Novel Name : Mercenary Black Mamba

Mercenary Black Mamba - Chapter 479

Prev Chapter Next Chapter

Novatopia was a reddish-brown land perpetually blasted by the sun. At midday, the radiating heat raised the surface temperature to 50 degrees Celsius. It was like a giant frying pan. The only vegetation was a desert shrub-like tamarisks or piroteknik and sturdy grass-like Stipa Calamagrostis.
In the initial developmental phases of Novatopia, Mu Ssang had assured that 25,000 square kilometers of the reddish-brown desert can be turned into a lush green forest.
Captain Pellpeng, the head of the aquifer probing team, took Tripolitania and Cyrenaica in Libya as examples and opposed the plan. Even if they found an aquifer that could water the 25,000 square kilometers of land, the construction costs were going to be astronomical.
Mu Ssang’s forte was his brute force and optimism. Mu Ssang had told Pellpeng and Ombuti.
“Ennedi is not a Libyan desert. I am not Gaddafi. Have you tried?”
That “Have you tried?” was the trigger that started Project Forestation (faire fleurir le désert). Unfortunately, no one remembered this original name.
The project, originally named by Orifice, was renamed “Blue Art, Blue Art, le Désert” the next day, which sounded quite childish. Mu Ssang thought the original name was hard to pronounce and no one dared object to the boss’s idea. Blue Art was the name of a paper-producing company in Korea.
Humanity achieved great prosperity in the last 200 years or so by boldly pursuing the seemingly impossible. Nothing is impossible in the world. One just did not know how to do it yet.
Project Forestation, like Mu Ssang had assured, began to turn the reddish-brown land green. On the initial roads that ran across the entire land, the first facilities to be built were schools. Mu Ssang had a firm belief that ignorance and illiteracy birthed slavery and discrimination.
Children from eight to 12 years were prohibited from laboring. It was obligatory for adolescents from 13 to 18 years old to study for six hours and labor for four hours every day. Adults aged 19 and above had to study for two hours and labor for eight hours every day.
Novatopia’s law and order were simple but strictly enforced. “Someone who doesn’t work shouldn’t eat.” “Someone who works will be rewarded.” Such banners were hung up in every construction field. Women and the elderly were not exempted. Even the crippled, if they could move their limbs, had to help by moving dirt at the very least.
The project advanced in many places simultaneously. Heavy equipment and manpower were poured on the land in which there was only gravel and sand. Dozens of kilometers of roads were paved overnight. Waterways were made. Trees covered the ground to block the wind. Pasture was made. Farms were built. Water ran through the forest and sprinklers worked in the pasture. A great illusion was being constructed in the Eastern Desert.
The construction works that consumed most of the resources and manpower were the waterways and roads.
Professor Shernion divided Novatopia into twelve sections. One avenue ran from east to west. Six streets ran from north to south. Combined, they formed a lattice. Envisioning future traffic, all avenues had six lanes and four streets.
The roads in Africa were in horrible condition. Above 13 degrees of the North Latitude, where the Sahel Belt started, no regional borders existed and lands were not named. Where there was no road, there was no city. The European colonists only exploited Africans and did not invest in their infrastructure.
Each European colonizer only developed a few major cities and built airports nearby. Two kilometers of landing strips were cheaper than building 1,000 kilometers of roads. Instead of cars or trains, airplanes transported ivory, gold, copper, wood, diamonds, rare animals and plants, and natural rubber from Africa to Europe.
Be it then or now, airplanes were a special means of mobility. Indigenous farmers or ranchers did not have access to them. Airplanes were suited for exploitation and ruling. To the local people, they were simply noisy lumps of metal that flew in the sky.
With poor road conditions, cities do not develop properly. The lack of cities means that there was no market in which excess agricultural products and goods were exchanged. Without the free movement of goods, prices soared. People in Sahel were starving to death and excess crops rotted in warehouses in Doba. Farmers that could not accumulate wealth through trade were not able to buy expensive fertilizers or equipment. Poor infrastructure thus perpetuates poverty.
Professor Shernion, an expert in urban development, knew better than anyone else that there was a close relationship between a city’s progress and its infrastructure. He persuaded Ombuti to invest half of the available resources into road construction. Ombuti, who was usually stingy, had to concede that it was an important task. As development advanced, it was hard to meet the demand for equipment and resources with airplanes alone.
Money is indeed powerful. In merely six months, the Western Highway of 1,000 kilometers, that connected N’Djamena to Jipoon Dari, was built. It was quick but unsurprising. The Sahara was not Korea. There were no existing buildings or houses to settle, like Korea.
No land needed to be compensated. No environmental effects needed to be evaluated. There were no existing residents to begin with, so there was no one to demand greater compensation or even protest. The only residents were rattlesnakes and lizards.
No bridges were needed. There were no tunnels either. They only had to level the ground, pour dirt on top of it, and tamp it down with a roller. That created a usable road. Though they still needed to cover it with asphalt and paint the central line, as it was, the Western Boulevard was one of the roads in the best condition across Africa.
With the opening of the Western Highway, the development of Novatopia became more intense. The resources, provided by the French government on no conditions, coursed through the Western Highway. N’Djamena was full of unemployed people. They became an abundant source of manpower moving through the Highway.
Professor Shernion, after completing the construction of the Western Highway, dipped his toes into the construction of the Eastern Highway. The Eastern Highway connected the junction at the end of the avenue to Pada, then to Bahay, which was a border town near Sudan.
Shernion had the ambition to develop Novatopia into a transit trade hub that connected the Red Sea, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Mediterranean Sea. The Eastern Highway was going to be a conduit that would grant Novatopia access to the Red Sea through the northern Darfur.
