Mercenary Black Mamba - Chapter 376
Samedi’s eyes, which looked kind and even sad, flashed with violent bloodlust. A meek herbivore turned into a predator at once.
Maybe I’m doing something horrible to this guy!
Black Mamba’s heart ached. Samedi was from the Maasai tribe. Maasai tribe members had excellent physiques, which allowed them to fight against a lion with a spear. Genetically speaking, Samedi was an exceptionally well-built Maasai. He could have been a target of the MK Ultra project team because of that.
There were countless bullet scars on Samedi’s body. He presumed it to be the traces obtained when Samedi, a test subject, escaped the experiment lab. The Vodou houngan must have found Samedi on the verge of death and turned him into a zombie. Samedi lived without consciousness for decades. Samedi was a strange existence that turned back into a human after 1,000 different hardships. Was it right for him to shove Samedi back into a river of blood?
“Wakil, it’s scary when you look at me like that.”
“Hm? Let’s head into the conference room.”
“I don’t like meetings where you talk about things I don’t understand. It’s boring. I get rocks in my butt when I sit for too long. I’m going to Emil.”
Samedi didn’t know how to talk around a subject. He was direct when expressing himself. Sometimes, Samedi was like a wise man, and sometimes, he was like a child.
“You’re going to the equipment shelter building?”
“Emil said my weapon is arriving today.”
“Really? I suppose they developed liquid metal. Do as you please. I’ll head over once the meeting is over. You can’t cause a scene, alright?”
“Don’t worry, wakil. Samedi’s all mature now.”
Samedi took off, fearing that Black Mamba would hold him back. Samedi was particularly obsessed with shovels. Therefore, Black Mamba ordered a shovel instead. At that time, the type of metal the DGSE Technology Design Division proposed was liquid metal that they were developing.
“I wonder what the strongest shovel in the world would look like,” Black Mamba mumbled as he headed back into the room.
Ariba, Manager of the DGSE’s Middle East/Africa operations, and Plober Mekisi, Manager of the intelligence agency, explained the progress of the first few operations and the current situation.
“Wait, you think there are around 200 of them who kidnapped the scientists? Is Ntaganda more powerful than we know him to be?”
“No. The Mai-Mai rebels are a gathering of different warlords, like the FROLINAT. Ntaganda’s army, called the God’s Army, has 4,500 members. Their location is estimated to be at the midslope of Mount Stanley, a swampy area in the Rwenzori Mountains. In addition, there are 3,500 soldiers led by 10 other warlords. These people are based in Ituri Rainforest and Nyungwe Forest in Rwanda. The kidnapper’s group is a small armed force led by Karungo. Karungo is believed to be a Vodou houngan.”
“Six months have passed since they were kidnapped. Even trained soldiers couldn’t endure the forest’s harsh environment. Do you have proof that the hostages are alive?”
“Based on circumstantial evidence, most hostages are alive. I have information that those b*stards bought flour and first-aid supplies from a Bantu village on the outskirts of the forest.”
“What about the wrists that those b*stards sent recently?”
“The DNA test results revealed that the wrists belonged to an Asian. There are no Asians among the hostages. We think those b*stards are trying to pressure the government. That’s how desperate they are for funds and weapons. They won’t give up easily on those hostages.”
“Those damn assumptions, assumptions! There’s nothing but assumptions. Doesn’t that mean you know next to nothing?”
Black Mamba’s words conveyed his frustration.
“I’m frustrated too. The Ituri Rainforest is vast and unexplored. Informants have to fight the forest and the armed force. HUMINT activities face many difficulties too.”
“It seems like the DGSE is past its prime. I won’t discuss the initial response failure since that is a thing of the past. However, with this, I can clearly tell that the follow-up responses are a mess too. Did you guys do nothing but play poker with monkeys in the forest in the last six months?” Black Mamba criticized.
“Ange de la Mort, that’s rather harsh. Informants are dying in the forest even at this moment. While dozens of informants from the intelligence agency are searching Ituri and Rwenzori, they’re nothing but a handful of beans scattered in the front yard. Don’t insult our dead agents,” Mekisi said out of anger.
Karungo disappeared after fighting the Fist of Justice teams twice, as though he ascended into the sky or dug into the ground. He was about to go crazy himself too.
“You think my words are harsh? Mekisi, the mouth isn’t open just for you to eat and make excuses. You want me to single-handedly find hostages that dozens of informants couldn’t find any traces of? You want me to search the forest that is 500 times the size of Paris without a single piece of information at hand? You want me to rescue and lead 22 hostages, who can’t even defend themselves, out of the Devil’s Forest filled with 1,000s of the armed force members? You b*stard, do you think I’m some kind of god?”
