Mạnh Cao Xuân

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Mạnh Cao Xuân
Karma Card.jpeg
Portrayed by Thuy Tran
Codename: Karma
Affiliations: None
Birthdate: January 9, 1977
Journal: x_karma
Player: Available for application

This character is currently unplayed, but is open for applications. If you are interested in applying for this character, you can contact the mods at x_moderators @ googlegroups . com and you can find the application form here.


Character Journal: x_karma

Real Name: Mạnh Cao Xuân - her first name, Xuân, is pronounced "Swun"

Codename: None


First Appearance: August 26, 2004

Date of Birth: January 9, 1977

Place of Birth: Hanoi, Vietnam

Citizenship: US

Relatives: Manh Family: Parents (deceased); Tranh (fraternal twin), Leong and Nga (younger twin siblings); Nguyen (maternal uncle).

Education: MA in Library and Information Studies from Columbia University

Relationship Status: Single

Occupation: Former librarian at Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters; now working in Salem Center

Team Affiliation: None.



Mạnh Cao Xuân was born January 9th, 1977, in Hanoi, Vietnam. She was the female side of a pair of fraternal twins; her brother, Tranh, was born two or so minutes after she was. In many aspects, Xuân played the part of the "older" sibling in her family, helping her mother with the household chores when she was able and prodding her brother into helping as well. Xuân's extended family lived with them in the crowded, dirty Hanoi apartment complex, including her ailing grandmother and her uncle Nguyen, who had been a general in the war.

Xuân's father was a former South Vietnamese soldier who had been wounded gravely during the war; his health was shaky throughout Xuân's childhood. Because he was anti-Communist during the war, it was difficult for him to get the help he needed to deal with his badly-injured leg, as well as the post-traumatic stress disorder he developed after the Communists' takeover of the south in 1975. Her mother was a gentle, quiet woman under great stress, since the responsibilities of raising a family as well as the socioeconomic pressures weighed heavily.

Despite the faults and failings in her family, Xuân loved her parents and her brother desperately, and remembers her childhood as happy; not entirely, of course, but a generally positive experience. They were very poor under the Communist regime, but everyone was, so it wasn't something she noticed. Although her uncle was involved with everything from drugs to prostitution, Xuân didn't know until she was much, much older, and had seen him in action for herself. He was her mother's brother, and he did take care of the family -- bringing in money that nobody thought to question too much, since feeding eight people on one man's salary was almost impossible at the time.

Xuân's brother Tranh was usually in trouble of some kind during their years in Vietnam, and his mutant powers -- a duplicate of the possession Xuân would later be able to control -- manifested years earlier than hers did, when he was involved in some minor scuffles with the police. These incidents were unfortunate, as they brought attention to Xuân's family in ways that former nationalist fighters did not want attention, but Tranh was oblivious to the trouble he was causing his parents. The police attention intensified over the years, as the socialist government tried to solidify the country after the divisive war.

The turning point came in 1989, when Xuân was twelve. Nguyen had been pushing the family to leave Vietnam for quite some time, and when the police began looking into their family for "unnatural nationalist mutants", the time had come for Xuân's family to leave the country. They set out for America on a crowded, unsafe little boat, a few of the many "boat people" who were escaping suppressive rules in Asia at the time. The boat had taken some people rather unfriendly to little girls, and Xuân's powers manifested for the first time when she kept one of the sailors from hitting her. They left her and her family alone after that, for the most part.

They arrived in America on the boat, but were able to stay with the help of an old family friend, who had fought with Xuân's father in the war -- Michael Bowen, a Protestant missionary who sponsored the family and helped Xuân and her brother Tranh learn English. Xuân and Tranh were fast learners, and during this time, from 1989 - 1994, she completed her secondary education with very high marks, due in part to her parents' support and her own natural gift for books. The twins -- probably due in part to their psionic gifts, which allowed them to lift information from the people they possessed -- picked up English almost flawlessly, although both still speak it with a very slight French accent.

During those years, Xuân and Father Bowen became very close, and he was the one she turned to when she began to wonder if she wasn't different, in more ways than just being able to possess people. After discussing it with him at length, and finding him a bit more relaxed about things than she thought he'd be, she came out to her family and small circle of friends. Since then, she's had a number of relationships, none of them serious.

She went to Columbia University in New York on half scholarship and loans in 1994, and completed her undergraduate degree in English literature in 1998. Her younger siblings, Leong and Nga, were born in 1995. In university, Xuân, who had kept her nose in her books for the better part of five years leading up to it, found causes to be passionate about -- mutant rights and gay rights especially. Xuân was the college activist: She marched in protests, danced at Pride, lodged complaints against prejudiced professors, wrote letters, went on television, the whole nine yards. This is not to say she was famous, off-campus -- far from it. But she was involved, and she loved it. As Father Bowen remarked, she thrived on activity and controversy. Being a classic overachiever helped as well, since she became more known to her peers for her endless work ethic than her activism. She also became a member of the Mutant Rights Coalition when it was formed, and became as active in that as she was with everything else.

In 1998, Xuân's uncle, mother, father, and brother, with Leong and Nga in tow, showed up at NYU for Xuân's graduation. Things went stunningly not according to plan. She was contacted by the FBI, who were at that time investigating Nguyen in connection to various crimes -- among them, murder, prostitution, and drug trafficking, serious stuff which shocked Xuân right to the core. She'd known about the petty crime, things which she felt Nguyen was just used to, since he'd been forced to live that way at home; the serious, harmful crime was something that utterly rocked the foundations of her world. She asked for proof.

