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Tyresa Sampson

Government official watching the end of civilisation

0 · 146 views · located in Zombie Apocalypse

a character in “The Days That Follow”, as played by Faith Fanon

Description

Name:Image
Tyresa Sampson. The name is a combination of her grandmothers' names: Tyra and Theresa. 'Ty' to her friends.

Age:
27

Birthday:
March 1, 1987

Place of birth:
Royal Free Hospital, London

Parents:
The only child of Arlene Sampson, a dementia ward nurse, and Liam Blaney, an often-absent roadie, truck driver and odd-jobs man.

What was important to the people who raised her:
Aware of the dangers of growing up in an impoverished, crime-ridden area, Arlene stressed strict discipline and hard work. During his increasingly infrequent visits, Liam stressed the freedom of the open road, the importance of following your heart, and the glory of a great riff.

Economic/social status growing up:
Inner city working-class. Paying the rent and putting food on the plate was a daily struggle when Tyresa was growing up.

Ethnic background:
Black-British (Arlene), Irish (Liam)

Places lived:
Tyresa grew up in a crumbling towerblock estate in Hackney where crime, drug-use and school drop-out was common. There were no amenities for children, so getting into trouble was the main past-time. A Bordeaux vineyard for six months during uni. After completing her six-month probationary period in her job, she rented a one-bedroom flat in Fulham.

Education:
Under Arlene's watchful eye, Tyresa studied hard at the local comprehensive. She was one of the school's few success stories, graduating with the A-levels to take a degree in International Relations at the London School of Economics.

Favorite subject in school:
History, politics, social sciences (Tyresa's three A-level subjects. Her grades were A, B, B)

Special training:
As part of her degree, Tyresa studied for six months in Bordeaux, and so has fluent French.

Jobs:
A year after graduating from LSE, she secured a junior government job as communications advisor to the Ministry of Defence, overcoming her left-leaning politics to work under the Conservative coalition.

Travel:
A trip to Dublin with Liam aged 7 gave Tyresa a lasting interest in travel. As well as living in Bordeaux, she has visited Belfast, Brussels, and the Falkland Islands as part of her job. For pleasure, Tyresa has visited many mainland European cities, including Paris, Madrid, Barcelona, Lisbon, Porto, Amsterdam, Bruges, Berlin, Cologne, Munich, Copenhagen, Malmo, Oslo, Bergen, Vienna, Krakow, Budapest, Split, Podgorica, Naples, Venice and Palermo. She likes nothing better than jetting off by herself for a weekend and soaking up a city's culture and history. She has always wanted to visit her mother's parents' homeland of Martinique.

Friends:
As a young teenager, Tyresa ran with the local towerblock kids, who were often involved in drugs and petty crime. After a series of rows with Arlene when two of her friends were sent to juvenile, she cut ties with the gang, who were graduating to more serious crimes. Her renewed focus on school and entry to LSE led her schoolfriends to cut off contact her, saying she had forgotten her roots. At the same time, Tyresa was often shunned at the prestigious university because of her poor background. This blow to her confidence, and the added complication of coming out, meant she made few friends at LSE. This double isolation left her slow to trust, and highly suspicious of anyone who makes friendly overtures. However, involvement in the debate society and college newspaper boosted her quiet confidence.

Her friendlessness has become a self-fulfilling prophecy at this stage; she is comfortable in her own company and does not seek out company. Rather, at work, she has acquaintances and colleagues. However, she has a lot of respect for the head of her section, Daniel, and enjoys being part of a tight-knit, hard-working team.

How do people view her:
If they think beyond the apparent timidity, people notice Tyresa's competence. Some mistake her demeanour for rudeness and aloofness.

Lived with:
Her mother Arlene in Hackney. Her father Liam initially lived with them until Tyresa was six, and would come and go for months at a time, before finally moving out when she was 12. In Bordeaux, Tyresa lived with a French family and had her first out relationship with the daughter of the family.

Fights with:
Tyresa's calm nature makes it very hard to fight with her; displays of anger just lead her to shut down and get on with the task in hand. They tend not to affect her; rather, she reasons that a tantrum is the problem of the person losing their temper.

Spends time with:
When not at work, herself mostly. She visited her mother at least once a week, no matter how busy her schedule.

Wishes to spend time with:
Herself, mostly. Her long hours meant she has time for little else, even if she did desire it. However, she had begun to consider whether this lifestyle is sustainable and maybe she might like someone in her life one day.

