Sunday, July 29, 2007

Hughes High: Studying Abroad

Most kids growing up in the 80's spent at least one summer wishing they could go to SpaceCamp. Before the Challenger Incident, astronaut was still considered one of the prestigious jobs that young and old alike looked up to. This was long before cross-country love triangles and duct tape. I even spent a summer down at Muellerburg School of Engineering building rockets.

Of course, for the kids at Hughes high, there was something above and beyond even those lofty aspirations. Starmada was a collection of supers from across the galaxy. Threats to peace and justice existed on a cosmic scale, and the best and brightest donned the famous uniform to combat those threats. When the Aldrin Monolith was activated, it became only a matter of time before Earth was asked to contribute to the peace.

Earth's most famous member of Starmada was Commander Nova. Astronaut Carl Washington, one of the first black men in the space program, volunteered to test an experimental craft built from an alien design. The craft's advanced drives malfunctioned, and Washington found himself drawn to a star ready to explode. But the activation of the craft's engines altered Washington, allowing him to absorb the explosion and return to Earth. When the time came to send someone to serve in Starmada, Washington, then calling himself Lieutenant Nova, volunteered.

Nova felt it was important for heroes to get a larger perspective of their responsibilities, so when his patrol would require members, he would often recruit from Earth first. Many students signed on for short hitches during the summers. Why spend your summer working at a fast food joint when you could be guarding a galactic envoy? Nova also became an advocate for civil rights amongst the cape community, amazed that species warring with one another for centuries could serve on a patrol squad.

When Starmada refused to aid Earth before the Event, Nova disobeyed his orders and made a stand with his patrol members as well as a few other friends and foes at the Aldrin Monolith, hoping to stop Omnus. The fuzzy images of Omnus during the battle were some of the first images that we saw of the creature. With his sacrifice, Admiral Nova (posthumously promoted) allowed the world just those few extra hours of preparation.