5718 in-depth character profiles from comics, games, movies

Laureline (Valerian graphic novels) portrait

Laureline

(Valerian)


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

Context

This character profile very much assumes that you have read our Valérian character profile first. The whole sequence goes:

  1. Laureline, space-time agent.
  2. Addendum – helpful alien animals.

FWIW Laureline is commonly thought to have been influential in French comics. She was an early heroine in a genre story who within a few years had gained a notable level of agency, and wasn’t that defined by the men around her.

The other big trailblazer in this category is Yoko Tsuno. If we set aside the peculiar case of Barbarella for the nonce.


Background

  • Real Name: Laureline.
  • Marital Status: Single.
  • Known Relatives: None.
  • Group Affiliation: Formerly an agent of Galaxity’s Space-Time Service.
  • Base of Operations: Formerly Galaxity.
  • Height: 5’5″ Weight: 110 lbs.
  • Eyes: Blue, sometimes purple Hair: Auburn, sometimes red.


Powers & Abilities

Laureline is an STS agent, with the same sort of training and assets as Valérian. However she’s not as much of a brawler as he is. This is likely due to her limited mass, and because the physical violence front is already covered by Valérian. She can throw a mean punch when necessary, though.

She also lacks the more in-depth technical education – she’s a competent technician, but not a technologist. This is presumably because she’d have to catch up on a lifetime of Galaxity education, rather than simpler field training.

Assets

Laureline is remarkably perceptive, intuitive, intelligent and wise. One occasionally suspects that her wisdom and intuition might be a legacy of the time she spent as an unicorn.

When she feels like it, she can have great people skills. She’s particularly adept at going native, adopting the local manners and living condition to seem less like an outsider. She can also be a redoubtable seducer.

There are implications that she did special studies in xenozoopsychology in Galaxity. She certainly has an excellent track record at handling alien animals. There’s also a case to be made that she’s one of the very few persons trained to handle the invaluable grumpy transmuters from Bluxte.

Oh, not this again

Early on, Laureline routinely ends up in damsel-in-distress situations. This is done in an oddly reluctant manner. As if the story beat were mandatory, yet the writer (and characters !) are well aware that this is bullshit.

In DC Heroes RPG terms each incident of Laureline somehow being kidnapped or incapacitated is a small Subplot. Early Laureline has the Signature Subplot Schtick. This result in a sizable Hero Points  income that gets pumped into Character Advancement so Laureline can catch up with Valérian’s skill level.

Phasing

If they have to operate separately, Laureline and Valérian will sometime surgically receive a “phasing” implant. ”Phasing” isn’t like phasing  – it is a telepathic link they can activate by concentrating. This was fatiguing for Valérian, since the implantation didn’t work as well for him as for Laureline.

“Phasing” allows them to discuss and show memories to each other, as well as have a mild but appreciated feeling of togetherness.

“Phasing” is used only during a long mission. It seems likely that it required medical maintenance from Galaxity’s doctors to stay useable.

Monsieur Albert

When they are on 1980s-and-following-decades Earth, Laureline and Valérian often associate with the Paris STS contact, monsieur Albert. Thus, he played a key role while investigating the major intrusions into the events leading to the 1986 disaster.

Monsieur Albert isn’t formally aware of the STS’ activities, like all other contacts. But he has been involved in enough major cases to understand that he’s working with time patrol agents from the far future.

Laureline (Valerian graphic novels) with monsieur Albert

Monsieur Albert, Valérian and Laureline.

Monsieur Albert is an old-fashioned intellectual and a polyglot, with a sharp intellect and a vast knowledge base. He also possesses an amazing network of contacts through the world. These people chiefly are fellow not-quite-mainstream intellectuals, and all are genuine experts in often strange disciplines such as Hermetic philosophy or the Kaballah.

Monsieur Albert also has a number of intelligence and corporate contacts. All in all, he can efficiently scare up a lot of information worldwide, especially the “weird happenings” sort. He’s no Dr. Liara T’Soni, but for a Human he isn’t bad.

After Galaxity and the STS disappear, monsieur Albert travels off-panel  with Valérian and Laureline. He thus acquires academic contacts and positions in alien universities (likely as a visiting scholar).


