people were ravaged by the sleeping sickness.
Many species became extinct. There was a drastic impact on the natives, as well. From 1900 to 1906, just in eastern Africa alone, 200,000 people died from sleeping sickness within 5 years.
When the herbivores started disappearing, the hungry lions started attacking people. This was the time that the legends of the cannibal lion came into being.
Nobody wanted to take responsibility for the disastrous situation.
The unscrupulous Europeans were too busy boasting about catching the savages.
Because of his ignorant and greedy ancestors, Chartres was forced to pitifully reveal his bottom and get a shot. Knowing all this made him more bitter about it. For a historian scholar like Chartres, this history was a travesty.
The captain opened a map and went into a quick meeting.
He drew a straight line from Olong to Ekiya.
“We will head to Ekiya Oasis. From our location, the oasis is 370 kilometers away. As you know, the roads are abysmal. We will leave immediately.”
The captain stopped talking and observed his team member’s expressions. Each one of them looked discontented. Only Black Mamba looked unfazed. Asians, compared to Caucasians, tended to not show much expression on their face. Black Mamba especially so.
“Captain, are we going to continue dragging around the stalker groups? We won’t know when the hungry hyenas will attack. I don’t trust the information we received this time, either.”
Even the cool-headed Burimer aired his complaints. Everyone nodded. They all thought that something was not right.
“We are subordinates. We receive commands and follow them.”
Even as the captain said this, Burimer’s expression was full of resentment.
“Captain, we have to move only after receiving proper intel. If we didn’t have Black, we would have been destroyed at Uldi Hamarl.”
Mike continued from Burimer’s words.
“We traveled to the east then to the west. We have to go back east again. Something is weird. This is like pulling a fishing net back and forth through the water as a lure.”
For the first time, Mike seriously spoke his input.
Captain Paul and his team both looked surprised. He had been down for a while, but he had suddenly changed. Black Mamba’s scolding had changed Mike.
The captain took turns making eye contact with each of his members.
“I know everyone is not happy with this. I’m frustrated, too. We’ve been stuck chasing after The Raccoon’s tail for so long that my bottom is now a mess. We are but subordinates. We die and live on command. We cannot be discontent with any operation. If we have to drag them around with us, then that’s what we must do.”
His blunt words caused everyone to shut their mouths.
“The enemy has released hyenas wherever we go, so they can try to catch us. From now on, it will be difficult for us to move around discreetly.”
At Ombuti’s words, the captain nodded his head.
“They won’t be walking around with their heads as mere accessories. However, they will never imagine us to be at the far west side at the edge of Bodélé.”
The captain spoke as he looked at each of his men.
“We will abandon our main operation and move into Bodélé. We will go through Tordum and Asis to get to Ekiya. We must travel 190 kilometers and need to move as discreetly as we can to avoid conflict. The small troops will be handled by Black Mamba.”
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