I asked the players in my GI Joe game top write me a paragraph or more about what their character did between Nam and Angola. In retrospect I should have asked them to write a page each. As I recieved mostly paragraph summaries. But thats ok. Here they are.
After returning to the world, Leroy had a bit of a time readjusting. Facing gunfire and possible death on a daily basis left him just a little high strung and violence prone. He drifted from shitty job to shitty job until he stumbled on to the perfect career for someone, a little on the shady side, who thrives on action and adventure. Yup, you guessed it, he became a repo-man. Stealing back stuff for the bank, in the heart of Detroit? What more could a thrill-seeker ask for. The service taught him to drive damn near anything with wheels, and he sure as hell was used to getting shot at. So driving a tow truck and "stealing" from violent deadbeats was no sweat. He quickly gained a reputation as a "bad mutha-shut yo mouth" and made some good money. Of course, nothing could really compare to really being in "the shit", and he secretly craved a return to active duty. His wish was granted sometime in '76 when he was contacted by . . .
After being pulled out of Vietnam, Greggor "Kane" Kann'dred remained in the army, upon returning state side, he was detached to a special forces school in Va. Kane was later promoted to Warrant officer and over saw equipment and technical upgrades and training for special forces units.
After the war Carlos went back to the states, and tried to resume civilian life in Northern Michigan. After a few months he grew restless, and knew that working and living in the states was not challenging him enough. He decided to travel back to Korea where he had been stationed in the beginning of his military career. He traveled to visit the same Buddhist monks who originally trained him in Moo Gi Gong, and spent a few years learning more about his martial art. After feeling he had gained enough peace and skill he returned to the U.S. one more time, and was recruited by the CIA.
After Vietnam was over and he was sent home, he went back to his hometown and led a pretty dull life. Helping his parents out with the family business, a diner in the middle of town. Guys started coming around, wanting money for protection. They refused at first but then one of them put Matthew's mother in the hospital, a smack from the butt of the gun put her in a coma. Matthew visited her everyday and the sheriff also, wondering on the progress of catching the one that did that to his mother. Matthew could tell by the look in his eyes that he was scared and would do nothing. Matthew gathered up some of the local shop owners, whoever was willing to fight. Pooled money together and they all went to the nearest gun store and all got guns. Matthew got a pistol like the one he used in Nam. The next time those goons came around, the posse led them into one of their stores and killed the hell out of them. More guys were sent to find out what happened to the goons, and none of them made it back to tell their boss what happened. After another time, twenty men were sent to take care of the town and find out what happened to their fellow goons. A lot of good people died, but at the end of the day, Matthew stood triumphant, with the slain goons lining the streets. The townfolk don't really know, but apparently the boss found them more trouble than they were worth 'cause he never sent anyone around them parts again. Matthew's mother woke from her coma the day after the final fight, almost as if she knew it was safe in their town once again. Matthew was elected Sheriff in a unanimous vote, the town has been the epitome of safety ever since. And although he cleaned up his town, and keeps it clean, he finds himself longing for someone else to save and protect, which is why he never married. So when the call came to join up once more, he hesitated only a split second then said yes, sir.
(Timmies was delivered verbally. As the player didnt have time to get online for two weeks.... Can you see me rolling my eyes throught the computer. Sorry he has plenty of time to do it. He just didnt. But what ever. So this is paraphrased.)
After Nam he was stationed in Okinowa(sp?). There he trained with a karate dojo. Working on body hardening techniques.
(The story went on and was totally wrong for the time period and seemed more on the fly fabricated. So we'll just ignore it. Quit looking at my eyes.)
(The story isnt finished and is a story. As opposed as to a summary. But we discussed where he going with it. And I dont want to spoil it if he plans on finishing it. But its a Snake Eyes/Tommy kind of thing.)
Commando’s Aren’t Commitments. They are Deaths.
Trying to ease my mind, I counted the sections of pavement as I crept past them along the wall. The soft navy cloth covering my shoes made the fall of my foot nearly impossible for even my ears to detect. I gave a quick glance behind me, over my shoulder, and then quickly looked up as well. I almost let a soft chuckle escape my lips as I thought about all of the times I had surprised someone by hiding high. The only thing that squelched the laugh was the equally strong memory of all the people I had watched die because they also knew to hide high.
I watched as the sections of pavement counted down from four to three then two, and finally one. My body sloped into a natural crouch, and neared the edge of the wall. I let me hand silently drop to my side where I felt the ridged lacing of my Lion’s Head sword hanging in its padded sheath. For a moment there was a pang of alarm in my head. Panic causing my pulse to quicken and a slightly audible exhale gasp from my lungs. I had to steady the quiver that began in the fingers of my left hand, and reassure myself that the sword was more than enough for whatever I would need. I did not need to have my gun.
Images assaulted me from the recent past as I tried to steady my increase in breath. I could see myself, as though it were a dream, wandering aimlessly through the streets of San Francisco. Even though my mind’s eye knew that it was me, it was hard to tell from the image. I was so thin and haggard. The war had exacted so many tolls on me, and each one seemed to hang like blight on my physical form. The only thought that quelled my lump of shame that rose in my throat, tasting of bile, was the reminder that I had not gone back to the booze. Never again, at least that was my hope.
Even though recognizing me was tough, the intersection I wandered through stood out like a sore thumb. I knew the streets, the store fronts, the alley ways, the trash and banners and paper lanterns. I knew Chinatown all too well. I tried to remember if I had headed in that direction on purpose, or on accident. The harder I thought on it, the less sure I was about my decisions. I knew that I had tried to stay away from San Francisco when I first got back stateside, and yet within six months I found myself standing in Lin’s pagoda.
