Foreword: I do not own Black Lagoon or some elements of Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon and Splinter Cell series. They belong to Rei Hiroe and Ubisoft Entertainment, respectively.


Chapter 4: A Day in Life in Roanapur

"Crooks aren't the worst people, just the stupidest. The fleas of the world."

- Orson Welles

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Two weeks since meeting the Lagoon Company and the Asahi Industries' debacle, Rock had already adapted rather well to the daily life of a city like Roanapur. He was set up nicely in a cozy-looking apartment which he had managed to snag from one of the better realtors in this god-forsaken city with the funds he had gotten from infiltrating Asahi Industries successfully. Although expensive even by Roanapur's standards due to it being the most modern design in the city, Rock thought it was worth the money spent. The apartment was also conveniently located around 5 blocks away from Lagoon Company's office, and coincidentally, 2 blocks away from Revy's apartment which was near the riverside.

His time with the Lagoon Company had been interesting as well, with Rock going on odd jobs that Dutch sent him, Revy and Benny on throughout the city. As their company took on any job that pays, there were a lot of jobs stacked up for them to take, if only to keep them busy despite their meagre payouts. Despite the tedious workload delivering both legal and less-than-legal goods, Rock thought it was honest work by pirate standards, as Dutch always stressed to avoid any civilian casualties on their occasional raiding and escort jobs.

After getting the know the man better, Rock knew it wasn't out of the kindness of his heart when he made the decision. Dutch didn't care whether civilians get caught in the crossfire when they were on the job, but he only stressed to them to avoid any civilian deaths was to protect the Lagoon Company's reputation amongst its prospective clients. Although Rock disagreed with Dutch on that point on principle, the Japanese man could see where he came from, even in a twisted sort of way.

Rock had wondered why the Lagoon Company was still so small and short on funds if they had so many jobs lined up for them, it became apparent to the Japanese security contractor that it was uncommon for them to get continuous jobs every day. Most days were just spent lounging around waiting for a new job that required their services, but with Hotel Moscow and the Chinese Triad hogging most of the 'big' jobs, they had to make do with whatever job that came their way.

When Rock got to work setting up his apartment, he also got to work setting up several safe houses throughout Roanapur in the event that he or his new friends either needed to flee or needed a temporary place to hide out until whatever storm passes. With the amount of funds that he had on hand as well as his skillful tongue, he had wrangled several cheap and out-of-the-way buildings that acted as his safe houses.

Of course, like his apartment, they were all security proofed with locks, retinal and fingerprint scanners, password code locks, and CCTV cameras. They were all also blast-proofed, flame-proofed, earthquake-proofed (what could he say? He had experience with earthquake bombs — never again), EMP-proofed and digitally-hardened against all types of scans thus preventing anyone from looking in. They were stocked up with enough provisions for four people to last 2 weeks, 4 weeks when rationed smartly.

All of them also sported weapons racks that were currently empty because Rock hadn't found any competent and trustworthy arms dealers yet in Roanapur to make his purchases for the large supply of weapons and ammunition needed for his safe houses. But for now, that was all he could do after making quite a dent in his bank account setting all this up.

For his own loadout, he had traded in his FN FAL for a Patriot Ordinance Factory 416, or P416, with an underslung grenade launcher attachment, collapsible stock, and a suppressor whenever the need arose for it. If the situation allowed, Rock could also easily attach it with an ACOG sight. He had decided to keep his appropriated Browning Hi-Power (he had also repaid Bao for it, who looked pleased that someone actually paid him back) but had both a suppressor and laser sight attachment when needed.

For his sniper rifle, he had gone with the M40A5 that was in his personal stash back in Japan which he had covertly shipped by his friends in the security contractor world. It had a detachable suppressor as well as a 4x scope for easy long-range shooting.

All the attachments, as well as the P416, had to be personally ordered by Rock via official channels using his private security contractor license at a hefty price, but for his safety and the safety of his new friends, he was willing to spend more frivolously.

By the end of the two weeks, all the items he had ordered had been shipped to his apartment in record time. Rock also decided to wear a Kevlar vest underneath his business shirt whenever they went on jobs — he had to admit, he had grown fond of the businessman getup and had decided to keep the look. The only changes he made to the overall attire were the Oxfords he had replaced with black combat boots.

After having washed and shaved when he got up in the morning, Rock got dressed as he adjusted his teal necktie, straightened his shirt to smooth out the wrinkles in them and checked his holster for his pistol and its magazines before nodding to himself and made his way out of his apartment, locking it on the way out.

Today was another slow day for the Lagoon Company, and Rock decided to leisurely walk around the area he was in while on the way to the office. He saw the usual roadside hawkers selling their wares while trying to get their potential customer's attention. He also saw fishermen in their cluster of boats by the riverside selling their haul of the day, along with several food vendors along the sidewalk as well hawking their wares.

As he walked past an old woman with a straw hat selling some sort of fruit, Rock saw her smile at him pleasantly and he looked again at the fruit. Deciding that he wasn't that hungry to begin with (and the fruit looked dubious anyhow), he begged off with an apologetic smile and walked on. He smiled after a while however when he saw a street hawker selling Siamese spring rolls, which were a famous local delicacy.

His rumbling stomach making the decision for him, Rock bought a dozen rolls of it while paying about just below the average price after much haggling with the hawker, who looked pleased to have an experienced bargainer with him. Taking a bite out of one of it, he let out a pleased noise at the taste as he walked towards the company office.

Approaching and walking up the stairs, he heard Dutch's voice telling who Rock presumed to be Revy that he was heading out. He looked up just as Dutch made his way down the stairs who greeted him with a small wave.

"Going out?" Rock asked in greeting, holding out the bag of spring rolls.

Dutch nodded, taking the offered treat. "Yeah, for a bit." He said. "Be back in a few."

"Watch your back out there," Rock continued his way up the stairs as Dutch went on his way.

