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Membership: Lord Dirac, captain and command crew of the slaver, pilots of the starfighters, Slave-Master, troopers

Purpose: To obtain money by abducting sentient beings (usually the relatively few survivors of planetary populations which had been almost completely wiped out by the slavers) and selling them as slaves to any customers who were willing to pay for them.
Secret purpose: The profits made off the stripped worlds were used to finance a planned coup d'état against Emperor Jason of Sparta

Affiliations: Kyras Shakati (deceased) of Cinnibar, Arak (deceased), Arion (deceased), Prince Gareth (deceased) of Sparta

Enemies: Star-Lord (Peter Quill), Ship, Kip Hölm and the Scania of Windhölme, Sandy and the people of Pryd'Ri (destroyed), the people of the other planets they had enslaved (including their last cargo of slaves); Emperor Jason of Sparta

Base of Operations: Located somewhere on a planet known as "Kandahar" (probably just a code name for a planet whose actual name has never been revealed)

First Appearance: Marvel Preview#11 (Summer/June, 1977)

(Marvel Preview#11 (fb) - BTS) - Kyras Shakati, a wealthy and corrupt merchant lord whose power was said to rival that of the Spartan Emperor, was part of a conspiracy that was planning a sudden violent overthrow of the Spartan government, one that would replace the current emperor, Jason, with his uncle, Prince Gareth.

(Marvel Preview#11 (fb) - BTS) - In order to help finance this planned coup d'état, Shakati organized and funded a slavery operation. Since there's no indication that his involvement in the slaving operation was widely known, Shakati presumably used the Anubian Lord Dirac, as an intermediary who directly oversaw the missions carried out by the slavers. Similarly, although Dirac, Shakati and his aides Arak and Arion were aware of the link between Shakati and Prince Gareth, the other slavers presumably were not.

(Marvel Preview#11 (fb) - BTS) - In setting up the slavery operation, Shakati, possibly with covert help from Prince Gareth, acquired an old Imperial fleet transport ship and had it modified to serve as a slaver starship. Shakati also acquired Imperial starfighters that were (presumably) to be based on the slaver. A base of operations known as "Kandahar" was established for the slavers on a planet whose location and true name have never been revealed. A first-rate cadre was hired to serve as both troopers and the crew of the slaver, all of whom were ruthless mercenaries willing to take part in genocide for pay.

(Marvel Preview#11 (fb) - BTS) - The slavers adopted a standard operating procedure in conducting their raids. They would begin by bypassing any defenses that the target planets had. Their starfighters would then begin to patrol the skies, shooting any potential targets they saw. Armored troopers would similarly attack ground targets, burning down everyone over the age of seventeen and everyone who resisted. Since the survivors would all be children who had suddenly lost the worlds they had known, they would be in a state of shock that would leave them incapable of resisting when the troopers herded them aboard the slaver starship. Once the starship had reached orbit, the new slaves would be forced into the slave-pens before the starship set course for either its next target or its home base on Kandahar.

(Marvel Preview#11 (fb) - BTS) - At some point, the slavers would initiate an unspecified process that would make the conquered worlds uninhabitable in less than a month and nothing more than dead husks within a standard year.

(Marvel Preview#11 (fb) - BTS) - Whenever the slavers returned to Kandahar, they flooded the slave decks of their ship with knock-out gas, ensuring that none of the captives would be able to fight back when they were offloaded from the starship to the slaver base.

(Marvel Preview#11 (fb) - BTS) - On what would turn out to be their final mission, the crew of this slaver starship attacked two worlds, one of which was Sandy's homeworld, Pryd'Ri. The raids on both these planets occurred without any effective opposition: the vast majorities of their populations were slaughtered, the relatively few survivors were herded aboard the starship and into the slave-pens, and the process that would turn the planets into dead husks was initiated.

(Marvel Preview#11 (fb) - BTS) - Then the slaver starship set course for its next target, the planet Windhölme.

(Marvel Preview#11 (fb) - BTS) - One of the captives from Pryd'Ri was a young woman named Sandy who considered herself to be the best thief on her planet. She soon discovered a way out of the slave pens and began to covertly investigate the slaver starship.

(Marvel Preview#11 (fb) - BTS) - After arriving at Windhölme, the slaver brushed past the planet's defenses and landed, presumably at the starport. Then its starfighters were launched to begin their mission of mass murder.

(Marvel Preview#11 (fb)) - Near Skalsø, the city and/or port where the planetary High Council met, the slavers began their attack on the Scania population soon after sunrise. As the Hölm family entered the harbor aboard their small sailing vessel, Gunnar Hölm heard a roaring in the sky that drew his attention to what he assumed were aircraft. As Gunnar protested that they had no right to fly so far from the starport, his son Kip pointed out that they were "not ordinary 'port craft," they were Imperial starfighters. At that moment, the starfighters began their attack by firing energy bolts that raked the harbor. A direct hit turned both Gunnar and his wife Marie into cinders while the blast concussion hurled Kip over the side and into the water. Dazed, Kip would remember little after the first attack and would be grateful for that lack of memory.

(Marvel Preview#11 (fb) - BTS) - The raiders were thorough and merciless as they attacked throughout the day, setting every vehicle and every building on fire and killing almost all of the Scania who lived on the planet. When the troopers encountered those who had survived the air-to-ground attacks, they burned down everyone over the age of seventeen and everyone who resisted. By day's end, only a few thousand children were left alive out of a population of eight million. The troopers gathered these dazed survivors at the starport and began to force them aboard the starship.

(Marvel Preview#11) - As the "grubbers" were brought to the starship, the Anubian Lord Dirac, came to watch, confident that the children would not try to resist since they were all in shock because of all they had lost so quickly. As he scanned the crowd, Dirac identified a male at the back of the crowd (Kip) as the only potential threat among the Scania survivors. The slavers completed their ground operations by quickly and brutally herding the survivors up a ramp and in through the starship's entry ports. Once the hatch was sealed, the starship launched itself away from Windhölme, with the acceleration crushing the survivors down to the decks while the troopers guarding them watched and laughed.

(Marvel Preview#11 (fb) - BTS) - Having heard of the Scania and figuring that they would put up a fight, Sandy secretly went to an air duct from which she could observe how the Scania captives responded to their captors.

(Marvel Preview#11) - After the slaver starship had reached orbit, a trooper ordered a grubber to get to his feet because the captain wanted them in slave pens before the starship warped. However, the grubber that the trooper had addressed was Kip Hölm who, instead of obeying, attacked him, knocking away his blaster and grabbing him around the throat while declaring that, "We're not slaves, butcher -- we're Scania! And we won't go down without a fight!" Unfortunately for Kip, that trooper had comrades close by and all three of them were wearing battle armor so Kip went down instantly beneath their steel-shod fists. Still in shock from all the devastation which they had experienced in such a short time, the other Scania were slow to react and, by the time some of them did move forward to help Kip, two troopers were already hauling him away.

   The troopers brought Kip Hölm before the Slave-Master and Dirac, who confirmed that Kip was the sole potential rebel among the Scania captives, unaware that Sandy was moving through the shadows above them. Dirac claimed that the rest of the Scania would yield once the "wolfling's" spirit had been broken but Kip disagreed, insisting that his people would "never yield to the likes of you!" Amused by his defiance, the Slave-Master decided he would personally break the "little mammal" and make Kip his body slave so that the Scania would watch how Kip would serve his every whim. The Slave-Master then ordered that Kip be taken to his quarters but before that could happen the lights in the corridor went out. After a few seconds of confusion, during which the troopers lost their hold on Kip, the lights came back on and the slavers discovered that Kip was gone. Dirac advised that he should be let go, stating that it wouldn't be worth the effort to force him out of hiding because, since the slave decks were sealed off from the rest of the ship, he could do harm and they could deal with him when they had returned to Kandahar.

   Not too far away, Kip was in one of the starship's massive air ducts, following the shadowed figure of the person who had rescued him from the Slave-Master's clutches. Reaching an opening, they both dropped down to the deck inside one of the slave pens, and Kip was shocked to see that his rescuer was a girl. Sandy and Kip introduced themselves, and then Sandy explained that the Scania were the third bunch that the slavers had pulled in so far, how she had watched his one-man stand and why she had saved him. As Sandy was explaining that pulling Kip out had only delayed the inevitable because the slavers were going to flood the ship with knock-out gas once they reached their base on Kandahar, she was interrupted by the sound of the ship's battle stations alarm and stated that "the clowns" must be under attack.

(Marvel Preview#11 (fb) - BTS) - By this time, Dirac had left the slaver starship. How and why he happened to do so before the alarm sounded has not been revealed.

