About the characters – The Messenger

Rob Walker

Sergeant First Class Robert “Rob” Preston Walker was born in Brooklyn, New York, on September 7, 1987. Raised in the rough, downtown area, his street smarts began at an early age. By the time Rob was sixteen, most of his friends had dropped out of high school and joined gangs or ended up in jail or dead. Rob’s father, a Vietnam veteran, passed away from cancer during Rob’s junior year. His death left Rob’s mother, Louise, alone to care for him and his much younger sister, Marianne.

Being a high school wrestler, Rob learned to fight beginning in his early teens. At 6′ 1″ by his senior year, barrel-chested with a muscular, athletic build, he could hold his own with anyone on the mean streets of NYC. Unafraid of violence, Rob would never hesitate to pound someone who crossed him or his family.

Rob had always been protective of his little sister, even getting into fights with her boyfriends and leaving one with a long scar across his face. But he felt the need to get out of New York before he ended up killing someone. By age eighteen, he had a choice to make; stay in Brooklyn with drugs and gangs running the streets or enlist in the military. Rob chose to join the U. S. Army, leaving his mother behind to watch over Marianne.

During his time as an infantry grunt, Rob excelled in everything from physical training to rifle marksmanship. His company commander, Captain John Fredricks, had noticed his superb skills with a rifle almost immediately and booked him a slot in the U.S. Army Sniper School at Fort Benning, Georgia. Rob made the rank of sergeant within three years of his five-year enlistment. By the time he re-upped during his fourth year, he had requested and was sent back to Fort Benning to attend the U.S. Army Ranger and Airborne schools.

Following his attendance in the Ranger Indoctrination Program or RIP, Rob was reassigned to the Second Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment at Joint-Base Lewis/McChord in Washington State. He shined as a Ranger, rising to Staff Sergeant and Serving in missions on a scout/sniper team throughout Afghanistan between 2012-2014. Rob steadily amassed more enemy kills than any other sniper in the regiment.

He loved being a Ranger. But Rob felt the need to test himself even further. So, after serving four years in the regiment, he attended the Special Forces Assessment and Selection Program, or SFAS at Camp Mackall, near Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Upon his selection, Rob was sent to the Special Forces Qualification Course, or Q-course at Fort Bragg, to be a weapons sergeant. It was a grueling and over-year-long program that thoroughly tested his mental and physical aptitude.

After graduation and his promotion to Sergeant First Class, Rob attended the Special Forces Sniper Course at the John F. Kennedy Warfare Center at Fort Bragg. By 2015, Rob was serving with Operational Detachment-595, or ODA-595 of the 5th Special Forces Group based out of Fort Campbell, Kentucky. The same team was the first on the ground in Afghanistan following the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States in 2001.

They were known as the horse soldiers, who fought with the Northern Alliance on horseback in the Afghan Mountains. The Special Forces were primarily instructors to foreign military allies. They’d embed with them, fight with them, and teach them how to be effective on the battlefield.

By Rob’s third year on the team, their mission had changed to direct raids on high-value targets, something not typical for Special Forces detachments. But with the sudden influx of Islamic State fighters fleeing their recent loss in Iraq and Syria, Afghanistan was in danger of becoming a hotbed of ISIS activity. Joint Special Operations Command, or JSOC, could not allow that to happen. Rob’s team, among others, was sent in to remedy the problem. As a Special Forces sniper, with his spotter, Staff Sergeant Kyle Branch, Rob had ended the reign of terrorist leaders in unmerciful fashion with a single shot from great distances.

He’d become a sniper the enemy learned to fear. They’d placed a fifty-thousand dollar bounty on his head. But, when Rob Walker was behind the glass, they never saw it coming.

Kyle Branch

Staff Sergeant Kyle Austin Branch was born on May 7, 1990, in Dallas, Texas. The son of a rancher, Kyle spent his early childhood years working on the farm with his dad, Bill, and younger brother Alden just outside the city of Denton, located in Denton County, Texas. His mother, being old-fashioned, kept house and cooked the meals while her boys worked after school and on weekends with their father in the scorching Texas heat.

Kyle loved horses, particularly quarter horses. He and his brother learned to ride as soon as they were big enough, gradually becoming experts in riding and caring for the many horses on the ranch. Kyle’s first love was a quarter horse mare named Rose. He had Rose for years and rode her every chance he had on the many trails traversing the large property. But, Rose, at fifteen years old, suddenly fell ill one day. Hanging on as long as he could, it became inevitable. Kyle had to have her put down. It was a significant blow to him, and he never truly got over her.

One day, his father surprised him with a new mare he’d named Grace. She would never replace Rose. But they bonded while riding the trails and Kyle talking to her, sitting on a hay bale in the corner of her barn stall.

