Bubblegum Crisis is property of AIC/Youmex
Toshimichi Suzuki and Kenichi Sonoda created Bubblegum Crisis
GI Joe is Property of Hasbro and Marvel/Sunbow entertainment all rights reserved.
Gundam and all related names are property of Bandai and Sunrise
Science Ninja Team Gatchaman and any related character is property of Tatsunoko
Jungle Trap originally written by Paul Dini
This takes place seven months before the events of The Call to Duty
Checking his watch for what seemed to be the hundredth time, Duke waited in his office for a new member of the Joe team to report in, the message he got from Hawk was a Lt. Stingray was due to arrive at 1200 hours. He frowned noticing it was 1230 hours, despite this Lt. came highly recommended by General Hawk; he was all ready a half-hour late.
“Not here yet?” Scarlett asked as she carried two cups of coffee, “Coffee?”
“Thanks. No, but when Lt. Stingray does arrive, he’s in for one hell of a dressing down.”
“I hope, it won’t come to that Sgt.” A tall, attractive woman in dress army greens said standing at Duke’s office door. “Lt. Sylia Stingray, reporting for duty. I’m your new field commander and head of Intelligence.” She saluted. “I apologize for being late, minor trouble with the chopper.” Sylia said taking her file from her briefcase.
Returning her salute, Duke took Sylia’s file. “Graduated 5th in your class at West Point with honors in military history and political science. Top graduate of both Ranger and Airborne schools. Expert in both NATO and Warsaw pact small arms. Impressive, Hawk was right you do come highly recommended.”
Sylia didn’t really care for the preamble, but it must be necessary confirm Hawk’s claim about her. “I must inform you to please spare me any details about the team, I’ve read all the mission and personnel reports, all case files including the current.”
“Well, I glad you’re up to speed. I think once you got settled we’ll get along just fine.” Scarlett smiled.
“With due respect Sgt. O’Hara, I’m not here to make friends, I’m here to do a job. Let’s leave it at that.” Sylia stated, her voice and tone were as cold as ice, then turned to Duke, “Sgt. Hauser, where I’m billeted?”
“Uh, you will be sharing quarters with Scarlett and Lady J”
“Very well, I’ll find my own way.” With that Sylia turned on her heel and walked out of Duke’s office.
“Whoa!” Duke could only say, “That lady’s cold as ice.”
“Yeah, a real ice queen,” Scarlett frowned, not relishing that fact of sharing quarters with Lt. Stingray.
“I don’t know about her General, she doesn’t seem like a team player. Are sure Stingray can fit in with GI Joe team?” Duke told Hawk over the phone. He decided to call Hawk an hour after meeting Sylia.
“Sylia may seem cold at first, but she is a good soldier. Unfortunately, she has tendency to keep people at arms length after getting a raw deal on her last two missions.”
“During her mission in Cambodia, she lead the mission where she had to shoot one of her team mates, because he was mentally unstable and cost her the primary mission objective. Blame needed to be pointed somewhere and she went before a military tribunal for her actions and those of her team. Then a mission in Middle East she saw nearly her entire team was wiped out including her CO was killed in front of her.”
“Hmm, that is a raw deal, General.”
“Just her give some time, Duke.”
In the Mess Hall, Sylia sat at a table alone with a just a cup of coffee and a copy of the Wall Street Journal. “You know a pretty lady like you shouldn’t be alone.” Someone said.
Sylia lowered her newspaper a bit, to meet her neutral facial expression with a grin from the sailor before her. “I know nice restaurant where the pasta’s the best and the lighting romantic.”
“I’m sorry we haven’t been introduced, Lt. Stingray.”
“Well, Shipwreck, if you ever hit on me like this again, you’re going to be sucking all your meals through a straw! Am I clear?”
“Aye, aye, Lt.!” Shipwreck replied sheepishly as he slowly backed, then bolted for the door. Leaving Sylia alone with her newspaper and some peace and quiet.
From another table, Alpine and Bazooka watched Shipwreck introducing himself to the new Lt. “Man, that Lt. shot him down and left him for dead.” Alpine noted to Bazooka
“Going to ask her out?”
“I’ll wait a little.”
“Lt. Stingray, report to briefing room C. Lt. Stingray, report to briefing room C.” Breaker’s voice rang through the PA.
Sylia entered noticing Scarlett, Snake-Eyes, Recondo and Rock ‘N’ Roll sitting at a long table, Duke stood before a white board. Taking her seat, Duke began the briefing. “Now we’re all assembled, we have an easy job, make contact with a Dr. Shakoor and get him out of India…”
“Dr. Shakoor is the inventor of an experimental weapon called a mega particle cannon.” Sylia stated, interrupting Duke. “I did some research after reading the case file.”
“Well, Lt. you would like to explain to rest of the class?” Duke sarcastically replied. He was rapidly losing patience with Stingray, Hawk told him to give her time, ease herself in with GI Joe team; but also exercise his judgment.
“Very well,” Sylia coolly said for her place at the table, flipping open a folder before her. “Shakoor’s research is based upon a new field called Minovsky physics.”
