Ah. Well, after my slight stuff up of posting the wrong version, here's the right one! Pretty much the same, just a few words changed, a couple of things added...
I don't know where this little thing came from, actually. But it just wouldn't get out of my head, so I had to sit and write it down. It has nothing to do with Shadows - I'm gonna say this happens after. And yes, I do have a soft spot for Deep Six. He's adorable.
Disclaimer: I, unfortunately, do not own G.I Joe. I'd like to, but it's never gonna happen :D
Enjoy! (and maybe press that pretty little 'review' button, hmm? Yes?) :P
Icy rain pummelled the deck of the trawler as it rode the mountainous waves. Lightning flashed, followed by thunder cracking loudly overhead. Figures slid across the deck of the boat.
"I will not be sick, I will not be sick…ooooh, god…"
Dammit, she was gonna be sick.
Nomad lurched across the deck, the wind snapping at her raincoat and driving stinging sheets of freezing, salty water into her face. She almost tripped over the safety line Shipwreck insisted she wear. She grabbed the railing and leaned over, bringing up her dinner - fortunately, she hadn't eaten much. It had been Shipwreck's turn to cook.
"I thought you said you could handle boats!"
Nomad blinked as the sailor shone his flashlight right in her face. "Well, I've never been on a boat in the middle of the perfect fucking storm!" she shouted back. She glanced out over the roiling black water.
Oh, she shouldn't have done that…
She leaned over again as her stomach heaved, and at the same time the boat plunged down into the next trough. Her feet left the deck and she almost went over. Shipwreck grabbed the back of her coat and pulled her back just in time.
"Get inside," the sailor ordered. "The rest of us have got this under control; you're just getting in the way."
"But I -"
Nomad didn't really want to argue. She grabbed the line that was clipped to her harness and half-dragged herself back toward the cabin.
Cutter glanced around at her as she fell in the door. "Not doin' so well, huh, Nomad? Lookin' a little green around the gills, there." He stood at the wheel - helm - whatever it was called, with his feet braced wide. He moved easily with the boat, as did the rest of them; Shipwreck, Deep Six, Torpedo and Wetsuit. Nomad was the only landlubber on board - and she was feeling it now.
She groaned, her stomach rolling with the trawler. "Next time Hawk sends me out on a boat, I'm gonna ask for the weather report first."
Cutter chuckled, his gaze fixed out the windows. Nomad tried to take a look, but all she could see was black - it was hard to tell where the sky ended and the water began, until a flash of lightning lit the night. She closed her eyes and leaned against the wall.
"Looks like Deep Six and the rest of them have everything battened down," Cutter said. "Why don't you go below decks and dry out? Have a nice cup of hot -"
Nomad bolted from the cabin before he finished his sentence. Just the thought of hot chocolate made her -
Deep Six hung his coat on the hook and sat down at the table, wiping water from his face. Nomad swore he almost cracked a grin when he looked at her, sitting across from him with her head in her hands.
Torpedo clapped her on the back and took a seat next to her.
"I wouldn't sit there if I was you," Shipwreck pointed out. "Not unless you're holdin' a bucket."
Nomad flipped him off. "I told you, I'm usually okay on boats," she said weakly. "Just not when it's…urp…" She held a hand up for a moment and half-rose to her feet - Torpedo tensed slightly, ready to move - but it was a false alarm. "Not when it's…rough like this."
Wetsuit crossed to the sink, soaked a cloth in cold water and tossed it to her. She held it to her forehead with a grateful nod. Navy SEALs might be (supposedly) the meanest guys around - but Wetsuit was alright.
"Well, only thing we can do is wait it out," Torpedo said, still looking at her warily.
Shipwreck clapped his hands. "Alrighty! Who's up for hot choc -"
"Nomad? Hey, what'd I say?"
Nomad sat straight up as somebody roughly shook her shoulder - or rather, she tried to sit straight up. Instead, she hit her head on the roof; she'd got stuck on the top bunk, as none of the guys were nimble enough - or small enough - to get up there.
She turned to see Deep Six looking sharply at her. "What's going on?" She glanced around. The guys were in different stages of dress - Deep Six himself was half into his diving suit. Something was up.
She swung her legs around and jumped out of bed, immediately wide awake. She hurriedly pulled on her fatigues and her shirt over her underwear and tank top - and knew something was definitely wrong when Shipwreck didn't make some kind of smart assed remark about her own state of undress.
