Christine is a short woman with a solid, well-trained frame; while she’s not quite as fit as she was while serving, she’s still got most of the hard figure and the carved muscle that she worked so hard for. Down most of her left side from the shoulder down, her skin is criss-crossed and rough with burn scars, a few of which remain quite sore, particularly on hot days. Christine’s hair is usually tied up in a bun to keep it out of her face, which is usually ‘naked’ – she’ll only ever wear makeup for a very special occasion. She has blue eyes, and wears a silver crucifix on a thin chain at all times. The only tattoo Christine has is the cap badge of the Royal Artillery and the motto ‘Ubique quo fas et gloria ducunt
’ on the right side of her bum.
Christine was never a model officer, and she is certainly not a model teacher. Faced with rude, disinterested or arrogant children and the parents who believe that their little darlings are utterly perfect, she has a short temper, and will send them out of the room rather than deal with their nonsense. Outside of work, she can be quick to anger and easy to goad. Everything she does, she does to excess, whether that be staying up until three in the morning and making a prat of herself drinking, studying next week’s lessons in case there’s something she’s forgotten, or doling out questionable wisdom for an upset friend.
Christine is old enough now to appreciate some of the lessons she’s learned from life, and wise enough to know that she doesn’t have all the answers, but she can’t help herself from trying to solve problems when they come up. When dealing with people she actually likes, she makes an effort to minimise some of her less admirable tendencies, and since graduating Sandhurst she has avoided swearing around company (a decision made after a lengthy session of shouting from one of her training officers) and drops by unannounced on a semi-regular basis at her friends’ houses, sometimes with just a text message half an hour before as warning. She is always ready to go on an adventure, whether it be into the woods of Maine or just down to the local supermarket for some veg, and will (and probably already has!) try anything at least once, no matter how daft it might seem.
One of Christine’s few regrets is that she’s not had kids, and at this point she’s probably left it too late. She is a deeply maternal person, and part of what drew her into teaching in the first place was the opportunity to look after young minds and help them grow. Christine still holds a candle for the idea that she’ll meet Miss Right and fill a house with half a dozen screaming brats, but it’s getting to the point where it’ll be too late.
Christine is the child of a beautiful princess and her illicit common lover, forced to be surrendered to the authorities to prevent a scandal from totally destroying the credibility of the royal family. Probably.
Alternatively her mum might have just been a lady-of-the-night who couldn’t get an abortion. Either way, she spent her early years in a state home in Newtonabbey, getting a front-and-centre seat for the Troubles during the eighties and nineties. She was an awkward, dorky-looking kid without much in the way of personal magnetism or charisma, and by the age of nine she was resigned to the idea that she wouldn’t be finding a new Mummy and Daddy. That was fine – she had Paul, Janet and Meghan at the home to look after and play with her, and that was way better than only having two people at home.
The rest of her early childhood was much as one might expect – slaying dragons, hosting tea parties attended by stuffed animals, running about and getting into scrapes with other kids who probably should have known better – until 17th June, 1994. School was out for summer, and Christine was out with two older girls bumming about town. They were on Shore Road when members of the Ulster Defence Army shot two workmen dead, before driving off. They were never caught. The following day, the Loughlinisland shooting left another three people dead, and for the first time Christine was acutely aware of just how dangerous the world she lived in was – at any random point, she could be splattered over the pavement by republicans or caught in the shrapnel from a car bomb. She knew she lived in a dangerous place – anyone who even glanced at the news at the time would know that – but it had never affected her personally before. Two things changed that day – one, Christine found herself looking for spiritual answers that would eventually drive her into the arms of the Catholic church. Two, she decided that she was going to dedicate herself to standing up to the kind of thugs and gits who were shooting up and bombing her country.
Chrissy blitzed her eleven-plus exams, scoring herself a place in St.Dominic’s Grammar, a prestigious all-girls school. A general sense of being more comfortable around boys steadily grew into an awkward tension, particularly in PE or small group sessions. The day that really ruined things was when Ms.Hautville joined as the new French teacher. Her accent, the way she moved, the way that strand of hair floated in front of her head as she walked down the halls…she was perfect. She was everything Christine wanted to be. It took a few weeks for the cogs to click into place in Chrissy’s head, and when they did she was understandably concerned. Good Catholics do not have fantasies about their French teachers, and they certainly don’t when their French teachers are the same sex as they are.
