Caught in the Crossfire

Chapter 2: The Snake Bites

Cobra Commander P.O.V.

Dr. Rufus Callaway's work could have made this process a whole lot easier on the both of us, but I think I prefer it this way; it's a lot more fun. Dr. Callaway was one of the best experts on anatomy, and probably could've pointed out how the serum would've reacted in a human's system, or vice versa. But unfortunately, when Dr. Callaway quit and successfully escaped my grasp, his research and notes went with him. I vowed to make him suffer, and once we located the place where he worked, I sent him threats that if he didn't keep quiet, people he loved would suffer too.

I had originally thought about taking him instead of his daughter, but what better way to make a man suffer than to take away something he loves the most and is the most desperate to protect. It could not be someone to young otherwise we would not get the proper results and data to collect, and it could not be his wife, she did not have the stamina to survive the testing, the only one left had been his only daughter, Samantha Rosia Callaway. She was a child prodigy. She had skipped eighth grade and was preparing to skip ninth grade. She had perfect attendance and perfect scores her entire life! Also, she was the star player on the volleyball, soccer, track and field, gymnastics team, martial arts class, and basketball. Not only was this child smart, she was at her physical peak! She was also at a close enough age for the testing to get the proper results and data. And her kidnapping, and most likely, death, would make her father suffer quite a bit, not enough for me to stop there, but enough for now.

I was sitting in the control room, waiting for my prize to be brought in. I looked gleefully down at the quarantine cubicles that surrounded the base of the control room. Most already had occupants, and a few of those occupants had been tested. The occupants that had been tested had all been failures. Each one of them had received an unpleasant side effect and, however different each side effect was, it was killing each and every one of them, slowly but surely.

Knock knock

"Who is it?" I snapped.

"It's us Commander, with your extra special prisoner right here." A soldier responded.

I grinned. "Excellent, excellent, please bring her in!" The brought in a young lady that was approximately five foot eight, very skinny, pale complexion, slim features, high cheek bones, Siamese fur patterned hair, and the most startling sky blue eyes that looked like they could see right through me, straight to my dirty, wicked soul. She was a tad ruffled, as shown by the messy hair, ruffled blue t-shirt, and dirt covered black skinny jeans. She glared at me with undisguised hatred and disgust.

"You better be careful with this one Commander, she's quite feisty." One of the soldiers joked, probably a new-be (the more experienced ones knew better than to joke like that around me), and went to stroke the bottom of her chin with his index finger. And as quick as a lightning bolt, Samantha bit down on his finger, hard. "Ouch!" he cried, shaking his hand and splattering droplets of blood across the floor and his uniform. He quickly stuck his still gloved hand in his mouth and sucked on it. "See what I mean?" He said around his hurt finger as he glared at the girl.

"She's been fighting us the whole way." The other soldier reported. "Took us about fifteen minutes just in order to take her out of the tank."

"Such a perfect specimen. Is she alright?" I asked as I stooped to the level the girl had doubled over, the only thing keeping her up was the soldiers that were holding her rope bound hands. But faster than I could say "Those blasted Joes.", she had brought her right knee up and into every male's weakness. I fell up to my knees and looked up at her, glaring at her, even though she couldn't see it through this blasted metal mask. The next thing she did surprised me even more, she went and spit on my face mask.

"You insufferable whelp!" Destro yelled as he made his presence known in the room. He raised his hand as to back hand the girl across the face.

"No Destro, wait." I said as I sorely got up. He gave me a weird look. "We don't want the perfect test subject to be ruined, do we?" Destro grinned.

"You'll wish the beating you was what we were planning to do to you by the time we're done with you."

Samantha P.O.V.

"You'll wish the beating you was what we were planning to do to you by the time we're done with you." Destro said, grinning like the Cheshire cat.

I almost shivered in fear at the thought of what they could and would do to me, but thought better of it and instead I chose to continue my glare every person in the room. "What do you mean? Why am I the perfect test subject?"

"Good question my dear, and it's always best to start from the beginning." He hissed as he paced to the front of the control room where everything in the base could be seen, and I was dragged along. My hands hurt from where the rope was causing a rope burn. "You see, your father signed up for a job as a scientist here before you were born-"

"Yeah, yeah, I know this story all ready. He didn't realize you were actually terrorists and quit when he did find out and now your seeking you revenge on him." I snapped, trying to sound braver than I felt.