“Minovsky physics?” Rock ‘N’ Roll asked who nearly flunked basic physics in high school, which conveyed everybody else’s sentiment, even Snake-Eyes threw his arms in a gesture of ‘what the hell she is talking about.’
Sylia only sighed, but she regained her composure, despite her intelligence, Sylia could only begin to fathom the underlying theories, but no one else in the room had a grasp for such advanced theoretical science. “Well, it’s a new scientific field pioneered by a defected Russian scientist Dr. Y.T. Minovsky back in the late 70’s, with his discovery of the subatomic particle called a Minovsky particle.” Sylia looked around the room, even though there was no way to put it into laymen terms, “The particle has near-zero rest mass, and either a positive and negative electrical charge.”
“Lt. please tells how this… Minovsky particle is used,” Duke complained trying to understand such egghead theories, “Jesus, I’m getting a headache,” he grumbled under his voice.
Looking towards Duke with a neutral expression on her face, “I am getting to that point. With these particles scattered into the open air, they can disrupt low-frequency electromagnetic radiation like microwaves and radio waves; also can interfere with the operations of electronic circuitry.”
“It’s almost like chaff or EM Pulse,” Scarlett surmised
“Not quite,” Sylia pointed out, “Chaff only disrupts electronics temporarily, while an EM Pulse destroys anything with an electronic circuit. This phenomenon renders radar detection and long-range wireless communications useless, unless all electronic equipment is properly shielded which could rule out use of precision-guided weapons, such as smart bombs. Anyway, Shakoor is experimenting with the mega particle cannon as a means of missile defense. According to his research fusing positive and negative Minovsky particles are compressed, they fuse into a new subatomic particle called a mega particle. Through this process, a portion of their mass is converted into kinetic energy, giving the mega particle a high initial velocity. These fast moving mega particles can be focused into a devastating energy beam. So it would be prudent on our part to get him out of India ASAP; rogue nations like Iraq also terrorism and rent-a-war outfits like Cobra will do anything to get a hold of Shakoor.”
“Well, it looks we have a job to do.” Duke stated, dismissing the troops.
“Well, let’s hope there’s more to you than your brains. How can anyone understand that bullshit you just explained?” Scarlett snidely remarked; she was hoping that Ranger tab on her shoulder was not just for show.
“Scarlett, you want to have a personal animosity against me that’s fine. I don’t care. But just don’t let it interfere with your work; one thing I cannot stand is one being unprofessional in one’s work.” Sylia calmly but harshly shot back.
A gasped, almost having ice water thrown into her face, never in her life has anyone accused her of being unprofessional in her duties, off duty Scarlett’s been quite well known to let her hair down, sometimes on rare occasions she’ll get bombed out of her skull. When duty called she was all business and this Lieutenant with an attitude problem and with a small streak of arrogance calls her unprofessional. “Look, if I’m anything, I am not unprofessional!” She seethed pointing an angry finger at Sylia, “at least I’m not some cold, emotionally distant, uptight bitch!”
Before Sylia could say anything, Duke barked at both Scarlett and Sylia to see him in his office, now. For the next hour, Duke dressed down both Lt. Stingray and Scarlett in value of getting along. After dismissing Scarlett, Duke turned his attention to Sylia. “Lt, I know you got a raw deal on your last two missions, but that’s no reason to keep everyone at arms length.”
“The fewer relationships I make, the more objective I can be without such attachments.” Sylia said in a cold voice, “You’re right, I did get a raw deal on last two missions out. So I would rather work alone.”
“Lt,” Duke started off, trying to keep his temper in check, “GI Joe is a team and we work as a team. If you find that too constraining, I’ll gladly endorse your transfer. If I find out you’ve been working alone, I’ll make you feel like it was your first day at boot camp. Is that clear Lt.?”
Hot, humid, and crowded was all Grey Fox could describe of Kanpur, India. The marketplace was full of people in traditional Indian garbs browsing the outdoor markets of various wares. Someone tried to sell her a hookah, even a caged jaguar. Along various points of the market place had the typical if not stereotypical snake charmers. She silently cursed herself after stepping into a pile of cow dung; but she remembered that within the Hindi religion, cow is sacred. “The savagery of the jungle mixed with the excitement of the city. Where else, but India?”
“Too bad we don't have time to go sight-seeing, but we've got to make contact with Dr. Shakoor.” Scarlett remarked.
“Speaking of which, I do believe that’s gentleman we’re suppose to meet.” Grey Fox pointing to a dark skinned, gray haired man wearing glasses, in a suit and tie, clutching briefcase as if he were carrying the nuclear launch codes
“Dr. Shakoor, I presume?” Duke asked
“Yes, I’m Shakoor.”
“Duke, GI Joe.”
“Grey Fox, sir.” Fox saluted
“Recondo at your service.”
“Rock ‘n’ Roll, hiya.”
