From Unofficial Handbook of the Virtue Universe
Bianca Tallin first made the news in late 2006 with a very public and dramatic attempt to kill Statesman by channeling the power of the Terra Volta Nuclear Power Facility to bolster her inherent nuclear power. Though Statesman and Numina thwarted this attempt with apparent ease, Tallin killed nine people during the assault. In the midst of the conflict, Numina discovered that a mutated Banished Pantheon Death Spirit had partially possessed the girl and was the source of her abilities. Numina managed to separate the spirit from the girl, causing its destruction and the apparent nullification of Bianca’s nuclear powers in the process.
After the Terra Volta incident, Bianca Tallin was sentenced to multiple life sentences at the Zigursky Prison. Official reports indicate that she was not a model prisoner during her brief stay there. She was involved in numerous physical conflicts and was reported to have attacked at least one corrections officer during a stint in isolation. There is some speculation that Bianca held particular animosity toward that particular guard, though little is known for the reason why. During the Arachnos breakout two months later, she actually made it to the male wing of the prison to kill him. She also murdered three fellow convicts while doing so. All of her victims were burned alive with obvious radiation scarring, indicating that either her nuclear abilities had returned or she had concealed their continued existence for the duration of her imprisonment.
There are few official records of her activities following her escape, though several linked her to career criminal Louis Cisson, (aka "Big Lou"), and to the vodoun priest Bocor on the Caribbean island of Port Oakes. Her link to Cisson appeared to originate during her stay in prison, but it is less clear how she came into contact with Bocor. Officials both in Paragon City and the Rogue Isles want her for questioning in regard to several robberies and at least one murder committed during the period of her association with the priest. It is also presumed that her motivation for these crimes was mercenary in nature – that she would work for Bocor in exchange for him teaching her arcane theories that could presumably bolster her already considerable nuclear powers.
Her next known affiliation was with the organization known as 'branded.' Her criminal activities decreased greatly during her association with them, but she did commit assaults on various occasions against Aurora Borealis, Infernal and Mynx. When 'branded' dissolved, she virtually disappeared for the following few years until reappearing in Paragon City in late 2011. There is some speculation that the woman now calling herself 'Bianca Tallin,' however, is not the same woman, since there are distinct differences in her physical appearance - most notably the lack of significant facial scarring - and the fact that the woman calling herself 'Bianca Tallin' is noticeably far older than 23 years old.
Her overall goal is not known at this point in time, however given her past proclivity toward violence and the fact that she has committed mass murder in the past, her arrest remains a somewhat high priority for most international law enforcement agencies. Given her relative silence since 2008 and with the rise of other, more active criminals worldwide during the intervening years, there has been no particular urgency to her pursuit. If this woman is truly Bianca Tallin, the fact that she is allowed to be employed by the Takamichi Foundation and has not instead been arrested is quite unusual
Bianca Tallin’s powers originate from her brief symbiosis with a mutated Banished Pantheon Death Spirit. The spirit had been trapped in the nuclear core of a sunken Longbow submarine. When the Circle of Thorns mage Weskelan attempted to bind the spirit to his control using Tallin as a sacrifice, the spirit instead opted to assist her in killing the mage. She, in turn, agreed to allow the spirit to inhabit her. The spirit bestowed in her the ability to generate, emit, and project hard radiation.
When Numina separated the Death Spirit from Bianca, she appeared to be stripped of these powers, but they later re-emerged while at the Ziggurat. It is probable that they were only dormant for a time and that she possessed them all along. Through practice and experience, she appears to have regained the full range of powers she demonstrated during the Terra Volta assault. She has shown the capacity to engage nearly any paranormal on the planet in single combat using these nuclear abilities alone.
However, her nuclear capabilities are only a portion of what she is able to bring to bear.
Perhaps more troubling than the relatively linear abilities she inherited from the death spirit her is her affinity for the arcane, which started with her association with Bocor. She appears to have spent the years in which she vanished in magical study. The breadth of her spellcasting abilities is largely undetermined, but she has demonstrated a great deal of versatility since her return - mostly in the course of activities that most would consider to be heroic.
Numina's addendum to the official report: "Unknown to most, save perhaps to those in tune with the arcane world such as myself or the researchers of the Midnighter's Club, there are numerous historical references to a 'Bianca Tallin' (or variations of that name) associated with various notable magical figures of the past (see larger list below). The longest reference, for example, is of 'Sharess Bi'Tall' - a student of Al'Akar of Hyperboria circa 4730 BC. My personal suspicion is that this 'Bianca Tallin' is the same girl who attacked Terra Volta in 2006 - and that she somehow discovered a method of time travel. She used that knowledge to learn secrets that would otherwise have been unavailable to her. I would view the official report with skepticism during a hostile engagement with her. If an opponent prepares for her as though she is merely a radiation projector who merely knows a few spells, the results will likely be disastrous for that individual."
