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Dr. Constance Abernathy
Abernathy is above all a scientist. Cold, calculating, but excited about new possibilities. These are the things that define a keeper and researcher. She can prioritize the end-goal of her sometimes gruesome experiments and take less-than-ethical measures to get results if she must. Always striving to be on the cutting edge, she has shown herself to take initiative and propose her own projects to the higher-ups.
Outside of her professional life, Abernathy is a bit of a loner. She works long hours and this usually keeps her from socializing much after hours. Even in her younger days, she had a small group of acquaintances she might spend a few hours a week with. Her true passion is her work, and for a long while, her family.
Motherhood was a thing Abernathy enjoyed greatly, and though usually a self-absorbed woman, she was rather good at showing her son the attention he needed. She was a strict mother and kept him on track, but she knew that he needed down time too, and she often planned outings or educational activities for them. Even while Ronan was studying at university, she made the time to drop by and check up on him. This warm side of her was something only he saw, and something no one has seen since his death.
Constance Abernathy was born to successful academics. Because of this, she had always been expected to succeed. She was never particularly close with her parents. They were more enforcers than anything else, making sure she was performing better than her best to ensure entry to a good school. When she was accepted to Yale, they didn't even have to foot the bill; she finished high school at 14, and so her dual-major degrees in microbiology and genetics were completed when she was 18. By 22, she had completed a rigorous Ph.D. program; but not before her life's course had been altered forever.
In the last year of her Ph.D., she met a young man just as smart and driven as she was. His name was Seraphim DeSoto, and he was charming, successful, and a genius. Abernathy was constantly in awe of the man who seemed so cool and relaxed in such a high-pressure setting. She had already decided that the next thing she needed to achieve was to have a child of her own, and he was the perfect match to her intellect; their child would be remarkable. The two had some fun, and when they parted ways after her graduation, Abernathy made sure to give no hint that she would have his child in only a few short months.
Her pregnancy was a rough one, and it kept her from seeking out a full-time research position. But she refused to stay home and be passive while there were discoveries to make. She was at work when she collapsed and had to be rushed to the hospital. Ronan was born via an emergency c-section, and though it was terrifying at the time, she later looked back on it as the best day of her life. The day she could finally take the tiny bundle home from the hospital weeks later was the second best day.
Soon enough she was a full-time researcher again, working on the untapped mysteries of the human genome and an anomaly that had been appearing in the work of her colleagues; something to do with a previously undiscovered gene and information that coded for animal DNA. Her hours were long, but when she came home from work, she always made time for Ronan. As he grew older she used a firm hand to guide him in the right direction, but she was sure not to make the same mistakes as her parents. She gave Ronan down time and spent quality time with him. The two were thick as theives.
When he went to university, Yale naturally, it was tough for her. Even though she wasn't far away, she tried to let Ronan enjoy his college experience and only visited once a week. The rest of her time, she dove into her work. Ronan's graduation was the third best day of her life.
Soon after that, she got in touch with her old friend Seraphim. The two had stayed in loose contact, having an hours-long phone call every couple of years. This time he had exciting news. He told her about the Menagerie and offered her an esteemed scientific position on the staff. He even offered newly-graduated Ronan a starting position where he could be mentored by another Keeper. After a conversation with Ronan, the pair had the perfect plan. Mother and son, working side-by-side. It was Abernathy's dream come true.
The dream soon turned into a nightmare. It was standard hiring protocol really, a quick genetic test that was being implemented at UNIT-funded facilities like hospitals, jails, research laboratories. Abernathy was negative of course. But Ronan's test was flagged. There must have been a mistake, she thought. But they dragged him away from her, kicking and screaming that he wasn't a shapeshifter; he couldn't be!
Abernathy raced to Seraphim's office and tried to reason with him. He maintained that it was nothing personal, but she knew otherwise. "Ronan is your son," she admitted, revealing the secret she'd kept from him for nearly twenty-five years. She expected him to be moved, to make some sort of exception and let Ronan go on the run. But he didn't. He maintained that she could keep her highly-coveted job at the Menagerie as long as she could stay impartial. "Shapeshifters are shapeshifters," he reminded her.
She agreed, through gritted teeth and teary eyes.
She observed with other keepers as they forced her son, in an adjacent room, to shift for the first time. He cried out in pain at the signals they sent to his nervous system, over and over, until suddenly her son was gone and a beautiful black stallion stood in his place. Her colleagues furiously scribbled in their research journals and she pretended to do the same; her tears were the only thing that marked the page.
When she went home alone each night, she reminded herself that it wouldn't last forever. His testing would conclude and they would let him out into the dome. It wasn't the life she wanted for him, but at least she could still see him, maybe even speak to him if he was brought in for testing again. She tried desperately to convince herself that it wasn't the end of their world, because she had no other choice.
Once he'd been released in the dome, she had learned quickly how to keep an eye on him whenever she could. Sometimes she didn't want to watch, especially in the beginning when he could hardly find shelter or food and cried himself to sleep at night. "I'll bring you in soon," she promised.
But he wandered into the Carna Ring before that, desperate enough to try and steal a scrap of food from a warehouse. He was caught, and Abernathy desperately radioed Seraphim to send in a Keeper to snatch him up, but the Ring's Alpha moved swiftly. Manic executed Ronan in front of a cheering crowd of Carna and strung his body up on the border. He was quickly recovered and brought back to the labs, but the damage was done. This was the worst day of Abernathy's life.
Years later, she continues her work, but part of her is missing.