A/N: This is a second attempt at a Black Lagoon fic. The first one I tried refused to set out well, and if I feel it isn't well written I won't publish it. Bear with me. I know some of you are wondering when I will get my other fics updated. Plain truth, I don't know. Whatever muse I had for a while has deserted me, and I have had no will to write. This is as much to straighten things back out in my head. I am moving back to a small town I have lived in much of my life in order to do my course work to get my Associates of Applied Sciences for Aviation Maintenance, so I have a lot on my mind.


Chapter 1

The young man sat with his back against a wall, a Ruger AC556 laying in his lap. Occasionally he would jump when he heard a staccato of gunfire from somewhere and knew it meant that more of his friends were dead. He kept wondering when it would be his turn.

He could easily tell the sharper reports of the AK74 rifles the police were using. Sometimes he heard fire from the older AK47s the rest of the rebels were using, though highly infrequently. He had told his employers that an open attack in any part of Kazakhstan was suicide, but of course they hadn't listened. His job was to ensure combat readiness and act as a marksman.

Gathering himself into a kneeling position he aimed his rifle at the door to the room he was hiding in. Clicking the fire selector into full-auto he removed the scope , was totally useless in close range with it mounted. He mentally went over his checklist. Combat load, one chambered, full magazine. Irons sighted in at twenty five yards, aim low. Pray to god that they don't have your bullet.

The door began to open...

"Hey, Crider. We are putting in to Roanapur for fuel only. We will be there in an hour. You have until this thing is full of diesel to get off unless you want to stay on 'til we hit Portugal," A large Armenian man yell into the room.

"Crider" shifted as he slipped into consciousness. That yell meant that the three months he had spent down in the engine bay of the smuggling ship was over, and he was getting paid. Next step was to find employment in Roanapur. Provided he survived, well that was a certainty rather than a question, after all he had survived that cluster fuck in Kazakhstan.

Gathering his belongings, a duffel bag filled with clothing and personal items, and a locked suitcase that he had not opened since coming aboard the vessel, he went up on deck. He set his stuff down by the entrance to the crew quarters. Standing he walked toward the bow of the ship. Calling it a ship was generous though. More like a shipwreck waiting to happen. The only thing that was in any kind of condition was the engines, he made sure of that, much to the captain's chagrin when he had to shell out for parts.

Losing himself in the wind he heard five sets of footsteps approach to withing twenty feet and then stop. So it was time for contingency three. They kill him to keep any of their secrets from getting to the ears of the authorities.

He turned slowly. Upon reaching the hundred and eighty degree mark he took in the situation. The captain had an old break over shotgun pointed at him while the other crew was unarmed. Predictable, and it put the odds in his favor.

Leaving his hands at his sides he worked the little .25 Beretta to where the barrel was touching the heel of his hand. If what came next wasn't the either "stay and live or hit the drink speech" he would eat a torque wrench.

"Something we forgot to tell you when you joined up, the only way off the boat is a load of buckshot to the head. You have a choice, stay on the crew and keep the engines running, or I blow your dome off and dump you overboard," the large Armenian said smoothly, and "Crider" could have sworn he heard a sigh of relief from the engine room.

No torque wrench quiche tonight.

Before the five smugglers could comprehend what happened he had flicked the pistol down into his hand and had planted a round above each of the mens' left eye. So much for something actually going right in his life. Maybe he should have let them kill him.

Five hours later he was trying to piece together what had just happened. He had walked into a bar a few blocks away from the harbor. He asked the bartender if there were any vessels based in Roanapur that needed a mechanic. Then he talked to a middle aged black dude wearing a flack vest. And now he was on the deck of an old Elco PT boat.

His current wonder was if he had somehow made a sacrifice to some god by shooting the smugglers. Everything was going right, where only hours earlier he had a shotgun staring him down. Maybe he should find another boat of smugglers and massacre them to keep this up.

He finally pieced everything together. The black guy, Dutch, was the owner and captain of the Black Lagoon, the Elco PT boat, and had hired him on as a mechanic to even out the crewing of the ship and have an extra set of hands on-board during jobs. He ran a courier service and had three other employees. Revy, Rock, and Benny.

Their main employers were the crime syndicates on the island, mainly the Triads, and the Russian Mafia. Revy took care of the shooting when it occurred, Rock was their negotiator and face to the client, and Benny took care of the radar and computer work. Dutch had been doing most of the mechanic work on the boat, but he was glad to be able to get someone else who was actually willing to do the work.

He turned toward the hatch that lead to the engine room but stopped when he felt the barrel of a pistol press against the back of his skull. His brain went in to overdrive. The shape told him it was either a Beretta 92 or 93R, a quick shift of his head revealed the lack of a flip down grip and told that it was a 92.

"Tell me who you are and why I shouldn't blow your brains out," a rough female voice asked, obviously the person holding the gun.

"My name is Ethan Haines, and I was just hired as a ships mechanic by the owner of the boat," Ethan was the best he could come up with when he hit town.

It worked out though, he actually had documentation of this identity. One of five identities he had for legitimate work. Every other job he came up with something off the top of his head. However with the need to find someplace to live he needed to use something halfway legal. And it was easier to get a bank account in any country with a picture ID.

"Yeah right, Dutch has been doing the mechanic work on the Lagoon as long as I have been here."

"And I am tired of having to squeeze my big black ass into the engine room. Let him go Revy, he ain't lying to you," Dutch piped up coming up from below deck.

The second that the pistol left the back of his skull he stepped about five foot forward and turned. He studied the three people who he saw. Revy and two men. Revy stood a few inches shorter than he did, and was wearing a pair of custom chrome frame 92Fs. The shorter of the two men was Japanese, that would mean that was Rock. The taller one would have to be Benny.

