Name: Valence Bond
Appearance: Valence has a creamy white coat, which tends to gleam. Her eyes are a deep royal purple, though she needs glasses to see clearly (and in her line of work, seeing clearly is absolutely mandatory). Her mane is a bright pink, with a slightly darker pink tone running through it in streaks. she usually wears it up, so as to be out of her face as she is working in the lab.
Personality: Valence is, for lack of a better term, eccentric. she is definitely intelligent, but she doesn't really understand how to interact with other ponies- not that it stops her from trying. She likes other ponies, but she just doesn't really get how to talk to them. She tends to be quiet and reserved most of the time, though when she gets talking about something she actually knows about, she won't shut up.
The onset of hostilities has motivated her employers, Banei and Banker Research & Development, to look into weapons and armor development. Valence has personally worked on several prototype weapons projects, and has been hard at work designing a wearable armor mesh for pegasi, one that is more resistant to the weaponry used by the Alliance. She also has a few side projects as well, usually when somepony outside the firm is willing to fund her research directly. Her biggest customer for these sorts of arrangements is Steel Stride, whom she thinks is an acquisitions agent for the Peacekeepers.
Special Talent: Valence is an extremely gifted chemist, and her magic is particularly useful in this regard. Specifically, she can magically alter the number of electrons of an object, provided the object isn't (A) a radioactive isotope or noble gas; and (B) Isn't alive, since living things are constantly changing chemically in very small ways. In effect, she can only affect the valence electrons of naturally-occurring elements, which can readily react, are not subject to radioactive decay, or currently in the process of chemically changing. Further, her magic can only affect fairly small samples (usually around half a kilogram or so- less so for heavier elements, more so for lighter ones). This magical ability serves to give her the capability of creating a wide variety of compounds and useful materials by forcing materials to chemically bond without the need for complex processes and highly specialized equipment, though only in small amounts- and the more drastic the alteration, the more time it takes and the more physically exhausting the process is.
Bio: Valence has always been a highly curious pony, and from the time she was a foal, she has tried to understand how things work. Mechanical things, however, tend to irreparably break when she gets her hooves on them, and social graces have always seemed insurmountably complicated to her. However, in science, she found something she could take apart AND put back together, and she dove wholeheartedly into the study of chemistry and biology. One fateful day, her class was dissecting frogs, and Valence found that she lacked the heart to go through with it, even though the frogs were already dead. Biology, she determined, was something she could not continue studying, as the implications of making a mistake were more than she felt she could live with. chemistry became her passion- but, as usual, her tendency to accidentally break things led, more than once, to her accidentally destroying some pricey piece of equipment. Her parents tried their best to be supportive, but it's difficult when your daughter ruins a twenty-thousand-bit mass spectrometer. Devastated, Valence decided to just study textbooks, and leave the experimentation to others- but it seemed unfair that she needed big, expensive machines, beakers, burners, and lots of other things just to rearrange electrons.
As she was levitating a glass of water to have a drink, the reflection of a light bulb shone through the glass. Valence marveled that water could extinguish flames, but its components were highly flammable- and if she could just run a current through it, the water would be flammable (and oddly, once ignited, would revert to water vapor). She was so busy pondering how to change the chemical bond between the hydrogen and oxygen in the water, that her magic- unbeknownst to her- did just that, causing the glass to pop in a bluish flash... and her cutie mark to appear. It was an atomic nucleus, with eight tiny electrons orbiting it- an Oxygen atom.
Valence continued to study chemistry, earning a Bachelor's from Atlainta State, and a Masters from Mane U, with a few correspondence courses from Canterlot U as well. She began working for Abtenauer Medical, a pharmaceutical company, right after getting her Masters. Her first big success came with an antidepressant medication, selenium anorthoclase laureth tablets. She nicknamed the project "SALT", and forwarded it on to the Biology department for animal trials. It proved to be wildly effective, and was railroaded through the approvals process and out on the market in less than a year.
It was one of the most effective treatments for a variety of psychiatric conditions- but there were unintended side effects. Ponies could achieve a euphoric state by grinding the tablets into a powder, mixing it with common table salt, and licking or otherwise ingesting it. The effect was extremely potent, but short-lasting. Ponies who resorted to abusing it that way quickly became addicts.
Valence only found out much later that her original design for the medication had been rushed through testing when she heard about the wave of "sALt" addictions on the news. She was both devastated and furious, and immediately resigned her position at Abtenauer- good thing too, as a wave of lawsuits pushed the company to bankruptcy. Valence started working with Banei & Banker soon after, and although she has often been offered a promotion, she prefers to keep working in the lab. She has been with Banei & Banker for about three years, and was in the midst of working on a military weapons contract when she met somepony rather... unusual. One Detective Noir, a stallion with a prosthetic leg, an incredibly dextrous tail, and a fascinating firearm, who happened to be from an entirely different dimension.
Determined to help her new friend in any way she can, Val formulates a plan to get the pair of them into the Grand Galloping Gala in Canterlot. She takes an extended vacation from the research lab, packs all of her finest clothes, and sets out aboard a pirate's airship to see this plan through to the end, even if it means her heart will break at its conclusion.
Despite her best efforts, the plan for the Gala was a total failure. With no funding for the portal machine nor equipment or lab space in which to build it, Valence has been forced to shelve it, for the moment. However, her talk of the portal machine piqued the interest of one Twilight Sparkle, who hoof-picked Val to take part in a major undertaking for the war effort. Val gladly joined up, both to help win the war and to earn funds, and access to lab space and equipment, for the portal device.
Connections to Others
Family: Her mother and father still live in Atlainta- her father, Star Driver, works as a locomotive repairpony, though he is about four years away from retiring. Her mother, Star Lily, works as a florist in her spare time, as she had retired early from a teaching post at Sillyfilly elementary. She has no siblings. Recently, she encountered a Diamond Dog pup named Onyx, whom she sees as a son and who sees her as his mother. Unbeknownst to her, after a romantic interlude with Noir two months ago she became pregnant- she has attributed symptoms of the pregnancy with stress for the time being.
Love Interest: Ever since meeting Detective Noir outside her laboratory, Valence has been smitten. After much introspection, Valence has determined that she is, in fact, in love with Noir- and though she would never admit it, this has colored her capacity for objectivity. She'd do anything to help him, and has put a great deal of effort into reconstructing a portal machine that can send him home.
Friends: She considers Dr. Honey Heart to be her best friend, and sees Gentle Melody as a close friend, too. She also recently attempted to bury the hatchet with Smoking Gun, and she considers Dr. Gem Shard to be her magical mentor.
Allies: Captain Keelhaul, for all his failings, is somepony Val has come to trust. Detective Noir and Smoking Gun are about the closest she has been to anypony aside from her parents, and Dr. Gem Shard is like a second father to her. Finally, Steel Stride has proven himself to be a good pony to know in the past, and though their relationship is strictly professional, Val considers him a trustworthy pony.
Enemies: Valence doesn't have anypony she really sees as an enemy.
Potential Enemies: The Alliance's encroachments into Equestrian territory has everypony on edge, including Val.