Mercenary Black Mamba - Chapter 245
Black Mamba flinched during his climb up the cliff. Flashes of white light entered his vision after the sudden flare.
The aftershock followed. The cliff shook. He almost fell. He attached himself to the cliff like a lizard and looked down at the valley.
A dark red cloud in the shape of a mushroom rose. He could hear the ground sizzling with his senses. The fire crackled as it greedily absorbed the surrounding oxygen.
Fire. There were flames everywhere, which seemed like it could swallow the world. It burned passionately like his wasted youth.
An empty call escaped his mouth without him realizing it. It had been at Bijindo during Christmas Eve. There were hot stones in their guesthouse, and her body was still warm. She had been the hope of his life at a time when he had struggled to live normally, hiding away his unique abilities.
She’d left, and fate had thrown him on the path of Asura. No, there was no such thing as fate. He, himself, had chosen to walk the path of Asura.
A love between the Asura and a human? It seemed like the title of a novel. Could he hold her body, which was white as snow, with his bloodied hands? He shook his head. The more Asura became one with Mu Ssang, the more he grew distant from her.
Now, even if she were to return, he wasn’t sure he could hold her. There was a joke that men wanted a woman to be their first love, while women wanted a man to be their final love. His first love had crossed the Pacific. He was walking on the path of Asura beyond the Indian Ocean.
In a bedroom on the second floor of a semi-modern traditional house where the elegant Hiraniwa garden could be seen, Hae Young had lifted the turntable needle on a record before reading a book on the couch. Like a cat, he had jumped and laid on her thighs while purring. The sad lyrics of Bésame mucho by Consuelo Velázquez flooded his heart.
Que tengo miedo a perderte 
perderte después 
Quiero tenerte muy cerca 
When love grew distant, the lyrics of the popular song filled his ears but—
“You have to live well. Meet a good person.”
Although the ground was burning, a cold wind had swept past his heart. A cold parting drifted across the burning flames.
The sand and rocks that had flown into the air poured down like rain. His consciousness returned to reality when debris started knocking on his head. Frightened, Black Mamba immediately wore a helmet. Even love fell short against survival instinct.
The flames continued to burn intensely. He hadn’t known the LPG vapor cloud explosion he had created on a whim could be so powerful. An explosion in an enclosed place filled with saturated air was incomparably more powerful than an explosion of compressed air. When combined with hydrocarbon, the explosive strength of propane gas increased exponentially. When coincidence overlapped with his haphazard ability, it created the hands of God.
The corner of Black Mamba’s mouth quirked up. The discomfort, which seemed like there were thorns stuck in his throat, disappeared. Was there any point in deciding a good or evil way of killing someone? There was no point in saying that shooting was less cruel than stabbing and killing by a knife or that killing by slicing off the throat was crueler than stabbing the heart. It was a legal, moral standard that humans voluntarily created for themselves. Killing another without administering as much pain was the true benevolence of someone whose intention was to kill.
However, compared to other executions, killing people by releasing gases and bacteria was on an entirely different level. If someone held a gun, it meant that they were prepared to die at any moment. If someone held grudges, it meant that they were prepared to take revenge.
Biological and chemical weapons didn’t discriminate against its targets. A farmer walking along a field with an ax slung across his shoulder, a laborer who tightened a bolt with a monkey wrench, a student working hard to solve math problems, and a housewife serving rice with a rice scooper — everyone would die. They weren’t prepared to die, nor did they have a reason to die miserably. That was the reason why Black Mamba despised dictators, guerrillas, and terrorists.
“Well, the explosion should have blown away the poisonous gases and bacteria. Assad must be feeling quite bitter.”
Whether it was bacteria or poisonous gases, it shouldn’t be able to withstand a firestorm that burned the ground. The explosion was powerful enough to demolish the cliff where the storage facility was located. The result was obvious that he didn’t even have to check.
It wasn’t a gamble. The sarin gas, VX gas, and anthrax stored in Kaparja’s storage facility were substances that Assad had gathered over five years with Egypt and North Korea’s help. Five years and a total investment of 300,000,000 dollars had disappeared instantly. The amount that Assad had invested in the air force, missiles, the production of biological and chemical weapons, and training the ANO in Kaparja Valley totaled up to about 1,000,000,000 dollars.
