Welcome to the New Normal
A petite (5' 1/2"), slender redhead with deep brown eyes.
She’s a tiny girl, barely clearing five feet tall. Dee carries herself with a tall posture, but even standing very straight, it requires 3-inch heels before she looks anything approaching ‘average’ in height. And she wears heels with nearly everything.
In general, she can be found dressed in work-casual. A pair of sleek jeans, high-heeled ankle boots, a scoop-necked T-shirt or a camisole beneath a blazer or sweater. Her red hair is long, generally held back in an alligator clip to keep it out of her way. When it’s down, it falls to her shoulder blades.
Some info from her sheet:
Strength +0 (Average Person Strength)
Stamina +3 (Very Good Human-level Stamina)
Agility +4 (Very Agile)
Dexterity +3 (Very Dexterous)
Fighting +2 (Good Fighting Ability)
Intelligence +2 (Smart)
Awareness +5 (Superhuman Insight)
Presence +1 (Good but not exceptional charisma and personality)
It’s tough to be both extremely pretty and brutally shy. Deirdre Flanagan was both. Her parents were normal people — her mother taught music at a Denver high school, her father worked at a bank. Dee is the youngest of three and was something of a surprise to her parents, coming along with her brothers Patrick and Jason were 11 and 9 years old, respectively.
As a small child she was pretty fearless when it came to doing things, but she was nearly tongue-tied and had a stutter any time she was required to talk to someone she didn’t know. For a long time her parents thought it was a speech impediment, and they worked with her throughout her early years. It never seemed to get better. As a result, she was a very protected child. Her brothers were just enough older to not find it ‘horrible’ to have a baby sister, and when it became obvious that she was not going to be outgoing and extroverted the boys closed ranks around her as best they could given the age difference.
It was purely accidental that Deirdre’s mother realized the problem. She’d had to bring the little girl with her to the school on a teacher workday due to a scheduling snafu with their day care. Mrs. Flanagan left the room to speak to two teachers in the hall, leaving Dee by herself in the music room with the radio going. Just as she went to step back into the room, she was floored to hear her six-year-old daughter, apparently in possession of both perfect pitch (hearing a note) but also voice (being able to hit it). Dee was singing along with an opera and though her voice was young and without the depth that an adult’s carries, she was clearly talented. And there was not one sign of a stutter.
After that, Deirdre’s parents enrolled her in a music school for voice training along with the usual extracurriculars—sports, clubs, etc. The only sport that she really took to was a mixed martial arts class, and so from the time she was about ten Dee took classes there as well. Her brothers were both out in the world and she was kind of on her own, so the classes made her feel a little safer.
Junior high and high school were a nightmare for the shy redhead. She had few friends and between being a soft-spoken redhead with a stutter and the fact that she was turning into a very lovely young woman, the girls hated her. Dee’s parents finally pulled her out and home-schooled her for the last two years of high school, and during those years she also took courses for college credit. At 16 she joined the Denver Women’s Chorus and found her true home. Though billed as and strongly supporting the LGBT community, the Chorus did not care about orientation — they accepted any woman who wanted to sing.
You would think that being up on stage would terrify a girl as shy as Deirdre, but it was quite the opposite. She flourished in the chorus group and went on to complete a college degree from the University of Colorado-Denver. Out on stage, Dee was able to become someone else. Someone brave. Her sheer talent made her one of the backbone singers of the group, and she was often placed center stage where others could cue off her pitch. She hired out as a private voice coach, a job that only required one-on-one attention so that she didn’t feel overwhelmed in a classroom setting.
The day of her biggest triumph was also the day her life changed. The Chorus was singing with the Denver Philharmonic in a nationally televised show. Following the performance, Dee and two friends remained behind to speak with several of the city’s “elite” about their group and thus were among the last to leave the building. When they stepped out onto the street they were apparently deemed a suitable target by their attackers. What they actually wanted is, to this day, in question but the two men stepped out from a darkened doorway. One got hold of Dee, one grabbed Joan, and then all hell broke loose. Liz screamed, people turned to look, Joan tried to yank away from the man who had hold of her, and the men fled the scene…. but in his panic, the man who held Deirdre sliced open her throat with the knife he’d been holding to it.
He missed the carotid artery by less than a half a millimeter, severing only her vocal cords and smaller blood vessels. As Dee collapsed, Joan began screaming for help and a man bolted across the street in front of the performance hall to help.
The men were never caught, and Deirdre Flanagan never sang again. Mortified by the fact that her name was in the paper for weeks afterward, Dee recovered slowly at home learning ASL and adjusting to life with no voice. Six months later, her first conductor with the Women’s Chorus contacted her and offered her a job as a talent scout and dean’s assistant as he tried to build a choral arts program in Alamy Falls. Deirdre took the job — with assistance and a bit of boot-to-the-behind from both Patrick and Joan — both to get away from her loving but VERY protective parents and to get out of the limelight in Denver.