Mercenary Black Mamba - Chapter 110
He wasn’t a highly educated officer like First Lieutenant Paul either.
He had lost half of his team without having ever come across the FROLINAT’s main forces. Pieff regained his senses. The Ratel team was important, but saving the lives of his subordinates was a responsibility he could not ignore. It was stupid to sacrifice his men to save others. Realizing this fact a little too late, Pieff decided to retreat.
He reported the situation to headquarters and requested a withdrawal. Pieff finished his report and gathered together the members of his team.
‘What a sight!’
They didn’t look like the formidable soldiers of Deuxieme Rep but like a group of beggars who lived on the streets. The problem wasn’t only their appearance. Their eyes, that had been full of life, had shriveled with exhaustion and fear.
A ball of fire surged up inside his chest.
His anger was directed at the old men who had caused young blood to be spilled in a futile rescue attempt. He had lost sight of his old self that had championed the Ratel team’s deployment and spearheaded the rescue team mission.
Humans were creatures with highly sensitive mental capability. That sensitivity meant that they were easy to hurt. The human brain created a relentless cycle of accusation and delusion to protect itself.
“Soldiers. We are terminating the rescue mission at this time. We will do our utmost to make our escape from this accursed place.”
The men’s faces brightened visibly.
“Commander. The guide who had been shot died just ten minutes ago.” Sergeant Bronin, in charge of role allocations, reported with a solum expression.
“The guide died? Were you not able to remove the bullet?”
“The cause of death wasn’t the trauma from the bullet, it was acute sepsis. The bullet dug a piece of dirty cloth into the wound.”
Pieff’s face turned black.
Whether he had died from shock or sepsis wasn’t important. The problem was that the guide was dead.
The Sahel, especially the Bodele region, was a perilous environment. There was both desert and swamp. Rocky mountains would appear out of nowhere and vast shrublands blocked their path. Once they crossed a dune, a river would suddenly check their progress. The map would be useless without a guide.
“I suppose there’s nothing we can do about it. El Mezir, which we’ve passed, is south. 96 kilometers south-west to be precise. Headquarters have agreed to send a helicopter 35 kilometers from El Mezir, in Arkemanga’s Doline region.”
“We have five injured. Is there no way to bring the helicopter closer?”
“Arkemanga is the best way to avoid STRELA. Move out now.”
Valboir stopped Pieff.
“Commander, it’s dangerous to move during the night without a guide. There are several marshes scattered about.”
“It’s dangerous either way. Do you want to be hit by those b*stards’ Allah wands again? Take the Jeep upfront and start it up. I’ll ride Beta.”
Pieff didn’t want to stay another second in the Sahel after the retreat order had been approved. The company of 50 special forces operatives had been cut in half without a single battle.
When his anger died away he was filled with feelings of helplessness and fear. He dismissed the criticisms and negative reports, which would inevitably follow, from his mind. The urge to escape hell was his only consideration.
The rescue team struck camp and moved into the night.
With the P4 Jeep in front, the surviving 23 members rode in the three cars.
“There’s a light at two ‘o clock behind us.”
“We’ll move out left.”
Pieff adjusted their route based on the Jeep’s report.
10 minutes later there was a second sighting.
“A light at 10 o’clock.”
“Move off left.”
20 minutes later the headset rang once more.
“This is Alpha. The wheel’s stuck in the mud.”
“What? This is a rocky part of the desert. There are no marshes.”
Pieff wasn’t confident even as he said it. The Bodele Depression had several regions that didn’t match the map.
Clack- The first vehicle ground to a halt.
The engine revved urgently, but the car didn’t budge.
“Commander, the wheel’s stuck.”
Pieff felt the pressure rising in the back of his head and he threw himself out of the car.
“Se dunkfaibble!” 
His hand, which was clenched around his pamus, began to tremble. The rescue team was entering a narrow path like a pear-shaped bottle. On top of that, it was marsh with a hard surface but soft underneath. It was then that he realized that he had been caring too much about the guerrillas and had ignored the terrain.
“Gamma bravo, turn back.”
“Impossible. Half of the wheel’s sunk in.”
“Everyone get out of the car and pull it out. Hurry!”
Flames of fire rose up before he had time to finish his sentence.
Tens, no hundreds of torchlights surrounded the cornered rescue team.
“I am Lieutenant Colonel Kikali of the 3rd FOLINAT army. You are surrounded. I will not kill if you surrender.”
His French was fluent.
Pieff felt all the energy drain out of him.
“This is the end! How stupid I am!”
He had been lured into the b*stards’ trap. He should have realized when he saw the series of lights.
“You chickenhead, chickenhead!” Pieff berated himself as he banged his head on a rock.
He wanted to crack his head open because he had let himself ignore what was happening right in front of his eyes.
Pieff could not deny what should have been obvious to him. Everything was crystal clear now it was over, but he had been unable to see the mountain as he traveled through it.
Machine gun fire opened up from the rear.
“No!” Pieff shouted.
The guerrillas’ fire concentrated on the Bravo from the rear.
“Stop firing, you f****** idiots. Cease fire!” Pieff shouted until his voice shook.
“We surrender! We surrender!”
Centienne immediately took off his tunic and waved it in the air.
The gunfire soon stopped.
The result was devastation. Two vehicles, which had been crushed by an RPG, were on fire. He could see some of his subordinates strewn across the ground. Pieff cried tears of blood.
Ironically, the rescue team had become prisoners of Lieutenant Colonel Kikali, a subordinate of Habib. The prisoners were three officers, three non-commissioned officers, and four privates. 10 in total. 13 had died during the unprovoked attack.
