James McCullen Destro XXIV
Laird Destro; Alastair Smith
9 - M.A.R.S. Commander - High Command
|“||We shall create a situation and a market and sell weapons to both sides!||”|
Born in Callander, Scotland, Destro’s full name was James McCullen Destro XXIV, and was Laird of Castle Destro in the Scottish Highlands. The Destro clan has designed and sold weapons for centuries, and Destro was the head of their current incarnation: M.A.R.S. (Military Armament Research Syndicate). He wore a mask forged from Beryllium Steel, a tradition dating back to the English Civil War, when an ancestor of his was caught selling weapons to both sides. Forced to wear a steel mask for his crimes (neither side wanted to execute the ancestor because they still wanted the weapons he sold), the Destro clan has since turned it into a symbol of pride, passing it down from father to son for over 20 generations. Destro was distantly related to Lady Jaye.
Destro’s key characteristics were his sense of honor, a calm demeanor, and love for COBRA’s primary intelligence officer, the Baroness. As a businessman, Destro was cutthroat and unyielding. He used his own troops, the Iron Grenadiers, and hired mercenaries to stir up conflict in dangerous regions, then sold weapons to those armies. Continuing a tradition started by the first masked Destro, he would even sell to both sides of the same war.
The history of the Destro clan began centuries ago in Scotland. The family became renowned weapons suppliers, and came to prominence in Europe's strife-filled past. In the 1640s, a member of the clan was supplying weapons to both sides in the English civil war. Cromwell's men discovered this and the man was punished and forced to wear a steel mask. Instead of accepting it as a disgrace, the steel mask became a badge of honor, worn by each head of the clan. In 1752, the family established the naval gun foundry that would become MARS -- Military Armaments Research Syndicate, an entity which still exists today. For hundreds of years, the lairds of Castle Destro made MARS the largest manufacturer of state-of-the-art weaponry systems in the world.
The man known today only as Destro was little more than a spoiled rich kid in his youth. In 1968, young Destro accompanied his father on a business trip to Vietnam. The Vietnam War was at the height of its intensity and North Vietnamese forces were staging the infamous Tet Offensive. The young Destro's father was there to sell weapons to men posing as representatives of the South Vietnamese government. In reality the men were Vietcong agents. When the elder Destro and his son arrived at the meeting place in Saigon, they discovered it was swarming with American soldiers.
A humanitarian, the Baron Eugen DeCobray, had also been meeting with the Vietcong agents and was killed for his medical supplies. They, in turn, were killed by an American soldier named Snake-Eyes. It was believed that Snake-Eyes had killed DeCobray, but the elder Destro proved the young soldier innocent, thanks to his knowledge of ballistics. Also present was DeCobray's younger sister, Anastasia. The younger Destro only caught a glimpse of the girl as she was brought away from the scene in tears. Anastasia would later become known as the Baroness. Destro met her years later, but the circumstances of that meeting and their past relationship remains a mystery.
