Mercenary Black Mamba - Chapter 410
Tututututu… A strange sound rang over Ituri Jungle. It was a Chinook that the East African headquarters in Kisangani had sent out in a rush after receiving orders from Adam, the CIA head of operations. The pilot and co-pilot of the Chinook were nervous. They had no choice but to fly low over the canopies in order to find the edos in a jungle where the canopy was extremely developed.
Countless birds were living in the canopies. The birds, surprised by the tandem rotor’s wind, flew up in black clouds. Babababa! The few that were sucked into the rotor were torn to pieces.
“God damn!” the pilot swore in annoyance.
They were already so close to getting into an accident with a single wrong maneuver; he didn’t need the birds causing a more chaotic scene. This was the fifth round he was making. He felt like his eyes were going to pop out of his face.
“Pound, there!” the co-pilot shouted.
The Chinook, after confirming the edos’ location, swerved and lowered its altitude. The Shadow team, equipped with the most modern equipment, rushed to drop. The Chinook hovered 80 feet up in the air. The fast rope was thrown overboard, and the Shadows dropped down in rows.
“Billy, run!” Steve shouted.
Billy was his pet’s name, a Persian cat.
A muscular man who was nearly as big as Samedi leaped to his feet and flung his body out of the helicopter. Bang! Billy landed lightly on the ground. His strong man-made muscles and compressed stents withstood the shock easily. No-one cared about the 20 Shadows.
Whoooosh! The Chinook rapidly increased its RPM. The Chinook, having completed its job in sending Steve, mechanic Haunter Billy, and a team of Shadows, increased its altitude and flew in the direction of Kisangani.
Hundreds of monkeys gathered around, but their loud cries and bites were the loudest. Their green furs were closer to black and had blended into the dark forest, making it hard to spot them with human eyes.
Olonge and Kidamba sprinted to an abinisia tree and attached themselves to it. Samedi stared at the Pygmies who had hunched down, covering their heads, and suddenly came to an awkward realization. He glanced at Black Mamba’s expression. Now, matter how he saw the situation, it seemed like he had caused some kind of trouble again.
“They’re all ill,” Black Mamba mumbled.
When apes gathered, they became braver, but that had its limit. The monkeys’ conditions weren’t that good either. Bald patches of fur were on their bodies as though a parasite was within them. He could also see several with exposed red skin. Those who were in the process of losing hair had red eyes as though their irises were filled with blood. He suddenly recalled the midge ur which was parasitized by the mango bug.
“Te ka-i noon ta ba sa ha da ku duru noon daka (Bad monkey. Get sick if you touch)!” Olonge shouted.
The Pygmies of Ituri Jungle knew through experience that those green monkeys (they were in fact brown) carried a scary illness. Olonge even tried to use his entire body to explain, but Black Mamba and Samedi had no way of knowing.
“Stop it, dude, enough,” Samedi said in askance.
His anger only grew at the lack of understanding. Olonge, who couldn’t understand Samedi either, rolled his eyes around. Yahweh, the person who disturbed the construction of the Tower of Babel, was truly smart. The lack of communication is a critical method in dismantling cooperation.
Several days later, the American SEALS who enters Ituri Jungle would be affected by an unknown virus. Called Ituri’s curse, they were the first to meet the Ituri monkeys, hosts of Ebola, in mankind’s history.
Rumble… Some unknown things flew out of the trees to their direction in dozens. Samedi stood before Black Mamba and swung his Squeaker. Clang! Bang! Crack! All kinds of sounds rang. The jungles’ fruits scattered on the ground. Not only fruits, there were rocks, sh**, and snakes.
“What strange bastards. This damn jungle doesn’t have a single normal thing about it.”
Black Mamba grabbed the back of his neck. Monkeys were meant to instinctively avoid snakes, but these bastards were using them as weapons.
“You damn bastards!” Samedi shouted.
The sky suddenly turned dark as though they understood him. Hundreds of different fruits and rocks flew in. The power behind those objects, with added gravitational weight, was immense. They would suffer a moderate injury if hit. Olonge and Kidamba were right to hide in fear.
Samedi swung the Squeaker as though he had finally found something to do. But no matter how much he swung, he wasn’t able to prevent all hundreds of flying objects. What fruits passed through Samedi’s defense, Black Mamba slapped away. He couldn’t figure out a way to get rid of all those bastards at once.
“Samedi, this is embarrassing. Let’s avoid them for a moment.”
