A Brief Introduction to Starbuck
What Purpose Does He Serve?
As a Character, he is from the fanon I'm working on at the moment named "Harmony Lost", specifically, coming from the tail end of the fanon's timeline, 973 years ahead of canon in a divergent timeline. His story being that of a caravan of settlers which went missing without a trace out of a number of different caravans sent to different sectors of Old Equestria, near the end of Act 3 of Harmony Lost.
Starbuck's story is one of a number of short stories which will make up Act 3 of Harmony Lost as a character existing in the world but not key to it. It is all of these short stories in Act 3 combined which tells the overall story of this Act.
Starbuck is a particular favourite of mine in the planned range of short stories as although he is an Act 3 character, his story takes place mainly in the time period Act 1 was set in, thus opening up some exciting opportunities for writing.
Depictions of Starbuck
Age 22: Wasteland Starbuck
Wasteland Starbuck sees him at the age of 22, (approx 981-984 years ahead of MLP:FiM Canon). In this time in his life, Starbuck has volunteered for part of a caravan of settlers setting out for old Equestria. With his skills in exploration, Starbuck serves as forwards recon for the group, making sure the caravan keeps a safe route to their destination avoiding any potential hazards as they enter Equestria.
Age 28: Tinkerer Starbuck
Tinkerer Starbuck sees him at the age of 28, (approx 8-11 years ahead of MLP:FiM Canon), according to the in-fanon timeline, 6 years after a caravan of settlers into a ruined Equestria, were stranded 973 years in the past due to magical instability greater than had been expected in the region the caravan had been assigned to. Starbuck is a refugee in the past, along with those who survived the events seen in "A Future's End" on FimFiction.
The glow of his mane and tail comes his family line. The bio-luminescence coming from a chance mutation arising from genetic damage during a disaster of magical nature in an ancestor, the mutation being strong enough to survive down subsequent generations.
Atypical Earth Pony Characteristics
Though an Earth Pony, Starbuck doesn't fall in line with the typical Earth Ponies of the distant past, instead having notable similarities to the past's Pegasui. This resulting from a rapid and extreme case of evolutionary adaption through natural selection in a response to a sudden and extreme change in environment. This is due to again, an effect of the disaster that struck a large portion of the world 479 years before his birth.
This manifests as a small frame and bone structure more like that of a Pegasus in addition to Pegasus like agility. Unfortunately, due to the danger of the skies in his home time, wings have become a rarity amongst Pegasus ponies, effectively grounding them to the earth and forcing them to adapt to life without flight.
This however doesn't impact the skeletal composition of the species, leading to a relatively weaker bone structure, more prone to damage than that of typical Earth Ponies.
As an earth bound Pegasus, Earth Ponies like Starbuck do not show the connection to the land, strength or physical endurance seen in typical Earth Ponies, however they do show a similar resistance to illness and share the stamina and work-ethic common to Earth Ponies.
One trait these newly emerged Earth Ponies demonstrate however, is a natural passive resistance to the effects of magic, This comes from the high levels of innate magical energy in their cellular make up in the form of persistent energy which has been soaked up during the disaster and passed on with each generation though slightly diminished.
Primary Talent: Exploration and Curiosity
His special talent is that of exploration, a talent he uses to do his part, as one of the decedents of those that once called Equestria home, to bring every True Equestrian back to their homeland. This being signified by the explorer's map overlaid on top of a common shield seen in his cutie-mark.
Secondary Talent: Rudimentary Engineering and Survival
For the same reasons Starbuck is a skilled explorer, he is also reasonably capable when it comes to learning technical skills regarding rudimentary engineering and to a greater degree, scavenging. The curiosity and strong kinesthetic learning style he is noticeable for means he can quickly work out how something works and what each of it's parts does. Though not particularly skilled, he is able to apply this to improvise crude combinations of mechanical parts to improvise a solution to a problem.
Starbuck does suffer from a very rigid and blinding set of morality and ethics, something he picked up as a colt growing up in his birth-settlement as he learned the importance that every pony do their part to help the community. Where as in most cases, ponies learn this is not a rule but a guideline, where some contexts might require this philosophy be ignored; The settlement Starbuck grew up in was home to a particularly grumpy elder, who held the strong belief that the moral and ethical good always came first. Be it a pony in need, an unfair judgement by authority or simply the needs of the community, Starbuck is both gifted and cursed with his unwavering adherence to this philosophy. He'll often land himself in trouble when he opens his mouth and starts speaking out against a judgement call he finds unfair, regardless of if he's involved or not.
