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Dr. Kavita Rao of the X-Club (X-Men ally) (Marvel Comics)

Doctor Kavita Rao


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

“Understand this – no one is to be hurt. Whatever your feelings about mutants. I will not be a party to murder.”

Context

Dr. Kavita Rao is scientific genius who works with the X-Men. She appeared in 2004. The main body of her appearances took place during the late 2000s and early 2010s, an era during which the X-Men comic books were firing on all cylinders.


Background

  • Real Name: Dr. Kavita Rao.
  • Other Aliases: “Petri Girl”, “No-Power Girl”, “K.”.
  • Marital Status: Unrevealed.
  • Known Relatives: None.
  • Group Affiliation: X-Club.
  • Base Of Operations: Utopia (San Francisco Bay).
  • Height: 5’7” Weight: 133 lbs.
  • Eyes: Brown Hair: Black


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Powers & Abilities

Dr. Rao is a genius, and one of the most proficient geneticist and biochemist in the Marvel Universe. Her powerful deductive mind excels at scientific inquiry, even outside of her specialities. For those Harvard students in the audience, that means she’s real smart.

Despite being a biologist, she can thus provide more than capable assistance on, say, transdimensional  physics projects or energy generation engineering projects. Her non-biology skills seem to have steadily progressed as she worked with the X-Club.

She’s a trained physician, and even has EMT and surgery skills as well as some psychological counselling skills. She can handle the very advanced medical tech available to the X-Men (including alien Shi’ar  tech) and has experience with guiding mutant powers she can put to medical use.

While Dr. Rao isn’t a combatant, she has a certain courage, can handle significant stress (though not always gracefully) and has some native ability with weapons.

Dr. Rao isn’t going to design brand new technologies out of thin air, like Reed Richards or Tony Stark do. However, she does have access to resources that do not exist in the real world, which allows her to achieve results that would be super-science for us.

Brewing up an unstable pyrovirus capable of triggering spontaneous combustion of organisms in a way that violently spreads to inanimate matter was the clearest example.


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History

Kavita Rao is from Kolkata  (কলকাতা, formerly known as Calcutta), West Bengal, India. Deep in the Bengali jungle, there is the legend of the ghost who walks, but this has nothing to do with this profile.

A brilliant student, she earned multiple doctorates in genetics, mutant genetics and biochemistry in India, the UK and the US.

Her research became highly regarded by, among many others, Dr. Henry McCoy aka the Beast – one of the world’s foremost experts in mutant genetics. She was among the researchers working on a cure for the Legacy Virus during the 1990s, and was close to a working remedy when Drs. McCoy and McTaggert beat her to it.

The Cure, part 1

During the late 1990s Abigail Brand, the director of S.W.O.R.D., brokered a delicate deal with the leaders of the alien Breakworld. They had foreseen that their world would be ruined by a human mutant and wanted to destroy Earth to prevent that. But it was agreed to instead try and find a peaceful way to reduce the Earth’s mutant population.

Breakworld envoy Ord brought advanced scientific resources, and Brand recruited Dr. Kavita Rao as her science lead for this project.

Rao agreed to do the work, as she saw that considerable misery was caused by undesired mutations. She ran tests on the corpses of several mutants whom she had been told had committed suicide to escape their condition. One of her live subjects was a little girl who had accidentally killed her parents and a police officer when her mutant powers manifested.

Kavita Rao studies an infection with Dr. Nemesis and Cyclops

Various aspects of the project, such as the use of the captive Colossus (Piotr Rasputin) as a test subject were hidden from her. Howbeit she chose not to ask questions either, being willing to compromise to develop her “cure”. S.W.O.R.D. used front company Benetech, in the US, to provide Rao with resources.

The Cure, part 2

In 2005, Dr. Rao synthesised a compound that could neutralise X-gene mutation. Using this breakthrough, she successfully depowered the orphaned girl in her care. The cure was announced under the trade name “Hope”.

This was a bombshell among the mutant community, particularly in the US. Hundreds of mutants set up camp in front of Benetech’s HQ, hoping to have their mutations erased. The news even affected the X-Men, as Dr. McCoy was increasingly distressed by the evolution of his animalistic mutation.

A conflict erupted between the X-Men and Ord, which accidentally destroyed the Benetech HQ. The Hope cure research was destroyed, but there was little doubt that Rao could recreate it.

Decimation

The point became moot in 2006, when the Scarlet Witch removed the mutation of roughly 99% of mutants on Earth. Mutants thus seemed doomed to extinction.

Kavita Rao and test tubes, in a lab

Dr. McCoy led the research effort into restoring the mutation-enabling x-factor, along with scientists such as Dr. Richards and Dr. Pym, but to little avail. In 2007, he contacted a number of unethical geneticists (Mister Sinister, Arnim Zola, Dr. Doom, the High Evolutionary, MODOK, Pandemic, etc.) to offer an alliance.

