Out in the hallway the alarms blared. As I pushed the heavy door shut, it scraped along the floor, following a dark, groove etched in the tile. I threw my shoulder into it a few times until it latched, then took the key from Yumi and jammed it into the lock. I turned the key hard, and with a click, the gun room was secured.
“Actually…” I said, twisting the key against the tumblers until it snapped. “Just in case they get any bright ideas.” I tossed the severed bow onto the floor, leaving the blade inside the keyhole.
Yumi nodded, her face emotionless under the hallway’s red lamps. She held her sword taut at her side, the tip pointing at the ground, and waited for me to move.
“Alright, let’s do this,” I said.
I jogged down the hall back to the ladder, the grenades thumping at my waist, and grabbed the rungs. The lights flicked off below as I felt around for a grip on the hatch. When I found it, I raised it just enough to see that the door to the room was ajar. Someone ran by, their footsteps drowned out by the sirens.
“Shit,” I said, quickly, dropping the hatch. “Yumi? Are you there?”
“Hai,” her voice came out of the darkness.
“The door’s open.”
“Hai,” she said again, whether or not she understood I had no idea.
“We’re gonna die,” I added.
I shoved the hatch open and climbed out as quickly as I could. When I was up, I helped Yumi out, then closed the hatch behind her. She noticed the open door immediately and flattened herself against the wall, out of view. I followed and we stood there for a long moment. The sirens were too loud to hear anything, but Yumi remained intently focused on the three inch gap between the door and the jam. I was just about to open my mouth when she looked at me and smiled.
She burst through the door, her blade flashing. There was an abbreviated shout, cut off by a shriek, as the tiny Japanese girl, in her black diving suit and ninja-like hood, plunged her sword through the chest of a helmeted guard. She ripped the steel out and the man fell—in slow motion—his eyes wide and frozen, his helmet tumbling from his head, turning end over end, as ribbons of blood twisted out of his flesh and loped through the air.
Yumi spun around, flicking the sword to her side. The guard’s body thumped onto the floor behind her.
“Let’s go,” she said coldly, little drops of blood dotting her cheek.
I had to will my gaping mouth shut. “Anything you say.” I drew my sidearm.
Still below deck, I followed Yumi down the port side toward the bow of the ship. I didn’t know where the hell this girl came from, or what she was thinking, but she wanted blood. We were already near the stern, and could probably have made a relatively quiet escape from the back of the ship, but Yumi was charging forward, where we would likely find the thickest resistance. I considered splitting off and fending for myself, but after seeing her wield a blade, I figured I’d be safer with her, no matter how deep the shit got.
The sirens were a serious problem. If anyone was coming, we wouldn’t hear it—and when they did, we nearly collided. Two sailors in blue hats appeared at an intersection, about a hundred feet into our jog. I put on the brakes and raised my 9mm, inches from the pair. I fired. My guy shouted something in Japanese an instant before the bullet ripped into his chest. I caught his eye as he stumbled backward, a look of complete surprise… surprise and bewilderment. As strange as it may sound, it felt good to take him out clean. No pain, no horror, just a flash of shock. He was dead when he hit the floor.
Yumi took care of the other blue hat. I didn’t look, just a slash or two and the splatter of blood in my periphery, coupled with a prolonged, agonized scream. Her kill wasn’t so clean.
We continued down the hallway, side by side this time, and banked right at the next intersection.
“Here!” Yumi shouted over the sirens.
She crashed through a steel door and we clamored down four sets of metal stairs without incident. At the bottom Yumi yanked open a door and I followed her into the engine room. It wasn’t what I expected. It was small and organized. The walls were clean and white (for now) and in the center of the room was what was probably the motor, a giant hulk of a thing covered in a plastic shell, also white. Innumerable pipes and ducts littered the ceiling. Along the far side of the wall were myriad instruments and controls, none of which I can accurately describe: wheels and levers and monitors and blinky lights will have to suffice. The three men sitting at the controls, and the other, who was leaning against the engine, started shouting as Yumi leaped into the fray.
Yumi led with a knife. Where the hell did that come from? It sailed through the air and found her mark—in the stomach of the man leaning against the engine. She immediately turned her attention to the closest guy at the console and raised her sword. The other two became intensely unaware of my presence as they glued their eyes to the bizarre sight of their friend’s head bouncing off a keyboard and tumbling through the air. Heads shouldn’t tumble—it’s weird and scary—so I took the opportunity to double tap them each in the chest, hoping to ease their minds as quickly as possible. They slumped over peacefully, and blinked out of existence.
The guy with the knife in his stomach wasn’t so lucky. He was screaming like fucking crazy. Yumi was already after him, ready to slice him into maki rolls, but I had a clear shot, and I took it. Yumi lowered her blade and glanced back at me, grinning; I even thought I heard her giggle. I shrugged and smiled. Weird.
I hadn’t had time to wonder what the hell we were actually doing down in the engine room, but Yumi quickly provided the answer. She stepped over the dead man, casually, as if he were nothing more than a mud puddle, retrieving her knife as she did. The engine had an access compartment, secured by two silver latches. Yumi snapped them open and lifted the clamshell, peering in as she wiped the blood from her knife on her leg. I stayed back as she reached in and severed a braid of thick, colorful wires.
The ship’s engines died instantly, and the whole fucking room went black.