Classified location in Sub-Saharan Africa
LEADER OF THE RAT PACK; Minesweeper
1/E-5: Sergeant (SGT)
Pouched Rats, AK-47, Grenades
|“||A team is stronger than any individual.||”|
Kamau "Sinatra" Maurice is the leader of the Rat Pack, a group of uplifted, trained African pouched rats. Kamau is a cheerful, smiling man from Sub-Saharan Africa - he won't say exactly where. After almost a decade sweeping mines, he wants to see what else he and his rats can do, and raise the publicity of the work that he and his people do saving lives.
Kamau Maurice is the son of an African warlord. After seeing the damage caused by landmines to those not involved in war, the young Maurice decided, when he was older, he'd do something about that. When an Apopo minesweeping team arrived supported by giant pouched rats, Maurice fell in love, hopped up onto the 'rat bus' and asked to be given a job.
His rats (Known affectionately as the Rat Pack) are the result of a series of experiments at the Johannesburg Institute of Medicine into repairing various types of brain damage. Rather than cull them at the end of the experiment, the Rat Pack were trained as mine-sweeping rats, under the care of Kamau Maurice and several others. Seeing the potential of his 'little mine-hunters' for things other than mine-sweeping, Maurice asked if his superiors if he and some of the rats could apply for GI Joe. They agreed; if nothing else, it'll bring the work of the pouched rats in minesweeping to world attention.
Sinatra was assigned to GI Joe in August of 2017.
In 2018, Sinatra helped thwart an attempt by Cobra to bug President MacLeod's golf clubs. Later that year, in April, Sinatra and his Rat Pack participated in a recon mission to Transcarpathia. There they encountered Storm Shadow and confirmed the resurrection of Destro.
In August of 2018, Sinatra was assigned to Strike Team Alpha, operating out of Pit III.
The Rat Pack
Rat Pack are Gambian pouched rats (Cricetomys gambianus), also known as African giant pouched rats. The Gambian pouched rat is a nocturnal pouched rat of the giant pouched rat genus (Cricetomys) and is among the largest muroids in the world, growing up to about 0.9 metres (3 ft) long including their tail which makes up half their length. The name pouched rat comes from hamster-like cheek pouches, used to store food for later consumption. It is widespread in Sub-Saharan Africa, ranging geographically from Senegal to Kenya and from Angola to Mozambique (although it is absent from much of the DR Congo, where Emin's pouched rat is present) and in altitude from sea level to 2,000 metres (6,600 ft).
The Gambian Pouched Rat is often trained to operate as mine sweepers, commonly operating on lead and harness and trained to sniff out mines in return for rewards of banana or banana-peanut paste. The same reward has also been used to train them to smell tuberculosis from spit samples, earning them the moniker "HeroRATS"
The Rat Pack were created at the Johannesburg Institute of Medicine during a study into ways of healing degenerative brain disorders and traumatic brain injuries. They have been Uplifted to levels of intelligence similar to that of a human child aged around 6, are fully self-aware and able to understand relatively complex concepts and plans. They are capable of tool use, and most of them can read.
With that said, they are still just giant pouched rats, with the desires and instincts thereof. They are not larger or stronger than their wild kin, simply smarter. Much smarter.
|Rat's Name||Gender||Distinguishing features||Notes|
|Axle||M||White patch over left eye||Brother of Foley|
|(The Reverend) Bem||M||Overall "ragged" appearance||Very friendly|
|Foley||M||White patch over right eye||Brother of Axle|
|Jimbo||M||"Crimped" appearance to right ear||Kleptomaniac.|
|Obi||M||Missing toe on rear left foot.|
|Usain||M||Hyperactive, very friendly||Brother of Bolt|
|Bahati||F||Brown splodge on tail tip|
|Bolt||F||Hyperactive and friendly||Sister of Usain|
|Joy||F||Very relaxed, unbothered by noise. White tailbase|
|Ode (pronounced "Oh-day")||F||White socks|
|Odeye (Pronounced "Od-yee")||F||Not as ragged as Bem|
|Zawadi||F||Piece missing from left ear.|
Kamau is always carrying a very ornate Colt 1911 with him at all times. It is instantly recognisable as his due to its damascene finish. The gun has a threaded barrel (currently fitted with an equally ornate, damascene recoil compensator), textured hand-grips, and a Picatinny rail for fitting a light or laser under the barrel. The entire gun is picked out in intricate gold patterns with a generalised 'rat' theme, including a series of cavorting rats down the slide on each side. Silver damascene adds highlight to the gun, and while it is an extremely ornate, very fancy firearm, the highly textured finish prevents it being too reflective.
The gun is a gift from his father, given to Kamau on the day he became a fully-certified mine-sweeping rat handler. Kamau is extremely fond of the firearm, and looks after it very well.
Sinatra and the Rat Pack are inspired by the work of Apopo (https://www.apopo.org/) sweeping mines and hunting tuberculosis all over the world. Seriously go check out what these guys do, it's amazing and it's saving lives.
Apopo have even given me permission to use their name.