He also contacted Dr. Rao despite condemning her ethical choices she made as a Benetech employee. However, a good part of Dr. McCoy’s condemnation of Dr. Rao’s choices seem to stem from self-loathing over having considered using her research to de-mutate himself.

Forced back

In the meantime, Dr. Rao’s career had gone downhill. There was little need for mutant genetics experts after the Witch’s spell. Furthermore, her work was considered tainted since most of the breakthroughs she used had been provided by alien warlords.

Kavita worked on her own to create a mutant via cloning, based on her enormous Benetech samples bank from pre-curse mutants. She eventually reached the conclusion that it was hopeless, as the curse had made the x-factor in every sample inert. Dr. Rao handed over her research into mutant cloning to Dr. McCoy before returning to India.

Though they had a pissing match about ethics, they decided to continue comparing notes.

Everything changed in 2007, when a mutant child was born in Alaska – the first one since the curse. This momentous event triggered a war, and Cyclops (Scott Summers) opted to have his son Cable (Nathan Summers) take the child into the future for her protection.

The kid was named Hope – ironically, the same as Dr. Rao’s cure for harmful mutation. Many mutants came to consider that Hope was a saviour who would return to them to break the Scarlet Witch’s curse and save their species from extinction.

The five fists of science

In 2009, Dr. McCoy assembled a hand-picked science and engineering team to resume research in the light of Hope’s birth. McCoy’s friend Angel (Warren Worthington III) bankrolled the creation of a shiny new lab with the San Francisco branch of Graymalkin Industries.

Dr. McCoy’s colleagues were Dr. Kavita Rao, Dr. James Bradley (aka Dr. Nemesis – PhD in nemesising), Dr. Yuriko Takiguchi (atomic mutation biologist) and Madison Jeffries (formerly Box of Alpha Flight). This team was nicknamed the “X-Club”, though Drs. Rao and Takiguchi were both baseline humans.

Kavita Rao and the X-Club work on Dracula's body

Jeffries came up with the idea of gene-sequencing the parents of an early XXth century mutant. The X-Club modified time-travel technology to launch an expedition to 1906 and study the parents of Dr. Nemesis prior to his birth. With the help of Psylocke and Angel, the scientists procured the blood samples they needed.

However, this research was interrupted when the Norman Osborn security apparatus — including his Dark Avengers — ramped up hostilities against the mutant community. By that point, the mutants had regrouped in San Francisco. The X-Club worked around the clock and raised Asteroid M from the bottom of the bay to become a mutant refuge, the island of Utopia.

During these operations, Dr. Takiguchi died of old age and stress.

The science team then worked on stabilising and structuring the fractured psyche of omega-class mutant Legion (David Haller). These efforts held for months, but severely backfired in 2011.

Second coming

In 2010, Dr. Rao was held hostage for a few minutes by the mutant Stinger (Wendy Sherman). However, Sherman was simply having an anxiety attack and was soon calmed by Iceman (Robert Drake).

Some months later, Hope returned to the present of Earth-616, which triggered another war as anti-mutants went all-out to prevent her from saving her species.

Kavita Rao talking about her Hope research

Cypher (Douglas Ramsey) detected that the X-Men’s enemy Bastion was building a mysterious base. Cyclops sent the X-Club to investigate, but it was actually a trap set by Bastion ally Graydon Creed. The X-Club was trapped on an apocalyptic Earth 30 years in the future, where destroying mutants was the only hope to save the planet.

However, Dr. Rao realised that it was a VR simulation meant to manipulate her into recreating her “cure” for mutantship. While she pretended to play along, what she actually brewed up was a weaponized pyrovirus. Her creation destroyed the base and she, Bradley and Jeffries narrowly escaped.

Meanwhile, a major battle took place in San Francisco, which Hope Summers and the mutants won. Bastion was seemingly destroyed.

Curse of the mutants, part 1

Dr. Rao helped with treating the casualties, then got to work on understanding the condition of Kitty Pryde. At this point, Pryde seemed permanently stuck in an out-of-phase state. In the meanwhile, the X-Club developed a sort of space suit allowing Pryde to have a physical existence.

Dr. Rao also made improvements to the neural interface of the cybernetic hands Jeffries built for the crippled Hellion (Julian Keller).

Kavita Rao and the X-Club

During the X-Men vs. vampires war, Dr. Rao and Dr. Bradley swiftly diagnosed that Jubilee (Jubilation Lee) had been infected by a manufactured vampirism virus. The effects progressed quickly, and Jubilee soon knocked Kavita out to escape and join a vampire horde.