“I read your research into the mega particle and developing the mega particle cannon as a means of TMD (Theater Missile Defense). With the problems with Iran, and the North Koreans who are developing nuclear missiles capable of reaching Japan and possibly US territory, I was not surprised. But our orders are to get you out of India and deliver you to DARPA” Grey Fox said
“I’m pleased that you read my research Unfortunately, Cobra shares your interests in my research.” Shakoor replied. “Even in the right hands the Mega Particle Cannon can be classified as weapon of mass destruction.”
Escorting Dr. Shakoor, Fox kept a hand on her holstered SOCOM. She didn’t like the security setup due to the dense population in the street. It would be too easy for someone to nab Shakoor.
From the distance an old Indian snake charmer watched the Joes as he "charmed" the cobra before him. "Well Zartan, have you located Shakoor yet?"
"Yes, but so has GI Joe." Zartan spoke into his lipmike. His disguise was perfect besides the cloak, Zarana, his sister, made him up to look like an old man. "Not to worry though, Commander. I have everything under control."
"Excellent. Proceed at once." The Commander was aware of Shakoor's research into the Mega Particle Cannon. He wished that he could have sent Berg Katse, but the head of intelligence was unavailable, so the Commander had to settle for Zartan and the Dreadnoks.
The Joes escorted Shakoor to a large, pillared, open courtyard waiting on a chopper for extraction. Duke at Fox who’s eyes kept darting around. "Something wrong Fox?"
"Just paranoid." she said as hooded, robed men entered in the area. Damn. The EZ’s not secured. Every mission I’m sent on always a FUBAR*. She cursed at the fact the extraction was taking longer than normal. She kept eye on the robed figures. Something’ rotten in the state of Denmark.
"Cobra!" Screamed a squad of Vipers tore off their robes, tossing flash grenades at the Joes.
"Scarlett, Grey Fox get the Doc to safety." Duke ordered. He slowly opened his eyes, the eyes were the most important assets to a soldier, and he prayed that his vision wasn’t impaired.
Fox reeled from the stun grenade, she nearly took the brunt from the flash.
Scarlett didn’t fare much either as a Viper slammed the AKS-74u into the back of her head.
"We got what we came for. COBRA!" The lead Viper yelled out holding up Shakoor’s briefcase. Two more Vipers snatched up Shakoor.
"Scarlett! Fox!" Duke yelled. Running over to the fallen Joes. His vision was clearing, in spite of large residual spot of flash.
"Where’s the doc?" Scarlett asked. Duke carefully helped Scarlett but to her made her disoriented.
"I don’t know. We better get back to base. Shakoor may not a very long shelf life." Duke remarked ruefully remarked. He was too aware, Cobra will kill Shakoor after learning everything about his research.
Scarlett rubbed the back of her head shaking off her mild concussion from that blow to her head with the butt of an AK; she found some amusement with Grey Fox being taken down a notch. Duke’s unit returned to an Indian military base to regroup and figure out how to get Shakoor back. “How are you doing Scarlett?” Duke asked as he handed her a cup of coffee.
“Fine, except for a slight headache.”
Fox quietly sipped her coffee, then took a drag from her cigarette. Another fucked up mission. She sighed, but there might be a chance to rectify. Activating her laptop, she accessed the USSATCOM system. Real-time satellite images over the city during the incident appeared on her screen; her analytical mind processed the information available, the easiest means of extraction would be by river, and air or land would be impossible. There was another problem, the lack of intel for the area. Fox needed information.
At an apartment in an upscale Washington neighborhood, a phone rang in the study, coming from the bedroom, CIA agent Shinobu Nagumo dragged herself, only clad in a nightie, then pulled on a robe, to the study. “Hello?” Shinobu groggily answered, her eyes refused to open after turning a lamp on the desk.
“Shinobu?” The voice answered, “I need help.”
“Sylia, you have any idea what time it is?”
“About 1330 hrs, India time.”
“Well it’s 5:30 in the freakin’ morning here!” She growled
“Shinobu, I wouldn’t be calling if it wasn’t important. But we’re fighting the clock, Cobra has kidnapped a scientist, we are supposed to get to DARPA. He might have a very short shelf life. We need the intell on this area.”
Releasing a sigh, Shinobu had no other choice, not just her friendship with Sylia, but the need to get Shakoor from Cobra. “Give me an hour and an half, and you’ll have your information.”
Placing the intelligence photos that Shinobu e-mailed to Sylia, with documents on a table. Each Joes took a look at the information. “Okay people, according to my source, Cobra may have a facility on the rivers in Bangladesh.”
“Why Bangladesh?” Rock ‘n’ Roll asked
“It would seem logical. Cobra cannot operate in Pakistan or Afghanistan, extreme Islamic groups such as the Taliban would have them killed. Also the escape vehicle was a Water Moccasin. Limited range and cannot operate in the open ocean. This only proves the intelligence.”
“What’s the best way in?” Duke asked.
“I’ll leave that to Recondo,” Fox replied
Then Recondo stood up, “On foot its 3 days through the most dangerous jungle on the planet. It’s hot, snake infested and wild. So we’ll go by jungle boat.”
