Xi'an Coy Manh ("Shan" to her friends) is a graduate of the Xavier Institute and Rutgers University, where she graduated with a degree in library science. A former New Mutant, Shan is a driven young woman with two younger siblings to care for, secrets to keep, and more baggage than can be stuffed into your average overhead compartment.
Xi'an Coy Manh and her twin brother, Tranh, were born in Vietnam in 1988. The country was in the midst of sweeping post-war reforms to bring it out of isolation and out into the world, and with their father an officer in the military (along with their uncle, who held the rank of General), they were right in the middle of it all. They grew up in poverty, a fact that did not change when a second set of twins, Leong and Nga, joined the family some years later.
Xi'an's mutation manifested itself when she used it to stop a man from beating her brother Tranh to death. The man was left disoriented when she released him, and Tranh's own mutation -- identical to his twin sister's -- allowed him to take possession of the man instead. Rather than simply sending the man away, Tranh forced him to kill himself. Horrified, Xi'an swore never to use her powers in such a way; Tranh, on the other hand, revelled in his newfound power and informed their uncle of their capabilities at once.
When it became clear that their uncle wished to utilize Tranh and Xi'an's powers for his own purposes, her father gathered up his wife and children. Due to the general's reach, they would have to flee the country. Tranh chose to stay behind and help his uncle, while the others boarded a ship to be smuggled in secret to America. The ship was full of refugees and criminals fleeing the regime, and by the end of the journey, Xi'an and her younger siblings had lost both of their parents to violence.
Thankfully, it was not long before Xi'an and her siblings found a new home, at the Xavier Institute in Westchester, New York. Her time at Xavier's, as one would expect, had its highs and lows. She made some wonderful friends and learned a great deal, but she also faced incredible struggles and had to deal with further loss, particularly with the death of Doug Ramsey. While many of those in the squad departed after that, she stayed on until graduation, and then set off with Leong and Nga for college. She wanted to escape the violence that plagued the life of a hero and turned to the study of library and archival sciences; what could be quieter than a library?
This was not enough, alas, to get her out of harm's way. She is returning to New York now after having been completely missing for several long months -- much as happens when she uses her power on another, she herself had found herself possessed by a malevolent entity, forced to ride shotgun in her own mind. She has freed herself and begun the long, painful road to recovery.
Skill:Combat Training (4)
As a former New Mutant and graduate of the Xavier Institute, Karma has receieved instruction in self-defense. She's kept up with the study of martial arts since her graduation and although she isn't about to go pro or anything, she's schooled enough that she could instruct others in basic self defense.
After graduating from Xavier's, Karma obtained a master's degree in library and archival science. When it comes to good old fashioned research, she's a pro, and yes, she /does/ understand the dewey decimal system.
Karma's mutation allows her to psionically impose her own mind over the minds of others, taking full or partial possession of their bodies. She can use this ability to see through the eyes of others (a partial possession) or to force her hosts to perform certain tasks, such as ending a hostage crisis by forcing the hostage takers to surrender to police.
When in control of other superhumans, Karma has somewhat instinctive control over their abilities. She has taken possession over her classmates to trigger their powers after they've gone unconscious before, in order to protect them. However, superhumans are more difficult for her to control than baseline humans, and she cannot control as many of them at once.
While Karma does not suffer the same wounds that her targets do when she is in control of their minds -- her leg will not break if her host's is broken, for example -- she /will/ feel the pain associated with those injuries as if they had happened to her. This has been known to break her concentration and abruptly put an end the possession.
Distance 4; Power opposed by Willpower & Telepathic Defenses
Works by player/staff consent only
LIMITATION:While Karma is capable of possessing multiple targets, her fine control over them diminishes as the number goes up, as does the amount of focus required for her to use them to accomplish tasks. If she tries to control a large group of people, she will require enough focus that she herself will be able to do little but remain completely motionless until this control is relinquished.
LIMITATION: The longer Karma remains inside another person's mind, the greater the risk that their personality will begin to overwrite her own. Because of this, she is extremely reluctant to utilize her power for any longer than is absolutely necessary.
WEAKNESS: When Karma's mind is elsewhere, her own body is left without psionic defenses. Someone with abilities similar to her own could move in while she is away. This /has/ happened in the past, and the thought of it happening again horrifies her.
Power:Psionic Shield (6)
Karma is capable of triggering a personal psionic deflector shield. This shield protects her from incoming psionic signatures by disrupting them before they can actually reach her mind or body, hostile or otherwise.
This shield does, however, need to be deliberately triggered, and she is entirely capable of being caught off-guard. When the shield is active, even /friendly/ psionic contact must somehow bypass this defense.
Karma is, to a mild degree, a telepath. She can utilize direct mind-to-mind communication and skim the thoughts of others. She is not a very powerful telepath compared to others in the world, however, and has not yet been fully trained in this ability's use.
Karma's lived a hard life, and she's turned to personal discipline as a way to deal with it. She's always had a knack for keeping a cool head in situations where emotions are running high and has often been called upon to serve as a mediator because of it -- or, in some situations, as a leader. Life may have demanded that she grow up too fast, but at least she grew up /well/.
Karma has spent the better part of her life acting as a mother to her younger siblings, Leong and Nga. As a result, she knows how to cook, clean, and isn't half bad at wrangling kids, without cheating by using her powers to make them go to bed on time. She has also been accused of having the patience of a saint, and often finds herself defaulting to a nurturing, somewhat mentor-style relationship with younger mutants and heroes she encounters.
Unlike her brother -- and in many ways, because of him -- Karma lives by a rigid set of ethics. She has a very well-defined sense of right and wrong and, particularly due to the way her own powers work, uses them as a guiding principle in all of her dealings. They give her direction in difficult situations, even if she is alone.
When it comes to the heroic scene, Karma has experience on her side. Her time as a student of Charles Xavier and a member of the New Mutants did a lot to prepare her for life as Karma as opposed to life as Shan, including teaching her how to strike an effective balance between the two.
Karma is fluent in English, Vietnamese, and French.
Due to her code of ethics, Karma has some /issues/ with her own powers. She hates to lose control of herself, thanks to the time she spent riding shotgun in her own head, and she knows full well that this is /precisely/ the experience that her mutation allows her to inflict upon other people.
Karma has a fraternal twin brother, Tranh, who is largely responsible for her code of ethics by virtue of not having one of his own. They share the same mutation, but while she is steadfast in using it only for good and when absolutely necessary, he has a long history of abusing his powers for his own gain, and has even used them to kill others. He is still out there. Somewhere.
Karma is also responsible for her younger siblings, Leong and Nga. Although they are now reaching their teens, the pair are still quite a handful, and more than one of her enemies has targeted them in an effort to get to her.
The quickest way to get Karma to abandon her code of ethics is to threaten her family. Once that line is crossed, all bets are off.
Karma's picked up a lot of secrets to keep over the years, some her own, some belonging to others. She must guard the nature of the Xavier Institute and the X-Men with the utmost secrecy, and beyond that, she keeps certain facts about herself /to/ herself. Even her closest friends don't know certain things about her, and Karma has a small, irrational voice in the back of her head that fears what would happen if that were ever to change.
Karma's life has been more than a little traumatic. She witnessed her mother and father's murder, and saw her twin utilize their shared mutation to force a man to commit suicide. She lost classmates during her time at Xavier's and, after she left, lost control of her own body for months on end when it was possessed by a more powerful telepath. While she normally has a great deal of control over herself or her emotions, reminiscing about these situations -- and the threat of having to experience situations like them ever again -- can and will shake her to her very core.