Mercenary Black Mamba - Chapter 83
“Wow, this is unbelievable!”
The captain paused in the midst of his note-taking and sighed. Aside from the small skirmishes that had taken place over the course of 24 days, they had fought in seven large-scale battles.
There was a small margin of error, but they had killed about a thousand of the enemy’s soldiers. Even the smaller scouting groups Black Mamba had erased during their move numbered over 50. Simply writing out the progressive report was overwhelming.
They would be the first unit in history to fight in such astounding battles!
They had killed 257 in just this battle alone.
He couldn’t imagine how many FROLINATs would have swarmed over had Black Mamba failed to destroy the third command army in Coromunga.
During the battles, they had lost four teammates, so what was the point of killing numerous enemies!
The role of a captain was to lead the mission to success and bring back the team safely. These had been meaningless battles. Thinking of the mission that had lost its purpose, his subordinates who had died left and right, and their uncertain return, he automatically sighed.
He had lost two subordinates while Black Mamba was taking care of the rear. They were basically leaning on Black Mamba in order to survive up to then.
The captain turned to look at Black Mamba, who was sitting in a strange position.
A presence that couldn’t be called human, the survival and return of the Ratel team were ultimately in his hands.
Someone of a unique species who increased his battle abilities by the day, he would’ve been strong enough to take a stroll back to N’Djamena while whistling had he not been burdened by the team.
The headquarters had sent a colony of FROLINAT ants instead of the requested helicopter. Now, there was no one he could trust. Even Regiment Commander Philip was suspicious. He wasn’t questioning the man’s morality, but the organization’s reliability.
Ahmud had attacked the Ratel team through the existing information net’s reports. The captain who had lost his calm was still under the misconception that the headquarters were reporting their movements. Due to that, he was about to make another decision born of misunderstanding. This was why preconceptions were fearsome.
“What do you think of today’s attack?”
“It’s the same as last time. Our camp’s location was revealed due to the request for a helicopter. Whether there’s a spy or not, we can’t trust the headquarters.”
Burimer also had no choice but to misunderstand the situation.
Unfortunately, the captain and Burimer didn’t know the fact that the spies had been found in the headquarters. They also didn’t realize that Colonel Philip had sent out a rescue team after waiting 48 hours, because their trust had been broken.
“I think so too. Let’s cut off all contact with the headquarters for now.”
“We can’t communicate anyways. Our phone line was cut by one of the warheads.”
At Burimer’s explosive report, the captain’s face began to wilt.
“Sh*t! What about the backup phone?”
“I’m sorry. It was lost during the battle.”
The captain felt his world tilt. He began to curse naturally in French.
It was said that bad things didn’t come in ones but twos. Their misfortune couldn’t seem to end.
Now, there was no way to contact the headquarters. There was no phone booth or post office in Sahel, either. Not contacting and being unable to contact were extremely different. They were now isolated in the vast Sahel wasteland. His breaths suddenly came out short as though he was experiencing one of his phobias.
“Do you think they’d send a rescue helicopter?”
“They said they would, but that it wasn’t easy to take off. No, perhaps they’re not thinking of sending one at all.”
“Behedel (f*ck), est bete de merde (those f*cking idiots!)!”
Burimer’s face seemed to crumpled inward. Those were strong curse words for someone like Burimer who usually only used “putain” or “cong” as swears.
The two men turned their faces to the murky skies above as though a helicopter was about to arrive.
There were two more hours until the helicopter’s approximated time of arrival.
“Two hours!” The captain pressed his mouth closed.
He knew it was hopeless, but the situation was too dire to give up hope. Everyone was tired to the bone from fighting violently since dawn. The mercenaries were dozing with guns in their hands. They were at their limit both physically and mentally.
If only the helicopter came!
He wished for it desperately. The return trip by land was over a mile, and the Ratel team was at a dead end. If they continued to roam around Sahel where FRLOLINATs crowded, they were bound to die. The only person who would survive was Black Mamba.
Four people could board the gazelle. If they abandoned all of their weapons, six people could board, albeit squished together. That meant that everyone could be saved, aside from himself and Black Mamba.
A plane that could be targeted by airborne missiles?
It was a hundred times better to risk the missile’s aim than commit to living in hell on earth.
This was the red ground, where enemies appeared out of nowhere.
Two hours was a long wait. The captain, who was unable to communicate any longer, had to chew on his frustrations and despair while waiting for a helicopter that wouldn’t come.
Black Mamba was, as always, sitting in the lotus position meditating. The desert’s energy that rushed through him invigorated his body. He stood up from his position and exercised his body with the five combined movements. Disbelief filled the eyes of the mercenaries who were dozing on their guns.
At six in the morning, the helicopter became a lost cause. They couldn’t even protest because their phone line had exploded.
The Ratel team’s mood was at its lowest despite the ruined major FROLINAT army. They were in a f*cked up situation where they had to sustain themselves with the given local supplies for the time being. There was no way their moods would be good.
When day finally broke, the true devastation of the battlefield was revealed.
Both sides had waged a full fronted war with mortars, recoilless cannons, grenade launchers, and machine guns. The scattered bullets of mines and claymores had ripped the bodies apart. It was rare to find a body in one piece along the wired defense line.
Even the corpses that were sniped had been wrapped up in the explosions on both sides, causing their ruin. There were several corpses that seemed to have dragged their spilled insides along as they tried to crawl. On the other hand, the corpses far from the trip wires were clean. These were the guerrillas who had been sniped by Black Mamba.
“It’s like an ancient cursed land that was reintroduced into humanity!” The captain murmured depressingly.
