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"Brother, we're Chthonians. We eat bowls of dangerous for breakfast and have the audacity to ask for more."

~ to Tesey. (*)

Introduction

Atalanta, better known by her nickname 'the Infallible Shot', is a Chthonian hypersoldier and one of the Final Thirteen. Named for the Ancient Greek heroine of the same name, she is known for having never failed to land a single shot with her DGP long-range Gauss repeater, hence her nickname. She is also notable for being one of the two children of feared Mecharussian hitman Vyacheslav Drago, who - along with fellow hypersoldier Elena Trotskaya - helped to train her in the way of the stealth-assassin.

Background

The young Erika Drago grew up in Nizhneyansk as the youngest child in her family. She was shown from a young age to use a weapon and defend herself, and showed a particular affinity for marksmanship. Erika was reportedly able to shoot a fly off of a wendigo's backside, even as a child.

However, her training would come to nothing: during the Salvagings, she would come face to face with the nefarious assassin Odradek. Though she was able to land many shots into him from her Ivankov carbine, the regenerator almost immediately recovered from each wound and eventually overpowered her. She was taken to the vicious warlord Hammerhead - Odradek allowed her to do whatever she wanted to the young Erika as long as she kept her alive, the purpose of the kidnap being to lure Elena Trotskaya into a trap per Pandemonium's orders. Hammerhead used Erika for her own sexual gratification, repeatedly violating her with a gold-plated strap-on; the mental trauma that this brought to her is directly responsible for her unique inclination toward gold, and also her juvenile behaviour.

After Trotskaya defeated and killed Hammerhead, Erika was freed from her sex-slavery; she decided to stay with the Red Tigress, eventually joining the Chthonian brotherhood (being one of its just three volunteers, the others being Persey and Ajax). As the newly-christened 'Atalanta', she would fight in the northern European front during the Second Russo-European War alongside such figures as Rostislav Nemerov and Grigor Grankin - her gold-fetish would lead to a sexual encounter with the latter beneath Warsaw. Additionally, she was among the cadre sent by Trotskaya to track down whatever was hunting and killing Chthonians in Japan during the Hokkaido Campaign and eliminate the threat. Though she never managed to complete that objective, she did rescue Tesey from the wrath of what turned out to be Colonel Fred Harrigan. Atalanta also threw fellow-Chthonian Aristey out of the stealth boat that she and Tesey used to escape the quagmire in Japan for his betrayal of Orfey.

Since the end of the war, Atalanta has haunted the Grand Canyon in Arizona, practicing her marksmanship and survival skills by tracking down and sniping Rangers in the desert. She is known amongst the Rangers, who are unaware that they are being hunted by the Infallible Shot herself, as 'The Arizona Scalper', a nickname that comes from her habit of taking down her foes by shooting off the entire top halves of their heads.

Personality

"You know, with your hands this close to my tits, I might just get the wrong idea..."
"W-what? Never! You're letting those painkillers get to your head!"
"Heh. Sure I am."

~ to Tesey. (*)

Atalanta is very sociable and somewhat naïve, traits normally associated with those ten years her junior. As a result of that, she is almost childishly-outgoing and confident, but stops just short of arrogance. Another notable, especially troublesome trait of hers is a paraphilia for gold - merely laying eyes on it will make her mildly aroused and touching large quantities of it will cause her to go almost mad with lust. She regularly seeks help from Trotskaya to help control her desires, and is able to keep a hold of herself - at least when she is sober. Her extremely unique inclination has gotten her into trouble on more than one occasion, such as when she attempts to seduce Sidh Archistrategos Arcadius Drax. She does, however, manage to woo Alain on the same night and even tries to protect him, but grows a great dislike towards him after the events of the Sixteen July conspiracy that gives way to a bitter, burning hatred when he returns to steal Trotskaya's two children.

After the Flight of the Polunochnaya, Atalanta becomes somewhat harsher, and particularly so toward aliens. As a result of what she experienced during the expedition, she becomes one of the fiercest opponents to rapprochement with the Imperium, and one of the most fervent advocates of a countermeasure to the threat that they pose. She does not, however, believe that the World Eater is the answer (bringing her into conflict with Yulia). Her suggestion is instead that the Special Purpose Guard Brigade's Okhotnik Group, formed at the apex of World War IV to terminate the Turner Cabal, be used as the basis for a commando battalion to conduct offensive missions into the Imperium, eliminating prominent figures and destroying assets considered a threat to Mecharussian interests.

In battle, Atalanta is a persistent, extremely mobile huntress, a master gymnast and bearing exceptionally-lightweight cybernetics and grapple-hooks that allow her to move with phenomenal speed while retaining considerable strength capabilities that carry her well above those of a baseline human. Combined with her experimental targeting optics that grant her exceptional accuracy, she is an extremely deadly enemy in battle, even her location being almost impossible to pin down. She shares the same callous disrespect for the sanctity of life that fellow Chthonian Drakolich does - to her, enemy soldiers are only good for target practice. She does, however, express an intense dislike for killing innocent civilians, if only because it is unsporting.

Atalanta has expressed a particular ambition to be the one to take down Colonel Fred Harrigan, and even has a taxidermist's stand prepared in her Sunikagrad home awaiting his preserved corpse to keep as a trophy.

Appearances

  • Atalanta is the narrator in the flash-fiction piece The Infallible Shot.
  • She also appears in A Blood Debt as a deuteragonist, and again in Flight of the Polunochnaya.
  • She shares a protagonist role with the other 'Argonauts' (Dzheyson, Tesey, Bellerofont and Kheraklz) in The Fourteenth Chthonian.

Trivia

  • Atalanta's gold-fetish is a direct reference to the Greek myth from which she is based. In the myth, Atalanta promises to marry any man who can beat her in a footrace. None of them succeed, except for Hippomenes, who distracts her using three irresistible golden apples from the goddess Aphrodite.
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