Timeline and ageing

Both Laureline and Valérian age little, though they do mature psychologically. In my assessment, Valérian goes from early 20s to late 20s during the saga, and Laureline from 17 to her mid-20s.

Howbeit, their timeline spans centuries. For instance Valérian graduates to the STS in 2713 and recruits Laureline in 2720, but the Ambassador of the Shadows story takes place in 3005.

The simplest explanation is that the pool of STS field agents is mobile through the entire existence of the STS. They travel back and forth in time to report to the handlers. Presumably, from the STS’ point of view it makes little difference whether the agent is back from two days of vacation or was born centuries ago.

If there aren’t that many cases, the 365 agents might cover the entire history of the STS.

That said, one also gets the impression that Valérian and Laureline age abnormally slowly. The medical technology of their time is enormously advanced, and STS agents do receive biological enhancements. That their lifespan and ageing process have been greatly improved wouldn’t be surprising.


History (part 1)

Laureline originally hails from Xth century France. Valérian met her during the Year 1,000, which has something of a mythical status in pop French history.

In her era, magic exists – though it seems rare. It more or less matches then-contemporary folk tales, but with a small 1960s heroic fantasy slant. Most people simply stay away from those areas where magic is visibly active, considering these of the Devil.

A kind of magic

Apparently an orphan, young Laureline lived in her own in the Forest of Arelaune. These woods were widely and accurately known as cursed. But she had become an expert in navigating its dangerous vegetation, darkness and mists.

Laureline occasionally stole food from nearby farms. And she sometimes was retained by the eremitic sorcerer Albéric the Olde for procuring rare local plants. Albéric taught her a few things, but presumably wanted to be otherwise left alone.

Laureline (Valerian graphic novels) looking happy

One morning she helped a handsome traveller trapped by a magical giant leaf. She then offered to become his guide. This is how she met Valérian. Valérian was on a mission to stop a renegade time traveller, and Laureline was instrumental in the mission’s success.

The renegade had stolen the magic of Albéric the Olde, and used it to turn people into monsters. He did transmogrify  the captive Laureline as well. However, her pure soul meant that he could only turn her into an unicorn – over which he had no power.

Laureline, agent of S.T.S.

Furthermore, as an unicorn Laureline could read minds. Thus, while transmogrified, she learned that Valérian was an STS agent from the future. She also knew that he had to keep it a secret. Thus, she strong-armed him into bringing her back to the future so she wouldn’t talk.

Since he needed help to repair damaged machines, Valérian had Laureline use mnemotechnic machines to bring her to speed with future science, technology and general operations. As a result, within days, Laureline was qualified as a junior STS operative and technician.

For an account of Laureline’s early STS missions, see our Valérian character profile. The following section starts where the History section in Valérian’s profile had stopped.


History (part 2)

(Continued from the previous profile.)

The Empire of a Thousand Planets, part 2

Valérian then discovered that the Enlightened were from Earth. They were part of a generation ship  launched circa 2300. That was shortly before Earth finalised its time travel technology and genuinely recovered from the disasters.

This generation ship had become lost and never was found. As it turned out it had been badly damaged, and the survivors suffered from severe radiation poisoning.

Laureline (Valerian graphic novels) is built like the shit

Hiding their ghastly features under Darth Vader-like helmets, the survivors had set up the Enlighteneds religion to take over Syrte in Earth’s name. But with Valérian arrival, they now knew that Earth had recovered after all. The Enlighteneds decided to kill themselves and destroy all their bases, not seeing any way back.

A revolution then arose, cutting the grass from under the feet of the merchants’ guild. The Enlighteneds had easily taken over since the Empire’s ruling class had become decadent and dysfunctional, leaving the working class to suffer pointlessly. The fall of the Enlighteneds was the spark that these workers needed.

Still, the merchants guildmaster was confident that he could form a provisional government. Having been denied an education, the populace needed them to run society. The guildmaster promised to open trade relations with the Terran Empire.

The land without stars

While helping set up a remote Human colony, Laureline and Valérian determined that a free-roaming planet was headed for the new system. They discovered that it was a hollow world, and made contact with the cultures within.

