Here's something different. Beachhead captured by Cobra, what torment will they think up? Contains soft torture, no gore, no blood really.

Setting: After a vicious battle with Cobra and Joe forces clashing, Beachhead wakes up...

BeachHead coughed slightly and struggled to open his eyes. Dust and grit ground across his eyeridge as he turned his head slightly. Clamping his lips shut on any further coughing, he tried to blink enough to clear his vision. Getting them open didn't enlighten him to much, only that he was in a transport as he felt a jostle underneath him. Ground vehicle? Listening didn't help, as his ears still rang from the explosion that was his last memory. Other than a faint ringing inside his head, he was surrounded by silence.

Hazarding moving a bit, he eased his arm from under himself, then turned his head carefully. It looked like he was inside the back of a cargo truck, heavy vibrations and rough movement telling him it was moving at a decent clip. A body dressed in a greenshirt uniform lay across from him and he twisted around to look. A sudden weight on his neck made him freeze momentarily. Someone had a boot on the back of his neck, pinning him down. Since a Joe would hardly step on his head with him wounded and down, he felt it probably would be okay to attempt to kill whoever was attached to the boot.

Reaching up to wrap a hand around the ankle, he surged up. Throwing the trooper over him to one side, he struggled to get himself to his feet but ended up back on the floor, stunned by a sudden sharp blow to his head from a second Cobra behind him. Balaclavas might hide his features, but did little to soften the blow from a rifle butt. Rolling over onto his side, he kicked out hard, connecting to a knee and feeling a great deal of satisfaction at the sight of the leg bending in an unnatural direction. The Cobra trooper's mouth opened in a scream he couldn't hear. As he collapsed, BeachHead struggled back to his feet, grappling with the first trooper. He was shoved across the cargo area into the side, crashing into the metal beams with his back hard enough to stun him again. Completely disoriented by his deafness, Beach went down hard, kicking desperately as a third Cobra helped to secure his wrists with a set of handcuffs. After he managed to kick one of them rather solidly, they produced rope to bind him.

Trussed up with enough rope to at least temporarily stymie even a ninja, BeachHead struggled fruitlessly, cursing at his captors even though he could barely hear his own voice. That he could hear it at all reassured him that his hearing was probably gone just from the explosion.. soon to return. Assuming that he wasn't shot by Cobra out of hand for crippling at least one of their troops.

He watched the two guards discussing something.. probably him and whether they'd get into too much trouble for shooting him rather than just guarding him. Wrenching himself around onto his side, he tried to kick at them with his bound legs and got one of them in the ankle. While that one hopped sideways and used bad language from the mouth motions, the other one finally had had enough and booted him in the chest. Cursing as loudly as possible, he began to hear a muffled version of his voice from his left ear as some of his hearing returned.

The one he'd kicked came over and dragged his facemask off taking a bit of hair with it, saying a lot of things he couldn't hear. He growled lowly and thrashed trying to kick at him again.

"Ya dumb Cobra scum! I can't HEAR!" That confounded them and they stood to the side to discuss it with a lot of arm waving and pointing. He took the opportunity to scoot towards the back of the truck. His movements were not unnoticed.

When he reached the doors and began to kick them, one trooper walked over and grabbed him by one arm to drag him back. BeachHead promptly bit him on the wrist. The trooper promptly kicked him in the head.

Feeling distinctly woozy, the Ranger was dumped back where he'd started out and the guard kicked him once more, just to bring home the point that he wasn't to move around any more. His attempt to roll away made one of the troopers put a foot on his chest and pin him in place. They had more discussions, all of which sounded like a low hum to his abused ears.

Finally the trooper he'd bitten reached down to grab him by his hair and picked his head up. With loud exaggerated yells he tried to impart some sort of message. Unable to hear a single word clearly, BeachHead nonetheless understood it was most likely something to do with 'stop trying to kill us or we'll kick you in the head some more'. He cocked his head sideways and furrowed his brow, miming an expression that said he couldn't hear him. Gritting his teeth, the hapless Cobra operative leaned in closer to shout practically in his face.. and the Ranger promptly headbutted him.

While he staggered back, clutching at his bloody nose, Beach swung his legs into the oncoming trooper's, causing him to fall over. Within a moment or two, he was subdued by the simple expedient of both other Cobra troops sitting on him. His screaming invective didn't seem to bother them, but it helped clear his ears a bit.

