"We change to serve."
The Crimson Guard represent several steps forward in the evolution of the Cobra Trooper. They are considered the most elite troopers of Cobra's army and possess a fearsome oath of loyalty to Cobra Commander that only few non-Siegie (phonetic for the Crimson Guard initials, C.G.) troopers can match. Aside from the standard infantry training they receive, each Crimson Guardsman is expected to specialize in a civilian profession that may be considered as mundane by most. Specifically, most of them hold degrees in law or accountancy. Upon graduating, many are sent out to the world at large, posing as doctors, lawyers, executives and even infiltrating the higher echelons of politics. More than just undercover agents, the Crimson Guard goes deeper, earning the trust of the gullible public who don't know their true loyalty. The "Fred Series" is even more elite, as each has allowed Cobra to use plastic surgery to change their faces to one look, so each can replace the other should one be injured or killed on the field.
Freds of Note
Fred I - Fred Broca
The first Crimson Guardsman known as Fred Broca was one of many identical Cobra agents sharing his name. Virtually nothing is known of Fred's past, and it is unknown if the other Freds were patterned after him, or if he, too underwent plastic surgery to give him a new face. Fred, his wife and two children -- Shaun and Heather -- were one of the first undercover Crimson Guard families, living like the average suburban Americans. Fred was sent to Staten Island, where the Brocas moved into a new home just outside the gates of Fort Wadsworth, an Army base Cobra believed to be connected to the Joes. The base was, in fact, the home of The Pit. After weeks of surveillance, Fred was surprised when Destro and Firefly arrived at his house. He joined them in their attempt to find Snake-Eyes at his cabin in the High Sierras. The Cobra agents found the cabin and opened fire as they stormed the cabin.
Luckily for Snake-Eyes, Spirit and Airborne were nearby and a fierce battle erupted, leading to the destruction of the cabin. As they fought, Spirit shot Fred, who stumbled off into the snow. Fred's body was found a short time later by the Joes, after the Crimson Guardsman bled to death. Fred's body was laid to rest underneath a waterfall near the site of Snake-Eyes cabin. His gun was laid across his chest, his epitaph carved in the stone behind him: "Here lies Fred. Whatever he did in life, he died well." Not long after his death, the Brocas were surprised to see Fred return home. But despite having Fred's face, they knew it wasn't him. Cobra had simply replaced him to continue the surveillance of Fort Wadsworth. Fred II was in reality a Vietnam veteran named Wade Collins, an old friend of Snake-Eyes, Stalker and Storm Shadow.
Fred II - Wade Collins
Wade Collins was a typical soldier serving in the Vietnam War. He was assigned to the long range recon patrol (LRRP) and sent into the jungles to find the enemy. The rest of Collins' patrol consisted of Stalker, Snake-Eyes, Storm Shadow, Ramon Escobedo, and Dickie Saperstein. During a routine patrol, the group came out of the jungle and right into a clearing where a group of North Vietnamese soldiers had camped. Collins would later curse himself for not noticing any signs of the soldiers, due to the fact that he was scolding the soldiers behind him about noise discipline. A frantic firefight suddenly erupted. During the brief fight, Saperstein and Escobedo were killed, and Collins sustained heavy gunshot wounds to the chest. Stalker and the others thought all three men were killed and unwittingly left Collins behind to be captured by the North Vietnamese. His wounds were treated and he spent three years as a prisoner of war. Collins was finally freed when the United States pulled their forces out of Vietnam. When he made it home, he did not get the welcome he had expected. Protestors spit on him and called him "baby killer". Instead of being met by his wife at the airport, he was met by her lawyer, who handed him divorce papers. The next several years were difficult for Wade. He was unable to get a job, later observing that employers didn't want to hire a Vietnam veteran because he reminded them of defeat. With nowhere to go and no place he belonged Collins discovered Cobra. Bitter and disillusioned, he was easily swayed by Cobra's propaganda that big government was out to squash the "little guy". He soon joined the organization and later became one of the first members of the elite, secretive Crimson Guard. He underwent plastic surgery so that his face would be identical to the other members of the "Fred series" of the Crimson Guard and took the name Fred Broca aka Fred II.
