Novel Name : Mercenary Black Mamba

Mercenary Black Mamba - Chapter 70

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“Yes. The old ants head out as vanguards to prevent invaders or act as the airborne special forces to invade an enemy’s camp. It’s a tearful act of sacrifice to protect their young descendants and their military organization.”
“Like us.”
“Yes, humans, on the other hand, have the oldies sit safely in the rear while the young are pushed into the battlefield. The old grasp the sweet results while praising those who had died honorably or as sacrifices and those who have bled to their deaths.”
“To those who die, they’d be given a useless piece of metal and a few pounds. If lucky, maybe a grave.”
“That’s right, don’t fight for those old people. Fight to protect your precious life. Don’t become an old oecophylla smaragdina ant. I really wanted to say this to you.”
“Chartres, I’ve understood well and clearly. Thanks. You’re an amazing comrade. I respect you.”
Black Mamba squeezed the hand of the old intelligent mercenary. It was a redundant story, but it still seeped into his heart. It had been heartfelt advice from someone who truly cared for his young peer.
A smile rose in Chartres’ thin face.
“To think I’d be respected by the legendary Black Mamba, it’s the best day of my life. You’re smart, considerate, and a young man full of tenacious life. Don’t be fooled by the encouragement of those power-hungry men. If they realize your abilities, everyone will try to use you. Don’t be fooled by their words, like ‘loyalty’ or ‘nationality’, those idealized words.”
“I know. I’m not stupid. Chartres, if you keep talking you’ll get tired.”
“Black, stop blocking my words. I need to say what I need to say before I die. You’d want to chew up those who’ve forced us into this corner, don’t you?”
“Of course. I’m not going to let betrayers and schemers die peacefully.”
Black Mamba’s eyes burned as the fire rose from within. He hated betrayers the most.
“Killing isn’t the only answer. The FROLINAT may be an enemy, but they’re not our enemy. They, too, are humans who work for their country’s benefit. You, too, should use those old men. If you kill, you become a murderer, and you will one day receive your due return. Keep making them earn you, and consider yourself precious. You need to find your mother and be happy. To think I’d be a burden to my comrades instead of helping, f*ck!”
Perhaps it was because he spoke too much, but Chartres’ coughed and his breaths shortened.
“Thank you for your advice. You are the best comrade and you need to hold on until the helicopter comes.”
Chartres closed his eyes powerlessly. His life force, which Black Mamba could sense on his wavelengths, began to dim rapidly.
Mercenaries existed because of the battlefield, and they were recognized because of their battle abilities. Chartres feared his loss of battle ability more than his injury. And the moment he had decided he had lost it, his will to live had decreased rapidly.
“He’s lost his will!”
Black Mamba realized instinctively. Chartres had no family. Their skin colors differed, and their nationalities were different, but he was still a person who had looked after him like a brother.
His darkening complexion caused his heart to twist. Chartres had been the first person who had approached him for a conversation in Deuxieme Rep. He had taught him life’s workings and knowledge like an older brother. Chartres had a scholarly face, but he was also an amazing brother and easy to get along with.
He must have regained his consciousness out of worry for his younger peer. Black Mamba left the tent after covering Chartres with a pelt. His heart was heavy like a ball of lead. Chartres’ injury was mainly his responsibility, but guilt tore at him until his insides felt like they were rotting.
He was also a mercenary who had death as his friend. Bullets didn’t choose humans. Lives could be led in all directions, but death approached all as an equal. He recalled his friends who had been buried in nameless graves after an explosion when he was young. If he died here, no one would be able to find his grave.
“I wonder when I’ll be able to meet my mom!”
Black Mamba’s sigh darkened.
The 22nd day of operation Raccoon, 60 kilometers north of Chicha.
Headquarters issued a return order. The problem was that the order asked them to escape to Salal, in Kanem province, by themselves. They stated that there could be no escape aid due to the surface-to-air missiles. The captain ground his teeth.
“Those f*cking bastards, what is this sh*t.”
Even Burimer and Mouris, who had silent personalities, weren’t able to hold back their anger and began to fume.
