Chapter 10: Reunion
Rock was speechless. He desperately tried to make sense of the bombshell of information that had been abruptly dropped on him. Revy was alive, and the headstrong eight year old sitting before him and staring him in the face was most certainly her daughter.
This is impossible. He shut his eyes and brought his hands up to his head as if he had just encountered a massive migraine. In his thinking stance, he frantically tried to make sense of the scenario.
"Revy." The word heavily escaped his lips. It had been eight years since the night he had believed she had been killed. Despite his attempts to let her go, he hadn't been able to forget her. And how could he? He thought back to the first day he had met her, when she towered over him with her faithful cutlass staring him in the face. Despite her rugged attitude, he had always found her attractive. She had opened his eyes that day and had filled his life with constant adrenaline and excitement. In return, he had shown her what it was like to finally have someone care about her, and to feel loved. Not a day passed that he hadn't expected to hear her complain about the daily job, not a trip to the market transpired where he hadn't assumed she was right there at his side watching his back. Not a single moment lapsed that he hadn't missed her.
Kate tilted her head slightly in confusion. "Revy? I'm Kate. Remember?"
Rock didn't answer. He was still too preoccupied with the physiological battle that was clashing inside his head. The logical part of him was screaming that he was in denial, that this was all a coincidence, but another part of him desperately wanted to believe it all to be true. He opened his eyes once more and took another look at Kate. He studied her features carefully, from the shape of her eyes and face to the color of her hair and skin. He knew he couldn't deny the evidence. If Revy had survived that blast, the child, his child, she had been carrying would be at least eight years old by now.
Suddenly, Rock felt a sickening feeling stir in his gut. The gravity of the situation had finally started to sink in. He was a member of an unconventional delivery company who had been hired to do a job, and this child, possibly HIS child, was a part of a drug shipment that he and the Lagoon crew were being paid to transport back to Roanapur. The girl was destined for the hands of the Cartel, probably purchased by some perverted drug lord who planned on keeping her around as a house maid with additional services on the side. From somewhere deep inside, Rock felt a strong, primitive emotion rapidly begin to surface. There was a sudden look of determination on his face. He grabbed hold of the radio and instantly brought it up to his cheek.
"Dutch we have a problem."
Dutch was on the deck of the ship looking through a pair of binoculars.
"Damn right we do," he responded, his voice distressed. "There's a Huey heading straight for us! Rock, I need you to stay in the storage room and keep your ass out of sight! Benny, go start the engines!"
"Aye aye!" responded Benny. Without panicking, he rushed over to the ladder and climbed down onto the U-Boat. Dutch pulled out his pistol and took cover behind a large, bound pile of planked wood.
"Damn, I knew this job was too much trouble," he grumbled while waiting for the chopper to approach. "Next time we ask for details and an insurance bonus up front."
He waited impatiently as the sound of the Huey drew closer. As it slowly circled the boat, Dutch peeked around his cover to get a better look. It was well armed with two manned machine guns on each side. Suddenly, the voice of a male American soldier rang out over the loudspeaker.
"Attention Tenchbank vessel 7710848, this is the US Navy. You are in violation of international regulations. Surrender the hostage immediately or we will not hesitate to take lethal action. I repeat, surrender the hostage or we will take lethal action."
Dutch cursed. He poked his head out to the side to take a look at the crew. "These dumb bastards better not be stupid enough to-"
To his disappointment, they too were well armed, had all of their heads covered up, and had their weapons readily aimed at the chopper.
"Shit, this isn't good." He clicked on his radio. "Rock! You copy?"
"I'm here," responded Rock.
"Change of plans. The U.S. Navy is about to light this barge up. We're gonna have to ditch the girl and make a getaway with what we got. Grab a ski mask so you blend in with the rest of the crew and make your way to the boat!"
"Dutch, I can't just leave her behind! She doesn't stand a chance on her own."
