"Ten years ago, a crack commando
unit was sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn't commit.
These men promptly escaped from a maximum-security stockade to the Los Angeles
underground. Today, still wanted by the government, they survive as soldiers of
fortune. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find
them, maybe you can hire...The A-Team."
This isn't exactly what Col. John "Hannibal" Smith had expected.
When he and his team were hired to stop a company called Extensive Enterprises from demolishing a small Arizona town, he had no idea it would lead to this. In the middle of nowhere, trapped in a citadel with a red hooded snake's head insignia on all the walls, tapestries, and equipment. They were captured by Cobra, with no chance of rescue, and no foreseeable hope of escaping.
Hannibal couldn't be happier. He was on the "Jazz". For an older, white-haired man wearing a red polo shirt under khaki windbreaker jacket, he was certainly in good health, and lived for the rush of a challenge.
The current situation of himself, and the other two public members of his team, was certainly going to be a challenge to escape from. They currently had their hands tied behind their backs, surrounded by heavily armed Cobra Crimson Guards, and being lead down a massive corridor by a pair of identical, and dangerous looking twin men in expensive business suits, to meet with the head of the evil terrorist organization.
"Hannibal," A handsome man, also wearing an expensive business suit, said from his right. "We are in serious trouble here. I trust you have a plan."
"Relax, Face," Hannibal attempted to calm his lieutenant and his team's front/con man, Templeton Peck, A.K.A. "Faceman". "I always have a plan."
It didn't work.
"Wonderful," Face replied sarcastically. "And what, pray tell, would that be?"
"Murdock," Hannibal answered confidently.
"That crazy fool?!?" A large bearded black man with a mohawk, and a literal ton of gold chains hanging from his neck, complained on Hannibal's left. "I ain't gonna fly outta here with that crazy man, Hannibal! You understand me?"
"Of course not, B.A.," Hannibal lied to his Sergeant, Bosco "Bad Attitude" Baracus, the team's mechanic and strongman. "There will be absolutely no flying involved."
"Quiet--" One of the Cobra twins snapped in a British accent.
"Back there," His twin nearly identical twin finished. The only difference between the two was a long scar on the right side of the latter's face.
"Prisoners of Cobra are not--" The first one began.
"Permitted to speak," His brother finished.
"Do you guys always do that?" Hannibal wondered out loud. "Because that kinda thing can get really annoying really fast."
The twins just glared at him and continued to escort them to a set of large doors with the fearsome Cobra insignia imprinted on it.
"We're here," The twins announced in unison.
"Oh boy," Face sighed. "You really got us in it this time Hannibal."
"Yeah," Hannibal smiled. "Ain't it great?"
"Aw man," B.A. groaned. "He's on the 'Jazz' again."
The massive doors opened to reveal a frightening throne room, which included a gigantic stone cobra head throne on an elevated platform, complete with its own insane megalomaniac.
The maniac on the throne stood up as The A-Team was lead into the room. He wore a blue military uniform with a large red Cobra symbol on the front. He also wore a long blue cowl that covered his entire head and face except for his eyes, which reflected nothing but insanity and hatred. Despite his obvious power and insanity, the man still held the bearing of an over- confident used-car salesman.
"Welcome my friends!" He said as he held his arms wide open in a friendly gesture.
Instantly, two more fearsome figures appeared beside the Commander's snakehead throne, both carrying heavy automatic weaponry.
One was a large, muscular man in black body armor with red trim. The noticeable thing about him is that he wore a silver mask that showed the contours of his scowling face. Glowing green stared at the captive A-Team through the eyeholes of the metallic cowl.
"Who's this metal-headed fool?" B.A. whispered to his fellow bound companions.
"He must be the guy called Destro," Hannibal answered. "The Scottish arms dealer from M.A.R.S."
"The Military Armaments Research Syndicate?!? They're the largest manufacturer of state-of-the-art weapons in the world!" Face's face paled at the thought, but lifted when he noticed the other person in the room.
The beautiful woman in skin-tight black body armor held an air of spoiled European aristocracy. The thick glasses she wore did nothing to detract from her beautiful face, framed by raven black hair. Her blood red lips were curled into a scowl similar to the one worn by her lover on the opposite side of the throne.
"So that must be the Baroness Anastasia," Face mused. "Not bad."
"That's funny," Hannibal smirked. "I didn't think that 'psycho-bitch' was your type, Face."
"SILENCE!" Destro bellowed and aimed his rifle at the still smirking Hannibal.
