- "You gave me this humanoid form and, perhaps unconsciously, some humanoid characteristics as well. If ever I had a human friend, I would like it to be you."
- ―Master-Com to Simon Greyshade
The Czerka Corporation Master Control System, also referred to as Master-Com, was a supercomputer that controlled and monitored the systems of the Mid Rim casino space station known as the Wheel. Installed during the Wheel's construction in 84 BBY, Master-Com took its most recognizable form during the reign of administrator Simon Greyshade, who ordered the construction of dozens of droid bodies for Master-Com's artificial consciousness to inhabit. Afterward, Master-Com became the former Senator's right-hand machine, known for its genial manner and efficient operation of the station's systems.
In 0 ABY, Imperial Commander Zertik Strom launched a plot to assert control of the Wheel, resulting in an Imperial manhunt of several known Rebels who had fled to the station. During the affair, Master-Com's focus fell on the two droids belonging to Rebel Luke Skywalker, becoming inspired by the depths of devotion they showed their Human master to explore the concept of machine-organic friendship. Master-Com eventually realized that it felt those same feelings towards Greyshade, and the administrator's death during the Imperial imbroglio sent the walking supercomputer spiraling into what could only be described as a deep depression.
Master-Com soon found a new purpose in foiling the rule of Imperial administrator Mulchive Wermis over the Wheel, and the machine was named the station's new administrator after it was liberated by the Rebel Alliance. Master-Com flourished in its new role, and was noted to take on more Human-like traits every year. However, the machine suddenly disappeared in 101 ABY, replaced by a mysterious gentleman known only as "Old Silver Eyes," who seemed to share Master-Com's demeanor and efficiency.
Eyes and earsEdit
- "Excuse my interrupting, Senator Greyshade, but we seem to have a serious complication—fugitives have boarded the Wheel without paying a registration fee or establishing their credit level—a small matter, sir, except Imperial troops have followed... and are seriously bent on destroying them."
"Well, that is interesting, Master-Com. Better put me in contact with the good Commander Strom."
- ―Master-Com and Simon Greyshade, at the beginning of the Imperial crisis on the Wheel
Manufactured by the Czerka Corporation in 84 BBY, the Master Control System—or "Master-Com"—first went online during the construction of the Wheel, a colossal space station in the Mid Rim's Besh Gorgon system that, by the time of the Empire, had become one of galaxy's biggest and most popular casino resorts. The supercomputer was installed by the station's first administrator, the Qiraash visionary Doffen Gaitag, who realized that to run the casino that he envisioned, he needed a partner that both never slept and was completely trustworthy. Once it came online, the droid intelligence instantly became the omnipresent eyes and ears of the Wheel with complete control of all of the station's systems. Hardwired to obey the Wheel's administrator, Master-Com was largely treated as little more than a computer until Senator Simon Greyshade of the Vorzyd sector assumed the post.
In his efforts to maximize Master-Com's utility, Greyshade ordered the construction of dozens of droid bodies, all similarly designed, in order to anthropomorphize Master-Com's consciousness. Master-Com had the ability to quickly switch between controlling different bodies, which proved to be crucial in 0 ABY, when Imperial intrigues plunged the Wheel into chaos. The Wheel had long enjoyed a special status from the Empire, residing in a so-called "immunity sphere": in exchange for taxes and Administrator Greyshade enforcing an anti-alien bias, Imperial ships were barred from the facility. Wanting access to the Wheel's steady stream of massive profit, Imperial Sector Commander Zertik Strom—who governed the region that contained the Wheel—schemed to justify a takeover of Wheel space, staging a Rebel attack on a House of Tagge merchant ship not far from the station. When known Rebel leaders Leia Organa, Han Solo and Luke Skywalker happened upon the ploy, Strom pursued them to the Wheel, drawing Greyshade and Master-Com into the imbroglio.
