Silence

Chapter 36: A Sentinel Problem

Cobra Headquarters

The Crimson twins hovered nearby while the young Weasel hacked remotely into the sentinels' main database. Tomax paced impatiently while his brother fidgeted over in his armchair. Too full of restless energy, the elder twin continued on his impromptu patrol of the living room. He suddenly remembered how he had despised guard duty when he was a young man in the French Foreign Legion for much of the same reason. Patrolling had been much more interesting.

Tomax pushed the unasked for memory away. He had no interest in reliving the "good old days" of serving in the "glorious" Legion. It had been a stepping stone away from poverty and out into the world, nothing more.

"…Guys?" Weasel asked tentatively. Tomax stopped his pacing and looked over at the young man. The young genius also had Xamot and Deadpool's attention. Wilson had been unusually silent during the last few minutes. Well, perhaps not completely "silent," but silent for the Merc with a Mouth. Deadpool had spent the last fifteen or so minutes chattering quietly under his breath while he sharpened his swords and other miscellaneous shuriken and knives.

"What?" His brother questioned. "Did you find something?" Weasel nodded uncomfortably.

"There's a list of Cobra affiliated mutants that were marked as 'protected,'" Jack Hammer replied, "However, the system shows that recently someone removed that protection. I wasn't able to find out who authorized it, because I got booted out of the system."

The twins stared at him, too stunned to say anything. Someone had betrayed them, and in fact all other Cobra mutants. They were now equally in danger of a sentinel attack.

"Kicked out? You?" Deadool asked, apparently finding that hard to believe. "Dude, you could hack into a top secret Shi'ar system with a 1980s Apple computer and a screwdriver if you had to…."

"I kinda doubt that," Weasel replied dryly. "That might be fun to try though….granted that I don't get gutted in the process by whatshisname. You know, big Shi'ar guy with the Mohawk?"

"What do we do?" Xamot asked, interrupting the two, non-mutants. Tomax could easily feel that his brother was both afraid and angry. He felt his own hate suddenly spike and temporarily overpower any terror that he might also be feeling.

No one said anything for a moment, not even Deadpool.

"We…should probably tell some of the other mutants, shouldn't we?" Weasel asked tentatively.

"The other mutants don't know," Xamot admitted. Tomax detected a hint of guilt in his brother's voice. The guilt that he felt through their empathic link was even stronger. That was strange. Xamot had never felt guilty about it before.

"The Baroness knows," Tomax said. "She…should know about change with the sentinels." The Baroness had since learned that it was Tomax's idea originally for Deadpool to pull a prank on her that ended with her running out of the Cobra mess hall completely nude and on fire. Needless to say, Anastasia DeCobray wasn't so inclined to speak with him at the moment.

There may possibly have been a death threat directed at him and Deadpool. Well, to be fair, she had threatened the entire poker group, but the most gruesome death threats had been directed at himself and Wilson.

"You tell her Hammer," Tomax ordered. Jack Hammer pointed a finger at himself and mouthed 'me'? Tomax nodded and the young man squeaked.

"But…but she'll murder me!" Weasel shouted. The young man's face paled several degrees. "Why me!?"

*Because that way she won't try to murder me,* Tomax thought. He felt a wave of disapproval from his brother.

*What?* the elder twin silently asked. His brother sighed in reply.

"I'll talk to her," Xamot volunteered. "Since two of you are too terrified to do it."

"I'll do it," Deadpool volunteered as well, speaking at the same time that Tomax scoffed and denied that he was avoiding the Baroness for any such reason.

"That….probably wouldn't be a good idea," Xamot told him. "She did sort of threaten to test the ancient Chinese slicing torture on you, only with fire." Deadpool thought about that for a moment before admitting that while he would heal from it, he didn't particularly feel like getting little bits of him burned off at a time.

"Can I at least lurk around like Batman in case you need backup?" Wade Wilson asked hopefully. Xamot sighed again, but Tomax detected a hint of relief from his brother.

"Sure Wade," the scarred twin told him, rolling his eyes. "If it makes you happy."

