Valerie isn't the sort of woman who might first be pegged as a senior field agent of an intelligence agency. Those who scarcely know her would see her more as somebody who can only stand on the extremes of an issue, rather than as somebody who can understand and even work within the shades of gray inherent to modern intelligence work. Those who get to know her better can see the finer points. That she is a Nepleslian patriot - for the citizens, not necessarily those who hold office. She seems to think that there isn't a fight she can lose - but she's not too proud to admit when she's facing a problem she doesn't have the skill or ability to handle.
When dealing with her own team, those who have served with her for any length of time are treated with a sort of respect that shows itself in how she acts. She tends to stand off, trusting in what those agents are capable of, though she'd consider herself soft for saying it out loud. She'll punch their arm, talk trash to them (as opposed to at them), and give them a hard time sometimes. But they'll realize in the middle of a bar-fight that she'd put herself between them and an incoming blow without hesitation. When she's a friend, she's a friend for life, and always remembers the favors she owes others. Its equal parts family upbringing and experience in the Marines: under fire or at the bar, the team has look out for one another to succeed.
Where command is concerned, in general she prefers to say that she's more of a leader than a commander: leaving her agents alone if they have shown they can carry their weight, listening to even the most green agents if they have an idea that might take the day, and she prefers to be standing at the front of the charge whenever possible.
This has, of course, developed some enemies for her in higher points of command in the NNSO. Some see her as a warhawk and claim that her often unconventional, and at times destructive methods could prove to hamper the agency's operations. Its these very same things they see an issue with that have also developed a proven record as a field commander and could also reveal to some that she is not some straight-minded brute of her profession. She may not often express it, but she thinks - often and far ahead - about every major action she sees or makes.
Valerie was the unexpected surprise that capped off four children for her parents. Her father, a hard-bitten and decorated Marine who could have substituted in as the NSMC poster-boy had it not been for his age, was disappointed that he didn't have a quartet of sons to go off and serve in the military. Meanwhile her mother, a quiet and reserved woman who compelled some to look between the married couple at times and simply ask “How?”, was over-joyed that perhaps the single daughter could be somebody to relate to after her three sons had been born. Both were surprised by what would eventually become of the young green-eyed infant. Though to some degree, neither of them should have been.
A childhood spent running around the streets with her brothers, getting into trouble, and eventually getting to know many of the local officers by name caused her mother no shortage of stress and had her father's phone and inbox exploding with messages when he was deployed. As she approached her teen years she would spend nights up late with her brothers, listening to bands like Lorath Godskeletons and Aethersperm loud enough to make the neighbors complain, spend time at a local skate park getting scars from stupid tricks, and everything one owuld expect. However one day she did something rather unexpected.
At 16 years old she left school early one day, getting out of class with the excuse of needing to use the bathroom. She and a trio of friends had decided to enlist in the Marines together. Maybe it was the liquor that she'd brought into school hitting her system. Maybe it was the excitement of “breaking the rules” with friends. Of the four she was the only one able to bluff the recruiter into signing her up.
Where a penchant for getting into fights, physical toughness, and what some at the time called a pig-headed attitude made her an oddity in her school, they made her excel in the Marines early on. Of course while both of her parents might have been overjoyed to know that another one of their children after the oldest joined to serve in the NSMC, they were not so happy that their only daughter's announcement came in the form of her friends who had failed to enlist too early telling the story of what had happened.
How she managed to stay in is a mystery. Perhaps it was bureaucratic dumb luck that the papers and orders were lost in the jumble. Perhaps it was because the commanding officer of the mechanized reconnaissance battery she was in was playing defense for her to keep her in. What followed in the years to come is things which Valerie is not fond of talking about.
She's a long-time Marine veteran who got out as an E-7, she is a veteran of two wars like many of Nepleslia's young adults could claim, and she was the on-off romantic interest of a woman by the name Fang Ning Lo, sister of the NNSO's current Assistant Chief of Operations, and it was through this relationship that the NNSO first took notice of her and tapped her to leave the bars she roamed after the Marines to work with them.