At a large abandoned temple sitting in the middle of a lake in Bangladesh. Dr. Shakoor, escorted by Zartan and two Crimson Guards, was brought before a high dais with a snake shaped throne. He saw a man in a blue uniform, black gloves, he had a blue helmet and mirrored faceplate. “Welcome, Dr. Shakoor. I apologize for our somewhat demanding hospitality, but I so long wanted to meet you.”
“Who are you?”
“I’m the Commander in Chief of Cobra” the Commander answered, rising to his feet. “You may bow if you wish.”
Shakoor stood before the Commander defiantly refusing the Commander’s offer to bow. Zartan slammed him to his knees by grabbing him by the head. “The Doctor needs a lesson in manners.”
“Easy Zartan. That’s no way to treat our new employee.”
“I’ll never work for you.”
Under the Commander’s faceplate, he lifted an eyebrow before turning to his aide, holding up an open briefcase. “Perhaps the right motivation will change your mind. “The Commander replied. “Thank you my dear.” He told his aide.
Walking over to Shakoor he placed a collar around his neck. Shakoor gripped the collar forcing to remove it.
“Don’t bother trying to remove the collar it’s rigged with C-4. Which I have a detonator. Either you fail to cooperate or you try to remove the collar, the end result will be quite unpleasant.”
“What is it that you want, Commander,” Shakoor asked resigned to the fact he was in Cobra’s employ.
Taking a long drag from her cigarette, Grey Fox returned to her work; on a white field strip cloth, her SOCOM was in pieces, for cleaning. Satisfied with her efforts, she reassembled the parts back into a gun. Her unloaded SOCOM in her hand, Fox pointed it at the starboard side of the boat and pulled the trigger.
Click. A perfectly cleaned gun. A smile came across her face, even though she had her M-4 carbine, she might have to rely on her SOCOM.
The boat she was on was an old Vietnam-era PBR (Patrol Boat Rigid), the boat was basically a dingy with two Ma-Deuce emplacements. Weren’t these the boats that asshole Senator John Kerry claimed he served upon? Amazing he can get a purple heart for a paper-cut and claim he some sort of military expert. Yeah, and Patton was anti-war! Fox thought to herself amusingly. Fox would freely admit that she was a card carrying member of the Republican Party, but she considered herself moderate-to-conservative, except on issues like national security and the military, where she was very conservative.
The jungle, she hated the jungle. Beside the fact it was humid, hot where you’re drenched in sweat morning, noon and night. She had to strip off the top of her fatigues, she had a short-sleeve undershirt on underneath and sweat dripping down off her face. The jungle had another significant meaning for Fox, it reminded her of her failure before joining the GI Joe team. She had to shoot one of her own teammates, one who was insane. Her eyes glanced at the other Joes; doubts began to fill her mind of the mission success. No! I do not have the luxury to dwell on the past or to give into doubt. She thought to herself. Focus on the mission. Fox pushed all thoughts out of her mind.
Looking towards her teammates, she wasn’t hostile to them, Fox would rather keep everyone at arms length, and there was a job that needed to be done. But Fox couldn’t help establishing some close friendships. Immediately to mind, her thoughts turned to Hawk. He thought so highly of Fox, that he came down to Fort Benning in person with orders transferring her to GI Joe. But right now, she could use some advice from him.
Dismissing such irrelevant thoughts, Grey Fox stood to her feet, heading for pilot’s cabin. There Rock ‘n’ Roll was at the wheel while Recondo and Duke studied the intell map as Fox joined them.
Duke looked over the intell maps provided by Fox’s CIA contact. “How much longer until we reach the target?”
“Day and a half maybe.” Recondo replied
Reaching into her pocket she pulled out her cigarettes. “I feel like Marlow going up the Congo River to find Kurtz in Joseph Conrad’s the Heart of Darkness.”
“Never read it.” Duke answered.
“Not an easy book to read, I had to read Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams to understand the writing style. You may have seen a variation as Apocalypse Now.”
Before Duke could respond, a sound was approaching from astern. Sounds like a flight of choppers. Didn’t ask for air support.
“Cobra FANGs!” Scarlett yelled readying her M-4. Rock ‘n’ Roll scrambled to the 50 cal in the stern. Grey Fox switched her M-4 from full auto to single shot, even though she brought plenty of ammo, she found some truth to the Marine philosophy of “one-shot one-kill.” Her two possible targets the pilot or the engine.
Recondo pushed the boat to its max speed but the FANGs were still faster with a 164 mph speed differential. PBR max speed 28.5 knots---53 kph---32.93 mph. FANG max speed 317 kph---197 mph.
Fox dove for whatever cover she could find to replace her empty magazine for a fresh one.
“We can’t out run them!” Recondo yelled
Bullets ricocheted into hull causing plumes of black dense smoke to rise. “Aw shit! They hit motor!”
“Recondo beach us on shore. Everyone grab your gear, we’ll salvage later.” Duke ordered.