"That's not the full story my dear, your father never actually found out what his true project had been. He was supposed to work on a super soldier serum, a serum that was supposed to give whoever was injected with it the qualities of whatever animal's DNA were mixed in with that batch of serum." I looked at him in horror. I saw where this was heading all too fast. "You my dear, have no imperfections, unlike the ones who already have been tested."

"What happened to them?" I gulped.

"Well, they're either dead or dying." I fell silent, I felt numb, but could still faintly hear what the people around me were saying.

"Any orders Commander?" The older soldier asked.

"Yes, as soon as you dropped her off in her cell, take a piece of her hair and take it to the cloning station. If she survives the testing, we still want her to appear dead to her family. Make sure she is one of the last ones to be tested, I want the serum to be as close to be perfected when it's her turn. If she is a success, she will be the perfect soldier." Commander Cobra ordered.

"Yes sir!" the soldiers replied and they dragged me out the door. The dragged me across the catwalk and into an elevator that would take us to the quarantine cell levels.

As we passed some cells on the way to mine, a strange figure shoved against the small square window that was in the upper part of the door, and pounded against the glass. I tripped over my feet when I saw the details, it was a human with grey skin, albino hair, its eyes were nothing but a greyish blue, and there were holes in the skin where blood was slowly trickling out and it was smeared all over the glass. "Come on, move it!" A soldier said as he roughly shoved me onto my feet again. "It's not nice to stare." He teased. We continued to move on, but I noticed that in a few of the cells, people who had not been tested, stared at me sadly. They knew what was happening and that it was going to happen to them, and I was joining them in the line for death. We finally came to the last cell that was empty and the soldiers quickly cut my bonds, and threw me into the cell which then slammed shut.

I looked around at the small apartment-like cell. It was tabloid pill shaped with blue trimming and white walls. The small oval-like cell was cut into two by a wall and a door. One was the bathroom, but the toilet and the sink were in the shower, and all bare necessities had been included. The other room had a bed you would normally see in a prison cell that had blue and white covers, sheets, and pillows. It seemed comfortable enough for the first few weeks, but after that, I had lost track how long I had been in there, waiting for it to be my turn to die. I only knew the time of day because of the regular meals and someone would scream every half an hour when they were being given the serum, except for the night time. The Commander didn't run any tests at night.

The guards always took me out to exercise around 2 pm. I was the only one who got to do this. I suppose it's because Cobra Commander didn't want to let his "perfect" specimen's perfectness to rot away in that cell. He wanted me as healthy as possible when it came time for my turn.

I was waiting patiently for my guards to come take me out for exercise at 2pm one day. But they didn't come. Someone screamed. It was 2:30 and they weren't here. 2:40, nothing. Finally, at 2:50 they came, but they didn't have any of the usual exercise equipment they had when they came to take me out, instead they had some shackles for both my wrists and my ankles, and a metal collar that was hooks up to two three and a half foot pole. "No, no, NO!" I exclaimed. I knew it was coming, but I never allowed myself to accept that it would actually happen. I always thought someone like the G.I. Joes would come and save me. I never thought that no one would come to my rescue. I backed up against my cells wall and tried to fight back, but it was impossible in such close quarters. They soon had me chained and were forcing me to walk towards the building I saw people walking into normal and healthy, but come out looking like they would die any second. I started to struggle harder. One of the men holding my collar pole shook it, nearly choking me.

"Knock it off." He scolded. "It'll be over before you know it. Now just move it." I moved. It was no use trying to fight the inevitable, whatever happened in there would decide my fate. When we entered the room Cobra Commander and Doctor Mindbender were awaiting us. The room had a cold metallic operating table complete with restraints, several sharp utensils laid on a silver tray that sat next to the table, and… A cobra? The little thing hissed at me from his cage that was on the other side of the table. I jumped, well, I jumped the best you can when every limb and your head is chained.

"Hehehe." Commander Cobra laughed. "Nervous?" He asked. I nodded my head. You never lied to the commander. "Good. Boys, strap her to the table."

"Yes sir, Cobra Commander, sir!" The soldier shouted. They used the thing on my neck to force me onto the table, then they strapped me down and removed the other chains. I struggled slightly against the restraints.