Kyle’s other love was shooting, which he realized after his father bought him his first Winchester, 30-30, for his birthday at age eight. When not doing farm chores or riding horses, both brothers could be found out hunting with their dad on two hundred acres of partly wooded land that had been in the family for three generations. Kyle was a natural at shooting, and as he got older into his teens, he’d become skillful with any rifle he put his hands on. Then, after watching a television program about Carlos “white feather” Hathcock, the most lethal American sniper of the Vietnam War, Kyle suddenly felt a calling.

As much as Kyle loved the ranch, he knew he would eventually have to leave it, at least for a while. That time arrived when Kyle came home to tell his parents he’d enlisted in the U.S. Army. At first, they didn’t understand, believing that ranching was his purpose in life. Bill knew he wanted to eventually pass the ranch to his sons. Deep down, ranching would always have a special place in Kyle’s heart. And, perhaps, he would run it someday. But he desired to do something great, like serving his country during a time of war. He knew the ranch would always be there.

But, Kyle never would settle for being ordinary. So, on September 25, 2010, Kyle arrived for basic training at Fort Benning, Georgia, under a Ranger enlistment contract called “option 40.” Upon graduation from infantry school, Kyle was sent to the Ranger Assessment and Selection Program, or Rasp, also located at Fort Benning.

The Army was well aware that most new enlistees would fail this program and ultimately be sent to a regular Army infantry unit. After all, the selection course was designed to weed out those who lacked the physical and mental fortitude to be a Ranger. However, Kyle was one of the few who’d made it through. And he was subsequently assigned to the 3rd Ranger Battalion at Fort Benning.

Months later, Kyle was sent to Ranger School and finally earned the coveted Ranger Tab. Serving as an Army Ranger, Kyle saw action in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Between deployments, Kyle attended the U.S. Army sniper school and was reassigned to a 3rd battalion sniper team, where he performed sniper duties for the next couple of years, including a stint in Kandahar, Afghanistan. He was credited with thirty enemy kills during that combat mission.

Kyle received a promotion to sergeant and became a sniper team leader during his time with the Ranger battalion. Still, he had always known he wanted to go as far as his military career would take him. So Kyle went to see the Special Forces recruiter. The next thing he knew, he was taking the PT test or physical training test and off to Fort Bragg to attend the selection course.

For all the toughness and physical pain the selection course brought, Kyle knew he would make it, even if he had to break his body down to do so. He never knew the meaning of the word “quit,” something he’d learned from his father at an early age. It seemed all of the back-breaking work he’d done over the years had served him well.

One year and a graduation later, Rob was sent to the 5th Special Forces group as a weapons sergeant in 2015, where he met his new teammate, Rob Walker. Shortly after, Kyle volunteered for the Special Forces Sniper Course. Afterward, he teamed up with his new friend, and, together, they provided long-range reconnaissance, high-value target elimination, and overwatch for ODA-595.

Marianne Walker

Rob’s sister, Marianne Kay Walker, was born March 1st, 2003, in Brooklyn, New York. She attended Williamsburg Middle School and then Brooklyn High School located downtown, within walking distance of the Walker family’s apartment.

Their father had passed when Marianne was a little girl in elementary school. Rob was the only male figure around for most of her life, except for the random men her mother, Louise, would bring home now and then. Not having her father around took a toll on Marianne. She started getting in trouble frequently by the time she reached high school. Marianne was sent to an alternative school in the ninth grade, where she rarely showed up for classes.

She had become a rebellious teenager. Taken in by the streets, Marianne started experimenting with drugs and staying out at all hours of the night. That’s when she met a guy by the name of Mitch at a local club she’d gotten into with a fake ID. Many years older and a local gang member, Mitch’s influence and control over Marianne became a source of tension over her and her mother’s strained relationship. Soon, Marianne began taking harder drugs. When she went home, which was rare, she was either high or drunk and regularly fought with her mom.

By her junior year of high school, Marianne was skipping school regularly and staying away for days at a time. Her mother couldn’t control her wild behavior. She had no help and limited resources to straighten Marianne out. By the time Rob returned home, Louise had already considered Marianne a lost cause, swallowed whole by the criminal element of NYC.

Juan Luis

Juan Luis, the boss of the Los Lobos drug cartel, was born on February 6th, 1980, in Mexico City, Mexico.

A career criminal, Juan’s connection to Los Lobos was a family affair. His father had been the leader throughout the ’80s and most of the ’90s when Juan was young. He was killed during a joint raid by the Mexican authorities and the DEA in 1999.

This was a turbulent time to be a drug trafficker, fighting law enforcement on both sides of the U.S. Mexican border and against rival cartels striving to be the most powerful in Mexico. The height of these drug wars saw the deaths of many cartel soldiers and civilians who were unfortunate enough to be caught in the crossfire.

Upon the death of Juan’s father, he moved up to second in command. His older brother, Jorge, was the boss through the following decade. But, at thirty, Juan took over the organization after the death of his brother in an assassination hit ordered by a rival cartel in 2010.

