Real Name: Kyras Shakati
Identity/Class: Extradimensional (Reality-791) extraterrestrial (uncertain race; see comments) humanoid
Affiliations: Merchant Guilds;
Gareth of Sparta,
Slavers (Dirac), Ariguans; Arak, Arion (young male aides)
Enemies: Kip Hölm, Emperor Jason of Sparta, Sandy of Pryd'ri, Star-Lord (Peter Quill), people of Windhölme and other races he has had enslaved
Known Relatives: None
Aliases: Master Shakati, Shakati of Cinnibar
Base of Operations: Unrevealed;
formerly an anti-gravity palace (now destroyed) floating above the surface of the planet Cinnibar and mobile throughout the space controlled by the "Spartan" Empire
First Appearance: Marvel Preview#11 (Summer, 1977)
Powers/Abilities: Shakati has no superhuman physical powers. He does have great wealth and influence across a large portion of an undefined galaxy. He manipulates and controls legions of warriors and slavers, armed with interstellar starships and the power to conquer planets.
Shakati is liked and even trusted by many, but he is willing to betray anyone and anything if the price is right. He is a complete hedonist, willing to do anything for pleasure, or to provide the same for others (for the right price, of course). He also appears to have a, shall we say, fondness for young men.
Shakati is secretly armed with a finger blaster, a concealed organic implant within one of the fingers of his right hand. If fired at a close enough range, the blaster was able to cut a human(oid) in half.
Paraphernalia: Shakati's floating palace was defended by Melyan Constructs.
Shakati also employed a Telempathic Crystal to interrogate intruders or enemies.
History: Kyras Shakati established a great degree of influence across the galaxy. While posing as a peaceful merchant, he grew to lead a Slavery ring, which conquered whole races and made them slaves, and strip-mined entire planets--all in the name of profit.
(Marvel Preview#11 (fb)) - Shakati had his floating palace above Cinnibar, a place where no rule applied save pleasure. Decadent acts of all kinds abounded, and Shakati watched, amused, secure in the knowledge that he was master there.
(Marvel Preview#11 (fb)) <early in the Earth year 1973> - In his palace on Cinnibar, Shakati was visited by Prince Gareth of Sparta, the uncle of the reigning Emperor Jason. Shakati found Gareth's proposal that he arrange for the killing of Meredith Quill (Jason's former lover) and their son Peter (Jason's heir) to be "Interesting." Shakati then speculated that Gareth's nephew would, after a suitable interval, meet with an untimely accident and Prince Gareth confirmed that that was his plan. With this exchange, Shakati and Gareth formed a conspiracy to kill Emperor Jason.
(Marvel Preview#4 - BTS/Marvel Preview#11 (fb)) - Shakati commissioned Rruothk'kar and a band of Ariguans to go to Earth and find and kill Meredith Quill and her son. Unfortunately, Rruothk'ar botched the job by killing Meredith but missing her son.
(Marvel Preview#11 (fb) - BTS) - Over the next 17 plus Earth-years, Shakati continued to engage in any enterprise which brought him wealth, including running a slavery ring which attacked inhabited planets, wiped out most of their populations, enslaved the relatively few survivors, and reduced the conquered planets to dead husks.
(Marvel Preview#11 (fb) - BTS) - At some point, Shakati began using the profits made off the stripped worlds to finance the planned coup d'état against Emperor Jason.
(Marvel Preview#11 - BTS) <sometime after the Earth year 1990> - The Anubian Lord Dirac arrived at Shakati's palace on Cinnibar to report to him that the slavers had been wiped out during their attack on the planet Windhölme. Dirac presumably warned Shakati that those responsible might be seeking him next.
(Marvel Preview#11) - In order to find out who sent the slavers to Windhölme, Scania survivor Kip Hölm used his Windrunner psychic abilities to backtrack the slaver starship's course, eventually leading him to make contact with Shakati's mind. Kip found Shakati's mind to be so full of evil that the contact only lasted an instant. For his part, Shakati was apparently unaware of the telepathic intrusion.