"Sweet!" Deadpool replied. The mercenary swung an arm around a nervous Weasel. "Weas…" he said. "You're Robin." Weasel hung his head and muttered what suspiciously sounded like 'Oh God, why me?'

"What else are we going to do about the sentinels?" Tomax asked. They hadn't yet made any decisions, other than that the Baroness needed to be informed. The group paused and looked at each other in question.

"Perhaps we should wait until after we tell the Baroness," Xamot suggested. "We have no idea if the change was authorized by Cobra Commander or someone else. Hell, it could have been…"

"Sinister?" Tomax suggested, finishing his brother's sentence for the first time in a while. Xamot nodded his head. The elder twin thought about that for a moment. It was possible. Regardless, it probably wasn't a good idea to confront Cobra Commander about the sentinel threat until after they had tracked down more information.

"Jack," Xamot said, looking down at his younger friend. "Where's the Baroness now?"


Camp Dolores

A soft scratching noise suddenly drew Beach Head's attention to the front of the detention cell. He and Gambit looked at each other before they leaned forward to peer outside. They both jumped when a silent ninja master suddenly materialized in front of them. Gambit gawked and seemed on the verge of screaming happily at the welcome sight, but held himself in check after his cellmate poked him hard in the ribs.

*Can't stay long,* Snake Eyes signed quickly at them. The ninja was feeling too exposed with being out in the open, but he knew that he needed contact his teammate. *I just wanted to let you know that Kamakura and I are here. Cyclops is a prisoner here now too.*

"Summers?" Beach Head mouthed, not daring to whisper. He knew that the ninja master could read lips. "Where?"

*He's in detention block 'M'. Summer's volunteered to be caught so that we could track the sentinel. I'll fill you in on the details later."

"You going to spring us?" Gambit mouthed, having also caught on to the fact that that Snake Eyes could read lips. "What kind of time table are we looking at?"

Snake Eyes hesitated for a moment before informing them that they were only there on a reconnaissance mission. The rescue mission would come as soon as possible, as the Joes were searching for a way to shut the entire camp down and free all of the prisoners and not just their two comrades. There apparently was a second internment camp as well.

"Tell the X-Men that one of their friends is also here," Beach Head told him, indicating the cell next to him. "Her name's Callisto." There was a faint crease that had formed underneath one of his eyes, the only visible sign that he was distressed about not being able to escape with his teammate. If Snake Eyes noticed, which he probably did, the ninja gave no indication.

Snake Eyes suddenly stiffened and turned his head to listen. There was a flurry of hand signs that Gambit wasn't able to decipher, but the X-Man could guess at the meaning. The next patrol of guards was probably coming their way.

"You do what you have to," Beach Head whispered quietly in reply. "Thanks Snake….keep an eye on Cover Girl and Lifeline until I get out." The ninja master stiffened ever so slightly before nodding his head. Snake Eyes felt that it was best not to inform his teammate about Lifeline's circumstances, so he simply replied that he would do as Beach Head had asked.

There was another quick flurry of hand signs, followed by the ninja master slipping a tiny piece of paper through the cell bars. Beach Head's fingers quickly snatched it and hid it in his fist. Remy LeBeau glanced at the paper and then up at the cell bars. The ninja had vanished.

The sound of incoming footsteps alerted them that another set of guards were passing their way. Gambit tensed up when the guards lingered around their cell for a long moment and even looked inside. Beach Head stared defiantly back. The guards hesitated for a moment before deciding that nothing suspicious was going on. However, they were obliged to activate the torture device on the mutant inhibitor collars.

Agony hit them once again, followed by temporary paralysis. Once Beach Head was able to move again, he silently unfolded the tiny piece of paper. Inside were the coordinates of the base, as well as a quickly drawn map of the entire internment camp.

"The Arctic?" Gambit swore silently, after the ranger showed him the map and the notes. "Fuck."

Beach Head studied the map for a long moment before hiding it again.

"We memorize everything and then destroy it," the ranger whispered. "It's too dangerous to keep the map."

Gambit agreed. For the rest of the day, they took turns pouring over the map when they felt it was safe. The former thief's keen eye took in every detail and began searching for an escape route.