Nomad stumbled as the boat rocked sideways. The others wobbled too: apparently, that hadn't been a usual boat-like movement. "Are we under attack?"
"That's exactly what we are," Cutter said, bursting through the door. "Get your butts up on deck. We took a direct hit to our hull; we're takin' water in fast. I already radioed the Flagg, but she's a good two hours away."
"Who hit us?" Wetsuit growled.
"Who do you think?" Cutter retorted.
"Cobra," they answered in unison.
They hurried onto the deck, Nomad grabbing her assault rifle on the way and jamming a full clip into it. The storm had abated in the last couple of hours - Nomad had somehow managed to sleep through most of it.
The trawler shook again, and Nomad heard an alarming cracking sound from somewhere underneath them. "Do I want to know what that was?"
"That was the Cobra submarine takin' another potshot at us," Cutter growled.
"They have a sub?"
Great. A lot of good her rifle would do against one of those - but she was here to provide a little extra firepower. She might at least be able to provide a distraction. Somehow.
The fishing boat was breaking up around them. There was a sudden whoosh - Cutter grabbed one of the searchlights and aimed it toward the source.
The Cobra sub had surfaced not far away.
"Uh oh," Cutter said.
Well, that was never a good thing to hear.
Shipwreck, Wetsuit, Torpedo and Cutter dived to the right. Nomad had just enough time to spot a trail of white water streaking toward them, then Deep Six grabbed her arm and yanked her aside.
For a moment, the world turned upside down. A wave of hot air blasted her into the wall of the cabin. Deep Six was flung further away, landing on the deck and almost sliding the entire length of the boat.
Actually, it was more like sliding half the length of the boat - because that's all that was left. The other half was gone, blown into a billion matchstick-sized pieces. She couldn't see the others anywhere. "Deep Six!" She crawled to him.
He picked himself up slowly, shaking his head. He swayed a little, then dragged Nomad to her feet as well. "Come on."
Deep Six limped toward the stern. "We need to get the S.H.A.R.C ready," he said firmly.
Nomad stared. "But the others -"
He gave her a familiar look. She shut her mouth. "Okay. Uh…how?"
The boat was sinking quickly. Deep Six grabbed a knife and slashed the ropes that held a tarp over the flying submarine, then he opened the hatch. "Get in."
"But - okay, I'm in. I'm in!"
The older Joe hurried to complete the routine checks in the limited time he had. Nomad wanted to help, but she had no idea what to do: best she sit tight and keep out of his way. Story of the last couple days.
The water was almost spilling into the S.H.A.R.C by the time Deep Six got in and closed the hatch. It was a tight squeeze - the flying sub was really only made to seat one, and Deep Six was big. Nomad crammed back as far as she could to give the burly man enough room.
"What now?" she asked nervously. He didn't answer, checking the instruments. Nomad watched as the water covered the S.H.A.R.C entirely. "Deep Six?"
He glanced over his shoulder at her. "Quiet."
Something in his tone made her fall silent immediately. He didn't say much, but even when he did speak, Nomad had never heard him sound so…
Well…she assumed that if sharks could talk, they'd sound much like Deep Six had just then.
He started the engines and the sub moved forward, pushing through the sinking wreckage of the trawler. Some of the searchlights were still on - they cast eerie, greenish beams into the otherwise black ocean. Ropes and other things trailed through the light, then disappeared. Silvery bubbles danced to the surface.
Nomad shivered. It was creepy.
Deep Six shrugged his shoulders - and Nomad realised she was holding onto him. Tightly. "Sorry," she said, feeling herself turn red.
The S.H.A.R.C glided around underneath the boat. Nomad kept her eyes peeled for signs of the others, but couldn't see anything. It was just too dark. "Doesn't this thing have headlights?"
She watched his reflection in the glass as he nodded and opened his mouth to speak - but something caught his attention. Reacting astonishingly quickly, he yanked the steering…wheel?…hard to the left. Something fwooshed past them, a trail of bubbles in its wake.
"Cobra's still around," he muttered. He flicked a few switches. "Nomad, keep still. You move, you'll throw off our balance."
"Uh huh." She pressed herself back into the seat, closed her eyes, and tried to imagine she was sitting in one of those simulator rides at the amusement park.
An extremely realistic, creepy simulator ride.