“Samedi’s going to go mad! Mad!”
Black Mamba and Samedi attempted to get away, but the monkeys’ attacks didn’t stop. They followed them around, throwing fruits, rocks, and feces. It was chaotic and offending.
Slap! A green snake landed on Samedi’s face.
Ukikikiki! Several monkeys laughed cheekily.
Samedi took out his MAG. Black Mamba left him to it. The monkeys had very well asked for it. Dududududu! The sound of heavy gunshots rang through the jungle. Bullets of 4,600 J poured out at a rate of 1,000 per minute.
Crack! Crash! Branches and leaves were torn off loudly. The monkeys that had been throwing things fearlessly began to fall from their perches.
Kueh! Kuegh! The monkeys cried.
Dududududu! The MAG continued to fire.
Monkeys fell from the sky.
Samedi shot rounds between three pauses which came automatically. The sound of the machine gun, the monkeys’ screams, and the bullets racking through wood made his ears ring.
“I should make him hold an automatic grenade launcher or a M61 Vulcan.”
Black Mamba made a dissatisfied face. Samedi didn’t pair well with machine guns. It was like making Hang Woo carry a Godachi (small dagger). He looked better swinging the Squeaker around.
Samedi had wasted 300 rounds on 20 monkeys. Machine guns are area-suppressing fire arms. That much was an average skill, but to the sniper’s eyes it was very ineffective. Samedi had a long way to go to catch up to Emil’s skill.
The monkeys went away like the tides after the fierce counter-attack. Kiii! Kuek! Kuek! Their cries grew further away. Black Mamba shook his head from side to side.
“This place is driving me nuts!”
This was one crazy jungle. Even monkeys were provoking them. He checked a monkey that had dropped to the ground. Its weight was around 5-10kg, with dark brown matted fur, sharp fangs, and strong arms. He couldn’t tell its species but it was a normal monkey after all.
Olonge and Kidamba chattered using their hands and feet. Black Mamba sighed. Since Ulumbo wasn’t here to translate, he couldn’t tell whether those monkeys had rushed at them to take revenge for their friends’ death, or if humans had provoked them to attack.
The objects the monkeys had thrown were all over the jungle floor like the petals on May’s wind. Stones, feces, branches, fruits, and dead snakes with their bellies burst open made up most of them.
The fruit that looked familiar was a golden-brown coconut, smaller than a papaya. Fruits bigger than the size of an adult’s fist, fruits that looked like a donut but heavier, and fruits that looked like tangerines but were black, were all things he had never seen before. The only similarity was that they were all hard as rocks. Monkeys truly were on the smarter side.
“Isn’t that a machine gun going off?” Major Macfi turned to look at First Lieutenant Louis.
“You’re right, sir. It’s a mid-ranged machine gun.”
“Don’t be ridiculous. Are you saying that the Pygmies have come up with a ranger unit or something?” Steve scolded for no reason.
He was in a completely foul mood. The pilot had gotten the terrain wrong and dropped the operations team off on the wrong edos. Steve had freaked out after checking his GPS once the Chinook disappeared.
The marked Devil’s Spring (the Cenote swamp where Black Mamba killed the serpent) was 15km away. They were in a bad situation where they had to move two days towards biakutu through this horrible jungle. They rolled their feet, but the bus, no, helicopter had disappeared.
“Are you doubting my ears? I definitely heard gunshots in the south-western direction.”
Major Macfi’s eyes grew narrow. Steve felt offended. He was the operation’s commander. Those Shadows were being too prideful for people meant to be his hands and feet.
“So? Are you saying we need to chase after that sound? The mission point, Devil’s Spring, is north west!” Steve shouted.
Their mission was to retrieve the servant, not to investigate that gun or cannon shot. He didn’t want to spend another minute in this damned jungle. He had only been here for 30 minutes, but his uniform was soaked in sweat.
“Commander, we are barely 13km away from Devil’s Spring. Can you be certain that those bastards have nothing to do with this incident?”
Major Macfi continued to make his argument. Steve couldn’t say anything about it, as the argument was logical too.
“Why don’t you head towards Devil’s Spring, Major, and I’ll track them down with group B?” First Lieutenant Louis offered.
Major Macfi agreed, nodding his head.
“Ok, Major, leave the satellite phone open at all times.” Steve agreed. There wouldn’t be a large difference to their forces if one Shadow team falls out. Billy was with them after all.