After the death of his father, Destro became the head of MARS. A complex man, Destro was intent on upholding the honor of his family name, while still keeping the weapons business fruitful. Destro's sense of honor seemed contrary to his position in MARS, which kept him in contact with some of the worst elements of society. Destro sold his state-of-the-art weaponry to the highest bidder, whoever that may have been. One of those bidders was Cobra. Destro came into contact very early in Cobra's existance, and even knew the identity of Cobra Commander's son, Billy. Part of Destro's nature is an intolerance for incompetence and inefficiency. When he became the chief supplier of weapons to Cobra (due in part to the death of his competitor, Derek Sutherland), he believed the organization's vast resources were being squandered under Cobra Commander's erratic leadership. Well-read in military strategy, Destro offered his services to Cobra as an advisor, and Cobra Commander made him a kind of field commander to his troops. From Destro's very arrival Cobra Commander saw him as a threat. The Commander was surprised to learn that the Baroness, his most trusted lieutenant, had a past relationship with Destro. That, coupled with Destro's superior skills, gained Destro the Commander's distrust. This fear of betrayal helped the Commander's inherent paranoia to make itself even more apparent. His distrust was not misplaced. Destro's affection towards the Baroness, combined with her and his own ambition, lead him to his desire to remove Cobra Commander from his position of leadership. To prevent just such an occurrence, the Commander hired the mercenary and assassin Major Bludd. Bludd was to kill Destro during a battle with the G.I. Joe team, making it look like an accident. The Baroness saw that Bludd was about to fire on Destro's HISS tank and she swerved her own tank into the line of fire to save Destro. Her tank exploded and the Baroness was nearly killed in the explosion that followed. Bludd decided to save the Baroness, but they were both captured by the Joes. They eventually escaped and Bludd took the comatose Baroness to the Bern Institute of Reconstructive Surgery in Switzerland where she was healed by Dr. Hundtkinder. During this time, Cobra Commander was being blackmailed by Bludd, who threatened to expose the Commander's treachery to Destro. All this time, the Commander allowed Destro to believe the Baroness was dead, hoping to keep his rival off-balance. He told Destro that Bludd had acted alone.
Brooding over the loss of the Baroness in the "Silent Castle" -- his private retreat in the mountains of Trans-Carpathia, Destro was surprised when Snake-Eyes freed Scarlett from the supposedly impregnable castle. Snake-Eyes had to defeat the Cobra ninja, Storm Shadow, to escape. Soon afterward, Major Bludd returned with the Baroness. Destro was ready to kill Bludd for what he had done, but the Baroness calmed him, revealing Cobra Commander's treachery. The three conspired to take over Cobra and remove the Commander from power. One obstacle between Destro and the Commander was Storm Shadow, now the Commander's bodyguard. They hired Firefly and Wild Weasel to track down Storm Shadow, but were instead led to Zartan's shack in the Florida Everglades. The Joes tracked Cobra's high command to the swamps, where a battle between the two foes occurred. After the battle, Destro and Firefly were left behind in the swamps. They began to hatch a plan to exact their vengeance on the Commander. At the same time, the Baroness and Major Bludd were forming their own separate plan to assassinate Cobra Commander. During their absence, Destro and Firefly accepted a mission into the High Sierras where they battled Snake-Eyes, Spirit and Airborne. The Cobras were defeated and returned to Cobra headquarters in Springfield. Once there, Destro learned of the Baroness' plan to assassinate the Commander. He was at first willing to allow the plan to succeed, but when he saw the assassin was the Commander's estranged son, Billy, he stopped the assassination, not willing to watch the boy kill his own father.
Destro was now torn between his personal sense of honor and his desire to oust Cobra Commander. He took control of the hearing to determine how Billy had come so close to succeeding in his assassination attempt. Destro knew of Billy's accomplices, but he would not turn the Baroness and Bludd in. He was not willing to let them lay all the blame on the boy they had manipulated. Billy never gave up his accomplices. This so impressed Storm Shadow that he finally decided that he couldn't be a part of Cobra any longer. He helped Billy escape, narrowly escaping Destro, who tried to prevent the ninja from betraying Cobra. By this time, Destro decided that despite his personal dislike for the Commander, he could not withdraw his loyalties too easily. If he was to usurp the Commander's power, he would do it through means other than murder.
Later, the scientist Dr. Mindbender contacted Destro and the Baroness, wanting to sell his technology to Destro and Cobra. Destro detested Mindbender and his high opinion of himself, but he recognized the Doctor's scientific genius. When Mindbender brought his BATs -- Battle Android Troopers -- into Cobra he had no idea that the robots' computer systems were built by a subsidiary of MARS. Mindbender's most ambitious project was the creation of the perfect Cobra soldier. He planned to gather the remains of long-dead conquerors and soldiers and use their DNA to create Serpentor. Destro and the Baroness assisted Mindbender in the project. The project was a success, but came to fruition just as the Joes had begun an attack on Springfield. As Serpentor lead the Cobra troops in a holding action against the Joes, Destro took charge of Springfield's evacuation. During the evacuation, Baroness asked what Destro's motivations were:
-Baroness: "Destro. Why are you doing this?...You're saving the core of the Cobra organization for Cobra Commander!"
