Mercenary Black Mamba - Chapter 372
He wandered 20,000 miles of the Sahel to find a raccoon and 10,000,000 miles of the Middle East to escape the underground world. This time, they were asking him to rescue hostages who could be anywhere in the Ituri Rainforest. It was said to be comparable to the Amazon Rainforest. It had been six months since they were kidnapped, and there wasn’t accurate information either. He automatically groaned.
Hostage rescue was the most difficult of all terrorist operations. Without enough information, there was a 100 percent chance of a hostage rescue operation failing. With Black Mamba’s abilities, a target with a clear aim wasn’t a significant obstacle to an operation or environment. Exploding the ANO’s training center and their secret base, which France considered infallible, was a much easier operation compared to rescuing hostages.
The problem was the lack of information and the safety of the hostages. From what they were saying, it seemed like the identity of those kidnappers was still up in the air. They assumed that it was the work of the Mai-Mai rebels despite not knowing which organization they belonged to, which area they were from, their total headcount, and their level of combat power.
Africa was very different from what was seen on the map. Including the surrounding islands, the area was 32,000,000 square kilometers, which accounted for 20.4 percent of the world’s land. It was larger than the combined area of China (9,600,000 square kilometers), the U.S. (9,800,000 square kilometers), and Canada (9,900,000 square kilometers). It only seemed small due to the Mercator projection.
Even if he didn’t borrow the words of the philosopher Bak Jiwon, a large land meant that nature was abundant. The area of the operation—the Great Ituri Rainforest and the Rwenzori Mountains—was three to four times larger than the Korean Peninsula. That was something to be surprised by.
Did they expect him to enter a forest as large as Korea without any information? Well, France did own over 10 counter-terrorism units. If that had been an easy task, they wouldn’t have asked him either.
“You want me to search 100,000 kilometers of land as large as Korea for traces of events that happened six months ago? It would take me 10 years to search the Devil’s Forest and the Mountains of the Moon range. What are the French military and intelligence agencies expecting me to do?”
He grew annoyed after learning about the unspecified target. With an unspecified target, it was natural for the person before him to feel pressured. Juan was drenched in cold sweats. The advisor’s complaints were expected. He was also a consultant who managed three countries in East Asia. He knew very well that it was an impossible operation.
When a strong person got angry, he had to lower his head immediately to avoid a beating. Juan made the most pitiful face on earth. He looked like a man who was chased out of his home for forgetting his wife’s birthday.
“Oh, you’re completely right, Special Military Advisor. Although I agree with you, what can a low-ranking person like me give you other than more s***? You should beat up those rice insects who do nothing but sit at their desk and wave around their phone. You have to slap someone on the head if you want to hear the ringing of gold. You can also meet your old friends at the headquarters in Aubagne. For now, let’s think of it as a vacation and head over. A charter flight will arrive at Seongnam Air Base soon. You can check on your businesses in N’Djamena and Doba once we wrap this up quickly.”
Colonel Juan tried to calm Mu Ssang down as gently as he could. The order from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was truly threatening. “Get Ange de la Mort on a flight to France. If you fail, you’ll be deployed to the Ituri Rainforest, colonel,” or it was along those horrible lines. He would have to turn in his resignation letter if he didn’t want to go to the Ituri Rainforest. To receive his pension, he had to lick the ass of a young man who was his son’s age.
Ugh, I’d rather die than see this again! Mu Ssang shivered.
The sight of a middle-aged man in his 50s with white hair putting on a forced smile and acting cutely was not only comical but pitiful.
“Ah! Colonel, I have a request.”
“Please, go ahead. There’s not a single Frenchman who’d refuse your requests, advisor.”
“The b*stards I dragged over are child terrorists with evil intentions. I want to send them to the construction site located in the Ennedi Plateau, Sahara Desert.”
“Child terrorists should be severely punished by the Korean government, why don’t you simply hand them over? Aren’t there enough laborers in Africa?” Juan tilted his head.
“Korea’s laws are the problem. Although the legal system follows Continental law, the legal figures are obsessed with sloppy Anglo-American law. Excessive generosity is shown when criminals’ human rights are concerned, but when victims’ human rights and protection systems are concerned, it is a mess. Korea is a country that imposes probation on airline officers for forcibly turning back a flight because of an assault that took place on board.”
“No way! A crime that is comparable to aviation terrorism should receive at least 20 years of jail time. In France, that’s unimaginable!” Juan jumped in anger.