Gently pushing the door as it opened with a ringing bell, he spotted Revy who was reclining on the living room couch while crossing her legs in the air as she read a magazine. The alluring sight almost caused him to lose his footing for a minute before he regained it and acted as if nothing had happened. There were also several cans of empty beer with cigarette buds and ash in them as well as a half-eaten box of pizza on the coffee table which made his inner OCD (or Japanese upbringing) act up.

Just another day in the Lagoon Company, he supposed.

"Revy," Rock greeted, earning a hum in question from the plum-haired woman. "I saw Dutch on his way out. Do you know where he's going at a time like this?"

He saw the woman sigh.

"No clue," She gave him a half-lidded stare that caused him to feel both aroused and look like an idiot at the same time, which was quite a feat. "It's no concern of ours what Dutch does in his free time."

She put her magazine aside just in time to catch something thrown at her by Rock, which turned out to be a spring roll.

"I'm asking because I'm just curious," Rock replied dryly.

Revy rolled her eyes. "Nosy types aren't too popular around here, y'know?" she said before taking a bite of the spring roll, letting out a sound of delight at the taste which Rock pointedly ignored to preserve his sanity and self-control. "Hey, this thing doesn't taste half bad, I like it! I was worried for a moment that you'd get conned by the locals in this city, but with skills like yours it's hard to get anything past you I'd bet."

"It comes in handy a lot of times," Rock laughed lightly, setting down the spring rolls as he started clearing up the table. "As a rule, I only buy food from the roadside hawkers that are usually cooked. Less prone to getting cheated out of rotten fruits or something. It reminded me of why I usually hate shopping by the vendors in this place — they'd cheat you out on over the last penny if they could, and I thought downtown Tokyo was bad."

"Smart," Revy commented, munching on her spring roll. "International criminals run around here measuring dicks and ramming horns with each other here. They all trick one another one way or the other, from the top to the very bottom. You're not fit to live long if you trust everything you see in front of you — well, unless you piss off someone especially nasty, that's the last thing you'll need worry about."

Rock could only sigh sadly, throwing all the trash into the waste bin in the pantry.

He walked back to the living room just as Revy finished her first roll. "Wouldn't that be nice though, just for once?" At the raised eyebrow from Revy, Rock elaborated. "Trusting everything you see in front of you without worrying that you'll get cheated or backstabbed at any moment. I know it's impossible in this city, but a man can hope…"

Revy snorted, reaching for another spring roll. "That sort of thinking only gets you killed, dipshit." She took a bite out of her new snack. "It's a wonder that you're this idealistic and hopeful while still having the skill to kill a man easily. It's one of life's great mysteries I guess."

And there was another thing he wished he could do but was proving to be difficult — understanding the beautiful gunslinger named Revy "Two-Hands". Ever since they met, Rock had the impression that the woman was a hotheaded, brutal, and highly skilled gunman that enjoyed her way of life, namely killing and fighting. Her entire demeanor practically screamed it — her bloodthirsty grin when she had fought the E.O. Company was a clear indication.

However, in the past two weeks, he had seen something else from her other than her acerbic and bitchy attitude and snark.

When she thought he wasn't looking, he had caught her gaze on him many times throughout. The look in her eyes wasn't the usual scorn and malice either, but a genuine curiosity that lit up her amber orbs. Rock could also see conflict and indecision in them; about what, he couldn't say. She hadn't even gotten around to take up his offer on training her in gunplay yet, which was confusing to him as he had clearly seen her hopeful gaze on him during the time in the car when he had offered.

Either Revy was just too prideful to admit she needed more training in her gunplay, or there were some past traumatic experiences that prevented her from acknowledging what she must have perceived as a weakness to receive such training from him. Rock would even say it was both, which fit Revy's personality to a tee — a woman forced to be strong due to the circumstances around her.

He had also noticed she wore masks — personas of her that highlighted each part of her personality:

Two-Hands was the bloodthirsty maniac that thrived on blood and murder. A manifestation of her trauma perhaps?

Bitch was the personality she used most often with everyone around her including Benny and Dutch who she knew the longest but kept at arm's length. A defense mechanism she developed to help her cope with said trauma, perhaps?

And then, there were hardly any glimpses of Revy, the woman that wasn't ensconced under layers that were Two-Hands and Bitch. Rock didn't even know if that woman existed anymore underneath Two-Hands and Bitch—

—but Rock was determined to find out.

It hadn't occurred to him that his interest in the clearly disturbed woman stemmed from the fact that he had glimpsed the woman known as Revy, and his mind subconsciously wanted to get to know her better.

Only time will tell with these two.

A few hours had passed, with Rock cleaning up the office of the clutter and dust while Revy commented on the sidelines about him doing paltry housework when he was already goddamned killing machine, what more could he want?

His answer threw her for a loop.

"I know I am, and I quote, 'a goddamned killing machine'," Rock replied stiffly as he gave her a slightly shaky smile. "That doesn't mean I'm going to be spending every minute of every day for the rest of my life killing. I'm only human you know; I need some hobbies that don't involve guns or killing."

Revy had frowned at that. "But where's the fun in that?!" she moaned piteously. "This world runs around only two things: money and guns. When you have money, you have the means to buy guns. When you have guns, you have the power of life and death in your hands! What's not to like?!"

Rock scoffed at that. "It's thinking like that that's poisoning the world," Revy glared murder at him for that. "You assumed that everyone's doing what they love when they go to their jobs like you — you like killing people don't you? And the rush you feel when you do it?"

There was a small part of the old Revy that violently denied it, but Two-Hands merely smirked viciously. "Yup, there's nothing like putting a bullet in a cocksucker's head and getting paid while doing it."

Rock eyes were hard. "I don't."

