Hi again, and I apologize that it's been so long without new fics. If you're reading this, then I'm very appreciative that you're still interested in my stories!

This is set at the same time of Ranger Rendezvous and has no Beachhead at all. It was very strange to write without him in it too! Jinx and Dusty are undercover at a suspected Cobra office and SnakeEyes is supposed to break in to retrieve intelligence on Cobra's operations. I hope you enjoy, and if you have questions or comments or anything, free to review or PM.

I'd like to thank Karama9, LadyJaye1 and TinySprite for all their beta work and assistance. They're the only thing that kept me from scrapping it. Hopefully it's enjoyed so I'm glad I didn't scrap it!


Jinx stood at the secretarial desk, blinking her dark eyes up at the man flirting with her. As she twisted nervously side to side, her short skirt swung a bit in a innocently alluring fashion, drawing the eyes of half the males in the office. She was sure that a field of desks filled with busy workers surrounding her and the public venue was all that kept the man's hands to himself.

"So Kimi.. how about you and me.. nice restaurant.. about seven friday night? We can go back to my place afterwards.. have a few drinks..." His oily smile turned up a notch as she put a hand over her mouth to titter nervously.

"Oh.. I don't know.. it's such a tempting idea... but I really shouldn't." She giggled as his smile increased, clutching the files across her chest to modestly conceal herself. The lacy top of her blouse revealed a little more than it covered. "I should get back to work.. I have so much to do!"

He gave a little bow over her hand, flourishing as he backed away grinning. "Until the next time we shall meet, my lovely lady..."

She giggled again and turned to run away, her mincing steps carrying down to her desk. She seated herself demurely, blushing at the attentions given her by the important office manager. Pushing aside her pink fluffy bunnies that sat along the edge of her work space, she booted up the terminal on her desk and began to input the file data carefully.

A few hours later, she packed up her Hello Kitty backpack and bounced off to punch out on the timeclock. She paused at a mirrored one-way window to check her anime poofed up hairstyle was still in place, turning her head to the side to admire how the dangley earrings glittered.

"Kimi? You're next." The young man who had the desk beside hers hazarded giving her a slight touch on her arm, pointing to the timeclock they were standing in line for. "You look really nice today, by the way."

She giggled at him, suddenly covering her mouth with a hand. "Sorry! Do you like my hair? It has glitter!" She shook her head a little bit to make the earrings swing one last time before she stepped up to slide her card into the machine. "Okay! I'll see you tomorrow morning all bright and chipper! Right?!"

He nodded and watched her skip off, the skirt flipping around lean tawny thighs. "Yeah... bright and chipper Kimi..." He wiped a bit of drool off his lip before he turned his attention from the bubbly airhead back to his own timecard.

Kimi Arashikage unlocked her apartment door and stepped inside, tossing the silly backpack aside and latching her multitude of manual locks back in place. She stepped over the nearly invisible thread strung across the entrance to the tiny living room. The slightest brush against it would tug it free of the minuscule amount of adhesive attaching it to the walls.

"Aaahhhh..." She headed directly for the kitchenette, dragging out eggs and omelet fixings to start cooking herself something to eat. "I'm starving." She turned to see a dark figure slipping in through her window off the fire escape and grinned. "You want a omelet Sensei?"

SnakeEyes shook his head and closed and latched the window, drawing the dark curtain across it. *Ate earlier. Any luck today?* She shook her head as he began to pull off the various straps and weapons. *Any progress at all?*

"Oh yes.. very much so. I think that another few days of working on the computer system and I'll have a backdoor into the security files. I'm hoping I can get in soon, otherwise I might have to actually go out on a date with Tillerman... and I might have to break both his slimy hands if that happens." She folded the eggs over with an expert touch. "How about you? Did you find out what the topside security is like?"

*Standard outer alarms.. but top line internal triggers. No way to get in without setting off something. If you make a hole in the defense ring, I can get in. Otherwise, we are shut out.* He stretched and picked up the comm unit to begin keying in a daily report to Mainframe at the Pitt.

