Mercenary Black Mamba - Chapter 55
The muscle strength of a horse compared to that of a human is different.
The muscle fiber and the length of the connecting filament are different. According to Huxley’s ‘Sliding Theory,’ muscle contraction happens when actin and myosin slide into each other.
Using strength means that the muscles are contracted. The contraction is stronger when the connecting portions of actin and myosin are longer. It is similar to the concept of a steel frame’s ability to provide support. The length of the steel frame that is interconnected creates stronger support. The reason that the Sampoong shopping mall collapsed was due to the shortened length of the steel frames within the support beams.
As a result, a horse’s muscle filament’s movement is much longer than that of a human. Chimpanzees, dogs, and cats also have longer ones. The only mammal that has a shorter filament than humans is the sloth.
The human muscle evolved to be more on the delicate, detailed side instead of that of power. Their creation and use of tools had made it necessary for them to require a delicate touch.
For example, there is a human muscle in the shoulders and the buttocks that is connected to a movable joint. It is the rotator cuff. The rotator cuff allows complicated movements. However, a heavy load can easily damage it.
Black Mamba had switched out his muscle cells entirely. The number of mitochondria and its efficiency was different. The number and strength of his muscle fibers became different. Black Mamba was a person with the brain of a man and the body of an African water buffalo. He was a Lamborghini with a tank engine.
Ohgeumgong and his breathing technique made it possible to efficiently bring out the strength of Paranthropus. The cell uses glucose and organic matter in combination with oxygen to create ATP. The more ATP needed, the higher the amount of oxygen required. This breathing technique helped increase the efficiency of oxygen delivery to these cells.
Black Mamba finally took in a deep breath using his breathing technique.
Whing! His trembling body became calm. He finished 216 training positions in 25 minutes. A year before, it had taken him three hours.
The first quarter moon hung brightly in the sky. The sounds of bugs buzzed in the barren Sahel. Underneath the moonlight, the wrinkled face of his teacher appeared before him.
If it had been his father and mother who had kept him alive in childhood, it was Monk DaeWoo who stopped him from rebelling during his youth and became the rock in which he could come to live a new life. He remembered the moment when he had first met his teacher in Chunsaeng Mountain. It had been a deep night, deep in the mountains. If it hadn’t been fate, there was no way they would have met each other. If anyone had heard that Black Mamba had been beaten to a pulp by an old midget, they would have all laughed in disbelief.
Now in his eighties, he worried whether he could eat the offerings he was given, if he could light the fires without anyone to help him with the firewood, or if he was able to reap the gifts of the outside world.
He pulled out a Cohibazigol from his pocket. After vigorous exercise, it felt good to revel in the lung-damaging act. Black Mamba didn’t think much of it.
Above the bluish cigarette smoke, the moon shone brightly over the field of wild chrysanthemums. The wildly flowering forget-me-nots, the plentiful waterfowl, and the jumping vicious piranhas flashed through his mind.
When he opened his eyes, he moved location to location, killed, escaped, chewed on ceration, then slept. His reasons for what he was fighting for or why he was killing became hazy. He began to wonder whether he was even human anymore.
“Am I human?”
It was a question that arose every time he seemed to forget about it. After all that time he had spent trying to live like a human, he ended up in the middle of Africa killing numerous people, smelling of their blood, and calmly smoking a cigarette. That was the type of human he had become.
Even after running several hundred kilometers, the surroundings did not change, the weather was hot and dry, the sandy winds were ongoing, and the flies and mosquitoes hoarded over them. There was not a single thing that he liked about the place. He sorely missed the calm nature of Korea.
He missed Korea, where he could get lightning-speed delivery with one phone call, get a cold ice coffee for 300 won, and rest under the shade of a Zelkova tree.
How refreshing the soymilk noodles sold by the grandmother at Chilsung market was!
“Damn, I thought I hated that place, but I still long for it!”
He flicked the end of his half-smoked cigarette as he muttered in annoyance. There was no one who would give him grief over throwing a cigarette butt on the ground at Sahel.
He pulled out the kukri from the sheath at his side.
Shinogi (the back of the knife) and Yokote (the sharp part of the knife) was smoothly connected, and the hamon (the visual effect created on the blade) on the blade reflected the moonlight and cast a bright light. He had used it numerous times, but not a single tooth was broken. It was practically a luxury item meant for the gods.
His teacher never was able to pass down his martial arts skills to him.
The only martial arts he had learned from Piev was the knife fighting Krav Maga. After learning it, he realized there was not much to it. A weapon is an extension of one’s hand. Within the 216 positions of Ohgeum, all those skills had already been in it.
In knife fighting, there is slashing, swinging downwards, upwards, swiping, and stabbing. The rest are all derivations of it. The main difference is timing, power, and speed.
‘A flowing stream does not rot, and a rolling stone does not gather moss’ was the teaching of Ohgeumgong.
It was the kukri that he used on top of the Ohgeumgong combined with the Cheongpabo.
Black Mamba aggressively moved his body. The blade reflected the moonlight that wrapped around his entire body. The energy he was emitting caused the sand around him to rise up hazily. The sound of his blade slashing the air whirred.
Captain and Burimer had walked out of their resting ground and into the place to stand guard. Their conversation ended abruptly upon seeing him.
“Look at that.”
The two people’s mouths hung open. They had seen him training by slicing flies, but this was something else entirely.
He couldn’t even see Black Mamba’s body. A bluish light glowed out of him, and the continuous slicing of the blade made a sound like a motor.
Captain shook his head back and forth.
“Is he human?”
“He could be another species. There’s no way a Homo Sapien could be like that.”
