After Orion tangles with Apokolips para-demons, henchmen and dog calvary, the new god suddenly finds himself alone. “Darkseid himself dwells this way!” Orion ponders as he runs down a corridor, past great windows looking out at the flames of a mammoth fire-pit adjacent. “But the great halls are empty — devoid of Darkseid’s elite warriors!”
“Empty! They are all gone! Is this what I came for?” frets the New Genesis warrior, still itching for a fight. “Has the ‘Source‘ written for me a fool’s destiny?”
Then Orion the Mighty discovers the enormous, imposing device that is the keeper of the peace on the malevolent globe: “A Mass-Director Unit! It has been activated to transmit Darkseid’s orders! This is what now rules all Apokolips!”
While details are not revealed, the Mass-Director Unit seemingly controls the minions and lowlies of Apokolips by an electronic surveillance beam that monitors dissent and other threats to the regime. Whether there is a punishment component, while likely, is not confirmed. (I believe this is the only issue in the Fourth World epic that features this device, though when Kalibak reaches Earth and searches for Dave Lincoln’s apartment, he speaks of what might be the self-same contraption: “The Mass-Directing Mechanism had given me a rough estimate [where Orion’s police officer ally resides] before I left on this foray.”)
Yes, Darkseid and his cadre of colorful noblesse have temporarily abandoned their home planet to ignite the Super-War about to engulf Earth, busily seeking the Anti-Life Equation, the singular goal of the evil ruler. We will soon learn, via Metron, that “Darkseid’s minions are busily at work on a Mass-Director Unit that will monitor the mind of every [Earth] human!”
We realize why the Master of the Holocaust needs to keep pressure on his own subjects, through fear, intimidation and apparently this machine — revolt might happened when the Lowlies miss their morning “brain-drain” breakfast! But why set one up on our world? And what is this so-called Anti-Life Equation anyway?
Suddenly Orion hears a familiar, maybe a faintly familial voice. It sounds like not all of Darkseid’s elite have left the nightmare sphere. And, brother, this might be a showdown…
(While we don’t see it in this particular illustration, the panel previous in the story gives us a full-view of the Astro-Harness component Orion has adhered to his belt, I think the only instance in the saga he retains the part… The vapor emissions floating out of the circular device indicate, to me at least, this item likely fires Astro-Force blasts. Makes sense, given Orion has put aside the Astro-Harness and, well, who would want to be striding the halls of Apokolips without a weapon ready, huh? I wonder, too, if Jack abandoned the idea because of the awkward stance Orion would have to use if indeed it blasted out Astro-Beams…)