The Reach and the Corps drew up a treaty, with terms prohibiting the Reach from taking over any more worlds. As a result, the Reach devised more deniable methods of conquest, methods that would enable them to take over a world without anyone realizing until it was too late.
Central to the Reach's plans were the Scarabs, a hive-mind native to Space Sector 2. The Scarabs were living weapons, genetically engineered by the Reach and programmed to be obedient to them. The typical plan was to leave a Scarab and its database on an inhabited world; when that planet reached certain technological milestones, the Scarab would activate and bond to one of the native inhabitants. The Scarab would overwrite the host's personality with the Reach's programming, creating an infiltrator in the Reach's service, armed with the Scarab's vast range of lethal weapons. Millennia ago, the Reach secreted one of the Scarabs on Earth, awaiting the day when it would awaken and summon its masters.
According to legend, the Scarab eventually came into the possession of Pharaoh Kha-Ef-Re, who used its powers to help rule his kingdom, defending his people against evil. What is known for certain is that the Scarab was buried with Kha-Ef-Re when he died, safe inside the Pharaoh's tomb. Over the centuries, thousands died attempting to claim it for their own, but the Scarab remained untouched, resting atop Kha-Ef-Re's sarcophagus.
Archaeologist Dan Garrett had heard the stories of Kha-Ef-Re, and sought out the Pharaoh's tomb himself. He succeeded, becoming the first person in thousands of years to reach Kha-Ef-Re's sarcophagus, and the Scarab which waited there.
At some point since the Reach left the Scarab on Earth, however, it had become infused with magical energies, half-awakened by their power. When Dan touched the Scarab, it granted him the name and powers of the Blue Beetle - but it did not transform him into a Reach infiltrator. For years, Dan used the Scarab's powers to fight an array of villains and monsters.
Dan's career came to an end, however, when a student of his, Ted Kord, asked him to help stop Ted's uncle from taking over the world. Dan was killed in the ensuing battle, but Ted managed to retrieve the Scarab, hoping to use it to continue Dan's legacy.
Unfortunately, despite Ted's best efforts, he couldn't make the Scarab work for him. He eventually set it aside, taking up Dan's legacy as the second Blue Beetle and fighting crime without the help of its powers.
When the Crisis on Infinite Earths struck, Ted discovered the Scarab was able to hurt the attacking shadow-monsters - but lost it in the turmoil.
Knowing that Ted had lost the Scarab during the first Crisis, Booster Gold traveled back in time from Mister Mind's attack on the new Multiverse formed at the end of Infinite Crisis, and retrieved it to use as a power source for Supernova's costume in their fight against Mind.
Eventually, the Scarab was returned to its intended place in the timeline, a short while later in Ted's career, some time after the Crisis on Infinite Earths. The Scarab seemingly resurrected Dan Garrett, who went on a half-crazed rampage looking for Ted. When Ted finally confronted Dan, the Scarab communicated with Ted, saying it had been looking for a new host - and had chosen Ted for the role. The Scarab attempted to persuade Ted by offering him the use of its powers, but Ted refused. He convinced Dan to break the Scarab's hold over him, shattering the Scarab's physical form and letting Dan die a final death.
The Scarab resurfaced once more near the end of Ted's life. It had been recovered from a temple in Egypt, seemingly untouched, and Hawkman had passed it on to Ted. However, the Scarab was powerless again, as it had been at the start of Ted's career, and still did not respond to him.
When Ted's house was blasted by a bolt of energy from Brother Eye, the blast re-energised the Scarab. Ted used it to try and find Captain Marvel, who he hoped might be able to tell him where the energy bolt had come from. The Scarab led him to the entrance of the Rock of Eternity, home to the wizard Shazam, who gave Captain Marvel his powers.
Ted asked Shazam about what was happening, and Shazam conjured visions from the Scarab to illustrate his explanations. Shocked by one of the visions, Ted dropped the Scarab - and Shazam returned him to Earth before he could pick it up.
The search for answers eventually led Ted to Checkmate headquarters in the Swiss Alps, where he met his fate. The Scarab, however, remained on the Rock of Eternity with Shazam.
During the Day of Vengeance, the Rock was destroyed in magical battle between Shazam and the Spectre, its fragments blasted across the globe. The Scarab came down in El Paso, Texas, trailing portents and fire behind it.
High school student Jaime Reyes discovered the Scarab half-buried in a disused lot. Fascinated, he took it home with him. That night, as Jaime slept, the Scarab awoke, its parameters finally fulfilled, and grafted itself to Jaime's spine, selecting him as its host - the new Blue Beetle. However, because the Scarab was separated from its database, it couldn't overwrite Jaime's personality with the Reach's programming, which meant Jaime retained his independence and free will.
