Mercenary Black Mamba - Chapter 313
“This rectangle is Novatopia.”
“Novatopia! A utopia that appeared like a mirage in the empty Sahara desert, what a good name. Very good,” Professor Orifice said while clapping.
“You’re going to build a farming region and a city in this area? How ambitious of you.” Professor Shernion’s mouth hung wide open.
“It’s amazing!” lieutenant Pellpeng, who was looking at the map, also exclaimed.
It was a large rectangular site lying at a diagonal angle from north-west to south-east. There were the Tibesti mountain ranges at the top, the Ennedi Plateau at the bottom, the Djourab Erg and the Bodélé Depression to the left, and the vast Sahara desert to the right.
70 percent of the land was the semi-arid Sahel region, while Ennedi Plateau covered the remaining 30 percent. Paris had an area of 105 square kilometers. The land indicated by the advisor was 25,000 square kilometers, which was 240 times larger than Paris. While the rent wasn’t as much as a shop located on Paris’s Champs-Élysées, it was still a large area of land. Since modern society, there was no precedent of an individual possessing such a large area of land.
“Can you indicate the regions for greening?”
Lieutenant Pellpeng’s mouth hung open. He had plans to turn 25,000 square kilometers of desert land into a green forest? If Gaddafi was slightly mad, the man before him was absolutely mad.
“Right. I’m going to turn the entire land from yellow-brown to dark green.”
“Even the Kyrenaika farmlands and Libya’s Tripolitania under waterway construction are much smaller in size. It’s impossible.”
Lieutenant Pellpeng found the young man full of unrealistic dreams rather unfortunate. Libya used a large amount of money they had gained from selling oil at a national level. Although the person was receiving aid from the government, what could he do alone? Lieutenant Pellpeng also pitied himself for becoming Sancho, Don Quixote’s servant.
“Have you tried?”
“What do you mean?” lieutenant Pellpeng mumbled.
What does he mean by, “have you tried?”
“I’m not Gaddafi, just as Ennedi isn’t the Libyan Desert. Your job is to secure the region’s border and develop groundwater. You just have to do your work.”
When Black Mamba grew determined, an overwhelming force was released. The word “impossible” did not exist in his dictionary. CEO Jung Ju Young managed to run an oil tanker business without a single dock at the shipyard. Korean businessmen traveled around the world with product catalogs in hand. Nothing was determined until one tried.
“Do you have an overall development roadmap planned, sir?” lieutenant Pellpeng mumbled, his refute now silenced.
“That isn’t something I should worry about. That’s a job for the professionals.”
Black Mamba turned to look at Professor Orifice and Professor Shernion.
“We’ll have to study the soil first. Lieutenant, you can provide me with some sample topsoil, up to a meter underground, from a borehole. Trees and crop species are determined after investigating the results of the soil porosity, residual soil base material, and topsoil base material. Lieutenant, prioritize more on securing soil samples than finding groundwater.”
“What’s soil porosity?” Black Mamba asked.
“In simple terms, solid components refer to organic matters and minerals, while liquid components refer to soil moisture and the organic acids and inorganic acids present in the soil moisture. Gas components refer to nitrogen, oxygen, and methane retained in the soil. Should I explain more in detail?”
Professor Orifice’s eyes twinkled. He could almost see the man’s sadistic intention, which was forcing knowledge onto him. Black Mamba waved his hand.
“No. Let’s each do what we do best. I’m not an opportunist who takes a friend’s job.”
“Everything begins with water. Once water is secured, we can modify the liquid and gas components by planting enough peas and crops to cover the surface. The soil won’t be that bad once the leaching stabilizes.”
Professor Orifice held a handful of soil in his hands and rubbed it between his fingers.
“Although it’s dry, the soil particles have more fine materials than coarse materials. Although it doesn’t absorb water well, it has high water retention. I can also see colloidal clay components since the ground is made up of sedimentary layers. Once the cations of metallic properties combine with organic anions, a green light will turn on to preserve the soil. Once there’s enough water, the cassava and coffee farm that you wanted will be possible.”
“Yes, well, you can take care of that.”
Black Mamba raised both of his hands in defeat at the string of scientific words used.
“Are you talking about cassava and coffee?”
Lieutenant Pellpeng shook his head. That was a land full of sand and rocks. Cassava needed plenty of water, and coffee required the right altitude and climate.
“The altitude near Ennedi Plateau is too low for coffee farming, sir. We’ll have to move Novatopia a little lower to the west. Although the Ennedi Plateau is known for its higher eastern ground, the western grounds toward the Sahara have a higher altitude.”
