|Dez (Scenesys ID: 2254)|
|Name:||Daniella "Dez" Hernandez|
|Occupation:||Psychic / Medium|
|Apparent Age:||19||Actual Age:||19|
|Date of Birth||11 Nov 2001||Played By||Vanessa Hudgens (circa 2010ish)|
|Hair Color:||Black||Eye Color:||Gold|
|Theme Song:||Control - Halsey https://tinyurl.com/yyb4te9x|
Girl. Mutant. Addict. Dealer. Scam artist. Dez grew up in L.A., spending her childhood and formative years in a theoretical drug den. She ended up an addict, as well as a dealer, and learned to use her 'abilities' to get a foot up in the drug industry. She left L.A. in late 2020, and now works as a for-hire psychic/medium in N.Y.C. Favorite food: Mini-Marshmallows
* 2001: Daniella "Dez' Hernandez born in L.A. to Rita Hernandez and Trent Wardell.
* 2009: Dez's mother (Rita) is shot during a gang dispute, leaving Dez in her father's custody. She spends most of her childhood juggled between friends and relatives.
* 2012: Dez uses her abilities to "attack" another student at school, but without physical proof, no charges are filed.
* 2015: Dez begins dealing drugs and using her abilities to manipulate customers and other dealers.
* 2017: Dez drops out of High School to begin dealing full-time.
* 2019: Dez is sent to "take care of" Marcos Soto, a local counselor and youth advocate that was interfering with local dealers. She is supposed to find out what he knows, who he's told, and then be done with him. Despite her instruction to cut contact with Marcos, he and Dez become romantically involved. Marcos convinces Dez to (try to) get clean and cut ties with the criminal world.
* 2020: One of the kids Marcos had gotten off the street rats out several of the local gangs. Marcos, as well as several of Dez's friends and family, are shot and killed. Dez leaves L.A., severing all ties (professional and personal).
* 2021: Dez has moved to N.Y.C., and is working as a scam artist, using her abilities to work as a "psychic" for hire. Or a medium. Whichever pays better.
Dez is a chameleon by necessity. As a child, she had to learn how to get what she needed while still remaining unseen, and that sentiment only intensified as the years went on. Paired with being an innate (and believable) actress, Dez is able (and willing) to change her perceivable persona to fit the situation.
If there's a hard candy shell, there's bound to be gooey insides. Yup, Dez has them. Deep down under any of her more callous facades, there's a still-quite-young girl that is trying to cope with the world by... not coping. She has survived thus far, but any shrink would wince at the sort of complex that has developed over the years. Most of her emotional issues herald back to her (lack of) upbringing, but there's also the part where she spent a few years creating -- becoming? -- nightmares and manipulations. That... well, that does something to a growing girl's self-image. Let's just say that Dez is not Dez's own biggest fan.
Hard Candy Shell:
Dez... has layers, and the outermost layer seems to be hard as a rock and occasionally spiked. Dez learned from a young age that revealing emotion was rarely a good thing. The rest of her life? Well, that drove the point home. As far as Dez now believes, showing another person any deep emotion is just asking for them to use that emotion against her. She has learned to put on a cavalier front, and most of the time, it's pretty convincing. While she may chameleon herself into a wide variety of situations, she has more than a few walls when it comes to anything personal. She puts on a believably devil-may-care persona, and with a lifetime of abandonment issues, violence, and a murky moral compass lurking beneath, it's probably better for everyone that she usually keeps that mask on. The need to keep a shell around herself came with a built-in dose of distrust, so one could say that Dez is a little less than 'emotionally available'. Dez may fake connection -- uncomfortably well, by some standards -- but it takes more than a few cups of coffee or a Tinder swipe to get at anything 'real'.
Dez is not a terribly stable person. There's no legitimate insanity there, but she's definitely a handful. She's easily amused, but she also becomes bored very quickly. Although able to fake acceptable behavior and responses when desired, the 'underneath' part of Dez is impatient, quick to temper, and just a tad jumpy. She can also seem boisterous, affectionate, and caring. See the problem?
Nature Vs. Nurture:
Dez isn't evil. Dez doesn't probably doesn't even rank very high on the chart, as far as intent and motivation are concerned. Hell, if she'd grown up in the picket fence Leave It To Beaver version of things, she may have become a traditionally "good" person. As it were, she lives quite firmly in the gray-zone. Dez is not cruel or vindictive by nature, but she grew up in a very 'kill or be killed' sort of environment. If anything, the fact that she hasn't gone full-blown masked villain is testament that there's something there, however deeply buried, that resembles a decent person.
Dez is able to create and manipulate hallucinations. This ranges from something as all -encompassing as a new environment ('imagine you're on a sandy beach...') to something as simple as an annoying housefly. She often uses information from the person's subconscious to choose hallucinations that will be most impactful to that person (like making arachnophobe see spiders), but she can also interject constructs of her own making.
Dez does not alter actual reality -- hallucinations are just that. She could make it seem like a person is on a beach, but if they're actually sitting in the basement... they're still going to be sitting in the basement. The hallucinations are typically full-sensory, so while a swarm of biting rats may not leave any physical bites on a person's flesh-and-bone body, that person's mind would perceive them as very real. Any actual harm would be psychogenic (induced by the person's own brain).
Dez usually sticks to one target at a time, with whom she would be able to induce something all -encompassing (different location, other people/things, etc) for up to four hours. A simple hallucination (person/thing that isn't really there, but no change in environment) can be maintained for up to eight hours.
