This is a story that Nicole and I started over four years ago. Unfortunately, it fell by the wayside, and remained un-updated until now. We're back and ready to re-release our epic. This story takes place after the Sunbow cartoon series. We don't own any of the Joes, nor are we making a profit off of this piece.

A special thanks goes out to Kurt (wolfman769) for beta reading this chapter. He takes over one of the story arcs in a later chapter.

Chapter One

Bozo Convention 2000

Prologue

December 31, 1999

President-Elect Olexander Yelchichev was in his office looking down at the streets below. The crowds were starting to form for Kiev's Millennium Celebration to be held later on that night. There was a knock at the door. "Enter," he called out.

His secretary walked into the room. "Sorry to disturb you, sir, but those two men are back and they are demanding to see you."

Olexander sighed. "Let them in." Why don't they understand that he has everything under control? Ever since he made the deal with them two years ago, they have constantly questioned his actions. Ukraine was his country, why didn't they understand that. He knew what the people wanted.

The two hooded figures entered the room. The loud and obnoxious one spoke first, as he usually did. He never bothered to show respect for the Ukrainian political leader. He just opened his mouth and cut loose. "President Yelchichev, we are very disturbed about the recent news reports from Moscow!"

"Relax, Mister Commander," Yelchichev replied, trying to keep his tone even and measured. "It means nothing to us." The Ukrainian head of state silently wished that he didn't have to spend most of his time calming "Mister Commander" down.

"This means nothing to us?" Cobra Commander yelled. He slammed a second copy of Pravda on the president's desk, pounding his black-gloved fist on it repeatedly in frustration. "Russia also has a new President! You did not tell us that Mister Yeltsin would be resigning with the coming New Year!"

"I did not know. I suppose Boris was more ill than we thought."

"That's exactly what we were counting on. We needed Russia to have a weak leader!"

"Vladimir Putin is of no concern to us. He will not interfere." Yelchichev wasn't so sure of this fact, but he did not need to make the Commander more hysterical. It was an unforeseen snag in their plans, but they would work their way around it.

The man was about to launch into another tirade when his partner began speaking. "Cobra Commander, Comrade Yelchichev is correct. This means nothing."

"What I'm concerned with Destro, is what else he doesn't know. We've spent too long of a time on this to have it fail." Cobra Commander replied.

Olexander was getting angry. How dare he question me. "The hard part is over. There is nothing left to stop us. When I am sworn in on January twenty-first, we would have reached our goals. That is, provided I get my money before then."

"You will have your money. That is of no concern for you," Cobra Commander responded.

"Then you will have your country," Olexander said.

January 21,2000

General Hawk was sitting in his office. He yawned as he shuffled through some papers. He then looked at his watch. It wasn't even noon yet. Taking a sip of his coffee, he decided to try the new Chinese place for lunch. It could turn out to be the highlight of his day.

"Same shit, different day," he said to the wall and once again asked himself what the hell he was still doing in the Army. He reasoned with himself that a civilian desk job wasn't going to be any more exciting. At least now there was the very slim chance that a war would break out. That would give him something to do.

The Joe team disbanded nearly five years ago. He had been busy the first few months making sure his soldiers got the jobs they wanted. He felt it was the least he could do for them. They were the most professional group he had ever dealt with. They gave their all for the team, and then all of a sudden they were declared unnecessary. The brass wanted to give them all honorable discharges, so they could start a "normal" life. He reasoned with them that what they do next should be their choice. Most of them had been with the military so long; they wouldn't know how to live a "normal" life. Given the choice, a lot did leave the service. He tried to keep up with what they were doing, but he lost track of many of them. Since he was their CO, he never made strong friendships with any of them. It was better for him to keep personal issues out of it.

The ones that stayed in the Army were easier to keep track of. Every so often he would see a familiar name on a file that passed through his inbox, and he would read up on that individual. He was still proud of his men and women; they were continuing their illustrious careers through the regular Army.

