Mercenary Black Mamba - Chapter 138
“You lying, worthless b*stard. What’s the point of having a signal soldier when we don’t even have a walkie-talkie?”
When Sun WooHyun approached him with a large knife, Centienne moved back as his face turned blue.
“What are you doing? What did I do?”
“I blame Black Mamba for saving a worthless b*stard like you, who wouldn’t survive a day in the desert. There’s no reason to let a thoughtless lump of a b*stard stick with us. I’ll pull your head out and turn you into a rotting piece of wood.”
Sun WooHyun’s narrow eyes gleamed like a madman’s.
“You crazy s***, we’ll see what happens.”
Unable to withstand his temper, Centienne and Maxim left the spot. A rabid dog had to be avoided.
The Captain’s face creased into a frown. He had heard everything that happened outside. There wasn’t a non-violent mercenary amongst the mercenaries. Fighting and punching were minor happenings.
The problem was their conflict. Conflict was born from distrust and complaints. The Ratel team members had a relationship beyond brotherhood, as they had crossed the line between life and death several times, together. The ones who had survived were no less than Black Mamba’s servants.
Jang Shin and Emil blamed the rescue team that Pieff led. They thought that the rescue team had become lumps of burden, instead of offering aid. They believed that Black Mamba had become sick from pushing himself to his limits for the rescue team. A lieutenant was nothing to them. Black Mamba was more important.
Centienne and Maxim were disappointed that the team members they’ve come to rescue were treating them poorly. Their conflict, which had been undersurface, had been brought to light by Black Mamba’s absence.
“Bellman, did you hear what happened outside?”
“It’s a conflict brought about by the absence of a mental stabling force. They’re simple men, so you don’t need to feel sorry for them.”
Bellman’s face didn’t light up despite him nodding. It was a conflict that would disappear once Black Mamba woke up. However, him not being in good condition was a problem.
“Black, please wake up.”
The Captain’s insides burned like coal.
“F***, where’s the damn servant s*** gone when his owner’s dying?”
“That damn servant s*** is here.”
A tired and sad voice rang behind his back.
Surprised, Sun WooHyun whipped around, twisting his neck bones. Even he, who acted as though there was nothing to fear in the world, felt awkward around Ombuti.
Ombuti glared at Sun WooHyun with dark eyes with an unknown bunch of grass held in both hands.
“An old servant wanders in the dark looking for Wakil’s herbs, while a young lackey’s chewing the old servant out in comfort! Tsk tsk.”
Sun WooHyun’s face crumpled as he was now accused of being immature.
“What are you going to do with that bunch of grass?”
Ombuti entered the tent without replying.
“F***, is a servant some kind of royal duty or something?” Sun WooHyun complained weakly.
“What is that?” Bellman asked.
“It’s a huvluv. I’ve finally found it.”
“What are you going to do with that?”
“I will give it to my Wakil.”
Lines creased across Bellman’s face. He was a doctor. That unknown African herb was, obviously, not in his medical dictionary.
“No, I cannot use an unknown herb on a patient. I don’t even know its properties.”
“It’s my tribe’s secret.”
“No, even if it’s Goryeo’s ginseng.”
“Then, are you going to leave him like that? Didn’t you say that pain and fever relievers didn’t work, and you were unsure of the cause?” Ombuti said in anger.
“Still, I can’t give him some unknown herb,” Bellman fought back.
“Move. I don’t have time for this. He may be your comrade, but he is my master. It’s a remedy from Africa.”
Ombuti pushed Bellman away and began to brew the huvluv in a pot. He added some dried roots that he had in his pockets, once a sour smell began to spread.
Huvluv was a multi-purpose herb used by desert tribes for healing since ancient times. It was similar to the Korean ginseng, as it did have numbing properties alongside nutritious effects. The Tuareg tribe had a secret, sacred method of pulling out the huvluv’s most important sap.
A thick sap with a strange scent appeared. Ombuti began to feed the boiled sap to Black Mamba.
“Wakil, you are a strong person. Allah and the Tuareg ancestors’ protection will be upon you.”
