The Shakti device is the name given to an artefact of alien origin. It is in fact a tachyon transmitter, its shape consisting of numerous impossible angles and its function known only to a select few. When fully powered the transmitter can be used to communicate messages to Network receivers elsewhere in the galaxy.
In 1777 Black John Balsam became lost in the English countryside while on a hunt. When he witnessed what he thought looked like the moon coming to land in the middle of the afternoon he went to investigate, and this brought him into contact with an alien Ly'bahr serving as an emissary to the Network. The alien spoke to him of Thyat M'hruh (the Swarm), which Balsam interpreted as "TIAMAT", and offered information on how to build the Shakti device. Balsam was to safeguard the design against the day that TIAMAT arrived to ravage the Earth, then the Shakti device could be used to bring about the salvation of mankind.
It eventuated that the Network's motivation for giving this technology away lay in their discovery of the Swarm already en route to Earth, so they had given the technology away to make an eventual profit when humanity built the device and begged for help. Ultimately this did not come to pass, although two tachyon transmitters were eventually built.
The first completed Shakti device was constructed by Kafka. Kafka, a member of the Egyptian Freemasons, had built it at the behest of the Masons' leader, the Astronomer, who had intended to use it for personal gain. It was eventually destroyed in a pitched battle between the Masons and and a hastily formed group of ace heroes trying to stop them.
The second tachyon transmitter was constructed by Jube the Walrus in an effort to save the Earth from the Swarm. This model was much large than Kafka's device - Jube's difficulties in procuring parts and his large, clumsy hands were not conducive to the intricate work needed for the construction. As with Kafka's device, this one was useless without a power source, and it was only when Jube came into possession of the peripatetic singularity shifter that he had a means to power it. Realising the extent of the Network's machinations, and no longer needing the Network to defeat the Swarm, Jube opted not to use it.
- Shakti means "power" (according to Jube).
- Wild Cards Volume II: Aces High