Dusty and Mainframe are on a mission to gain a working Cobra Terror Drome computer. In Denver, Cobra Commander takes his son, Billy, to find help.
Dusty and Mainframe are in a country in the Middle East aiding forces loyal to a deposed Emir against the new ruler, Colonel Sharif. They help set up a successful ambush of one of Sharif's convoys and in return the Emir's forces provide them with both transport - in the form of a motorcycle and a side-car - and a guide - a boy soldier called Rashid. The three set off into the desert with Rashid making clear that he respects Dusty "a real soldier" and not Mainframe "a fixer of computers".
In Denver an ambulance pulls up at Fred's Auto repair shop. A man climbs out and states that he is Cobra Commander and has come to activate the Crimson Guardsman who runs the business, Fred VII. After confirming himself, he opens the rear doors to show Billy, still in a coma, and explains that he believes Fred can help him when he comes out. Fred takes the Commander into his secret laboratory where he works on movement enhancement, with may robot arms on display. Also present are several hawks, and Fred explains they belong to his accountant - "a special project of... Destro's." Fred then unveils a side project - a new suit of battle armor specially for the Commander, who dons it. Fred explains that the armor doesn't have controls but instead sensors that respond to movements and enhance it. He demonstrates that it is bullet proof and can enhance strength. Suddenly they hear a noise in the garage and rush out. There they discover Billy has awoke from his coma, but he can't remember anything. The Commander embraces his son.
In the desert Dusty, Mainframe and Rashid are camping under the stars when Dusty smells something. He sets off with a single rifle and returns with four more guns, explaining that a group of cut throats were following them, planning to sneak up while the Joes were asleep, but one lit a cigarette and the smell carried. Later the three reach a oil refinery and sneak onto the site. Inside one of the oil tanks they discover a concealed Cobra Terror Drome. Mainframe comments that the disguise failed because of the lack of phoney inlet & outlet pipes and the infra red signature gave it away. They head inside and Mainframe unpacks phone equipment. Outside two guards discover the hole cut in the fence and then see the secret tank is open. Whilst Mainframe works on the computer, Rashid asks Dusty to tell about some of his battles, but Dusty replies that he is too new and that Mainframe is the one to ask, but Rashid still regards him as a dull man of learning, not action. Dusty tells Rashid that Mainframe is the key part of the mission and to ask what he's doing.
Mainframe explains that he is connecting the computer to "my telephone interface box" and in turn connecting that to a telephone to allow the computer to "talk" through the telephone. He attaches a extension and uses a tape player to play a set of precorded beeps to dial a line, then places a reverse charge call to Fort Wadsworth. There Hawk, Stalker, Scarlett and Flint use the connection to access the Terror Drome computer to sort out the schematics and plans they secured from Destro, in an attempt to find out the real purpose of the Dromes.
Back in the Middle East Rashid continues to express how little respect he has for Mainframe and is furious that the latter says he prefers thinking to fighting, as Rashid believes this mocks fighting men. Dusty tells Rashid to stop and that Mainframe has earned the right to talk the way he does, but before he can continue he is knocked out as the two guards enter. They enter and tell Mainframe and Rashid to raise their arms. Mainframe immediately drops his gun and knocks down Rashid's, then gets down on his knees and claims to have been brought unwillingly. He grovels before the two guards, who are unimpressed, and offers to lick their boots clean. The first guard is furious and raises his foot to kick. Suddenly Mainframe takes advantage of the guard being off balance and throws him to the floor, out cold. He then knocks out the surprised second guard. They head outside, only to find themselves facing a squad of guards and tanks. They take cover inside but are outnumbered. Mainframe suggests the computer can help and explains he is reprogramming the Firebat to launch, circle and attack the Terror Drome. The Firebat attacks ad drives off the guards, giving the three the chance to escape. Later Mainframe sleeps as Dusty drives the motorcycle through the desert. Rashid asks why Mainframe didn't tell him he was a fighting man and is upset he insulted him. Dusty replies that Mainframe is an old campaign who doesn't need to prove himself to anyone, but just gets the job done without caring what anyone thinks "because a soldier only wins by surviving."
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
Featured Vehicles & Equipment
"Well, it ain't no Harley, but at least it's not a rice-burner."
- --Dusty is a total motorcycle snob.
"Now that I am a man, I will ride with a real soldier! ...not a fixer of computers!"
- --Rashid sets himself up for a fall.
"Greed, ambition and ruthlessness!"
- --Cobra Commander reveals the Cobra passwords.
"What's with all the birds?"
"They're hawks. They belong to my accountant who's a special project of your pal Destro's."
- Cobra Commander and Fred VII engage in a little foreshadowing.
"That one? He is like an old woman, full of book-learning and such!"
- --Strike two, Rashid.
"This is shameful! You mock fighting men with your talk! You are worse than an old woman! Have you no honor?"
- --Rashid slams Mainframe yet again, unaware he's about to eat his words.
- Scarlett states that she and Flint secured the Terror Drome plans from Destro in "Strange Bedfellows". It was actually Lady Jaye and Flint.
Items of note
- First appearance of Dusty and Fred VII.
- Cobra Commander gets his Battle Armor.
- Billy wakes up, but has amnesia.
- The Cobra passwords used by both Cobra Commander and the Terror Drome computer are "Greed, Ambition and Ruthlessness".
- Cobra Commander and Fred VII exchange a special secret handshake in which the right hands hold each other whilst each shaker places his left hand's middle two fingers on his right forearm.
- Cobra Commander's eyes are shown to be blue.
- In the United Kingdom the story was reprinted in Transformers #208, #209, #210, #211 & #212.
- Dusty wishes the bike the Emir's troops provided were a Harley Davidson.
- Mainframe provides a realistic explanation for how a computer modem works, years before most of the audience had heard of such a thing.
Footnotes and References