Deep Six turned the S.H.A.R.C around in a quick 180 and dove down. Nomad peeked through one eye - the surface was no longer visible. They were suspended in darkness; they could have been in a sensory deprivation tank. The only things she could hear were her own heart, Deep Six's slow, measured breathing, and the soft rumble of the engines -
- and the hiss of a torpedo as Deep Six fired. She followed the bubble trail until it disappeared into the black, and then saw a white explosion not far away.
"They're over there," Deep Six said. He was talking more to himself than to Nomad.
"How many torpedoes does this thing have?" she wondered.
"Not enough to take down a Cobra submarine."
A hard jolt from behind threw them forward. Nomad smacked her chin on the back of Deep Six's suit. He spun around, glancing up through the hatch. "Where'd that -"
Another blast hit them. The lights on the instrument panel flickered.
"That didn't look good," Nomad pointed out.
Deep Six ignored her and guided the sub around. Floating behind and slightly above them was a small vessel - it looked much like the S.H.A.R.C, only it had Cobra insignia painted on it.
"Take the bitches out," Nomad growled.
He didn't have to be told twice. Deep Six fired, and very soon the vessel was nothing more than sinking wreckage.
"Behind the seat, there's an oxygen tank and mask."
She frowned. "And…?"
Deep Six turned to her. "That last hit took out the engine."
Nomad paused, tilting her head. He was right; she couldn't hear the engine anymore. "So…"
"We're sinking," he said bluntly.
"Sinking," she repeated dumbly.
It took her a moment to realise why he'd pointed out the spare mask and oxygen tank. "Oh."
The older Joe flipped switches patiently, only stopping when Nomad leaned too far over his shoulder.
"Sorry," she said quickly. "I just…can you get her started again?"
He flicked a few more switches, then his shoulders slumped a little and he shook his head. "No."
"Oh," she said again. It sounded just as stupid as it had the first time. "So…uh…how long do we have?"
He looked at her reflection in the hatch. "About an hour left in the S.H.A.R.C's tank, plus an hour each in my suit and your tank. After that, we'll have to depend on the CO2 scrubbers."
"How long will they last?"
Well, at least he was honest.
They hit something. Nomad gave a small start, then realised they'd hit the ocean floor. She pressed her nose to the hatch, trying to catch a glimpse of something - she didn't know what…a fish, maybe - but it was so dark. She'd never seen darkness so…thick.
Deep Six reached forward and turned the S.H.A.R.C's headlights on.
"Oh, my god," Nomad breathed.
She could only see a couple of metres in all directions. The silt was still settling around them. There were large rocks to the left - luckily, they hadn't hit them. Strange looking seaweed was growing on them, waving gracefully in the current. Where it hadn't been disturbed by the sub, the sand had a rippled pattern to it. It was spooky…yet at the same time, oddly peaceful.
"Well…Cutter radioed the Flagg," she said, prodding Deep Six's shoulder. "He said they were only a couple of hours away. Maybe they'll -"
Deep Six shook his head. "Two hours to reach us," he pointed out. "But then they've still got to find us."
"We've got a distress beacon, right? We can turn that on. I mean, not until they get closer, coz we'll have to save energy, but still…we can make it." She paused. "Right?"
Deep Six looked over his shoulder at her. "Right," he said eventually.
Nomad knew he was just trying to make her feel better.
"Look, fish!" Nomad pressed her nose to the hatch again, staring out at the weird-looking creatures as they swam right past. They were almost transparent - like ghost fish. "Do you think there are giant squids down here?"
Deep Six sighed. "No," he said.
"What about giant sharks?"
"We need to conserve air, Nomad."
"Alright, I'll shut up."
Nomad leaned back in the seat. Deep Six was crouched forward - he couldn't lean back unless he wanted to squish Nomad. She'd said it was okay if he wanted to use her as a pillow - under the circumstances - but he'd shrugged the idea off.
Nomad checked her watch. They'd been down there half an hour already, but it seemed like so much longer. Her legs were starting to cramp - she felt sorry for poor Deep Six, hunched over like he was. The air was already starting to get stale. And it was cold.
"Hey…can we turn the lights on again for a bit?" she asked hesitantly.
He obliged, flicking the switch. She glanced out and grinned as a crab quickly scuttled away from them. "I think I know why you like it down here."