The small world was dominated by two cities populated by Human-like folks. But one had women mercilessly dominated by men, and the other was the other way around. Centuries of war between the two are likely what had sent this world careening through space, by warping the magnetic field of its inner sun.

Valérian ended up drafted among the all-male army commanded by women. Meanwhile Laureline was picked as a decorative servant as the men of the other city were driving their all-female army. However, the pair had soon kidnapped the two rival rulers. They took them into orbit to show them the universe outside of their closed world.

Now understanding the greater context and how their runaway world was about to crash, the peoples of the hollow world joined forces. They provided resources to have Valérian bring their planet into a stable orbit in the newly Human star system.

In the wake of the discovery of a much wider universe outside, the locals abandoned their vastly counterproductive traditions for gender equality.

Welcome to Alflolol

While on the Technorog planet, an industrial and extractive colony, Valérian and Laureline discovered that it had sapient natives. These were extremely long-lived nomads, and would occasionally all leave their planet (which they called Alflolol) to go tour the universe.

While the nomads saw these as simple holidays, the latest such vacation had lasted 4,000 years. Between this and the nomad’s light footprint, the Terrans hadn’t realised that Alflolol had natives.

Laureline (Valerian graphic novels) riding a horse

Despite Valérian and Laureline’s efforts, the cohabitation between the colonists and the returning natives didn’t go well. The cultural differences were vast, and the Terrans greedy. But the nomads had all a super-power. The Terrans had the nomads live on bad reservation land, but couldn’t push it further.

This moved Laureline to clearly side with the nomads, dragging a reluctant Valérian with her. Valérian attempted to build so-so compromise solutions, alienating Laureline who left with the nomads. But Valérian’s approach sort of, kind of worked. The Terran attempts to exploit the natives had such dismal results for everyone it had to be abandoned.

By that point though, most nomads had decided to leave Alflolol again. The exception was Argol and his family. These considered Valérian and Laureline their friends, but couldn’t leave on their own due to a spaceship accident. And by that point the relationship with the Technorog colony was hostile.

Valérian took Argol and his family to Earth. There the law meant the nomads would have an ambassadorial status and privileges. Earth had blighted Alflolol, but now they had to provide exquisite hospitality to a native family… likely for thousands of years.

Birds of The Master

While investigating a solar system where too many ships had gone missing, Laureline and Valérian crashed on an inhabitable planet. The entire population lived in dismal poverty and backbreaking work, as slaves to The Master. Everyone toiled to prepare gigantic feasts for The Master despite living in hunger.

Beyond the usual conformism, The Master’s will was enforced by ghastly winged creatures, the Birds of Madness (no relation). These would spot deviant behaviour and mob their targets, using their venom to make them insane.

Whilst attempting to rescue a friend, Laureline and Valérian ended up fleeing along with the “loonies” – previous victims of the Birds of Madness. To escape pursuit from the furious slaves, they had to breach The Master’s private land. Bird attacks led to everyone getting bit, but since the venom’s effect was gradual it was still possible to act.

The loonies and the STS agents reached The Master, a colossal blob with psychic powers. They attacked as they could, but were felled by psychic attacks. However, Valérian and Laureline overcame the shock and rallied the rest. This forced the parasitic Master to flee the planet. That also healed the effects of the venom, which apparently was more of an amplifier for The Master’s telepathic “static”.

For a short while the ex-loonies considered taking The Master’s place, but the STS agents convinced them not to. A communal regime was established, which then helped the STS agents recover their spaceship and leave.

Ambassador of the Shadows

Galaxity’s ambitions rose – perhaps because the colonials were now a greater percentage of the Terran Empire’s population. Thus, an ambassador was sent to Point Central. PC is mishmash, an artificial planet/city where habitats from innumerable alien species were essentially duct-taped together.

The idea was to leverage Earth’s superior technology to gradually establish the Terran Empire as an authority on Point Central.

Point Central (Valerian and Laureline graphic novels)

A corner of Point Central. Click here for a larger version.

