This fic is based on a very real event held at Fort Benning every other year. It is literally a reunion/rendezvous for Army Rangers, and some aspects are open to the public. Every Ranger than can will appear to participate. Although this fic will show several of the events and is BASED on the event, it is NOT going to replicate anything exactly, nor will it follow the exact nature/schedule of the real life event. Having a couple siblings who were at Fort Benning, I did get a lot of inside information, much of which I used here, some of which I deliberately did not.
No disrespect of any military personnel is intended. This is presented to show what very awesome folks Rangers are, although there will be a few jerks and few whackos.. just like in real life, and just like in GI Joe itself. There will be a theme running through this.. which should become apparent as you read. Also.. this will focus on BeachHead and CoverGirl and their relationship. Stalker(as a fellow Ranger) will also attend and I'm bringing in his comic canon wife Lydia.
NO NAMES ARE OF ACTUAL RANGERS/ARMY PERSONNEL. Many of the names were submitted by readers/reviewers. I will be having a few contests here and there, and the prize will be that you can suggest a name for me to use in the fic. More details when the contests are presented.
As always, I do not own any rights to GI Joe, Army Rangers, or Fort Benning. I make no money from these fics. I hope that you enjoy the fic, I know it's been a long time coming! Thanks for being patient. I made the first chapter extra long, but be aware later chapters might not be as long.
Names: Beachhead – Wayne Sneeden, CoverGirl – Courtney Kreiger, Stalker – Lonzo Wilkinson
Now that you've read through entirely too much "forward", I will let you begin reading!
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Columbus Airport, Georgia
BeachHead hefted his bag and shifted his weight impatiently. "Where's the dang gun cases?" Stalker looked over and shook his head, reaching to tug at the regular Army fatigues they all wore, much to BeachHead's annoyance. "What? We been waiting fer.." He checked his watch. "..fer over twenty minutes." Seeing Stalker tug at his own sleeve, BeachHead resisted the sudden urge to shrug his shoulders to reset his armor that he wasn't wearing. The familiar move to adjust the missing armor wasn't needed and his mood darkened as the unneeded reminder that he wasn't in his normal attire.
CoverGirl walked up dangling car keys at the two GI Joe Rangers. "Got the car." She smirked at BeachHead. "And no.. you may not drive us. I'm driving."
"Fine by me." Beach turned to admire how she filled out her own Army greens and grunted when a airport security officer appeared with a luggage dolly with two large metal cases. "Finally. About danged time." The security officer went through their procedure of checking then removing the airline locks and cutting through the plastic seals before he allowed BeachHead to open each of the two cases for Stalker and he to examine their weapons. Satisfied that everything was in place, he shut the cases and stood up, glowering at the heavyset airline worker. "Took ya long enough ta get 'em out here."
CoverGirl rolled her eyes and addressed the perturbed officer. "Sorry. Really.. he's just cranky. Honestly, thank you for bringing the cases out for us."
Slightly mollified, the security agent nodded at the departing Rangers carrying the cases and bags. "It's okay.. a long flight would make anyone cranky."
She smiled sweetly at him, using her gorgeous eyes to the best advantage to charm him. "Oh.. well no. He's always this cranky.. it wasn't the flight. If he gets too much more overbearing than now, we just shoot him a few times to settle him down. Works like a charm. Thanks so much again!" She waved and trotted after the two men with one of her own heavy bags slung on her shoulder. "GUYS! Wait up!"
Stalker turned to walk backwards watching her rush up to them. "What? Why are you even bothering to run? You don't really think Beach is going to leave without you? Seriously?"
She smiled at him as she caught up and walked beside him. "Well no.. I think Beach would wait for me. He's really a gentleman at heart, even if he hates to ever show it."
Beach snorted from in front of them. "That and you got the danged car keys, Barbiedoll. Ain't no way to go and leave without you lessen I get 'em away from you."
"Thanks so much Beach. You really know how to make a girl feel special." She still felt excited over the week they would be spending at Fort Benning even as her tone sounded displeased to be certain she made Beach understand he'd displeased her. He strode ahead, completely unmoved, as always. "The rental guy said over here." She motioned and led the two men through the exits to the parking lot and quickly located the right kiosk to hand her receipt and the keys over.
