Natalia Pera was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil on July 8th, 1983. Her father was a professor at a University, as was her mother. They had met when they were younger in the same college and they had dated then and had gotten married shortly after they had graduated from college. Natalia was the younger of two children. Her family was higher middle class and so she had access to more things than the normal person in Brazil. Her parents valued education over pretty much everything and they made sure that she knew this.
She studied hard, but also excelled at sports in addition to getting good grades. She had a very high natural intellect thanks to her genes and she put this to good use. She was very good at soccer and track and field and more than once, Natalia played against Alessandra Santiago. As she progressed through school, Natalia quickly knew that she wanted to go to college and university in the United States. Her parents were behind her decision.
Everything was sidelined during the Chrell Invasion, however. When the Chrell invaded, parts of the Third World were hit the hardest. Amongst the killed in the early out breaks were Natalia's father and her older brother, Davi. During the fighting in Brazil later, Natalia lost her mother as well. Getting past everything was very hard for Natalia and it took a lot from her emotionally.
Eventually the Chrell were beaten back and life went back to some kind of normalcy. Natalia stayed with relatives who had survived the Chrell Invasion. Her grades stayed constant and she applied to Columbia University in New York City. She also applied to other schools in the country, but she dreamed of going to Columbia. She was accepted and her relatives put her on a plane to New York, happy that she was going to be able to pursue her dreams the way she wanted to. It was what her parents would have wanted. It was her first time leaving the country and she was thrilled but also apprehensive.
She was pleasantly surprised to find out that Alessandra was also going to Columbia for her premed studies. She connected with her old friend once more and Alessandra helped her get acclimated to life in the United States. Natalia's major while she was at Columbia was English. She intended to become a professor at a university in the United States, and she knew that it was a goal that her parents would be proud of her for.
However, she also needed a job to help her pay for everything.
- "Mr. Burke, I believe that Mr. Jones has spoken very highly of you. I have a feeling that we'll be able to work well together."
"Something tells me, you're absolutely right."
- — Natalia Pera and Alex Burke
Natalia applied for an internship at Stark Industries. While someone who was an English major probably wasn't going to be a good fit for a international conglomerate like Stark, Natalia wanted to work in the public relations department. She knew that despite it not being the greatest or most intellectually stimulating work, Stark Industries had great connections throughout the world and getting a letter of recommendation from the CEO of the company would be a great bonus to her career. She was offered a position and met then-CEO, Carter Jones.
She went to work for the company, doing various jobs, whatever people needed her to do. As she did, she became intimately acquainted with the way that Stark Industries did its work and more importantly, with the various industries and fields that it sold products in. She found the whole company rather fascinating and though she didn't realize it, began to drift away from her dream of becoming a English professor at a university like Oxford or Harvard.
The Brazilian began to work harder and harder and by the time she graduated with her bachelor's degree, she had been offered a full time position at the company, despite the fact that she was almost already working there full time. Natalia accepted the job without hesitation. It was then that she was introduced to Alex Burke, who by then, had taken over the company from Carter, as well as donning the Iron Man armor.
Her knowledge of the company and grunt level employees helped her greatly when it came time to working with Burke, and the two quickly developed a rapport. She became his personal assistant. It wasn't the job that one would have expected for a woman who had her bachelor's degree in English and who was also pursuing her master's at Columbia on the side, but it was a good fit for Natalia.
Burke led an increasingly complicated and convoluted life. Natalia was a creature of order, habit, discipline, and organization.
The two immediately began to clash on everything. Burke didn't want his life filed and shuffled into perfect little boxes, and Natalia refused to deal with his, at least according to her, childish ways. She had choice things to say about his womanizing and soon after they had met, had told him that she would not be someone that he would adding to the list of women that he had been with either in the short term or ever. Burke had overlooked her amazingly toned and beautiful body for the equally amazing capabilities that her mind had.
Over time, the two reached a compromised. What Natalia termed Burke's "insanity" would be tolerated when it came to his work space. Everywhere else in his home had to be completely spotless, organized, and efficient. What Burke termed as Natalia's "pestering" had to be toned down. Natalia agreed to this compromised, but then reneged, since it was her job to pester Burke in addition to help him. His life outside of his workshop needed to be maintained and organized.