“I know. I want to include Ounianga Kébir.”
The lieutenant was briefly caught up in his thoughts before he leaped to his feet.
“Are you talking about the lakes of Ounianga where Lake Teli is?”
“You know about it? Yes, that is the place.”
“You can’t include the Ounianga Kébir. 15 of our survey team members went missing near the Serir lakes where Lake Teli is. The government sent in a squadron from the airborne regiment but couldn’t find any traces in their search. Even before retreating, the squadron, who had disappeared without a trace, suffered seven losses.”
“Weren’t there any further investigations?”
“The investigation ended when the FROLINATs took over the northern regions.”
Hehe, I see. Bonipas used his brain.
Black Mamba laughed internally. While the French government did provide him with plenty of aid, they were also using him to resolve one of their problems. Bonipas must have thought of the Ounianga Kébir’s missing cases when issuing the land.
“The locals must have suffered some losses too.”
Despite knowing about the monster that Ombuti and Edel had seen and the three escaping zombies that Barungo had witnessed, he feigned ignorance.
“Yes. It’s said that a ghost appears when the sandstorm hits the hardest. If their eyes met, one would be brainwashed to follow the ghost. Although I don’t believe it, there’s indeed an unknown threat.”
“I see. Instead of the nearby Lake Teli, you tried to transport water from Longor because you feared monsters.”
Black Mamba provoked the lieutenant’s pride slightly. Lake Teli was a freshwater lake with a width of two kilometers and a length of six kilometers. It was barely 40 kilometers away from Navar.
“The squadron’s reports were realistic and accurate. I couldn’t set up a base camp near the lakes because of the higher-up’s orders. Not only do the locals avoid the lakes, but even the caravans go around it.” The lieutenant shook his hands as though it was an impossible idea to entertain.
“Whether it’s a ghost or a monster, I’ll take care of it. Lieutenant, all you have to do is work together with Professor Orifice in the measurement and the development of groundwater.”
Doubt crept up on lieutenant Pellpeng’s face at Black Mamba’s reassurance. If it hadn’t been for Black Mamba’s rank, he would have hit the young man.
“The lieutenant is right. We can leave the Ounianga region as it is and move the lower border to the left. The altitude at the top left regions of the Ennedi Plateau is around 900 meters above sea level. Although the quality of coffee is dependent on water and shade, the altitude is more important. Yawn…”
Professor Orifice yawned after all the lecturing. It was the aftereffect of suffering all night. His 50-year-old body had long lost its durability.
“Let’s do that, then. Lieutenant, adjust the borderline.” Black Mamba nodded.
“Understood. If you resolve the case in Ounianga, advisor, we’ll move the base camp to Lake Teli and start hammering down the wood posts. I feel like there won’t be enough even if we hammer down the border markers at one-kilometer intervals.”
The lieutenant pointed at the truck. There were 10-meter long concrete piles loaded on 10 35-ton trucks. Bonipas’ words about endless support hadn’t been a lie.
“Huh, this isn’t going to be easy!” Black Mamba exclaimed a bit too late.
That was a land without human traces, an empty land without any landmarks to serve as a reference. The task of adjusting the borderline, too, was like hitting one’s head on the ground.
“Ddu-bai-buru-pa, let’s leave this place to the scouting team and go to the lakes of Ounianga. I want to see this lake and the ghost,” Professor Orifice said as his eyes twinkled.
A picturesque lake that spread across the middle of the desert and an unknown monster! It was a world of fairytales. His curiosity had reached its peak.
He looks like an old man, but he is actually like a child inside.
Black Mamba was surprised by the man’s headstrong ways. Curiosity was supposed to fade with age. He found the middle-aged man’s curiosity overbearing.
“Professor, it’ll be dangerous. The lakes of Ounianga aren’t like the Loch Ness that the rosbifs speak of.”
“Don’t worry. This friend is someone who can beat up a dinosaur if it appears. I’ve become weaker, but I did graduate from the airborne regiment, you know,” Professor Orifice bluffed his way through.
“Orifice, the monster really exists. It’s a dangerous existence,” Black Mamba warned him in a low voice.
Professor Orifice flinched. If someone at Black Mamba’s level said it was dangerous, then it really was dangerous.
“Ombuti witnessed it.”
“Then, let’s go immediately. There’s nothing more to life than a grand adventure.”
“Ugh, why are there only extreme people around me?” Black Mamba grabbed the back of his neck at Professor Orifice’s excitement.
The Willys off-road Jeep with wide tires pushed through the rough terrain powerfully. Ahmad and Jamal were at the wheels. Black Mamba didn’t want the mercenaries to witness his battle scene. While he could trust Professor Orifice and Professor Shernion, he couldn’t trust the mercenaries.
