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Portrayed by Anna Torv
|Birthdate:||October 30, 1982|
|Player:||Available for Applications|
A former teenage prostitute and mercenary with Mág Ealga, Vanessa has also been a member of X-Force using the alias 'Morgan.' After leaving X-Force Vanessa eventually founded X-Factor Investigations with former colleague, Lucas Bishop, who became her partner in the business.
- 1 Details
- 2 Biography
- 3 Physical Characteristics
- 4 Powers
- 5 Equipment
- 6 Trivia
- 7 Plots
- 8 Meta
Character Journal: x_copycat
Real Name: Vanessa Geraldine Carlysle
Current Aliases: Aoife, James (both of whom have corresponding bodies to go with them)
Former Aliases: Amy, Marguerite, Domino, Cheryl Marks, Daniel, numerous others
First Appearance: May 08, 2008
Date of Birth: October 30, 1982
Place of Birth: Boston, MA
Relatives: Burt Carlysle (father, deceased), Dorothy Carlysle (mother)
Education: GED only
Relationship Status: Single. (But tentatively open to eventually picking things back up with Warren Worthington)
Team Affiliation: X-Factor
Vanessa Carlysle was born to Burt and Dorothy Carlysle the day before Halloween in 1982. Vanessa's parents were working class, third generation Irish-Americans. Burt was a butcher and her mother worked in a meatpacking plant. The prospects for her future weren't looking bright from the outset. Despite that Vanessa loved growing up in South Boston. With fair skin, dazzling blue eyes, and brilliantly cherry red hair she was the picture of a typical Irish girl right down to the smattering of freckles across her nose and over her shoulders.
She was always a social creature, ever since she could walk and talk. Vanessa made friends easily, though she preferred playing soccer and stickball in the streets with the boys to playing with the girls. She got decent grades in school but Vanessa wasn't going to be winning any academic scholarships any time soon. She was a daddy's girl and actually aspired to walk in his shoes when she was old enough and become a butcher. It wasn't the life her mother wanted for her and many a shouting match was had over the difference in opinion.
At the age of fourteen Vanessa began going to the butcher shop where her father worked after school every day. The owner, who Burt worked alongside of, liked Vanessa and the old man agreed that she could hang out and her father could begin teaching her the trade. The arrangement didn't last long, and within six months it would all fall apart.
Her parents were fighting, her grades were down and the neighborhood was seeing a spike in gang-related activity. That gang activity involved a group of Italian-American guys in their early twenties picking fights with a similarly aged group of Southie Irish-American guys. One particular confrontation resulted in a shoot out near the butcher shop where Burt Carlysle worked. At first people just thought it was the front window that had been broken from the shooting. Inside Burt laid in a pool of his own blood with three bullet wounds in him, all of them in his chest. Hearing the news of her father's death Vanessa broke down, unable to grasp the idea of her father being gone. Over the next few days the Italians would be hunted down and killed as an apology to the Carlysle women, but nothing assuaged the hot, sharp pain that was the loss of her father for Vanessa.
It was in the middle of the gathering after her father's funeral as she listened to people whisper about how they'd make ends meet just on Dorothy's paycheck that the stress of it all finally broke whatever it was inside of Vanessa that had kept her mutation at bay. Her skin bled from porcelain to a uniform blue that even washed away her freckles. Freaked out and not knowing what was going on she sought her mother who took one look at her daughter's red eyes and declared not only that she was a demon but that she believed Vanessa was the cause of her husband's death. They were words spoken in the midst of her grief, but Dorothy Carlysle made it very clear that Vanessa was also dead and whatever this blue and white creature was it was not her daughter. She quite seriously accused her of being a changeling.
