Starjammers (2nd series) #3

Issue Date: 
October 2004
Story Title: 
The Cadet and the Corsairs - part 3

Kevin J. Anderson (Writer), Jorge Lucas (Pencils), Transparency Digital (Colorist), VC’s Rus Wooton (Letterer), Ale Garza (Cover), Sean Ryan (Assistant Editor), Stephanie Moore (Editor), Mike Marts (Supervising Editor), Joe Quesada (Editor in Chief), Dan Buckley (Publisher)

Brief Description: 

Tolo prepares to fight the Starjammers to the death, but he is quickly subdued by the many Thorns. The Thorns want to kill him, but Raza sees characteristics of his dead son in Tolo and decides that Tolo could be useful for something and wants him alive. Tolo is locked up, though he wishes he were dead like the others aboard the Kurnit Corona. Soon enough, Tolo finds himself as the Starjammer cleaning man. The Thorns all hate him, but Raza gives the cadet some advice, though Tolo disregards all of it, especially when Raza begins to shatter his perception of the Committee and the U.I.R. The Starjammers raid another ship and are about to kill the surviving crewmembers, but Tolo sticks up for them and Captain Kalyx is convinced to let them live. The survivors spit at Tolo, though, who is shocked. Princess Sabra reaches Kinshaa and learns of the latest attack on the U.D.C. cargo ship. She then gives Anazar Prime and his Committee permission to do whatever to end the threat of the Starjammers, though Lenise is skeptical about the Committee’s ability to do so. Anazar, however, informs Sabra that the Committee has just found the locations of all the Starjammers bases. In space, two U.D.C. fighter ships find the Starjammer, which is outgunned. The crew decides to go out fighting but an unexpected energy storm arrives and fries the three ships, leaving them dead in space. Taking advantage of the power failure, Tolo makes his move to avenge those who died on the Kurnit Corona.

Full Summary: 

A group of pirates calling themselves the Starjammers have attacked the ship he was on and killed the entire crew and all the passengers, including his father. Tolo’s father’s last action was to get him into a Lifepod and send him out to space. However, the Starjammers have captured him too. While Tolo is only a cadet in the Union Defense Corps of the Union of Intelligent Races, he will not die quietly.

Outside his Lifepod, the half-human half-cyborg Raza stands ready with a group of the tree-like Thorn, all ready to kill the remaining survivors of the Kurnit Corona, the princess’ royal flagship that they raided. Tolo hears Raza order a Thorn to crack open the pod. Sweating, the young man aims his pistol at the door and prepares for the end.

As Thorn warriors try to break open the pod door, Tolo has an idea. He finds the emergency flares and knows that they have flammable caps. He places the units by the door and, using the knowledge he retained from his U.D.C. handbook, is able to make a small crude explosive. Moments later, the door is blown open, much to the surprise of the Starjammers. Two Thorns enter, but cannot see due to the smoke in the air. Another asks where the human is and, almost as if in response, Tolo shoots him in the shoulder with his pistol. He continues to shoot at the Thorns, but they all swarm upon him and quickly overpower him.

Before the Thorns can rip Tolo to shreds, Raza comes into the pod and orders them all to stop. They have already killed everyone else on the royal ship, so maybe they can use this last human for something given that he hasn’t been too brainwashed by the U.I.R. yet. Two Thorns pull the bleeding Tolo up and the young man tells Raza that he will never help them. He would rather die. Raza and several Thorns escort Tolo to the brig and throw him in until he learns to behave.

They close the door, but Tolo bangs on it and screams to the Starjammers that he hates them all. Soon, he falls to the corner of his cell and takes in the events of the last day. Yesterday, he was sitting by Princess Sabra at the royal banquet table en route to the capital planet of Kinshaa to begin his new life in the U.D.C. Now, his future is gone. He couldn’t save his father and he cannot save himself. Tolo becomes angry when he thinks about how he should have died with the others on the Kurnit Corona.

Raza opens the eyehole to Tolo’s cell and informs the man that it seems that his wounds aren’t bad enough to need medical attention. The squeem will be fine in there. Insulted over being called a squeem, Tolo screams his name out to Raza. Raza offers to get Tolo food, but he will have to put up with the same rations as the rest of the Starjammers. The young man does not respond to the offer for food and instead asks why the Starjammers did not kill him like the others on the Kurnit Corona. Annoyed, Raza calls Tolo a self-pitying weakling. One day, when Tolo sees enough of his comrades die, he will appreciate being alive. The Starjammer then leaves.

A few days later, Tolo finds himself scrubbing the floors of the Starjammer, while Raza supervises him. Disapproving of Tolo’s technique, Raza orders the young man to use even strokes and to pretend that he at least cares about what he is doing. If they take care of the Starjammer, she will take care of them. Two Thorns come down the hallway and laugh at Tolo. One jokes that he never knew a human could be so useful. Horribly bitter, Tolo tells the Thorns that he will kill them all. Annoyed that Tolo has yet to learn his place, an angry Thorn punches the cadet in the face. The two Thorns leave Raza alone with Tolo. Raza looks down at Tolo and tells the man that he doesn’t appreciate what he has. He could have died on that ship. Tolo tells his captor that he should have died.