This was occurring about the same time the Ratel team had just finished breaking apart Habib’s mansion.
Habib, upon waking, stared blankly at the Arab standing before him.
The glare, which seemed as though it would eat him up, was truly disconcerting. Where else would Habib have received such a gaze?
‘Who the hell is this b*stard?’
The Captain struck the back of his head with the butt of his gun.
“Ombuti, there’s no time.”
Ombuti, who had been breathing like a king cobra after a sniffer rat, moved back. He nodded at Black Mamba in acknowledgment and covered Habib’s head with a bag before tying it off. It was a gesture indicating he was simply following his master’s orders.
Jang Shin looked down at the five canteens that the ratel had ripped apart with a pinched expression. They still had some distance to cover but they had no water. A water bottle was no less than 10 francs. It wasn’t expensive, but they couldn’t be found anywhere in the Sahel.
There was only one bag of camel date palms left. And there was only one regular water bottle. Even their rations were out. They needed transportation and weapons, but food and water were more important. Jang Shin’s face crumpled.
“Are you all ready? Go!”
“It’s annoying, so annoying,” Mike complained as he climbed onto the camel.
The camel didn’t want to let a temperamental man on its back and turned around. Mika and the camel began to fight once more and Black Mamba intervened.
Frightened by his ominous glare, the camel let out a screech, before freezing on the spot.
“Mike. Give it some camel date palms before trying to ride it. Get along. Yeah?”
Mike looked between the camel, which remained as docile as a sheep, and Black Mamba’s back.
“F***! How fierce he must be for a camel to be scared! I shouldn’t mess with him. Not at all.” Mike jumped onto the docile camel’s back.
The Ratel team entered Djourab Erg after an hour.
Djourab was a desert. The camels’ footprints were visible. Usually, the sight of sand epitomizes the word desert, but that wasn’t true. Most of the desert was made of rocks and pebbles. Even the Sahara desert made up only 15% of Erg.
Ombuti stopped the camels as they entered Djourab Erg. There were eight in total. Of the original ten, the head camel had been killed and one by Black Mamba after losing its testicles.
He pulled out two of the camels who were difficult to manage and gave the docile ones to the mercenaries.
“Captain, you go ahead. I will catch up after tying up some loose ends.”
“Don’t be too late.”
The mercenaries, who understood Ombuti’s intentions in erasing their tracks, went ahead.
“Hehe. I know how to have some fun.”
Ombuti tied a long rope to the end of the camel’s tail which was wrapped inside a bag. It was a fuse that had been connected to a pouch as small as his fingernail. Inside the pouch was gunpowder salvaged from bullet casings. It was part of the additional firepower created by Jang Shin.
Ombuti took his time drinking his Arrack.
He was trying to widen the gap between himself and the mercenaries. After an hour, he loosened the two camels’ leashes and lighted the fuse.
The fuse on the camel’s tail sputtered as it burned. Finishing his preparations, he pulled out his ocelot whip and lashed the camels’ behind.
The diamond claws ripped into the camels behind. The two camels had their tails on fire and they ran about in a frenzy. They galloped off towards the southern Ennedi plains.
“Nikmok , you all should suffer a little.”
Ombuti’s deep eyes creased into slits. It was a smile of satisfaction.
According to Jang Shin’s calculations, the first explosion would occur in 15 minutes. The camels, which were loosely tied, would then separate. Afterward, explosions would occur in intervals of ten minutes. Camels, that were frightened by such sounds, could run at 40 kilometers per hour. Wherever they ran, they would cause suffering for anyone who was chasing them.
He still had one last thing to do.
Ombuti gathered the palm tree leaves which he had brought from Paya and tied them to the camel’s tail.
He climbed up on his beloved horse, no beloved camel, and launched forth with a hum. The palm leaves on the camel’s tail swept away its tracks.
20 minutes after the Ratel team kidnapped Habib, sounds of gunfire and explosions rang out in Amoul. Habib’s 3rd FAP army stormed into councilman Abduhl’s mansion under orders. The fight between the deployed army against Abduhl’s guards ended in a stalemate. Abduhl had reinforced his personal safety.
The fighting between the private militias, which began with Habib’s misunderstanding, soon spread like wildfire. The FROLINAT, undermined by mistrust, was soon swept into division.
The DGSE and the Department of Defense, who had been watching the FROLINAT’s situation, whistled in glee. The clustered thread had been unraveled due to the interference of a handful of mercenaries. The French government was excited by the success of a foreign mission, which was unprecedented, but a few were unable to get a good night’s sleep.
The mercenaries traveled down south comfortably after leaving Paya.
There were no incidents nor surprise attacks. It was a result of Habib’s misunderstanding and Ombuti’s sly methods.
On top of that, the scouts that had been tailing them had mistaken Pieff’s rescue team for team Ratel and were forming a net. The rescue team had been of some help, after all.
The mercenaries traveled down south fighting their camels instead of the FROLINAT.
Jang Shin, Emil, and Mike kept vomiting. Camels walked differently from horses. Their front foot and their hind foot moved at the same time. The movement caused the body to swing from right to left. Those who were unaccustomed to the rolling effects got camel-sick. Jang Shin had to suffer the accusing glares of others, having destroyed the vehicles at Habib’s mansion.
The captain halted the procession as the ground began to roast under the sun. They had been fighting and moving since the previous day. Everyone was so hungry they could have eaten their camels.
“Ombuti, what is our current position?”
Ombuti made a dot on the map.
“Here. 80 kilometers south of Paya. 10 kilometers out on the northwestern road.”
“How much more time do we have?”
“I’ve created a distraction, so we should have another day.
 son of a b***