Crashing on the shore, the Joes scrambled off the boat, grabbing their weapons and rucksacks, as the FANGs swooped in strafing the fleeing Joes. “Hunt cover!” Duke yelled as he returned fire with his M-4. Before diving for cover himself, Duke tossed a grenade into the PBR.
Cobra Commander watched the live feed transmitted from the FANGs. He had to give Duke some credit of sacrificing their only means of transport. At their current base, Cobra did not have the means to attack a dense jungle from the air. But the Commander had other means at his disposal.
“I assume the Joes are coming after Shakoor.” A voice asked
Turning to his left was the masked features of Berg Katse, head of Cobra’s intell. “When did you get in, Katse?”
“Oh a few minutes ago. I hate flying by Night Raven Drone, it worse than flying coach.”
The commander walked out of C-in-C with Katse in tow, heading for the research lab. “Did you have a chance to read the data?”
“As much as possible on the flight, I got the gist on the overall concept, but fuzzy on the underlying theories.” Katse responded as the two were greeted by Zartan and the Dreadnoks. Dr. Shakoor oversaw the Techno and Tele Vipers who did most of the construction of the Mega Particle Cannon. “The Doctor has been most cooperative.” Zartan reported.
“Excellent.” The Commander answered, it pleased him that the Doctor was motivated especially when one has C-4 around his neck. “The rest of your components will be here tonight, Doctor.”
Shakoor sadly nodded
“What is this Mega Particle Cannon suppose to do?” Zartan inquired, his Dreadnoks also wondered.
“Katse?” The Commander turned to the chief of intell.
Berg Katse cleared his throat then proceeded to explain the Mega Particle Cannon and its workings of how Minovsky Particles from a fusion reactor had to be collected in an energy condenser where compressed in a high density I-Field until fused into mega particles. Katse stopped his explanation to see the three Dreadnoks looking like retarded test monkeys rather than their usual brain dead moron looks. “A powerful energy cannon,” Katse simply put it.
“Oh. I see. I got it.” Torch, Ripper and Buzzer each said.
“What idiots we have on the payroll.” Katse grumbled
Heading for the shoreline, Duke examined the damaged PBR. It was no longer sea worthy, but it could be salvaged for ammo and supplies. With Rock ‘n’ Roll’s help, the two scrounged up some more MREs and ammo. Approaching a clearing in the jungle, Grey Fox was applying face camo paint, Scarlett and Snake-Eyes readied their weapons, but Recondo couldn’t be found. “Where’s Recondo?” Duke asked
“Right where I should be,” Recondo replied with a machete in his hand, “cuttin’ a path to get us out of this jungle.”
“What’s our position?” Fox asked, as she slapped a magazine into her SOCOM.
“Well if we head due east, we’ll reach the Cobra base in 24 hours.”
“24 hours? Through that?” Rock ‘n’ Roll questioned.
“Just stay together and follow me. It’ll be like a walk through the park.”
Yeah like a walk through Central Park at midnight. Fox sarcastically thought, pulling on her ruck sack for the long walk.
Cobra Commander ate in his private dining room. The ambience was left a lot to be desired, it was an abandoned temple, but it was not going to be a permanent base. At least the cook wasn’t the one who cooking for the Vipers. At least he could enjoy a steak dinner. Taking a snifter of brandy, he savored the rich taste as Katse entered. “The Joes will probably make an attempt on the base.” Katse said as he poured himself a snifter of brandy.
The Commander didn’t say anything, placing a gloved hand under his chin, he thought about it. “Katse intensify patrols and there are jungle traps that might prevent them.”
“If I never see another vine again, it’ll be too soon.” Rock ‘n’ Roll complained.
“The jungle’s not so bad, Rock ‘n’ Roll.” Recondo answered still cutting away at the brush. “You just got to learn pace yourself.”
As she was walking, Scarlett felt something against her foot. “Now what. I’m caught on something.”
Fox looked up to see a log suspended by ropes. “Don’t!” Fox yelled. She just acted, and ran for Scarlett and tackled her to the ground. The wire was tripped and the log swung down. The two looked up, the log had sharp strips of metal. “Thanks Fox.”
“Try not to be careless next time.” Fox coldly replied.
“You’re welcome.” Scarlett shot back, then under her breath, “Bitch!”
Grey Fox is one ice cold chick. Rock ‘n’ Roll thought as he continued walking. Suddenly his next step felt like the ground was pulled out from under him. As he fell, he grabbed on what passed for a hand holds. Looking down, metal spikes. Snake-Eyes came over and pulled him out of the hole. “Anyone want to guess who left that little surprise?”
“This area is probably booby trapped by Cobra.” Duke stated with a feeling of Vietnam coming to him.
The ground began to tremble as a rhino charged from the jungle. “A rhino!” Duke exclaimed
Fox lifted her M-4 ready to fire.
“There’s another way!” Recondo exclaimed as he ran behind the rhino with a stick. “Just tryin’ to get your attention!” He swatted the stick on the rhino’s backside. Fox opened fire at the rhino’s head killing it instantly. “Damn it! I said there was another way!”