"Don't even brother Samantha. Those restraints were made strong enough to hold an elephant. I made them myself. It's an alloy of-" Doctor Mindbender started.

"Oh shut up you dolt, and start the experiment." The Commander hissed. "Now it's time to see if we have finally had the right formula for the serum." He started to rub his hands together manically. Doctor Mindbender reached into the cage containing the snake and quickly grabbed the serpent by the neck and picked up a syringe and injected something into the venom glands of the snake, at least, that's what I think my biology book said that the venom glands were in that area. "I picked this animal especially for you, you'll like it, if you survive that is."

Dr. Mindbender took the snake and placed it right next to my forearm. The cobra, finally finding something to take its furry out on, sank its fangs into it. I cried out in pain.

"Oh, and when the serum starts to take effect, it may hurt just a little." Doctor Mindbender commented. "After all, your DNA is being changed, the very structure of your being."

And at exactly 3 pm, I let out an ear piercing scream of agony. My whole body burned. It felt like some had soaked my in kerosene and then lit me on fire. It felt like someone was stabbing me over and over. It felt like the time I got into a fight with a kid that was almost three times my size and weight. It basically felt like the devil had come himself to welcome me at death's doors. I begged for unconsciousness, I begged for ignorance of the pain that dance around my body. I wanted this to stop, even if it meant dying, and soon I was met by a black wall of nothing.

My eyes fluttered open, weakly but surely. I took a deep breath, I was alive! My eyes had opened to see the hideous faces of Cobra Commander and Doctor Mindbender, who were staring at me with pure joy. "It worked! It worked! This is most excellent!" the Commander shouted triumphantly.

"Wait a minute, how can you tell it worked?" I asked flicking my tail in annoyance . Wait a second- a tail? I finally look down at myself and take a deep intake of breath. My clothes had been torn in many places, and where there was a tear, a tuft of Siamese patterned fur stuck out. I saw that I now had a long and skinny tail, and when I looked at my hands, they were covered in a thin layer of fur, and when I flicked my wrist, little claws came out of the tips of my fingers. It looked really weird, especially since I still had regular finger nails.

"Do you wish to see your face my dear "Kit-kat"?" Doctor Mindbender asked, mocking the nickname my dad had given me. I shook my head. "To bad." And with that he held a mirror for me to see that, for the most part, my face looked normal, except for the fact that it was covered in fur, my pupils had become slits, and I had ears popping out of the top of my head instead of on the side where they belong. My wild hair went just added to my cat-like look. I scowled at the face I saw in the mirror, and noticed that I also had fangs. They sort of looked like vampire fangs, but they were more cat-like.

"Scan her new DNA structure to see if it's stable." Cobra Commander ordered Doctor Mindbender. Doctor Mindbender promptly picked up a pair of tweezers in his gloved hands, reached over, and yanked a single strand of my crazy hair out of my head. I gnashed my fangs together, trying to hold back a cat-like growl. H placed my hair on a tiny IPad-like machine, which quickly scanned my hair.

"Molecular and DNA structure stable. No illness, disease, cancer, or unwanted mutations detected." The little machine beeped.

"Excellent! We have found the perfect formula for the serum! Start transferring all the data to-"Cobra Commander was stopped in midsentence as the whole base shook.

"Warning, warning, G.I. Joes attacking! Warning, evacuate all personal immediately. Base is set to self-destruct in ten minutes." A warning voice came over the intercom. I couldn't help but grin, the Joes had finally come to save me! But then I frowned. Would it be possible for them to rescue me in time?

"Don't get any bright ideas, girl!" The Commander snarled. "Your family is still within my reach." I paled, well; at least I think I did. You couldn't tell because of the fur on my face. "If you are not willing serve me for the rest of your days… I will kill every one of your family members and close friends. Do you promise to work for Cobra loyally for the rest of your days?" I slowly and regretfully nodded my head. "Excellent. Now, you see that uniform over there?" He gestured towards a suit I had not seen early. It was a long sleeve blue leather jumpsuit with a high collar that had the red Cobra symbols on both corners of it. A pair of black boots with heels sat underneath the headless manikin that supported the uniform. I nodded. "You are going to put that on and follow me, and if you try anything, Doctor Mindbender will tranquilize you faster that you can hiss." He removed my restraints and I walked over to the uniform to change. Meanwhile, the Commander talked to some of his men over a blue tooth. "I want squad 2A to get the clone, squad Alpha, get the escape vehicle ready, and Stormshadow, prepare a room next to yours for your new pupil. I want to teach her to be the taught everything you know." He paused for a second. "I am quite sure she is loyal to Cobra. I have the power to kill her family in the blink of an eye if she shows an ounce of disloyalty."