As Mitterand had said, considering the profit that France would gain from this, 300,000,000 francs was worth the price of a pack of gum. Of course, the amount would be frozen if Black Mamba died on the mission. Mitterrand and Bonipas were wise. They had nothing to lose either way. They were completely different from Korea’s politicians who wasted the taxpayers’ money and backstabbed each other.
The flames died down quickly. That was because there wasn’t any phosphide. Three kilometers below, the valley had turned dark. Particles from the explosion and the cliff’s destruction had blocked the sunlight. The haphazard explosives devil, Black Mamba, who had played around with fire, destroyed the entire Kaparja Valley. It had been a fact since ancient times that standing next to an idiot would destroy both sides. Nature wasn’t an exception.
So far, the plan had been a sequence of fireworks. He recalled how his mother would always scold him for playing with fire and that he’d pay for it if he did. His heart throbbed at the memories of his youth.
“Mother, please be alive. I’ll serve you well even if I have to mobilize 1,000 people or 2,000 people to find you.”
He wiped away the tears, which had gathered at the corner of his eyes. The undefeatable Black Mamba, Dong-bang-bull-pae, was also a woman’s son. He was also a son who missed his mother.
Snipers have mastered the art of controlling their emotions. Black Mamba had become accustomed to suppressing his emotions from a young age. He immediately shook off his feelings and returned to reality.
“Good! There’s still the main act left.”
Black Mamba climbed up the remaining distance of the cliff after throwing in a comment. He hadn’t carried out the mission with a grand purpose. It was just a part of his mission. He’d only destroyed one out of his three targets. There were two left. The danger that came with poisonous gases and bacteria had already left his mind.
The rabid b*stard from the East, Dong-bang-bull-pae, entered the final phase of his mission. It would be the biggest blow on Assad’s government since its beginning. Assad could only hit the ground.
“What the hell?”
Startled by the explosion, lieutenant general Wahid Latif dropped the interphone. He hadn’t even called the Third Airborne Brigade yet.
“Lieutenant, what was that sound?”
There was no way for his lieutenant to know. He rolled his eyes, unable to answer.
“Did you send down the squadron?”
“Yes, they’re preparing themselves.”
“You b*stard, what kind of preparation takes four days and three nights! Do you want to be a takfir?”
The shocked subordinate rushed out of the command post like a top. “Takfir” referred to an individual’s declaration of infidel or apostasy. In Islam, just hearing the word “takfir” was fear in itself.
The takfir culture was prevalent in Southwest Asia, especially in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Syria. It was the conflict between the Sunnis and Shi’ites. They justified their act of revenge with takfir. Behind the blood-shedding terrorisms and calculated holocausts was the takfir culture with its deep-seated ideas of privilege and separatism.
The Quran centered on themes such as peace and tolerance. Islamic leaders always shouted for peace and tolerance. However, the reality was hellish.
If a tribal holocaust was happening in Africa, a religious holocaust was happening in Southwest Asia. Religion, which was supposed to make people happy, forcefully tormented them. This was the reason why Black Mamba laughed at their deceitfulness and intolerance.
Latif pushed a button on the interphone and called for the leader of the guards.
“This is the commander. There’s a possibility of a kafir infiltration. Activate the Shala-sha defense.”
A siren disrupted the silent valley. The Northern Air Command Post came to life. The sound of feet busily running around was heard, ammunition was being passed around, and machine guns were set up on the trenches.
“F****** hell, did the sweet shop get lit on fire?”
While the siren wailed, the soldiers ran with guns at a ready position. He could even see a commander shouting over their heads with a rifle. Black Mamba did not flinch.
An explosion that shook the ground rung at close range. It would have been strange if they didn’t sound the emergency siren. He was more surprised by the fact that they didn’t sound the emergency siren from the beginning.
The scenery above the cliff contrasted in color. The entire place was filled with all kinds of smells. It smelled so familiar. There was a smell that forest trees exuded during photosynthesis. Like those on Wol Song San, the pampas grass rubbing against each other also exuded a burning smell. There was the smell of rain. There was also the combined smell of mountain birds, lizards, rodents, and crawling insects.