"Now, now Destro," Cobra Commander chuckled. "That's no way to treat our guests." He nodded and the twins guarding them cut Face and Hannibal loose.
"I trust Xamot and Tomax treated you well," Cobra Commander said.
"Yeah," Hannibal said as he and Face rubbed their wrists. "They gave us the five cent tour."
"Excellent," The Commander hissed. "So, I finally have the honor of meeting the illustrious A-Team."
"Well, isn't that nice?" Hannibal smiled. "And we finally get the change to spit in Cobra Commander's rag-covered face."
Cobra Commander's mood instantly darkened.
"I would suggest," The terrorist leader hissed in a threatening tone, trying hard not to lose his cool. "That you adopt a more civil tongue. Especially to your new employer!"
"I beg your pardon?"
"Colonel Smith," The Commander attempted to sound charming...and failed. "For years the United States military has pursued you, hunted you, for a crime you supposedly committed a long time ago, far away, in another country. I, for one, truly see this as unfair treatment of your fine skills. Yet you endured, and became one of the most well known mercenary groups in the world. What I'm offering you, and your men, is a very high position in our fine organization. A chance to stop running. A chance to become the hunters, instead of the hunted. A change for revenge against the criminal government that has wronged you so. What do you say?"
"We ain't gonna work for you, Rag-Headed Foo'!!!" B.A. shouted, straining against his bonds.
One of the Crimson Guards cracked him across the face with the butt of his rifle to absolutely no affect.
"Uhh..." The unnerved guard stuttered as he backed away.
B.A. just growled.
"I think what B.A. is trying to say, you curtain-faced slime ball," Hannibal stated calmly. "Is that, not only do we have high fees, but very high standards as well. We'd rather work for sea-monkeys than scum like you."
"WHAT?!?" Cobra Commander screamed as he leapt out of the throne. "How dare you! You shall all die in the most painful way I can think of for your insolence!!!"'
"No, I don't see that happening either," Hannibal smiled.
"Oh?" Cobra Commander sneered. "Really? And why, prey tell, is that?"
"You aren't going to kill us," Col. Smith started. "But we are going to get loose, destroy this building, capture all your men, and help to bring down your worldwide terrorist organization. Any questions?"
"I find that hard to believe, Col. Smith," Destro's intimidating voice boomed. "When we are the ones holding the guns trained at your heads."
"Yes," Big C hissed. "How do you plan on accomplishing this rather impossible task?"
"Yeah Hannibal," Face asked. "What is your plan?"
"Simple," The A-Team's bold leader stated. "All we need is a diversion."
Earlier, in a secluded part of the Cobra base, a strange man waited in a strange place with a strange purpose.
A figure peaked is head out of the women's locker room and snuck out quietly into the hallway.
The figure clung to the walls of the corridor as he carefully made his was to the Cobra armory.
"I am invisible. I blend in perfectly with my surroundings," The A-Team's secret member, H.M. "Howling Mad" Murdock, repeated to himself. "My technique is flawless. I am like a tiger on the prowl. I am...'Ninja Murdock'."
The certified lunatic said this despite the fact the only visible thing remotely "ninja" about his dress was the green "Ninja Turtles" T-Shirt he wore underneath his dusty brown leather bomber jacket. He also wore a red bandana on his forehead with the kanji symbol for "distraction", but it was covered by a tattered navy blue baseball cap.
Although his pair of old sneakers made little sound as he stalked the corridors, the rest of his casual attire killed any plausible chance he had of melding into the shadows.
Oddly enough, he still had yet to be spotted by any of the Cobra guards.
Murdock had easily breezed through every security measure Cobra had to offer and passed right by every group of guards he encountered.
Either there are advantages to being crazy, or Cobra's security really, REALLY sucks.
"It's a toss-up really."
(Don't talk to the readers Murdock.)
"Oh, right. Sorry."
(It's all right. Carry on.)
"Ninja Murdock is like a shadow," He whispered to himself as he approached the blue uniformed guards of the Cobra armory. "I cannot be caught."
"Hey you!" One of the guards shouted at him. "Stop right there!"
Instead of using their guns, the guards attempted to grab Murdock, but he was prepared.
"HIYAAA!!!" The howling mad "ninja" shouted as he delivered a normal punch to the first guard's unprotected face.
Before the other guard could take action, Murdock kicked him in the stomach and knocked him out with and uppercut.
"You were worthy opponents," H.M. bowed to the unconscious guards. "But today I, Ninja Murdock, was victorious. Sayonara."