"Then why're you in the mercenary work if you don't like fucking killing?!" Revy had screamed at him, drawing her gun and aimed it at him. "Spouting such nonsense about not liking killing when you can kill a man faster than some of the more professional assassin's that I know of! Where do you get off, you goddamned hypocritical MOTHERFUCKER!?"

There was a pause.

"I know that I might sound like a hypocrite," Rock began softly, staring Revy straight in the eyes unflinching through her pistol's iron sights. "But there's a difference in killing on the job and killing for enjoyment. You clearly enjoy killing people, but I don't. You're clearly doing something you love, not one out of necessity just to survive right?!"

"You bastard—!"

"But I respect that!" Rock cut her off firmly, glaring at her neutrally that sent chills of dread down her spine. "I don't know you, or anyone else in the Lagoon Company that well yet. I can't lecture, nor can I criticize you because we only just met two weeks ago!"

"But I will say this!" He pointed a finger at her, then at himself. "The difference between you and me is that I always find another way. If there is any way that I could accomplish my objectives without ever reaching for my guns, I will gladly take it! There's more than just being a good killer and a warrior, Revy!" He clenched his fist as his brown eyes shone in determination and an iron will that made Revy finally took pause in her rage and really looked up at him, at the formidable warrior that was Rock. "It's about knowing when to pull the trigger, and when to shake a hand. But in the end, all that matters is that we win with the least amounts of bloodshed possible — the world already has enough blood spilled to fill our oceans ten times over! I'm doing my part in trying not to add to that number…"

There was a long, tense silence as the two stared each other down, neither backing down an inch for the other. Time seemed to slow as Revy growled as she fingered the trigger of her pistol, wondering what would happen if she blew his fucking head off right now?

Then, her rage cooled as her mind and what's left of her heart took over as she went over his words. Okajima Rokurou — Rock — was unlike any person she had ever known. Ever since they'd met, he had always been on her mind like a morning afterimage that wouldn't go away.

Like she thought back then, Rock was a walking contradiction that angered and confused her like a puzzle she couldn't figure out. How can someone still be so fucking pure and idealistic when you consider the line of work he was currently in. He should've been stained and corrupted by the blood, mud, and madness that comes with the territory of killing like the rest of them, but Rock still wouldn't budge from his stance about not liking killing and only killing on the job!

Forget idealistic — he was without a doubt the most stubborn person she had ever known besides herself, and it was that and the determination and drive she could see in his eyes finally relenting the anger she had towards him, for now. It was still there, and there was an unspoken agreement between them that they would be revisiting this topic at a later date.

But for now—

Revy took a deep breath before sighing loudly, holstering her pistols. "You are, without a doubt, the most stubborn person I've ever met!" She exclaimed, flopping back onto the couch with a tired groan. "And the gutsiest too, and Dutch says that I'm the stubborn one! Fuck me sideways with a fucking chainsaw, dipshit — do whatever you want, I don't care."

"You don't really mean that~" Rock had the utter gall to tease her.

And he was right, goddamn it! "Shut the fuck up, bastard!"

His laughter only served to both confuse and piss her off, further proving his point that she did care what happens to him and what he did. Her mind was in such a confusing state of emotions of anger and overwhelming uncertainty that she needed time to gather her wits about her. Her masks had started to show cracks in them too due to Rock's emotional tirade, and her heart — fuck, her heart was beating faster than ever before in her life.

She was confused.

She was pissed.

She was scared.

She was excitedhappy even! Happy that someone had the sheer, massive globes to go toe to toe with her and not only not give an inch to her, but actually push back. To not even flinch when being held at gunpoint, the ultimate tool of life and death, and Rock just brushed it aside like yesterday's news! To be able to feel cheerful and fun and alive…!

That was what Rock was to her — cheerful, fun, and alive despite being immersed in the shit and mud and blood and insanity that was mercenary work and not being stained and corrupted to end up like the rest of Roanapur, including herself.

That was the reason she was so interested in him — he was so untainted despite being immersed in the darkness, which Revy had immersed in a similar darkness and came out changed and deformed. She was both jealous and fascinated by the anomaly known as the Lagoon Company's Rock.

Another hour had passed with both Revy and Rock deciding to maintain the now comfortable silence with one another as they went about their business.

Rock who was about to nod off while Revy was already well into dreamland when Dutch finally came back to the office and announced that they had a new job.

Shaking his head to clear the cobwebs in his head, Rock reached over and gently shook Revy awake by her shoulder while completely missing the alarmed look on Dutch's face as if he was waiting for an explosion to happen. Sure enough, the explosion did happen, and a bemused Rock was left nursing a bruised cheek — the only hit she had ever gotten in on him since the Melanesia Maru.

Revy had looked alarmed and pissed at first when she had been suddenly shaken awake, but awareness soon came back to her and she realized what exactly she had done finally registered in her head. Her victorious grin was wide and infectious and Rock couldn't help but join her in smiling at her celebrating her first 'official' hit on the man who had bested her.

After freshening up and getting suited and ready, with Rock carrying his two weapon cases, the four of them got into Dutch's Charger with Benny at the wheel and they drove off towards the pier.

"What is it today, Dutch?" Benny asked, swerving through traffic with ease.

"It just came in," Dutch replied, pulling out a cigarette. "Passed on from Donnie Yen.

Revy tsked at that while Rock looked interested. "Donnie Yen?" he asked.

"He gives us jobs from time to time," Dutch put the cigarette in his mouth and pressed the auxiliary cigarette lighter as he explained the day's job. "Today, we're receiving a package from the Vietnamese military at Phu Quoc Island. And since our schedule is open…" The cigarette lighter popped out, allowing Dutch to remove it and light up his smoke, taking a puff of it as he did. "In any case, work is work. It needs to be respected."

Rock nodded along and was about to speak when he shot his right hand up to intercept Revy's shove to his head. "Revy, what's up with you now?"

