This article is part of the Cobra After-Action Report series.

Mankind's first encounter with extraterrestrial life is likely to be one of the most momentous events of human history. To realize that we are not alone in the universe will surely be a hammer blow to religions and philosophies that put forward man as the reason and rule of all existence. For others it will be a joyous event or even a realization of a lifelong dream. Whatever the initial reaction the repercussions could be terrible. Even if an alien species were friendly mankind might react with riots and violence. If the alien species were unfriendly and possessed a superior level of technology, well, mankind might be in for quite a bit of trouble indeed.

A third option exists. What if the aliens are not aliens at all? What if they are actually humans who have evolved separately or traveled back in time? Cobra Commander explores his own take on this strange question in "The Invaders", a plot to rule the world through alien proxies.

Obviously even Cobra does not have access to actual aliens so in this ill-conceived scheme Cobra Commander undertakes a plan to create his own aliens using advanced technology and clever disguises. Cobra Commander's version of aliens are purple, vaguely reptilian, and interested in dominating the world by blowing up various human installations with their super lasers. Their technology is simply repackaged Cobra technology, but Cobra Commander plans to use mankind's fear of the unknown to his advantage as he sends his alien henchmen out to create chaos. Unfortunately for Cobra Commander, he failed to bet on GI Joe joining forces with its equally inept Soviet counterparts "The October Guard."

Before we break it down into a blow-by-inept-blow let's take a look at the resources Cobra has allocated to this operation.

Theater Commander: Cobra Commander
Theater Resources: Tomax & Xamot, Zartan, various and sundry Dreadnoks, and two fake UFOs

Corps Level Resources:

2 full battalions of Cobra infantry
100+ unmarked utility vans
6+ cute little Cobra four-wheelers
An ill-placed milk carton

Known Opposing Forces:

GI Joe
United States armed forces
Soviet armed forces

Primary Mission Objectives:

Terrify the population with the fake UFOs and then threaten two random cities, only to attack and capture Moscow and Washington when they are least defended.

Alternate Mission Objectives:

Blow up a bunch of random crap with the UFOs.

Even though Cobra's plan is ridiculously elaborate and requires using super high tech fake UFOs I have to rate this as one of Cobra Commander's better plans. Small praise though that may be, a feint is a proven military strategy and Cobra Commander's plan of using otherworldly alien attackers as the feint frees up more resources for capturing the real objectives. As usual the plan collapses as mistakes are made, plots are foiled, and Cobra Commander and his agents generally behave like complete morons.

198X, Day 1, 10:00 AMHey, you filthy Haji! You stop eating dirt long enough to see any twin on blue 4-wheelers?Dusty, Duke, Snake Eyes, Gung Ho, and Barbecue are roaring through some Arabian desert in pursuit of the Tomax and Xamot. I would like to know who thought sending a guy in a flame-proof suit of medieval armor into the desert on a motorcycle was a good idea, but Barbecue doesn't seem to be complaining. The Joes have lost sight of the Crimson Twins so they stop at an oasis and ask a swarthy Arab and his pet camel if he has seen any identical twins on giant blue four-wheelers. The Arab directs Dusty in the proper direction and Dusty explains his kinship to the simple Arab to the other Joes.

"Me and the camel jockey got a lot in common. He loves the desert same as I do."

Dusty, your mysterious relationship with those towelheaded sand niggers has saved the day once again! Dusty and the other Joes motor off and quickly spot Tomax and Xamot making tracks. The Joes and the Crimson Twins exchange gunfire as the chase heats up. Then a truck full of idiots flies over a dune and the Joes realize that they are in a competition with their goofball counterparts from the Soviet Union. No sooner have the October Guard arrived on the scene than Cobra springs their trap: a sand dune rotates dramatically to reveal a Cobra bunker. With blasts exploding only inches away from them the Joes pause out in the open like any good soldiers would so that they can reflect on the situation. Gung Ho wants to attack but Duke thinks better of it and orders a retreat. Duke's motorcycle is damaged as they are retreating and the Joes are forced to make a stand against the counter attacking Cobra troops.

I think I saw 5 mysterious Russians in a jeep murder the woman in the apartment across from me.The October Guard jumps their truck over another dune and adds their fire to GI Joe's. Duke explains that the October Guard, though no friends of GI Joe, hate Cobra as much as anyone who has been on the receiving end of one of Cobra Commander's telecasts. The tables aren't quite turned when suddenly a UFO appears from behind a dune and blasts the Cobra bunker into slag. The UFO lands and uses some sort of electricity beam to pull the Crimson Twins inside. Then a purple alien with creepy eyes walks out.

"Hear me well, men of earth," says the alien in a cool echo-effect voice. "I shall speak but once! We have taken two specimens for examination. When we conclude our experiments your fate will be determined."

