Mercenary Black Mamba - Chapter 109
“Damn it. How dare they attack one of their own?”
Emil kicked the dead ratel. The kick, full of emotion, sent the corpse flying into the opposite wall.
Ombut smiled bitterly.
“Haha, ratels usually feed on their own kind.”
“What b*stard named our team ratel then?”
The Captain slapped the back of Emil’s head.
“That b*stard is our indomitable commander Pieff.”
“That d*mned middle-aged pervert. He’s no help at all. I knew he was a b*stard ever since the pervert called me a little shrimp. I’m the crazy one to have followed him around. I’m going to shake him upside down when I get back.” Black Mamba raged.
The faces of comrades who had met a pitiful death passed before his eyes. If he hadn’t been recruited by Pieff, he would never have come to Chad, nor would he have endured such pain.
If ratels ate their own kind, it was the perfect name for a team that had been betrayed and stabbed in the back. He hated the pervert who gave his team its name, even more than those who wanted to kill them.
Pieff would have found the criticism unjust.
All he had intended was for the team to embody a strong life force like a ratel and return safely. He had volunteered to go to the Sahel to save them. Although the situation had turned into something more akin to torture than rescue.
This was why he had to be careful to tie up any loose ends.
Ombuti wasn’t easily able to control the camels. It was the same for the mercenaries. They dodged here and there to avoid being trampled.
“It’s the injured one’s fault!” Ombuti shouted when he lost hold of his reins.
The bleeding one was causing the other camels to jump around. They were on the brink of being trampled at any moment.
“Animals related to cows are usually docile. This is something else.”
Black Mamba concentrated his gaze. He couldn’t make out the thing that should have been between the animal’s legs.
“He got his testicles bitten off. It has lost its testicles.”
The mercenaries cringed at Black Mamba’s words. Even Black Mamba himself felt his lower regions flinch.
“To be born a male and yet lose your testicles!”
It was a horrible thing to imagine. His father had been wise. If he had attacked the badger so he could catch it, he would have ended up like that male camel.
Black Mamba looked at the castrated camel with pity in his eyes. But everything had to be wrapped up quickly so they could escape. There wasn’t time to delay because of a single camel.
“I feel sorry for it. But what would be the point of living without those?” He murmured things that offered no reassurance and pulled out his kukri.
The large kukri drawn from its sheath exuded a calm, cold energy within the dark shed.
“Namuamitabul. May you be reincarnated into a better life. Rest in peace, live in joy, and may your soul be protected.”
The kukri that left Black Mamba’s hand flew like an arrow.
The kukri wedged into the jumping camel’s temple.
It was a large kukri weighing 1.2 kilograms and was 33 centimeters in length. The end of the blade pierced the camel’s skull and poked out of its ear on the other side. It’s motor nerves and medulla were severed immediately.
The camel had a convulsion, fell onto its front knees, and lowered its head. It was an instant death without pain.
His heart, which had been unmoved when killing humans, twinged at the murder of an animal. Humans were truly contradictory creatures.
“Amazing! You’ve destroyed its medulla and cerebellum in one fatal blow.” The Captain said in disbelief as he looked at the dead camel.
He was surprised, not only by the accuracy but the power which had pushed the blade through its skull. A camel’s skull was several times thicker than a human’s. It couldn’t even be pierced by a parabellum bullet.
He now understood why the guerrillas had been unable to scream before dying from Black Mamba’s keen blade. It had destroyed the victim’s motor nerves and sensory cords.
It could instead be a benevolent murder!
Perhaps Black Mamba wished to make the death painless when death was inevitable.
The mercenaries were all absorbed in their thoughts.
“What amazing concentration and power! Is the strange spell he’s casting from memory part of some ancient eastern martial art? Would he tell me about it if I asked him?” Bell Man wondered.
“Allahu akbar! My master truly has a godlike power. It is a merciful murder according to Allah’s law. He increases his strength by invoking the spell of the East.” Ombuti misunderstood the parting prayer.
“How fierce! That b*stard wouldn’t rattle on me, would he?” Mike looked at Bell Man’s face. Whether he was rattled or not, Sergeant Mike’s worries continued.
Muslims would cut the animal’s throat when they went in for the kill.
Christians regarded such actions as barbaric, but such criticisms only stemmed from ignorance. It was empathy that limited the animal’s suffering. It was also to drain out the blood they regarded as unhygienic.
The way of killing animals described in the Koran was a compassionate one.
“Make sure the animal for killing is given food and water and is in the most comfortable state before killing the animal with the sharpest weapon, in the quickest manner, to minimize the pain of death.”
The way Black Mamba killed the camel was done according to the Koran’s teachings. But it was all beyond Ombuti’s understanding.
When the rampaging camel was dead, the others calmed down. Only Jang Shin and Emil ran busily around.
“Wakil. Have you succeeded in your plan?” Ombuti asked once everything had died down.
“There’s nothing but corpses and ash in Habib’s mansion.”
“Ya illahi! (O God!) Allahu akbar, ashukruka, ashukruka!”
Ombuti’s head popped up like a spring.
“Emil, give the head of the stalkers to Ombuti.”
Emil pointed at Habib who had been thrown in a corner of the shed.
“He’s over there. We’ve made an effort since Black Mamba asked us to bring him back alive.”
A shout of anger, torment, and sadness sounded out. It was the sound of a soul that had survived the pain of the single purpose of revenge.
One-half of the western skies were painted orange. The upper part was bright, while the lower part was turning brown. It was the normal sunset scenery of Sahel.
A Jeep and three trucks advanced slowly over wooden panels, crushing them with the sunset in the background. It was Pieff’s rescue team who had been attacked at Uldi Hamarl.
