Scoundrel Round-Up #3–James T. Kirk (Star Trek)

And now you know what William Shatner's o-face looks like. Thanks, Star Trek... (Image courtesy of the Star Trek wiki)
And now you know what William Shatner’s o-face looks like. Thanks, Star Trek… (Image courtesy of the Star Trek wiki)

As we close out the Sci-Fi Scoundrels list here at SarcastiBots, I’m not going to be making any really controversial decisions. However, just because they’re obvious choices for inclusion here doesn’t make them any less valid. I’ll admit, I wasn’t sure about including this particular character on my list, however, after consultation with the rest of the SarcastiBots staff, it was clear I should. So without further ado, let’s check in with Captain James Tiberius Kirk at number three on the Scoundrel Round-Up.

Now, before I jump feet first into Kirk’s history, I figure I should make mention that while I enjoy the modern Star Trek movies, I’m not going to be using them as part of my discussion here. The whole alternate timeline thing they did in the first one just creates too much confusion in my opinion so I’m going to be sticking with Kirk classic rather than new Kirk. Even at Starfleet Academy, Kirk’s scoundrel nature was pretty clearly on display. One of the final tests at the Academy was supposed to be a no-win scenario. There was no way to save both the ship you were captaining and the Kobayashi Maru. It was a test to see how a potential Starfleet officer would deal with such a scenario. However, to young Kirk, there was no such thing as a non-win situation so before taking the test, he cheated and reprogrammed the simulation so he could win it. While he got in trouble for doing it, there were certain parts of Starfleet that admired Kirk’s outside the box tactics and he wasn’t drummed out of the Academy for blatant cheating. After graduating the Academy, Kirk served under Captain Garrovick aboard the USS Farragut. While serving aboard the Farragut, they were attacked by a cloud creature (meaning the episode “Obsession” would have been one of Melllvar’s favorites) and 200 crew members were killed. Kirk felt personally responsible for these deaths and tried to take the blame, but the surviving executive officer disagreed and Kirk’s career was saved. Following his experiences on the Farragut, Kirk returned to the Academy and was an instructor before taking the helm of the USS Enterprise as it began its five year mission.

In the year 2265, James Kirk took over command of the USS Enterprise from Captain Pike and was tasked to “boldly go where no man has gone before.” To do this, first Kirk attempted to breach the galactic barrier, however, this ended very badly—crippling the Enterprise and gifting one of Kirk’s friends, Gary Mitchell, with uncontrollable psychic powers. Kirk was forced to kill his friend, but he did so only reluctantly. The Enterprise’s adventures continued for the next five years, with Kirk being the first captain to actually see Romulans. In 2667, Kirk became the first Starfleet captain to face court martial. Kirk was on trial of the death of Lt. Commander Ben Finney, but he was later acquitted because it was revealed that Finney faked his death. That same year, Kirk made first contact with the Gorn. However, like most of Kirk’s first contacts, things did not go smoothly and he was forced to fight the Gorn to the death. Kirk beat the Gorn but refused to kill him, earning both the respect of the Gorn and the Metrons. The year 2267 also marked Kirk’s first encounter with Khan Noonien Singh. Kirk foiled Khan’s plot to revive his comrades and steal a starship and exiled him to Ceti Alpha V. Throughout the Enterprise’s five year mission, Kirk and his crew also ventured back in time on many occasions. The Federation Department of Temporal Investigations recorded seventeen temporal violations during his career, breaking a record that stood since 2373. Like other Starfleet regulations, the Department of Temporal Investigations noted that Kirk often broke the rules about time travel when he thought doing so was for the greater good.

Returning to Earth in 2270, Kirk was promoted to rear admiral and became Chief of Starfleet Operations, a position that took him out of the Enterprise’s captain’s chair. The Enterprise was dry docked for a refit and during that time, Starfleet learned of an energy cloud called V’ger that was assimilating information from and destroying everything in its wake. The Enterprise was the only ship close enough to intercept it and Kirk convinced Admiral Nogura to let him take command because of his experience dealing with threats like this. Kirk and his first officer, former Enterprise captain William Decker, discovered that V’ger was actually the Voyager 6 space probe which had somehow developed sentience during its travels throughout the galaxy. Decker came up with the unusual solution of allowing V’ger to assimilate a simulated human to reunite V’ger with its human origins. The plan worked and Decker created the first of a new benign species. Kirk remained captain of the Enterprise after the V’ger incident but would have to step away again when his position as an admiral required him to return to Earth to get back to his real job of supervising cadets on the command track at Starfleet Academy.

Rear admiral isn't as awesome as I thought it would be... (Image courtesy of the Star Trek wiki)
Rear admiral isn’t as awesome as I thought it would be… (Image courtesy of the Star Trek wiki)

Of course, Kirk being a restless soul, working a desk job at Starfleet Academy began gnawing at him again. Kirk jumped at the chance to be part of a training cruise aboard the Enterprise, now captained by Spock. However, even that would not go as planned. At the same time, Khan escaped from Ceti Alpha V and stole the Genesis Device from the Regula I space station. Dr. Carol Marcus called the Enterprise about the theft and Kirk came to the aid of his former lover, with Captain Spock stepping aside to let Admiral Kirk take command of the Enterprise to hunt down Khan. Kirk’s battle with Khan was ugly, nearly destroying the Enterprise and eventually leading to the death of Spock. However, like in any good franchise, there was a twist and Spock wasn’t actually dead. When Spock’s body was jettisoned into space, it landed on the Genesis Planet and was reanimated by those energies. Kirk was unaware of that, but did want to find Spock’s body to save Dr. McCoy’s life since his body was reacting badly to Spock’s special Vulcan mind meld. The Enterprise crew would follow Kirk into violation of Starfleet orders and steal the Enterprise and return to the Genesis Planet only to find Spock alive. Kirk and the crew returned to Earth to face charges for breaking nine separate Starfleet general orders and regulations, but they were waylaid on the way home when Earth was besieged by an alien probe that spoke only in whale song. The aliens erroneously believed that whales were the dominant species of Earth and when the then-extinct whales were unable to respond to the probe, its continued broadcasting created havoc on Earth. The Enterprise crew, currently manning a renamed Bird-of-Prey called the HMS Bounty used the slingshot effect to travel back in time to steal some humpback whales to redeem Earth in the eyes of the aliens who were expecting to converse with whales. Because of their actions that saved Earth, Starfleet dismissed all charges against the Enterprise crew, though Kirk was permanently demoted to captain, a punishment I’m sure he had absolutely no problem with. Kirk remained on board the Enterprise and would captain her until his retirement.

