Categories > Cartoons > G.I. Joe > Tenderfoot0 Reviews
A collection of ficlets, in chronological order, focusing on Lift Ticket and Lifeline.
Espionage had seemed a very suave and romantic thing to Lifeline back when he was younger, when he was just Eddie and had snuck Ian Fleming novels into his room to read under the covers at night with a flashlight. Some time actually doing the work in question had quickly taught him that it was dull for the most part, and frequently cold and uncomfortable on top of that. The current mission looked to be one of the latter, he thought ruefully. A chilly drizzle misted the air as the small group of Joes trudged through shin-high grass, their faces whipped by small branches that snapped back after the Joe in front brushed them aside. That meant that Beachhead, who lead, was in the best mood of anyone else in the group (not that it was all that terrific a mood, at that). Behind him, Roadblock and Mainframe jostled each other and grumbled; behind Lifeline, Lift Ticket tromped in sullen silence.
Lift Ticket's quiet seemed more irate than his usual reticence. Lifeline slowed down slightly and fell in beside him. "Hey," he muttered quietly in the man's ear. "What's wrong?"
"This ain't my idea of a fun getaway," Lift Ticket snarled back under his breath.
"No, the weather isn't lovely. What's wrong?" Lifeline whispered, stubbornly.
Lift Ticket sighed, casting a glance at the Joes ahead. "What am I doin' here? Give y'all a ride in, tromp along behind, give y'all a ride back. Feckin' useless. You could get a first-year pilot to do the same."
"Hey, now," Lifeline muttered, "you're here in case we need you. The best mission of all is the one in which I'm utterly unneeded, you know..."
Beachhead came to an abrupt halt, and the rest of the troop stumbled to a surprised stop behind him. "Look, ladies," he growled, "this is a spy mission we're on here, yeah? We spy a lot better when the bad guys can't hear us, ya know. So would y'all please /shut up/?" He turned around and marched resolutely onwards.
"Thanks, dad, I feel much better," Lift Ticket muttered to Lifeline as they marched on. Lifeline sighed and gave up, for the moment.
About ten minutes later, Beachhead responded to a landmark only he could see, and raised his hand. The rest of the group gathered close. "Right," he said. "This," he tapped his foot on something buried in the grass that made a muffled metallic clang, "is the drain that Mainframe and I are gonna take into the HQ. I'm makin' an executive decision. The two of us can take it from here; I want the rest of ya to do a little reconnaissance. We don't know squat about the eastern half of this little paradise, and this is as good a time for a looksee as any. Stay low, don't get seen, don't get caught, don't use the radio unless it's an emergency. And by 'emergency' I mean 'yer already dead,' right?"
A muffled chorus of agreement made him nod. "Right. Roadblock, help me with this..."
Roadblock tapped him aside, reached down, and lifted a manhole-sized grating out of the ground with a grunt. Water sprayed up and splattered the group. Lifeline took off his glasses and wiped them. Once they were back on, he saw that Mainframe was already in the drain, and Beachhead was halfway down. "Drop that over me; let's cover our tracks," he told Roadblock. "See ya back at the Tomahawk in two hours." Roadblock obliged, and Beachhead ducked into the ground just in time to prevent getting hit over the head with the grating.
"Feeling a little more useful?" Lifeline asked Lift Ticket quietly as they moved eastwards, slogging through the damp vegetation. Lift Ticket gave him a dirty look.
Lifeline's mind began to wander as they trudged, thinking about the journal article he had not quite finished when Beachhead had roused him, thinking about the Cobra base and what their garish new leader might be up to, thinking about dry socks. He was brought up abruptly when Roadblock grabbed his arm and fell. Lifeline fell along with him. "Whut?" Lift Ticket asked, bemused, and Lifeline turned to see that the man was still standing. Lifeline grabbed his leg and twisted, and Lift Ticket fell to the ground with a wet splat. "Bast..." Lifeline covered Lift Ticket's mouth to squash the rest of the expletive.