A knock on the door jarred him from his thoughts. "Enter," he called out. In walked one of the men he was just thinking about. Mainframe had stayed with the general since the team's disbanding. He wasn't exactly his aid, but he kept the general up to date on any issue worldwide that might need attention. Today, he was visibly excited. Something big must have just happened.

"General, you are not going to believe this. You have to watch this tape." Mainframe said and placed a VCR tape in the TV/VCR that Hawk had in his office. The TV came to life showing a gathering of people on a podium. A man was speaking in Russian, and seemed to be introducing another individual. When his name was announced a large cheer was heard.

"What is this?" General Hawk asked.

"It's the swearing in ceremony of the new Ukrainian president, Olexander Yelchichev. When he starts talking we had a translator dub his words in English," Mainframe explained.

"Why is this so…" General Hawk began to ask but stopped as his eyes began to scan the crowd. He stopped on a familiar face. "Is that Destro?" he asked incredulously.

"Yep," Mainframe said.

The tape now had Hawk's full attention. He listened as the President was sworn in. After the official ceremony he began to make his first speech as President. Most of it was typical new-President speak - promising a better economy for the people, but then he made a surprising announcement.

"You are all wondering how I could accomplish all this when our past president was unable to," President Yelchichev said, "Well I will tell you how. I have decided to ally our country with a large military organization. They will provide us the financial resources we so desperately need. They will supplement our armies, to protect us from our enemies. We will work together to make the Ukraine the country she is destined to become. That military organization is Cobra!"

Hawk jumped out of his chair. "He did what?" He yelled. He could not believe his ears. He watched as the television panned to show Destro and Cobra Commander. They were both sitting there smugly, looking out unto the people of the country they now controlled.

Hawk turned to Mainframe, "How did this happen?"

"Sir, you just asked the question of the hour. You've got every division on this government pointing fingers at each other. Right now they are all taking a hard look at the CIA. This all happened about an hour ago, and the phones have been lit up ever since."

Hawk was about to ask why it took an hour for him to be notified about this when his phone rang. He answered and it was one of his superior officers. "General Abernathy, I trust you are now aware of the situation in Eastern Europe?"

"Yes, sir. I just reviewed the tape. You have my cooperation in this matter. I can fly to DC on the next plane to give whatever assistance is needed," Hawk said.

"Whoa, Just a minute there. We need to inform the President, and he'll make a decision on how to handle this. We'll probably need you for some background information on Cobra, but that won't be for a few more days."

"But, sir. From past experience, I think it would be prudent to act on this right away. We need to reactivate the GI Joe team as soon as possible. If you give Cobra too much time…"

"General, I understand your enthusiasm. However, you're jumping the gun. There are no plans now to reactivate the GI Joe team, nor do I think there will be any in the future. Just sit tight, we'll let you know when you are needed." He then hung up the phone.

Hawk slammed the phone down. Things haven't changed at all in five years. There were still incompetent morons running the show. How could they not reactivate the team? Cobra was now a viable threat, and with a whole country's resources at their disposal, they were now even stronger than they were before. And now the US was just going to sit on their hands and watch. "Absolutely unbelievable!" he yelled out.

"I take it the phone call didn't go well?" Mainframe asked.

Hawk had forgotten Mainframe was still in the room. He looked at him and decided he wasn't going to just sit tight. "Mainframe, I want you to find each and every member of the Joe team. Don't contact them yet; just get me the information I need so I can find them in a hurry. No matter what the bozos above may think, I believe we're back in business."

February 19, 2000

"MAINFRAME!" Hawk hollered.

"Sir, you know, I do have a real name." Mainframe knew he was going to feel the brunt of Hawk's wrath after that comment, but he really didn't care. The General had been an absolute bear the last few weeks, and he was now thoroughly pissed off with him. The two had been working night and day ever since the beginning of the Ukrainian crisis. Hawk had been busy planning up rosters and strategies, while Mainframe had been hunting down the previous members of the Joe team. Mainframe thought it was going to get better when he and Hawk had been flown out to DC a week ago, but it hadn't. Hawk was still being ignored to varying degrees by the government; he was just getting ignored in new surroundings.