Though the refitted Enterprise wasn’t quite ready, it was called into service once again, this time sent to Nimbus III to stop Spock’s half-brother, Sybok, after he captured the members of a peace delegation that were to negotiate a treaty between the Federation, Klingons, and Romulans. Sybok’s plan was actually to take control of a starship and leave the galaxy and Sybok commandeered the Enterprise. The Enterprise passed through the great barrier and Sybok met “God” only to learn it was a malevolent force that needed a spaceship to escape. Kirk’s final mission took place in the year 2293 when he was tasked with escorting Klingon Chancellor Gorkon to Earth for a peace conference. Kirk wasn’t terribly pleased with the assignment because he didn’t trust the Klingons and this mistrust led to him being blamed for Gorkon’s assassination aboard the Enterprise. Kirk and McCoy were tried by the Klingons and sentenced to serve out their time on the Rura Penthe penal asteroid. Taking a page from Kirk’s book, Spock broke with Federation rules and rescued Kirk and McCoy once his own investigation revealed Kirk had been set up by a secret cabal of Federation and Klingon officials that didn’t want peace between the two groups. Kirk defeated General Chang at Khitomer and saved the Federation president from assassination and the Khitomer Conference concluded with a peace treaty between the Federation and the Klingon Empire. Kirk retired from active duty shortly thereafter, realizing that the universe had changed and an old warhorse like him wasn’t really needed anymore.

However, just because he was retired didn’t mean Kirk wasn’t still an honored member of Starfleet. Starfleet couldn’t just let a good starship name lie fallow and commissioned the new Enterprise-B and Kirk was invited along on its shakedown cruise. During the cruise, the Enterprise-B received a distress call from a pair of ships transporting El Aurian refugees that became trapped in a massive energy distortion called the Nexus. Kirk’s advice allowed the Enterprise-B to rescue most of the refugees but the Enterprise-B was then caught in the Nexus. Kirk sacrificed himself to save the Enterprise-B and the galaxy presumed that was the end of James Tiberius Kirk. However, fate had other plans and Kirk remained happily trapped inside the Nexus for 78 years, until the Nexus started causing problems again in 2371. Jean-Luc Picard and the Enterprise-D were tasked with preventing the Nexus from destroying the Veridian system and Picard wound up inside the Nexus. Kirk did not want to leave his life in the Nexus but Picard eventually convinced him to and the two Enterprise captains saved the Veridian system from Tolian Soran and the Nexus. Kirk died preventing Soran from launching a missile that would direct the Nexus’s energies to the planet of Veridian IV. Picard was there when Kirk died and buried him under a simple stone burial mound on Veridian IV.

Once again, the biography shows a lot of scoundrel-y moments in Kirk’s life. From his Academy days to his final actions aboard the Enterprise-B, Kirk was someone who never let himself be bound by rules in the service of what was right. That character served him well throughout his career and his morality engendered a degree of loyalty within his crew that even meant the oft-times coldly logical Spock would follow Kirk even when he was breaking the rules. Kirk was someone who did try to obey the rules but felt that if the rules keep you from doing what’s right, it’s perfectly okay to break those rules. Like many scoundrels, Kirk also had an impressive poker face. He was not above bluffing his opponent into surrender and used that ability expertly and without qualms.

Of course, you can’t talk about James T. Kirk without mentioning his pimpingness. Riker from TNG may have been a bit of a horndog, but James T. Kirk pretty much banged his way across the galaxy. Honestly, he’s a bit of a man-whore and I’m surprised Kirk never picked up some sort of intergalactic STD. Even more shockingly, he apparently only fathered one child when he was with Dr. Carol Marcus. Kirk may have been a playa, but he was apparently not the most virile Starfleet captain out there. Ironically, with his only son, it was Dr. Marcus who decided that Kirk should have nothing to do with is kid. Kirk kind of seemed like the guy that would be a deadbeat dad, but actually it was Dr. Marcus not wanting her son exposed to Kirk’s nature that led him to be an non-existent entity in his son’s life.

Seriously, I could only find still images of Kirk doing two things: screaming or looking disinterested. (Image courtesy of the Star Trek wiki)
Seriously, I could only find still images of Kirk doing two things: screaming or looking disinterested. (Image courtesy of the Star Trek wiki)

Like Riker, Kirk may have been part of Starfleet, but considering how often he flouted the rules in the pursuit of what he felt was right, it’s clear James T. Kirk had a little bit of scoundrel in him. He was charming, confident, and he wasn’t afraid to let you know he was the best guy around. Sure, in large doses, those traits can all be pretty annoying, but Kirk was just so charming in his arrogance, you kind of forgive him for it. Like any good scoundrel, he inspired loyalty, since very few times did his crew oppose his rule-breaking. Also, like your white hat scoundrels, he never took advantage of the fact that people trusted him and would follow him to the ends of the galaxy.

Scoundrel Round-Up #4– Star-Lord (Marvel Universe)

Yeah, I'm Star-Lord and yeah, my original costume couldn't have been more 70s if it tried. (Image courtesy of the Marvel Comics Wiki)
Yeah, I’m Star-Lord and yeah, my original costume couldn’t have been more 70s if it tried. (Image courtesy of the Marvel Comics Wiki)

If you had told me a year ago that I’d be writing about Star-Lord in a blog about space scoundrels, I would have laughed. I’m a diehard Marvel fan, and even I’ve never been that into Star-Lord. I was also expecting the film version of The Guardians of the Galaxy to be Marvel Studios’ first misstep. By all rights, that movie shouldn’t have worked. The Guardians are a pretty obscure team. Marvel has trouble making a Hulk solo movie work and he’s a pretty well known character. A group of five, B-listers (at best) helming a movie smelled like a disaster to me. However, I was never happier to be wrong. The movie was great, and it really catapulted some good Marvel characters into the public consciousness that had never really had their day in the sun. Being the human face of the Guardians of the Galaxy, it’s no surprise that Peter “Star-Lord” Quill has become a bit more visible than the rest of the Guardians. At its core, the modern Guardians of the Galaxy is a team of scoundrels out in the galaxy trying to do the right thing, and it makes perfect sense that Star-Lord would be leading them.

