narratives

Origin Story

Unlike most heroines, Catarinya really has no idea of who she is underneath the mask of her heroic identity. All she knows of her life is the last three years, kept in an underground military base, drilled in stealthy combat, and injected with a glowing violet substance that eventually stained her very skin the same color. This substance also granted her the ability to blend into her background like a chameleon, as well as heightened jumps, faster running and healing from injury, and most notably, the rapid growth of her fingernails into large, curving catlike claws.

Catarinya did not adapt to this forced change quietly, however. She fought daily against the orderlies and nurses who dared enter the room armed with the damned glowing syringes. No one would tell her who she was; no one even bothered to tell her her name. The name "Catarinya" came from one of the more stolid orderlies, who called her the name half-affectionately after she had attacked him with her claws-—he admired her "catlike fighting style," and thus, the slightly Russian-sounding endearment stuck as her permanent name.

Once she realized that the substance was making irreversible changes to her body, and that the changes seemed to make her stronger and better, Catarinya submitted, albeit rather gracelessly, to the daily injections. Mentally, however, she was planning her escape. The scientists and military personnel thought they were crafting a soulless weapon for their personal usage; Catarinya was just waiting for the moment she was honed enough to slip out of their clutches for good.

That day finally came, after three long years of waiting and planning and getting stronger. She silently killed the three guards standing outside her room (her prison cell, more like), and then evaded each of the outdated security cameras quite easily by using her stealth powers. The tunnel upwards to surface level was not so easily managed, however, and she tripped the silent alarms with her frantic struggle.

Hearing the booted tread of the soldiers coming up the hall, Catarinya finally scrambled out the top of the tunnel, finding herself in the midst of a darkened forest, growing darker as dusk approached. By the time the soldiers got to the top of the tunnel, their "soulless weapon" was nowhere to be found. Catarinya ran and jumped across many miles for the next few nights, hiding and catching sleep during the days, using trees, rocks, and other natural scenery as her camouflage. After six days of travel in this way, she finally arrived on the outskirts of Paragon City, where she melted into the backdrop of the city, quietly dispensing with its thugs and ne'er-do-wells while remaining rather hidden herself.

She is still wary of exposing her name and her guise yet, since the military personnel may still be looking for her; however, she takes pride in the knowledge that she now determines her own fate. She may or may not have been crafted for evil, but she intends to do only good with the powers her captors so kindly gave her.

Creating Catarinya

Concept

I knew I wanted a heroine who had lost her memory and who had gone through a traumatic break from being basically a scientific experiment. That, plus drawing from other such inspirations as my own beloved black cat, helped me along the way and gave me at last the character of Catarinya.

The cool thing about Catarinya is that she could very easily be a villain, if she so chose. Her experiences in the military base could have so warped her that she ended up punishing humanity. Instead, she chose to exhibit truly superhuman strength of will to become a hero, albeit a hero who does not wish for the spotlight for her own reasons.

If you're a history buff, especially Russian history, you may notice a correlation between the fictional family that Catarinya and Salartha came from and the Romanov family, who were the last ruling family in Russia before the Bolshevik Revolution in the early 1900s. This is no accident; I have always found the story of the Romanovs very interesting (especially the youngest daughter Anastasia, who was rumored to have escaped the execution of the Romanovs when the Bolsheviks came to power). In the origin stories for Catarinya and Salartha, I have used this historical occurrence as the inspiration for both young ladies obtaining their powers, after their family members had been done away with.

Name

The name "Catarinya" brings to mind cats (which she resembles in battle), as well as giving a clue as to where she might have been held captive. Like Winter Soldier from the Captain America comic series, Catarinya may well have been imprisoned deep within Russia or a closely bordering country--the Russian name "Katarina" is part of my inspiration for her name. But mainly, I thought it was a fitting name for a catlike hero who isn't totally trying to be Catwoman.

Character Development

There is a very interesting connection between Catarinya and my Villain character, Salartha. It so happens that they are actually sisters—-Catarinya was considerably older than Salartha, who was two when the villains killed her superhero parents and captured her to raise as their own. Catarinya was instead incapacitated and kept in cryogenic storage until the military base needed a human weapon, and then they freed her and began training her and mutating her for their purposes. Catarinya had no idea of this, however, and Salartha, being raised by villains for twenty years, has no idea she ever even had a caring family. But after Catarinya escaped, the Council was turned on its head in the search for their ultimate weapon. Read about how the subsequent disorder affected Salartha in her own origin story!

Over the course of playing Catarinya, she has developed into a nearly Tanklike Scrapper, thanks to her Regeneration powerset. But she has also experienced a great shift in her backstory--after nearly 34 levels, I moved her sister Salartha from Villainside to Heroside, which allowed for a possible reunion in their backstories! I am still developing how their reunion would go, considering that Salartha created the serum that mutated Catarinya, and she worked for the organization that held Catarinya prisoner.