(Marvel Preview#11) - When Star-Lord and his allies, Kip and Sandy, infiltrated Shakati's sky palace, his Melyan Constructs herded the three of them to a room where the Telempathic Crystal was kept.
(Marvel Preview#11 (fb) - BTS) - While the intruders were kept busy, Shakati had the skimmer in which they had arrived booby-trapped so that the craft would be vaporized if its drive were engaged.
(Marvel Preview#11) - Once the intruders were in the room with the Telempathic Crystal, Shakati used it to trap them in a simulated environment, one drawn from Kip's memories. While the thrio were imprisoned in this virtual reality, the crystal tapped all of their minds, enabling Shakati to discover who Star-Lord truly was: The still-living heir of Emperor Jason! When Star-Lord managed to destroy the crystal, freeing himself and his companions, Shakati decided that stopping him was imperative, even if it cost him his own life. As he ordered Arak to protect him, Shakati secretly engaged his palace's destruct sequence with a 15 minute delay.
(Marvel Preview#11) - Arak chose to defend his master by threatening Sandy with his knife but, sadly for him, she possessed fighting skills which enabled her to disarm him with one hand while snapping his neck with the other, all in mere seconds. Seemingly left defenseless against the advancing Star-Lord, Shakati appeared to be panicking as he surrendered to Star-Lord, and offered to tell Star-Lord what he wanted to know if only Star-Lord would spare his life. As Shakati approached, offering valuable information for Star-Lord's ears alone, he was suddenly impaled in the chest by Arak's knife, thrown by Sandy, and died instantly. Star-Lord demanded to know why Sandy had killed Shakati when he had information that they needed and Sandy revealed that Shakati had had an organic implant known as a finger blaster aimed at Star-Lord's heart and that if he'd come another step closer Shakati would have cut Star-Lord in half. Star-Lord responded, "He would have tried."
(Marvel Preview#11) - Shakati's body was left lying on the floor as Star-Lord scanned the sky palace's computer banks and was destroyed only minutes later when the anti-grav generators exploded, atomizing the entire palace. However, Star-Lord and his allies had escaped just before the explosion and, only days later, they were able to bring the incriminating data from Shakati's computers to the attention of Emperor Jason on Sparta. Within hours of that, the conspiracy of which Shakati had been a member for so many years was exposed and smashed.
Comments: Created by Chris Claremont and John Byrne.
From the very beginning, Star-Lord and his adventures had an uncertain place in the Marvel Universe, one that has varied over time. The original ("classic") stories contained no direct connections to the "mainstream" Marvel Universe so readers were free to decide for themselves whether or not Star-Lord existed in that familiar reality.
This situation remain unchanged until 2000 when that year's Inhumans miniseries seemingly revealed that Prince Jason of Spartax (the character formerly known as Jason of Sparta) actually DID exist within Reality-616 but had not yet traveled to Earth or fathered any hybrid offspring. As a result, fans came to accept the idea that Star-Lord and his adventures actually were part of a possible future of Reality-616 and not of its past.
Things changed again in 2004 when writer Keith Giffen included the ex-Star-Lord Peter Jason Quill as a supporting character in his Thanos series and in the subsequent Annihilation miniseries. Of course, having an adult Peter Quill exist in the early 21st Century of the MU contradicted the idea that he hadn't even been born yet and a quasi-official possible explanation that Prince Jason fathered Peter after he had accidentally traveled back in time was eventually presented in at least one Handbook-style text in 2006. However, this time travel idea never appeared in any published story which is a good thing because...
In early 2013 everything changed yet again. This time it was writer Brian Michael Bendis who presented his "streamlined and updated" version of Star-Lord's origin in issue #0.1 of his new Guardians of the Galaxy series. Fans who cared about continuity quickly realized that this Bendisized origin was essentially a re-imagining of the character, one that was so different from the "classic" Star-Lord that it was impossible to reconcile the two versions. Accordingly, some fans came to the conclusion that the only reasonable explanation was that these origins actually had to relate to two DIFFERENT characters or, to be more precise, two different versions of the same character who existed in different realities within the Marvel Multiverse. This idea has been officially accepted (though it has yet to appear in the GOTG letters page) and while the Bendis version now exists in Reality-616, the "classic" Star-Lord and his adventures (and his enemies) have been relegated to Reality-791.
