Deadpool: The Circle Chase #2
Information broker, mercenary
Executive Elite, Think Links,
• Electronic telepathy makes him
mentally receptive to
electromagnetic signals and
transmissions, able to access
the information network of all
data stored or transmitted by
digital or electronic means
on the planet
• Black Box armor and
exo-body running the
Dominus Objective contains a filter program allowing him to more easily categorize and sift through the data received by his powers, cybernetically link other people to the infonet, and engage in self-levitation
Garabed Bashur was born in India and lived a relatively unremarkable life until his mutant powers manifested at age thirteen. Gareb began receiving electronic data mentally, "hearing" phone calls, e-mails, radio beacons and any other form of electromagnetic information being generated in his environment. Like a telepath without an "off" switch, Gareb was awash with the words of other people. It got worse over time, so much so that eventually, at age fifteen, his parents arranged for him to live alone in an isolated part of the country, off the grid from all electronic mediums or communication lines. For years, they sent food and supplies to his small sanctuary as he tried to maintain his sanity.
India's growing digital footprint and the advent of global satellite networks made Gareb's efforts to hide increasingly unsuccessful. By twenty-three, Gareb was contemplating suicide in his isolation when he was approached by Charles Xavier. Professor Xavier used some of the same techniques for focusing his telepathy to teach Gareb how to refine his extra awareness. This allowed Bashur to function in everyday society while screening out the extraneous information he received, even actively dipping a toe into the information network, or "infonet," to retrieve specific pieces of electronic information by focusing on them. However, Xavier was unable to convert Bashur to his worldview, a hopeful perspective on peaceful co-existence. While Charles Xavier could claim to see the hearts and minds of humanity, Gareb Bashur saw humanity's actions and deeds, and it left him with a jaded view on the human race. Gareb intended to use his powers to look after himself, and this drove him apart from Xavier and his attempted teachings. [Cable / Deadpool #23]
Bashur used his powers and made many contacts in the world to help further his goals. He established his Executive Elite organization to function not only as traditional mercenaries but also as an intelligence service. In addition to working as combat troops, infiltrators, or retrieval specialists, the ExElite could be called upon to acquire data or arrange the services of other parties for their clients, thanks to the vast information network Bashur maintained access to through his gifts. Furthermore, Bashur gained possession of cloning technology that allowed him and his top agents, Rive and Makeshift, to perpetually recover even from life-ending injuries using duplicated bodies and recorded memory engrams. Bashur preferred to keep his original body alive, and only used clone bodies for field work in his armored identity as Commcast. He had several dealings with Cable over the years, presumably back during Nathan's mercenary days. [Deadpool: The Circle Chase #3, Cable / Deadpool #23]
The mercenary community was abuzz with news of Tolliver's Will, a treasure trove left behind by the supposedly deceased international arms dealer. Commcast and the Executive Elite were hired through Courier by Nyko Halfghanaghan to capture or kill Deadpool, who was reportedly involved in the death of Nyko's brother, Pico. In exchange Nyko would pay Bashur in information, providing him with a diskette containing data on Tolliver's holdings, acquired by Pico when he was in Tolliver's employ.
