From The Depths - Part 2

[ This is one of my very first G.I.Joe stories and it has taken me several months (close to a year) to get it to this level of development. With the support of readers like you providing me with up-lifting comments, I felt it was time to rework this story and finally publish it for you to read. So without further ado, enjoy this two-part installment called FROM THE DEPTHS - an original story within the G.I.Joe universe that includes an original character created by me. ]

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Recap of Part 1:

**In part one: Drake Luxen, a diver working for COBRA, was charged with transporting a particle laser to an secret base several miles off Bimini, Florida when G.I.Joe attacked his Undertow unit and interfered with the mission. During a skirmish with Falcon, Drake Luxen almost killed him when he cut Falcon's oxygen intake. Not wanting the Joe's death on his hands he saved Falcon but while doing so was captured. Being told his mission was a failure and that the underwater base was under attack by unified forces Drake Luxen told Falcon where the particle laser could be found, being lead away from G.I.Joe by two of his Undertow divers. Thinking that the fight was over, a horrific scream then shattered the silence as both COBRA and G.I.Joe discovered that they had wandered into an area that had a shark's den and that the two Undertows who were carrying the particle laser had just been eaten. Knowing that the odds were against him Drake Luxen joined forces with Falcon and together they are making their way to Falcon's G.I.Joe comrades. As we tune in, Falcon has just been taken by a shark and Luxen watches in horror as the man he saved earlier might just die after all.**

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"Falcon!" Luxen screamed as he watched the shark sink its massive jaws deep into Falcon's oxygen tank. Luxen mounted the water sled and raced after the shark. He caught up to Falcon moments later after the shark had let go of him probably unsatisfied that it had bitten metal instead of flesh. Falcon was treading water when Luxen reached him. Air bubbles slowly ejected themselves from the back of Falcon's oxygen tank, but this time there was not a spare on the sled. "Falcon, are you alright?" Luxen asked with sincere concern.

"Yeah, but damn thing got my oxygen tank. I have five minutes left of oxygen according to the indicator."

"Hop on, I'll make a b-line towards the surface," Luxen said.

"No," Falcon said. "We have to save my friends, we can't leave without them."

"They're surrounded by sharks, and they're probably already dead. If you wanna risk your life for a futile pursuit be my guest, but leave me out of it."

"Fine. Give me back my laser then."

"But I'll be defenceless?"

"See the irony? As you said, sharks are merciless, and my friends are in trouble. Stay here if you want and keep the damn laser, but I'm gonna try to save my friends."

Luxen sighed guilty. "Man, I know I'm going to regret this," Luxen said, and hopped on the water sled behind Falcon and they sped off. Luxen fired at sharks as they made their way to where the action was and where Falcon's comrades-in-arms were. When they reached ground zero Falcon called out to Wetsuit, and surprisingly enough the earlier scare turned out to be just that. A shark had sideswiped Wetsuit and temporarily disabled his communication device, but he managed to get it working again.

Falcon pulled up beside Wetsuit. "Who's this?" Wetsuit asked of Luxen.

Falcon turned to Luxen. "An ally," Luxen said before Falcon could say anything, and Falcon gave him a thin smile. Luxen fired at a shark that approached and the animal turned away as the blast hit it in the side. "This has to end soon or we will all die. According to your navigational computer we're over a shark den. There are literally thousands of families of sharks down there. A shark's den is a gigantic hole in the bottom of the ocean where schools of sharks live. And I don't mean a large family. I mean a swarm; thousands of sharks all with the same goal in mind. And these are Great White sharks, too, the most deadilest sharks in the known world. This species is the worse to tangle with because they're highly unpredictable and unusually intelligent. But what I would like to know is how my unit managed to stray so far off-course? We specifically navigated a course around this area."

"Leave it to COBRA equipment to provide false readings," Falcon said. "COBRA doesn't care where they get their equipment from as long as it's cheap and serves a notable purpose for a time." Suddenly Falcon started to gasp as his oxygen started to run out. Luxen gave him his mask for a moment. Falcon took off the oxygen tank and was about to let it drop when Luxen waved no. Falcon gave the mask back to Luxen and Luxen told him what he had in mind.

Falcon took the mask again. "Do you think it'll work?" Falcon expressed concerns with the plan. "This isn't the movies, you know. Nowadays everything is done with models and special effects."

But Luxen gave Falcon a confident smile, smiled, and took the almost empty oxygen tank and attached an explosive to it, programming a detonator. Then with either iron-guts or extreme stupidity Luxen swam into open water with the tank in his arms and hoped to hell Falcon was watching his back for any ambitious sharks that felt like attacking him.

Without scuba gear to weight him down he had more fluent of movement, and with years of practise he had the ability to hold his breath for a little more than two minutes. But he doubted he would need that long for his plan to reach fruition. A shark spotted him and then turned towards him, and swam at him like a bat out of hell with its jaws wide open. The situation reminded Luxen of a movie about a shark with a thirst for human flesh and blood, but he wasn't afraid. He had never been afraid of the ocean or any creature that lied there in.