-Destro: "I'm saving it for me."
-Baroness: "I knew it! You plan to overthrow Cobra Commander! We can do it together, you and I! You know how I've always felt about you--"
-Destro: "I don't know, and doubt if I ever will. You also misunderstand my intentions completely... I have no great love for Cobra Commander, but I sided with him. I won't discard loyalty like last year's fashions. Don't try me, Baroness. Some men will put aside love for honor. Do you really want to know that much about me?"
When Serpentor landed on Cobra Island, he received a hero's welcome. Cobra Commander soon realized that he had misjudged Mindbender's project. The greatest soldiers of all time were also great leaders like Caesar and Napoleon. Serpentor was a master at manipulating people and the Commander soon faced a real threat to his power. Destro, however, remained loyal to the Commander. He was disgusted as the Baroness became enamored with Serpentor and threw her support to him. Mindbender was so proud of his creation that he became Serpentor's close advisor. Soon, the location of the G.I. Joe team's secret headquarters, the Pit, was discovered by Cobra. Serpentor and Cobra Commander both led an operation to capture the Pit. The operation was made easier by the fact that the Joe team had been suspended. The only people in the Pit were Hawk and three Pentagon investigators: Generals Hollingsworth and Ryan, and Admiral Dyson. Serpentor was about to lead the troops into the lower levels of the Pit when the Commander led them himself. He was not going to allow Serpentor another victory. Destro was impressed with the Commander's initiative and followed him into the Pit. Once there, the tables turned on the Cobras when Hawk and the other officers decided to destroy the Pit rather than let Cobra win. A chain of explosions caused the Pit to collapse and Destro and the Commander were presumed dead. In reality the two men had survived, trapped deep underground. They eventually found a means of escape and in disguise they left the area.
While on the run, Cobra Commander found out that Billy was lying in a coma in a hospital bed somewhere near Springfield. The Commander stayed with his son, vowing to be a better father to him. Destro gave the Commander some parting words, telling him to try and make up for the mistakes of his past, and left father and son alone. Tired of Cobra, Destro returned home to Scotland. When he arrived at Castle Destro, he was met by a man posing as him. The man accused Destro of being the imposter and had him jailed. Destro was surprised to be rescued by Flint and Lady Jaye of the G.I. Joe team, with some help from the British military. They had been ordered to get the plans for Cobra's Terror Dromes from Destro. In exchange for the plans, they helped to defeat the imposter, who was also after the plans. The imposter was defeated and revealed to be Major Bludd, who hadn't been seen for months. Destro believed that Bludd was sent by Serpentor to secure the Terror Drome plans for himself.
For a time, Destro had no contact with Cobra and spent his full time running MARS. With Cobra Commander presumed dead, Serpentor had brought Cobra into the international arms market. Destro was not willing to let Cobra usurp his dominance of international weapons sales. The nation of Sierra Gordo was in turmoil. Cobra had sold Terror Dromes there, but were being pushed out by revolutionaries led by General Villavaca. In turn, Villavaca's forces were at war with the counter-revolution led by El Jefe. Cobra was on the losing side either way. Just to be certain, Destro secretly helped both Villavaca and El Jefe. By helping keep the war going, Destro made sure Cobra would be defeated by whoever happened to win. Destro now escalated MARS research & development and manufactured a whole new line of vehicles and weapons. Not only did he design a new uniform and gold mask for himself, but he turned Castle Destro's personal guards into his own private army, dubbing them the Iron Grenadiers. As MARS returned to prominence, Cobra was in the middle of a civil war on Cobra Island between those loyal to Serpentor and those who supported Cobra Commander. Seizing his opportunity, Destro invaded the island at the height of the fighting, which had since been joined by the G.I. Joe team. In the final battle, Serpentor was killed and Cobra Commander's forces were the victors. Destro arrived at the end of the battle and gained his true objective -- the Baroness -- without firing a shot. After the operation, the secret cabal of generals at the Pentagon -- the Jugglers -- set up Hawk and the Joes to take the blame for the failed Cobra Island operation. Destro was sickened by the dishonorable actions of the generals and exposed them and their purchase of arms from MARS to supply the war effort.