With thousands of San Franciscans infected with the same virus, Dr. Rao devised a complementary-strings-based genetic strategy to silence it. Meanwhile Jeffries built a nanobots fleet to deliver it, and a few infected persons were invited to the X-Club’s lab for tests.

Curse of the mutants, part 2

However, a techno-organic  vampire attacked the lab, slaying several tests subjects and stalking Rao, Jeffries and Bradley. Dr. Rao shot it with her genetic agent. But though it worked just as planned it couldn’t affect the psychic and mystical components of the curse – and was thus useless. The X-Club nevertheless destroyed the TO vampire.

Cyclops changed tactics. He had Dracula’s beheaded corpse brought to the X-Club, who figured out how to reanimate him and make him whole. The X-Club also weakened Wolverine’s healing factor so he could be turned into a vampire… then have his full power turned back on to recover from that.

Between having Dracula as an uncomfortable ally, and using Wolverine as a Trojan horse, the mutants won the war.

The X-Club also allegedly planted safeguards within Dracula. But whether this statement is true or was a bluff remains unrevealed. Dracula let the X-Men have Jubilee back, and Dr. Rao and her colleagues used a modified form of Wolverine’s blood to keep her vampirism under partial control – though curing her was beyond their present means.

Contagion…

When several Utopian mutants got sick, Dr. Rao quickly intuited that it was the beginning of an epidemic. Drs. Rao and Reyes soon confirmed that a HX-N1 flu outbreak had begun, and put the entire island under quarantine.

The X-Club determined that HX-N1 wasn’t a virus per se, but nanomachines mimicking a virus. But this also meant that the infection was progressing far faster than a biological one could. It also weakened mutant powers, causing severe health troubles in those mutants with a nonstandard physiology.

Kavita Rao forced to reconstitute her Hope mutation cure

The infection was progressing extremely fast on Utopia, and whether baseline humans were susceptible was a critical unknown. As one of the few humans on the island, Dr. Rao decided to inject herself with the virus to get clean medical data ASAP.

She thus proved that the virus wouldn’t affect non-mutants, which Utopia’s PR director used to prevent a panic in California

Cyclops soon had the nanobots deactivated by forcing the fight to Lobe of the Sublime Corp., who had engineered the epidemic.

… evolution, Legion

In 2011, when the Evolutionaries returned, the X-Club worked feverishly on finding a way to disrupt their cosmic energy-powered ability to commit genocide. When an old technology once used by Hank McCoy to defeat the Evolutionaries resurfaced, they switched to refurbishing it. The scientists managed to kill most of the surviving Evolutionaries with it.

Shortly afterward, most Utopians spent seven days in an artificial reality created by one of Legion’s personalities. Subjectively, this experience represented an entire lifetime. Dr. Rao helped assess the medical consequences. She identified many post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms that were corrected through voluntary telepathic erasure of traumatic memories.

Kavita and the X-Club also helped mutants who had been even more badly damaged, such as Chambers. They also helped Legion train with a new way of keeping his multiple personalities under control.

Schisms

When the mutant community split over an ideological struggle between Cyclops and Wolverine, it was under attack by Kade Kilgore, the new Black King of the Hellfire Club.

In particular the Hellfire Club incapacitated many of the mutant big guns (such as Emma Frost, Colossus or Namor) with face-hugging alien slugs that Dr. Rao worked on neutralising. The creatures were eventually taken out through a mixture of medicine and telepathic assault.

Kabita Rao doing science

The X-Club remained with Cyclops on Utopia rather than join Wolverine on the East Coast.

The X-Club later helped with recovering the seemingly slain mutant Ariel (Ariel of the Coconut Grove). Though Ariel was brought back to Earth-616 with severe burns, Dr. Rao had the (presumably Shi’ar) tech to flawlessly heal these wounds within days.

We need to talk about elevators

As part of Cyclops’ PR work to gain respectability for his X-Men, the X-Club (joined by artificial intelligence Danger) helped with a massive private sector project to build a space elevator.

Though Dr. Rao wasn’t directly involved with the project, unexpected catastrophic effects appeared in the sea life around the elevator’s planetside anchor point. Kavita soon determined that it had been exposed to Terrigen-242.

Dr. Rao worked on controlling the Terrigen damage, and in particular on saving the life of an Atlantean priestess named Lida. Meanwhile, Dr. Nemesis discovered that the company building the elevator was a front for a Nazi super-scientist with dimensional powers, who was about to rewrite Earth’s reality.

In the end Dr. Nemesis used the Terrigen compound to stall the super-scientist. Meanwhile Mr. Jeffries and Danger allowed an alien super-computer to turn against its Nazi master – thus winning the day. Meanwhile, while Dr. Rao couldn’t save her patient, the priestess’ last words about her faith gave Kavita the idea association she needed to crack the problem.

Kavita designed a counter-agent to Terrigen-242 and used it to save Nemesis’ life then detox the damaged area – and cure all infected Atlanteans and animals. Science oh !

