Mercenary Black Mamba - Chapter 326
The grain company represented by Monsanto started a two-sided operation that sold GMOs and produced pesticides that protected the GMOs’ vulnerabilities. The result was devastating. Farmers kept purchasing seeds and pesticides from Monsanto. Monsanto earned a lot of money, but the farmers suffered severe consequences such as subordination to the grain companies and the lack of diversity in farming crops.
Why were the farmers forced to buy seeds from Monsanto? It was because genetically modified seeds could not inherit traits. That was why they had to buy the seeds from Monsanto. Another reason was because of its quality and productivity.
Modern people didn’t pick and eat fruits by their taste but by their appearance. It was like the old saying, “what looks good, tastes good.” Try visiting the Rue Cler market near the Eiffel tower. A decade ago, there used to be more than 10 kinds of apples in the fruit market. Now, there’s barely three. That was the same for bananas. There was only one kind on display—they were big and of a deeper shade of yellow.
Compared to the apples sold previously, the apples now had thicker cores and shiny red skin. What about its taste? It’s soft and sweet. The fragrant apples with hard flesh and sour taste had all disappeared. Parisians ceased to remember the taste of various kinds of apples. They would only select the fruits that looked good and easy to eat. Consumers were accustomed to the tastes conceived by the major grain companies.
A genetically modified crop had higher productivity compared to the conventional species. Even if farmers disliked the company, they had to purchase seeds from them to earn money. Monsanto had managed to gain profits on both sides, but the situation whereby both producer and consumer were bound to the company escalated. Crops that lacked diversity were at risk of becoming extinct. In the end, the greed of the major grain companies became a threat to human survival.
The unending greed of major grain companies like Monsanto became unbearable over time. The unfortunate situation whereby crops from all around the world were crushed by the wheel called GMOs and pesticides wasn’t a distant future but the present.
Why didn’t I think of this before?
He had criticized the grain companies’ actions but had never thought of establishing a seed bank. Although the astronomical costs might have prevented him from trying, it was still embarrassing for a biologist. Professor Orifice grew desperate.
“Hey, kid!” he shouted, shoving the tent flap aside.
Since he had worn the airborne forces’ uniform in his youth, he naturally regarded the soldier outside as someone in his youth.
The airman who had been guarding the tent leaped to his feet.
“Bring Sir Ddu-bai-buru-pa here.”
“Hey Orifice, I heard you’re lovesick because you miss seeing my face?” Black Mamba said as he entered the tent with a smile.
Professor Orifice’s face creased as his own words were used against him.
“Damn, you sly human. Mr. Afwerki just made me realize something important. Do you know who Monsanto is?”
“Of course I do. Alongside Continental, they’re the merchants of death who dominate the global grain market, pesticide market, and crop market.”
Black Mamba pretended as though he knew them, although he, too, had only heard about them from Ombuti. According to Ombuti, Continental and Monsanto were unethical companies.
“Good, it’ll be easier for you to understand, then. Monsanto releases 100s of seed collectors around the world to gather seeds whenever they can. They even rip off other countries by registering the patent of traditional plant seeds as their specialty and reselling them. The mercenary companies affiliated with Monsanto are stirring Asia and Africa. They don’t mind getting into conflicts.”
“So?” Black Mamba said uncaringly.
His head was already hurting from the several projects he had started. He never dreamed that there would come a day when he would enter a bloody conflict with the mercenary companies supporting Monsanto.
“People from all over the world will come once Novatopia settles. While Novatopia’s construction is urgent, we also need to gather a variety of seeds. I think importing the Alata mocha seeds from Ethiopia is our top priority.”
“Well, that’s something you can do. I’ll provide you enough resources.” Black Mamba nodded.
Wakil Commerce Company would end up getting into conflict with major international grain dealers like Cargill, Continental, Louis Dreyfus, and Bunge, who threw their weight around in Africa. Wakil Commerce Company wasn’t just a profitable business. Gathering seeds were, in fact, more important than the coffee business.
“I want to run a seed gathering team. Firstly, I want to gather the seeds in Afwerki’s hometowns, Eritrea and Ethiopia. Ethiopia’s a treasure chest of ancient seeds, you see. What about assigning the abused children of Eritrea as team members?”
“What? You want to put the kids to work?”
