First: My apologies for time it's taken to get this last chapter written and posted. You can all thank Karama9 for her invaluable assistance in betaing this chapter for me. Also, thank you to my friend River for her help.
Second: A/N, this is the last chapter! Finally it's done. I hope you all enjoy it and thank you so much for all the feedback. I always love to hear what folks think about anything I've posted. I'm working on more fics to post.
Clutch was holding the purloined flagpole from the previous hole. "Yeah, try it Tommy-boy." He was facing off against the smaller Joe who was perusing the green in an attempt to find a putting path to the hole that Clutch wasn't going to intercept. "You got no chance."
StormShadow tilted his head slightly. "Is that a group of sorority girls?" Despite the obvious nature of the trick, Clutch simply couldn't not look around. The tap of the putting iron made him whirl around and swipe desperately at the ball. His hasty swing missed and he raised the flag for a second attempt.
"Hey!" Storm objected. "No second chances!"
Frowning, Clutch watched the little ball tumble into the cup with a clink. "Dammit. That was low."
Scarlett was grinning at the success of the tactic. "Exploiting your weakness is low?"
Clutch sighed at her. "You'd think you would be on my side. I mean, I'm trying to keep order here." He started walking over the slight hill towards the next tee. "Hey, check it out..." He pointed at the distant group of figures. "Looks like we're catching up to the next group."
SnakeEyes signed quickly. *Do we get extra points for taking them out?*
Putting a hand over his face as they walked, Clutch shook his head. "No, civilized game, remember? We can play through if we think we're playing faster than they are. Otherwise, we can just wait politely."
Exchanging a wicked look with his sword brother, StormShadow began to walk faster. "I think we're going to need to 'play through' them." He held out a hand to his caddy. "I need a couple golf balls." The caddy handed them over without question. At this point, the caddies all varied between amused at the antics of the strange foursome and slightly horrified at the wild gameplay.
Clutch turned to look at the ninja just as he lined up and flung the first golfball. "Hey, what are you... stop that!" He twisted to watch the tiny ball as it arched up into the sky. Cupping his hands around his mouth, Clutch shouted towards the group in warning. "FORE!"
They saw the faces turn towards him. One second later, one of the figures grabbed at his head and jumped around. The distant sound of angry shouting carried to them easily. Storm grinned unrepentantly. He shouted back, "Sorry! I have a bad slice!"
The shouting got slightly louder. The caddies exchanged a few looks before one cleared his throat. "Excuse me but assaulting other players IS grounds for expulsion from the club..."
Scarlett made an executive decision. "We know that group. We work with them occasionally. There's no reason to call security." The caddies all relaxed a bit. "Tommy, don't..." She sighed as he threw a second golf ball after the first. "...throw any more."
He looked disappointed when Flint caught the second ball. "Fine, but how are we supposed to play through their group if we don't scatter them with air support first?"
Clutch glared at him. "Not funny. We go ask politely." He ignored the eye rolling response and continued towards the group.
"What if we use some smoke for cover?" Storm was determined to have some sort of fun with their teammates.
Scarlett shook a finger at him. "No, because you'll just use it as cover to leave." His disappointed expression told her she was right. "Behave. You're supposed to be an adult here."
They got close enough to hear Beachhead's outraged shouts. "Y'all bastards!" He rubbed the side of his head. Apparently LadyJaye was speaking to him as he turned to listen to her a moment. From the arm waving he started doing as he stalked off to rant at the caddies, she had managed to convince him not to attempt beating the ninja in retaliation.
When the two groups met up, Scarlett made a show of going to greet the other two ladies. Clutch shook hands with Flint. "Faireborn. How's your game going?"
Flint cut his eyes over at the obviously annoyed Sergeant major standing to the side, arms crossed and frowning. "Well, my game has gone fine. Sneeden over there has spent most of the day bushwhacking." Courtney made a face at him and he sighed heavily. "And she's been cheating... she's practically a professional player and kept saying she was a newbie."
Clutch stared at her a moment. "Girl! You sharking them?"
She beamed in a smug manner. "Maybe." Watching him cursing about missing all the fun, she patted Beachhead on his arm lightly. "See? We had the fun group."
"Fun mah ass." Beach chewed his tongue a second. "Tell 'Lance' how we got little pogues fer caddies." She slapped his jaw lightly, making him smile a little. "Baby, you keep doin' that..."
"Oh Lord help us, please don't start, you two cause enough issues already." Flint said. "Am I to assume that you'd like to play through, Steinberg?"
Before Clutch could reply, Beach's eyebrows had gone up. "Oh whoa... wait, how come they get to go ahead of us? We was here first." He straightened up to cross his powerful arms across his chest and glared down at the mechanic. "Y'all oughta wait yer turn."
Flint rolled his eyes. "You'll hold every group behind us up if they have to wait for you to find your ball in the woods every other shot."
"Well then they can learn patience. It's a virtue and shit." Beach's jaw set in a stubborn line.
