PRIMAL Vengeance - By Jack Silkstone

Chapter 1

Map of the Republic of Sudan and the new nation of South Sudan

Khartoum, Sudan, 2012

Garang's hands were sweating, despite the cool air that flowed from the air-conditioning vent behind his head. He was more at home in the African bush than here in the boardroom of a major petroleum corporation. Not to mention that the PETROCON building was situated in downtown Khartoum; the heart of enemy territory and a thousand miles from his adopted home in South Sudan. It had been years since the civil war between Sudan and South Sudan had officially ended, but deep wounds heal slowly.

Garang's job now was to keep his tribal chief safe, and surrounded by hostile Sudanese forces, it was no wonder his palms were sweating. He wiped them against his olive drab combat fatigues and returned his attention to the two men at the negotiating table.

"This is a good deal; we both know it. You would be a fool not to agree," the Sudanese Oil Minister addressed the chief sitting opposite him. Garang had noticed that every time the man finished a sentence he licked his lips, almost as if he could taste the crude oil he coveted so desperately.

The chief leaned forward and pushed a pile of legal documents back towards the fat politician. "You want my people to sign their lands across to your Chinese masters for only four percent? We are not simpletons that can be swayed with a handful of beads, Omar. We are a proud people. The Dinka lands belong to the Dinka and that is final."

Omar slapped his thick hands against the table, upsetting a glass of water and spilling its contents across the table's surface. "You are a fool! You either take this deal or we take the lands from you."

"Your threats are idle," the chief replied calmly. "You couldn't take our lands in two decades of civil war and—"

The politician slammed his hands against the table again. "Look around you, old man." He gestured towards the floor-to-ceiling glass windows that overlooked the bustling city. From thirty-six floors up people looked like ants. "You're a long way from your grass huts. Times have changed and your shitty little tribe has been left behind. Now I have the power. I have the money. This is a new era and your people will not survive unless they submit. Sign the papers and I promise, you will spend your final years a wealthy man."

He paused, squinting across at Garang. "What about you, boy? Do you want your people to live in squalor or do you want to be a part of this?"

Garang swallowed, wiping his hands against his pants as he rallied the courage to speak. Before he opened his mouth his chief spoke for him. "There is no Dinka who will sign your worthless papers, Omar." The elder was dressed like Garang, olive fatigues tucked into battered combat boots. He was lean, dark skin drawn and leathery, a veteran African warrior. "We will fight to the last man to keep our lands."

Omar remained seated. "Yes, you'll get your fight soon enough. Before too long I will have more tanks and artillery to pound your pathetic tribe into the dust." He pushed his own chair back and pried himself from its clutches. "Your women will spend their final days being stuffed with Janjaweed cocks."

At the mention of the fearsome Arab militias the doors at the end of the conference room opened and a fourth man entered. He crossed the room to stand behind the Sudanese politician.

"You probably already know of Sagrib," Omar said.

At the mention of his name the man's lips peeled back to reveal a mouth almost devoid of teeth. Then he laughed, a revolting cackling sound not unlike the bark of a hyena.

The Dinkas knew the man only by reputation. The leader of Omar's private Janjaweed army was renowned for his brutal acts of violence. He was dressed in desert combat fatigues and had cloth wrapped around his head, the tan material draped over his shoulder. A gold Rolex adorned his wrist, hacked from the arm of one of his countless victims.

The Dinka chief ignored Sagrib and looked the Oil Minister squarely in the eye. "Your Chinese masters can give you all the weapons they want, Omar. Your forces will never defeat the Dinka while you continue to send pigs to fight us."

Sagrib turned his head slightly, angling his mirrored Ray-Bans towards the chief. Garang kept his mouth shut. He was starting to regret volunteering to protect