"Let me get this straight: we're driving from nowhere, in no particular direction, across an undescribed landscape. Does that strike you as odd?" Storm Shadow asked.

I guess it would have been nice to have some setting—

"And why? To make fun of a bad movie? To mock Mary Sues? There will always be bad movies, and there will always be Sues, and to struggle against them is futile. Life is long and full of bad art and then we die, Snake Eyes, and we may as well give up our pretentious, self-imposed quests before we become a cliché or a terrorist, whichever comes first."

If I'd known you were going to have an existential crisis, I would have given you shotgun, Snake Eyes admitted.

"Is that all you can say? Offer me the pathetic ability to adjust the air conditioner to sooth me? No, Snake Eyes, there is no opiate against the horror of our existence. Not even access to a cup holder."

I like to think of things like this as throwing back starfish that have washed up on shore. Most of them might be goners, but you might be able to help a few, and that has to be enough.

"Your life philosophy is Facebook copypasta."

Are you really calling me on clichés when you're ripping off Hamlet and Marx at the same time?

"For what it's worth, I'm driving to the Sierras," Jinx put in. "As if either of you thought to ask me before you went all No Exit."

"Oh." Storm Shadow considered this for a moment. "Why the Sierras?"

"The cabin isn't in the movie. So, if we go there, it should be safe, at least for a time. It's not a perfect solution, but as you already pointed out, it's not like there are any," Jinx said.

And I imagine the trip there will help us forge bonds of friendship or something? Snake Eyes asked.

"Of course it will. I mean, we're going to be trapped in a car together for days. How does suffering like that not bring us closer together?" Jinx asked.

"And you aren't worried that at the end of this we'll just hate each other?" Storm Shadow asked.

"Oh, what are you going to do, try and kill each other?" Jinx replied.

"Point taken."


And now, for an informative PowerPoint on the current status of GI Joe and Cobra, which will give you information that you definitely could not have gotten through dialogue. I repeat: we had to show you this with still images and a voiceover in our movie – which is indeed short for moving picture – not for discernible artistic reasons, but because there is literally no other way to tell you.

Duke now leads GI Joe, which is absolutely not because we are trying to gloss over the absence of Dennis Quaid. After the Nanomite Wars –


Are you just going to namedrop that and then not explain it? Snake Eyes asked.

"Yes," Storm Shadow replied. "Why? I mean, who would want to know about something like a war? Especially a fascinating one with nanomites?"

Just a little clarification would do. Was it just what we saw in the last movie? Or have the cities of the world been overtaken by nanomites, stripped of their metal, and turned into a burned-out hellscape?

"Well, I could tell you what the more interesting answer would be," Storm Shadow said. "That, or I could tell you what they actually did in the movie."


After the Nanomite Wars, the pursuit of Cobra continued. While Destro and Cobra Commander are safely confined in what appear to be giant sea monkey aquariums, Zartan continues to impersonate the President to terrifyingly good reviews. Storm Shadow is also alive, apparently having been rescued by kindly mermaids. The world remains on high alert, although it appears to be more of an ideological than a practical position given the amount of destruction this band of backstabbing fools was able to wreak.

Questions, anyone?


Kindly mermaids? That's not what you told me last time.

"So maybe I lied a little bit last time," Storm Shadow said. "They're harmless enough, as lies go. Anyhow, it's important to me to preserve my mystique."

Your mystique?

"Yes, my mystique. What did you think I meant?"

I think you meant 'secret nanomites', Snake Eyes said. I think you accepted nanomites at some point, which is why you're practically indestructible, and why you survived that polar bear plunge you took at the end of the last movie.

"That's a fan theory. A silly, unnecessary fan theory, given that I can stop my heart," Storm Shadow replied.

But jumping into cold water can kill you all by itself. Besides, even if you did induce some sort of diving reflex, how did you make it to the surface in the state you were in? And then where did you go? Did you just hang around in the Arctic, wet and shirtless? Or did someone fish you out?

"Maybe I was frozen in a block of ice and worshipped as a god until Namor showed up and threw me into the ocean in annoyance, where the Avengers found me," Storm Shadow said.

You're not Captain America.

"I was rescued by the Flying Dutchman."

That's actually less probable.

"The thing you killed was a Synthoid or a Doombot. Alternatively, I am a Synthoid or a Doombot."

"Neither of those exist in this universe," Jinx said. "Besides, it's pretty obvious you're out of good ideas. Why don't you just admit that you have nanomites?"

"Maybe it was aliens," Storm Shadow said. "Or a vast government conspiracy? Or both at once."

Snake Eyes sighed in disgust. No. This conversation is over.


"Oh man, I'm so bad at video games," Duke said. "Maybe because I'm mashing these buttons with the dexterity of a toddler."

"It's funny because you're good at being a soldier in real life," Roadblock said. "By the way, I'm so glad you learned to act just in time to die."

Just then, Roadblock's children ran in, because obviously he needed to be even more likeable in the eyes of the audience. They were, of course, adorable.

While Duke and Roadblock were hogging all the good characterization, Pakistan descended into anarchy, perhaps in response to Duke's sudden ability to emote. The revolution was televised.

"Oh, well, would you look at that," Duke said. "It looks like we're going to go invade that sovereign nuclear nation."