Commcast dispatched Rive and Makeshift to acquire Deadpool. The Executive Elite were able to temporarily overpower Deadpool and take him into custody. Before completing the contract,
Bashur wanted to scan Wilson's mind and learn any additional information he might have on Tolliver's will. A synaptic neural scanner (possibly combined with Bashur's own abilities) allowed Commcast to electronically project Deadpool's thoughts through his equipment. They delayed for too long, however, and Deadpool's associate Weasel tracked them down to spring Wilson. Deadpool sliced his way through Rive and Makeshift, while Commcast was rather embarrassingly caught flatfooted by Weasel and shot point blank in the head. [Deadpool: The Circle Chase #2-3]
Bashur and the ExElite survived, as all used their cloning technology to recover. Gareb's own cloning vat was damaged somehow, however, leaving him unable to summon up more clone bodies for himself. [Cable / Deadpool #23] Commcast was next approached by criminal industrialist Kurt Geinstach, who wanted protection from Sabretooth. Bashur was wise enough not to place himself or his Elite directly in the path of Sabretooth, but he did offer to act as a go-between for Geinstach and contact Wolverine and Maverick, two assets who might be more willing and capable of opposing Sabretooth. When Creed came to Bashur directly in search of information on his current quest, Commcast directed Sabretooth as he requested, then relayed that intelligence to Maverick and the X-Men so they could intercept the butcher. [X-Men Unlimited (1st series) #3]
After their uncomfortable parting. Charles Xavier continued keeps tabs on Bashur. When the Phalanx infiltrated the X-Mansion and Banshee was forced to destroy the Cerebro mainframe, decades of information on the X-Men, the Mutant Underground and other sensitive files were mostly lost. Xavier considered reaching out to Commcast, theorizing that Bashur's electronic telepathy could have acted as a backup for all electronically encoded information in the world, including Xavier's records. Xavier was hesitant, though, knowing about Commcast's cynical ambitions. Although the Shi'ar encryption process should keep Bashur from consciously accessing the data, Xavier worried about potentially giving access to so many sensitive files to such a man. [X-Men (2nd series) #38]
Bashur retained his position as an information broker for the world's shadow organizations for several years, even interacting with the mostly clandestine Roger Aubrey and the V-Battalion. [Thunderbolts (1st series) #51] With his personal cloning technology damaged, however, Gareb no longer felt safe operating as a field agent in Executive Elite endeavors. He slightly modified his business model as an information broker and set himself up with a covert identity as the Black Box. Gareb used agents known as Think Links for covert surveillance and recording of potentially profitable individuals and locations. As Black Box, he then sold these recordings (or information gleaned from them) to interested parties, or accepted specific commissions to record and retrieve data of the client's choice. [Cable / Deadpool #13]
Black Box's new identity led to a surprising request for help from Deadpool, the man he held partially responsible for killing him years earlier. Deadpool's unstable cellular structure had upset
his mind to the point where he could kill people and not even remember why shortly thereafter. Wilson wanted the Black Box to use his information network to find a way to fix his brain problems, or otherwise find a way to kill him. [Cable / Deadpool #14] Bashur took advantage of the situation and used his scientifically-inclined Think Links to map Deadpool's brain, identifying a way to brainwash the mercenary for his own purposes. Black Box was concerned with Deadpool's friend, Cable, whose rising star made him a probable threat to Bashur's long-term plans. Therefore, he convinced Deadpool that Cable was the greatest living threat to mankind, and sent him out to assassinate Cable. [Cable / Deadpool #15] When Deadpool failed, X-Force came looking for the Black Box, but only ended up destroying one of his armored exo-bodies. [Cable / Deadpool #18]
Gareb next set his sights on the Dominus Objective. See, it was a secondary hard drive that acted like a virus that acted like a server. Installing it to an existing system boosted that system's
processing power, but it also enabled someone with the proper codes to remotely access information from that system through the Objective. This aspect of the Objective wasn't interesting to Bashur, as it only mechanically replicated what he could access mentally through his mutation. However, the Dominus Objective was also capable of filtering the data it picked up, streamlining and coordinating searches for particular pieces of information out of the whole. By hooking up the Objective to his mutant power through the Black Box armor, Gareb could focus his power in ways he never could before, allowing him conscious and controllable access to all electronic information on Earth.
The Black Box hired Shen Kuei, the Cat, to steal the Objective from the Dominus Corporation for him. Cable and Deadpool were also after the Dominus Objective, however, and retribution for Bashur trying to make Deadpool assassinate Cable. They caught up with him in New Delhi, where Bashur's cloning vats had produced a virtual army of Rive and Makeshift to defend him. While Deadpool killed the same two women over and over, Cable entered the information network with Black Box. Bashur was tired of having virtual omniscience yet still being a second-class player in the world. He intended to know all and control all, using his infinite knowledge to force the world into better shape.