“I wasn’t interested in your Crocodile Hunter impersonation. We have a job to do and no time to waste.” Fox answered.
Scarlett was taken aback at Fox’s attitude. “There was no need to kill the rhino. Recondo had everything under control.”
“Frankly Scarlett, I don’t care. I have more faith in my marksmanship than Recondo wanting to play Wild Kingdom! The mission takes priority.”
Scarlett had finally had it with Grey Fox’s attitude, her arrogance. In a burst of anger, Scarlett slammed her fist into Grey Fox’s jaw. With Grey Fox on the ground, blood dripping from her lip, it took Duke and Rock ‘n’ Roll to restrain Scarlett. She wanted to strangle Grey Fox. Climbing to her feet, Grey Fox was a picture of seething clam. “When we get back to base, I’m going to have you put up on formal charges of striking a superior officer.” Fox coldly, but calmly spoke.
As soon as Duke was satisfied that Scarlett had calm down, he forcibly grabbed Fox by the arm and dragged her off so the others would not hear the dressing down she was about to receive. “Alright Fox, I’ve had it! When we get to base, I’m going to talk to General Hawk about transferring you out. You’ve shown that you’re not a team player.”
“Permission to speak freely.”
“I did what was necessary. We can’t waste time on saving rhinos, little duckies or blades of grass. That’s what those Greenpeace assholes are for. We must focus on our priorities, which are saving Shakoor and preventing Cobra from getting their hands on the Mega Particle cannon.” Grey Fox said.
Duke had to admit she had a point, he was tempted to shoot the rhino as well. But he trusted the jungle expertise of Recondo to give him a chance to use his methods. But Fox was right the mission was important.
“If you still want to transfer me, that is your prerogative.”
“I’ll talk to Hawk.”
Night was coming soon, maybe a rest was in order, Duke also could understand the heat and the stress had made everyone’s nerves frayed and short tempered.
Night did fall, the Joes sat around fire dining on MREs mostly having conversations and swap jokes as stress relief, with the exception of Grey Fox who sat alone away from the others. Scarlett took a glance at the aloof Joe, her hostility towards Grey Fox seemed to have melted, she noticed that Fox looked depressed. Maybe she’ll open up.
Polishing off the rest of her MRE, Grey Fox leaned against a tree and stretched her legs out as she closed her eyes. Fox’s thoughts turned to home at Norfolk and her brother. She hadn’t even had chance for some leave time. She was homesick like hell. “Fox, can I talk to you?” Scarlett asked
“You seem like a very lonely person, is there anyone you care about?”
“Yes,” she whispered. “My brother Mackie and Clayton Abernathy.”
“Yes, we’ve known each other since I was a cadet at the academy.” Sylia quietly said, a small tear ran down her face. “I want to go home. I just want to go home.”
“Can it be she’s homesick?” Scarlett quietly asked. “So you’re human after all.”
“If you want make jokes at my expense do it somewhere else, I would rather be alone.” Sylia sharply shot back.
Scarlett gave a warm smile. “Perhaps we started off on the wrong foot, Fox.”
“That’s putting it mildly, my jaw is still sore.”
“Fox, why don’t we just pretend it never happened. Friends?” Scarlett asked with her hand out
Fox looked at the peace offering for a moment. She was too tired and depressed to think about it. “Friends.” She smiled as she shook Scarlett’s hand.
Duke watched as Scarlett and Grey Fox had a heart-to-heart. Maybe he won’t need to ship Fox out of the unit. Maybe Hawk was right and just give her some time.
Next morning the Joes continued pushing forward towards the Cobra base. Hacking away at the dense undergrowth and avoiding Viper patrols.
Reaching a river, Recondo made some tests, only to find out it was too deep to cross by foot. Pulling out a length of rope, Recondo had Scarlett tie it to one of her crossbow bolts and fired into a tree on the other side. Tying the other end to a tree, Recondo crossed the river hand over hand. Followed by Scarlett, Rock ‘n’ Roll and Grey Fox. Thankful for the upper body strength, Fox had to carry her rucksack, weapon and her own body weight.
Reaching the other side of the river, out of the corner of her eye, a Cobra Moccasin was approaching. “Hide!” She ordered the Joes, then gave a series of hand gestures to Duke and Snake-Eyes telling to stay put.
“You’re going to just leave them?!” Scarlett complained
Sylia gave a rather mysterious smile, “Trust me.” She took off her rucksack. Crawling on her stomach she quietly slipped into the water.
“Well, well. It looks like we got here is a couple o’ jungle rats. The only thing a rat’s good for is target practice.” Copperhead drawled.
Emerging from the water, Fox gave a thumbs up to Scarlett. Reaching up, she grabbed a Viper on the wing by the foot, pulling him into the water. “Ol’ boy must’ve fell in. Oh well. Ready, aim…” Copperhead ordered as the other Vipers trained their weapons on Duke and Snake-Eyes.
“YO JOE!” Recondo yelled as the other Joes swung over on vines, knocking over two Vipers.
Copperhead drew a Mauser M1912 (better known as the “broomhandle”), only to have it kicked out of his hand by a wet Grey Fox, her SOCOM pointed at his head.