Obviously, Chrissy wasn’t going to ask Paul, Janet or Meghan – she was fourteen at the time, and no fourteen-year-old ever wants any advice from the people they live with. Talking to a priest would be no good either, so she turned to the one place where nobody gives a damn what you say – the internet. For four years, using ancient modems that squealed whenever you turned them on, Christine had a long-distance chat with a girl in New Zealand named Beth who had a similar set of problems, and once she left school she had to switch to snail mail. The two still trade letters once a month, and on nights when she struggles to sleep, Christine reads back through them in a beat-up old ringbound folder full of letters stuffed into plastic wallets. Some of them don’t make much sense, since she didn’t keep the ones she wrote herself, but they’re a gentle reminder of her misspent youth and traded stories about their teenage crushes.
Once Christine completed her A-levels (Chemistry, History, and naturally, French) she knew exactly where she was going – she applied to Sandhurst Military College, and enrolled as an officer cadet in the British Army. By this time the Troubles were starting to wind down, but there were always going to be some people pushing others around, and wherever they were, she would be too, setting the world to rights.
The start of this process was not very glamorous – quite a lot of being shouted at, crawling through mud, and being completely exhausted all the time – but there was no chance that Christine was ever going to drop out and give up. Nine months after she enrolled, on the 15th June, 2003, she graduated as a Second Lieutenant, assigned to the 105th Regiment, the Royal Artillery, the ‘Ulster Gunners’. Christine was quickly deployed to join coalition forces in Iraq, where she commanded a 105mm field gun crew, dropping loud explosions on to targets. She proved well-suited to the task, and quickly rose to the rank of Captain. When British troops withdrew in the summer of 2009, Christine requested and received a transfer to Afghanistan, where she was placed in command of a mobile artillery unit. As if climbing the ranks of Her Majesty’s services wasn’t enough, Christine also managed to obtain a Bachelor’s degree in chemistry through the Open University during her time under arms.
On August 6th, 2012, while en route to a training exercise, the newly-promoted Major Wentwick’s convoy struck an IED, killing Lance-Corporal Taylor in the passenger seat and crippling her vehicle. Christine doesn’t remember very much of what happened immediately after, but the doctors told her that an ambush had been set, leaving the rest of her convoy pinned down. She was left in the burning vehicle for about fifteen minutes, until a rescue team arrived, and by the time they fished her out she had a mix of second and third-degree burns down most of her left side. As a result of the initial explosion her left leg was very badly broken below the knee, and once she was airlifted back home her injuries forced Christine to be medically discharged, chucked back onto civvy street after ten years of service. Going from having her whole life organised down to the hour from her superiors to being in control of her life did not suit Christine. She missed the structure and order provided by the army, and for a few months she spent a lot of time sitting around in her flat ticking time away.
By November, she was so fed up with the waiting that she resolved to simply throw a dart at a map and see where it took her. The dart ended up somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean, but Maine was the closest state she could find. A few weeks of waiting followed until she was accepted into the University of Maine to complete a two-year joint honours degree in teaching and a Masters in Physical Chemistry, and from there she applied to teach chemistry at August Whitmore Public School, where she has been a member of staff since January, 2013.
Loud noises/Heavy seventies rock/skirts/spicy food/rain/thunder/autumn/cats/rugby
Dry wine/heat/sand/first dates/small dogs/horses/Wednesdays/cheek/laziness
Christine has a three-legged tabby cat named ‘Lennox’. He’s an affectionate creature, unless you happen to not be Christine, in which case he’s a total bastard and he’ll whack you as soon at look at you. Usually when she has company over, Lennox will hide behind a corner and give a death-stare to whoever’s sitting in his house.
Feel free to list any important relationships here. Parents, children, romantic interests, etc