Stalker and CoverGirl stood and waited patiently.. Beachhead was occupied with frowning at the pavement under his feet. Stalker reached over to punch him in the arm smartly. "Hey. What's eating you now? We're here. You got to terrorize the flight attendants the whole ride here. Heck.. you made a kid cry in the airport. I'd think you'd be pleased as peaches right about now."
Kicking at a bit of loose pavement, Beach rocked back slightly and finally looked at his fellow Joe Ranger. "I'm fine. I just ain't been to Rendezvous in forever. Dunno who will remember me.. or still be mad from the last time."
Stalker shook his head. "Don't worry over it. You're a Ranger.. you belong there." He inhaled deeply and let it out in a big whoosh. "It sure is nice and warm and pretty. Be a great day when we get to jump."
Beach's face brightened. "Yep. Ain't done no Ranger jumps in a long danged time. Be good." He twisted to look at CoverGirl. "You'll get to see a thousand Rangers all getting booted outa a plane at one time. Ain't many folks get to see a mass jump."
She raised an eyebrow. "Yes.. much better to be on the ground watching than up in the plane waiting to jump out." Beach sighed at her and she quickly came up with a question to distract him from her dislike of parachuting. "Will it be a static jump?"
"Yeah." Her tactic worked and the Sergeant major took a few minutes describing the details of how the jump was set up and how it would progress.. proper procedure in arranging jumps of this size.. plus some of how which Rangers were chosen to do the jump.. and what sort of planes they used.. why those planes were better than other planes.. the attendant drove up in the rental car just when CoverGirl was considering stomping on his foot to shut him up.
"Hey! Here's our ride! Sweeeeeet!" She ran around to the trunk as it popped open and slung her two bags in, shoving them to the side so there was space for the gun cases and the men's baggage as well.
Stalker's eyebrows had gone into his beret. "You're kidding me." His eyes roamed over the cherry red convertible Mustang with luxurious leather interior. The top folded back and disappeared even as he watched. "Holy sweet mother. You sure picked out the sweetest ride ever.. I didn't know they rented these cars."
CoverGirl beamed and stroked a hand down the car's flank possessively. "Oh yeeessss.. they do. Isn't she just gorgeous? Wait until you hear the engine rev... I'm gonna push this baby to it's limits and make her sing..." The rental attendant looked alarmed as she plucked the keys out of his hand. She noticed his expression. "Oh! Don't worry.. I got full insurance coverage.. the guy said I only have to return the key and whatever pieces are left." His left eye twitched and his expression turned mournful. "Beach.. put your bags in the trunk! Time's a'wasting!"
BeachHead's left eye mimiced the attendant's and twitched. "Yer kiddin' me. Couldn't ya get a regular car?" Stalker enthusiastically jumped into the back seat without opening the door. "Stalker! Dang it! Tell her to switch out to a decent danged car! Get outa there and stop encouragin' her!"
Stretching his arms out to rest them along the back of the seat, Stalker smiled blissfully. "Oh.. what? Did you say something there Beach? I'm too busy enjoying the fact that my butt is gonna be chauffeured in this sweet sweet car by a beautiful woman. Oh yes. It is good to be me."
Beach's lips twisted around a few times as he computed the odds that he'd win out over both of his companions in demanding a different vehicle. "Fine.. but don't be screamin' in my danged ear when yer convinced she's gonna kill us all on the danged road!" He thumped the duffel bag into the trunk and shoved it further in with a foot. Then the gun case was carefully stacked on top of Stalker's, adjusted so it wouldn't slip around and the trunk lid slammed down securely. He opened the car door and looked at the tank jockey who cranked the engine up and waited for him to get in. "Yer gonna drive under the danged speed limit.. no swerving around.. no antics. Got that, Corporal Kreiger?" His firm no-nonsense tone left no doubt he meant every single word.
She grinned and stomped the gas pedal to make the engine scream loudly. It settled back to the loud rumbling purr and she raised an eyebrow. "Get yer danged ole butt in the danged car, Ranger man." Her mocking of his accent made his frown deepen.
Turning to look at Stalker, he snapped irritably. "Ya gotta encourage her.. ain't ya? Now we're gonna die." He settled into the seat gracelessly and slammed the door. Before it finished clicking shut, CoverGirl turned the clutch pedal loose and peeled out, leaving tire skid marks and smoke to mark her leaving with the prized car. BeachHead calmly fastened the seatbelt and stretched himself slightly, placing one arm up onto the door casually. "Stop sign."
