Origins issue 7
|First published||September 16, 2009|
|Cover date||September 2009|
|Written by||Chuck Dixon|
|Line-art by||Alex Cal|
|Colors by||J. Brown|
|Letters by||Robbie Robbins|
|Assistant editor||Carlos Guzman|
|Associate editor||Denton J. Tipton|
Mainframe goes AWOL to uncover a conspiracy that G.I. Joe refuses to see!
In the Black Sea, G.I. Joe Team Alpha are led by Duke on a stealth mission to retrieve network files from the Ichkerian mafia. Unfortunately, the mafia have found out, and the team are beating a hasty retreat to their waiting dinghy off the beach. Non-combatant computer specialist Mainframe is thoroughly out of his element, and seeing Grand Slam shot dead in front of him does nothing to help matters. Eventually the team reach their boat, but just as Mainframe climbs aboard, an RPG strikes the craft!
Two weeks later, Mainframe wakes up in the infirmary. The mission was a success in the end, and his teammates drop by with congratulations and gifts to get him through the hospital stay. A month later, bored out of his mind, he convinces Scarlett to give him access to unprocessed web traffic data, and gets to work poring over transmissions for information of interest. Over the next two weeks, the computer specialist discovers consistent references to something called "Cobra" across a multitude of terror communications, and develops a theory that this mysterious player is engineering complex chains of cause and effect across the political and business worlds, but Scarlett insists that he is reading imaginary patterns into unrelated events. He finds a marginally more receptive ear in Snake Eyes, sharing the gym as Mainframe begins physical recovery, but the ninja-commando has, of course, nothing to say in return.
Eventually, Mainframe takes his Cobra theory all the way to Hawk, but the general too is dismissive of the notion. Later, the frustrated computer expert vents aloud to the displeasure of his roommate, pointing out the suspicious levelling of Buddhist monasteries in Rangoon. In the days that follow, Mainframe pretends to his superiors that he has given up on his conspiracy, but continues to pursue it in secret, eavesdropping on a Rangoon phonecall between two seeming Cobra collaborators. His mind made up, he subsequently shuts down The Pit's perimeter monitoring and sets off into the desert, going AWOL to investigate Cobra alone. He has not gone far when he suddenly finds Snake Eyes' sword at his neck, but an impassioned declaration of belief in his actions causes the ninja to stay his blade and vanish.
Weeks later, a G.I. Joe strike team converges on a Miami apartment where they suspect Mainframe is holed up. Directed remotely by Scarlett, Stalker's team breaches the room... and finds nothing but a laptop with a taunting farewell message. The other teams surrounding the building have had similar luck, but as they stand down, the rogue Joe taps into Scarlett's comms. He announces that he intends to go completely dark as he continues his one-man crusade, but not before transmitting a final warning to G.I. Joe: beware Rangoon!
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
"It's all here. Between the lines. Behind the intel. There's someone gaming them all. I can't see the end move. There might not be one. But Cobra is real."
- —Mainframe sees what nobody else does
- Per issue #8 of the main series, the events of this issue occur three years before the presen day.
- Mainframe's roommate goes unidentified here, but is revealed to be Tunnel Rat in issue #12 of the main series.
- Rangoon is, as we learned in issue #6 of the main series, where Snake Eyes will later go rogue to begin his own campaign against Cobra. We will never learn exactly what happened to Snake Eyes and his team there, beyond the implication of some kind of run in with Cobra operations in area.
- Mainframe references Scarlett's computer skills, a rarely-mentioned trait of hers from the opening arc of Origins.
G.I. Joe references
- Mainframe wears his original action figure's distinctive helmet during the opening scene.
- In a bit of a meta moment, Mainframe's reading material in hospital includes an IDW Publishing book.
- Mainframe responds to Scarlett's suggestion to "change the rules" with a reference to The Wrath of Khan's Kobayashi Maru training exercise, which Captain Kirk famously beat by changing the simulation's parameters.
- The Baroness is seen looming over the shoulder of the Canadian agriculture minister caught in Cobra's web of intrigue.
- Cover A: Mainframe pores over data, by Tom Feister.
- Cover B: Mainframe, by Alex Cal and ???.
- Cover RI: Virgin version of Cover A.