BIOGRAPHY - Page 1
Karima Shapandar was a successful detective for the Indian National Police in Calcutta, India. When the eldest son of Police Chief Shaara disappeared mysteriously, Karima was assigned to protect his younger son, Neal. Against his father’s wishes, Neal took the initiative and sought out the individuals who had last seen his brother Sanjit, a journalist who was in the midst of investigating a story. Karima trailed Neal from a distance but, when he was attacked by a street gang, she had no choice but to intervene. Karima made short work of the gang given her superior hand-to-hand combat training
Karima decided to assist Neal in digging deeper into the story his brother was working on before his disappearance. However, many of Sanjit’s sources refused to talk, mostly out of fear of an unknown source. Karima and Neal realized that something serious and horrible was occurring in the streets of Calcutta. During their time together investigating, Karima and Neal found themselves attracted to one another, as an emotional bond grew between the two. After days of searching, Karima suggested that they take one night off for themselves. However, their investigation had not gone unnoticed. As the pair were about to share their first kiss, they were attacked and easily subdued by Bastion and his Prime Sentinels.
Bastion took Karima and Neal to a nearby facility where he intended to transform the pair into Prime Sentinels. Neal’s brother Sanjit had been investigating Operation: Zero Tolerance’s activities in Calcutta and had already been transformed into a Prime Sentinel. Strapped to the transformative mechanism, Karima and Neal were helpless as Bastion ordered Sanjit to begin the transformation process. Karima proved an ideal candidate for the process and was transformed into an Omega Prime Sentinel. The process had quite a different result for Neal who was a latent mutant whose powers were forced into emergence by the process.
The sudden manifestation of Neal’s volatile powers destroyed Bastion’s facility and freed he and Karima. Bastion sent the Prime Sentinels to kill them, but they were saved by his brother, Sanjit, who rebelled against his programming. Sanjit, however, was mortally wounded. Using her new cyborg abilities, Karima defeated the last of the attacking Sentinels. As her Sentinel programming became active, Karima found that she was unable to override her programming despite her love for Neal. She began to view him only as a mutant, a target to be eradicated. Struggling to resist the programming for as long as she could, Karima begged Neal to run as far from her and India as possible. After declaring their love for each other, Neal ran away from Karima before her transformation into a Prime Sentinel was complete. [X-Men Unlimited (1st series) #27]
Even though her Omega Sentinel programming was fully activated, Karima didn't start to hunt down mutants, because Operation: Zero Tolerance was shut down by SHIELD before Bastion could launch his organization on a global scale. At some point, Karima was “acquired” by a band of former Genoshan Magistrates. They planned to use Karima’s anti-mutant armaments to lay claim to their former island nation which had recently been devastated by a Sentinel attack and was now inhabited by a handful of mutants. However, Karima’s presence on the Magistrates’ aircraft was detected by a telepath called Hack, one of the few mutant survivors in Genosha. Aware of the danger the Prime Sentinel posed to them, Hack and his allies tried to stop the Magistrates before they could reach Genosha, and they drove the aircraft into the ocean. [Excalibur (3rd series) #3]
The containment unit holding Karima might have been lost at sea, were it not for the efforts of Genosha’s newest residents, Charles Xavier and Magneto. Detecting the presence of mutants, Karima emerged from her cocoon. Before she could attack, though, she was subdued by Magneto. Working together, Xavier and Magneto discovered that Karima’s transformation into an Omega Sentinel had not fully destroyed her human consciousness and they restored her personality as much as possible. While Magneto worked to magnetically eradicate her Sentinel programming Xavier used his telepathic powers to bolster the strength of her human mind. Though they managed to give her back her free will, there was little they could do to undo the radical changes that Operation: Zero Tolerance had wrought upon her body. Waking up, Karima was shocked by her new physical reality. [Excalibur (3rd series) #4]
Karima remained in Genosha and slowly began to adjust to her transformation into a cyborg. A short time after Karima joined Xavier’s small band of followers, they were attacked and captured by the opportunistic pirate called Stripmine. He and his crew planned to sell the mutants and whatever else of value was left in Genosha. Stripmine’s associate the Appraiser took a special interest in Karima’s unique blend of human biology and Sentinel tech. She marveled that her Sentinel programming had been completely eliminated and her human consciousness restored. When Karima’s integrated systems defied her analysis, the Appraiser warned Karima that her tech parts were as valuable as scrap parts as she was intact. The Appraiser was not the only one who was intrigued by Karima. Stripmine’s employer was the Dark Beast and his twisted scientific mind couldn’t help but be drawn to the Omega Sentinel-turned-mutant ally. Once freed by her allies, Karima assumed a role she felt very comfortable with: police officer. She placed the Dark Beast and his allies under arrest, happily declaring herself Genosha’s new sheriff. [Excalibur (3rd series) #5-7]
In this role, Karima took charge of handling those who had been arrested for attempting to exploit Genosha namely the Dark Beast and the Magistrates who had sought to use her to destroy Genosha’s remaining mutants. She presented the prisoners with a challenge to rise above their petty prejudices, to try and create a new and peaceful future for their homeland. The Magistrates had little choice but to accept the offer to help rebuild Genosha or face continued time in Karima’s jail. Unfortunately, their liberation proved to be their downfall.
On a mission to retrieve a cache of supplies, the Magistrates encountered the Sugar Man and his servant Rastus and were slaughtered. Only the Dark Beast, who was leading the expedition, survived to report their deaths. Karima and Callisto tracked the Sugar Man to his lair. Along the way, the two women compared their recent physical transformations and philosophized on the nature of monsters; a label that many would now apply to both of them. They were soon confronted by the Sugar Man who personified the term “monster” in every possible way. During the battle, Karima was mortally wounded. To her astonishment, her Sentinel tech began to rebuild her damaged organs with micro-molecular machines. This drove home the fact that she was no longer truly human or perhaps even mortal. [Excalibur (3rd series) #8-10]
Karima found acceptance and a purpose in Genosha and stayed with Xavier and his group for several months. Along with Callisto, Karima provided much needed leadership in the rebuilding of Genosha during the months that Xavier and Magneto spent in seclusion attempting to help Magnus’ daughter, Wanda, deal with her recent breakdown. When the neighboring nation of Zanzibar was attacked by terrorists under the command of Viper, Karima and the others went to help some of the X-Men defend Zanzibar. During the conflict, Karima fought beside Askari, the nation’s president and saved his life. After thwarting Viper’s plans and liberating Zanzibar, Karima and the others received a special commendation from Zanzibar’s president. Their efforts also helped to win Zanzibar’s favorable public position on mutantkind. [Excalibur (3rd series) #11-13]