Eventually the truck stopped and the back door opened up. Beach watched the new troopers exchanging jibs with the three rather battered ones guarding him. He quieted as they checked the prone greenshirt. The limp body showed no signs of life and Beach struggled to raise up to be able to see to identify his deceased greenshirt.

Two of the Cobra grabbed him up by his bound arms and ankles. As they dragged him down the truck, he stared after, almost desperate to at least know which of his recruits had died. "No! NO! Leggo!" His muted shouts didn't bother them. His breath was knocked out of him when they tossed him out of the truck onto the ground a good five feet below. Laying in the dirt, he struggled to breathe, letting out soft panting coughs that didn't gain him enough oxygen. While he grayed out, he was dragged to a different vehicle and loaded in with another toss. A heavy tarp landed over him and he struggled to kick it off. The blow to his head finished stealing his consciousness.

Waking up again, he opened his eyes, fancying that he heard a creak as he pried them open. Water spritzed into his face, making him blink.

"Wake up.." Surprised that he could hear again, he tilted his face to peer at a Crimson Guard bending over him. "Finally.. he's awake." He disappeared from view and Beachhead tried to sit up. His wrists were still secured behind him with the tight metal cuffs from what he could tell. Futile struggles showed him that the entire coil of rope was still being used to bind him snugly as well.

A burly Crimson Guardsman came and bent over him, carefully out of head-butting range. Dragging the Ranger to a seated position on the floor, he put a boot onto BeachHead's legs to pin them down, keeping himself safe from any kicks.

"What's your name, Joe?"

He clamped his jaw tight, glaring up at the hidden face under the mask.

"You're going to make me hurt you for the information I want, aren't you?" The voice didn't sound all that displeased over the idea and BeachHead wrenched at his legs trying to get loose. "Oh no.. not gonna be any of that kicking." Reaching to take him by the front of his armor, the Cobra quickly had it unbuckled and tossed aside piece by piece. "Now.. one more time.. name?" When he refused to answer, a heavy boot slung him over onto his back and pinned him to the floor by his throat.

"Hissss name isss BeachHead." All heads turned to see Cobra Commander himself standing to the side. "Isssn't that right?" He stalked over to circle the downed Joe. "Fourth in command, tendency towards smelling bad and killing a great deal of my troops... yessss?"

"Not enough of 'em.. obviously." Beach could barely croak the words out past the boot on his throat.

One of the guards spoke up. "He's a ninja."

Spitting angrily, the Ranger struggled under the boot. "I ain't no ninja! Take that back!"

The guard glared at him. "He was wearing a mask.. like a ninja. He'll probably escape."

Cobra Commander threw his hands up. "He'sss not a ninja.. I wear a masssk, I'm not a ninja! Why am I surrounded by morons?"

A bit satisfied to have his non-ninja status confirmed, BeachHead went back to fruitlessly struggling.

The Crimson Guard leaned to put more pressure on his throat, making him choke and arch up. After a minute of the world deciding to turn into a hazy indistinct fog, he could suddenly breathe again.

The Commander leaned over him. "Put him in a sssecure cell. I'm certain we'll come up with a use for him." Starting to leave, he stopped at the last second. "Make sssure to noose him, we'll see if he can break the record before he talksss. Unless of course the Joes decide to ransom him back." With that the hissing psychopath left, and the guards all looked at the Ranger lying on his back still tied securely.

One of the blue clad troopers hefted his rifle and looked around. "How sure are we that he ain't really a ninja?"

Another one shrugged. "Cobra Commander said he wasn't."

"Cobra Commander isn't the one down here with him, just waiting to get his throat slit when he escapes."

"True.. " Beach caught a boot to his ribs. "Hey! Are you a ninja?"

He growled again. "I told ya I ain't no ninja. And if I was a ninja, would I admit ta bein' a ninja?"

A few of the guards exchanged glances. "So.. you are a ninja?"

"No, he's not a ninja.. "

"But he said if he WAS a ninja, he wouldn't admit to being a ninja, and he didn't admit to being a ninja, so that means he is a ninja."

Beach rolled his eyes. "Gawd.. ya'll make Shipwreck look like a Mensa candidate."

"What's he mean by that? Are there Mensa ninjas?"