In addition to this, Starbuck also finds himself honour bound to the philosophy that all life is precious, something he learned in the wasteland as a young colt from his settlement elders, but took it a little too much to heart.
As a result of this, he's a pacifist and will never directly or indirectly act violently towards any other living creature. Instead he will rely on defusing confrontations, finding other solutions to problems and his quick thinking to claim victory without ever lifting a hoof in aggression
Age 22: Wasteland Starbuck
Starbuck's motivation as a character at the age of 22 is less focused on others and more just on his own curiosity. Yet to experience the chain of events which would force him to mature quickly, Starbuck is in a mixed position of maturity and child like curiosity still. Acting on a whim and usually without any consideration of repercussions. His motivation at the age of 22 when part of the caravan is simply one of a desire to see somewhere new, coming from a mix of dissatisfaction with the elders where he grew up and simple curiosity.
Age 28: Tinkerer Starbuck
His driving motivation while he's stranded in the past is firstly following through on what the settlers originally intended, and found a settlement of their own to call home, even if it's not exactly where they expected they would be doing so. Then secondly, as with the rest of the refugees, trying to find any way possible to stop Equestria from falling at the hands (hooves?) of it's own curiosity and fascination of the potential of magic beyond simply casting spells; so as the future the refugees called home, never has to come to pass.
Age 22: Wasteland Starbuck
Starbuck wears a pair of protective goggles over his eyes. In the harsh world he lives in, everypony finds some way to protect themselves from the elements. Some use hoods, some use visors, Starbuck uses a pair of worn out goggles with some dated but functional perception enhancing technology built into them. These provide a small boost to his vision, helping him see in difficult conditions. They also filter harsh sources of light actively, adapting to keep his vision comfortable. The technology used in the active parts of these goggles however are antiquated, coming from pre-fall several hundred years earlier and so are prone to failure making sustained use impossible and even when they do work, the benefit is negligible.
Starbuck also wears a body rig which provides limited attachment points for some heavier things he may find himself carrying. The body rig also comes with a holster, which starbuck opts not to use as pacifist and with a basic energy scanner which has been configured to passively monitor his immediate surroundings for tell-tale signs of magical contamination to the environment, something which proves useful as he explores.
Starbuck has one attachment to the body rig, that being a heavy duty backpack he has attached to it's side, he uses this to store anything which catches his interest in his travels along with his basic survival gear. This includes maps, a cooking pan and a shovel along with anything he has tossed into the backpack recently.
Minor accessories include a pair of improvised leg protectors which are made up of a combination of leather straps, hardened leather hides and a moderate amount of barbed wire. This is worn on his lower legs on each leg, keeping his legs protected from cuts, bashes and other basic injuries he may have otherwise picked up as he explores abandoned areas dating back to before the fall or just your typical regions of overgrowth.
He also has a rather warm hat to keep his head warm and sheltered from the harsher aspects of the more dangerous areas of the environment.
Age 28: Tinkerer Starbuck
Firstly, the one on his flank, That is a combination of salvaged technology from his home time, repaired and combined using parts from modern day steam-power technology. The device absorbs trace amounts of residual magic in the immediate area around him via two intake nozzles on the bottom of the device. This is then condensed into higher energy magic and used to evaporate water to produce steam which is pumped along to a second device on his hoof.
The thing on his front left hoof is a contraption he put together with modern day steam technology. All it does is act as a sort of steam battery, storing the steam produced by the previous stage. An output nozzle can be connected to modern steam driven technology and used as a portable personal steam-engine in the same way a battery could power a flash light. However, it's no where near as powerful as a full blown steam engine would be and can be prone to over-heating.
Minor accessories include a spanner which he carries with him everywhere to be able to get at the insides of anything mechanical just to see how it works out of curiosity, a pair of tinkerer's goggles which serve two purposes in being something to help remind him of how things stay the same by replacing the protective eye gear he grew up wearing in the wastelands while also giving that familiar feel of a pair of goggles on his head and of course providing practical purpose in his tinkering.