The Return of the Gamesmaster

Disclaimer: Hasboro owns G.I. Joe. All I own is the plot.

A/N: Here's the beginning of my new story. It features the return of a villain from season one: The Gamesmaster. Remember how he said that there would be a new game between Joe and Cobra? Well, here it is and this time he's upped the stakes! Pairings include Destro/Baroness, Lady Jaye/Flint, eventual Beachhead/Cover Girl and Scarlett/?. See the A/N at the end for more info on that. Anyway, onto the story!

Prologue: Gathering the Players

Duke was humming to himself as he stepped out of the elevator into the parking garage and headed to his car. Now that his meeting was over, he was looking forward to relaxing in his apartment just off base. Maybe he'd even call Scarlett and see if she wanted to come over if she was back from shopping with Lady Jaye and Cover Girl.

He reached his car and smiled as he unlocked it and opened the door. But the next instant everything changed. As he went to get in, he was grabbed from behind and something sweet-smelling was pressed to his nose.

Chloroform, he realized as everything started to go fuzzy. He tried to fight back against his attacker, but his strength was fading too quickly. In only a few moments, he dropped unconscious to the ground.

Meanwhile, Scarlett was heading to the car where she was supposed to meet Lady Jaye and Cover Girl. The three had been shopping for hours now at the mall and in a few minutes; they would be heading back to headquarters.

As she neared the car, she heard a high-pitched squeaking noise off to her right. "Huh? I wonder what that was," She said out loud. She walked toward the noise to investigate, but as she darted behind a pickup truck, something slammed into the back of her head. She screamed as blackness consumed her and she fell to the ground, unconscious before she hit.

"Damn Greenshirts!" Beachhead growled to himself as he headed to the showers. "They get stupider and cockier all the time!" Suddenly, he stopped as he realized that he had left his clipboard outside. Swearing under his breath, he dashed back out to the training grounds to retrieve it.

"Hey, Beach, where's the fire?" Flint called out.

Beachhead looked to where the Warrant Officer was inspecting the AWE-Strikers. "There's no fire, I forgot my clipboard!" He shouted back. "It's got all my notes, times, and other stuff about the batch of Greenshirts I'm training!"

Flint laughed. "Training?" He asked jokingly. "All this time I thought you were running the poor souls into the ground!"

"Ha, ha, very funny, Flint," Beachhead retorted. "I have to be tough on them so at their very best when they go into combat. Serpentor and Cobra sure as hell ain't going to be merciful."

"I thought it was," Flint replied. "Anyway, I have to go shower. Lady Jaye will be back soon and we're supposed to go out to a show."

"Well, have fun," Beachhead told him.

"I always do with Lady Jaye," Flint said as he opened the door to enter the base. But as he started to go in, he stopped and turned back to Beachhead. "By the way, are you ever going to ask Cover Girl out?" Practically everyone knew that they liked each other, but they were too afraid to admit it to the other.

"That's none of your business!" Beachhead snapped. "Besides, why would she want to be with someone like me?" He turned and sprinted to the training grounds to retrieve his clipboard.

Flint shook his head as he went inside, wondering if Beachhead will ever get a grip and just relax like he needed to once in a while.

As he reached the training grounds, he saw his clipboard lying by the obstacle course. Walking over to it, he bent down to pick it up. But as he did so, the ground dropped out from under him and he fell down into some kind of large box-shaped container. He landed hard on his butt and before he could get up, a vent opened in the side and sprayed him with some kind of gas. Immediately he started coughing and feeling drowsy. He realized that it was some kind of knockout gas. But the realization came too late, for as soon as it hit, he was loosing consciousness. The last thing he heard before he blacked out was some kind of odd mechanical laughter.

While this was going on, hundreds of miles away at a secret Cobra base, Serpentor was chewing out Major Bludd. The two of them were outside by a HISS tank behind the base.

"Your incompetence has cost us for the last time, Major!" He thundered angrily.

Major Bludd shrank back from the Cobra Emperor. "But sire, it wasn't my fault," he protested. "The viper support team retreated against my orders!"

"Stop wasting my time with pathetic excuses, you insolent maggot!" Serpentor roared back. "You failed, and that won't be tolerated any more! Until you can prove yourself worthy, you will not lead any more operation, assaults, or any other kind of attack or strike! Now get you useless self out of my sight!"

Major Bludd started to reply, but thought better of it and fled into the base instead. As soon as he was gone, Serpentor shook his head. "Why am I always surrounded by worthless scum!" he muttered. He turned and started for his Air Chariot, which was parked several yards away from the HISS when he suddenly stopped and straightened as his right shoulder blade was struck with a stinging pain. "What the…" he started and reached around. Finding a small object poking out form himself, he plucked it out and looked at it. It was a small dart. Who would dare shoot… his angry thought broke off suddenly as he slumped to the ground, unconscious.

At the same time on the other side of the base, Destro was all alone in the small-craft hanger working on his new invention. If he could get it to work right, and eventually he would, then all the tanks and planes would have energy shields to protect them from enemy fire.

Destro smiled to himself as he worked. And then, it would be all over fro G.I. Joe. "If I could just get the booster array linked up and running, it would be almost ready," he muttered to himself as he fiddled with some switches and linked some cables together. Once that was done, he stepped back and wiped his hands on a rag.

"Now, it's time to test the booster array," he said, reaching for the power switch. He never reached it, though. Just before he touched it he was hit with an electric shock from behind in the neck. "Whaaaa…!" He cried out as his body began to convulse. He wanted to run to sound the alarm, but his body wouldn't cooperate. He managed only to let out a single scream before blackness overtook him and he fell to the floor, unconscious.

Meanwhile, Zarana was strolling through the woods that lined the north side of the base. She whistled to herself as she walked. She liked to come out here by herself every so often to just think and enjoy the solitude. The obnoxiously stupid Dreadnoks were enough to drive any sane person crazy and occasionally she just needed to be by herself to unwind.

Seeing a fallen tree trunk up ahead, she decided to sit down for a few minutes. She walked up to it and sat down. Turning to face the wind, she closed her eyes and let the gentle breeze wash over her, ruffling her short, red hair as it did so. She took a deep break, letting herself relax.

Suddenly, the tranquility was broken as the tree trunk began to roll forward. Shrieking and opening her eyes, she tried to throw herself off, but it was moving too fast; and before she could, it rolled into a open transport and slammed into the back wall. The force of it caused Zarana's head to hit the wall hard enough to knock her out and then fling her back the other way as the door was closing. It closed before she could reach it, though, and she rolled to a stop up against it. As soon as it was closed, it locked automatically with a click, and then the transport burrowed back underground the way it had came.

In a secret control center on his hidden island, a tall, heavy bald man with black sideburns, and goatee grinned. He was wearing a black suit with a red bow tie. "Everything is going according to plan. Very soon I will be having so much fun!" He cackled gleefully.

A/N: So what did you think? Is it going to be good? Please review on you way out.

A/N 2: Concerning Scarlett, who do you want her to be with? Snake-Eyes or Duke? Let me know in your review or PM me with your opinion. Thank you.