Clutch cleared his throat. "Well, we are moving a bit faster than your group, but..."
Courtney spoke up herself. "Hey, is that a crack at my man? He's never played the stupid game before. It's not fair to keep pointing out that he's not as good at it."
Clutch frowned now. "I haven't pointed it out at all... don't be yelling at me!" Beachhead was suddenly closer and somehow... larger... "I mean... don't raise your voice please... it's rude." The mechanic edged away slightly. "Sooo, we can just play through then."
"You ain't jumpin' line. Wait yer turn." Beachhead didn't show any sign of compromising. He was frustrated with playing a ridiculous game he had no talent for and he wasn't about to pass up a chance to make someone else frustrated as well.
Flint sighed at the big Ranger. "That's hardly fair. They're playing faster than our group, so we'll just let them play through."
Courtney, perhaps simply out of mischievousness, suddenly agreed with Beachhead. "I don't think they should just to get to go ahead of us for free." She smiled. "Let's have the two worst players do a hit-off! Whoever can hit the ball further, that team gets to go first. That's fair." Beachhead frowned at being put on the spot unexpectedly. She patted him fondly. "You can take them, Big Guy.. I have confidence in you."
He shifted a bit. "Fine. Who's the worst shot on yer team?"
Scarlett, SnakeEyes and Clutch all turned to look at StormShadow who frowned back at them. "I am not the worst!" Eyebrows went up and his frown deepened. "Well... maybe but not by that much. It's a stupid game anyway, and I'm far from being the worst at defensive golf, a far superior version of the game." He tilted his head back in a confident manner.
Flint tipped his head slightly. "Defensive golf? What's defen..."
Clutch held up a hand. "Don't ask, trust me." He waved at the two players now singled out. "Okay, so you two both hit a ball off a tee, and whoever gets further wins and that team goes ahead of the other."
Courtney smiled. "And bragging rights."
Clutch sighed just slightly. "And bragging rights, such as they are."
SnakeEyes began to sign as the two players retrieved favored golf clubs from their caddies. *Is interference allowed?*
Clutch spoke quickly. "No. Regular rules golf only. Besides, 'Wayne' won't play nice if we start changing the rules on him."
Beachhead snorted. "Wayne ain't played nice from the damn beginnin' anyway. So which direction spook?" Storm considered the wind for a moment and then pointed. Beach motioned him aside. "Alright then... get outa the way." He lined up and concentrated, clamping his teeth tightly to avoid Scarlett joining the girls in laughing at his habit of sticking his tongue out. His golf club swept up in an arc, then powered down, swinging hard to connect with the golf ball with a loud crack. They all watched it winging it's way over the hill and bouncing out of sight. "Beat that, scrawny."
Before Storm could retaliate, his head tilted in the 'listening' pose. "I think there's another group playing over there... you hit one of them and they're very unhappy over it." His brow furrowed as he concentrated. "I think... I might recognize..."
Beach flung both arms up. "You picked the direction! Ain't my fault he deliberately picked a direction what had folks in it!"
Flint shouted at him. "You've been a menace to the whole golf course ALL DAY! Do I need to remind you that you hit ME in the head?"
Beach sneered in reply. "Best shot Ah made all day!"
LadyJaye stepped up to attempt to mediate again. "Come on, Dash, you know that was an accident." She waved a hand at the angry Ranger. "Wayne couldn't hit the broad size of a barn with a golfball on purpose."
"Hey!" Courtney put her hands on her hips. "Don't diss on my man, just because he hasn't played your hoity toity society games like the rest of your stuck up friends."
Beach turned to the mechanic. "Settle down, ain't no need to get fussed over anything."
She glared. "Don't interfere!"
Clutch had brightened up. "Chick fight! Let her go, Wayne, she's a big girl..."
Beach spun and pointed at him. "You don't get into this..."
Flint stepped in. "All right. Enough. Everyone shut up."
StormShadow and SnakeEyes both whirled as the foursome of players that had been assaulted by the stray golf ball appeared through the bushes.
The first angry voice raised had a distinct accent. "What imbecile tried to kill me with a ineptly struck golf ball? I shall sue them to within an inch of their life!"
A shapely dark-haired woman with glasses followed quickly. "Obviously they don't know WHO they are dealing with!"
The set of twins in matching suits brought up the rear of the group, sneering in an aloof fashion. "It seems the Club's standards..."
"...have become lax these days." finished the second brother.
As the two groups stared at each other, everyone fell into stunned silence. Flint was the first to find his voice.
"What is Cobra doing here!"
Everything fell into chaos quickly. Beachhead dove at the Crimson Twins, snarling and swinging his two-iron with an accuracy he'd lacked all day during the game. The Joe women headed for the Baroness, who was looking much less haughty without her allies beside her since the twins were dealing with an angry Ranger, and Mindbender had instantly chosen the ever-preferred tactic of running away from opposing forces that included vengeful ninjas.
