Okay, so this is just another quick short thing I got stuck in my head and just had to write. I'm still a little stuck on my other fic. I tried something a little different with the countdown...I was trying to create a sense of urgency. It does have my OC in it, just because her name was the first I thought of when I needed another character, but this is focused on Tripwire. Although I have started thinking of this as a kind of deleted scene or something from Shadows now...

Anyway, I hope you like it!

Disclaimer: I don't own G.I Joe. Wish I did...but I don't. Sigh.


03'11'34

Wires. A lot of wires. Most were only there to be distracting; only a few had to be cut. What if he cut the wrong one?

Well…if he cut the wrong one, he wouldn't be around long enough to worry about it, would he?

Tormod Skoog, better known as - preferred to be known as - Tripwire, stood back and studied the bomb. It was well-made, professional. Supposedly tamper-proof, but he knew ways around that.

No…the main problem was that the bomb itself was attached to a person. If it had just been Trip and the bomb, it wouldn't have mattered so much. But there was somebody else involved. And that somebody else was, understandably, nervous.

"Tripwire, I know bombs are your thing and all, but after seeing how clumsy you are, it doesn't reassure me," the dark-haired woman muttered.

"Trust me. I've got this. You'll be fine."

"Oh? So…you're not doing anything, why? No offence, but this isn't exactly the time to go all tortoise and hare on me."

Tripwire stood straight, scratching his chin, his eyes not leaving the explosive device strapped to the woman. "You don't like slow and steady, Nomad? Fine. How about I just snip this wire here and hope it doesn't blow us to little bitty pieces, then?"

"Oh, by all means, take as long as you need," she said airily, then she glanced down at the flashing red timer. "Just as long as you don't need longer than two minutes thirty nine seconds."

"You'll be fine," he repeated calmly. "It only takes a second to cut a wire. We've got plenty of time."

"Tell that to the damn bomb," she grumbled.

Tripwire gave the woman a reassuring smile. She looked like she was going to be sick. He didn't really blame her - having a bomb strapped to you wasn't a good experience.

She had a point, though. He was clumsy. He couldn't help it - he'd always been clumsy. At least he'd always got out of washing dishes when he was little.

"Trip…soon would be good."

02'19'00

Tripwire blocked the other Joe out. He needed to focus. He leaned down, touching wires gently, pulling them aside carefully to check out the connections.

Huh. That wire was out - if he cut that, there'd be nothing left but a crater and a lingering red mist. This one needed to be cut, but not yet; there might be a sequence he needed to follow in order to disarm the bomb properly. He'd know once he found the other wires that needed snipping.

02'00'42

"Tripwire, how's it going?"

"Getting there, Duke. I just need a bit longer, that's all."

Nomad shifted anxiously. Tripwire grabbed her and firmly held her still. "Don't move."

"If you don't get this thing disarmed soon, I'm gonna run," she said. "And if I run, you run the other way and get behind that barricade."

He shook his head. "Not gonna happen. I'm getting this thing off you. Don't worry."

01'43'52

Tripwire was clumsy, sure. But this? This, he could do. Explosives were his thing.

He hadn't set out to be a bomb technician…he'd just kind of stumbled across it. No pun intended. But he didn't have any idealistic notions - he knew he freaked people out. Who'd expect a guy as clumsy as he was to be able to defuse a bomb? Not many people did…and each time a new Joe or greenshirt came along, the reaction was the same. The doubtful looks, maybe a whispered prayer…Tripwire didn't let it get to him. He was used to it by now. He was good at his job. That was all he needed to know.

It was the pressure. He worked better in extreme conditions, when one mistake could cost not only his life, but others, too. His mind just seemed to settle, to focus on what needed to be done - it was weird, but bombs actually calmed him down.

He remembered when Hawk had approached him to sign up for G.I Joe. The general had taken one look at him and just raised a doubtful eyebrow - Tripwire, in his hurry to salute, had stood up at his desk, got a foot tangled in some cables, fallen and taken his computer with him.