She brought a system to his life that Burke did not particularly like or enjoy having. However, along with the system came results, and Burke could never argue with results. There was also the fact that she was a woman able to turn his more intimate suggestions and pursuits down while keeping a straight face. Coupled with the fact that the face itself was phenomenal, Burke considered Natalia a friend and something of a peer.
Soon when it came to his home, Natalia was a staple, along with his computerized butler. Natalia began to manage Alex's life exceedingly well.
- "You're going to do what? Are you insane? This isn't some kind of game, Alex."
- — Natalia Pera to Alex Burke
It was around this time that Alex decided that he was going to don the armor of Iron Man. He had suspected for a while that Carter Jones was Arsenal, and once he found out for sure and found the Iron Man armor, he wanted to become the new Iron Man. While he expected some kind of impediment to this decision, Burke did not find a supporter, at all, of his actions in Natalia, who felt that Burke was much to immature to be Iron Man. She felt as though he acted and behaved in a very juvenile fashion when it came to a great many things, something that she conveyed to him on an almost daily basis. When he came to her with this new development, she was surprised and refused to help him. She told him repeatedly that it was a bad decision and that he was not someone who could properly utilize the armor the way that those before him had been able to.
She was steadfast in her stance, at first, but over time, Burke was able to argue against her to get her to help him. She watched as he used the armor alongside the Avengers to fight and take down both Mainframe and Darksyde. Natalia was proud of what Alex had done, but she refused to let him know that. She set to work, taking on more responsibilities at the company in order to allow her boss the time that he needed to go and be Iron Man. She knew that he wouldn't have as much time to run the company and that the job would have to fall to someone. She decided that it was better that it was someone who was friend to Burke than someone who could potentially turn into an enemy.
That being said, Natalia in no way considered Burke anywhere near a friend. To her, Alex Burke was more like an acquaintance that she couldn't get rid of. An incredibly immature, juvenile, hedonistic, and self centered one at that.
As Stark did their deal with Vanguard, Natalia was introduced to Samantha Walker. For some reason she didn't like the fact that Burke and Walker got incredibly cozy and comfortable together. She wasn't entirely sure why and it puzzled her. She made friends with Samantha, and interestingly enough, she didn't think of the woman as something inferior to a normal human, something that she generally did when it came to the women that Burke went after. Still there was something about the relationship that she didn't like, more so than the other relationships that Burke had pursued over the years. It seemed as though this one had a bit more substance to it than the casual, empty, sex filled ones that Burke usually went after.
Natalia was soon busy as the company campaigned to get a series of contracts with the United States Navy. Once they did, she often went to Paragon City to oversee the construction of the new naval plant. It was completed rather quickly and then work began on new vessels for the Navy, the first titled the USS Iron Avenger. Natalia was not present when a group of Atlanteans, led by a man named Costin, attacked the plant, placing explosives and destroying it. She was present with Alex however, when he went to the plant to investigate what had happened. Alex secured military help in protecting the plant, as well as assistance from Brian Grace, Patriot. Natalia offered to remain in Paragon City for a while and look after things with Alex, but he refused to allow her to do that.
He insisted that she return to Stark's headquarters. When she questioned him as to why, she could tell that he was doing it to protect her, though his argument was that if he was in Paragon City, someone needed to be overseeing the company in it's day to day activity. Though she was incredibly annoyed with Burke's show of being protective, he was still her boss and she returned to Stark. Burke came a little while later, and she and him got into a large argument, started by Natalia about the fact that Alex did not need to protect her from anything and that she could take care of herself. They never resolved the argument, and for the next couple weeks, Natalia settled herself into a long, drawn out war with Alex, turning icy and frigid cold to him, despite his best attempts to apologize.
Offers to take her back to Brazil so that she could visit her relatives, offers to send her on a private cruise so that she could relax, everything and anything fell on deaf ears. Natalia was forced to break her code though, when the USS Iron Avenger, finally completed, was attacked by the Atlanteans on its maiden voyage. Natalia patched herself into the Iron Man armor and watched through Alex's eyes the damage and destruction that Costin had caused. She helped Alex get in touch with everyone that he needed to in order to bring Costin down.
Deciding that maybe Burke was beginning to show higher levels of maturity and intelligence and that he wasn't going to simply be a neanderthal like the rest of mankind, Natalia opted to forgive him. But shortly thereafter, Alex went and got himself crossed off the list of mature men once more.
