It was three words that left their mark on Valerian shortly after he met his father, Arcturus, for the first time. In the seven years since his birth, Valerian had lived a sheltered, idyllic life on Umoja with his mother, Juliana Pasteur. Arcturus – who had only recently learned of his son’s existence – disapproved of everything about Valerian, from the books he read to his lack of physical ability. In private, Arcturus told Juliana that she was raising a “bookish, effeminate weakling.” When the hurtful words were later repeated to Valerian, he vowed to do whatever it took so that no one – including his father – would think of him that way again.
In the years that followed, Valerian devoted himself to physical conditioning, weapons training, and academics, albeit without his father at his side. Arcturus was off fostering his rebellion against the Confederacy and had little time to see his son in person. Valerian and his mother lived on the run, moving from one hiding place to the next to escape Confederate assassins. Much of what Valerian learned about Arcturus’s actions during this period came from Universal News Network broadcasts. These reports were peppered with Confederate propaganda, but Valerian knew not to take what he heard at face value.
As his twenty-first birthday approached, Valerian’s life and the world around him changed: Juliana had passed away from cancer; the Confederacy had been defeated; and Arcturus had become emperor of the Terran Dominion. After Juliana’s funeral, Arcturus expressed pride in the courageous and intelligent man whom his son had become. The time for Valerian to join his father in the Dominion had arrived.
Much has changed since Valerian assumed his role as Heir Apparent to the Dominion, but he still holds on to one of his childhood passions: archaeology. As a youth he spent hours each day digging through the dirt, searching for alien relics that were never there. Now Valerian uses the Dominion’s vast resources to scour the Koprulu sector for real artifacts – mainly those belonging to the mysterious xel’naga civilization.
Arcturus doesn’t share Valerian’s obsession with archaeology, and in some ways, the relationship between the two men remains strained. Valerian respects Arcturus, but he doesn’t always agree with his tactics, nor does he view his father’s enemies – such as freedom fighter Jim Raynor – as his own. Although Valerian shares his father’s ruthlessness and unwavering desire to succeed, he also embodies the goodness and compassion of his late mother. Only time will tell if he will retain his individuality and distinct set of values or become trapped in the long shadow of his father.