Distraught and confused, Vanessa packed what she could in a backpack and left, unsure of where to go. She made money the only way she seemed to know how, by becoming a prostitute at the age of fourteen. Her virginity was lost to her first John one week after she left her home and was desperate for food. She would soon learn that she could look like other people, actually become them just by touching them, sometime she discovered by accident while with a john. In the middle of the act Vanessa began to actually become the man who was having sex with her, a bit problematic when she realized the shift to his body was rather thorough. He was so freaked out he just ran for it.
After turning tricks on her own for a couple months she was found by a woman calling herself Mistress who was a madame. Mistress used Amy as her ultimate in fantasy play. A man booked her in advance so she could track down a woman of his choosing who she'd become for him. Life went on this way until Amy turned seventeen. A customer who called himself only Aleister purchased her for an evening. After proving she could do what they said she could do he bought her from Mistress for a heavy price. Unsure what this meant for her, Amy changed to Marguerite and went with Aleister. She could have run away but she didn't have anywhere to go and while this could have been a very bad thing for her it turned out to be remarkably good.
Aleister, a mutant with a healing factor who never told her his real name, was a mercenary. Along with three others they were collectively referred to as Mág Ealga, in honor of the Irish heritage the founding members shared. Everyone but Marguerite in Mág Ealga was ex-military, mostly the Marines with one Navy SEAL. Marguerite was the youngest of them, but Mág Ealga took her under its collective wing. They taught her to fight, to box, how to shoot, handle weapons and anything else they could think to impart on her young mind. She wouldn't have to fuck for money any more, but she'd have to take orders. Marguerite was more than okay with that. During an arms deal in Colombia early on she copied the body of a twenty-seven year old woman and that body became Marguerite, complete with passport and all necessary papers.
Mág Ealga stuck primarily to Africa, Eastern Europe and South America, and despite the widespread area the group worked within their rivals were always there as well. Mág Ealga had a reputation for professionalism, details, and being creative when needed. They didn't fall down on or short change a contract and were known for not only being reliable, but always doing precisely what they've promised to do, nothing more or less. Because of Marguerite they got a number of contracts that involved espionage. One such mission involved infiltrating the Pack, their main competition and rivals for contracts, who was working for the rival to an employer of Mág Ealga's.
The Pack which was comprised of Nathan Dayspring, Bridge, David Rabin and a young girl named Domino was the only group that Mág Ealga ever had to really worry about winning contracts out from under them. At least three times a year Marguerite seemed to run into Domino somewhere in the world and it usually ended in black eyes and knife wounds. Both being the only girls in the crews and being the youngest they developed something of an unspoken rivalry to prove who was better. Their mutations gave them different advantages, but it was hard to compete with Domino's powers. That didn't mean she necessarily always came out the victor, however.
Taking advantage of Marguerite's ability and rivalry, Mág Ealga sought out the youngest of the Pack as their way into the group. Domino saw one coming, but the group of them she wasn't prepared for all alone. She didn't go down without a fight, but ultimately she was knocked unconscious. After finding out where the Pack was holed up for the moment Marguerite went in as Domino. The charade lasted for nearly four weeks until Nathan found the actual Domino unconscious where Mág Ealga were keeping her while the rest of Mág Ealga was out on business. Aleister came back to find Domino missing and called Marguerite in time that when Nathan came through the door with Domino she was slipping out the window and making a run for it. She just barely got away from the Pack in time to drop the mimic and pick up one from the nearest homeless man, managing to escape then only because of Nathan's lack of telepathy use at that point in his life and her ability to mimic psi-patterns as well anyway.
After finishing that contract Mág Ealga moved on and Marguerite was dropped in favor of becoming Debbie on what was Vanessa's 20th birthday in 2002. Debbie didn't last long, in fact very few of her alter egos lasted long afterward. After the deal infiltrating the Pack Mág Ealga got similar contracts that found Vanessa changing bodies so often she lost track of where she ended and they began. It was a mounting problem but when the Pack dropped out of the mercenary world that problem eased. Suddenly their main competitors for contracts was gone. Mág Ealga literally just picked which contracts they wanted, and of course always went with the highest paying ones unless it was unreasonably dangerous. No one was a fan of seeing the inside of a prison ever again and they'd all ended up in one at least once or twice by then.