Smiling confidently, he remained where he was until the shark got within arms length, then he tossed up the oxygen tank and within an inch pulled his hands down away from the sharks jaws as it swam over him; the shark took the tank in its mouth. Aiming his laser at the tank he fired, but missed. He frowned; he was never the best marksman. He fired again and hit the tank and because of the explosive nature of the highly voltaire mixture of nitrogen and oxygen it exploded ripping the shark to pieces. It was movie magic at its best, but this was no movie.

Luxen shouted with mental enthusiasm throwing his arms above him and all the sharks started devouring their brethren rather than attacking humans. But the feeding frenzy didn't last long as the others ate the shark with super speed. Luxen swam back over to the water sled and took a breath from the oxygen mask that Falcon had.

"Okay, that was useless," said Luxen. "I thought that would distract the sharks long enough to get your people out of here, guess I was wrong. Besides it wasn't that big of a shark."

"Now what?" Wetsuit said.

"We need a bigger explosion or rather to be technically correct a bigger implosion."

The difference between an explosion and an implosion is that when an explosion happens there is an outward burst of explosive energy that catapults projectiles in subsequent directions while an implosion draws inwards and collapses on itself similar to a black hole in space. But with enough explosive energy, each one can be just as deadly as the other.

Falcon wanted to talk and Luxen gave him the mask. "But where are we gonna get that much explosive -- sorry, implosive energy from?"

"The particle laser," Luxen said when he got the mask back. "It has enough energy to wipe out a small town, and that's what COBRA was going to use it for if a ransom wasn't paid." Luxen frowned. "I'm not a hateful man, please understand that. I don't care for COBRA or its plans to conquer the world. I joined COBRA to pay the bills. I have a wife and two sons to support."

"There are better ways to earn an income," Wetsuit said, as he fired at a shark.

"I know, but I was desperate. After the US Navy shut down the research project my team and I were working on, they said I could either take a desk job or leave the service. Rather than take a desk job, I left the service and tried to live a civilian life. But after a while and many jobs later a man came to me and gave me an offer I couldn't refuse, namely to join COBRA as a diver. I joined and two years later rose the ranks to become a leader of an Undertow unit, this one. We never failed a mission until now. My moniker is Undertow, but my friends call my Drake Luxen."

Falcon waved for the mask and Luxen gave it to him. "All pleasantries aside, Drake Luxen - nice to meet you," Falcon said, "but what is your plan to get us out of this mess?"

"I'll set the detonation device on the laser capsule - it has one for just this situation, if ever we were ever captured by G.I.Joe; it's a standard practise - and drive it into the sharks den," Luxen said when he got the mask back. "And when it blows it will take out hundreds of sharks distracting the others so you and your comrades can escape the area."

Falcon gave Luxen a look of disbelief. Falcon was given the mask back. "No way, Drake, you're not sacrificing yourself for us, we'll find another way. We'll get you home to your wife and kids."

Falcon gave the mask back to Luxen after a few more breaths, and Luxen said, "There's no other way, this is the only course of action I can think of."

Falcon took Drake by the shoulder and said after he got the mask back, "I'm all good with the plan, but you're not gonna sacrificing yourself for us and that's final. I'll get you to the laser capsule - then you set the denotation sequence and set the capsule's sled to allow itself to move under its own momentum into the shark's den. That's the plan. No argument."

Luxen produced a look of "But--"

Wetsuit said, "If that's the plan, then you better do it quick or we're all gonna be fish bait. I'll tell the others."

"Let's do it," Falcon said, and he and Luxen got on the water sled and made their way to the laser capsule. Remarkably they encountered little resistance on their way to the capsule and Luxen opened the control panel to the laser capsule and started programming the detonation sequence while Falcon shot away sharks. Falcon then noticed how low his laser was on energy and said, "Better hurry up, Drake, my laser is almost drained."

Luxen switched on the manoeuvrability jets of the laser capsule and sent it down towards the shark's den, and then he returned to the water sled where Falcon was. He took a few breaths from the mask, and then started to say, "All set, all we need now is to make some distance--" before a huge shark came out of nowhere and used its massive jaws to slice open the back of Luxen's wetsuit as it passed. Luxen screamed in pain and blood started to stream out of the large rips in his back. Luxen's vision blurred as he looked at Falcon for help. "Go, get out of here," he said.

Falcon shook his head as he helped Luxen back up onto the water sled. Luxen hung on as Falcon sped as fast as he could forwards and then did a hard 180-degree turn and shot through the blood that filled the water in front of them. Luxen remained conscious because he knew he had too. His back felt like it was on fire, but the worse thing he could do was to fall unconscious. He faced the pain and looked back at the laser capsule as it slowly entered the sharks den, then it disappeared - was masked - as more sharks swam out of the hole.