One thing about the story in Marvel Preview#11 which
is unclear (at least to me) is whether Shakati knew that Rruothk'ar had failed to kill
Meredith Quill's son before his Telempathic Crystal revealed to him who Star-Lord truly
was. Rruothk'ar could have lied to Shakati to cover up his failure or he could have
told Shakati the truth and the two of them could have decided that, since Peter Jason
Quill was on Earth and had no way to reach the Spartan Empire, then, as long as Emperor
Jason believed that his son was dead, Peter was no threat to Gareth's plans. And, if not
for the unforeseen intervention of the Master of the Sun, they would have been right.
On the other hand, Prince Gareth was clearly totally (and fatally) surprised when he unmasked Star-Lord and apparently recognized him as his grand-nephew. Of course, that in itself doesn't reveal whether or not Gareth knew that Rruothk'ar had failed, it just means that Gareth hadn't expected to see a younger version of his nephew's face under Star-Lord's mask. As with Shakati, Prince Gareth may have known that Peter had survived but just lied to Jason that his son had died with his mother in childbirth. Or maybe Shakati had lied to Gareth first by telling him that Rruothk'ar had killed both of his targets as planned? Only the Watcher and Chris Claremont know for sure.
And we don't even know if there is a Watcher in Reality-791!--Snood
The name of Kyras Shakati's race/species has never been revealed. Cinnibar (a.k.a. Delta Corianas IV) is identified as being "Shakati's homeworld," but there is no evidence that he or his Human-type race actually originated on the planet. Instead, it could simply be a way of stating that Cinnibar is the world on which Shakati chose to make his home. Given that it seems that the entire population lives in its floating cities and palaces, it may be that Cinnibar has no native intelligent lifeforms. And even if a sentient species did evolve on the planet, the fact that Shakati lives there in one of the legendary anti-gravity palaces as "first among these merchant lords who rule the commerce of an empire" is probably due to Cinnibar's reputation as the place where "the very rich and very powerful live." So, if we assume that Shakati's human-type race did not evolve on Cinnnibar, then what is their planet of origin? As with Sandy of Pryd'ri, Shakati's people were presumably not Terrans (since in Reality-791 that race hasn't yet left its own solar system) and Shakati's black hair indicates that he was probably not a member of the mostly-blond Scania "race." In my opinion, the best/default explanation is that Shakati, like Emperor Jason and Prince Gareth, was actually a member of the "Spartan" race (my name for the species which rules an interstellar empire from their "Imperial Homeworld" of Sparta). I suspect that Sparta is the (apparent) source of the widespread "Imperial/Human" race and therefore also the "parent" race for almost all of the "identical to Caucasian humans from Earth" races who appear in most of the "classic" Star-Lord stories. As to the possibility of a genetic connection between the "Spartans" and Terran Humans, that theory is currently mere speculation.
I'm wouldn't have thought Shakati would have been willing to
sacrifice himself to stop Star-Lord. I'd have guessed he had some escape plan to trap
Star-Lord on his floating palace while he escaped safely. However, as Donald
pointed out, as shown in the one image above, Shakati thought to himself:
"And that makes stopping you imperative, even if it costs my
life. There's too much at stake."
While I would agree that it seems unlikely that someone as treacherous as Kyras Shakati would be willing to sacrifice himself for any cause, I think it does make sense once you realize that Shakati's actual cause was his own well-being, something which Star-Lord was directly threatening.
Look at the situation Shakati was in when Star-Lord
confronted him. Star-Lord (alongside two survivors of the slavers) had infiltrated
Shakati's palace in order to find evidence of his involvement in the enslavement of
thousands of children, the murders of tens of millions of people and the destruction of
at least two inhabited worlds. Worse, if he were to find that evidence he would probably
also uncover Shakati's involvement with the planned coup d'état against Emperor
Jason, the only person in local space whose power was greater than his. Worst of all,
Shakati had just learned that Star-Lord was actually Peter Jason Quill, the emperor's
son who supposedly died long ago, a death that Shakati had arranged on behalf of Prince
Gareth. To put it bluntly, it was a life-or-death situation for Shakati: If he couldn't
stop Star-Lord from getting the data from his computers, then he would be as good as
dead once the evidence reached Emperor Jason. And even if Shakati were somehow able to
escape punishment for his crimes, it would only be by completely abandoning his current
lifestyle and with it all of the pleasures that he so enjoyed.
