Friday, September 07, 2007

Two Guns - Chapter 7 - Shout

As far as such things turned out, the motel room didn't stay quiet for long. Sharon wondered idly how that could be.

"Prometo mi vida," Mark said, with something panging against his otherwise pretty decent non-accent. He kissed Alexandra's hand and slowly rose from his knee, keeping his head down while she drew in a few small sobs and finally recomposed herself.

"Okay," she said, wiping a small wetness - not a tear! - from the corner of her eye. She cracked a small, desperate grin. "Some cartel we have, eh?"
"We've still got our men out on assignment," Vince said, leaning against the wall and watching the entrance. "We can..."
"Hang on a second," Alex said. "Should she be hearing this?"

Sharon got up from the bed, grabbed her jacket and started to walk, but Mark held her back.

"No, I need to hear this," he said. "And she's with me."

Alex folded her arms and put on a fake pout. Sharon sat back down and opened her suitcase.

"You did just swear allegiance to me, right?"
"Your father gave the order to protect her - boss."
"...why do you always make me feel like a little girl?" she said, and her pout turned into a half-smile.
"Force of habit," Mark conceded. "Now, what's our plan?"
"We can't keep sitting around," Vince threw in. "So far, their plan has been to strike at any vulnerable point they can find. They clearly don't care about losses or noise as long as they get the job done."
"Suggestions?" Alex said.
"We hit 'em where it hurts," Mark said. "Where's Silvestro now?"
"If I had to guess, I'd place him at his yacht. He's usually a couple of miles out, the whole international waters deal. I saw the blueprints in Bogota, that thing is a swimming fortress."
"Difficult," Mark conceded.
"We're too short to do anything," Vince said. "I have to protect Alex, you have to watch the Detective."

In the following silence, the sound of a magazine being slammed home was like distant thunder. Mark turned around to see Sharon reload her Berettas - from the suitcase.

"The difference bein'," she said, "that I'm in fighting shape."
"Where'd you get the ammo?"

Sharon gave him a 'How stupid do you think I am?' look. "I don't need four fucking minutes to grab my suitcase. I figured I'd scavenge a bit."

For once, Mark had no effective reply. Sharon slammed another mag home, then slung a double shoulder-holster over her sweater, filled the pouches with magazines and holstered the two guns. Vince grinned.

"She's your speed," he said.
"Quiet, you," Mark shot back.


In the end, Mark managed to divorce Sharon from the impression that the scavenging had been strictly necessary - without, of course, leaving her to think that he didn't appreciate her initiative. However, he explained, a criminal syndicate that makes most of its proceeds from gunrunning can accumulate a far greater variety of small arms than what could be carried in a suitcase.

"How many weapons?" Sharon asked.

Mark showed her. Right there and then, she lost any faith whatsoever in the principles of gun control.


The sea was too calm for winter, especially with the snow falling around them, but the Zodiac pushed on, gliding through the water with only the bleating of its engine disturbing the peace. Mark was at the controls, trying to navigate by compass without a view of the shore, and it was okay for him and Sharon - after all, they didn't know how stupidly dangerous that was.

Sharon slipped a few more shells into her SPAS-15 magazines, eyeing the prototype weapon with some suspicion. For a cop with a steady marriage to a good old tube-magazine pump-action, a semi-auto shottie with a box magazine just didn't feel right. Despite the cold, she was sweating under the heavy drysuit and amphibious assault gear she'd slipped into, and she rather suspected that Mark had taken a few seconds longer than strictly necessary to fit the right armored floatation vest for her. She couldn't decide whether that was cute or creepy.

In the distance, searchlights pierced the darkness, delineating the silhouette of the yacht. There were a few men on deck, and the yacht dwarfed them. Sharon felt like she'd slipped into a James Bond movie.

"Your pack ready?" Mark asked; she nodded wordlessly and zipped it up, then strapped it to her back. Mark killed the engine; then they both put on their goggles and slipped into the water.

The Atlantic gets cold in winter.

Sharon swam for the light, because that's what Mark had said she should do, and he was right next to her. Short, measured strokes, no hasty moves or big gestures. The floatation vest was uncomfortable, but necessary, both helping her stay on the surface and keeping her body warm. But she had to swim - the vest wasn't rated to keep her afloat without help, and until that moment, she hadn't understood just why.

Then the searchlight swiveled around, heading for her like it knew she was out there, and she knew she couldn't swim away fast enough to dodge it. She struggled, looked for Mark but couldn't find him, nearly screamed when she felt something tug on her and finally went under.

The Atlantic gets very cold in winter.

It bit her face, and she had to fight multiple instincts, like closing her eyes, trying to breathe and struggling to reach the surface. She forced her eyes open, spotting the beam of light passing over her - and Mark below her, dragging her with him. After a second of shock, she started to swim with him, heading for that vague gray mass ahead. Just when she thought she couldn't hold her breath any longer, Mark dragged her further. She couldn't, she thought, every stroke increasing the pressure on her lungs, her eyes watering from the effort, but some dumb stubborn instinct kept her mouth closed. With a start, Mark beat his feet, dragging her upward again.

They broke the surface, producing a large gasp from Sharon that Mark stifled at once with a hand over her mouth. She was almost ready to panic, but his breath rushed past her ears and she felt his heartbeat, even through the heavy layers of protective material between them. A beam of light rushed past them, lingered for a moment, then moved on. Neither of them made a sound.


The next thing she knew, Mark grabbed her arm and pushed it upward, letting her reach the anchor chain. He dove again, then grabbed the chain below so she could put her feet on his shoulders. He came up, she pushed herself skyward and grabbed a new chain segment. With the initial boost behind her, she shook off the apathy and wrapped her legs around the chain properly, then scaled it. She was cold and miserable, but by God, she'd make it. A few seconds later, she hit the deck above, then scuttled off to a dark corner, diving knife at the ready. Mark followed a few seconds later, then took over the guard position while Sharon got rid of the swimming gear and changed out of the wet clothes into her combat suit.

"Damn cold water," Mark said, betraying no indecent looks but with a mischievous smile that was still visible in the semi-dark. For a second, Sharon was angry at him, but when she saw him with his knife held close to his torso in a surprise attack stance, she remembered a little song she'd heard her father sing once:

Oh the shark has pretty teeth dear,
And he shows them pearly white
Just a jack-knife has MacHeath dear
And he keeps it out of sight.

After a minute, the roles switched again; now Mark got dressed while Sharon stood watch, wearing a black overall, body armor and more guns than, perhaps, strictly necessary. The SPAS-15 hung from a sling, a trump card to be played when her suppressed Colt - one of Mark's spares - ran out of usefulness. Behind her, the telltale clicking of springs being torqued echoed, far too loud for Sharon's sensitive ears. When Mark strolled up beside her, he was wearing his trenchcoat.

Why, of course.

He flashed his knife - no, wait, another knife, Sharon realized.

"How many of those do you have?" she asked.
"Enough," Mark replied with a smile.

They snuck off, starting their mission to kill Silvestro in earnest. Just the two of them versus a super yacht full of mercenaries.

Piece of cake.

No comments: