If there was one thing guaranteed to lull a man to sleep it was the sound of a well tuned engine. Even Ethan wasn't immune to it. It also kept the dreams away. In fact the only time he could sleep soundly was when he was next to the engines on a vessel.
The only thing that woke him up was the change in pitch as the engines slowed to idle. Blinking the sleep out of his eyes he sat up on his cot. Standing and grabbing his shirt off a pressure valve he pulled it on and left the engine bay.
Looking off the bow he could see a small cabin cruiser approaching them, though on the vector it was on it would probably run right by them. That was the plan actually. They pass the Lagoon, Revy jumps on and slaughters the crew, Dutch pulls along side, they transfer cargo, and then Ethan rigs the engines to explode and scuttle the ship.
Pretty simple, at least until he noticed a glint and felt something scrape his arm. Cursing he barreled into the main cabin.
"They know we aren't tourists Dutch. Might be time to run," he yelled entering the main cabin.
Revy and Dutch turned their heads to him and noticed the blood staining his right arm. Without even looking Dutch advanced the throttles to full out. Before the boat was at full speed Revy had already made it out on deck and was prepared to jump on the other vessel.
"Hey Dutch, what gives. My equipment can't handle this type of abuse. Warn me next time," Benny yelled from his cabin.
Ethan grabbed a pair of binocs and trained them on the advancing boat. He paled when he saw what was on the bow. A Barret M82 Anti-Material rifle. Capable of making shots at ranges exceeding one mile. With pinpoint accuracy. Fuck. Fuck. FUCK!
He moved without thinking. He sprinted out on deck, took flight, and hit Revy in the back of her knees making her fold backward on top of him as a round punched a neat hole just above where Dutch was sitting.
"YOU BASTARD, JUST WHAT THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU'R DOING," Revy screeched.
"KEEPING YOUR FUCKING HEAD ON YOUR FUCKING SHOULDERS! THEY HAVE A FUCKING .50 RIFLE," he returned with the same force.
Tilting her head back she noticed the half inch hole in the Lagoon's windshield, "Fuck. They do. Fuck."
He heard the boat approach closer and heard the Barret let off another round now that they were within hearing range and were closing. He could tell that the shooter wasn't skilled, but at close range that didn't matter. Despite knowing he would regret the decision he allowed instincts to take over. One of Revy's Cutlasses was sitting right next to his hand.
He grabbed the pistol and shot up flipping Revy onto her front. He lined up the shot and fired. He knew the difficulty of hitting a target on a moving ship from another moving ship. However his luck was holding out.
While he hadn't hit the shooter he managed to hit the scope ruining it and effectively silencing the weapon. He lowered the gun and let himself breathe.
Revy pushed herself up, "NEVER DO ANY SHIT LIK...! Woah. Great shot."
Ethan said nothing as he handed the pistol back to her. He wasn't surprised when she hopped over to the other boat when it passed them. He listened to the sharp cracks of the twin 9mm pistols as Revy mercilessly executed each crew member. The sounds got quieter as the cruiser got farther away.
Eventually the boat stopped. Dutch pulled the Lagoon along side and him and Rock jumped over to the smaller vessel. If Rock was surprised at the lack of Ethan's reaction to the corpses he didn't show it. They managed to find several crates of morphine and transferred them. Ethan went to the armory on the Lagoon and got a brick of semtex and a detonator receiver.
Cutting a hole in the fuel tank he formed the explosive into a kind of patch and put it into place, then he put the the receiver into the explosive. Jumping back over to the Lagoon he waited till they were a safe distance away and hit the button. The cruiser burst into a cloud of black and orange. It brought a slight smile to his lips.
When they hit Roanapur they sent Ethan to deliver the goods to Balalaika. Dutch decided it was time they speak about him.
"Ok, you three have been wary of Ethan since he came onboard with us. I was willing to leave well enough alone, however that stunt with shooting out a rifle scope from a moving boat has me asking questions. And being able to rig a boat to blow that easy concerns me," Dutch started.
"No shit. He managed to recognize the weapon from long range through binoculars. He hit the scope of a rifle from mid range with a 9mm pistol. And he setup a semtex charge without even trying. He isn't a simple mechanic," Revy stated, somewhat condescendingly.
Rock sighed, "He carries himself in a military manner, he thinks of the best way to do anything with a minimal expenditure of resources. He has been able to recognize weapons by sight and sound. I think that he may have been a mercenary before he came here."
"So what, he screwed up a job and needs to hide out or something? Why not disappear somewhere like Mexico, someplace hard to locate people? Roanapur is filled with mercs, it would be an obvious place to hide," Benny offered up half joking.
"This is the City of the Dead, maybe he decided it was time for him to die. Wouldn't be the first person to run here for that reason. Besides something about his age doesn't add up," Revy stated bluntly.
Dutch raised his eyebrow, "His age doesn't add up? What the hell does that mean?"
"Dutch, I'm twenty five. He looks closer to thirty. Even with hard living he wouldn't look that old and be just a year older than me."
"So what, he just happened to have the ID of a guy that looked like him and was three or four years younger. Who goes around with something like that?"
"Someone trying to forget who he was," Rock said quitely.
It hadn't taken Ethan long to deliver the drugs. He dropped them off at the warehouse Dutch had told him to go to. Other than stopping to get a six pack and something to eat he had gone straight back to the office.
He had reached the top of the stairs about the middle of the conversation. He stopped and listened. It didn't take a stretch of the imagination to figure out who they were talking about. He listened and thought.
He was an idiot to think that they wouldn't ask questions about him. The moment he picked up Revy's pistol he had admitted he was not a simple mechanic. And he also shown too much of his familiarity with explosive materials.
He couldn't have broadcasted it better if he had walked in smoking a cigar and carrying a machinegun. Old habits were hard to kill. Some ended up killing the person with them. It is always a gamble.
