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"This guy must’ve studied political science at UCLA."
- Gung Ho (after a river pirate is captured and pleads that he is innocent)
Low-Light, Leatherneck, Gung Ho, and Beach Head squat in a jungle and then enter a village in the jungle near Bongkan, however, no one is home. They hear a boat traveling on a stream near the village and duck into the jungle while Wet-Suit, who is in the river, places an explosive charge on the boat, which is operated by river pirates.
As per the demands of the gun-toting river pirates, the villagers load containers onto the boat. Wet-Suit's bomb explodes and the containers spill a maize-colored liquid onto the deck. Lift-Ticket attacks with a Tomahawk helicopter while the Joes in the jungle rush forward to attack the boat.
A river pirate fires a cannon at the Joes, who dive to the ground and cover their heads. Leatherneck jumps into the water, climbs onto the boat and kicks the pirate firing cannon into the river while another falls down and touches the maize liquid.
Gung Ho pulls a river pirate out of the water by his hair and the pirate screams that he is only an innocent bystander who has been caught in the capitalist political machine. “This guy must’ve studied political science at UCLA,“ comments Gung Ho. The pirate who fell into the liquid screams and then becomes catatonic. Gung Ho grabs the pirate who was pulled out of
the water and asks about the liquid, but the pirate screams that he doesn’t know anything.
Calling the pirate a “maggot” and telling him that his answer isn’t good enough, Leatherneck shoves the pirate’s face near the liquid touched by his partner and yells at the pirate to talk. The pirate confesses that the liquid “steals the brain” and Beach Head asks if Leatherneck has ever heard of the Geneva Convention. “I got an answer, didn’t I?” Leatherneck responds. Beach Head carries the two river pirates to the Tomahawk while Leatherneck and the others take a sample of the maize liquid and burn the rest.
While in the Bangkok Diner, Ripper complains to the other Dreadnoks, Buzzer, Torch and Monkeywrench, that he is quite bored. The innkeeper tosses a frying pan at the several children rooting through his dumpster, and as they run away, Mei-Lee asks about Steve.
Torch places his Cobra pocket knife on the table and yells to the innkeeper
that he is hungry, but Buzzer tells Torch to simmer down and Steven, who
is sitting under the table, reaches up and steals Torch’s knife.
Leatherneck and Gung Ho walk through a market and wonder how they can stop Cobra’s river pirate flunkies since Cobra seems to place a stranglehold on every village liberated by the Joes. Steven steals a bag of money from one of the men in the market and Mei-Lee tells Steven that he must return the money since he will eventually be caught and be thrown in jail. She
returns the money and explains that the man dropped his money, but the man calls the kids "dust children" and is convinced he was robbed, so he yells for the police.
The kids run away and meet up with two others, Jefferson Davis Chu and
Lei-Ann, and as they run away from the police, Gung Ho hears a merchant
curse the dust children.
Unaware of the term, he asks Leatherneck, who explains that the dust
children are street orphans who were “fathered by American GIs during the
war” and are “considered to be lower than dirt.”
The police and the Joes chase the kids, who decide to split up. Jefferson jumps from one boat to another to reach the other side of the river, and the police pursuing him fall into the water. However, Leatherneck successfully follows the kid. As Jefferson turns to taunt the police, a truck speeds toward him.
Leatherneck leaps from his boat and tackles the kid out of the way of the truck. Surprised that Leatherneck saved him, Jefferson tells Leatherneck that no one has ever risked their life for him, and all three leave to find Jefferson’s friends.
On an aircraft carrier, Lifeline tells the Joes that the sap they found is a highly concentrated form of the Chaulmogra tree sap, which is usually used in a diluted state as a sedative and is native to Southeast Asia. However, in a concentrated formula, the sap can turn someone into a zombie-like state. Beach Head concludes that Cobra is working on a mind control scheme.
While the kids scour the kitchen for something to eat, Leatherneck orders the kids to dump everything on a table. Leatherneck catches sight of the Cobra knife, picks it up and asks Steven where he found the weapon.
Elsewhere, the leader of the river pirates demands more money from Dr. Mindbender, who is flanked by Zarana and in the company of two Vipers. But Dr. Mindbender hands the pirate a stick of gum, watches him chew the stick and sees the pirate’s face become blank. With the pirate’s mind under Dr. Mindbender’s control, Cobra’s chief science officer tells the “stupid fool”
never to ask for more money and orders him to find out why the shipment from Bongkan is late.
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