More ruthless than his brother and father before him, Juan ran Los Lobos with an iron fist. He was hot-tempered and quick to kill anyone he believed betrayed him or challenged his authority. Cold and ruthless, his first act as the boss of Los Lobos was a purge of all those he considered disloyal to him or the organization, some thirty cartel members.

Desiring to be the largest supplier of drugs and girls the world over, Juan’s ambitions knew no bounds. And he would achieve them by any means necessary. A new kind of drug lord, Juan vowed to take them farther than his father and brother ever could.

The Los Lobos cartel was desperate to fill quotas set by the boss. So they expanded in 2018 and began scouting for girls in every major American city. They found easy pickings among the homeless and those who were down and out in the inner cities.

Marco Torres

Marco Torres, hitman for the Los Lobos cartel, was born on January 3rd, 1984 in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico. He was a troubled kid, his father having left him and his mother when he was just two years old. His mother scrounged to get by after that, going so far as to sell her body for quick cash when Marco was barely a toddler. He knew what it meant to be poor. Marco’s family lived in poverty for most of his life.

But as soon as Marco came of age, he left home and enlisted in the Mexican military. First, he served as an infantry soldier, next becoming a sharpshooter in the Mexican Special Forces. Ironically, he fought against some of the same people he’d later pledge loyalty to.

After serving eight years in the military, Marco became a policeman in Mexico City and then a SWAT member, serving on one of the department’s most elite sharpshooter teams.

Marco quickly became unhappy with the low wage, what he’d seen as an unworthy amount for risking his life to serve and protect. Moreover, he was disillusioned by the Mexican Government as a whole by that point.

Marco soon realized he could make much more money working for the cartels. In 2015, he killed his entire team in the middle of an operation and surrendered to the cartel. He knew they could always use his specific talents. So Marco started doing wet work for Los Lobos and never looked back, making more money than he’d ever dreamed. As for his mother, she died alone and destitute on the Juarez streets in 2016.

Lieutenant Richard Miller

Born on December 3rd, 1966, Lieutenant Miller is a thirty-year veteran of the New York City Police Department. A third-generation cop, his father, and grandfather had both retired from the NYPD. Law enforcement was in his blood. And, conversations around the dinner table when his father wasn’t working at all hours usually followed some kind of case he was working on at the time.

Miller never really knew anything else. He’d attended the academy as soon as he turned twenty-one. And, as a police officer, Miller attained the rank of sergeant rather quickly. He became a homicide detective with just ten years of service under his belt.

The job was stressful and became ever more so as crime rose over the years, particularly drug and gang violence. Lieutenant Miller found it harder to deal with the older he got. By 2014, he was put in charge of the department’s major case unit. But he’d grown tired of the corruption within the city’s criminal justice system. It had gotten to the point that a few judges were giving violent offenders a slap on the wrist, sending them back out to the streets within days of their arrest.

By the time Miller had three decades on the force, he had become tired of the political corruption that made it harder for good cops to do their jobs. Burned out from the stress, he was looking forward to his retirement. And, the lieutenant was hoping for a bit of street justice to deal with those criminals the system had kept him from keeping locked up.

José Tomas

José Tomas is a first-generation Mexican American. Born on October 15th, 1955, in Guadalajara, Mexico, he legally immigrated to the United States in 1985.

Knowing first hand the danger the cartels presented in his home country, José was thankful he got out of Mexico during the height of the Mexican drug wars in the ’80s.

Having family and friends whose lives were forever altered by the deaths of loved ones and drugs destroying so many young lives, José couldn’t stomach it any longer. Divorced with no kids, he fled to the United States, where he became a cattle rancher in Texas.

Jose met Staff Sergeant Kyle Branch at a rodeo event in Amarillo, Texas, just before Kyle enlisted in the Army. They became fast friends, bonding over their love of guns and horseback riding.

Detective Pérez

Detective Emilio Pérez, born on July 1st, 1980, in Puebla, Mexico, is a detective with the Mexico City Police Department. Growing up in poverty, he was the first in his family to graduate high school and the only one to become a law enforcement officer. Pérez had many distant family members on the other side of the law, working as soldiers and enforcers for various drug cartels.

Seeing the death and destruction caused by the drug wars, Pérez made it his mission to fight the cartels and the political corruption that aided their dominance over daily life in Mexico.

By the time he made detective in 2005, many of his family members had ended up in jail or dead. Pérez was determined to overcome the corruption in his own department and lock up those on both sides of the law. Girls had begun disappearing from the streets in record numbers, parents pleading on national TV for the police to do something to stop it.

In 2015, he and his partner, Detective Morales, appealed to their Captain to form a task force with the sole purpose of investigating and bringing down the Los Lobos cartel’s sex trafficking operation. By 2020, the situation had become even more desperate. The cartel began targeting parents for speaking out against them. This caused mass hysteria as parents had grown too afraid of letting their children out of their sight.

Detective Pérez was one of the few in his department or the police as a whole who wouldn’t be intimidated by the cartel. Instead, he made it known that he wouldn’t rest until they paid for their crimes.