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Starr

The most feared man in The Grail, Starr was long the Sacred Executioner, the sword of the Allfather. With his grating voice and his scarred face, he was the threat of the Grail's power in human form. Whenever the Grail needed to put pressure on a state or on a leader, Starr was the one who paid them a visit, and when someone needed to be silenced, Starr silenced them.

He began his career in the West German wehrmacht, as a member of an elite counter-terrorism squad. His first mission was to foil an airplane hijacking, where a group of anti-Israeli terrorists were holding passengers and crew hostage. Starr and his squadron managed to board the plane and kill the terrorists, with only one casualty: a six year-old girl. Starr saw that little girl, her head shattered by gunfire, and resolved that "This is not the way the world should be."

His utter distaste for chaos, his devotion to duty and law and order, soon caught the attention of Brendel Hauptmann, an agent for The Grail. Hauptmann started checking on Starr's background, looking not only into his record as a soldier, but also as a person. He was looking for signs not only of Starr's capability, but his loyalty to the goals of the Grail - the dominance of God over humanity, and of God's order over chaos. Finally, he approached Starr himself, and asked if he had ever wondered if there was another way to approach the evils of the world. Starr, of course, was more than willing to listen.

Hauptmann introduced Starr to Eisenstein, the bureaucratic soul of The Grail. While not the actual head of the organization, Eisenstein was the one who knew exactly what was going on, who knew all the plans and all the timetables, and he revealed them to Starr - the world was going to end. A great apocalypse would be started with the coming millennium. Millions would die. And just before everything collapsed completely, The Grail would produce The Messiah, the true heir to the bloodline of Jesus Christ. All the world would be united under him, and under the Grail.

Eisenstein offered Starr a place in this plan, but first there was a little test - a renegade Grail agent who had to be silenced. The problem was that, while the authorities could be cowed into locking the man away in an insane asylum, there were a couple of reporters who were taking far too much interest in his story. So Starr's mission was simple: silence the renegade without arousing suspicion or leaving tracks back to The Grail.

Starr blew up the insane asylum.

His logic was that now there were hundreds of murders to be investigated, not just one, and most of those inmates had far more enemies than the renegade did. As for the loss of innocent life, Starr asked, "How many children died at Sodom and Gomorrah?" Having completed his mission, he was fully accepted into The Grail. He had control of men, and served at the Grail's bidding. He also discovered how he could finally find pleasure in sex: the more sordid, horrible and demeaning it is for the woman involved, the more aroused he became. With his rise to power, he was able to afford deeper and deeper levels of depravity.

Finally, he was allowed to see the secret that the Grail guarded so dearly: the descendants of Jesus Christ. And he was horrified by what he saw.

In order to keep the bloodline pure, the Grail had kept their charges interbreeding, not allowing outside blood to "taint" the sacred line of Christ. As a result, they were idiotic, deformed, feces-throwing horrors. The thought of what would happen if they or their horrible mutant offspring were presented to the world drove him to distraction. He could not accept this. And so he resolved to sever the bloodline, and to find a new Messiah to give to the world.

Plans Within Plans

What he was contemplating, however, was blasphemy, and he knew that in order to accomplish his goal, he would have to hold even greater power. But to rise to such heights would make him all the more visible and vulnerable. When Allfather D'Aronique elevated Starr to the position of Sacred Executioner, he was nearly ready. And it was the Allfather who finally made up Starr's mind.

D'Aronique reminded Starr of his history, of the steel that he contained. When Starr was young, D'Aronique said, he was attacked and scarred by a group of boys. The boys put out his eye and drew "a star for Starr" on his face. The result of the attack was not only the blinding of Starr, but also the loss of his hair and the ruination of his voice. But, D'Aronique continued, Starr didn't go to the authorities, didn't wait for the world to take care of his problem. Quietly, carefully, and without remorse, the young Starr went about the elimination of the boys who had attacked him. They all seemed to die in accidental, but terrible, deaths, and within five years, the young Starr had his revenge. This, D'Aronique believed, showed that Starr had the steel the the Grail needed.

What Starr also had, perhaps unknown to D'Aronique, was hate. Unquenchable, unstoppable hate. And at that moment, Starr was utterly determined to see D'Aronique and his mutant Messiah dead.

He started looking for co-conspirators. He knew he couldn't count on Hauptmann - the man was too dedicated - so he killed him. Then he started looking about for a new Messiah and people to help him realize his dream. By chance, he learned of an order from D'Aronique to watch a young man named Jesse Custer, and upon investigation, he eventually found out why. Jesse Custer possessed a power that had never before been seen - a Voice of Command, wherein any command he gave would be instantly obeyed. Truly that would be a sign that he was blessed by God, and Starr knew he would be a fine replacement Messiah.