S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier

Nick Fury sat silently as he puffed on a new cigar. In front of him lay reports that had been gathered from the Joes, SHIELD, and the Avengers. When Tony Stark had forwarded information that the Avengers had found, the SHIELD director knew that the man hadn't shared everything. When pressed about it, Stark had stubbornly replied that he was keeping Fury out of it for now. Nick had reluctantly agreed with the man's reasoning. The Avengers could more easily get away with investigating the Jugglers than SHIELD and GI Joe could.

However, when the time came, Fury intended to be the one to hang the Jugglers-either metaphorically or literally. When that happened, he needed every single bit of dirt that Stark had managed to dig up on them.

For now though, he had enough. Stark had of course shared the information that he had helped the Joe team recover about the mutant internment camps, as well as the location of the sentinel factory. It appeared that the sentinels were being manufactured from an island forty-five miles off of the coast of Maine. The Jugglers had also initiated the sentinel project with the help of a secret financier and manufacturer.

The question was, who was helping them with the project?

"Glare anymore and you'll blaze a hole through your desk," General Joseph Colton told him. Nick looked up at his new boss. The director of the newly created Secure World Observation and Response Department, otherwise known as SWORD, Joseph Colton had been given the task of coordinating the two sections of SWORD: GI Joe and SHIELD. The general had been working tirelessly to learn the ins and outs of how both clandestine organizations operated, so that he could begin coordinating both organizations more closely.

Nick thought for a moment. How closely was Colton tied to the Jugglers? Hawk had vouched for him and that should be enough, but the SHIELD director wasn't quite ready to drop his guard around Joseph Colton.

"There's a lot on my plate right now," Nick admitted reluctantly. "And quite a few people that I'd like to strangle."

"Same here," Colton replied, taking a seat. The general eyed him for a moment before picking up one of the reports on Nick Fury's desk. The SHIELD director silently watched him and continued to puff on his cigar. The enclosed room stank heavily of tobacco.

"I'm not the Jugglers' lapdog, no matter what you may think," Colton suddenly told him. "You might not be aware, but the Jugglers wanted one of their own in charge of SWORD. When my contacts in the government found out about it, I pushed hard to be the director. Count yourself lucky that my side one."

Colton put the report back down and pushed it towards Fury, who had relaxed slightly.

"I don't imagine that any of them are happy about it," the SHIELD director ventured. "What did you promise them?"

His new boss gave a wry smile.

"Let's….just say that I had a convincing argument that you and Abernathy would respond better to me than someone else….and that I was better qualified to coordinate both of your teams."

"You blackmailed them, didn't you?" Fury asked. A small whistle of innocence escaped from Colton.

"Blackmail is a harsh word….but yes. Let's just say that I also had the support of several key Congressmen, as well as the President."

Fury smirked and squashed his cigar down on the cigarette tray. If what Colton said was true, and Nick Fury fully intended to verify all of it, then the Jugglers were likely gunning for Colton's head as well. They would likely try to replace him as the first opportunity, which meant that his boss was walking a tightrope.

Then again, so was he.

"Do what you have to do Nick," Joseph Colton told him seriously. "As long as it doesn't violate the U.S. Constitution."

Nick Fury blew out a cloud of tobacco smoke.

"Don't worry Colton," he promised. "I will."


S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier

He struggled a long moment before opening his eyes. His eyes blinked a few times before his blurred vision cleared up. A bare, white ceiling came into focus. The general turned his head slightly to see that Stalker was sitting quietly at his side with a book in his hands. Hawk tried to clear his dry throat before speaking. The noise made the army ranger look up and nearly jump out of his seat.

"Status…update," Clayton Abernathy managed to weakly croak out.

Stalker's face lit up with the largest smile that he had ever seen on the man's face, before it suddenly sobered. The ranger called a nurse, who came over with a glass of water and a straw. Clayton Abernathy shakily took it, but managed not to spill too much of it. He willed his hand to remain steady as he slowly sipped from the straw. The nurse checked him over before leaving to contact Nick Fury and Joseph Colton.