He now realized though, that he had forgotten about the age difference between himself and the identity he was using. Of course he was going to look about thirty since he truly was almost thirty. Those four years made a difference in how someone looked.
He had three choices. Tell them who he really was, if he remembered himself. Go in there like he hadn't heard anything. Or he could be a coward and walk away. Well two choices, he wasn't even going to consider a cowardly act. Just wasn't in him.
When he heard them start moving around he called out, "I'm back. Oh, and I brought beer."
He walked through the door. He noticed some well hidden suspicious looks. He had spent too long as a gun, he was good enough that he could look a catholic priest in the eyes and tell him ever time he lied. Damn necessity of being hyper aware.
He knew that eventually he would have to tell them the truth. The problem was how to do it and not get his head blown off. Was that possible though? Around Revy he wasn't too sure.
"Hey Ethan," Benny broke his train of though.
"Yeah man, whacha need?"
"Why don't you use one of the apartments here. Dutch would give you a better price than what you are probably paying now."
"One, I prefer not being indebted to my own boss. Two, I have a feeling that it has saved me from getting my head blown off. I think the only reason I am alive is cause Dutch threatened to dock her pay if she killed me."
Benny laughed when Revy shot Ethan a look that would have stopped a tank, "You may be on to something with the second point."
Shaking his head Ethan checked the clock, "I'm going to go back to my place. Benny, tell Jane to send some more of whatever those things were supposed to be. They may have looked like rocks, but they tasted pretty decent."
It was Dutch's turn to shake his head, "There are only two people here who can eat her cooking. Benny has to, the fact you actually like it is amazing. You might have been able to eat in a military chow line with a stomach like yours."
"Spend three months eating nothing but pickled herring and liverwurst , afterward everything tastes good. Even something like sauerkraut."
"Would a bullet taste good," Revy asked, displaying her dislike for the woman.
Ethan cocked his head to one side, "It would probably be extremely crunchy, but I'll pass," he then left the room just a breath before the door frame was dissolved by Revy and her Cutlasses.
"Dutch, I'm calm now. You can let me go," Dutch released Revy from the headlock he had put her in during her fit.
Benny looked at the spot Ethan had been standing at when he had said that, "I did not think it was possibly, but someone actually made a joke at Revy's expense and survived."
"Further assessment, he may also be batshit crazy. And you get at me for audacity. That was miles past anything I have said to Balalaika. I figured only Mr. Chang could have said something like that and lived. He didn't even look concerned. Like he knew what was going to happen, and he knew that he was going to live," Rock stated breathlessly.
"I may have judged him wrong. He has balls, but he's still gutter trash. OH, he has it coming alright. He is going to wish his mother had miscarried when I'm done with him. Nobody does that to me and walks away unschathed."
Ethan laid down on his bed. He could not believe he had said that and managed to get away. He had pleased some god. If he figured out which one he was going to become religious. Well, he might pray some, but that counted. Right?
He closed his eyes. He new that it was futile, he would only wake up again in a few hours. Then sleep claimed him.
He drew his knife across the throat of the last Mujahideen fighter. In less than five minutes he had taken out the entire cell while it slept. He was giving up a good paying job, but honor won out over money, like it usually did. Pulling the man's light cover up over his face he stood.
Walking over to a bound form he nudged it, "Ma'am wake up. I need to get you back to the Russian lines before someone comes over to say hi."
The form shifted and moaned, "Еще пять минут. Мм, кто является Вами?"
"Please in a language I can understand."
"Who are you?"
"At the moment, unemployed. If you had asked about fifteen minutes ago I was a mercenary employed by the mujahideen forces. However the rest of my cell lost an argument on morality with my knife. If your wanting a name, call me Mag. Now what do I call you?"
The woman he was untying looked him in the eyes with a disgusted look, "Я - Капитан Павловена, Вы часть грязи." (I am Captain Pavlovena, you piece of filth.)
"Wow, I don't even speak Russian and I can figure out you don't like me. The most I got out of that was Capt. Pavlovena. Ok Capt. Lets get you back to your lines," he helped the woman up on her feet.
"Wait, my rifle. I cannot return without it."
Mag was dumbfounded, "It was a Dragunav. It is not a particularly good rifle. They are a dime a dozen. They will issue a new one when you return."
Capt. Pavlovena grabbed him by the front of his shirt, "Either find my rifle, or I am staying here."
"Fine. Shit, if it was a Moison-Nagant I could understand. But a Dragunav."
Going over to the crate they had put all the captured sniper rifles in he hefted it on his shoulder and brought it over to her. He spent the next half a hour searching through the crate until he found the rifle she was so damned possessive of.
"As much as you seem to love that thing I ought to call you Mrs. Balalaika. Oh well. Come on, it will take us two or three days to reach Russian lines. I don't want to be here when someone comes looking for these bastards."
Capt. Pavlovena stood a moment before following, "Балалайка, я фактически как звук этого. Мисс Балалэйка." (Balalaika, I actually like the sound of that. Miss Balalaika.)
Ethan opened his eyes slowly. Looking over at his clock he saw it was six in the morning. He had gone to sleep about eleven. So he got a full night sleep.
Wait, he got a full night's sleep. He didn't have a nightmare. He saw a memory he had forgotten amongst all the bad ones that plagued him. Maybe this city was what he needed. Or to tempt death like he had last night.
A/N: Well using other languages in my writing is a first, well a real one any way. However if you spoke something other than english as your primary language you would tend to favor it when you were waking up or pissed off. In the next chapter Ethan is going to reveal to Lagoon Company as much as his past as he can remember. He may not have amnesia, but he has had so many names, and been so many places, and had so many memories he wanted to be rid of things are a little hit and miss for him.