"That's not our fuckin problem Rock!" shouted Dutch. His tone clearly indicated he was losing his patience. "Aw shit!"
Dutch pressed hard against his cover as the chopper opened fire. While he had been distracted, one of the Thai men had stupidly fired upon the helicopter, forcing all the other crew members to follow suit. Of course, the chopper's gunner immediately retaliated. The ship's crew members instantaneously scattered to cover, but continued to fire upon the chopper.
A ringing echoed throughout the ship as the alarm began to sound. At the same instant, the Huey moved forward and started slowly circling around the deck of the ship while firing. The gunner managed to take out a few of the Thai men, but the large metal poles and various cargo crates were providing tremendous cover.
Rock held the radio out in front of him as the ship's alarm rang in his ears and the gunfire ricocheted above deck. He had clearly heard Dutch's orders, but was unsure how to proceed. He looked back over at Kate, who was still tied up. Again, he heard Dutch over the radio.
"Rock!? Did you get that? I need you to-"
"I got it Dutch."
"Good. The ladder is at the other end of the deck. You'll have to go topside to get to it."
Rock grabbed his ski mask from his pocket. After shoving it over his head, he rushed over to Kate and began untying her ropes. Kate stared at him confused.
"Listen," explained Rock, sternly. "I'm not going to hurt you, but if I'm going to do this, I need you to do exactly what I say. Okay?"
Kate looked up at Rock. He was different than before. Even in the dark hue of the red light she could tell that his facial appearance had changed. For some reason, he no longer seemed like one of the "bad guys". There was something about his eyes that told her he was telling the truth, as if his expression was purely genuine. She didn't know why, but she knew she could trust him. She nodded in agreement.
Satisfied, Rock continued to untie her. Once she was free, he instructed her to stick close, and the two of them approached the door. Rock put the ski mask over his head and entered the code. The door popped open, and they hurried into the corridor.
It was chaos. Multiple alarm lights flashed through the dark hallway, and the ship's alarm echoed off of the metallic walls as they made their way through the labyrinth of corridors. Eventually, Rock noticed a door that led to the outside.
"This way!" he shouted. The two of them approached the door and Rock cranked it open. They were instantly greeted with a rush of sea air and the salty smell of the ocean. Rock looked around to get his bearings. Luckily, they were on a side passageway right below the main deck. He could hear the chopper's gunfire overhead. From its volume, Rock placed it someone toward the other end of the deck. Unfortunately, so was the PT boat.
Rock made his way toward a nearby ladder and instructed Kate to climb up after him. When they reached the top, he helped Kate up and immediately searched for cover. Suddenly, the Huey, which was hovering directly above the target ladder leading to Dutch's boat, turned, and faced him. For a moment, the world progressed in slow motion, and Rock could feel his heart take several slow, heavy beats. Knowing what was coming, he quickly grabbed Kate and jumped to safety behind a cargo crate. The Huey fired.
Suddenly, the chopper took a violent swing to the right, but almost instantly regained control. Rock looked back in confusion. He hadn't heard a bullet hit the chopper, and it didn't seem to be a mechanical issue. What had caused such an abrupt movement? Without allowing him time to think about it, the chopper moved forward again, but this time it slowed and hovered directly over the open area of the deck. Rock pulled his head back behind cover and prayed the chopper didn't circle around to find him. But to his surprise, he heard a different form of gunfire. It wasn't a weapon that one of the Thai men or ship crew had been armed with, or the sound of the machine gun from the Huey. It was more metallic, more precise, and was met with the sound of the bullet finding its target after every single trigger.
A few moments earlier:
"Miss Rebecca, I don't care if Risk ordered me to let you tag along, I cannot let you aboard that vessel."
"Bullshit you can't!" shouted Revy. She was growing increasingly frustrated with the Navy pilot flying the Huey. "I could take out every one of these mother fucking bastards faster than you could recite the pledge of fucking allegiance!"
