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To avert evolutionary stagnation, the mechanical beings of the planet Protaris created a series of biological humanoids to succeed them, immersing them in alien worlds to gather data and abilities, then pass that data onto the next model in the series. James-Michael Starling was the last model of the series, embedded on Earth and growing up home-schooled by Protarian androids disguised as human parents in a house secluded in the Appalachian mountains in Pennsylvania. When he was 12, his parents decided to move him to New York City to attend public school in an effort to improve his social skills, but they got into a car accident on the trip and the parent androids were destroyed in the crash. James-Michael learned his parents were robots in that moment and their last words to him were to beware of "the voices". James-Michael awoke from a coma a month later, not speaking of the fate of his parents, and showing only analytical curiosity in regards to his situation. His doctor arranged for his nurse, Ruth and her roomate Amber to be his guardians so that he could continue to monitor the boy's mental state.[1]

Meanwhile, the previous model in the series, X3Z had been given the experimental power of harnessing biospheric energy by the people of his world, a power that the Protarians knew would be too unstable for either X3Z or James-Michael and attempted to abort the experiment, but were too late to stop X3Z from destroying his world with his new powers and automatically passing a latent version of the same powers to James-Michael on Earth. Because of the timing of their arrival on his world, X3Z believed the Protarians to be evil invaders that caused his world's destruction. Fleeing to space, he found himself drawn to Earth due to his connection to James-Michael.

James-Michael had brief encounters with the silent X3Z, whom the papers dubbed "Omega", as well as with agents of the Protarians that had come attempting to terminate the models due to the volatile biospheric energy at their command. James-Michael manifested the power as a defense mechanism for self-preservation, shooting energy blasts from his hands that left omega-shaped burns on his palms, but he never understood why.[1]

James-Michael developed friendships with some of the kids at his new school,[2] but he always hated the brutal environment of Hell's Kitchen where he was forced to reside. After the death of one of his friends due to a beating by school bullies, he ran away with another of his friends, Dian, back to his old home in the mountains. At the same time, Omega was killed by the police during a trip to Las Vegas.[3]

After a week, James-Michael's guardians got the Defenders to help search for him, but as they drew close to his home, they encountered the Protarians who had come to Earth in force searching for the last model. Faced with more danger than he had ever experienced, James-Michael's powers started to grow uncontrollably. Moondragon attempted to mentally show him his true origins to convince him to calm down, but James-Michael rejected the vision and nearly overloaded, only when he momentarily realized his actions were going to put Dian in danger, he turned the power inward at the last moment, vaporizing himself.[1]

Powers

James-Michael is able to draw his power from biospheres of planets and use this for various effects, such as blasts of kinetic energy and hearing the thoughts of others nearby. James-Michael was psionically linked to Model X3Z, a similar artificial being of his race.




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