AvX

Some months later into 2012, the return of the Phoenix Force created a violent rift between the X-Men on Utopia and the Avengers.

Wolverine launched an operation to evacuate the mutant kids on Utopia. Dr. Rao and Mr. Jeffries reluctantly agreed to help him and chaperone the youths. They and their charges moved to the Avengers Academy, recently installed in the old West Coast Avengers compound.

The situation briefly went pear-shaped. But an agreement was found to let the mutant kids leave, and Rao and Jeffries seized the occasion to return to their lab.


Description

Kavita usually wears conservative, drab clothing under her perennial white lab coat – the latter being worn everywhere, all the time. When dressing up she’ll break out a sari worn in the Northern style (tucked into the waist and with the palu draped over the left shoulder).

She wears a decorative tip (forehead red dot) and prescription glasses. There’s also a mala (prayer beads) bracelet on her wrist. She is not religious, but she’s culturally Buddhist.


Personality

Dr. Rao is sensible, quiet, nice, measured and determined to make the world a better place through the power of medicine – and science. She has an excellent bedside manner and is good with children.

However, though she’s patient, polite and benign Kavita is no shrinking violet. If annoyed she has a considerable ability to verbally push back. Since many people around her are quite annoying — starting with Dr. Nemesis — she often comes across as sharply sarcastic, though that’s not her default behaviour.

Kavita Rao, Dr. Nemesis and Madison Jeffries

Kavita was hurt by the compromises she made with Ord and Benetech, where she chose not to ask questions about ethics. She knew the answers would force her to abandon the project, and be unable to provide a cure to those distressed by their mutations. Thus, she chose to dine with the Devil.

Dr. Rao came to repudiate her choices, particularly in light of the near-extinction of the mutant species before Hope’s birth.

Dr. Rao had developed a maternal bond with Benetech patient Tildie Soames, the young mutant girl whose powers had killed her parents. One assumes that Kavita had to have the US government (or perhaps S.W.O.R.D.) take Tildie into their care when her career downturn forced her to move back to India.

Like most X-Club members, Kavita drinks lots and lots of coffee. She also enjoys playing bridge and is reportedly a superb tango dancer.


Quotes

Ord: “Are you insane ?”
Dr. Rao: “The casual observer would perhaps not look to *me* as the unbalanced one.”

Dr. McCoy: “What you did was monstrous. I am not you.”
Dr. Rao: “And I do not have Arnim Zola’s phone number.”

(To Dr. Nemesis) “It must be hard to be so difficult all the time. Does it worry you to know that you’ll die alone and unloved, and that so many of your former colleagues will use your grave as a toilet ?”

(As Dr. Nemesis and Magneto are having a pissing contest) “If you like I can fetch rulers and you two gentlemen can duel at dawn…”

(Shooting a shapechanger vampire with a nanobots injector) “Eat scalding gene therapy, you dentally atavistic, morphologically challenged arsehole !”
Jeffries: “Nice science cussing here, K.”
Rao: “Thanks. I’ve been practicing.”

“What we’re doing here is like dialysis. It’s management, not a cure.”

“The visible effect is caused by Bremsstrahlung radiation  from a plasma field. She has no physical form, as such.”

Kavita (watching a rampaging swarm of giant insect monsters): “Initial theory : something’s wrong with their navigation. Inside the temporal anomaly, the heavens would be virtually stationary. If they navigated by them…”
Storm: “I understand. Hide the sun.”


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

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Kavita Rao

Dex: 02 Str: 02 Bod: 02 Motivation: Uphold Good
Int: 04 Wil: 10 Min: 03 Occupation: Scientist
Inf: 03 Aur: 03 Spi: 04 Resources {or Wealth}: 005
Init: 009 HP: 010

Skills:
Accuracy (Pattern analysis): 07, Artist (Dancer): 02, Charisma (Interrogation): 03, Gadgetry (Build Gadget): 10, Gadgetry (Identify Gadget): 05, Medicine: 06, Scientist (1): 12, Scientist: 06, Weaponry (Firearms, Exotic): 02

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Both Gadgetry (Build Gadget) and Scientist (1) are limited to biology tasks.
  • Charisma is there if you use Skilled Character Interaction house rules.

Advantages
Language (Presumably Bengali and perhaps Hindi), Expertise (Tango dancing), Familiarity (Contract bridge, Shi’ar medical tech), Scholar (Genetics, Biochemistry, Mutant Genetics).

Connections:
X-Men (High), X-Club (Low), Dr. Cecilia Reyes (Low).

Drawbacks:
MPR (Nearsighted), Misc.: Hippocratic Oath.

By Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: X-Men comics.

Helper(s): Darci.

Writeup completed on the 10th of September, 2014.

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