Unfortunately, his pursuit of Jesse Custer would be his undoing, in many incremental steps.

The Pursuit of Jesse Custer

Starr flew to San Francisco to meet two of his new conspirators, Featherstone and Hoover. While they were not the best he could hope for, they were dedicated, and that was really all he needed. He took command of the San Francisco office and immediately started looking for Custer. And things started to go badly for him very quickly. For example, Starr tasked Hoover with finding a prostitute, and a place to have sordid, dirty sex. Hoover's lack of experience with such things, however, led him to hire Bob Glover, Sexual Investigator. The result was Starr's introduction to the receiving side of rough sodomy. For the rest of his life, Starr would require his sexual partners to wear strap-on dildos and anally violate him if he wanted to get any sense of arousal.

Later, Starr lost an ear. It was during the assault on the mansion of Jesus DeSade. Starr was leading a Grail assault team trying to capture Jesse Custer, and tried to get to him through his girlfriend Tulip. What they didn't know was that she was at least as good with a gun as they were. She killed half a dozen of Starr's men and shot off Starr's left ear in the process of trying to escape. Unfortunately, she ran out of bullets before he did. He threatened to kill her unless he found Jesse Custer. To his surprise, Custer surrendered himself to Starr and traded himself for Tulip. Starr was reasonably satisfied with the outcome of the mission, loaded Custer, Tulip and his remaining men into a couple of vans, and escaped.

What he did not know, however, was that he had not in fact captured Jesse Custer. He had captured Custer's friend Cassidy, though he would not realize this until slightly later. Cassidy had stepped up to save Tulip, since the real Jesse Custer was elsewhere at the time.

He boarded "Custer" onto a plane and flew him to Masada, the headquarters of The Grail in France. He told his prisoner about the history of the Grail and its mission, and about his ultimate place in that mission. And then he asked "Custer" to give a demonstration of his Voice of Command. The man, of course, failed. Starr led him down to the deepest sub-basements of Masada and confronted his prisoner with The Seraphim, a fallen angel whom the Grail had captured years before. The angel confirmed that Starr's prisoner was not Custer, but Cassidy, and Starr shot the man on the spot.

To his surprise, Cassidy did not die. Neither would he die under the bullets of a machine gun. Starr took great pleasure in trying to find out what would make Cassidy die, and hired professional sadist Frankie Toscani to find out how much damage Cassidy could sustain.

Even better, Cassidy's capture brought Custer running. Starr's time was ripe. All he had to do was to keep Custer from killing him, convince him to join Starr's conspiracy, and keep his plan from being discovered by D'Aronique.

Unfortunately, Custer was unwilling to listen to the man who had tried to kill his girlfriend and who had kidnapped his friend, and D'Aronique dropped the hammer on Starr. He knew all about Starr's plan to kill the Messiah and to replace him with Custer, but unfortunately D'Aronique wanted to kill Custer himself. He set the two of them to a knife fight, during which they ran through Masada, Starr trying the whole while to get Custer to listen to him. But Custer wouldn't have it. The only thing that stopped their fight was the Saint Of Killers. While the unstoppable angel of death largely ignored Starr, he still scared the hell out of him. The Saint gave Custer the time he'd need to escape, and Starr tried one last time to bring him to his side.

Still, Custer wouldn't listen. He cornered Starr in an elevator and scarred the top of Starr's head before Starr was able to escape. Starr's head would, once it healed, look almost exactly like a giant penis.

Bleeding and humiliated, Starr set off a self-destruct system that would destroy Masada completely. He killed both the Messiah and the Allfather in his escape, declaring himself to be the new Allfather of the Grail. His plans had failed, but there was always another chance.

Go West

During Custer's encounter with The Saint, Starr overheard the plan to meet in the American West. Starr contacted the United States government and got permission to take command of an army base. The commanding officer, Colonel Holden, resented losing his command to some civilians - especially a foreign civilian like Starr - and was determined to see him dead if any of his men should be harmed. Starr ignored Holden's protests and mobilized all of his troops alongside the Grail in Monument Valley in wait for The Saint.

His waiting was rewarded. The Saint appeared, as did Jesse Custer and his friends. As soon as Custer moved away from The Saint, Starr ordered all his troops to open fire. They fired on The Saint, to no effect, and went after Custer and Tulip. As in Masada, the plan was well-conceived, but doomed to failure. The Saint easily took apart the soldiers who attacked him, forcing Starr to exercise his power as the Allfather of the Grail - he ordered a nuclear strike.

