Whumptober 23 Day 14: Water Inhalation

Warnings for: Restrained, Knife wound, Blood, Drowning

Pirates, thought Gordon sadly, are never like I imagined.

He supposed it was his Mom's fault. No – scratch that. It was definitely Disney's fault. That image of lovable rogues living a life of adventure could not be further from the truth.

The only thing he recognised that was the same was the monotonous repetitiveness of scrubbing the deck…

The Lucky Lady was one of the worst boats Gordon had ever had the displeasure of working on and for once in his life he couldn't wait to get back to shore. Not that he knew when that would happen, the crew were incredibly tight-lipped about that.

It had sounded like the ideal mission. Infiltrate a gang of pirates threatening shipping off the west coast of Africa. This particular group had been stealing Alsterene from cargo ships and had become increasingly more militant and violent.

Today something was going to go down. There was an air of expectancy about the place, the crew were just that little bit more on edge than usual. Gordon worked harder and kept a sharper lookout.

The specialised tankers that shipped the highly combustible fuel were by necessity heavily shielded and very slow, making them ideal targets for pirates. Add to that the high value of Alsterene on the black market and ventures like this had been becoming more frequent, leading a lot of companies to ship the fuel in flotillas as protection. There were always the little ones who couldn't afford to ship that way, though.

As if thinking about action had precipitated it, suddenly the little tanker was in sight.

Gordon followed the lead of the rest of the crew and prepared to blow this case wide open. His mission was to notify WASP the minute the pirates engaged so that they could be caught in the act. Supposedly the tanker was a decoy, but something about how it sat in the water didn't feel right and he frowned.

He obviously wasn't the only one to notice for their boat veered away at speed.

For the next few hours angry men shouted at each other as they tried to work out what the hell was going on. The 'fact' that there was obviously a spy on board was bandied about, and Gordon kept his head down.

Eventually, though, the crew settled and plans were made to change their base waters. And Gordon relaxed.

Later on he couldn't tell what had given him away, or if anything had at all and the pirates had just got lucky in choosing him.

Hands woke him up from sleep, rough hands that dragged him from his cot and up onto the deck. Gordon was stripped to his underwear and forced to his knees. His hands and elbows were bound behind him with thick, coarse rope and he was gagged with a foul-tasting rag.

He hadn't had time to grab anything, and he hoped the specialised subdermal tracker WASP had given him would stay hidden. It was supposedly undetectable unless activated, but Gordon wasn't too sure about that – for pirates this group had some pretty high-tech stuff.

Sure enough a scanner the likes of which Gordon had never seen before beeped an alarm when it was passed over his hip, and he was held down as the tracker was dug out with a knife. He bit down hard on the gag and almost vomited at the taste.

A flurry of fists and feet left him seeing stars and before he had opportunity to prepare himself he was up in the air and over the side.

This was not good.

Getting out of restraints was something Gordon was good at. Hell, they had all practised it as both kidnap preparation with Kyrano and Parker and as siblings messing around with each other. Ok, maybe the siblings one wasn't serious, but Gordon had always managed to get free. He held the joint record with Scott.

But with the rope around his elbows that freedom of movement he needed wasn't there, and he found that as he sank the water didn't help at all. Gordon thrashed about in the water. The gag could not stop the inevitable and he inhaled.

He soon stopped struggling.

The Gulf of Guinea was a beautiful area, teeming with wildlife. One of the things that Marina appreciated was the area where warm African waters met cold Atlantic ones. She stretched in her seat. It had been far too long since she'd been here.

Of course, here wasn't actually the Gulf of Guinea, nor was she technically in the water.

Stingray was waiting a little further up the coast, just outside the Gulf in the waters by São Tomé and Príncipe. They were waiting for Gordon's signal before charging in to shut down a pirate gang. Gordon had been under cover with them for a few weeks now.

Marina smiled to herself.

Gordon Tracy! Of all people Spectrum could had sent on this joint venture, Gordon had been the last one she'd expected. She'd assumed it would be Bradley or Seymour. Last time she'd seen Gordon he was about to begin a new life outside of WASP with his family. International Rescue had certainly had an amazing remit, and the two of them had parted sadly but with firm promises to keep in touch.

Best friends to the core, that promise had proved far harder to keep. She had no idea he now worked for Spectrum, but she was ecstatic to see him, as was he to see her, judging from the tight squid hug he gave her.

They had almost taken off a couple of hours ago as the decoy tanker trundled through the waters of the Gulf, but there had been no signal from Gordon and inexplicably the boat the pirates were using – no WASP agent would ever call that disaster a ship – had turned aside.

She had a bad feeling about this.

They all had a bad feeling about this.

They had taken it in turns to pace Stingray, positing what could have gone wrong, should they move in now, what was the best course of action, but in the end no signal meant no movement on their part and they waited. Impatiently and itchy.

Itchy. Itchy was not good. Itchy meant that something was wrong. The wrongness crawled under her skin and suddenly Marina knew.

Gordon was in trouble.

Gordon was in the water and he was in trouble.

Motioning frantically to Troy and Phones, she fumbled her signing in her panic, but her intent was clear and Stingray was underway.

The Gulf of Guinea was huge, though, and without Gordon's tracker being activated they would be hard pressed to find him. So Marina did what she did best. Troy held Stingray stationary long enough for her to get into the water and for a second she hung there, eyes closed and concentrating on her friend. She reached out with her mind.

'Gordon. Gordon, can you hear me?'

Nothing. She spun a quarter turn and repeated herself. And again. And…on the last turn she felt it.


'I'm coming, Gordon! Hold on!'


That last word was faint and with a turn of speed that showed her true heritage Marina shot through the water, Stingray hot on her tail. Figuratively speaking, of course, but not having a tail didn't hold her back much.

Five minutes later she was holding Gordon tightly and 'buddy-breathing' with him. He was unconscious and had swallowed a fair amount of water, but she couldn't do anything about that until they were aboard the submarine. The blood had attracted a couple of sharks but they knew better than to try anything with a Pacifician in the water.

Troy and Phones soon had them on board and heading home while Marina gave more rescue breaths until Gordon suddenly coughed up the Atlantic across the decks.

There were sighs of relief from everyone and Marina held Gordon close while Troy cut his bonds. Then he was gone, leaving the two of them to talk. Gordon's voice was rough from the water, but with his hands numb from the restraints he had to make do.

'I heard you. In the water, just before I passed out.'

She nodded but didn't say anything more. From the frown on her face Gordon could tell that this was as frustrating for her as it was for him. They all knew Pacificians could communicate telepathically with each other, but it had not happened between them and humans.

Until now. But it seemed that it was the panic that had created the ability for Marina to talk to Gordon, and now that panic was over so was the telepathy.

Pulling her closely into a hug and touching their foreheads together he whispered to Marina.

'Thank you.'