Read Or Die Fan Fiction ❯ Read or Dare! ❯ Chapter 6

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
Flashback: Foundations (Ten years ago)

“Are you fuckin’ kidding me?” Revy sat up from where she was lounging in her chair, the reddish brown haired woman looking surprised. She wore a simple muscle shirt and cut off jeans, looking lithe and deadly with the pistols holstered under each arm.

“I’m leaving Roanapur and Thailand,” Balalaika nodded, the tall, blonde haired woman standing there dressed in her usual woman’s suit, the ever present Soviet officer’s jacket slung over her shoulders. She flashed them a smile and added, “And I’d like to invite the Lagoon company to come along.”

Dutch looked at her thoughtfully from where he was sitting, the tall black man smiling slightly as he said, “I’m listening.”

“As you may have known, in addition to Hotel Moscow my allies and I have fun a quite profitable mercenary service,” Balalaika revealed, “and recently a most interesting opportunity dropped into our laps.”

Sensing his cue Benny smiled and asked, “Oh?”

Giving him a slight nod Balalaika continued, “On the island chain of the Northern Mariana Islands there has been a great deal of strife recently, in which several factions fought over governance of the three islands. Hotel Moscow, through various intermediaries, was brought in to resolve the situation.”

“And you won,” Rock noted, the black haired Japanese man watching with interest.

“Of course,” Boris said calmly, the big man leaning up against the wall. Working as Balalaika’s lieutenant he was a incredibly dangerous individual, as well as smarter than most people might have assumed.

Balalaika looked faintly amused, “However, once we won a certain complication appeared.” Pacing back and forth a bit she continued, “It seems the rather foolish governor of the islands didn’t have enough money in his treasury to pay us.”

Revy snorted with amusement. “Bet he regretted pulling that pretty fast,” she took a long drag on her smoke, “what did you do to him?”

Dutch sat forward, a thoughtful look on his face. “Didn’t he resign?” he mused, “I think I heard something about it on the news.”

“Very good, Dutch,” Balalaika nodded, “he did. And I am going to be replacing him.”

You could have heard a pin drop. Then suddenly Revy sat up, “Are you making a fuckin’ joke! You, running a podunk little island?”

Balalaika looked amused, “Oh, it’s much more than a little island. It’s situated to be available to the United States and the pacific rim, it has airports and a stable population... with the right management it could be bigger than Roanapur.”

“So why us?” Dutch asked calmly.

Balalaika’s coat swirled around her as she walked over to her desk. “I need people around me I can trust, and not just from Hotel Moscow. It may be a great opportunity but running the island won’t be easy. The US has interests that will NOT be happy I’m taking over, and there are other nations that may be looking to muscle in.”

“You bringing a army?” Benny asked, pushing up his glasses.

“I won’t need a army with people like Revy along,” Balalaika nodded towards her, “as well as a few other choice allies taken from the city. But I won’t lie, it could get very dangerous for a while.”

“Danger isn’t really a problem for us,” Revy noted. She looked over at her boss, “Dutch?”

Dutch studied Balalaika a moment, his expression thoughtful. “You’ve never steered us too wrong,” he conceded.

Balalaika smiled, “Gee thanks.”

“But this is bigger than the usual jobs,” Dutch mused after a moment. “I’m in, but I can’t speak for everyone.”

Benny looked thoughtful as he asked, “Am I going to get better electronics gear than I’ve got on the Lagoon?”
“If what I’ve got in mind happens, yes,” Balalaika agreed.

“I’m in,” Benny nodded. He looked at the man beside him, “Rock?”

Rock straightened his tie as he murmured, “This is going to be a quite a challenge, I think. I’d like to see what happens.”

Dutch looked over at the only one who hadn’t said yes or no, “Revy?”

Revy looked at them, then over at Balalaika silently. “Can I talk to you in private, sis?” she finally asked.

“Ma’am?” Boris gave Balalaika a look.

“Go on,” Balalaika nodded, “we should be done in a moment.” After Boris and the others filed out she turned to Revy, “Well?”

“What the hell is really going on?” Revy asked, looking at her through narrowed eyes.

Balalaika looked amused. “I thought I had explained things adequetely,” she noted.

“Bullshit,” Revy answered, getting up from her chair and stalking towards Balalaika. “You’re too good to have gone to work for them not knowing they couldn’t pay... you knew. You wanted the islands, but why?”

A faint smile teased Balalaika’s lips, “Very good, not even Dutch asked me that.”

“He’s probably thinking about it,” Revy calmly noted. “Well, you goin’ to tell me what’s going on, Sis?”

Balalaika turned to look out the window, gazing at the city of Roanapur with a jaded eye. “Have you heard of the story of Alexander the Great?” she asked.

“Wasn’t he gay?” Revy blinked.

Balalaika rolled her eyes, “Other than that.”

“He conquored the known world,” Revy strained to recall, “then dropped dead.”

“Because he ran out of things to do,” Balalaika agreed as she turned back towards Revy. “At this point, I own all or almost all the illegal activity in Roanapur, Hotel Moscow is thriving and I’m quickly running out of challenges to face.”

“So, you’re taking over an island to stop yourself from being bored?” Revy asked. “That’s fucked up.”

“I know,” Balalaika agreed.

A sudden smile teased Revy’s lips, “But that’s a fucked up I can understand.”

“So, you’re coming?” Balalaika met her eyes with a surprising amount of earnestness.

“Why do you care?” Revy wondered, “I’m just a gun slinger.” She flashed a cocky smile, “A GOOD one, maybe, but still...”

Balalaika reached out to gently push a bit of Revy’s hair back from her face. “Yes, but you have the potential to be more, too,” she said simply.

Revy shied away from her touch, lighting a cigarette. Taking a deep drag she took the cigarette out to look at the glowing red end, “All right, I’ll give it a try. I get bored, I’m gone.”

“Fair enough,” Balalaika agreed. She took the girl’s arm as she asked, “Shall we give the others the good news?”

“What the hell,” Revy agreed as they headed out to talk to the rest of the crew.

To be continued...