I’ll admit, Star-Lord’s backstory is a bit complicated. With his newfound popularity, some of his history has been retconned a bit and that always makes following the story of this guy’s life a little more complicated. The character Peter Quill first appeared in Marvel Preview #4 in January of 1976 and he really didn’t have much of a background. Peter Quill was a NASA trainee and was honestly kind of a dick. Even his creator, Steve Englehart, said that he intentionally made Peter Quill kind of unlikeable because every sci-fi protagonist was a nice guy who you instantly like, so he wanted to try and make a sci-fi character that was a hero in spite of himself. To make him a little more likeable after his profile has risen since 2010 or so, we learned his father died trying to kill him when he was a baby because his father realized that Peter wasn’t his son. He didn’t know his son was an alien and just assumed his wife was sneaking around with someone else, but he was still pissed that Peter wasn’t his kid so he tried to kill him. His mother was killed when he was eleven-years-old by aliens. No one believed that aliens killed his mother, but he still swore vengeance against the alien lifeforms that killed his mother. Without parents, Peter was sent to live in an orphanage. I’m not saying that with the life he led Peter Quill didn’t have the right to have a chip on his shoulder, but even into adulthood (we don’t ever see what Peter’s life at the orphanage is like in his original miniseries), he was infamous around the NASA training center for being aloof and kind of a jerk. However, while no one may have really liked Peter Quill all that much, it was hard to admit that he wasn’t a great astronaut candidate. He excelled at every test he was given at the training center but he was passed over for being too difficult to work with. That only angered Peter Quill but he realized that if he wanted to get ahead he’d have to at least pretend to be a decent human being, and pretending is exactly what he did. Peter was eventually posted on a space station with several other astronauts. That space station was visited by an alien entity called Master of the Sun. The Master of the Sun wanted a candidate from the space station to become a Starlord (think Green Lantern, only without the rings and weakness to a random color). Peter volunteered, but everyone else on the station felt another astronaut would be a better choice. Before that astronaut could go to meet Master of the Sun, though, Peter took a gun, wounded several astronauts, including the one that was going to become the Starlord (and while we’re here—seriously, what is it with sci-fi having guns on space stations? That just seems like a really bad idea to me…) and stole the sentient spacecraft (creatively called “Ship”) that would take him to meet Master of the Sun. The Master of the Sun knew that Peter Quill was not the chosen candidate, but he decided to make him Starlord anyway. Sure, he may not have been trustworthy and hurt literally everyone on the station that got in the way of his vengeance, but he’ll make a great space cop. Master of the Sun gave Peter his first Starlord uniform and his trademark element guns and sent him on his first mission, find the aliens that killed his mother so he could kill them and get off this vengeance kick so he could be a good space cop. While it’s literally unclear the way the story was written whether Starlord actually killed these aliens or not, Master of the Sun told him that even if the aliens weren’t dead, the vengeance was real and Peter Quill could have a real life as Starlord if he took it. With his need for blood met, Starlord joined Master of the Sun and became a hero.

Sure, my new look wasn't at all influenced by my popular movie... (Image courtesy of the Marvel Comics wiki)
Sure, my new look wasn’t at all influenced by my popular movie… (Image courtesy of the Marvel Comics wiki)

While in space, Peter Quill learned quite a bit about his past. It was eventually revealed to him that his real father was Jason (now usually spelled “J-Son”) of Spartax, leader of the Spartax Empire and the previous holder of the title Star-Lord. (Yeah, somehow Starlord went from being the name used by a group of space cops to the title for a military leader in the Spartax empire. Don’t blame me folks, retcons can make things really confusing.) Such information only whetted Peter’s curiosity about his lineage, but learning any more would have to wait. While patrolling deep space, Star-Lord ran across the Fallen One, a former herald of Galactus who was trying to kill his former master by destroying any planet he could eat before he could reach it. Star-Lord was understandably badly beaten by such a powerful cosmic entity, but Ship’s analysis revealed the Fallen One’s only weakness—the energy released when a planet is destroyed. Star-Lord and Ship made the difficult decision of sacrificing a small Kree colony to generate and harness enough destructive energy to stop the Fallen One. It was either destroy the small colony or let the Fallen One destroy the larger Kree planet. Ship was destroyed in this act, but Star-Lord was able to stop the Fallen One. In an act of contrition, Star-Lord turned both the Fallen One and himself over to the Nova Corps for his role in Fallen One’s killing spree. The Nova Corps was conflicted over whether Star-Lord deserved to be imprisoned for destroying a Kree colony to stop the Fallen One’s rampage, but it was eventually decided that both Star-Lord and the Fallen One would be sent to the Kyln, an intergalactic prison home to many dangerous entities. To give you an idea of how serious this place was, for a brief time (while Star-Lord was there), it also held Thanos. While in prison, Star-Lord found allies in the form of a large prisoner named Ch’ak and the Shi’ar Praetor Gladiator. Star-Lord even briefly worked with Thanos because of the danger posed to the universe by the sentient cosmic cube currently calling itself Maker. Thanos fought the Maker to a standstill, leaving it catatonic and at the mercy of a mysterious wave of devastation that was wiping out significant portions of the universe at the time. However, Thanos’ fight with the Maker left some unfinished business for Star-Lord as the Fallen One escaped in the chaos that followed. Star-Lord planned to bring the Fallen One back in to justice, but Gladiator drafted him into the Shi’ar Imperial Guard (much to his dismay) to deal with a larger threat.

Star-Lord learned of the war that was raging throughout the galaxy. Dubbed the Annihilation War, Annihilus, ruler of the Negative Zone, broke free from that subspace dimension, intent on conquering the universe. The vanguard of his forces was the mysterious wave of devastation that was creating problems in the galaxy at this time. Fighting alongside the Nova Corps on the planet Daedalus 5, Star-Lord learned that Thanos had his hands in this as well, having disappeared after leaving Kyln. Thanos and Annihilus had secretly worked together to defeat Galactus and the Silver Surfer, two of the most powerful forces in the universe. Thanos had assembled his own team of super-powered beings and sent them to do battle with Star-Lord and the forced allied against Annihilus. Thanos’ team badly beat the so-called United Front and much of their forces were killed by Annihilus’ secret weapon, the weaponized corpse of Galactus. The United Front disbanded, though Star-Lord and Nova Prime (with some help from a few other cosmic heroes, and a few villains as well) attack Annihilus himself. Nova Prime killed Annihilus and the Annihilation Wave was more easily dealt with following the death of their leader.

