Watch out for language... The shorts posted here do not necessarily relate to each other, but are based on writing exercises which I happened to choose to write in Joe-speak.
Author: "Wolfman Six"
I think we all know the drill. G. I. Joe is a trademark of Hasbro International and licensed to Marvel Comics Group and Devil's Due Publishing. I make nothing from borrowing their characters.
This is just a short scene, but powerful in that Lifeline, the avowed pacifist, must check his beliefs at the door if he wants to survive.
Under a hidden Cobra fortress
Outside Grozny, Chechnya
Midnight, local time
Giant sewer rats scurried about and squeaked in protest as the thick leather boots of two Cobra soldiers invaded their space. Clomping melodically along the hewn stone floor, the soldiers marched through the dank, old dungeon corridor carrying a limp, unconscious man tied up at the wrists and ankles. The two Cobras joined a third man, the dungeon's jailer, who twirled a rusty old ring of keys on the tip of his finger. The jailer motioned to a cell that he had opened, keeping one hand on the shiny 9mm automatic slung on his hip.
"Drop him in there," the jailer ordered the two soldiers. "They can keep each other company."
As the soldiers lowered the bound man to the floor and removed his restraints, he began to stir. When one of the soldiers noticed him waking up, he pressed his boot down hard on the prisoner's chest, grinding it into the bright red and white uniform the man wore.
"Come on," the jailer said. "I'm tired of playing with the rats. Let's go up to the guardroom and guzzle a few brews."
Laughing evilly, the three Cobras locked the cell and stomped their way past the giant sewer rats on the way out of the dungeon. The recently arrived prisoner sprang to his feet and grabbed the iron bars of the cell, imploring the guards to come back.
"Hey!" Lifeline yelled. "I'm a non-combatant! You can't keep me down here!"
A soft, whispered voice came out of the shadows along the cell's far wall. "Give it up, Rawhide. Cobra doesn't believe in the Geneva Convention. Nor do they give a rat's ass about what happens to their prisoners."
Lifeline's eyes began to adjust to the minimal lighting in the dungeon, and when he stared into the shadows long enough, a shape began to materialize. It was a human figure, a man, stretched out on a simple prison cot and lying on one side.
"Who... Who's there?" Lifeline asked into the darkness.
The figure shifted in his place, cupping a hand over his face to stifle a cough. "You know who it is, Rawhide," he said. "You and your damn chicken shit buddies left me in the surveillance van to die when the Cobras hit it with an RPG. They almost cooked me alive because you fools panicked."
Lifeline's face drooped with guilt when he recognized the voice. "Snow Job? We thought you were a goner when the van burst into flames."
"Well, I'm not dead yet, no thanks to you," Snow Job replied. "But I don't know how long I'm going to last in this condition."
Lifeline hurried across the cell to his comrade's side, reaching out to assess his injuries. "Let me check you out, Snow Job. Maybe I can help."
Lifeline felt his hands batted away roughly when he came too close. "You can't help jack shit, pacifist," Snow Job growled. "If we stay here, we'll die. Don't you even think about trying to make me feel comfortable. I'm going to resist these boneheads."
"I'm... I'm sorry we left, Snow Job," Lifeline said. "You're right about us. We didn't know what to do when the van blew up. All we thought about was surviving Cobra and the armed bands of Chechen rebels that they stirred up to hunt us down."
"Joes never leave their own behind, Lifeline," Snow Job said, clutching at his gut and coughing again. "Never. You Rawhides need to learn that if you're ever going to make it on the real team. You need to learn that if you're ever going to get home from Chechnya alive."
"Well, there isn't much we can do about learning it now," Lifeline replied sadly. "We're stuck in here."
Snow Job rolled sideways and rose to a sitting position on the cot. "You forgot the second rule. Joes also never have a 'give up' attitude. We're going to get out of here, or die trying."
"Not in your condition," Lifeline urged, resting his hands on Snow Job's shoulders and trying to get him to lie back down. "You don't look like you could fight your way out of a paper bag, much less get us both out."
"Then you have to help me," Snow Job said, his eyes narrowing to slits.
"But I'm a pacifist," Lifeline said. "You know that. Violence is against my nature."
"Nature, bullshit!" Snow Job said. "If you want to live, then you'll fight to get out of here, God dammit!" Snow Job doubled over in a fit of coughing, succumbing to the growing weakness in his body.
Lifeline steered him back onto the cot and examined him as best as he could with no medical equipment. The medic looked down on the grim and determined face of his instructor and knew that the Joes were even more heroic than what the recruiters had said. The stakes were much too high for the team not to be weak-kneed. He decided that it was high time he did something to help his comrade.
Lifeline walked over to the cell bars and rattled them loudly. "Guard!" he shouted. "Guard!"
