From Unofficial Handbook of the Virtue Universe
The Black Starbeam is a freeform martial artist who has the ability to regenerate from incredible wounds. Much of his martial arts training is informal, having been partially trained by a friend of his father's as a child and practiced on the streets of Kings Row while homeless. He has a deep love for Kings Row, which he considers to be his home, and this extends to the people who live there. He founded and currently leads The Reciprocators alongside Static Bolter. He would gladly give up his life for the people of Kings Row or any of the Reciprocators, who he considers to be his remaining family members.
A born leader who was expected from an early age to head up his own division in the family corporation, Black Starbeam can often come across as standoffish to those meeting him for the first time. He doesn't often let his guard down, except around certain Reciprocators. His shell of short answers and stern faces can be hard to crack and he seems to have a severe fear of failure, despite his nigh-immaculate track record. He believes quite firmly that there is a tight balance to be maintained between distance and friendship when acting as a leader. He is more than willing to share a beer and a joke with his allies, seeing it as an important part of forming and maintaining a bond, but tries to maintain an aloof, larger than life persona to ensure that he is trusted by his teammates. He has been known to let his guard slip, displaying his warm side, particularly to female teammates when in emotional trouble. For the most part, Starbeam treats the Reciprocators much as he treated those who worked under him in the business world.
Before becoming a hero, he was a remarkably spoiled individual who enjoyed the best his family's money could buy. He was very talented on the football field, and made a habit of making sure that everyone knew exactly how talented he was. He is embarassed by much of the behaviour he engaged in before being made homeless by the Rikti War, and will admit to the majority of it only when cornered, often distorting the truth to a degree.
His manner of speaking often changes to match the mannerisms of the person he is speaking with, a habit which started when switching between speaking with factory workers and speaking at board meetings.
Depending on the situation in which he is asked, Black Starbeam considers himself to be either a completely unpowered hero, or as posessing inhuman attributes. All of his "powers" are granted by devices, excluding those which he has gained through intensive training and practical experience. With the exception of his faceplate, which was created by his father, Starbeam has either designed or created through modification all of his crimefighting equipment. Starbeam's background in engineering, while not technically a superpower, allows him to create a wide variety of assistive technology, including robots such as Justice and Resistance and devices indended to operate despite a person's superpowers. An example of the latter is Static Bolter's insulated PDA.
Starbeam was trained in martial arts at a relatively young age by a friend of his father's. He was trained in no particular style, simply learning enough basic techniques from the wide range of styles that his trainer was practiced in that he was able to defend himself if required to. As such, he is not entirely sure which styles he uses, though is able to discuss the basics in most arts. His simple training was put into practice on the streets, and has since been refined into a unique fighting style. He is able to disable most opponents very quickly, and is not adverse to dealing painful, non-lethal blows in order to end a fight quicker. Starbeam is also a novice swordsman, taking an interest in the art as a sword collector while still in his teens.
Details about the source of Starbeam's regeneration are closely guarded. His faceplate which was invented by his father, releases nanites into his respiratory system triggered by his breathing. The nanites operate using a hard-coded map of his body, restoring him to the exact cellular state he was in when he first put the faceplate on. This means he does not age, nor does he require sleep, food or drink. The nanites' understanding of his body includes the yellow dye and styling gel that was in his hair when he first put the faceplate on. Attempts to wash the dye or gel out are counteracted by the nanites. Starbeam does not entirely understand the workings of the device, and refuses to have it properly studied for fear that it may be destroyed. It requires 5 hours of charging roughly every 4 days, depending on usage. The more serious his wounds are, the less time a charge will last. The nanites remain in his system for roughly an hour after removal of the faceplate, depending on his wounds at the time of removal. On quiet patrols, Starbeam has been known to stay in the field for up to 9 days without returning for rest. This level of activity tends to cause his mind to wander after a time and so is very rare.
The glowing eye effect is caused by a set of contact lenses, which were originally designed as a self-defence device. The polarised lenses protected the wearer from blinding flares, triggered by a pressure sensor on the roof of the mouth. Though the device never hit the market, the devices were used by all members of the Bannister Family as a precautionary measure. In the early days of the 2002 Rikti Invasion, Starbeam modified his own pair to give off a less powerful glow at a constant rate, in order to appear superpowered to ward off Rikti and gang members. He recently modified the lenses again, adding a function to release a focused burst of high-intensity light and heat.
The Repulsion Field Generator, or RFG, as Starbeam has termed it, is a small device which is located on either side of his belt. It enables him to fly at various speeds by repelling the air particles around him in a certain direction, utilising Newton's third law, the Law of Reciprocal Force, to propel the user in the intended direction. This device is an invention of Starbeam himself, based on his father's work. It was originally intended to be used to help create clean areas for electronics construction.
