The Action Force Annual 1988 was released in August 1987.
- Flint and Footloose have been parachuted into a strange environment and are attacked by hordes of Eels. Flint notices there is something odd about Footloose.
In Action Force's London headquarters Trent can barely stay awake during a lecture by Dr Laszlo Norval about Project Morpheus, which is "the ultimate in simulated combat" which words by putting a subject to sleep with a special drug and actual combat scenarios are programmed in and simulated through a special helmet, with the dream controlled externally. Flint undergoes the test.
- In the strange environment Flint and Footloose come under attack from hordes of Eels and Destro.
Flint has been asleep for over half an hour. Norval explains he is in the "battle zone" scenario with details fleshed out by Flint's memory. He is facing Cobra Eels per standard.
- Flint and Footloose throw grenades, killing many of the attackers. But Flint can't understand as "I killed Destro!" Footloose tells him it's time to go, even though his eyes are dead. Flint goes to Destro's corpse and lifts up the mask. He screams at what he sees.
Norval tells Trent and Lady Jaye that to Flint his situation is reality and if he dies he will remain asleep forever.
- Flint and Footloose watch as seven F.A.N.G.s converge. They creep forwards when Destro, pilotting the lead F.A.N.G., tells them to remain where they are. Flint can't believe it as he has just left Destro's corpse. In a disused railway siding Flint hears a piece of 1930s music that his father loved, before dropping his walkie-talkie as he always hated the song. Taking refuge in a railway tunnel, Flint wonders why they were attacked by Cobra frogment miles from any water, why was Destro leading the platoon when he's an arms dealer not a front line operative and why is Destro alive again? He asks Footloose if he can remember anything but gets no reply. And then he asks why a sophisticated Action Force radio was playing 1930s dance music. Footloose walks to the mouth of the tunnel to attack the F.A.N.G.s but gets shot down. Flint swears he will kill Destro.
Trent is worried about what is happening to Flint and orders Norval to bring him round but the latter replies that any premature action could kill him. Suddenly Norval tears off his clothes and face to reveal he is Destro!
- Flint throws a grenade aside, realising he has no chance of destroying all seven F.A.N.G.s.
Destro confirms he killed Norval and took his place to infiltrate Action Force's base. Lady Jaye pulls a pistol on him and tells him to programme an extra element into the simulation.
- Flint has reached an abandoned farmhouse and takes refuge. His grenade amazingly downed all the F.A.N.G.s and killed Destro again. Looking around he realises that he has been in an exactly identical farmhouse before when on manoeuvres in Flanders. Suddenly he hears a voice on his walkie-talkie... despite having left it in the railway tunnel. The voice is Lady Jaye, who tells him she is coming to get him. But the line goes dead before he can tell her he killed Destro and learnt he was Laszlo Norval. Flint waits and rests. After some time Lady Jaye arrives. Flint tells her Footloose is dead but she already knows. Flint asks how she could know that. Lady Jaye taunts him and tells him he failed, that Footloose trusted him and was let down. Lady Jaye suddenly turns into Destro and tells him he almost deserves to die. Flint escapes through a window, only to find the building is surrounded by four metre barbed wire that wasn't there before. Destro climbs out of the window and raises a rifle. Flint reaches the fence and finds it is electrified. Destro comes up and raises his weapon.
Flint is close to death. Lady Jaye knocks Destro across the room.
- Flint uses his legs to trip Destro up and grabs his own shotgun. He demands his foe tells him what is going on but Destro responds cryptically. Dawn is breaking and suddenly the very landscape changes and hordes of Cobra vehicles come over the horizon. Destro jeers and Flint throws him into the electric fence. The Flint destroys the fence with a grenade and runs, but can still hear Destro taunting him. The landscape changes again and everything goes grey. Once again Flint hears the 1930s music. The F.A.N.G.s and Night Ravens come at him but have now become enormous bats. As Flint looks around he remembers the Morpheus Programme and realises this is all a simulation. A Destro the size of cliff attacks him, but Flint calls his bluff and a hand comes out of the clouds and crushes him to death.
Flint wakes up, goes over to Destro and empties an entire Uzi clip into him. Lady Jaye, Trent and Footloose are speechless. But the Morpheus device suddenly erupts and explodes in a fireball that consumes the entire base and has devastating effects on London.
In a strategy room in his Balkans castle Destro freezes the battle computer screen in anger. Cobra Commander comes in and asks how long it will be before he admits failure and realises that he can't destroy Action Force without also destroying himself. Cobra Commander reminds him that Norval also invented nembucaine - "a drug which renders sleeping subjects suggestible to outside stimuli" - and perhaps a conscious subject might generate similar results. He leaves Destro to think. The latter picks up the intercom and tells the servants to prepare a banquet and include Norval on the guest list. Destro turns to his chessboard, humming a piece of 1930s music.
Featured Vehicles & Equipment
Items of note
- This was a prose story with accompanying illustrations.
- Trent's forename - Raymond - is given for the first time.
Twenty-one pages of "Hydrofoil" from G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #40 and twenty-two pages of "Strategic Diplomacy" from issue #41. The reprints were a little advanced from the reprints in the regular Action Force comic which in August 1987 had only got as far as "Celebration!" from G.I. Joe #33.
Items of note
- The annual cost £3.75. No overseas prices were printed on it.