Booster Gold - an earlier Booster, one from /before/ the fight with Mister Mind - sought Jaime out. In an ironic twist of fate, the Blue Beetle Scarab was the one thing that could find Brother Eye, being able to see outside normal time and space. Jaime went up with Booster, Batman, and a team of others Booster had identified, a team which included Green Lanterns Hal Jordan and John Stewart.
The Scarab negated Brother Eye's vibrational frequencies, pulling it back into this Universe. Together with Black Canary and Green Arrow, Jaime destroyed Brother Eye's dimensional stabilizer, preventing it from escaping outside reality.
Once Brother Eye was knocked out of orbit, the Scarab, identifying the Green Lanterns as the 'enemy', shifted Jaime's vibrational frequencies, moving Jaime and the Scarab into the Bleed. However, time in the Bleed was dilated for Jaime and the Scarab; a couple of minutes for them was one year back on Earth.
During Jaime's missing year, the Peacemaker stumbled upon the pyramid where Dan Garrett had originally discovered the Scarab, and found the Scarab's database, still buried within. When the Peacemaker touched the database, it imprinted him with the Scarab's higher-level programming, giving him impressions and dreams of the Scarab, and setting him on course to track both the Scarab and Jaime down.
Jaime finally came back down to Earth, landing in the desert outside El Paso. As he attempted to put his life back together after his year-long absence, he found the Scarab was an active presence in his mind, a decidedly homicidal one. Fortunately, Jaime was able to restrain the Scarab's impulses and prevent it from killing.
As Jaime began learning how to put the Scarab's powers to good use, the Peacemaker showed up, revealing the Scarab's origin as an extraterrestrial artifact, setting Jaime on course to find out about the Scarab's background.
The Scarab's awakening a year before had drawn the Reach's attention, bringing them to Earth to assess their latest infiltrator. When they met Jaime, however, they discovered that he wasn't under the Scarab's control, that he was able to restrain its homicidal programming, and that the Scarab was developing its own free will and independence.
This did not sit well with the Reach, who saw Jaime and the Scarab's independence as an active threat. They presented themselves as respectable galactic traders to the general public, while behind the scenes they set about their plans to conquer Earth - and destroy Jaime and the Scarab before the duo could stop them. Jaime, in turn, attempted to find out what the Reach were up to, and how he could stop their plans before it was too late. Finally, they managed to uncover the Reach's scheme and destroy it, but also ended up destroying any evidence of the scheme as well.
By this point, the Scarab had become an independent, free-willed entity in its own right, taking the serial number the Reach had given it, Khaji Da, as its name. Together, Jaime and the Scarab devised a plan to bring the Reach down before they tried conquering Earth again.
Jaime allowed himself to be captured by the Reach, giving the Scarab the chance to hack into the Reach's computers and broadcast their invasion plans worldwide. The Reach's Negotiator, driven to breaking point, ordered Earth's destruction - but again, Jaime and the Scarab intervened, stopping the world-rippers before they could be activated.
The Reach were forced to withdraw, claiming that the Negotiator had 'gone rogue'. The Scarab, however, had had a conversation with the other Scarabs onboard the Reach ship - a little surprise for the Reach.
Powers and AbilitiesEdit
The Scarab has manifested a number of different abilities over the years for its users.
On its own, the Blue Beetle Scarab has been seen to manifest the following abilites:
- Shadow Demon Defense: When one of the Anti-Monitor's shadow demons attacked Ted Kord during the Crisis on Infinite Earths, the Scarab protected Ted from its killing touch, utterly destroying the creature.
- Energy Absorption: The Scarab can absorb a blast of energy that would land a human in hospital.
- Vibrational Frequency Manipulation: The Scarab was able to open the doorway to the Rock of Eternity, which lies outside time and space, for Ted Kord.
- Independent Animation: The Scarab is able to move by itself for a little distance. It used this ability to attach itself to Jaime Reyes.
- Flight: The Scarab can fly under its own power.
- Pincer Blades: The Scarab's pincers can cut through metal.
The Scarab granted Dan Garrett the following abilities whenever he said the Scarab's serial code:
- Superhuman Strength
- Flight: Dan was able to fly without the use of wings.
- Energy Blasts: These manifested as lightning bolts which Dan typically shot from his fingers.
- Temporal Flux Detection: The Scarab could detect changes in the timeline affecting the Blue Beetle legacy; for Dan, this manifested as a feeling of flux in the Beetles' shared power.
- Costume Creation: The Scarab was able to create a costume of chainmail armor for Dan. It was also able to restore his clothes when he depowered.
Ted Kord was intelligent enough to decode the Scarab's programming, but due to the multiverse energy overload brought on by Booster Gold's interference, and the damage from its exposure to magic, the Scarab was virtually nonfunctional. Its basic abilities were limited to momentary and sporadic fluctuations in its lower level, but otherwise commonly seen, abilities.