The rescue team had circled the Bodele Depression for a few days between Amju and Aodanga, pushed on by the guerrillas’ concealed waves of offensive. They were unable to defeat the guerrillas who jumped out of the ground like moles. It was as though they were trapped in a funnel of ghost ants.
Pieff had experienced hell these past six days. They suffered the relentless attacks of guerrillas who hid inside beats, the assassins that swarmed their camps, the intolerable temperature that shot up to 25℃ a day, the sand storms that came without warning, and the mosquitoes and flies that swarmed in droves. Hell was marching on.
Two kilometers ahead was an Arab lying flat on the horizon wearing a burnt yellow gandourah. It was Captain Hamas who was watching the rescue team.
Another man wearing a gandourah bent down next to him.
“Hamas, where are they heading?”
Hamas immediately passed him the binoculars.
“They’ll camp at Er Ekdim.”
“Have you finished preparing the net?”
“Yes sir, we’ll crowd them into Sisashat marsh.”
“Sisashat? Hehe, the Kanma will finally fall into this very Kikali’s hands. Uhahaha!”
“Your attack and retreat strategy has worked, commander.”
“Hehe. Bodele is our front yard. Ahmud was stupid to have attacked them from the front when they have better firepower.”
“I congratulate you ahead of time, future Colonel.”
“Of course. I’m different from that stupid Ahmud. There’s an Eastern saying, that to attack you must both know yourself and your enemies. That b*stard Kanma won’t escape my grasp.”
“We’ll begin when night falls.”
“There’s no need to push yourself. Just shake them up a little.”
Confidence exuded from Lieutenant Colonel Kikali’s face.
“Centienne. Is that front valley the Er Ekdim?”
It was a question that would have been asked of a guide but sadly he had suffered a critical injury and was lying down on a stretcher.
“Yes. It’s a good place to hide in, and is easy to defend as the cliffs are steep.”
“I’m tired. Let’s set up camp here.”
Pieff wiped his face with his hand. Grains of sand, which had been stuck to his sweat, fell to the ground.
Centienne turned the handle towards the valley.
“Damn it. I feel like I’m chewing on paper. I never imagined I’d miss the menu in the cafeteria.” Pieff complained as he chewed on a steak from his C-ration.
Pieff was oblivious that team Ratel was filling their bellies with scorpion fries and beetle soups.
“It’s been over a month since team Ratel was sent out,” Pieff mumbled as he looked down at his stretched feet while leaning against a rock.
How empty were the human body and the human soul inside!
In less than a week, the gentleman of Deuxieme Rep, Pieff, looked worse than a beggar on the street. His shining eyes had dimmed and his clean beard had turned into a mass of a scrub. His bright features were now as dark as coal. His lips were bruised white and his cheekbones burnt bright red from the sun. Even Antoine Wato’s thin make-up as Jean Valjean looked better than Pieff.
“It’s been six days since we set foot into the Sahel.”
“How do you think they survived?”
“They have Black Mamba!”
Sergeant Valboir’s words had a hint of jealousy.
“This is the valley where Black Mamba decimated the FAP special forces single-handedly, is it not?”
“Ha! Then where does that leave me? I’ve lost my precious subordinates instead of saving anyone.”
“Don’t worry commander. You’re not Black Mamba after all.”
“Those words don’t reassure me in the least. I’ve heard Black Mamba received a focused RPG attack here.”
The sound of an RPG being launched rang out before he could finish his words.
“Here we go again!”
“Spread out, spread out!” Valboir shouted at the top of his lungs.
The men who were preparing the camp ran like crazy in search of cover.
“Agh, that cursed Allah wand!” Someone shouted.
The sound of motorcycle engines shook the night. Bullets flew in relentlessly from the Degtyarev machine guns that the b*stards had mounted on their bikes. This was their strategy against snipers. They had been caught out many times in the past.
There was no way Deuxieme Rep’s battle forces would be pushed back by the fragile FROLINATs. Bang- Bang- Kakakaka. The mortar, loaded in a moment and aimed along the target line, spewed out its shells. Lines of tracer bullets from the machine guns flew into the night.
“Stop! Cease fire!”
The battle that had started suddenly, ended just as suddenly.
“Ugh. Those damned b*stards!”
Valboir gritted his teeth. There had been a few additional rounds of RPG, but the machine gunners had disappeared in an instant. The battle had only lasted a few minutes. There would be no time to move the sniper team if the battle continued like this.
The Sahara wind blew as though nothing had happened and the stars twinkled against the night sky. If it hadn’t been for the smell of gunpowder in the air, it would have been like any other day in the Sahel.
“Uuuh, f****** hell!” Pieff growled.
The enemy harried the rescue team several times a day. They poured in their shells and disappeared in an instant. If they gave chase, a surprise attack was waiting for them. Pieff couldn’t risk going after them for fear of ambush.
“Valboir. Report the damage!”
“There’s one dead and two critically injured. As for material damage, there’s one emergency tent and half a…”
“Stop, stop! I don’t care if the entire emergency tent comes crashing down. Another death! One of my subordinates dead! Aaagh, f****** hell…” Pieff shouted, halfway out of his mind.
“It’s not your fault Commander. The attacks are just too vicious.”
“No. I have been foolish. Once again I’ve lost my men without any gain. Uuuhuhuhu!”
Pieff wrapped his arms in front of his face and cried. Valboir stared at his commander but he couldn’t allow himself to blame him.
Such a situation could not have been resolved by DeGaull or Petain alone unless someone like Black Mamba was there to help. It was the fault of Colonel Philip and his staff for not analyzing the battle combat balance properly. Pieff raised his head.
“Centienne. Prepare the telephone lines.”
Pieff was blinded by success, but he wasn’t an idiot.