The tropical blue water and salty air picked up Sora’s spirits—or perhaps it was getting away from that town. The pressure in that city was something fierce. It reminded him of the deepest pits of Hollow Bastion. He felt the weight of that place drift away. Around it, beyond the oil, blood, booze and cigarette smoke, the secluded nature of the pirates den let nature flourish around it, though its center was black as coal.
“Oh my god!
” a voice pierce Sora’s train of thought, “Could your inner monologue be more depressing?
He turned to see a masked man in a tight red and black outfit. Utility belt, guns and swords strapped to his back. He knew that face well, from across dimensions.
“Deadpool.” Sora grumbled.
He was part of the mercenary group the Lagoon Company picked up. It was a motley crew to say the least.
“Aw! You know me? Do I know you? Would I care if I did?
” Deadpool continued to talk, Sora turned away from him, hoping he’d leave.
“But I gotta say, you’re one depressed looking kid
,” Deadpool sat upon the ship’s railing, imitating a boy who was bitten by a radioactive spider, “Especially for someone traveling with Donald and Goofy
Sora wasn’t too surprised, but he did look back at the masked madman. Across the multiverse, this one man could see between the veils and see beyond to—
“Oh my god! You’re one pretentious little pipsqueak.
” Deadpool squinted at the boy. “Do I have to take over as narrator until you cool your heels?
I think you should.
“Of course you do
,” Deadpool hopped down from the railing and stood up straight, “you’re my special voice.
Sora arched an eyebrow and looked over the masked man. “What?” Even though he’s met him before, in different iterations, each one talked to empty space openly and frequently. Sora never got who he talked to, if it was anyone at all.
“That settles it!
” Deadpool raised a single finger in the air and continued his proclamation, “I’ll be taking over narrative duties for a while. Just sit back and relax, kid. Deadpool will never steer you wrong!
A large hand wrapped around Deadpool’s neck. The owner of the hand stood at least 7 feet tall, his mask a mirror of Deadpool’s, but white and black rather than black and red. The newcomer’s shoulders were also at least twice as wide as Deadpool.
“Oh, hey! I didn’t know there was a wrestling show in town!
” Deadpool choked out.
“The boy wishes to be left alone,” The man said, “If you do not wish to be thrown overboard and not receive payment for the job, I suggest you do so.”
“You’re not gonna break may back?
” Deadpool said, his voice whining in disappointment.
The huge man released his grip and Deadpool sulked off, muttering his disappointment.
Sora turned to the large stranger, “Thanks.”
“The man is an irritant and a buffoon, but he is good at soaking bullets and distracting enemies,” He folded his arms and nodded.
“Hey! Bane!” Revy shouted over the roar of the engine, “The fish man says we’re almost there and we need everyone in the back.”
“I’M A SHARK NOT A FISH!” A scratchy voice from the cabin whined.
The being that called itself King Shark stood at the front of the Black Lagoon blew repeatedly into a conch shell. The other motley crew that the Black Lagoon was transporting watched the spectacle with varying degrees of interest and disinterests. He’d teamed up with various forms of scum out of necessity, but this group had something more to it that both put him at ease and repulsed him. The Secret Six were something else.
The plan still turned his stomach, but at least the group wasn’t totally repulsive.
“I hate this plan,” Sora sat on the edge of the deck and looked away from the shark-man’s actions, “You do know what they are, right?”
Rock rubbed the back of his head, “I really don’t know much about mermaids.”
“These are not
mermaids,” Sora said.
Haughty laughter echoed over the oceans, “The little boy has room to be picky about his allies as death sweeps over the world. I’m sure when we all die, we can at least say we didn’t have to get our hands dirty.”
“Leave the boy alone, Jeanette,” a short-haired woman in black rolled her eyes.
“Nah, keep teasing him,” One of the few he did recognize, Deadshot, smoked with Revy and watched the deck, "I like seeing him squirm."
Sora shook his head, “I just think it’s not a good idea to trust saving humanity to a group that wants them dead.”
King Shark shook his head and looked back at the odd crew and said, “Man, what a bigot.”
That caught Sora by surprise, “What?”
“You ever read that holy book the humans have? The one called The Book?” Shark put a hand on his hip and turned to them all.
