[Location: Cobra Island. The usual suspects are gathered around a stainless steel conference table, deep inside the Terror Drome. Cobra Commander stands before a giant screen featuring the Cobra snake-head logo.]
Cobra Commander: I sssssssuppose you’re wondering why I’ve called you all here today.
Baroness [sotto voce]: Oh my God.
Destro: Please, Commander. Share with us your latest plan for world domination. We’re all very excited to be a part of it, I’m sure.
CC: Yessss, Dessssstro. You should be! As I see it, we have only one option left to us to compete with the ridiculous banal corruption that is currently plaguing the upper echelons of American politics.
[He gestures to the giant monitor on the wall, calling up a Power Point presentation. The giant, gold-snake-cowled head of SERPENTOR appears. This is met with stunned silence. Then –]
Baroness: I thought Serpentor was dead.
CC: We have a few stray cells tucked away in a flask somewhere, don’t we, Dr. Mindbender? We should be able to whip up a new clone in a jiffy!
Baroness: Never let it be said we don’t recycle here on Cobra Island.
Dr. Mindbender: Yes, I mean, I could probably take a scraping off something or other, or find a hair—
Destro: Did Serpentor even have hair? I don’t think I ever saw him with the cowl off.
Zartan [his feet propped on the table, picking at the tip of an arrow he just happens to have with him]: I’m sure I could find a blood sample somewhere.
CC: If we ever have any hope of drawing the attention of the world back to our own devious machinations, we must take drastic action—
[Everyone is shaking their heads.]
Baroness: Commander. Be honest with yourself. Will this really get any attention? Given what we’re up against?
CC: You haven’t seen the rest of the plan! [He clicks to the next slide.] Step one: Create a new Serpentor! Step two: Create a reality TV show starring the new Serpentor! Step three….
[One hour later.]
CC: Step twenty-four: Kidnap Hector Ramirez and force him to review the memoirs written by the new Serpentor! Step twenty-five…
Destro: Wait. You want a clone that was just created this year to write memoirs?
Baroness: Really, Destro, you’re just now raising questions? You should have gone out for coffee with the rest of us.
Zartan: You still have the same problem. None of this can compete with what’s already happening.
CC: All right. Then let’s have a look at Plan B: Ninjas!
[He clicks the next slide, revealing a picture of Storm Shadow.]
CC: Step 1: Contact Storm Shadow! Step 2: Disguise Storm Shadow as the Easter Bunny at the Traditional White House Easter Egg Hunt! Step 3…
[Baroness produces a flask that was somehow hidden in her skin-tight jumpsuit and stealthily passes it around the table.]
[Time and Place: January, Second Women’s March in an undisclosed city. ]
[There’s a completely unassuming woman dressed in a completely nondescript outfit, wearing glasses and carrying a sign that reads “Nolite te bastardes carborundorum.” She might be a librarian. You’d only know this was all a disguise if you knew what to look for.]
[Nearby, there’s a hipster-looking woman with a nose ring and spiked hair and leather jacket, carrying a sign with the anarchy symbol on one side and F*** T**** on the other. Except, you know, without the stars. You’d only know this was all a disguise if you knew what to look for.]
[The crowd shifts, the two women bump into each other by accident. Turns out, they both know what to look for.]
Lady Jaye: Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean —
Zarana: No worries, it’s crowded here —
[Recognizing each other, they both turn away quickly, stunned, and for a moment pretend not to have seen the other. Then –]
Lady Jaye: I wouldn’t have expected to see you here.
Lady Jaye: How could I not? Things have gotten so crazy. . .my mother and grandmother marched so I wouldn’t have to, and now here we are.
Zarana: Right? I’ve got plenty of other fights I could be spending my time on. But do you know what it’s like being the token female in the Dreadnoks?
Jaye: Please say they don’t tell you to go make them a sandwich —
Zarana: Every. Day.
Jaye: That’s horrible. You know, you’re the real brains of that outfit.
Zarana: Right?! Thank you! You’re lucky, you’ve always had Scarlett and Cover Girl watching out for you.
Jaye: Aren’t they great? They’re so amazing–
Zarana: They’re bitches. I mean that as a compliment of course.
Jaye: Hey, bitches get stuff done.
Zarana: Bitches get stuff done!
Jaye: Have you noticed how none of the women in G.I. Joe get helmets? Only the men get helmets.
Zarana: Whoa, I never noticed that before.
Jaye: It’s like, if we cover our hair people won’t know we’re girls? What’s up with that?
[The crowd picks up a chant. Lady Jaye and Zarana join in.]
Crowd: HEY HEY! HO HO! FASCISM HAS GOT TO GO!
Jaye: It’s so weird hearing you say that.
Zarana: Don’t tell anyone, but the entire Cobra organization is having an existential crisis right now. We started out as anarchists, dammit!
Jaye: Well, I should get going. I’m not really supposed to be here.
Zarana: Yeah, me neither.
Jaye: But. You know. [She points at her sign. Don’t let the bastards grind you down.]
Zarana: Yeah, you too. Hey, do me a favor and say hello to Mainframe for me?
Jaye: Wait what?
[But Zarana has already disappeared into the crowd.]
[SCENE: Cobra Commander is at his desk computer, and quickly shuts down a game of Minesweeper when the doors slide open. The Crimson Twins, Tomax and Xamot, enter.]
Cobra Commander: Yessssss, what is it?
Tomax: Cobra Commander we must inform you that we —
Xamot: — are resigning from Cobra.
CC: What! Why?