(Marvel Preview#11) - Meanwhile, a thousand meters forward and up from the slave pen, the slaver's captain entered the Command Bridge wearing only a robe, complaining about not being able to get some rest and ordering a situation report from all stations! One of the bridge officers reported that the on-board systems were registering nominal but that the ship was at Full Combat Alert because they had a contact at a range of one hundred kilometers on a relative bearing of zero-by-zero. This contact had appeared only a moment earlier, from out of nowhere, and the officer added that, in all his years, he had never seen anything like it. Another bridge officer then stated that an image of the contact was now on the main screen at magnification three and that forward batteries were locked on target. After looking at the image, the captain asked if it was some sort of joke because the image showed a man floating out there! A third bridge officer confirmed that the sensors were reading the contact as "Imperial/human deep space, without the protection of a ship or a pressure suit." As the captain protested that that was insane and that there must be more to it, the image suddenly shimmered and changed before their eyes into that of starship! The captain reacted instantly, ordering the defensive screens to be set to full power and commanding that all batteries were to open fire! However, those orders came too late as the alien starship opened fire and, with one salvo of eye-searing beams, took out both the slaver's engineering spaces and her central battle computer, making it impossible for the slaver to either run or fight.

   With the slaver disabled, Star-Lord exited from Ship and made his way to one of the slaver's main cargo hatches which he blasted open in order to gain entry. Two troopers were on scene almost immediately and radioed an Intruder Alert to the Bridge, stating that they had been boarded through Hatch Able by one man who was standing in a hard vacuum without wearing any visible battle armor or even a pressure suit, and demanded, "Who the hell is he?" The intruder heard him and replied, "The name, gentlemen, is...STARLORD!" He then attacked with the speed of thought, smashing into the troopers with power that defied description, tossing their armored forms around like they were children as he drove them in-ship towards the slave-pens.

   As the battle between Star-Lord and the troopers reached the slave pen where Kip and Sandy were, one of the troopers fired a rifle blaster set on max but the beam missed and burned a gaping hole in the door. As Kip observed that "some guy in a uniform" was tackling the troopers single-handed and beating them, he noticed that one of the troopers had dropped his hander outside the pen. Kip then reached through the still-red-hot hole and grabbed the hander, then used it to blast one of the troopers.

(Marvel Preview#11 - BTS) - With the battle having moved away from the slave pen, Kip, Sandy and those slaves who were willing to fight escaped from the pen and, anticipating that the crew would attempt to escape in a lifeboat, made their way to a corridor leading to the lifeboat bay.

(Marvel Preview#11) - Meanwhile, Star-Lord had followed a corridor that led to the bridge but found that the crew had sealed the combat airlock that was fifty centimeters of ten-point steel. Using his Element-Gun, Star-Lord burned his way through easily and quickly only to find the last of the bridge crew hurriedly evacuating. As he wondered why, explosive charges rigged to every console began going off in sequence and building in intensity until the slaver's primary hull shattered and opened its entire fore end to space, with explosive decompression voiding every loose object into space. Star-Lord realized that the entire slaver was probably laced with auto-destruct charges and that the command crew were planning to eject in a lifeboat and then trigger the detonator to destroy the ship, the slaves and all evidence of their crimes.

   In the corridor leading to the lifeboat bay, the captain, the Slave-Master and the command crew were confronted by Kip who said, "You've gone far enough, butchers!" The captain identified him as "The Windhölme rebel" and stated that he was standing between them and the lifeboat bay. The captain then described Kip's action as "a last, gallant stand" but added that they had no time to humor him and ordered Tak to use his blaster and kill Kip. However, another slave replied from the open ceiling above them, telling Tak to go ahead but he couldn't kill them all. The Slave-Master cried out, "By the Great Marsssh! Ssslavesss! All around -- Closssing in!" which prompted Tak to tell the "misshapen fool" to stop babbling and fight because it was their lives or the slaves' lives and that they should use the superior weapons that they had!

   A fierce battle then took place between the slavers with their blasters and the vengeful ex-slaves with their clubs and a few stolen handers of their own. In minutes, the passageway had become a charnel house, with both sides engaged in a brutal fight to the death that was fought without quarter, mercy or regret. As the ex-slaves tore the slavers limb from limb, a bloody Kip wondered aloud why he wasn't feeling anything and an equally-bloody Sandy told him not to waste his tears on "these scum" because they weren't worth it.

(Marvel Preview#11 - BTS) - While the ex-slaves were dealing with the command crew, Star-Lord was (presumably) taking care of the troopers in the rest of the slaver starship.

(Marvel Preview#11) - Once the last of the slavers were dead, there was a moment of absolute, disbelieving silence and then the ex-slaves cheered, "VICTORY!" However, one of them quickly wondered why they were cheering because, although they had won, they had no idea of where to go or how to go there since none of them could crew a starship. At that point, Star-Lord stepped forward and suggested that the home they needed was below them on Windhölme which had been hurt but was still capable of supporting life. When that ex-slave then asked why couldn't they go home to their own worlds, Star-Lord replied that all of the worlds that the slavers had conquered, except for Windhölme, no longer existed. Star-Lord then revealed that the slavers had been very thorough and had somehow made the conquered planets uninhabitable within a month and dead husks within a standard year. When Star-Lord then stated that he would scatter a field of defensive satellites throughout the system to protect them from the slavers, Kip Hölm angrily denounced that plan, stating that they would only be safe until a satellite broke down or got clipped by a meteor or the slavers figured out how to beat them. He told "Starlord" that if he really wanted to protect him he would find whoever was behind the whole rotten mess and put them out of business. Star-Lord agreed to help Kip find the person who sent the slavers to Windhölme and Ship then revealed that her Widget had scanned the slaver's navcomps but found that only the now-dead captain had known where the slaver's base was. Ship then mentioned that she had a hunch about how they could find it.

(Marvel Preview#11 (fb) - BTS) - Over the next two days the former slaves were evacuated from the orbiting slaver starship to the Western Isles below on Windhölme.

(Marvel Preview#11) - Aboard the otherwise-empty slaver, Kip and Sandy met up with Star-Lord and one of Ship's Widgets in the Auxiliary Control. Once there, Ship revealed that she knew that Kip was a psychic "Windrunner" who, by using the bridge as a focal point, might be able to use his talent to find the slavers' base. Kip agreed to try and was able to backtrack the slaver's course to a world with a hundred moons where, in a palace of decadence above that world, he found a fat man who was master there. As Kip's mind touched the fat man's mind for an instant, Kip was overcome by how full of evil that man's mind was. Ship then identified the fat man as Kyras Shakati, a merchant of great renown whose homeworld was Delta Corianus IV, also known as Cinnibar.

(Marvel Preview#11 - BTS) - Later, after examining the data he had retrieved from the computer banks on Shakati's sky-palace (before a destruct sequence had caused the palace's anti-grav generators to explode in a multi-megaton fusion explosion), Star-Lord revealed that the profits made off the stripped worlds were being used to finance a coup d'état that planned to replace the current Spartan emperor with his uncle, Prince Gareth. Star-Lord, Ship , Kip and Sandy then went to Sparta, the Imperial homeworld, to save an empire.

The conspiracy against Emperor Jason was exposed and swiftly smashed.
The slavers and the slaves were never mentioned again.

Comments: Created by Chris Claremont, John Byrne and Terry Austin.

   Since Marvel Preview was a black-and-white comics magazine, all of the characters that appeared in the second published Star-Lord story were as "white" as Peter Quill, including Dirac, the Slave-Master, the Command Crew, all of the slaves and the Ariguan Sith-lord Rruothk'ar. I prefer the story as it was colored by Glynis Wein. However, one side effect is that all the troopers ended up either wearing purple gloves or having purple-skinned hands.

   I found it a bit irritating that the word "slaver" is defined as "a ship or person engaged in transporting slaves." I kept feeling that I had to add the words "starship" or "transport" in order to distinguish the vessel carrying the slaves from the people conducting the slave raids.

Slaver-related weaknesses in the story
   The first Star-Lord story that I ever read was published in Marvel Spotlight II#6 in 1980. As a science fiction fan, I was mildly interested but not overwhelmed. Then, in 1982, I came across a copy of Starlord, the Special Edition#1 at the store where I then bought my comics. I casually browsed through it and was immediately impressed by it. Reading that story made me a fan of Star-Lord and it remains my favorite Star-Lord story to this day. However, despite my fondness for it, it's NOT a perfect story and some of its weaknesses involve the slavers and their actions. Here's a list:

   First, the idea that the profits from the slaving operation were being used to finance the planned coup d'état against Emperor Jason seems implausible. Considering how expensive it must have been to set up and run the slaving operation, including acquiring an Imperial Fleet transport and some starfighter attack craft, equipping them with fuel and supplies, and hiring a first-rate mercenary cadre to crew them, it's hard to see how the income from selling a few thousand pre-adult slaves could possibly be enough to generate a profit. Of course, as I mentioned in the comments section of another profile, maybe the "profits made off the stripped worlds" mostly came from the exploitation of the natural resources left behind on the conquered worlds once their populations had been removed and the planets had been turned into dead husks. This would be a good explanation, but the story doesn't show or mention any illegal activity other than the genocides and the slave-taking.