Half of the Jeep’s tires rolled, while the other half bounced. Various sceneries passed by. Novatopia was a long strip of land from the Ennedi Plateau to the Tibesti mountain ranges. There were all kinds of sights to be witnessed in the desert: Regs, a playa of salt deposits due to the evaporation of temporary lakes, sediments with visible rock layers, and a hamada that had suffered severe wind erosion.
“Ddu-bai-buru-pa, isn’t it amazing?” Professor Orifice asked, omitting the subject in his sentence.
“It’s enough to mistake this place as an alien territory or a Hollywood movie set. Do you think the terrain on the Moon or Mars is similar?” Black Mamba joined in to admire the view.
“These make amazing tourist spots. Land can be modified according to different uses. Europeans, who are tired of city life, yearn for nature. It’ll be great if you could turn a man-made oasis into a bridge that works as a hub. I think you can earn plenty of money from specialized regions like tourist spots, agriculture, and coffee farming.”
Even Professor Shernion couldn’t stop his exclamations, having followed in Professor Orifice’s footsteps.
“What made you think of Novatopia? It’s surprising, but it’s even more surprising considering your age.”
“I didn’t know things would escalate on such a big scale either. I once treated children contaminated by parasites in Ati’s MSF hospital. Filariasis or guinea worms can be prevented by simply boiling water. However, the locals didn’t have wood to boil water. There was also a shortage of epinephrine and steroids, which are must-haves. I found those who were starving and suffering from diseases pitiful. I requested 50,000,000 francs for food and 1,000,000 square meters of fine mesh from France. If they can’t boil water, they should at least be able to filter it now.”
“What? The massive amount of food and fine mesh sent to Chad was by your request?” Professor Shernion asked in surprise.
“Yes. I wanted to help them. These people were tormented not because of the lack of effort but because of the circumstances. I wanted to help them, at least, in such a manner.”
“Oh, my God! The media made a huge fuss about how humane and realistic the aid was. Even the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Red Cross Organization received so much praise. Although you’re the one who came up with the solution, it seems like the government reaped the rewards instead.”
“So what? It’s fine as long as the locals receive help.” Black Mamba smiled.
As long as the government kept their promise and the lives of the locals improved by a little, it was a good thing. Bonipas was truly a smart and reliable man.
“Huh, what a unique person. How can a person your age not seek fame and popularity? Are you a romanticist or a revolutionist?”
“I’m not that great of a person. I’m an ordinary person who wants to meet a kind and pretty girl, live in a picturesque house, and enjoy delicious homemade food.”
Black Mamba’s mouth tilted up into a smile. Now that he thought about it, he sounded like Jin Soon.
“Hehehe, it’s a dream that everyone dreams of, but it’s a romance that no ordinary human can achieve. A kind and pretty girl who cooks well doesn’t exist or is already extinct.” Professor Orifice laughed.
He recalled his wife, who lacked cooking skills and always annoyed him. Everyone dreamed of living life like in a drama, but the reality was mostly like a documentary.
“You can call me a romanticist without a grasp of reality. Still, a human who’s incapable of dreaming is only but a shell. A world that determines a human’s status upon their birth is a dead world. I’ve always dreamed of a world where one is rewarded based on their efforts. Novatopia isn’t my wealth. Novatopia is a place where humans will live like humans. This will be the last place for those who have nowhere to go, those who are starved and suppressed, and those who wish to turn their lives around with their own efforts.”
The involuntary activation of his resonance waves shook both Professor Orifice and Professor Shernion’s minds. Their eyes grew hazy. It was a symptom of the Ombuti virus, which spread on its own.
Oh, may Sir Ddu-bai-buru-pa, the romanticist, be praised!
Ahmad’s hands, which were on the wheel, trembled.
“Incroyable! Add me to your romantic dream, won’t you? I’ll follow you around, even if it means carrying your shoes. God must have taken pity on me for aging so quickly and guided me to you.”
“I’ll send in my resignation right now. You won’t be able to ignore a pitiful unemployed man, right? I’ve forgotten about romance for a long time now. Of course, a man should leave something behind in this world before he dies.”
Professor Orifice and Professor Shernion’s eyes twinkled as though they were on fire. The romance they had carried in their youths blossomed to life all of a sudden.
 “Almost all!”
 Soil porosity is the gap between solid particles, which contain water and air.
 Particles of less than two millimeters in diameter.
 Particles of more than two millimeters in diameter.
 A term used by the French people to mock Englishmen.