“Chartres would have talked about the reason behind human existence and blamed their brutality.”
“Hm, is Chartres’ student still training?”
At the captain’s question, Emil pointed at the raised rock. It was the rock Black Mamba had climbed in the early evening. He could see the edge of a white robe fluttering in the wind.
Clang, clang, claaang— Clang, clang, claang—
A mournful rhythm rang out.
“What is he doing?”
“It seems like he’s hurting.”
“Of all the things he could do.”
Black Mamba prayed for the happiness of the dead by banging the end of his weapon handle against the muzzle of his Dragunov.
”Spirits of Chartres, Miguel, and Mouris, my comrades and I wish for your spirit’s journey to a longer next life, for your wisdom to flourish, and for your life’s hardships to end, so that you’d gain emancipation from the constraints on yourselves to live a better life, for you all to be guided. All four limbs of the body are worthless in the end, so leave all torment behind by realizing the best of your morals to greet Buddha. Your bodily attachments…”
The prayer for their souls was accompanied by the sound of metal instead of wood.
The prayer was in beat with a bloodied knife and gun. Tools that brought about death were used as tools to pray for the dead. It was ironic how, instead of a bullet coming out of a gun, a prayer was being shot out.
The baritone voice of a lion’s roaring harmonized strangely with the metal rhythm. The resounding solo echoed across the Djourab Erg’s walls and rippled far.
The captain, Burimer, Mike, Bell Man, Emil, and Jang Shin all leaned in. The sad lyrics and heavy emotions poked at their hearts.
“Chartres, my friend, I won’t forget your efforts to remain as humane as possible. Mouris, my friend, I will not forget your silent dedication to your role. Miguel, my friend, I will not forget your steadfast and responsible figure. Souls, go to reincarnation, shadows, scatter and make the world more bountiful…”
Clang, clang, claang— Clack, clang, clack, clang—
The thick sound of metal ringing out with the solo dedicated to reassuring the dead fell into a rhythm and melted into the living’s hearts. They didn’t understand the lyrics, but the unfortunate emotions and earnest heart touched them.
“Damn, really? Who the hell is that guy?” Mike mumbled as he cried.
“That man has all kinds of strange talents. Hm-hm.”
Emil wiped his running nose. They were of different races and nationalities, but the mercenaries cried as one.
This was Sahel, an evil spirit who beat out music with his gun in the far untouchable air, the angel of death who sang a prayer for souls alone out loud, a sand storm that encouraged the singing devil’s songs, and people of several races crying. It was in the land of savages, the land where one human couldn’t measure up to the price of a camel, Djourab Erg.
When the clanging stopped, Ombuti climbed out from between the rocks. He patted down his robe as he stood and looked around at the dimly lit desert. Even the sounds of explosions and gunshots had stopped. Animals that were surprised at the sound had long run or hid. Only the smell of blood remained.
“Wakil finished them all,” he commented briefly before moving along.
His lower stomach, which had been unable to relieve itself, had hardened. It had been a fierce fight. He had wanted to relieve himself but checking on his Wakil came first.
Ombuti, who was passing the shattered BTR, twitched his ear. It was the sound of whispering sand. Ombuti took out the Tokarev he had received from Black Mamba.
Ombuti approached without a sound and stared at the ground with a burning gaze. The Tuareg Tribe, who lived in the desert, had relatively good sight. Despite the dim light, Ombuti found a little pipe that poked out of the ground diagonally.
It was a thin white pipe.
“Ha! What a cockroach.”
Laughter automatically seeped out. It was a method the Tuareg Tribe used often during ambushes. One of the guerrillas was hidden there.
He wanted to dance.
After all, he had been feeling guilty about his cowardly actions. Since he had managed to find a captive, he could hold his head up high.
Ombuti began to play around and blocked the end of the pipe with his finger. There was an immediate reaction. The large flat iron began to move.
Ahmud, inside the ground, felt as though he was about to die.
He suddenly couldn’t breathe anymore. He tried to blow out, but the blockage didn’t budge. Unable to hold on any longer, he tried to move the flat iron, but Ombuti was standing on it, so it obviously didn’t move.
The pipe was blocked once more.
It was then that Ahmud realized that someone was playing around with him and that it wasn’t from a natural cause.
‘Allah, why do your torment your child so?!’ he despaired.
When Ahmud’s air supply was blocked a third time, his head started to spin. He lost his strength and remained in a barely lucid state.
The iron plate was shoved aside. Ahmud, inside the hole, was only able to move his two arms, which swung around the air aimlessly.
“Oi, cockroach. You’re a captive. If you follow what I say, I won’t hurt you.”
His fingers twitched.
“You listen well. Are you a northern soldier?”
The finger twitched once more.
“Are you Ahmud’s subordinate?”
This time, the finger moved side to side.
Ombuti ripped his headband off and tied up the hands that hovered above the sand with it. Ahmud despaired. His attempt to pull out his gun was long gone.
Ombuti dug out the sand with his shovel and pulled Ahmud out roughly. For a FROLINAT’s third commander to feel such humiliation, Ahmud wanted to bite his tongue off.
Whether Ahmud committed suicide by chewing his tongue off or cutting his p*nis off, Ombuti didn’t care. All of his attention was on the man’s uniform. Ombuti pulled out the handgun that was hanging to the side and laughed. This was a high-ranking b*stard.
There was a Tuareg saying that said one would gain a wife while trying to put the lady next door to sleep. In a Korean saying, it would be similar to trying to take gum off of one’s shoe but finding a coin on the ground instead.