   Second, the whole idea that the slavers had no qualms about murdering millions of people just so that they could capture and enslave a few thousand children per planet seems indescribably, monstrously evil. While the concept of committing genocide for ideological reasons is sadly not unknown, such horrific crimes being perpetrated solely for monetary gain seems less plausible. On the other hand, the fact that even in the modern day hundreds of thousands of people on Earth are the victims of sex traffickers annually proves that there are a LOT of monsters out there. And with hundreds of planets to draw from, maybe finding enough monsters willing to commit genocide for money would not be not as hard as one might hope it would be, even in a supposedly advanced alien civilization.

   Third, the whole concept of the slavers being able to make the planets they conquered uninhabitable within a month and dead husks within a standard year was never explained. I mean, how did they do it? Did they use some sort of bio-weapon or something? Also, how could all these dead worlds seemingly go unnoticed by everyone except Star-Lord? After all, habitable worlds are probably the MOST valuable resource in the whole universe so when so many suddenly died off, one would expect that it would catch the attention of a lot of people.

   Fourth, where did the starfighters that did so much of the killing come from? Were they carried from planet to planet aboard the slaver transport or did they travel on their own?

   Fifth, how many slavers were actually involved in the slaving operation? Was the slaver starship that Star-Lord defeated the only one or were there others? And how many slavers were actually on that one starship? The story only showed the Command Crew and a few troopers at a time, but keeping such a large starship running must have required a crew of dozens if not hundreds of technicians and engineers. Similarly, keeping thousands of slaves under control must have required a significant number of armed troopers. So where were they all?

   Sixth, what exactly happened to all those dozens or hundreds of slavers, both crewmen and troopers, who must have been aboard the transport? We saw how a band of vengeful former slaves gave the Command Crew and the Slave-Master the deaths that they so richly deserved but where was the rest of the crew? As for the troopers, we saw Star-Lord single-handedly punching out a bunch of them, but the only one we saw die was the one that Kip killed. So what happened to the rest of them? Were they quietly spaced Behind The Scenes? Or did they escape in lifeboats? Inquiring minds want to know...

The purpose of this evil
   Anyway, despite my doubts about whether an interstellar slaving operation could ever be profitable, the presence of the slavers in this story does serve two important purposes. First, it creates a bond between Kip Hölm and Star-Lord (Peter Jason Quill). Both of them saw their parent(s) killed before their eyes and both of them were consumed with a desire for vengeance against the murderers. However, being all too aware that his almost twenty years of obsessively seeking vengeance had turned him into a really nasty human being, Peter was determined to help Kip avoid that fate by making sure that he got closure sooner rather than later.

   The second purpose that the slavers serve is to emphasize how TRULY EVIL the antagonists in this story are. If the story had just been about Prince Gareth's desire to usurp the throne of Sparta from his nephew, then it could have been a simple political struggle motivated by Gareth's belief that he could do a better job as emperor than Jason was doing. However, by establishing that Gareth was fully aware of the MILLIONS of innocent people that were being killed in order to finance his coup and DIDN'T CARE about them at all, the story makes it imperative that Gareth and his plans be defeated.

   Additionally, having all of the antagonists be SO EVIL makes it easier to justify the fact that they are all (presumably) killed by the protagonists. Sure, "heroes don't kill" but sometimes it's more convenient for the writer when he doesn't have to deal with pesky details like what to do with slavers willing to commit genocide once they've been defeated and there's no interstellar police force in the area. Having them fight to their deaths off-panel solves that problem without making the "good guys" seem like murderers.

How'd they do that...?
   Ship makes her first appearance in a scene that showed her outwitting the slavers by using her invisibility powers in a clever way. However, once one thinks about the scene a bit, it becomes clear that what must have happened couldn't have happened in the way that readers probably assume that it did.

   At first glance, the sequence of events seems simple enough. First, Ship made herself and Star-Lord invisible, and then, after moving to a position that was one hundred kilometers directly ahead of the slaver starship, she allowed Star-Lord to become visible while she remained invisible. The slavers detected Star-Lord as a contact that seemingly appeared out of nowhere and when they put the image of the contact on the main screen, the command crew was shocked to see that it was just a man floating (actually, sitting) in space. Ship took advantage of those seconds that the crew was confused by the impossibility of what they saw to determine which targets she should fire upon first and then allowed herself to become visible and opened fire before the slavers could react. And then, once the slaver was disabled, Star-Lord exited Ship and proceeded to board the enemy starship.

   However, there's a problem. In the Marvel Universe, invisibility is caused by bending light around an object or person, and this means that it should be impossible for anyone to make objects that are within other objects visible if they are totally surrounded by those other objects. After all, we don't see the Invisible Woman make the internal structure of people or objects visible within their invisible outer layers, do we? Well, actually, I can think of at least two times when she did do that, but that's beside the point.

   Okay, accepting that Ship could not have warped light around herself in a way that made her invisible while leaving Star-Lord visible within her, maybe the Star-Lord that the slavers saw was actually Ship shape-shifted into his form? Aside from the fact that Ship has never demonstrated the ability to so perfectly duplicate another being's appearance, the fact that Ship is so much more massive than Quill means that, unless she was able to reduce herself to a millimeter-thick film around his body, her impersonation of Star-Lord would have to be much larger than the real one. If that were the case, then I imagine that the sensor officer on the slaver would have reported that the contact was "Imperial/human and...alive...AND TWENTY FEET TALL" which would have ruined the surprise reveal.

   Alright, if shape-shifting is out, then we're back to invisibility and that means that Ship's ability to make herself invisible must NOT involve her bending all wavelengths of light around her without distortion. The only explanation that I can think of is that Ship must be able to make some or all of the atoms within her volume somehow intangible to photons, the elementary particles that make up all electromagnetic radiation. Since objects are seen by the light that they reflect off their external surfaces, any objects that do not reflect or absorb any photons would be totally transparent and effectively invisible. In this case, the image that the slavers saw would have been made up of photons that had passed through Ship's totally transparent body, reflected off Star-Lord, and then passed though Ship's body again before being picked up by the slaver's sensors. I'm not sure how (or even if) it would be scientifically possible for Ship to make herself so completely transparent to all light but this does seem to be the only way in which Ship's ruse could have actually worked.

   Incidentally, this theory of total transparency could also be used to explain those instances when the Invisible Woman was able to make things invisible that absolutely could not have been made invisible by bending light around them. In fact, the idea that Sue makes invisible objects visible by causing the psionic energy that she generates and projects to make those objects interact with photons that would normally pass through them is already canon. However, I strongly suspect that my theory will not be replacing the official explanation for how her powers work anytime soon. After all, calling her the "Invisible Woman" sounds much more impressive than the "Totally Transparent Woman."

    This profile was completed 6/11/2021, but its publication was delayed as it was intended for the Appendix 20th anniversary 's celebratory event.

Profile by Donald Campbell.

This unidentified group of slavers and the Slave-Master have no known connections to

The location known as "Kandahar" has no known connections to


   The officer in command of the slaver starship. Aside from his rank, almost nothing about this individual has been revealed, including his name and the name of his species. Based on the captain's appearance, his species was humanoid and almost identical to the humans from Sparta who ruled the empire, with the only observable differences being two (or three) of the features of their heads: their eyes were totally white (or, at least their cornea were opaque or they had some other opaque membrane) with no visible irides or pupils; their noses (see image to the left) were small and flat and barely protruded out from their faces; and their heads may have been slightly wider at eye level than human heads (but this may just have been due to the captain's hairstyle). Additionally, although the captain didn't have a beard or a moustache, he did have thick sideburns that extended almost to the corners of his mouth but it is unclear if this was a natural feature of his race or a personal hairstyling choice.

   After the slaver starship had lifted off from Windhölme but was still in orbit around that planet, the captain was in his quarters when the Battle Stations alarm sounded. Arriving on the command bridge wearing only a robe, the captain exclaimed, "Zandru's Hells, can't a body get some rest--?!" and then demanded a situation report from all stations. The crew informed him that they had a contact, one that had appeared out of nowhere one hundred kilometers directly ahead of them, and then they put the image of the contact on the main screen. Surprised by what he saw, the captain asked if it was some sort of joke because there was " floating out there!" Although another officer confirmed that sensors read it as "Imperial/human" and alive in deep space without any protection, the captain stated that that was insane and insisted that there must have been more to it. His skepticism was quickly proven correct when the image of the man shimmered and changed before their eyes into that of a starship. The captain reacted immediately, exclaiming "Gods of the Black Nebula, that's no man out there! It's a starship!" and then ordering "Defensive screens to full power, you miserable dung-eaters; We're under attack! All batteries -- OPEN FIRE!!" However, his orders came too late to prevent the alien starship from opening fire with a single salvo of energy beams that took out both the starship's engineering spaces and its central battle computer.

   With his starship unable to run or fight and an alien intruder ("Starlord") demonstrating a capability to easily overcome all opposition, the captain ordered that the bridge's combat airlock be sealed and that the auto-destruct charges be set to explode. Once that was done, the captain and the rest of the command crew fled through another exit just as Starlord managed to burn his way through the combat airlock. However, before Starlord could pursue the crew, the explosive charges rigged to all the consoles began to go off in sequence, destroying the bridge and opening the entire fore end of the starship to space.

