Mercenary Black Mamba - Chapter 161
“Alright. We are brothers who have held hands with each other as we arose from hell,” he told his brothers so he could subside their anger.
“We have buried our dead comrades in our hearts. The Oecophylla smaragdina will cause them severe anxiety We will either beat them or shove their heads into a toilet. We will get our revenge.”
“Hahaha, what? We will give them their just desserts. We should have at least given them their wives’ bloomers.”
At Bellman’s words, the Captain, Emil, and even Sun WooHyun, who were pretending not to listen, trembled. All three of them had their share of a beating from Black Mamba.
“The weak-boned oldies will die. We’ll receive all the presents they will offer us beforehand. Do you agree?”
“I agree,” the comrades all answered in agreement.
“Ombuti, do you wish for anything?”
“I will follow whatever you wish for, Wakil.”
Ombuti glanced over at Edel then lowered his head. Black Mamba grabbed the back of his neck. They say that an old rat knows how to avoid poison. He could clearly see what Ombuti was thinking. After seeing Giz’s fate, he came to a realization. Give without wanting anything in return.
“What about you, sidekick?”
“If I can be by Wakil’s side, I will be happy.”
Sun WooHyun was proud of his quick-witted answer. Requesting something small would make him an idiot. If he kept his eyes on the bigger prize, he would continuously gain more as time passed. The Captain clapped his hands and got everyone’s attention.
“Once we return to N’Djamena, they will separate us, using treatment as an excuse. Bellman, Emil, and Jang Shin, leave everything to Black Mamba and I and assist with nursing everyone’s injuries. There will be an investigation from the inspection office and the DGSE. You have to tell them exactly what happened.”
“Captain, go to N’Djamena headquarters and lay bait. Scare the oldies. They will be busy making phone calls with the Oecophylla smaragdina surrounding them.”
“Hahaha, is that a diversion tactic? I will make sure to scare them severely. Thanks to Black, a lieutenant gets to scare a commander.”
“Ever since we stepped foot into the Sahel, nothing is progressing normally.”
“That’s right. We are eagles flying in from the Sahel.”
“For the comrades buried in my hearts!”
“Ooh hoo, for the five eagle brothers!”
At the Captain’s exclamation, the rest of the team cheered. The Captain’s prediction was exact. The return of the Ratel team was well funded. They were escorted by three commandos in black uniforms and got into the Hercules. The Hercules headed straight for France. They didn’t have time to see the faces of their remaining comrades.
Emil was fine but was separated from them as a PTSD patient. Black Mamba, who had suffered critical injuries, was taken to the army hospital immediately. Edel followed, but that didn’t make much difference.
The identity of the returning comrades were well protected by the DGSE and military headquarters. Those who were involved signed a non-disclosure and kept their mouths shut. The Ratel team, which Black Mamba had led, became a government secret.
Paul got his ear reattached with surgery after he had lost it at N’Djamena, battling a Chad soldier. After finishing the treatment, Paul acted as if he had been called by his superiors for a status report.
With a rough kick, the office door flew open. Paul entered the colonel’s barrack. He entered, decked in a gandourah soaked with blood and sweat. He would let Black Mamba do what he needed to do. However, as the team leader, he did what he thought was necessary.
“Paul, calm down.”
“Move, you stupid punk”
He kicked lieutenant Armang’s groin, who was blocking his way. Paul was able to subdue him with one hit.
The poor officer was squirming like a dried squid on top of a stove.
When the guards started closing in, he pulled out his Glock. The surprised men pulled back, and the Captain kicked open the door to the colonel’s office. No one could block the menacing Paul. Colonel Philip stood up from his seat as he entered.
Philip pointed to a chair on the opposite side. Paul didn’t even spare it a glance. He glared at colonel Philip with bloodshot eyes as if he wanted to rip him to shreds.
A colonel was an elite ranking official in comparison to a lieutenant. The gap between a colonel and a lieutenant was as wide as the Gorges du Tarn. Paul, who had Black Mamba backing him, did whatever he pleased.
“Your eyes look like that of a baby puma who had lost its mother.”
He was not one to be swallowed by rank. Colonel Philip’s gaze looked past Paul’s vicious glare. He had lived too comfortably to be able to withstand Paul’s murderous gaze.
Philip was in an uncomfortable situation.
Paul’s eyes had no hesitation. Philip could sense that he would willingly shoot a bullet through his head in a heartbeat. He had expected it, but it was worse than what he had anticipated.
Loud footsteps echoed outside the door. It was the sound of approaching soldiers who had been informed of Paul’s disruption.
Philip called over his aide.
“Armang, tell Charcosi, who is standing outside the door, to come inside.”
“Attention! We will arrest Lieutenant Paul and escort him out of here.”
“What nonsense are you talking about? Remove the strike force.”
“You idiot, do you want to broadcast to everyone that I got downtrodden by a lowly sidekick? Do you think a colonel wants to show his weakness in front of his soldiers? Is that it? Ah!”
Philip took out his anger on his unassuming aide. Major Charcosi glanced hesitantly at lieutenant Paul, who was ravaging the place like a crazed warthog. He had worked with Paul in Guinea, once. He was the one who had arrested lieutenant Etang, the informant who had handed over government intel. He could understand how betrayed lieutenant Paul must be feeling at that moment.
“Paul, put away your pistol. Don’t you think we should talk about this first? The colonel’s threat was that of a fish out of water.”
“Stop talking nonsense. I buried six of my comrades in the Sahel. Thanks to Black Mamba, I only lost an ear, but truthfully, I already left my soul back there. My life means nothing compared to the betrayal we had endured.”
Lieutenant Paul didn’t flinch an inch.
“Ha, Dreyfus prison! Do you know Black? If you imprison me, he will break down the walls.”