Black Mamba, whose frustration went through the roof, shouted. His resonance waves, which activated automatically, shook Mekisi’s brain.
Ugh! Mekisi groaned.
His sight darkened, and his stomach churned as though he had just fallen off a cliff. His heart was beating irregularly, and sour bile crawled up his throat.
Ah, he’s the devil.
Mekisi blamed himself for forgetting who the person before him was. The images of the DGSE employees who were done in by him flashed before his eyes. Black Mamba was not only the devil to his enemies but to the DGSE too. Miguel burned to his death in white phosphorus, while Manager Valvoue and Landre became disabled after getting beaten up.
Manager Claude, a KGB mole who was caught by Black Mamba, committed suicide. He was filling in Manager Claude’s position. Even Ariba, who was beaten up by Black Mamba once, developed a phobia. The killer of the DGSE employees, Black Mamba—the managers’ faces turned pale just by hearing his name. How could he forget such a fact! Mekisi’s face darkened.
“Not god, but the devil.”
Bonipas interrupted with a single sentence. He was listening in. There was a saying that old rats could brew poison. Mekisi would have experienced a panic attack had Black Mamba continued to unleash his wrath on him. Bonipas turned the mood around instantly.
“Leave that and describe the Ituri Rainforest in detail. I’m not Argos but Eraser.”
Black Mamba didn’t care about the number of kidnappers. Whether it was 100 or 1,000, there’s nothing he couldn’t do if he decided to wipe them out. What bothered him was his unfamiliarity with the forest. He experienced how deadly an unfamiliar environment could be in the Sahel and the underground world. The problem wasn’t the people involved but the environment.
“Hoo…” Mekisi let out a deep sigh.
The symptoms of tingling skin and stuffy chest disappeared.
I should avoid him!
Mekisi glanced at Black Mamba, who was sitting perfectly still as though nothing had happened. He realized why his friends were more scared of him than superbugs.
“Trees that are several meters tall cover the sky while stumps, thorny bushes, and parasitic plants are intertwined, all of which obstruct the view. It’s hard to breathe, so of course, intelligence activities can’t progress. Compasses don’t work there either.”
“You lose your sense of direction when you plunge into the endless sea of green. Since there are too many magnetite outcrops, the compass can’t do its job.”
“Magnetite outcrops… I’m envious. Describe my route of infiltration.”
“You’ll be crossing Mt. Mutumba through Lake Kivu. That region is filled with cliffs, swamps, predators, and all kinds of poisonous insects. All kinds of human trash are floating around like poachers, smugglers, and guerrillas. 20 GIGN strike team members and Airborne Regiment members lost their lives in Mutumba. Once you pass Mt. Mutumba and enter Ishango, you will see a flat plateau. Enter Beni from Ishango. If you take the wrong road and enter the Rwenzori Mountains from the east, you will get into trouble. There is no map there. The infiltration route may change according to local information.”
Black Mamba’s face grew stiff the longer Mekisi explained. He experienced nature’s wrath and terror so many times at the bridge village. If Korea’s natural environment was an obedient high-schooler, Africa’s environment was a street gangster.
“What a mess. Well, I do understand since it’s an area where aerial reconnaissance is impossible.”
“There is no way. To be honest, it’s an impossible plan even if we deploy divisions. We can’t find those b*stards since they’re hiding in the forest, and we can’t guarantee the hostages’ safety either. We have no choice but to rely on your abilities, advisor.”
“You’re not expecting me to search around with nothing planned, are you?”
“The area available for aerial reconnaissance adds up to less than one percent. The Ntaganda allied forces are believed to be meeting near Bunia and Irumu, west of Lake Albert. We think they hold irregular meetings. The terrorists, who we assumed to be Congo rebels led by Karungo, were killed there. You should be able to find traces if you start from Bunia to Mambasa.”
“Huh, another assumption! This is madness.” Black Mamba sighed again.
It was more than forcing someone to find a needle in a haystack. While he’d heard from Colonel Juan, the actual situation turned out to be worse than he expected.
“Sorry. I’ll keep you posted on the locations.”
Even Mekisi, who was doing the briefing, found himself in a difficult position. It was pathetic that he could only provide assumptions to Black Mamba, who was about to jump into hell.
“Is there any particular predator that I should be cautious of?”
“The leopard and black mamba are fatal creatures that hide and attack. There are hippos, alligators, and unknown poisonous creatures in the swamps. There are creatures unknown to the world too. According to the survivors’ reports, they were attacked by a large bird of at least two meters tall.”
