Mercenary Black Mamba - Chapter 156
Despite being the one giving treatment, Bellman himself was a dehydrated patient. As he administered the treatments, his hands were trembling minutely. Even Bronin, who was acting as the nurse, was wiping away the sweat, beading on his forehead.
The mercenaries waited for the treatment to end with dark expressions. Black Mamba’s injury wasn’t just a loss of firepower. It was the beginning of devastation. Shadows clung to Pieff, Captain, and Valboir’s faces. Black Mamba had opened a retreating path for them, but they weren’t happy at all.
Ombuti sneaked out of the tent carefully. The loud engine of a bike was heard. An hour later, Ombuti returned. There was a bunch of huvluv in his hand.
“Thank you!” Bellman exclaimed.
He was the same Bellman who had called the plant a distrustful spell of Africa, just a few days back. However, he’d seen the medicinal effects of huvluv with his own eyes.
Ombuti brewed the huvluv with several other medicinal herbs. Bellman grounded its roots and plastered its sap all over Black Mamba’s wound before wrapping it up with a bandage.
Jang Shin massaged Black Mamba’s limbs with his frail body. Emil drenched a towel and cooled his temperature. Centienne and Maxim were chasing flies away by shaking the tarps around. All the mercenaries gathered to treat Black Mamba.
“Paul, the DGSE has made a big mistake this time.”
“It’s not a mistake, but an intentional move,” the Captain replied sourly to Pieff.
Just thinking about what they’d done made him want to vomit.
“No, I’m talking about Black Mamba.”
“What do you mean?”
The Captain stared at Pieff with guarded eyes. Pieff was a talented officer, but he was hung up on advancing through the ranks. He had changed as a result of overcoming several crises, but humans didn’t change so easily.
“They miscalculated Black Mamba’s value. Black Mamba isn’t a tactical weapon but a strategic weapon. If they had known Black Mamba’s value, they wouldn’t have created such a ridiculous situation. We’ve basically caught a string of salvation from heaven.”
The Captain’s brows went up.
“Commander Pieff, I don’t want to listen to your speech on using humans as tools, any longer. Black Mamba is our brother. I will shoot anyone who considers using Black Mamba for personal gains.”
Pieff shook his hand.
“Huh, you scary man. I care about Black Mamba as well. I’m worried that Black Mamba wouldn’t be able to overcome his blood lust once he returns. We can all gain something if Black Mamba stops being so stubborn. You should reassure him a little.”
The Captain stared at Pieff. Pieff would still reveal his greed for advancements despite going through the tribulations of life or death. Humans truly didn’t change so easily. If Pieff hadn’t dragged the rescue team without a plan into the Sahel, Black Mamba wouldn’t have been hurt. Suddenly, he felt annoyed.
“Black isn’t just a strong person. He’s a guy who was always ready with a much fearsome brain. There will be a lot of people crying for mercy. There’s a high possibility of him killing those who’d sent a hitman after him and those who’d leaked our information.”
Chills ran down Pieff’s spine. There weren’t just one or two who’d played around behind their backs. There were several generals and high-ranking members from the intelligence department. Black Mamba was someone who’d erased a FAP command post within half a day. If he went rampant in Paris? Movies like King Kong and Godzilla would look cute.
“Geofrey, I’m sorry, but you’re as good as dead.”
Major Geofrey, who’d been sent by the DGSE, was his best friend. The request of salvation, which had been on the tip of his tongue, went back down.
“Captain, we’re ready to head off,” Emil reported, energized.
Emil had found his normality after overcoming his diarrhea. He had certainly seen the advantages of huvluv.
“Won’t Black Mamba’s condition grow worse during the trip?” Pieff worried.
“It’s a retreat path Black made with his injuries. Bellman, will there be a problem in moving Black?”
“We need to travel faster instead. There’s a limit to field treatments. There’s a lot of physical damages, but the risk of tetanus is greater. We need to get him into a treatment facility.”
The Captain called Ombuti over as he went over his map.
“The indoor hospital in Ati City would be dangerous. There’s a hospital in the outer regions, how are their facilities?”
“It’s an NGO hospital. I don’t know much about their facilities. However, their doctors’ skills and equipment should be better than the local hospitals.”
“Good, Black has been saving us the entire time. Now, it’s our turn to save him.”
It was a retreat path Black Mamba had made in a desperate battle. There would be nothing worse than losing the path due to sitting around. Sun WooHyun wrapped Black Mamba with a blanket and moved him into the back seat of the pickup. Ombuti grabbed the handle, and Emil and Jang Shin boarded. The Captain and Sun WooHyun rode the bikes as guards.
Pieff, Centienne, Maxim, and Bronin rode on the Beta. The Beta acted as an emergency car. Bellman and Valboir rode on the last Gamma. The pickup, which had turned into an emergency car, sped past the outskirts of Berdalle. They drove quickly to the south-east as though their tail was on fire.
Either during his break or during the time the engine cooled, Ombuti moved to gather huvluv. He boiled huvluv sap for Black Mamba to drink and punched the sap on his wounds every hour. Sun WooHyun shook at that sight, which resembled a long-fond wife tending to her husband’s every need. A servant wasn’t something anyone could do.
“Ombuti, where are we going?”
Surprised, Ombuti turned as he teared up.
“Wakil, you’re awake! We’ve traveled 210 kilometers south, past Berdalle. How do you feel?”
“Not bad. How much time has it been?”
“A day at most.”
“Black, stop whining and sit up. Aren’t you embarrassed to be knocked down by a metal shard smaller than your finger?”
Black Mamba was unable to hear Bellman’s jokes. He had fallen asleep. The Paranthropus cells within him had awakened at the damages to his body. It froze all body movements and generated energy to heal those physical damages.
