Starjammers (2nd series) #4

Issue Date: 
November 2004
Story Title: 
The Cadet and the Corsairs - part 4

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

Brief Description: 

On Kinshaa, Anazar Prime and the Committee have a feast of Hyrax. Anazar informs his men that it is time that they made their presence known. They will assassinate Princess Sabra during her coronation. Since she is the last surviving member of the royal family, the Committee will usurp power. On the dead Starjammer, the Thorns all die off, as they need light to survive. Raza and Ch’od find that they cannot fix the ship, which leads them to suspect that the energy storm that incapacitated them wasn’t as natural as they thought it was. Tolo runs around the ship and kills off any living Thorns he finds left. He locks Raza and Ch’od in some rooms to prevent them from fixing the ship, but he realizes that he will die here too. Tolo runs to the bridge to find a way out, but instead he finds Captain Kalyx. He is about to kill Kalyx when the pirate tells Tolo the truth. Hyrax is not a drug; it is a Thorn embryo. The UDC destroys Thorn villages, steals the Hyrax seeds, and the Committee consumes them. The Committee is eating unborn Thorns! Deep inside, Tolo believes Kalyx. He frees Ch’od and Raza in order to repair the ship.

Full Summary: 

It has been twelve hours since the Starjammer and two U.D.C. Viper’s were left dead in the cold of space, thanks to some sort of electric storm, which came out of nowhere. It isn’t a very glorious end to the Starjammers, if you ask Raza. They were ready to fight the Vipers to the end when that strange storm came.

Now that he thinks about it, Raza recalls a similar blast some time ago in the Shi’ar Empire; a surge at the fringes of a stargate which launched their ship halfway across the galaxy. The only difference now is that they don’t have Corsair with them this time. Today all systems are dead. Raza thinks to himself how this isn’t fair: they could have kicked the butts of those Vipers! He and Ch’od can fix the systems, but Captain Kalyx and the Thorns may not survive in time. Thorns live by photosynthesis, so it is understandable that they do not do well in the darkness.

In a dark corridor, Raza and Ch’od hurriedly work to repair the ship and at least get the life support back on-line. Several dying Thorns crawl towards the two, for without light they cannot think properly and cannot breathe. Frustrated, Raza exclaims that not a single spark works on the Starjammer anymore. Even more frustrated, Ch’od informs his partner that he has tried all higher-order analytical system checks, but there is still no response from the ship. Suspicious, Raza tell Ch’od that that storm was not natural. It may have knocked out the two Vipers, but it incapacitated them as well. Ch’od assures Raza that he can fix the ship. As for the Vipers… there is no chance for them.

Raza kicks around a piece of scrap and reminds Ch’od that the Starjammer is a good ship. They have done everything possible to fix it, yet it still won’t work! Ch’od goes back to trying to repair the ship and thinks about what Raza said. It wasn’t a normal ion storm. There is something strange going on. Suddenly, Raza realizes that the batteries on their flashlights are almost done. They will need to build a fire soon to see around. The Thorns around them freak out at the mentioning of fire, as that is their one weakness. Raza is discouraged and asks the Thorns if they will stay away from fire even if its light will save their lives. Realizing that there is no arguing, Raza decides that they will need to find another way to get light. The rest of the ship will have to take care of itself.

Elsewhere, Tolo continues to crawl through the ventilation system of the Starjammer. He finds an empty corridor and pops open the vent to climb down. As he lands, he realizes that this is his only chance to escape the Starjammers. He will need all his knowledge and skills to pull this off. Nearby, he finds a match and some scrap wood, a perfect weapon to bring an end to the Thorns. He quickly lights the wood and runs down the corridor with his torch. He finds two Thorns, who quickly realize that they are in the presence of light. The two crawl towards the light that Tolo has. Tolo smirks and sees that there are only two of them. It will be some time then before he can call the score even after the massacre on the Kurnit Corona. The two Thorns finally come to their senses and realize that Tolo has fire with him. They quickly freak out and back away, but Tolo does not let them escape. He sets both Thorns on fire and, as they burn to death, he tells them that it was for his father.

Tolo reaches the Systems Control room and realizes that someone was just here. He checks up on the systems and sees that they are still dead. What is taking the pirates so long to fix it? In a rage, he rips out some essential cords. Smirking murderously, Tolo thinks to himself that it will take the pirates even longer now to fix the Starjammer. Suddenly, from behind, Raza grabs Tolo and lifts him into the air by this throat. Clearly angry, Raza tells Tolo that he doesn’t know when to stop causing trouble, does he? Tolo asks Raza not to kill him, to which Raza says that he would if he wasn’t so busy trying to fix the ship. Taking advantage of the distraction, Tolo thrusts the lit torch into Raza’s cybernetic eye. The half-man half-android screams in pain and drops Tolo, who runs away.

As he runs, Tolo hears Raza screaming at him to come back for he cannot hide. Even without the lights on Raza can see just fine in the dark. Tolo looks back and sees Raza right on his tail. In front of him is a dying Thorn, who is overjoyed to see the light. Unfortunately, Tolo tells the creature to get out of his way as he jumps over him. He wishes he had time to stomp the pirate to splinters.

