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Natasha was born and raised in St. Petersburg, Russia. Her father had been a political prisoner under Brezhnev, and she had grown to hate the government. She earned a graduate degree in computer security from Lomonsov University, and she earned a reputation for her outstanding skills as a computer hacker.
Involvement with the RBNEdit
At the University of Moscow, Natasha was approached by men with flashy suits and lots of money who asked her to translate bits of computer code for them. They were members of the RBN, the Russian mob, who drew her in, first with money, then with threats, and they came to believe that they owned both her and her code. Natasha later settled in the US, but she was unable to completely sever her ties to the Russian mob. She became a member of the Swedish-founded Pirate Bureau, a think tank dedicated to reforming laws regarding intellectual property, and she became adamant in her belief that no group or person should control all the world's information any more than they should control all the world's oil or food.
Connection to Auggie, relationship and arrestEdit
In approximately 2006, when? Auggie Anderson was first breaking in his cover and talking tech to random people, he was in a laundromat in Adams Morgan where Natasha was reading "Snow Crash" while she waited for her whites. Auggie shared her interest in the futuristic science fiction novel by Neal Stephenson, and they began dating. Their relationship lasted a little over a year, although Natasha never knew that Auggie was CIA. Observing protocol, Auggie submitted a request for a "close and continuing" relationship with a foreign national, but the Agency considered Natasha to be too rebellious, and he was ordered to cut off all contact.
At about the same time, Natasha was demonstrating a firewall hack which gave her access to Department of Agriculture servers, but the Justice Department considered her actions to be illegal, and the FBI had her in a sting. Auggie had wanted to protect Natasha, but his hands were tied, and when they had made plans to meet at Kinkead's, he never came. Two days later, Natasha was arrested by the FBI.
Hacking and reunion with AuggieEdit
She spent two years at Danbury Women's Correctional Center, the same facility where Martha Stewart had served her time, and she didn't know that Auggie had left for Iraq shortly afterward and had lost his sight six months later.
Natasha was paroled in February of 2010 and began returning to her old ways. When a well-coordinated metro-wide communication shutdown occurred the following summer in the DC area, the cyber attack took out cable, internet, cell phones, and the CIA's secure satellite array for at least 15 minutes in what appeared to be a deliberate hack. An analysis of the code indicated that the infection vectors from the hack were classic Petrovna, elegant, efficient, and pointed, suggesting that Natasha was behind the attack. The Pentagon believed that select government servers may be susceptible to the hack, and the CIA, as the only government agency able to negotiate for the technology, was authorized to acquire the hack. Auggie was sent to Datatech, a computer security conference, to negotiate a consulting deal with Natasha.
Auggie and Natasha, whom he calls "Tash," were reunited at Datatech for the first time since she had been arrested and he had lost his sight. Her initial reaction upon seeing him was to slap him across the face, blaming him for abandoning her when she was sent to prison. Although she agreed to speak with him, she was not open to his offer of $2 million, reminding him that she is not interested in money, and stressing her intention to release the hack worldwide at noon on the following day as a political statement. When she learned for the first time that Auggie was CIA, she walked away, unwilling to negotiate further, but she agreed to meet him once more the following afternoon.
Refusal to work with CIA and deserting AuggieEdit
At an outdoor café, Auggie tried once more to gain Natasha's cooperation, but as they spoke, a dark SUV careened down the street directly toward them. Auggie managed to pull Natasha to safety, but she disappeared, only to reappear later in Auggie's apartment, to which she still had a key. The men in the SUV were identified as Alexander Markov and Yuri Tretiak, members of the Russian mob who had threatened to kill Natasha if she turned over the hack to anyone but them.
With Natasha's life in danger and in the hands of the FBI now that the case involved organized crime, Auggie vowed to protect Natasha and to help her escape from both the Russians and the FBI. Without obtaining clearance from the CIA, but leaving clues of his intentions for Annie to find, Auggie bought tickets on Amtrak 3312 from DC to Montreal, later switching at Albany for the train to Toronto, and together they stole a pair of NEXUS Immigration Fast-Pass cards from a couple on the train. Current NEXUS Immigration cards have an encryption flaw which leaves sequential register scanning enabled, making it possible to parse the addressable memory for the encryption key to allow full redirect capabilities, and Natasha was able to substitute their own images on the stolen cards. During the trip, their romance was also rekindled, and they made love in their cabin on the train. As the train reached the border crossing, however, the two Russians came aboard and entered their cabin, but Auggie overpowered both of them. To evade the FBI, they prepared to jump off the train as it slowed down at Niagara. Auggie refused to abandon Natasha a second time, and when he vowed to help her even if she didn't have the code, that was all she wanted to hear. Natasha gave Auggie a flashdrive containing the source code, she kissed him and whispered "I love you," and then jumped from the train, leaving him behind and unable to follow, unsure if he'll ever see her again.