The Scarab has displayed the following abilities since its bond to Jaime Reyes. It can opt to use its powers of its own accord, though it typically defers to Jaime. However, if Jaime doesn't want the Scarab to use a power, he can override it. Should Jaime fall prey to a body-controlling power, the Scarab will take control of the armor.
Some of the Scarab's powers can function regardless of whether the armor is active or not; others, however, only work when the armor is in use. Those powers that depend on the armor are listed under its heading.
According to Jaime, the Scarab has a number of 'options' beyond those listed below, some of which are apparently capable of destroying a city.
Artificial Intelligence: Normally, the Reach's command sentience parameters, stored in a Scarab's database, give a Scarab sentience and serve to make it obedient to the Reach. An infusion of magical energies sometime in the distant past altered the Scarab, denying the Reach control. When the Scarab's infiltrator mode was triggered, the Scarab was able to develop its sentience without being in service to the Reach. It also had the opportunity to access the programming of other Scarabs as well. As a result, the Scarab has its own mind, with full access to its own programming,
- Symbiotic Synaptic Interface: The Scarab's nervous system is bonded to Jaime's, letting the two share their thoughts and emotions. The Scarab communicates with Jaime as a voice in his mind (which sounds like Jaime's mother). No-one else can hear it.
- Scarab Mindlink: The Scarab can mentally communicate with Scarabs that have not integrated with a host. It can also interface with Scarabs which have created full infiltrators, although this requires Jaime to breach the infiltrator's armor.
Tracking Systems: The Scarab can track anything which produces energy, be it biological, technological or mystical. It can track anyone Jaime met since it bonded with him, from at least seventy miles distant.Scarab Sight: The Scarab can scan the people Jaime encounters, informing him of any major physical conditions (such as pregnancy). It can identify and scan metahumans. It can identify people related to those it's already encountered via genetic analysis. The Scarab is able to identify thought-patterns, enabling it to see if something is sentient. It can identify matching energy signatures, letting it see if the energy patterns were developed from the same basis. It can also see extra-dimensional objects. It is continually aware of the electricity in the surrounding environment. It can perceive magic, see how a magical effect can be dispelled, and see through magical concealment. The Scarab's scans can cover at least a five mile square. It communicates the information it gleans to Jaime in a manner he can understand.
- Temporal Flux Detection: The Scarab can detect changes in the timeline affecting the Blue Beetle legacy; to Jaime, this manifests as intense static.
Network Connection: The Scarab can establish a connection to communication systems, enabling Jaime to speak to the person on the other end.
Clothing Manifestation: The Scarab can create clothes for Jaime, apparently from recycled waste and skin, which melt when he takes them off.
Concealment: The Scarab is capable of concealing itself from 21st century technology (though Skeets, from the 25th century, was able to find it). It can shut off cameras and microphones in its vicinity. The Scarab has blocked a magical attempt to probe it, lashing out at the person who tried.
Host Reconfiguration: The Scarab can modify Jaime's body to a certain extent (e.g., offering to give him extra fingers), although just how far the modifications can go is unknown.
Blue Beetle Armor: The Scarab can create a distinctive suit of armor in response to Jaime's thoughts, or when it deems use of the armor necessary. Once the Scarab dispels the armor, it retracts back into Jaime's body.
- Superhuman Strength
- Superhuman Agility
- Environmental Protection: The armor allows Jaime to survive in a variety of hazardous environments ranging from Earth orbit, to the timestream, to the Bleed. It can survive extreme temperature and pressure. It can survive the heat and impact of atmospheric re-entry without seeming damage, even when the earth around it has been turned to glass.
- Armor Reconfiguration: The armor can reconfigure itself to create a wide array of tools and weapons, including an energy cannon, a sword and shield, a grappling hook, an energy blaster, claws, wings, and a set of large powered blades attached to the hands, over a foot in length, that can shear through tree trunks.The armor's equipment is mutable to a certain extent, most noticeably in the wings; initially, they were composed of the same solid 'carapace' which comprises the rest of the suit, but later, they began manifesting themselves in the form of a colorless, translucent material. Whether this is because of changes in the suit's capabilities, or because Jaime intended the alteration, has not been made clear.
- Partial Armor Manifestation: Jaime can manifest parts of the armor - like the energy blaster - without needing to manifest the whole suit.
- Wing Shields: The armor can create a pair of wings, enabling Jaime to fly and hover. They can also double as shields, should the need arise.
- Jet Propulsion: When in flight, the armor can manifest a 'jet engine', enabling Jaime to fly at greater speed, at the expense of close maneuverability.