Black Mamba’s face froze at the unexpected suggestion.
“Don’t make such a scary face. What if I die from a heart attack? Are you going to take care of that? Hmm?” Professor Orifice glared back.
“Ha, fine, respect the elders and all that. You have your reasons, right?” Black Mamba grinned.
He could see through Professor Orifice’s intentions. He was making up an excuse to help Afwerki.
“Don’t look at one side of the story. I’ve seen an article mentioning bonded labor used against children in Ethiopia. Often, these children, who have been sold, lose their lives to confinement, violence, and slavery. Children should be in school. If they work during the holidays or weekends and earn sufficient earnings, they can repay their debts and learn to be independent. You don’t like free-riders either, right? Stop being petty and say ‘oui!’ That’s all you need to do.”
“I don’t want to get involved in another country’s civil war. Still, I’m not shameless enough to overlook abused children. Adults are adults, and children are children.”
“Hehe, I knew you’d say that. Mr. Afwerki, is there any way to get the children out?”
Professor Orifice was excited. Not only did he come to like Afwerki, but he could also now save those abused children.
“Novatopia has just begun. There are 1,000s of children forced into slavery. If I bring them all over so suddenly, won’t there be a problem with the rations?”
Afwerki looked anxiously at the enthusiastic Professor Orifice. While he wished he could rejoice, the reality wasn’t all smiles and sparkles.
“Don’t worry. Dubai is the God of Wealth, Islamse. He’s a rich man who owns the largest grain company and cotton farm in Africa. Novatopia’s completely empty. They can come over at any time. Just think about how to get them here.”
“Thank you. Thank you so much. The organization will help bring them once I send a message.”
Afwerki’s voice trembled. Children were the country’s future. The reality of his country might seem dark now, but as long as the children were able to grow up properly, a hopeful future was possible.
“Damn it. Now we need to build houses and schools too.”
Black Mamba glared at Professor Orifice, who was causing all kinds of trouble on his own.
“What? Are you going to make soup out of that special military advisor title of yours? The government will be the one funding it, so what’s with all the whining?”
Did this person learn something he shouldn’t have? Black Mamba thought to himself as he stared at Professor Orifice.
Professor Orifice turned his head and stuck his tongue out.
He ended up laughing at the sudden playfulness. Professor Orifice was a pure person, untainted by the world.
“I should go shake Mitterrand’s neck then. There will be a celebration party in the evening. You should get up soon if you want to attend.”
Black Mamba glanced at Afwerki and left the tent like a breeze.
“Kuahahaha!” Professor Orifice laughed heartily.
Black Mamba’s character wouldn’t allow him to overlook abused children. Although he had said harsh words before leaving, he must have felt quite uncomfortable.
“You have a good friend. I’m jealous.”
“No. He’s a friend by title, but he’s truly a leader. I’ve come here to help him at the request of the French government. However, in the past few days, he has completely piqued my interest. He’s a friend who spreads around deadly and highly contagious viruses.”
“I think I’ve been contaminated by this virus too. What kind of person is this Ddu-bai-buru-pa?”
“I don’t know either. He’s a mysterious person from the East. I was intrigued by his ideal of emmosodu isemgidem.”
“He said it’s a phrase from the Diamond Sutra. Surrender your heart without regrets. It means to do as your heart wills.”
Afwerki grew stunned. It was challenging to understand ambiguous words that came out of nowhere.
“Ah, don’t make that expression. I barely understood after hearing Aklankuru Ombuti’s explanation. It refers to a heart without discrimination, a heart without boundaries, a heart without differences, and a heart that doesn’t choose between right or wrong but chooses its own path. It also means not to have regrets when something has already been done.”
“Can you elaborate?”
“Emmosodu isemgidem is an ideal that’s unexplainable with words. Ddu-bai-buru-pa said that Buddha’s words would be contaminated once humans attempted to interpret in their language. For example, Dubai didn’t save you because he expected something in return. He only saved you because he pitied you. In his heart, the fact that he had saved you is a thing of the past. It means that he never questioned or thought about how he had saved you and left it as it is. I can’t explain it any further than this.”
“Ah!” Afwerki exclaimed after a moment to his thoughts, as though he had come to a realization.