Ombuti kneeled on the ground and began to pray for a long time.
The cells of a Homo Paranthropus were qualitatively different from those of a Homo sapien. For a Homo Paranthropus, the master gene known as PGC-1 was activated to multiply mitochondria.
Mitochondria were biological engines that existed as a unit per cell. A Paranthropus could increase the number of mitochondria to two or four. It meant that the cells which held those mitochondria increased from four cylindrical units to eight or 16 units.
Black Mamba was still living as a slave, in his uncle’s house, at the time of his awakening.
His muscles, bones, and blood hadn’t been able to go through much change back then, due to a lack of nutrition. His brain, especially, hadn’t been able to develop fully. His brain was still of a Homo sapien.
It was one of the many favorable occurrences among his misfortunes. If his brain had gone through the development as a Paranthropus, he would have been no different than Ocelot.
Black Mamba’s body had constantly gone through slow, but certain evolutions through many battles. The PGC-1’s activity hadn’t stopped. It attempted to strengthen the underdeveloped brain’s condensation and strength.
A Paranthropus’ brain placed more importance on its own physical safety and survival. Its attacks became stronger and overwhelming while its limitations slowly decreased. The brain’s usage also dulled as the skull thickened. Simply put, it turned itself into a strong monster. In terms of brain activity, it regressed.
Black Mamba had lived in limited, wilful conditions since his youth. The warm love he had received from Park Jin Bo and Kim Mal Soon, his life as a monk, the training of the five combined movements, and the realizations he had earned in the Sahel caused his brain to refuse regression.
The pain Black Mamba was currently suffering from, was a phenomenon called apoptosis. Brain cells were programmed to die and would later heal into stronger cells.The pain was due to the overwhelming pressure on his nervous system from the rapid cell division and elimination. The clash between PGC-1 and brain activities were causing pain at the same time.
The huvluv that Ombuti had administered began to activate its properties. His temperature dropped, and his pain alleviated. It was the holy Buddha’s fire. Paranthropuses were born in Africa. The African wild ginseng, huvluv, had stabilized the Paranthropus’ genetic activation.
“Sergeant, the temperature’s dropping!” Bronin cried out, almost in tears.
“What, are you serious?”
Bellman moved around hurriedly.
Loud sounds rang. The nurse’s table, where he had arranged the medicines and tools, had fallen.
“Quiet. Wakil has fallen asleep,” Ombuti spoke solemnly with a raised chin.
“Right. Sorry.” Bellman shriveled.
In a warrior’s world, the strongest was the best. It was the same for a doctor. The one who successfully treated the patient using rare medicines or pieces of grass was the best.
When the fight between the Homo sapien and Paranthropus ended, the fever dropped instantly. Black Mamba slept with a snore. When he awakened, he’d have become an iron-willed man.
On the 40th day of mission Raccoon.
Black Mamba opened his eyes. His head which had been filled by a fog-like heaviness was refreshed. His stiff body had returned back to normal, and his headache had disappeared.
“Huh? Why’s the old man doing that?”
Ombuti had fallen asleep beside him, bent and squished like a shrimp.
“Hmmm, I see.”
The smell from the canteen and his mouth were the same. He instantly understood the situation. He could almost see the old man wandering around, in the dark, looking for herbs.
The Sahel’s temperature in December was hot to the point that skin burned during the day and cold to the point that bones clattered at night. He lifted Ombuti and laid him on his bed.
Ombuti had made a bed for himself on the ground with a thin tarp as he left Black Mamba to sleep on a dry straw bed. He called himself a servant, but he acted more like a father.
“His bones should be aching since he’s old.”
He opened his sleeping bag and covered Ombuti with it, before leaving the tent. The eastern sky was slightly dyed with ashen colors. It was the beginning of dawn.
But how did he wake up?
He had woken up from a foreign sensation. His senses were sensitive, but his body was unaffected by heat and cold. He didn’t wake up due to the cold.