The next three years were easy, or as easy as they got for a mercenary, until Aleister died on the job. Another stepped up to lead but many of their connections were specific to Aleister and once again the woman born as Vanessa Carlyle who had been living as Cheryl Marks for the past year found herself playing musical bodies. Her own blue skin became a rarely glimpsed sight in the frenzy of genetic changes. Vanessa's mind and that of her mimics began to bleed into one another to the point where she would lose sight of her task. She'd forget the mission and start to think like her mimic would, which led to her developing their values and beliefs as well. When it nearly got the Mág Ealga leader killed she packed it in. With an invitation to return when she could get a grip on her mental state and a permanently functioning line to reach the crew at she left.
Clad in her own body she renamed herself Morgan Lennox, complete with official documentation thanks to an associate, and went looking for Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters. It was one of two places she figured might be able to help her and a school for gifted youngsters sounded a hell of a lot better than a research facility. Charles Xavier took her in once he did an exhausting telepathic scan of the woman. It was determined she, herself, was not a threat to the students and not only was capable of but willing to play nice while there. As with all of the guests and residents Morgan was given free room and board, but she wasn't comfortable with being such a freeloader. In exchange for Xavier's help and everything else he gave her while there she became the school's new self-defense teacher in the fresh absence of Lorna Dane.
It didn't take long before Morgan ran into her old rival in the mansion. In fact, Nathan was one of the first five people she came into contact with after arriving. Knowledge of just who she was and what history they had was cause for some tension to begin with, but before the conversation was done they seemed to have found a friendly common ground. Nathan became one of three people Morgan considered friends there at the Institute, possibly mostly because he already knew her past as a mercenary and understood her on levels others weren't likely to.
The other two people Morgan took to were Adrienne Frost and Garrison Kane. Perhaps unlikely candidates, they became the closest to real friendships Morgan developed at the mansion. Adrienne was an accidental friendship born out of Morgan mocking her and thinking she was a bit of a weak girlie girl, no better than the typical model. Garrison, however, was only unlikely due to his rather upright occupation as an FBI agent. It was definitely lust at first sight for Morgan, something that's a little hard to avoid when Garrison insists upon chopping up wood half naked. While she did develop something a bit more than a crush on Garrison she never brought it up. After all, you don't go after a guy who is still hung up on another girl.
Between her two new friends Morgan ended up in India helping the FBI with a mutant terrorist attack and having a little "chat" with Adri's friendly hitman to ensure he didn't rat out Frost for the murder of her husband. She wasn't thrilled about either job, so to speak, but you did that stuff for friends just because they're friends. Even if you don't want to admit it.
Apocalypse's attack on New York City saw Morgan joining sides with Kane and the FBI again. For the first time since she'd shown up in the States again her real skills were useful. It was nice to exercise that part of her but it also reminded her of something. She had no reason to fight here. Her family was elsewhere and their backs weren't being watched as well as they could have been because she was in the States working on her brain so she wouldn't be a danger to them. But Morgan wanted to go home to her family. After a phone call to Eamon in mid-November Morgan tracked down the important people to let them know she was leaving, though she didn't know precisely when she would leave. The date would depend upon when the guys moved on to their next job from the one they were working on finishing up now. Charles was told first out of respect for him, what he had done for her and what he was doing for the kids at the school. Adrienne, Garrison and Nathan all followed. The three were left with a nearly blank business card that held an international phone number on one side and the word Ness on the other. She didn't bother to tell any of them it was her birth name, only that it was who to ask for if they called needing her help.
Morgan's plans to leave the Xavier Institute to rejoin Mág Ealga were indefinitely and possibly permanently put on hold when news came that Garrison Kane, along with others, were missing and possibly dead. She refused to leave until Garrison's been found, whether that would mean she gets to see that he's safe for herself or whether that means she will end up at a funeral to properly pay her respects to the man one last time.