Revy spoke for everyone, “Huh?”
“I think he’s referring to the Christian Bible,” Rock said.
"Then why'd he call it 'book'?" Revy snarled.
"Because that's what the word "Bible" means in Latin."
Revy let out a scoffing laugh, "I knew the church was full of themselves, but wow! I'm impressed!"
Rock let out a heavy sigh as Revy's name passed his lips. He knew better than to argue, but it didn't make it any less frustrating.
“Yeah, that thing! You read the end and it’s just as bloody and stuff as the Theologos tou Cthulhu. Not every Cthonist is a blood boring cultist. Some of us are well adjusted and don’t look that forward to the Great Rising occurring in our life time, thank you very much.”
“Preach it, Sturgeon Prince!
” Deadpool cheered.
“That’s King Shark! KING SHARK!”
“Yeah, whatever,” Deadshot puffed a smoke, “And don’t you eat people, Sharky?”
“Yeah, but only guy’s I’m tryin’ to kill,” King Shark tapped his claws together, “And it’s your fault for being so tasty.”
Before another counter could be voiced, the water began to churn grabbing everyone’s attention.
” Deadpool raised his hand. When no one acknowledged him, he asked anyway, “Why do a race of fish men have submarines?
“Why does a race with feet invent cars?” King Shark answered as the sub cleared the water’s surface. It was a stylized vessel shaped like a whale, but reminded Sora of the inside of a computer.
Once the water stopped draining off it, a group of green fish-men holding tridents and armored more for ceremony than function stepped onto the deck. They surrounded a human-looking figure of dark skin and short cropped blonde hair. Aside from what Sora thought were gill slits along his neck and some rather intense grey eyes and ceremonial tattoos which ran up his arms, he looked like a relatively normal human. Next to him were a tattooed fish-man and a human-looking auburn skinned woman in blue with long dark hair. Sora noted the inactive gill slits along her neck and the trident she held. If things went south, he knew she’d be calling orders from the back as the tattooed deep one charged right in.
But she would not go down quickly if confronted.
Sora’s silent threat assessments met some vindication when King Shark grew a bit pale and gulped out a simple phrase: “Oh crap.”
Everyone reacted to that.
“‘Oh crap?’” Revy threw aside her cigarette, “What do you mean ‘oh crap’?”
“The stench of death grows greater,” Jeanette said and that got the other members of the Six ready. Sora took the hint.
“What’s wrong?” Sora finally asked.
“The kid there knows me,” King Shark said and looked away.
Deadshot pulled his masked on, “And not in a ‘hey ol’ buddy’ sort of way, I’m guessing.”
” Deadpool clapped his hands.
“Calm yourself,” Bane placed a hand on the merc’s shoulder, squeezing hard enough to both get Deadpool’s attention and activate his healing factor, “And let us hope we can negotiate.”
“Vasilias Karcharias,” The young man said, “You have the gall to summon us so near our city? And with humans in tow no less.”
“Kaldur’ahm,” King Shark bowed to one knee, “I’m sorry for having disturbed you.”
“State your case, Karcharias,” Kaldur’ahm snapped, “The only reason you have not been killed where you stand is the presence of a Kleidilepida Kyrios.”
With a slight nod, Sora saw he was the crew’s salvation, so he spoke up. “Um, thank you very much.”
“It is the proper respect given your title.”
He shrugged, “Nice to have it, I guess.”
The short haired woman stepped forward to meet with Kaldur’ahm. “My name is Scandal Savage,”
Donald quacked several times, quietly. Sora did his best to hold back a chuckle.
“Daughter of Vandal Savage, and currently, representative of the cabals and families of Roanapur. I have come to make you and your people an offer in exchange for help against the Nazis.”
Kaldur’ahm studied her, but said nothing.
“We know your king, the Avenging Son, fought them in the past for their transgressions against your people. Though he does not think highly of our society, it is better than Nazi rule by far. We ask for his aid in combating their forces.”
“That is not a small request,” Kaldur’ahm folded his arms, “One that is beyond my ability to decide.”