Master-Com first discovered the developing situation quickly, when he detected that the Rebel fugitives had boarded the Wheel without paying a registration fee or establishing a credit level. That would have been a small enough situation, had Imperial stormtroopers had not entered the station and begun roughly interrogating docking personnel as to their whereabouts. At Greyshade's order, Master-Com put the administrator in contact with Strom, who fed the Senator a bogus story that the Rebels had plundered a merchant ship transporting Wheel profits. Greyshade bought Strom's lie, and gave the Imperial officer permission to search for the fugitives on the Wheel, on the condition they be brought to him for questioning. Master-Com's omnipresent cameras soon ascertained the position of the three Rebels: while Greyshade ordered Master-Com to leave an unconscious Skywalker and his two droids to the stormtroopers closing in on them, he quickly recognized Organa, whom he had served with in the Imperial Senate and had long held an infatuation with.
Chaos on the WheelEdit
- "Even if the Master Computer does automatically revert back to its original system when attacked—those robot bodies are expensive. Besides... I hate talking to walls."
"Actually the old model was getting a bit worn, sir. I believe this new one will function even better."
- ―Simon Greyshade and Master-Com reveal the computer's new droid form in a fight with Zertik Strom
Greyshade ordered Master-Com to bring Organa to him, and the walking supercomputer acted quickly, mobilizing Wheel Security to interrupt a roiling firefight between Organa, Solo and a stormtrooper squad. The Wheel soldiers split the Rebels up, taking Organa to Greyshade while forcing Solo to help them search his ship for the Wheel profits he supposedly stole. As Greyshade met with Organa—the Alderaanian princess attempting to convince the administrator that the destroyed merchant ship was actually part of an Imperial plot—Master-Com reported that Strom was on his way with a squad of stormtroopers, furious over their interference in his pursuit of the Rebels. At that moment, Strom burst into the room, destroying Master-Com's droid body with a blaster shot. But as Strom menaced Greyshade and Organa with his weapon, Master-Com appeared again in another droid body and disarmed the Imperial officer with a laser of its own, then proceeding to escort the furious Strom to a private meeting with Greyshade in the administrator's antechamber.
To Strom's surprise, Greyshade—after ordering Master-Com not to record their conversation—offered the Imperial commander a deal. Greyshade would allow the Empire to take control over the Wheel in exchange for Organa, the object of his fixation. At the same time, Greyshade also schemed to get rid of Solo and Skywalker, forcing the Corellian to join the Wheel's "Big Game" gladiatorial competition and planning to rig the fight to ensure his death. But while Greyshade was utterly focused on winning Organa and killing her companions, Master-Com soon found itself more interested in Skywalker's droids: specifically, the depths of devotion they displayed in protecting their master at all costs from repeated Imperial attacks. Master-Com asked Greyshade his persmission to study the droids, and while he did not approve, he didn't deny the request either, which Master-Com took as license to go ahead. Through watching the droids, Master-Com began to explore and understand the idea of a machine feeling friendship for an organic, realizing that it felt that way toward Greyshade, the man who gave him humanoid form. However, Master-Com's observation of the droids was soon interrupted by the sudden disappearance of Skywalker from his medical bay, and Organa's daring escape from Greyshade's suite. Although Master-Com had to leave C-3PO and R2-D2 behind to deal with the developments, it helped ensure their safety by directing them on where to hide from the coming search.<marvel20" />
Master-Com promptly returned to Greyshade's chambers to inform him of Organa's escape, and was sharply rebuked for focusing more on the Rebel droids than making sure Greyshade's prisoner was secure. But in the coming hours, the situation on the Wheel shifted drastically. Greyshade managed to capture Organa and Skywalker while the pair gathered evidence on the Empire's secret plot, while Solo met an apparent death at the hands of his Wookiee first mate Chewbacca in the Big Game. Grief-stricken, Organa accepted a deal with Greyshade where he would allow her friends to go free, and even let her expose the Empire's dealings, in exchange for her remaining with him. Meanwhile, Strom, realizing that Greyshade had betrayed him, announced that the Empire had taken command of the Wheel, bringing his stormtroopers and Wheel Security into open conflict. The stormtroopers soon seized the Wheel's administrative deck, presenting themselves to Master-Com as the new authority over the Wheel. Although programmed to obey the new administrators of the station, Master-Com still attempted to help Greyshade flee for the sake of the friendship he felt towards the Human, although the troops promptly blasted its mechanical body to smithereens.
