Once Upon a Time in Wild West Jersey, there was a man who overcame insurmountable odds--the first of which being that he was a shriveled up mummy lost to time in the basement of a college library.
The man had another man’s brain shoved unceremoniously into his ancient skull (hollowed out empires ago by a civilization with much more tact), was zapped with some electricity (probably), and rose from a rusty operating table more confused than when he had died. When it began, the man was something less than a man. Some consulted on the subject considered him a creature or an artifact, or a monster even before a man. But by the end, he was a superhero by everyone’s standards. His name was (and still is) Starbuck McLaw.
You likely know the name as well as any other legends, but you don’t know the full story. Well, not yet, at least. It will take a little belief in a hero with a giant hat, more than just a few squirrels, and an exact amount of science before the story is told in its entirety. Most of you reading this will know one or two of Starbuck’s adventures, some of you will think you know them all. But there are precious few who really know the details of the Beginning. Precious few who know, and even fewer willing to share that knowledge. Lucky for you, I’m not shy, and I have done my research. I spent far too long talking with people who were "there”. I checked my facts, double checked my sources, spent so much time in dusty basements I thought I had hay fever. I put in too much effort to keep what I know to myself. I know where Starbuck has been, and where he came from.
Starbuck was born during the New Kingdom of the faraway land of Egypt. Far away to me, of course, because I’ve only ever read about it in history books and occasionally seen pictures in glossy, oversized encyclopedias that spell out the facts with no passion or imagination. For Egyptians, however, Egypt isn’t very far away at all.
The Egypt that Starbuck was born in is far away even for the Egyptians. He was born in a time of golden head dresses and heavy eye makeup, cat worship and beetles that ward off the dead. Perhaps it’s not as far off as it might seem. Perhaps that’s why he fits in so well among the cat-worshipers and heavily-makeuped humans of today, and why he adapted so well to becoming our hero.
While Starbuck’s life as a modern man was unique and singular, his life as an Egyptian Pharaoh, so far as I understand it, was more or less average. Of course to any of us alive today (including the Egyptians), his days in the New Kingdom are at least unique, though that could be said of any New Kingdom Citizen compared to modern life, I suppose. The origin story of Starbuck McLaw: 20th century hero, begins in the school library I mentioned before, where his elaborately decorated sarcophagus was being used to hold up an old stack of large books on criminal justice. The books were considered just as out of date as he was, and all were long forgotten.
Starbuck was plucked from Ancient Egypt... well, he was buried in Ancient Egypt and dug up in the Modern World by a man who liked to collect Important Historical Artifacts from Ancient and Exotic places and bring them back to his White Collar, Blue Blood private school in the United States of America. In this Man’s time, this was actually a common practice it was called things like “collecting” and “exploring”, much in the same way that shooting tigers was called “hunting”. Somehow the man lost track of Starbuck and many other of his Important Artifacts, and did such a terrible job of preserving them that even more have been lost or crumbled to dust since he died. As punishment, I did not bother finding out his name, nor writing it down when I came across it by accident.
At the beginning of this story, Starbuck was in the basement, after being taken down from display in the lobby of the library during a Very Important Renovation. There, along with the books on criminal justice, and some couches that no one bothered sitting on any longer, Starbuck spent many days as a mummified Pharaoh. Finally one day another school found that he was down there. It didn’t take much research to discover him, nor did it take much persuading on the part of the Other School’s Research Facilities to convince the Private College to hand over Starbuck in the name of science. "They didn’t know what they had.", the lab techs at the Other School are reported to have said after making arrangements for Starbuck’s transfer.
"Ahahaha they took that hunk of junk off our hands!" The Private School librarian is reported to have said at the exact same moment.
Perhaps they were both right: before he became Starbuck, he was just a pile of bones and ancient material that would be absolutely no use to anyone trying to patch their curtains.
A young man from the Other School, whose name WILL become important but for now he’s just a shrouded figure in a tie and over-sized glasses, marched right into the library on a sunny day in March (funny what people can get away with when the sun is high and the weather is lovely…). That day, the shrouded figure…well…the young man in a lab coat and large glasses, got the Other School to do all the important paperwork that would allow him to transport Starbuck from the Private College to the Research Facilities on the Other School’s much larger campus. What neither school, nor Starbuck, nor the young man in the Lab Coat, knew quite yet was what was going to happen in a well-lit though poorly secured lab on the Other School’s campus, just a little over a month later.
I’m sure you’ve got the picture by now. And if you haven’t, then you are truly lost and might be missing something important by getting hung up on those squirrels and the science and heroes with giant hats.
That is where I will let the story begin, but before I do, here here are some important facts to know:
Now you’ll have to excuse me, I can see the very beginning of the story approaching, just there over the horizon. Or, the very beginning of the story as it should be told, anyhow.