5

So this was the Pit. As Midnight's Shadow stepped through the threshold of the plane, she cast her gaze around to get a good look at her surroundings. The area she was presently in must be the hangar. Assorted planes, all of the same design as the one Midnight's Shadow just emerged from, sat on the asphalt. The roar of multiple engines drew her attention as Midnight's Shadow looked behind her. Other planes were landing on the tarmac, their doors opening and soldiers pouring out. Those must have been the soldiers that were fighting the terrorists in the woods.

From a few of the planes, men and woman were carried out on stretchers or hobbled out, clearly wounded from the battle. Medics rushed onto the scene and began to take them away to have their injuries treated. Midnight's Shadow felt a pang of guilt. They had gotten hurt trying to free her. She wondered if some of them had even died.

Averting her thoughts, the dark haired woman continued to look around. As she scanned the area, she noticed a group of soldiers who were quickly sweeping push brooms over the blacktop, creating large piles of sand. Sand? Midnight's Shadow looked up to see a large circular opening through which the planes must have come through. The hatch was slowly closing, but as it did, sand came streaming down through the edges and onto the ground below. As she looked further around, Midnight's Shadow noticed that the walls were made of a solid brown rock.

Were they underground? Slowly, Midnight's Shadow began to feel hope ebb away. What if these people were just as bad as the terrorists who had been holding her captive? How was she supposed to escape from an underground facility such as this? That wasn't even mentioning the sheer amount of soldiers that were walking around in just the hangar. There must be even more spread throughout the rest of the base.

Doing her best to hide her disappointment, Midnight's Shadow directed her gaze down towards the ground as she watched her feet with every step she made. Snake Eyes gently led her in the direction she needed to go, so there was no point in looking. Besides, they were the ones who knew where they were going, not her.

Heavy Duty was waiting for them over by a large elevator, probably designed for transporting large amounts of cargo, people, or even vehicles throughout the base. As Midnight's Shadow raised her gaze, she noticed that the British man was talking to someone.

It was a man- who Midnight's Shadow instantly assumed to be their superior. He had an air of command about him as he turned to watch their approach with a hard blue gaze. His hands rested lightly on his hips. He wore the typical clothes that an army superior would wear- a black beret, camo pants, black boots, a black shirt, and an army green jacket. Dog tags were just visible over the collar of his shirt, resting securely on his chest.

"So this is Midnight's Shadow?" he said, a friendly smile on his face.

The dark haired woman jumped, not masking her surprise. How did he know who she was? She cast a look from Scarlett, to Snake Eyes, to Breaker, to Heavy Duty, until it finally returned to the other man. "How do you know me?" she asked.

He let out a light chuckle. "Heavy Duty filled me in on the ride over," he said, jerking his head in the direction of the British man. Heavy Duty remained stone faced, with his arms crossed across his chest, as he regarded Midnight's Shadow silently. The man extended his hand towards the dark haired woman. "I'm General Hawk," he greeted, introducing himself.

After a brief moment of hesitation, Midnight's Shadow extended her own hand and firmly grasped his. Then, as quickly as it had happened, they released their grip and let their hands fall to their sides. Midnight's Shadow stood there, feeling slightly awkward, as she waited for what the general had to say next.

Hawk gestured behind him for them to board the elevator. Without a word, Scarlett, Breaker, and Midnight's Shadow, still being led by the ninja, all boarded the elevator. When they had boarded, they turned around to face the way they had come. Heavy Duty reached over and punched a button on a nearby keypad. With a loud clank, the elevator began to descend further downward.

"You're probably wondering who we are," the general said without turning around. He said it more as a statement of fact rather than a question.

"It is one of the questions I would like answered," Midnight's Shadow responded carefully. Suddenly, she felt the pressure on her arm release. She glanced to her side to see Snake Eyes free her arm. The ninja returned her gaze for a moment before looking straight ahead. He must have decided that she wasn't a flight risk anymore, now that they were inside the base. He also didn't have to lead her, seeing as how she could simply follow the group once they started moving again. Returning her gaze forward, Midnight's Shadow crossed her newly released arms over her chest.

When her eyes were directed ahead of her, she was shocked to see what lay before her. One of the levels they were passing was a massive tank. Inside it, large assault boats floated on the water. Their turrets fixed on practice targets. When they fired, there was a loud boom as the ammo released from the chamber and collided with the target. Soldiers with weapons drawn patrolled the edges of the tank, vigilant for any type of danger.

As the elevator continued downward, they were also given an underwater view of the tank. Small, two man submarines darted through the clear blue water. They spiraled and twisted through a series of hoops as they fired practice rounds at underwater targets, which emitted small explosions as they were hit.

Midnight's Shadow looked from face to face, her jaw hanging open in undisguised shock and awe. "Who the hell are you people?" she breathed.

General Hawk chuckled. "Well, I suppose since you have put your faith in us, we might as well do the same. Technically, G.I. Joe does not exist. So if you leave here and start telling people about us there will be repercussions." General Hawk glanced over his shoulder at her to make sure she caught his meaning. Midnight's Shadow nodded stiffly in response. Satisfied, the general turned back around. "But, if it did exist, it would comprise of the top men and women from the best military units in the world. The Alpha dogs."