Bianca Tallin was born in the Kings Row district of Paragon City. She is the eldest daughter of Alicia Tallin (deceased). Her father, (Robert Bernard), left her mother prior to her birth. Bianca has never met him and apparently has no desire to do so, though anecdotal evidence suggests that she knows his name. She had one younger sister and one younger brother, though it is more accurate to describe both siblings as half-siblings since each had different fathers from Bianca. Both siblings are deceased as well, having perished in the same event that killed her mother.
Though never distinguishing herself overmuch as a student, Bianca did well enough in school prior to the Rikti invasion. Most schoolteachers would remember her as a daydreaming, quiet sort of child who did not often volunteer answers but usually supplied correct ones when her attention was gained. Her record was free of disciplinary problems prior to the age of 12.
Bianca’s life and disposition changed after the Rikti Invasion of 2002. Her mother and both siblings died during the invasion when a Rikti drop ship downed by Statesman crashed into their tenement building, bringing the building down in the process. Bianca herself was buried in the rubble and was uncovered by Statesman. Thus she became the only survivor of her immediate family.
Following this event, Bianca became a surly, withdrawn child whose only interaction with other children her age were physical fights that usually erupted when she took offense to some comment made by the other child. Robert Bernard was located, but expressed no interest in caring for his daughter. Social workers expressed doubt about his ability to effectively do so in any event. Bianca's only other relatives were the husband of her deceased aunt, Douglas Washington, and his son Sullivan, who lived in Salt Lake City, Utah. Thought social services workers made attempts to unite her with them, they discovered Douglas apparently had never cared for Alicia Tallin and expressed unwillingness to allow Bianca to live with him. Bianca was initially placed in a temporary home for war orphans, but after the most severe of her conflicts with other children occurred, she was placed into the Crossroads Group Home for Girls. At the age of fifteen, she murdered the night shift supervisor of the facility and escaped from Paragon City to Mercy Island.
-Weskelan the Mage and the Death Spirit-
Life on Mercy was hard for Bianca and she was starving in the streets when she came to the attention of the subordinates of Weskelan. In need of a proper sacrifice for his upcoming ritual to bind the mutated Death Spirit trapped in the Longbow Submarine to his service, they chose Bianca because they believed that such a young girl in such dire straits would be relatively easy prey
They made two crucial blunders, however, the first being that she was not a virgin, which was a requirement of the ritual and secondly, that her rage and hatred made her an attractive potential ally for the freed Death Spirit. They paid for these blunders with their lives.
The Death Spirit soon learned of her rage against Statesman and the fact that she blamed him for her family’s death and the turn her life had taken. It encouraged these feelings and nurtured her wish to kill the hero. A combination of this encouragement and her own hatred for the hero led to the ill-fated attack on Statesman and her killing spree at Terra Volta.
Though her time at the Zig has been well-documented in most respects, the official reports do not reveal that the man Bianca would later murder was the cousin of one of her victims at Terra Volta. Using his influence as a guard to have her placed in solitary confinement, Enrique Escobar then hired four convicts from the male wing of the prison to brutally gang rape her in the isolation cell. She was in the prison infirmary for nearly three months and was only released back into the general population one week prior to the Zig breakout, during which she took her revenge against Escobar and three of the four men involved in the attack. The fourth was Louis Cisson, who, for her own reasons, she helped escape from the Zig.
-Big Lou and Bocor-
After her escape from the Zig, Bianca’s association with these two men taught her, in essence, how to make her way as a criminal. She made mistakes at first, but Lou was patient with her… recognizing that he had a potentially extraordinary ally. And with the re-emergence of powers she thought lost, her introduction to Bocor gave her access to information regarding her nature to which she would otherwise have no access.