With that, Murdock ducked into the armory and walked to a console on the side of the room.
He failed to notice the white clad figure hiding in the pipes above him until it dropped down directly in his path.
The standard white ninja uniform the man wore covered all but his arms and eyes. The only colors that stood out were the red Cobra insignias on his forehead and chest and the ornate golden handles of the katana swords strapped to his back.
"Ah! A fellow ninja," Murdock said as he bowed again. "Konichiwa."
"Greetings," Snarled the Cobra assassin. He didn't bow. "I am Storm Shadow, and you are no ninja."
"Really?" Murdock whined in protest. "But I got the bandana and T-Shirt and everything!"
"You are not a ninja," Storm Shadow stated flatly while pulling out his katana. "But I will gladly show you the true art."
Before Storm Shadow's katana could strike the hapless Murdock down, a small flash of silver flew through the armory door and hit Storm Shadow's katana giving him pause. The throwing star was quickly followed by another true ninja. This one was completely covered in black, including a visor over his eyes and stood ready before the Cobra ninja with a katana of his own.
"YOU?!?" Was all Storm Shadow shouted before he and the black clad ninja began an amazing duel of martial arts skill and swordplay.
"Hey, you guys are pretty good!" Murdock said as he watch the two ninjas go at it. As he watched, he slowly began to back towards the console on the wall. "Hmm, I wonder what this button does."
"WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT?!?" Cobra Commander shouted after the shockwave knocked his out of this throne.
"The armory has exploded!" Destro answered while checking a console on the wall. "The whole complex is going up! We must evacuate!"
"What, again?" The Baroness asked in a saucy Eastern European accent. "Honestly, Commander. Can't you afford better structural integrity for Cobra's bases?"
"Oh, shut up!" The Commander snapped.
"NOW!" Col. Smith shouted as he lashed out and punched one of the Cobra guards and took his gun.
Faceman wasted no time in doing the same.
B.A. flexed his muscles and snapped the bonds behind his back. He grabbed the two Cobra twins by their collars and cracked their heads together. Before they even hit the floor, he had another guard by the throat. He lifted the hapless guard up over his head and threw him into the remaining gaggle of Cobra troopers.
"KILL THEM!!!" Cobra Commander screeched as B.A. retrieved a laser rifle from the fallen guards and the three members of the Cobra hierarchy quickly opened fire.
The A-Team survived the barrage by separating and taking cover behind the large stone pillars of the throne room.
"We're going to need some heavy cover B.A.!" Hannibal suggested from across the room.
"You got it, Hannibal!" B.A. Baracus said as he dug his hands into a nearby security console and ripped it out of the wall. He lifted the impressive device over his head and carried it into the line of fire.
"Wow," Cobra Commander blanched under his mask. "He's helluva strong!"
"Rraaahhhh!" B.A. grunted as he tossed the console at the Cobra high command.
However, as the huge console reached the apex of its flight, it exploded in mid-air. A burning pile of scrap and shrapnel fell harmlessly to the ground in front of the steps to the Cobra throne.
Destro lowered his arm and smiled, one of the small red rockets was now noticeably missing from his wrist gauntlet.
"Chrome Dome has a wrist mounted rocket launcher!" Hannibal shouted.
"Great," Face groaned. "What do we do now?"
"Relax Face," Hannibal suggested. "We still have a wild card."
"'Wild' is right," B.A. angrily agreed.
"We have the high ground. We have better firepower. We have the advantage," Destro stated. "Press the attack and they shall fall! COBRA!!!"
"Who cares?!?" His impatient leader hissed. "Just waste them!"
Destro readied his wrist rockets, but paused when a low rumble shook the room.
The wall behind the throne exploded when a massive black HISS tank busted through, sending the three Cobra members falling to the ground in a shower of rubble.
The cockpit of the Cobra vehicle opened to reveal none other than Murdock with a laser rifle of his own, which he quickly trained on the vulnerable Cobra Commander.
"Like the wind, Ninja Murdock enters the fight swiftly and silently," He narrated. "Now kindly get your scaly butts up and put your hands on your heads."
"You call that 'silently', Crazy Fool?" B.A. snapped as he and the rest of the team came out and took the snakes hostage.
"Nice Murdock," Hannibal smiled. "Nice."
"Arigato, Colonel-san," Murdock said as the Cobra leaders followed his command.
"Very nice," Face agreed, taking in the image of the Baroness with her hands on her head.
"Bite me," Baroness said with utter contempt.
"Kinky," Face smiled. "But not my style. I'm more of the wine-and-dine type."