"That was my conclusion too," Roadblock said. "Because of course the world needs GI Joe to come in to and moderate any and all tense, nuclear-proliferation-type situations. I see absolutely no way this could end badly."


This shouldn't be working, Snake Eyes said.

They had stopped for gas and Jinx had run off to do something nebulous, leaving the two ninja alone in the car. Snake Eyes couldn't believe it wasn't on purpose.

"It shouldn't be working?" Storm Shadow asked. "On the contrary, it's brilliant."

It's completely transparent. A parent trap that turned into a road trip? This should have collapsed under its own weight about a chapter ago.

"Snake Eyes, neither the parent trap nor the road trip was the point," Storm Shadow replied. "The point is that now we can't leave."

There's no reason we can't leave.

"But there is," Storm Shadow said. "I can't leave because it means that you win. You can't leave because you're the hero, and it kills you when you're not. And to top it all off, if we do manage to get over ourselves, she'll be upset and neither of us wants that. Kimi has us right where she wants us."

It's diabolical, Snake Eyes said after a moment. Insidious, even.

"Well, she is Arashikage. I wouldn't expect anything less."

Though I'm still a little bit unclear on how you win a relationship.

"It has more to do with outlasting you then actually doing something constructive," Storm Shadow replied. "I just hope she took that into account when she constructed this little gambit. Speaking of Kimi, where is she?"


Jinx was trying to decide what item she had needed so badly. She knew she probably should have decided before she got out of the car, but she'd assumed it would be easy to find something. Of course, now she was overthinking it. She was lingering in front of a display of maps – if one still needed maps in the future, if they were even in the future anymore – when she saw him.

He was attempting to watch her surreptitiously from behind a rack of candy beans. It would have been more surreptitious if he hadn't been wearing a ninja costume, and if he wasn't about four feet away from her, and if he didn't have remarkably piercing gray eyes. But it all seemed so painfully earnest that Jinx was tempted to give him points for effort.

"Can I help you with something?" she asked him finally.

"You can see me?" he asked.

"Yes," Jinx said, trying not to sound as exasperated as she felt. "Yes, I can."

"Good. I'm here to rescue you."

Jinx frowned. "You're here to rescue me?"

The gray eyes took on a faraway look. "I came to the Arashikage when I was just a child. While initially reluctant, Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow came to accept me as a brother. We were happy then, the three of us, just as we should always have been. But the clan scattered after the death of the Hard Master, and by the time I found them again, Storm Shadow had turned to evil. Now I seek to redeem him, while simultaneously attempting to fight my own demons and trying to solve the mystery of my tragic past because amnesia, while also training to become the greatest ninja ever." He looked at her again. "And so, since you are obviously Storm Shadow's captive, I am here to rescue you before any harm comes to you. You may call me Rain Shadow."

"Let's see if I have this right: you took all the cool parts of Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow's backstories, smooshed them together into one character, added amnesia and an improbable level of talent, and now you're here to rescue me because you think To – I mean, Storm Shadow, might hurt me?" Jinx asked.

"He's evil. I don't know what he's told you, but they're all lies," Rain Shadow said. "Quickly, come with me somewhere safe before I confront him." He stepped around the candy beans and attempted to grab her hand, but she pulled away.

"That's really okay," Jinx said. "I don't need to be rescued."

"You're fast," Rain Shadow said. "But that alone won't save you. Storm Shadow walks a path of darkness that only I – not Snake Eyes, or any of his other family members, or even he himself – can rescue him from, for I am the most special apprentice."

Jinx moved to put the shelf of candy beans between them. "Isn't that convenient for you. See, I'm still a bit unclear on how you came to that conclusion, why I should believe you, and frankly, why I should care."

He followed her. "Clearly, Storm Shadow has poisoned your mind. And why won't you let me rescue you?" he demanded. "You're in grave danger."

"Hey look, is that a clue to your past?" Jinx said, pointing emphatically over his shoulder with one hand and grabbing a jar of candy beans with the other. Rain Shadow turned.


"You made us stop so you could buy a jar of candy beans?" Storm Shadow asked. "That's what you needed so badly? And that one's all cracked. You could have at least taken the time to pick one that wasn't used to bludgeon someone."

Jinx frowned. "They said that if I broke it, I had to buy it."

"A ninja does not simply drop a jar of candy beans."

"So maybe I broke it over the head of some idiot kid," Jinx said. "He deserved it."

What did he do?

"He tried to rescue me. Also, even if you two did have a younger brother, he was insufferable and gullible and I regret nothing."

A Stu?

"It must be," Storm Shadow said. "Well, that's a new one."

Thank goodness Jinx beaned him.

"Congratulations, Snake Eyes. You have officially set the new world record for Worst Pun Ever," Storm Shadow said.

Because all your one-liners are so amazing.

"Don't bring me into this. This is about you and your terrible pun. Anyway, if we don't have anything else to do, we should leave before he wakes up and presses charges."

"Don't worry, he won't," Jinx said. "The only justice system in badfic is revenge."


A/N: So, additional disclaimers are in order. I do not own the larger Marvel Universe, nor do I own The X-Files or Arrested Development (candy beans!) – or, in fact, any of the other properties I will invariably reference – and any and all Sues/Stus are not intended to resemble anything particular. Because obviously, everyone cares so intensely.