Tamara is a spitfire in a tiny package. Growing up, Tamara was always too smart for her own good - just not quite smart enough to know when to hold her tongue. Her smart mouth and tendency to talk back to teachers always made her stand out, and earned her a bad girl reputation among her peers that she didn’t really deserve. Rather than being upset by this, Tamara turned it into social capital, becoming the queen of the alt crowd in her small school. Confrontational is kind of her brand, including her version of “social justice” (yeah, she’s that bad ally from Tumblr), but it's usually directed at authority figures rather than peers. ...usually.
She’s recently learned the difference between “popularity” and “loyalty” - when her wings came in her stepfather threw her out, and none of her so-called
followers friends stood by her. It’s a hard lesson that’s still fresh, but Tamara isn’t interested in backing down or trying to fit in. She loves being a mutant and loves her new look, and to hell with anyone who doesn’t. She’s really looking forward to meeting other mutants, who she hopes will be “her people” now that everyone else has let her down. She definitely sees that mutants are the new superior race (this Magneto guy might be on to something). She thinks she’s about social justice, but has a warped understanding of it and is fundamentally self-interested. That said, she's got a sweet and fun side, and likes to have a good time with people she likes.
The trauma of losing friends and family has hit her deeper than she realizes, but she’s not interested in dwelling when there’s a whole new world opening up to her. Still, at her lowest, that still hurts and scares her.
- Bioelectricity generation
- Bioelectric blasts/pyrotechnic flames - She utilizes her inner storages of bioelectricity to focus stinger blasts that disrupt organisms or mechanical activity, or excite particle matter in the atmosphere to ignite pyrotechnic flares
- Heat & electricity resistance - She’s not invulnerable, and high enough temperatures or electrical force will eventually do the same to her that they do to anyone else.
Her bioelectric abilities manifested first, and not very dramatically at all. Mysteriously destroying electronics when she was upset led to experimenting, and tiny little shocks eventually got powerful enough to spark fires around her hands.
- Math and science, at a high school level.
- Athletics - she’s tiny, but fast, and stronger than she looks, always showing off in gym (and rocking bad-ass makeup at the same time).
- Setting things on fire.
- Mutant liberation.
- Social justice (or her version of it anyway).
- Finding her place in the world.
- Learning to fly.
Tamara will tell you that she's from the middle of nowhere, and insists she's glad to be gone. Her mother immigrated from Malaysia to marry Rob Kurtz, a doomed marriage that ended before Tamara was three. The divorce left Zara a single mother in the small rural town of Arroyo Grande, California, where tiny Tamara never seemed to fit in.
After her bio-dad skipped out, Tamara’s mother went through a series of loser boyfriends (but they helped pay the rent), and finally married one of them when Tamara was nine. Tamara learned to regard her mother’s romantic pursuits with disdain from a young age, and this marriage was no exception. She never had any interest in being part of the new family, and the birth of two half-brothers only made her feel less connected. Given that her the way the family’s life centered around her brothers - and the way her step-father was steadily becoming a drunk and controlling jerk - she honestly didn’t think she was missing much.
She did butt heads with her stepfather regularly, over babysitting, shopping, dating… Short skirts and heavy makeup were her primary way of proving he couldn’t control her.
This attitude also carried over to her school work. Although she was plenty smart, she was never top of her class because she would blow off assignments that she didn’t care about. A skeptical atheist from an early age, she was always out of place in her small, religious private school, though she was never problematic enough to get thrown out (though it was really tempting sometimes). But what made her a thorn in the side of the faculty made her popular with her peers. Makeup, a smart mouth, and a competitive streak gave her a bad girl reputation that she quite enjoyed.
In her freshman year of high school, Tamara transferred to a public school to help the family save money, a move she was thrilled about. Capitalizing on her attitude and style, she quickly built a group of friends(/folllowers). They were the off-beat popular crowd, and she was the queen.
When her powers began manifesting it freaked her out at first, but then it became second nature - and it was totally cool. Her friends thought the shocks and occasional flames were some kind of trick, but a really good one (if annoying, since she wouldn’t give up the secret). Tamara didn’t know or really care why she could manipulate electricity and turn it into fire blasts, but she certainly enjoyed it. When she heard the word ‘mutant’, that just made it even better.
Things didn’t get weird until a few months after her fifteenth birthday. What started as an itch in her upper back and shoulders became an ache and then something more. Figuring it was more mutant powers, Tamara kept this to herself as best she could, and kept the area covered with clothes. But eventually she was in too much pain to hide it anymore, and the growing bulge on her back was scaring her too much to stay quiet. She showed her mother, who took her straight to the hospital.
X-rays showed a strange growth of bones and flesh, and the doctors wanted to operate and remove it all. By now they were fairly certain this was some manifestation of mutation, but were certain that with surgery, Tamara could live a "perfectly normal life."
All of this scared Tamara, but she knew she didn’t want the surgery. Her parents insisted, but Tamara resisted, even using her powers and setting fire to some expensive hospital machinery. During the struggle, the bony tips of her wings pushed their way through her skin. It was only a matter of moments (and pain and blood) before both large, bat-like wings had emerged, raw and red. The entire emergency room essentially came to a stand-still, then she spent another day being thoroughly poked, prodded, and tested.
The end result was the same - the promise of “normal” after surgery. Her mother cried, her brothers were terrified, and Tamara’s step father issued his ultimatum: get rid of the wings, or get out. Tamara grabbed her clothes and walked out of the hospital.
She managed to make it to her school on foot, where she hoped her friends would help her out. Instead, she was met with shock and fear by everyone she encountered - including her friends. No one stepped up to help. The school called the police.
Luckily, Xavier got there first. As soon as she knew he was a mutant too, Tamara wasted no time in taking him up on his offer of a place at his school. Still wearing the hospital gown as a shirt (the open back left space for her new wings, and at least she had a cute skirt with it), she left with him for New York.