When Professor Shernion poured dirt on the road construction sites, Professor Orifice became burdened with sandstorms on the border. The project was essentially a forestation of a desert. The first step was to make a line of trees that will withstand the wind.
Professor Orifice, within a month, analyzed 20 years of precipitation in Novatopia and the Ennedi Plateau, the frequency of the Harmattan, the direction of the sandstorms, and temperatures. This data has been made available in the DGSE technological department and office of meteorology.
The analysis of the soil was also completed during this time. The Ennedi Plateau was mostly a stratum of granite that, when exposed, revealed a stratum of sandstone along with a clay colloid mixed with sand. If they stopped the leaching by providing sufficient water, plants could easily root there.
The combined length of the borders of Novatopia was 750 kilometers long. He calculated the required area needed for the windbreak forest and concluded that it should be 300 meters wide and 490 kilometers long. Such a size was unheard of in history. Also, there were few forests of this size planted in a desert. No government was that stupid to waste resources on such a project that promised no real benefit.
Professor Orifice could be considered an expert in stupidity in this case. Even he could not have done it without a sufficient supply of underground water. The project was that massive.
Orifice divided the area into four sections and named them the First Maginot Line, the Second Maginot Line, the Third Maginot Line, and the Fourth Maginot Line. He named them Maginot because he wished the windbreak forest would block the sandstorm akin to how the original Maginot Line deterred the enemy. Similarly, the original Maginot Line was also 750 kilometers long. The Novatopian Windbreak Forest Project, later named the Saharan Maginot Line, began with such an origin.
Jatropha was the main species of trees planted in the project. Orifice used heavy equipment to plant a tremendous number of jatropha, which was native to Agbaya and the Ennedi Plateau, along the Lines.
Jatropha was a fast-growing tree. With sufficient water, it grew three meters in eight months. It bore fruit in 12 months and in 15 months, it will grow to six meters tall. It was a wide-leafed tree that proudly boasted many branches and leaves. There was no finer tree than this for the formation of the windbreak forest.
Orifice, at that point in time, had not expected the fruits of jatropha to make a great profit later. Jatropha’s fruits could not even be used as cattle fodder because of their peculiar smell and toxicity. The useless fruits eventually proved to be a great substance to make biodiesel. No one knew then. A fortunate individual was bound to continue collecting a fortune.
The whole Maginot Line needed 20,000,000 trees in total. Jatropha alone could not fulfil that number. Orifice planted olive trees, white broms, tamarisks, acacias, piroteknik, and apricots along with Stipa Calamagrostis, a sturdy grass native to the Ennedi area, to protect the soil.
The entire Project Forestation, which was slow in the beginning, began to advance at a fast pace after Sang Chul brought a massive amount of equipment from Korea and the population of Novatopia grew.
Within a year, the First and Second Maginot Lines, which faced the Sahara, were completed. A total of 10,500,000 trees were planted along 250 kilometers out of the 490 kilometers of land. Wild jatropha, widely distributed in Agbaya, were no longer visible.
Currently, the Maginot Lines involved 300 trucks, 60 excavators, 20 bulk pulleys, and 10,000 people. Orifice employed all available trucks to bring jatropha from the Ennedi Plateau and the Sahel towards Paya. The outer part of Novatopia turned green at a surprising speed.
Afwerki was not idle. Tasked with handling the water facilities, he became a workaholic. Day and night, he buried water pipes, until his face paled, his lips cracked, and his eyes glazed over. Still, he was happy.
Of 3,000 people who escaped Eritrea with him, 800 were working in the same job as him. They dug the ground and buried pipes. They no longer feared for their lives. They ate, learned, and worked. It was the heaven Afwerki had envisioned.
Of the 3,000 people, 2,000 were children below the age of 13. He saved the 2,000 futures of his people and is continuing to do so. Afwerki, after suffering severely from the Ombuti virus, renounced his religion.
Bakri Jadir’s father, Ali Jadir, also played a part. He was tasked with pasture formation alongside elderly people, women, and children. After school, children and adolescents made lattice structures that held the soil in place while the elderly and women sowed grass seeds.
Sturdy native species like Acutiflora, Cornulaca Monacantha, and Stipa Calamagrostis were mainly for holding the soil in place. To make it more fertile, beans and grass such as tall fescue and alfalfa were sown. When the soil became relatively stabilized, rossgrass, in the family of Poaceae, bahiagrass, and dallisgrass were seeded.
Since water and fertilizers were abundant, the sun no longer killed the plants but nurtured them. The Jipoon Dari area was already green up to its horizon.
There was another person who toiled hard. Professor Loren Giz, an old friend of Mu Ssang. He joined Novatopia with 10 doctors and 30 nurses from Médecins sans frontières. Roman Walter, who was crushing on Edel, joined too. Of course, he had no idea that the bloody man he met at the time was now the owner of Jipoon Dari.
On a hill overlooking Lake Yoa stood a two-story prefab building. Within 300 meters around the building, there were no residences except for a guard post. It was the maximum valid range of an assault rifle and an RPG-7 without a dot sight.
Such an arrangement was done for the security of its residents. Despite the heavy security, the building itself is a cheap prefab made with sandwich panels. It looked and was cheap but the terrace on the second floor, extruding into the lake, had a classy ambience with its potted Ixora Chinensis. This seemingly reflected the owner’s taste.
The Saharan wind from the northwest rippled Lake Yoa and rocked two unoccupied rocking chairs. It was a leisurely sight.
The door to the terrace opened abruptly. A wide-eyed, slender-faced young woman came out onto the terrace with a mop and a duster. Bassel was dressed in short pants and a T-shirt with half-length sleeves, revealing her bare skin. A woman was prone to change. Bassel was no longer that girl who wore a niqab and glanced around in fear..
Prev Chapter Next Chapter