An Excerpt from Chapter 3. If you like what you read, you can purchase a copy of the ebook at the following link: http://www.amazon.com/G-I-JOE-Resurgence-Novella-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B00NMQH27S/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1410986243&sr=8-1&keywords=gi+joe+resurgence
“Thanks for the tech expo but gadgets aren’t really my thing. Give me some knives, handguns, and a hook and chain, and I’ll be fine,” stated Shipwreck as he placed his own reliance in his ability to hold his own in a fight, “Old salty sea dogs like myself rely on our wits and instincts.”
Grand Slam and Stalker glanced at one another knowing full well that Shipwreck had not been encouraged by the gadgets and weapons Grand Slam was able to create; Shipwreck cared more about honing his own physical skills. It was only a matter of time before Shipwreck inquired about a training room.
“So you do have a dojo to train in? Gym? Or something?” asked Shipwreck as he glanced over to a set of punching bags, treadmills, free weights, and sparring mats near the end of the facility.
“Obviously not as big as the two previous Pits but it does its job. We have weights, cardio machines, weapons, punching bags, and a sparring mat,” stated Stalker as he led Grand Slam and Shipwreck to the training room located in the northern section of the building.
Off in the distance, Shipwreck could hear the sounds of a woman hitting punching bags. In the distance, he could see a woman dressed in a black martial art outfit with died purple hair that radiated light like the sun. In her hands, she held two tonfas by which she struck different sized strike bags. As the men came closer to where she was practicing, the woman stopped her strikes and walked confidently over to Stalker.
“This is our newest member of the Joes, Gwen Patrenko, from Bucharest, Romania. She goes by the code name Queen of Hearts. She is our fourth member,” announced Stalker.
Shipwreck snickered at her code name, “Much of a card player are ya or were you a queen of some province in Eastern Europe? Where’s the King of Hearts?”
“There is no king,” responded the Queen of Hearts in a cold Romanian accent, “But if you must know my card game of choice, it’s Blackjack.”
“World champ a few times too,” announced Stalker.
“So no Scarlett, Cover Girl, or Bombstrike?” asked Shipwreck as he began to size up the Queen of Hearts’ potential as a new Joe, “Couldn’t convince them to join ya?” Shipwreck scoffed at the Queen of Hearts as he thought about all of the G.I. Joe leadership they needed but was quite absent given it was just Stalker, Grand Slam, and himself.
Stalker shrugged off Shipwreck’s biting comments, “The Queen of Hearts was highly recommended by Bombstrike and Scarlett.”
“So she’s a copycat of them or something?” Shipwreck asked satirically.
“I copy no one,” she answered sharply as she placed her tonfas back into her holsters on her hips and reached for a towel to dry the sweat from her brow.
“Got that cold Eastern European personality, too,” chided Shipwreck.
“We figured the two of you would get along well,” joked Stalker as he patted Shipwreck on the back.
“Those were some fancy moves back there,” said Shipwreck as he crossed his arms in defiance, “Any combat experience or did Stalker drag you away from some second rate rec center martial art class?”
“I have plenty of combat experience to handle someone like you,” she replied coolly, “Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo, the Eastern European states civil wars, just to name a few. Unlike you, my military experience is relative and not found in the pages of some history book.”
“Sharp words, doll,” stated Shipwreck defensively, “Listen, I’ve been fighting wars before you were in diapers. I could take you in five minutes.”
“You look like a drowned dog who doesn’t know when to lay down and die,” replied the Queen of Hearts, “You’re out of shape, too.”
“I like her,” smiled Shipwreck as he admired her abrasive personality, “She’ll get along great here.”
The Queen of Hearts walked passed Shipwreck and glared at him with disgust. “Let’s see if this old sea dog has some fight left in him,” challenged the Queen of Hearts.
Shipwreck smirked at the challenge and felt adrenaline surge through his veins. The Queen of Hearts tossed Shipwreck the old familiar kusarigama. Shipwreck reached out with his left hand and caught the hilt of the attached sickle while snatching the end of the chain with his right hand.
“Not quite my hook and chain but it will do,” spoke Shipwreck as he stood in a kusarigamajutsu attack stance with the sickle raised in his left hand, chain wrapped around his back, and the ball in his right hand, “Snake Eyes taught me a bit with the kusarigama. I won’t go easy on you.”
The Queen of Hearts smiled defiantly, “I don’t expect you to. I only hope you defend the honor of Snake Eye’s tutelage. If you get winded before we finish, just surrender before you break a hip.”
The Queen of Hearts prepared to fight Shipwreck with her two tonfas as she moved into an attack position. Stalker and Grand Slam glanced at each other as their expressions livened with the anticipation of the coming fight. Between the Queen of Hearts’ impressive fighting skills and sassy personality paired against Shipwreck’s abrasiveness and own combat experience, the two of them knew it would be entertaining.