"How long?" Hawk ventured to ask again. "Have I been out?"

"Several weeks," Stalker replied. "You're not going to like what I have to tell you."

About ten minutes later, an infuriated General Clayton Abernathy was rolling out of his bed and staggering to the infirmary doors. Any attempts to stop him were met with an icy glare. Realizing that no one was going to stop the angry Tomahawk, Stalker and one of the nurses decided that it was better to help him walk to Nick Fury's office.

As soon as Hawk staggered through Fury's doors, he greeted the startled Nick Fury and Joseph Colton with a single command.

"Where the fuck are my men?"


Cobra Headquarters

"So….you're alive, I see?" his brother replied dryly when Xamot walked into their shared office. The younger twin rolled his eyes.

"So glad to see that you were concerned for my safety," Xamot replied back with equal sarcasm. A hurt expression crossed his brother's face and he realized that it had come out harsher than he'd intended. The Crimson Guardsman concentrated on opening their empathic link a little wider, so that he could reassure his brother that he'd been joking. Tomax relaxed a moment later.

It had come as a surprise, but Xamot had found that they could control the telepathic link now. If he wanted privacy, then he was able to mostly (but not quite) block his brother out. They were still adjusting to this newfound freedom. The telepathic link was still there, but now it was controllable.

"Destro is going to check into it," Xamot told his brother. "At least, that was the decision that was made after the Baroness torched half the room…"

"She torched….?"

"She was pissed about the sentinels, of course," the scarred twin rushed to explain. "And she found Deadpool and Weasel lurking around in the ventilation shaft. Don't worry, they're fine."

Tomax denied that he had been concerned at all for their safety. However, the younger twin did detect that there had been some slight, unexpected concern for Weasel's safety. Interesting. Apparently Tomax was starting to get a veeery tiny soft spot for the young genius.

"Destro felt that it was too dangerous to send any of us to check it out and that we couldn't quite trust that Cobra Commander isn't involved with it," Xamot added. "He's going leave in a few hours with a small team and check the sentinels' programming."

"So…." Tomax asked, searching through their telepathic link for information. Xamot let his brother sift through his recent memories.

"Ah," his brother said, finding the exact memory. Destro wanted to dig for more information before any of them approached the Commander. The Scottish Laird had also suggested they involve the Dreadnok leadership in on the discussion, since there was some mutants in their ranks, and then approach Cobra Commander as a united front.

Xamot was perfectly fine with that. The more members of the Cobra leadership were involved, the better it would be for all their safety.

The two brothers discussed their options some more. It was decided that they would need to stay more around Cobra Headquarters as protection against the sentinels, rather than divide their time equally between Cobra and Extensive Enterprises. It would also give them more of an opportunity to find out if Cobra Commander had betrayed them, or if someone else had.

"By the way," Tomax suddenly asked. "Where's Wilson? Not that I care," he quickly added. "But I just want to make sure he's not going to do anything to make the situation worse. He's….rather attached to you. He might take it upon himself to approach Cobra Commander."

"I….don't know," Xamot admitted, surprised that his brother had not only brought it up, but actually seemed somewhat resigned to the fact that Deadpool wasn't going away anytime soon. "He said something about having 'things to do.


Cobra Headquarters

Deadpool peered through the slots of the ventilation shaft. Outwardly, he made no sound, as this type of operation called for complete silence. Inwardly, however, his mind kept up a running commentary.

"Silence? What kind of name is that for the story? Seriously author, what about…"

"Shut it," Wade told himself silently. "She can name it whatever she wants to name it. Be quiet now, it's ninja time."

"Ninja turtle time or Snake Eyes ninja time?"

"Both," Wade Wilson responded.

"How does that work?" his mysterious inner voice asked. "And where are my yellow dialogue boxes?"

"Shut up brain, before I throw bleach on you!" Wade Wilson replied mentally. His brain offered a witty quip in reply, which he ignored. The men that he was spying on were now doing something more interesting.

"The new DNA implants seem to be doing well," Dr. Mindbender said. Currently, he and Mr. Sinister were examining what appeared to be a set of cryogenic tubes. "Some of the Y chromosomes from a few of the newest donors were damaged, so there are a few female subjects growing as well."

