Disclaimer: Evangelion belongs to Gainax and G.I. Joe belongs to Hasbro respectively. No profit is being made out of this work.

G.I. Joe: The code name for America's daring, highly trained special mission force. Its purpose: to defend human freedom against Cobra.

Cobra: A ruthless terrorist organization determined to rule the world.

Prologue

Somewhere, deep within an isolated complex, a tall male figure stepped under a spotlight, where a young girl was resting ever so silently in her steel bathtub. She was undisturbed by her visitor's haunting presence. The figure approached her without harm, sitting on a stool beside her, observing her like a concerned father would towards his only daughter.

The girl's skin was as pale as death. The figure gently stroked her blue hair. He hushed her, leaning down to her ear, and whispering:

"How was your rest, dear?"

"The same." she replied so softly. "I missed you."

"But I was only gone for a few hours."

"Still…it's lonely in here. It always is."

The girl turned her head to face the figure, staring through his tinted glasses. She felt comfortable being with him…and seeing his expressionless face.

"My, you're growing up so fast…and getting stronger…" The Figure smiled, wiping a tear from her delicate cheek with his gloved hand. "…unlike my other children. The Angels are becoming restless these days. But they combined…are nothing as special as compared to you…my precious child."

"Am I ready yet?" The girl asked.

"Yes...you are ready now." The figure answered agreeably. "I am honored to say that the time has finally come for you to try out your new toy." He handed her a clean plug suit in his arms, ready to be freshly worn. "Make us proud. Make the people know the meaning of true terror. Make the world tremble and let it burn."

The girl rose from her tub…her body exposed and her back bearing a large tattoo; the red insignia of Cobra.

"Yes, father." Rei replied.

A Real Reluctant Hero

By Charles Xavier

Chapter One

On September 13th 2000, Cobra unleashed one of their deadliest biological weapons, dubbed Angels, on Antarctica, breaking the polar ice caps where billions perished from massive flooding. The unstoppable chaos caused global panic, triggering civil wars and conflicts amongst nations worldwide. On February 14th 2001, the Valentine Treaty was passed to formally end the violent bloodshed. Over half of the world's population had been wiped out while animal and plant life continued to struggle for survival. In order to counter Cobra's uprising threat, the United States government appointed Gendo Ikari, known also as General Hawk, to command a secret army; an army that would rise up against trouble wherever it may be…an army that would fight for freedom over land, sea and air…an army codenamed G.I. Joe.

"Hello…? Hello…?"

The phone line was dead. What luck for Shinji Ikari. He'd been summoned to Tokyo-3 and nobody was there to pick him up. The city was deserted, looked almost abandoned even. Shinji wondered if he was even safe wondering about the streets at this time. Was this just another drill, or was Cobra about to strike another attack?

Everything was calm, even the crickets were still chirping in the trees, so attack seemed unlikely. The tranquillity was broken, however, when Shinji heard the faint sound of an engine roaring in the distance.

"Who's that?" Shinji put his hand over his eyes to block the sun's rays.

A green buggy raced along the road, skidding so suddenly and braking sideways when the driver saw Shinji by the sidewalk.

"Jump in." she said, giving a welcoming smile. "Sorry I'm late."

Shinji stood motionless for a moment, his eyes glued at the vehicle's off-road tires and heavy weaponry.

"What's the matter? Never seen an A.W.E. Striker before?"

"A…what?" Shinji raised his brow confused.

The driver lowered her sunglasses to have a good look at the boy. He sure wasn't what she expected the General's son to be like. "You really don't know much about your dad's business, do you?" she said, shaking her head.

"The name's Lady Jaye. But you can call me Misato. I'll be taking good care of you from here on. So you're Hawk's son, huh?"

"Hawk?" Shinji frowned.

Misato sighed, shaking her head again in disbelief. "Your dad, Hawk? That's his codename. Don't you know what a codename is? Every Joe has one."

"What's a Joe?"

"That's me, and all of us in G.I. Joe. We're the guys saving your asses from those Cobra creeps and their ugly pets." Misato read through Shinji's crumpled letter and inspected his ID card as she drove along the empty streets. "See, check your ID! Even YOU'VE got a codename: Duke."

Duke…how befitting…a shame that Shinji didn't bother reading his ID card before he came to Tokyo-3.

Misato found her own beach photo amongst Shinji's papers, including a dated photo of a younger Gendo, dressed in a lab coat, accompanied by two of his colleagues; his wife Yui Ikari, and behind her, an ominous looking figure that Misato recognized at once. "Hey, isn't that Brian Binder?"

"Yeah." Shinji confirmed with a nod. "Why do you ask?"

"He and Hawk used to work together at Gehirn, back in their heyday. Too bad they went their separate ways in the end."

"Where is he now?"