Destro had no sooner returned to Scotland with the Baroness when Cobra attacked. Destro won the battle and revealed that the Baroness had told him that the man running things was not the Commander at all but the Crimson Guardsman, Fred VII, who had taken control after the original Commander's departure. Destro threatened to expose Fred VII unless he was given control of Cobra. He set up a more efficient system that would not allow for the plotting and backstabbing that had always plagued Cobra. While Destro was in control, the Baroness attempted to kill Snake-Eyes for his supposed murder of her brother years ago in Vietnam. Destro stopped her, telling her that he had been there and Snake-Eyes was innocent. This brought the Baroness to reassess her life and she decided to leave Cobra to sort things out. Destro wanted to help her and was willing to give up everything for her, even abandoning the family mask for a time. He left Darklon in charge of MARS and he and the Baroness retired to Castle Destro. Meanwhile, the original Cobra Commander returned and started to run Cobra more effectively than he had in the past. He considered Destro a loose end and put a bounty out on Destro's head, attempting to find and kill his old rival at all costs and even captured the Baroness. With Billy, Zartan and the Joes' help, Destro defeated the Commander and freed the Baroness. He persuaded Cobra Commander to leave him alone and return his castle in Trans-Carpathia to him (thanks to some blackmail), where he returned with the Baroness. What he didn't know was that the Commander had planted a post-hypnotic suggestion in the Baroness so she would kill Destro. He triggered the programming just as the Red Ninjas -- who now used the castle as a base -- attacked. Again, the Joes assisted Destro and the ninjas and Cobra were defeated. Destro broke the Baroness out of the hypnosis by professing his love for her, transforming the castle into a fairy tale version of his castle in Scotland where they could both live.
After leaving Destro alone for a while, Cobra Commander decided he wanted the Trans-Carpathian castle back. So, Cobra attacked the castle again. This time, Destro lost control of his castle. Later, with the help of Zartan, Destro took back the castle again. Destro and the Baroness again stayed in the castle relatively peacefully, and Zartan stayed for a time. They were all watching Cobra's invasion of nearby Borovia to see what would happen next. Cobra was now backing a legitimate government, but the Commander -- paranoid as ever -- wanted to eliminate Destro's threat.
With Dr. Mindbender's Brainwave Scanner, Cobra Commander brainwashed Destro, the Baroness, Zartan and Storm Shadow. Now, the Cobra high command was back in power, albeit against their own will. The Joes attempted to free them, but were unsuccessful, and the Commander was readying to take control of the other countries in the area. A short time later, the G.I. Joe team was disbanded by the U.S. military. Soon afterward, Cobra forces fell to a unified attack by regular military forces. Most of Cobra's "high command" disappeared in the wake of the conflict, including Destro.
When Destro was a young man, he fell in love with a beautiful black Scottish woman. His family forbid him to see her since she was a poor commoner, but James Destro the Younger disobeyed them, seeking out her company whenever he could get away.
This woman became pregnant while young James was out of the country, and in a panic she sought help at Castle Destro. James's family paid her off against her will to keep her silence about the pregnancy, making dire threats as to what would happen to her and her child if she spoke.
Alexander's mother never spoke to James out of fear, but raised her son telling stories of his father, never mentioning exactly who he was other than his first name. Alexander grew up poor on the streets of Scotland, his natural power and charisma allowing him to quickly rise to command the largest of the local gangs.
Following rumours of an unknown bastard child of Lord Destro years later, Mistress Armada used her superior intellience-gathering skills to track down Alexander and inform him of his true birthright. At Armada's urging, Alexander confronted Destro, who remembered the lost love of his youth.
