From Unofficial Handbook of the Virtue Universe
Showstarter, or Joseph Walker, is a Praetorian who arrived at this world following a rather brutal beating at the hands of Tyrant. He is a mutant who has the ability to bind a demon to his being. It has saved his life and powers many of his abilities, but it is something that may well cost him his soul.
Before arriving in our dimension, Showstarter obtained mortal injuries while in combat against the Praetorian forces. To save his life, he merged with a Nictus who called itself Quantum Jumper, thus becoming a Warshade.
So now Showstarter's body houses three souls: Joseph Walker, Quantum Jumper, and the Demon, who's name is as yet unknown. Due to this co-inhabitance, Showstarter almost always refers to himself as "we", however, due to underlying tensions between aliens and the community, particularly after the Rikti invasion, Showstarter refers to himself in the singular when not in uniform. When asked how he feels about having three souls in his body, his simple response has been. "like a hotel."
Showstarter has been fighting for his entire adult life, and has witnessed many horrors as well as the deaths of all that he loved, so naturally that has had an effect on him emotionally. As a result, he can sometimes seem reserved and emotionally cut off. However, he still retains his dry sense of humour which comes to the forefront at times, and still can surprise those he talks to. His time in this dimension has helped a great deal in making him open up, and he is a lot more talkative than he was when he first crash landed here. In fact, the events that occured after his arrival in our world has become one of his favourite party stories.
Joseph Walker's only mutation is actually his natural ability to bind and control a demon within him. It was an accidental binding to a demon that led to his other abilities. Joseph is however limited to binding one demon. He has been searching for a way to destroy the demon's influence or release it, however, so far he has had no luck in doing this, either scientifically or magically.
Joseph was actually unaware of his natural mutation until Bobcat's attack on his mother. His rage at what he was forced to watch gave the demon within the opportunity to break Joseph's will and take over his body. Eventually gaining a more effective control with the help of his mentor Doc, Joseph became able to channel the demon's powers without losing control of it.
Showstarter has the ability to channel energy from the Netherworld into devastating attacks. Due to his symbiosis with Quantum Jumper, this energy is also infused with gravimetric particles before being released from his body. This has greatly enhanced his original abilities.
Showstarter also has the ability to use the same energy from the Netherworld to protect, shield, and hide him, thus making him a very versatile combatant. Since symbiosis, a number of new abilities have also been bestowed upon him, such as a gravity shield and the ability to bring himself out of phase with reality, thus making him intangible.
Showstarter has higher than normal healing rates. This stems directly from his demonic possession, as the demon within naturally draws energy from those around him. This energy drain is extremely minimal, and those around are almost never aware that it is happening. Busy places allow him to regenerate faster, as there are more targets for the demon's power. Those attuned to dark energy (demons, dark sorcerers, etc.) may be able to spot thin tendrils of energy flowing between Showstarter and anyone within 20 ft of him.
An ability afforded to Showstarter due to his symbiosis, he is now able to teleport great distances instantly. He has also found that this is useful in combat, for both making quick escapes and catching opponents unawares, patricularly the Council's Void Hunters, where surprise is paramount.
Quantum Jumper has experiences many things and travelled many places in the universe, and as a result, has merged with a number of alien species. By merging with Joseph, these abilities have been passed on. Showstarter has the ability to shapeshift into two of these creatures, the Hulmanim and the Ruktur.
In addition, Showstarter also has the demon residing within him, which can break free, thus causing his shape to change into that of the demon.
This means that Showstarter would be what many call a "quad-form Warshade".
Weaknesses and Limitations
As a Nictus, Showstarter is vulnerable to the Council's Quantum Array Guns, which target and destroy the connection between Joseph and Quantum Jumper.
Also, due to the immense amount of willpower required to keep the demon within him under control, he has little left to defend himself from psionic attacks. Thus, he is extremely vulnerable to them. At present, his only method for defending himself is the aforementioned surprise attacks.
Joseph Walker was born November 12, 1976 in his mother Eve's home. Unfortunately, Joseph's parents had split up not long after his mother became pregnant, and he has no idea who his father could be.
For the first five years of Joseph's life, his mother gave up her job to look after him. She was supported by Joseph's uncle, who worked in the American Citizens Herald, the state run and owned newspaper service. After Joseph was old enough to attend school, she returned to work part time with Joseph's uncle as a photojournalist. During conversations at home, Joseph's mother and uncle would discuss the paper, constantly referring to the level of censorship imposed by Tyrant. This helped to colour his opinion of Tyrant from an early age.