Star-Lord going commando (Image courtesy of the Marvel Comics wiki)
Star-Lord going commando (Image courtesy of the Marvel Comics wiki)

The galaxy was in chaos following the Annihilation War and Star-Lord remained in deep space to help put the pieces of Hala (the Kree homeworld) back together. However, the opportunistic race of technoparasites called the Phalanx capitalized on the problems. The heroic Spaceknights were revealed to actually be Trojan horses that the Phalanx used to take over Hala. Star-Lord was badly injured in the Phalanx attack but was saved by a Kree admiral with the idea that Star-Lord could lead a team of commandos to retake Hala and destroy the Phalanx, whatever the cost. This would be the first time Star-Lord would ally himself with future Guardians of the Galaxy teammates Rocket Raccoon and Groot. The commando team would meet serious resistance on Hala but would find allies in the form of uninfected Kree soldiers who were willing to fight alongside Star-Lord because of the ideal that the Starlord represented. This was the first time Peter Quill realized that his title meant something to more to others than it did to him. Though he was reluctant to take up the task, Star-Lord became the de facto leader of the anti-Phalanx resistance movement on Hala following their successful commando raids that allowed Kree scientists to develop a cure for the Phalanx infection. The resistance continued to fight the Phalanx, though there were heavy losses. Blastaar was sacrificed to gain a tactical advantage against the Phalanx only to have the Phalanx resurrect him and use him to obliterate resistance forces, including Captain Universe. Star-Lord would have been killed as well had the Phalanx’s leader not decided he wanted him alive. Surprising everyone (including comic readers at the time), the Phalanx was revealed to be a pawn of Ultron. Things looked bleak for Star-Lord and the resistance until the timely arrival of Nova Prime and the Phalanx’s only known predator, the Technarchy. Following the defeat of a gigantic Ultron, the Kree were freed and Star-Lord realized what he had to do—form a team to keep the peace in the galaxy while it recovered from the damage caused by both the Annihilation War and the Phalanx war. That team would be known as the Guardians of the Galaxy. Of course, Star-Lord couldn’t even do something like forming a team the honest way and enlisted the help of the psychic Celestial Madonna, Mantis, to nudge the members of his team together. However, when they found out how Star-Lord manipulated them, the team broke up again. Though this version of the Guardians of the Galaxy fell apart before it could really get started, Star-Lord continued to wander the galaxy trying to keep the peace. However, doing so often led him into more conflict. At his first stop, Hala, Star-Lord learned the Kree were using Phalanx technology to protect their planet and he argued with Ronan about the dangers of such a plan. Ronan responded by sentencing Star-Lord to the Negative Zone for his betrayal of the Kree empire. While in the Negative Zone, he learned of the resurrected Blastaar’s plan to take over Stark’s abandoned Superprison 42 so he could have access to a portal that would take him to Earth. Star-Lord called in a favor with his former allies, the Guardians of the Galaxy, and managed to keep Blastaar from getting access to the portal.

Yeah, this look would have been super family friendly and not scared the crap out of kids at all... (Image courtesy of the Marvel Comics wiki)
Yeah, this look would have been super family friendly and not scared the crap out of kids at all… (Image courtesy of the Marvel Comics wiki)

Returning to the fold, Star-Lord finds Rocket Raccoon in charge of a new version of the Guardians of the Galaxy. Though they still don’t really trust him, they invite Star-Lord to join their team. Their first task: preventing the so-called War of Kings from destroying the universe. During Star-Lord’s time trapped in the Negative Zone, the Inhumans returned to Hala to seek revenge for what the Kree did to them. The Kree homeworld fell to the Inhumans and created more disorder in the universe. At the same time, the Shi’ar were being led by their warlike emperor, Vulcan, and the two new empires were on a collision course that could have dire effects for the entire galaxy. Star-Lord learned just how devastating the War of Kings was when he and the Guardians were pulled into the future by Starhawk. In this future, the War of Kings led to a massive cosmic rift that was destroying everything in its wake. The Badoon controlled much of what was left of the galaxy and all the problems could be traced back to the War of Kings, specifically when Black Bolt cut loose with his powers to destroy the Shi’ar fleet once and for all. Though they would remain trapped in this desolate future, the Guardians sent a message back into the past to keep the War of Kings from getting out of hand. They all assumed that doing so would mean their deaths because the future they occupied would no longer exist, but they were destined for a fate far worse than non-existence, being lost in the timestream.

After getting lost in the time stream, Star-Lord and his team wound up trapped in the realm of living undeath known as the Cancerverse. There, he found Thanos in charge and loving every second of it. The rules of death did not apply in the Cancerverse and he had all the power he could ever want thanks to a cosmic cube. Nova Prime sacrificed himself to free Star-Lord and Drax from the Cancerverse, but Thanos fled as well. With the power of the cosmic cube, Thanos decided it was time to rule the universe himself. This would be yet another time that Star-Lord faced off with Thanos only to fail in the end to contain him. Star-Lord blamed himself for the devastation Thanos unleashed on the galaxy before being stopped by the Avengers.

Star-Lord went into hiding for a while after Thanos’ return, but he couldn’t stay hidden forever. Star-Lord was captured by his father, J-Son. J-Son wanted Peter to take his place by his side and rule the empire together but also to pay for the crimes he committed against the Spartoi Empire while he was preserving the galaxy. Peter turned on his father and during his escape, he revealed the extent of his father’s corruption to the entire Spartoi Empire and he was removed from the throne. Once again, Star-Lord was on the run because he stood up to his father and did the right thing.

More recently, Star-Lord’s goals have been focused around settling his score with Thanos. While pulling off heists throughout the galaxy, Star-Lord learned of a powerful artifact that would give him the power to fight Thanos. It turns out, he’d already stolen it and stashed it in one of his hiding places. Star-Lord retrieved the gem while avoiding bounty hunters sent after him by his own father, now going by the name Mr. Knife. After confronting Thanos, he once again let him escape because he was unwilling to go that extra step and kill a defeated enemy. Thanos warned him that while he would not target Star-Lord’s loved ones again, the next time they crossed paths would be their last.

Once again, we see the hallmarks of a scoundrel throughout Star-Lord’s career. Right when we first meet him, he’s honestly a pretty terrible guy. However, as he gets exposed to more of the galaxy he realized that there’s more to the universe than just his quest for vengeance and tries, more often than not, to do the right thing. His strong code of ethics is present when he turns himself over to the authorities after defeating the Fallen Son. He destroyed a colony and felt he deserved to be punished for such actions. Yes, it was a needs-of-the-many-outweigh-the-needs-of-the-few scenario, but at the same time, he couldn’t use that as a justification and believed he deserved punishment for his actions. However, his reputation around the galaxy never really recovered. He slowly took to the fringes of society and became a thief and mercenary. Yes, he would fight for the good guys, but it was usually when forced (like when he was drafted into the Imperial Guard) or reluctantly (such as when he led the team of commandos that would later become the Guardians of the Galaxy). Even as a leader, he wasn’t above bending the rules a little. He didn’t think that the rest of the commandos would join his team, so he had a psychic friend assist him in doing so. Considering how the team came back together in his absence anyway, he probably didn’t need to handle things that way, but he couldn’t even do something like form a team without some degree of deception.

