So originally this was to be posted by last Halloween. It's just a WEE bit late obviously. But at any rate, I hope it's a spooky sort of story for everyone.

I do not make any money from my fics, and I have no rights to the GI Joe franchise.

Beachhead was walking patrol. It was somewhere between 2am and 2:10am. His internal clock was fairly accurate. The time meant he was grumpy. This time of night usually meant he was asleep. He wasn't even patrolling somewhere important. He wasn't guarding a hidden camp, wasn't watching enemy forces... he was walking the perimeter fence at the Joe base. So he was patrolling the middle of a desert. A deserted desert in fact.

Word games. He was reduced to telling himself puns in his head because he was so bored. It wasn't that he wasn't paying attention to his patrolling. He was alert. Beachhead on patrol meant no one was sneaking past, no insurgents crept up on a place HE guarded. Hefting his rifle in his hands, he narrowed his gaze slightly and scanned the empty darkness. He was on guard.

If he had a cookie in his pocket, he'd have dessert in the deserted desert.

"Gawd dammit." Beach firmly told the over-eager eight-year-old who'd studied perhaps a bit more than he really needed to shut up and go back into his corner of the brain where he belonged.

Another ten minutes of steady walking brought him to a guard station. The greenshirt on duty might be used to half-dozing through the hours, but knowing the Sergeant major was the roaming guard somehow made the sleepiness disappear entirely. Beachhead was properly challenged and returned the codewords. He spent a moment checking that all was normal before walking off into the darkness again, carrying his rifle at the ready and scanning for anything that was abnormal.

Having a dessert in the dark deserted desert.

Beachhead sighed. He wished he'd been ordered to night patrol. Then he could be angry at whoever issued the order. Especially if it was Flint. Being angry at Flint would have been a fine way to pass a few hours. But nooo, he volunteered to be out here, bored and vaguely annoyed that there was nothing to spot and no one to discover and shoot. But he'd owed Tunnelrat a favor and when the little explosives expert wanted the night off, he'd called in that favor. Now here he was, patrolling in the light of the full moon, bored and getting more annoyed by the boring moment. His fingers tightened slightly on the rifle as a soft whisper of noise reached his ears. His stride did not pause or hesitate. No reason to alert the enemy that he'd detected them.

There... another sigh of noise that wasn't just the night breeze moving dry sparse grasses... Beachhead twisted suddenly, aiming unerringly at the intruder. The intruder froze in place, only a slight twitching of the desert hare's nose betraying that it was not just another clump of grass. He grunted and lowered his gun, frowning at the rabbit. "Well, go on... git!"

The rabbit didn't hesitate to 'git'... bounding away into the night leaving behind nothing but a few puffs of disturbed sand. Beachhead gave a snort of derision and started to turn away when another soft noise caught his attention. Lifting the rifle, he peered intently into the night. His first thought was another member of the native wildlife. The noise returned... almost a whisper of a voice... or was it a trick of the silence that it seemed like words being whispered just under his hearing?

He stepped forward quietly. On the third step out towards the empty desert, a glitter in the sands caught his eye. Something caught the moonlight and cast it back in tiny flashes, almost unnoticeable. Beachhead had to tear his gaze away from the enticing object to scan the night again. Almost against his will, his eyes returned to the glitter and he knelt to reach down, brushing loose sand away. The escaping rabbit had kicked it up, leaving the object half exposed in the moonlight for him to spot. Somehow the more he saw it, the more desirable it was to touch it, to sift it out of the dirt and finally to hold the coveted thing in his palm.

Beach held it up to the light. It was a very old stone arrow head... he tilted it to the side. As large as it was... possibly a spearpoint. The stray thought that he should take it to Charlie "Spirit" Ironhorse since it was a Native artifact crossed his mind. Beach examined it closer. It reached almost across his palm. As he turned it over, the dim light caught on the ridges and dips in the volcanic glass, painstakingly chipped into the lethal spearpoint shape by some hands long ago.

He kept looking at it, somehow mesmerized by the look and feel of it. The whispering noise returned but now it seemed soothing instead of alarming. The ranger's breath slowed and became slightly unsteady as his mind seemed to fixate on how pretty the spearpoint was, how perfectly balanced it set on his palm, how finely knapped the edges were... he reached with his other hand to run a finger along the edge, suddenly wincing when the blade bit into his bare fingertip. Blood welled up and, impossibly, soaked into the glass.

Instantly his brain seemed to clear and he blinked and started to look up when something wound into his mind and clamped down, stunning him. Beach gasped, struggling suddenly to remember how to breathe, losing his balance as his senses went haywire. The soft whispering voice was now shouting triumphantly inside his head. He collapsed twitching and thrashing in the sand, his hand clamped around the deceptively enticing artifact.

In only a few seconds his body stilled and he lay prone in the desert sands. Paralyzed from the inside, Beach felt as if he were fighting himself as his muscles relaxed and his limbs ceased to move. His mind was wrapped up and slowly each sense faded, his hearing going silent, his eyes going blind until even his sense of touch shut down, leaving him stranded in nothing. 'Sensory deprivation', his brain gave the state a label. Cut off from everything, Beachhead could barely tell that his body was still raggedly breathing.

The sense of an Other winding in his mind became stronger and the voice grew louder.

It has been long... many years since I felt a human form...

To his horror, Beach felt his body begin to respond to the Other's commands. The short panting became calm deep breaths and his eyes opened and looked up at the stars, washed out by the full moon's light. The relief of having his senses reawaken was destroyed by the fact that he couldn't control his own body.

Nukpana breathes again. Foolish mortal... Beach experienced a flash of pain as the invading spirit did something to his mind. You should feel privileged to host such a powerful being as myself.

Beachhead's mind retreated from the punishment and he snarled angrily. *Get away from me! Get out of my head!* Instead of intimidating the spirit, he felt the mocking amusement. He lashed out at the unwanted presence and was rebuffed. He reached to control his own body and was struck back again. This Nukpana easily kept him from reasserting control, whipping pain into him each time.

Nukpana controls this form and it would be best for you to accede before I destroy you entirely. The force inside his mind tightened it's hold and then turned its attention to the new body. Flexing the various limbs and rising to his feet, Nukpana enjoyed the play between muscles and bones as he stalked the area, enjoying the night air he'd not felt in nearly a century. Trapped in that ill-made spearpoint, now I can fulfill my own dreams. An evil smile spread across the body's face. Destruction of all humankind...

End chapter... and here the adventure goes...