From the hallway, the sound of clomping jackboots approached. "What the hell do you want, prisoner?" the jailer asked.
"The other prisoner is burned and may have some infected wounds," Lifeline said. "I'm a medic. May I have a first aid kit or some medical supplies to treat him with?"
The jailer laughed at Lifeline and whacked the bars of the cell hard with his wooden truncheon, causing Lifeline to jump backwards in fright. "I'll see what I can bring you, non-combatant," he said, walking away. "The longer the Joe lives, the more we can beat some intelligence out of him."
After the jailer departed the dungeon, Lifeline leaned over Snow Job. "You'll be okay, Snow Job," he said. "I've asked for some medical supplies to treat you."
Snow Job's hands shot to Lifeline's throat and squeezed. "You idiotic fool!" he growled. "Cobra's gonna make you pay for that favor. Don't you realize that you just opened the door for them to think we're worth keeping around? You don't accept favors from the enemy!"
"I- I didn't know," Lifeline blurted out after Snow Job loosened his grip on the medic's throat. "I've never been a prisoner before."
"Then pay attention to your POW briefings next time," Snow Job growled, shoving Lifeline away and testing the feeling of his own legs. The snow trooper's voice dripped with anger and frustration. "Get away from me, you slimy, spineless Rawhide."
A few minutes passed, and the Cobra jailer returned, carrying Lifeline's medical equipment rucksack. The jailer sneered at Snow Job, as he leveled his AK-74 assault rifle at the two Joes before unlocking the cell.
"Come on over and get your medical bag," the jailer growled at Lifeline, kicking his rucksack into the cell doorway. He stood in the corridor laughing at the Joes while he worked the bolt of his rifle, charging it to fire.
Lifeline walked across the cell to reach for his equipment rucksack, and the jailer leveled his AK-74 to point the barrel at his face.
"That one," the jailer said, indicating Snow Job, "he's worth keeping. A veteran Joe Team member could be useful for the information he possesses. As for you, however..."
Snow Job didn't wait to see if the jailer was going to shoot Lifeline or just scare him. He propelled himself off the cot and charged through the cell door, knocking Lifeline off to one side. He grabbed the barrel of the jailer's AK-74 and yanked it roughly from his hands. The jailer was stunned by the sudden move, and unconsciously released his rifle. Snow Job tossed it into the cell and out of the jailer's reach. He followed the toss with a right cross into the jailer's jaw, knocking the Cobra backward.
Despite Snow Job's surprise attack, the jailer was quick to recover. He reached both of his meaty fists around Snow Job's neck and twisted, throwing the weakened soldier into one of the stone walls with a crash. The impact was enough to drain what little energy Snow Job had to resist, even though his eyes burned with the determination to survive and escape.
"Shoot the bastard, Lifeline," Snow Job moaned through his pain. "Shoot him!"
Lifeline looked at the discarded AK-74 on the ground at his feet, and his hands shook. "I can't do it," he whispered. "I can't... kill..."
"That weak medic won't help you, G. I. Joe scum," the jailer said to Snow Job, drawing his pistol and aiming it between the snow trooper's eyes. "Perhaps we could torture him for the information we need about G. I. Joe's reasons for being in Chechnya. You've thus become an expensive liability. One that will be my pleasure to remove."
Lifeline sat stunned as the jailer leaned over Snow Job's crumpled body and pressed the blue steel barrel of his automatic pistol against his comrade's forehead. His fingers unconsciously reached out and touched the cool plastic grips of the AK-74, pulling them into his hands.
The jailer cocked his pistol and let out a long, throaty laugh. "Prepare to die, G. I. Joe. You've failed at your mission."
Snow Job pinched his eyes shut, waiting for the inevitable...
BLAM! BLAM! BLAM!
Snow Job's eyes opened, watching the jailer fall forward. The blood from three through and through bullet holes spurted out of his chest. It coated Snow Job's torn and soiled uniform as the Cobra landed hard on the stone floor with a sickening thud. He shifted his eyes over to the cell, where Lifeline was on his knees, the smoking AK-74 hanging limply from his trembling hands.
"I- I can't believe it," Lifeline whispered. His tone was full of fear. "I shot someone in cold blood."
"He was about to kill me," Snow Job said, coughing up some of his own blood from an exaggerated internal injury. "Sometimes you have to accept the lesser of two evils in order to do what's right."
Lifeline dropped the AK-74 to the floor and thought for a moment. Then he picked it up and handed it to Snow Job in order for him to prop himself up with it. The medic slung his equipment bag over his shoulder and reached around Snow Job's waist to help him move.
"Come on, Snow Job," Lifeline said. "We still have a long way to go before we're out of here."