Chapter 3: Morrie's First Para Jump
Updated: Jul 26, 2020
Ike has given the newly re-commissioned Adventure Team an assignment. They are to stop an already planned attempt to capture or kill Veidt in order to follow him and find out where his camp is, what it is he's up to, and who his allies might be. Veidt is headed into the jungle to an unknown destination. One AT team is on the ground looking for information; another has been ordered to jump into the jungle under cover of night, find the elite US "GI Joe" unit, who have lost radio contact, get them to abort their orders, and ally with them to find out Veidt's plan and if possible, thwart it.
It's a good plan but it puts Sea Adventurer Morio Tanaka, AKA "Morrie," into an unusual position--because he's never jumped from an airplane before. As they fly in a darkened US Army DC-3 over the African jungle, Morrie, who is a master of Jiu Jitsu and a renowned underwater adventurer, finds himself feeling just a little nervous about his first jump.
"So--what's it like, exactly? Is it kind of like taking a dive off a high cliff? I've done that plenty."
"Just like it," replies air adventurer Dustin "Dusty" van Zandt. "It's like riding a bike."
"Jumping off a cliff is nothing like riding a bike," Morrie says. "It's completely different."
AT Commander Doug rolls his eyes. "Don't ask a cowboy for a metaphor that doesn't involve a horse," Doug says.
"It's maybe like jumping off a cliff for a dive, I don't know," he continues. "I'd jump out of a plane before I'd jump off a cliff into the sea, if that gives you any idea. It's all about knowing how to use the 'chute. And about knowing how to land after a fall. You jiu jitsu guys know all about how to fall, right?"
Morrie doesn't take that as an insult. He says it all the time, that being an expert in jiu jitsu means you are an expert in falling. He finds it reassuring. "But, um, what if my 'chute doesn't open."
"You've got the auxiliary 'chute," Dusty reminds him. He then launches into a complex rehash of how to open the chute, what to do if it doesn't open, and the best way to land safely. As he gets more technical, his Texas accent gets that much stronger. Morrie clamps his mouth shut. He hates it when Dusty gets in "teacher" mode, but he knows that having the instructions repeated will only help him, so he listens.
At 0-Dark-30, Dusty opens the door. "It's time, fellas." Hot wind blows into the airplane, whose lights are darkened to avoid detection. The sky is dark and clouds appear vaguely purple. To Morrie it is both beautiful and overwhelming. "Like the sea," he thinks.
"I'll go first," Doug says, "to give you an idea. Then it'll be your turn, so Dusty can be here to help with whatever you need help with." Morrie nodded without a word. His mouth was dry.
"Okay, gentlemen, see you at the rendezvous!" Doug pauses a moment, taking in the strong wind and the sound of the DC-3's engines, and then he's out the door. Morrie watches his jump line extend and then detach.
"Alright, Morrie, your turn. I'll be right after you. Just pretend you're a bird." Morrie rolls his eyes again.
"Like the sea," he thinks. "Deadly and beautiful." He takes a deep breath, like he's going to dive...
Dusty smiles. "That ol' boy's gonna do jes' fine," he thinks. He adjusts his equipment duffle and jumps.
On the ground, Doug gathers up his 'chute and jump equipment and stashes it where it won't be found.
Then he hotfoots it to the rendezvous site...
...But he is jumped when he arrives--by Morrie! "Oh, man, what a rush that was! That was amazing! I can't believe it! When can we do that again? That was INCREDIBLE!"
Nearby, emptying their supplies from his jump bag, Dusty chuckles to himself. "I knew he'd do fine," he thinks.