The elevator pulled lower until the next level came into view. It was a large room, nearly equal in size to the hangar and the tank. It appeared to be some sort of training room. Soldiers were everywhere, walking to and from different stations. In one area, there was a fake setup of a city with hologram targets for the shooter to practice on. In another, there was an area for soldiers to practice hand to hand combat. There was also an area dedicated to practicing repelling down ropes and a firing range. There was yet another area that seemed to be dedicated to training with specialized and unique weapons. Already in the area, Midnight's Shadow spied a man in what appeared to be a normal camo suit. When he pulled the hood over his face and pressed a button on his belt, she was shocked to see the man turn invisible. Whoever the G.I. Joes were, they certainly were well funded.

"Ten nations signed on in our first year. Now, after working together and sharing intel, thirteen more nations joined up. When all else fails, we don't," he said, saying the last sentence with no small degree of pride. Maybe it was like a motto or something.

"Did some of that intel help you to find me?" Midnight's Shadow asked, arching a dark eyebrow quizzically.

"Yes, though I can't tell you the details. Were simply given a tip that a group of well-funded terrorists were planning on moving a high risk, high priority package to another facility," he said.

Midnight's Shadow's face hardened. He said almost word for word what Scarlett had told her. The red head could have simply been telling her what she was told by her superior, but the she couldn't help but feel suspicious. It almost sounded rehearsed and she wasn't entirely sure yet if she could trust these people, no matter who they claimed to be.

"But the intel didn't describe the package," General Hawk continued. "We had no idea to suspect it was a person. We assumed that it was weapons of some sort."

"It appears that you were wrong," Midnight's Shadow said. She inwardly flinched as the words left her mouth. She hadn't meant to make them sound so venomous. The dark haired woman truly was grateful to them for saving her, but that didn't exactly broker her trust right away. At least with these people, they could tell her who they were. Otherwise, they had simply made up a name to tell her, just to keep her from asking questions.

To Midnight's Shadow's relief, General Hawk turned to look over his shoulder and smiled lightly at her. "Yes, it most certainly does."

The elevator came to a halt at the training floor, and the general walked off of it. The rest of the team followed after him. They worked their way through the crowded area, trying to keep reasonably close to General Hawk. More than once, Midnight's Shadow bumped shoulders with a passing soldier. After a breathy apology, she kept going.

When they reached the far side of the room, Midnight's Shadow noticed a long hallway that led deeper into the rock. It was pretty normal looking- plain walls painted a light beige and gray floors. She found herself wondering what it led to.

General Hawk stopped just before the entrance to the hallway and turned to face the others. He placed his hands on his hips as he looked past them to the soldiers beyond. He waved over two soldiers, who immediately came over and saluted their general. "I want you two to take Shadow here," he pointed to the dark haired woman, "over to the medical wing to be checked out. Keep a close eye on her. Once you're done there, I want you to put her in a holding cell."

The soldiers nodded and took places on either side of Midnight's Shadow. They each tried to grab her arms, but she jerked away. The dark haired woman took a few steps back, her expression murderous. They intended to lock her up! It was going to be just like when she was imprisoned by the terrorists! Suddenly, Midnight's Shadow felt a gentle pressure on her back. She glanced over her shoulder to see Snake Eyes place his hand on her back, preventing her from backing up any further. As usual, his thoughts were inscrutable as he looked at her. She glared at him for a moment before returning her gaze to General Hawk.

"This is only temporary. We're taking precautions. We don't know if you are actually the victim here or simply made to look that way so that the terrorists could implant a mole among our ranks," Hawk explained.

Midnight's Shadow's jaw dropped. "You can't be serious!" she exclaimed in disbelief.

"I am afraid we are. With an organization such as ours, which relies on secrecy, we can't take any chances," he said. "Once you are determined not to be a threat, we will decide what shall be done about you."

The soldiers wrapped their hands tightly around Midnight's Shadow's arms. She tried to jerk away as she had before, but Snake Eyes held her in place from behind, preventing her from moving out of their grasp. She gritted her teeth. She hated feeling trapped again. Would she ever be free?

General Hawk turned his attention to the others. "As for you, Alpha Team is to report to my office once you dispense with your belongings. I want a full mission debrief. That will be all for now."

With a salute from the Alphas, the general turned on his heel and began to walk down the hallway. Midnight's Shadow watched him until he was out of sight. Then, the young woman's new guards began to pull her towards the hall. She briefly thought to fight it, but discarded it. There would be no point. She might as well accept it- at least, for now.

As they started walking away, Midnight's Shadow cast a look over her shoulder. Heavy Duty was expressionless with his arms crossed over his broad chest as he watched her. Scarlett offered a supportive smile and a wave. Breaker fiddled anxiously with a small device in his hand, casting a few glances in Midnight's Shadow's direction. Then, there was Snake Eyes. The black ninja watched her be led away. He stood stone still, not even body language giving away what he was thinking.

Turning back around, Midnight's Shadow forced them from her mind as she attempted to focus on what lay ahead.