Even though Valérian and especially Laureline’s politics were known to the STS, they were picked to accompany the ambassador. By that point they were by far the two agents with the most experience in dealing with aliens. Laureline was also capable of handling the grumpy transmuter from Bluxte they were issued.

However, the Ambassador was kidnapped within minutes of arriving on PC. Valérian managed to follow and get captured too. Dazed by the attack, Laureline hadn’t been able to follow. However, she investigated on Point Central. This is when she met the Shingouz, a trio of mercenary masters of intelligence who sold her invaluable data about the kidnapping.

Thanks to the Shingouz and her grumpy transmuter, Laureline rescued Valérian and the Ambassador. They had been kidnapped and brainwashed by the Shadows – the secret creators of Point Central. Having renounced temporal power, the Shadows had moved in to prevent the Terran Empire from taking over PC.

The brainwashed Ambassador went along with the Shadows’ agenda. But the kidnapping had sparked a long-simmering rebellion in Point Central against greedy parties such as Earth. The Shadows hadn’t realised this, or had acted too late.

As a result, the Terran Empire was banished from PC for a hundred years.

On the False Earths

The STS then got into a fight with a highly advanced time bandit. The intruder was more or less kept out of Earth’s past. But they retaliated by stealing historical data by from Galaxity, causing a mess in the database.

Laureline and Valérian tracked the bandit with the help of Jadna, an annoying but highly knowledgeable historian. The bandit was recreating slices of Earth’s history on free-floating asteroids, and leaving clues as to the location of other reconstructions. The STS trio worked their way through these breadcrumbs.

Each reconstruction being highly secure, stealing the coordinates of other reconstructions was practically a suicide run. Thus, disposable short-lived clones of Valérian were grown in the ship, and expended to infiltrate these false Earths one after the other.

The bandit turned out to be a highly advanced alien. It was fascinated by Earth’s history, and regretted the unchanging and passionless nature of his own culture. The False Earths were works of art paying homage to humanity. They used robots and matter synthesisers to create living, scripted tableaux (with occasional anachronisms).

Valérian was still groggy from the cloning process. As to Laureline, she thought that it was all bullshit giving how awful the reconstructed eras had been for the common man. Still, she assessed that the alien artist and his mises en scène  posed no actual danger to Earth, and decided to leave him alone.

The Heroes of the Equinox

The Terran Empire then sent their best couple of agents to the planet Simlane. To reproduce, the locals had to send heroes to a forbidden island where they would brave great dangers. If one was successful, then a new generation of children would come from the island on the next year.

However, there was a lengthy series of failures in these yearly quests. The locals became too old to brave the dangers of the quest of the Equinox, and had to ask for alien help. Four champions from different species and cultures, including Valérian, agreed to attempt the quest.

Laureline (Valerian graphic novels) with goggles and hardsuit

Valérian was the least powerful by far, the other three being essentially super-heroes. Roughly speaking there was an heroic-fantasy Fascist warrior type, a Communist strongman and a magical, mystical back-to-nature druid. But Valérian’s trial also was the least flashy. He spent days spelunking in dark, narrow caverns rather than face spectacular conditions and battles.

All four champions reached the final stage. When asked by a sort of priest on the island, the other three exposed what their projects were for Simlane’s future generations – to conform to their totalitarian ideology.

Coming in last, the exhausted and half-blind Valérian answered the examiner. He moodily stated that the next generation would do whatever they deemed suitable and it was none of his business. He was thus picked by the Great Mother entity to sire the next generation.

When the three heroes returned beaten but Valérian was nowhere to be seen, Laureline sailed to the island and reached its heart. Though it was difficult, she did not get the obstacles the other had faced since this year’s quest was over. She found Valérian still alive.

However, like with previous heroes of the equinox his dalliance with the Great Mother had shrunk him to the size of an action figure. Though she resented Valérian’s actions, Laureline got him back to Galaxity so he could be restored to his normal stature.

Châtelet Station, destination Cassiopeia

The STS detected strange intrusion in 1980 France, apparently by energy monsters. Normal STS intervention couldn’t keep the intruders at bay. As a result, Valérian was dispatched there to work with monsieur Albert, the local STS contact and a scholar. In the Paris metro, Valérian located and destroyed a sort of energy dragon.