"Isn't that the ones that StormShadow was complaining about getting his contracts in Hong Kong?"

The Crimson Guard finally hefted Beach to drag him down the hallway. "Good lord.. I'm going to secure the prisoner before I just shoot all of you for being too stupid to keep using up valuable oxygen."

BeachHead sighed at him. "Thanks.. I was gonna start beating my head against the floor.. hopefully I'd knock myself out a'fore any more of my braincells died from bein' exposed ta that much 'dumb'."

"Oh shut up. You won't be so pleased a few days from now. That's if you don't just strangle to death because you give out sooner." The guard yelled at another trooper to open up the door. Dragged into a square cell, Beach was unceremoniously dumped onto the floor.

Rolling himself over, he watched them fiddling about with a chain that ran through an eyebolt on the ceiling.

One of the troopers eyed him. "Who's gonna lift him up and take off the ropes?" There was silence as no one volunteered to get near the homicidal Ranger. "Alright.. rock-paper-scissors..."

The other trooper stuck out his hand. "One, two, three.. aww.. crap."

All smiles now, the first one slapped his hand. "Rock breaks scissors.. leave his hands cuffed."

"Great.. I get all the best duties." The trooper glumly stepped over and BeachHead grinned up at him. "Look.. you kick me or headbutt me and I swear, I'll kick you in the balls so hard, you'll spit them out your mouth.. got it?" Beach stopped grinning. "Okay then.. " He sliced through the ropes wrapped around his legs and stepped back. "No kicking.. I mean it!" Coming around behind the prone Ranger, he dragged him up to his feet holding onto his arms tightly. Beach shook his head trying to dislodge the loop of chain that dropped over his head. "There.." Turned loose, BeachHead whirled, trying to kick out and getting snatched backwards by the chain tightening around his throat. Everyone backed up out of range and watched him as he staggered and found his footing.

"Bastards." He glared at them all. "Let me go! Get this danged leash offa me!" He shook his head, trying to dislodge it. When he tried to bend over, it tightened enough to choke him until he straightened up. "Whaddaya think this is gonna break me! Jus' cause you put me onna leash? Ya'll are stupider than ya look!"

The Crimson Guard reached to the side where the end of the chain attached to the wall with a simple snap. Clicking it a few links tighter to prevent the prisoner from being able to even bend over, he put a casual hand on the chain and leaned on it heavily. The noose tightened and Beach raised up on his tiptoes struggling to get enough slack to breathe. The eyebolt overhead didn't even quiver with the weight of the large man suspended from it.

"Now.. you behave.. and try to just stand quietly. We'll keep an eye on you.. but if you fall down, you gotta get yourself back up. Otherwise, we'll just let you strangle slowly. After all.. Cobra Commander didn't say to keep you alive specifically." He let up on the chain and BeachHead gasped and coughed. "So.. you have fun.." He turned and left, ignoring BeachHead's hoarse cursing.

The two troops watched him for a few minutes. "So.. you think he'll escape?"

"No. Only a ninja could get out of this.. I'll bet even a ninja would have issues.. unless they got their hands loose.. then they'd be loose nearly instantly."

"Check his hands.. those cuffs are secure right?"

"Yeah. You go check them if you're so worried."

"Naaaaah. I'm sure if he was a ninja.. he'd already have killed both of us." With that, the two idiotic troops left, closing the door behind them with a loud click.

Once they were out, Beach turned a circle, searching for some way out, or a way to get the noose off his neck. He found blank walls and a blank floor, only one small narrow horizontal window set high up on one wall. There was a diffuse light showing through the dirty opaque glass. He didn't quite get the idea of chaining him in the center of the room, chained to the ceiling of all things. He certainly was secure however. He couldn't do anything but stand in the middle of the room.

Sighing, he oriented himself to the small window and settled into a relaxed stance, feet spread slightly apart and head tilted up a little bit. Staring at nothing while doing nothing was in itself a bit of a torment to him. Bored almost immediately, he sighed and stretched his shoulders upwards as best he could with his hands cuffed behind his back. Working his wrists a little bit, he felt the metal biting into his flesh. They didn't loosen in the least and he finally stopped and settled to just stand there staring at the wall.

Listening, he closed his eyes and held his breath to see if he could hear anything. The faintest bit of conversation came through the walls but carefully as he listened, he couldn't make sense of the mumbles. Shifting his weight to one leg, he swung the other back and forth, then repeated the action with the other one.

