Space whales are just cool. For that matter, terrestrial whales are cool. They’re beings with an alien mindset that exist on Earth. Their size and the fact that they live in a completely different environment from us give them an inherently different perspective and they demonstrate unmistakable signs of intelligence, if not sentience. So, there can be little wonder why versions that exist and “swim” through the void of space have been a relatively common concept.
The Acanti from Marvel were the first ones that I saw but I found the Kindori from Spelljammer just as fascinating. Space whales also play a pretty prominent role in the Macross series Marcross Dynamite 7, perhaps the 3rd best Macross series behind Super Dimensional Fortress and Macross Frontier, even if it does have Basara.
But I digress…as usual. An undead Kindori being used as a ship has made an appearance in my homebrew Savage Worlds Spelljammer campaign, already and the crew of the Capital Gains will end up bumping into them again. But I like the idea of having one of the Acanti serving with the Exiles. If nothing else, they’re going to need a space going vessel and the idea of a space whale as a space vehicle has been around almost as long as the idea of a space whale has been around. I’m pretty sure the Acanti first appeared as slave ships for the Brood, actually.
Oh, and the name comes from Russian literature. I kept reading the word “Astrakhan.” I don’t know what it means, I think it might be some kind of article of clothing. In any case it made me think of “Astro Khan” and I thought that was a pretty good name. I figured it might be a good name for an alternate version of Thanos, but it works pretty well for this character.
Strength: Shift Y
Resources: Shift 0
Space Flight: AstroKhan is a massive, space-faring creature similar to an Earth whale. He flies through the stars at Class-3000 speed.
Space Transport: AstroKhan was originally modified into a troop transport and warship. As such, he still retains much of the abilities and statistics of a vehicle. He provides Amazing Protection to passengers inside him. He also has a Control of RM. These systems can be used to control AstroKhan against his will. If anyone uses these controls, AstroKhan must make a Yellow Psyche feat to fight the controls and behave as he likes.
Cybernetic Body: More than 50% of his body was replaced with cybernetics. In addition to enhancing his physical abilities and intuition, he has the following abilities:
Body Armor at Excellent Rank
Enhanced Senses at Remarkable Rank including infrared/ultraviolet vision, telescopic
enhancement and audio amplification.
Weapons: AstroKhan is armed with several lasers with a range of Incredible that do Amazing Damage. AstroKhan can only effectively use one at a time, but two of them can be controlled and fired by passengers at special stations.
Contacts: X-Men and Starjammers
Background: The Acanti who would come to be known as Astro Khan was captured by the Brood while trying to protect his pod. He sacrificed himself, purposefully turning back to face the Brood hunters who were following them.
One of the largest Acanti bulls ever captured by the Brood and certainly the fiercest, he was chosen for a special project by the Brood Empress, herself. He was drugged and tortured into submission and became the Empress’ personal transport and warship. As usual, her vessel was also a massive, mobile feast and the Empress and her followers slowly ate AstroKhan from the inside, out. Unlike most Acanti, AstroKhan was not simply eaten up until he was useless. The Empress forced her TechSlaves to replace the flesh that the Brood ate with cybernetic parts, enhancing him and making him ever more dangerous.
AstroKhan surrendered himself to his fate, largely because of the drugs that were pumped through him and the computers that were used to replace his brain as it was slowly devoured. That is, until the Starjammers attacked the Empress’ personal transport in a desperate suicide mission. Their ship was destroyed in the process and the Empress managed to get away but the Starjammers were left in control of her flagship. Realizing that AstroKhan was still sentient, they freed him of the strictest of the controls on his behavior, though some of the basic controls were so integrated with his nervous system that they could not be removed without endangering his life.
AstroKhan gladly offered his services to the Starjammers as their ship and eagerly joined their crusade to end the threat of the expanding Brood Empire to the Universe. The war continued for years but it was not until the X-Men and Exiles joined forces with the Starjammers and staged a triple pronged offensive to kill the Brood Empress, destroy their homeworld and the Brood Imperial Guard, members of the Shi’ar Imperial Guard and Earthly superhumans who were infected with Brood eggs.
AstroKhan and the other Starjammers had the task of attacking the Brood Empress and it proved to be an extremely difficult and personal task for him. He discovered that the rest of his pod had not simply been used for food by the Brood. His son had been saved for a worse fate. This son had been infected with a Brood egg and converted into a Brood, himself. AstroKhan was reluctant to fight his own son, but the stern admonishment of Corsair and the reminder by Psypherlock that there was no known way to reverse the effect convinced him to put his offspring out of his misery and, in the process, slay the Brood Empress.
With the threat of the Brood all but eliminated and his son dead at his own metaphorical hands, AstroKhan found little to keep him in his home dimension. It took little effort for the Exiles to recruit him and he joined and serves as their space transport, when needed.