Hi. I'm Kaela. I really don't like talking about the past, but if you insist, I suppose I'll enlighten you. I was born Katherine Lau and raised in Hong Kong to an American English teacher mother and a successful Hong Kong business man. I really can't complain too much about my early childhood since we lived in one of those idyllic communities for wealthy locals and expatriates alike. Repulse Bay, away from the insanity of Hong Kong actual, proved to be quite a pleasant place to grow up, and the diversity in the community meant I never felt awkward or out of place for being of mixed race. It was only my grandmother that made me feel like...a disappointment. She never liked Mum and wasn't present in my early life, which is definitely for the best since, well, who wants to be around people who hate you? Not me. Poor Dad did his best to remain civil with his mother and protect Mum and I from her "evil eye", but when Mum died of breast cancer when I was nine, Dad felt it was time for me to acquaint myself with my grandmother since there wasn't really anyone else to call family and he wasn't a hands-on father.
I hated my teen years. Ying Ying didn't want to live in Repulse Bay with us so Dad had bought her a nice apartment in Kowloon where she was closer to her friends and social clubs. After Mum died, I was sent off to live with her while I attended high school. Where Mum was such a gentle, loving and accepting presence in my life, Ying Ying was cold and hard. She spoke Cantonese and my Cantonese was atrocious. We studied Mandarin at school and even that was tough for me. I transferred from the international school I was attending to another one in Kowloon but it wasn't a smooth transition. I suppose the school itself was fine and my peers were decent, but the neighbourhood kids were cruel and not so accepting. I was a half-breed, a fake Chinese freak, or so they taunted me. They bullied me during my most vulnerable years and I didn't have anyone to talk to. Dad remarried and his Chinese wife gave birth to a son, much to Ying Ying's delight. He felt so far away with his new family and the friendships I made when I lived in Repulse Bay faded as I moved away and went off in a different direction from my friends. It's not like we were that far away! I tried to make it work but...eh.
I learned it was better to keep to myself and my aspiration in life was just to survive high school and live day to day. A retired man down the street took pity on me one day after a particularly nasty confrontation with a gang of teen punk asses, and offered to teach me a bit of kung fu and qigong to help me defend myself if needed. Sounds like the plot out of a movie, I know, but I definitely didn't become some fierce female action star. I dabbled and wasn't too serious about these studies. Sure the self-defense lessons helped me feel a bit more confident about myself but it was really the old man's kindly nature that kept me going back every week. That an his cooking. Yum. I barely graduated high school but didn't have the drive to go to college so I opted out of it and went right to work. Dad was disappointed I wasn't going to further my education so at Ying Ying's suggestion, he ended my allowance, telling me I needed to work my way up like he did. Fine. I stopped my martial arts training as I launched into work.
Shit really hit the fan in my twenty fifth year. I was returning home from my job as a waitress one night and had an unpleasant run-in with a drunken asshole I had gone to high school with. At first he wanted to chat and apologize for helping to make my life a living hell back in the day, but after I refused his drunken advances, his temper flared and I found myself on the receiving end of some brutal punches my meagre martial arts skills could do little to prevent. Thank goodness someone came upon us and interrupted the beat-down. My attacker fled after knocking down the witness and though I was encouraged to go to the police, honestly, I was just too shocked and shaken to do anything but run home, bloody, bruised and humiliated. I must have made quite the ruckus coming home since I woke Ying Ying. You'd think she would sympathize with her granddaughter and try comforting me in my sorry state...nope! I just couldn't take her yelling, her quick tongue in a language I barely understood on a good day, her flailing hands making me jump every few seconds. I reached for the wall for support...and went right through it. I kid you not. One minute the wall was there, supporting me, and the next minute, I was falling on my ass into the kitchen. I can still hear Ying Ying's screams. She called me "demon" and a string of other unpleasant names, and it was then I realized I was one of those crazy metahumans you hear about on the news. I was so distressed I found myself half-buried, no, melded into the kitchen floor.
I fled as soon as I managed to pull myself out of the floor and spent the night cowering in a cardboard box in some alleyway. Sure, I had the means to actually put myself up in a hotel if I wanted to but I wasn't in my right mind then. I was paranoid and confused and hurting. Hell, I even contemplated jumping in front of a Hong Kong subway. After a week or so of hiding and drifting, and numerous scary incidents of melding into and through inanimate objects, I found the nerve to call on my Dad, hoping for at least some kind of support. Of course, he had heard the story from his mother but out of fear for his job and his reputation, he didn't file a missing persons report for me. He didn't even try to look for me, not wanting to be linked to metahumans. Nice Dad, right? With a young son and a vibrant career, the only thing he could do was advise me to reveal myself to Chinese authorities since there were rumours of a cure for my...freakishness. He told me he would transfer money into my account so I could figure my shit out and fade away into the background, essentially "fuck off money". I didn't take his money. Fuck him and his new family.
I did contemplate "curing" myself but I didn't trust the government because I always thought the Chinese government sketchy. What if their cure was to actually eliminate the freaks? My life was pretty pathetic but I decided I didn't want to die either. I showed up on my old kung fu teacher's doorstep and he took me in. My strange ability was getting out of hand. It was wild and unpredictable when I was upset and back then, I was always upset. Fortunately, Old Wu wasn't afraid of me and reintroduced me to meditation to help me focus. I trained with him when I wasn't at work and the next few years felt almost "normal" aside from the fact I was far from normal. I advanced in my training and started learning various weapon forms. I preferred daggers and the long sword, not really useful in every day life but the form itself was gorgeous. Meditation became easier and the calmer I became, the more I could control my ability. I could pass through walls at will and Old Wu affectionately nicknamed me "Little Ghost". I preferred the name Spectre. It sounded more badass.
Three years after my phasing ability revealed itself, the Bakieens tried to invade Earth. Chaos ensued as Hong Kong was attacked in the first wave. Though the main front hit the United States of America, China sustained heavy damage and suddenly there were calls for metahumans to help the military counter-attack. I still distrusted the government so I didn't reveal myself. I just wanted to survive and concentrated my efforts on helping rebuild my neighbourhood. Sadly, Old Wu died during a skirmish between our military and an alien squad. When the Bakieen mothership fell, it didn't take long for their scattered forces across the globe to either retreat or be obliterated. In the days after the war ended, I discovered Old Wu had left me some money in his will with a note urging me to find a reason to keep living, to find my passion in this life and to really take my power back and thrive. I took his words to heart and left Hong Kong, looking for a new beginning in the US, the land my mother hailed from. Metahumans seemed to be more accepted over there, some even hailed as heroes. I didn't want to be a hero. I just wanted a normal life. Perhaps there would be a life for me there. Maybe I would find some small measure of peace.
Six years later, I am waiting tables at a small diner in San Antonio, Texas. I moved a few times throughout the US, working small jobs to get by, exploring the great outdoors when I can. I love camping and being by myself under the stars. This nomadic-type life seems to suit me. I don't really need anything more than this. I keep my phasing ability low-key. I've decided not to reveal myself even though I've heard some pretty amazing stories about the Valor Squad. I really like this normal.