Misato shrugged without any idea. "I haven't got a clue. Probably died during the September 13th event, or shortly after…who knows? Hawk doesn't really talk much about him."

Shinji was startled when his ears caught the sound of rapid gunfire from the clouds. A small hail of bullets sparked the road, nearly hitting their wheels. Misato lifted her eyes to the sky…and spotted a Cobra Rattler, circling them, and preparing to draw a second fire at them.

Strange…there was only one Rattler. Usually they'd swarm in groups against the Joes. That was unless…

"Oh, shit…" Misato feared the worst when the thought hit her. "…God in heaven, please don't tell me it's HIM."

Cobra pilot, Wild Weasel, kept his sight on the Striker below. "My, oh my! Whadda we have here? Two sssweet and sssour chickens on the barbecue grill." he sneered, locking in on his targets.

"Shinji, hold on! This is gonna get bumpy!" Misato floored the accelerator.

A cat-and-mouse chase ensued. Misato's driving skills were put to the test against Wild Weasel's incredible talent behind the stick. Bullets flied from the aircraft's cannons in a frenzy, frightening poor Shinji as he covered his ears. Misato kept her eyes on the roads, making sharp turns across junctions when possible to avoid the Cobra's accurate aim.

"I gotcha dead on my sssights! I gotcha! I gotcha! I gotcha!" Wild Weasel exclaimed in joy, launching two AEA-56 short-range missiles at the Striker.

"MISS JAYE!" Shinji cried.

"What is it? Can't you see I'm busy trying to shake off this psycho maniac?"

"Well, can't you see we're about to be obliterated into ash?" Shinji alerted Misato of the two missiles behind their tail…gaining on them fast.

Misato tried to think fast on her wheels. She looked around, trying to find anything on the road that could save them from this dire situation. Then she spotted a ramp up ahead.

"Buckle up." Misato ordered Shinji to fasten his seatbelt.

The Striker rushed up onto the ramp at maximum speed. Misato locked her driving wheel left as their vehicle performed a three-sixty degree spin in mid-air, just barely avoiding contact with the missiles as they missed by an inch…and consequently destroyed an empty cargo truck at the end of the road.

Misato spun the Striker around, aiming the vehicle's cannon at the Rattler. "EAT THIS, WEASEL BRAINS!" she shouted in retaliation, firing at the Rattler as it flew right above their heads with a terrifying screech.

"DAMN YOU, WITCH!" Wild Weasel yelled, noticing the minor scratches on his beloved Rattler's wing.

"Are you sure you know where you're going?" Shinji said, his voice trembling.

"Of course I do!" A confident Misato answered. "We're almost at the Pit!"

She was careful not to steer the Striker off the edge of the cliff as they ascended uphill, nearing safety to an opening hidden tunnel, cleverly concealed behind the bushes and trees. Wild Weasel wasn't far behind them, and wasn't willing to give up the chase. He fired more bullets, hoping to get a clean shot…but not quick enough when the Striker disappeared out of his sight.

The Cobra Rattler flew away, retuning to its headquarters…

"Phew!" Misato sighed in great relief. "That was a close call. As bad as he gets, I gotta admit, Wild Weasel's one heck of a damn pilot. Be extra careful with that guy if you ever run into him again."

She patted Shinji on the shoulder, hoping to calm his nerves from the recent attack. He was more worried about running into something worse through the narrow tunnel. Fortunately though, he had nothing else to fear.

An R.A.M. motorcycle passed them by, driven by a Joe.

"Welcome back, Lady Jaye!" Stalker waved at them.

Then followed a V.A.M.P. jeep, driven by another.

"HEY, WATCH IT!" yelled the ill-tempered Joe, honking his horn when he nearly hit Misato and Shinji. "GET OFF THE ROAD, JAYE! YOU LOUSY OLD-"

"AH, BLOW IT OUR YOUR NOSE, LEATHERNECK!" Misato yelled back. "Don't mind him, Shinji. That guy can be such a pushover…especially when he's with Wet-Suit."

"Um, where did you say we were heading again?" Shinji asked.

It was unlike anything he had seen in his life. Who would have thought that right beneath Tokyo-3's soil, existed a multi-level, subterranean world populated with Joes and their advanced, state-of-the-art hardware and technology? Tanks, boats, choppers, jets…this place had everything.

Shinji was breathless and out of words as the elevator descended down through every busy floor, where Joes were constantly in training. And to think that his own father ran this whole complex like clockwork…

"Welcome to the Pit, Shinji." Misato gave an amiable wink at him. "Whaddya think so far? Pretty neat, huh?"

"This…is my father's…work?" Shinji said, overwhelmed.

The elevator stopped suddenly and the doors slid open.

"Oh!" Misato was surprised to see her friend step into the elevator, and she didn't look pleased. "Ritsuko…"

"That's Mainframe to you, Lady Jaye, remember?" The blond haired Joe sternly corrected her. "You're twelve minutes late. What happened to you?"