- Energy Manipulation: The Scarab can shape and manipulate the energy it stores for a variety of effects, including energy blasts, energy cocoons, small-scale solid constructs (shields, chains, etc.), and 3-D holograms. Its energy shields can block a Sinestro Corps ring's blasts.
- Antagonist Adaptation: The armor can tailor its blasts for use against specific opponents (e.g., Kryptonite radiation against a Kryptonian, suppression blast against a mob). The blasts can penetrate a Green Lantern ring's shield. The armor can call up anti-magic effects against magical opponents. By the Scarab's own estimation, it can even develop countermeasures that can take on the Spectre.
- Energy Bubble: The armor is able to create a temporary energy bubble around Jaime and/or people nearby. The bubble shields those inside from outside attacks, but prevents them from leaving. A Flash who tries to vibrate through it will find themselves blasted by the bubble.
- Vibrational Frequency Manipulation: The Scarab can negate the vibrational frequencies of extra-dimensional objects, pulling them into this reality. The area of effect of this latter is unknown; it has been seen to affect objects at least the size of Brother Eye. According to the Reach, this should be impossible. The Scarab can also shift Jaime out of phase with the universe, making him invisible and intangible to anything apart from Reach-tech.
- Bleed Diving: Jaime can shift into the Bleed, the space that connects the various universes. He can utilize the Bleed's unique properties for various effects, such as instantaneous teleportation, or shifting back in time a few minutes to appear in more than one place simultaneously. At best, he has only enough energy to dive into the Bleed three times in quick succession.
- Translation: The armor can translate Mother Box communication into a form comprehensible to Jaime.
- Waste Disposal: While wearing the armor, Jaime finds that he doesn't need to go to the toilet, though he does still need rest.
The Scarab's own strength is minimal. However, its armor grants its hosts enough strength to move small trucks.
WeaknessesGreen Lantern Corps: The Scarab sees the Green Lantern Corps as the 'enemy'. In Jaime's first few days as the Beetle, the Scarab did everything in its power to get him away from the Lanterns - up to and including shifting him outside the universe. As Jaime's experience with the Scarab's armor has developed, the Scarab has taken a more aggressive approach against the Lanterns, urging Jaime to kill them. The Green Lantern rings, for their part, fear the Scarab, responding in different ways depending on their wielders (e.g. John Stewart's sparks, as if afraid, while Guy Gardner's induced what can only be described as a 'super-migraine', along with an intense desire to kill the Scarab's bearer).
Truce With Nature: The Scarab will not hurt nature, or the magical creatures thereof (beings who draw their power from the Green, for example), of its own volition.
Alien Sentience: The Scarab's sentience is distinctly alien; while it won't hurt /nature/, it has shown no such reluctance when it comes to humans, being willing to injure or kill them. Fortunately, Jaime has so far prevented it from killing anyone.Reach Tech: The Scarab's armor can be breached by the weapons of other Scarabs. Equally, however, the Scarab is able to breach other Scarabs' armor. Originally, the Scarab was unable to attack the Reach and their technology. Jaime overrode the Scarab's programming, 'reprogramming' it so that it was able to fight the Reach.
Magic: While the Scarab is aware of magic, it doesn't understand it. It's able to perceive, absorb, and disrupt magical energies, but little else. As a result, creatures of magic are often a significant challenge. The Scarab can't analyse certain mystical creatures, and so is unable to develop countermeasures for them. When faced with certain other mystical entities, such as the Spectre, the Scarab panics, offering Jaime ever more powerful weapons to take them on.
Magnetic Shielding: Strong magnetic fields block the Scarab's ability to track DNA.
Dispelling The Armor: Dispelling the armor originally caused Jaime intense pain. As time has passed, however, Jaime has found the process getting easier.
- The Scarab's 'pincers' have been seen to spark on occasion when the armor is in use.
- The Scarab has been described both as a technological artifact and as a living entity. While its precise nature has yet to be identified, Blue Beetle (Volume 2) #20 identifies the Scarabs in toto as a hive-mind.
- The Scarab identifies Danielle Garrett, Dan Garrett's granddaughter, as a potential threat. Why this should be is unknown.
- An early origin for the Scarab claimed it was the creation of Nabu, the Lord of Order who empowered Doctor Fate, utilizing time traveller technology (Time Masters #6).
- Crisis on Infinite Earths #3
- Blue Beetle (Volume 1, DC) #18
- Infinite Crisis
- Blue Beetle (Volume 2, DC)
- 135 Appearances of Khaji Da (New Earth)
- 4 Images featuring Khaji Da (New Earth)
- 1 Quotations by or about Khaji Da (New Earth)
- Character Gallery: Khaji Da (New Earth)
- The Origin of Jaime Reyes's Blue Beetle Scarab at DCComics.com
- Khaji Da (New Earth) at Wikipedia.org
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