The chopper continued to circle around the ship.
"You know the rules Ma'am," stated the pilot bluntly.
Frustrated, Revy growled and tightened her grip on the pilot and passenger seats she was using as balance. Unfortunately, she had not spotted Dutch's PT boat on the side of the ship and the two pilots hadn't really had any interest in pointing it out. After a few moments, the main pilot positioned the chopper over the bow of the ship. He noticed a man wearing a shirt and tie and covered in a ski mask climb onto the main deck. Following him, was an eight year old girl.
"Hostage confirmed," stated the pilot. "Engaging hostile."
The chopper fired toward Rock and Kate, but the pilot deliberately hadn't aimed directly at them. None the less, a very angry Revy lunged forward seized hold of the controls, forcing the chopper to violently swerve to the right. The pilot managed to shove her away and quickly regained control.
"What the hell do you think you're doing!?" he shouted.
"Fuck you! That's my daughter down there fucking asshole!"
"Relax. It was just a scare tactic to get them to separate," explained the pilot. "It can give the hostage an opportunity to escape."
"Well it didn't fucking work did it!" shouted Revy angrily.
Thinking he had the upper hand, the pilot arrogantly tried to put her in her place. "Listen Ma'am, I'm going to have to ask you to calm down, and if you don't I'm going to have to report you."
That was a mistake.
The pilot suddenly felt a chill travel down his spine. Her tone was no longer fueled by anger, but had become heavy and dark. He froze at the cold hard metal of her cutlass digging into the back of his neck.
"Listen fly boy, I'm done playing games. Either you drop me off on that ship, or I drop myself off. Until Kate gets off that boat safely, I don't give a shit what happens to you or me when I get back. Understand?"
The pilot seemed to comprehend the gravity of her warning because in the next instant, he had lowered the chopper as close to the deck as possible. Satisfied, Revy braved the six foot drop and landed perfectly on the deck of the ship, boots first with her guns spread out at her sides. The Thai crew stared at her, surprised and confused. A lone female gunman had been the last thing they had expected. They shifted their guns to take aim, but their initial hesitation had already sealed their fate.
The great Two-Hands made quick work of the first three members of the crew who were dropped within seconds. After realizing whom they were up against, the rest of the Thai crew immediately took evasive maneuvers, hiding behind cargo crates, leftover tuna piles, or anything else they could find for cover. All the while, Revy continued to fire her cutlasses with ease. When her clip ran out, she took cover and reloaded. To anyone else, the scene was a chaotic frenzy, but to her, it was a dance of familiarity.
Rock continued to hide behind cover. He listened as the metallic ping of the cutlass took out its enemies one by one. He sat in disbelief. It was true. Revy really was alive. Suddenly the sound of Kate's muffled voice cut his thoughts short. He quickly turned, only to find Kate snatched up by one of the Thai men. The man spoke to Rock in Chinese.
"Lagoon. I help take care of shipment for you. Boss Jiro will not be happy if girl is not delivered."
"No wait!" shouted Rock, but the man was already on his way to the boat, which unfortunately for Rock, meant dodging Revy's bullets.
"Shit!" Without hesitation, Rock immediately chased after the man. Attempting to stay out of sight, he dodged whizzing bullets by hiding behind various objects. After making his long way across the main deck, Rock searched for his target and noticed the Thai man was pulling away. In one last attempt, Rock sprinted after him. Unfortunately, the rapid movement hadn't gone unnoticed by the crazed female gunslinger, but Rock's focus was completely on the Thai man. He could see the ladder to the U-boat drawing closer. Finally, with the last burst of stamina, he closed his eyes and dove after the man.
Rock felt his arms and chest make contact. When they landed, he held the man down forcefully, ready for any struggling or resistance, but to his surprise the man lay absolutely still. It was then that he started to feel something wet pool around his hand. When he opened his eyes, he saw a small puddle of blood forming around the man's head where a bullet had hit. Shocked, Rock was about to scramble to his feet, but the sensation of cold steel nudging the back of his neck froze him in his tracks.