Reluctantly accepting Alexander's claims (after prudent DNA tests, of course), Destro made Alexander and Armada field commanders of his Iron Grenadier legions, over the Baroness's protests. Destro is keeping an eye on his young violent progeny, not sure whether to be proud or concerned of his son's flair for destruction.
When Cobra Commander was shot down in Ohio and disappeared in 2009, Destro seized control of Cobra Island, nearly sparking a second civil war. He called an end to the turmoil between his forces and those of the Baroness by submitted control of Cobra Island to the Baroness in exchange for an alliance between TransCarpathia and Cobra Island.
With the formation of Cobra Unity, Destro has become a major weapons supplier to the new oil-rich nation.In 2014, Destro traveled to Frusenland to negotiate a contract to provide that country with defensive weaponry. After the assassination of their Prime Minister, he stayed on to provide security to the country as it plunged into chaos.
In 2015, the Baroness was captured by anti-Cobra forces in Borovia, and imprisoned for several months. She was rescued at last by Destro, who took her to the Silent Castle to recover. While there, Destro reconnected with the Baroness, and discussed her idea for teaming up and possibly infiltrating G.I. Joe. However, Destro was subsequently attacked during a fancy dress party at the Silent Castle, and believed killed when he jumped from the castle walls, plunging to what must surely be his death. His body was never found.
Nonetheless, a man calling himself Destro showed up at the Silent Castle and resumed the duties of head of MARS and Castle Destro.
In 2018 a man calling himself Alastair Smith contacted Spike Witwicky, urging him to pass along a message to Lady Jaye that the Destro in the Silent Castle was NOT James McCullen, and hinted to Witwicky that James McCullen may still be alive.
August 24: Rescue Plans
September 20: CNN Report
In news today, Laird James McCullen Destro XXIV of Trans-carpathia has announced himself as the new benevolent Monarch of Cobra Island. <<Shot to a Clip of Destro, in full Iron mask and regalia standing before row after row of blue suited Vipers>> "We all will mourn the disappearance of Cobra Commander, though in his absence I will step up to guide his growing nation into a new era of Monarchy over Dictatorship. As a colony of Trans-carpathia, Cobra Island will have access to all of the freedoms, and constitutional rights that a Trans-carpathian citizen enjoys every day. Together, we hope to prove to the United Nations that Cobra Island is a benevolent nation, who open to peaceful negotiations and business deals with the world. I do hope the allies of Cobra Island will be the Allies of Trans-carpathia, and to their enemies, I offer the olive branch and a chance for peace. >>
September 21: IC Message to all Cobra Troops
- Citizens of Cobra Island. We are standing at the cusp of a new era for Cobra Island. United, Trans-Carpathia and Cobra will be the largest and most powerful superpower on the planet. I do not intend to take Cobra Commander's place, simply to guard his assets until his return. Under Trans-Carpathia's protection, you will find that you have the power and resources available to you that only we can provide. Against us, you will find those same resources taken away. Anyone who wishes to join the Baroness on her self-destructive regime against myself and the Commander, you are free to do so. But know that you and the Baroness would be listed as enemies of the state and will be dealt with appropriately.
--Laird Destro, out.
September 23 - Now Megatron Is Literally Talking Out Of His Aft
September 23 - State of the Nation
- I, Laird James McCullen Destro have called an end to this inner turmoil between my forces and those of the Baroness. I have submitted control of Cobra Island to the Baroness, in exchange for an alliance between Trans-Carpathia and Cobra Island. United, instead of against one another, we will see the Commander's forces into a new era. Hail our alliance. And Hail Cobra.