He realized instantly. He had felt something out of place with the breaths that surrounded him. With his sensitivity, he woke instantly when there was a change to his outer surroundings, even when he was asleep. It was an instinct that a martial practitioner gained after training one’s heart to its peak.
One of the many breaths had stopped.
The two familiar presences outside his tent were the Captain and Bellman, who were on guard. He ran into the tent. Nothing was wrong with Pieff, Mike, and Ombuti.
He rushed into the next tent.
Emil, Jang Shin, Sun WooHyun, Bronin, and Valboir were asleep. No, there were only four who were breathing. Emil was the one who had stopped breathing. Surprised, Black Mamba examined Emil.
Wide eyes, stiff muscles, and blue face, it was the textbook example of death by hypothermia.
He had cried out loudly, but there wasn’t any reaction.
His heart, what about his heart?
He grabbed Emil’s wrist, but didn’t count his pulse. Black Mamba could hear his heart beating by simply listening. Emil’s heart was beating thinly and unevenly. It was weak, as though it would die out, any second.
“F****** s***! He’s in reentry.”
He kicked Jang Shin, who was snoring, despite the chaotic situation.
“Jang, call Bellman over.”
Surprised, Jang Shin leaped on his feet and pulled out his gun. It was a rather fast instinct, but there was no time for praise.
“Emil’s in danger.”
“Ah, Black Mamba!”
“Dude, get to your senses! Call Bellman over. Emil’s dying!” Black Mamba kicked Jang Shin’s butt.
“Emil is going to die!”
Shocked and awoke, Jang Shin escaped the tent like a bullet.
“Bronin, boil the water!” Bellman shouted as he rushed over.
“This idiotic b*stard!”
Bellman slapped Emil’s cheeks and took off his wet clothes. Emil was an idiot who slept in wet clothes despite his many warnings.
Jang Shin rushed over with atropine from the medical bag.
Bellman kicked Jang Shin.
“You crazy b*stard, do you want to give him a shock? Not even epinephrine’s going to work at this stage. Massage him!”
Jang Shin had been kicked many times since his sleep.
Bronin and Jang Shin dedicated themselves to massaging Emil while Bellman began CPR. Valboir and Sun WooHyun, who woke in the chaos, also joined in.
Bellman groaned once he pulled out the in-ear thermometer.
“30 degrees Celsius! We’re in trouble.”
They could lose another comrade at any moment. Jang Shin took off his clothes and pulled himself close, underneath Emil, to share body heat. Bronin covered Emil with towels, and slowly poured hot water over them. Everyone moved to their best abilities.
“Damn it, to think I’d have to make a fuss over a man in my life. Does it even make sense to freeze to death in Africa?” Jang Shin shouted in annoyance.
“You idiot, when the chest temperature decreases, you freeze to death. Just being an ice pillar doesn’t mean hypothermia!” the Captain shouted, having jumped into the tent, moments before.
Black Mamba soaked the towels in hot water and massaged Emil’s skin with ferocity, but the situation didn’t get better.
“Bellman, there’s no choice. Give him the epinephrine.”
Bellman hesitated at the Captain’s orders but ultimately injected Emil’s vessel with epinephrine. His hand shook minutely. Injecting someone in reentry with cardiotonic was dangerous. A single mistake could stop the heart entirely.
Death by hypothermia occurred when the body continuously lost its temperature to outside conditions. When the body’s temperature fell below 30 degrees Celsius, an arrhythmia could occur, causing the heart to stop. There were no precedents of anyone saving a heart from failure except for Jesus.
Similar to contact lenses, a human body was as delicate and fragile. The internal organs and cells could only be active in body temperatures between 30 degrees Celsius and 40 degrees Celsius.
With an average body temperature of 36.5 degrees Celsius, the upper body could only take 3.5 degrees Celsius at its lowest, while the lower body could tolerate 6.5 degrees Celsius. When the average temperature dropped beneath 30 degrees Celsius, the heart would stop, and when it rose above 40 degrees Celsius, the organs would start failing. In simpler terms, one would freeze when the body temperature fell beneath 30 degrees Celsius, and the organs would start failing when it was above 40 degrees Celsius.