Amy Underhill
Amy Morgan Underhill
Ruta Gedmintas
Ruta Gedmintas as Amy Morgan Underhill
Name Amy Morgan Underhill
Status Alive
Age 31
Occupation Hackney cab driver/Watch Field Operative
Place of Origin Notting Hill
Date of Birth 2/4/81
Player Emory
Timezone CST
Notes Notes for Amy Morgan Underhill

Hackney drivers in London complete "The Knowledge", a training course known far and wide as perhaps the most grueling and thorough course for taxi drivers in the world. It takes on average 34 months of preparation and 12 'appearances' at the examination for drivers to complete The Knowledge. In Amy Underhill's case, the quest for The Knowledge led her straight into the Gloom, TX4 cab and all - and out again as a kind of psychopomp, a black-carriage ferryman through the darkness, with access to most perilous shortcuts and a sense about death and trouble. Small wonder the Watch recruited her as a field agent and getaway driver.

Background

It is difficult to say which love affair began first: Amy's passion for motor vehicles, or her love of London. Both were incongruous for her upbringing; her parents reluctantly moved into a flat on the Portobello Road not far from George Orwell's historic space from the countryside where they both had lived previously. Not city-dwellers, they were bohemians and university-educated, which made their somewhat mechanically-obsessed daughter with a wanderlust streak a hard child to make sense of. Youngest of three, her eldest sister was an overachiever, while their middle child was diagnosed with emotional instabilities while in secondary school; Amy lost a great deal of attention that might otherwise have come her way as the youngest and 'surprise' baby of the family.

Thus when Amy announced her intentions after a highly undistinguished stint at uni to purchase her own TX4 and become a licensed black cab driver on the London streets, her beleaguered family did not put up as much of a stress as they might have had it been that overachieving eldest or her troubled next-elder sister. By that time, it was hardly a surprise; Amy had been exploring London on her own for years, and had taken part-time employment during her schooling in a local garage, largely working reception but off and on learning tools of the mechanic's trade.

The Knowledge is a training course so vast and impressive that it takes years to master, and Amy might say that it made university look easy, requiring the memorisation of over 320 routes through London, tens of thousands of landmarks and facts about them, and above all practice, practice, practice in knowing everything there is to know about London streets without consultation of map, compass, telephone, GPS, or indeed ANY outside assistance. Amy's stint as a Knowledge Girl - riding a motorbike around London, bit by slow bit learning every twist and turn, every alley and shortcut, every regulation - took her just over two years of training, scrimping, eating and breathing London, even dreaming about driving through its alleys and turnpikes.

Sometimes she thinks the thing that damned her was the car; she cut a deal for it, after all. It was a kind of miracle at the time, but now and then, Amy sometimes wonders if her TX4 wasn't a poison pill. She had been looking for the right cab to purchase as her own, and the like-new vehicle had suddenly appeared to her, sitting in the garage of a little old lady down the street from her flat with a FOR SALE sign hand-lettered in its window. There had been a story about the old woman's husband having passed and her need to sell the car quickly for what money she could give; it had sold for a song, far too cheaply. Amy counted her lucky stars and bought the car.

Amy can't remember her first night as a green-badge driver. She can't recall now whether she even took a fare; though if she thinks hard, there is a faint memory from that first night, of looking into her rear view mirror into a pair of eyes that would not look away, and another ghost of a memory of some kind of breakdown of her car, of pushing her door open and stepping out and knowing immediately that it was a mistake to do so. It seems less important than what happened that night, and during the weeks that followed as Amy - and her car - drove into the Gloom, and did not reemerge for some weeks. It bothers her a little, sometimes, that her few mates from down at the pub thought little of her disappearance, and her parents never even noticed; one more thing to reinforce her feeling, her fear, that some part of her existence was simply eroded away, or perhaps was never fully there at all.

The parts of her first foray into the Gloom, that first Touch that changed her is something Amy blessedly barely remembers; but there are parts of it that are clear. There is a dream she remembers, hangs onto, in which she picks up the compass that she had death-gripped in her palm as she steered back out of that nightmare other world; she half-remembers crying, knowing somehow that something had been fashioned out of a piece of herself, made physical and flesh. Sometimes when Amy holds the compass she almost remembers its loss; her head sings with half-remembered agony and the knowledge that it isn't the only thing she had to lose.