It was when Joseph was ten that his life would be irrevocably changed, and he didn't even realise that it had happened. He was walking the short distance from his school to home when he passed an alleyway that was glowing a bright green. Stopping for a moment to see, he spotted the silhouettes of four robed men waving their arms. The whole alleyway seemed alive with energy. Entranced, Joseph watched for what seemed like an eternity, before the light faded and the men disappeared into the darkness. Curious, Joseph walked up to where the men were, only to find there was no sign of them. Shrugging, he walked out of the alleyway and back home, not realising that he had picked up a new friend...
One day, when he was thirteen, Joseph's mother came home in a panic, packing everything and telling Joseph to do the same. When Joseph queried, his mother simply stated that his uncle "had some something very stupid." Not arguing, Joseph began to pack everything he owned into the cuitcases that his mother had gotten him. They were up to packing the clothes when the door shattered and a team of Alley Cats burst in, followed by Bobcat.
After much pleading by Joseph's mother that she did nothing wrong and to spare their lives, Bobcat lashed out, slicing her from head to waist in a single movement. Joseph screamed as he ran to his fallen mother, who barely managed to lift her hand to touch his face before dying. Joseph's eyes filled with tears as Bobcat laughed, before approaching him to finish the job. Joseph screamed again as she approached, but this time the scream changed into something more feral. Bobcat stopped for a moment as Joseph's scream transformed into the growl of a long dead beast, and watched as his body transformed and grew. His body began to ripple with muscle, his hands grew razor sharp claws, his head elongated, and wings sprouted from his back.
Before she could react, Joseph had thrown Bobcat out of the five-storey window, and followed as she fell to the ground. The ensuing battle was long and bloody, but Bobcat's experience prevailed, and she managed to avoid Joseph and escape. For his trouble, Joseph received a scar over his right eye from Bobcat's claw, a permanent reminder of his mother.
On the run now, Joseph was living in the sewers, getting help wherever he could from others who had been similarly displaced. After the fight with Bobcat, he had eventually returned to human form, though it had taken many hours. Taking food from wherever he could get it, he ran into more trouble than he could handle one day when he met a Clockwork patrol. The Clockwork would have finished him off, except for the intervention of Doc. Doc was a man whose engineering skills had been deemed a threat by Tyrant, and he had been chased out of his lab and underground. After destroying the Clockwork, he took Joseph to his underground home, where he had gathered a large community of super-powered individuals.
Doc had been following Bobcat and had seen Joseph's change. Knowing what was within him, Doc set about teaching Joseph the control necessary, with the help of a few magically active friends of his. It took many months, but eventually Joseph learned how to control the dark energies of his demon co-inhabitant, without actually relinquishing control to it. The training rooms were a testament to the difficulty of the training, with claw marks and craters everywhere.
Abbey and the Circus
After training Joseph, and telling him the extent of Tyrant's control, Doc related the reasons behind his mother's death. She died because Joseph's uncle had printed an unfavourable story about Mother Mayhem, an expose about her clinics. Tyrant had killed him personally, then sent Bobcat to deal with his only relatives, Joseph and his mother. Doc explained that's why he was following Bobcat, hoping to be able to help. Hearing the reasons for his mother's senseless death brought Joseph into a rage, and only Doc's training managed to keep the demon from being released again.
Once Joseph calmed down, Doc explained that he wanted him to help take the fight back to Tyrant. Joseph instantly agreed and Doc took him to meet others who had agreed to do so as well. It was a group of about twelve people, of varying ages. They'd taken to calling themselves the Circus, due to the fact they were such a motley collection of individuals. Joseph was introduced to each of them, and he was as polite as he possibly could be, considering what Doc had told him. At the very back of the group sat a young girl with hair as white as Joseph's. She was sitting in front of a collection of logs, just staring at them. She raised her hand, and a quick bolt of flame shot out of her palm and ignited the logs, basking the room in orange light. Looking up at Joseph, he was taken aback at her beauty.
The young girl was Abbey Sorenson, and she would become the most important thing in Joseph's life.
It was a number of years later, fighting some of Chimera's Cockatrice warriors, that Joseph came close to death. He took a number of heavy injuries, and had to be extracted out of the fight by Abbey and the robotic medic that Doc had created. On the operating table, the medic stitched Joseph up, but the poison in his system from the Cockatrice's blades was too widespread, and he was dying. However, one of the other team members, a Warshade, was also about to die. However, the Warshade's wounds were far more severe, and he chose to make the ultimate sacrifice to save Joseph's life, by letting his Nictus, Quantum Jumper, merge with him to hopefully heal his wounds. Joseph accepted and Quantum Jumper flowed into him.