Stormshadow was shouting at Dr Mindbender while trying to avoid the mingled group of golf caddies. "You are doomed Mindbender! When I catch up with you, I shall take you apart in tiny slices!"
Flint went after Tomax and dragged him off Beachhead's back, trying to put the agile Corsican into a headlock. "Give up now! We outnumber you!" He ducked as a shot was fired over his head.
Xamot aimed at the warrant officer's head this time. "Now that I have your attention... your... unarmed attention..."
Tomax smiled as he twisted free. "...perhaps you will be the ones giving up." His face went a shade paler as the noise of a .45 slide being racked back and released sounded behind him.
Beachhead's grin was an ugly sneer. "Ain't all of us unarmed. Drop the gun, or your dear brother becomes your dear departed brother."
Tomax held up his empty hands and smiled. "Oh please... you wouldn't shoot an unarmed opponent." Beachhead's expression twisted in frustration. "You good guys are so very hampered..."
Xamot finished. "... by your regulations and morals." His finger started to tighten on the gun's trigger as he continued to aim at Flint. Beachhead slipped his finger around the trigger of his own gun and his lips tightened as he stepped slightly closer to Tomax. "Put down the gun... or Flint gets..." Xamot's demand ended in a loud yelp as a golf ball struck his knuckles. He clutched at his head when a second ball hit. "Ow!"
SnakeEyes pitched one more ball into Xamot's head before he signed quickly. *I have to go catch StormShadow before he murders Mindbender* He disappeared through the brush quickly, chasing after the sounds of screaming in the distance.
Flint lunged forward to tackle the still partially stunned Xamot, while Beachhead grabbed at Tomax. Flint shouted loudly. "NO shooting! You might hit one of the civilians!"
"Gawd dammit, I know that!" Beach took a punch to jaw and blocked two more, grabbing the twin by his arm and throwing him over to the ground hard. "Stay down you damn freaky monkey!"
The twin's acrobatic training was making them difficult to contain, much less defeat, and Flint was having as much trouble with his opponent as Beachhead was with his. Only the psychic link that made both stagger when either one was hit was making the Joes gain the upper hand.
CoverGirl was struggling back to her feet from where the Baroness had thrown her over her back. The Cobra leader was having much more trouble fending off the elite martial artist Scarlett however. The two ended up tumbling down the slope away from the rest of the melee.
Clutch quickly got the civilian caddies out of the danger zone, and had sent them scrambling for cover by the time Duke arrived at a run.
The Joe leader stopped and looked over the mayhem occurring across the neatly manicured grass. "What the hell is going on?"
As the only Joe not engaged in actual combat, Clutch figured it was his place to update his commanding officer on current events. He leaned casually on a club and waved expansively at the scene.
"Well... let's see, right now, Flint is losing a fist fight with Tomax.. or Xamot.. while Beach is winning his fist fight with Xamot... or Tomax, which one has the scar? Oh never mind. Scarlett is the one covered in weeds falling into the pond over there, Jaye is the one holding the Baroness under the water. None of the ladies have lost their tops, unfortunately... although Courtney is still in the running for it since she's riding Xamot's back... or Tomax... dammit.. I really should write that down so I don't forget which is which... oh the caddies are mostly sobbing in the 6 hole sand trap and I think it's a grounds keeper that's unconscious over at the 7 hole tee. Not sure if he fainted at the ninjas or got hit in the fight. Snakes and Storm are somewhere attempting to murder Mindbender, unless he found transport pretty quickly. I think that covers it."
Duke put his face into his hands. "God help me. Why can't the bunch of you stay out of trouble for four stinking hours? Why? WHY?"
"Well, it's not OUR fault Cobra uses the same country club. Hey, when everyone is in custody, are we still on for lunch? It'll be happy hour you know." Clutch's look of fake innocence made Duke's teeth ache. "I guess that Hawk's feeling that Cobra would be lurking around was right, huh?"
Duke swallowed down his temper. "Yes. This means all the golfing plans for tomorrow are off. No way will Hawk allow any high ranking politician to come into an area where known terrorists were just spotted." He sighed deeply. "This really was supposed to be easy."
Clutch grinned unrepentantly. "Well, if the job was easy, they'd send Boy Scouts... not GI Joes! Shall we go assist our teammates in apprehending some Cobra bad guys... ahem, and bad girls?" Clutch paused. "How much pain would I be in if I took just a little video before we break up the girl fight?"
Duke sighed heavily as he started down the slope of well trimmed grass. "From LadyJaye, CoverGirl, Scarlett or from Flint, Beachhead or SnakeEyes on their behalves?"
Clutch's face fell. "Oh. Well, when you put it like that... you're a real party-pooper, you know that Duke?"
"It's golf, it's not supposed to be fun."
Again, thank you to everyone who's been so very patient waiting for me to get this wrapped up. I never intended for it to drag out so long, but life intervenes on occasion and we can but do our best.