"We've spent twenty-nine days trying to get our voices heard by the deaf, dumb and blind officials of this government so that we could hopefully prevent the total destruction of this planet and you're worried about what name I call you?" Hawk asked in total disbelief.

"It's just that I'm on the same side as you. You don't have to be constantly screaming at me," Mainframe answered.

Hawk just glared at him and then mumbled an apology. "I was just wondering why I have no information on Lifeline."

Mainframe rolled his eyes. He'd been over this with him before. "He's a missionary in South America now. The only way we can get in contact with him is to wait until he makes his twice a year journey into the city for supplies. According to the Red Cross, that won't be until April."

Hawk looked at him again in disbelief, then he grumbled, "Fine. We don't need that damn pacifist anyway." He looked at his watch and swore again. "I've got to go. Since I actually got a meeting with those airheads, I don't want to be late." He then smoothed out his uniform, grabbed the large stack of files, and ran out of the room.

"Good luck, sir," Mainframe called out after him.

Hawk entered the White House Situation Room and for a moment wished that he was trying to only convince the Jugglers to reinstate GI Joe as opposed to convincing the nerve center of American security. General Paul Baker, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of
Staff, walked over to Hawk. "Good to see you again, Clay. I wish it was under better circumstances though."

"You and me both, Sir."

"Sit next to me. The President should be here in a few minutes"

Hawk nodded and followed Baker to the far end of the table. As he was sitting down Chief of Staff Harold Cook walked into the room. "Okay, I know we've been over this before, but the President is still wondering how the hell we missed this. For once I'd like to be able to give him an explanation that doesn't involve charts and diagrams."

Secretary of Defense Richard Williams was the first to speak. "It appears that our initial analysis that both the NSA and CIA dropped the ball on this one is correct. Somehow they managed to not pick up on the relationship between Cobra and Yelchichev let alone the sheer existence of Cobra. The only good thing going for us is that everyone else seemed to miss this as well. Of course, though, all eyes of the world are on us."

"Hold on a second, Dick. Don't pin this one on the NSA." National Security Advisor Myron Henderson pointed towards CIA Director Anderson Bellows. "His boys were actually walking the streets of Kiev. Do not lump me in with his growing list of failures."

Before Bellows could defend his agency, Albert Gorman, Head of the Eastern Europe Division spoke. "How were we supposed to know Cobra was still around? The military swore up and down on a giant stack of bibles that Cobra was destroyed. My people didn't see it because they weren't looking for it."

Henderson stared at Bellows and Gorman for a few seconds. "It's your job to figure these things out. That's why the President signs those findings you hand us every week and why Congress gives you money. And look at Cobra Commander and Destro for god's sake. One wears a hood and the other wears a big steel mask. Are you telling me your agents are so incompetent they didn't see either eyesore in public?"

Before the petty bickering could continue the President entered the room. Everyone stood and waited for him to sit down before retaking their seats. "Please tell me that you've finally come up with a plan that doesn't make us look either like Pollyanna or Alexander."

Baker addressed the group. "I believe we may have that solution, sir. As has been previously discussed we can't simply go in there with a full military assault. Both NATO and the UN are afraid to send troops due in part to previous failures in similar missions and in part to Cobra's reputation. After some deliberation on our part we believe General Abernathy has what we need."

Hawk stood up. He passed out the handouts he and Mainframe had made up detailing his strategy. "Thank you, General Baker. Cobra may be playing on the level right now, but it is only a matter of time before they revert to their old ways. I've developed a two-prong
strategy designed to hasten that transformation. Once that has occurred we should have no problem getting the international support we need to proceed with an invasion."