The car slid to a stop exactly at the white line and CoverGirl's perfect face turned towards him with a smirk. "I see it Grandma. Just sit there and try not to fall out."
His resignation was evident in his voice. "That's why Ah fastened the seatbelt, Cinderella." Stalker rushed to click his into place while they were stopped. His expression had become slightly alarmed. BeachHead's expression looked bored.. and as long as no one could see his rapidly rising blood pressure and stress levels, they'd believe that outward expression. Inwardly, he privately told himself that he could indeed hold firm in his nonchalant expression this time.. and not panic at the crazy driving skills of the tank jockey behind the wheel. The little snide inside voice offered to bet him he wouldn't last half of the fifteen minute drive.
When the car braked in front of the motel, BeachHead stared straight ahead for a few seconds before turning to look at the happy driver. "Are we gonna stay stopped?"
"Yep!" Her cheerful voice as she leaned back in the seat and turned the engine off made him twitch slightly. However, he turned his attention back to prying his fingers loose from the edge of his seat. Good thing the girl had gotten full coverage.. he was pretty sure the leather seats would have permanent imprints from his grip on it.
Stalker's traumatized voice came from the back seat. "Can I open my eyes now?"
She twisted in her seat to lean over and give him a pat. "It's fine Stalker.. we're here."
Beach sneered at his friend in the backseat. "I told ya so.. didn't listen to old BeachHead didja?"
"Shut up Beach.. good lord.. I know for a fact this car did NOT fit between those two semi-trucks.. physics deny the ability of two objects to occupy the same space in time. HOW do you ride with her on a regular basis?" He crawled out of the open driver's door as CoverGirl went around to the hood to pet the car.
Climbing out of the passenger side, Beach willed his knees to firm up and took a deep calming breath. "It's bracing.. like when yer racin' into battle. That's the same thrill ya get ridin' in a car with her. Try it in a tank sometime.. she don't bother ta dodge nuthin' when she's in a danged tank."
The ebony skin had finally returned to it's dark hues. "Yeah.. no thanks. I'll stick with roller coasters and parachuting and poking angry ninjas with sharp sticks when they're sleeping.. I think it's safer." He inhaled a few times. "Man."
Going into the lobby of the motel, Beach took in the place. A simple inexpensive motel with the doors to the rooms opening onto the courtyard with a pool.. or into the parking lot... two stories.. if he had his choice.. they had a upstairs room opening into the parking lot. He'd booked the two rooms for both himself and CoverGirl and Stalker and his wife. From the vehicles parked in the lot, he'd guess the place was nearly full.
"Can I help you?" The clerk looked a bit ragged and Beach felt himself grin. Ranger week was a bit hard on the townspeople.
"Yeah. Two rooms.. booked under Sneeden." He waited while the confirmation was looked up and the clerk verified everything that needed to be verified and checked everything that needed to be checked and asked him several things he'd filled out while booking the rooms. Finally he was handed four room keys and told which two rooms he'd been given.. on the first floor. Arguing got him told that at least it opened into the parking lot as requested, all other rooms were full and if he wanted to take his chances somewhere else, he'd better have the best luck in the world, since everywhere was sold out, so he gave in gracefully. That's to say, he didn't attempt to physically pick the guy up over the counter to make his point.
Back out to the car and they moved around to the room to park in one of the few open spots. CoverGirl put the top up while BeachHead handed Stalker a pair of key cards. "Figure out which room ya got.." The two rooms were about 3 rooms apart.. so Stalker checked the one they were parked in front of first.. then sighed and pointed down the walkway. Beach grinned. "Oops.. guess ya gotta further walk to unload!"
Stalker smirked at him. "It's okay.. I'm in good enough shape to carry a few bags a few extra feet. You take the easy room.. wouldn't want you getting all tired out from the extra steps."
Rolling his eyes at the retort, Beach hefted his gun case up and moved it into the room first.. setting it onto the bed furthest from the door near the head of the bed so it wouldn't get bumped off. The last thing he wanted was the scope getting jarred hard enough to be damaged.
CoverGirl hauled her bags in and smiled at the simple room. "Two beds? Beach... really?"
He gave her a blank look. "What? They only had two-bed rooms available. Even Stalker got a room with two beds.. go ask him if'n ya don't believe me." Removing his duffel from the trunk, he dropped it carelessly on the floor and then watched CoverGirl hanging up their dress uniforms in the tiny closet. "Thanks."