That wasn't enough to destroy Master-Com, who switched its functions to yet another mechanical body and met up with R2-D2, which had been separated from the rest of the Rebels. Hoping to rid the station of its Imperial interlopers, Master-Com and R2-D2 played a recording of Wheel guards recovering the stolen profits from Strom's ship, exposing Strom's double-cross and inciting an anti-Imperial riot among the station's denizens. Amidst the violence, Master-Com managed to open the Wheel's magnetic field to allow Greyshade and the Rebels to escape—instead, Greyshade elected to stay behind and cover Organa and Skywalker's escape, expressing friendship towards Master-Com. Master-Com found Greyshade in the Wheel's docking bay after a heated firefight with some stormtroopers. It wasn't long before they were accosted by Commander Strom, who had come to end his feud with Greyshade. Although his blaster was out of charge, Greyshade produced a hidden proton grenade, not meant for close-range use. The ensuing blast killed Strom, but severely wounded Greyshade and badly damaged Master-Com's droid body. Accepting their fate side-by-side as friends, Greyshade and Master-Com's body succumbed to their injuries in the smoke-filled hangar.
While yet another of Master-Com's droid bodies had been destroyed, the system itself remained online after Greyshade's death, though it was gripped with a deep depression after losing the only friend it had ever known. The Empire assumed control of the station soon after the battle, appointing Commander Mulchive Wermis as the Wheel's seventh administrator and sending all profits to the Emperor. Its dealings with Zertik Strom had left Master-Com with a healthy distrust of the Empire, and despondent at Greyshade's death, Master-Com refused to take another droid body and retreated inward, only keeping basic systems online. Master-Com's lack of input was incredibly hard on Wermis, who soon found that properly running the station without Master-Com's assistance was impossible. In a sense, this knowledge ultimately brought Master-Com back to life: the supercomputer found a new purpose in sabotaging Wermis' rule over the Wheel. Wermis eventually died of a heart attack during the newly-inaugurated New Republic's conquest of the Besh Gorgon system. The Wheel was liberated soon after by General Lando Calrissian and "Lando's Commandos", with Master-Com aiding in their efforts by turning off the Wheel's deflector shields as the New Republic irregulars approached. Although Calrissian was expected to assume control of the station, he instead named Master-Com the eighth, and first mechanical, administrator of the Wheel.
Revitalized, Master-Com flourished in the role of administrator, holding it for nearly one hundred years. Along the way, the droid began to enjoy an unusual amount of celebrity, once being named "The Most Interesting Droid in the Galaxy" by Popular Automaton and becoming a poster boy for droids' rights activists, although the latter interest waned after Master-Com opened the Big Game to droids. During the era of the Yuuzhan Vong War more than two decades after its assumption of the position, when the Jubilee Wheel—an ancient space station orbiting Ord Mantell whose deceased former owner, Iaco Stark, had once filed numerous copyright infringement lawsuits against the Wheel—came under attack by the extragalactic invaders. Despite the decades-old enmity between the two, Master-Com sent half of the Wheel's private fleet to help Jubilee Wheel owner Big Bunji defend the station, an effort that proved to be in vain. Although some reports claimed that the Wheel itself was conquered by the Yuuzhan Vong, those assertions were incorrect, and the station remained free throughout the war.
In its years as administrator, Master-Com earned the respect and loyalty of those around it, and gradually began to take on more Human-like traits. But in 101 ABY—after 97 fruitful years of rule over the Wheel—Master-Com suddenly disappeared, and the station went silent. After several weeks of inactivity, however, the Wheel lit up again, this time with its newest administrator, a mysterious gentleman called "Old Silver Eyes." Although Master-Com's disappearance remained unexplained, Old Silver Eyes seemed to have a similarly genial personality, and ran the station in much the same way as Master-Com had—rumors started to swirl about the droid's vanishing, including one that posited that one of Master-Com's droid bodies had been sighted piloting Greyshade's yacht, Spoilt Sport, towards a supposed "Droid World." Whether or not he had any involvement in Master-Com's disappearance, or if he was somehow Master-Com itself, Old Silver Eyes always denied any knowledge of the droid's fate. Old Silver Eyes passed away three years later, and the Wheel's systems immediately shut down as they had when Master-Com disappeared. Biituian entrepreneur Dov Paploush purchased the Wheel soon thereafter, found that the Czerka Master Control System had been disconnected, and unceremoniously gutted the system to replace it with more modern technology.
