From Unofficial Handbook of the Virtue Universe
Katherine Young was a junior archaeologist on her first dig, an ancient temple complex amid the ruins of the Egyptian city of Bubastis. Despite the precautions taken to ensure the stability of the site, a tremor beneath the earth caused part of the complex to collapse, separating Katherine from the rest of her excavation team. With nothing but her flashlight and her wits, Katherine groped desperately through the darkness until the beam of her flashlight reflected against an object of pristine gold.
She took it up into her hands, and as it began to glow with a light of its own, she recognized it as a statuette of Bast, the cat-goddess of women, fertility and healing. The warmth emanating from the figure seemed to seep into her skin, filling her body, coursing through her very soul. Within her mind spoke a voice, ancient and powerful, yet feminine and compassionate: "I have awaited your coming, my child. You shall be the vessel of my return."
With that, her body underwent a peculiar transformation: While the statuette in her hands had lost its warm radiance, Katherine herself had assumed the same glowing, golden sheen it had possessed. Her features, like those of the statuette, had taken on a distinct feline bent, complete with a long, catlike tail swishing behind her. But she could feel that her transformation was of a more than physical nature.
Sharing her body with the ancient, benevolent goddess, she found that she could feel the desperation of her entrapped comrades, the fear of imminent demise that so consumed them. Wasting no time, she darted through the blackness—she needed no light now to find her way—until she came to the source of that palpable fear. With a wave of a hand, she cast aside the rubble that had trapped them.
Her senior colleagues gaped in awe, scarcely recognizing the girl they had taken under their collective wing. Once shy and reserved, she now stood with an air of confidence and authority. Her voice resonated with that same self-assurance as she spoke: "Do not fear, my friends. You will not die in this place."
Something in the way she spoke seemed to banish their fears on the instant. Each of them to a man—even one who but a moment before had thought his leg was surely broken—rose to his feet, heart swelling with courage and determination. Within a shorter interval than any could have expected, the team had re-fortified the ancient ceiling and cleared away the massive stones that had separated them from the passage out.
And when the way was clear, the figure that emerged from the darkness into the light of day was not Katherine Young, but Golden Bast: Avatar of the ancient goddess!
Golden Bast is typically soft-spoken and gentle of demeanor, slow to anger and generally willing to examine all points of view in a given situation. Having elements of both a goddess and a cat, she can be prone to moments of personal pride, even entitlement, though never at any significant expense of those around her.
As an empath, Bast's moods are sometimes affected by those around her. She therefore tends to avoid moody or depressive people, preferring the company of friendly, emotionally stable individuals.
When not fulfilling the "traditional" role of a superheroine, Bast spends much of her time as a volunteer nurse at the various medical facilities in Paragon City. Though her powers are not a substitute for conventional medical care (see below), she has an affinity for alleviating physical pain and discomfort, easing troubled minds, and generally helping along the natural healing process. Many times has a patient hanging in the balance been swayed toward recovery by the effects of her administrations.
She deems this vocation no less important than crimefighting, and often finds it far more fulfilling, as she can often see and feel the difference she makes so much more clearly in the hospital than anywhere else.
Golden Bast's defining power is Empathy, the ability to affect, and be affected by, emotions of those around her. While not a psychic in the truest sense of the word in that she cannot literally read people's thoughts, she is capable of gleaning a surprising amount of knowledge of an individual's motivations and desires by a reading of his or her empathic aura.
Except in the case of those who take deliberate and complex steps to hide them, Bast is nearly always able to get general sense of someone's emotional state without any actual intrusion on her part; most humans and other sentient beings emit emotional "vibrations" that she can see and feel without any conscious effort.
With a concentrated effort, Bast is able to gain a more minute understanding of the emotions a person is feeling, including a sense of the cause or source of the person's emotional state. She can, at times, experience a person's memories if they are sufficiently charged with emotion—even memories that the individual himself may have blocked out.
With an amount of effort largely dependent on the subject's willingness, Bast can project emotions such as courage, hope, and confidence, into her allies. Into her opponents she can channel emotional and even physical pain and anguish. Given a concentrated and prolonged effort, such foes will usually lose consciousness under the strain, though lasting mental or psychological harm is seldom if ever incurred.
Conversely, the emotional resonance of others can often affect her own emotional state, an effect not always desired and one that Bast strives to keep under control.
While Bast is capable of mending superficial wounds with little effort, she is not capable of directly purging the body of diseases, poisons, or other such serious maladies. Most of her "healing" abilities are directly tied to her powers of empathy; that is, while she may not be able to mend a seriously fractured rib in the heat of battle, she can alleviate the pain thereof and give an individual the courage and emotional fortitude to keep fighting. This is, of course, no substitute in the long run for actual medical attention.
Golden Bast is capable of actually healing most physical injuries, but generally this does not does not take the form of a miraculous, instantaneous recovery. Rather, she is able to oversee and aid the body's natural healing process. A patient with an injury that would normally take a month to heal on its own may recover in a week or two under Bast's care, provided the individual doesn't strain himself and observes the proper amount of rest. Naturally, when Bast is working in concert with trained medical doctors, the patient has the potential to recover much more quickly.
Also at least tenuously connected to her empathic powers is Bast's ability to teleport anyone with whom she has some emotional link directly to her location. Generally, the target will feel a comforting warmth surround them, and may hear the words "Come to me" in their mind. The command, even as softly as it is given, is extremely difficult to disobey, and the subject will almost instantly afterward find himself in Bast's presence.
With a concentrated effort, Bast is able move objects and propel them short distances through force of will alone.
Bast has acquired many traits of the common housecat, including superhuman reflexes and agility, the ability to jump great heights and always land on her feet, and limited night-vision. Cats of all kinds tend to be drawn and favorably disposed toward her (and she to them).
Having trained herself to make use of her heightened dexterity and reflexes, Bast has become an accomplished acrobat. She does not limit herself in combat to subduing her opponents through empathic means, but will occasionally let loose a flurry of punches or kicks as well.
Bast has an extensive knowledge of ancient Egyptian language, writing, and culture, and some familiarity with that of other ancient peoples as well. Similarly, she has at least some understanding of most spells, rituals, and objects of a mystical nature.
Weaknesses and Limitations
While Bast's talent in reading a person's empathic aura are so profound that she often has the appearance of reading one's mind, it is important to note that she is not a mind-reader in the truest sense of the word. Most information she gleans is either extrapolated from the person's emotional makeup or so empathically charged that it is inseparable from the emotion associated with it. While Bast can often tell if a person's close relative has died, and may be able to determine the exact relation to the individual and even the name of the relative, data such as state capitals and key codes are a closed book to her.
When an emotion, particularly a negative emotion such as sorrow or hatred, is around her in highly intense quantity, Bast may sometimes become overwhelmed and unable to act or react to events around her. Such occasions are rare, however, and generally require a tremendous concentration of people feeling an emotion very intensely.