Here's a little feature about them by Evan Hatfield, Chris (yes, that Chris) Hatfield's son. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p3LrdnXO5qA&feature=youtu.be
Logs / Post
Sep 03 - Meet the Rat Pack
- A dark-skinned man appears on screen, smiling widely. There's a lot of background noise - scrabbling and squeaking. "Sawa!" He says, cheerfully. "I am Kamau Maurice - callsign Sinatra. I can look after myself in a fight, but my real skill is keeping these guys entertained and trained!"
- He turns the camera to reveal a huddle of fifteen large rats stood on the floor, watching cartoons on a big TV.
- "I would like to introduce you to..." He takes a deep breath, and then begins pointing to individual rats. "Bahati, Foluke, Ode (pronounced Oh-day), Mosi, The Reverend Bem, Usain, Bolt, Odeye (Pronounced Odd-yee), Joy, Aziza, Jimbo, Obi, Axle, Foley, and Zawadi! Boys and girls, please say hello to everybody we're going to be working with now."
- The rats all turn and make a gesture that's half-bow, half-wave, and then return to their cartoons. All but one, that is; as the camera pans back towards Kamau, one of the oversized rats leaves the group and vanishes off the bottom of the shot.
- "These are the best noses in Africa - the Gambian pouched rat. Or, as they are commonly known, Super-Rats. Smart, trainable, and easily bribed, they smell out mines and tuberculosis. So some bright spark had the idea of making them even smarter, and these are the result. As smart as a child, with a similar grasp of complex concepts and ability to forward plan. We are here to see what we can do as well as sweeping mines! Please, come meet the rats - I promise, they do not bite unless they are told to... hello Mosi. You just want to come get some fuss, little fluffbutt?"
- An extraordinarily fluffy Gambian rat appears between Kamau and the camera, sat on his lap. She looks like she's spent too long near a de Graaf generator. Kamau laughs, beginning to scritch her ears. She settles in contentedly, making a quiet, happy-sounding squeak.
- Kamau turns her to look at the camera a moment. "Look at this, hey? She just wants to make friends. I think I've been talking long enough, yis? Turn the camera off Mosi."
- Mosi looks up at Kamau as he talks, listening intently, and then nods - a very human gesture. She bounces up to the camera, pausing right in front of the lens. She very deliberately pauses to wave at the viewer, then obscures the lens as she leans over to try and switch it off. It takes her a couple of seconds.
Sep 05 - Texas relief efforts, Day 1 Report
- Sinatra and the Rat Pack are sitting in front of a stove, just after nightfall in one of the Cobra-operated mega-shelters for refugees in Texas, having supper. The rats all look freshly washed and groomed, and they are taking fruit and nuts from a plate with remarkably good manners and few arguments. Sinatra has a plate of food from the soup kitchen in front of him, and a rat (recognisable as Foley) is sat on his shoulder. From the quality and positioning of the footage, it appears to have been sent from a smartphone.
- Occasionally, as he talks, a BAT patrols past behind him, watching him suspiciously but tolerating his presence.
- "Sinatra, reporting from the edge of Houston." He says, cheerfully. "We have saved our first lives in America! There are collapsed houses in several areas, where the ground has just given way under buildings. We have been searching them and pulling people out - five already, in our first day." He draws some tea off the stove and has a sip. Then he has to give Foley a sip.
- "Sadly, however, my efforts to remain undetected by Cobra failed within an hour of my arrival in camp. In retrospect, I should probably have taken the armour off before I arrived, but the truck would also have been a big clue. Thankfully, it seems like they are too busy working on saving lives to fight - just like me. I told the Pack to play dumb and spoke with one Doctor. Kwak, who was wearing a gas mask, a Cobra lab coat, and a body posture that suggested a dire need for a cup of tea. If I am honest, the poor woman looked like she's spent two or three days on her feet without sleep. We drank tea and spoke about the situation here. Things are dire."
- He sips his tea, and then watches a BAT stomp past. It glowers back him the whole way, but does not raise its rifle. He waves cheerfully at it, and calls out "JAWA!", which is Swahili for hello. It ignores him, and continues its patrol out of sight, to Sinatra's amusement.
- "In my opinion, we should make an official offer of support. It is a win-win situation; if they say yes, the American military can bring in a lot of aid to these people, and it makes us look good. Okay them saying yes would also make them look good, but that is a small price to pay for saving lives. If they say no, they look like assholes. I do not know if other members of Cobra will support this doctor's view that the lives are more important than our ideology, but... take a look around. People need the help."
- He looks at Foley. "I think that is everything, don't you?"
- The rat thinks a moment, then nods and hops down from his shoulder. Moments later, there's a loud snuffling over the microphone, a hind leg and some grey-white fur obscure the lens, and then the recording ends.
September 05 - "Of Rats and Men"
We're from the government. We're here to help.
September 16 - "Welcome Back"
Colton welcomes Sinatra back to the Pit.
September 28 - "Dreadnok Attack"
Cobra has unleashed the Dreadnoks on America, and only G.I. Joe can (maybe) stop them.
- October 4 - "Taking Philly Back" - A team of Joes sneak into Philadelphia to liberate the city.
Sinatra was created and is played by User:HCIJess.
- Rat Bus: A 2.5 Ton WW2-era 'Deuce and a half' Military truck
- Rat Bus Mk-2: An Alvis Stalwart HMLC amphibious truck, formerly of the British Army.