The instrument lights were starting to flicker. Deep Six had stopped turning the headlights on a little while ago. Nomad wished he hadn't - it was far too easy to imagine what was out there in the water.
Damn those horror movies.
The distress beacon was the only thing Deep Six kept switched on, now. He'd put his helmet on and was using the oxygen from the tank in his suit, leaving what little was left in the S.H.A.R.C's tank for Nomad. She'd already dragged the spare tank and mask out from behind the seat.
She'd convinced Deep Six to sit back beside her - if she scooted right over to the edge, there was enough room for the both of them. It was awkward, but it had to be done.
Nomad glanced up as a warning tone beeped. She looked questioningly at Deep Six - he gestured to the mask. Nodding, she put it on and released the valve on the tank.
She felt better as soon as she took a breath - the air was fresh and clean, and she felt wide awake again.
Still…it wouldn't last long. One more hour.
She hoped the Flagg was running on schedule.
The older Joe opened his melancholy eyes wearily. He didn't look good.
"I'm sorry." Nomad leaned her head on his shoulder, feeling just as tired as Deep Six looked. She was also starting to feel a little lightheaded.
He shook his head.
"No, I am," she pressed. "I'm bad luck. If I hadn't been here, you could've opened the hatch and swam. You've got your suit on."
He hushed her. "Quiet."
"I never thought I'd die stuck on the bottom of the ocean," she said.
"You said it before. Two hours for the Flagg to reach us, plus longer to find us. We're almost out of air."
Deep Six didn't say anything. She turned to look at him. "Deep Six?" His eyes were closed. "Deep Six?"
Alarmed, Nomad sat up and removed his helmet, then pressed her mask to his face. "Wake up."
"No. Don't you dare," she whispered. "Don't you dare!" She mustered up the strength to slap him.
He didn't open his eyes. Nevertheless, she slipped the strap of the mask over his head, then turned to the console. "Well…might as well enjoy the view while we can, huh?" she asked sadly.
She switched the headlights on, then jerked back, startled, as a shark darted toward the hatch, bumping it with its nose, then flicked its tail and swam away.
"At least you're where you liked being most," she said, looking back at the diver.
It was hard to breath. The air was thin. She checked her watch - they'd been down there two hours and ten minutes. She had no idea how much longer the CO2 scrubbers would last.
Nomad leaned back again and got as comfortable as she could, closing her eyes.
"Deep Six…you there? …lights…you copy?"
Nomad thought sleepily about answering the radio, then decided against it. It must have just been her imagination…the Joes wouldn't find them until it was too late, anyway…
She opened one eye and looked around blearily. "Huh."
"Nomad, can you hear me?"
"Uh huh. Lemme sleep…"
She wasn't granted her wish - several cheers startled her into a slightly more alert state. "What the hell -"
She glanced around. The room looked vaguely familiar, but she couldn't quite place it.
A figure stepped into view. He was far too bright - his red uniform made her head hurt. "Lifeline?"
He nodded, beaming at her. "Welcome back," he said quietly. "We thought we'd lost you for a moment."
He moved aside, and she saw several people standing behind him, looking at her anxiously - Shipwreck, Cutter, Torpedo and Wetsuit. Wetsuit had a bandage around his head, and Cutter's arm was in a sling.
Lifeline turned to the others. "I think you'd all better come back later. I'll let you know when Deep Six is -"
Nomad's eyes snapped open. "Deep Six?"
Lifeline turned. "Nomad? Do you -"
"Is Deep Six alright? Where is he?"
"He's right here, but -"
"He…he wouldn't wake up. I thought -" It all came back in a flash - the boat sinking, the S.H.A.R.C's engine failing…Deep Six not answering her…the other shark…
Lifeline put an arm around her shoulders and gave her a squeeze. "It's okay. He's gonna be fine."
"But he -"
"He passed out."
"I gave him my mask, and he didn't wake up," she insisted.
"The air was thin," the medic explained patiently. "He's bigger than you, his body couldn't handle the lack of oxygen. Giving him that mask may have saved his life."
"There was a shark, Lifeline. And a crab, and little ghost fish -"
"Sh," Lifeline said, pushing her gently back onto the bed. "You're both okay now. Get some sleep."
Nomad settled back on the pillow, looking across at the next bed, where Deep Six was indeed lying.
Sure, he didn't say much…but she was glad it had been him down there with her.