Toiréasa Callaghan is the eldest Callaghan child by just nineteen minutes; she is the older of the Callaghan twins. Tess inherited her father’s strong personality and his fiery temper. Whatever she becomes involved in, she will develop a deep passion for, and it’s that character trait that draws her into the center of the Dalton conflict.
Tess’s unusual name is the result of being the oldest girl in her family; family tradition is to pass that name, which was James Callaghan’s mother’s name, on to the eldest girl if there is one. Mike had no siblings so Tess is the first since then to have the name. She’s not always particularly fond of it and prefers to go by Tess.
Tess is an avid reader; and her father’s secret supply of books that are banned under the strict “leisure laws” of Dalton are her escape from the harshness of real life. She has read extensively about history and culture outside Dalton and become frustrated with the narrow education in the government schools; knowing that there is much more that is never being told because Dalton has decided on an isolationist mindset. Because the information she learned cannot be shared with anyone since it is illegal to own the sources of it, she has become distant from her classmates. She feels like she can’t trust anyone, and that she is alone because of knowing much more than they do. She avoids discussing most history and culture with them because of this. She becomes frustrated easily at the modified version of events that is the only acceptable one to voice, but cannot correct it without being caught breaking the Leisure Laws.
Although her family is one of the highest socially in Dalton, Tess’s life isn’t the typical one for a member of the elite class. Her father is constantly in danger of being caught breaking the rules by owning banned books, and Tess was taught early never to say anything about those stories to anyone. When she was thirteen, she and Cam accompanied their father when he went into the Blue for his work, when he was still only in charge of distribution in that sector. They met Anja by accident when they saw one of her first rallies happening, and her powerful words and call to action inspired Tess. Tess began skipping classes to sneak to the Blue and listen to the rallies, and Cam went with her to protect her. They kept it a secret until the end of the class year, when their attendance records were sent home and the Callaghans realized that the twins weren’t in school when they pretended to be.
Once they found out about where Tess and Cam had been going, Mike and Ellie finally came to the decision that the two had already been going alone for some time with no problems, and agreed to let them continue to attend rallies and meetings but only in summer and on weekends, and only if they would let one of the Patrols take them to the Raven and back. They agreed and spent the next year and a half in the group. Tess especially became convinced that something needed to be done to get rights for the Mixed. She heard stories from other protestors and from Mixed who frequented the tavern and dreamed of being their hero and be the one who rescued them from their harsh lives.
She was so trusting that she became too certain of her safety in the group, and believed the best of everyone, even Mixeds who were truly dangerous. When she was almost raped by Anj’s lieutenant Stuart, a vicious cougar Mixed, she and Cam left the group, with no intentions of ever returning. Tess suffered from flashbacks and nightmares for a long time after. She became withdrawn and retreated into her books even more as a safe place. Anxiety and panic attacks became part of her everyday life. She’s still struggling with the aftermath of this trauma when she meets Alex, and having the courage to help someone she doesn’t know and who could be dangerous forces both her and Cam to confront what happened. For Tess, this is the start of moving on, of taking the past and using what happened to her to make her better able to help someone else.