Murdock leaped down from the tank and walked over to complete the A-Team.
"What're you going to do now?" Cobra Commander asked in a smug tone. "Wait here for G.I. Joe? They'll arrest you too!"
"At least you and your sleazy pals will be put away for a good long time," Hannibal said with pride. "Besides, you're underestimating our innate ability to get out of these sort of situations."
"Then that's something we have in common," Cobra Commander hissed.
The top snake stomped on a headstone at his feet, and a trap door swallowed the three terrorist leaders.
The A-Team rushed forward, but found that the Cobra leaders had disappeared into the shadows.
"THIS ISN'T OVER, SMITH!!!" The Commander's voice echoed from the darkness.
"It's not," Hannibal quietly promised. "Not by a long shot."
"Those freak twins have split too, Hannibal," B.A. said when he found Xamot and Tomax missing from the pile of Crimson Guardsmen on the floor.
A violent tremor shook the throne room.
"It's eleven o' clock guys!" Hannibal crowed. "Time to check out!"
"Can we take the towels?" Murdock asked as the A-Team fled the collapsing throne room.
"Crazy fool!" B.A. yelled at Murdock as they raced down the massive decorative hallway. "This ain't no time for jokes! You bringin' down the whole building!"
"B.A.-chan," Murdock shook his head in disappointment. "You just do not understand the ways of the ninja."
"I understand you ain't no ninja!" The sergeant snapped back. "Just a crazy man!"
"Oh well," Faceman sighed as he and the team ran out the front door. "It just wouldn't be an A-Team mission without massive property damage."
"Yeah," Hannibal sighed as he placed an expensive cigar in his mouth. "Don't you just love this job?"
The sounds of explosions and the collapsing building behind them was soon accompanied by the sound of approaching vehicles in front of them.
A massive green helicopter rose above the canopy of the surrounding trees, the white lettered logo of "G.I. Joe" clearly painted on the side.
*"Attention Cobra soldiers!"* A proud male voice came from the helicopter's loudspeaker. *"Drop your weapons and put your hands on your heads! You are under arrest!"*
When Joe tanks plowed through the trees and into the clearing, the Cobra soldiers quickly followed their given order and surrendered.
"It's about time they got here," Face smiled. "Well, it's time to go. Right, Hannibal?"
*"That goes for you too, A-Team!"*
Col. John Smith threw down his weapon and put his hands on his head.
The rest of the A-Team followed their leader's example and soon dozens of highly trained, oddly dressed, U.S. military soldiers had them surrounded.
"So this is the infamous A-Team," One of the soldiers, most likely the field commander, said with a confidant smile. Hannibal could tell right away that liked this guy's style. The man wore beige military issue fatigues and a green flank jacket with a blond buzz cut. "And you must be Colonel John 'Hannibal' Smith."
"And you must be U.S. Agent Conrad 'Duke' Hauser," Hannibal answered. "Looks like we both did our homework."
"Looks like," Duke said. "Where's Snake-Eyes?"
"Who?" Face asked, not knowing they were followed by a Joe agent through the entire ordeal.
"I think I know," Murdock spoke up. "I last saw my fellow ninja when he was fighting another ninja all dressed in white."
"Storm Shadow?" An attractive female Joe with short red hair asked (Codename: Scarlett).
"That's the guy," He answered. "But when the fireworks started to go off I kinda lost track. Sorry."
Behind them, another explosion rocked the area, and the group of military heroes turned to see a towering inferno consume the remains of the former Cobra base.
"Looks pretty bad for your guy," B.A. apologized.
"You don't know Snake-Eyes," Scarlett responded confidently.
"Look!" Someone shouted and pointed into the fire.
Sure enough, everyone turned to see the black clad Joe ninja came trudging out of the flames.
Although his mask and metal visor covered his expressions, his slightly slumped posture and slow movements revealed that he was injured.
Much to the Joe's surprise, the A-Team totally ignored their status as prisoners and raced forward along with them to help the battered Joe ninja.
Even more surprising, Snake-Eyes wordlessly refused help until Murdock arrived in front of him.
"I-I'm sorry-," Murdock began, but was silenced when the ninja held up his hand.
In a show of respect for a fellow warrior, Snake-Eyes placed his right fist into the flat palm of his left hand and bowed to the schizophrenic A-Team member.
Murdock smiled with pride and returned the display of respect and then put the ninja's arm over his shoulder until Scarlett arrived and took him from there.