After that he promptly left, I followed him, and Dr. Mindbender brought up the rear. We walked quickly through the quarantine cells, but no matter how fast we walked, the smell of death hit me hard. I doubled over gagging, nearly barfing. "What wrong with you?" Dr. Mindbender said, prodding me with the tranquilizer gun.

"Death. The smell of death is everywhere. It's so strong." I managed to gag out. Then it hit me, they had killed so many people, and had left them in their cells, even after they had died.

"Impossible, those cells are air tight. They only left oxygen in and carbon dioxide out." He paused. "But if you can smell as well as a cat, you could smell the small traces of death that linger on the carbon dioxide that exits the cells."

"Whatever it is, we need to get a move on if we want to get out of the blast range and escape the Joes." Cobra Commander growled, so I fought harder to keep my lunch down, and continued to follow the Commander. We quickly got into the waiting van and drove off, without the Joes flying above in their helicopters noticing our escape. Inside the van I saw a hunched figure sitting between two soldiers. I gasped when I saw who it was. It was my clone! But it seemed lifeless. Its chest didn't rise and fall and it didn't move in any way. The Commander saw me looking at it and commented, "We manage to get a perfect replica, but we haven't figured out how to make it alive. Boys," he said, now talking to the soldiers, "Do what I instructed you to do earlier." And with that, one of the soldiers took out a knife and stabbed the clone right through where its heart and left lung were. I winced at the sight; the poor thing could even bleed. "Get used to it. You're going to have to do that regularly. And from now on, your name will be Katana, so when we fight the Joes, they can't look you up in their files if they hear your name called out on the battle field."

"Yes sir, but what is the point of the clone?"

"You'll see in a minute my friendly feline." A few minutes later we turned onto a familiar street and the driver and the soldiers pulled their weapons and started making as much of a racket as they could. As we passed my house, they opened the back doors of the van and threw the clone out into the middle of the street, just as my family come out of the house. My brain two and two together, Cobra Commander wanted me to be dead to my family even though my heart still beats.

Rufus Callaway P.O.V.

I stared at horror as I recognized the figure lying all to still in the middle of the street. "Jason," I said in as steady as a voice as I could manage. "Go to your room now." Jason, being the good little boy he was, he went straight back inside, and as soon as the front door was closed, my wife and me sprint to the figure lying still in the middle of the road. I quickly moved the limp girl onto my lap and ran my fingers around the area where the blade was buried in her chest. I looked at her once bright, but now dull eyes, stared up unfocused at the sky. I started to stroke her cold cheek with my index and middle finger. "I'm so sorry Kit-kat." I sobbed, burying my face in her neck. "I never meant to get you all caught up in this. I'm so sorry baby girl." I rocked her back and forth, sobbing as my wife sat on her knees beside me and rubbed my back. This continued for several minutes until someone tapped on my shoulder, startling my wife and me. I removed my head from the dead girl's neck and looked behind me to see tall, muscular, and short blond haired man standing behind me. "Who are you?" I croaked.

"I'm Sargent Duke Hauser, leader of the G.I. Joes. We're a special military organization meant to stop Cobra from doing things like this." He introduced himself and gestured towards my limp daughter. "She was attacked by Cobra, correct?"

"Yes, she was kidnapped two months ago and the soldier said I wouldn't see her alive ever again. He kept his promise."

"Well we believe she was one of the test subjects that Cobra was using to test their new super soldier serum. It appears that they took her from the testing base before it blew up and before she could be tested on, then she was killed on their way here and then thrown practically onto your doorstep. We promise we'll do everything we can to avenge your daughter and the hundreds of people that were killed in this event. One day, we will stop Cobra for good."

I looked up at the man with a straight face and nodded. He would avenge my daughter's death, and every other person who had been killed in Cobra's clutches.

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