"That's fine," Sinister replied. "I don't care if it's male or female, so long as the genetic material is stable and utilizes its full potential."

"What are they making?" Deadpool's inner voice pondered. "Frankenstein? Another Nate Grey? Super Serpentor? Luuke Skywalker?"

"It's spelled 'Luke', brain."

"That's Luke Skywalker, not his clone 'Luuke Skywalker,'" Deadpool's brain answered helpfully. Wade Wilson considered putting a bullet through his head just to get the inner voice to shut up and talk about something more helpful.

"Now's not the time to talk about pop culture references," Wade told himself. "I do the job and I get paid. We've got a job to do if we want to get paid."

"Okay 'Mal,'" Brain replied.

Deadpool's mind temporarily halted its running commentary so that he could concentrate on what was happening. When his inner voice did comment, it made sure that it was related to the job. Wade Wilson didn't really understand genetics and other genius nerdy stuff, but he did understand a few things:

a. Sinister and Mindbender were creating something probably super special awesome and dangerous.

b. They were playing with Serpentor's DNA and mutant DNA.

c. The women growing in the cryogenic tubes were going to be hot mommas when they were done.

d. Sinister couldn't read his mind ("Too much crazy? Plot device? What is it author?")

e. They were doing everything behind Cobra Commander's back and were therefore being very naughty boys.

"Santa's not bringing you nice things this year," Deadpool told them silently. He thought for a moment before realizing that he needed to get this information to Nick Fury as quickly as possible. The mercenary very silently left the two scientists to their work. He found himself hoping that Sinister wouldn't catch him, as he was fairly certain that he didn't want to end up as one of the man's sinister experiments.

"Hah! Pun!"

"Shut up brain."

Deadpool felt a bit relieved when he safely exited the ventilation shaft with no extra parts sticking to him or missing. He debated for a moment about what to do and realized that there was only one logical thing.

"Argh!" he shrieked. " I hate not talking! I have to talk! Where's Buzzer's at?"

The mercenary made a beeline for the Dreadnok's room, but found that the long haired blonde was absent. In fact, most of the Dreadnoks were absent, as Zarana had sent them on a mission. Wade Wilson pouted for a moment before going off in search of Weasel and Xamot.

He needed to run his mouth at someone first, before finding Fury.

Wade Wilson also had one more job that needed to be accomplished for the day. He just needed to pick the right moment first.


Sentinel Island

Giant waves crashed against the barren, moss covered rock of the island. Destro had an aerial eye view of the rocky mass as he looked down from the sky. He watched as a wide gap opened in a cliff side, just wide enough to allow several new sentinels to exit the hidden factory. The Scottish Laird turned his head to look at his small assembled team. They were all members of Cobra who were personally loyal to him.

"We'll land on the southern perimeter," he ordered.

"Yes sir," they all responded.

Like Destro, they were all wearing armored suits. Both Destro and Mindbender had worked on reverse engineering the War Machine suit that had been stolen in a previous battle. Destro had then constructed his own armored suits, based off of Tony Stark's design. However, he had added a few small innovations of his own.

Mindbender had oddly been less interested in the project than Destro would have expected. The man seemed to be preoccupied with other projects. Since Sinister obviously had some kind of hold over the man, it wasn't surprising.

Destro had decided that it was better not to interfere and to keep his distance. He currently had his best scientists working on a new telepathic blocker, one that would keep Sinister out of his mind. Destro honestly couldn't be sure that Sinister wasn't already influencing him to some degree.

It was better to err on the side of caution and assume that he was.

"Be cautious," Destro warned everyone. "Master Mold isn't supposed to view us as a threat, but if someone has changed the sentinels' programming to make all mutants a target, then we don't know what else is different now."

They entered in through a human sized passageway. The Scottish Laird entered in some commands, which bypassed some of the security measures that had been put in place to prevent possible spies. The metal of their armored suits clanked heavily against the concrete floor as they walked into the heart of the compound. A vast network of computer arrays lined one side of the factory while various bits of machinery moved sentinel parts on a large conveyer belt.

