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Battle Below Zero

1990

Alaska

Three G.I. Joe Polar Battle Bear skimobiles sped across the snow-covered Alaskan landscape toward a deep ravine. Leading the charge was Frostbite with Snow Job riding behind him. Second was Iceberg with Blizzard, bringing up the rear was Wind Chill with Sub Zero. The three skimobiles entered the mouth of the ravine speeding down the slope on to its floor. The three vehicles whipped around large boulders and trees that littered the ravine floor.


The trees cleared, revealing a pair of white-painted Cobra bunkers sticking out of the snow like igloos. Frostbite armed one of the skimobile’s small missiles and fired. The anti-tank warhead on the small “Rampage” missile was sufficient to penetrate the bunker’s wall and blow it up. Iceberg side-slipped out to the right and fired a missile of his own, destroying the second bunker.


The ravine was narrow as well as deep. As they raced along it, another bunker became visible to the right. This time Wind Chill launched a missile and blew it apart even as the Cobras inside began firing their machine-guns through the narrow slit.


The three skimobiles raced onward. But behind them came the roar of several Cobra Ferret ATVs that had been parked behind some trees near the bunker. Snow Serpents in their familiar grey uniforms and blue face-masks were riding them.


Sub Zero spun himself around on the seat, rested his M249 SAW light machine-gun on the rear rail of the skimobile and braced it before opening fire at the pursuing Ferrets, hitting one in the right front wheel and causing it to flip over and crash down, throwing the Snow Serpents off with the first burst.


On the other two skimobiles, Blizzard and Snow Job span themselves around and opened fire with their M16 assault rifles. The Snow Serpents were firing their ATVs’ machine-guns and grenade launchers, snow and dirt flying everywhere with each missed round. As the three Joes steering the Polar Battle Bears tried to avoid the fire by slaloming the skimobiles around, some of the Ferrets caught up and even passed the Joes.


Frostbite opened fire with the 9mm guns on the nose of his Polar Battle Bear, hitting the rear wheels of one Ferret and sending it into a spin that slammed it into a boulder. The fuel tank ruptured and the Ferret exploded from a spark from scraping metal.


Iceberg pulled out the Colt .45 he had in his shoulder holster as one Ferret drew alongside. Blizzard was blazing away at the Ferrets behind, so Iceberg simply fired two rounds into the driver, before veering away from the ATV.


The crackle of automatic gunfire and the explosions of grenades and torn apart Ferrets sent birds flying from the trees as the battle raced on along the ravine.


Ahead was a large gateway with Cobra troops manning guard posts either side and a walkway above it. Iceberg fired his second missile, blasting the large gate off its hinges, before riddling the guard post with 9mm bullets from the Polar Battle Bear’s guns.


The three skimobiles raced through the burning gateway.


“Yow!” Blizzard yelped, “That was close!”


Just how close was emphasised when a pair of chasing Ferrets slammed into either side of the gate and exploded. More Ferrets raced through, still chasing them Joes.


“Look out!” yelled Sub Zero as a rocket from one Ferret screamed past him and Wind Chill.


“Pin the throttle!” Snow Job yelled. “Don’t slow down!”


Suddenly a pair of FANG mini helicopters came racing along the ravine, barely thirty feet off the ground. Their 9mm bubble turret guns fired, ripping through the snow. At least two Ferrets were hit by ‘friendly fire’ as the Joes swerved to avoid the fire.


The three Polar Battle Bears finally reached the other, enclosed, end of the ravine.


Blizzard, Sub Zero and Snow Job scrambled off the skimobiles as Frostbite, Wind Chill and Iceberg dismounted and took cover behind the skimobiles.


Ahead of the other three were the open doors of a bunker built into the side of the ravine.


“The security office is on the other side of the garage,” Snow Job said as he led the way inside, more Ferrets and a pair of WOLF vehicles were sat inside.


Snow Serpents were coming toward them and all three Joes opened fire, cutting them down.


They reached the security office, where Snow Job grabbed several keys. “Looks like the intel was accurate, for a change,” he commented.


“Hold up,” Sub Zero said, “I need to reload.” He quickly pulled out the spent ammo box, shoved it into an empty pouch on his thick winter ops coat and pulled out a new ammo box from a separate pocket on the other side and shoved it into place before pulling the ammo belt into the receiver.


Blizzard pulled out his M16’s magazine, checked it and then switched it for a new one.


“You really should’ve brought a different gun,” he commented.


“You’ll be grateful when I can keep hosing the Snow Serpents while you’re switching mags,” Sub Zero replied, sounding annoyed.