Unfortunately, Cable had the same plan. Nathan and Gareb had the same disconnect that Bashur felt with Xavier years earlier: seeing what people thought versus seeing what people actually did. As a former telepath and time-traveler, Cable had seen into the minds of humanity and still had hope for the future. He used the Infonet and his own techno-organics as an interface, allowing Black Box to see into his mind and chart the path of the future like Nathan had. Gareb saw what Nathan was capable of, and was in awe. The Black Box felt his own goals could be best served by helping Cable pursue his. With that, the fighting ended and Bashur invested his powers and his information network into Cable's efforts to change the world. [Cable / Deadpool #20-23]
As Cable's ally, Gareb relocated to the floating island think tank of Providence. He spent the majority of his time operating out of the new Infonet Chamber, a room designed specifically for Cable and Black Box to access the infonet and project information they gathered for Cable's chief of staff Irene Merryweather or others to review. Under Black Box's observation, Cable helped orchestrate the overthrow of ULTIMATUM's anti-nationalist government in Rumekistan, with Cable establishing himself as ruler in place of the assassinated Flag-Smasher. [Cable / Deadpool #28] Gareb also worked to uncover a plot to discredit Cable, including a bombing at Providence's reactor and an attack on the power grid and infrastructure of Rumekistan. [Cable / Deadpool #33-34]
Remarkably, Cable's efforts to change the world seemed to actually be working. Black Box monitored the successful initiation of presidential elections in Rumekistan, allowing Providence to step back and allow the Rumeki to govern themselves. Meanwhile, twenty other countries made contact and essentially asked Providence to overthrow and improve THEIR countries in the same way. [Cable / Deadpool #39]
However, Cable's renewed association with the X-Men reinforced the notion that trouble follows the X-Men everywhere they go. When Cable brought the X-Men to Providence, an alien mind parasite called the Hecatomb arrived to attack them. The artificial island was devastated by the battle that followed, and Providence basically became uninhabitable. Gareb and Irene coordinated refugee boats fleeing from the scene as Providence broke apart. [Cable / Deadpool #40]
When the power went out, Gareb and Irene were trapped in the Infonet Chamber as the security lockdown kicked in. Unfortunately, the X-Men's prisoner Sabretooth had also escaped in the chaos. Looking for a hostage to help him get off the island, Creed tracked Gareb and Irene down and isolated them. Gareb was torn to shreds by Sabretooth's claws, and his corpse was later uncovered by Domino before she and Deadpool rescued Irene. [Cable / Deadpool #41]
Black Box somehow survived his evisceration by Sabretooth, possibly from reactivating his earlier cloning technology. With Cable apparently dead then lost in time, Bashur remained underground and returned to his role as a private information broker. He was next seen when Taskmaster sold him a key piece of intelligence: Deadpool had lost his healing factor and was now mortal. Black Box still carried a grudge against Deadpool and Weasel for murdering him during the search for Tolliver's Will, and saw an opportunity for revenge.
Black Box contacted other former foes of Deadpool including Black Swan and Black Tom Cassidy, alerting them to the opportunity. Black Swan was nearly killed in the first attempt on Wilson's life, prompting Black Box to send in Black Tom. Bashur was obsessed with killing Deadpool himself, and insisted Black Tom only rough Wilson up or cripple him, leaving the final blow for Black Box. He had Black Swan tail Black Tom at a discreet distance, using his telepathic prompting ability to ensure Deadpool wasn't killed before he arrived.
Black Tom and Deadpool finally got into a showdown at a gas station in Texas, and Black Box flew out in an attack helicopter to intercede on the fight. However, he was unaware that Black Swan only survived his first encounter with Deadpool because Wilson got him medical attention, earning a debt from the assassin. When Black Box and Black Tom were both within range, Black Swan fulfilled that debt by telepathically wiping their knowledge of Deadpool's mortality. No longer having a reason to expect success, Bashur and Cassidy retired from their vendetta, convinced they could not kill Deadpool no matter how hard they tried. [Deadpool (3rd series) #57-60]
With that, Black Box presumably resumed his career as an information broker. Neither hero nor villain, Gareb Bashur's next move is anyone's guess.
In the Ultimate Universe, Garab Bashur aka Black Box was one of the roughly twenty mutants who refused to take the cure. Instead, they were given a reservation in Utah by President Steve Rogers, overseen by Kitty Pryde, as it became the new mutant homeland known as Utopia. A young teenager, Black Box was mostly friends with Kitty's faction instead of her rival Mach-Two. His technopathic abilities uncovered a hidden information packet in the holographic message Wolverine left for his son, Jimmy Hudson. Garab and Jimmy worked together exploring Project: Mothervine and its experimental operatives.