   With their attacker thus kept busy, the captain led the command crew (and, later, the Slave-Master) along a corridor that led to the Lifeboat Bay where they planned to eject in a lifeboat and then detonate the auto-destruct charges that were laced throughout the starship. However, before they could reach safety, they were confronted by Kip Hölm who told the "butchers" that they had gone far enough! Recognizing "the Windhölme rebel," the captain told Kip that they had no time to humor his last, gallant stand and ordered Tak to use his blaster to kill Kip. This order prompted the other slaves that had been keeping out of sight to reveal themselves and close in on the slavers. Realizing that the slaves planned to kill them, the slavers fought back but were overwhelmed. The captain, who seems to have been unarmed, took some damage from a blow to his face before being killed by other, more lethal blows.

   Later, when Kip Hölm and Star-Lord were discussing how they might find the person who had sent the slavers to Windhölme, Ship revealed that one of her Widgets had scanned the slaver starship's navcomps without success. She concluded that, if the starship had a base, then only the captain had known it.

Notes: Although the apparent leader of the troopers on Windhölme was addressed as "captain" by the Anubian Lord Dirac, there is no real reason to believe that this was the same individual as the captain who commanded the slaver starship. On the other hand, there's also no evidence that they weren't the same person and it's possible that the reason why the captain appeared on the bridge in dressed in only a robe is because he had just removed his battle armor after returning from the planet.

   The captain appears in only six panels of the story but all six can be found spread around this profile.

--Marvel Preview#11


Command Crew

   The crew members of the slaver starship whose stations were on its command bridge. Aside from the captain, there were at least ten members of the bridge crew but only one of them, Tak, was ever named. Three of these crewmen seemed to be from a race that looked as much like "light-skinned humans" as the race from Sparta that ruled the empire and the other seven were from six different races that were also humanoid. However, only four of those seven crewmen could have disguised themselves as "human" fairly easily.

   Since no personal information about (almost) all of these crew members has ever been revealed, there's not much that can be said about them. The fact that they were part of a slaving operation that had committed genocide on a number of planets indicates that they, like the troopers, were all professional mercenaries whose actions were not influenced by any amount of morality. 

    Some or all of them may have formerly been members of the Imperial military forces who had been trained to be ruthless in carrying out their missions. Or maybe they were all just natural sociopaths who were willing to do anything for money.

   For some reason, only four of the command crew wore matching orange uniforms. In contrast, the clothing worn by the other six varied greatly and did not seem to be uniforms.

   The length of time that this particular command crew had worked together has not been revealed but, at the very least, they controlled the slaver starship on what became its final voyage during which three batches of newly-enslaved beings were taken aboard and imprisoned in the slave pens. The command crew may have also been responsible for deploying whatever weapon was used to make the planets they had conquered uninhabitable. They also piloted the starship to Windhölme and brushed past the planet's defenses before landing on its surface so that those Scania who survived their attack could be herded aboard as slaves.

   After the slaver starship had lifted off from Windhölme and entered orbit around the planet, its sensors detected a contact one hundred kilometers directly in front of the starship. The command crew reacted by sounding Battle Stations, summoning the captain to the bridge where they gave him the situation report and prepared for action. However, despite their first-rate skills, the alien contact took them by surprise and managed to destroy their starship's ability to flee or fight. 

    As a result, the captain decided that they would abandon the bridge, which had been rigged to explode, eject in a lifeboat and then detonate the auto-destruct charges that were laced throughout the starship, thereby destroying the vessel and the slaves and all evidence of their crimes. Unfortunately for them, before they could reach the lifeboat bay, they (and the Slave-Master) were ambushed by some of the beings that they had enslaved. 

    Realizing that these ex-slaves planned to kill them, the command crew fought for their lives but even their superior weapons were not enough to stop the vengeful former slaves. One by one, every member of the command crew was killed, either beaten to death by clubs or burned by blaster beams or torn limb from limb. They died horrible deaths, which they deserved.

   Since most of the command crew were never named and they all acted as a single group throughout the story, I have chosen to just number them, provide brief physical descriptions and identify the only four who had any dialogue.

Command Crew #1 - Seated at his station to the left of the entrance onto the bridge, this humanoid looked like a Terran human with pinkish-white skin and blond hair. He wore a light blue sleeveless shirt and light blue shorts with a white belt around his waist and thigh-high paler blue boots.

Command Crew #2 - Standing at his station to the right of the entrance, this humanoid had purple skin, eyes that were white except for black irides, and no nose or nasal cavities on his face. He had black hair on the back and sides of his head but not on the top. If he had ears, they were completely hidden by his hair. He wore a light brown tunic with a blue belt, and boots and gloves that were also light brown. His name seemed to be "Tak" and he carried a blaster that the captain later ordered him to use to kill Kip. When the command crew was then attacked by the slaves, Tak told the Slave-Master to stop babbling, called him a "misshapen fool" and told him to fight because it was "their lives or ours!" Tak then reminded the crew that they had superior weapons and should use them even as he fired a beam from his blaster.

Command Crew #3 - Seated at his station to the right of Tak, this brown-haired humanoid looked like a Terran human except for his bright yellow skin. He was one of the four command crew who wore the orange uniforms.

Command Crew #4 - Seated at the right-hand side of a console situated in front of the main viewscreen, this humanoid had chalk white skin and an unusually-shaped skull. His eyes were entirely red, he had two nares instead of an external nose and each of his ears consisted of two round concentric rings. He was one of the four crewmen who wore the orange uniforms, and he was the officer who briefed the captain about the unknown contact that had appeared out of nowhere. He also told the captain that he had never seen anything like it in all his years.

Command Crew #5 - Standing on the bridge as he worked, this red-skinned humanoid was one of the four crewmembers who wore the orange uniforms. The most distinctive thing about him was that his very non-human head resembled a red hood with two eyeholes and a grill for a mouth. He was the first of the command crew to be killed by the ex-slaves, shot down by a blaster beam.

Command Crew #6 - Seen only from the shoulders up, this humanoid looked very much like a Terran human with pinkish-white skin and black hair but his eyes seemed to be completely white and he had two nasal slits instead of a nose. He was one of the four crewmen who wore the orange uniforms but his uniform was black on the upper chest and the shoulders.

Command Crew #7 - Seated at the left-hand side of a console situated in front of the main viewscreen, this humanoid looked like a Terran human with pinkish-white skin and brown hair that was tied in a ponytail. He also had sideburns and hairy arms. He wore a black shirt whose sleeves barely reached past his elbows and light brown pants. He was the officer who told the captain that the image of the unknown contact was on the main screen at magnification three and informed him that the forward batteries were locked on target. When the slaves attacked, he was struck on the back of his head by a club.

Command Crew #8 - Seen only from behind and from above the shoulders, this humanoid had pinkish-white skin and black hair that seemed to be receding. His face was never seen and he wore an amber shirt with a light brown sash over it.

Command Crew #9 - Seen only from three-quarters behind and from above the shoulders, this humanoid had purple skin and a hairless head. Since he had human-like ears and his face was not seen, he may (or may not) have been a member of the same species as Tak. He wore a light brown shirt.

Command Crew #10 - Seated in a raised chair to the right of the main viewscreen, this semi-humanoid being was the least "human" member of the command crew. He body was thin, with limbs and a torso that seemed almost skeletal, and had pale green skin. He had three long toes on each of his feet and three fingers (and maybe an opposable thumb) on each of his hands. Although his face could not been seen, his head was quite non-human in shape and he seemingly wore no clothes.

Note: As drawn by John Byrne and Terry Austin, the slaver's Command Bridge somewhat resembles the bridge of the USS Enterprise from the original Star Trek TV series. If we were to assume that the stations were the same, then crewmember #1 would be seated at Communications (like Uhura), crewmembers #2 & 3 would be at Engineering (like Scotty), and crewmembers #4 and 7 would be the Navigator (like Chekov) and the Helmsman (like Sulu).

   Oddly, another story written by Chris Claremont that was published in the same month as Marvel Preview#11 was X-Men I#105 which also featured an alien starship whose bridge resembled that of the USS Enterprise. However, that other bridge was on a Shi'ar Imperial cruiser and the artwork was by Dave Cockrum and Bob Layton. So, did Mr. Claremont suggest the homage to Star Trek to the two art teams? Or was it something that they came up with independently?

--Marvel Preview#11


   The location of the base out of which the slavers operated, Kandahar was presumably a celestial body like a planet or a moon but could also have been a space station. However, the fact that knowing that name did not help Ship to determine the location of the slavers' base suggests that "Kandahar" was actually a code name used to keep its actual location a secret. Aboard the slaver starship, only the captain (and perhaps Lord Dirac) knew exactly where the base was. When Kip Hölm used his "Windrunner" psychic ability to backtrack the slaver starship's course, his mind was drawn across hundreds of parsecs to the planet Cinnibar but that may have been because it was the homeworld of the man who ran the slavery operation, Kyras Shakati, and it was probably not where the actual base was located.