While waiting for news of Garrison's fate, Remy LeBeau hired Morgan for a job as extra manpower and firepower in Africa at the end of December in 2008. The contract hired her for a minimum of two weeks, though the job itself took less than half that time. As a result, when Apocalypse was found to be escaped, mobile and having taken over a mutant commune Remy called her to help X-Force's infiltration of the place. It was during that operation that Garrison Kane and the other missing three were found. Morgan's plans returned to rejoining Mág Ealga now that her friend was found alive, though she put off setting concrete plans to achieve this in place. Remy offered Morgan a job with Snow Valley and a position in X-Force in light of Pete Wisdom not being fit for operational duty. She agreed to consider the proposal but would not agree to anything concrete. Weeks after it was a conversation with Manuel de la Rocha that ultimately swayed Morgan who took off the next day on a flight to The Democratic Republic of the Congo where the rest of Mág Ealga was on a job. She went to talk to them and by the time she landed back in New York state half a week later her mind was made up. Only a couple days later Morgan received an e-mail from Remy. Bait was needed in order to set a trap and Morgan once again joined X-Force in it's efforts by taking on a mimic of Maverick. The next day she met with LeBeau and accepted his job offer. One week later she moved into the Brownstone and took up the responsibilities of her new job, which would largely see her in the field to begin with.
A year later Vanessa resigned her position with Snow Valley and left X-Force. A situation had come up where Jean-Paul had come back to New York acting strangely after having left Muir Island months prior. When Remy decided he needed to be looked into and proven to not be evil Vanessa's knee-jerk protective streak kicked in. She took offense with being told to cross a line and use her personal ties with someone for professional reasons. Ultimately she thought about what LeBeau had said about whether or not she had what it took to do the job. Vanessa decided she could do it, but she didn't want to. She had too few hard and fast rules about what she would not do. She didn't like the idea of what it could mean for the rest of those lines and the possibility of having to cross them for the job so she left.
In light of her resignation from X-Force, Vanessa moved into Adrienne's unoccupied penthouse in New York City. While she wasn't asked to move out of the Brownstone Vanessa figured it'd be simpler to move out and that way they wouldn't have to worry about her being a security problem potentially. The metamorph took up a position as a substitute teacher at Xavier's while she figured out what to do with herself from there and after a few months of bouncing ideas around she came to a conclusion. Vanessa wanted to help people but hopefully do it in a way that wouldn't come into conflict with her apparently growing sense of morality and ethics. District X had developed as a heavily mutant-populated neighborhood and she thought that could make them a target so those were the people she wanted to help.
With the help of Charles Xavier funding the set up, Vanessa opened X-Factor Investigations with Bishop in the summer of 2010. Their offices are centrally located in the neighborhood and Vanessa has taken up residence in a flat one floor below the office so she can readily be on hand and have somewhere to potentially stash people who need somewhere safe to stay with a built in bodyguard.
Vanessa has been pretty focused on work since opening the investigative agency with Bishop. They've taken on missing persons cases, helped Doug look into Telford Porter and locate his abducted sister, and gotten a human trafficker out of a local brothel. She managed to recruit both Jean-Paul and Laura Kinney into the agency pretty early on. With Laurie insisting on helping out (Vanessa gave her to Bishop after Laurie "helpfully" reorganized Vanessa's desk) the five have become something of a bickering family, which Vanessa loves.
Two days before Valentine's Day Vanessa broke up with Lex for what seemed like really stupid, minor reasons but for her the relationship had been over for months and she had hit her breaking point with not being able to figure out how to rectify things between them. So she chose to do what she is good at and left. Not long after Vanessa decided to cope by becoming more of a flirt than usual which led to her sleeping with Warren Worthington. Soon after Wade Wilson showed up at the mansion Vanessa struck up a friendship with him which quickly grew more complicated thanks to both of them being perpetual flirts and him kissing her. The pair were briefly involved casually but that ended within weeks when Vanessa finally stopped to think about the fact that Wade would be leaving once his powers issues were resolved (at the time she did not know his cancer was what had brought him to the mansion). They remain friends though there have been shades of something beyond simple friendship that have remained.