"Shut it, Rock!" Revy barked lightly, before turning her scowl to Dutch's headrest as Rock released her hand. "What are we going to do with all these pathetic jobs, Dutch? No wonder we can't get him out of these shitty white-collar suits."

"I think I'm supposed to be insulted," Rock remarked dryly. "Besides, I like wearing these! It helps me keep a low profile you know?"

Revy snorted inelegantly. "Yeah, yeah, whatever you say," She then remembered something else before turning her scorching glare on the Japanese man. "Which reminds me, Rock — what the hell happened to that Hawaiian shirt I got you back at the market?"

Rock made a face as he remembered that monstrosity. What possessed Revy to even buy it for him in the first place in spite of its less than stellar design was beyond him. "That eyesore? I'd rather go into a gunfight naked than wearing that any day of the week!"

"What was that?!" As expected, Revy took offense to Rock's criticism of her choice of clothes for him. "Are you saying that I have shitty taste, Rock?!"

Rock merely grinned at her as she shoved him, grappling with her as she tried to choke him to death. "If the shoes fit, feel free to wear it," he smiled wider at the glare she gave him and the growl to go with it. "Now calm down, will you? Or else we might cause Benny to crash with our brawling."

Benny raised his hand up. "I second that."

"You wanna die, Benny?!"

After the usual banter, brawling, and swearing in Revy's case, they reached the pier and were out at sea without further incident as Dutch maneuvered the Black Lagoon out into open water and charted a course for the Vietnamese coast.

While Dutch manned the helm and Benny double-checked his new equipment in his computer cabin, Rock and Revy were on the deck feeling the blazing mid-afternoon sun beating down on them, with only the sea breeze making the sun's heat bearable on the duo. Rock was recalling his rope knot skills when he was with the JGSDF while he fiddled away with a spare length of rope to pass the time. He had already stowed his weapons cases in the storage area on the boat, so he was free at the moment, so Revy suggested he learn some sailing knots if he was to become a sailor.

"You put to rope end here, then the other end through the loop…" he muttered to himself, recalling the figure 8 knot from memory. "And… voila! Damn, one end of the line is shorter than the other…"

Revy smirked. "If I didn't know you any better I'd say you weren't trying hard enough," She watched as he loosened the knot he made and tried again. "Even a monkey can do this kind of thing, or you're just not cut out for being a sailor after all."

"It's not that!" Rock chuckled, thoughtlessly retying a new knot with perfect dimensions. "I've been on boats and ships hundreds of times, but the majority of it is me being a passenger and most of the ships I've been on were submarines."

"Fancy ride," Revy couldn't help but comment.

He snorted. "You'd think so, wouldn't you?" Rock grinned, leaning back on his hands and stared up at the blue skies. "But I wouldn't lie, those times were the scariest of my life — imagine being in a sub deep behind enemy lines where you and your team are going to be inserted underwater via SDVs lent to us by the Americans to sabotage enemy communications and infrastructure, then quickly extract in 24 hours or you'll be left behind."

Revy whistled. "Not gonna lie, Rock," she said. "What you did for a living back in the day was seriously hardcore. The only people I know who are just as badass as you are Hotel Moscow's people."

"I recognized some of them back during my time with the "S" group in Belawan," Rock replied, earning a curious look from the gunslinger. "Balalaika's people are no joke — most of her bodyguards on the dock that day were Russian and Ukrainian ex-Spetsnaz, the hardcore amongst hardcore men. I wouldn't be surprised if Hotel Moscow could take on an army on its own and win, hands down."

There was a short silence as the boat continued its way out into the deep blue sea. Revy was about to announce she was heading back into the cabin when Rock piped up.

"So, Revy, I've been curious," he looked at her with that damned gentle smile again. Walking contradiction indeed. "What did you do before you came here?"

There was small uncomfortable pause as Revy debated on whether or not she should answer his question, but she was stunned once more when Rock shook his head with a sad smile.

"You don't have to tell me if you don't want to," Rock was still looking at her with those bright brown eyes of his. As if those eyes were staring right through her and seeing her blackened heart. It made her feel unusually vulnerable around him again. "I can see it in your eyes even if you didn't want to admit it to yourself or anyone else. I won't pry unless you tell me yourself, I promise."

And there goes his fucking intuition again, saying those cheesy lines again that Revy wasn't sure if they were pissing her off or making her want to let her guard down around him. He was abnormally good at finding cracks in her armor that protected her from the mud and blood and shit and insanity that was her day to day life.

"What I do hasn't really changed from then and now," Revy found herself saying. "Nothing fascinating about it…"

Rock only nodded in acceptance as though he already knew the answer. Frankly, it was starting to scare the crap out of her at how easily Rock was able to read her, while Revy couldn't even read a damn thing about him!

She hated the fact that he was making her feel so weak. And, being Revy, she hated feeling weak and vulnerable.

Before Rock could make his reply, they heard what sounded to them like motorboats behind them. Looking back, Revy could see three small specks over the horizon coming out behind an island they had passed. A look at Rock's face confirmed that he saw them as well.

"Might be fishing boats or something," Rock's tone told her that he didn't believe his own words for a second. "But I could be wrong, but my instincts are screaming at me that this seems wrong…"

"Keep those instincts Rock," Revy replied with narrowed eyes. "Because mine's screaming at me too…"

Just then they felt the Black Lagoon jump as it suddenly accelerated to its full speed, making them almost lose their balance and fall off the boat. Growling as she steadied herself, Revy put her earpiece to her ear just as she saw Rock do the same.

"What the hell, Dutch?!"

"Hold on!" Dutch said, gunning the engine to maximum. "Benny-boy will explain the situation to you two."

"Wait a second…" Benny piped in.

Rock frowned over the horizon. "Does this have to do with the six boats currently chasing us in a standard hunting pattern?"

"Six…?" they heard Benny question before an alarm went off. "Hey, you're right! Three more boats, making a total of six! The first three started accelerating from the side of the island we just passed. The other three on the port side came out from behind a different island."

