Vanessa was kidnapped by a rogue Resistance team in order to force her father Samuel (who works as a Metrocop) to give up secret information about the Combine, in which the Rogue team hoped to use to sell on or advance their own personal goals. But Samuel tracks them down to a warehouse near the canals and wipes them out, eventually rescuing Vanessa.
After the downfall of the Combine Vanessa began living with her mother Karen as Samuel left for City 18 to work in an undercover operation. Samuel faked his death in order to protect Vanessa. But he ended up dying for real when coming into conflict with a serial killer named Chicken Man, leaving Vanessa with her father forever.
In 2011 Vanessa was kidnapped alongside Hannah Robertson to be used as slaves as part of a plan to found the New Combine. Toby the Dinosaur and Rabbit Poacher II carried out the scheme, although the latter turned out to be undercover in order to dig dirt on the operation and its meaning. Toby was arrested, with Vanessa and Hannah released. Vanessa left City 17 with her older brother Michael Pade.
Vanessa wanted to follow in the footsteps of her father and to become a detective. Instead she settled for becoming a private investigator.
- The character uses a modified version of the child worker model from the Half-Life 2 Beta to look like a younger Alyx Vance. Credits go to Fat-Corgi-Guy from Facepunch for the skin.
- The character was originally going to have the surname Robertson, but this was changed to avoid confusion that she was related in someway to John Robertson, Hannah Robertson and Samantha Robertson.