Lieutenant Nikolai Petrovitch Rachenko, a Soviet Spetsnaz operative is sent to an African country in which Soviet, Czechoslovakian and Cuban forces are helping the government fight an anti-communist rebel movement. He is tasked with the mission to assassinate the rebel leader. Rachenko infiltrates the rebel movement and to get within striking distance of his target, he stirs up trouble in the local bar and gets arrested for disorderly conduct. He is put in the same cell as a captured resistance commander and gains his trust in facilitating the escape. Upon finally reaching the rebel encampment, he is met with distrust by the rebels. During the night, he attempts to assassinate his target, but the distrustful rebels anticipate his actions.
Disgraced and tortured by his commanding officers for failing his mission, he breaks out of the interrogation chamber and escapes to the desert, later to be found by native Bushmen. He soon learns about them and their culture, and after he receives a ceremonial burn scar in the form of a scorpion (hence the title), he joins the rebels and leads an attack against the Soviet camp after a previous attack on the peaceful bushmen. Nikolai obtains an AO-63 assault rifle from the armory, confronts his corrupt officers and hunts down General Oleg Vortek, who attempts to escape in a Mil-24 Hind, only to be shot down after takeoff. Nikolai defeats and kills Vortek, as the rebels finally defeat the Soviet forces who were assisting the government.
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