Like his brash personality, Shipwreck chose to attack first by spinning the ball of the kusarigama. He flipped forward and swung the ball towards the Queen of Hearts in multiple offensive strikes. The Queen of Hearts rolled to her left side missing Shipwreck’s strikes and thrust her tonfas towards his ankles scooping him off his feet. Shipwreck flew upwards but managed to keep his ground and retaliated with two thrust kicks towards the Queen of Hearts. She blocked and countered the kicks with two tonfa jabs to Shipwreck’s wrists. Trying to ignore the pain, Shipwreck took the opportunity to wrap her wrists with the chain and tried to drag her to the ground. With some quick Aikido moves, the Queen of Hearts slide under Shipwreck while pulling him off his feet and flipping him onto his back. She was able to pull herself free and then prepared a strike toward Shipwreck’s neck. Both fighters stopped sparring and walked to opposite ends of the dojo; the other Joes could sense Shipwreck’s pride had been hurt and humbled.
“She…got…lucky,” panted Shipwreck in brash defiance as he bent over to breath more steadily, “My…concentration…slipped.”
Stalker and Grand Slam chuckled to themselves as the Queen of Hearts adopted another offensive pose with the tonfas, taunting Shipwreck to spar once more.
“Best two out of three?” challenged the Queen of Hearts.
“Sounds fine to me,” breathed Shipwreck as he quickly moved to a neutral stance with the kusarigama.
Immediately, the Queen of Hearts raced forward, spun into a cartwheel, and struck at Shipwreck’s left knee and right ankle. Shipwreck countered the move with two thrust kicks while swiping at her with the sickle of the kusarigama.
Thwack-thwack! Shipwreck stumbled backwards as the Queen of Hearts landed two hard jabs to his left side with the gyakute grip technique of the tonfas.
I can’t give in now, winced Shipwreck as he mustered up the strength to block and parry the Queen of Hearts’ unrelenting attacks. Shipwreck encircled the chain around his body to build momentum and then thrust it towards the Queen of Hearts’ right ankle, scooping her off balance. She countered with a strike to Shipwreck’s shoulder that he blocked. Seeing his winning opportunity, Shipwreck thrust the ball around the Queen of Heart’s wrists, tossed her forward, and then pinned her to the mat.
“That makes us even,” grinned Shipwreck as he released her and two of them walked back to their apposing sides of the sparring mat.
The Queen of Hearts said nothing in reply as she calmly assumed a neutral stance and prepared to take on Shipwreck once more. Shipwreck grinned and looped the chain around himself and charged towards her. The Queen of Hearts leapt over Shipwreck, flipped backwards, and struck his shoulder blades with her tonfas. Shipwreck staggered a few times but quickly launched the sickle behind him to snag the Queen of Hearts. She smiled in anticipation of his attack, deflecting the chain, and wrapped it around Shipwreck’s legs, tripping him up. Next, she struck him in the sides and cartwheeled in front of him. Shipwreck felt himself stagger but swung the ball towards the Queen of Hearts with all his might. Turning sideways, the Queen of Hearts slipped pass the darting ball and chain striking Shipwreck in the ankle.
Immediately, he dropped to a kneeling position while the Queen of Hearts prepared a final blow to his neck. Anticipating that she would try another final strike, Shipwreck ducked as the Queen of Hearts swung her tonfas at his head, looped the chain around her wrists, and flipped her over his head. Shipwreck smirked in satisfaction, but his cockiness lowered his ability to anticipate the Queen of Hearts round-house kick to the stomach.
As her foot slammed into his gut, Shipwreck felt his breath leave him as he dropped to the floor and began to gasp for air. The Queen of Hearts had won the third round leaving her the champion of their sparring match.
I was beaten by a rookie, thought Shipwreck between gasps as the soreness in his muscles began to subside the longer he rested on the floor.
“Pride a little hurt, Shipwreck?” teased Stalker.
Shipwreck felt like swinging a punch at Stalker for his jeering response but was too busy nursing his injuries. He knew he could still hold his own in a fight, but the sparring match had revealed areas of refinery needed in his combat technique.
“Shut up!” he said as the Queen of Hearts walked over to him and offered Shipwreck her hand to pull him up.
“Not much for chivalry are you,” taunted the Queen of Hearts, “At least lose honorably.”
Shipwreck grabbed her hand and was hoisted back onto his feet as he muttered to himself.
Grand Slam and Stalker tried not to laugh in front of Shipwreck as his pride was damaged by the loss, but every time he would turn his back to them the two of them would snicker quietly.
“I can hear ya,” called Shipwreck as he limped a bit while walking behind the Queen of Hearts as the two of them headed towards Stalker and Grand Slam.
“So now that everyone has been properly introduced,” teased Stalker, “Let’s discuss our rescue mission in detail.”
Brophy, Barry Irwin. G.I. Joe: Resurgence: Book One of the Nest Trilogy. Seattle: Amazon Kindle Worlds, 2014. Amazon ebook.