Lin Wei Zhong had been my best friend growing up. Much shorter than me, but so much faster, Lin was a dark haired devil. From the first time he tried to steal a pencil off my desk in second grade, I knew he was someone I wanted to be friends with. We both seemed to hate everything together. We got into girls together, sometimes literally, we got into booze and drugs together, and we got into the war together. In an attempt to keep us off the street, and to teach us decorum and discipline, Lin’s uncle, Shui Guo Zhong, began to teach us the ancient marshal art of the republic of China.
I knew that there was a fair amount of anti-Chinese sentiment when we were growing up, but it just seemed like the cruel pranks of kids. The shenanigans became deadly real when we the two of us got to military training. I hated those months of training more than I thought I had the capacity to hate. Every turn things got harder and worse. And at every turn Lei was the brunt of some new mischief or assault. I was his friend. I should have been the strong one there to help him. The truth was he was always the one strong at my side helping me. That was the first time in my life when I knew that I had let Lin down.
The second was on April third. We had been in the field for more than three months, and we still did not truly have the rhythm or feel of things. Well, I didn’t. Lin did. He talked quietly with any locals we came across, he seemed to know the track and the field, and he always knew where Charlie was hiding. I kind of figured that the war was all going to be alright so long as I stuck with Lin. It almost made me laugh; now, to think about the ridiculous naiveté I had back then. That morning, on April the Third, our commanding officer, called Lin up to the front of the line to interpret some tracks. I actually recall being proud to call myself friends with the best tracker on the team. That was the thought going through my head when I heard the muffled creams. In a flash I reached for my side arm and charged toward the front. Just as quickly a mass of hands grabbed my gun and me and held me firm. Through the struggling bodies I could see my guys beating someone up ahead. For that second I didn’t understand why I was being restrained. Then I caught a glimpse of Lin’s bloodied face through the fatigues and boots. The last thing I remember of that day was the stained whisper of one of my “friends” explaining that I would be next if I said anything to anyone.
The next day Lin was shipped home. He was alive, but in a coma. The field medic gave a prognosis that offered a best case scenario of Lin doomed to a lifetime in wheelchair. The worst case scenario was death. Of course, I knew that the true worst case scenario was the coma. Lin did not fear death. As the helicopter pulled up into the air, I turned knowing that I had failed Lin again.
Those thoughts, of my failures toward Lin, were the only thing I had when I stood in his Pagoda. I watched as Uncle Shui parted a screen and walked out toward me. I think I asked about Lin, but the words were incomprehensible through the sobs. As Uncle Shui caught my collapsing form, I recall being surprised at the small man’s iron like strength. The months that followed were filled with hard truths. Apparently Lin had made a partial recovery and left to return to China to visit some old family. I knew the words were filled with deception as Uncle Shui said them, but they had a friendly deception of family about them, so I let them lie. Eventually Uncle Shui returned to my training in martial arts. Only this time he added exercises in muscle training, conditioning, and stealth that I did not recognize. I did not see it then; he was training me for something specific.
Now, standing alongside a foul smelling pavement wall in the back alleys of San Francisco’s Chinatown, I understood that he had trained me to be capable of getting Lin back. Slowly listened at the edge of the wall, drinking in the sounds of the courtyard, I grew acclimated to the natural ambience. Once that was done, exactly as Uncle Shui taught me, I filtered out the noises until all that was left were the people. I could hear the breathing and movement of five different people. Three along the building near me, and another two moving separately further out.
Standing erect I straightened pulled off my mask, and smoothed out my clothes. I took a deep breath, and then briskly walked around the corner. A quick glance showed me that the two men were definitely sentries working a perimeter. Each carried a large automatic weapon, although I didn’t look long enough to identify what kind. Feeling a slight sigh of relief a smile actually rose to my face. I was actually glad that all five men were disposable.
I was within five feet of the three men before they even noticed me. My silent footfalls were obviously undetectable to their ignorant ears. One of the men caught sight of me over his companions shoulder and pointed in my direction. His two friends slowly turned, the one on the left fumbling with the cigarette in his mouth. Before the even had their guns raised on me, on fact before they even managed to finish mouthing words to me, I had my sword out. And two of them were dead on the ground. The remaining thug, the one who had first spotted me, turned to shout at the two sentries. I almost wished he had just tried to shoot me. It would have made the kill more adventurous. Before his body finished falling to the ground, I was entering the door they had been crowded in front of. I knew that the sentries would notice the bodies in seconds, but it didn’t seem to matter.
Inside there was a long hall with three doors on each side, plus a stairway at the end of the hall. I found myself considering the wisdom of capturing one of the sentries for information, when the second door on the left began to open. That was enough for me. When the Chinese thug had fully exited the door, I brought my sword down hard, slicing through his leg. He fell, screaming, grabbing at his new stump.
“I know you work for Jing Tu Chao,” I grabbed his face as I crouched in front of him so that he would pay attention to my Chinese. “Tell me of the deal he made with Lin Wei Zhong!”
The screaming began to subside and the large man tried to talk, but his gibberish was incomprehensible to me. The only message he conveyed that I was able to understand was the warning he gave me when his eyes, wide with panic, fluttered to the door behind me. I somersaulted off of one hand into the open room the thug had exited as bullets poured into spot I had just been standing. Clearly they were going to make things interesting.
* * *
As I walked away from the burning building I knew that I was going to have to find help translating many of the documents I had stolen. I was not sure where I would find that help, but I was encouraged that they might hold the key to where Lin had gone. I was adamant that I would not fail him a third time.
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