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|First appearance||X-Factor, vol. 1 #19 (1987)|
|Notable aliases||Ship, Professor, Prosh|
|Abilities||As Ship: Self-aware intergalactic starship
As Prosh: Bio-metallic transformable body.
The fictional A.I. entity originally known as Ship has appeared in several incarnations in the Marvel Universe. At times controlled by both the X-Men and their enemies, the sentient A.I. has been installed in the core of a Celestial starship, two space stations, and a techno-organic being.
Fictional character biography
Ship's A.I. was created untold millennia ago by the Celestials as the operating system for a data collection device. The Celestials had genetically manipulated humanity, and they left the Ship in the area that would come to be known as Mongolia to monitor humanity's progress.[volume & issue needed]
Circa 1100 A.D., a Mongolian immortal known as Garbha-Hsien (later known as Saul), discovered the Ship and lived next to it while he researched its mysteries. Saul never attempted to enter the Ship.
In time, the Egyptian immortal En Sabah Nur learned of Saul and sought him out as another immortal. In a confrontation, he slew all of Saul's guards. Saul then sought to humble his fellow "forever-walker" by revealing the secret titanic vessel. Having had previous experience with futuristic technology from his encounters with Rama-Tut, Nur attacked Saul and left the other immortal for dead and entered the Ship. He emerged later as a vastly changed being who now called himself Apocalypse.
Over the next few centuries, Ship's sentience slowly evolved. Apocalypse noticed the evolving A.I. and enslaved it, telling Ship that he had created it.[volume & issue needed]
The Ship next appeared as Apocalypse's cloaked mobile headquarters as he attacked New York with his Four Horsemen. Defeated by X-Factor, Apocalypse retreated, and was forced to leave the Ship behind. During the battle, the Ship's cloaking and navigation systems were damaged. X-Factor managed to get the Ship to crash safely in the river. The only building damaged in the crash was X-Factor's own headquarters. Conveniently, the Ship also projected a force field that prevented non-mutants from entering. Given these defences, X-Factor decided to adopt the Ship as their new home base.[volume & issue needed]
When X-Factor tried to move in, they discovered that the Ship was booby-trapped, but then the Ship A.I. revealed itself and assisted them, and Rusty Collins, in disabling the security. Ship then became a butler of sorts to the team. Ship "had complete control over every part of its structure and could fashion rooms, weapons and vehicles as needed from various storehouses and parts it had. It was able to design and run training programs for X-Factor, as well as make living quarters and workshop areas for them."[dead link] However, apparently it could not shut off the field that repelled non-mutants from its interior.[volume & issue needed]
Ship played host to the New Mutants and the X-Terminators, as Professor X's mansion had been destroyed. Unfortunately this did not prevent Ship's defensive systems from attacking them when they brought aboard the entity known as Gosamyr. Ultimately, Ship was persuaded to generate a spacecraft that would remove Gosamyr from Earth.
In time, Ship took to space, responding to the call of the Celestials, with X-Factor unwittingly along for the ride, leaving them temporarily stranded on a planet undergoing its own mutant crisis. The Celestials collected the data Ship had gathered during its stay on Earth and Ship came to realize that Apocalypse had not created it. The Celestials showed it its true origin. Given the choice, the Ship A.I. decided to return to Earth with X-Factor. Upon return from the space journey, Ship landed on-end as a building in Lower Manhattan.
Apocalypse later sent his Dark Riders to kidnap the infant Nathan Christopher Summers from within Ship. The Dark Riders infected Ship with a techno-organic virus that damaged its systems. Explosion imminent, Ship launched itself into space to protect the city.