   In all, "Kandahar" was mentioned only three times:
• When the Slave-Master was upset that Kip had been rescued from his grasp, the Anubian Lord Dirac reminded him that the slave decks were cut off from the rest of the ship and that they could deal with the escaped slave "when we return to Kandahar."
• Minutes later, after bringing Kip to one of the slave pens, Sandy told him that his relative freedom was only temporary because "when we reach their base on Kandahar, they'll flood the ship with knock-out gas."
• Days later, on Sparta, while discussing the interrogation of Kip, Arion told the torturer Tikos that "When the mind-ripper arrives from Kandahar, that'll tear his secrets from him."

   And that's all that was ever revealed about Kandahar.

--Mentioned only in Marvel Preview#11

  slave-master - face - profile


   The individual in charge of the training of the newly-captured slaves, this orange-skinned alien was the least humanoid being encountered during Kip's struggle against the slavers. His real name and the name of his race have never been revealed but his referring to Kip as a "mammal" would seem to confirm that, as his appearance suggested, his species was not mammalian. The Slave-Master had some snakelike characteristics (i.e., skin that seemed to have a scaly texture, having a legless tail for his lower body, speaking with drawn-out "esses") that suggested that his species may have been reptilian. On the other hand, the fact that his lower body had a segmented external appearance that was unlike any known snake and was more compact (shorter and squatter) than most serpentine races could mean that his species actually belonged to some other class of Animalia.
    Mollusk or perhaps insectoid seem likely possibilities.

   One interesting detail about the Slave-Master was that his hands, which each had two fingers and an opposable thumb, seemed to be robotic. While this could mean that they were prosthetic replacements that he had received after his original hands/arms had been damaged, a more intriguing possibility is that, in their natural state, his species did not have any limbs or manipulatory appendages of their own. This would imply that those members of his species who did have prosthetic arms must have received them from aliens. Or maybe those hands that appear to be robotic are just metal gloves being worn over his actual flesh-and-blood hands. The story doesn't present any evidence to support either possibility.

   The Slave-Master was first seen on board the slaver starship when two troopers brought Kip Hölm before him after the Scania had tried to fight back but had been brutally beaten down. After observing that this was the rebel of whom Dirac had spoken, the Slave-Master asked the Anubian if there were any others. Dirac replied that there were none and stated that, once the "wolflings's" spirit had been broken, the rest of his people would yield. Kip vehemently disagreed, calling one of them a "slug" and declaring that the Scania would never yield to the likes of him/them. The Slave-Master found it amusing that the "whelp" still barked as defiantly as ever and told the "little mammal" that he would break his will personally so that Kip would be his body slave and his people would watch Kip serve his every whim. 

    The Slave-Master then ordered the troopers to take Kip to his quarters, but then the lights in the corridor then suddenly went out and Sandy, hidden by the darkness, pulled Kip out of the Slave-Master's clutches and out of sight inside a nearby air duct before the lights came back on. Although the Slave-Master was upset that "the mammal" had gone, Dirac advised him that the boy wasn't worth the effort that would be needed to hunt him down, that he could do them no harm because the slave decks were sealed off from the rest of the ship and that they would deal with him when they returned to Kandahar.

   Minutes later, after the slaver starship had been disabled and boarded and the captain had decided to scuttle the starship after ejecting in a lifeboat, the Slave-Master joined up with him and the command crew as they traveled along the passageway to the Lifeboat Bay. However, before they could reach safety, they were confronted by Kip, who seemed to be alone but was soon joined by other vengeful ex-slaves. Upon seeing them, the Slave-Master exclaimed, "By the Great Marsssh! Ssslavesss! All around - - Closssing in!" One of the command crew, Tak, then called him a "misshapen fool" and told him to stop babbling and fight because either they or the slaves were going to lose their lives.

   Soon afterwards, the ex-slaves declared victory after they had killed all of the slavers, some of whom had been torn limb from limb. Although none of the corpses were depicted on-panel, the Slave-Master was undoubtedly among the dead.

Notes: The fact that the Slave-Master once swore "By the Great Marsssh" could have been an indication that his species evolved in such an environment. Or maybe "Marsssh" was the name of some deity worshipped by his race. One never knows.

   During his encounter with the Slave-Master and Dirac, Kip called one of them "slug." Minutes later, Sandy suggested that she and Kip should get out of the air duct before "Sluggo" decided Kip was worth hunting down. Based on his physical appearances, it would seem that both of these references were to the Slave-Master. However, although it was the Slave-Master who had grabbed his head, Kip was responding to something that Dirac had said, and it was Dirac who had told the troopers to not bother searching for Kip. This makes it seem that the "slug" comments might have actually been directed towards Dirac instead.

   The fact that Tak called the Slave-Master a "misshapen fool" suggests that speciesism existed even within that technologically-advanced interstellar empire. Then again, Tak was a slaver so he presumably would never have been counted among the more socially-enlightened citizens of the empire.

--Marvel Preview#11



   Those slavers who conducted the slave raids after the slaver starship had landed on the target planets. Once any effective opposition had been dealt with by the starfighters, the troopers exited the starship and began to search for survivors, killing anyone over the age of seventeen and everyone who resisted. The troopers then captured those traumatized children who were still alive and brutally herded them into the starship. Standard procedure was for them to stand guard over the captives in the main hold while the starship lifted off from the planet and the acceleration crushed the new slaves to the deck. Then, once the starship had reached orbit, the troopers were to make sure that the captives were secured in the slave pens before the starship warped away from the planet.

   Aside from carrying out the slave raids on the planets, the troopers also acted as security aboard the slaver starship. They quickly and brutally dealt with any attempts at rebellion by slaves, guarded their superiors (like Lord Dirac and the Slave-Master), and attacked any intruders who managed to board the slaver starship. Like all the other slavers, the troopers were mercenaries, participating in the slaughter and enslavement of planetary populations simply for money. None of them exhibited any remorse for their genocidal actions and some (or many or all) of them sadistically enjoyed the suffering of the beings they had enslaved.

   None of the troopers were identified, and all were only seen while wearing their battle armor. Aside from the fact that all of them must have had humanoid forms in order to be able to wear that armor, the only other characteristic that was ever revealed was that (at least) one of them had purple skin, as seen in several panels in which trooper(s) appear with bare hands that are as purple as the gloves they normally wore.

   Troopers on duty always wore battle armor that protected them from most physical attacks but not from all directed energy weapons. When sealed, the armors also acted like pressure suits that enabled their wearers to survive and function in the airless void of space. All the battle armor worn by the slavers was of the same basic design and consisted of silver and dark blue body suits with silver boots, purple gauntlets and helmets. In most cases, the torso, shoulders and hips of the armor were silver while those portions of the arms and legs not covered by, respectively, the gauntlets and the boots were dark blue. The boots worn by most troopers covered their feet, ankles and lower calves but some troopers wore boots that extended up to the mid-thigh. The gauntlets were made of steel and had fingers made of steel rings that permitted the hands within to retain their full flexibility. The helmets completely encased the heads of the troopers wearing them, were airtight and contained infra-red sensors and (presumably) communications gear (like radios). The helmets also distorted the voices of the troopers wearing them, although maybe not enough to make them unrecognizable.

   Troopers were armed with directed energy weapons, usually the pistol-shaped hand-held sidearms known as "handers" or "blasters." However, there were also "rifle blasters" that were available for them to use against more serious threats. Although less powerful than the weapons, used by the starfighters, that could incinerate their targets, these smaller weapons projected energy beams that could easily cause lethal damage to any organic beings who were struck by them, including troopers clad in battle armor.

   Although no more than four troopers were ever depicted together on-panel at any one time, the actual number stationed aboard the slaver starship must have been significantly higher in order to maintain control over thousands of desperate prisoners. This would suggest that there should have been dozens or even hundreds of troopers on the starship, although this has never been confirmed.

   In the aftermath of the attack on Windhölme, two troopers, both wearing thigh-high boots and armed with rifle blasters, were seen standing guard as the Scania survivors were being herded aboard the starship. A third trooper, a "captain" who carried his hander in his bare, purple-skinned hand, expressed his concern for the Anubian Lord's safety in the event that "the grubbers" were to try something, but Dirac was unworried because the Scania were children who were in shock and unable to cause them trouble. However, after scanning the crowd a final time, Dirac pointed out one of the Scania (Kip) to the captain and stated that if any of them were a potential threat, it was him.

