For centuries, the Shadow Cabinet has existed to secretly protect humanity from being destroyed by its worst instincts. However, the means to accomplish that goal has led to intense ethical debates among Cabinet members. In some cases, these debates lead to outright conflict between different factions; these covert battles that occur to a largely oblivious public are known as "Shadow Wars."
The latest Shadow War was notable for being caused not by ethical differences, but a lust for power. A veteran Shadow Cabinet operative named Headmaster resented the team's current leader, the precognitive Dharma, for maintaining its principle of defending mankind. Instead, Headmaster believed that beings as powerful as the Cabinet should openly rule normal humans, whom he deemed inferior. Through conversation, he discovered other Cabinet operatives who shared his beliefs: snobbish disintegrator Ash, shapeshifting sadist Rainsaw, pyrokinetic brute Slag, spellcasting Wytch, and teleporters Funyl and Transit. These operatives became the founding members of the Star Chamber, a group dedicated to global domination.
The Chamber then set in motion their eventual split from the Shadow Cabinet while maintaining the facade of still being loyal operatives. Headmaster either located or established a secret base for the Chamber. The rest of the Chamber secretly copied Shadow Cabinet files valuable to their goals. Among these was information on Dr. Nathan Flack, inventor of Quantum Juice, a powerful and often dangerous mutagen that was the perfect weapon for global conquest.
The Chamber also copied Cabinet files on metahumans based in Dakota City, whose numbers increased dramatically due to the Quantum Juice deployed during the "Big Bang" event. Dharma hoped to recruit some of the metahumans on file into the Cabinet, but the Star Chamber now planned to use this information to quickly bolster their own ranks.
With preparations complete, the Star Chamber promptly left the Cabinet's headquarters, the Shadowspire, shocking everyone with the likely exception of Dharma. Thus, the Shadow War began in earnest as the Star Chamber started recruiting Dakota's metahumans, forcing their former teammates to do the same.
Many of Dakota's metahumans on file were superheroes so the Chamber tried to win their allegiance by appealing to their sense of justice. However, Headmaster was also interested in morally dubious prospects like vigilante Hardware, mob enforcer Harm, and crimelord Holocaust. Since these metahumans would reject persuasion, Headmaster ordered Transit to kidnap them via teleportation so he could personally sway them to join the Chamber.
The Star Chamber was mostly successful in their efforts. Holocaust and Harm joined the Chamber despite how they were "recruited" by Transit. Then, Holocaust convinced Rocket to join the Chamber, defeating the Shadow Cabinet's Donner in battle in the process. Rainsaw won over scientist turned immortal Xombi, who was turned off by the strong arm tactics of the Cabinet's Twilight.
There were also setbacks such Transit being arrested after being defeated by Hardware, who then joined the Cabinet. Static also joined the Shadow Cabinet after Funyl refused to aid the teen hero's endangered friends. As for the Blood Syndicate, the metahuman gang violently rejected both the Chamber and the Cabinet's offers of membership..
Now at full strength, the Star Chamber sought to acquire a supply of Quantum Juice Headmaster wanted to kidnap Dr. Nathan Flack, whom he'd force him to produce the mutagen, but the scientist could not be found.  Thus, the Chamber had to steal the world's only known Quantum Juice stockpile, which belonged to SYSTEM, long time enemies of the Shadow Cabinet. SYSTEM stored the stockpile in a vault hidden in an American casino. Headmaster convinced the new Chamber member that stealing the Quantum Juice was necessary lest into the hands of the "evil" Shadow Cabinet.
However, this well-crafted plan almost fell apart due to Holocaust, who confronted Headmaster with his suspicions of the Chamber's true motives. Headmaster defused the situation by offering 15 percent of his personal supply of Quantum Juice in exchange for Holocaust not revealing what he learned to the other recruits.
With that resolved, Headmaster had Funyl teleport several Star Chamber members to the SYSTEM casino to steal the Quantum Juice stockpile. The Chamber easily defeated the armored SYSTEMatics guarding the vault, but then were confronted by the Shadow Cabinet who also teleported in. After a fierce battle, the Cabinet captured the Quantum Juice, forcing the Chamber to return to their headquarters empty handed.
