|This article relies on references to primary sources. (November 2010)|
The Carrier is the fictional base of operations of The Authority, a Wildstorm Comics superteam. It is a shiftship, a ship capable of moving through the Bleed, the red space which separates alternate universes in the Wildstorm multiverse. It is 50 miles (80 km) long, 35 miles (56 km) high and two miles (3 km) wide. It is powered by a caged baby universe. It first appeared in The Authority #1, cover dated May 1999.
Fictional character biography
It is known that the Carrier was originally a trading ship, used to travel and trade between alternate dimensions, but its black box was found all but wiped and so its true origins remain unknown. The Carrier was parked in Earth orbit some time in the past and remained dormant until it was discovered by Jenny Sparks of The Authority and used as their base of operations from 1999 onwards.
The Carrier exists in orbit around the Earth but at the same time continuously sails through the higher dimensions of the Wildstorm multiverse. It is capable of opening doors between any two points in space, allowing quick access from the Carrier to anywhere on Earth, as well as to the past, future and to alternate universes. While it is also itself capable of travelling almost literally anywhere, the Carrier stays tied to Earth orbit so that whoever left it there can come back to collect it. It is reluctant to leave although will do so if convinced that it is necessary. Its talents have been used on many missions, such as to infiltrate (physically entering) a vast biological lifeform threatening Earth and to actually evacuate Earth itself when another situation endangers it.
It once crashed to earth after being infiltrated by the government sponsored super-hillbilly, 'Three-Willied Seth'. For some time after this, the Carrier was controlled by a government-run replacement Authority team; it did not co-operate as well with these newcomers. Eventually this team was slain by the original Authority.
The Carrier has always been shown to have some degree of intelligence. In The Authority: Kev (October 2002) it was explicitly revealed that it is, in fact, sentient. It is also able to control time in a small area, for a short period.
An alternate-future version, seen when Midnighter travels to the future, is said to have closed itself to several members of the Authority, whom the Carrier has decided it does not like.
At one point, Kev Hawkins almost destroys the Carrier with an alien-controlled atomic bomb. The Carrier puts up its defenses and saves approximately seventy percent of itself, but not the living quarters, causing the members to "lose all their stuff".
In The Authority: Revolution it revealed the original Carrier was placed in Earth orbit primarily for the benefit of Henry Bendix by an alternate Bendix from another universe, because Bendixes are rare in the Wildstorm multiverse and they look out for one another. Unable to make use of the Authority's Carrier, Bendix instead obtains an identical Carrier of his own from the same (still as-yet unrevealed) place the first one originated. It is visually similar to the authority's Carrier, though doubled and connected at the center between them. At the climax of the story, Bendix is defeated but the Authority's Carrier is destroyed; they take Bendix's Carrier over instead.
Captain Atom: Armageddon
In Captain Atom: Armageddon, Captain Atom is accidentally transplanted from the DC Universe into the Wildstorm Universe. In this story the Carrier appears to consist of two identical Carriers joined together, which is in line with the one acquired from Bendix at the end of Authority: Revolution.
During Wildstorm Comics' WorldStorm event the Wildstorm universe was given a "soft reboot". As a result several Wildstorm titles have been re-launched, including a new Authority comic in December 2006. The new Authority comic is set on an Earth entirely without superheroes, and so far the Carrier is the only "member" of the Authority to have appeared, being found buried and inert at the bottom of the Norwegian Sea. It also appears to have changed dimensions slightly: it is now only 20 miles (32 km) tall, but 8 miles (13 km) wide.
After the catastrophic battle described in the Number of the Beast limited series, the Carrier is damaged by a cadre of cloned superheroes, formed by the remains of The High, and the miniature universe powering it is ripped out of its damaged containment field and shunted into Jenny Quantum's body for safekeeping. As a result the Carrier "dies", crashing into the ruins of London, now called Unlondon. Due to its universe-hopping nature, the Carrier shuts down while out-of-sync with reality. As a result its ruins are now "transcendentally fused" with the surrounding, becoming part of the Unlondon landscape and still housing a huge amount of space. While Angela Spica, now powerless, searches daily for a way to revive at least partly the Carrier, or for still usable technology to scavenge, the remaining members of the Authority now use the marooned Carrier as a fortress and a shelter for the surviving humans.
In Grant Morrison's Final Crisis: Superman Beyond, the Monitor Zillo Valla refers to "carriers" and other Bleed-traveling vessels as being pieces of Monitor technology. Her personal Carrier, named the Ultima Thule, becomes later instrumental into saving the Multiverse from the vampiric Monitor Mandrakk.
- The Elite team is a somewhat parodic version of The Authority, so they too have a large vessel which is used as a base of operations. It is called 'Bunny'.
- The description of The Carrier's motion, as set out by Warren Ellis, is heavily stylised. For example when the readers first see it the description is "The Carrier. Moving downwake through the Devachanic Realm at a speed of twenty-five dreams per second." This style was used by the writers who took over the series, but has also been parodied, most explicitly in Garth Ennis' Kev Hawkins mini-series, the first description being: "The Carrier. Transcending the Arse of Reason in time for last orders" and later, discarding any pretence at imitation: "The Carrier. Flubbity-wub-wub Flubbity-wub-wub-flub-wub."
- Final Crisis #7