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"Apologies. I'm not from around here, as by now should be obvious! Would any of you care to fill me in on what's going on?"

~ Marilova introduces herself to Riva Geller and Nathan Epstein.

Introduction

Zinoviya Marilova is a former Mecharussian Space Marine captain, attached to the Third Aerofleet. She is most notable for being one of the three remaining survivors of the Lenin Affair (the others being Visarion Tokarev and Vsevolod Berdan), an unwitting martyr of the Popular Front through Varfolomei Kaffarov's Remember Zina Movement and the equally-oblivious foundation of Project Echidna – which would go on to produce the Novaya Chthonians. Ever the optimist in her heyday, she was always the one to follow protocol even in the midst of extreme danger, and many soldiers in her regiment looked up to her as a paragon of stalwart resilience.

Background

One of the main characters of the Alternative Canon, Marilova's life takes a stranger and altogether darker turn during the Lenin Affair: she was captured on Scatach Prime by troops of the Imperium of Sidhae and savagely tortured by then-Judicatrix Serena Romana and her disciples Halko and Olhon. The purpose of this was to use her as a testbed for the Imperial Avatar Project, Serena implanting the personality of long-deceased lover Zenobia Marylove into her. The experience left her a broken, withdrawn wreck, and Spetsnaz commander Colonel Victor Golovkin conspired with Cybermancer Dima Ratnik to hide her from the authorities – who Golovkin believed wanted to terminate her as a potential spy, an act he viewed as unjust.

Golovkin would look after Marilova for the six months that followed the Lenin Affair, during which time he had to hide her from her father – General Anton Marilov – and the Secretariat of Internal Security. Unfortunately, his efforts eventually came to nothing, as both found out shortly before the Sixteen July conspiracy, and Marilov nearly ordered the Nevskiy Prospekt Hotel in Sunikagrad, where Serena and the rest of an Imperial delegation were staying, to be destroyed before being stopped by the Supreme Leader. Indeed, Marilova briefly grew to loathe Golovkin and even attempted to kill him with a stolen Mi-64 Shershen gunship, but the two made peace with each other, and Marylove with Serena.

Golovkin was also able to persuade General Elena Trotskaya, the overarching authority over the intelligence services, to commute what would have been a death sentence for the Marilovs to dishonourable discharge and a free ticket to leave the Home Dimension should they desire to do so. Trotskaya allowed Marilova and her father to surreptitiously leave aboard an 11F50 Pegas prototype interdimensional shuttle. The teleportation drive from the 'stolen' Pegas would later be harvested and fitted aboard her future personal starship, the Spokoystviye.

In the Late Altcanon, Marilova has become the dominant persona and largely reverts back to her good-natured, pre-torture state, with Marylove becoming dormant. She does, however, retain an attitude of having no gods and no masters over the long period of time that she spends alone with her father until his death in 2164 and beyond. By this stage an experienced interdimensional gun-for-hire, with plenty of missions for both the Imperium and the Mechanocracy under her belt, she has made a considerable fortune through using her expertise as a military officer to her own great advantage, more than able to get out of a difficult situation through blade, firearm or even simply talking her opponent down.

In 2166, Marilova had a less-than-friendly encounter with the Skargh Zun'lok on a distant desert planet. The two engaged in combat for almost twelve hours straight, taking pot-shots at each other with little luck. Even when they forwent their sniper rifles and fought each other hand-to-hand, both fighters were so equally-matched that neither could get the advantage on the other. Eventually, they called a truce for the night and joined each other for rest.

After getting to know each other – Zun'lok having escaped from a slave ship and killed the mercenaries sent to recover him – Marilova took pity on the Skargh and invited him to join her on her journeys, an offer he accepted for lack of anywhere else to go. Though it took a while for them to warm up to each other, she disgusted by his anthropophagic eating habits and he utterly baffled by the Mechanocratic Ideology, her lack of appetite and abnormally-high libido (the latter two caused by a mild hysteriat addiction, a relic from her tortured past), they eventually got used to the other's quirks and have since become friends for life.

Personality

Marilova (older)

Marilova, as of 2172.

Marilova was always known throughout the Third Aerofleet for her optimism and willingness to abide by military code, even in the worst possible scenario. She also gained a reputation for being something of a wisecrack, always having something to say to lighten the mood in a tense situation. As a result, she was well-liked by both her subordinates and her superiors: Generals Pyotr Shuvalov and later Arseniy Duskin in particular expressed admiration for the stoical Marilova. After her disappearance and the revelations surrounding her torture-rape came to light, those same soldiers would go on to form the core of Kaffarov's support in the Remember Zina Movement, and later of Trotskaya's during the Six-Day Purge.

Marilova is known for having an interest in warships, being delighted to have been able to board the MSS Kliment Voroshilov supercarrier. It was this interest that led her to join the Aerofleet rather than the Red Army in her father's footsteps, and also to join the fateful interdimensional expedition aboard the Vladimir Lenin. She is also a surprisingly-competent pilot, having practiced extensively in VR training simulators intended for marine fighter pilots.

Zenobia Marylove

Zenobia Marylove is Marilova's implanted Sidh alter-ego and the identity by which she is known in the Imperium. Zenobia was originally a Judicatorial disciple, serving under Judicator Visari alongside Serena Romana, with whom she would develop a romantic relationship. She was killed under unspecified circumstances shortly after volunteering for the Avatar Project, which enabled to save her personality on a quantum chip. 20 years later, Serena would attempt to use a captive Marilova as a host to revive her deceased lover (and create an effective sleeper agent in doing so). Implanting a new personality, however, required the host's original self to be broken down first, which in practice amounted to extended torture, sexual abuse and humiliation.

Despite the implantation being a success, the results were far from stable, Marilova's original personality struggling to reject the new one forced into her body. The two conflicting personalities wrestling for control of her body would manifest as bouts of extreme headaches, anxiety attacks and intense hallucinations, compounded by the post-traumatic stress sustained under extended torture.

Marylove would come to completely dominate Marilova's body for a time during Blood Debt. After successfuly stealing information on the Zorya Matrix, Marylove was disappointed to find that Serena had been cheating on her with D'Anna van Halen, and grew even more embittered with the Judicatrix after being handed over to the Mecharussian authorities. The original Marilova personality would come to terms with Marylove during their imprisonment in Solstheimmetal research facility, using their combined skills and knowledge to escape, almost killing Victor Golovkin in the process before being shot down. Marylove would eventually forgive a repentant Serena who would visit her in the hospital afterwards, expressing sentiment that there might still be a chance for them to continue their relationship someday.

As of now, Marilova/Marylove coexist in a state best described as "controlled schizophrenia", each personality with it's unique knowledge and skillsets taking control of their shared body as necessary. The two frequently converse in mental dialogues. Their shared memories have benefitted both personalities with extensive knowledge of each other's home universes and their cultures and languages, the two having agreed to let the other take control if her skills are deemed more adequate for the situation.

Zenobia Marylove has a more reckless and mischievous personality than the cautious and level-headed Marilova, which is frequently manifested in their inner dialogues. She is lively, sarcastic and wisecracking, frequently making jokes (usually at Marilova's expense), but also has a darker side, also being ruthless, even slightly sadistic, unconcerned with ethics and harboring deeply-held racist prejudices characteristic to the Sidhae. This is first noticed by Victor Golovkin, who observes Marilova under control of Marylove in combat situations - unlike the original Marilova who never enjoys violence, simply accepting it as inescapable part of the job, Marylove seems to actively revel in battle and bloodshed. Much of the inner conflicts that the two personalities have are caused by their conflicting moral views.

Notable appearances

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