Chapter 18: Chapter 4, Episode 2: Sahel
The operation was called “Raccoon Herding.”
Lieutenant Jean Paul was chosen as the team leader. He was serving in the 3rd Infantry Regiment in Guinea and was also a veteran of desert warfare, having served in Algerias civil war and Guinea for 10 years.
Pief had wanted to be the team leader but, unfortunately, had no experience working in Africa. He set aside his regrets and named them “Team Ratel” after the ratel, an African badger, that weighed 10 kilograms, was about 60 centimeters around its center and was very fierce and long-lived.
Ratels were omnivorous but snakes were their staple food. They showed an interesting response when bitten by a cobra. They always bit the cobras head in retaliation, killing it, before falling under its paralysis. A ratels vitality was phenomenal. After being bitten by a cobra, it could dispel its poison in an hour or two. It was a tenacious animal that, after it recovered, leisurely ate the dead cobra.
Pief chose the name “Team Ratel” in hopes of their safe return. Although he was greedy for a promotion, he was like any other commander and cared for his subordinates.
The members of Team Ratel consisted of snipers, machine gunners, explosive handlers, and other weapons support. The snipers were Captain Lieutenant Paul, Sergeant Mike, Staff Sergeant Mark, Private Black Mamba, Private First Class Emil, Staff Sergeant Miguel, and Sergeant Mouris. Mortar and heavy fire were handled by Private Jang Shin and Sergeant Burimer. Sergeant Bellman was selected as the medic.
Four of the ten men were members of Sergeant Burimers Squadron and had worked together in the past. Sergeant Burimer, Private Emil, Sergeant Mark, and Black Mamba were snipers from the First Squadron.
Mike, who had been nearly beaten to death by Black Mamba, was the leader of the Third Squadrons sniper division. Mike had been overshadowed by the appearance of Black Mamba, but he was the sole elite sniper within Legion Etranger. He had taunted Black Mamba because of jealousy.
Jang Shin was included in the team, later on, at Black Mambas request. As someone who had been in the 2nd Artillery Corps of the Peoples Liberation Army, he was well-versed in operating machinery and heavy weapons. He was needed to handle 60-millimeter mortar fire and help seize the enemys heavy weapons.
The Fourth Squadron of Deuxieme Rep that specialized in sniping and firepower needed to specialize in one other category besides the basic weapons, the Famas and Epal. They called the secondary weapon “sub-weaponry.”
Black Mamba mainly used the Dragunov, so his kukri daggers were considered his sub-weapon while Chartres RPG was considered his sub-weapon. The snipers of the Fourth and Second Squadrons, the specialized companies, acquired melee fighting techniques or heavy weapons as their necessities.
Pief and Captain Paul formed Team Ratel with four snipers, two explosives officers, two machine gunners, two heavy weapon handlers, and one first aid/medical officer. The team needed to be built heavily around the snipers.
Pief and Paul submitted the confirmed list of subordinates to Philip. Black Mambas personal details were left blank. There was no official data that contained a connection to Black Mamba. Everything that linked Black Mamba to MuSsang Park had been cut off.
Of the ten members, the only rookies were Black Mamba, Jang Shin, and Black Mambas partner, Emil. The rest were veterans with at least three years of experience participating in a war in Africa. Mercenaries within Legion Etranger were ranked differently from the Korean ranking system. Even a sergeant had over five years of experience.
Nominees for Team Ratel
First Lieutenant Jean Paul
Age 41, 180 cm, 82 kg
Graduate of Frances DGSE. Officer of the 3rd Infantry Regiment of Guineas Desert Warfare.
Mastery of Savate. Dispassionate, good leadership.
Skilled in strategic tactics, possible talent in espionage.
Participated in the Algerias and Guineas Civil Wars.
Sub-weaponry: KA-BAR Knife/Glock
Sergeant Al Burimer
Age 35, 186 cm, 98 kg
Graduate of the British Army explosives squad. Deuxieme Reps Sniper Squad Leader
After 3 years at the 3rd Infantry Regiment in French Guinea, he moved into the airborne regiment. Fishing maniac.
Participant of the Algerian War
Sergeant 1st Class Paul Mike
Age 33, 205 cm, 115 kg
From the Texas National Guard.
Six years in the Djiboutis 13th Foreign Brigade. Leader of Deuxieme Reps 3rd Squadron. The best sniper in the squadron.
Participated in the Algeria and Cte dIvoire Civil Wars
Sergeant David Mark
Age 28, 186 cm, 86 kg
Six years of experience in Djiboutis 13th Foreign Brigade. Leader of Deuxieme Reps Sniper Squadron.
Best sniper within the sniper regiment.
Participant in the Marley Civil War.
Age 33, 178 cm, 72 kg
Certified doctor. Headquarter-stationed squadron of Deuxieme Rep.
Friends are known to be in the Mafia.
The only squad member with a doctors certificate, reason for Team Ratel inclusion.
Participant in the Congo Civil War.
Specialty: emergency treatment
Sergeant Huang Mouris
Age 34, 180 cm, 76 kg
From the Moroccan garrison. Deuxieme Reps Firearms Platoon
Entered long-term service after five years at Djiboutis 13th Foreign Brigade.
Specializing in explosives, booby trap production, and installation.
Participant in the wars in Algeria and Sudan.
Specialty: explosives, booby trap production/installation
Sergeant Hakam Chartres
Age 43, 182 cm, 82 kg
Researcher at the Middle East History University, Paris, France. Deuxieme Rep Firearms division.
Long-term service after five years in the Djibouti 13th Foreign Brigade.
A wine lover, fluent in Arabic and Swahili.
Participant in the Chad Civil War and Algerian Civil War
Specialty: explosives, booby traps
Private Jang Shin
Age 24, 168 cm, 67 kg
He is from the Peoples Republic of China. Expert in the Eight Combined Movements martial arts. Deuxieme Reps Firearms Platoon.