Despite things with Wade Vanessa has continued her affair with Warren. The two finally started to become friends after a phonecall she made to him while she was in Wales visiting Thom for a few weeks. She has realized she uses Warren as something as buffer where her feelings for Wade are concerned, but she genuinely enjoys being with Warren (in all senses) so she doesn't really feel like she's using him. Jean-Paul has pointed out to her that her situation with Warren sounds like more than a friends-with-benefits arrangement but Vanessa is blissfully ignoring him as both she and Warren have stated a lack of desire for a relationship with anyone, including one another.
In April Vanessa was forced to face the ramifications of working with people who are something of a pseudo-family when she sent Laura undercover in a brothel. The fact that she has changed from her days with Mág Ealga when she would have done anything that was right for the job without hesitation has become clear to her. Vanessa isn't sure how she feels about this development. Though she still feels guilty for putting Laura in a situation that Vanessa herself wouldn't want to be in, even if it was the best choice for the case. Going forward Vanessa isn't sure if she is going to come down on the side of sheltering Laura (as she did in January after Laura killed men at Porter's safe house when they went in to find Doug's sister) or making the best decision for the job. She has, however, agreed to train Laura both in fighting-related techniques (archery, sparring, etc) and in more mental aspects of fighting so the girl can learn to condition herself to go for the disarming blow over the fatal one and the like. Vanessa hopes if she trains Laura to not go for the kill and have better coping mechanisms (something she, herself, has recently had to figure out) that she won't see Laura as someone who has to be protected as much.
At the start of May Vanessa and Warren decided to move their relationship into a more official status. This was largely an accident brought about by a playful attempt to label what they were and Vanessa deciding Jean-Paul was right, this was closer to a relationship than it was to anything else. The move, on her end, was partly because she felt like it was the next logical step for them. She certainly had growing feelings for Warren, but the depth of them wasn't what she was used to having for someone she was involved with. With her personal life seemingly sorted out, she went on to help track down a possible serial killer when Bishop and X-Factor were hired by the relative of one of the deceased in what was recently revealed to be a string of crimes. Things got quiet again until Vanessa found herself trapped in her friend's nightmare at the start of July. Jean was still in a coma when Vanessa disappeared later that month.
For a while Vanessa had stayed at the mansion and at Jean's side as much as possible, but with no sign of her waking up on her own she had to make the decision to go back to work. Vanessa took a paternity case which she thought was fairly routine. The assumed father refused to supply DNA for a paternity case so Vanessa went into a blood bank where he was known to donate, took on the mimic of an employee and stole a vial of his blood. Unfortunately, the doppleganger act was caught on the security cameras and the men on duty called up the chain. What Vanessa hadn't known was that the blood bank was secretly owned by New Son, the people responsible for the theft of Jake Gavin's arm. They sent in more specialized security who tailed her and put two and two together when the double disappeared into a cafe bathroom and only a blue woman emerged. Vanessa hadn't even known she had a tail. Weeks later in Boston she was working a missing kid case when she was abducted. Tranquilized, she was put onto a plane and brought to New Son's facility eight in Prague. There she would spend three months being a science experiment.
Vanessa was understandably uncooperative when it came to revealing the intricacies of how her mutation worked to the scientists and doctors there. They didn't mind her being uncooperative, though it made things harder for them. Vanessa was drugged and put through electroshock therapy numerous times in an attempt to "stimulate" her shifting. When they finally began to trigger her mutation through her subconscious trying to protect itself against Vanessa's wishes they started to observe the process. They would cut her open to watch what happened to her organs or monitor pulses that came down her spine. They went so far as to remove a section of skin from the side of her abdomen and later another from her left forearm in an attempt to see if she could regrow the skin as part of her shifting. The scientists there went so far as to open her skull to observe the brain's working in this better, to see if it shifted when she took on a mimic as well and to try direct stimulation of various parts of her brain trying to discover where the controlling center of her mutation was. Since they were concluding their research on her they did not take too much care in how they patched up their research specimen.
