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Quote1 I had not anticipated my liberation by such a means but neither shall I let such a golden opportunity go to waste. Once I have mastered this paltry orb, I shall set out to release my fellow beings from their imprisonment. Reunited, no power in the universe can stand against us. Quote2
-- Bio-Gem[1]
 

The Bio-Gem was an inorganic[4] intelligent being of malignant intent[4][5] ardently dedicated to the total annihilation of organic life in the universe.[4]

Many millenia ago, an alien race, their name lost to history, managed to shatter the Bio-Gem in a number of pieces,[4][5] each of these retaining sapience and thinking independently, even able to keep contact with its "crystal-brothers." The later species, unable to destroy the Bio-Gem completely,[4] instead scattered the splinters through the space[5] and develop a protective countermeasure using Natter Energy-Eggs with self-destructive capabilities:[4][5] An Egg was left near every Bio-Gem -which could not move on their own. Whenever a Bio-Gem tried to release itself from its prison through whatever means, the Egg detonated, destroying itself and the Bio-Gem.[4] Should the Egg be manipulated, then the explosion also took place. Should the Bio-Gem used its resources to release itself in a way the Egg could detect, then the Egg also set off.[2]

One of the Bio-Gem's pieces was hidden[5] in the planet Scadam,[4] fourth[6] in the Gogol System[7] of a galaxy far from the Milky Way.[5] Scadam was inhabited by the golden-skinned humanoids[8] called Scadamites,[7] who had forfeit warfare for generations to develop an intellectual culture.[5] Scadamites considered certain opinions, such as aggressiveness, to be heretic.[4] They were unaware of the Bio-Gem, that remained in a forbidden, abandoned museum of Scadam, still watched by the Egg.[2]

Bio-Gem, Natter Energy-Egg (Earth-616) from Questprobe Vol 1 1

The Bio-Gem and the Egg watching it.

The Bio-Gem was however detected by the Black Fleet,[4] a conquering armada of pirate warships,[4][5][9] inheritors of the ancient biomechanical Turgentine Technenium[5][10] that aimed to destroy all the organic species in the universe.[10] The Black Fleet have discovered how to neutralize the Energy Egg and enslave the Bio-Gem splinters into bio-matter harnesses. They were collecting all the Bio-Gems in the universe to use them as a power source[4] in their attempt to take over the universe.[4][5] They believed that, once they had collected all the Bio-Gems, they would remove free will from oranic beings.[4]

The thousand-ship[11] Fleet raided and ravaged the worlds that hosted Bio-Gems,[8][7] dangerously approaching peaceful Scadam.[7] The Scadamite leaders, the Ruling Council, knew of the invaders[8][5] but refused to actively protect themselves, both due to their beliefs[5][5] and because they lacked any weaponry or soldier.[4] Dissenting Council member Durgan the philosopher, who had used Scadamite technology to watch events on other worlds, believed that the Scadamites could obtain superpowers from superbeings on Earth; but his view was deemed traitorous and Durgan was expelled from the Council chamber.[8][4]

Independently and secretly,[4] Durgan created a computer[1] construct called the Chief Examiner,[5] an artificial reproduction of Durgan's consciousness[1][5] on which Durgan could project his own psyche to take direct control of it.[1][5][5] The Examiner was sent to Earth to look for superpowered beings, then evaluate their superpowers in a way that Durgan could replicate these and insert them in another robot that would become the champion of Scadam when the fleet come.[1] The Examiner had to convince the superbeings to go through a black portal,[8][4][2][5] where they would be submitted to a test in the Examiner's lair[8] in a laboratory at Scadam.[5] The Bio-Gem however secretly kept track of Durgan's and the Chief Examiner's activities.[4]

The first target of the Chief Examiner was the Hulk, who was escaping from the military in the Grand Canyon area. Before the Examiner could reach the Hulk, the Bio-Gem psyonically contacted with the later's naive mind: Throughout an illusion, the Bio-Gem materialized in front of Hulk, along with the Energy-Egg, in a cave. When Hulk approached to touch these items, the Egg detonated, destroying the Gem, in an apparent attempt to gain the Hulk's sympathies. The Hulk, however, was too obtuse to understand the message, and simply retired.[8]

The Chief Examiner then submitted the Hulk to his test.[8] Transported to the Examiner's lair, an open area with several huge domes, the Hulk was to search for seventeen gems and drop them in a "warp" area next to the Chief Examiner's office, while at the same time dodging and overpowering adversaries. By digging, the Hulk found an open area where the Bio-Gem and the Egg were being held. The Hulk took the Bio-Gem and delivered it along with the other gems. Impressed with this performance, the Chief Examiner rewarded the Hulk with a secret password[12] and returned him to Earth.[8]

