Rafael Montoya sacrificed everything to get into the United
States. He cast aside his family and friends to work long hours in
a small, dim office, constantly going over the trade markets and getting
the best returns for his clients. Money was channelled into all
areas of the market and Rafael made millions for some people while
minimising the losses for others. People said everything he
touched turned to gold.
But it wasn't enough.
His American clients
coaxed him with throw-away suggestions about helping him with a visa,
but nothing came of it. In the end he made the desperate move to
cross illegally. He knew he could rely on his trading skills to
set himself up in Los Angeles and then he could work about getting a
legal visa once he had earned enough to be comfortable. He never
said goodbye to his family and they didn't miss him. To them,
Rafael Montoya had disappeared a long time before.
The crossing was
exciting, almost like the race to close deals before the market shut
down. He ran with a dozen other men and all of them made it with
little more than a quickening of the heart rate and some moments of
near-exhaustion after running for nearly ten miles. He hitched his
way up through California and his silver tongue managed to soothe any
concerns the drivers may have had. Rafael was loving his new life.
In Los Angeles things were a little less promising, and while he did
manage to score a job, it wasn't as lucrative as he had hoped. He
worked at a restaurant cleaning dishes, while at night he worked through
the telephone directory trying to score some of his prior clients.
The ones he contacted were mostly shocked to hear his story and hung up
before he had finished his spiel, probably assuming he had tracked them
down for some nefarious purpose. One client did listen to his
story, though, and although he wasn't overly enthusiastic the client did
agree to meet with Rafael and discuss their future.
Rafael threw away
his job at the restaurant and went to meet with the client, Owen Stone.
Stone turned out to be quite familiar with illicit activities and hired
Rafael to act as a phoney trader. Rafael was to buy and sell on
Stone's command so that his stocks would benefit. Rafael accepted
even though he knew it was illegal. At that point he didn't really
see the difference between what Stone was offering and what Rafael had
originally hoped for, especially since he had thrown away his job.
Stone set Rafael up in a small office in Riverside. It was on the
third floor of a telecommunications hub and Rafael began to get
headaches as soon as he started work there. The other tenants only
stayed in the building for short periods of time, and one of them
mentioned to Rafael that the whole place was a death trap, that several
people had developed cancer in the past two years. Rafael
mentioned it to Stone but was yelled at to keep quiet and do his job.
The sudden change in Stone's demeanour shocked Rafael but upon
reflection he realised he had nothing to complain about. He was an
illegal immigrant. He had no rights.
And so Rafael worked from
6am until midnight every day, managing to sleep a few hours in the
office rather than having to pay for a place of his own. One night
there was a surge in the hub and Rafael was bathed in radiation.
His body had been absorbing it in small doses over the weeks he had
worked at the office, but the surge managed to trigger his ubergene, and
his body expanded painfully.
When he recovered he saw that he was now
a seven foot tall bull-like creature. He couldn't believe it and
tried to run away but his sudden appearance in the early morning streets
led to a police stand-off. He was deathly afraid of being killed
by policemen, by being deported as an illegal alien, and by being seen
as a monster. He charged and the police fired at him, although
their bullets ricocheted in all directions. He tossed the patrol
cars away and escaped.
Stone hunted him down and captured him, but by
that time Rafael had lost the will to flee. Stone brought him to
another warehouse where he locked him in a cage while he decided the
best way he could use his new 'toy'. Rafael felt his American
Dream drift further and further away. When Stone demanded that
Rafael begin robbing armoured cars Rafael shook his head. It was
over. There would be no American visa for Rafael and he knew it.
Stone insulted him, tortured him from behind the bars, and tried to get
Rafael to at least try armed robbery. Rafael got fed up and felt a
fire grow in his belly. When it erupted from his mouth he realised
that he wasn't a bull at all.
He was a dragon.
Somehow that helped
clear his mind (and his conscience). Rafael felt the need to get
right out of America and he did so. It wasn't difficult to break
through Stone's restraints and once he was on the road Rafael jumped on
the roof of a passing semi-trailer truck. He made several more
jumps and arrived at the Mexican border where he showed himself to the
authorities. His appearance was so sudden and intimidating that
the guards backed away long enough for Rafael to walk through to Mexico
(although he would not be welcomed back to the States.).
name Drac de Ferro, or Iron Dragon, Rafael created a new life for
himself in Mexico City. He was welcomed as a hero because that is
what he told everyone he was. He stopped a few robberies and
assisted with a few emergencies, but while the people were convinced he
was a hero, Rafael had doubts. Every time he looked in the mirror
he saw a monster. He couldn't remember what his human face had
He tried to reconnect with his family but they refused to
acknowledge him. He had no friends apart from a few on the
internet, but with his large fingers and heavy body it became too
difficult to maintain contact using a computer.
It was lucky then that
Apocalypto decided to destroy Mexico City at that time. Drac de
Ferro found himself drawn into the battle alongside other heroes from
Mexico and beyond. The camaraderie he felt during those testing
times prompted him to join the fledgling Defensa Suprema alongside
Yohualli Eecatl and La Bruma Azul. He
found himself amongst other people with incredible powers and decided
that his past was now well and truly in the past. He looked
steadily to the future as one of Mexico's super heroes.
And it was enough. He is still prone
to bouts of self-hate and despondency, but generally Rafael feels like
he has found a place where he fits in.