A light knock at the door made him go check. Once he glanced through the peephole, he unlocked the door and motioned for the sandy-haired young man to step over the thread.

"Hey Snakes.. hi Jinx! Good lord it's FREEEZING. How do people even live here in Minneapolis?" Dusty set down a lunch box and sniffed at Jinx's plate. "Heyyy... I want a omelet too."

"Then make yourself one." The ninja trainee took her plate to the living room to settle on one end of the couch. She began wolfing down to egg concoction quickly. "I'm SO starving. Those tiny lunches that 'Kimi' eats aren't enough to nourish a hummingbird."

While he looked slightly disappointed, Dusty began to work at heating the pan back up to fix himself food. "Yeah.. poor Jinx. I spent all day today repairing an AC unit on the roof. I need thicker thermals to wear."

SnakeEyes seemed amused. *I know. I watched you. I was inside a duct on the building next door most of the day, because you and your workcrew were in my way.*

The desert specialist shook his head. "Sorry, I'm not the boss, can't tell people to move so my friend the ninja can have an easier time of infiltrating please." He poked at the egg mixture in the pan and went to the bedroom to grab a blanket to wrap around himself. "Can't we turn the heat up in here a LITTLE? I'm gonna die."

SnakeEyes scoffed at him, signing rapidly before going back to his typing. *It's not that cold. Toughen up.*

Dusty frowned. "Gee thanks 'beachhead', I thought I left you back at the Pit. I'm a desert trooper.. not a snow trooper. Why didn't SnowJob get sent here instead of me?" His half-plaintive complaints didn't impress either of the ninjas. "You guys suck. Just because you sit under ice-filled streams to meditate and stuff doesn't mean the rest of us normal folks should have to freeze to death. Why does Extensive Enterprises have to have offices here in Minneapolis? Why can't they have them in Duluth?"

Jinx shoveled in the last bite of eggs with cheese and ham. "What does it matter? Duluth, Minneapolis.. same thing." She unfolded herself from the couch and took her dish to wash in the kitchen sink. "I think you're just griping because you have some deep seated need to whine."

Shaking a bottle of ketchup over the plate, Dusty added a generous helping to his omelet. "Grunts are allowed to whine. It's part of the Army by-laws."

Smiling under his mask, SnakeEyes shifted to sit lower in his chair. *What about non-grunts?*

A loud snort and the trooper added more pepper. "Officers don't whine. Officers bitch. Usually about grunts. Or NCOs. Either way."

Keeping a straight face as she began pulling the various pins and hairsticks out of the heavily moussed hairstyle, Jinx sighed. "That explains Flint. Warrant officers get to bitch AND whine." She turned as SnakeEyes snapped his fingers twice. He shook a finger at her. "Sorry Sensei."

*Show proper respect to the rank.*

She nodded. "Yes Sensei." Pushing the small coffeetable to one side, she began to do her katas.

Finished eating his omelet, Dusty stood and watched with a great deal of appreciation for the short skirt. He sighed lightly and turned to take his plate to the kitchen and ran directly into SnakeEyes' chest. The ninja stood within a foot of him, staring at him with a stiff posture, his disapproving glare coming through the visor easily. "Ahh.. hi SnakeEyes... " He turned and looked at Jinx again then back to the stern visage. "I was just... you know.. " He smiled. "I was admiring how well.. trained Jinx is. Really good training and conditioning.."

SnakeEyes seemed to almost grow in stature as he drew himself up. *You will not 'admire' my apprentice.*

Dusty nodded. "Yes SnakeEyes. No admiring. Got it." He edged around the dangerous form. "Noooooo admiring."

Jinx snorted and slid her eyes over to give her sensei a significant look. He twitched his shoulders straighter and gazed back at her until she looked away and continued with the exercises.