He trusted his backing. The pistol aimed at the colonel’s forehead didn’t waver one bit.
“Charcosi, do you want to continue looking at an embarrassed colonel?” Philip yelled angrily.
“All right. Paul, take it easy.”
Charcosi no longer agitated Paul and lowered his pistol. He had no right to charge and arrest the heroes of the war, and he didn’t want to anyway.
“Did you know this too, commander?” Paul asked as if he would bite his head off.
Philip sighed deeply. He couldn’t come up with a lame excuse for the comrade, who had risen from hell.
“Whew, I’m going to be ostracized. I only realized that a backdoor tactic was happening after I received your call, and it had already been 16 days since they had started it.”
“What are you talking about! It had been the 18th day since the punk’s emergency line was destroyed. That night, Chartres died of tetanus while waiting for an extraction!” Paul yelled at him.
Philip’s gaze fell onto the table. How did he end up being reprimanded by someone inferior? His heart felt heavy.
“I’m sorry. The government officials had commanded it directly. They threatened to try me for treason if I was to inform you about it.”
Paul turned cold.
“Ha, are the lives of your men lighter than a threat?”
At the righteous criticism, colonel Philip’s face flushed white. He had at least hoped that those words would never be spoken. How nervous had he been after agreeing to the backdoor tactic! He had persuaded himself that it was for the good of the government, but he knew it was because he had been hoping for a promotion.
Philip stroked his arm with a somber face. Oil from his skin got onto his hands. He was embarrassed to make eye contact with Paul, who now looked like a zombie.
“Paul, it was hard for me too. After I sent in the rescue team, they froze my accounts. They were only released five days ago. I was devastated to hear that Pieff’s team had been annihilated. Thank you for returning alive. Please make sure to tell Black Mamba that I am grateful to your team for saving Pieff.”
The pistol trembled in Paul’s hand. The dried, cracked skin of his face flashed with maliciousness.
“You can tell Black Mamba yourself, colonel. You will probably become the first general to die in the hands of a private.”
Philip stared at Paul’s face with desperate eyes. He had done the best that he could, but had ultimately been of no help to the Ratel team. Pieff, who had been forced into a rescue team, had ended up being a burden instead. According to the report, Black Mamba got injured because he was trying to protect Pieff.
“Paul, I’m sorry. You know how it is. I may be a stupid leader, but I am not a traitor.”
“Don’t you dare say that. Six of your men died in the Sahel’s abyss. You have killed six sons and fathers in that desolate land. The admirable Legion Etranger had given up his men as bait to the enemy. You gave the enemy our information and pushed us into a corner. Oh, huhuhu!”
Unable to contain his emotions any longer, Paul covered his face with his palms.
“Ha, how could this be!”
All Philip could do was sigh. Ultimately, the person who had caused this was himself. There was nothing he could say. Trying to make up excuses now would just ruin his image.
He anticipated that by next month, he would be promoted thanks to the Ratel team, no, Black Mamba. The promotion came at the expense of his men’s hopelessness and blood. That was always the case wherever you went. He had gained a reward through numerous men’s sighs and bloodshed.
“While they were dying in that dirty land, what were you doing colonel? Miguel, Morris, Mike, Burimer, and Chartres wouldn’t have died if you had approved of sending precious help. You can’t do that!”
Paul’s screams echoed loudly.
The staff poked their head in through the door. Philip waved his hand for them to leave.
“I’m at a loss for words. You can beat me until your anger subsides. I threw a punch at Boniface’s jaw, so I might have to take off my uniform too.”
At Paul’s coldness, Philip tried to look pitiful.
“Ha, if you lost your uniform because you threw one measly punch, the dogs would laugh. While you were throwing mere punches, the comrades you had betrayed were dying.”
Paul snorted. He was disgusted by Colonel Philip’s attempt at sidestepping the situation.
“Paul, stop it. The colonel did as much as he could to find you. It was your fault too. You disconnected communications, so we were unable to send in the helicopters.”
Lieutenant Armang tried to persuade Paul to stop.
“Paul, calm down. We lost two gazelles looking for your team. Because of the damn Stella, we were not able to send in more helicopters. The reason your team was stuck there was the DGSE’s fault, but it was also just bad luck. Lieutenant Louis has taken over headquarters.”
Paul’s fist hit Armang’s face.
“You punk, the moment we try to communicate, you sold our location to FROLINAT, so how could we continue communications?”
“Oh, you punk, beating up those you think are below you.”
The poor aide had a nosebleed and couldn’t put up much of a fight. If Paul’s anger could be suppressed after a couple of beatings, then that would be a better deal. No, Paul was not the problem, Black Mamba was. The reason the colonel remained quiet was that he knew Black Mamba was backing him.
“When we tried to make contact in Paya, at the hotel, hitmen were sent in. Burimer was sacrificed. If it wasn’t for Black Mamba, we would have all died. Once you extracted Makumbo, was the Ratel team a burden to you? You used a double contract so you can hide the backdoor tactic. Is that the face of French honor?”
“What double contract? That is an unwarranted accusation. I know the DGSE used shady tactics but it’s not to that degree. It must have been the assassins that Habib sent.”
Philip jumped up and down in denial. Paul’s accusation was dangerous. There were many dirty tricks among the intelligence agency’s tactics. A double contract was a dirty tactic used by the mafia.
Morality aside, if it was to get out in the open, the perpetrators would have to stand trial in court. For those who lived off of honor, it would be a big hit. For the sake of the country’s reputation, it was better to lie about it until the end.
“Ha, you should have told us.”
Paul smiled bitterly.
 A canyon formed by the Tarn between the Causse Méjean and the Causse de Sauveterre, in southern France.