So, let's examine the last minute of Shakati's life. With the three intruders safely trapped in the virtual reality generated by his Telempathic Crystal, Shakati had seen no need for any extra security measures but Star-Lord has somehow just broken them out from that supposedly-inescapable prison and the odds against Shakati are now three-to-two. As a failsafe, Shakati (secretly) activates his palace's destruct sequence, possibly intending to escape while Arak holds off the intruders, but by the time he's done that Arak has been killed and the odds are now three-to-one against him. Since his foes are all younger and fitter than he is, and are all highly-motivated to catch or kill him, Shakati must realize that he can't fight them or escape from them, so the only option he has left is to take an all-or-nothing risk: If he can use his (hidden) finger blaster to kill Star-Lord, then he might survive. With Star-Lord out of the way, the chances that his companions would be able to recover the evidence decrease dramatically, and Shakati himself might even be able to escape in the confusion, at least long enough for additional security to arrive to protect him and dispose of the last two intruders. Unfortunately for Shakati, Sandy was familiar with organic implant weapons and killed him before he could strike.
As for why Shakati thought to himself that it was imperative that Star-Lord be stopped, "even if it costs my life," I see that more as vindictiveness rather than a willingness to sacrifice himself for Gareth's insurrection. I believe that Shakati recognized the fact that his chances of getting out of that situation alive were slim-to-none and he wanted to make sure that, if the worst happened, then at least the people who killed him (or who were going to ruin his life) were going to die with him. The possibility that he would survive but lose everything he valued probably seemed like a "fate worse than death" to him and so he was willing risk his life to prevent that outcome from happening.
Although Star-Lord and his allies were aware that Shakati's floating palace had its own in-house staff (including troopers), they made no effort to warn anybody else once Ship had detected that overload program that was going to cause the anti-grav generators to reach criticality in less than two minutes. So, unless there was some sort of secret alarm which wasn't shown on-panel, our "heroes" basically left the entire staff to die in the explosion. It rather makes the "mercy" that Star-Lord had previously shown towards the troopers he fought while escaping to be pretty pointless, doesn't it? Allowing foes to live instead of killing them one moment but allowing them to die only a few minutes later.
The story from Marvel Preview#11 claims that the
profits from the slaving operation were supposedly being used to finance the planned
coup d'état against Emperor Jason but, considering the expenses involved, I
just don't see how there could be any profit. After all, Shakati had to acquire an
Imperial Fleet transport and some star-fighter attack craft, equip them with fuel and
supplies, and hire a first-rate mercenary cadre to crew it. And then there's whatever
weapon they used to transform the planets which they had targeted into dead husks.
All of these things must have been very expensive and it's hard to see how the income
generating by selling a few thousand pre-adult slaves could possibly be enough to
generate a profit.
Of course, it's possible that the "profits made off the stripped worlds" were not limited to the income from the selling of the slaves. Maybe most of those profits actually came from the exploitation of the natural resources from those planets once their populations had been...removed? It could even be that the Spartan Empire had laws which prohibited outside interests (like Shakati) from salvaging the resources of dead worlds as long as any of the native population was known to still exist. This could explain why the slavers really rendered their conquests uninhabitable, something which seemed to me to be incredibly wasteful if it was just to remove all evidence of their genocidal slaving operation. However, this possible explanation is just more speculation on my part. The story itself doesn't show or mention any illegal activity other than the genocides and the slave-taking.
Original profile by Snood.
Updated and revised profile by Donald Campbell.
Kyras Shakati of Reality-791 is an other-dimensional counterpart of the Kyras Shakati of Reality-616 but has no known connection to:
Arak has no known connection to:
Arion has no known connection to:
Arak and Arion were twin brothers who were two of Shakati's young male aides. They sometimes joined with their master as he enjoyed the decadence aboard his floating palace. They both also seemed to be fond of using knives on women.
