Note: Finally! God life has been hectic. I hope I haven't kept you all waiting too long. This is actually the last chapter and you will hate me for the way it ends, but stay tuned til the end notes and you might not hate me so much after.
As the boat drew near their destination, Ariadne took one final look around. She noticed that one of the men that had been assigned to follow Cobb was still on the ship. She then noticed that Tanaka was having a conversation with the man, directing him to do something she was unsure of. They were talking in hushed, hurried voiced and she didn't want to ask, knowing that if they meant to include her they would have. Instead, she unfastened her robe and let it slip off her body, allowing her exposed skin to drink in the afternoon sun.
The rig was moving closer and the further they got out to sea, the faster her heart seemed to race in her chest. She picked up her robe and laid it close by while concealing the weapon Cobb had given her and the canister that Yusuf had instructed her to use.
The men and women around her were already playing their part, speaking in excited and hurried Japanese as they pointed at the sights. They were starting to steer further away from the boats surrounding them, entering into enemy territory. For the first time since the plan had been thought up, she felt scared. What if I'm no match for them?
Then Tanaka was at her side, smiling at her, "Are you ready to play your part?"
Smiling, the architect gave a confident nod, "You bet."
Midori was handing each of the diver's a small oxygen tank. Cobb stowed an extra one in his bag, just in case they would have to sneak out with Arthur in tow. A part of him already knew that once they got in, there would be no sneaking out. But he wanted to not think of the worst scenario.
"Be ready for anything," Midori said, her voice flat and professional, the way Arthur would have spoken, "Don't think that just because you did research on the place, you're going to be able to go in and out without a trace."
"I won't," Cobb replied, readying his gear and staring down at the opening they would be exiting through. The water reflected up at him and he had to close his eyes for a moment to steady his nerves.
"You can still stay behind," Eames was next to him, crouching close, "You can still bail."
"Arthur would never bail on me," the extractor replied and left it at that.
And Eames gave Cobb a look of concern, "Arthur's not going to like it when he realizes I broke my promise."
Tony wasn't having a good day. He had spent the previous night drinking and playing card games with the boys until nearly sunrise. His head ached and the blinding afternoon sun was killing his eyes. The guy they had paired him up with, Johnson, didn't look too hot either and kept complaining every few minutes like it would somehow make things better.
Tony sighed. He wasn't having a good day and he absolutely hated Monday mornings.
"Hey, what's that?" Johnson nudged him, pointing into the distance.
Tony squinted and realized that it was a boat heading toward them, slowly. He pulled the pair of binoculars they hung on the railings before him and held them up to his eyes. He saw a group of Asians on a boat, pointing to things in the distance, laughing and taking pictures. Tourists. Then there was a young girl, obviously American and very much bikini clad. She was waving her arms, almost as if trying to signal them.
"What do we do?" Johnson asked and Tony heard the click of the safety on the other man's gun.
"What the fuck are you doing?" Tony asked, glaring at the other man, "They're fucking tourists. They're probably lost and thought they could get help over here."
"We're not supposed to let anyone get near this place."
Tony held the binoculars out for Johnson, "Take one look at that babe and tell me you don't want to help just a little."
There was a moment of silence before Johnson lowered the binoculars, "I wonder if she's single."
Arthur opened his eyes when he heard the sound of a door opening. His eyes searched the room he was in and he realized he was lying on a cot, a blanket pulled over him. There was an IV in his arm, feeding him fluids. He tried to reach for it, wanting to pull it out, but when he moved he found that his left hand had been handcuffed to a bar on the wall. His wrist was already rubbed raw and bleeding from previously being cuffed, but he tugged anyway, noting how much energy it was taking for him to do that simple act.
"You better stay still," a voice said and he remembered why he woke. He had heard someone enter the room.
Hank stood before him, stone faced and aggravated. Instead of hitting the point man or even pulling him out of bed, Hank kneeled beside the cot and held out a bottle of unopened water. Arthur stared at it for a long moment before carefully moving his free hand to grasp the bottle. The thug opened the cap before stepping back.
His hand was shaky, but he carefully tilted the bottle to his lips and allowed a small amount of water to drip into his mouth. Arthur's throat felt instant relief when he started to swallow the cool liquid. It took all of his willpower to not gulp the entire bottle down. He knew he would be a bad idea and he'd only end up wasting most of it.