It may have taken me 30+ years, but I finally found a decent look. Thanks, Disney! (Image courtesy of the Marvel Comics wiki)
It may have taken me 30+ years, but I finally found a decent look. Thanks, Disney! (Image courtesy of the Marvel Comics wiki)

Of course, Star-Lord doesn’t just have the characteristics of a scoundrel, but he has the look as well. It may have taken almost 40 years, but Star-Lord finally just got a good costume. In his original appearances, he looked more like your stereotypical sci-fi hero and it just wasn’t a good look for him. It was far too straight-laced for a character like Peter Quill. He used this rather dated look for quite some time. Once he became a Kree commando, he adopted a more militant costume. While the costume remained too straightlaced for Star-Lord, he did pick up the gunslinger affectation of wielding two weapons at the same time. His pair of Kree submachine guns were dangerous in his hands and when I think of scoundrels, I think the overall archetype is the Wild West gunslinger. However, the gunslinger look didn’t come together until very recently. Marvel Studios wisely redesigned Star-Lord to make him look a little more human even when he’s got his face mask on. That Kree face mask was honestly pretty sinister for a hero. The modern mask is neutral and it looks like a high-tech sci-fi breath mask. Of course, the rest of the gunslinger vibe comes from his garb. Gone is the pseudo-military uniform and it’s replaced with a basic shirt, some basic pants, jet boots and a long coat. Nothing says gunslinger like a long coat to conceal your weapons in. Honestly, the look reminds me of another space scoundrel, Malcolm Reynolds. Had Firefly gone high-tech instead of Wild West, I think Star-Lord would look right at home on the Serenity. I’ll admit, the thief and intergalactic scoundrel is something that it took a while for Star-Lord to fully embrace, but even back in 1976, the scoundrel side of Star-Lord was waiting just under the surface and he’s a better character for fully embracing it.

Scoundrel Round-Up #5–Captain Jack Harkness (Doctor Who)

I figured I'd start this article with a shirtless John know, for journalistic integrity (Image courtesy of the Doctor Who Wiki)
I figured I’d start this article with a shirtless John Barrowman…you know, for journalistic integrity (Image courtesy of the Doctor Who Wiki)

I’ll admit, some of the members of this list of sci-fi scoundrels aren’t characters I’m super familiar with. However, for number five, I get back into some familiar territory. I may be a comparatively late-comer to the wonderful world of Doctor Who, but ever since a friend of mine introduced me to it six years ago, I’ve been a big fan. Now, one could probably make a pretty strong case for the Doctor himself being a scoundrel, but for my money, if you want a fun scoundrel in the Doctor Who-niverse, there’s only one man you need to look at—spoiler alert—the Face of Boe himself, Captain Jack Harkness.

From the moment we first meet Jack in the first modern season, he’s all scoundrel. He’s hanging out in London during the Blitz in his cloaked spaceship, enjoying a drink and waiting for some temporal salvage to crash so he can make some money off it. While the Doctor is off wandering the streets of London searching for Rose, she’s hanging out with Jack Harkness, and even in the middle of a war zone, the omnisexual ladies man couldn’t help but spend time flirting with a pretty lady. Of course, Jack’s salvage scam was far from simple—nothing ever is when the Doctor gets involved. The piece of space junk he was going to collect was actually a Chula ambulance filled with restorative nanogenes. Having never encountered humans before, the nanogenes believed a deceased child’s gas mask was his face and imprinted that, and the child’s desire to find his mother, on all the people they healed. Jack was initially reluctant to try and fix the problem he caused, but in the end, like any good scoundrel, he manned up and used his ship’s stasis field system to keep a bomb from hitting the site until the Doctor could fix everything and was going to sacrifice himself in the process. Never one to leave a good man behind, the Doctor transported the TARDIS inside Jack’s ship and saved him before the bomb could go off, preserving history and saving Jack at the same time. Jack traveled space with the Doctor and Rose, flirting with both of them quite a bit, until the trio were abducted and sent to the Game Station. There, they were separated and Jack awoke on the set of a makeover show hosted by two dangers robots. When they revealed their plans to kill him, Jack improvised and created a pretty impressive gun out of their defabricator (a device that literally removed fabric from its target). The Doctor managed to escape a futuristic version of Big Brother and found himself on the Game Station with Jack and the two headed off to save Rose from The Weakest Link, hosted by a slightly warmer and kinder robot version of the real world host Anne Robinson. Rose was voted the weakest link before Jack and the Doctor could save her, and she was seemingly killed, though in reality the games transported the losing contestants someplace far worse, the Dalek fleet. Seeing his friend seemingly killed, Jack planned to get revenge but the Doctor calmed him down long enough to enact a real plan, taking over the Game Station to find the TARDIS. On board the TARDIS, the Doctor learned that the losers weren’t dead and locks on to the transmit signal and learned of the existence of the massive Dalek fleet. The Doctor and Jack rescue Rose from the Dalek fleet and decide to make a stand on Satellite 5, home of the Game Station. Jack led the group of satellite technicians in a valiant fight against the Daleks, but even he knew that there was no chance of him surviving this, and he went down fighting the Daleks. However, even Captain Jack Harkness can be wrong sometimes, and he was surprised to learn he was resurrected by Rose when she became Bad Wolf after looking into the TARDIS’s time vortex. Rose wanted to just set everything right after the Dalek attack, but instead she accidentally made Jack functionally immortal. He may still age, but he does so very slowly and can heal from just about anything after only a few minutes. Jack’s immortality also turned him into a fixed point in time, which the Doctor did not like dealing with because it messes up the TARDIS’s navigation, and the Doctor left him on Satellite 5 rather than take him back to Earth with Rose.

Shit, dying hurts a lot more than I thought it would (Image courtesy of the Doctor Who Wiki)
Shit, dying hurts a lot more than I thought it would (Image courtesy of the Doctor Who Wiki)