“We were pushed back to our original position because of them, but now they’re asking us to get through their defense line? They’ve finally gone mad!”
“F*ck, the commander has lost his mind.”
A stony shadow fell over the team’s faces after they looked over the map. Chicha, which was on Paya’s side road, was located north-west of the Bodélé depression. It was over 600 kilometers to Salal. They hadn’t been able to break through the FROLINAT’s defense line at Kanem and were pushed back north-west. Asking them to reach Salal meant that there would be no help.
Black Mamba looked around at his teammates. They all had tired and dark expressions. He had to take them 600 kilometers. There was also Chartres, who couldn’t move. How many of them would make it?
“Those f*cking Russians, and that damned grail!”
The NATO code name of STRELA 2 was the SA-7 Grail. The STRELA 2 was a delayed deployment one-manned air missile reaching only 4 kilometers in range, but it was enough to threaten a helicopter.
Team Jesepe’s escape route crossed over Koro Taro, New Delhi, Mundo, and N’Djamena. The escape route given to Team Ratel was north of Team Jesepe’s escape route. Their escape route had ultimately been designed to make them shields for Team Jesepe. The captain didn’t know that his team was being used as bait to ensure Makumbo’s safe return.
Suddenly, FROLINAT’s defense line became more fearful.
They had been planning to escape through Salal, but the net became tighter day by day. It was to the point they came across scouting units several times per day. Black Mamba, who already sensed their presence, had continuously led their vehicle around them.
Team Ratel had descended to Kouba Olanga 100 kilometers south and had been pushed back up towards Chicha. They had been pushed north while trying to avoid the small FROLINAT sentry units.
Black Mamba had recommended retreat, but the Captain had declined. He was dissatisfied with the captain who had become an introvert, but it wasn’t as though he couldn’t understand. The captain had lost three subordinates at once. He didn’t fear the battle but never wished to see another subordinate dead.
In addition to their injuries, Chartres’ condition turned for the worse.
His stiffening muscles and high fever had knocked him down. When his vocal cords hardened, conversations were impossible. His advice for Black Mamba about being manipulated by the old men became his last words. With a critical patient with them, the team’s movements became more difficult.
“Ombuti, a sandstorm is coming.”
His resonance waves had become a new sense. He could automatically grasp the changes of humidity and wind in the air.
“You can feel sandstorms, Wakil, you’ve become one of us, part of the Tuareg tribe. I’ll find shelter immediately.”
Ombuti was surprised. His Wakil was an amazing person, no matter how many times he saw him.
“Where is this?”
“It’s called Djourab Erg. It should be around 40 thousand square feet. It’s the most useless, driest land in all of the Sahel. If you head in towards Djourab Erg, there should be a region full of dunes.”
“This place feels more like mud than dry sand.”
“It is said that a large river ran through this place in the past. The river has mixed the sand and mud.”
Black Mamba paused, and expelled his resonance waves.
He could feel a large vein deep inside the ground. It wasn’t precise, but he could feel the absorbing mudflats and sands up ahead.
If the vehicle landed on top of those, it would be swallowed instantly.
“Ombuti, go around 300 meters to the right.”
“It’s Wakil’s decision. We move 300 meters to the right from this point. Each vehicle follows closely.”
Ombuti didn’t argue or question when it was Black Mamba talking.
“Left 45 degrees.”
“Right 30 degrees.”
Black Mamba kept ordering the directions.
“Ombuti, it seems like there would be a lot of accidents in Djourab Erg.”
“You’re right. There’s a lot of quicksand around here. Sometimes, when there’s a full moon, people get buried underneath sandstorms.”
“I’m more surprised at Wakil’s ability to avoid the hidden quicksands and whirlpools.”
“I should be able to do at least this much to have a Tuareg warrior as a servant.”
Black Mamba smiled.
Ombuti took a look at his owner’s face through the rear-view mirror before his face rippled with creases.
“I will do my best not to besmirch my owner’s name.”
Black Mamba grasped the back of his neck at the old servant’s reply. He had taken the joke too seriously.