After helping him up, Hawk had still asked him to join, saying that Trip's records spoke for themselves.

So here he was, defusing a bomb that was attached to one of his best buddies. Nomad's life, quite literally, was in his hands. If this was the one time he was wrong…

But it wouldn't be. He had this.

"Trip?"

"Almost there, Duke."

01'03'49

Okay. Those wires were the ones he had to disconnect. Good thing he hadn't pulled out the first one he saw - there was a sequence.

"Skoog…"

Tripwire patted Nomad's arm reassuringly, all the while staring at the wires. The yellow one was attached to the bomb itself, but not the actual detonator. It ran to the explosives from a backup detonator that would be triggered if the first failed. It had to go, or the bomb would blow no matter what. He leaned forward and snipped the wire quickly.

"There. Only a couple left, now," he said.

00'48'37

A little red light on the bomb started to flash. And beep. It didn't serve any function - just another thing to try and put off anybody who might be trying to disarm the bomb.

Tripwire smirked. Like it would work.

He tilted his head to the side, eyeing off the two remaining wires - both black. Which one? He tightened his grip on the wire cutters.

"Trip?" Nomad asked quietly. "Do I need to start running?"

"You could have a little bit of faith in me, you know."

"Sorry."

00'29'01

Hang on a sec…Tripwire leaned closer. "Huh."

"What's 'huh'? Good or bad?" Nomad wondered.

He held a hand up, gesturing for her to be silent. Focus. You've got this. "Trust me." Again, he held his hand up to stop the smartassed remark he knew he was going to get. "Please. I know what I'm doing."

"I trust you."

00'17'52

He couldn't cut the black wires. If he did, the bomb would go off. It was a nasty little trick, one that might work on somebody less experienced. But Trip was a Joe - he was one of the best bomb technicians in the military. He moved Black One aside - as he moved it, a second wire, this one red, twitched slightly. The black wire was spliced to the red. Red was out - he cut it.

"Only one more, Nomad. Almost there, now."

00'11'20

"Tripwire!"

Trip ignored Duke, his jaw clenching. No time for second guessing himself.

00'09'54

"Get out of here, Trip," Nomad urged.

"No. You aren't gonna do us any good if you're dead."

Roadblock had said pretty much the same thing to Tripwire, once - Trip had thrown himself onto a bomb to take the brunt of the blast to save the other members of his team. Roadblock had kicked him off, picked up the bomb and hurled it into a ventilation duct. The bomb had detonated safely off the deck of the ship they'd been on at the time. Not long after, Roadblock told Tripwire it was a brave thing to do - and then he'd told him not to do it again.

00'06'42

"Skoog -"

"This one."

00'02'30

Tripwire picked out the last wire and cut it. For a moment, everything in the world went perfectly still - but nothing happened. No big bang. "Where's the kaboom? There's supposed to be an earth-shattering kaboom," he said, putting on his best Marvin the Martian voice.

Nomad laughed, then rubbed her hands over her face. "Thanks, Trip. Now get this thing the hell off me."

With the right wires cut, Tripwire could safely remove the bomb. He put it gently on the ground and grabbed his friend's arm, guiding her to the barricades.

"That was a close one, Tripwire," Duke said. "Two more seconds, and…" He held up a remote and pressed a button. Behind them, the vest made a loud pop and gave out a puff of smoke.

"Nice try with the spliced wires," Tripwire replied, grinning. "You almost had me. Almost."

"Next time," the top sergeant said, clapping him on the back and turning to Nomad. "You didn't do too bad, either. You're almost as convincing as Lady Jaye. Will I put your name down for the next training?"

"Hell no. It's creepy enough just having the squib on, with the timer and the beeping and all." She shook her head. "No offence, Skoog, but I hope I never need your help. Ever."

Tripwire smiled at her. "So do I," he replied.

"Still…if there's ever a bomb around that needs defusing - a real bomb - I hope you're there to do it."

Tripwire grinned bashfully. And then he fell over his own feet.