Tomax: It’s become clear to us that Cobra no longer offers the best opportunities for us to exercise our —
Xamot: — particular talents. So you see, we’ve submitted resumes to —
Tomax & Xamot: The White House.
CC: Well. I can hardly argue with that.
Xamot: We expect another —
Tomax: — Cabinet position —
Xamot: — or two —
Tomax: — or three —
Xamot: — to open up soon. We hope we can count on you —
Tomax: — to provide letters of recommendation?
CC: One question.
Tomax & Xamot: Yes?
CC: Are you even American citizens?
Tomax: What has that —
Xamot: — got to do with anything?
CC: Do you two have any idea how annoying it is to talk to you?
Tomax: Of course–
Xamot: –we do.
Tomax: You don’t think this is —
Xamot & Tomax: — an accident.
[The Twins laugh evilly, in unison.]
CC: Of course I’ll write glowing recommendations for you. I see you working in close proximity to the Oval Office. Very close proximity, one hopes, with frequent opportunities to speak to its occupant. Bessssssssst of luck!
[SCENE: a dive bar outside a U.S. military base at a classified location. General Hawk is slouched at a table in back, alone, a tall glass of Yo Joe Cola in front of him, which he occasionally spikes from a flask. He has a thousand-yard stare to nowhere. He’s seen things.]
[Destro walks in, looks around while his sight adjusts to the gloom. He sees Hawk, considers him, and seems almost sad. He goes to the table, sits across from him.]
Destro: General, I —
General Hawk: “I’d wake up and there’d be nothing.. . When I was here, I wanted to be there; when I was there, all I could think of was getting back into the jungle. I’m here a week now… waiting for a mission… getting softer. Every minute I stay in this room, I get weaker, and every minute Charlie squats in the bush, he gets stronger. Each time I looked around the walls moved in a little tighter –“
Destro: General Hawk!
Hawk [starts awake and glares]: What do you want?
Destro: I came to see how you were getting along. You know, given the current state of things. Your life’s work made a mockery of by the man you’re ostensibly supposed to take orders from —
Hawk: That’s right, laugh all you want. I’m sure this is hilarious to you.
Destro: On the contrary, we’re at loose ends. We could sow chaos and destruction, but what’s the point? What’s there left to do? And then I thought, you all have spent over thirty years battling Cobra, and now this. One election, and you have fascists running the country and building camps — [he leans in conspiratorially, whispers] Tell me, have any of you considered something along the lines of, well, I’m sure the phrase “military coup” might be a bit strong —
[Hawk glares with a look somewhere between rage and despair. Destro has been at odds with this man a long time, and he’s never seen this expression on his face. No one has.]
Hawk: 44% of active-duty troops have a favorable view of. . . [visibly editing himself] the current administration. [citation below]
Destro: I had no idea. That would mean roughly 44% of the G.I. Joe team —
Hawk: That’s right.
Destro: Do you know who on the team —
Hawk [now seeming to be in physical pain]: We have a don’t ask don’t tell policy.
Destro: Oh. I see.
Hawk: It’s fine. Really, it’s fine. It’s all going to be…just…fine.
[He breaks the glass with his bare hand, which is a neat trick because the glass is actually plastic. Jack-and-cola goes everywhere. Destro reaches for him, as if to comfort him.]
Destro: General —
[“Take My Breath Away” starts playing on the jukebox. Time seems to slow. The two regard each other for a long moment.]
Destro: May. . .may I buy you drink, Hawk?
Hawk: No you may not.
Destro: Right then, I’ll just be going now.
(The Baroness is out of uniform, lounging in a black terrycloth robe and drinking ouzo straight from the bottle while watching today’s news.)
Baroness: My God. If only we had known it would be so easy. If only we had known.
(She gets out her phone, dials.)
Baroness: Am I a failure? I worked so hard for so many years to undermine democracy. All the ridiculous Rube Goldberg schemes and disguises, the Machiavellian plotting, and then this. . .this thing comes along, and. . . I worked so hard, Destro darling, so hard, and now. . .was it all for nothing? WAS IT?
Destro: Baroness. Are you drunk?
Baroness: I may be a little drunk, yes.
Destro: I think you should have a glass of water and go to sleep. Things will look better in the morning.
Baroness: Will they, Destro? WILL THEY?!
Baroness: Destro. Tell me I’m a terrible person.
Destro: You are a terrible person, Baroness.
Baroness: I’ve done terrible things.
Destro: You have, and you should be very proud of all the terrible things you’ve done.
Baroness: And I’m evil? The evilest person in the world?
(SCENE: A garage on Cobra island, with all kinds of tricked out vehicles in the background. The After School Special Music starts playing.)
Ripper: Zartan, I. . .I need to talk to you.
Zartan: What is it, Ripper? What’s troubling you?
Ripper: Guv — what’s all this talk about us being fascists?
Zartan: Cobra is a fascist organization. Cobra Commander is a fascist. Personally I like to think of myself as an anarchist, but we Dreadnoks work for fascists, take their money, and that pretty much makes us fascist too. Sorry, I thought you knew?
Zartan: Yes, ‘fraid so.
Ripper: Now see here, me granddad flew a Spitfire at the Battle of Britain, what will he say, he finds out I’m a fascist!
Zartan: I suppose it depends, which way did he vote on Brexit?
Ripper: That’s a low blow, guv.
Zartan: Yes. Well. We’re the bad guys.
Ripper: And we’re fascists?
Zartan: You know what? Never mind. Would you like to drive around and blow things up later today?
Ripper: Cor yeah, that sounds like fun!