Chapter Eighteen: Cannon In D Minor
Benny floated up to see what he was talking about. "Oh, no…"
There were several more gasps as the others stepped out from behind him, and were treated to the view of the Sea Cow's wreckage floating in the water, washing up on shore. The cyborg pirate let out a bellow of anguish, and didn't have the time to react before he was shot for a third time, collapsing with a crash. Unikitty screeched out a war cry and galloped down onto the beach, followed closely by Lucy and Benny and Bad Cop. She snarled as she barreled right over one of the pirates, baring fangs and claws for the fight. Bad Cop had drawn his gun and stunned several more before Airheart engaged him herself. Emmet hesitated for only a moment longer before running out onto the beach as well.
Business ducked into the undergrowth the moment the fighting broke out, patting his pocket for the key he carried. Satisfied it was still there, he took stock of the situation. It was complete mayhem, that perhaps being their only saving grace from the pistols the sky pirates carried- they didn't want to risk hitting one of their own in the madness. His gaze drifted over to where Metalbeard had collapsed and was now screaming insults, the only contribution he could make while immobile. An idea started to form.
He made his way over to his fallen friend, taking care to remain unseen. Metalbeard's hollering faltered as his frame shifted suddenly, and he looked down to see Business rearranging him so his gun arm was propped up on one of his legs. "What are ye doin'?"
"Once upon a time, I was friends with two very dedicated cops, who thought it to be in my best interests to learn how to defend myself. So they taught me how to shoot." He sounded so eerily calm as he took aim, and Metalbeard finally caught on- of course! That gun could still be fired manually! Business squeezed the trigger, and Flea went down with a curse and a shower of sparks. "Not that I ever needed a gun before, but I suppose it's the thought that counts." He aimed again, and another pirate fell with a scream.
Airheart growled to herself as she heard the gunshots ringing out over the beach. She had to put an end to this, fast. Ducking inside Bad Cop's reach she elbowed him hard, knocking the wind from him, and snagged his laser pistol from its holster as he fell to one knee gasping for breath. She aimed and fired and he tumbled over, paralyzed from the stunning blast. Lucy, Benny, and Unikitty went down quickly soon after, then Emmet as he ran to Lucy's side. "Now for you," she growled, drawing her own pistol and pointing it toward Business. He jerked away from Metalbeard with a sharp gasp, clutching at the hole in his shoulder.
"I think I've about had enough of this game," Airheart announced. "It's time to put an end to this. You've solved three of the trials so far; congratulations. But Atlantis is mine. And you, Business, are going to help me get it."
"You seriously think I'm going to agree to that after you just shot me?!" he hissed back, shaking.
"You act as though I'm giving you a choice. You, my friend, have shown some aptitude, but I'm not about to let these wannabes take my discovery!"
"Technically it is our discovery," Benny pointed out. "We're the ones who did all the work solving the clues and finishing the trials-" He yelped as she fired on him again, and fell silent, knocked unconscious.
Out of the corner of his eye, Business saw movement, but kept his glare trained on the sky pirate captain. "You're going to regret doing that," he warned. Airheart's crew didn't even notice, attention away from those they no longer considered a threat, until Bad Cop had leaned on her, letting his weight topple her over. She went down with a startled shriek, her gun skittering out of reach. He wrestled his own back from her, keeping her arm pulled painfully behind her back.
"You really think we're after something so petty as getting our names put in history books?" the cop growled. She couldn't see his face, from the way he'd come up behind her, but the fury in his voice was unmistakable. She struggled to get out from under him, but even with unresponsive limbs, he was doing a remarkable job of keeping her pinned. He was heavy, and tall, and determined not to let her get away.
"How are you even moving?!" she screamed.
"You wouldn't believe the things I had to go through when I was still hunting Master Builders," he spat at her. "They're a creative lot with no compunctions about hitting back and making it hurt. Some of them even tried to kill me a few times. And if that wasn't enough, President Business only gave us the barest minimum amount of time to recover before we were forced back out into the hunt, and that usually meant taking just long enough to put stitches in and wrap gauze around injuries before we were back on the streets, still bleeding and exhausted. So I got good at pushing us along through whatever handicaps we were suffering." His voice lowered, and it was the most terrifying thing she'd ever heard. "And you're still getting between me and what I want."
"…It wasn't the notes you were talking about back then, was it?" she ventured. "It took me a while to remember since we so rarely saw him. Isn't there supposed to be a Good Cop as well?"
There was a beat of stillness, then she felt the barrel of the laser pistol pressed to the base of her skull. "I always wondered what one of these would do when fired point blank."
She let out a hysterical laugh, bordering on panic. "I stand by what I said before- you would make a fantastic pirate, my friend. Ever consider a career change?"
"Cary." The call was just enough to get his attention. Bad Cop paused in confusion and looked around, to see Emmet struggling to push himself back to his feet. Airheart squirmed to turn to look at him as well, eyes wide in surprise as the Special managed to get himself upright. "Please put the gun down." There was a slight tremor in Emmet's voice, but otherwise he was doing a remarkable job of keeping his tone even and calm. Airheart flinched as Bad Cop snarled, but did as asked anyway. Emmet staggered forward a few steps, and Stevenson turned toward him, pistol aimed.
"You stop right there!" the sky pirate barked. Emmet just gave him a weary look.
"My friend is hurt. I just want to help him."
"Emmet- Emmet, take my jacket," Lucy called out. "Put pressure on it to stop the bleeding." He nodded and dropped down beside her, pulling the hoodie from where she'd tied it around her waist before shoving himself back to his feet and slowly making his way to where Business sat, looking pale. He dropped back down at his side, carefully pressing the hoodie against both sides of his shoulder. Business looked almost like he might faint from the pain, but still managed not to make a sound.