"It wasn't supposed to go this far," Hank said suddenly, crossing his arms and leaning against the door, "I fucking hate you for spitting in my face, but it wasn't supposed to go this far."
Arthur took in the man before him, licking his lips and trying to speak. His words came out raspy and forced, "Why are you telling me this?"
"Cause it's over. The damned bitch took it too far after realizing that you weren't going to talk," Hank said, scowling, "We don't kill. We rough people up and we get what we need. You're either really fucking stubborn or you don't know shit. Either way it's not our problem anymore."
The point man couldn't comprehend what he was being told.
"Basically we're going to throw you overboard and if you make it, you make it. If you drown, it isn't our fault."
That's comforting, Arthur thought as he cautiously took another sip of water. He carefully set the water down beside the cot on the floor and cast his eyes toward the thug at the door. He wanted to say something, but before he could get the thought out he heard two gunshots out in the hall.
"What the fuck?" Hank exclaimed as he pulled out his weapon and blindly opened the door.
The point man wanted to yell for him to back away, but it was too late. A bullet caught Hank in the head, splattering blood and brain matter onto the floor. The thug crumpled into a heap, his blood starting to blanket the floor. Then through the door stepped Lila, face marred with spots of blood. She looked impossibly angry and in her hand was a small case.
"No one said it was over," the woman growled, kicking the door shut and locking it.
Arthur felt a shiver run down his spine.
The water was warm when it hit Cobb, engulfing him and pulling him under. He breathed through the portable oxygen tank, carefully following his teammates, first going deep beneath the surface to keep from being detected, then carefully swimming up toward the structure of the rig.
From the layouts that Arthur had given him, there were several entryways. Two were underwater, but there was no indication as to whether they were locked or not. There were four other entrances, both of which exposed them. From what they were told before they took the dive, the southern entrance looked clear and that was the one they headed for. They could clearly see a ladder leading up and out of the water, obviously there for when a boat would dock.
Midori was the first to grab onto the ladder, scaling it before signaling for the rest to follow her. Cobb was second and following behind him was Eames. Then followed the last of their team, who they had earlier found was named Hiro. Carefully, they made their way onto the structure and discarded of equipment they knew they wouldn't need until they were ready to depart.
Right before them was a steal door, leading into the facilities. Just as they reached it, someone shouted in their direction, "Hey!"
"Kuso!" Hiro swore as he ran to the door and flung it open.
Midori was already readying her weapon, pushing the others toward the door as the sound of gunfire started to assault them.
Ariadne had to keep from swearing when the canister in her hand was thrown out of her reach. She dove for it as those on the ship tried to fend off the guards that were on their boat. There were only two, but she heard the sound of guns going off and already knew more were coming. She quickly grabbed the container and ran back to where the others were holding down the two men. She sprayed them both in the face and they went limp, eyes wide open. The architect gave a sigh of relief, but it was short lived when the sound of a door crashing open greeted her ears.
"Shit!" she swore as she kicked of her heels and grabbed her robe.
There was a group of ten men running toward them, all wielding guns and opening fire. Ariadne ducked and started to crawl on deck. She could hear Tanaka at the other end of the boat shouting orders and she kept crawling, hoping to go below deck and away from the fray of the action. Just as she reached the doors to go below, she felt a strong hand on her ankle. Someone forcefully pulled here away from the doors and she cried out, kicking her feet as she did so. Her foot connected with a solid thud and the thug cursed, but held on tight.
Panicking, she reached into the pocket of her robe and almost dropped the weapon she had hidden there. Just as the goon got close enough to reach her, Ariadne's switched on the taser in her hand and pressed it against the thug's neck. The bulk of a man cried out and fell back, swinging his arms. The architect managed to duck the blows and was on him, pressing the electrified weapon against every part of the man she could find, not stopping until she realized he was no longer struggling.
She heard someone coming up behind her and swung around, holding her weapon tightly in her hand. Someone caught her by the wrist and instead of screaming, she felt relief, "Tanaka!"
"Get below deck now! We can handle this!" Tanaka shouted, pushing her back toward the double doors.