- "You can ask him about Costin and Paragon City. It's been a little while, but you can ask about Mainframe and that whole thing"
"Can I ask him about Samantha Walker?"
"I wouldn't advise it. He get's a little peckish and ruffles his feathers."
"Is there anything else?"
"Yes. If he asks you if you've ever seen the Great Wall of China while flying over it, tell him you have."
"I haven't, though."
"I don't care. Tell him you hated it and that you don't want to see it again."
- — Natalia Pera and an Anonymous Reporter, pre-screening before an interview with Alex Burke
Somehow, the terrorist group known as the League of Mutants discovered Iron Man's true identity. Or perhaps, they simply guessed based on the fact that Tony Stark had been both Iron Man and CEO of Stark Industries. Either way, they knew exactly where to hit him in order to hurt the hero. Several planned attacks against the multi-billion dollar company were carried out. Factories were demolished and many employees were hurt. With the help of some allies the League was defeated. Iron Man himself took down Titan using the new Hulkbuster armor. However, following these events the media continued to hound Burke about why the mutant terrorists had attacked his company. They also ferociously questioned why Iron Man was always around to defend Stark property and personnel. After several weeks Alex held a press conference in which he openly stated that he was indeed Iron Man. The news spread like wild fire across the globe. Iron Man was one of the few super heroes to give up his secret identity, much like the Fantastic Five. Most of the population respected Burke for this move. However, a few would use it against him.
Natalia wasn't thrilled at all with this decision, knowing that, yet again, Burke had just decided to do something, and hadn't consulted with the people who this would affect the most, those around him, and particularly her. He hadn't spoken to her about it, asked her if she would be okay with her life put into danger, he'd just done whatever he'd wanted to do, not thinking of the repercussions of his actions. All she knew was that she had to deal with this problem in addition to all the other problems in her life and that it was beginning to get trying and hard to deal with. More and more she wanted to just be done with Burke and leave, but she had built so much over the years at Stark that she didn't want to do that. However, she knew that she was nearly through with dealing with Burke's often juvenile actions. It seemed that there was going to be some interesting fallout over his decision to reveal himself as Iron Man. After a rest and relaxation trip with Samantha Walker, Natalia returned to Stark Industries as work was being completed on a new Stark Industries Naval yard. It was decided that Alex was going to be there himself to help open the yard.
She, Sam Freeman, and Burke headed over to Maui, where the yard was. When they reached there, Alex did his usual bit of trying to flirt and seduce Natalia whenever they were in some exotic locale. After giving his speech, Alex's suit malfunctioned, and she later found out that it had been hacked into and that someone had spoken to Alex personally, telling him that he was going to bring death and destruction to Burke.
Not too long after, there was an attack at the Stark Naval yard in Paragon City, the same facility that had been attacked some time earlier. This time, there was a group of automated soldiers and someone in an armored suit that was directing the attack. Thinking that this person and the one who had hacked into his suit were the same, Alex left, to go figure out what was happening. Aggravated, Natalia knew that he would probably beat the man who was attacking the facility. But at the same time, Alex needed to be careful. That suit wasn't completely indestructible. It could be destroyed, he could be killed. Taking out some of her anger at Stark's recklessness through a martial arts workout, Natalia trained until she was interrupted by Sam Freeman. She vented to him for a little while, before he told her the reason for coming to see her. An old friend, Monica Taylor, was here to visit. This brightened Natalia's mood, as she hadn't seen Monica in a long time.
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- Defense Training: Natalia is an above average athlete and has had some training in hand-to-hand combat. She spars repeatedly with members of Alex Burke's personal bodyguards.
- Genius-level Intellect: Natalia possesses a genius level intellect. She holds a doctorate in English, as well as a Law degree, both from Columbia University.
- Multi-lingual: Natalia has fluency in English, German, Portuguese, and Spanish. She can speak passable Mandarin.
- Gymnastics: Years of gymnastics, ballet, and dance have given her considerable skills in the field and she is an accomplished contortionist. She practices Yoga daily.
- Expert Businesswoman: Natalia is very apt when it comes to the business world and has displayed a wealth of knowledge on the subject, particularly when it comes to Economics and Macroeconomic theory. As Alex Burke's personal assistant, she has to stay up to date on everything that happens in the business world and has more than once helped advise him on a business decision.