“Come lets join this pool party.” Duke told Snake-Eyes before diving into the water.
Once overpowering the Vipers save for one who had his neck snapped by Grey Fox. “Move it!” Scarlett ordered, now dressed in one of their uniforms. Stripping the Vipers of their uniforms, the Joes left them with some survival gear and MREs until they can be retrieved by a recovery team.
The Joes stowed their rucksacks in the cargo hold of the Water Moccasin. “Let’s pay a visit to Cobra Commander.” Duke told the other Joes and Copperhead.
“Y’all won’t get away with this!”
You’re not in the position to say much.” Fox told the pilot her SOCOM at point blank range of his head. “Now get this dingy moving!”
“Adios!” Rock ‘n’ Roll told the underwear clad Vipers.
“Have fun boys!” Scarlett added, then she turned to the handcuffed Snake-Eyes. “I hope you don’t mind pretending to be our prisoner. It’ll give us a better chance of sneaking in.”
Snake-Eyes gave the okay hand gesture.
The Water Moccasin traveled down river. “How much farther, schmuck?” Recondo asked.
“Oh yer achin’ to get blown away ain’t ya chump?” Copperhead retorted as river opened up into a large lake with Cobra base dead ahead. “But that’s okay cause here we are.”
“Thanks. Now say good night!” Grey Fox said, slamming the butt of her SOCOM into the back of Copperhead’s head. The pulled on her Viper helmet.
The Water Moccasin pulled up to the dock along the temple. Copperhead was slumped over in the gunner’s turret, Duke took over at the controls as a Cobra Officer approached them. Fox took notice of the weapon he was carrying, a Zastana M85, a Yugoslavian knock off of the AKS-74u. From her research Cobra supplied their forces with Warsaw Pact weapons, only their specialized units such as the Alley Vipers are equipped with US and NATO weapons.
“What happened to Copperhead?” The officer asked.
“Got bored, drank too much on cheap booze and passed out.” Fox lied.
“Ah, let him sleep it off.” The officer said dismissively
“The Mega Particle Cannon is finished.” Dr. Shakoor reported
“Excellent, Dr. Shakoor.” The Commander applauded. “Katse, you have the test data and specs?”
“In this briefcase.”
“My aide will accompany you back to Cobra Island and hand the data to Kycilia.”
“Sir,” Katse bowed then left.
“How do we know this thing will work?” Zartan stepped forward still skeptical of the Mega Particle Cannon.
“We’ll test it of course. Kycilia and the R&D section will mass produce the cannon as a space based weapon capable of leveling cities.” The Commander explained. “Now, which city shall we choose as our test site? Paris? New York? Moscow? Los Angeles!”
Entering the lab, the Joes spotted the Mega Particle Cannon, only hearing the words Los Angeles. Use LA for what? Duke asked himself, he saw the prototype, it looked like it couldn’t do destruction at large scale. Unless mass produced
“LA? No way some creep’s gonna ace my hometown!” Rock ‘n’ Roll stated.
“Where’s Fox?” Duke asked
Grey Fox moved towards Shakoor. “Commander, shall I take the prisoner away?”
“Yes, we’ll deal with Shakoor later.” The Commander told the Viper.
“Sir,” She saluted. “Don’t worry we’ll get you out of here.” Fox quietly told Shakoor.
“One moment,” Zartan spoke up. Fox froze wondering if her disguise was going to hold up to Zartan. “How long have you been a Viper?”
Zartan continued to scrutinize the Viper, looking over every detail. “There are hardly any women in the Viper ranks.”
“What happen did Cobra convert to Islam?” The Viper shot back, she noticed the Commander gave off a small chuckle.
“Your gun isn’t standard issue. If I’m not mistaken the Markarov is standard for Vipers,” Zartan noted the SOCOM in her holster.
“I wanted a gun with stopping power.”
Zartan gave a small sinister smile. “You’re a practiced liar. But I’m a practiced observer. And I don’t believe you.” Zartan said as he approached the Viper. Grey Fox pulled a flash bang from her Viper uniform. “Run!” She ordered Shakoor as she threw the flash bang at Zartan, then ran herself.
The Flash bang exploded into a bright ball of light two feet away from the Dreadnok leader. “Ah! The light!” He screamed as his skin turned a blackish blue, as he ran for the exit.
What the hell is he, some kind of mutant? Fox briefly thought; before coming under fire by a squad of Vipers. Bullets whizzed by as she ran for cover, one scraped her upper arm.
“YO JOE!” The Joes exclaimed with weapons blazing. Fox opened fire with her M-4 from the safety of some metal crates.
“Now for the big man himself!” Duke stated as the Joes charged for the Mega Particle Cannon.
Cobra Commander inputted the fire controls and the Mega Particle Cannon slowly built up its charge. “Fools! I still have the Mega Particle Cannon. Now Die!”
“Like Hell!” Duke shot back. The fired at the Mega Particle Cannon’s fusion reactor. The result was the reactor slowly began to hum, increasingly louder and faster.