After the death of the original Fred Broca, Collins replaced him as the head of his family. His wife and children -- Heather and Sean -- knew he was not the first Fred, but accepted him as any good Cobra family would have. He continued Fred's surveillance of Fort Wadsworth, which Cobra expected was a center for G.I. Joe activity. Soon afterward, Collins tracked down the G.I. Joe member Scarlett on the Staten Island ferry. At the time, he didn't realize that her companion was Snake-Eyes, wearing a mask to cover his scarred face. After a brief fight, Collins and Snake-Eyes grappled with each other, hanging over the river. Collins noticed that Snake-Eyes was wearing a mask and pulled it off, revealing the horribly scarred face underneath. Shocked, Collins lost his grip and fell into the water below. He survived, but became ill. He had a high fever and was nearly delirious. He became angry at his adoptive family and obsessed with his surveillance. It eventually paid off when he spotted Hawk leaving the base in a jeep, with two other soldiers. Collins placed a homing device on the jeep and followed them to Washington. As the device was transmitting, he overheard the names of the other two soldiers: Stalker and Snake-Eyes. The Joes dropped Hawk off at a meeting and visited the Vietnam War Memorial. Just as they noticed his name was not on the list of those killed in action, Collins confronted them at gunpoint and revealed his true identity. He hated them for leaving him behind so many years before. As Collins forced Stalker to drive them all to Springfield, Stalker began to try and convince him that was just being used by Cobra. But it wasn't too late to reclaim his life. Wade returned to Springfield, where he apologized to his adoptive family. His wife and children had come to love them as much as the real Fred, and they agreed to leave Cobra with him. They all headed off to live somewhere in suburban America. Stalker promised not to reveal where Wade had gone. Many years later, Stalker and Storm Shadow called on Wade to help them rescue Snake-Eyes, who was being held in the Cobra Consulate in New York. Donning his old Crimson Guard uniform, he strode into the building and learned where Snake-Eyes was being held. He even helped his old friends storm the Consulate. A short time later, Snake-Eyes went on a commando raid into the chaotic nation of Borovia. He returned home with a little girl named Marina, whose family had been lost to civil war. The Collins' agreed to take care of the girl and Marina became just another adopted member of the family.
Three years after Marina's arrival, Wade was arguing with his son Sean, who wanted to join the Army. Collins still had nightmares about his experiences in Southeast Asia, and was worried that Sean was simply joining the Army to get away from home. He suggested Sean write a letter to Snake-Eyes to get the opinion of a long time soldier. The letter that Snake-Eyes wrote back explained what the commando thought about life as a soldier, and told the stories of the rest of the people from the long range recon patrol unit that Wade and Snake-Eyes were a part of. Moved by the letter, Sean promised his father that he would think about all that Snake-Eyes said before making his final decision. Sean eventually decided to enlist in the Army, not long before the Joe team was shut down. A short time later, Wade's wife died, devastating him. He moved to Seattle and got a job working at a local marina, but became depressed and reclusive. He continued to dwell on trying to atone for his past and make his children proud of him. After Sean served on a covert ops unit for a time, he became Snake-Eyes' ninja apprentice. He currently serves on the reinstated G.I. Joe team, alongside Wade Collins' old friends, Stalker and Snake-Eyes.
Fred VII - Cobra Commander
"Funny thing about this helmet... Could be anybody inside..."
- FRED VII
When one becomes a member of the Crimson Guard, he gives up his past life, and takes up a new identity. In the past, many Guardsman underwent plastic surgery to share the same face as the others in their "series", so that they could easily replace a lost Guardsman and allow him to retain his status in the community. The most famous of these was the Fred series, patterned after the first "Fred Broca", whose name was even an alias. Fred VII was one of these men, and he became the most influential of these Guardsman, though few knew his identity.
Fred VII was a genius in mechanical engineering, focusing mostly on the field of robotics. His cover occupation was an auto mechanic, but Fred kept a secret laboratory in the back of his business, Fred's Garage in Denver. He worked in relative obscurity like many Siegies (CG's), until he was called into service when Cobra Commander arrived with his comatose son, Billy. The Commander had been presumed dead for months, and had been away from Cobra when he discovered his son in a hospital, having lost an eye and a leg. He asked Fred to construct a new prosthetic leg for Billy, one that worked just like it was his own. Fred was successful, and showed the Commander his other projects: a suit of high-tech battle armor and the Pogo assault pod. He had also been working with the man known as Raptor. With Fred and Raptor's help, the Commander tested the new hardware and tracked down and attacked a small convoy of Joes. It seemed Cobra Commander was ready to return to Cobra, but when he decided to abandon his evil past and dedicate his life to Billy, Fred became furious. He had given his whole life to Cobra. He wouldn't let the Commander just walk away! Fred pulled out his pistol and shouting "You owe me!", he fired a bullet into Cobra Commander's back. Standing over his leader's lifeless body, he picked up the helmet to Cobra Commander's battle armor, noting, "Funny thing about this helmet...Could be anybody inside..." He and Raptor buried the commander's body outside of Denver. Shortly afterward, Raptor spotted Billy and the Joe named Jinx leaving a nearby martial arts school. Raptor followed them to San Francisco. When Raptor tried to call Fred in Denver, he got no answer.
Fred hatched a bold, though perhaps ill-conceived plan. Taking his Pogo and battle armor, he rented a fishing vessel owned by a Captain Minh to take him to the middle of the Gulf of Mexico, to Cobra Island. As the boat reached Cobra waters, it came under attack from Mamba helicopters. Fred donned the battle armor, climbed aboard the Pogo and launched into the sky, destroying the fishing boat, and attacking the Mambas. When he eventually landed on the Island, he was greeted by dozens of troops and Serpentor. When the Cobra Emperor questioned Fred's identity, the Crimson Guardsman introduced himself as Cobra Commander. What followed was hours of interrogation by Serpentor. He answered all questions about Cobra correctly, but Serpentor remained suspicious. When the Baroness arrived by helicopter, Zartan pointed out that she knew what the Commander's true face looked like. Fred had thought he was the only Cobra to see the Commander's face, and saw that his charade was about to end. Inside the privacy of a closed helicopter, Fred removed his helmet and revealed his identity. To his surprise, the Baroness didn't turn him in. She put his helmet back on his head, and told him he just gained a silent partner. She slid open the copter door and announced that the true Cobra Commander had returned. Serpentor was shocked and Zartan was amused, but both remained suspicious.