By the time friends found Vanessa in the facility in October she had multiple incisions down her spine, various incisions along her abdomen and chest along with where her skull was opened up and where she had been skinned. They were all poorly sutured and bandaged. She had a pervasive infection from all of the surgeries, none of which were followed with antibiotics, and was unconscious. The one saving grace was that the various attempts at forcing her to shift had broken Vanessa's hard won conditioning to not passively pick up mimics. Very weak, under nourished, unconscious and near dying from the infection, it took her mutation a lot of work to try to pick up a mimic. Thanks to Bishop's diligent vigil at her bedside it was discovered she was passively picking people up and Laura remained by her side until Jean was sure the metamorph had absorbed the healing factor as well.
After a group of students and Xavier's allies were kidnapped from a rally at the Genoshan embassy in May, X-Force and X-Factor worked together to infiltrate Genosha and gather intel for an invasion. While investigating, Vanessa's powers haywire, shifting her from James (the form she'd been using to poke around) to Daniel, and she was arrested and put in prison, where she was later found by Adrienne and North as they were preparing to return to the states.
In July, she led the investigation to find a kidnapped teenage mutant and her younger brother. She and Bishop eventually tracked the kids to the underground lair of Arthur Molekevic, and contacted the X-Men to help rescue the children. During the ensuing battle, the cavern caved in, trapping Vanessa, Bishop, and the children, and they were saved by the girl - Susan Storm - Phase 1 - when she put a forcefield around them, protecting them from the collapse.
Not long after, Vanessa picked up a job searching for an abducted child. Though she thought it seemed hopeless, she continued to help the parents chase down leads, requiring her to be largely out of the office for many months. She appeared briefly again in October 2013, in trouble with the FBI and needing Garrison Kane top call in a favour with Abigail Brand in order to be able to return legitimately to the United States. She and Lucas Bishop both wound up spending more time on cases than in the office after that, both working on an independent basis and seldom reappearing.
Vanessa's Natural Form
Other Features: Her skin is pale blue.
Appearance subject to change.
Vanessa's "Normalized" Appearance
Eyes: Bright, vivid blue
Other Features: Freckles over her shoulders, chest and lightly over the tops of her cheeks and nose as well as across her forehead.
Vanessa's mutation instinctively reverts her to this appearance whenever she leaves the house or an otherwise "safe" situation while in her natural form.
Vanessa uses her own name but has an alternate form she shifts into when she needs to blend in like a normal person rather than being blue
Weight: 135 lbs
Other Features: None
Eyes: Grey-ish green
Hair: Bright orange-red
Other Features: Heavily freckled on her face, shoulders, arms, chest and across the top of her back. Black roses on her left upper arm and black birds on her right upper arm which appear to be tattoos but are made by a pigmentation concentration and discoloration by Vanessa's mutation.
Other Features: None
Daniel was retired on August 21, 2010 after Jean-Paul had a bad reaction and a false memory crop up of Daniel raping him. Vanessa flushed the lock of hair she used to take on the mimic down the toilet.
Hair: Dark brown
Other Features: Charming smile and a default expression that brings the term "puppy dog" to mind.
Vanessa is a Genetic Metamorph. Her mutant physiology has given her blue skin, white hair, and luminescent red eyes.