“The Mega Particle Cannon is overloading. It will blow in minutes.” Shakoor surmised as the cannon humming grew louder and faster.
“Retreat! Cobra!” The Commander ordered. Cobra Vipers and Officers scrambled for a FANG or Water Moccasin available.
The Joes ran through the temple heading for the exit and their commandeered Water Moccasin.
Zartan fled the temple, still reeling from the effects of Grey Fox’s flash bang grenade, “The light!” he screamed as he hopped on his Chameleon swap skier speeding down river.
“Hey, what’s goin’ on here?” Groaned a groggy Copperhead, regaining consciousness as the Joes approached the commandeered Water Moccasin. The temple continued collapsing from the destruction of the Mega Particle Cannon.
“Sorry, pal we’re in a hurry and all the dead weight has to go!” Duke said, throwing the pilot overboard, then taking the pilot seat. The Water Moccasin sped away from the temple with a large mushroom cloud spewing forth from it.
“GI Joe will suffer for this! I, Cobra Commander swear it!” But still the Commander felt this wasn’t a complete loss, he sent his aide with Berg Katse back to Cobra Island with the proto-type specs and the other accumulated test data. Hopefully with the expertise of Scrap Iron, Lt Col. Kycilia Zabi and Cobra’s R&D staff maybe in some time the Mega Particle Cannon could be an effective weapon for Cobra.
With the mission over, Grey Fox could finally breathe easy. She felt a hand landing on her left shoulder. Turning left it was Scarlett. “You did a good job, Fox.” Scarlett smiled.
Fox returned with a smile of her own. The mission’s success renewed her confidence in herself.
Moving along the river on board his Water Moccasin, Cobra Commander saw five men just in their underwear signaling for the air boat to stop. Surmising that these were the idiots the Joes attacked and stripped them of their uniforms. Their lives were forfeit. “Kill them.” The Commander ordered.
Obeying, the Vipers aimed their AN-94s at their own and shot them execution style
After returning to base a day later, Sylia spent some time in her new quarters, setting up. While she was away her personal affects arrived from Fort Benning. Reaching into a box marked books she pulled out her copy of the Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion placing them on the book shelf. Next her pulp fiction detective novels and the complete works of Sherlock Homes. Sylia did find enjoyment in reading. Perhaps I will reread Sherlock Homes. She thought to herself. There was a rapping at her chamber door. “Come,” She responded. Scarlett entered.
“Shanna, what can I do for you?”
“I was wondering how you’re doing, fitting in and all.
“It’s an adjustment, since this unit doesn’t follow the traditional command structure. I think Ace is contemplating suicide.”
“Oh?” Scarlett arched an eyebrow.
“I cleaned him and everyone else out at the poker game. They didn’t know I played a lot of poker at Benning.
Scarlett only smiled at her friend, wanting to introduce Sylia to Lady J.
A day later, Sylia sat at her desk, hunched over, resting her head in her hands. An after mission report needed to be done and she was hung over. A knocking came to her door , she winched from the noise. “Come in, but do it quietly” She groaned.
Partly opening her eyes she saw a steaming hot cup of coffee before her. She followed the hand holding that coffee, then the arm until she looked up to see a familiar face. “Oh, bless you, Clayton.” Sylia thanked, taking the coffee from him.
You look awful, Sylia,” Hawk chuckled as he took a seat, “What on earth happen?”
“Tequila shooters,” Sylia flatly replied gulping her coffee, not caring about the heat.
“Not your typical poison. If memory serves me, you usually drink wine, bourbon, scotch or cognac.”
Placing the empty cup on her desk, Sylia regaled her friend of the night of the day after she retuned to the base, Lady J heard about Sylia being their new roommate and the bumpy start between Scarlett and Sylia as a token of friendship Lady J brought several bottles of tequila; and Sylia drank Scarlett under the table. Thank god for a rather high tolerance to alcohol.
“Duke told me about what happen on the mission. I’m glad everything turned out for the better, I don’t want to lose a good soldier like you, Sylia.”
“You won’t Clayton.”
Later that evening, Sylia returned to her quarters after a first for her in her career an actual decent meal in the mess hall. She never had thought of Roadblock who was assigned as a heavy gunner was also a qualified gourmet chef. Perhaps she won’t have to sneak off base to find a five star restaurant as much. “Hello, Sylia.” Lady J greeted as she walked out of the kitchenette with a bowl of popcorn. “Lady J, or is Allison okay?”
“Sylia, we’re off duty, I think we can drop the codenames, besides you can me Allie.” Lady J smiled. “Shanna and I were about watch Titanic, care to join us?”
Sylia read the reviews of Titanic and she didn’t really care for the works of the movie’s leading man, personally she would rather watch Casablanca a superior movie. In interest of being friendly, I’ll indulge. Sylia thought. “Ah, what the hell. I’ll join.”
By the climax of the movie, both Scarlett and Lady J had some Kleenex at hand, but the two smiled when they turned to see Sylia sound asleep and softly snoring.