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The Pit is infiltrated but by how many?
On Cobra Island Destro examines the body of Storm Shadow, killed by the Baroness, and Dr. Mindbender orders the Eels to take the body to the cold storage room as he doesn't want to waste good genetic material. Days later at the Pit Snake-Eyes, in uniform and his rubber mask, is depressed about Storm Shadow's death, so Scarlett takes him to see Ripcord in the sick-bay. Down there Doc performs a routine blood test, only to discover it doesn't match Ripcord's blood type. Suddenly he sees Snake-Eyes, in ninja suit, who knocks him out before changing back into Ripcord and leaving.
In Springfield the Dreadnoks visit "Zartan" in hospital. Buzzer tells Zartan how he escaped from the Pit with a hostage, and "Zartan" gets angry, demanding to know what happened to the girl. In the Pit Scarlett and Snake-Eyes bring Doc round and sound the security alarm. The intruder changes into Tripwire and sends Gung-Ho, Stalker, Cutter and Crankcase chasing down a corridor, only to crash into the real Tripwire. In Springfield "Zartan" is furious about Candy and attacks Buzzer. The other Dreadnoks restrain him and Buzzer decides they should get him out of Springfield until he calms down, otherwise they will lose their jobs with Cobra.
In Washington D.C. Cobra diplomats seek to establish diplomatic relations with the United States. The State Department is reluctant, but the diplomat suggests without diplomatic relations there would be nothing stopping Cobra leasing beach front property as a missile site within striking distance of the US.
At the Pit a new arrival is directed to the motor pool. Down below the Joes continue the search, accidentally detaining Snake-Eyes, but Roadblock verifies the face under the mask is genuine. In the mid west the Dreadnoks have commandeered an ambulance and consider taking "Zartan" to their New Jersey hideout when a police car spots them as being out of their jurisdiction and speeding. Buzzer opens the rear door and slices through the car with his chain saw. Back in the Pit the Joes are discussing the multiple Snake-Eyeses and Tripwires, when suddenly they confront two Docs. One states that the blood he tested has chameleonic properties.
Up in the motor pool the new arrival introduces himself as Sgt. Slaughter and presents his orders. However Clutch and Heavy Metal have not been told of any new arrivals and decide to poke around the duffel bag, despite Slaughter telling them not to. Out in the mid west the Dreadnoks stop at a cafe and "Zartan" sneaks out of the toilet window, saying he needs some air. He makes a discrete phone call to the Pit, where Breaker tells the others that he's heard from Ripcord that Zartan changed places with him and one of the Docs is a shape-changer. Doc now changes into a camouflage to blend in with the background and heads for the stairs. Up in the motor pool Slaughter has roughed up all of the Joes present without damage, and they agree he's genuine. They explain there is an intruder in the base and Slaughter takes charge, ordering all the ventilation ducts secured as the only possible exit points.
Down below Duke sets up various traps to detect Zartan, including foam, fire, radar and heat detectors. Zartan sees the guarding of the vents and changes to Duke, telling Gung-Ho he's been relieved. But he calls the Joe "trooper" and Gung-Ho knows the real Duke would use his name, whilst it was agreed no orders could be rescinded without three Joes present to confirm the identity of the one issuing the order. He pounds Zartan. The alarm goes off and Duke orders all personnel to the surface to seal the whole of Fort Wadsworth. In the ventilation system Gung-Ho pursues Zartan, who managed to walk away from the pounding. The two fight and burst out of a grill into the chaplain's reading room. Slaughter arrives just after Zartan changes into Gung-Ho. Each Gung-Ho claims the other is the impostor. Slaughter takes a guess and knocks the imposter out.
At the Pentagon Hawk appears before the Jugglers - a committee that handles bad news and takes the blame. They tell him that Cobra Island is completely off limits for any Joe activity. Hawk complies.
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
Featured Vehicles & Equipment
"Sarge! How'd you know which one to deck?"
"I didn't. The odds were fifty-fifty. Guess I was lucky, huh?"
- --Recondo asks how Sgt. Slaughter recognized which Gung-Ho was really Zartan.
- When Sgt. Slaughter arrives at the Pit, the unidentified Joe hanging out with Clutch and Heavy Metal has red hair. In the next panel it's brown, but it's red again by the end of the page.
Items of note
- First Appearances: Sgt. Slaughter, the Jugglers
- This issue was reprinted in the G.I. Joe vol. 5 and G.I. Joe: The Best of Duke trade paperbacks.
- At the moments Zartan is not disguised, his hair is shown to be black.
- Richard Damstra, of Grand Rapids, MI, wins a No-Prize for explaining why Destro called Dr. Mindbender "Dr. Brainwave" in issue #44 (it's a sarcastic nickname).
- In the United Kingdom the story was reprinted in Transformers #153, #154, #155 & #156.
- No references.
Footnotes and References