“Wasn’t Black from your squad?”
“You can’t even know everything about your wife, who you make skin contact with every day. I just assume that’s just how he is and let him be.”
“Hm, that’s true. Is that also the Korean martial arts known as Ohkeumggoong?”
“I wouldn’t know. I’ve never seen any sort of training like that before.”
“If we were enemies against that man, we would have ended up as Capris (sliced cheese).”
“That guy’s hands and feet are scarier. Before we become capris, we’ll become chorizo (a sausage made of grated leftover pork).”
Captain pushed aside his conversation with Burimer and stared in a trance at Black Mamba’s training.
Woong! The blade, which had been slicing through the air, stopped suddenly.
Black Mamba slid forward. The movement made it seem like he was sliding over ice. The sliding body suddenly changed directions at 90 degrees and flung forward. He looked like a squash ball bouncing off after hitting a wall. It was Cheongpabo training.
He would slide through the ground like a snake, then jump into the air like a flying squirrel. When he landed, the ground would shake.
He swung, turned, ran, flew, and slid. Captain, who had been watching him train this way, stared with his mouth agape.
“I can’t even trust the report. Even headquarters doesn’t know Black Mamba’s abilities exactly.”
“Of course. Black Mamba didn’t reveal his identity. If headquarters knew of his skills, they would never use him as a throwaway card.”
Captain nodded his head.
When Commander Piev and Philip heard about it, they too could not believe it. Sniping skills was just one part of his many skills. They could not believe that a man like that could exist.
“Hahaha, when Black Mamba returns, he will be upset.”
Captain smiled sourly with a somber expression.
All he had to do was give Black Mamba the list of people he wanted to get rid of. His success was guaranteed. He would find his own way to complete the task at hand.
“Hahaha, I feel sorry for those who got in the way of Black Mamba. They probably didn’t die a pretty death.”
“First, we have to return alive. Black Mamba is our last hope,” Captain muttered depressingly.
Black Mamba disappeared into the darkness.
“Where did he go?”
“He is probably surveying the area. He disappears each night like that. I pretend I don’t know.”
“Whew, he sure is a monster. After continuously battling with the enemy, how could he move like that? How high are his endurance and stamina?”
Black Mamba was like a compact car with a 550 horsepower truck engine. He was a man with the muscle strength of a water buffalo. There was no way that the two people could have known that Black Mamba’s VO2max and LT was 20 times that of the average person.
Captain and Sergeant Burimer were lost in a serious dilemma. A grave silence fell between the two of them as they sat facing each other.
Raccoon had hidden his position. No, there was no way to find him. They were supposed to be receiving information from headquarters and formulating a plan, but the information was being leaked. The condition of his men was plummeting.
They were in the worst possible scenario.
“Damn punks!” Curse words flew out of Captain’s mouth. He wanted to rip apart the headquarter intelligence agents and those in charge of DGSE.
They were acting like the Bodele lowlands, which was ten times the size of Corsica, the Marseille soccer field.
Burimer’s face looked grim also.
“Should we request a recall?”
“We can’t be sure yet. It might smell fishy, but there is no way the headquarters will abandon their own family.”
“That is true.”
Burimer nodded his head.
Legion Etrange’s pride was not cheap. He couldn’t imagine that a high-ranking official would resort to being a spy to gain a few bucks.
“If the commander doesn’t trust my reports, then the situation will be more serious. Without knowing where the leak is coming from, we can’t just tell them our suspicions.”
This was what the strategic team had to contemplate.
“The team members might not be saying anything, but they have a lot of complaints.”
“They are stupid if they have no complaints. That’s why the atmosphere is a mess. How’s Black Mamba?”
“He doesn’t seem to care much about it. Even if he suspects the state of our situation, all he knows is battle and training. If he returns, we’ll see a bloodbath.”
“Take good care of Black Mamba. Hahaha!”
Captain smiled as he imagined the relieving sight. It was the sight of Commander Philip slapping Black Mamba across the face, causing his teeth to fall out.
“If that guy starts going off on his own again, we can’t control the situation.”
“For the time being, restrain communication. Let’s look around Ekiya.”
“This feels like shit.”
“We can’t help it. We are soldiers. We got a command, so we must do our best. How’s Mike?”
“With Black Mamba around, he can’t pull anything funny. He knows that he’ll get buried if he makes a fuss.”
“He’s not dumb enough to pick a fight with a tiger. Make sure to keep the team in check.”
A smile rose onto Captain’s face. Mike, who had gotten a beating from Black Mamba, was fretting anxiously. Only Belman and himself knew of the situation.
“Alright. If we continue on like this, we will eventually reach a point where it’s either Frolinat or us that will be completely destroyed.”
“You’re right. We’ve already cut down the best northern army, Habib, in half.
“Black destroyed their headquarters, so the Habib army is probably going half crazy right now.”
“Haha, if we have Black Mamba, we already have Legion Donner waiting for us.”
“We have to live to receive our reward. We should rest tomorrow. The condition of Black Mamba and the rest of them are a mess.”
“I agree. Even if I combine all the battles I’ve fought in so far, it can’t compare to these last ten days. The punks will be out of their minds for some time. If we want to return alive, we have to judge the situation accurately.”
Because Black Mamba had destroyed the enemy headquarters, they were able to gain some time. They were even able to find time to rest.
As the night got deeper, the sighs of both of them grew deeper as well.
It was the 13th day of operation Smoke Out Raccoon.
The day the Lattell team rested, they decided to survey the nearby village.
Not a single team member expected Ekiya’s Raccoon to be there. They had received the information, so they were forced to hope for the slim chance it would be true.