Fred quickly realized he may have been in over his head and doubted they could pull off the ruse. The Baroness remained at Fred's side, coaching him on what to do and revealing information only Cobra's high command knew. Fred's first act as Commander was to agree to leading a dangerous mission without even knowing what it was. He was surprised to find himself strapped into a space shuttle and launched into orbit. During the battle with the Joes that followed, the Baroness was knocked unconscious and Fred was nearly paralyzed with fear. He eventually pulled himself together and started barking orders to the shuttle's crew. He managed to inspire his men and complete the mission, proving he may have had some leadership abilities after all. Despite Fred's victory, he was mostly the Baroness' pawn, acting as a figurehead while she made all the hard decisions. The two conspirators also seemed to start a romance, but both were using the relationship as a means of manipulating the other, and neither had any feelings for the other.
Serpentor continued to suspect something was amiss, and he and Dr. Mindbender spied on Fred and discovered he was an imposter. Serpentor decided to keep that knowledge to himself, mostly due to the troops' support for their Commander. Fred did some spying of his own, by installing a hidden video camera in a Battle Android Trooper that usually stayed close to Serpentor. After butting heads for a time, the rivals' dispute came to blows. During a ceremony on Cobra Island, their argument turned into a fistfight, and eventually sides were chosen and Cobra's civil war began.
Most of Cobra's rank and file sided with Fred, believing they were backing their true commander. Serpentor's supporters included Mindbender and the Crimson Guard -- whose support of Serpentor may indicate that they knew the Commander was an imposter. Though Serpentor's tactical skills were far superior to Fred's and even the Baroness', the sheer number of their supporters threatened to overwhelm Serpentor's troops. In desperate need of help, Serpentor sent Mindbender to make a deal with the United States. In exchange for thier stolen "black box", the U.S. would send the G.I. Joe team into the conflict on Serpentor's side. The war heated up once the Joes' arrived, and Fred's forces were nearly overwhelmed. Fred overestimated himself and ordered the Baroness around as if he truly was Cobra Commander. But the difficult battle was overwhelming and his inept leadership was leading him to defeat, as Serpentor lead a squad of HISS tanks into the final battle. Fed up with Fred's inability to make a decision, Zartan decided to intervene. He lept atop a tank and fired an arrow at Serpentor, hitting him in the head and killing him. Mindbender immediately surrendered and made a deal with Fred, handing the Joes an embarrassing defeat. Destro - whose forces had entered the fray - left on the condition that he be given the Baroness, who Serpentor had taken prisoner.
In the war's aftermath, Mindbender told Fred he knew who he was, and both men decided Zartan had to be dealt with. Fred tried to invade Zartan's home on Cobra Island, was was quickly captured by a group of Red Ninjas working for Zartan. The master of disguise allowed Fred to live, and set out on his own personal vendetta against Storm Shadow. Fred and Mindbender then led an assault on Destro's castle in Scotland, trying to end the arms dealer's threat, but the battle ended in Destro's favor, but rather than wipe out the invaders, he made a deal to take control of Cobra. Destro restructured the organization like a corporation, and Fred was merely one of the high-ranking managers. Resigned to serve as Cobra's figurehead when selling arms to foreign nations, Fred was shocked when it was revealed that the true Cobra Commander hadn't died after all. He returned to reclaim Cobra and dispose of all of his enemies. He imprisoned Fred and several others in Cobra Island's land-locked freighter, and buried it beneath a collapsed volcano. Some of the prisoners escaped, but Fred was not one of them. In the end, Fred's ambition got the better of him, and he died with few knowing he had even posed as the Commander at all.
A member of the Fred series of the Crimson Guard, Fred LXV shared the same face of every other Fred through plastic surgery. Fred was stationed in Broca Beach when his wife informed him their son was on drugs and had bought it right in the local convenience store. Fred retrieved his rifle and angrily confronted the head of the drug operation, Headman, and was swiftly shot and killed by the Headman's Headhunters. Headman was confident that he could continue his business since Cobra would never call in law enforcement to their secretly controlled town. Fred's wife was killed when she tried to avenge her husband's death. Their son, Fred Junior, did not seek his own revenge, but instead went to the next town over and tried to trade his mother's rifle for more drugs.
When looked at, Freds and Snake-Eyes bear a striking resemblence. This could be for a couple of Reasons:
- Cobra Commander's attempt at a little humour at Snake-Eyes' expense
- Lack of imagination by the Original Fred Artist
Freds now number in the hundreds or thousands, and have been assigned numbers such as Fred 283 and Fred 284.
Fred Series Crimson Guard are available for Application as DCs or OCs.
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