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BASIC INFORMATIONCANON OR ORIGINAL:
Vanessa Geraldine CarlysleCODENAME:
Cat, Nessie; has also gone by the pseudonym of Tina Valentine for a while.CURRENT AGE:
Twenty-SixDATE OF BIRTH:
October 29MARITAL STATUS:
Try-sexual – she’ll try anything once…Or twice…BASE OF OPERATIONS:
She owns a little flat that overlooks some random New York City park.TIME AT INSTITUTE:
New Brunswick, New JerseyKNOWN RELATIVES:
Burt Carlysle, father – Deceased; Dorothy Carlysle, motherPHYSICAL APPEARANCEHEIGHT:
5’9” naturally, but her preferred form is that of 5’6”BUILD:
Slim and toned, although she doesn’t show much muscle massEYES:
Pure whiteDISTINGUISHING MARKS:
Well, her natural appearance is pretty distinguishing – she has blue skin, white hair, and glowing red eyes. Of course, she is not often seen in this appearance.CLOTHING STYLE:
Vanessa enjoys testing out a variety of looks, often depending on her mood. Her preferred style is simple, especially if cargo pants are involved. Her closet is filled with natural colors, browns and greens, and she loves long, flowing skirts. Ness does her best to be seen as conservative, disliking the attention that is garnered by dressing in anything too revealing – unless, of course, the attention is her objective at that particular moment.UNIFORM:
Copycat does not have a set uniform, since she rarely requires anything other than regular clothing.POWERSGENERAL DESCRIPTION:
Copycat’s powers have the distinction of being both incredibly powerful and highly disturbing. Described as a ‘genetic metamorph’, Vanessa’s unique abilities give her a range of flexibility in what she can do. On the surface, she is obviously a metamorph – able to change her physical appearance to whatever suits her fancy at that moment. Be it changing her hair from blonde and long to black and short, or shifting her body to become shorter, the range is very wide. This physical shift is the most varied and the most utilized part of her power, as she dislikes being in her natural form.
Of course, beneath the surface, her power is far more in depth and dangerous. While she is capable of changing her appearance at will, her powers also lend themselves to ‘copying’. What she does is not truly ‘shifting’ her appearance, but ‘copying’ someone else’s. She can copy someone’s hair color, or height, or skin tone. More importantly, she can recreate herself by copying a single person, effectively becoming that person. Her powers work on a genetic level – each time she shifts, her genes remodel to fit what she chooses. Should she wish to copy a person’s appearance, she can modify her genes to become that person.
With this genetic manipulation comes the obvious perk – by copying a person’s genetic structure, she is capable of recreating their abilities. If she copies a mutant with super strength, she will effectively gain that genetic mutation of super strength. However, to copy someone’s genetic code so thoroughly, she must have come into physical contact with the person, for a period of at least thirty seconds. After thirty seconds of contact, she is capable of mimicking that person down to a genetic level, so that even blood tests would be fooled, or copying their thought patterns so as to make even a telepath unable to tell without some sleuthing.
One more facet is that, once she has copied a person’s genetic structure, she retains that imprint, making her able to recall a power or appearance at any time – however, the longer she goes without using it, the weaker it becomes.WEAKNESS:
One might think that this ability would outweigh the downsides…But, as with any power, there are extreme downsides. The more intricate her copy is, the less she is herself. If she becomes too much like the person she is copying, her thought patterns will begin to emulate the copied person, until she actually begins to believe that she is them. Even telepaths can have a hard time differentiating between the real one and the copy. If she sinks too far into her ‘copy’, she effectively loses her sense of self, and will forget who ‘Vanessa’ is. More importantly, if confronted with the fact that she is not who she thinks she is, Vanessa will often lash out before withdrawing into herself in an attempt to deny the truth.
While she is able to change her looks based merely on the memory of a person, Vanessa actually does not have control of her genetic imprinting. Touching with instantly put a person’s genetic file within her power’s reach, whether she is choosing to copy them or not. Even being in close quarters can trigger it. And much to her disgust, she often tends to subconsciously change when in close quarters. If she spends too much time near a brunette, her hair will often darken, simply due to her genes slowly changing to match what is near her. She considers herself to be a ‘genetic sponge’, as she has described it, soaking up the abilities and appearances of people near her…Whether she chooses to or not.