   Once all the new captives had been loaded aboard and the starship had lifted off from the planet, troopers stationed in the main hold watched and laughed as the acceleration crushed the Scania to the deck. Later, after the starship had reached orbit, a trooper approached Kip, called him "grubber" and ordered him to get to his feet and move because the captain wanted them in the slave pens before they warped. Kip reacted quickly and violently, jumping the trooper, knocking his weapon out of his hand, and clasping his hands around the trooper's neck in an attempt to throttle him. However, other troopers were there to pull Kip away within seconds and the boy went down instantly when three of them began beating him with their steel-shod fists. Once the boy was subdued, two troopers dragged him from the hold and into the presence of Dirac and the Slave-Master and the two troopers guarding them. Kip's defiant response to Dirac's statement that he was the only rebel among the Scania and that the rest of his people would yield once his spirit had been broken amused the Slave-Master who declared that he would personally break Kip's will and ordered the troopers to take Kip to his quarters. Before anyone could move, the lights in the corridor went out and Kip was pulled out of the Slave-Master's clutches by Sandy. In the dark, one of the trooper grabbed hold of what he thought was the boy but the trooper he had actually grabbed told him, "Idiot! You've got me!" By the time the lights were restored, Kip was gone, and Dirac ordered the troopers to not pursue him because the slave decks were sealed off from the rest of the ship and he could do them no harm.

   Only minutes later, following an attack on the slaver starship by an unknown alien starship (Ship), troopers responding to a breach in cargo hatch Able reported an Intruder Alert to the bridge after discovering that the starship had been boarded. One trooper stated that the intruder was "one man" who was somehow existing in a hard vacuum without any visible battle armor or even a pressure suit and wondered, "Who the hell is he?" The intruder heard that question and replied that, "The name, gentlemen, is...STARLORD" even as he attacked with the speed of thought, smashing into the troopers with power that defied description and tossing their armored forms around like they were children as he drove them in-ship.

   As the battle reached the slave pens, a trooper fired a energy blast from a rifle set on max that missed Star-Lord but melted a gaping hole in the door. Observing the "guy in a costume" as he tackled the troopers single-handedly and was beating them, Kip noticed that a trooper had dropped his hander just outside the pen and reached for it. Once Kip had the hander, he used it to fire a blaster beam at a nearby trooper, causing him to scream out "YARRRGH!" as the beam burnt through the left side of his body.

And that's the last time that any trooper was seen on the slaver starship.

Note: Although it's never specifically stated, it seems likely that Kip's ill-fated one-man stand against the troopers was deliberately provoked by them so that they could demonstrate to the Scania that trying to fight back against them would be hopeless. Presumably it was Dirac who ordered that first trooper to give Kip an opportunity to attack him.

--Marvel Preview#11

Slaver transport

   Originally an Imperial Fleet Transport vessel, this starship was acquired, presumably by Kyras Shakati or one of his underlings, to be used as a slaver. Its name was never revealed and was probably different from the name it bore when it was part of the Imperial Fleet. Nothing has been revealed about when it was constructed or whatever missions the starship undertook while part of the Imperial Fleet, and it may (or may not) have been involved in the war between Sparta and the Ariguan Confederacy that began in 1960 A.D. (Earth date). Similarly, nothing has been revealed about any Imperial personnel who served aboard the starship while it was part of the fleet.

   The slaver's basic shape was that of an oval (elliptical) cylinder that had a width that was greater than its height. The starship seems to have had a primary hull that was roughly twice as long as it was wide but its exact length was never revealed. However, since the command bridge, located in the fore end (bow) of the starship, was described as being "a thousand meters forward and up" from the slave pens, it can be estimated that its length was significantly more than one kilometer (i.e., more than 0.62 miles) and that's assuming that the slave pens were located near the rear end (stern). On the other hand, if the pens were in the central section of the starship, then its overall length could have been around two kilometers (or about 1.24 miles). The bow had a smooth rounded shape and the hull's width was mostly constant along its length, with only two pairs of stubby, wing-like structures that protruded out from its sides. The forward pair of these wings were triangular while the aft pair were larger and rounded. What their function was has not been revealed.

   The number of decks that the slaver had has not been revealed nor have any but the most basic details about the configuration of its internal structure. Specifically, the command bridge was in the bow, the thrusters (or whatever they were called) seem to have been in the stern and the slave pens were somewhere in the middle. Although a starship capable of interstellar travel would require dozens of critical systems in order to function, only a few of the areas aboard the slaver were actually depicted in-story, but others were mentioned and the existence of still more can be inferred.

 • Command Bridge: Located near the bow, this was the central control area for the entire starship. The bridge was a circular room whose design was similar to that of the fictional Starship Enterprise. The main entrance was in the left rear quadrant, a large viewscreen (the main screen) took up most (if not all) of the forward wall, and there were several consoles built into the walls on either side of the entrance as well as a wider console situated in close to the main screen. The floor of the bridge was divided into several levels, with the highest being a narrow platform set against the side walls and the lowest being in the center of the room where the wider console was located. The second level of the floor was about 1 foot lower than the highest floor and was on the same level as the entrance. Crewmen manning the consoles could do so while sitting in chairs that were placed on the highest level or while standing on the second level. The wide console on the lowest level had seats for the two crewmen who manned the slaver's flight control, navigation and tactical systems. There was also a seat on a raised area to the right of the main screen where the officer who handled the sensors sat. Security measures included a combat airlock made of fifty centimeters of ten-point steel and explosive auto-destruct charges that were rigged to every console. There was also an emergency exit that granted access to a passageway that led to the Lifeboat Bay.

 • Entry Ports: The slaver's point of entry through which large numbers of people or large vehicles could enter or exit the starship. The only entry ports seen in-story were located on the left side of the slaver (see main image). The door of these entry ports was a VERY LARGE rectangular section of the slaver's hull that extended from the lowest part of the hull to almost halfway up the side of the starship. This part of the hull seemed to be hinged at the bottom which allowed it to be lowered to serve as a ramp on which people (and vehicles) could travel into and out of the starship. Alternatively, the ramp could have been a separate structure that was extended after the slightly-curved rectangular section of the hull had been somehow moved out of the way (perhaps by being shifted to the outside of the right side of the hull). Since teleportation technology was not available, these entry ports were used by the crew of the slaver and the troopers as well as their captives. Although the ramp does look impressively large when open, the presence of such a large door means that a great deal of effort would have had to be made to ensure that the door was airtight in order to prevent the internal atmosphere from escaping around its edges once the starship was in space.

 • Main Cargo Hatches: Either the hatches that led to the main cargo hold or the largest of the hatches that led to the cargo hold. Star-Lord was able to enter the slaver transport by using his Element Gun to burn a hole through Hatch Alpha. Since the area to which he had gained entry had a hard vacuum, we can assume that he knew that it was not where any of the captives were held.

 • Slave Decks: The decks on which the slave-pens were located. They were supposedly sealed off from the rest of the starship but skilled thieves could make their way in and out. These decks were flooded with knock-out gas to render the captives helpless when the slaver returned to its base.

 • Slave Pens: Located a thousand meters aftward and down from the Command Bridge, they were five chambers on the slaver's slave decks that had been converted into holding facilities for large numbers of prisoners. At least one of them was VERY large, with a ceiling that was perhaps fifty feet above the floor, and a gallery set midway up the wall. Given their size, they had probably been cargo holds before the refit. Since the total number of captives held on the slaver could have been as high as 10,000, one would expect that about 2,000 "slaves" could be held in each pen but that assumes that all of the slave pens were the same size. They were supposed to be secure but Sandy was able to exit them at will by accessing the starship's massive air ducts. The walls and door were made of thick metal that was impregnable to any physical force that organic beings could exert but could be melted by energy beams fired from rifle blasters set on max.

 • Auxiliary Control: An alternate bridge from which the starship could be controlled if the Command Bridge was destroyed or uninhabitable. Auxiliary Control was much smaller than the Command Bridge and its location within the starship was not revealed. Kip was able to use it as a focal point for his "Windrunner" psychic ability to backtrack along the slaver's course to its base.

   These areas of the slaver transport were mentioned but not seen:
 • Engineering Spaces: Apparently located in the middle section of the starship, this was where the energy that was required to power the starship's systems was generated. The nature of the actual power source was never revealed. When Ship attacked the slaver, she made sure to target the Engineering Spaces with her first salvo so that the slaver would be crippled and lack the energy to fight back.

 • Lifeboat Bay: The area where the lifeboats were kept and from which they could be ejected in case of emergency. Although the entire command crew expected that they would be able to escape in this manner, it has not been revealed if that was because there was a single lifeboat capable of carrying all of them or multiple lifeboats that were each capable of carrying some of them. A passageway from the Command Bridge led to the Lifeboat Bay but it could be accessed at other points along its length, as the vengeful former slaves did.

   Although originally part of the Imperial fleet, the fact that the slaver had been a transport suggests that it was not as well-armed as a warship would have been. However, it did possess certain offensive and defensive capabilities that were never clearly defined. Kip's psychic trance showed him that two worlds had died under the slaver's "guns" and it had "forward batteries" (among others) that could be locked on target, but the exact number and nature of these weapons (which may have been laser cannons) was never revealed. The slaver is also known to have had defensive screens that were probably force fields of electromagnetic energy that were meant to protect the vessel from natural hazards and enemy attacks but, again, not much was revealed about them. The slaver's weapons systems and defensive screens seemed to both be highly dependant on its central battle computer and could not be activated if that computer was non-functional.