“Let’s stop talking about frustrating matters. Those b*stards attempted arson attacks on an orphanage and are child murderers. I don’t want to show them mercy by letting them stand trial in a Korean court.”
“You want a labor contract drawn up, steer clear of all the complicated procedures of passport and visa issuance, and send them directly, right?”
“Of course. There’s Wakil Commerce Company in district four of Ave Charles de Gaulle, N’Djamena. Hand them over to boss Ombuti of Wakil Commerce Company.”
I dragged them around for too long. I should have buried them.
Mu Ssang didn’t like complicated matters to the point that it became an illness. It’s annoying to drag around b*stards who should have been gone long ago. He should have buried them underground as though getting rid of contaminated pork meat.
“I understand. It seems like this shouldn’t be made known to the Korean police. Those b*stard security guards are sent back to France after getting fired from their job. I’ll block external contact by attaching escort agents and send them straight to Seongnam Air Base.”
That was the kind of agreeable response you couldn’t get from neighbors. While it was an incident that could cause great diplomatic friction with the Korean government, it wouldn’t matter as long as it went unnoticed. Since diplomats didn’t go through immigration checks, they wouldn’t have a problem leaving. However, that was only possible because Juan wasn’t a diplomat but an intelligence agent. Juan pressed the interphone and called his subordinate.
“Officer, dress those 15 beggars in uniforms and caps. Make sure the escort bus comes with dark solar-tinted windows so that no one can look inside. You’ll personally command the escorts to get them on the plane.”
By handing Abe and his gang over to the DGSE, Black Mamba shook his hands free of the matter. He felt better as though he had just removed a lump. The fate awaiting them was lifetime slavery. He only brought himself more trouble trying to make them work the rest of their lives. However, being under the special care of lackey Sun Woo Hyun would be more tormenting than being buried alive.
“Good, I should work for my food now. Let’s go see our boss for the first time in a long while, shall we?”
Colonel Juan’s face brightened up like a rose blossoming in the middle of May. On May 20, 1985, an Air France charter flight took off from Seongnam Air Base. The passengers were Black Mamba, Samedi, and 15 members of Abe’s gang in French military uniforms. They were happy, thinking that they were heading to Japan, but the plane turned its nose north. Unfortunately, Abe’s gang, including the gangsters, met with their miserable fate.
The net of fate was annoying and sometimes closely linked to the point that it’s frightening. Mu Ssang’s encounter with Sun Woo Bang Na and her daughter, Hyung Dong at DaeDeok restaurant, and Abe’s gang were all necessary coincidences.
At the Aubagne Headquarters of Legion Etranger,
Everyone gathered in Commander Lieutenant General Dimanche’s conference room acted as the control tower of the Fist of Justice operation. In addition to the Minister of Defense Germaine, there was Strategic Advisor Peron, Major General Philip of Deuxieme Rep, and the DGSE Operations Director Bonipas. Commander Dimanche attended as an observer.
They were gathered at the request of Strategic Advisor Peron, who wanted to meet the special consultant flying in from Korea. Unfortunately, his position as the Strategic Advisor wasn’t significant enough to know the existence of the National Treasure, Black Mamba. He only knew Black Mamba as a special consultant called Ange de la Mort.
Although Germaine got rid of his stubbornness, another oecophylla smaragdina, Peron, couldn’t easily give up his military pride. The conference grew longer like the testicles of a bull in the middle of summer. That was because Peron insisted on giving his approval only after he met Ange de la Mort.
“Director Bonipas, let me repeat. I don’t trust whatever you or the Ange de la Mort says. The GIGN and RAPAS failed to see this operation through. What are you planning to do with just one person deployed there?”
Damn, this old man’s driving me crazy.
Bonipas grew irritable. That was one flaw of the French government’s security system. The reinforcement of line-staff, which was introduced to prevent arbitrariness and misjudgment of the chain of command, held him back without even trying. If the Ministry of Defense didn’t intervene in the first place, Black Mamba would have already completed the operation successfully. He grew livid since the subject, who shoved the plan into a ditch, was being stubborn. He felt like the country would be in ruins if the state affairs were continuously handled in that manner.
“The Ituri Rainforest and the Rwenzori Mountains are areas where SIGINT (signal intelligence) activities are not possible. I have no choice but to rely on HUMINT (human intelligence). Have you forgotten that in Africa, this region is a miserable place that causes the most terrifying holocaust? The Devil’s Forest, rugged mountains, bottomless cliffs and swamps that suck in even leaves, armed mobs and rebels of all kinds, Vodou followers sacrificing humans, and natives who eat the flesh of humans—all of these are unfavorable conditions for an operation. The intelligence agency has concluded that deploying regimental forces will not solve the problem.”