"Hush your mouth or we're goin' south!" Roadblock hissed. "Cobras out there - better beware!"
Lifeline and Lift Ticket scrambled up to where Roadblock lay. They parted the grasses. The group was on a small hillock overlooking an equally small valley - more like a good-sized depression - with a largish river cutting through it. Three Dreadnoks puttered around in the valley next to a beached armored craft.
"A little far afield, aren't they?" Lifeline whispered. The Joes hadn't landed much farther out than this. The thought that they might have landed in the middle of a pack of Cobra was not a heartening one.
"The satellite said they never ranged far," Roadblock whispered. "But you can't deny that here they are!"
"Are we just goin' to stand here and recite poetry at 'em?" Lift Ticket snarled. "They're not payin' attention. We could take 'em."
That struck Lifeline as a rather bad idea. "This is a reconnaissance mission! If they raise an alarm, we might compromise Beachhead and Mainframe's mission."
"Not if we don't give 'em time to raise anything," Lift Ticket said with an evil grin. Lifeline's heart sank; he had a feeling he was about to be outvoted. Sure enough, Roadblock's grin mirrored Lift Ticket's.
"I like the way this boy thinks," Roadblock said. "Besides, how can we reconnaissance with them in the way?"
"We could always walk /around/," Lifeline sighed, with resignation.
"Nah, I'd rather play through. Tip 'em in the drink before they get time to think. They'll know a little somethin' about what's goin on, so let's grab 'em before they're gone!"
"Lifeline can distract them, and we'll jump them from behind," Lift Ticket replied.
Lifeline twisted to face him, irate. "Find your own distraction! I'm not going to be a part of this!"
Roadblock sighed. "Look, little bud, we're goin' to do this with or without you. With, and there's a better chance for our friends inside..."
"No," Lifeline said, firmly, and started to shimmy back.
Roadblock sighed. "Like it or not, we need a distraction to get some of that action..." A meaty hand descended on Lifeline's collar, and he suddenly found himself tumbling down the slope. The slick grass gave him no purchase, and his tumbling slide did not stop until he hit something with his side. It was, he noted, a steel-toed leather boot.
"Oi! Look whut the cat drug in!" the bearded owner of the boot yelled, grabbing for Lifeline's collar. Lifeline rolled to the side, and his slick, wet uniform slid out of the man's paw-like grasp. He staggered to his feet as the man growled and made a lunge for him. He dropped to the side, letting the man fall to his face.
"It's /dragged/, yeh idiot!" a more high-pitched voice screeched. It added, surprised, "Wait! What's that!"
"It's /dead/!" the first man yelled, spitting out a mouthful of grass as he scrambled to his feet. Lifeline looked nervously from him to the other two Dreadnoks, who were closing in from behind.
With a pounding of wet footsteps and a whispered "Yo Joe!" the two behind him went down with a pair of muffled splats. Roadblock and Lift Ticket got off of the top of the two downed Dreadnoks and lunged for the third man, who stumbled backwards, his eyebrows rising in surprise from behind a badly scratched pair of aviator sunglasses.
"Eyyah! Joes!" he screeched. He stumbled backwards. "Get them!" he yelled over his shoulder, just before Roadblock dealt a swift punch to the jaw. His mouth closed with a click, and he fell to the ground.
"Feeling /useful/?" Lifeline asked Lift Ticket, irate, as he brushed greenery off of his uniform. He breathed deeply, trying to not appear as livid as he felt. Endangering their entire mission just so those two could 'play' with their fists!
"Oh, heck, yeah," Lift Ticket said, grinning like an idiot. "Now we..."
He trailed off as the bushes into which the man had yelled began to rustle. The three of them backed slowly away as the rustling increased. The bushes suddenly parted, revealing three BATs, weapons upraised.
"Just our stinkin' luck," Roadblock muttered. "Pardon my French if I have to say..." He was interrupted as the Joes flung themselves out of the way of the blasts from the BAT's weapons, which made smoking holes in the greenery.