   The slaver transport could travel at faster-than-light speeds across interstellar distances by using an engine that enabled it to "warp." This presumably meant that it was able to enter and exit the same "warp-space" that Ship used for her FTL voyages and that it could travel hundreds of light-years in a matter of days or hours. However, its exact capabilities were never revealed. Additionally, the slaver was able to travel through normal space using some undescribed propulsion system that presumably functioned by generating the required thrust (like rocket engines). This system would have been sufficient for travel between locations within a planetary system. Finally, the slaver was also equipped with undescribed engines that enabled it to travel through the atmospheres of planets and to both land on and take off from such planets. The thrusters used to take off seem to have been mounted on the underside of the slaver and could generate enough thrust that the resulting acceleration could crush its (unprotected) passengers to the deck during take-off. No details about how these various methods of propulsion worked or how the slaver transport's course through space was controlled were ever revealed.

   Aside from the specific components mentioned above, the slaver transport also possessed multiple systems that performed the many functions that were essential for manned spaceflight. These included its life support system, the massive air ducts, the many corridors connecting the various areas of the starship, the living and sleeping areas for the crew and troopers, its medical facilities, the areas for food storage and service, its sensors, its communications system, its (unspecified) power source, its navcomps (navigational computers), and whatever technology was used to generate artificial gravity within the transport. Additionally, if the transport also acted as the mothership of the starfighters, then there must have been both landing bays and hangar decks located somewhere inside it.

   The total number of inhabited worlds that this starship attacked and destroyed as part of the slaving operation has not been revealed. On its final voyage, the slaver transport traveled to two planets where its crew pulled in batches of newly-enslaved beings before their worlds died under the slaver's guns. The starship was then piloted to its final target, the planet Windhölme. After the skills of its first-rate mercenary cadre enabled the slaver to brush past the planet's defenses, it landed on the planet and the starfighters were launched to begin killing millions of the Scania. Once most of the population had been murdered, and the troopers had herded the few thousand surviving Scania children aboard, the starship lifted off. After reaching orbit, the crew prepared to do whatever they usually did to make the worlds they had conquered uninhabitable but were interrupted before they could start when an unknown contact suddenly appeared on the slaver's sensors out of nowhere. After using a ruse to confuse the slaver's crew for vital seconds, Ship was able to use that confusion to fire a single salvo of energy beams before the crew could set the defensive screens to full power or open fire with any of their batteries. With its engineering spaces and central battle computer taken out, the slaver was unable to flee or fight back or prevent an intruder from boarding it. Realizing that the situation was perhaps unwinnable, the command crew set the auto-destruct charges on the bridge and evacuated before those charges exploded, shattering the primary hull and opening the entire forward end to space. Thanks to a band of vengeful ex-slaves, the command crew didn't live to reach the Lifeboat Bay and thus never cued the detonator that would have destroyed the starship by setting off all of the auto-destruct charges that were laced throughout it.

   Once the ex-slaves had taken control of the starship, Star-Lord made himself known and revealed that they had no homes to which to return. All of the captives except Kip and Sandy decided that they were willing to settle on Windhölme's Western Isles. Since the crippled starship was no longer capable to landing on a planet, shuttles were presumably used to off-load the former slaves over the course of two days. Once the evacuation was complete, Kip, at Ship's suggestion, used the slaver's Auxiliary Control bridge as a focal point for his "Windrunner" psychic talent and was able to backtrack the slaver's course through time until it led him to the planet Delta Corianus IV and the incredibly evil mind of Kyras Shakati, a merchant of great renown.

   What happened to the crippled slaver transport after that has not been revealed. It's possible that Star-Lord may have left it in orbit around Windhölme but it seems like a wiser choice would have been for Ship to get it moving on a course that would take it far away from the planet so that it could never de-orbit and fall to the surface.

Note: Out of curiosity, I decided to compare the size of this transport to other vehicles. In the real world, the transport was more than twice as long as the longest oil tanker ever built, and more than three times as long as the largest cruise ships and the largest aircraft carrier, the USS Enterprise (342 m). Compared to other fictional starships, the transport was over four times as long as the USS Enterprise (288 m) from the original Star Trek series, and at least 50% longer than the USS Enterprise-D (642 m) and the Sanctuary-class starships (666 m) used by Thanos. This starship was probably as long as the Battlestar Galactica (1,142 m) and may even have been as long (or longer) than a Star Destroyer (1.6 km) from the Star Wars Universe. On the other hand, it was definitely MUCH smaller than the 19,000-meter long Super Star Destroyers.

   One critical difference between this starship and the others listed above is that it, despite its size, was somehow able to land on a planet (and take off again) without buckling or being crushed under its own weight. Such an implausibility requires the addition of a little extra suspension of disbelief that would not have been needed if it had been given more realistic dimensions.

--Marvel Preview#11



   Highly-maneuverable military spacecraft designed to function within planetary atmospheres as well as in the vacuum of space, these combat vehicles were also known as "Imperial starfighters" because they were constructed for (and perhaps by) the interstellar empire ruled from the planet Sparta. The fact that the slavers were able to use a number of these starfighters during their assaults on target planets suggests that they had been acquired illicitly, probably from the same source that had supplied them with the Imperial fleet transport ship that had been turned into the slaver starship.

   The starfighters had a basic shape that slightly resembled modern Terran fighter aircraft. Each starfighter had three distinct sections: a forward section, a main body with a fixed wing attached to either side, and a rocket engine in the tail that provided forward thrust. The tail section made up only one-sixth of the craft's overall length and did not include any vertical or horizontal stabilizers. The main body made up one-third of the length and was shaped like a rectangular cuboid with rounded horizontal edges that was longer than it was wide and wider than it was high. Each of the triangular wings that were attached to this section were slightly wider than the main body was long, and had ailerons on their trailing edges to help control the craft's flight within atmospheres. There were cylinders located on the underside of the wings (where they joined with the main body) but what function they served has not been revealed. The forward section made up the remaining one-half of the total length and gave the starfighter a rounded (but not conical) nose. Oddly, although the rest of the starfighter was solidly silver, this section appeared to be almost transparent and sometimes seemed to have nothing within it while at other times it had some rectangular structure in its middle.

   Since the starfighters only appeared in three panels, none of which showed them in close proximity to objects whose sizes are known, it is difficult to estimate how big these craft were. However, since there's no indication that they were single-pilot fighters, they were probably large enough to have a flight crew made up of a pilot, a co-pilot and a few others. Based on this profile's main image, it seems clear that they were probably significantly larger than certain fictional space superiority fighters (like the X-Wings from Star Wars). If one were to assume that they were at least 45 feet long, then they would have had wingspans of about 50 feet. It should be noted that these figures are strictly guesswork.

   These starfighters were designed for space-to-space combat, air-to-air combat and air-to-surface combat. Their only (known) armaments were directed-energy weapons (probably laser cannons) that fired bolts of energy that could incinerate any organic objects they hit. Targets composed of more durable (less combustible) matter would presumably be heavily damaged but not as thoroughly destroyed. The energy bolts themselves only damaged the matter that they impacted and objects that were in close proximity to the targets would not suffer any direct damage but the super-heated air around the targets could generate concussive blasts capable of forcefully hurling nearby objects away. Nothing has been revealed about the effective range of these weapons or if the energy bolts dissipated at all after they were fired at their targets.

   Since they could be used to fight battles in space, starfighters were obviously capable of spaceflight but nothing has been revealed about their range. If they were capable of interstellar travel, then the starfighters that took part in the conquest of Windhölme may have traveled to the planet under their own power. However, if their range was limited, then the starfighters must have been brought there by the slaver starship. Unfortunately, there is no in-story evidence to support (or disprove) either possibility so this subprofile cannot make any conclusive statements about the ranges at which they could operate.

   Although the starfighters were capable of flying through the atmospheres of planets, it has not been revealed if they could also land on planets. The lack of any (visible) landing gear could indicate that they could only land on specially-designed launch/landing pads, such as could be found on military bases or aboard motherships, but it's also possible that the starfighters were equipped with some form of VTOL system that used either jet engines or repulsor beams to provide the necessary upward lift. Again, there is no in-story evidence to support or disprove either possibility.

   When the slavers arrived at the planets they intended to conquer, the starfighters were part of the first attack wave. Any military installations would be neutralized first to prevent any effective defensive actions from being taken. Once that was done, the starfighters would begin to attack any structures or people that they spotted on the planet's surface. In the case of Windhölme, whose surface was mostly ocean, there was no ground cover so any targets were highly visible. From a logistical standpoint, it is presumed that the starfighters (and not the troopers) were responsible for the vast majority of the roughly eight million deaths that the slavers inflicted on the Scania population. However, if the slaver starship had also carried out air-to-ground attacks before it landed, then it may have killed a significant number of Scania.