Sometimes Amy is afraid it's not the only thing she did lose; a half-formed terror that, in the pieces of her memory that no longer exist, there are other trinkets that used to be her heart and body and soul, held as playthings. Or worse, as fares, as payment that things from within the Gloom might barter for escape. Given her own escape, sometimes she feels as if finding that missing piece was enough to act as her own payment out again; a thing she could not resist. On the days when Amy still feels like pieces are missing, she wonders what she would feel and what she could do if she got those pieces back again…and what price she might pay if the opportunity presented itself.

Another kind of woman might have given up driving; but Amy's connection to her car in the wake of emergence back from the Gloom became more like an obsession. Driving her cab made her good money; and it was also the only place she felt whole. She didn't notice her own strange tendencies quickly; but after several incidents where she drew attention of the Watch for simply showing up, her recruitment became almost inevitable. Another woman might also have explained to the Watch more detail of what had happened to her and what it meant, but Amy has been remarkably close-mouthed and avoidant of giving details.

Amy is a Watch field operative in good standing; a front-lines kind of worker in the fight against the encroachment of what lurks in the Gloom. Her abilities in the field, if somewhat limited by her need for her vehicle, are useful on a number of levels — and who doesn't fancy a quick lift in a pinch?


Personality

Amy is a daredevil; some might say she has a death wish, and her behavior is full of risky fun of all kinds of stripes, not just the kind she courts while driving, which can make her plenty of fun at parties, and less fun in incidents where she can't be talked out of trouble. But as she suspects she can't quite die fully unless all parts of her - including, possibly, the car itself - are destroyed, 'death wish' is quite relative. At the same time, no one would say it's a sane way to live, at times daring routes that intersect the Gloom if only for a little while and banking on her ability to get out again.

The truth is, it keeps Amy up nights, the idea that she might be serving the Gloom more than fighting it, even as a member of the Watch; that even outside it, the Others' hold might be so strong that she still belongs to them and brings others into their monstrous fantasia. How could she not risk far more than most would consider sane, if only to balance against her own conscience at what she might even now do to a person just foolish enough to ask to be taken on the wrong journey, or who might even just simply peer out of a window at the wrong moment? Self-recrimination has made her brave or reckless, depending on whom you ask.

Amy is generally cheerful on the surface, and friendly, so long as she's had cab time; tips are bigger when you're a good-humored sort. She's not exactly what you'd call highly cultured, but neither is she ignorant, and she has a quick wit and quicker memory. There are times, however, that she seems to fade into the background, wash out; whenever too long away from the car, she seems to lose something for a time, and her extroversion wears away to something more moribund and slightly distant from this world.


Paranormal Abilities

The Knowledge: Amy's knowledge of things geographical, of routes and distances and the places around her surpasses just well-trained and goes into 'a little creepy'. For one thing, it branches beyond London; given even a little time to study a map or drive around a new location, chances are good she'd have a sense of that area as well as she does her native soil. But more than that, she knows The Gloom, too, itself; never enough to consider it safe, but enough to navigate, and more, to understand where it might show up, what kind of location it might manifest as, and sometimes, how to find one's way through it. This is like the Knowledge itself, turned up to eleven; it manifests as direction sense, but also a right-place-right-time tendency — or, depending on your perspective, a habit of showing up wrong-place-wrong-times. Far too often, this has manifested as showing up just before someone's about to die or some other horrible event - like being stolen into the Gloom - takes place. When the black cab comes for you, something bad is about to go down.

Mrs. Todd's Shortcut: Amy shouldn't be able to drive the routes she drives in the time she drives them. And the risk-taking truth is this: she's not always driving through the world as it is. Behind the wheel of her particular cab, she can actually drive through the Gloom - and with her direction sense, she can use this to take shortcuts and jaunts that normal untouched humanity could never pull off. This is not without risks. It is, after all, still the Gloom, and like the King story referenced here, there is always the chance that driving that route will result in the landscape trying to catch and eat you - or worse - if you just aren't quick enough, if you get noticed. There always also remains the possibility that something will follow one out…and dozens of other potential problems when using this ability. Just because the quick way works nine times out of ten doesn't mean that tenth shortcut won't end up in death, tragedy, and horror for all concerned…and sometimes has. The temptation to use this anyway - so quick! so useful! - is always there, even knowing the risks.