Starbeam was born to a wealthy family on the 27th of March, 1979 as the second of two sons. His father, Anthony Bannister Sr, was a respected businessman who had inherited an electronics company from his father, turning it into a multi-million dollar multinational corporation. Growing up, he spent a lot of time around his father, exploring the head office, where he was doted upon by staff looking to impress the boss. While still very young, Vincent was given private tuition in French, Japanese and Mandarin, at the insistance of his mother who believed it would make him a more efficient businessman.
He attended an exclusive private high school outside Baumton, near the family home. Much of his high school time was spent attempting to make future business contacts amongst the other students, rather than trying to make friends. He excelled in scientific and mathematical pursuits in addition to his sporting ones, with poor performance in literature and art.
Resolved to have more fun at university than at high school, Vincent enrolled in a Bachelor's degree in Industrial Engineering, with a major in Mechatronics at Paragon University. Joining the college's football team, he proved himself to be a valuable addition to the team, his consistent performance at Tight End securing several important games. In addition to his sporting life, Vincent began to try out the life of the young playboy at this point, indulging in fast cars and an expensive nightlife, as well as throwing money around to impress women. Somehow despite these self-imposed distractions, he was successful in attaining his degree with an exceptional GPA.
Vincent attempted to turn his football skill into a career, attending the NFL Combine. He was offered a place with the Cincinnati Bengals, which he turned down, opting for a more lucrative career as the Director of Mechatronics at Bannitronics. As Director, he was responsible for the implementation, improvement and maintainance of production facilities in the company's factories, most of which were located in Kings Row. He made several trips overseas in this time to improve foreign facilities, allowing him the opportunity to put his knowledge of foreign languages to use. He was generally well-liked by his staff. During this time, one of the manufacturing systems of his own design was destroyed by a design flaw. This mistake cost Bannitronics over $3,000,000.
On Thursday the 23rd of May, 2002, Vincent was overseeing the maintainance of a control system in Kings Row when the Rikti appeared in the sky. After sending his staff home, he called his father, promising to be home soon. By the time he was halfway to the Red Line station, chaos was in the streets and the Rikti had started their assault. He took what cover he could, attempting to hide from the invaders. By the time he was able to make it to the tram station, it had been commandeered for hero use. Unable to make it home, he remained in Kings Row, living on the streets. In an attempt to ward off closer inspection, he attempted to make himself supernatural by modifying his contact lenses to cause his eyes to glow constantly, by dying his hair gold and spiking it straight up. It was because of this appearance that he managed to get back to Baumton, sneaking aboard a tram loaded with heroes bound for the frontlines.
Arriving at the Bannitronics head office, he found the building unstable from the heavy fighting. Walls were damaged and floors were covered in rubble. In the basement, he found his older brother's body, crushed under rubble. He found his father slumped over his desk, killed by stray plasma fire. He sat in the office for a long time, the exact length of which he's unsure of, before resolving to bury his father and brother and to search the office for anything he could use. He found exactly that. In a well-protected safe in his father's office, he found a faceplate. The device was a prototype, originally designed to be used every few months to extend the life of the wearer, using nanites to reverse the aging process by restoring the previous state of the body. Placing it on his face, he kept the device, feeling that it added to his supernatural look. Working by hand, he dug a pair of shallow graves near the building, laying his father and brother to rest as best he could. His old life behind him, he returned to Kings Row, having nowhere else to go. After a few days, he found the device had eliminated his need for food, water and sleep. More able to survive on the streets, he created a rudimentary charging station in the old Bannitronics warehouse so that he could keep the faceplate charged at all times.
He continued for some time, living day to day. It was during this time that he came across a group of Skulls, beating an elderly homeless man senseless. He lashed out at them, striking with blows remembered from his childhood. As they fought back, he found his injuries healing as quickly as they were being dealt. While they couldn't leave a lasting impact on him, he was able to leave one on them, knocking them out cold. From this first act of defiance he pushed on, becoming the vigilante Protector of Kings Row. He became an urban legend whispered about by his enemies and those he protected. To his enemies, he was the man who couldn't be killed. He appeared at a whim, decimating even the toughest of gang members and disappeared again into the night. To those he protected, he was a beam of starlight cutting the darkness, a symbol of hope to the disenfranchised. From these legends slowly evolved the name "Black Starbeam". He kept to the shadows, staying out of side for fear of dispelling the myth amongst those he protected, worried that if they knew he was just a homeless man like them and not a guardian angel from above that the trust in him might dissolve.
For three years he existed only in the shadows of Kings Row, only ending with his arrest. In early 2005, the PPD were alerted to his actions at a Skull drug deal and moved in, arresting him for unlicensed heroism. Checking his identity and record, the PPD offered to have the charges filed against him dropped, under the condition that he register with the city. Less than a month after he registered he encountered the newly superpowered Static Bolter, who followed him for some time, watching him in action. He encouraged her to register with the city and the two have worked as a duo ever since, expanding their operations further to create the Reciprocators.
