G. I. Joe Fan Fiction ❯ The Gunner and the Grease-Monkey ❯ Chapter 1

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

GI JOE Season 3 : episode 1
“The Gunner and the Grease-Monkey”
Chapter 1
GI JOE Headquarters - 0730 hrs
RoadBlock wandered aimlessly through the common area of GI JOE central command. All he could think about was his orders to report to the Chief Warrant Officer at 0800. He wondered if he would ever walk these halls again after today. In recent months GI JOE had been operating with a skeleton crew. It has been almost 2 years since they defeated CobraLa at their ancient Himalayan stronghold, during which time there has been no organized Cobra activity. As a result, there has been a gradual thinning of the ranks. Just last week, Rock n' Roll, Barbecue, and Leatherneck were discharged from the team. His own service contract was up for renewal next month; the timing of this meeting suggested that he was next to be let go. Lost in his musings, he almost bumped into a young intern as he rounded a corner.
“Excuse me sir,” said the intern, as he rushed past him.
RoadBlock did not bother to respond. These DoD agents, or “Blacksuits” as Shipwreck referred to them, were assigned to take up the slack for the lack of personnel in running the day-to-day operations on base. They were competent enough, but something about them rubbed him the wrong way: it felt like allowing total strangers free run of your house. He entered the south corner elevator on his way to the command wing. As the doors started to close, he heard a familiar voice.
“Hold the door please.”
Roadblock pressed the "open" button just in time. As the doors stopped, then slowly slid open, CoverGirl entered the elevator. She looked like she had just got out the shower: her hair was damp, as if it were towel-dried, and it hung mussed just past her shoulders. She finished fastening the buttons on her vest when she noticed RoadBlock in the elevator with her.
“Marvs! Long time no see big guy.”
“How've you been Courtney?”
“Running late as usual.”
“Oh, Command please. Thank-you.”
“I'm headed there also.”
“Oh no. Flint's office?”
“I guess we're both getting canned.”
“No more Cobra means no more JOE,” he said, as the doors again came to a close.
The elevator jolted as the pulleys and cables raised the conveyance to the upper levels. Only the electric hum of the motor broke the uncomfortable silence. RoadBlock wasn't one to engage in small-talk, but it was preferable to the anxiety he felt over meeting with Flint. Moreover, on the rare occasions that he happened to speak to CoverGirl, they were always pleasant to one another.
“So, you're growing your hair out?”
“Yes I am...” she said. After repeatedly combing her hair with her fingers, she sighed loudly before finally clipping it into a ponytail, “...and I see you've shaved your goatee. It makes you look younger.”
“Thanks,” RoadBlock replied, stroking his bald chin as an afterthought.
“Was it time for a change?”
“Yea, and you?”
“Naw, before I became a JOE I always preferred to wear it longer. I cut it when I joined the unit because Hawk kept confusing me for Scarlett. Since she is on indefinite leave, I figured it was safe to grow it out again.”
“I guess its a moot point now. Are you going back to modeling?”
“Heavens no! After 25 you're considered over the hill anyway. Actually, I've been asked to accept a teaching position at Ft. Knox.”
“Oh Really?”
“Apparently they're looking for specialists with practical battlefield experience. Colonel Peters wants to publish some of the engine modifications I did to the Wolverines and apply them to the next generation of heavy assault vehicles.”
“Damn Girl, you got it goin' on!”
“What about you? Are you going back to the regular Army?”
“No, I'm not going to renew my contract. I've been wanting to open my own bistro, and maybe write a few books on French cuisine. Now that Cobra is done, I'm gonna to start having some fun.” At this he noticed that CoverGirl looked away as she tried to hide a grin, “What is it?”
“You know what I'm going to miss most about being a JOE: your off-the-cuff poetry.”
RoadBlock blushed, “My rhymes? Well I have to be in the right mood to make those happen. I find they relieve tension and bolster morale during battle. But for you, I'll try to whip up a few.”