Pay the Ferryman: Hand in hand with Amy's 'shortcuts' is a strange truth: she can get someone ANYWHERE they pay her to go. This payment may require more than just money; sometimes, the route requires the correct fee for her to even attempt it. But if one researches the right payment and Amy accepts it, she can get a person virtually anywhere, including 'get me out of here!' from the Gloom itself. This has a price, however…

Ferryman's Fee: …and that price is that any fee Amy accepts, consciously or unconsciously, she MUST fulfil, a horrid truth that's been enacted at least once when a squabbling couple told Amy to 'go to hell' for her interference while pitching money at her. Into the Gloom they went, and the pair she delivered never did come out again, to the best of Amy's knowledge. The guilt eats at her; even if this is nothing she ever intends, it is entirely possible that the wrong fee or the wrong set of words to direct her in her cab will result in her delivering humanity directly into the nightmare as their personal escort.

A Piece Missing: The compass secreted in the glove compartment of Amy's TX4 is actually a piece of herself; a fact that she knows in the back of her mind and never speaks of. It makes the car, in some ways, a part of herself to act as its shelter. The dents and damage the car might take don't hurt Amy physically, but rattle her mental stability; likewise, any time the car stops working or has trouble, Amy herself shows signs of illness in parallel, and a car crash would almost certainly kill her even if she was uninjured if it destroyed the compass, too. The compass may be transferred to another car or object, but that itself may present other problems. To Amy, having it stolen or taken by another person would be like having someone hold her still-beating heart in their hands; one wrong move and it could end her. It is possible that Amy might come back from the dead so long as compass and car still exist - but she doesn't know for sure, and is in NO rush to test the theory.

Amy is quietly certain that someday, the car will break down in the Gloom, and whatever tow trucks exist in that nightmare will charge nothing but the compass. That's how that works, friend.

Amy sees herself as fragmented within mirrors, as technically she IS. She often sees the ghost of a car behind her when she looks into plate glass as she passes, or will see a doppelganger of herself in her own back seat when she looks in her rear-view mirror. To other Touched, they might also see this doubling-and-trebling, though not all of them make the connection between the ghost-car and the duplicate, how they represent the compass, the car, and Amy herself as her broken parts. While the car and Amy's double often look whole, Amy herself often sees her own figure in the mirror as ephemeral - or more than that, having something missing, something she can't quite put her finger on, but that helps feed her conviction that she herself never did come out of the Gloom quite whole.


Skills

The Knowledge, Part 2: Amy actually passed The Knowledge in order to be a cabdriver in greater London; she has her Green Badge to serve all London areas, which represents an exceptional knowledge not just of street routes to drive, but landmarks, London history, shortcuts, traffic regulations, and more.

Taxicab Confessions: People talk in taxicabs; and they're not exactly well-soundproofed, either. Amy routinely hears all kinds of information, lowbrow and highbrow, and makes contact with people from all walks of life.

The Fast and the Furious - London: On the one hand, Amy is a standard cabdriver. On the other hand, her background and experiences in the Gloom and working with near-misses and brushes with that other world have left her not just an efficient driver for her regular job, but the kind of driver who knows how to navigate narrow alleys and non-standard streets if being chased by fast-moving monsters from beyond. She knows how to swing out a car door to knock a man out, and how to do two things at once in the middle of a high speed chase. She's Jason Statham in the Transporter movies with tits, or at least she aspires to that.

Are You Having This Baby IN MY TAXI??: Alternately, 'Are You Bleeding Out In My Cab??!'. Amy has enough basic first aid to deliver someone's offspring in the backseat or keep someone bleeding from dying on the way to hospital, or otherwise knowing when to put the pedal to the floor on the way there. It's not miraculous healing, it's just enough knowledge and Red Cross licensure to be able to deal when someone crawls in her cab complaining of chest pains or looking like they're alcohol poisoning waiting to happen.

Duck and Cover: It's not that Amy has never thrown a punch or fired a gun; but truthfully, her chief weapon is her car, or possibly a handy crowbar in a pinch. As such, when it comes to fights, her greatest strategies involve concealment, or better yet, getting the hell away. She's excellent at making herself small, would know how to hide herself in her own car's boot or backseat, and is that person who knows how to park casually in a public garage so as not to get noticed by those on the hunt.

Pass the Crowbar: Amy has at least basic car maintenance and technical know-how; while non-vehicular fixing is less familiar, she's not afraid to get in there and figure out how things fit together. With a car, she's better yet; she can identify common problems with her vehicle or someone else's, change out a flat, and perform common repairs.

Plays the Bagpipes: HER SECRET SHAME. Her parents encouraged her into a girls' bagpipe marching band as a young girl. Yet another reason all her relationships are so often transient.

Other: Not entirely illiterate. Can achieve an excellent fry-up if called upon to do so. A sharp mind for trivia and minutiae and detail.


Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License