Soon afterward, the Black Fleet approached Scadam in several parsecs to raid another world, destroying the local Bio-Gem. Scadam's Bio-Gem was in remote contact with its peer and felt its death, as well as a renewed yearning for release of the Egg. The Bio-Gem tried to monitor the Chief Examiner's activities on Earth; this transmission went undetected by the Egg but was noticed by Durgan's nosy apprentice Tuskar, who was looking for his missing master.[4]

As the Chief Examiner was trying to obtain Spider-Man's powers, the Bio-Gem also contacted Spider-Man. Spider-Man was fighting his enemy, illusionist Mysterio, in the Daily Bugle offices; due to this, he initially believed that the Chief Examiner was Mysterio in disguise or one of Mysterio's tricks. The Bio-Gem sent Spider-Man a psychic message, appearing in front of him along with the Energy Egg and showing the Egg as another entity that was holding the Bio-Gem against the later's will before exploding and destroying both of them. However, Spider-Man's intuition and danger sense revealed him that the Bio-Gem was evil and that the Egg was to explode. The Bio-Gem understood that Spider-Man was no longer a potential ally of it; but, seeing that Spider-Man believed that the Bio-Gem and Mysterio were both similarly evil, the Bio-Gem decided to approach Mysterio somehow and mentally manipulate him.[4]

Before the Bio-Gem had a chance to do so, however, the Chief Examiner submitted Spider-Man to his test. Spider-Man appeared in a Daily Bugle-like environment in Scadam, where he confronted Mysterio and other of his enemies while collecting seventeen gems, plus the Bio-Gem, and delivering them to his ally Madame Web. When Spider-Man succeeded, the Chief Examiner gave him a password and returned him to Earth,[13] to continue his battle with Mysterio. Due to the strains of the test, Spider-Man was momentarily weakened -and at Mysterio's mercy![4]

The Bio-Gem took this chance to subtly influence the Chief Examiner so that he would feel the need to study Mysterio.[5][4] To do this, the Bio-Gem manipulated a Scadamite computer, but it could not be too open in its power output because otherwise the Energy-Egg would detect the activity. The Examiner tried to submit Mysterio to his test, but Mysterio cowardly fled, fearing some kind of trap. The Bio-Gem could not reassert its control over the Chief Examiner without risking detection, so he let it go. This allowed the Chief Examiner to recover and leave, while Spider-Man, also refreshed, defeated Mysterio. The day was not a complete loss for the Bio-Gem, however: It learned how to control the Scadamite computers in a more efficient way, and it managed to cut contact before Tuskar had a chance to detect it.[4]

Durgan sent[1] the Chief Examiner after the original members of the Fantastic Four.[2][5] The Chief Examiner invaded their headquarters, the Baxter Building, where he found Fantastic Four's Human Torch with his romantic partner, blind human artist Alicia Masters[2] -secretly the metamorphic Skrull alien Lyja impersonating Masters.[14][15] The Torch and Masters tried to escape the Examiner, and the chase led to the Examiner bumping into Fantastic Four new member She-Hulk. The Chief Examiner was uninterested in the She-Hulk's powers and considered to simply restrain her for a while.[2]

The Bio-Gem then took over the Chief Examiner's mind and convinced him to destroy the She-Hulk.[5] The Chief Examiner took control over the Fantasticar and used it as a projectile,[8] also threatening "Masters'" life. In an attempt to rescue his paramour, the Human Torch submitted himself to the Chief Examiner's test; however, the Chief Examiner recovered control over his own actions in time and ensured that "Masters" was unharmed.[2][5]

Meanwhile, in Scadam, Durgan had discovered the Bio-Gem in the deserted gallery and understood the threat posed by the Energy-Egg. Tuskar, tracking Durgan, found the same hall and approached the Egg. Durgan then appeared in nearby screens to explain Tuskar about the security mechanism -although he seemed to know nothing about the real threat of the Bio-Gem- and to recruit Tuskar as an ally for his own quest - with the Bio-Gem witnessing this exchange.[2]

The Chief Examiner then got Fantastic Four's Thing's powers[2] but, before he could chase the powers of other Fantastic Four members, he fell under a more efficient reprogramming by the Bio-Gem,[5][1] even if the Bio-Gem's powers were still inhibited by the nearby Energy Egg. When Durgan projected his own consciousness into the Chief Examiner, the Bio-Gem used its own psychic abilities to trap Durgan's wounded mind in the Chief Examiner's mnemonic system, a psychic ecosystem with a huge breach representing the Bio-Gem's viral control over the Examiner's mind. The Bio-Gem discovered of Magneto's great power and super-villain reputation, and sent the Examiner after Magneto in an attempt to gain the later as an ally to destroy Durgan.[1]