"Alright.. " He turned around again, as if the room might have changed at some point. "Great.. jus' great.."

Hours later, he started to sing to himself under his breath. Running through his entire repertoire of songs, he even resorted to singing One Hundred Bottles of Beer. When he started to get hoarse, he watched the light dimming in the window and sighed.

"HEY! HEEEY!" His shouts didn't bring a jailer to look at him and after three hours of shouting, screaming, insulting and just plain out and out cursing at the top of his lungs.. he lost his voice enough to shut up. Normally just yelling would never have made him lose his voice and he spent a few hours thinking over whether he had enough damage to his throat to affect his voice. Between the boot applied to his neck twice, and the choking with his chain noose, his neck was already bruised and his airway felt swollen. It was difficult for him to even swallow his own spit, and there was precious little of it.

He tilted his head down to look at his booted feet. Arching his back, he tried to get his wrists low enough to see if he could get his leg over them.. with his hands in front of him he could remove the noose easily. The chain tightened around his neck repeatedly as he tried to twist himself around. If he could just bend over, he could have gotten a leg through his arms and ... and that was useless, because he couldn't bend over.

"Grrrrragh..." Yanking to the side, he jerked at the chain with his neck, stopping only when he became dizzy enough to worry about passing out. If he passed out, he died, simple enough. If he couldn't stand up, he died. Taking a deep breath in and letting it out slowly, he tried to calm himself.

His right leg went numb and he walked in a circle as best as he could. Standing still never seemed like a real torment, other than being bored standing guard duty. He'd stood at attention for hours before. "Nuthin' to it." The raspy voice quit on him again and he sighed and went back to standing and watching the now dark window.

The window finally lightened and he simply stared at it, waiting with his mind settled into a holding pattern. A form of trance, his breathing slowed and his body relaxed as much as possible and still remain standing.

The first twinge of a cramp flicked through the calf of his left leg and he leaned on it to rock back and forth slowly, stretching the muscles carefully, trying to work the cramp out without making it sore. It slowly went away and he sighed and rolled his shoulders as much as his bound hands allowed.

Trying to not think about his rumbling stomach, he stared at the window as the light dimmed and faded again.

After a while he closed his eyes and thought about his fellow soldiers. He should have spent more free time with Courtney. He should have gotten that stupid music cd back to Scarlett. How long before they even would realize he wasn't among the dead? How bad had the explosion been, maybe his body was assumed lost? Was anyone looking for him? Courtney would look for him. She wouldn't let anyone leave his body behind. Well.. he wasn't a body because he wasn't dead yet, he was busy being chained up like a dog.

He twisted his wrists in the cuffs and winced. They were getting rubbed raw already and he needed to try to not move them. No matter how many times he twisted them around, they still wouldn't come loose, and his hands certainly didn't fit through them. If he WERE a ninja, he was certain that the cuffs would last all of two seconds. When he got back to the Pit, SnakeEyes was gonna teach him how to get out of the stupid things.

He leaned forward trying to ease the increasing pain in his back and took a long deep breath. If he got back to the Pit. Right now, he didn't see a way out.

Beachhead's eyes sagged shut. He snatched his head up and shook it. "Awake.. I'm awake." He yawned widely and suddenly jumped as the door latch clacked loudly. His jump made his leg cramp and it collapsed under him, dropping him down and he was dangled at the end of the noose, strangling and kicking to get upright on his feet again. The chain cut into his airway and pinched off most of the blood supply to his brain, causing him to gag and watch the world begin to go red.

When he regained his footing and stood, coughing and sucking in air, he blinked and looked up at the Crimson Guardsman.

"You gonna live? Cause I'm here to ask you if you're ready to tell us whatever we want to ask about?"

"Kiss my ass." He glared.

They shrugged and one came forward with a small cup. "Water ration.. try to kick me and I'll pour it on the floor." He nodded and the trooper stepped up cautiously and held the cup for him to drink it down. He briefly considered that it might be laced with drugs, but it was drink possibly-drugged water or start dying of thirst. Once the cup was empty, the Cobra troop stepped back out and left him facing the Crimson Guard. He busied himself licking his lip to make certain he hadn't missed any drops.

"Do I get any food?" His voice sounded hoarse still.

"No." His guard shrugged. "Unless you want to talk?"