However, Jack is nothing if not resourceful and used his vortex manipulator (the device that he used as a Time Agent to go back in time to preserve the time line) to jump back to Cardiff knowing that the Doctor tended to refuel that TARDIS using the active time rift there. Unfortunately for Jack, time travel with a vortex manipulator isn’t quite as reliable as time travel with a TARDIS and he overshot the 20th Century by a couple hundred years, landing back on Earth in 1869. Of course, missing the mark that badly doesn’t matter much for a man who’s functionally immortal so Jack decided to bide his time and live in Cardiff until the Doctor showed up again. That didn’t mean Jack’s adventuring was on hold, though. In 1899, Jack drew the attention of Torchwood, who wanted to know why he couldn’t die and how he was related to the Doctor. At this point, Torchwood still considered the Doctor an enemy, but Jack convinced the Torchwood agents that the Doctor was a hero and would save the Earth many times in the future. Torchwood accepted his statements about the Doctor but only let him go if he promised to bring in an alien criminal. Jack was under the impression that the alien was only to be incarcerated but when he brought it back to Torchwood’s base of operations, the alien was killed right in front of him. Jack despised Torchwood’s methods and left, only to return to work for them after he learned of a prophecy that said the Doctor would return to Cardiff 100 years later. Jack knew when and where the Doctor would return but figured he may as well do something useful with his time and started working with Torchwood with the idea of making it a better place over the next 100 years. Jack worked off and on with Torchwood throughout the 20th Century, though he did take some time away from Torchwood to fight in World War I. During his years with Torchwood, he would have many flings and relationships with a wide variety of Torchwood agents and other people brought into the Torchwood fold in some manner. Working for Torchwood was not without its tragedies. Jack spent most of his years working for Torchwood Three and one of his co-workers, Alex Hopkins, suffered a nervous breakdown shortly before the end of 1999 and killed all the members of Torchwood Three except Jack. Alex killed himself in front of Jack, and left Jack largely alone in the world once again.

I may be charming, but I'm not afraid to kick some ass. (Image courtesy of the Doctor Who Wiki)
I may be charming, but I’m not afraid to kick some ass. (Image courtesy of the Doctor Who Wiki)

Jack rebuilt Torchwood Three and was on scene during the Canary Wharf incident, when the Daleks returned to Earth and fought Cybermen from an alternate reality that had begun merging with Earth because of Torchwood One’s meddling. Exploiting dimensional barriers to create unlimited power weakened those barriers and allowed the alternate world controlled by Cybermen to merge with our reality. Jack had hoped to find the Doctor and reconnect with him following Canary Wharf in 2007, but he never found the Doctor and continued working with Torchwood, without the management of the destroyed Torchwood One to force him into morally questionable situations. Jack hoped working with Torchwood would lead to crossing paths with the Doctor again. Jack would finally reunite with the Doctor in 2008, though it wasn’t a version of the Doctor he recognized. Jack jumped aboard the TARDIS while it refueled in Cardiff only to rematerialize with it in the year 100,000,000,000,000 at the end of the universe. Though his reunion with the Doctor was awkward due to the fact that the Doctor he knew was gone and that the Doctor had left him on Satellite 5, the reunion was a happy one since Jack also learned that Rose hadn’t died during the Canary Wharf incident, though she was trapped in an alternate dimension. At the end of the universe, Jack, along with the Doctor and Martha Jones, aided Professor Yana in repairing the spaceship he built to send the last humans in the universe to Utopia. However, the kindly old professor was not at all what he seemed. Professor Yana gave into his compulsion to open his fob watch and doing so reawakened his Time Lord side and the Master had returned. The Master stole the TARDIS and returned to Earth, leaving Martha, Jack and the Doctor stranded at the end of the universe. Mercifully, Jack still had his old Time Agency vortex manipulator with him, and with some modifications, the Doctor used it to transport all three back to Earth in 2008 where they learned the Master had become the Prime Minister. The three were arrested by British forces and taken to the Valiant, but Jack slipped Martha his vortex manipulator, so she could escape. Jack remained aboard the Valiant for a year, being tortured by the British authorities. With Martha’s help, the Doctor and Jack took control of the Valiant and Jack destroyed the Master’s paradox machine. Time reverted one year, and with the Master dead, the year 2008 turned back to normal. The Doctor offered to end Jack’s exile on Earth, but Jack remained loyal to his Torchwood compatriots and stayed on Earth to keep fighting the good fight. Jack was still part of Torchwood when the Daleks transported Earth to the Medusa Cascade and was one of the allies that Harriet Jones contacted via the sub-wave network to assist the Doctor in his fight against the Daleks. Jack arrived at the Doctor’s side just as he was shot by a Dalek and then surrendered himself to the Daleks as part of the Doctor’s plan. The Supreme Dalek believed he destroyed the TARDIS and in his rage, Jack tried to kill him only to be killed by the Daleks. Of course, Jack didn’t die and snuck into the Crucible to meet with other allies of the Doctor. Jack tried to use the warp star to bluff the Daleks into backing down but instead, he was transported to Davros’ chamber to witness the end of everything. There, however, Donna Noble was able to disable the Daleks and Jack successfully destroyed the Supreme Dalek. Crisis successfully averted, Jack once again returned to Earth and soon faced his biggest challenge since joining Torchwood.

An alien race known as the 456, whom Jack had previous encounters with in his Torchwood days, returned to Earth searching for more human subjects to create drugs from. Jack was part of the Torchwood group that negotiated the original deal with 456 and was marked for death by the British government. Jack tried to force the 456’s hand, but they resisted and released a virus that killed many people, including one of Jack’s longtime Torchwood allies. Blaming himself for his friend’s death, Jack turned himself over to the British government and the 456 began rounding up millions of Earth children from their medical experiments. One of the children captured by the 456 was Jack’s own grandson and to defeat the 456, Jack had to channel a reconstitution wave through one child and the only child that could channel the energy was his own grandson. Making a terrible choice, Jack sacrificed his grandson to save the children of Earth but at the cost of his relationship with his daughter. Jack was declared dead by the British government following the 456’s invasion and Jack spent his days trying to rid himself of his guilt related to his involvement in all the death and destruction the 456 caused. Shortly after his failure at Torchwood, Jack also bid farewell to the Doctor.

Jack eventually returned to Earth and helped defend it and Torchwood during the Miracle Day event. Torchwood’s existence was released to the world and people were now somewhat immortal, just like Jack. However, Jack found out that his functional immortality was gone and he was just like the rest of the humans. He could survive fatal injuries, but he was unable to heal quickly. This led Jack and Torchwood into conflict with a shadowy cabal of ex-CIA officials and PhiCorp. Jack began piecing together the events surrounding Miracle Day and started tracking down a phenomenon called the Blessing that was tied to Miracle Day. Eventually, the Blessing was discovered to be a part of the Earth’s morphic field which had been changed when it was fed Jack’s immortal blood. However, now that Jack was mortal, feeding it his blood would change everything on Earth back to the way it was before Miracle Day. Jack Harkness seemingly sacrificed himself to end the Miracle and return the Earth back to normal, but only time will tell if Captain Jack remains dead.