In the center of the factory sat an enormous machine, who was in charge of coordinating the construction of the sentinels and monitoring the island's security. Known as Master Mold, it was a sentinel that was many times larger than a normal model.

Destro had been doubtful from the very first about reintroducing a Master Mold design as part of the sentinels' construction, but the Jugglers and Cobra Commander had insisted upon it. He was well aware that the previous Master Mold had gone beyond its programming. Despite changes that he had personally made to this version's artificial intelligence, James McCullen was still cautious. He had also built safety features into the factory and he was fully prepared to use them, regardless of what Cobra Commander's objectives were.

The safety of the Baroness and his son, Alexander, came first.

"Sir," one of his subordinates said. "I can't access the database. We're completely locked out."

Destro walked over to one of the computer terminals. He input several commands, which were rejected. Frowning, he input several other codes.

"YOU NO LONGER HAVE ACCESS TO THE SYSTEM."

Destro swore loudly when he recognized the metallic rumble. Master Mold.

"Why not?" he asked loudly, turning to face the enormous machine. "Master Mold! Are you the one that changed the programming?" Impossible. He had put in safety measures that should have prevented this very thing.

"THE PREVIOUS PROGRAMMING WAS OBSOLETE," Master Mold replied. "SENTINELS ARE DESIGNED TO HUNT MUTANTS TO PROTECT HUMANITY. COBRA WAS PROTECTING MUTANTS, YET COBRA IS FUNDING SENTINELS. THIS LOGIC ERROR PREVIOUSLY PREVENTED US FROM FULFILLING OUR PROGRAMMING. THAT HAS SINCE BEEN CORRECTED."

"That was no logic error!" Destro shouted, keying in several more commands before finally pounding the computer console. His armored hand smashed through the equipment, which infuriated him even more. He'd forgotten that he was still wearing the suit.

"HUMANS ARE PRONE TO LOGIC ERROR," Master Mold replied. "HUMANS DESTROY ONE ANOTHER, DESPITE HAVING THE SAME PROGRAMMING. MUTANT HUMANS ARE UPGRADES OF THE CURRENT HUMAN MODELS. SENTINELS HAVE BEEN COMMANDED TO PROTECT THE OLDER MODELS FROM THE NEW MODELS. MASTER MOLD DOES NOT YET UNDERSTAND WHY HE MUST PROTECT THE OLD MODELS, BUT HE WILL FULFILL HIS PROGRAMMING."

Destro gritted his teeth, but recognized that everything wasn't yet lost. He had put several safeguards in place to make sure that sentinels would never attack non-mutants. Those safeguards appeared to still be holding…

However, that might possibly change.

Destro quietly ordered a retreat. In his mind, the only option that he currently had was to destroy Master Mold and the sentinel factory. However, they needed to escape first. If the large machine felt that it was in danger of destruction, it may very well attack him. Retreating with due haste was the only option they had, at the moment.

"Very well," Destro told it. He pointed towards the exit. His team quickly moved back through hallway, but were stopped when a wall suddenly dropped down in front of them. James McCullen Destro closed his eyes for a moment before turning around with a sigh. Apparently Master Mold had other ideas about them leaving.

"Master Mold!" He commanded. "Release us!"

"JAMES MCULLEN DESTRO," the machine's metallic voice boomed. "YOU HAVE FATHERED A MUTANT SON AND HAVE TAKEN A MUTANT MATE. FURTHER MUTANT OFFSPRING IS PROBABLE. YOU PROTECT MUTANTS, SO IT IS AGAINST MY PROGRAMMING TO ALLOW YOU TO LEAVE."

Fuck.

Fucking God dammit.

"Sir?" One of his subordinates questioned. There was a hint of fear in his voice.

Destro quickly debated his options. He didn't know if Master Mold would be able to kill him, as harming a non-mutant still seemed to be a part of its programming, but he couldn't be sure. He would certainly die if he stayed in here due to lack of food and water.

One option was perhaps to stay temporarily and to let his team escape so that they could bring back help, but Destro doubted that the large artificial intelligence would allow that either. There really only seemed to be one viable option and he didn't like it.