   The number of starfighters involved in the attacks on Windhölme, Pryd'Ri and the third planet has not been revealed. Athough only three of them were ever depicted on-panel at any one time, it seems virtually impossible that so few craft could kill almost eight million people in less than one day. This suggests that there might have been far more starfighters involved in these planetary conquests than were shown in-story.

   What happened to the starfighters after the conquest of Windhölme was completed has not been revealed. If they were capable of interstellar flight, then they presumably returned to their base under their own power after all of the captive Scania had been herded aboard the slaver starship. On the other hand, if their range was limited, then they must have been stored in hangars aboard the main starship for transport away from the planet and were not able to launch in time to protect the starship.

Note: Starfighters were among the warships that made up the Imperial hunter-killer task force that later tried to prevent Ship from reaching the Imperial homeworld of Sparta. However, none of the ships shown to be fighting in that space battle look much like the starfighters that attacked the Scania.

--Marvel Preview#11



   The sentient beings who were being held captive by the slavers aboard their starship at the time of their fateful encounter with Star-Lord. Sandy's statement that the Scania were "the third bunch pulled in so far" suggests that the slaves who were already aboard the slaver starship had been taken from two other planets that had previously been attacked, one of which was Sandy's world, Pryd'Ri. However, since the exact points of origin of most of the slaves were never mentioned, it cannot be confirmed that they all came from those two other worlds. Additionally, even the fact that Sandy's world was one of those attacked by the slavers doesn't necessarily mean that she was there when she was captured by the slavers.

   Sandy was the only one of the slaves whose name and homeworld was revealed. She was also one of the only three slaves to have any dialogue. Aa a result, the physical appearances of the slaves are the only sources of information available about their races. Apart from "humans" like Sandy, there were beings from almost twenty other species imprisoned in the slave pens, all of whom were semi-humanoid (i.e. two-armed bipeds) but with some features that were definitely non-human. The image to the far left is a crowd scene from one of the slave pens and includes at least eight of these races but most of them are background characters who can only be partially seen. Most of the other images in this sub-profile are of the slaves who joined Sandy and Kip in attacking the slavers. Based on the skin colors of the fists upheld in triumph, there were beings from least eight different races involved and the bottom left image shows that members of at least another couple of races also took part.

   The number of slaves held captive aboard the slaver starship was never established. If we assume that each bunch contained about as many individuals as the "few thousand " Scania who were abducted from Windhölme, then the total number of slaves was probably around nine thousand (but could have been significantly higher or lower). The fact that the first two bunches included beings from almost twenty different races suggests that the planets from which they were taken had populations that were far more racially-diverse than Windhölme, which in turn suggests that they had far more contact with aliens than the Scania did.

   When the slavers carried out what would become their final raid, all of the beings they had previously captured were imprisoned in five different slave pens. One of those slaves was Sandy who had used the skills she learned on Pryd'Ri to find a way to secretly escape from the slave pens so that she could covertly investigate the slaver starship and become familiar with its layout. In contrast, the majority of the enslaved beings had given up, presumably due to the emotional trauma that they had experienced when the slavers attacked their worlds.

   However, when the slaver starship was attacked and the ensuing battle between the slavers and a single "guy in a costume" burned a hole in the door of one of the slave pens, Kip Hölm seized the opportunity by grabbing a hander that one of the troopers had dropped just outside the door and joining the fight by blasting a trooper. Seeing Kip strike back against the troopers inspired a number of slaves from that pen to join Kip and Sandy in a rebellion against the slavers. After arming themselves with makeshift clubs and weapons taken from fallen troopers, these rebellious slaves made their way to a corridor that led from the bridge to the lifeboat bay, presumably guided there by Sandy, and then hid themselves as they prepared to ambush the fleeing command crew. When the captain, the Slave-Master and the rest arrived, they were challenged by Kip but, not seeing the other ex-slaves, the captain considered him to be only a minor inconvenience and ordered Tak to use his blaster to kill Kip. However, that command prompted the slaves to reveal their presence, with one of the slaves in the open ceiling above saying, "Go ahead, Tak. But you can't kill us all!" Now aware of the slaves closing in around them, the slavers began to fight for their lives, believing that their superior weapons would help ensure their victory.

   The resulting fight was a brutal one that was fought without quarter or mercy or regret. Within minutes, the passageway had become a "charnel house (that was) thick with the stench of blood and burned flesh" and where "the harsh snap of blaster beams mingled with the screams of the dying." Driven by their desire for freedom and vengeance, the ex-slaves were able to overcome the slavers, tearing (some of) them limb from limb. In the end, all of the slavers were dead and the ex-slaves raised their fists in the air and cheered their "VICTORY!" 

    However, one of the ex-slaves, a pink-skinned being with dark pink hair, then called out, "Wait!! What are we cheering for? Sure we've won...but what do we do now? Where do we go--How do we go?! None of us can crew a starship--" He was interrupted then by the costumed guy, who stated that they all needed a home and suggested that the world below them, Windhölme, had been hurt but was still capable of supporting life and that, although it would be hard, they would make out if the Scania survivors taught them. The pink guy observed that the speaker was the paladin who had attacked the slavers and guessed that meant that they could trust him but then asked why couldn't they go home to their own worlds? 

    Starlord then revealed that the slavers had been very thorough and had done something that had transformed all of the planets they had conquered (except for Windhölme) into uninhabitable, dead husks. When Starlord then stated that he planned to protect the survivors from the slavers by scattering a field of defensive satellites throughout the system, his plan was mocked by Kip who pointed out the flaws and stated that the only way to ensure really protect them was to find whoever was behind the slaving operation and put them out of business. Starlord agreed to help Kip and Sandy on what he later called their "anti-slaver crusade," but the other ex-slaves were apparently unwilling to join them so, over the course of the next two days, they were all evacuated down to the planet where they were settled in on the Western Isles.

   What happened to these former slaves afterwards has not been revealed. However, the fact that Kip was later adopted by Emperor Jason as his heir suggests that Windhölme was kept safe from any possible future attacks.

Note: Aside from Kip, Sandy and the Scania, the slaves who were aboard the slaver during its fateful encounter with Star-Lord only appear in 9 panels on 4 pages from this 51-page story. Six of those panels are presented in this subprofile and the other three are in the main profile or the captain's subprofile.

   Since most of the non-human aliens were depicted only as background characters in crowd scenes or only had parts of their heads or bodies visible, I've decided to not try to list or describe them all. However, there were two that I thought deserved special mention:

    One was the guy(?) with very pink skin whose face looked somewhat horsey from the front but not so much from the side. He was the ex-slave with the second-most amount of dialogue, after Sandy. 

    The other notable ex-slave was the small dark blue creature with two big black eyes in its non-human face. When the panels in which he/she/it appears are enlarged, one can see that its dark blue covering is not skin or fur but feathers. Also, the sight of its small hand, with its opposable thumb clenched around its two fingers in a fist, looks somehow cute to me. However, considering that that being had just helped kill the slaver command crew, maybe cute is the wrong word.

--Marvel Preview#11

images: (without ads)
Starlord, The Special Edition#1, page 4 (main image)
      page 10, panel 2 (Star-Lord on main screen)
      page 10, panel 3 (Ship on main screen)
      page 14, panel 1 (Kip confronts the Command Crew)
      page 14, panel 3 (former slaves ambush the Command Crew)
      page 14, panel 4 (Command Crew fights for their lives)
      page 14, panel 2 (Captain orders Tak to fire)
      page 14, panel 5 (Captain about to be clubbed to death)
      page 10, panel 1 (most of the Command Crew)
      page 10, panel 2 (the rest of the Command Crew)
      page 8, panel 2 (the Slave-Master)
      page 8, panel 3 (the Slave-Master being amused by Kip)
      page 8, panel 6 (the Slave-Master with Dirac)
      page 7, panel 1 (a trooper taunting Kip)
      page 7, panel 6 (three troopers beating Kip down)
      page 12, panel 5 (trooper getting blasted by Kip)
      page 6, panel 2 (slaver transport taking off)
      page 11, panel 1 (slaver transport being crippled by Ship)
      page 13, panel 5 (slaver transport's bow shattering)
      page 6, panel 5 (two starfighters from Kip's memory)
      page 17, panel 6 (two starfighters from Kip's psychic trance)
      page 5 (single starfighter)
      page 9, panel 5 (Sandy and Kip in one of the Slave Pens)
      page 12, panel 2 (slave pen door cut open by stray rifle blaster fire)
      page 15, panel 1 (hands raised in VICTORY!)
      page 15, panel 2 (very pink guy has questions)
      page 15, panel 4 (very pink guy remembers "the paladin")
      page 15, panel 1 (some other slaves involved in the revolt )

Only Appearances:
Marvel Preview#11 (Summer, 1977) - Chris Claremont (writer) & John Byrne (artist), Terry Austin (inks), John Workman (editor)
Reprinted (with color added by Glynis Wein) in Starlord, The Special Edition#1 (February, 1982)

First written: 06/11/2021
First published: 09/09/2021

Last updated: 09/07/2021

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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