After Star-Lord and his allies infiltrated Shakati's sky palace and ended up trapped in the virtual reality created in their minds by the Telempathic Crystal, Arak was seated beside Shakati in the observation gallery looking down on the captives. Once Star-Lord blasted the Telempathic Crystal, freeing the trio to come after their captors, Shakati told Arak to protect him. Obeying his master's will, Arak drew his knife and taunted Sandy, saying, "Closer, Pretty-pretty. My blade is eager to be fed." Arak soon learned what a terrible mistake he'd made as Sandy informed him that she had been the best thief on Pryd'ri even as she disarmed him with one hand while simultaneously breaking his neck with the other.
Arak's body was left draped over something (with Shakati's body soon lying nearby on the floor) as Star-Lord scanned the sky palace's computer banks and was destroyed only minutes later when the anti-grav generators exploded, atomizing the entire palace.
Note: Unless they were both mutants, Arak and Arion were members of an alien race whose name has not yet been revealed. Although they were basically humanoid, they possessed four features (chalk-white skin, eyes that were all white sclera [with no visible irises or pupils--I'd image something like a one-way opaque white membrane covered their eyes, unless their eyes just function completely different from terrestrial mammalian eyes--Snood], large pointed ears, and hands which each had only three oversized(?) digits [two fingers plus a thumb]) that are enough to classify them as semi-humanoids...I think.
Arion and Arak were twin brothers who were two of Shakati's young male aides. They sometimes joined with their master as he enjoyed the decadence aboard his floating palace. They both also seemed to be fond of using knives on women.
Although not present in the room where Arak was killed by Sandy, Arion had witnessed his brother's death (presumably via some security monitor) and sought revenge. Mere minutes later, Arion found Sandy and Kip kissing and opened fire with his "hander" (a handheld energy pistol) but missed when Kip warned Sandy to "Dive!" As Dirac held him back, Arion insisted that he could finish them, but Dirac pointed out that the pair's skinsuits were like battle armor so his hander couldn't hurt them. Dirac then stated that Arion could best serve his brother's memory by fleeing to warn the prince (Gareth on Sparta).
Later, on Sparta, where Kip and Sandy had been captured by Gareth's forces after ejecting in a lifeboat, Arion showed up in Prince Gareth's private torture chamber where Kip and Sandy had been held for three days. Arion called the jailor Tikos a "brute" because he had had the boy for three days but had discovered nothing. After mentioning that the mind-ripper would tear Kip's secrets from him once it arrived from Kandahar, Arion stated that he would begin to break down the resistance of the prisoners with finesse, and that he would start with the girl (whom he called "Pretty-pretty") to repay her for having killed his twin on Cinnibar. However, before Arion could begin, Star-Lord suddenly made his presence known, shocking Arion, who exclaimed that the prince had seen his "cursed ship go down in flames!" As the jailor attacked Star-Lord only to be taken down with a single punch, Arion unwittingly stepped back within reach of Kip, who wrapped his legs around Arion's neck, breaking it in an instant. Once Kip and Sandy were freed from their manacles, the trio left the torture chamber, unaware that Dirac had been watching from the shadows of an upper level. When Kip mentioned that his parents had taught him to revere life but that he had killed Arion as he would have a poisonous bug and hadn't felt a thing, Sandy reassured him that he would, in time.
A member of the Anubian race, Lord Dirac was a high ranking member of the Slavers.
(Marvel Preview#11 (fb) - BTS) - Prince Gareth, uncle of Emperor Jason and Grand Admiral of the Imperial Fleet, felt the throne was his by right and was too prideful to live in his nephew's shadow. To this end, Gareth amassed a large army of loyal troops and employed numerous mercenaries.
(Marvel Preview#11 (fb) - BTS) - Anubian Lord Dirac was a leader in the slaver force who would slaughter the entire populations of whole planets, pillage those planets, and enslave the survivors to facilitate the insurrection.
(Marvel Preview#11 (fb) - BTS) - The slavers slaughtered the people of Pryd'ri (on which Sandy was taken prisoner) and another world (presumably executing the adults and the resistors and capturing the others).