"…I don't get it," Airheart said after a moment. "What are you playing at, Special?"
"You asked where Good Cop was. Well, that's what we set out to do. We're trying to bring him back. That's all we want, not some 'claim to fame' or whatever."
"Speak for yourself," Business muttered.
"Shh. I'm trying to make a point here." He turned back to Airheart. "This would all go so much better if you'd help us, rather than trying to stop us at every opportunity. In the end, we all want the same thing, right? To find Atlantis. And yeah, Sirius' interest in ancient cultures and languages was a huge help, but it took all of us to solve the temples. I think that's the point of it, really. And the last one can only be that much easier if we joined forces, right?" He held a hand out toward her. "What do you say, can we work together on this?"
There was silence for a few moments, then Airheart began to struggle again, trying to kick Bad Cop. "Get off me, you goon!" she snapped. He snorted and shoved off of her, sitting up with a scowl. "Cripes, you're heavy…"
"So are you helping us or not?" he demanded. Unikitty regained feeling in her limbs first, shakily making her way back onto all fours before moving closer to help Emmet with Business.
"Fine, if it'll get him to quit making the puppy eyes at me," she huffed. "Alright gents, let's round up our walking wounded and get everyone to Doc that needs to see her." She directed her crew in helping the Master Builders onto the Sky Rogue, but they backed off when Bad Cop gave them a terrifying glare as they tried to approach Benny.
"You won't be touching him," he snapped, and moved to lift the unconscious astronaut. It helped that, even out cold, he had a tendency to float. Lucy managed to get her feet under her and stumbled over to his side, grabbing his arm when her legs nearly gave out again. "You alright?"
"Legs don't quite want to work right, yet," she huffed. "Sorry. Think he'll be okay?"
"He will be. No telling when he'll wake up though, it always was different for everyone. Emmet was out for several hours."
Lucy frowned up at him. "You did that to Emmet?"
"When I took him into custody. It seemed the safest way to get him to stop convulsing." They glanced over at Metalbeard's indignant sputtering as he was dragged along the beach, and Lucy let out a giggle. Unikitty came up on Bad Cop's other side, taking care not to jostle her passenger. Emmet walked alongside them, helping to keep Business steady. "I have to say Emmet, that was very impressive, getting up and walking like that so soon."
"Yeah," Lucy added, leaning around to catch his gaze. "How did you do that?"
Emmet blushed. "Well, I just… I had to. Like when I fell through the Infinite Abyss. You guys needed help, and I had to get Finn's attention somehow… It took a lot of focus, though. It was the same this time- Sirius was really hurt, and someone had to get to him."
"Still really hurt…"
"Shhh," Unikitty soothed. "I'll take a look at that as soon as we're settled. You'll be fine."
"Shouldn't your friend there be going to the infirmary with the others?" Airheart questioned, giving them a skeptical look.
"You're not touching him either," Bad Cop growled. "There best be some place on that ship where we can all stay together."
"You all act like you don't trust me."
"You haven't exactly given us reason to," Emmet pointed out.
Airheart rolled her eyes, but took them to the unused mate's quarters. The space was just large enough for them all to fit, with a little elbow room. As soon as the sky captain had left them alone, Bad Cop set Benny down with Lucy and Emmet, and moved over to Business to inspect his shoulder, peeling away the black material. He fished out his pocket knife and used it to carefully cut away the ruined fabric of Business' shirt. Emmet swallowed hard and looked away. "Well, the good news is it went all the way through."
"That's good news?"
"Means we don't have to poke around to dig a bullet out." Business turned green at the thought. "Among other things. Unikitty?"
"On it." She stepped in as Bad Cop moved away again to give them space, pointing her horn toward the wound. It glowed with soft white healing magic, and Lucy watched with fascination as the torn flesh knit itself back together. As Business began to shake, Bad Cop reached over and tore the blanket off the sole bed in the quarters, wrapping it around him.
"Is it over?" Emmet asked, still not looking.
"Yeah, it's over."
"I feel sick," Business complained. Lucy was quick to locate a bin and slide it over to him.
"Aw man, please don't throw up, you'll make me sick," Emmet whined. Business simply groaned in response and rested his forehead against Unikitty's shoulder.
"Oh stars, my head hurts," came Benny's voice, and almost as one they turned to see him sitting up from where he'd been slumped against Emmet. "Anybody get the number off that freight train?"
"It goes by the name Airheart," Bad Cop said dryly. "I'll see about getting some water for that." He poked his head out the door, looking for one of the sky pirates.
"We're moving; I can hear an engine. Where are we?"
"Aboard the Sky Rogue," Emmet answered, and Benny finally cracked an eye open to look at him.
"They captured us?"
Metalbeard snorted, gaining Benny's attention. "Hardly. More like Emmet speechified his way into gettin' us passage to the sky temple."
The astronaut blinked at that. "Whoa, really? I'm kinda sad I missed that." He turned his gaze to Business. "How's the shoulder?"
"Better, now, thanks to Unikitty." Bad Cop left the room entirely, and through the closed door they could hear him growling something at somebody, but couldn't make out the words. Benny giggled slightly. The cop stepped back in a moment later, leaning against the wall facing the door with his arms folded across his chest. After a few minutes a rather frazzled-looking deckhand made his way in, bringing with him water and food and- of all things- Business' insulated case. "Ooh. Give," Business demanded, reaching for it.
"Your cop friend there is terrifying," the deckhand announced before leaving once more. They waited in silence until they were certain he was out of earshot, then started laughing. Bad Cop smirked.
"Whatever gets the job done."