“Enough chatter, let’s go!” Snow Job replied.


The three Joes moved out into the corridor beyond the garage area, weapons up and in the aim, ready to fire. A group of Snow Serpents appeared around a corner, AK-47s at the ready; but not ready enough. The three Joes cut them down with short bursts of fire.


The trio moved on along the corridor, reaching a pair of elevators. Snow Job pressed the call buttons for both. Sub Zero covering their backs as they waited.


The doors on the left elevator opened and the Joes stepped in. Snow Job hit the button for the sub-sub-basement.


“Still can’t believe the CIA had a damn walk-in over this,” Blizzard commented. “A freakin’ Cobra scientist walks into the agency and tells them Cobra’s developing a bio weapon in a lab under a mountain in Alaska.”


“Just be glad it’s panned out so far,” Sub Zero growled, “Intel’s usually lousy.”


“Quiet,” Snow Job ordered as the elevator pinged and the doors opened.


The Joes stepped out; weapons ready. They moved along the corridor and then a group of Snow Serpents burst out of rooms ahead of them.


“Fire!” bellowed one at the front. The Joes didn’t need the invitation and opened up as they tried to find cover in doorways.


The barrage cut down several Snow Serpents, even as they opened fire; bullets slamming into the corridor walls.


Sub Zero left go of his M249’s grip, with his right hand, grabbing the frag grenade on his left bicep. He pulled it off its strap, then pulled the pin and hurled it down the corridor.


“Frag out!” he bellowed.


The grenade detonated a second later, blowing apart the Snow Serpents’ formation and their bodies.


Sub Zero leaned out of his doorway. “Clear!” he shouted. “I hate the cold, I hate Cobra, I hate fighting in buildings and I really, really hate bio weapons!” he snarled.


Blizzard gave him a confused look. “You’re a winter operations specialist and you hate the cold?” he asked.


“Ignore him,” Snow Job said, “Let’s just get the job done.”


Sub Zero growled.


The three Joes moved up to the large, bunker-like door to the main lab. Blizzard opened a pocket on Sub Zero’s backpack and pulled out a small block of C4.


Sub Zero and Snow Job ducked into an office next to the lab door as Blizzard set the detonator in the plastic explosive and fixed it to the door lock.


After joining them in the office, Blizzard detonated the charge, blowing the locks off.


The door swung open and Snow Job hurled in a pair of stun grenades.


Ear-splitting booms and blinding flashes filled the room. The Joes moved in, spraying rounds at the Cobra Lab-Vipers.


“Clear!” Blizzard called.


“Clear!” growled Sub Zero.


“Room clear!” acknowledged Snow Job. “Plant the C4, let’s go!”


The other two moved around the room, planting and arming the plastic explosives as Snow Job kept watch at the door. More Snow Serpents appeared out of the elevators. Snow Job pinned them down with accurate fire of single rounds.


“Charges set!” Blizzard said.


“Let’s get out of here,” Sub Zero snarled.


He moved to the door and opened up, full auto, with his M249. Bullets ripped the corridor apart.


The trio ran to the elevators and huddled into one.


Back at surface level, they charged out of the base as the lab exploded below them.


The Joes hastily mounted their Polar Battle Bears and began speeding back along the ravine.


A few Snow Serpents with more guts than sense chased them, with the Joes returning fire.


As they reached the mouth of the ravine, the three skimobiles split around the large form of the Avalanche arctic tank sitting there, waiting to back them up.


Cold Front, sitting in the cockpit of the Avalanche, targeted the Ferrets chasing the Joes and opened fire with the Avalanche’s guns, blasting them to scrap. He fired off a pair of missiles and then gave a satisfied nod as he saw there were no targets left. Firing up the engine, he turned the vehicle around and sped after the skimobiles, catching them up.


The group pulled to a halt.


Cold Front climbed out and set about unstrapping several jerry cans of fuel. The other Joes refuelled the skimobiles.


“Nice job,” Cold Front commented.


“You too,” Iceberg replied. “They weren’t expecting that thing to be here.”


Refuelling done, the Joes headed south to an air-strip and a waiting C130 to head back to their base in Utah.

Notes

This story is inspired by and loosely based on the Special Ops mission "Black Ice" from the original Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. It was born out of a desire to do a story with as many of the Arctic Joes that didn't appear in the original ARAH comics as I could. It was set in 1990 so that I could have the v1 Snow Serpents appear, rather than the Battle Corps-esque V2 figures. I know, I know, I could've just given them the older uniforms, but that's not how my brain works.

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