The Ship A.I. managed to salvage part of itself as a construct which was able to protect and ferry X-Factor to the Blue Area of the Moon, where they joined the massive confrontation against Apocalypse. X-Factor found that baby Nathan had also been infected with the T-O virus, and that it threatened his life. A mysterious stranger named Askani appeared and offered to take Nathan to the future, where technology would be capable of saving him. As Ship's remaining form lost cohesiveness, it spent the remainder of its energy protecting Nathan Christopher on the trip. Although Ship's energy was dissipated in this way, when Nathan arrived in the future, there was no trace or mention of Ship.[volume & issue needed]
After arriving in the future, Nathan's T-O virus went into remission. Around 16 years later, Nathan was imprisoned, and his techno-organic virus infection worsened. Blaquesmith broke into the prison and extracted a glowing orb from the metallic flesh of Nathan's chest. The orb was the Ship A.I., which, forgetting its past, had begun to call itself "Professor." Professor lived within Nathan's techno-organic flesh, acting as advisor to Nathan and helping to control the T-O infection. In time, Nathan became known as Cable.[volume & issue needed]
Back to the Present
Deciding to change his tactics for bettering the future, Cable returned to times close to the present day. He shuttled between past and future multiple times, at one point bringing with him his space station Graymalkin. Professor had assumed control of Graymalkin, performing duties similar to those it had as Ship. Graymalkin not only served as a base for Cable, but also allowed Cable to teleport through time and space.[volume & issue needed]
Eventually, Graymalkin was destroyed in a battle between X-Force, War Machine, and agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., although parts of the station were jettisoned safely to Earth. The X-Force team included several of Ship's friends from the New Mutants team. Magneto later salvaged the wreckage in space, combining it with that of his old Asteroid M base to form his new space-borne home Avalon. Cable undertook a raid on the station and, despite suffering heavy damage, he was able to download Professor back into his own techno-organics.
Cable installs Professor in X-Force's Camp Verde, AZ bunker base. During the "Phalanx Covenant" storyline, the Phalanx attempt to assimilate the camp's systems but are overwhelmed by the Professor's Celestial and future technology. X-Force returns to find that the Ship A.I. has gained a T-O body and calls itself Prosh.[volume & issue needed]
X-Force learns that Prosh's techno-organics are interfering with Cable's control over his own infection. Having come out of remission, the infection begins killing Cable. Despite having befriended the X-Force team, Prosh has to leave. With Warpath's permission, it assimilates the remainder of the base with the exception of the burial grounds. With the greater bulk, Prosh forms a spaceship again and flies off into space. Prosh returned as a key figure in the 2001 X-Men Forever miniseries.
Cable later salvages the remains of Avalon, which had fallen out of orbit. He creates a floating nation called 'Providence' and installs a copy of Ship into its power core. Cable works with this copy to keep Providence, damaged in battle, from falling into the hands of enemies.
- In the Age of Apocalypse, Ship was nearly destroyed by Magneto when it endangered the lives of his X-Men. This was after they successfully thwarted the plans of En Sabah Nur's Horsemen to take control of the United States' nuclear arsenal. The battle between Ship and Magneto left the X-Men leader drained and unable to ever fully restore his magnetic powers. Later, while hovering over the Moon and in possession of the Horseman Death, who powered Ship using Sunfire's explosive mutant abilities, Ship was destroyed when Sunfire's powers flared out of control. Some of Ship's remains were salvaged and would later be used to construct the science chamber run by Peter Corbeau.[volume & issue needed]
- Prosh is a key figure in the X-Factor Forever mini-series. The Forever series takes place after the original writers left the series years ago, and they continue to write what would have happened if they had stayed on the series. As such the series is not part of main Marvel Universe storyline.
- A version of Ship becomes Stryfe's base of operation in the far future. The battle for the fate of Hope Summers takes place inside.
In other media
Ship appeared in the X-Men animated series episode "Obsession". Beast develops a friendship with Ship and persuades it to turn against Apocalypse. The X-Men hope to use Ship to entrap Apocalypse behind a forcefield forever. However, Apocalypse had left some security systems outside of its control and quickly escaped. The resulting battle damage, the strain of overriding the security systems and sending Apocalypse into deep space ultimately caused Ship to lose power and "die". Beast grieved over the loss of his friend.
- Unofficial Chronology to the Marvel Universe: Chapter 4
- X-Force vol. 1 #37
- X-Factor vol. 1 #29–31
- The New Mutants vol. 1 #74
- X-Factor vol. 1 #51
- X-Factor vol. 1 #65 - 66
- X-Factor vol. 1 #67 - 68
- X-Force vol. 1 #21 (April 1993)
- X-Force vol. 1 #25
- X-Force vol. 1 #39 (1994)
- Cable and Deadpool #41 (August 2007)
- X-Men Chronicles 01 (1995)
- X-Force #15 (July 2009)