"Ain't happenin'. Ya'll might as well cut me loose as think I'm gonna talk." Beach wished his voice wasn't cracked and hoarse, but at least he could get words out.

"Legs getting cramps in them yet? You know.. the last guy lasted a few days before they starting collapsing under him. But in the end, he strangled to death when he couldn't stand up any longer." A casual shrug. "I think you'll outlast him, so don't make me lose my cash in the betting pool."

"Screw you." Beach watched him disappear, watched the door close shut with the loud clang. Letting his shoulders sag, he lowered his face towards his chest and sighed heavily. Suddenly he lifted his face to yell at the door. "Bring me a burger with extra mustard.. and a shake! Ya'll never get my order right!"

At irregular intervals, guards might bring him a small amount of water. He'd only managed to kick one guard seriously, losing his footing and nearly blacking out before he could get upright. He was pretty certain that guard was out cold from the boot to the head he'd dealt out.

He watched the window compulsively, keeping a count of the days in his head. Other than watching the light brighten and fade, there wasn't anything else to look at. When he had a voice, he sang songs to himself and spent half a day running through every commercial jingle he could think of. Determined to drive anyone listening to his cell mad one day, he spent the entire time from sunup to sundown singing a Million Bottles of Beer.

Sleep deprivation set in and he kept seeing shadows lurking in the corner of his eye. He would turn a circle looking for something, whatever made the creepy shadows. At one point he was convinced it was ninjas and then that it was SnakeEyes playing a prank on him by staying just out of sight behind him. He'd managed to wind his chain until it tightened up on his neck. Only then had he come to his senses and carefully turned a circle repeatedly until it loosened up.

His shoulders were bunched up painfully, the unnatural position enforced by his cuffed wrists making cramps form in the powerful muscles. Without having the freedom to move his arms, he suffered the pain helplessly. His entire spine was creaking it was so stiff, and his legs.. well.. between the multiple cramps, the deep seated aching pain in his knees, and the wobbly nature of them due to intermittent numbness, he was beginning to think the guy chained like this before him might have just dropped and strangled deliberately to make the pain just stop.

That guy wasn't a Army Ranger. BeachHead was. When he dropped it would be because he couldn't stand any longer. Not because he gave up. His Joe team would be searching for him, he had to believe it. He glanced up at the window and saw it getting dim out again.

"HEY GUYS! YOU CAN COME GET ME NOW!" His hoarse yell went unanswered as always.

He began to catch himself falling asleep on his feet finally. He'd shake himself all over, struggling to become alert. Then slowly his eyes would shut, his head would begin to tilt over.. and he'd begin to sway just a little bit. As the sway got worse, one of his legs would start to shake and eventually it buckled, yanking his weight against the chain noose and making him choke and cough until he stood up again. At least once he'd fallen and half-suffocated himself, he was awake for a while.

He blinked at the window. He wished something would move outside. Anything. Even a curious Cobra guard peeping in would be something different. Other than an occasional water ration, he didn't see anyone, didn't hear anyone.

Suddenly paniced, he looked around the room. How many days had he been here? He'd lost count.. and it was extremely important that he remember how many days it had been. The only thing he could do was watch to see when it got dark to keep a count and now he couldn't remember.

Panting and rocking back and forth, he struggled to remember what the last count had been. Was it eighteen days? Could he have been standing for eighteen days? That would be some sort of world record he was pretty certain. It was a damned long time to him. Maybe the Joes had written him off. Hawk wouldn't allow any ransom for a captured Joe, not even if it was a faithful Sergeant major. Not even if it had been Duke or even one of the female troops. After all the years, BeachHead was more likely to free himself than be rescued.. not like SnakeEyes of course, but then he was a ninja.. and ninjas never counted. They skewed all the grade curves, ruining things for good honest soldiers.

"Danged ninjas.. like freaky monkeys.. always doin' stuff.." He tilted his head up and closed his eyes, trying to stretch his back. Then he slumped forwards until his leash snugged itself down. He'd come to find exactly how far he could move before the chain became incapacitating.

He looked up at the window again. He'd stand here and stare at it until it got dark. Then maybe he'd think of something different to do. Maybe he'd take a run around the compound.. that'd be nice..

End Chapter.

Will he be rescued? Will he last long enough? Are the Joes looking for him? What next?