Her relationship with both men was essentially businesslike, though she developed a far stronger bond with Cisson than she did with Bocor. It was under Bocor’s tutelage, however, that she learned the foundational theories of the arcane that would become the bedrock of her life. Her association with Bocor ended when she refused to perform a task for him that she found distasteful… the murder of an infant to use its innocence as a potential source of power for a given ritual. Bocor told her not to return to him as a student until she understood the most fundamental truth… that everything is a tool to be used and that her morality would only weaken her. It is not known whether Bianca ever did return to Bocor, though given the differences she has displayed in her disposition since her return, the prospect is doubtful
The arrangement with Lou ended not long after when Charlie Steel, one of Lou’s gang, attempted to initiate a sexual relationship with her. When she rebuffed him, he told her that as ugly as she was, she was lucky to have anyone interested in her at all. Her self-esteem already shattered because of the rejection from Bocor, Bianca opted to run away rather than face another from Louis Cisson. Some time later, she and Lou reconciled and when Lou discovered what Steel had done, it triggered a falling out between the two men that would eventually cost Cisson his life when Steel betrayed Lou and all of his boys to the Circle of Thorns, who were desperately attempting to locate Bianca during the events of The Difference Engine. The Circle believed that Cisson would know of a way to find her and attempted to extract that information from him. Though they were correct and he did know, Lou never revealed the information as he was slowly flayed to death. Steel himself was also murdered by the Circle shortly thereafter after his betrayal of Lou and the gang did not result in any useful information.
Shortly after Bianca's separation from Louis Cisson's gang, the Checkout Girl found her living beneath a bridge and suffering from the effects of severe malnutrition and depression. She offered Bianca a place to live in the -branded- safehouse. Bianca dwelled there and remained with the loose organization for several months. This period of time was notable for her apparent declining interest in engaging in normal criminal activities, though she did engage in several particularly vicious assaults directed mainly at members of the Circle of Thorns organization.
Her time with Branded was also marked by her romantic affair with Luna Firespeaker -- which would ultimately precipitate the events of The Difference Engine. Most evidence suggests that Tallin's feelings toward Luna Firespeaker were at least somewhat reciprocated, (and that the two women did have several documented liaisons), though there is some doubt to what degree Luna's feelings matched Bianca's. Luna Firespeaker was known to have had several romantic interests during this period of time and Bianca Tallin's name is not frequently cited as being one of the more significant of them. However, anecdotal evidence has surfaced that indicates that Bianca, even to this day, still considers Luna Firespeaker to be the one great love of her life to this point.
Toward the end of her period with -branded-, Bianca became the student of Ghost Widow, mainly, it is said, to gain access to the Arachnos mystical library. Though there is some dispute as to the veracity of the reports, it is said that Bianca had a particularly harrowing mystical vision of the future during her last days as Ghost Widow's student in which she foresaw herself shattering the Well of the Furies to accomplish her stated goal of killing The Statesman and, in addition, Lord Recluse, because in this version of future events, Lord Recluse personally killed Luna Firespeaker. It was this vision that propelled Bianca Tallin into the events of The Difference Engine.
The Difference Engine
As a teenager, Bianca was painfully shy around new people, especially men. She suffered massive scarring due to the collapse of the tenement building and the beating she sustained while being raped in prison. At one time, she was extremely sensitive about these scars and bringing attention to them would provoke a hostile and violent response from her.
However, these scars are noticeably absent now and her demeanor is quite different from what most remember. She is much calmer now and appears to have adopted philosophies designed to keep herself centered.
Bianca has a quirky sense of humor and often finds things amusing that other people do not. She will occasionally say things that most in the room consider to be quite odd, but a few will consider to be extremely witty.
She is almost serenely self-confident about her magical knowledge. Bianca rarely approaches situations with the same degree of urgency that others do. At various times, others can consider this placidity to be annoying, but Bianca generally simply assures the person in question that almost everything works itself out in the end regardless of whether someone gets overexcited about it or not.
Bianca is quite brilliant when it comes to magic. She has only lived thirty-three years and has mastered, to greater or lesser degrees, an almost unheard of variety of different schools of magical thought along with the underpinning philosophical foundations of each. Most of her teachers in the past would probably name her, if they were to be asked, as the most gifted student he or she ever taught.
Bianca still maintains a certain degree of emotional reserve from other people. There are few exceptions to this - her cousin, Alistaire Jennings to a certain extent, and Tammy Arcanus (Numina). She apparently still loves Luna Firespeaker, though she has not actually spoken to the other woman for many years. She considers most at the Takamichi Foundation to simply be colleagues, though she believes that it will fall to Nezumi-Ko to accomplish what she could not if she were to fall to the Bladed Ones prematurely.
If asked, Bianca calls herself either an 'apprentice' or a 'philosophy teacher,' usually accompanied with a wry observation that actual philosophers are generally unemployed. She has never referred to herself as an archmage, though that is what most would consider her to be. She has, at different times, called Nezumi-Ko her 'teacher' and her 'colleague,' indicating that she herself is a bit unsure. Her relationship to Nezumi-Ko, however, has not resembled, to this point, the same sort of subservience she displayed at various points to her other teachers in the past.