The strike was a disaster, politically and environmentally, and nearly killed Starr. The plane he was in crashed due to the electromagnetic pulse, and he was badly injured in the crash. He would have died, but he was rescued by The Chunt Brothers, three men who lived in an abandoned silver mine. When he awoke, he found that he was chained to his bed, in his underwear, and his left leg had been amputated. The Chunt Brothers said that they had cut it off in order to save his life. But the true reason they removed his leg was much simpler - they were hungry. The Chunt Brothers didn't care about Starr's power or money or responsibilities. They only cared that he would taste good.

Starr escaped by tricking the stupidest of the three, Cyrus. He shot the Chunt Brothers dead and, eventually, made his way out of the silver mine. He hopped his way to the nearest telephone and called Featherstone. She picked him up, happily, and brought him back to San Francisco so he could recoup and plan anew.

He spent several months recovering from his ordeal and trying to think of how to control Jesse Custer, but he was distracted. He was the Allfather, and therefore nominally the head of the Grail, but the Grail Council still wanted to know why he was throwing away men. Between the assault on DeSade's mansion, the destruction of Masada and the disaster at Monument Valley, it seemed that Starr no longer had the best interests of the Grail at heart. And so they sent in Eisenstein to find out what was going on.

Together with his giant, vicious dog, Jezebel and his ex-Spetzsnaz bodyguard, Eisenstein came to San Francisco with the goal of ferreting out whatever secrets Starr possessed. Worse yet, Starr knew that it was inevitable that Eisenstein would succeed. The man had an unparalleled analytical mind, and could follow the thinnest lead to the truth. Starr tried many times to kill Eisenstein - snipers, hidden bombs, even ninjas - but to no avail. Eisenstein escaped all of the attempts without even blinking, and then finally summoned Starr to him.

Eistenstein knew Starr's secret. He knew that Starr had killed the Messiah, and that he was planning to replace him with Jesse Custer. As far as Eisenstein was concerned, Starr was a monster that needed to be put down.

His back against the wall, with nothing left to lose, Starr took a chance. He threw Eisenstein off the top of a building. Eisenstein's bodyguards attacked immediately, but Starr shot them dead. The human bodyguard fell quickly, but Jezebel managed to get in her own damage before she perished - she bit off Starr's genitals.

Endgame

Scarred and emasculated, Starr's mind snapped. He blamed Jesse Custer for everything that had happened to him. Every failure, every disaster, every mutilation he laid at the feet of Jesse Custer. The Grail's plan for Armageddon was finished - its new mission was revenge. Starr set his remaining resources to finding out where Jesse Custer was, or would be. Finally he got an anonymous tip - Custer would be in San Antonio. Starr commanded Hoover and Featherstone to bring in every agent they could find, even the ones who had been operating in deep cover, shadowing the most imporant of the world's people. He was determined to meet Custer in San Antonio and bring the full force of The Grail to bear against him.

Unfortunately, the full force of the Grail was only about twenty-five men. The rest were either dead or injured or... simply didn't answer the summons.

Still, twenty-five men was enough. They deployed in San Antonio, and prepared to wait for Custer.

The tip was right - Custer was in San Antonio, but so was Tulip. He'd tried to ditch her, for her own safety, but she would have none of it. She armed herself to the teeth and started hunting for him, killing every single Grail operative she could find between herself and her lover.

Meanwhile, Starr and his sniper found Custer outside the Alamo, fighting his old friend Cassidy to the death. Starr was fascinated by the sight of two dear friends trying to kill each other, and told the sniper to hold. Featherstone, whose love he had rejected, found this to be monstrous, and tried to kill him, but Starr killed her instead. And he killed Hoover, who wanted to avenge the woman he loved. Starr knew that she was right, though. He was a monster. A mutilated, half-man, and all that could give him any pleasure was watching Jesse and Cassidy beat the hell out of each other.

When the fight ended, and Cassidy exploded in the morning sun, Starr ordered the shot. The sniper put a bullet through Jesse's forehead, killing him instantly.

Starr's vengeance was complete, but he had only moments to enjoy it. Tulip came running up the stairs, guns blazing. She killed the sniper, and she and Starr fired their pistols wildly at each other. This time, however, Starr's gun emptied first. Tulip jammed the barrel of her gun under his chin and blew his brains out. Despite this, he had enough time to say one last word - "Shit" - before he died. With his death, the Grail was finished.

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