Dez can create a shared hallucination between more than one person, but the difficulty correlates with how many people she's influencing. For example, she could create a new environment for a group of four for two hours, a simple hallucination for four hours, etc. With more than four people, she is limited to simple hallucinations (person/thing), and there's a converse relationship between how many people she's influencing and the amount of time she can keep it up.
Dez hasn't tried to test her limits, but a ballpark "absolute max" would be something like making everyone in an large movie theater have a five minute hallucination of Stan Lee giving a speech. Something larger, like making that theater see a fire-breathing dragon, would be limited to a minute or two. If she is tired, injured or ill, it decreases her abilities. Sometimes a nap is enough to get going again, but if that movie theater ever sees a one-minute dragon, she'll be out cold for three days.
Dez is able to tap into the part of a person's subconscious that is engaged during a dream state. You know that stuff that people say is 'lurking in the subconscious', or those awkward Freudian slips? Those are the things that Dez can sense. Some of what she gleans is reflective of reality, but more often than not, she comes across the intense mental compositions that crop up during dreams or nightmares. Once she has tapped into a person's subconscious, she can begin to manipulate it.
Dez doesn't read minds, but with the ability to tap into a person's subconscious, she is definitely privy to more than she should be. People tend to bury things in their subconscious for a reason, and Dez is living proof that even those secrets are not safe. What she is able to sense is directly linked to the strength of whatever is present in her target's subconscious. This can include imagery, intense emotion, pivotal memories, fears, desires, or any other strong mental construct. Every mind is different, and every mind is in constant flux. Some things may be permanently present, like a phobia or traumatic event, but other things may be transient or evolving.
Dez has always been an actress. As a child, she knew how to act around what person to get what she needed, be if food for dinner or a new backpack. She is the one 'pulling the strings' of any of her induced hallucinations, so it benefited her to learn how to pretend to be someone -- or something -- that she was not. She can drawn out the imagery and general impressions of people or things with her abilities, but beyond that framework, she is the proverbial puppetmaster behind any of the induced hallucinations. There's not much acting required if she's making someone see something mundane or inanimate, but if that something starts conversing or doing something? That's all Dez. She makes a *superb* talking lamp. And she's pretty good with zombies. That last one has been handy over the last few years.
Dez grew up speaking Spanish, English, and Spanglish. She's fluent in all three.
Dez knows drugs. She grew up around them, she use(s) them, and she spent years as a dealer. She knows a lot about the the illicit industry in L.A., both on the front lines and in the backroom. She wasn't the kingpin, but it's fair to say that, whoever the kingpin *is*, they probably wouldn't want her to know as much as she does. She has experience with most of the substances available on the streets, from meth to prescriptions, but she's not a cook or grower. She got involved once the drugs were in the city, not in their actual creation.
Largely related to her abilities, Dez has become a skilled manipulator. She's good at reading people, even without the brain-tapping, and more than that, she knows exactly how to use what she finds out to get someone to do what she wants. This can range from something as mundane as flirting her way out of a speeding ticket to knowing what hallucination would most influence a person. She's also not above using hallucinations to threaten, interrogate, or coerce a person. Definitely a keeper.
This one is kind of a culmination of a few of Dez's other skills and traits. She's a professional manipulator, and has no qualms about using that to her advantage. After leaving the drug trade (and failing at "normal people" jobs), she began making money with gigs as a 'psychic' or 'medium'. She's happy to show people the ghost they think is in their house, or tell them that their secret desire is about to be fulfilled, so long as it pays.
Dez knows a lot of powerful people in the L.A. drug trade. More over, she knows a lot of sensitive *things* about those powerful people. Most of her L.A. ex-associates want to see her dead at this point, so it's not a 'contacts' sort of resource, but... knowledge is power? Or money. Blackmail? Gotta count for something.
Dez is not destitute, but she definitely isn't well-off. She has an apartment, and can afford basic comforts, but that's about it in the way of resources. Her money comes from her various gigs as a psychic and/or medium, and there's no predicting how many jobs will or won't crop up each week. She has enough saved up to float herself when 'business' is slow for a while, but it wouldn't get her past a month or two of rent and utilities.
Dez cannot completely 'turn off' her ability. If someone around her is projecting something very strongly, she'll catch it. She's not an empath in the traditional sense, but a 'side effect' of her ability to tap into people is that she usually feels some portion of what people are giving off (emotion, fear, loss, etc). She has learned to distance herself on a day-to-day basis, but she is not infallible. This bleed-over issue is affected most by proximity, with the more intense impressions coming from people who are physically close. The unwanted sensory input is usually limited to thoughts or emotions, but she has unintentionally 'borrowed' full-blown hallucinations more than once.
Dez makes other people hallucinate, so it's only fair that Dez herself hallucinates right along with them. She always sees the things that she is causing other people to see, but even when she isn't engaged with another real person, Dez is rarely 'alone'. She is able to differentiate between her hallucinations and reality, but that doesn't stop them from being there. She cannot consciously control the constructs that show up in her own head, and they are almost always skewed toward the negative (fear, guilt, etc).
Dez had a very bad upbringing, and with that bad upbringing came a multitude "mundane" issues about things like abandonment, trust, and general existence. Lest this become a Pysch Today article, let's just go with 'she's not a well-adjusted person'.
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|Ms. Cottontail||January 27th, 2021||During one of Kyle's infamous parties at Porter House, Dez reintroduces herself five years after they last saw each other.
(Content Warning: drug use and creative swearing.)
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