Who depends on her and why:
Unlike some people, her boss never underestimated her quiet efficiency. Arlene, having strived so long to raise her, suffered a little from empty-nest syndrome, and appreciated Tyresa's regular visits.

What people does he/she most admire:
Arlene, for the sacrifices she made in raising her. Diane Abbott, Oona King, Helen Grant - black/mixed-race female British politicians who have mentored her in Whitehall.

Enemies:
One or two of the more 'alpha' characters in her office were infuriated by her calm manner and deduced - quite rightly - that she might be plotting against them. Nonetheless, she was too far down the ladder for careerist back-stabbing.

Dating, marriage:
Throwing herself into her education, then her job, meant that Tyresa has had little time for love, and her relationships were mostly brief and intense. An office romance nearly went U-haul, and ended messily, which turned Tyresa's mind to whether it might be time to start settling down.

Children:
One of Arlene's only reservations when Tyresa came out to her was that she wouldn't have grandchildren. Tyresa answered her mother that it wasn't ruled out just because she was gay, but in truth she never thought about it in anything other than abstract terms.

Religious Beliefs:
Atheist, much to her religious mother's disapproval.

Does this character like him/herself:
Quietly content with her lot.

What would she like to change about her life:
She sometimes wishes she had more of her father's carefree manner in her. As a result of the tensions between her mother's and father's influences, she tends to second-guess herself.

Optimistic/pessimistic:
Neither. She says there's no point guessing whether the future will be good or bad, but rather to deal with what happens in the now on its own terms. This belief has been sorely tested recently...

Real/feigned:
Real. But it takes a while to know the real Tyresa.

Typical day:
Like all junior government officials, Tyresa was an early riser and worked long, stressful hours. Work involved reading and writing lots of reports, and meetings with military types, politicians, and media types. She always finished her working day with a run or a session on the punchbag.

Physical appearance:
Tyresa is tall (5' 10") and slim (61kg), but strong and lean, in very good health. She stands straight and proud, with her shoulders back, but often with her face turned down or away, and avoids a lot of eye contact. She is naturally soft-spoken, but university and workplace life taught her how to raise her voice. Her oval face is framed with long, dark hair, and bears blue-green eyes, full lips, and a slightly wide nose. She was used to power-dressing - severe suits and shirts - but escaped London in her gym gear. She has since added a heavy leather jacket to the ensemble.

How would she describe herself:
Modestly, without grandstanding her achievements or abilities. There's always someone more talented, more successful, out there somewhere, and it's much more effective to show someone what you can do than tell them, Tyresa feels.

Personality type:
Melancholic

Strongest character traits:
Guarded, quietly determined. Tyresa is independent, self-reliant, and comfortable with her own company. However, she can appear unfriendly, aloof and rude.

How can the flip side of her strong point be a weakness:
Her wariness means she may push people away or miss out on help.

How much self-control and self-discipline does she have:
Endless amounts. She grew up with very little, so is used to hardship, and her calm nature means she is very hard to provoke or scare.

What makes her irrationally angry:
Nothing. Tyresa is used to keeping her temper in stressful environments. But incompetence and willful laziness annoy her.

What makes her cry:
In front of other people. Alone, after a few glasses of wine, loneliness.

Fears:
Not being alone as such, but the possibility, when older, of not wanting to be alone, but having missed the opportunity to do something about it. Secretly, she knows the solitary way she's lived her life is unsustainable.

Talents/Skills:
Fluent French, learned during a university year abroad. Boxing, which she took up in university. Poker, for which her expressionless face, political acumen, and quick brain for economics help. Singing, something Tyresa would never do in public.

Favorite Food, drink:
Caribbean fusion, white wine.

Music:
Soul music, new and old. She also has a soft spot for her dad's favourite music, and would sit around with him for hours on his sporadic stays at the family home, listening to 60s and 70s hippy rock.

Books:
Terry Pratchett's Discworld series is pure escapism for Tyresa.

Movies:
She has a secret love of soppy, fluffy romcoms.

Sport:
Tyresa boxes purely for exercise, stress release and self-defence. She doesn't enjoy watching it. She followed West Ham United religiously, and also enjoyed when Liam took her to hurling matches around London.

Best way to spend a weekend:
A European city break by herself, nice hotel, good book, cultural outings

What people like best about her:
Reliability, calm and reassuring

Political leaning:
Left-of-centre. She justified working for the Conservative Party by reasoning that political leanings are less important when working with the military than in civilian politics.