"Thank you," She said and lead Snake-Eyes to a medical team.
"Get your hands back up," Another Joe in a brown leather jacket commanded, his dark hair mostly covered by a black beret. "You're still under arrest."
The A-Team again placed their hands on their heads at gunpoint.
"What do you think Duke?" The dark haired soldier asked. "They're definitely not the heartless mercenaries that the government wanted us to believe them to be."
"I don't know, Flint," The blond-haired man responded. "I'm going to contact General Hawk."
"Tell Clayton I said 'Hi'," Hannibal smirked, his cigar still clenched between his teeth.
Duke smiled as he entered the helicopter in order to radio his superior back at G.I. Joe headquarters, The Pit.
Secrets. We all have them. And no member of the G.I. Joe task force has more secrets than Agent "Duke" Hauser.
As a top secret agent for an unknown U.S. agency, he knows the truth behind the conspiracy surrounding the A-Team. Here's a hint: They're innocent.
Still, he is only authorized to reveal that information to very few people. One of those select few being the commanding officer of G.I. Joe, General Clayton "Tomahawk" Abernathy.
After a short, confirming call to General Hawk, Duke was ready to implement their plan.
Duke exited the helicopter to find the G.I. Joe team casually chatting with the dangerous "military criminals".
"It's nice to see you're getting along," Duke snapped. "Colonel Smith, Lieutenant Peck, Sergeant Baracus, Captain Murdock, you are hereby placed under arrest for robbing the First National Bank of Hanoi, escaping from a military prison, resisting arrest, destruction of private and public property, owning and operating illegal weaponry, suspicion of instigating international incidents, continuous vigilantism, and many other violations too numerous to mention."
Wild Bill, the Joe helicopter pilot with sunglasses, a bushy moustache, and cowboy hat, whistled in amazement.
"You're all going to be put away for a very long time," Duke continued.
"Oh well," Hannibal shrugged. "Had to happen sometime."
Face rolled his eyes and groaned in dismay.
"Or you can join G.I. Joe."
"WHAT?!?" The A-Team shouted
"WHAT?!?" G.I. Joe shouted.
"Okay," Hannibal calmly accepted. "Attention, men!"
The A-Team quickly stood at attention and snapped off a quick salute.
"We are being reassigned to the G.I. Joe Task Force," Col. Smith said in a stern military tone. "Are there any questions?"
"I have one," Murdock timidly raised his hand.
"What about my…‘currently questionable’ mental state?"
"Are you kidding?" Beach Head, a Joe wearing a black flank jacket and green ski mask said in a gruff voice. "Half the guys here are just as nuts as you are (If you ask me, they all are)."
"It's almost a requirement," Flint chuckled.
"Perfect," Hannibal stated. "We're in."
"Great," Duke said and extended his hand. "General Hawk is looking forward to seeing you again."
"So am I," Hannibal said shaking his new field commander's hand. "He still owes me for that bar tab."
"Wild Bill," Duke said to the Joe in the cowboy hat. "Give our new recruits a ride to the Pit."
"Well shoot," Wild Bill said in a thick southern accent. "Why don't you boys hop in the chopper and I'll give you a lift back to the homestead."
"Can I sit in the cockpit?" Murdock asked.
"THE 'Howlin' Mad' Murdock?" Wild Bill smiled. "You bet your britches you can!"
"YEE-HAW!" Murdock shouted, hugging B.A. around the shoulders. "Hear that big guy?"
"Ain't no way I'm getting on that thing!" B.A. yelled in anger. "I don't fly! No way! Not with those crazies in the cockpit!"
Face took this opportunity to approach the red-haired Scarlett. Taking note of her skin-tight yellow and gray uniform, which appeared to him as a cross between the uniforms of a military soldier and a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader.
"So," Face swooned. "I guess we'll be working together. Hopefully, very closely together."
"Sorry, but I'm engaged," Scarlett smiled, pointing to the bandaged, yet standing Snake-Eyes. "To him."
Templeton Peck noticed as Snake-Eyes placed a hand on the hilt of his katana.
"Wonderful," Face smiled sarcastically. "Yo Joe."
B.A. and Murdock snickered at seeing the Faceman get shot down.
"What're you two laughing at?"
Hannibal just smiled and lit his trademark cigar.
"I love it when a plan comes together!"
"G.I. Joe is the code name for America's daring highly trained special mission force. Its purpose? To defend human freedom against Cobra, a ruthless terrorist organization determined to rule the world."
...And now it has four new members.
* * * * *
To Be Continued…