SnakeEyes was sleeping in the second bedroom and Jinx had taken the forward one. This left Dusty with the couch but then, he didn't really mind couches. They were more comfortable than some Army cots and a lot better than the floor. Plus when you were sleeping on the couch you never missed out on things because you were central to any discussions or interactions. Hearing a slight scuff he raised up to peer over the back of his couch and listened carefully.

The flaw in his reasoning was of course that it didn't work at all when you roomed with two ninja, who conversed in sign language half the time. He couldn't even overhear arguments. Sighing, he shifted himself back down into the soft recesses of the cushions and sent up a little hopeful wish that he'd wake up in time to see Jinx walking around in her briefs before breakfast again. SnakeEyes said not to 'admire' her but if she was walking around in front of him, it wasn't like he could put out his own eyes and not see, right? Considering that idea, along with his own personal observations of both Jinx's and SnakeEyes' abilities at putting out eyes, Dusty twisted himself around to face into the blank back of the couch. It was just safer that way.

Jinx stared defiantly into her Sensei's eyes. No, not her sensei, but SnakeEyes. Her hands flew quickly through the practiced motions of ASL. *I can see whoever I want to see even if it is a teammate*

SnakeEyes was already stiff with anger. * You will not! Especially not Dusty*

Looking towards the closed door leading to the living room Jinx pressed her lips together. She did not want the man overhearing this particular argument. *What's wrong with Dusty?*

Looking slightly confused she watched the master ninja pause as he tried to think of an objection that was valid. *He's too old for you and he's your teammate and he's...* Again SnakeEyes paused. *He's gaijin!*

Furious Jinx snapped her hands into motion. *Pardon me oh grand master ninja of the clan but I may humbly point out that you are a gaijin too.*

SnakeEyes shook his head. *That's different and he's still too old and still your teammate.* He made a cutting motion with a hand to indicate the subject was closed.

Ignoring that, Jinx stepped forward. *What about you and Scarlett? She your teammate.*

SnakeEyes stared at her until she relented and looked aside. *Scarlett and I share a bond that predates you joining the team. You practically just met Dusty. And..* He emphasized each word this time. *He's* *Too* *Old*

She snorted and gave a formal bow dismissing herself. She muttered softly to herself as she left the room, knowing he'd hear her. "Wasn't like I wanted to keep him.."

SnakeEyes put a hand to his forehead and then dropped into a lotus position on the floor to try to meditate and regain his composure. He wasn't certain whether Kimi's attitude was typical for Japanese girls, or typical for young female recruits, or some sort of weird combination thought up by the powers that be just to drive him crazy. For once he actually felt a kinship with Beachhead of all people. He'd seen the Sergeant major carefully keeping new greenshirts from forming any sort of romantic attachments, especially seen him interfering in attempts by certain of the Joe team to come along paying court to any new female recruits. It had seemed amusing and SnakeEyes had put money down in many of the betting pools on who would be able to lock up with who despite BeachHead's efforts. Now maybe this was karma biting him in his rear.

He took a deep breath and let it out slowly, collecting his thoughts and calming himself to find his center. The old meditation technique soothed him in mind and body, allowing his muscles to relax and slacken to a restful state.

The beeping of his comm unit made him blink and roll his eyes. Clicking it on he watched the message flash at him and typed out a quick reply. Some technical question from Breaker about the information Jinx had already acquired. SnakeEyes typed in the specs for the base's technical crew and then set the unit back onto the nightstand. He'd just go to bed, everything was conspiring to keep him from settling anyway. Perhaps he could find some peace in his sleep. Or maybe he'd have another dream involving Scarlett and the new nightgown she'd shown off to him the week before he'd left on this mission. Either way, it's better than sitting on a cold floor wondering how to handle a young Japanese woman with a mind of her own and a stubborn nature.

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As he dropped into a deep sleep, there was a silent shadow outside the locked window with it's boobytraps. Thin lips curved upwards into a slight smile of amusement before it slid away to disappear into the night. Time enough to confront those within.

End Chapter

That's the end of chapter one! I hope you enjoyed.