"Don't you fucking move cocksucker."
Rock felt his heart skip a beat. He would recognize that voice anywhere. Knowing he was in deep shit, he didn't dare speak or move a muscle. Revy nudged him slightly with her cutlass and continued giving orders.
"Let's go. On your knees. Hands behind your head."
Again Rock did as he was told. He felt Revy help Kate off the ground from behind him and walk forward. Once she was in front of him, he looked up at her through the ski mask.
His breath caught. It really was her. She had the same reddish-purplish hair worn back in a pony tail, the same naturally tanned skin, and the same characteristic black tattoo on her left shoulder. To Rock, it was just like the day he had met her, with her towering over him with a gun to his head. To him, she looked as remarkable as ever.
"What the fuck are you're looking at?" shouted Revy as she struck Rock in the chest with the blunt end of her cutlass. At this point, she seemed to care less that her daughter was hearing all of her colorful profanities. Ignoring Rock's long-winded coughing, Revy grabbed his shirt, and knelt down close to his ear.
"Listen dipshit, I'm going to give you the count of three to tell me what the fuck you bastards did to my daughter. One...Two..."
"Wait," interrupted Kate. "He's not the one who kidnapped me."
"Then who gave you those?" she asked sternly, pointing out the large bruises on the side of Kate's head.
"One of the men hit me when I didn't do what he asked."
Revy felt her blood begin to boil. "What did they ask you to do? Did they hurt you anywhere else?"
Rock detected the anxiety in Revy's voice. He knew exactly what she was implying.
Kate shook her head. "No, one of them hit me when I tried to escape. That's all. I think he said his name was Jiro."
Revy let out a sigh of relief and stood up. She looked back at the man kneeling over in pain.
"Kate cover your eyes and turn around," she ordered. "You shouldn't have to watch things like this."
Despite her hesitation, Kate did as she was told. Revy lifted her gun up to Rock's head one last time. Her finger only just touched the trigger when she heard someone climbing up the nearby ladder. A few seconds later, Dutch appeared over the edge of the deck, his face also still covered.
"Shit." It was the only word he could muster at the sight before him. It was unbelievable. There, standing in front of him, was Revy, holding one cutlass to the back of Rock's head, and the second one was aimed directly at him. He slowly put one of his hands up, using the other one to support himself on the rail. He was careful not to make any sudden moves.
"Don't fucking move dipshit," threatened Revy. "Or I'll make sure BOTH of you see what color your brains are."
Dutch didn't move. He knew that Revy in this state was extremely unstable, and unpredictable. Unfortunately, her patience was wearing thin. She used the blunt end of her gun again and smacked Rock in the side of the head, knocking him to the ground.
"Last chance asshole," she spat, jamming the gun to his head once again. "Tell me what the fuck you bastards wanted with my daughter!"
Revy looked back over at Dutch, who had finally taken the opportunity to remove his ski mask. Her eyes went wide.
Dutch nodded. Revy simply stared at him in confusion.
"Listen to me Revy," warned Dutch. He motioned toward Rock. "You don't want to pull that trigger."
Revy froze. Realizing the situation, she focused on the man pinned face down below her. When she recognized what he was wearing, her face went pale and her heart nearly stopped. He was dressed in a battered up white collared shirt, long black pants, and a tie.
It couldn't be.
Hands trembling, she grabbed hold of the black ski mask and slowly pulled it off, revealing Rock's freshly bruised and bloodied face. Sure enough, he was smiling at her.
Author's note: Hurray another chapter finished! I had this idea in my head for a while now. I thought it would be an exciting way for the two of them to reunite. And special thanks to Kipper898 for the shout-out in "A Gun and a Bullet". I'm glad I could help reawaken your muse! Until next time!