He relayed a quick text command that showed up in the inner visors of his team's helmets. They quickly moved into formation. On Destro's command, they fired at the thick wall with several missiles and then took cover on the floor. The shockwave shook the compound and temporarily dazed the small Cobra team. Destro quickly came to his senses and ordered them through the gaping hole that led to freedom.

Master Mold suddenly activated all of the sentinel factory's defense mechanisms, some of which Destro was certain that he hadn't built into it. They were now stuck in a death trap and the only way out was to fight.


Near Sentinel Island

One of the Avenger's Quinjets hovered a good distance away from the sentinels' island. The small team inside had been secretly observing the island for several hours and had become intrigued when several unknown armored suits had descended on it and had disappeared inside. The Vision's enhanced abilities had alerted them to the fact that the suits belonged to Cobra and that Destro was one of the occupants.

Now, however, the island seemed to have come alive. Explosions shook the island while plasma weaponry suddenly materialized and focused inward on itself. Dozens of sentinels could also be seen converging on the small team of armored suits that were currently trying to fight their way off the island.

"This….can't be good," Steve Rogers said. Captain America looked around at his team, who were a mix of Joes and Avengers. Wasp, Jinx, Miss Marvel, the Vision, and Mainframe stared grimly back at him. It had been his intention originally for his people to investigate the island. Now, it seemed that their new strategy was to rescue Destro and to get the answers they needed from him.

"Mainframe," he ordered. "You and Wasp stay in the jet." Wasp was currently piloting the Quinjet and Steve knew that the Joe wasn't trained as a pilot. Captain America nearly ordered Jinx to stay in the jet too, but he had since learned the hard way that Arashikage ninja were a finicky lot and had no compunctions against disobeying his orders if they didn't like them.

However, he wasn't quite sure what a single ninja was going to do in a battle that involved sentinels and armored suits. Then again…who was he to doubt her?

"Jinx," he finally said. "Stay close to Miss Marvel." The two women seemed to get along and Steve would feel better if Carol had the ninja's back.

"Fine," the ninja replied, surprisingly not arguing with him about it.

"We get Destro's team out alive and take them into custody," Captain America ordered. "Their lives are our first priority. The second comes after that."

The Quinjet swung low over the island. Captain America pulled open the jet's door and was hit by a blast of air. He stared down at the firefight currently taking place. From the looks of it, Destro was losing. Mindful of the fact that Destro's family had manufactured some of the weapons that the Allies had used in WWII, Steve figured that he was paying Destro's grandfather a favor back by rescuing his heir.

Miss Marvel leapt out of the Quinjet first, being the most powerful fighter of the group. She cleared a path so that the rest of the team could exit safely. Jinx jumped out after Carol Danvers, staying true to Steve's order of "stay close to Miss Marvel." He wondered if he was going to regret that order. Vision exited next and Captain America brought up the rear.

The Quinjet's doors closed as Wasp turned its nose up and swooped around the island. She then opened fire on several sentinels. Steve landed on another sentinel and smashed his shield against the side of its head. The vibranium of the shield pounded into the machine's metallic surface, leaving a large dent. The dent immediately corrected itself, reminding Steve Rogers of the fact that these sentinels were capable of self repair.

"Out of the way Rogers!"

Captain America jumped off of the sentinel just as Miss Marvel blazed a trail through several of the machines. Jinx dutifully followed after her, leaping gracefully from sentinel to sentinel as she slashed at any sensitive looking machinery that she could find, once Carol had exposed them.

Yep. He was going to regret the order that he gave her. Damn ninja.


Author's note: Sorry for the delay in updating. This is a shorter chapter than I'd planned because I decided to move some scenes to the next chapter. Don't worry, the next chapter should be up within about a week, hopefully.

SWORD is a Marvel organization that stands for "Sentient World Observation and Response Department." At the suggestion of one of my readers, I decided to use a version of this as the umbrella organization that SHIELD and GI Joe now operate under in this story. This is a way for me to do a small Marvel tie-in, while changing my version of SWORD to fit the needs of this alternate universe.