Vanessa is limited in more ways that just mental breakdowns – she has to have been in contact with the person she is copying, preferably physical contact, to truly copy them. While seeing them lets her create a physical copy, to copy them genetically, she must have touched them. The longer the contact, the better her copy will be.
Because of the likelihood of forgetting who she is, Copycat tries to limit herself – she must spend at least an hour each day in her natural form, remembering herself. While she is capable of holding a copy infinitely, she begins to copy their brain patterns within a few hours, and if she stays as them for over twenty-four straight hours, she will forget most of what she really is.
There is one exception to this rule – her ‘human’ form. Since learning about her powers, Vanessa has created a human version of herself, appearance wise. This is the appearance she is most often seen in, when not copying someone. She has no time limit, since it is an appearance she created herself, and thus everything else about her is still the same.
She is capable of turning into animals, but prefers not to – last time she did, she spent almost two hours chasing her tail as a dog before someone snapped her out of it.PERSONALITY
Due to the nature of her shifting powers, the true Vanessa Carlysle can be rather hard to pin down. A childhood of hiding behind doors because of her blue skin and white hair has made her into a complex individual. Perhaps the most important thing to know about her is that, in any situation, she gives as good as she gets. If someone is loud and sarcastic and obnoxious, she will comfortably match them – never competitively. When treated rudely, she often will react rudely – encounters with someone quiet will result in a quieter, more contained Nessa. It is not always a conscious decision on her part, to match the moods of those around her, but a response in hopes of fitting in better.
Learning new things has always piqued her interest, and she absorbs information almost as fast as she absorbs traits and appearances from those around her. Vanessa has a secret love of mysteries, especially historically, as her childhood was often spent in daydreams. She isn’t always easy to befriend, as she finds it difficult to trust others, having no faith in other people’s ability to accept who and what she is.
Considering herself as something of a sponge, due to her tendency to absorb people’s traits, Vanessa has a great love of learning. If something catches her interest, she can become almost obsessive in her pursuit of knowledge, tracking down every piece of information there is on a subject. Nessa has a very good memory, if selective – if she likes something, she can remember just about everything about it. If she doesn’t like it, she may not remember as much. One important thing is that she constantly does memory exercises, often using them to remember who she is, so that she never again forgets.
Like anyone, Vanessa has her quirks. An obsession of hers is with red velvet cake – cupcakes, cake, ice cream – if it tastes like red velvet cake, she loves it. Names that begin with ‘V’ are also a favorite of hers. Many of her pseudonyms tend to be V names, such as Valentine, Valerie, or Vivien.HISTORY
Burt and Dorothy Carlysle were your average, lower class family. A whirlwind love affair culminated in marriage a mere three months after they first met. The rundown apartment in New Brunswick, New Jersey, was all they could afford, and the first two children they tried to have both died in miscarriages. Worried, but still determined, they tried again, two years after their marriage. This time, the baby was healthy, carried to term, and delivered without a hitch.
And they loved her for the first five minutes of her life, even. Originally, she was thought to have been dead, for the baby was not the typical raw red of a newborn, but instead a blue color, as if deprived of oxygen. Panicked, the doctors frantically tried to revive her…Until they realized that she was breathing just fine. Cleaning the blood from the infant revealed the shocking discovery that she was, in fact, perfectly healthy…And completely blue. All of her skin was a pale, icy blue color, looking quite vibrant with the thatch of pure white hair crowning the baby’s head. The new parents were even more shocked when the infant opened her lids to reveal luminescent red eyes.
At first believing it to be a prank, Dorothy accepted the truth first, allowing the baby to snuggle up to her chest and nurse, despite the odd appearance. Burt took it a bit harder, spending the next few days staring intently at the child, as if willing the blue skin to fade into peach. With doctors baffled and the infant in perfect health, the new family was sent home.
Naming her Vanessa Geraldine Carlysle, the parents did their best to give her a normal childhood. Dorothy accepted the girl easier, doing her best to ignore the pain she felt every time someone flinched away from her daughter, to smile away her daughter’s confusion about why she was different. Burt…Didn’t take it so well. He fell to drinking, and while he tried to convince his wife that he loved Vanessa, in his heart, he wasn’t sure.