By then, Magneto had become a friend of the X-Men and was vacationing with them and their human friend Aleytys "Lee" Forrester in a technologically-advanced island in the Bermuda Triangle. The Bio-Gem-influenced Chief Examiner took control over the statue-like robot defenders of the island and used them to attack the X-Men and temporarily petrify them. Only Magneto resisted this attack. The Examiner then tried to convince Magneto to cross the Examiner's scanning plate; but Magneto refused,[1] instead using his magnetic power against the portal. This scrambled the Scadamite circuitry of the Chief Examiner, creating a scramble feedback loop that trapped Magneto in the Examiner's mnemonic system.[1]

Taking control of Magneto's body, the Bio-Gem donned the Chief Examiner's garb[5][1] -as the later disappeared when inactive-[1] in time to confront one last member of the X-Men who was away and had just returned, Rogue. Identifying her as a threat, the Bio-Gem confronted Rogue using Magneto's powers, and giving oral hints of his identity and scheme.[5][1] During the fight, Rogue went through the Chief Examiner's scanning plate but, instead of being test, as she was a power absorber, she emerged with the powers of the Examiner's previous targets - which she used against the Bio-Gem, who was getting more familiar with its new body and abilities: When Rogue used the Human Torch's powers to create a whirlwind to deprive her enemy of oxygen, the Bio-Gem countered with a magnetic-powered energy vortex to recover.[1]

Bio-Gem, Natter Energy-Egg (Earth-616) from Marvel Fanfare Vol 1 33

The Gem does not give up.

Meanwhile, Magneto found Durgan's trapped mind in the mnemonic system,[5][1] but acted in a way the Bio-Gem had not foreseen: Magneto healed Durgan, then cooperated with him to recover and escape from their prison. By crossing the chasm, they activated the Chief Examiner's self-repair routines,[1] expelling the Bio-Gem's influence from the computer construct.[5][1] Magneto returned to his own body when Rogue was battering him. The Chief Examiner, now under Durgan's friendly influence, restored Rogue's normal status.[1] Then Magneto graciously offered to be analyzed for Durgan's just quest against the Black Fleet,[5][1] but criticized the Chief Examiner's treacherous means. The Examiner, unaware of the Bio-Gem's real goals, believed that he had been interested on Magneto's powers on his own, and that he had tried to force him to be analyzed because a more diplomatic approach may have been refused.[1]

Durgan tried to find a trace of the person that had sliced the Chief Examiner, but failed at this.[1]

The Chief Examiner analyzed more than twelve Earth-born superheroes[16] which powered Durgan's huge champion, the Chief Exterminator,[17] but the Examiner was destroyed when trying to obtain the Star Brand power source.[5][18] When the Black Fleet finally reached Scadam and attacked,[18] Durgan piloted the Exterminator against them[17] but the Exterminator was overwhelmed and destroyed, killing Durgan in the process. Star Brand host Kayla Ballantine used her power to destroy the Black Fleet,[16] but the Scadamites had been all but extinguished.[19]

Powers

  • Endurance: The Bio-Gem is almost indestructible: An advanced alien species was unable to obliterate the Gem, succeeding only in shattering it in pieces -each of them an independent sentient being- and imprisoning these with Natter Energy-Eggs.[5][4]
  • Psychic Powers: Although unable to move on its own, particularly when imprisoned by the Natter Energy-Egg,[4] the Bio-Gem could use a number of psychic abilities including:
    • Illusion Generation: The Bio-Gem could generate illusory images, including images of itself, and send them to other people's minds as a way to influence them.[8][4] The Bio-Gem could not hide its own evil this way; this would be perceived by particularly intuitive beings. Although this is some kind of illusion, people with danger sense would perceive imminent illusory threats such as explosions.[4]
    • Mental Manipulation: The Bio-Gem could psychically influence organic beings to guide their actions. It tried to manipulate Spider-Man, but he detected its evilness and rejected its influence. The Bio-Gem also tried to sway Mysterio.[4]
    • Psychic Attack: The Bio-Gem successfully entrapped another being's cousciousness (Durgan's) when the later left his physical body to take over the Chief Examiner's robot body.[1]
    • Reprogramming: The Bio-Gem can reprogram computers, including Scadamite laptops[4] and the Chief Examiner.[5] The Bio-Gem can control the mind of the Chief Examiner, influencing him to take certain actions[4][2][1] which the Examiner will believe were his own idea.[1] The Bio-Gem cannot take over the Examiner indefinitely with ease: It requires a control over a second computer and a power output that can be detected,[4] and the Examiner himself can reassert his own control over himself if he understand his actions are clearly misguided.[2] Only once the Bio-Gem took over the Examiner for good, which required the Bio-Gem manipulating the Examiner's mnemonic system with great damages that were[1] beyond the Chief Examiner's self-repair capabilities alone.[1][5] The Examiner only recovered thanks to external influence of third parties that the Bio-Gem tried to psychically ensnare in the same mnemonic system. Even then, the Bio-Gem successfully erased any trace of his own manipulation.[1]