(Marvel Preview#11 (fb) - BTS) - Within a month of their conquest, the slavers' target planets were uninhabitable, and within a year they were dead husks.
(Marvel Preview#11 (fb) - BTS) <Sometime after the Earth year 1990 A.D.> - The Scania of Windhölme were ambushed by the slavers, who burned down everyone over the age of 17, as well as anyone who resisted. The slavers spared only a few thousand youths out of Windhölme's population of 8 million (the rest of whom were slain). The slavers rounded the remaining youths up to be secured in their slave-pens.
(Marvel Preview#11) - Lord Dirac oversaw the loading of Windhölme's youth aboard their ship's slave pens. A warrior/trooper captain worried what if one of the youths tried something, but Dirac assured him that the children had lost too much, too quickly. Pointing out the youths' appearances, Dirac noted how they were in shock; by the time the youths recovered, they would already be in their slave-pens. Dirac's eyes swept the crowd one final time, fixing on the defiant face of Kip Hölm and noting that if any of the youths were a potential threat, it was him.
After the ship took off, Kip had to be beaten into submission by the troopers, and he was then dragged before Dirac and the Slave-Master, who asked if there were other rebels. Dirac replied in the negative, noting that once this one's spirit was broken, the rest of his people would yield. Kip defiantly called the Slave-Master a slug and replied that his people would never yield to the likes of him, amusing the Slave-Master with his defiant barks; the Slave-Master called Kip "little mammal" and promised to break his will personally and make Kip his body slave, and that the Scania would watch Kip serve his every whim.
(Marvel Preview#11 - BTS) - Impressed by Kip's one-man stand, Sandy of Pryd'ri prepared to rescue Kip by turning out the lights.
(Marvel Preview#11) - Taking advantage of the darkness and distraction, Sandy pulled Kip free into one of the ship's massive air ducts; the slavers stumbled over each other trying to recover him. By the time the lights came back on, Dirac instructed/advised the Slave-Master to let Kip go, as he was not worth the effort needed to ferret him out -- since the slave decks were sealed off from the rest of the ship he could do no harm, and they would deal with him when they returned to Kandahar.
(Marvel Preview#11 - BTS) - Dirac was not seen in the subsequent
struggle, but he clearly escaped, while Star-Lord showed up and led the captives
to rebel against and slaughter the Slave-Master and other Slavers.
Dirac fled to Kyras Shakati's palace on Cinnibar.
(Marvel Preview#11 - BTS) - After Sandy slew Shakati and his youthful companion Arak, Dirac stood beside Arak's twin, Arion, as he fired a blast from his pistol at Kip and Sandy as they briefly embraced; Kip and Sandy dove out of the way and called to Star-Lord for help. Arion wanted to try to finish them off, Dirac advised him that the pair's skinsuits were like battle armor and resistant to his blaster, and that Arion could best serve his brother's memory by fleeing to warn the prince (Gareth).
(Marvel Preview#11) - Dirac secretly witnessed as Star-Lord helped Kip and Sandy escape from Arion and the torturer Tikos.
(Marvel Preview#11 (fb) - BTS) - Presumably Dirac warned Gareth about the escape and their intent to reveal his plans to Emperor Jason.
(Marvel Preview#11 - BTS) - Once the information on Star-Lord's data pack was confirmed, the Imperial guard moved against Gareth's mercenaries, while the fleet took up positions along the truce line, in case the Ariguans were tempted to try some mischief. Within a few hours after Gareth's death, the conspiracy was smashed.
(Delta Corianus IV)
"If there's a Heaven in this universe, it's name is Cinnibar. And if there's a Hell, it's name, too, is Cinnibar. Any dream can be found on her fabled floating cities - - for a price - - and so can any nightmare. Only one rule applies: What the customer wants, the customer gets. The very rich and powerful live here, their anti-gravity palaces ever more of a legend than the cities...and first among those merchant lords who rule the commerce of the empire, is Kyras Shakati, a man whose power is said to rival that of the Emperor himself!...a man whose power is grounded in the rape and murder of worlds."