He inhaled and filled his lungs with fresh air. For the past few days, he’d been inhaling dry air above the empty wastelands and smoke from the burning flames. The fresh air breathed life into his cells.
Unfortunately, he had carried over the smell of explosives from the camp, which had mixed around with the air. Humans were the only beings that couldn’t live alongside nature — a foreign and an unnecessary presence.
He turned his eyes toward the basin. He could see the entire basin in a single view.
The exclamation came automatically. It was Black Mamba’s first time seeing a large-scale missile field. The oval basin measured 1.3 kilometers in length. A rectangular missile field was located in the center of the basin. It was divided into four sectors of 400 meters by 700 meters.
A missile site and a camp were located on the top right field, with security and storage centers located on its lower field. A radar site was located on the top left field, with a guards’ camp located on its lower field.
“Why are there so many?”
The missile site was packed like a cutlery holder in a restaurant. There were over 120 tents. It was completely different from what he had imagined. He didn’t know where to begin.
There was a large rectangular missile attached to the gantry load. ⅓ of it was angled upright, while ⅔ of it was mounted at a 45-degree angle. It was directed toward Turkey. A triangular B-200 yo-yo radar was located behind the missile.
Trailers weren’t allowed entry in Kaparja Valley. It either meant that a huge amount of their goods was moved by air or there was a secret road behind the camp. He couldn’t even tell how much Assad had spent on Kaparja Valley. That showed how long Assad had gritted his teeth against France and Turkey.
The S-25 Berkut had been deployed since 1952, which marked the beginning of surface-to-air missiles. The Berkut lacked mobility and flexibility due to technical problems with the radar and seeker. The site was rectangular-shaped because it was impossible to secure a target, with a 360-degree coverage in airspace.
In other words, the warhead should be directed toward the east to catch an aircraft carrier approaching from the same direction. A limited air defense sector was a huge handicap to the construction of an air defense network. It meant that if an aircraft carrier came in from a different direction, although the radar had detected it earlier on, they had no choice but to suck on their fingers.
The Soviet used a high-performance anti-aircraft gun in place of the lacking air defense sector. All of that had ended up being a waste. The altitude of the fighter aircrafts increased endlessly. Not even a high-performance anti-aircraft gun could reach the tail of a bomber, 10 kilometers up in the air. That was also the reason behind the Soviet’s hasty development of the S-75 Dvina.
The Berkut also had its advantages. The launching weight was lighter than the warhead weight and intercept altitude. While the Dvina had a launching weight of 2,300 kilograms, the Berkut had a launching weight of only 570 kilograms. The gantry load was also lightweight. From Assad’s point of view, there was no point in shooting down a high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft. The medium-weight Berkut missile would have been enough for Kaparja, considering that his targets were the French and Turkey’s air force.
After deploying the Berkut, the Soviet Union had developed a series of S-75 and Buk missiles. 11,000 Berkuts, which had become rubble, were sold to North Korea, Eastern Bloc, Syria, and Egypt at cheap prices. Currently, the only places with Berkuts in the Soviet Union were air defense sites in areas of lesser importance. That was why the U.S. and Russia had an advantage since they continuously developed new weapons.
The Berkut required a large number of missile sites as it could only defend some air defense sectors. In order to secure the airspace, combat information was acquired using the Berkut 1:1, with the use of the yo-yo bands.
The yo-yo’s detection information worked with the B-200 radar on the radar site and the A-11 / A-12 antenna. The large missile site would become useless with the destruction of its core B-200 radar as much as a double relay was necessary. Of course, that was only temporary. It wasn’t something that the French authorities had hoped for.
No way could Black Mamba have known that it was a Soviet missile site. That was Jang Shin’s specialty. He suddenly missed Jang Shin, who had transferred departments.
“Damn, won’t it be over if I just set everything on fire?”
It was said that bravery came from ignorance. All he could think of was blowing everything up. It wasn’t a Strela but a surface-to-air missile. The larger the prey, the more he had to be wary.
He had no reason to jump into the dark camp.
Black Mamba, who’d been standing under a rock, slowly sank into the ground. He completely disappeared into the ground and filled the hole with falling leaves as cover. He was waiting for night to fall.
 I’m scared of losing you.
 I’m scared of losing you later.
 I want to feel you close to me.
 Arabic term for “unbeliever.”