Ariadne wanted to protest, but couldn't get the words out of her mouth as more gunfire was heard. She nearly tumbled down the stairs when Tanaka pushed her through the doors. Then the doors were being shut behind her and she could hear the lock clicking into place.
"Ariadne!" she turned to see Yusuf reaching for her.
She took his hand and followed him further back into the ship. Once they ere a safe distance away, she saw that they weren't alone. Saito was there as well and in instant the two were close enough, he lead the younger woman to a seat in the corner. It was then, away from all the noise and panic that the architect realized what had happened outside. Her whole body was trembling and she felt incredibly weak.
"Are you alright?" Saito asked, draping another towel around Ariadne.
"I'm okay," the architect breathed, "I'm okay."
"Move! Move! Move!" Midori yelled down the hall as bullets rained upon then, ricocheting off the metal beams around them.
Cobb turned his head to look at their assailants, watching in awe as the Japanese woman took expert aim, gunning down anyone who stood in her path. Hiro was less efficient with a firearm, but when anyone even got close to him he was swift in taking them down with calculated movements. The two made a good team, one having and advantage at a distance and the other at close range.
"Come on, move before someone blows your bloody brains out!" Eames shouted at the extractor, pushing him down the corridor so fast Cobb wasn't sure if he would remember how to get back.
Down the halls they went, gunfire slowly ceasing. As they turned the corner they knew immediately something was terribly wrong. They had hit a dead end, but that wasn't the problem. Before them were two men, lying dead in the hall, having been shot through the head. From underneath the door a thin layer of blood was seeping its way through.
"What the fuck?" Cobb asked as he took slow steps closer.
From within the room, the extractor could hear screaming, even over the sound of guns going off behind him. Then suddenly, the hall plunged into silence and all they could hear was someone screaming as if they were dying. Cobb's heart seized in his chest. Arthur!
"He's in there!" the extractor exclaimed as he rushed forward, only to have strong hands holding him back.
"Don't just charge headlong in there," Hiro's voice was firm, holding Cobb back as Midori approached the door and tried to open it.
"It's locked," the Japanese woman said, taking aim with her gun, "I'm going to blow the lock."
The screaming had stopped. Cobb stood there, feeling his heart pounding against his chest as he got his gun into a ready position.
"Company," Lila whispered, her eyes shifting to the door, "Bad company's coming."
Arthur was drawing breath through gritted teeth. He tried to lift his head to see the damage done, but knew he didn't have to see it to feel it. The mad woman had grabbed his hand and managed to pin it to the wall by jamming a knife through his palm. The pain he felt had been so awful he was certain he would lose his voice from how much head had been screaming.
She had been ceaseless, not letting up as she pulled a second knife from her case and began to carve into his torso, tracing the lines of old scars across the span of his body. She finally stopped when she heard gunfire outside the door.
"Shh," she leaned close to his ear, gently stroking his hair, "Don't be scared. I won't let them get you. You're all mine. All mine."
I'm so tired, Arthur thought, feeling her fingers in his hair, almost as if she were trying to sooth him. He closed his eyes, feeling his body giving in as blood loss made him lightheaded and incoherent. I just want to go to sleep.
Then the door was bursting open and her hand was gone. He could hear her screaming and cursing, but couldn't find it in himself to lift his head. Something was going wrong with her plan.
"You can't do this!" Lila was screaming, "You can't fucking do this to me!"
He heard the sound of scuffling followed by shots fired. Then everything became silent. He heard footsteps approaching, but he couldn't open his eyes. He was so tired. A warm hand was placed on his face and he flinched, instinctively trying to move away.
"Arthur," a familiar voice was whispering to him, filled with emotion, and relief washed over him.
He tried to speak, but the words wouldn't come. He could hear them talking, their voices urgent, filled with concern, anger, sadness. Then they were fading and he was falling through the darkness. That familiar voice kept whispering to him over and over again, "Stay with me."
His only though before unconsciousness too him was: It's okay now.
Note: I know, I told you that you would hate it. However! Good news is that there is a sequel coming. It will chronicle the aftermath with a few twists thrown in for all of you.
In all honesty, I wanted to get this done just so I can go to the sequel. Believe me when I say that I will be in depth with it. I'm not going to magically make things all better. It will also explain what happened after what you've read in this chapter.
Thank you all for sticking with me. Hope to see you again soon!