Having been tormented into leaving elementary school, Vanessa was home schooled for years, until her abilities emerged at the age of eleven. Perhaps it was her desire to please her father, or her desire to appear normal, but after a night of illness, her mother at her bedside, Vanessa woke up to a scream – her mother’s. Panicking, thinking something was wrong, the young girl leapt out of bed…And promptly froze in front of a mirror.
Like something out of a fairy tale, she stared, hand lifting to touch her cheek, which was a pale flesh tone, like her mother’s…To touch her hair, which was dark brown instead of white…To stare at her eyes, that were blue instead of red.
Her parents were thrilled, of course, but Vanessa was more cautious. She began trying to figure out what she had done – and a few nights later, managed to shift her appearance on purpose. A simple hair color change, but with that, it was as if a door was opened in her life. Suddenly, she didn’t have to hide at home. She could go to school, could go to the mall, could make friends. That perfectly normal life she had dreamed about would finally be hers.
And for a few years, it was. She took dance classes, enrolled in public school, had friends she hung out with and a boy she liked – just like a normal girl. Other than the occasional practice shift, and a few accidental changes, she didn’t bother with her powers. Turns out, that was a mistake.
Nearing the end of the school year, a new part to her powers suddenly kicked in, jump-started when one of the guys in the school bumped into her. Turns out, he was a mutant, one with a very explosive power. Her powers went into overdrive, genes mutating until she stood in the hall as an exact copy of him. Terrified, she ran, and a slip caused the girl-turned-boy to fall, resulting in the emission of the powers she had inadvertently copied. The explosion was big enough to take down the school within fifty feet of her, injuring quite a few, and killing two students.
At fifteen, she ran – somehow regaining her natural form along the way, and leaving her parents behind. Panicking upon realizing that she was blue again, Vanessa copied the first person she saw – a teenager around her own age. Using that shape, she escaped to Boston. Out of her depth and broke, she was taken in by a prostitute, who recognized the young girl as scared and alone.
It took weeks before Vanessa explained herself to the woman, and mere days for them to come to an understanding. Vanessa began practicing with her powers. She copied her benefactor, people on tv, people on the streets, until she was able to mesh bits and pieces into a form she could call “Vanessa”. She was seventeen by the time she considered her powers ‘mastered’, and once she was confident in her control, she joined her benefactor on the streets.
Turns out, as a prostitute, she had a knack for picking up rich targets. And she had an even better knack for stealing from them. She kept her shape shifting a secret from everyone but her roommate, until the older woman was killed in a car accident.
At the age of eighteen, she met a true twist of fate. His name was Wade Wilson, a mercenary with a flair for sarcasm. He was older than her, with a sharp tongue and a knack for pissing people off. They hooked up, and it wasn’t long until she moved in with him, slowly realizing that she loved him. He took care of her, and she started looking for a real job, beginning to allow herself the dream of a normal – well, sort of – life with him. She only kept one secret from him – her mutation. Even more terrified at the thought that he might reject her, she fought to keep it from him.
Turns out normality is overrated. Wade had taken a job, and it wasn’t until a few weeks later, when she found herself held at gunpoint within their apartment, that she discovered he hadn’t completed it. Fortunately for her, she wasn’t quite as helpless as she seemed, using her powers to escape her bonds just before the house was decimated by explosives. Escaping relatively unhurt, Wade found her, and managed to dash all her hopes of a new life by breaking up with her.
Worse, he gave a myriad of excuses, telling her to take her pick, before leaving her right there. He didn’t explain about his cancer, just piled the bullshit excuses onto her with seeming disregard as to her feelings. Shock gave way into fury, which quickly switched to determination.
Tracking down a high end arms dealer who trained mercenaries, she offered herself into service, soon proving to be highly adept at espionage. At the age of twenty-three, after a few years of training, she was given her first assignment. She captured the secretary of a government official, copying the young woman completely, until Vanessa became a perfect match for her. Living out the next three weeks as the secretary, she was supposed to get close enough to the official to kill him.