“A bird that is two meters tall? Do ostriches live in the forest too?” Black Mamba sounded like Sha Wujing.
“It could be a mutated ostrich. According to a survivor’s testimony, it had muscular legs like a horse’s legs and a large beak shaped like an ax. The monster of a bird jumped out of the bushes and attacked the rescue team. A porter who was stabbed on the back with the bird’s beak suffered from a broken spine, and a GIGN member who received a kick of the bird’s foot died from a ripped stomach.”
“What the heck, is there a Cenozoic Era niche in the Ituri Rainforest?”
Black Mamba’s expression showed his disbelief. Although nothing said that creatures from the Cenozoic Era couldn’t exist when dinosaurs from the Mesozoic Era were still alive, it was still an absurd story.
“That could be true. The intelligence agency thinks it’s the tyrant Gastornis that roamed the forest 40,000,000 years ago.”
“This is getting more chaotic. The locals and poisonous insects are also a problem.”
“Right. The locals are hostile. They treat foreigners as invaders and send poison arrows flying without warning. While the Pygmy tribe uses paralyzing poison, the Black people use deadly poisons. The blue poison frogs, which live in the swamps of Ituri, are far more deadly than the golden poison frogs of South America. The Black people apply poison extracted from the blue poison frog’s skin to arrows and spears. Once in contact with the poison, one immediately grew weak and couldn’t last more than a day. You should also look out for cannibals. The cannibals, who try to eat the Pygmy tribe, roam silently like snakes. The rebels led by Ntaganda are especially known to enjoy the meat of white men. Most of the Fist of Justice team members were killed or devoured by those poison arrows.”
“What a mess. Arrows flying around in the dark are scarier than guns.”
“Poisonous insects will be your biggest problem once you enter the forest. There are so many species that I can’t even mention them all. The insects you should watch out for are horse fly larvae, army ants, wasps, tarantulas, tree leeches, candelas, malaria mosquitoes-”
“Never mind that, everything’s a dangerous b*stard,” Black Mamba interrupted.
Even Philip, who was listening in, shook his head. There was no point in wiping out the Mai-Mai rebels if the hostages weren’t rescued. Even though Black Mamba was undefeatable, could he rescue 22 defenseless hostages with the worst enemy against him? He was suddenly doubtful of the success of the Fist of Justice operation.
“Special Military Advisor, the Deuxieme Rep will provide you with as many people and equipment as you need. Just say the word.”
Black Mamba took a moment to consider Philip’s worrisome offer before shaking his head. The best weapon against primitive threats was the human body and will. Still, he couldn’t use support firearms or long-range weapons because the forest itself was invisible and an obstacle. The Fist of Justice operation was bound to fail. Close combat and assassination using topography to his advantage were the basic tactics.
“Thanks, but there’s no need. I don’t want to babysit.”
The Ituri Rainforest was a dangerous place for him too. Utilizing dimensional sight, resonance waves, and Rule of Sight was more effective than the attention of 1,000s of jungle expedition members. Bringing anybody else other than Samedi would only bring about more sacrifices.
“Is there a guide ready?”
“He’s waiting at the Bukavu Airfield.”
“This isn’t going to turn out like the Ruman plan, right?” Black Mamba criticized.
Blood drained from Ariba and Mekisi’s faces. There was a rumor circulating in the DGSE that going against the devil was better than being on the receiving end of Black Mamba’s grudge. Major Geofrey, who Black Mamba had threatened, committed suicide in fear.
Even Bonipas, who made mistakes before, flinched. He made a big mistake by assigning Zaitun as his guide in Kaparja, not knowing that he was a double agent from the CIA. He was still alive because Black Mamba received generous amounts of gifts.
“I’ll put my neck on the line,” Manager of Operations Ariba replied, gritting his teeth.
“Make sure you take good care of your neck.”
Ariba trembled at the cold reply.
“I’m sorry I can’t give you more information. If you tell me the weapons that you need, I’ll prepare them to the best of my abilities,” Mekisi said as though he was ready to offer his liver.
“I only need my personalized equipment and the usual ones. Ariba, is the whip ready?”
“Ah, that monstrous thing. The Technology Design Division had a hard time trying to meet their client’s requirements.”
Ariba placed an aluminum handbag on the table and opened it. There was a large whip with a dark sheen coiled around like a snake.
“Its production time is six weeks, and 5,000,000 francs went into it. There hasn’t been a more expensive personal weapon in the history of humankind. It’s a reward and gift for your efforts in protecting France’s honor in the darkest places, advisor,” Bonipas boasted with a proud expression on his face.
“It’s well made. The best gift.”
“You should give this beauty a name.”