For two days and nights, Joseph lay there on the cusp of death as the Nictus worked to save his life. And for that time, Abbey stayed with him, giving him water and food and, most importantly, company. At daybreak on the third day, Joseph sat up. Quantum Jumper had done it.
Origins of the Name
Now that he was not just Joseph, he didn't feel it was right for people to call him that. The teams previous Warshade had used a name to symbolise both himself and his Nictus, and Joseph felt he should do the same. At the small funeral that they held in the underground caverns for their fallen comrade, Doc read out the eulogy. As Abbey and Joseph held hands and Abbey cried, Joseph felt himself be overcome with certainty. He would take over his comrades name. Closing his eyes, Joseph could feel Quantum Jumper's joy and excitement at that decision.
He would become Showstarter.
The attack was swift and brutal. Anti-Matter had figured out where the Circus was hiding and had sent every Nuon, Meson and Baryon that he had spare and assaulted their home. Energy and radiation formed a beautiful and deadly light show as it ripped through the halls and the bodies of Showstarter's team. Show and Abbey had managed to make it down one of the side tunnels with Doc and were running from the sound over a hundred metal feet. Focusing only on the exit to the tunnels, Show didn't notice that Doc had stopped running until he was almost in the open air. Turning around, he saw Doc in the distance, standing in the tunnel, watching the approaching constructs. Show started to run in to get him out, but Doc turned and winked, before activating the charges he had strapped to his chest. Show could feel Abbey pulling him to safety as the tunnel filled with flame before collapsing, crushing both Anti-Matter's troops and Doc.
That night, Show and Abbey crouched in an alleyway, covered with papers to try and hide their presence, holding each other to stay warm, each of them in silent retrospect over those lost.
Six years later, and Show and Abbey had managed to integrate themselves into society. They had changed their appearances, Show hiding his scar, dyeing his hair black and growing a goatee, and Abbey wearing a short brown wig. They had also changed their names as well, becoming Martin and Jessica McKenzie. It had been difficult to obtain the false identities, however their time with the Circus had put them in touch with some useful individuals, including a very skilled fixer, who had set them up with new lives and even jobs.
Occasionally though, the pair of them would don their uniforms and perform hero work, rescuing people from preying Alley Cats or performing surgical strikes on Tyrant's facilities. Both of them knew it was incredibly risky, as they knew Anti-Matter still hadn't given up trying to hunt them down, but they both felt a need to help out society, not to mention loyalty to Doc's memory, as this is what he would have wanted.
Show was coming home from his job at a local processing plant when he recieved a call from Abbey, excited and panicked at the same time. He ran the distance home as quick as he could, because while Abbey sounded panicked, she didn't sound like she was in danger, and using teleport to get home quicker could alert someone.
Bursting through the door, Show urgently looked around to find Abbey standing in the bathroom. Without warning, she ran up to him and grabbed him in the biggest embrace she could muster before showing him the good news.
She was pregnant.
Now that they were expecting a family, Show and Abbey both made the decision to hang up their capes and cease hero work. Unforunately, fate has a funny way of reminding you what you are meant to do, and it was only a few weeks later that they were dragged back into the fight.
Anti-Matter had somehow managed to trace them back to the apartment that they were living in, and instead of being subtle about it, decided to make a massive show and tear the building down around them. Unable to escape without revealing their identities, and concerned for the other 100 or so residents, Show and Abbey burst out of their apartment in full hero outfits and proceeded to engage Anti-Matter's troops in combat. Full of fear about the effects of the radiation on their baby, Show made sure that Abbey stayed as far away from the fight as possible and engaged the enemy with ranged attacks, while he was in the thick of it, fighting in Dwarf form.
Somehow, Anti-Matter sensed their hesitance to have Abbey in the fight and began to attack her directly. Abbey's speed helped her dodge the attacks, but Show knew that in a crowded street she would run out of room fast. Changing to human form, he teleported over to her before teleporting the pair of them out of the residential area, into the ruins surrounding the city. Making sure she was ok, they hid from Anti-Matter and prepared for whatever was coming.
After ten minutes of waiting, both of then grew anxious, and Abbey looked around the corner to see if she could see Anti-Matter.
