The quickest and smartest of the New City survivors, the Messengers are the eyes and ears (and occasionally weapons) of Nadia Nazarov. Fiercely independent yet intensely devoted to one another, the Messengers are a force to be reckoned with despite their lack of arms and armament.
Aleksandr's elder daughter, Nadezhda Aleksandrovna Nazarov is a cunning mind and calculating businesswoman who spent her life distancing herself from the family business.
After emancipating herself from her father's business, the young Nadia became very successful, earned several degrees, and established a home and a life in New York City. A business meeting in Seattle coincided with her sister Dariya's birthday, and she was in her car when the interstates ground to a halt. Forced to move into the chaos on foot, Nadia found her way to her father's stronghold and wasted no time planning a course of survival.
Her quick organization and strong presence formed an efficient and well-structured system of messengers that allowed her father's empire to rally, survive, and gain control of the city amidst the chaos. Through these girls Nadia now controls the flow of communication inside and outside the New City, but she secretly longs for nothing more than to return to her fiancé across the continent.
Running is always something that Marion Clark has done well, but in the new world, it's the only thing that keeps her alive.
After a horrifying encounter with her infected boyfriend and a harrowing week on the move, scavanging food and hiding from the ruthless claws of the scratchers, Marion joined the war effort and was taken to the chaos of downtown. Her speed and persistence were an immediate asset on the battlefield, where she filled endless days running news, supplies, and instructions across the war zone.
In the aftermath, she was recruited by Nadia Nazarov into the messenger fleet for the New City. Given the nickname "Marathon", she is a courier for the citizens, a messenger for the government, and a spy for Nadia.
Former bookworm Claire Reed is as fascinated by the new world as she is terrified by it, and views every situation as an opportunity to learn despite the risks.
Claire was a student at the university when the apocalypse occurred. She saw the city falling around her, but rather than trying to escape the city, she spent the early hours hoarding food and barricading her dorm room. She holed up in that tiny sanctuary for over a week before daring to venture into the hallway, and thereafter lived a meticulously slow and deliberate life. She avoided contact with the infected by barricading hallways, locking & blocking doors, and constantly moving from room to room.
After nearly a month in the dorms she was found by a skullhunter, who dropped her off at the New City. Claire was immediately tagged for a messenger job, and is now being trained by Marion Clark for the upper echelon.
An all-star distance runner and avid swimmer, Jill spent the apocalypse trapped on campus as world tore itself apart around her. Faced with the choice of waiting for rescue or venturing into the unknown, she chose to take responsibility for her fate and entered the nightmare of Night Zero with full force.
She is now the top-ranking messenger after Marion and an adamant recruiter for the sisterhood. Although she's lost and gained companions in the months following, she remains fully committed to her belief in the future of humanity and the dream of a better world.
A college senior with a perfectionist streak and plans for grad school, Lucy grew up with privilege and strove to justify it through accomplishment. She considers the foundations of her life to be family, faith, and friends, and she was very close to her parents before the end of the world took them from her.
Now, her family are her fellow Messengers, and alongside them she fights every day for the future of humanity.
Born and raised in Seattle, Natalie was a medical student with dreams of becoming a sports doctor when the world came down around her. She survived for weeks on the move, evaded the scratchers by learning their hunting patterns, and came across Tessa during a foraging run. The two were wary of each other at first, but when Natalie learned of the New City she followed Tessa and soon found herself an integral part of the Messenger family.
Her familiarity with the city and scratcher behaviour makes her an especially valuable runner for escort missions, and she regularly advises Nadia and Marion during mission planning.
A transplant from the east coast after college, Mandy worked as a marketing designer and loved the creativity of her artistic career. Safely barricaded in her office building from the outset, Mandy avoided the worst of the outbreak and the fall of Seattle. She was found by the Nazarov soldiers shortly after the New City was established, and Mandy was among the first conscripted into service as a Messenger.
At first very self-protective, Mandy worked hard to stay tasked inside the New City as much as possible. As she grew closer to her sisters, however, and learned about their horrific ordeals during outbreak, she felt ashamed of how easy it had been for her and became determined to earn the new life that had been given her. She now is among the most daring and determined messengers, undertaking the riskiest assignments and inspiring others to challenge themselves ever further.
She never considered herself special or worth much note, but in the months since the end of the world Vanessa has come to realize just how much of a difference she can make.
An expert at holding short-term menial jobs with three years of college and nothing to show for it, Vanessa had little to say about the world around her until it came crashing down. Her disbelief turned to shock, which quickly turned to resignation that she would soon be dead. Lacking the faintest belief that things could turn out any other way, Vanessa's prophesy of doom was about to fulfill itself when she was saved by Mandy, who wasted no time convincing her new sister of the value of life.
Now Vanessa is an active member of the Messengers, enthusiastically taking on even the most tedious and mundane of tasks around the house, happy to be a part of a family and surrounded by so much love and support.
Tessa was already living downtown when the infection struck, and survived by staying put. Peeking through the blinds of her eight-floor apartment, she witnessed the chaos, the bloodbath, the desolation, and the war to reclaim the city—all the while surviving on meager meals from the scraps in her cupboards.
After the war, when the Nazarov military was purging the buildings of infection, Tessa was discovered and delivered to Nadia Nazarov for conscription into the Messengers. Tessa resisted at first, intimidated by the more experienced sisters and not confident that she would be of any use, but after watching the other girls at work she felt inspiration and began working to prove herself as a valuable member of the sisterhood.
Now she runs with the best of them and performs dutifully without hesitation, but all she longs for is the day when she can relax and breathe easy.