Mercenary Black Mamba - Chapter 296
Bonipas, who suddenly had to take care of 550 Syrian refugees, was positively thoughtful about the situation. That was a chance to earn the favor of Black Mamba, who was the national treasure, and if that turned out badly, he would suffer from his wrath instead. Ariba had come up with a plan to take care of them. He had assigned the empty marine apartments in Toulon’s Grandlard Marina as their temporary homes.
Toulon was a port of call for the French Mediterranean fleet. While Grandlard Marina was a marine-operated facility, local ships used it too. It was the best place to ensure one’s safety without limiting freedom. It was not terrible for the refugees either. Their living spaces and living necessities were covered, with their safety and freedom guaranteed at the same time.
Just past midnight, the military police entered the dark marine apartments. Jamal, Mohammad, Ahmad, Ibrahim, Aishe, and Bassel were dragged to the security cars directly from their beds without a chance to question the happenings.
Once they heard from the uniformed soldiers that their savior had asked for them, they stopped trembling and cheered happily. The entourage of vans dashed 30 kilometers to the international airport’s runway in the middle of the night.
“Depeche, Depeche!” the military man shouted as though his tail was on fire.
A Dassault Falcon, which engine was running, waited for them on the runway. Once they were basically forced to board the jet, the soldiers handed them uniforms and guns.
“I wish you luck.”
Men in suit and uniform rushed back down the trap. They were people who could cook beans with lightning. The group of refugees could finally sigh in relief.
“Welcome, everyone. I’m the pilot, Alhel. I’m currently serving the special military advisor. I’ll ensure that all of you reach N’Djamena safely.”
They received a mental shock at the pilot’s introduction. They’d boarded the plane within 30 minutes from when they were dragged out of the apartment. People had thrown them some weapons, and they were currently in the process of being shipped to Africa in their half-awake state. Everyone looked like they had just seen a ghost.
The Falcon ascended from the runway.
“Manager, we completed the escort mission.”
“Good job. Take a break.”
Ariba kicked the innocent desk after receiving his subordinate’s call.
“F****** hell, I will die young because of that human. Work for my check like a proper civil official? That damned b*stard. I’d rather quit instead!”
He’d done all kinds of things after being dragged out of bed—explaining the situation to the immediate officer of Toulon’s marine, gathering the regional agents around Toulon, moving the military emergency standby team, and getting the importation of the illegal weapons authorized. By the time he had finished calling everyone, it was already midnight. If he hadn’t gotten mad, he would have become a French priest.
“No. I shouldn’t give up. If I last five more years, I’ll receive my pension. I need to endure.”
Ariba raised the phone again.
“Communications, connect me to Legion Etranger of N’Djamena.”
“Security communications, Lieutenant Riery.”
A voice that seemed to disconnect at times traveled down the line.
“Security communications, this is Ariba from Paris’ headquarters. Send three Jeeps to N’Djamena airport by seven o’clock in the morning and transport six imports.”
“Where are the imports heading?”
“The fourth district of Hille Leclerc region, Avenue Charles de Gaulle, Wakil Commerce Company. The special military advisor ordered the imports. Follow the advisor’s orders down to the letter after delivering them.”
“Special military advisor? Please tell me the details of the recipient’s identity.”
“You b*stard, what’s the point of knowing? You’ll know when you get there. Should I be asking you face-to-face?” Ariba shouted.
“You’re going overboard, sir. I’ve noted your orders. Over.”
The call ended.
“Nimi Jotto, why doesn’t it work when I do it?”
Ariba’s shoulders slumped as he walked out of the office. While a feeble animal would flinch at a tiger’s slight movement, not many would flinch at the barking of a fox.
The very person who had caused the chaos in Paris and Toulon was drinking Edel’s fifth cup of coffee.
“Oh, there would be nothing better than an electricity supply. It’d be amazing to see a city of light coming into place in the desert, too. Still, the time spent constructing a generator will be more problematic than the finances. Then again, we can’t use a diesel generator due to the quantity.”
“France already commercialized wind generators. We’ll be using wind generators in the plateau, for now. Once the construction begins, we’ll have to construct a power generator anyway.”
“There’s no problem with the fuel supply. There are enough coals in Sudan and Uganda. I can even buy it at half of the international market price. There’s a high chance that there is a coalfield in the Ennedi Plateau, wakil.”
“The geologists will be here soon. It’ll be great if there’s plenty of oil.” Black Mamba licked his lips.