"No problem. Can't have our dress greens looking rumpled. Wouldn't be proper." She gave an few swipes to his red beret to remove imaginary dust and set it on the shelf. "I don't really remember seeing you in your full dress Ranger uniform. I bet you're gonna look pretty!" Her smirk made him snort in reply and she came to hug him. "This is going to be a great week. Thanks for inviting me to come along."
"Yeah... well. I wasn't sure I wanted to go in the first place.. but if'n I gotta come attend the silly thing.. I might as well have ya along." He paused and looked aside. "Sides.. I'd miss ya if'n I had to be gone fer a whole week."
Squeezing his ribs as tight as she could, she smiled up at him from his chest. "Awww.. you're being so sweet and sappy.. where's my Beachie?"
"Aww.. I'm gonna break you of callin' me that." He folded his arms around her to hold her delicately. In contrast, she squeezed again until he let out a grunt. "Dang.. gonna break my ribs? Remember I ain't got no armor on."
Laughing softly, she tightened her grip for a few seconds. "Yeah.. gonna snap them like twigs! Big bad Ranger. I bet you're hating not having some sort of body armor on." She let him pull away and watched him lift his bag up onto the bed to begin unpacking. "I mean.. I feel weird wearing regular Army togs.. can't imagine how odd you feel."
He glanced over. "Yeah.. my skin crawls.. makes me feel like someone's painting a target on my back."
"Paranoid Ranger. You're at Ranger Rendezvous! Surrounded by your fellow Rangers... Army base... couldn't be in a safer area. Relax and enjoy yourself." She opened up her own bag to begin unpacking. The drawers filled up with her clothing, mostly army fatigues. A few civilian outfits were hung up or folded into the drawers. Beach's interest was noted when she was pulling out her undies and she dangled a small scrap of silk at him. "You wanna closer look?" He turned the same shade of red as the thong. "Hmm?"
"Naw... Ah'm good.." He turned away and promptly tripped over his second pair of combat boots. "Crap.." Picking himself up off the floor, he shook his head at her query. "Ah'm fine.. really.. naw.."
"I know you're fine, Ranger man.. you're real fine.. " Her amused tone didn't hide her admiration. "Finest Ranger on Benning in my opinion."
"Alright... enough." He tossed the duffel into the bottom of the closet. "I'm done unpackin'. Stalker and I gotta register too." He sucked at a tooth for a moment thinking and then turned to watch her tucking away a last few items. "You wanna come along?"
"No Beach.. I thought I'd sit here in the motel room the entire week." She stretched upwards onto her toes then relaxed. Walking over slowly, she stood in front of him and looked up into his face.
"Are ya gonna snark at me the whole week?" His hands moved to rest on her waist almost by themselves and she lifted her arms to rest them across his shoulders. "You know.. you look good..."
"Really? Even in regular old Army fatigues?" She watched the corner of his mouth quirk upwards. "Or are you imagining that thong from earlier?" He looked a bit embarrassed then, making her laugh softly. She lowered her voice to a whisper. "I'm wearing the black one right now..."
"Oh gawd.." He suddenly turned her loose and backed up. "I gotta.. uhh.. go register.. yeah." Her wide grin didn't make him any calmer and he began grabbing up his ID and packet of information to tuck into his pockets. "I'm gonna go see if Stalker is ready to go register." He ducked out of the room and she stood and waited the ten seconds before he knocked on the door. Shaking her head she walked over, pulled it open and handed him his room key card. "Thanks."
"No problem.. I'll be right out." The door clicked shut again and she sighed and went to brush out her hair quickly before they walked up to Fort Benning. Staying in a motel less than a mile from the place had it's benefits. Trying to drive the car into the mass chaos of registration day would be an exercise in futility. Much easier to walk it. "Lots to do.. lots to do.."
Smiling to herself, she exited the room to find her two Ranger friends.
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Well, this is the beginning. Hopefully it doesn't suck! Stalker's wife is flying in, don't worry, I didn't forget her! Any questions, please feel free to ask, although if it's a "secret" right now, I might not tell you the answer! I'm hoping to update at least once a week, and yes, if you've been reading the Letters fics, Aunt Beth will show up later on.
Thank you so much for reading! Remember I love reviews!