Black Mamba’s body was going through cell division, and cells were increasing rapidly. His temperature jumped past 40 degrees several times. Bellman and Ombuti, who didn’t know the reason behind such changes, were burning inside.
It was day 44 of mission raccoon. Ati was Chad’s greatest north-eastern city, with 35,000 in population. There were bus stations and an airway. Ati was along the path of the Batha River, coming from Sudan east to west.
Cities developed in water regions. The Batha River soaked the dry land and gathered in a lake called Fitri, 90 kilometers to the west.
The north side of the Batha River belonged to the Sahel, while the southern side belonged to a steppe. It was basically separated into two sides, in which one had humans living by a river.
Lake Fitri wasn’t largely inhabited, but it was a large river spanning 35 kilometers in length and 24 kilometers in width. Several thousands of people from Batha and Guera provinces relied on Lake Fitri for their day to day life.
In the beginning, southern Batha and Guera near Lake Fitri were made of Chad’s Arabians who were associated with FROLINAT. Habré’s army pushed the Arab FROLINAT to northern Batha.
In the FROLINAT’s point of view, the land was theirs. From past history to present, humans fought over water and fertile land, writing histories of wars.
The hospital operated by Medecins Sans Frontieres was located two kilometers south-east of Ati City. In a rush, Ombuti drove the pickup more harshly.
“Ombuti, we need to hide the team members first!” the Captain shouted from his bike.
Ombuti glared at the Captain in dissatisfaction.
“Wakil’s condition isn’t good.”
“The members are also struggling. If we approach in a group, the information network will catch us! We need to move light!”
Finally, Korean curses jumped their way out of Ombuti’s mouth. He changed directions towards Baskeval valley, near the Batha River.
“There’ll be a place to hide if you enter the valley. Figure the rest out yourselves.”
Ombuti immediately turned the handle away from the entrance. His heart pounded as if he had popped a bean. Sun WooHyun leaped onto the car. Emil, who’d regained his condition, ran like crazy and followed suit. The Captain glared.
“And what about the others who are injured?”
“I need to guard Wakil. We’re all done for if Wakil doesn’t wake up anyway.”
“There’s still Bellman. Captain, you said that partners should be together through life and death yourself!”
Emil didn’t budge either. After jumping between the boundary of life and death several times, he had gained the confidence to stand up to his Captain.
The Captain gripped the back of his head. Their determination made it obvious that they weren’t going to listen to orders. All there was left in their team, who could fight, was himself and the two who weren’t listening.
Bellman, Jang Shin, Pieff, Valboir, Centienne, and Maxim had zero battle capacity. The lackey’s words were right. They wouldn’t be able to continue their battle as long as Black Mamba remained injured.
“Captain, you stay behind.”
Ombuti was desperate to leave.
“A servant’s position is good after all,” Sun WooHyun exclaimed silently.
“No! I need to communicate!” the Captain shouted.
Sun WooHyun and Emil stared at each other. A fire sparked between their eyes.
“I’m the lackey.”
“I’m the partner.”
“Ombuti said that a servant was more important than a subordinate.”
“I’m his partner and friend.”
The Captain sighed and shouted again.
“God, both of you, stay behind!”
The Captain’s words were dismissed.
“Are you stronger than me?”
Sun WooHyun raised his fist. He seemed determined to follow, even if it meant fighting for the place.
“Oi, are we going there to fight? There’s a lot of female doctors in an NGO hospital.”
“What about the women?”
“Your face is the weapon here.”
Those were conclusive words. Sun WooHyun slid slowly out of the pickup with a fixed glare on Emil’s face. Sun WooHyun, himself, would admit that his features were rather fierce. The nickname Tubilis was made, partly due to his harsh features. Despite his well-endowed position as an officer, he was still single because of those features.
“You weakling, I’ll do this for Wakil.”
“Ha, you muscle-brained b*stard!”
Emil smiled victoriously at his win.
Ombuti drove the pickup roughly. He had wasted five minutes because of those weaklings. Tears streamed down his face, thinking of Black Mamba’s face with blue lips.
“Wakil, I’ll make sure you return awake, even if it means losing all my blood.”
Ombuti pressed on the accelerator.
The MSF a.k.a. Medecins Sans Frontieres, was a humanistic medicinal rescue organization created by a French doctor and a journalist in 1971. Ati’s MSF hospital was built in 1980 to fight against a filariasis outbreak.
The drought, which began in the late 1960s, drove the whole of North Africa’s central regions to its death. Lake Fitri and Lake Chad continued to shrink. In 1980, the area of the lake was halved. The Batha River barely maintained its flow.
The number of mosquitoes continued to rise year by year, with the lack of river flows and the emergence of lake floors. The swarms of mosquitoes became a calamity for Ati locals.
Filariasis was a parasite as thin as a thread, carried and spread by mosquitoes. Nevermind the bloodsucking, countless locals were infected with the filariasis.
When infected with filariasis, the lymphatic vessels would be blocked by the parasite, causing the legs to swell, and skin to harden. Over time, the skin turned into the hardness of an elephant’s skin. People were easily infected. When one was infected, it spread in the community, for decades.
When the swelling was left untreated, lymphatic fluid gathered between the tissues causing it to turn thick and hard. When the tissues hardened, lymphatic fluids were no longer absorbed, worsening the swell as it entered its critical stages.
It was from that point on that the pain increased, making it hard to walk. When the opportunity of timely treatment was missed, it progressed into elephantiasis. The legs would turn into elephant legs, causing the person to live in torment for the rest of their lives. On top of that, the gathering of lymphatic fluids could cause an endemic disease or cancer, such as angiosarcoma. That was filariasis elephantiasis.
The treatment door was opened as though it was broken through.
“Oh my God!”
An anthelmintic bag dropped from Rudrey Edel’s hand, in fright.