Within a week of the transformation, she had forgotten her mission, going about daily life as if she had no idea that she had once been Vanessa Carlysle. And it wasn’t until another mercenary was forced to come after her, jarring her memory, that an intense fight welled up inside the woman who thought she was ‘Christina’. Trying desperately to figure out why these new images were cropping up, she fled, body melting back into her natural, blue skinned body. With it came the knowledge that she had truly lost her way…And the fear of it happening again. She spent a full twenty four hours locked inside a closet of her apartment, sorting through the memories of the past few weeks.
Vanessa began a regime of memory recall – each day, she spent at least one hour in her true form, meditating, remembering facts about her life, grounding herself in the belief that she was ‘Vanessa’ and no one else.DURING APOCALYPSE:
Having taken the guise of a normal citizen, Vanessa was as unaware of the growing threat as the rest of the population. Sure, rumors were one thing, but she had never bothered to take them seriously. She was trying her best to live as normally as possible, all but oblivious to the struggle of X-Men. And like the rest of the city, she was shocked and terrified by the sudden attack by a being calling itself ‘War’. With the instincts of a woman who constantly feared prosecution for what she was, Vanessa did the cowardly thing – she fled. Hell, self-preservation was her goal, and moving through the city like a shadow sent chills down her spine, as she saw the destruction.
Fortunately escaping the mass hysteria, Vanessa effectively disappeared from public view, not that anyone really knew her well enough to know she was gone. Although never leaving the East Coast, she kept on the move as best she could, doing her best to stay out of the mainstream cities. Under aliases, she helped wounded, helped relocate some of those who needed it. With a false identity in place, she settled as best she could outside New York City, helping in a makeshift camp, where those whose houses had been destroyed were staying.
When the EMP took out the electric, Nessie managed to keep her calm – having been used to using little electricity, she helped the people in the camp make do with what they had. When it was finally over, she fled from the camp almost as quickly as she had come, escaping from the people who kept trying to befriend her. The young espionage agent relocated back into New York City, using her contacts to find out the truth about all that had happened.SAMPLE RP POST:An alley in Washington, DC – 11PM
The mission was supposed to be a simple one – how had it turned out like this? A close touch with the secretary had registered her genetics with ‘Cat, her body shifting to become the buxom blonde woman. The memories filtered in next, and within seconds, Vanessa was standing in the same fashion as Christina always did, hip cocked, the pencil skirt outlining her curves. The voice change was next, becoming identical to the breathy whisper of the blonde, and the eye scan confirmed her new identity. After stretched a few times to get used to the new form, the newly created “Christina” walked home.
The next morning, preparing for the job was a cinch, as Copycat did the routine followed each day by the real Christina. She bought the same kind of latte on her way in, even greeting the doorman the same. No one was any wiser; no one knew that this was not Christina, but a chameleon. And for a total of twenty four hours, the mission was a success – Cat was trusted by the government official, and ready to fulfill her job.
So how had she ended up here, in this dirty alley, clutching at white locks of hair, her skin as blue as if she were frozen?
Simple – she was not Christina. She wasn’t blonde, or buxom, or a secretary, no matter what those memories said. Huddled against a wall, Vanessa wrapped blue arms around her knees, luminescent red eyes hidden as the memories of her true past flashed. A shifter, a chameleon, hiding in plain sight…She had kidnapped the real Christina for a job, taken her place. Why had she forgotten? Was living as that foolish secretary truly so much better than who she was, that she would forget who ‘Vanessa Carlysle’ was?
Teeth ground together almost painfully as the shifter tried to reconcile with the fact that she was not human, not who she had thought she was for the past week. Vanessa Carlysle…Who was that? Was that the blue skinned body, the white hair, this feeling of inadequacy? Was she the memory of being abandoned by someone she loved?
No. Vanessa Carlysle was the shadow of this azure skinned femme, raised by parents who never understood. The clutching hands released from her mane of white hair, and red eyes opened to stare at the ice blue skin, slowly willing it to change. The job had been ruined because she couldn’t control herself. Her resolve wavered as she stood up, feeling her skin ripple as her mask came on, the façade of Vanessa’s human form back in place.
As she stepped from the alley, the black car pulled up to the curb, tinted windows hiding the interior. A deep breath fortified her for the tongue lashing to come, eyes flashing blood red for a second, before she opened the car and slipped inside. Hidden within her was the new doubt, the new fear of losing who she was – and the determination to not let it interfere with her job.