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WHEN A NEW BREED OF EVIL EMERGES, A NEW BREED OF SOLDIER MUST FIGHT IT. While convoying new high-tech weaponry in Central Asia, Captain Duke Hauser and his right-hand man, Ripcord Weems, along with their NATO Special Forces Unit, are ambushed by heavily armed super-soldiers called Vipers. Just as it becomes clear that Duke's squad is seriously outgunned, and after one of the Vipers attempts to make off with the cache of coveted arms, out of nowhere comes a secret band of soldiers to help the good guys: Team G.I. JOE. General Hawk, head of the elite military ops, enlists Duke and Ripcord to join JOE stalwarts Heavy Duty, Breaker, Scarlett, and Snake Eyes in retrieving the weapons and keeping a well-financed foe from controlling cutting-edge nano-mite technology that destroys everything in its path. Racing around the globe, the G.I. JOE team takes on the baddest of the badStorm Shadow, Zartan, Destro, and the lovely but lethal Baroness. And in confronting genetically manipulated super-soldiers, Duke must also face his own inner demons when a sinister figure appears to raise the stakes and maneuver events toward an even greater catastrophe.
Max Allan Collins is the author of the New York Times bestselling graphic novel Road to Perdition, made into the Academy Award-winning film starring Tom Hanks and Paul Newman. His other credits include such comics as Batman, Dick Tracy, and his own Ms. Tree; film scripts for HBO and Lifetime TV; and the Shamus Award-winning Nathan Heller detective novels. His tie-in novels include the USA Today bestsellers Saving Private Ryan, Air Force One, American Gangster,and ten CSI novels. He lives in Muscatine, Iowa, with his wife, Barbara, with whom he collaborates as “Barbara Allan” on the Trash ’n’ Treasures mystery series.
The Nobel War Prize
The skies were clear and bright outside NATO Headquarters in Brussels, the many colorful flags of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s member nations flapping lazily in a gentle breeze, as if to say all was well with the world.
But within the massive, twentieth-century–modern central structure, in the auditorium-style seating of a darkened briefing chamber, twenty-two NATO military commanders and their aides were listening, some on translation headphones, to talk of war.
This talk, at least—courtesy of James McCullen of MARS Industries—posited warfare that might spare populaces of some of the carnage and destruction associated with history’s favorite pastime.
This descendant, and namesake, of a certain James McCullen had a similarly strong, angular face, and eyes that carried a similar proud defiance. His dark business suit was beautifully tailored to his slender, muscular frame, set off by the distinctive and unusual touch of a round red medallion of a tie tack that rode his silk tie.
No one present but McCullen himself had any reason to know that this was the symbol of an ancient Scottish clan that had made its fortune and fame in the sales of arms.
The man addressing these military commanders was in the same line of work, for which he made no apologies.
“Tragic as they are to fight,” McCullen was saying, “wars must be won. Wars that linger and go on in a seemingly endless fashion destroy the social fabric of both sides of any conflict. If we can agree that wars are as inevitable as they are tragic, however, perhaps we can take steps to minimize their devastation. Perhaps these conflicts don’t have to be as destructive as they have been in the past.”
Behind the speaker at his sleek podium, on a huge wall screen, a series of complex schematics rolled continuously.
“Nano-mites,” McCullen said, biting off the words. “Perfect little soldiers. Originally developed, as you know, to isolate and destroy cancer cells . . . but we at MARS Industries . . . with the help of a little NATO funding . . .”
A few gentle laughs rippled. This audience knew how many billions had gone into “a little” funding; and the speaker seemed to soak up this benign, good-humored response.
“. . . we discovered how to program them to do, well, almost anything. What, for instance? How about . . . to eat metal.”
On the looming screen behind McCullen, a soldier was remotely starting a tank before gunning it forward. Another soldier fired in response at the racing tank, using a shoulder-launched missile. The warhead struck the tank head-on, bursting not into flame, rather into a shimmering silver wave that washed ripplingly over the metal, eating it away like a school of piranha devouring a horse.
With a gentle gesture, McCullen indicated this bizarre sight, saying, “What you see here are millions of microscopic nano-mites, ladies and gentlemen. Seven million, to be precise, the payload of a single warhead, with the ability to consume anything from a single tank to an entire city.”
The not easily impressed military minds gathered before McCullen were clearly startled, even shaken by what they were witnessing on the screen, which was the disappearance of a heavy tank, with the silver nano-mites scurrying on toward a nearby jeep.
“No innocent casualties,” McCullen said, with smooth salesmanship. “No loss of human life. Which is why the development of nano-mite technology has been such a priority for me and my company.”
On-screen, the soldier who fired the shoulder-launched warhead flicked a switch, and the nano-mites instantly went motionless around the jeep, as if they’d dropped dead.
“Once a target has been destroyed,” McCullen said,
Excerpted from G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra by Max Allan Collins All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.