"Sorry." Misato grinned sheepishly. "We had a little run-in with a weasel out there."

"Well, stay alert." Ritsuko warned her. "We can't afford letting Cobra find our secret base."

"Understood." Misato concurred, turning her attention back to Shinji. "Um, may I please introduce you to one of G.I. Joe's top computer operatives and head of our technology division: Ristuko Akagi…ah, I mean…Mainframe."

"Um…nice to meet you." Shinji said politely.

"A pleasure." Ritsuko nodded. "Did you like my Strikers? Comfortable ride for you?"

Shinji thought it was anything but…

"No worries. I'm still working on it; have to fix a few problems on their target designators. I'm also hoping to get the S.H.A.R.C.s completed soon."

Before Shinji could ask what a S.H.A.R.C. was, the elevator came to a firm halt. They had reached the bottom floor and the doors slid open.

"Attention, Joes!" Misato announced as she stepped out to greet the assembled Joes. "This is the guy you've all been talking about: Duke…"

("Duke…") Shinji still found it hard to believe that was his codename.

"…our newest recruit. He's here to help us put an end to Cobra and their nasty deeds once and for all. Let's give a big shout-out for him. YO, JOE!"

"YO…JOE?"

The newcomer waved bashfully at the Joes. Many became immediately sceptical of the young boy, who appeared to them as nothing more than a typical, run-of-the-mill school kid. Amongst them was one with a thick New York accent.

"Jaye, um, you sure this is Hawk's son?" Tunnel Rat scratched his head.

"Affirmative." Misato confirmed, ignoring the uncertain faces she saw. "Now, I know many of you are still worried about those Angels out there, but don't fret, Duke has been summoned here to pilot the Evangelion Unit-01 for us."

Some of the Joes gasped.

"You mean, that big purple mecha thing over there?" said one of them.

"Yes, Gung-Ho." Misato replied, shifting her eyes to where his thumb was pointing. "That so-called 'big purple mecha thing' back there."

Shinji wasn't sure what they were talking about. That was until he dropped his papers when his eyes feasted upon the cybernetic yet humanoid creation: Evangelion Unit-01, sitting undisturbed in its space. So this was what his father brought him here for…

"You gotta be kiddin' me!" A masked Joe called Beachhead exclaimed. "You're gonna let some average punk operate that mechanical what-not now? Don't we have enough snot-nosed kids in this team already?"

"AHEM!" A youthful voice called out behind him. Beachhead stepped aside to let a teenage red haired girl pass through. "I'll just pretend I didn't hear that, Beachhead…" she turned her eyes to Shinji, analyzing him physically. "…well, he's not quite the Eva pilot I initially imagined. What do you think about him, Snake-Eyes?" she asked…but her companion was nowhere to be seen. "Snake-Eyes…where are you? Stop fooling around, this is serious!"

Shinji sensed an unusual presence behind his back and turned round. He sprang in fright when he came face to face with the ninja in a black skin-tight suit. But the strangest thing was, however, he was hanging upside down, supported by a single thread of wire strong enough to hold him.

"You're no Spider-man, Snake-Eyes." Misato commented, crossing her arms. "You get down from there."

Snake-Eyes obeyed and dropped onto his feet. He looked at Shinji as if he was a painting, tilting his head sideways curiously.

"Um…" Shinji gulped nervously, feeling disturbed. "…what exactly is he doing?"

"Being himself, of course." Misato answered. "But don't worry, he's not going to hurt you. You'll get used to him soon enough."

"And by the way, he doesn't talk…at all." said the red haired girl. "Don't ask why, because we don't know."

"Who are you?" Shinji asked.

"Scarlett." she replied, whispering up to him: "But you can call me Asuka…Asuka Langley Shikinami." It was quite a handful to remember. "Well then, now that you're here, I presume Cobra's gonna get the major ass-kicking it deserves, with TWO Evas to worry about!" she said, pounding her palm. "Wait 'til they get a load of you and me together!"

But Shinji was not listening, for he was staring up at an office window where General Hawk was coldly observing the whole scene. Visions from his childhood flashed before his eyes, and he could only feel resentment towards his alienated father. All the Joes weren't blind to see how cross he looked…

"Are you okay, Shinji?" Misato asked.

Shinji clenched his fists, raising his voice, saying: "No! I'm not helping him! I'm not helping him in any of this!" he strode back into the elevator, unwilling to see his father anymore.

Joes stared at each other in confusion as whispers began to rise.

"Well…" Asuka widened her eyes in amazement "…that was very precise…and straight to the point."

"Boy's got an attitude problem, Scarlett. That's all it is." Beachhead crossed his arms, leaning against a pillar. "Ain't nothing you can do about it."