The light in wakil’s room didn’t go off until dawn. There was no end to Ombuti and Black Mamba’s conversation. From the autonomous region’s construction to Chad, the number of topics covered during their conversation would soon be enough to cover the whole of Africa.
Ugh, when is this going to end?
Edel wasn’t interested at all. There weren’t many women who were interested in the topics of politics, economy, geography, business, or military. Unable to resist her sleepiness, Edel left. Soon after Edel went to sleep, the two men started talking about the Samaria farm.
“Wakil, lackey’s a guy who should only work with guns and knives. The farm is in chaos because of his meaningless actions. He’s wasting wakil’s wealth all over the place instead of increasing it. I’m ashamed to face Miss Edel.”
“What’s the real problem here?”
“The total area of the Samaria farm is 2,900 hectares, and the crude production area is 2,500 hectares. Samaria farm’s land is harvested twice a year. Based on the production record, there’s an average production of 620 kilograms per hectare over the past three years. That’s 3,100 tons of total annual output. That’s a huge amount. While the first crop output has risen 10 percent from last year, the second crop output has dropped by 15 percent. Despite producing a total of 2,900 tons, the farm’s spending increased to 250 percent. If this continues, the farm will face a deficit next year.”
Ombuti lined up the numbers like a merchant.
“So you’re saying the cotton production rate decreased, and the production costs increased? What’s the reason behind this sudden increase and drop?”
“The lackey provided lunch for the workers and implemented an incentive-based system.”
“Unexpected. I thought his head was empty, but he implemented an incentive-based system? It’s a good thing that he offered lunch to the workers. They deserve to be full since they’re working so hard.”
Black Mamba was calm as though it wasn’t a big deal. He was too generous when it came to food. That was because he had once starved to the point that his anus tore. That description wasn’t figurative but literal.
Madam Jang hadn’t given him any food. When he forcibly joined them at the dining table, she would glare at him like a viper, poked him with Hwa Ja and Wu Tak’s chopsticks, and slapped his hands with a spoon. It was the kind of bullying that no nine-year-old could withstand. After being abused by her several times, he didn’t dare enter the main house.
To prevent himself from starving to death, he had eaten pineapple skin and arrowroots, plucked the beeper, gathered acacia flowers, and boiled mugwort. While sitting in the toilet, a coarse fibrous lump that hadn’t been properly digested exited and tore his anus. He had lived like that for three full years before becoming a Paranthropus.
African locals didn’t know the concept of lunch. Although nutritionists in Europe said that lunch was unnecessary, their research had focused on westerners with an excessive supply of nutrition in their bodies. People performing manual labor obviously had to eat lunch. A life that seemed as though it wouldn’t improve even after working to their deaths was hell. To work, they had to be full.
“That’s not the problem. He increased their wage by 100 percent and selected an overseer to hand out armbands. Those with armbands are acting out as though it’s their world.”
“He increased their wage by 100 percent and handed out armbands?”
Black Mamba’s face creased into a frown. He could understand the rationale behind the lunch and incentive programs. However, a 100 percent increase in wage brought about many problems. The special treatment could spark conflicts with other farms and create opportunities for corruption to arise.
Armbands, in particular, symbolized the power of the lower class. While it was a useful means of control, there was a high possibility of it turning into the icon of violence. Even his father, who had suffered, trembled at the mention of an armband.
“Nick Wayneright had reduced the wages from 15 francs to 10 francs. Lackey raised it to 20 francs this time. That alone resulted in an additional cost of 600,000 francs per year. On top of that, he handed out armbands to Barongo, who is the butler and superintendent, 20 men from the 100-member council, and 200 members from the 10-member council. The 10-member council earns 30 francs, while the 100-member council earns 50 francs. Both councils control the workers, while Barongo controls the councils.”
“And what’s the wage level like at Wakil Commerce Company?”
“15 francs, including lunch. The head of guards receives an additional two francs. You might think it’s too little, but considering Chad’s market prices and labor prices, it’s 20 percent more compared to other companies. Meals provided by the company is quite the benefit. Lackey is basically like Mussolini, who sprinkled money over the crowds gathered in court,” Ombuti spoke, frothing at the mouth.
The 10-member and 100-member councils were similarly ordinary people. Paying the selected few 30 francs and 50 francs respectively was a madman’s work.
“What a traditional fascism, no, populism. Exactly what kind of worthless actions is that man taking? Did they ever replace the members of these 10-member and 100-member councils?”