His actions as a registered hero have generally been impeccable, though there have been a few instances of deception in order to assist a teammate. He has led the Reciprocators in a reasonable manner, which he considers to be fair, though others have raised differeing opinions. He was awarded the Hero of the City medallion along with Static Bolter for his work in orchestrating an assault, which delayed the threat of Tyrant to Paragon City.
In December 2006, Starbeam was contacted by his uncle who he'd believed to have perished in the Rikti War. Albert Bannister was now using the name Walter Neumann for reasons he chose to keep to himself. Walter revealed that he now owned the Bannitronics fortune, with Vincent having been declared legally dead after the Rikti War. Walter offered Starbeam a job with the company, which he refused to continue his work as a hero. After some legal trouble and a large amount of friction, Walter is currently believed to be dead and Bannitronics is owned by the Black Starbeam, though the day to day management of the company is left to a few trusted executives.
Back on the Streets
Despite having the family fortune back in his hands, Starbeam was determined to return to the streets where he started, moving to an apartment in Kings Row for some time. He spent much of this time going after the Skulls, shutting down as much of their drug operations as he was able to. A ghost from his crimefighting past resurfaced, causing him a great deal of trouble and leaving him at the mercy of a group of Skulls. As he was on the verge of escape, he was found by a large group of Reciprocators who helped to break him free of the gang's clutches.
Black Starbeam is currently investigating the actions of a serial killer in Kings Row. Due to his affilitations with the area and circumstance, despite his Hero Registration, he is currently considered to be a suspect and is under strict orders not to leave Paragon.
Weaknesses and Limitations
- His ability to regenerate does not dull the inital pain of a wound and a phantom pain will often remain for up to an hour after the wound itself has healed.
- While he can regenerate the wounds, he often hurts himself while fighting the Freakshow, due to their metal bodies.
- The faceplate must be charged for four hours every few days, rendering Starbeam powerless during this time. Should nanites remain in his system, however, they will continue repairing his body until depleted.
- As the faceplate repairs damage on a cellular level, it has trouble repairing damage caused by radiation. Radiation has in the past overwhelmed the capabilities of the nanites, causing mild radiation poisoning.
- Static Bolter - Having worked with Bolter for so long, Starbeam is very comfortable in her presence. He is somewhat put off by her frequent lack of tactics, though has come to understand the way she works, and integrate her style fully with his own. Starbeam is very proud of the progress she's made as a hero since they first met, though he tends to keep this to himself. The two work together to bring two completely different styles of leadership to the Reciprocators, one cold, detatched and tactical, the other warm, maternal and friendly. The two have become much closer in recent times.
- Pariah Flux - Another hero whose progress Beam is proud of is Flux. She has come a long way since first joining and Beam is comfortable trusting her completely in combat, occasionally following her direction. Though Beam doesn't understand magic in the slightest, he trusts Flux's skill and knowledge, deferring to her on all magical issues. Beam considers Flux to be one of his close friends.
- Officer Zap - One of the few people Beam will consistently joke around with, Zap manages to bring out this side of Beam with ease. A shared interest in technology helps to encourage their friendship, Zap having assisted with the circuitry designs for Justice and Resistance. Zap's work with the PPD is considered to be a helpful asset to the team, which Starbeam is almost eternally grateful for.
- Kitsuki Kaijuko - Beam still isn't sure what to make of Kit. Like Flux, he considers her to be an incredible asset in combat, though he isn't sure what to make of her outside the field. Her military training on her homeworld has suited her to be an excellent officer and he respects her ability to earn respect from her teammates almost instantly. He has difficulty understanding willing merges with Kheldians, which does make him stumble across his words somewhat when speaking with Radiant.
- Tom MacPhal
- Mr Mundane - John is the reason Starbeam has mostly stopped describing himself as unpowered. Even without his regeneration, he is in finer physical shape than John, a man who can only be respected for his drive to continue regardless of the odds. He also apprciates John's logistics and statistics knowledge, having experienced the benefits of having a good statistician firsthand in his former life.
- Yuki Frost - Beam respects her as something of a younger sister figure. Beam is amazed that Yuki does as much as she's able to with the team while still finding time for schoolwork. Beam is currently attempting to take over her guardianship. As with most people posessing inherent powers, her ability to control ice continually astounds Beam. He is more than willing to help her with homework despite her reluctance to do it, impressed with her drive to do something she so clearly dislikes because it needs to be done. This is a trait he is expecting to carry into her heroic work.
- Lady Equilibria
- Vermillion Star
- The Noisebomb
- Serial Avenger
- Rouge Typhoon
- Mr Mountie
- Blinding Strike
- People's Paladin
- Chaos Particle
- Endless One