Man, even Jack looks like a tool wearing a Bluetooth. (Image courtesy of the Doctor Who Wiki)
Man, even Jack looks like a tool wearing a Bluetooth. (Image courtesy of the Doctor Who Wiki)

Jack’s attitude is classic scoundrel. He’s a charming con man who, when we first meet him, really has no interest in anything but himself. However, like most characters that spend time with the Doctor, he grew to become a good man who still didn’t always follow the rules, but when he broke the rules, it was usually to do the right thing. Even more amazingly, Jack was willing to sacrifice a lot, including his own grandson, to do the right thing and atone for his mistakes. That action cut him to the core, but he did it because it was right and it was the only way to save the rest of Earth’s children. Like a few other scoundrels, Jack is also a ladies’ man, except that doesn’t really cover it since he’s omnisexual. Jack doesn’t let labels like gender or species define who he’s attracted to and that’s pretty impressive. Like Captain Kirk, Jack banged a pretty impressive swath across the galaxy but his flirty nature only added to his charm. I’ll admit, I haven’t touched on the actors that play the scoundrels a lot, but with Jack, I think I have to. John Barrowman just brought so much joy to the character that Jack was just plain fun to watch. I don’t know if any other actor could have played Jack Harkness as well as John Barrowman did. There’s definitely a bit of real-life Barrowman in Jack, and that’s fine with me. I think that’s what makes him so authentic. He just makes you want to like him and that’s what you want him to be a good person, even if he is a bit of a scoundrel.

Cosmic Bootlegger Mobile

We’ve been online for a whole month and I’ve already failed at my personal goal of posting dev updates on the first Monday of the month.

Cosmic Bootlegger has entered mobile alpha testing, and will be ready for general consumption … sometime … I’d love to say, ‘the mobile version will be done next week,’ but we all know how release dates for games work (You increase the units twice so ‘next week’ -> ‘next month’ -> ‘next year’).

“Why is it taking so long to release the mobile version after releasing the desktop version?” the impatient among you ask. Well we decided to add some premium features. Getting those ready and working through the in app purchase flow is taking some time.

Scoundrel Round-Up #6–Kara Thrace (Battlestar Galactica)


That is the face of a scoundrel, pure and simple. Plus, she could kick your ass without breaking a sweat. (Image courtesy of the Battlestar Galactica Wiki)
That is the face of a scoundrel, pure and simple. Plus, she could kick your ass without breaking a sweat. (Image courtesy of the Battlestar Galactica Wiki)

Being a scoundrel is something that knows no gender, though at least in my cursory examination of science fiction, there are very few true scoundrels that are women. Usually, at some point in their character’s evolution, they become part of something larger and abandon their scoundrel-y ways. I was very close to putting Mara Jade (Skywalker) from Star Wars on this list, but that shift to the Jedi Order made me rethink how much of a scoundrel she was at the end. However, there is still one female scoundrel out there that never really lost her edge at some point during her character arc, Kara “Starbuck” Thrace from the modern Battlestar Galactica. She started out as a scoundrel in the military and while she grew as a human being during the four seasons of the show, she was just as much of a scoundrel when the series ended as she was when it began and I appreciate that.

Like many other scoundrels, the seeds of Starbuck’s scoundrel nature were set pretty early on in her life. While they didn’t do any extensive flashbacks showing it, we learned that Starbuck had a pretty troubled childhood. Her mother was an abusive military woman and her father, who she was much closer to, was an artist but he walked out on them when Starbuck was young. Starbuck’s upbringing left her with a serious chip on her shoulder and her military career evidenced that considering how often the word “insubordination” showed up in her file. However, despite her problems dealing with people, it was hard to argue that Starbuck wasn’t an excellent pilot. Starbuck’s first assignment was to the battlestar Triton, but her insubordinate ways got her in trouble with the commander and she was nearly court-martialed. Following her near court-martial, for whatever reason the Colonial military decided to turn an insubordinate pilot into a flight instructor. There, she passed on her skills to future Colonial pilots, including Zak Adama. Starbuck fell in love with Zak and passed him on his final flight exam even though he wasn’t ready. Zak died in a routine mission shortly thereafter and Starbuck blamed herself, though Zak’s brother, Lee, blamed their father, Admiral William Adama, for allowing Zak to skate in the military so long even though he wasn’t reason Zak was allowed to be a pilot. Starbuck kept her role on Zak’s death a secret for many years, carrying the guilt with her in private. Starbuck soon left the academy and joined Admiral Adama on the battlestar Galactica and served there for two years before the massive Cylon attack that wiped out most of humanity.

Aboard the Galactica, Starbuck’s insubordinate nature caused her to butt heads with Colonel Tigh. They butted heads so often, the first time we met Starbuck in the miniseries, she was in the brig because she physically assaulted Colonel Tigh. Of course, the Cylon attack changed everything, but Starbuck’s attitude remained the same. Starbuck wound up bringing the Colonial fleet its biggest intelligence boon when she managed to return with a damaged Cylon raider after both she and the raider crashed into a planet. It may not have been pretty, but Starbuck managed to jury-rig a flight system out of the Cylon’s organic technology and limp it back to the fleet. Her injuries left her sidelined for a while, something that Starbuck hated, though she did have a strong tactical mind and put it to use even though she wasn’t able to be behind the control stick. While injured, Starbuck was also tasked with interrogating a captured Leoben and she was not afraid to cross lines to get information she thought could save her people, though doing so took a toll on her. Starbuck returned to flight status shortly after this interrogation and was ordered by Admiral Adama to plant a nuclear device on a Cylon basestar orbiting Kobol. However, at the same time, President Roslin convinced Starbuck that she needed to return to Caprica to retrieve the Arrow of Apollo because Admiral Adama didn’t actually know where Earth was. Being a secretly very religious person, Starbuck believed President Roslin and disobeyed orders and returned to Caprica to retrieve the artifact. Starbuck wound up stranded on Caprica after Caprica Boomer stole her raider, leaving her and Helo behind. Thankfully, Helo and Starbuck soon found a group of Caprican resistance fighters led by Samuel Anders. Starbuck and Anders bond over their love of the sport Pyramid since much of the resistance group consisted of former pro-Pyramid players trapped on Caprica. Starbuck was captured by Cylons on Caprica and taken to a facility where the Cylons worked on creating more human/Cylon hybrids, but Starbuck escaped as the resistance fighters find the facility. Caprica Boomer rescued the group but Anders decided to stay behind with his resistance group, though Starbuck promises to return with a rescue group to get them off Caprica after she finishes her mission for President Roslin. With the Arrow of Apollo in possession of the fleet, the fleet discovers enough information to determine the actual location of Earth and Galactica sets out to find Earth.