As Benny was explaining the situation, Rock had raced back inside the cabin towards the storage area where he kept his weapons cases. Normally on a job where firefights were expected, he usually carried both his assault rifle and sniper rifle over specialized straps over his shoulders.

But for today, he only needed the P416 as he opened its case, pulling the rifle and its bandolier of ammo and 40mm grenades out before he strapped them to himself. Loading and pulling the charging handle of the weapon, Rock loaded the M203 grenade launcher just as he stepped out of the cabin to see the boats approaching them at high speeds.

"Changing course to port is dangerous, as the guys on the left are going to catch up to us first," Benny was heard saying as Rock slung his rifle over his left shoulder and clambered onto a small elevated tower, snatching the binoculars stowed there and put it up to his eyes to get a better view. "But to starboard, the guys on the right will get us."

"As I said, standard hunting pattern," Rock said, earning a confirming grunt from Dutch.

"And they're fast as well," Benny noted. "Closing in on us at 28 knots."

Revy suddenly spoke up. "Dutch?"

"Yeah?"

Rock could see the shark-like grin on her face. "I smell it."

"You know who they are?" Dutch asked.

Revy sniffed exaggeratedly. "It stinks all the way up here," she remarked. "These guys aren't marine cops — they stink too much of blood and smoke for that."

Rock focused on one of the boats, seeing its type and armaments. "They're Swift Boats; Vietnam-era antiques modified for open sea operations," He reported. "Each boat is armed with twin forward swivel-hatch mounted heavy machine guns. They've got a lot of firepower for fast attack craft, most likely pirates. Dutch, how good was your intel if you trust your client?"

A chuckle was heard over the radio. "Rock, that observation hurts." Rock rolled his eyes as he continued monitoring the incoming boats. "I've been performing checks on Donnie Yen's economic situation. He's trustworthy."

"Yeah, I get that. I wasn't trying to imply anything," Rock put down his binoculars as he thought about a disturbing possibility. "But what if his intel for the job was planted by someone else? Someone who has a bone to pick with the Lagoon Company?"

There was a pause.

"You think that someone set us up?" He heard Benny ask incredulously.

"When you think about it, it's a strong possibility," Rock replied, earning a nod from Revy who agreed as well. "And I know Dutch well enough to know that he doesn't accept sketchy jobs if he didn't trust his client. So, the obvious conclusion would be—"

"—a setup," Dutch finished for him. He sounded annoyed. "And I know of one man who has a grudge against us for working for Balalaika, and it's Mr. Chin."

"Chin?!" Revy exclaimed disbelievingly, the mere idea itself sounding ludicrous to her. "The small fry mob boss? Does he have a fucking death wish or something?!"

Rock thought the same, seeing as how Balalaika and Hotel Moscow would skin the man alive for trying to take away the people working under her. It also ignited a quiet rage deep within himself, one he reserved for the worst of the worst of humanity: slavers, sex traffickers, rapists, and cowardly mob bosses sending assassins to eliminate his opposition.

At least Balalaika kills her opponents herself rather than through third-party means.

"I don't know Revy," Dutch replied, breaking Rock from his thoughts of retribution for later. "But you can bet that!"

"Hello!" The sudden obnoxious greeting over the open channel made Rock raise his eyebrows in surprise. Is he the leader of the pirates chasing them? "Hello?! Can you hear me, Lagoon?! It's me! It's been a while, Dutch!"

Rock heard Dutch make a noise of affirmation. "Oh, I see now. It's Luak," he heard him say before he started broadcasting. "There's no prey here. Go home before you get lost."

"There's prey right here, Beans!" Luak was heard saying. "An old torpedo boat with a nice wingspan."

Rolling his eyes, Rock met eyes with Revy who was smirking widely at the boats all around them already spoiling for a fight. He shook his head at her. Her bloodlust and bullheaded tendency to solve everything at the end of a gun was worrying and it would definitely get her killed in the future…

… or was it her plan all along? To die? He had seen it her eyes which were shadowed and dead to the world at times. What had happened to her to make her become this broken woman who wished for death? And he asked himself once more if he was a masochist when he had decided to try and save her? Time would tell which was which.

But that was for the future, now Rock needed to get his head back into the game.

"Our counterpart has six boats," Benny was heard as Rock double-checked his weapons and Kevlar vest underneath his dress shirt. "If it is truly Luak, then he's brought everything he's got on us."

Dutch cursed loudly. "Damn all these little bastards. Chin got you involved in this didn't he, Luak?" His tone was as irritated as a raging bull. "God must pity you for your stupidity."

Luak was laughing. "Once we get a pint of lead in you, maybe it'll finally put an end to your sleep talk!"

Rock saw the boats on the port and starboard side take aim at the Black Lagoon with their heavy machine guns, and he noticed one simple but stupid thing about their positioning.

"Dutch, they're right on top us — three to the left and three to the right," Rock stated calmly in his earpiece. "But the idiots are not in a staggered formation!"

"I read you, Rock. You and Revy better brace yourselves!" Rock and Revy clutched onto their respective railings as he said that. "And HANG ON!"

Dutch killed the accelerator just as the boats flanking their sides fired at the same time, the .50 caliber rounds scything through where the PT boat had once been before hitting both boats with their own friendly fire, causing the one of the right to explode in a fiery fireball when the rounds ignited some ammo stores while the one on the left was listing heavily as it began sinking into the sea.

The four other boats, undeterred by their losses, continued to close in on the beleaguered PT boat.

"There are still four boats," Benny reported. "Dutch, they're coming!"

Dutch then decided to unleash the Lagoon Company's big guns, namely Revy and their new crewmate. "Revy, it's your turn now. Give 'em a taste of "Two-Hands"."