A great gift for Tyresa:
A European city guidebook; a bottle of wine.

Typical expressions:
In spite of her placid demeanour, Tyresa is not expressionless. In fact, her calmness serves to highlight any facial movements.

When happy:
A gentle smile, followed by lowered eyelids, almost as if she is embarrassed to be seen enjoying herself.

When angry:
In extreme moments, Tyresa would clench a fist under her desk or behind her back.

When frustrated:
She may roll her eyes and set her jaw.

When sad:
Tyresa will cover her eyes if her emotions ever get the better of her. However, she won't leave a situation to avoid being seen crying; this would be more of an admission of weakness than the actual tears, she feels.

Ways to cheer her up:
Praise from her superiors used to make her day.

Ways to annoy her:
Incompetence and willful laziness

Hopes and dreams:
Having spent over a decade overachieving and escaping her lowly roots, Tyresa had found herself a crossroads. Her career was going well but her personal life was a non-starter, to put it mildly. Her boss was pushing her to apply for a promotion to MoD head of communications, which would have put her in a position, with five years' hard work, of establishing herself as a serious political player. But maybe there was more to life than 14-hour days and the insular, incestuous world of Whitehall.

What’s the worst thing she’s ever done to someone and why:
In an attempt to be taken into the government bunker under London at the start of the outbreak, she lied to her boss Daniel about his wife and child being nearby. He rushed out of the bunker and she attempted to take his place, but without the proper clearance, was not admitted. She never saw Daniel again.

Greatest success:
Her degree from LSE.

Biggest trauma:
The guilt over Daniel's disappeanance.

Most embarrassing thing that ever happened to her:
Her father got her drunk on their trip to Dublin, and she threw up Guinness in front of all her laughing cousins, aunts and uncles.

What does she care about most in the world:
Not letting mother Arlene's hard work and sacrifice go to waste.

If she could do one thing and succeed at it, what would it be:
Making her mother proud.

How is the character ordinary or extraordinary:
She knows more about the government's emergency response plans than anyone else in the group.

The rain came down in a fine, cold mist, swirling in the dying grey light of the evening as gusts blew in fits and starts. In the small copse on the outskirts of the village, Tyresa sheltered from the worst of the unseasonable weather; the occasional heavy drip down the back of her neck was a price worth paying for avoiding a soaking. Nonetheless, she envied the man under the hump-back bridge.

He'd looked like he'd only just arrived when Tyresa spied him from the woods. A small fire was sputtering into life on the bank of the small river that flowed under the bridge, and the man was stringing tin cans on wires across the mouth to his newfound, albeit temporary, home. Tyresa admired the deft competence with which he built the warning system, and briefly wished she could be under the bridge with him, sharing warmth, food, protection. But men were as dangerous as the dead these days, she had learned. Family men would go to any lengths to protect their families. Bands of men were reverting to pre-civilisation behaviour pretty quickly, shedding blood at the slightest provocation, taking as they pleased. Lone wolves, like this one? It was better to be safe than sorry. Trying to shut out the smell of cooked food, Tyresa ripped the wrapper off the last of the Crunchies she'd taken from the village shop and settled down for the night.

She was just drifting off to sleep when she heard the shuffle and scrape that characterised the dead's unnatural presence. Moving slowly, she peered out from behind two trees and realised they were much closer to the copse, and the bridge, than she'd initially suspected. She could make out six or seven of them, dimly outlined against the sky. Perhaps the damp conditions had muffled the noise of their approach, she reasoned. The man under the bridge had put out his fire, Tyresa noticed. He wouldn't attract the creatures to him that way.

Tyresa kept watch, expecting to see the dead continue over the bridge and out of harm's way, and suddenly realised why their footsteps had been so muffled. They were walking on the grass verge, not the road itself. As she looked on, the lead pair began shuffling down the bank towards the river and the man's shelter. She instinctively reached for the handle of her weapon and rose into a tense crouch, but held back. Her instincts were screaming at her to come to the man's aid, but she stayed hidden. Risking injury, death or worse for a stranger, one who could be just as dangerous to her? That was old-world thinking.

The tin can alarm system rattled as dead flesh crashed through it, and Tyresa briefly heard the man stirring before the unearthly moans rose and drowned them out. There was a wet crunch and a grunt as the man dispatched one of the creatures facing him. Over the snarls, Tyresa heard tin cans rattle at the other end of the bridge. The man was surrounded.

So begins...

Tyresa Sampson's Story