"The first is the more public prong - using military advisors. Ukraine's neighbors are a little worried and some comparisons between Cobra and Nazi Germany should help increase that tension. It will be announced that we're reforming the Joe team to serve as military advisors only. Four or five Joes will be sent to those nations to devise defense strategies and work on securing cooperation for the inevitable assault against Cobra. Cobra will sweat slightly with Joe team around, but if they believe they're only acting as
advisors they might get sloppy."

"The second part is the more covert of the two. I've come up with a four-man team to go in and find out the truth and begin a resistance movement. One of them will actually try to work their way into the government while the others try to stir up some discontent. We know that not every Ukranian is happy with this. While not widespread there have been protests in most of the major cities. If we can organize an insurrection Cobra may show their hand by cracking down on the movement." When he finished talking Hawk paused, waiting for the barrage of questions.

"These people you have listed, do you even know where they are?" asked the President.

"Yes, sir. I've tracked down about ninety-five percent of the former team members, and I can contact everyone that is listed as available."

"But you haven't actually talked to them so you don't know if they would be willing to come back?"

Before Hawk could answer Gorman raised his hand. "Let me get this straight. This whole operation will hinge on the success of your four-man covert ops team. And for this you have picked a Broadway actress, a computer geek, your basic Navy screw-up and a man that has great credentials but is apparently not on your available list." Gorman was trying his best to shoot this plan down. "Isn't this something the CIA should
be doing, not the military?"

Hawk was getting annoyed. "With all due respect, sir, if you had done your job right in the first place I wouldn't be here now. Lady Jaye is the finest undercover agent I have ever seen. I believe her file shows that your people tried to recruit her. She's also considered one of the top intelligence people in the world. Dial-Tone is a world class radio operator and electronics engineer. Communications is going to be key in this mission and I want the best man for the job. Shipwreck has the naval background that will allow him to blend in the Crimea, a section we need if we're going to get some kind of resistance movement going. And Flint as you've said has the credentials, and last I knew he was working for your agency. To be perfectly honest the last known sighting of Flint was in your neck of the woods."

Bellows looked through the plan. It definitely seemed doable and would draw attention away from the failure of Gorman and his people. It would also leave him free to plan and pursue other avenues of investigation with relative secrecy. "It looks like it could work, General Abernathy. You have my assurance that we'll locate Flint and put him at your disposal. You also have my word that Albert here will help you to his fullest extent."

Gorman had been shifting in his seat since Hawk outlined the plan and began to squirm to the point of distraction when Bellows offered his services. "But sir."

"Not now, Gorman."

Gorman just shifted some more in his seat as the President looked over Hawk's proposal one last time. "I agree with you, Andy, I think this could work. As of this moment, General Abernathy, GI Joe is reactivated. Contact who you need to and get this plan of yours in motion. Good day, gentleman."

With that the President stood up, signifying the end of the meeting. Hawk had to restrain himself. He went over to Bellows and Gorman. "I should be able to contact who I need today and have the majority of them report for duty by tomorrow. I can probably have the covert team ready to go by either tomorrow evening or early the next morning."

Bellows smiled and shook Hawk's hand. "That's fine, general. I like a man who takes decisive action and gets things done. Let us know if you need help with
anything."

"Thank you, sir. Actually, I'll probably need help with covers for the team to get them into the country, and then at least one with some government position."

"I think we can arrange that. I'll send over some credible covers to allow all four to get into the country, including airline arrangements, and have Gorman work out a cover Lady Jaye." Bellows walked out of the room with Gorman right behind him. They walked in silence till they got to their respective cars.

"Gorman, if you ever question the authority of myself or any other cabinet member in public again, your ass will hit the pavement so fast you won't know what hit you. You should be thanking me for not sacking you the moment this latest nightmare started. I suggest you see this is as a shot at redemption and be as helpful as possible."

Before Gorman had a chance to respond Bellows got into his car and left the White House. He headed for his office in the Old Executive Building. Once in his office Bellows picked up the phone and dialed a page number. He slipped in the code number, hung up the phone, and waited for Ned to arrive.