"Leave it to me," Revy replied, hanging a full bandolier of 40mm grenades around her neck as she armed herself with an M79 grenade launcher and what looked like a 9 mm machine pistol developed by the Polish. She also had a Walkman strapped to her side.

"Rock, I know you're not much of a gunslinger like Revy, but support her as much as you can," Dutch said, earning an affirmative from Rock. "Can you two make them dance?"

"Of course." Revy grinned in bloodlust.

Rock nodded even though Dutch can't see it. "I'll try my best." He looked at Revy while ignoring her bloodthirsty grin. "How do you want to play this, Revy?"

Briefly knocked out of her bloodthirst, Revy thought about it before grinning. "You take left, and I'll take right? The one with the least kills buys the tab for our drinks?"

"I wished that you wouldn't say it like that, but I accept your challenge," He sighed before he grinned back at her challengingly. "Let's show these bastards their one-way VIP ticket to Hell."

"Now you're speaking my language!" Revy almost purred. "Let's do this thing!"

"Benny-boy, there are two on the left, and two more to the right, behind us." Dutch was calling to Benny, just as Revy was walking towards the starboard side of the boat while Rock crouched on the portside deck, attaching the ACOG sight to his rifle and adjusting the view range. "Am I right?"

"And one more… right behind us." Benny said. "That makes a total of five."

Dutch grunted. "Revy, Rock do that one last."

"Right," Rock called, taking aim at the boat nearest to him. "Then I'll start this party off with these guys on my end!"

With that, he fired the M203 at the boat. The 40 mm HE round flew through the air before impacting the boat, blowing it to pieces in a ball of flames.

He quickly reloaded. "It's time to dance that jitterbug, baby!" he heard Revy yell before he saw her took a running leap at the boat to the right and jumped.

"Holy shit!" Rock breathed, eyes wide in shock at seeing the distance she had crossed with that jump. "She would've been a hit at the Olympics!"

Hearing the screams of the dead and dying, as well as the gunfire and explosions, Rock could see that she had things well in hand on her end. Now, to focus on the second ship on his end.

Rock took aim, switching to single-fire and cut loose, headshotting the man manning the machine gun before moving towards the others in the boat. He had counted at least five people, including the man he shot. He shot the helmsman and the man beside him in quick succession before the boat got close enough for him to use his grenade launcher again, blowing it to smithereens with the men within.

With his job done, Rock checked his ammo count just as the last screams of the dying on Revy's end died out along with her gunfire. From what he already knew of her, she knew she could handle herself. It was her attitude towards killing that needed his intervention, not her skills as a gunslinger.

As the Black Lagoon pulled up beside the smoldering boat that Revy had cleared out, the gunslinger jumping onboard just as Rock joined her at the bow of the ship, crouching down with the P416 in hand.

"My…M-My ships!" Luak was heard raging over the open channel. "They took out my fleet!"

"It's a dead-end," Dutch gloated calmly like he was just stating a fact as he turned his ship into the direction where Luak's ship was approaching. "It seems like you're the one destined to dance the cha-cha with some hot lead, Luak."

"D-Damn it! How dare you?!" Luak raged. Revy meanwhile ejected a spent grenade casing from her M79 and loaded in a fresh one, just as Rock took aim at Luak's boat which was frantically trying to turn around. "That bitch isn't human, and that businessman-looking guy has ludicrous aim! I'm not dealing with these demons anymore!"

Rock carefully aimed at the man frantically turning the ship who Rock was fairly sure it was Luak himself before taking the shot, causing a hole to appear in the man's head before he crumpled to the deck dead, buying just enough time for Revy to take aim and fire. The resulting explosion blanketed the enemy ship in flames and smoke before the seas calmed once more.

As Rock stood from his crouch and observed the carnage around him, he noticed Revy look over at him with a sexy smirk.

"I believe that last shot put me in the lead of our little contest," Rock swore to himself that he hadn't seen someone as attractive as Revy in that pose while blowing at the smoking launcher. "But thanks for killing the fucker to slow them down enough for me to take my win, Rock."

Rock laughed lightly at that. "Alright, I'm a man of my word," he stated, resting his rifle against his right shoulder. "The first round of drinks at the Yellow Flags is on me!"

They laughed together while making their way back into the cabin, trading barbs and jokes along the way as the boat started its journey home towards Roanapur. All in all, it was just another day with the Lagoon Company.

\\/\\/\\/\\/\\/\\/

Later in the day, with the sun still high in the sky but already dipping towards dusk, a man was frantically shoving money and his personal belongings into a large suitcase, swearing up a storm as he sweated bullets in anxious fear. The reason for his fear was simple — the whole of Roanapur had learned of his blunder with the Lagoon Company, and it was only a matter of time before she came and collected the bounty on his head.

"Damn it! That useless, stingy Luak! He's failed me while leaving me with the bag!" the oriental looking man in a white suit — Chin — swore up and down, cursing in every language that he knew. "That fucking idiot! I'd like to see the mother who would bring up a child to be like that."

Unbeknownst to him, the last of his gang members and the private security that he had hired to protect him while he was in his own hotel were noiselessly and stealthily being taken out, one by one. If he took the time to look at the security camera footage in his room instead of panicking, he would've clearly seen the bodies of his men dead on the floor with broken necks and bloody holes in their chest and head. Chin was none the wiser as there was no noise that would alert him of someone attacking his hotel. One of the footages then showed the floor he was on with seven heavily armed men in the corridor leading to Chin's room, all guarding the stairwell entrance and the elevators.

Suddenly, the lights in the corridor went out, surprising them and putting them on high alert. One of the men looked like he noticed something before he was shot in the head, shocking his friends enough for the intruder to kill the remaining six bodyguards in rapid succession, never losing his stride as he swept his rifle across the corridor in textbook military assault fashion.

The intruder, which turned out to be Rock with a grey bandana dusk mask concealing half his face, nodded to himself before putting a few more rounds into the men below him for good measure before moving onwards. He came up to the room where Chin was in just as he heard the man shout.

