Valak was born on the Abraxas Nine colony, a remote world on the edges of Romulan space. His father was a hunter who instilled within Valak a teaching of the old ways which themselves were descended from their Vulcan cousins. This would teach the young Valak a valuable lesson; one that required a respect for one's prey mainly because he realized that even an animal was capable of killing a foolhardy overconfident Romulan.
He would enter the Romulan military where his talents for strategy would earn him a quick rise through the ranks. He would also develop a fascination with Humans and would study this "prey" in great detail; something of a peculiarity among his comrades. As part of his studies, he would submit several papers to the Romulan Academy on the subject.
It was this reason that brought Valak to the attention of Praetor Darok who assigned Valak and his crew to the IRW Syrinx; the prototype of the new D'Kazanak-class warbirds. Lord Darok gave Valak a mission to examine the planetoid Hermeticus II, a world located within the Romulan Neutral Zone which was believed to have been a secret Federation base.
Valak would be dispatched on his ship under the supervision of Lord Kazanak, the son of a high ranking Romulan High Council member as well as the designer of the new warbird type. Commander Valak would hatch a brilliant plan where he sent his ship into the Neutral Zone where he cut power and utilized an experimental drug that made the crew appear as they were dead. The IRW Syrinx then dispatched a distress call which was received by the USS Enterprise-D, captained by Jean-Luc Picard.
Once the Starfleet vessel arrived and its crew boarded the prototype warbird was the trap sprung. Valak managed to capture Picard himself as well as transport contingents of Romulan troops that seized control of the Galaxy-class starship. Commander Valak would attempt to "hack" the Enterprise's computer database using Starfleet Command codes that were stolen from Starfleet Headquarters in order to access the information on Hermeticus 2. His attempt at gaining the information from the Enterprise computers failed due to Valak's overconfidence as Captain Picard used a computer voice control override that erased the data. Despite this setback, Valak was in complete control of the situation and moved some the USS Enterprise crew into the IRW Syrinx. He also made the threat of execution of the hostages for any acts of dissension.
Due to this, Valak took USS Enterprise, under Romulan command by first officer Korak, and the IRW Syrinx, under cloak to Hermeticus 2 to discover what was present on the planet that warranted a secret quarantine on the world. Instead of finding a secret base, he found the USS Independence and examined the ship. He would discover that Hermeticus 2 was a large interstellar ark which was internally hollow. He would dispatch an away team using Starfleet hostages to test whether any diseases or automated systems were present on the planetoid. After losing contact with his away team, Valak ordered a larger contingent of Romulan troops with himself and Captain Picard to uncover the secrets of the starship ark. He left Lord Kazanak in command of the IRW Syrinx with orders to bombard the planet if he did not return.
Problems struck at this point as communications were lost with the Syrinx. Romulan soldiers from the away team gradually disappeared on the planetoid with more away teams being sent by a secret transmission that masked itself as Valak. Commander Valak slowly lost control of the situation in front of Captain Picard as well as his own officers. This was finally highlighted when he asked Picard for help and during a firefight against something distracting his forces, Valak was taken by surprise by Picard. It was then that the inhabitants of Hermeticus 2 were revealed; Human descendants of the USS Independence and the original inhabits as well: the Ambimorphs.
Valak was rendered unconscious and his forces were rendered harmless. The Romulan commander found out that the Ambimorphs intended to destroy the Syrinx and leave the Romulan forces stranded on Hermeticus 2, where the Ambimorphs would study them in order for peaceful contact to be eventually established with the Star Empire in the future. Valak accepted that he lost to Picard and prepared himself for a new life on Hermeticus 2 as it departed the Neutral Zone towards the Ambimorph homeworld, which was located far away.
Valak was a brilliant strategist who considered himself both a warrior as well as a scholar and spent a lot of time studying his enemies, understanding as well as respecting them in order to defeat them. Despite this though, he was immensely brutal when dealing with such enemies and would not hesitate in resorting to more ruthless tactics such as executing hostages as well as children.
He developed a fascination with Humans and studied them in great detail, particularly those within Starfleet. Valak was known to read Human quotes from Mark Twain as well as Arthur C. Clarke, whom he quoted to Captain Picard. This made him unusual for a Romulan who tended to consider themselves superior to their enemies and thus they did not consider the Federation a threat. This stemmed from the fact that he believed that the Federation were a threat to the Empire.
Even though he possessed these traits, Valak did possess several key weaknesses. The first was his relative youth which meant that he lacked the necessary experience compared to others. In addition to this, most of his knowledge on his enemies was theoretical with little practical experience. As such, when Valak encountered a situation he was not prepared for, his confidence as well as discipline collapsed.
A final problem that Valak suffered from, when encountering Captain Picard, was that he yearned for some respect from his enemy which made his ego a source of weakness.
Valak was known to see all battles as a game to win and the more serious the game the more challenge it was to him. He used the analogy of chess to describe his actions when he spoke to Captain Picard.
He was known to have political aspirations as he believed that his capture of the USS Enterprise would ascend him to a member of the Romulan High Council. He intended to keep the Enterprise crew as slaves who would be distributed throughout the Star Empire. He believed that the Star Empire would eventually triumph over the Federation, but felt that even though they were inferior they would pose a threat to the Romulan people. (TNG novel: The Romulan Prize)
|IRW Syrinx personnel|
|Valak • Zorak • Korak • Talar|