What it Does
She is able to duplicate another human/humanoid or near-humanoid so accurately that even a telepath cannot tell the difference between the real thing and Vanessa unless she is subjected to a deep telepathic scan. Her shapeshifting, however, goes down to the genetic level which allows her to also replicate a person's powers/mutation. It is a very sponge-like process, Vanessa must touch a person in order to mimic them immediately thereafter. The longer she is in contact with a person the more accurately she can mimic them, even extending to duplicating the person's psi-patterns as well. She does not need contact with a living or even whole person. Vanessa can duplicate a person even if all she has is a piece (severed limb, hair, etc) though she can never replicate psi-patterns this way and a very small piece like a lock of hair can require longer contact for her to duplicate.
A physical mimic of a person can be done with just brief contact. She needs closer to five minutes of uninterrupted skin-to-skin contact in order to duplicate the person's vocal cords and therefore replicate their voice as well. In order for her to replicate mutations and psi-patterns she needs continuous skin-to-skin contact for ninety minutes or more. The time required to pick up a mimic of a person decreased incrementally each time she does it. Because Vanessa rarely picks up mimics of the same person repeatedly and because she tends to hold off on shifting until she's sure it will be a complete shift she's not aware of this fact.
If psi-patterns are acquired they work in two ways. First, they are a sort of blanket over her mind that duplicates the mental fingerprint of the person she is mimicking so that a telepath cannot tell the difference between her and the original person unless they go searching for memories and knowledge specific to that person. Second, by acquiring psi-patterns she literally begins to think as the mimicked person thinks. She inherits their thought processes and so she rationalizes the way the person rationalizes, interprets information and thinks through things the same way. By the same token she will react to things the same way they do because she is thinking like them. Her own mind is still beneath it and she can switch between the two, but whenever she has to play the part of her mimic, which is most of the time she's in it, she remains firmly fixed in her mimic's mind with her own only as a quiet whisper to keep her on track.
One of the drawbacks of her mutation is that if Vanessa stays in a mimic with a strong enough mind long enough she may begin to believe she is, in fact, that person and forget entirely who she actually is. She will never have their knowledge or their memories but because she thinks like them she can become lost in their identity. If she doesn't drop the mimic soon after this begins to occur she can effectively become trapped in her mimic by her powers. This can also occur if she goes from one mimic to another in quick succession repeatedly without any down time between them. Eventually the identities get confused and while she doesn't get as lost to the others it's harder for her to sift through them.
When mimicking a mutant control over mutation depends on a few factors. Because she has the person's psi-patterns it becomes easier for her to learn control of an ability if it is explained to her by the actual person than it would be for her normally. She's a keenly observant person and this helps with observable manifestations of abilities which she can figure out through the person's thought processes and rationalizing. If Vanessa has a theoretical knowledge of how to manipulate the power, how to use and it what it does then she can figure it out more quickly. She only has rough control, but it can be enough to control many mutations. Fine control is almost unheard of unless it is something like an energy blast which is primarily a matter of point and shoot. Something like telepathy she would have shoddy control of at best unless she trained and had a really good grasp on it in theory.
In order to pick up a new mimic Vanessa must drop any other mimic and revert back to her base form. Once she drops the copy it's gone and she must touch the person again in order to duplicate them again. There is an ability to pull up former mimics to use again without more physical contact, but she is so far unaware of this trait in her mutation. Even with training to control this aspect, however, it will always be considerably easier to pull up people she's had a lot of contact with or who she has mimicked the most. Training would also yield her able to mimic someone physically from just a description (however psi-patterns and mutations will always require prolonged physical contact).
Any contact with her can be used for gathering data for a mimic, however Vanessa has become so accustomed to holding back shifting that it has turned into an unconscious effort. She can passively absorb people through touch but she intentionally keeps the shift blocked so she doesn't start to bleed into every person whose hand she shakes. She doesn't begin to absorb a mimic while she's asleep, but in a heavily medicated state she might.