There was a flash of light, and Show's world came to a stop as the blast of radiation blew Abbey back into a crumbling building wall. Scrambling over to her, he could see that her skin had already gone pale, as the radiation began poisoning her. He placed a hand on her stomach, hoping to feel something, anything. But the look in her eyes confirmed his worst nightmare, and he held her crying as she died, the last works she spoke to him were an almost inaudible "I love you."
As Anti-Matter appeared above him, gloating over his victory, Show could feel only rage, and the demon was released once more...
The ensuing fight with Anti-Matter was a blur for Show, reacting on impulse, giving the demon as much control as it wanted. He had Anti-Matter beaten until the point where Tyrant arrived and got involved in the fight. Despite his rage and resolve, fighting the two of them proved impossible, and he was beaten to within an inch of his life. As the two of them hovered over him, ready to deliver the killing blow, Show almost felt a spark of relief that he would be reunited with Abbey in the afterlife.
Once again, fate intervened however, and a portal from another dimension opened up only a hundred feet from where Show was. A trio of heroes burst out, engaging Anti-Matter and Tyrant. While having never seen a portal before, Show knew what it was and that it may lead to safety.
Crawling through the portal while the fight raged, Show fell for what seemed like an eternity before crash landing in our world...
((You can find the graphic novel for this section of Show's history here.))
Still mourning Abbey's death, Show has decided that until he can return to get vengeance, he can make a difference in this world. He has currently joined the supergroup The Reciprocators after Ms. Liberty helped organise a meet between him and one of the groups leaders, Black Starbeam. Still new to the group, he is learning more and more about his teammates each day.
However, his mind is still dominated by his actions in the last day before his arrival, wondering if he could have done things differently. It weighs heavily on him, and he spends much time alone dwelling on his failures. His biggest regret is not being able to give Abbey the funeral that she deserved.
- Black Starbeam: The man who introduced him to the Reciprocators, and helped take him in when he needed it most. Show is quite surprised at how he manages such a large group without major conflicts. In fact, much of Starbeam reminds Show of Doc, and Show knows that he could trust Starbeam with his life.
- Static Bolter: The other leader of the Reciprocators, Bolter is somewhat more emphatic than Starbeam, who looks to maintain his tough-guy persona. At the original meet, Bolter was apprehensive of Show due to his resemblance to one of the villains of their world, who he now knows is this worlds version of him. Since then she has grown more comfortable around him, and is quite happy to help him out.
- Officer Zap: Of all the Reciprocators that he has met, Show finds that Zap appreciates his humour the most. As a result, there are plenty of light hearted conversations between them, usually including gorging themselves on Zap's cooking.
- Mr Mundane: Show thinks that Mundane undervalues himself greatly. His ability to interpret patterns and sequences within data is incredible, and bordering on superhuman. Mundane maintains that he's just good with numbers, but Show thinks it's a lot more than that. Whenever he gets the opportunity, Show likes to help Mundane out, providing information on enemy movements, particularly the Council. Not to mention, he's dangerous with a shovel.
- Showstopper.: His counterpart from this world. Showstopper is exactly what Show would have become if he gave up hope. They have only met once, when Showstopper kidnapped him and attempted to enter the Reciprocator Citadel posing as Showstarter. Show intends to find him and try and turn him around. If not, Show knows what must be done. ((Showstopper. has a period at the end of his name in-game. Originally, the character was on Freedom, but when I moved him to Virtue, the name Showstopper was already in use. Hence the period.))
- Arcticfire: Abbey's counterpart from this world and associate of Showstopper. No matter how much he tries to believe they aren't the same person, Show cannot bring himself to fight her. No doubt Showstopper will use this to his advantage one day.
- The Arrival (Graphic Novel)
Seperate stories (Non-chronological)
- Battlefield (Locked for viewing by Reciprocators only)
- Hidden Truths (Locked for viewing by Reciprocators only)
Pointless Trivia and other stuff
- Showstarter came about because I loved playing my villain Showstopper so much, and I wanted a way to port him into City of Heroes. Originally destined to be a Dark/Dark Defender, he became a Warshade once I read their powersets.
- I had to grind another character for two solid months to gain access to Warshades, as I had no level 50 heroes. That character is Syzergy, a Tanker. To commemorate his part in Showstarter's creation, he appears in The Arrival graphic novel as leader of the heroes who arrive at the end of the comic.
- The Nictus name Quantum Jumper is based on the Scar Symmetry song "Quantumleaper". It just seemed a cool name for a Nictus.
- Showstarter is a lefty. So much so that any attacks from his right hand have a much greater chance of missing.