Dusty doth protest and asks where the aliens are from. The alien explains that their planet circles the start of Sirius. The UFO departs leaving the Joes, the October Guard, and a leaderless contingent of Cobra troopers behind. Gung Ho observes that Colonel Sharp will be most displeased when they return empty-handed and with a story about flying saucers. Gung Ho then gets in a fist fight with his beefy counterpart (Sergeant Horror Show) in the October Guard. Way to build some fucking bridges, marine. Duke is more diplomatic and he calms things down and then introduces himself to Colonel Breakoff, the leader of the October Guard. The Joes and October Guard agree to not mention their chance encounter to anyone.

198X, Day 2, 10:00 AM

The gravel-voiced Colonel Sharp explains to the Joes that over the last 24 hours two UFOs have been flying around earth terrorizing American and Russian installations. They've blown up some jets, a Russian observatory, the Alaskan oil pipeline, and various other facilities of value to the two countries. Colonel Sharp instructs the Joes to drop whatever they are doing and find the flying saucers: an order from the president himself! Duke reassures Colonel Sharp that he has a plan if the Navy can loan GI Joe the use of a submarine. That seems like a reasonable request, I'm sure the Joes will put it to good use.

198X, Day 2, 1:00 PM

I shouldn't have eaten all of those snozberries.The Joes have somehow sailed the submarine underneath the great Siberian ice ocean that doesn't exist to rise next to what seems like a volcanic caldera with a military base inside. It should be noted that the submarine has a highly suspicious battleship-like gun turret mounted on its back end. I have a feeling the Joes are going to do something even stupider than usual.

The Joes rise through the ice and Duke explains that they're outside the October Guard's secret headquarters. Yes, they just crashed a huge submarine through the ice less than 200 feet outside the October Guard's base without being noticed. Security is not very tight there. But how are they going to get in? They would have to scale the volcanic mountain that houses the base or fly in, unless…

…my worst fears are realized and the Joes load themselves into the barrels of the submarine's cannon and fire themselves into the October Guard's base. Gung Ho is understandably upset about being shot out of a huge cannon so Duke calms his fears by shooting them all out of a huge cannon. When they are over the October Guard base - miraculously not blasted into a meaty pulp - they deploy their parachutes and sail gracefully to the ground. Not surprisingly this immediately sets off a security alarm. The October Guard captures the Joes and march them off to the stockade despite Duke's protestations that their mission is peaceful. The Joes turn the tables on the October guard and seize their weapons, then Duke reiterates that they are on a peaceful mission. Maybe next time use the phone, Duke.

The October Guard and the Joes immediately join forces and break into two mixed October Guard/GI Joe squads. Duke's squad will cover North America and the October Guard will cover the Soviet Union. I guess it just didn't make sense to remain in their previous units and do their normal jobs with a little information sharing.

198X, Day 2, 3:00 PM

This world domination message brought to you by the dairy council.The new mixed squads are just settling into their patrol routines when Sergeant Horror Show receives a suspiciously Cobra Commander-like transmission on the TV. The purple alien dude explains that he is broadcasting from the moon and that the aliens plan to blow up San Francisco and Vladivostok if the earth does not surrender unconditionally in 24 hours. Demonstrating that Cobra has not lost its ability to be absolute fuckups there is a carton of milk placed right next to the alien as he speaks. Amazingly, no one mentions this even though the carton of milk is the only other thing visible on the screen aside from the alien. In fact the only comment anyone makes is when Gung Ho says "compared to this guy even Cobra is tame." No, Gung Ho, compared to this guy Cobra is fucking exactly the same. How many times has Cobra Commander come on TV and demanded the unconditional surrender of the world in 24 hours? 50? 100?

Colonel Sharp TV-phones the Joes and explains that the militaries of the United States and the Soviet Union will be dispatched to San Francisco and Vladivostok to deal with the alien attack. Realistically blanketing the air above these two cities with thousands of jet fighters and filling the streets with hundreds of thousands of soldiers is not going to be a viable strategy. That is unless we're talking about a strategy for causing riots and mass chaos in those two cities. Colonel Sharp instructs the Joes to standby and be ready for anything.

198X, Day 2, 3:30 PM

Yeeeeehawski!Snake Eyes and some fat Russian cowboy guy decided to ignore the orders from Colonel Sharp and do some hang gliding in the vicinity of the Extensive Enterprises building. In case you're not up to speed on Cobra's horrible front organizations, Extensive Enterprises is the legitimate business run by the Crimson Twins that claims to have nothing to do with Cobra even though Cobra soldiers are always hanging out on the roof. Speaking of which, the Cobra soldiers hanging out on the roof shoot at Snake Eyes and Ivan Wayne and managed to knock them out of the sky. They are both captured and placed in a huge metal cage.