"He shoved a burner up my ass, and then conveniently went and died!" Chin said, grunting as Rock imagined him trying to stuff everything into his getaway bag. Rock already swore to himself that the bastard would never leave this place alive. "Things couldn't be worse! I'd like to kill that Luak myself, all over again if I could!"

Raising an eyebrow at the man's cursing, Rock smiled grimly before he straightened in front of the door and politely knocked three times.

Chin looked up the door in fear, swallowing nervously as he went for his pistol and aimed it at the door. He was expecting something like this to happen, but why would they even knock?

"W-Who's there?!" he asked, trying and failing to hide the tremor in his voice. There were three knocks again. "I-I'm coming to the door, but don't try anything funny — I-I am armed!"

As he approached the door, he was about to twist the knob to open it when his world exploded in pain as the door was suddenly kicked open with enough force to knock it off its hinges, making it collide painfully into Chin's body as the door crushed the man.

Groaning in pain as he managed to get himself out from under the door, he turned to see who had kicked his door down when a boot connected with his midsection, causing him to cry out before he was sent flying deeper into his room where his back collided with the coffee table, causing it to break under his weight and collapse.

As he hacked the blood out of his mouth, Chin finally looked up to see an unholy demon with a bandana dust mask hiding his identity, a bulletproof vest over a white dress shirt with a suppressed rifle in his hands currently in an at-ease position. Seeing the man's look, the demon wordlessly removed the bandana, and Chin was now face-to-face with the newest member of the Lagoon Company.

They were all monsters! Every single one of Dutch's crew were monsters!

"It seems like you were in a bit of a hurry, sir," Rock stated mildly as he approached, taking note of the suitcase and Chin's fearful expression. "I trust you know who I am, Chin-san?"

"Y-You're with Dutch's crew, right?" Chin stammered, still scared shitless at the mild-mannered Japanese businessman who had most probably singlehandedly slaughtered his men to get to him. He had pissed off the wrong man, a man with a gentleman's anger! "I-I'll give you anything you want! Money? Women? Anything — please just let me live!"

Rock hummed, lowering himself so that he was eye-level with the man. "I believe I can't do that," he stated calmly, causing the man's fear to skyrocket. "My friends told me that you were the one that sent Luak and his ilk to take us out while at sea. Am I to assume that it is correct?"

"N-No, no! It wasn't me!" he was begging at the moment, but Chin didn't care. The Japanese demon had already effortlessly killed his men without him even knowing about it until it was too late! Anything to survive, at this point. "It's just s-some stupid rumors, it's all a b-big misunderstanding you see! W-Why don't we settle everything over lunch, huh? So that you can see that even a fool would understa—AAAHHHHHH!"

Chin screamed when Rock simply shot him in his left thigh, silencing the man's excuses. "You don't need to explain to me what you've done," he growled lowly, grimacing at the smell of the coward relieving his bowels due to fear and pain. "You listen to me, you piece of excrement — I've got nothing to say to you. I and the rest of the city already know everything we needed to know about you, what with you bragging about how you're going to kill us with pirates? It's practically on everyone's lips the moment we docked!"

Rock then retied his bandana mask around his face, hiding his identity once more. In a feat of strength, he reached down and hauled the whimpering minor mob boss up into the air, leaving him dangling in his grasp as Rock glared into his eyes.

"I've already informed Ms. Balalaika about what I'm going to do to you," Rock informed the doomed mob boss, roughly throwing the bastard on a chair while stepping on his bullet wound, causing Chin to scream in agony. "I've been given a carte blanche to extract any and all useful information out of you, so all you can do now, is pray. Pray when you still have the chance to do so in what's left of your miserable life…"

Chin's scream of pure agony and terror echoed throughout Roanapur as Rock applied his 'advanced interrogation' techniques on him for the rest of the afternoon.

A couple of hours later, Rock exited the front entrance of the hotel, face set in a grim line as he hefted the bag filled with money and jewelry 'repossessed' from Mr. Chin's belongings. He had to remind himself countless times during the interrogation/torture session that he wouldn't go too far — he wouldn't need to anyway with Chin's cowardliness and lack of pain tolerance. The coward was already singing like a canary after a few waterboarding sessions, applying pressure on the bullet wound, and application of electric shock via crocodile clips after drenching the man's body with water.

His bandana mask was still in place, but he had slung his rifle over his shoulder as he made his way away from the hotel while fiddling with a remote detonator in his hands. As he crossed the street, he looked up as three black sedans pulled up on the sidewalk beside him, with the rear window of the sedan in the middle rolling down to reveal the head of Hotel Moscow herself.

"I knew you were no ordinary Japonski when we first met back in Belawan," Balalaika greeted with a small smile. Rock merely raised an eyebrow in response but nodded nonetheless with the bandana still obscuring half of his face. "So, did you get what you wanted from the fool?"

He nodded, fishing out a voice recorder before handing it to the Russian woman who took it gratefully. "Here is his confession," he nodded at the recorder. "As well as the names of his associates who were part of the plot to bring down Hotel Moscow by reigniting the war between you and the Triad. His pain tolerance was laughable — I didn't even need to break out the gorier stuff."

"Good work, Rock," Balalaika set aside the recorder as she faced him. "And as you know from working with Dutch, I admire smart work. When you approached me and asked for his details, I wasn't sure why you wanted to ask."

Rock nodded. "He made it personal by targeting the Lagoon Company — my friends," he stated calmly, almost dismissively as if he was just disposing of an annoying pest. "I was happy to meet with him face-to-face at least once."

"True," the Russian woman conceded. She looked up when the masked man handed her a remote detonator, which she accepted with a small smile. "How should explain to the rest of Roanapur what happened here wasn't my doing, but yours? We still have a reputation to uphold you know?"