Shakati had his floating palace above this world -- which existed somewhere in the Sparta Empire -- a place where no rule applies save pleasure. Decadent acts of all kinds abounded, and Shakati watched, amused, secure in the knowledge that he was master there.
When Star-Lord broke free from the grip of the Telempathic Crystal, Shakati, having learned who he truly was, felt that stopping him was imperative, even if it cost Shakati his own life. Accordingly, Shakati secretly engaged his palace's destruct sequence with a 15 minute delay, presumably planning to abort the sequence if he were able to kill Star-Lord himself. As it happened, Shakati was killed by Sandy and the overload program in the palace's anti-grav generators was not aborted. When the generators reached criticality, they detonated in a multi-megaton fusion explosion that battered the nearby floating cities with the force of a score of hurricanes.
Although Arion and Dirac are known to have fled before the palace exploded, there was no indication that any other member of Shakati's staff survived or that any of them were even warned in time to escape. Of course, the destruct sequence was Shakati's failsafe, intended to take his enemies with him in the event that he were killed, so it makes sense that there would be no obvious warnings of the impending explosion since they would also have alerted the enemies he wanted to kill.
Cinnibar is apparently just the common name for the planet that was officially known as Delta Corianus IV. Cinnibar was also known as a world with a hundred moons.
Cinnibar possesses its own planetary defenses. There was also a Starport Station high above the planet. Visiting starships were expected to remain in orbit around the station while their passengers used smaller shuttlecraft to descend to the planet below. Violating Imperial transport regulations tended to provoke a swift response from "Impie warships" on stand-by near the station.
Melyan Constructs are robotic humanoids designed to be the ultimate soldiers. Although programmed with certain fighting skills and able to learn from their experiences and thus become deadlier fighters, the Melyan Constructs' greatest assets are their durability and their rapid self-repair capability. Nothing less than a rifle blaster can slow them down and nothing less than absolute destruction can stop their ability to quickly reform themselves. Given that the steel of which they are composed seems to "flow like water" as they repair themselves, it would seem that some sort of nano-technology is involved in the process.
The three Melyan Constructs encountered by Star-Lord and his allies were all designed so that they could be mistaken for statues of humanoid warriors, apparently so that their true nature as security devices/weapons would not be immediately obvious, thus enabling them to surprise any trespassers. Although these particular constructs could never have passed for actual human beings, they were each equipped with two optical sensors in the appropriate positions on their "faces" (such as they were), and each of their hands had four fingers and a thumb.
All three were equipped with swords in their right hands and shields on their left arms. The fact that Sandy was apparently able to acquire one of their swords for her own use suggests that the swords and shields were not actually part of the Constructs and therefore wouldn't self-repair.
(Marvel Preview#11) - Seeking proof that merchant Kyras Shakati was involved with the slaving ring which had almost wiped out entire planetary populations, Star-Lord, Kip and Sandy infiltrated Shakati's floating palace above Cinnibar. Upon reaching the corridor that led to the computer center they sought, the trio paused by three statues garbed like ancient warriors while Ship, speaking through her mobile widget, scanned the corridor and detected "nothing overtly hostile." However, when Star-Lord and she both had an uneasy feeling that something was wrong, Ship moved her widget in for a closer look at the statues...which activated and attacked, damaging the widget (and Star-Lord, through the empathic rapport he shared with Ship) with their first strike. Subsequently, the three Melyan Constructs targeted the three intruders, attacking constantly as long as they were able and quickly reforming themselves whenever their foes managed to damage them. With their attacks, the Constructs covertly herded the intruders towards a cul-de-sac whose floor turned out to be a trap-door leading to a room containing the Telempathic Crystal.
The Melyan Constructs were not seen after Star-Lord and his allies had been caught by the trapdoor, not even after they killed Shakati. Presumably the later detonation of the palace's anti-grav generators and the resulting multi-megaton fusion explosion were enough to finally destroy them.
A Telempathic Crystal is a gleaming multifaceted crystal which is perhaps a yard in diameter. It has electronic components attached to it which may be its control mechanism or which may be part of how it receives and transmits data from its subjects.