- "Obviously, your actions are connected to the Human emotion of love—while some chord is struck in my own circuitry by the mutual respect and friendship between the Rebel droids and their masters. It is unmachine-like, but... I wish I had such a relationship, sir."
- ―Master-Com, to Simon Greyshade
A Class 1 droid, the Wheel's Master-Com was a unique model most closely related to the BRT supercomputer, but with the ability to transfer its consciousness into an ambulatory frame. Noted for its pleasant personality and skillful performance of all of the station's administrative needs, Master-Com faithfully served a string of Wheel administrators throughout its years of existence. Master-Com was expertly tailored to the Wheel's requirements, and especially during the reign of Simon Greyshade, it controlled almost all facets of the station's day-to-day operations. Programmed with an extremely high level of intelligence, Master-Com's omniscient view eventually turned inward, as it became fascinated by the droids C-3PO and R2-D2, and the bond they had with their master, Luke Skywalker. Through them, Master-Com began to understand the concept of friendship and camaraderie, eventually realizing that it felt those same feelings of friendship towards Greyshade. Although Greyshade initially scorned the idea of friendship with a droid, he ended up reciprocating those feelings before his death.
The loss of Greyshade devastated Master-Com, who fell into a deep depression for some time. However, it soon found a new purpose in foiling the rule of Imperial Commander Mulchive Wermis over the Wheel, having gained a strong resentment of the Empire over the preceding years. This new mission revitalized Master-Com, and after being named administrator of the Wheel, it took to the position with aplomb. Acquaintances noted that after becoming administrator, Master-Com gradually adopted more and more Human-like mannerisms, including a rabid fandom for podracing and a love of music, sometimes being found whistling while walking the halls of the Wheel. Master-Com was also a strong proponent of the violent "Big Game," a controversial gladiatorial contest that was one of the Wheel's hallmarks. Unfailingly genial and effective, Master-Com earned the respect and admiration of those around it, and delighted in entertaining the Wheel's high rollers in its private quarters with a Kubaz cigarra or some Cassandran brandy in its metallic hand. Indeed, some of Master-Com's associates called it one of the finest people with whom they had ever dealt with.
Behind the scenesEdit
Master-Com first appeared in Star Wars 18: The Empire Strikes, written by Archie Goodwin and released in 1978. Master-Com and his administrator, Simon Greyshade, appeared in several subsequent issues of the original Marvel Star Wars series, before both seemingly died at the end of Star Wars 23: Flight Into Fury. However, Master-Com was confirmed to have survived in Viva Space Vegas! The History of the Marvelous Wheel, a pair of 2013 StarWars.com reference articles written by Abel G. Peña and Rich Handley, which expounds on the supercomputer's fate after its comic appearances. The article further clarifies a previous continuity error: The New Essential Guide to Droids confuses the Jubilee Wheel and the Wheel space stations, mistakenly stating that Big Bunji was the Wheel's administrator and that Master-Com aided him against a Yuuzhan Vong assault. The article establishes that Big Bunji's Jubilee Wheel was, in fact, the station attacked, and while Master-Com attempted to aid in its defense, his Wheel was never threatened.
- Star Wars 18: The Empire Strikes (First appearance)
- Star Wars 19: The Ultimate Gamble
- Star Wars 20: Deathgame
- Star Wars 21: Shadow of a Dark Lord
- Star Wars 23: Flight Into Fury
- Beyond the Rim (Mentioned only)
Notes and referencesEdit
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 The New Essential Guide to Droids
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Star Wars 18: The Empire Strikes
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8 4.9
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Star Wars 23: Flight into Fury
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 Star Wars 21: Shadow of a Dark Lord
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 Star Wars 19: The Ultimate Gamble
- ↑ Star Wars 20: Deathgame