“Those bastards will have a hard time hauling the bikes and panzers over.”
“It’s difficult for those who do not know the path, but it’s too early to let our guard down since they are used to this region, as well.”
Black Mamba was worried.
Even the captain’s condition was worsening. The only normal person in their group was Ombuti. All the other badgers who had been thrown in the Sahel had lost their teeth. He sighed automatically at the thought of hauling around a sick badger on top of that.
Ombuti avoided the quicksands narrowly and led the first car deep into Djourab Erg, a large sand desert located north of Chad, south of Paya. It’s 20 kilometers wide and 200 kilometers long, but it is not connected to the Sahara.
Slowly, a foreign sight was revealed. Ombuti hadn’t been wrong when he said the place would be different. A desert without a drop of water was spread out before him.
“What a place!”
Their environment he had seen so far had been deserted, but Djourab Erg was beyond his imagination. Low mountains of sand filled the horizon in a pattern, as though a giant had gathered and thrown lumps of sand around. On the other side were dunes made from the wind overlapping like the flow of water, making it look like a large saw.
There wasn’t a speck of blue to be found.
Not even the acacia trees, which could be found everywhere in the Sahel, existed. Only the dark red sandstones and shades of brown sand that their wheels got stuck in, were spread around.
Ombuti stopped the pickup underneath a large cliff.
Burimer, Mike, Jang Shin, and Emil were still in decent condition and began to set up camp.
“Huh! How tall is this thing?”
Black Mamba looked up at the large cliff that had sprouted from its roots in the clay grounds. It wasn’t a cliff but a large concave of a rock that had been whittled down by sandstorms.
The rock which sprouted vertically like a folding screen looked over a 100 meters tall. It was hard to even compare the eagle rock at his hometown’s bridge to its size.
“Looks like sedimentary rock, but the top is gneiss, and the bottom’s mixed with limestone. It’s going to crash after some time.”
Black Mamba searched the sand, knocked on the rocks, and even smelled some with his nose buried in them.
Africa was a tiring but interesting continent.
It was a continent of greed and wildlife, where, regardless of human or animal, only the strong survived.
To the north were endless deserts, which compared to the breadth of the U.S. To the west, was a rainforest the size of India. To the south were thousands of kilometers of plains.
This place that frazzled their nerves was the frontier of the empty, dry Sahara. But he didn’t know such a dry place existed. Black Mamba had a curious nature, and when he concentrated on a new object, he tended to forget the flow of time.
“Burimer, Black’s certainly different. He’s warming up by investigating the region voluntarily, even when he’d been told to rest.”
“He’s the textbook example of a mercenary.”
“They should all look up to him.”
“What? A textbook example of a mercenary? Did you have a stroke?”
Jang Shin, who had been listening to the captain and Burimer’s conversation, found it ridiculous. Black Mamba’s actions stemmed from his curiosity. His actions were no different from a child’s who’d gained a new toy. He worried about their states of mind as they exclaimed praises.
“Damn, one bastard’s sh*t is prettier than others, is that it?”
Jang Shin, who suddenly turned angry, began to dig the ground violently. The faster he set up camp, the faster he would be able to fill his stomach.
A sandstorm began to form.
Bodélé’s sandstorms, which stopped at blinding their sights, was nothing compared to this. The sky and earth were filled with sand, and their sight neared zero. The wind didn’t scream but echoed like thunder. It was the sound of the sand scratching the ground’s surface.
“Ughhh, it’s annoying, so annoying!”
Mike wore his goggles in a hurry as he shook his head with distaste.
“This is the reason why those camels have such long lashes.”
Jang Shin also shook his head with distaste as he wore his goggles.
The mercenaries had gotten used to the Sahel but became weary of Djourab Erg’s sandstorms. They wrapped the litams around themselves more tightly before pressing the goggles around their heads. The minuscule sand and dust were the primary enemies against maintaining their good conditions. It could cause eye disease, bronchitis, laryngitis, and pneumonia.
For mercenaries, their body was their wealth. They had to protect their wealth.
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