The elevator came to a stop, and the doors slowly creaked open. What laid before them was a long hallway leading to the command offices and mission briefing rooms. What was once a bustling corridor of activity has, over the course of the year, become a sparse dimly lit passageway. They walked the path in silence; the sounds of their footsteps echoed unchallenged. As they passed by the conference room, through the open door they could see MainFrame performing routine diagnostics on the main display terminal. Afterwards, they rounded the corner to General Hawk's office. It was locked with the blinds drawn: it looked like no one had been in there for months. To the right, at the end of the adjoining corridor, was a singly lit office. They were close enough to hear voices, but were too far away to discern who was speaking. As they approached, the voices stopped - presumably because their footsteps could be heard halfway down the hall. They stopped outside the office of the GI JOE field commander. Formerly it belonged to Conrad “Duke” Hauser, but now it belonged to Flint. RoadBlock waited for CoverGirl to finish fussing with her hair before knocking on the door.
“Come,” Flint bellowed.
RoadBlock and CoverGirl cautiously entered the office. Save for Flint's Ivy League diploma on the wall behind his desk, the office was pretty much the same as Duke left it: spartan. Flint was sitting at his desk with his arms folded. On a couch on the far wall sat BeachHead and Stalker. They were subordinate to Flint in the chain of command with BeachHead being next in line followed by Stalker. RoadBlock and CoverGirl stood in front of the desk and saluted at attention. Before they could say anything, Flint waived off the formalities.
“At ease. Do you know why you're here?”
“According to the scuttlebutt, the word is we're being cut,” answered RoadBlock. He gave a sly wink to CoverGirl; she winked back in recognition.
“No. You're both being promoted,” Flint interjected. “You two are going to be our newest section chiefs. You will all be working together with other section chiefs, but will report singly to Stalker. Hawk will make a formal announcement and outline of your duties when he gets back from Washington. He should be back before you return.”
“Return from where sir?” CoverGirl asked.
“From your mission,” BeachHead said as he got up from the couch and handed them both sealed envelopes. “Its not a Black OP per se, but it isn't on the books either. You two are going to be point men on a joint international anti-terrorist cooperative between the CIA and the DGSE.”
“The DGSE?” CoverGirl remarked. “Thats French Intelligence. You mean to say we're going to France?”
“She's got looks and brains,” BeachHead said. Although his expression could not be read behind his balaclava, it was obvious from his tone that it was meant as a reprimand for interrupting him.
“Please note that this cooperative is experimental and you are there in an advisory capacity,” BeachHead said, as he stood face-to-face with RoadBlock; looking him in the eye. “Translation: no ma deuce.”
“Understood Sir,” CoverGirl said - again interrupting. “But I'm a little confused as to why the CIA handed this off to us?”
“That's what we've been scratching our heads over,” Stalker added. “But its as simple as this: the DGSE wanted GI JOE, and General Hawk handpicked you two. That's why your promotions were fast-tracked - so you would have the necessary security clearance.”
BeachHead continued, “Everything you need to know is outlined in your dossiers. Your flight leaves tomorrow morning.”
RoadBlock and CoverGirl saluted and left the office. After they closed the door and were out of earshot, BeachHead angrily paced around the office.
“You're going to wear a hole in my carpet Beach”
“Sorry Flint, but you know this whole OP stinks!”
“Agreed, but what do you want me to do about it?”
“Nothing, I'm just venting. What do you think Stalker? You've been awfully quiet sittin' over there.”
“I think RoadBlock and CoverGirl are going to be pawns in some greasy bureaucrat's wet-dream for political clout. Ever since the oversight committee declared that Cobra was no longer exigent to national security, GI JOE has been chop-shopped and kicked around by the DoD. I also think, if recent intelligence reports are accurate, the cold war will be over in a matter of months. When that happens, GI JOE's days are numbered.”
“True,” Flint said. “Which is why, ever since they put another star on his shoulder, Hawk's been in the trenches at the Pentagon using all his influence trying to justify GI JOE to the big Brass. He believes Cobra has gone underground and is waiting for something as destabilizing as the fall of communism to strike.”
“Do you believe that Flint?” BeachHead asked.