Suddenly, a commandeering voice resonates and agrees with Tolo. Captain Kalyx, dressed in his pirate uniform, tells Raza that they should have thrown the human out of the airlock. He never realized that the half-man half-cyborg had a soft spot in him. Upon seeing Captain Kalyx, a mad Tolo leaps at the monster that killed his father in an uncontrollable rage. Angry, Captain Kalyx slaps Tolo away and tells him that no human has the right to call him a murderer.

As Raza restrains Tolo, Captain Kalyx asks him as he leaves the hall what the boy knows about family and suffering. Raza angrily tells Tolo that he knows nothing. He once had a son who was also like Tolo; talented but headstrong. However, there is one thing the cadet has that Raza’s son, Danok, lost years ago: life. It was the bloodthirsty Committee and their Union Defense Corps that killed Danok. Tolo’s precious “Union of Intelligent Races” has more blood on its hands than a thousand Starjammers ever could. Shocked and bleeding, thanks to cuts on his face, Tolo tells Raza that he must be wrong. The Committee serves Princess Sabra and the best interest of everyone in the U.I.R. Raza bluntly tells Tolo that he is deluded. Only purebred humans get fair treatment in the U.I.R.; everyone else is crushed.

Ch’od walks by, carrying some equipment, and Raza asks him to tell Tolo what the Committee has done to Thorn Forests. Ch’od doesn’t even stop and simply growls in anger over the thought. Raza, pleased, tells Tolo to get back to work. They will be back at their base in a week and he wants the ship to be perfect.

In the cabin of the Starjammer, Captain Kalyx tells his crew that there is just one more detour before they return home and one more raid. The Committee will feel their sting. One of the crewmembers receives the new coordinates and changes their course. Kalyx looks at a disc containing data taken from the Kurnit Corona and exclaims how useful the information will be. They now know of all Union shipping routes, Corps patrol vessels… and of course which ships have the valuable cargo.

Soon enough, Captain Kalyx spots the tiny Corps transport they are after. “Easy pickings,” brags the Thorn leader. The Starjammer quickly sneaks up from behind the tiny vessel. A call goes out through the Starjammer for all personnel to prepare to board. Tolo wonders about what is occurring, but Raza tells him to mind his own business. The Starjammer then assaults the defenseless Corps ship.

After the raid and aboard the Corps vessel, Captain Kalyx, Raza and Ch’od celebrate their victory. Raza comments that the raid was easy, or maybe the Corps troops don’t even know what they stand for. Kalyx tells Raza not to make excuses for the humans, for all the Starjammers have suffered under the U.I.R. These humans have no reason to be brave when they don’t believe in their own cause. As Tolo enters the ship, to find only two humans alive, another Thorn warrior runs in with Hyrax seeds in his hands, screaming that they have found the cargo that they were looking for. Upon seeing the Hyrax seeds, Captain Kalyx becomes furious.

The Thorn looks at the two remaining humans and asks if they should kill them. Kalyx towers over the two terrified humans and tells them that they should have died earlier when they had the chance. They have chosen their fate by wearing the uniforms of those who burn and pillage. They have forfeited their lives by allying with the destroyers. Kalyx raises his sword and informs the two that the sentence is just. Raza sees Tolo and shoves him along, telling the boy that he doesn’t need to see this. He should go help with moving the cargo. Tolo, however, screams for Captain Kalyx to wait.

Tolo rushes at Captain Kalyx, but a Thorn warrior grabs him by his jacket and holds him back. Scared, Tolo pleads with Raza and tells him that the men are just soldiers following orders. He was to be like them once. For whatever reason, Raza asks Captain Kalyx to wait for a moment. Perhaps Tolo is right; what is the point of victory if there is no one to live to tell the tale. Someone has to tell the Committee about who is beating them. Kalyx ponders about the idea and agrees that there is merit in mercy.

Ch’od grabs the two Corps soldiers and throws them in Lifepod #2. They better hope that the pod has enough fuel to get them somewhere. Happy now, Tolo tells the two humans that they are safe now and the pod will take them to a U.I.R. system soon enough. However, much to Tolo’s surprise, one of the soldiers spits at Tolo and gives him the dirtiest of looks. The pod then seals and is ejected. Confused, Tolo wonders why the soldier did that. Raza tells Tolo that he now knows the value of loyalty to his precious U.D.C.