Headmaster planned for this possibility and revealed his new strategy to the Chamber. The team would stealing certain radioactive materials, which they would then process into Quantum Juice using the superconducting supercollider in Luoyang, China. These materials were available in only three fusion reactors on Earth: Benterai Research Center (Tokyo, Japan), the Einstein Institute (Tel Aviv, Israel), and L'institut Des Recherches Atomiques (Paris, France). Headmaster split the Chamber into three teams, each one assigned to a fusion reactor to be raided. In response, Dharma sent a team of Cabinet operatives to each reactor to guard it. Despite the Cabinet's best efforts, the Star Chamber stole the radioactive material from the Einstein Institute. Victorious, the Chamber teleported via Funyl to the supercollider, leading to the final showdown with the Shadow Cabinet.
The battle between the Chamber and Cabinet was intense, but ultimately a ruse, enabling Ash, Funyl and Slag to take over the collider's control room. Nevertheless, the tide of the battle was beginning to turn against the Chamber, which could lose the conflict before creating Quantum Juice. Holocaust took advantage of the situation by threatening to desert the Chamber unless Headmaster surrendered half of his Quantum Juice supply. Seeing no other option, Headmaster yielded to Holocaust's blackmail.
This exchange was witnessed by Xombi and Rocket, who were disgusted at being deceived and promptly switched sides in the battle. However, this change in loyalties came too late since Ash, Funyl and Slag finished creating the Q Juice and loading into a missile. The trio then launched the missile, whose loud roar startled the Cabinet and the rest of the Chamber, who promptly ended their fight.
Headmaster informed all present that in minutes the Quantum Juice-bearing missile would reach geosynchronous orbit. The rocket was rigged to be detonated by a remote in Headmaster's hand, thus releasing its payload into Earth's atmosphere and killing countless millions. The missile was Star Chamber's trump card in case any superhero tried to thwart their conquest of the world.
However, Headmaster's gloating was short-lived when his remote was snatched by an invisible observer: Dr. Nathan Flack, now calling himself Dr. Nemo. Flack explained how he his cloaking power by exposure to Quantum Juice, and desired to similarly "bless" humanity by releasing the mutagen in Earth's atmosphere. While observing the Shadow War for a few days, Flack realized the Star Chamber's scheme for world conquest was the perfect means to mutate mankind. With that, Flack detonated the missile to the horror of the Cabinet and the Chamber.
Fortunately, Hardware had secretly flown off to intercept the Star Chamber's missile as Headmaster explained its purpose. Hardware boarded the missile and then escaped with its Quantum Juice payload just seconds before the missile exploded. Thus, the world was saved the genocidal plans of Flack, who turned invisible and escaped.
The Star Chamber promptly surrendered while the new recruits joined the Cabinet except for Holocaust who also fled the scene. After securing the new Quantum Juice, the Shadow Cabinet left the rest of the Chamber to be picked up by local authorities. The Chamber soon found themselves in maximum security prison with lengthy sentences.
However, the Star Chamber's incarceration would be cut short due to unforeseen circumstances. Soon after her arrest, Transit was transferred to Davy Jones Locker, an undersea prison for metahuman criminals. She won a temporary release when Hardware needed her powers to help him and other heroes defeat the god-like menace Rift, who threatened to destroy their universe and a parallel one. Following Rift's defeat, Transit slipped away during the subsequent celebration by Hardware and his allies. Hardware did not really try to recapture her, perhaps feeling her recent heroism more than made up for her criminal past.
As for the rest of the Star Chamber, they regained their freedom as a result of the infamous Utopia Park Riots in Dakota. Several Shadow Cabinet operatives publicly saved endangered police and civilians during the riots despite Dharma's explicit orders to not get involved. Due to this mutiny, Dharma felt his operatives had too much freedom and were less effective in his eyes. So, he declared that operatives could no longer leave the Shadowspire except for missions. In short, Dharma had become the very insane tyrant that the Chamber had portrayed him as during the Shadow War. Horrified, Donner, Blitzen and Iota quit the Cabinet and would later found the public superhero team, the Heroes.
Anticipating such a rebellion, Dharma had earlier arranged for the release of the Star Chamber from prison. Having nowhere else to go, the Chamber rejoined the Cabinet. With that decision, the Star Chamber was finished.
Equipment: None known.
Transportation: The Star Chamber relied on Funyl's teleportation powers for virtually instantaneous transportation.
Weapons: None known.
- No special notes.
- No trivia.