Tomax and Xamot arrive and explain that they "cut a deal" with the aliens. They usher Snake Eyes and Cowboy Kasparov into one of the alien UFOs where they are unceremoniously bolted to a table by some Cobra troopers. The purple alien guy walks in and compliments Tomax and Xamot on their specimen selection. Once the UFO is safely airborne the alien dramatically reveals that he isn't really an alien. He pulls off his alien mask and dun dun dun it's the camel jockey who they met in the desert only dun dun dun that's another mask and it's really Zartan under there. It would have been even cooler if Zartan's face was a mask and then the Baroness was under that one but this is one of those awful episodes that does not feature the Baroness strutting around in a leather bodysuit.

The Dreadnoks join their boss on the bridge and explain that the UFOs are all part of a Cobra scheme to take over the world. Cobra Commander chooses that moment to check in with Zartan. Zartan explains that their captives were properly surprised by his masks-within-masks revelation, although how he could read any emotions on Snake Eyes is a mystery. For his part Cobra Commander explains the entirety of the Cobra plan: distract the militaries of the US and the USSR with the alien threat while masses of Cobra troops concealed in utility vans surround the White House and the Kremlin. After they have heard the plan Zartan has no choice but to kill Snake Eyes and the Russian cowboy. He draws his future laser gun and takes aim, but Snake Eyes breaks free of his shackles and kicks Zartan. Zartan moans like an overcome southern belle and faints.

Urbanski Cowboy phones Duke and Horror Show and warns them that the alien plot is nothing but a Cobra diversion. He tells them to hurry to the Kremlin and the White House to foil the attack.

198X, Day 4, 6:00 PM

The missile that nearly fells a hero.The Cobra attacks on the Kremlin and the White House begin! Cobra troops open fire indiscriminately on the buildings with no real direction to their attacks beyond "shoot AT the White House" and "shoot AT the Kremlin." As the Cobra troops rush the buildings they are countered by GI Joe and the October Guard parachuting out of aircraft shooting their laser rifles. Duke, Gung Ho, and Horror Show have to hold an entire battalion of heavily armed Cobra troops off at the White House while they wait for reinforcements. This almost leads to disaster when Gung Ho is blasted by a missile that nearly knocks him unconscious. Horror Show rescues him from the burning White House and Gung Ho reluctantly thanks his former nemesis.

Joe aircraft arrive moments after this dramatic turn of events and strafe the Cobra troops from highly dangerous altitudes. The hundreds of Cobra soldiers know they can't possibly stand up to three jet aircraft and the Cobra troops fall into a full retreat. Cobra Commander calls the other flying saucer to coordinate with Zartan only to realize that Snake Eyes and Tiny Cowboy have control of the other saucer. Cobra Commander is apoplectic with rage, as he tends to get whenever one of his plans is foiled, and he proclaims that he will destroy the White House if he can't have it. Meanwhile, in the Kremlin, the Joes and October Guard are joined by the Soviet military and quickly route the Cobra assault. Dusty pauses for a moment to embrace the October Guard woman in the pink fur suit. That's a suit made out of fur, not a fursuit.

Over the White House the Joes watch in amazement as the two flying saucers do battle. Snake Eyes and the cowboy gain the upper hand and shoot Cobra Commander down into a river. As usual the Joes do not even attempt to ensure that he was killed in the crash. They just cheer stupidly as another opportunity to put an end to Cobra slips from their fingers.

198X, Day 4, 9:00 PM

Yay! We're assholes!With the battle won the October Guard and GI Joe return to GI Joe headquarters to share stories about the fun of chasing off Cobra and spending millions of dollars rapid-deploying the entire military to two urban centers. Gung Ho wonders how Snake Eyes knew to go looking for the aliens at Extensive Enterprises. Snake Eyes points to the milk carton on a replay of the video, proving that GI Joe exists in a vacuum. In the real world CNN would have had 50 moronic analysts on to talk about the meaning of the milk carton on the alien transmission. Larry King would have hunched his shoulders and earnestly asked the milk company's president what he thought about the aliens drinking their milk on the moon. For the Joes this realization is just another reason to share an episode-ending laugh.

Once again Cobra has failed to accomplish much beyond pointless destruction and strife. If Cobra were a terrorist group with political goals beyond the total domination of the human race they might be working towards these goals with each one of these miserably botched operations. In this one both San Francisco and Vladivostok were transformed into terrifying militarized zones under the threat of alien annihilation. Mass riots and demonstrations would follow an event like this, even if GI Joe immediately went public with the real identity of the alien invaders. Instead, this sort of unrest serves no real purpose other than justifying the existence and funding of slapstick bands of simpletons like GI Joe and the October Guard.

As a bonus I would like to offer a screengrab from a different episode of the stunningly beautiful Scarlet. She has never looked so fine.

– Zack "Geist Editor" Parsons (@sexyfacts4u)

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