Scandal’s face remained hard, “You misunderstand. We’re not asking you for the world, just Roanapur. You can relay our request to your king for the rest of the world. But you can lead these forces into Roanapur and aid us there.”
“And what is it that your offer in return?”
“For Roanapur?” Scandal took a breath before saying it, “Women.”
This got the deep ones around them to stir.
“You can come into Roanapur and interbreed with any whore you can convince to come with you. Visit the whores, buy yourself a bride, or wine and dine: your pick, it’s all there.”
“And for the world?”
“Entry onto the larger world stage. You may not know it, but the current President is solidifying earth’s power for contact with alien races. Russia is in on it as well, and we can get you in on the ground floor as just another part of the world, rather than skulking in the shadows like you’ve been doing since you lost most of your cities to nuclear tests.”
Sora felt bile build up in his threat and the word “Awful” slipped out of his mouth before he could stop it.
“Oh?” The Jeanette woman purred, “Too much for the child’s stomach?”
“I’m not sure which is worse,” Sora turned to her, “The offer, or the recipient.”
Jeanette smiled, “Child, Roanapur has made worse deals than this. They dealt with Khan at the height of his power.”
“Doesn’t mean I have to like it,” Sora quietly answered.
“But you’re letting it happen anyway,” Jeanette’s smile turned feral and hungry, “Perhaps the boy is more aware of the world than I initially thought.”
Sora had seen darker visages, and was unaffected, “Much more.”
Kaldur’ahm whispered something to his apparently human lieutenant who then barked orders in Greek to the other Deep Ones until one trident-armed fish-man came to her and croaked back more Greek which drew concern.
“I have relayed the greater message for the world to my king. As to Roanapur, your terms are acceptable,” The sigh of relief from the passengers and crew of the Black Lagoon were cut off by more Greek from the woman in blue and Jeanette’s eyes going dark.
“Death has found us!
” She cried out as the sky rippled and cracked.
“What the hell is that?!” Revy’s harsh words were carried over a sudden wind and violent shaking of the world around them, turning up the seas in its fury.
Rock could not take his eyes off it, nor could Sora. He knew what it was too, but said nothing. He only steadied himself as Rock held onto the boat for dear life.
“No way! It can’t be! Not this far from a fault line!” Rock cried out.
Revy picked the former Salary-man up by his shirt and barked, “You know what’s going on? What the hell is going on, Rock?!”
“It’s a quake!”
“In the middle of the ocean? Don’t be ****in’ stupid!”
“No, a dimensional quake! A heterodyne is breaking through!”
When the light faded, the heterodyne floated above the tumultuous seas with eerie stillness. It was almost a specter of death, a white, skull-like face atop its broad shoulders, which tapered down to a mass of rectangular tentacles, dark and tinted a red reminiscent of warm flesh that flayed in non-existent wind like the wild hair of a banshee. Its center was a red core lined with bright white ribs-like ‘guards’ around it. It made a deep rumbling trumpeting sound before it effortlessly floated away from the confused masses.
The woman barked more Greek at Kaldur’ahm. He nodded briskly and turned to the Black Lagoon crew. “It seems our alliance has divine president. That beast is headed towards the risen City my King wished to take back. My lieutenants will take three ships to your city and secure it. I will lead my men to slow down this mon—”
“You can’t!” Sora yelled, “Not against Zeruel!”
“You know what that thing is?” Revy hissed.
Sora nodded, “I’ve seen one before. It is not an enemy that can be confronted directly. Not easily. You’re better off reinforcing your King, Kaldur’ahm!”
Kaldur paused for a moment, “I will heed this council, Keyblade Wielder,” and turned to shout orders to his men as he walked back into his ship as Zeruel floated off. The ships of the children of Dagon sped off to their destinations with equal speed, leaving the Black Lagoon
alone in the waves.
Scandal Savage looked around the now empty sea, still rippling from the quake and shrugged, “Mission accomplished?”
Deadpool, put an arm around Sora, “I knew having you along would be one hell of a luck charm!
“We are certainly lucky to be alive,” Bane nodded, “being that close to a Heterodyne is not something to sneeze at.”
“Now let’s go back to the war zone Roanapur has probably turned into by now, It’s safer!” King Shark whined while holding onto the deck for his life.