Everyone on the Lagoon has their own ways of coping with stress. That's why pinups and the girly magazines litter the corridors and why everyone carries their own personal packs of cigarettes.
And it's why, when things get tight, sometimes Benny writes letters home in his head.
Hey Dad, he thought, as the Lagoon swung around in the harbor, so tight a turn that Benny had to grab on to his desk to keep his balance. You'll be happy to know I finally got a real job. It's not exactly nine to five, but the pay's pretty good....
"Benny!" Dutch yelled. "What've I got?"
"A mess," Benny reported. "Revy's turned off her radio, I don't know where she is. We've got another Zodiac coming up on the port side, and--"
Benny held on. One of my co-workers is really pretty. Great legs. You'd like her. At least until you got to know her.
As if in response, Revy's voice crackled in over the radio. "Goddamnit, Benny! What's going on?"
"You turned your radio off!"
Revy ignored his point. "What's going on?"
"There's a Zodiac coming up on the port side. You got it?"
"I'm on it," she said, and he could hear the focus in her voice. Dutch pulled the Lagoon around again. There were shots overhead, and then Revy's voice, which sounded more like "Fuck you" than a scream, so that was okay. You'd probably like my boss, Dad, he doesn't put up with anybody's crap. And then there's the new guy....
"Benny!" came a voice from above. "I need a connection to these guys, right away! I think they're--"
The boat rocked again as Dutch dodged a volley of bullets.
"--on our side! If I can just--"
"Fine," Benny said. He's...interesting. Useful, anyway. You probably would've liked him better before he came to work with us.
Benny could recognize eight languages and speak at least a little of four; none of them matched up to what Rock started yelling into the radio connection. But the tone was clear enough: it started polite and anxious, disintegrated into anger, and finally ended with Rock slamming the radio down and muttering something obscene in Japanese. So much for common interests.
"Give 'em hell, Revy!" Rock yelled up in the general direction of the deck. Benny sniggered in spite of himself.
But you know, Dad, you always said the most important thing was to have co-workers you could trust. Works as well here as it does back in Florida.
Revy screamed in triumph, and the ship shuddered to a halt. Crisis over. Benny reached down to the mini-fridge and pulled out two beers. He handed one to Rock.
"Thanks," Rock said, and headed out to deal with the carnage. Benny sighed.
Give my love to Mom. I'd write, but I think you already disowned me, and I know you don't want to deal with those questions from the FBI.
He reached into his pocket and lit another cigarette. "Hey," he said, "it's over. That's what matters, right?"
"What matters, Benny boy," Dutch corrected from the cockpit, "is that we won."
Benny grinned in agreement and pulled the smoke into his lungs.