How it Works
Vanessa's mutation has led to a particular structure in her brain. This structure is the seat of her mutation and the effects are part-psionic, part-physical. When Vanessa takes on a mimic, the psi-part (which she is entirely unconscious of) takes an imprint of the subject, including scars, haircuts etc and also their thought processes and DNA structure. If Vanessa chooses to take on the mimic (again, subconscious on her part but she does get to choose whether she mimics or not), the physical part of her mutation commences. The physical part works through the replication/repair structures in her base DNA: basically it sends out messages that tell her repair structures to start working on her physical form to match the psi-construct that she's just imprinted on. Part of the mutation also vastly increases the speed of this work, particularly in the cells that create her physical aspects ie skin cells, hair follicles etc which allows the initial changes in outwards form. The repair mechanisms in her DNA also start to "correct" her DNA to match the sequence that that she's imprinted on. The psi aspects of her powers latch on to both the non-DNA driven aspects (such as hairstyle, scars) and modulates her cellular structure to match those aspects of her appearance. It also latches on to the thought patterns and creates first the shell and later the real patterns.
She cannot match thought patterns when all she has is a portion of the person - because her psi-powers haven't been able to create that imprint. She also can't replicate scars, haircuts, etc., because she hasn't got that mental picture. The DNA bits would all happen though, allowing her to physically replicate the person from their DNA sequence.
The structure in her brain remains with her throughout the mimic process - it's the only part of her that doesn't alter. It contains both her original DNA sequence and the X-Factor that allows her to trigger the return to her base state. It can't be tested for without dissecting her, because it's the only bit that contains the original DNA and structure and isn't sufficiently different to show up on brain scans etc.
Her mimics are her body "repairing" her to a new state in a very accelerated fashion.
When shifting from a mimic back to her base form with an injury the shifting process itself will partially heal the wound. The healing is minor and may be enough to stop her from bleeding out from an injury but it wouldn't be sufficient to completely heal a bullet wound. If she shifts from her own base form to a mimic, however, the injury remains fully intact both when she shifts into the alternate form and when she shifts back into her base form because the original template holds the damage.
Unbeknownst to her, the structure in Vanessa's brain that is the seat of her mutation retains a sort of record of her mimics. It is what gives her the ability to shift back into an old mimic should she ever discover the ability, but it also retains injuries. Should Vanessa sustain an injury while in a mimic that injury will be present again if she shifts back into it. If the original injury is completely healed the injury when she shifts back will be partially but not entirely healed.
- A Sig Sauer P226 Tactical goes almost everywhere she does since she finally got her license to carry it in NYC. When she goes to the mansion it gets locked in the car, however, unless she's headed to the firing range.
- She carries a SOG SEAL Pup Elite 4.85" combo edge blade on her at all times, usually hung from her belt.
- Because she works for a PI agency she is also licensed to carry while on the job a police-issued taser, police-issue mace and an asp, though she doesn't like asps and doesn't own one.
• Always carries a knife on her and usually has a handgun as well (outside of Xavier's). Since choosing to remain in New York she's gotten appropriately licensed to carry both.
• Sleeps with a stiletto under her pillow.
• Hates switchblades.
• Wakes up at five a.m. every day.
• Does archery to relax and shoots guns to release anger.
• Swims a mile at least three times a week by appropriating the pool at the mansion.
• The prospect of shopping makes her twitch, literally.
• Likes crowds when it benefits her for the job but otherwise prefers only small groups of people at once.
• Owns a 2008 Ducati 848 in pearl white.
• Owns a Barrett M82 thanks to Wade who bought it for her when they were briefly more than friends.
• Speaks Spanish, Swahili and Afrikaans fluently. She also speaks some Romanian and some Irish and can get by in Italian thanks to her Spanish fluency. She can stumble through Russian a bit.
A Betrayal of Heart (X-Factor investigation after the fact)
Vanessa was introduced by Nichole in May 2008 where she stayed at the mansion under the name of Morgan. Following her joining of X-Force - Phase 1, she started going by her real name of Vanessa. Nichole formally left the game (and Vanessa) in December 2014.