Willowy, soft-spoken, and deferent, Hua Tian-shin seems an unlikely lawyer and an even less likely activist.
Hua Tian-shin was born and raised in Manhattan’s Chinatown, the middle child of a Chinese immigrant family. She spent her early years helping her parents run their bookshop and studying hard to make them proud. Her older sister was brilliant but wild, her younger brother obedient but academically mediocre. As such, she felt a great deal of pressure to achieve not only a high-paying profession, but one that would be of use to family and community.
The entire family was thrown into chaos when the eldest child was revealed to be both transgender and a mutant with the ability to manipulate colors, then ran away. It would be years before any of them see him again, calling himself 'Tag'. Tian-shin, in the meantime became the de facto eldest child with all the responsibilities that entails.
When her father’s business associates offered to pay her way through law school in return for her services after graduation, she jumped at the opportunity. It was only by degrees that she came to understand that her future employers were members of a criminal syndicate called the Chung Yu Tong, under the leadership of a man named Chung Ling-yin.
After passing the bar, Tian-shin joined Li and Associates, a small law firm that primarily serves Chinese clients affiliated with Boss Chung. Though competent and well-regarded, she was uncomfortable with her continued involvement with the tong. It took learning that their father kidnapped Tag with syndicate assistance to make her quit.
The aftermath found her brother free but unwilling to have much to do with the family. Their father went missing and is presumed dead. Tian-shin herself began freelancing, first out of the family's home above the bookshop, and later from the Commons after moving in with her brother. More recently, she has joined the faculty at Xavier's, teaching Mandarin Chinese and Law and Morality.
Tian-shin can sense the chemical composition of matter, but she cannot identify it innately; she must learn to match her sense of a substance with its name and chemical properties. The precision and detail of her matter sense diminishes with distance and the heterogeneity of the material.
More dramatically, she can bring about chemical reactions if she understands the underlying mechanism. Her power can stand in for a catalyst or supply activation energy, but not both at the same time, and she cannot induce a change of state, fission, or fusion (although these may occur as a result the of a reaction she produces). The degree to which she must concentrate on a reaction is proportional to the amount of material affected and its distance from her person, but the complexity of a reaction does not in itself influence her ability to produce it.
If she attempts to push her range or capacity, she gets sloppy--in quantity, location, or even type of reaction. If she persists, she can physically exhaust herself and lose consciousness. She is not immune to the harmful effects of the byproducts her reactions produce.
- Hive - Has probably saved her brother's life more than just the once.
- Melinda Chylds - Kind and meticulous; went far above and beyond the call of duty for both Tian-shin and Tag.
- Chung Ling-yin - Leader of the Chung Yu Tong criminal syndicate.
- Hua Yong - Father. Missing. Presumed dead. Good riddance.
- Hua Mei-lan - Mother, and a cautionary tale for deferring too much.
- Tag - Older brother (born Hua Tsai-hong), and a constant source of well-founded worry.
- Hua Tian-yi - Younger brother, and a severe disappointment.
To be determined
- Murphy Law - Saved her entire family from her father. Intriguing.
|Activist - Tian-shin volunteers what time she can to various progressive causes and maintains a blog ('Lex Ferenda') addressing social justice with a view toward jurisprudence.
|Freelance - Having recently departed from a small but prosperous firm, she has established her own practice with an eye toward representing mutants.
|Old Maid - Lamenting her lack of grandchildren, Tian-shin's mother is constantly trying to marry her off to a "successful man".
|Kung-Fu Fighting - She harbors a semi-secret love for campy wu-xia books and films, which has inspired her to study wu-shu.