"Now that the introductions seemed to be in order, I am Ethan Haines. I just got hired as a mechanic, I don't care if you have a problem with me, and I am going to go to the engine room before someone else decides to massage my scalp with a pistol," he turned and strode quickly to the hatch before anyone could get near him.

He wasn't anti-social or anything, he just wasn't fond of being held at gunpoint. No one he had encountered was at that. So his haste to get away from Revy was understandable. She didn't look too bad, but he tended not to pursue women likely to kill him. Was not good for his health.

The Lagoon wasn't the first Elco he had ever been on. His grandfather had bought one after Korea and had lived out on a lake until he died. After his death Ethan's father had sold the boat for what he could get out of it and had ended up in the hospital with severe alcohol poisoning, the bill taking up what he hadn't drank up.

He knew the engine bay of one these boats well, when it actually had the engines that came in them. Instead of the traditional three 1500 horsepower 12 cylinder gasoline Packards it had two 3000 horsepower eight cylinder diesel engines, he didn't know what brand. And instead of the three screws it had twin water jet propulsion. Add in the lighter formed steel hull over the original mahagony wood hull it was way ahead of its time. Well any other PT 103 class Elco.

Going through and looking the engines over he was amazed at how well they were maintained. While he had not originally been a mechanic of any type he learned to work on marine engines as a way of getting transport in and out of countries while keeping a low profile. Nobody really paid a grease monkey any attention unless they had to.

He could hear yelling above him, but he tuned it out, probably Revy didn't like the fact they were getting a new crew member. Dutch had been sure to warn him about her dislike of new faces. At least she had asked who he was instead of just pulling the trigger.

She wasn't hard to read. About like most of the people he interacted with since he had runaway from home. Gutter trash. Not much different than him. They both smelled the same. Gunpowder, smoke and blood. Probably the reason she put a gun to his head in the first place. He didn't blame her.

His ears picked up the metallic ringing of someone coming down the ladder. The steps were heavier than a woman's, so that ruled Revy out as the one approaching him. He stood from the pulley assembly he had been going over and turned to the visitor.

The first impression Rock gave off was office boy. Wearing the white shirt and tie gave him away instantly. He hadn't heard him speak yet, but he figured that he would be highly polite and would try to apologize for Revy's actions.

"Hello, I'm Rock. Sorry about Revy putting a gun to your head, she doesn't do well with new faces."

Smack on the nail's head with that one.

"Sorry about how I yelled at y'all. I just have never liked having a gun pointed at me from any range. Like I said my name is Ethan. I will admit that was a more exciting welcome than I have had in a while."

Rock visibly relaxed at Ethan's words. Ethan had been told that Rock and Revy were partner's. Rock was the voice, Revy the muscle. Sounded a little backwards for a woman to be the muscle, but now it made sense after meeting her. They handle most of the customer interactions and were often times inseparable. And their partnership had also erased all fear of death from Rock.

"I don't suppose it would be possible to have you leave the boat for a while, would it," Rock asked seriously.

"She holds a grudge easily. Sorry, I need to get familiar with these engines, and the whole damned United States Marine Corps won't stop me from it. Revy is not the first woman that threatened to kill me, though most waited till they knew my name at least. I do want to know who does her gunsmithing work though, those 92Fs are a pure work of art."

Rock sighed and left. The thought running through his head was that Ethan was going to have maybe another day or two of his life left.

"Goddammit Dutch, we don't need another pocket thinning out the pay," Revy yelled punctuating the statement by punching the steel bulkhead.

"I'm getting too old to be stuffing myself down there nowadays. You can either put up with him or leave, as it is I doubt he will be much of a problem. As eager as he was to get to the engine room the only time we may see him is when we are in port. He understands the risks and agreed to all the terms I stated to him. His only function will be to make sure the Lagoon's engines can outrun anything they need to," Dutch stated, his voice even as he sat down at his usual position at the helm.

"You say that, but you don't catch the smell coming off of him. Gunpowder and death, the same smell I have, the same smell that fucking maid had. He's gutter trash, he isn't just a mechanic. He is running from something. He will be trouble for us."

"When that comes you can paint what ever wall he is standing in front of at the time with his brains."

Benny yelled from his cabin down the corridor, "I agree with Revy, something about him just seems off. However he checks out on paper. Ethan Haines. Age twenty six. Parents deceased. Been working as an engineer on ships most of his adult life. Says he was born in Richmond, Virginia, moved to Grey Bend, Nevada when he was three months old."

Dutch turned his head as Rock stepped into the main cabin, "What do you think?"

"Honestly, he is hiding something. Something painful for him. His movements are too fluid for someone who is just a mechanic. They are more like Revy's or Chang's. He holds himself far too alert to not have some type of combat training, though it is unlikely to be formal. He is somewhat friendly, and he seems to be able to read people easily. He does not hold grudges easily. I don't think he forgets it when someone wrongs him however. He is genuine in his interest in the engines," Rock laid out his assessment of the newest crew member.

"I don't like it. How did he get to Roanapur in the first place. I doubt that someone like him would have flown in here to find work on a ship, and it isn't like there is a passenger service too this place," Revy grumbled.

A/N: Long for my writing, but I want to give you plenty to read until the next update. Like I said I have a lot going on and cannot even give an idea of an update schedule. I will do my best though. I actually had about half a chapter for Return of Light done when my hard drive bit it. Luckily I was able to get a new one and am getting back into writing mode. A quick thought: those of you who use the pay it forward method of getting reviews are assholes. If you cannot write for the sake of writing, then don't write. Even if nobody reviews this I am still going to continue writing it. So many great stories have died because of this method. Goodbye.