“Thank you, Orifice. There’s a saying that when one sees something, it is easy to gain 10. He is a fearsome person as he is a gracious one. Perhaps, he’s not human. It seems like that was why I was drawn to him since the beginning. I will willingly serve Sir Ddu-bai-buru-pa as my king.”
Afwerki’s eyes sparkled with resoluteness.
Ah, here’s another patient.
Professor Orifice nodded. Black Mamba’s charisma didn’t only lie in his superhuman abilities but also in his soul that pitied other humans.
“He is a charismatic person. Let’s get back to our conversation.”
“Right. I have been trying to grow coffee trees that combine all the positive attributes of their species while maintaining the tree’s shape. My conclusion is to layer and introduce. I plan to grow the strong Alata Mocha trees in layers and then introduce tipica.
“That’s a great way to balance the sour and sweet tastes.”
The conversation between the biologist and former plantation owner continued endlessly. The two were well-matched. Professor Orifice’s theories and Afwerki’s experiences combined helped answer all of their problems.
That evening, Professor Orifice, the airborne’s scouting team, and the rest gathered to celebrate the discovery of the aquifer. Afwerki also joined in while lying down on the field bed. Two camels that the airborne engineers cooked came out wrapped in tarps followed by rows of alcohol boxes.
Black Mamba stood on the drum container. Samedi stood behind him like an iron tower. He didn’t leave Black Mamba’s side at all.
“Look! The streams of water—that water is our hope. There’s nothing one can’t achieve once they set their mind to it. Novatopia is a completely independent country with national defense and diplomatic rights. This land is the last place of refuge for those threatened by unjustified powers. It is also for those who are tormented and cannot escape on their own. I, Dong-bang-bull-pae, will turn this land into a place that sufficiently rewards those who work hard and a place of hope where children can live in a better world than I did. You all have chosen hopeful strife instead of a peaceful life. Look at this land. The blood and sweat we pour into it will become the foundation of our children’s peaceful future.”
The eyes of the crowd who were listening while holding their breaths turned hazy. A green land with flowing water, a grass field spread like a blanket, thick forests, endless farmlands of cassava and coffee, and herds of cows and sheep that ate grass peacefully—they could visualize Novatopia. Excitement spread among the group.
“Now, let’s all raise our glasses. Freedom to the rich, and opportunity for the hungry!”
“Olla, Ddu-bai-buru-pa!” 100 or so people shouted together at once.
The camels that had been walking around snorted as though it was too loud. Stars twinkled in the sky, and water flowed from underground, accompanied by vibrant sounds. It was a good night.
The next day, a Chinook landed on Jipoon Dari. A platoon from the French Army’s Engineering Arm, who had been contacted by Black Mamba, walked out the cabin. They were the engineers assigned to construct the airfield.
“Act, I’m lieutenant colonel Sirbang.”
“Nice to meet you. Are you the lieutenant colonel in charge of the construction?”
“Yes, sir. I will be constructing the airfield first. The next platoon will construct the road from N’Djamena to Jipoon Dari. If we reinforce the existing roads, we can shorten the process.”
“How are the materials coming along?”
“The 12,000-ton Vidermann and 7,000-ton Brenjang are passing through the Suez Canal with vital construction machinery and materials on board. In three days, they’ll enter Port Sudan. There will be oil consumption from Port Sudan to Jipoon Dari. We can source asphalt and auxiliary materials locally from N’Djamena.”
“Good work. I should thank minister Pione.”
The French government didn’t only praise him as the national treasure with words. There was a limit to building infrastructures like airfields and roads no matter how hard one tried. The Minister of the Interior Manuel Pione had promised him a gift once he returned from the Ruman plan. He had kept his promise.
“Lieutenant colonel Sirbang, this is Professor Shernion, who is in charge of Novatopia’s construction. You two can discuss how this will progress. If there’s anything you need, contact Ombuti, the head overseer, and get his approval.”
“Don’t worry. You can just dig some holes. What else would you do with those skills of yours?” Professor Shernion smiled.
“Ah, right. Special military advisor, you have a guest. She is truly a beautiful lady.”
“My guest? Beautiful lady?”
At lieutenant colonel Sirbang’s words, Black Mamba’s expression turned into one that had just been rammed by an ox.
Cheers suddenly broke out. A slender woman wearing hot pants and a tank top came out of the cabin.
 One for all, and all for one.