Meanwhile, what little information had been previously found sent Laureline to the planet Solum. In the sandy depths of Solum lived quasi-immortal storytellers, each from a distinct area of the planet’s past, each holding immense knowledge. Thanks to them, Laureline found stories about energy monsters like the one Valérian had destroyed.

However, the stories of such invasions tended to end with the planet where they occurred being ravaged. Since the STS thought that some sort of catastrophe would nearly destroy Earth in 1986, that wasn’t comforting.

As Laureline continued to investigate, Valérian located and destroyed another monster in the marais poitevin marshes . Albert also noticed that American employees of two large corporations, WAAM and Benson & Gambler seemed to look for the creatures. However, Valérian kept narrowly beating them to the punch.

And beyond

This history is continued in our third Laureline and Valérian profile !


Description

One gets the impression that Laureline was very young when she met Valérian. Perhaps as young as 16, and probably no more than 17.

Laureline was a gorgeous kid who became a stunning woman. She has flowing long hair and an unusually slim, sylphlike physique with a wasp waist. She wears the same kind of space jumpsuit as Valérian, though hers was very precisely, tightly fitted.

In the field Laureline simply wears her hair long. But when dressing up she’ll arrange them in various sophisticated hairdos that go with her endless fabulous outfits.

Early on, Laureline frequently changes her eyes colour – sometimes several times in a day. It’s presumably done using advanced cosmetics, to match her outfits and/her her mood. Her baseline colour seems to be a dark-ish violet or blue (depending ‘pon lighting). Maybe.

As she matures Laureline does that less often, and usually has clear blue eyes. Or green, especially on those days where she makes her hair redder than usual. Unless they’re purple, of course.


Personality

Laureline is an exceptionally sharp STS agent. But early on she was more passive, and still a teenager. She was building up experience, continuing her training, growing up and getting her footing.

Once said footing is found, Laureline becomes highly opinionated. She’s not big on compromise, and much prefers things to be done her way. Thus she and Valérian will frequently bicker, though such conflicts seldom last long.

Laureline has a readily noticeable playful and insolent streak.

Keep buying things or the terrorists will have won

Another easily noticeable trait is that she’s a huge fan of cool clothing and accessories. She can shop for those with a passion under nearly any circumstance, and must have thousands of outfits by now. Conversely, missions where the agents must wear crummy clothing will make her grumpy.

Laureline (Valerian graphic novels) teasing the Shingouz

She also buys a lot of interior decoration stuff and pretty curios. Unless Valérian is around to insist that the ship be kept regulations-legal.

Though Laureline likes luxury, she is devoid of avarice. She will freely spend and give away money as necessary to reach her objectives and help those around her.

Anarchy drift

Another important trait is that she’s not a fan of authority, bureaucracy, procedures or hierarchy. Laureline will always follow her own moral compass, no matter what. She’s in many respects an avatar of freedom and existentialism .

Unlike Valérian, Laureline is an outsider. She may be an ace agent of the Space-Time Service, but she wasn’t born and raised in Galaxity or even the Empire. She doesn’t consider it her nation, and will oppose its unethical behaviours.

Over time and exposure to the Terran Empire, her stance gets closer to Left-wing anarchism and she becomes increasingly rebellious.

Red is a cold colour

Being more passionate and opinionated than the bit-of-a-goober Valérian, Laureline can also be more ruthless.

Normally, she lets him handle the bulk of the violence so they work in complementary ways. She’ll thus be more focused on the investigative, analytical and people skills aspects since these aren’t Valérian’s forté.

She has little hesitation in using her charm to keep the mission moving, especially since her attractiveness apparently works on anything even vaguely male and straight.

On those occasions where she is pissed off (such as when Valérian cheated on her), she can become genuinely cold and merciless. She’ll use her beauty as a weapon rather than as a facilitator, unhesitatingly murder her opposition and use a mix of girl-bully dirty tricks and direct physical violence to achieve her goals.

In these rare occasions, one is reminded that Laureline’s roots are that of a semi-feral survivor in a cursed forest.

On the other hand, when she’s not enraged, Laureline finds deadly violence repulsive and sickening.