Telempathic Crystals can tap the minds of (at least) three human-type people at the same time, and can apparently download their memories in a matter of seconds. Those memories (or any essential information contained in them) can then be displayed to whomever is operating the Crystal (by some method which has yet to be revealed).
Telempathic Crystals can also use the tapped memories to create an artificial but incredibly realistic illusory world which can trap its subjects. Such an "illusion" (what would now be called a virtual reality) appears completely "real" to all the senses of the subjects. Presumably the Crystal uses its computational power to create a simulated environment within itself and then somehow transmits false sensory data and other stimuli directly into the appropriate regions of the brains of its subjects, data which supersedes what their nerve impulses are transmitting from their actual sense organs. As those subjects react to the shared reality which they are experiencing within their minds, the Crystal modifies the simulated reality to accommodate changes caused by their reactions.
(Marvel Preview#11) - After Star-Lord, Kip and Sandy fell through a trapdoor leading to the chamber in which Shakati kept his Telempathic Crystal, they found themselves surrounded by "darkness - - as absolute as intergalactic space." These seconds of darkness were soon followed by a BLINDING LIGHT that burnt "through to the core of their collective beings in the space of a heartbeat" and created a "totality of sensation" that overloaded their minds and senses. When they could see again, the trio found themselves apparently on Windhölme aboard the Sea Fang with Kip's parents (who had been killed days earlier). As Kip wondered if he was going mad, Star-Lord confirmed that he and Sandy were also seeing what Kip was seeing. Then, as they saw a King Kraken erupt from the sea under a skiff off in the distance, crushing it in its jaws, Kip realized that what they were experiencing was a real event, a hunt in which he had participated a month earlier, but this time the huge Kraken charged the ship instead of letting them live. Star-Lord was knocked overboard by the impact and found himself fighting the Kraken which he managed to mortally wound. Once the dying Kraken smashed the ship, Kip and Sandy found themselves floating in the ocean. Soon joined by Star-Lord, Kip noticed something odd about Star-Lord's eyes just as Star-Lord realized that he could now somehow perceive two different "images" of reality, one in which they were adrift on a Windhölme sea and another in which they were standing beneath a gleaming, multifaceted crystal with two people watching them from a gallery. As the Kraken grabbed Sandy in its jaws in one reality, Star-Lord forced himself to aim the weapon that he could see himself holding in the other reality and fire at the Crystal. As the weapon's blast caused the Telempathic Crystal to explode, the Kraken vanished, followed by the rest of the simulated Windhölme, leaving the trio "back" in Shakati's palace where Star-Lord explained that they had never left. Within a minute, both of the observers (Arak and Shakati) were dead.
Note: The Telempathic Crystal is oddly named. "Telempathy" is the psionic ability to feel the emotions of others at a distance as they are experiencing them. However, the Crystal did not not appear to transmit any emotions at all. To be more precise, although the subjects experienced a shared virtual reality, none of them experienced any of each other's emotions. Of course, it's possible that the subjects' emotions were actually transmitted to someone outside the simulation, like Shakati, possibly for his own decadent entertainment but if so this was not made clear in the story.
images: (without ads)
Star-Lord, The Special Edition#1, page 18, panel 2 (main image)
page 52, panel 5 (Shakati with Gareth)
page 28, panel 1 (setting destruct sequence)
page 28, panel 5 (getting killed by Sandy)
page 28, panel 2 (Arak trying to kill Sandy)
page 28, panel 3 (Arak being killed by Sandy)
page 40, panel 6 (Arion about to torture Sandy)
page 41, panel 3 (Arion being killed by Kip)
page 4 (Dirac)
page 19 (Cinnibar)
page 20, panel 5 (Melyan Constructs)
page 26, panel 6 (Telempathic Crystal)
Marvel Preview#11 (Summer, 1977) - Chris Claremont (writer), John Byrne (pencils), Terry Austin (inks), John Warner & Ralph Macchio (editors)
Reprinted (with color added by Glynis Wein) in Star-Lord, The Special Edition#1 (February, 1982)
First Posted: 01/03/2014
Last updated: 05/07/2014
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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