Nov 07 - Declaration of war
- The face of Destro, Laird of Trans-Carpathia appears on the screen*
- Grenadiers, and citizens of Trans-Carpathia. The Autobots have made it clear that they are allied with our enemies and never had any intention of holding a peaceful alliance with us. We are, in fact, at war with them. At the time, I would not be concerned. Optimus Prime does not seem the type to attack first. They are waiting on us to make our first move, and we will wait on them to make theirs in return. We have a weapon that could destroy them and their American allies, if they so raise a hand against us. I also encourage the armies of Cobra to assist us against what seems to be a threat against both of us. In our meeting, the Autobot leader compared us to Cobra, thinking us one in the same, that we are terrorists that must be destroyed. They have obviously been talking to the American military, and would just as easily turn their alien technology against you. If these aliens oppose us in our own wars, then we will crush them under our heel. Laird Destro, out.
May 20 - Queen situation
The situation regarding the Queen of Spades has been resolved. She wanted one object, and luckily I had it in my possession. Cobra's tools will no longer be used against them, I wager, and the self-claimed machine has finished her objectives in Mexico. I am open to private discussion of the situation- Laird Destro out.
August 4 - Vacation Plans
Dec 20 - Message to the World
- Marekesh, Morocco:
- Today, Laird James McCullen Destro XXIV of Transcarpathia announced to a gathering of thirty of the world's top meteorologists and geologists that he had a device that could end world hunger, end destructive weather patterns and possibly control and eliminate global warming all together, just to name a few of the device's possible uses; a device he calls the Weather Dominator. Though the name of the device is ominous, Laird Destro ensures the leaders of the world that he has nothing but benign intentions for the device and offers its' use to the United Nations, if they would provide Transcarpathia a seat in the United Nations, as well as an advisor seat for all hearings. Laird Destro ensures the world that Transcarpathia has nothing but benevolent intentions, and this is a rare extension of the olive branch from the weapons dealer and Laird of Transcarpathia. As Laird Destro was fielding questions in the scientific community about his device, he was unavailable for comment.
Dec 23 - State of the Nation
As of 12.23.10, I, Laird James McCullen Destro XIV will be serving as Cobra Island's temporary custodian, until either Cobra Commander, the Baroness, or Major Bludd contacts me directly. In the meantime, I will be sending a contingent of Iron Grenadiers to look into the disappearance of the Baroness and Major Bludd. I want every member of Cobra Intelligence to search for the Baroness and Major Bludd. I want no stone unturned. They will be found, and the question of their disappearance will be answered. That is all. Cobra!
Jan 03 - Report
From the desk of James McCullen Destro
- Incident Report: 2010.12.31
- Time: 20:30z (23:30 hrs local, Moscow)
- Location: Moscow,Russia
- Flag: Cobra Command, Rank 6+, Review
- Type: Security Breech
- Synopsis: New Years Eve Party involving ranking officials of the Kremlin Guard Bureau and Cobra crashed before festivities could begin; Over Kill unit 'Ra' Malfunctioned, aimed missile launcher at a limousine. Eyewitness (anonymous; already debriefed by Interrogator) spotted unknown person in chameleon armor breaching defenses as unit Ra malfunctioned. Could be the result of a new type of weapon. Intelligence suspects the incident was a distraction, as no loss of life or further incidents ensued. Security locked down the party and safely escorted all attendees to safety. Supplementary reports pending.
March 30 - Theft of Property
August 1 - Battle at Al-Alawi
August 2 - Crown City Conquest
Feb 2 - Gaining a Weather Machine
Feb 17 - Geopolitical Climate Change
March 1 - Frusenland Operations
- March 12 - "Success at The Devil’s Playground" - Destro reports his success and Copperhead's failure
- March 21 - "Mission Failed" - Destro reports on the failure at the Mountain of Glass.
- May 20 - "An Old Acquaintance" - Spike gets a mysterious message about Destro.
Destro was played by CalihexInmate until May of 2013. He was temped by Bzero from 2014 until his alleged death in 2016. If anyone apps for him, he'll turn out to be very much alive and seeking revenge.
- Destro's Despoiler (1988 - 1990)
- Destro's Dominator (1990 - 1991, 2002 - present)
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