On the arcane planet of Kinshaa, capital planet of the U.I.R., sits the palace of Princess Sabra, the most beautiful and benevolent leader in a long time. Her coronation will be quite spectacular; though unbeknownst to her, the Committee wants to make sure that she does not survive it! In her throne room with her bodyguard, Lenise, Sabra finishes reading the report of Anazar Prime, a highly influential member of the Committee, who stands in front of the other Committee members, who all wear the same red robes with hoods.

Sabra asks Anazar if he is sure that the Committee is doing enough to stop these pirate attacks on her people. Anazar Prime calls the pirates vermin, much like the ones who assassinated her father. She must remember that they are aliens and thus inhuman. Who can understand their thinking? Nothing the Committee does can make them act differently. Upset, Sabra reminds Anazar that they attacked and destroyed her flagship. Now she has just received word of two Corps who survived a recent pirate attack. What are they going to do to protect the U.I.R.?

Anazar tells Princess Sabra that the Corps will set up more patrols and use the strongest force possible to stop the villains. They have reason to believe that some of the other species of the U.I.R. are being sympathetic to the Starjammers. However, their message will be clear: the U.D.C will crush the pirates in due course. Skeptical, Lenise reminds Anazar Prime that she is Sabra’s bodyguard and has recently done her job by getting the future queen off of the Kurnit Corona. On the other hand, it is the Committee’s job to see that the U.I.R. is safe and happy.

Annoyed, Anazar Prime tells Lenise not to lecture him. There will always be lazy malcontents who won’t submit to the Committee. He tells Sabra that those malcontents prefer to steal their wealth. Having enough of this argument, Sabra demands that the Starjammers be stopped at any cost. The Committee bows and agrees to carry out her decree. They will find and destroy all the Starjammers and all those who sympathize with them. In fact, the Committee has just found out the location of all their bases…

Elsewhere in space, U.D.C. Viper 1 hails Viper 2 and informs the other ship that the Starjammer has been detected on the projected route. Viper 2 confirms and the two ships prepare for battle. The two ships find the Starjammer and a quick diagnostic shows that the two Vipers outgun the pirate ship. By Princess Sabra’s orders, they should destroy them now.

On board the Starjammer, all personnel rush to the deck and prepare for a fight. Raza informs Kalyx that the Vipers already have the Starjammer in their targeting circles. Kalyx orders all of his men to their weapons stations. Elsewhere, Tolo is organizing the stolen cargo when the alarms go off. He wonders what is going on. In space, the Vipers hail the Starjammer and order them to surrender of be destroyed immediately. Raza bluntly tells his captain that there is no way the Starjammer can stand against the Vipers. Desperate, Captain Kalyx asks Ch’od if he can divert all power to their weapons or strengthen their shields. No, says Ch’od sadly.

One of the Vipers shoots a small laser blast at the Starjammer and informs the pirates that it was a warning shot. Their ship is forfeit and the Committee will decide what to do with their lives. Captain Kalyx hails the Vipers and informs them that the Starjammers never surrender. Then they should prepare to die, says the U.D.C. officer. Ch’od announces that the weapons are charged and ready. They will go down shooting.

Before the Starjammers can make their move, Raza notices something on his radar. Confused, Raza tells Captain Kalyx that there is an energy disturbance approaching like nothing he has ever seen before. The Vipers, however, seem to be oblivious to the approaching storm behind them and order the Starjammers to surrender one last time. Captain Kalyx wonders if it is some sort of weapons blast or an ion storm. Raza is unsure, but whatever it is it is closing in fast.

In seconds the energy wave reaches the ships and overcomes all three. All three ships are fried with too much energy. Viper 1 attempts to evade the storm, but it is too late as the crewmembers are all electrocuted. Aboard the Starjammer, however, the crew smartly takes a few steps away from the controls in order to prevent death by electrocution. Raza calls out that all the systems are going dead. On cue, the lights go out.

The energy storm passes and all three ships sit dead in space. In the cargo hold, Tolo wonders what is going on. He then realizes that it doesn’t matter. If this is his chance then he is going to take it. The Starjammers made a fatal mistake in leaving him alone. As he crawls atop some boxes he opens the air vent and crawls in. Tolo intends to make the Starjammers pay for their crimes. “They’ll all pay.”

Characters Involved: 

Captain Kalyx, Ch’od, Raza, various Thorns (Starjammers)

Tolo Hawk

Princess Sabra


Anazar Prime, various Committee members (Committee)

Various U.D.C. officers

Story Notes: 

When this series was first announced it seemed as if it were to be out of continuity, as it had nothing to do with the Shi’ar Empire or Corsair. However, a throw away line in #4 hinted that this series may in fact be in continuity. The ending to this series seems to confirm that the story is in continuity and that somehow the Starjammers were separated from Corsair were either thrown into the far reaches of space undocumented in any Marvel comic, or into another dimension.

While in this story Hyrax is some sort of illegal drug, with the complete background revealed in Starjammers (2nd Series) #4, in real life a hyrax is a small mammal resembling a large groundhog that is found in Africa.

Issue Information: