A squad of Joes and the Oktober Guard find themselves in a race against each other to recover Cobra secrets, but can Lifeline bring himself to break his non-combatant principles?

Issue summary

Wild Bill is flying a plane over the South China Sea, near the Malay Peninsula. On board are Leatherneck, Roadblock and Lifeline, along with a captured Cobra Firebat that Slipstream lured out before he had to go to refuel. Suddenly the plane is attacked by a Hind helicopter gunship, piloted by the Oktober Guard. Roadblock and Leatherneck trade shots with the Guard, but Lifeline insists he is a non-combatant medic and struggles to extract the Firebat's black boxes before they abandon the plane. Lifeline's attitude is not making him popular with his comrades nor is his failure to extract the black boxes due to the anti-tamper devices. The plane is now finished and Wild Bill orders everyone to bail out. Once in the air Roadblock fires a stinger (which was too dangerous inside the plane) and knocks out the Hind tail rotor, sending it crashing down.

The Joes land in the jungle, with Lifeline's parachute caught up in a tree. The others cut him down and move out. Meanwhile the Guard emerge from the wreck of their Hind and spot the smoke of the crashed plane. Colonel Brekhov orders them to get to the crash site first. The Joes are also on the move when they are attacked by leeches but Lifeline shows them how to remove them without getting infected. Then a huge tiger emerges from the woods but Lifeline tells them it's only afraid if they make no sudden moves it will go away. Meanwhile the Guard have found a trail used by hunters and smugglers and realise an upcoming blind bend will be good for an ambush. The Joes head down the same trail when Leatherneck spots the danger point and smells Russian tobacco from Brekhov's cigarette. The two sides exchange shots but Leatherneck is wounded. Whilst Wild Bill and Roadblock hold the line Lifeline drags Leatherneck to safety, though refuses to take his grenade launcher because it would be against his personal beliefs to hurt another human. Wild Bill is also wounded so the two intact Joes pick up their comrades and run. Stormavik and Schrage have also been wounded but Brekhov orders them to continue to the crash site as he knows the Joes won't stop either. Lifeline examines Wild Bill who has been hit in the chest

Later the Guard reach the crashed plane and Daina discovers the anti-tamper devices have been disabled so extracts the black boxes just as the Joes arrive. Another battle ensues when suddenly both sides come under fire from river pirates with overwhelmingly superior fire power who capture them. The pirates' leader, Sarawak Sally, has them locked up on-board their boat. Inside the cell Daina peers through a crack to see the pirates are forcing other prisoners to fight for entertainment, with Sarawak Sally shooting the loser dead. She then orders the Joes and Huard brought on deck and each side to draw straws to chose a champion to fight to the death, with the winner going free. Horrorshow is unimpressed at the prospect of being freed on a river in the middle of nowhere so Sarawak Sally orders that he draw the short straw. Meanwhile Lifeline has drawn the short straw for the Joes but argues he is an official non-combatant. Horrorshow ignores this and attacks but Lifeline deflects him time and again, until Horrorshow crashes into a mast unconscious. Wild Bill explains that Lifeline is a black belt in Aikido - "a Zen martial art with no offensive moves. The purpose is to redirect violent energy away from oneself..." Sarawak Sally congratulates Lifeline and prepares to shoot Horrorshow dead. But Lifeline refuses to let her kill a defenceless man. She asks if he wants the black boxes as well, but he replies that they are not worth more lives. He tells her that they contain Cobra secrets, to the outrage of Leatherneck. Lifeline responds that if he didn't, the Oktober Guard's blood would be on his hands. Sarawak Sally laughs and tells them they can all go because one of them has the courage of his convictions. She drops the boxes in the river as an offering to the river spirits "in celebration of the continuance of valour!"

Featured Characters

G.I. Joe Oktober Guard Others
  • Sarawak Sally (10)
  • River pirates (11)
  • Prisoners (12)

Featured Vehicles & Equipment



Items of note


ARAH issues:
Special Missions issues:
#1 | #2 | #3 | #4 | #5 | #6 | #7 | #8 | #9 | #10 | #11 | #12 | #13 | #14 | #15 | #16 | #17 | #18 | #19 | #20 | #21 | #22 | #23 | #24 | #25 | #26 | #27 | #28
Collected editions:
G.I. Joe: Special Missions | G.I. Joe: The Best of Larry Hama
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