He had set the detonation sequence for thirty seconds and keeping a mental note he counted down the final seconds of the timer. All of sudden the implosion rocked the area and cascaded a deafening shockwave in every direction as a ring of energy impacted everything in its path. The shark's den imploded with hundreds of shark's victim to the powerful energy blast. And Luxen smiled, pleased that the plan was a success. Sharks swam towards their brethren and began devouring pieces of flesh and bathed in the blood. This gave G.I.Joe and those who survived from his Undertow unit time to escape the area. Falcon made a b-line for the surface and when he emerged took a gasping deep breath of fresh air.

Falcon smiled and turned to Luxen and said, "We did it, Drake, thanks to you". But Luxen was unconscious. Falcon removed the scuba mask and checked Luxen's pulse, but he couldn't feel anything. Drake's breath was very faint, too. "Drake, stay with me man, you can't die now." Falcon turned around and raced the water sled towards shore. G.I.Joe Medical Services were waiting for the company on shore when the diving crew arrived and Falcon carried Luxen over his shoulder and had help as he laid him down on a stretcher. Luxen was then carried into an ambulance and they raced to a hospital. Falcon went with him.

Four hours later Luxen was rolled out of surgery.

Drake opened his eyes sometime later and wondered where he was. The last place he remembered being was underwater just as the shark ripped his back open. He looked around and found he was in a white room and lying in a bed. Sitting in a chair against the wall writing something down on a pad of paper was Falcon in a Green Beret uniform. Drake moaned as he suddenly felt shards of pain ripple through his body.

Falcon looked up and said, "Drake, you made it buddy, welcome back," smiling.

"I thought I'd wake up dead," Luxen said.

Falcon smirked. "Glad ya didn't," he said. "There's someone who wants to speak with you, Drake." Falcon stood on his feet and opened the door, and Drake's eyes widened as a tall man with brown hair, wearing a brown bomber jacket and green camouflage pants entered the room. "This is General Hawk, commander-in-chief of G.I.Joe." Falcon did the introductions for Drake, too.

"Are you here to arrest me, General Hawk?" Drake asked.

"Quite the opposite, soldier," General Hawk said with a friendly tone. "I'm here to commend you on your actions in saving my friends. From what I've heard, you showed real bravery out there considering the odds. And I've come to present you with a tentative offer. How would like become a G.I.Joe? We could really use a man of your ability in our fight against COBRA if you care to help?" Drake's eyes lit up with complete disbelief; he looked at Falcon. Falcon smiled. "I've reviewed you military record and I'm impressed. Your only fallout was joining COBRA. But I believe we can overlook this infracture since you single-handedly destroyed one of their weapons of mass destruction and put the lives of others over your own safety."

"I don't know what to say, General Hawk. I'm speechless." Luxen said. "I'm finished with COBRA. They believe I'm dead, so let's leave it that way."

"Good. Take some time with your decision, there's no rush. You took a beating out there. Get better."

"I will, and thank you sir." Luxen tried to salute, but lifting his arm gave him pain.

General Hawk saluted for him. "Your family has been notified and they're in transit," he said. "But I didn't tell them that you worked for COBRA; it's not my call to tell."

"Thank you sir. But before I decide anything, my family and I need to have a long talk. There's alotta of things I need to get out in the open. For two years now I've lived a lie and told them I've been working as a deep-sea diver on an oceanic vessel in Spain raising pieces of shipwrecks off the ocean floor, but no more lying. They don't deserve to be lied to anymore. I know I'm going to get a tongue lashing from my wife, but I don't care. I'll take what's coming to me."

"And that's what being a G.I.Joe is all about," General Hawk said smiling, "integrity."

General Hawk then said good-bye and left the room. Falcon went over to Drake's bedside and said, "Thanks for saving my life back there, Drake. I owe ya one."

"Nah, I owe you one for bringing me home after that shark torn up my back. Thought I was a goner."

"Then I suppose we're even."

Luxen laughed. "I guess we are. By the way, how'd the attack on the Cobra base go?"

"We destroyed it, and sent Cobra packing, but Cobra Commander escaped. Eventually we'll get that slippery snake and put him behind bars."

"I suppose I'll be interrogated for what I know about Cobra before I'm discharged from the hospital, right?"

"Nope," Falcon said. "General Hawk wiped the slate clean. You don't have to say anything if you don't want to, your record as been expunged."

Drake Luxen leaned back in his pillow, thought about it, and then made a decision to tell Falcon everything he knew about COBRA's operations. It was the least Luxen could do for Falcon saving his life. Later he learned the information he provided helped defeat COBRA and banished Cobra Commander and his evil cohorts into eternal exile before G.I.Joe was disbanded in 1997.

THE END.