Weaknesses

  • Natter Energy-Egg Vulnerability: The Bio-Gem is susceptible to the influence of the Natter Energy_Eggs, which are used to imprison the gems.[4][5] Whenever a Gem tries to release itself from the Energy-Egg holding it,[4] or whenever the Egg detects the Bio-Gem trying to release itself (e.g. by openly operating a computer), or whenever the Egg is manipulated[2] or even touched by a third party, the Egg explodes, destroying itself and the nearby gem.[4] The proximity of the Egg itself is enough to reduce the Bio-Gem's powers.[1]


Equipment

The Bio-Gem uses nearby Scadamites computers in a discreet way.[4][2]

Transportation

The Hulk[12] and Spider-Man both took the Bio-Gem from one place to another.[13]

  • The Bio-Gem was created for a project of text-based adventure videogames: Adventure International founder and game designer Scott Adams (not related to Dilbert author) collaborated with Marvel Comics staff in a project to generate twelve games featuring Marvel heroes, with tie-in comic-books sold along with the games: The story continued from the comic to the game and back. Three games -Questprobe: The Hulk (1984), Questprobe: Spider-Man (1985) and Questprobe: The Human Torch & The Thing (1985) were produced for Amstrad CPC, Dragon 32/64 and ZX Spectrum platforms, but then Adventure International bankrupted, interrupting the process and leaving the plot open. The comic-book of the fourth instance, intended to involve the X-Men, was published in Marvel Fanfare #33 (1987), incorporated the Bio-Gem to the mainstream Marvel continuity.
  • The plot does never explain why the Chief Examiner's first two tests include gathering gems, including the Bio-Gem, or why the third one does not include gems at all, particularly as both the Chief Examiner and Durgan were unaware of the threat posed by the Bio-Gem.
  • The saga of the Chief Examiner and Scadam's troubles with the Black Fleet continued in the Quasar series in 1992, where the Black Fleet virtually annihilates the Scadamites, including Durgan, before being destroyed by a visiting superpowered Earthling that had accidentally destroyed the Chief Examiner; soon afterward, the Black Fleet's origin is detailed in the Starblast saga. However, none of these appearances mention the Bio-Gem.

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Footnotes

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 1.22 1.23 1.24 1.25 1.26 1.27 Marvel Fanfare #33
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 Questprobe #3
  3. Concept and creation by Adams and Byrne -as specified in Questprobe #1; authorship of first appearance by Mantlo (script), Gruenwald (breakdowns) and Romita (inks)
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 4.13 4.14 4.15 4.16 4.17 4.18 4.19 4.20 4.21 4.22 4.23 4.24 4.25 4.26 4.27 4.28 4.29 4.30 4.31 4.32 4.33 4.34 4.35 Questprobe #2
  5. 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 5.11 5.12 5.13 5.14 5.15 5.16 5.17 5.18 5.19 5.20 5.21 5.22 5.23 5.24 5.25 5.26 5.27 5.28 5.29 5.30 5.31 5.32 5.33 Secret Wars: Official Guide to the Marvel Multiverse #1; Chief Examiner's entry
  6. Quasar #44
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Quasar #37
  8. 8.00 8.01 8.02 8.03 8.04 8.05 8.06 8.07 8.08 8.09 8.10 Questprobe #1
  9. Quasar #39
  10. 10.0 10.1 Starblast #4
  11. Quasar #43
  12. 12.0 12.1 Questprobe: The Hulk
  13. 13.0 13.1 Questprobe: Spider-Man
  14. Secret Wars: Official Guide to the Marvel Multiverse #1
  15. Fantastic Four #357
  16. 16.0 16.1 Quasar #42
  17. 17.0 17.1 Quasar #40
  18. 18.0 18.1 Quasar #38
  19. Quasar #45



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