Even in the BSG universe, sports is foreplay for badasses. (Image courtesy of the Battlestar Galactica Wiki)
Even in the BSG universe, sports is foreplay for badasses. (Image courtesy of the Battlestar Galactica Wiki)

However, such plans were short-lived as Galactica was found by Admiral Cain and the battlestar Pegasus. Admiral Cain outranked Admiral Adama and was the rightful commander of the fleet, something Adama acquiesced to. Starbuck’s performance on missions and boldness impressed Admiral Cain and made the surprising move of promoting Starbuck to captain and making her CAG for Pegasus. Considering the actions that led to this promotion were a direct violation of Admiral Cain’s orders, it was unexpected to say the least. Admiral Adama hoped to use Starbuck as a mole in Cain’s camp, distrusting the admiral’s draconian policies. Starbuck’s loyalty to Adama was tested but she nearly assassinated Cain, only holding off when Adama cryptically ordered her to stand down. Once again, Starbuck’s insubordinate nature reared its head and she winds up in the Pegasus brig after problems with the previous commander of the Pegasus while she was acting as a flight trainer. Starbuck continued to try and hold up her promise to Anders, but it’s only after Lee Adama became commander of the Pegasus that the mission is approved. The fleet arrives at Caprica just in time to save Anders and what’s left of the resistance. Anders’ arrival in the fleet created further tensions between Starbuck and Lee Adama because of Starbuck’s relationship with Lee. Starbuck quietly married Anders just days after telling Lee she loved him and that created a rift between the two former wingmates that lasted many years. Life on New Caprica began with their wedding, but any joy on New Caprica was comparatively shortlived as the Cylons arrived and took over the planet. Starbuck was the first one to call for resistance against the Cylons saying “Fight ‘em until we can’t.”

Starbuck was captured by Cylons at some point during the occupation and in an echo of earlier events, Starbuck was held by another version of Leoben who attempted to turn her to the Cylon’s side. Starbuck resisted, but Leoben’s psychological manipulation definitely left some pretty serious scars on her. Starbuck would lose her flight status for a while and during her down time, she and Colonel Tigh found something to agree on—disgust with the crew of Galactica for retreating from New Caprica at the start of the Cylon occupation and taking so long to rescue them. Their dissent created problems on Galactica and they were both confronted by Admiral Adama, telling them to get back in line and move on with their lives. Adama’s dressing down was just the kick in the pants Starbuck needed, prompting her to return to duty. While back on duty, Starbuck is harassed by a phantom Cylon contact. She chases after it, to near death, several times before going in one last time. On her final attempt to find it, Starbuck has further revelations about Leoben’s prophecy and she decides to go deeper into the storm that the contact is guiding her into, to her apparent death.

You would think that would be the end of Starbuck’s story, but alas, it was not. Starbuck reappears in a pristine Mark II Viper while the Colonial fleet prepared to engage the Cylons near the Ionian nebula and Lee Adama is the first to actually find her. Starbuck says she’s been to Earth and has returned to take the fleet there. Starbuck’s mysterious resurrection after two months, which to her seemed like minutes, leads many, including Starbuck herself, to question if she’s a Cylon. Though much of the fleet doesn’t trust the returned Starbuck, Admiral Adama believes Starbuck knows the way home and gives her command of Demetrius to figure out the course to Earth. Once again, a Leoben unit crosses Starbuck’s path and throws things into chaos. This time, Leoben offers an alliance with the Cylons. Most of the crew doesn’t trust Leoben, but Starbuck jumps Demetrius to the basestar and takes a small team aboard to assist in unboxing Cylon Three, which will reveal the Final Five Cylons and the way to Earth. Starbuck is shocked to learn that not only is she not a Cylon, but her husband, Anders is. The unboxing also reveals that Starbuck’s Viper has been sending out a signal that will lead them all to Earth. The Colonial fleet follows the signal to Earth, only to find a devastated planet. On Earth, Starbuck discovers the source of the homing signal, the wreckage of her crashed Viper…with her still inside it. I’ll freely admit, this is where the show started to go off the rails for me. I finished out the series for completeness’ sake, but honestly, the last bit of Starbuck’s story is just so bizarre, I still really can’t process it.

The discovery of Earth thanks to Cylon help doesn’t soften humanity’s feelings towards the Cylons.  Felix Gaeta leads a mutiny aboard Galactica and imprisons Admiral Adama and Colonel Tigh for collaborating with the enemy. While the mutiny would be put down, it wasn’t without costs. Anders took a bullet to the back of the head, and while it was not fatal, it triggered Anders’ previous Cylon memories. Starbuck pressed him for information about what she was, but even Anders didn’t know. The bullet was removed from his skull and left him with no brain activity and becomes the Galactica’s Hybrid. Starbuck attempts to figure out the mystery of the music that activated the Final Five (Bob Dylan’s “All Along The Watchtower”) and in a desperate hail Mary play when the Galactica is about to be destroyed, uses the notes as coordinates and jumps the fleet to Earth. Her destiny, leading the humans to Earth, complete, Starbuck literally disappears.

Okay, wonky, confusing as all hell ending of the character’s arc aside, Starbuck is still a great character and I respect the series’ writers for not trying to make Starbuck into something she’s not. Yeah, she’s a jerk and a scoundrel, but who cares. She’s still a great character. I’ll admit, I found Starbuck a bit abrasive at first, but like most scoundrels, I developed a respect for her once I realized she had the skills to back up her abrasive arrogance. After all, it’s kind of hard to be pissed at someone who thinks they’re the best pilot out there when they, time and again, prove that they are. Add in her problems with authority, though, and she moves from hotshot pilot to scoundrel. Her relationship with Colonel Tigh was adversarial at best, but as much as I love Colonel Tigh, it’s hard not to admit that Starbuck was right. The man was a drunk who spent a good portion of the series living in a bottle. It’s hard for anyone to trust a commander like that. Like many scoundrels, she’s also pretty damaged. Her mother messed her up and then her time as both Leoben’s captor and later captive both took a toll on her. However, the part that I find most interesting about her is that like many fictional scoundrels, there was an element of bluster to her actions. One of the most gut-wrenching moments in the series for me was Starbuck’s reaction after she vented the Leoben that was her prisoner. After she killed him, she still prayed for her enemy’s soul. It was a powerful moment and considering what we had seen of Starbuck up to that point, part of what made it so powerful was that it was so unexpected. This was someone who came across as not giving much of a damn about anything and winding up so jaded after seeing so much death, yet killing a defenseless prisoner under orders from the president still took her aback. Like many scoundrels, there’s far more than meets the eye to Starbuck, hence her inclusion on Sarcastibots’ Scoundrel Round-Up.

Yeah, Starbuck is one bad motherfrakker. (Image courtesy of the Battlestar Galactica Wiki)
Yeah, Starbuck is one bad motherfrakker. (Image courtesy of the Battlestar Galactica Wiki)