The FBI cooperated with her request, and, although she was upset, Xuân reluctantly agreed to help them. By then, though, things were out of anyone's control, and the day after receiving her diploma, Xuân took Leong and Nga for a walk through Central Park. When she returned an hour and a half later, the hotel was burning to the ground. Using her powers, she was able to save a number of people by possessing them and helping them move through the ruin; about fifteen people died in the hotel that day, including both of her parents.

It came out during the rescue efforts that Tranh and Nguyen had set the fire because the owner of the hotel, who had given the family free rooms for Xuân's graduation in an attempt to appease Nguyen, had failed to come through on a deal; Nguyen had not intended to kill Xuân's parents, but Xuân, accidentally taking over his mind in her grief, could not see that he felt any remorse -- an indeed that he felt they were a drain on his resources anyway. Devastated, she nearly died herself, attacking Nguyen with her bare hands, but her brother dragged her off, using his power against his sister for the first time since they were children. Tranh and Nguyen escaped in the chaos of the scene.

Barely an adult herself, she found herself struggling to cope with having two children to care for, as well as her grief for her mother's death and her brother's betrayal; she was unable to go back to school in September as she had planned, and instead went to Greenwich Village, where she and her siblings lived in a small two-bedroom flat paid for with the small amount of money her parents had left behind. Her university diploma, which had seemed so important only a day before the incident, now seemed useless; she'd intended to get her MA in comparative literature from Columbia the next year, but that was impossible. She had a family to support. She fell out of contact with most of her friends, and indeed her mentor Father Bowen as well, and for about a year and a half, she spent most of her time just trying to keep up with the needs of two three-year-olds.

The next two years were hard for her. She worked as a receptionist in a law firm full-time, pulling in enough money for the necessities, and basically going through the motions. She went into auto-pilot, as she'd describe it now, surviving solely because she had to. In January 2000, though, Xuân's friends got fed up with her not returning their calls, and began to make an inroads in getting her back into the real world. Father Bowen came to visit, unannounced, in March, and from there began to harass, cajole, and irritate Xuân into getting her life back. It worked, partially because another adult in the house -- even a guest -- lifted part of the burden she'd been bearing since her parents died. After a month, Father Bowen had convinced her to apply to graduate schools, and she did; however, instead of going on with her comparative literature degree, she was accepted into Columbia University's Library and Information Studies program, with the intention of becoming a librarian.

She went on to complete her MA in Library and Information Studies at the same institution from 2000-2002, and worked in different private schools in Massachusetts from September 2002 until June 2004. She remained involved with the Mutant Rights Coalition, although quietly, as her employers didn't want her to draw attention to herself -- lest there be parental concern.

Living At The X-Mansion

Xuân approached Charles Xavier for the librarian job; she wanted to be at Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters, and eventually part of the X-Men, because she strongly believed that she could make a difference in the world through her actions. This might have sounded idealistic, but she believes her ideals can change the world, too, so that argument falls on deaf ears. She likes working with teenagers, loves challenges, there are other kids for her siblings to play with, and she gets her very own library to manage as she pleases. Although she knows that joining Xavier's staff will likely result in putting herself in danger, she also knows there's no better place for her to be.

Xuân quickly settled into the school, her siblings making friends and becoming part of the school's floating younger student population. An initial friendship with Cecilia Reyes still continues intermittently since the other woman moved out of the mansion, and Xuân maintains a friendly association with most of the school's residents.

Further Information

Xuân was the school librarian, and spent most of her time there, or looking after her siblings. In August 2010, with the twins still showing no signs of manifesting, Xuân decided to move to Salem Center in order for them to have a wider social circle and to allow her the chance to pursue her own academic career.

Physical Characteristics

Height: 5' 4"

Weight: 115 lbs.

Eyes: Brown

Hair: Black

Other Features: None.


Xuân's mutant power is psi-based: She can project a psionic energy surge enabling her that overwhelms people's minds, putting her in control. It's fairly strong; while it would not stand up to a developed telepath like Professor Xavier, or someone with really good shields, she can take down fairly powerful minds otherwise. (Such as Tessa/Sage in the comics.) Her power extends to being able to 'lift' information from her victims' minds, such that she can hear what they're thinking, and to make them tell her what she wants to know (however, they don't know that they're being possessed until after the fact, which makes that a bit easier to handle).

Her power allows her to alter perception as well as memory, and eventually will enable her to generate a psionic deflector field that makes her immune to psychic attack. She has to consciously generate the field, however; it's not natural. She doesn't, at this point, know how. There is no physical manifestation of her powers.

The range is limited, but the number of people she can take control of is less so -- she can get about ten people under her control with some effort, which isn't much use for crowds, but good enough that she won't have a problem with small groups.

Xuân's control is mostly self-learnt, but pretty tight because she's had about a decade and a half to control it; since her power does, for the most part, take conscious effort, it's a bit easier to control than some of the 'always on' powers.




Xuân is trilingual, fluent in Vietnamese, French, and English, and can speak not-very-passable Mandarin thanks to a few courses she took as options in university, but asking her to read it or write it would reveal a very amusing but nonsensical grasp of the language.

External Links

xp_communication posts

xp_journal posts

xp_logs posts







Player Icon Base: Thuy Tran

Meta Trivia

Formerly played by Lauren

Due to possible lack of research from Chris Claremont, Karma's real name (plus those of her family) is actually not linguistically correct in Vietnamese:

- Vietnamese naming conventions put the family name first, then middle name, then given name. - Vietnamese doesn't use apostrophes. - Xian, Coy and Leong are all invalid words. - Manh is a male's given name.

(Source: Comic Book Resources)

This was corrected in January 2023 when Lê Capecchi-Nguyễn, Trun drew a Shun story for "Love Unlimited" and corrected the name IC. Accordingly, the name has been corrected in X-Project.