"Now come on, guys!" Misato tried to reassure them. "He's had a hard first day. Give the young man some time and space to think for a bit."

Beachhead shrugged careless. "Your call, Lady Jaye. You're the one who's meant to be watching out for the little fry…according to the man upstairs."

"Don't worry," Misato said, rushing hastily to the closing elevator. "things can only get worse before they can get better, I swear!"

"Kinda fancy Hawk's kid." Asuka said with a grin and a raised brow. "I think he's cute."

Beachhead only frowned at Scarlett and shook his head, walking quietly away. "Kids…" he murmured.

"Pen Pen, I'm home!" Misato said as she unlocked the door.

Shinji followed behind, helping Misato carry their supermarket bags into her new apartment…not to mention her javelins, which seemed unnecessary. Why Misato wanted to bring weapons to her place was beyond anybody's understanding…

"Come on in, it's okay." Misato said, leaving the entrance open. "I spoke to General Hawk and told him you were still up for the job."

"I'm not." Shinji grumbled.

"C'mon, you just need to unwind." Misato insisted. "Hawk said you could stay at my place."

"Well…" A hesitant Shinji said, taking his first step inside. "…thank you for having me here, Miss Jaye."

Misato let out a deep sigh of frustration. "Listen, my home is your home now. And cut the formality. Just call me Misato!"

"Okay, Miss Jaye…Misato."

Shinji carefully placed the bags and javelins onto the dining table, ignoring Pen Pen as he stepped out of his refrigerated room. He was too tired to take notice of Misato's pet penguin and he dragged his heavy feet towards the bathroom, locking the door behind him. First he was going to take a bath…and then take his long-yearned sleep.

"Shinji, aren't you gonna have anything to eat before you go to bed?" Misato asked generously, but she heard no answer. "Sheesh, what a grouch." she thought to herself. "I'll leave your bedroom door open. Have a good rest, it's gonna be a busy day for you tomorrow. I think you're gonna love the new school you've been enrolled in."

Misato grabbed a can of beer from the fridge, walking to her bedroom with her departing words. "And lighten up, okay? Everything's gonna work out just fine."

But Shinji's ears were blocked, his head half-submerged in the bathtub as he looked up at the dimmed light of the ceiling…always so deep in thought…

The next morning…

"YO, JOE!"

A naked Shinji leaped from his bed when a thunderous voice shouted in his ear through a megaphone. He hid under his covers, his heart racing, his mind still dazed, and his ear ringing in pain. He couldn't help but moan, still exhausted from yesterday's events.

"Duke, this is the voice of God saying: GET YOUR LAZY ASS OUT OF BED!"

Shinji checked his wristwatch. "But it's five in the morning." he groaned, letting out a huge yawn and burying his face under his pillow. "School doesn't start until eight o'clock."

A tough pair of hands gripped his ankles from the edge of the bed, yanking him from out of his covers and dragging him across the floor and into the living room. Shinji tried to resist, scratching his fingernails on the floor, then searching frantically for something to cover himself with.

"Up and atom, junior!" said the macho man with a green tank top, military hat and silver sunglasses. "It's your first day of training with your new drill instructor: ME! Your old pops asked me to come and shape you up good against those Cobra slime balls! So from now on, you'll be seeing me before, middle and after school hours every day on the dot, no excuses!"

Misato crept out of her bedroom, in her t-shirt and panties, rubbing her weary eyes. "Ugh…what's all the commotion out here?" she wasn't fully awake when she accidentally stepped on Shinji's erected…

"AIIIEEE" Shinji cried in anguish.

"AAAH!" A terrified Misato recoiled back against her fridge. "WHAT'S GOING ON HERE?"

"Morning, Jaye!" said the drill instructor. "Get up on the wrong side of bed as usual?"

"YOU?" Misato pointed at his hairy mustache. "Just what are you doing here? And how did you get in?"

She failed to notice the broken down door at the entrance, marked with a huge boot print.

"Tried knocking but it didn't work. I'll get it fixed later on in a jiffy." The drill instructor assured her. "But at the moment, I'm here to make Duke become a REAL man…and I already see a start!"

Of course, he was referring to Shinji's visible erection…his first case of morning wood. Shinji blushed as his face changed to an embarrassing red, hiding his shame with his bare hands.

Misato tried to hide her fit of giggles as the drill instructor laughed in amusement, saying: "Get dressed, junior, double time. You're in for a hard morning's workout, or else my name isn't Sergeant Slaughter!"

Author's Note: Ah…first chap done! Find out what kind of torture Shinji's going to have to endure next with his new drill instructor. And who else might he meet in the future?

Feel free to review if you'd like, I'll get to read them when time allows it. Constructive criticism is always welcome.

(Psst…any Joes/Cobras you guys want to see?)