Black Mamba’s eyes flashed. Lackey might have temporarily gained the trust of the workers by spending all that money, but a sudden privilege was bound to become poisonous with time. With time, they would mistake that privilege for power.
The bigger problem was those armbands. Once a person wore one, they would never take it off. Armbands, which were supposed to be a means of control, became a monster of power. Just looking at the politicians in Korea provided sufficient proof.
“I’m not sure. He gives incentives of several 1,000 francs to the 100-member council members and several 100 francs to the 10-member council according to their production ranks. A group that fails to produce as much as the others will have their wage reduced by half.”
“That idiot, he didn’t give a production baseline and just handed out incentives according to the production ranks? The workers must have shared the profits and couldn’t care less about the cotton production.”
Black Mamba immediately got to the point. The cause of the decrease in production during the second harvest was indeed the bonus. With the lack of proper evaluation of the overall productivity and the unconditional payment incentives based on production ranks, people were bound to conspire with one another. It seemed as though lackey was fated to only roam around with a gun or a knife.
“Yes. From what I could tell, the members of the 10-member and 100-member councils colluded instead of competing with one another. There’s no need for them to take risks and work to their deaths since they will still receive their bonuses while some will suffer a wage cut. The workers grew lazy and didn’t engage in activities to increase the harvest, which includes growing seedlings, watering, and pruning sideways. They must have worked in moderation and shared the incentives amongst themselves.”
“That’s a big problem there.”
“Yes, those with the armbands turned to violence. While some bribe others to bring in workers, others chase away workers who don’t pay their dues. If anyone complains, they are risking their lunch. There was even an incident in which they cold-bloodedly murdered a complaining worker. The 100-member and 10-member councils have colluded. Samaria farm is now a lawless land. At this rate, the farm would have to close down.”
“And the lackey is just watching?”
Black Mamba raised his voice slightly. Sun WooHyun shouldn’t spend the rest of his life spreading blood everywhere. Black Mamba had sent him there in hopes of him gaining some experience, but instead, he was acting recklessly like a rabid dog.
“That idiot doesn’t know the severity of this issue. He believes that it’s temporary and that it’ll get better. He’s an idiot who believes that the weather played a part in the lack of production. The workers call him, ‘sir Namir.’ The b*stard’s playing the emperor.”
Ombuti chewed out the lackey excitedly. Those who went against the Aklankuru deserved to be punished. Reminded of the lackey’s brazenness, Ombuti gritted his teeth. The lackey had told Ombuti to mind his business elsewhere as he chewed on a cigarette.
Hehehe, you’re dead now.
“That idiot, there must be someone covering his eyes.”
Ombuti flinched. While his wakil was someone who didn’t care about the details, he had the ability to see through lies and get to the core of things.
“It’s the butler, Barongo. As the head overseer, he acts as though he’s lackey’s loyal servant and is the body of all corruption.”
Barongo, who Ombuti had seen before, was like the stereotypical betrayer with a sharp mind. He also had a good grasp of situations. Once the lackey appeared, he immediately betrayed his master, Nick, and switched boats. He was the kind of human whom Ombuti hated more than cockroaches.
“I should cut his neck off as an example,” Black Mamba said those terrifying words calmly.
First on the list of people whom he disliked were those who betrayed and undermined others to reap their own gains.
“Execution is required for a change in mood,” Ombuti replied without hesitation.
Like master, like servant.
Unlike Ombuti, Black Mamba could hear the telephone ringing downstairs.
“Ombuti, the phone.”
“Yes, I’ll be back.”
Ombuti went downstairs without a second thought.
“Wakil, it’s Ariba from Paris’ antique shop!” Ombuti shouted.
“Special military advisor, the Falcon just set off. It’ll arrive at eight o’clock in the morning tomorrow.”
“Good job. Do you know anything about the Lakes of Ounianga?”
“As expected of you, advisor. The region around the Lakes of Ounianga is cursed. Two groups of researchers had gone there only to go missing without rhyme or reason. I suppose the all-capable special military advisor will be able to figure something out. Good luck.”
“Thanks. You can get back to work now.”
“Kekeke, he’s angry, isn’t he?”
Black Mamba laughed as he stared at the clock on the wall. The time difference between Paris and N’Djamena was similar. He must have stayed up the entire night trying to coordinate the time.
“Well, he’d have to work regardless. Those who benefit from the taxes have to get their a**** kicked once or twice, both Korean and French.”