“Our French Army is brave. We’re not soldiers who fear death. Such savages won’t become an obstacle to us,” Peron said something useless just like his position behind the desk.
“So far, the mere savages you speak of and the forest has taken three GIGN strike squadrons, two RAPAS companies, two Airborne Brigade squadrons, and a team of operations agents. Many French youths died in vain. While wandering through the forest, they were struck by bullets and arrows, bitten to death by poisonous insects, died from parasitic infections, drowned in swamps, and swallowed by plants. Do you have a plan to overcome the political burden if the fourth rescue team fails?” Bonipas shot back aggressively.
Advisor Peron let out a groan. The Ministry of Defense was bitten to shreds by the media, which gathered like ants, and pushed aside by the council. Failing one more time would cost him his spinning chair too.
However, even if the operation was handed over to the DGSE, he wouldn’t be able to claim any share of success. His plan to become Areva’s special advisor after retirement would also become difficult. The military had to save Areva’s hostages so that he could save face.
“I’m not against Ange de la Mort’s involvement, but no matter how talented an agent is, what can he do alone? It seems like he obtained some great achievements in Chad, but he had the Deuxieme Rep’s support. Just because he pulled something off in the desert doesn’t mean it will work in the forest. You are expecting too much from a young man in his 20s.”
Bonipas felt frustrated. The Deuxieme Rep’s special unit wasn’t Black Mamba’s co-workers but people he protected. Still, he couldn’t reveal classified information to Peron.
“The forest is the rebels and armed forces’ front yard. We must consider both efficiency and political considerations. The only way is Black Mamba.”
Once he was done speaking, Bonipas gave Germaine a side-eye. It was as though he was questioning why he brought such a man along. Germaine felt unjust. He already lost favor with Mitterrand. That was his last chance. If he failed, it was obvious he was going to be kicked out. He wasn’t an idiot. Peron’s greed was clear as day to him.
“Peron, stop that. Ange de la Mort isn’t just a consultant. The Fist of Justice commanded by the military is over. From now on, I’ll be handing over all operational rights to Bonipas. Bonipas, explain to us how Ange de la Mort will be supported.”
Bonipas smiled faintly. They didn’t even know 10 percent of Black Mamba’s abilities. Black Mamba’s abilities weren’t limited to sniping and close combat. The real reason he was called the Angel of Death was because of his ability to conceal, infiltrate, and mass murder.
The seven, whom Miguel had sent to the hotel in Faya, were wiped out by Black Mamba’s counterattack. Manager Miguel was burned to death in his summer house located in the Alps, and Colonel Tanshe’s belly was sliced open in his quarter. He was very surprised back then.
Although a truckful of investigators were called in, they couldn’t find a nail’s worth of traces. Back then, Black Mamba didn’t move from Val-de-Grâce hospital. Still, the DGSE was certain that Black Mamba was the culprit. All kinds of assassins roamed the forest. Even humans weren’t at the top of the food chain. The king of assassins, Black Mamba, was setting foot into the Devil’s Forest. He felt a rush of blood imagining the scene he’d make.
“As you know, minister, the Ituri Rainforest isn’t Luxembourg Gardens. Even if you send in the most elite soldiers, the environment will only eat away their combat powers. Only Ange de la Mort, who has outstanding combat powers alongside his ability to conceal, infiltrate, and survive, can overcome the guerrillas and the forest. The formation of a team is more likely to hold Black Mamba back. Whether he moves alone or forms a team, it has to be left up to him. All we need to do is give him as much information as we can.”
The interphone rang. Commander Dimanche, who was listening and doing nothing else, picked it up.
“The person we’ve been waiting for has arrived. A charter plane has landed at de Gaulle Airport.”
“Is it the arrival of Bonipas and Philip’s savior?” Peron mocked.
“Advisor Peron, don’t think better of yourself. Ange de la Mort hasn’t agreed to join the operation yet,” Philip shot back.
“Agree? Why would a soldier agree to something? Aren’t soldiers supposed to move according to orders?”
“Peron, this friend of ours is a freelancer. He’s not the kind of person who’d just take any order. If he refuses and decides to retire, we’ll be in big trouble.”