Other traits

When a psychic attack exposed Laureline worst fear, it turned out to be torture and physical abuse.

Laureline is particularly fond of 1870s and 1880s guinguettes in the Paris areas, on the shores of the Marne or the Seine. The series has two separate visual jokes where her view of such are actually impressionist paintings. One is La Grenouillère by Monet and Renoir  and the other the famous Déjeuner des canotiers  by Renoir.

Her Valérian

Laureline soon grew very attached to Valérian. Though he can be a bit dense and thoughtless, she admires his bravery and dedication. Laureline’s emotions are more mercurial than the staid Valérian’s, and she knows he can find that difficult to follow. Yet she remains passionate and spontaneous even if he gets puzzled.

They do get in fights occasionally, but Laureline remains confident that Valérian’s basic decency and faithful nature will always prevail in the end. They are possessive of each other though. Laureline will often refers to him as “my Valérian” (and vice versa).

If they have been separated for a while, Laureline and Valérian will be frequently hugging, cuddling, holding hands, etc. for a day or two.


Quotes

“I like those missions where we get to wear costumes…”

(During a particularly harrowing mission) “It’s a man’s life in the space-time service, they said… no kidding…”

“To Hell with protocol !”

(Defending Valérian) “He may be an idiot, but he’s a *brave* idiot !”

Colonel Tlocq (theatrically) “Everything is so corrupt here. Sometimes, when I’m tired, I even wonder if I’m sufficiently corrupt to understand what’s going on still…”
Laureline (coyly): “I wouldn’t worry too much if I were you, colonel…”

Baffled onlooker: “H-how did he do that ?”
Laureline (smugly): “My Valérian has always been pretty good with special effects.”

Ky-Gaï: “[If you hire me], would we travel, miss ?”
Laureline (smiling): “Yes. To the edges of the unknown. Perhaps even further…”

“Heroism is like gling [liquor]… it’s best enjoyed in small doses.”


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Laureline

Dex: 03 Str: 02 Bod: 03 Motivation: Uphold Freedom
Int: 05 Wil: 05 Min: 04 Occupation: Former space-time agent
Inf: 04 Aur: 05 Spi: 05 Wealth: Variable
Init: 014 HP: 030

Skills:
Animal handling: 05, Artist (Cooking, Weaving, Singing): 03, Charisma (Persuasion): 05, Detective (Clue analysis): 05, Detective (Legwork): 06, Gadgetry: 04, Martial Artist: 03, Medicine (First aid): 04, Military science (Demolition): 04, Scientist: 04, Vehicles: 05, Weaponry: 05

Bonuses and Limitations:
Gadgetry uses realistic rules, so in practice it is used for maintenance and repairs.

Advantages:
Area Knowledge (Arelaune Forest), Attractive, Credentials (STS, Medium), Familiarity (0G operations, Galaxity laws, Grumpy transmuters handling, Astrophysics, Xenozoopsychology), Expertise (Forest Survival, Fashion & Style, Starship maintenance & repair, Astronavigation), Headquarters (Expansive), Scholar (Time travel engineering), Slowed Ageing.

Bonuses and Limitations:
Laureline’s Attractive Advantage also has a track record of working on aliens, including tamable animals.

Advantages (Languages):
Hundreds, including XIth century French, XXth English, Syrtian, Kamunik, Simlanese, some sort of space lingua franca.

Connections:
The Shingouz (Low), Monsieur Albert (High).

Drawbacks:
Dependent (Valérian, 0 pts).

Genre:
Real.

Equipment:
As with Valérian.


Early Laureline

Early on, Laureline’s INF is one AP lower, as are most of her Skills.

In the last graphic novels, it is possible that Laureline has AUR 06. Like Valérian’s DEX, this is a huge score for the setting.


Grumpy, grumpy, grumpy

A grumpy transmuter from Bluxte provides Wealth: 15 as long as it is properly cared for. More about grumpy transmuters in the fourth profile.

By Sébastien Andrivet

Source of Character: Valerian graphic novels. I’m using the Cinebook translations when they exist, and my own when there’s no English language material.

Helper(s): Darci.

Writeup completed on the 5th of May, 2017.

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