Rock merely shrugged and started to walk away from the three parked cars. Balalaika frowned in confusion at the man's strange and downright rude demeanor and was about to order Boris to 'teach him a lesson about respect' when he spoke up again, his words making her mind churn in memory.

"What're you talking about?" Rock continued walking, but he looked over his shoulder back at the Russian mob boss. "I was never here, remember? Must've been you or someone else who roughed up and blown up Chin-san's hotel."

With that, he disappeared down an alleyway and out of sight.

Balalaika meanwhile was turning his words over in her mind, wondering why they sounded so familiar when he said those words. A knock on her window informed her that Boris was talking to her, and she put her thoughts in the backburner for now.

"Comrade Rock is dangerous, Kapitan," Boris said in Russian with narrowed eyes. "Very dangerous. I only know a few people who can storm a building filled with heavily armed men and come out without a scratch. He also leaves no calling card other than a trail of corpses killed with surgical precision. It almost seemed like a—"

"—ghost,"Balalaika finished for him in Russian as well, her thoughts back on the words spoken by Rock. "A ghost had passed through and killed them all without a trace, am I right?"

"Da, Kapitan." Boris confirmed.

Balalaika hummed to herself, intrigued by the new face of the Lagoon Company. Things were going to get more exciting with him around, she just knew it down to her bones. "We will keep an eye on him for now, but he has proven to be a powerful and resourceful ally," she replied. "Time will tell if he would become our friend or our enemy. Keep that in mind, Boris."

Boris nodded seriously. "Da, Kapitan."

For now, she had a call to make as she stepped out of the car, leaning on it as she fiddled with the detonator.

Then she remembered what Rock had said.

"Did Rock just say he was going to blow up Chin's hotel? Not just his room?"

Boris merely nodded with an amused smirk. "Da Kapitan, he did say that he was blowing up his hotel."

Balalaika chuckled to herself, highly amused. "My, my, a man after my own heart," she said through her mirth. "He does have a vicious streak in him after all."

\\/\\/\\/\\/\\/\\/

"Where have you been, Rock?!" Revy whined, reclining on the couch as usual when Rock came back to the office. "I was getting bored just sitting here without anyone to listen to my complaints about the shitty last job!"

Rock laughed at that. "Sorry, I was heading to my apartment to put away some stuff. Sorry for making you guys wait."

"Don't worry about it, Rock. And Revy, it's not so bad," Benny piped up, carrying a box of his equipment for storage. "It's like getting bitten by a dog."

As the office wall phone began ringing, Revy sighed loudly and rolled to her right side, propping her head up with her right arm. "It's terrible, moron." Rock, being the closest one to it walked over to the phone. "Bullets aren't cheap you know!"

He answered it, but not before swiping a slice of pizza for himself. "Hello? Lagoon Company Office."

"Hello again, Rock," Balalaika greeted amusedly, earning an amused laugh from Rock as well. "You already know about what's going to happen, so I won't take any more of your time. Is Dutch around?"

Rock walked over with the handset towards Dutch, who was sipping something from his mug. "It's for you Dutch."

"Who is it?" Dutch asked, setting down his mug.

Rock grinned. "Balalaika-san," he replied. "Something about the last job we had."

As Dutch spoke with Balalaika, Rock noted the man's face going from tense to relaxed by the end of the call, looking content about something before ending the call. He also heard a faint boom and a small tremor shake the office before it was gone.

"What is it about Dutch?" he feigned ignorance. "Is it something about a job?"

Dutch nodded. "Something like that," he put down the phone on the coffee table. "She filled me in on some gossip to lift my spirits. Revy, Rock — do you guys have any plans?"

"Not really," Revy replied from her position on the couch.

Rock grinned. "I was about to treat someone to their first rounds at the Yellow Flag…"

"Seconded!" Revy suddenly sprung awake, eyes twinkling in delight. "I totally forgot about our deal! Thanks for that, Rock!"

Dutch chuckled. "What about you, Benny?"

"Maintenance on the electronics, but nothing that can't wait." The blonde replied.

"Well," Dutch began as he stood. "Seeing as how Rock had already proposed the same plan, considering the mental anguish incurred on our last job due to external interference, I am proposing a trip to the Yellow Flag to drink away our pain. Of course, Rock has volunteered to foot the bill. So, who's coming?"

Revy gasped in delight. "Can we stay there until dawn?!"

"I'm going!" Benny said as he grabbed the keys to the car.

Rock only laughed harder. "It's not like I have much of a choice — count me in!"

"Then it's decided," Revy shouted excitedly, following the rest of them out the door. "Benny, get the car! And Rock, we're not on a job anymore — wear that damned Hawaiian shirt I bought for you!"

"When Hell freezes over, and Republicans give tax breaks!"

His answer was met with laughter from everyone apart from a pissed off Revy.

\\/\\/\\/\\/\\/\\/

And done!

Longest chapter yet for this story so far!

What do you think about this chapter? The Chin and Rock confrontation was not in the original plan, but when I sat down and began to write it, it came out of nowhere and I decided to keep it in the final product, making the chapter longer as a result.

And of course, the words about never being there in the first place is the usual Ghost Recon tagline.

Also, the initial confrontation between Rock and Revy had just begun far ahead of schedule, with him already laying the foundation for Revy's eventual breakdown after the submarine incident! And we can see that he's not above killing, but he needs a reason to kill unless there are no other options available to him.

As he said, there's a difference between pulling the trigger and shaking a hand, but end result is that they win no matter what, and it that meant reducing bloodshed, that was fine with Rock.

Oh, and just to clarify, I will most likely not cover the events in the Ghost Recon as well as the Splinter Cell games. I would be thinking of new missions and targets for them to go after, with the Lagoon Company as their QRF force or extraction team. Who knows what will happen with a world as crazy as Black Lagoon's?

As always, favorite, follow, and review my story. Thanks!

This is HEIROFROHAN signing off,

PEACE!