First Lieutenant Louis disappeared, dragging along 10 members of Shadow Team B. Humans can’t look into their future. This was how the fates of Shadow Team A and Team B came to differ.
Samedi opened the yellow fruit the size of an adult’s fist. There was plenty of yellow sap within its hard shell, somewhat like an orange.
Olonge and Kidamba’s eyes grew wide. Pipin’s shell was so hard that it had to be opened with an axe. Amazingly, the Bodun could crack open its shell with a single hand.
Kidamba pointed at the fruits and mimicked the actions of drinking. It seemed like the fruit’s name was pipin. Samedi tried it, and handed it over to Black Mamba.
“Oh, this is good,” Black Mamba exclaimed.
It was a refreshing sap which tasted like cucumbers. Kidamba picked up two pipins and pushed the fruits towards them. Samedi smiled and tapped them open. Olonge and Kidamba drank them as though their lives depended on it. Their guides were cowards and frustrating, but it was still nice to see a comrade happy.
Excited, Samedi poked at the coconuts with his finger. Samedi’s expression changed. He tried prodding them more with his fingers, but the coconut didn’t budge. Black Mamba smiled. While Samedi could dig a hole through an Asian coconut, Ituri coconuts were like rocks.
When Black Mamba poked it with his thumb, a hole appeared. A rock-hard coconut won’t be able to withstand the Billion’s Water Armor. Samedi’s expression grew solemn. He had grown stronger after being eaten by the monster, but he still couldn’t be as strong as his master. He felt useless as a guard.
“Wakil, why don’t we store the saps in our water bottles?”
“No, fruit juice rots easily. It will be better to take the fruit with us.”
The humid air was also a problem. Parasites would increase by the billions in a day. They had lost a few hours because of the monkeys, but since they found something else to replace hibitor, it wasn’t a loss. Olonge filled an empty backpack with pipins and coconuts. Kidamba brought over the fruits shaped like a donut. It was a large fruit seemingly 2kg heavy.
“What is that?”
The heavy Kamansa Uhrumbi fruit also had a hard shell. Black Mamba swung down with the blade of his hand and cracked it open. Its white juice smelled like a watermelon, but it didn’t taste like anything.
Black Mamba later learned that “Kamansa Uhrumbi” meant “Can you break this, too?” in Bantu. The fruit that the Pygmies call a kadam warapura was a fruit called ompallokarfom in Europe. Whether it was kadam warapura or ompallokarfom, it tasted horrible all the same.
Whether the pipin or Kamansa Uhrumbi were their names, or whether he understood the Pygmies’ accent correctly were left unknown. But there was one fact. There were more inedible fruits in Ituri jungle than edible fruits. Human livers aren’t able to digest fruits that monkeys or chimpanzees can eat.
“Oh, lahu lahu!”
Olonge jumped up and down. Kadambaraf was a fruit elephants liked to eat. It was so hard that gorillas couldn’t even break it open. God was great. Respect poured out for him endlessly.
Most of the tropical fruits come from Eastern Asia. Representative tropical fruits like durians, limes, mangoes, mangosteens, and breadtrees are mostly from Southeast Asia. The second group, guavas, sapodillas, avocados, dragonfruits, pineapples, and papayas are from South America. There aren’t as many African fruits as one might think. The local fruits are camel date palms, Governor plums, Karandas, Tamarins, and melons.
Their cultivation started to become widespread as trades between continents increased. For example, Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines are the source of coconuts, but it spreads to all tropical regions around the world like Africa, South Africa, Oceania, and more.
Also, confusion occurred because of the different names people called it in different regions. In Ituri Jungle, there are around ten names for the cuvuner plum gathered naturally. In Africa, it’s called cocowi, the Governor’s Plum in England, Purunier in French, Ekdeflacolti in German, Ugulessa in Switzerland, Takopa in Thailand, and Biton Golden in the Philippines. That was how far its farm has spread and how beloved it is by the whole world.
Olonge and Kidamba didn’t even glance at the other fruits aside from those three. When Samedi grabbed a nice-looking fruit, Olonge frowned and shook his head.
“But it looks good.”
He stubbornly took a bite and frowned. Samedi though it would be better to drink pee than eat this piece of s***.
On the morning of their second day, Olonge turned around and around in his spot. He made one round and waved his hands, another round and shook his hands again. He looked like an ant without its antlers.
“Ah, this man has lost his mind!”