“I don't know. On one hand, its been over 20 months since we've seen any sign of Cobra. Even their front company, Extensive Enterprises, has filed for bankruptcy and auctioned off its assets. But on the other hand, we've been unable to recover any bodies from Cobra's upper echelon in the ruins of CobraLa. I would have to say I'm on the fence Beach.”
“Be that as it may, for the moment we can't do anything about Cobra. So given that this mission is suspicious at best, and given that the DoD has us by the short hairs, it begs the question: what is Hawk thinking sending in RoadBlock and CoverGirl? What makes a gunner and a grease-monkey qualified for something like this?”
Before answering, Flint looked at Stalker to see if he had anything more to add to the discussion. Stalker responded with a shrug. Flint looked back to BeachHead and answered with finality, “After serving all these years under Hawk I've learned that the man has an uncanny ability to pick the right soldier for the right job.”
GI JOE Headquarters - 2343 hrs
CoverGirl tossed and turned in her bed trying unsuccessfully to sleep. Her mind was distracted with thoughts of the mission. She had been on special missions before, but none with an objective that was more diplomatic than military. After staring at her wall clock from one fruitless minute to the next, she decided to sneak into the kitchen to raid the refrigerator. She threw on an undershirt and her battle fatigues and went to the mess. Once there, she saw RoadBlock at the stove, cooking something that smelled delicious, and Bazooka sitting at the prep table with a dinner napkin tucked into his shirt.
Bazooka greeted her, “Hi CoverGirl.”
“Hello Bazooka. Hello Marvs - you couldn't sleep either?”
“Not exactly, I decided to stay up to get adjusted to the time difference.”
“And I'm just here for the grub,” Bazooka added.
“I'm making T-bones with a side of buttered broccoli and cauliflower. Do you want some Courtney?”
“Yummy!” Bazooka roared.
“No thanks,” CoverGirl replied. “I just need something to help me sleep. I'll nuke some hot chocolate.”
You will not drink that powdered concoction on my watch. I am going to make you hot cocoa with baker's chocolate and goat's milk - sweetened with honey and cinnamon,” RoadBlock declared, as he gathered the ingredients.
“Yummy!” Bazooka roared.
“Er, I didn't realize we kept all that stockpiled in the kitchen,” CoverGirl said.
“We don't,” RoadBlock replied. “But since the culinary arts is my secondary MOS, I have a modest discretionary budget that allows me to experiment with different menu items. Its all part of providing my fellow JOE's with a well-balanced diet.”
“I see,” CoverGirl said, with a smirkish expression on her face.
“So, why can't you sleep?”
“Its the mission...”
“What mission?” Bazooka interrupted.
“We can't tell you the specifics, its a secret.” RoadBlock answered.
CoverGirl continued, “Doesn't it all seem strange to you?”
“Of course.”
“So how are we going to pull it off?”
“Hawk believes we have the skill, so all we need is the will.”
“Thats not bad.”
RoadBlock took the steaks and veggies off the heat and served a portion to Bazooka.
“Thanks RoadBlock,” Bazooka said.
“You're welcome,” He proceeded to stir the baker's chocolate into the now warm goat's milk for the cocoa.
“Well this isn't so much about my trust in Hawk as it is my distrust of the suits behind the scene,” CoverGirl stated.
“Fair enough. But as JOEs I believe we will nevertheless complete this mission like any other in the true JOE fashion...”
“With tenacity, courage, and perseverance?” CoverGirl shot back.
“No,” RoadBlock responded. “We'll slop through it haphazardly and, at the last possible minute, pull it out of the fire before it all hits the fan.”
“Oh Marvs thats terrible!” CoverGirl said disapprovingly - all the while trying to hide her amusement.
RoadBlock finished mixing the chocolate and turned to serve it to CoverGirl. As he was pouring her drink, he saw Bazooka reach over and grab a salt shaker. RoadBlock glared at Bazooka intently as he held the salt shaker over his steak.
“Is there something wrong with your food?” RoadBlock said, through clenched teeth.
Bazooka - now cognizant of his faux pas - quickly put down the salt shaker. “Sorry,” he repented. “Force of habit.”
End of Chapter 1