Genius in the operation and maintenance of machinery.
Specialty: mine thrower
Sub-weaponry: poisoned needles
Private Victor Emil
Age 28. 190 cm, 92 kg
3 years of experience working in the 13th Brigade, Djibouti. Deuxieme Rep Sniper Squadron
Partner of Black Mamba.
National French Judo champion.
No experience in war. Selected as a partner of Black Mamba.
Specialty: Machine Gun
Corporal Shawn Miguel
Age 31, 176 cm, 71 kg
From Colombias Drug Control Unit. Deuxieme Reps firearm squad.
Participant in Algerias Civil War.
Specialty: machine gun
The Glock 19 was widely used by the team members as a sub-weapon. It was recently developed by Glock in Austria and was a semi-automatic pistol that could fire 19 rounds of 9-millimeter Parabellum bullets. Compared to conventional pistols, the structure was very compact and simplified.
The two pistol masterpieces of the 80s were the Beretta and Glock. The Berettas small size, low recoil, and soft trigger made it a favorite among information operating officers. The Glock, on the other hand, was used by the special forces because it was resistant to harsh environments and trouble-free. Black Mamba had received 4500-franc Glock from Pief. The time had come to pay off that debt.
When Philip got the report, he took a Mont Blanc fountain pen out of the drawer and signed it happily. There were four snipers in the unit and four from the explosives unit. It was the best possible team to support Black Mamba. He liked that most of the members were from his regiment.
If Black Mamba succeeded in the operation, the position of a general was a sure thing. That was how important the Chad operation was. Of course, if they were to fail, he would have to pack his belongings instead of receiving a promotion.
While Colonel Philip signed the list of members to send into Hells Gate, Burimer and Black Mamba were fishing on the Shari River.
Burimer was an avid fishing maniac who even the regiment commander couldnt keep from fishing. In Corsica, he went down to the Calvi Harbors breakwater to fish. On weekends, he refused to go to a club, or return home, instead choosing to wrestle with the domina cibril.
Burimers outdoor excursions became more frequent after tasting raw fish with Black Mamba. Having tasted the Korean red chili pepper paste with sashimi, he annoyed Black Mamba because he worshipped the paste to the point where it was unbecoming of a Frenchman.
Sergeant Burimer and the squadron members devised a massive launch plan.
It was an ambitious plan to catch a goliath tigerfish while they traveled up to Lake Chad. The goliath tigerfish were large carnivorous fish that lived in the Congo River and spawned in Lake Chad. They were monsters known for eating crocodiles. The adults grew up to 2 meters and weighed up to 100 kilograms.
Burimers desire was unfortunately denied. It was because the members of Team Ratel were gathered in secret. It had only been a week since they had set foot in Chad.
Commander Pief hadnt simply bought Petit Canard a meal for free. It was time for Black Mamba to pay off that meal.
Burimer and Black Mambas excursions were similarly forced to end.
Captain Lieutenant Paul divided the group into experienced men and rookies after the meeting, disregarding their age.
“Sergeant Burimer, how many have you killed”
“I killed five in Algeria. Ive killed more than a hundred after returning to headquarters near the breakwater.”
At Burimers words, the team members suppressed their laughter. The members without a kill in their past were Black Mamba, Jang Shin, and Emil. The other members were full of experience in killing and surviving in the desert.
“Lieutenant Mike, how many have you killed”
“I managed to clear 33 people. 22 in Algeria, and 11 in Cte dIvoire.” Mike replied proudly.
He then turned to glare at Black Mamba. Black Mamba felt the stare but didnt bother to pay attention. His mind was full of thoughts; he didnt have the time to deal with the tantrums of a stupid man.
Paul believed that a soldier had to overcome the shock of killing to become a real soldier. No matter how long one had been in the military, without an actual kill, he considered them rookies. After killing a person, a humans perspective changed greatly. He matched up the team members according to their specialties and past killing records.
In Pauls eyes, Black Mamba, Jang Shin, and Emil were rookies who smelled like newborns. It was his responsibility to succeed in this operation and make those rookies survive.
He began his speech before the stiff rookies.
“Listen, all of you, the fear of murdering is greater than the fear of being murdered. The fear that you might die can be overcome by training, but you have to overcome the fear of killing another human being. The fear of death fades in time, but the fear of murder is colored with time. We are soldiers. A soldiers purpose is murder. The enemy is our target and is not a human but just an enemy. Soldiers must not kill non-enemy targets. Therefore, a soldier who cannot kill an enemy is not a soldier. Someone who cries after killing the enemy is similarly not a soldier.”
“The fear of death and the fear of murder!”
Black Mamba was moved by the short speech given by the wrinkled lieutenant. Only an individuals morality and rationality could determine the difference between their fear of death and their fear of murder.
Could there be a person who knew the fear of death and murder better than Black Mamba He was already a warrior who had overcome both.
“Kill the enemy!”
Black Mamba felt as if he had truly become a mercenary.
“l have received orders to concentrate the operation around you. Frankly, I have no trust in you. Aside from your skills, do you have experience with murder”
Black Mambas gaze met the captains blue-gray eyes. These were the eyes of a strong man. Strength entered Black Mambas eyes. At the sharpening gaze, Paul found himself startled.
“Captain, have you ever cut a mans throat with a knife Have you felt the bones of a humans neck being crushed at your fingertips Have you ever had a backbone as your bed and skin as your blanket”
Pauls face hardened. The rookies eyes were too clear to be considered the eyes of a murderer.
“And that is you”
“I am Black Mamba. I dont shoot with my head in the ground. I am not going to be my comrades burden. Even the best warrior had once been a rookie.”