Tolo runs into the cargo bay and hides behind some boxes. Raza enters and does not spot Tolo. He calls out to the boy and tells him to come out for the ship is in trouble. Half the Thorns are already dead and, if the systems don’t come back on-line, then they will all die. Tolo will either freeze or suffocate, not much of a choice. Tolo sneaks around some crates and, when Raza has his back turned, he runs out the door. Raza spots him one second too late, as Tolo closes the door to the cargo hold and locks it. Tolo tells the pirate to cool off for he has work to do. Raza bangs on the door and swears to get even with him, but Tolo is already off to find some more Thorns.

Tolo continues down the halls, but all the Thorns that he runs into are dead. He finds a Thorn in the corner of a room, but he is dead like the others. Angry, Tolo kicks the body and hopes that they all wither away for he hates every one of them. Tolo hopes that they don’t take too long to die though. It is already getting cold in the ship, but then again there is plenty of firewood.

At Princess Sabra’s palace on the planet of Kinshaa, the group known as the Committee settles down for a feast. Anazar Prime sits at the head of the table and informs the rest of the Committee that much of the city’s workforce will be preoccupied with the planning of the princess’ coronation. Everyone is enthusiastic in the streets, so no one suspects a thing. Their growing dependency on Hyrax requires that they now change their plans. The Union Defense Corps are totally under their control now. It is only a matter of refining their orders. They must increase their raids of Thorn villages in order to increase their stockpiles of Hyrax. The other Committee members pick up their plates of Hyrax and cheer before beginning to feast.

Anazar Prime takes a handful of Hyrax and immediately transforms into a large brown humanoid similar looking to a Thorn. This is how they will become the superior races, says Anazar. He looks upon his fellow Committee members as they all finish the transformation. They will dominate the galaxy. They have come too far now to stop. As they finish their Hyrax, Anazar proposes that they consolidate their power and make themselves known.

One of the members asks about Princess Sabra. She is not as pliable as her father was. They still had to kill him chuckles another Committee member. Anazar informs the group that the coronation gives them an opportunity. They can get rid of the last surviving member of the royal bloodline, secure access to all the Hyrax they want, and blame the Starjammers for it all!

Back on the Starjammer, Ch’od rushes at the door with a metal pipe and begins to bang on it. He screams at Tolo and tells him to let him out for he has a ship to fix. Tolo smiles and runs off, happy that he took down another one. This is easier than he hoped. Suddenly he stops. What does he do when they are all dead? He murdered them out of honor and revenge. It was the only thing he could do. These pirates ruined his life. He had no other choice but to kill them! Tolo finds a dead Thorn and slams his foot down on the creatures shoulder, dismembering it. Tolo does not want to die out here like the Thorns. He then proceeds to the bridge in order to find some way of getting out alive.

In the bridge, Captain Kalyx sits in his chair, dying, and looks out at the stars. He comments on how small the stars are; barely enough light to keep him alive. He does not think he has much longer time to live. He failed his crew, his people and his mission. He is so tired now. A voice tells Kalyx that even if he dies he is glad that he lived long enough to see this. Kalyx sees Tolo walk towards him. Tolo informs the captain that he is the last Thorn alive on the ship. He has come to kill him then, comments Kalyx. Tolo puts the torch dangerously close in front of Kalyx’s face and tells him that he murdered his father and all those innocent people.

Bothered, Kalyx asks Tolo if those people were any more innocent than the hundreds of thousands of Thorn children the Union Defense Corps have destroyed. What is he talking about, wonders Tolo. Kalyx informs Tolo that the UDC raids their groves, uproots their parents, and set entire forests on fire before the survivors could even weep. Now all the Hyrax seeds they liberated from the Kurnit Corona will drift in space never being able to be planted in the soil. They will never sprout and grow.

Tolo interrupts and asks Kalyx was the Hyrax as to do with it. They are pirates! Hyrax isn’t a drug, replies Kalyx, it is a living creature! Hyrax seeds are Thorn embryos. The Committee uses the Hyrax seeds for consumption. They use the life energies to transform themselves into unnatural creatures. The horridness dawns upon Tolo. By trafficking Hyrax, the Committee is eating unborn Thorn children.

Tolo informs Kalyx that he does not believe him. It sounds like one of Raza’s crazy stories. You have been blindfolded by your own beliefs, replies Kalyx. Many alien species have been persecuted and crushed by the Committee and Union of Intelligent Races. Raza has told him about his life and the life of the Thorns. Tolo knows the truth, but refuses to acknowledge it. Raza thought he could make him see the truth. It was a faint hope.

Angry, Tolo hits the wall and then turns to leave. Maybe it wasn’t a faint hope after all. Scared, Kalyx tells Tolo to leave the light behind. Tolo places the torch near Kalyx so he can live and tells him that he will come back, unless he comes to his senses. Moments later, the door to the room that Tolo locked Raza in opens. Raza tells Tolo that he ought to break him to pieces, but Tolo interrupts. They need to get this ship working again.

Characters Involved: 

Tolo Hawk

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

Anazar Prime, various Committee members (the Committee)

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: