Paul Gustafson is an actor hired by the Office of Naval Intelligence. In 2558, he posed as a retired Naval officer named Jakob Walker to feed Benjamin Giraud false information about the Master Chief.
According to Gustafson's fabricated bio as Jakob Walker, he shipped out for boot camp on Reach when he was 19. In 2517, he trained at the Naval Force Reconnaissance School at Black Sea, where he met the future Master Chief, then a young recruit named "John". Walker was impressed at John's talent at only 16 years of age, mistaking him for a 20-year-old because of his size and discipline. According to him, John was a natural leader. During the 20 mile hike exercises, John would take immediate command and help the stragglers, always coming in last so others wouldn't be punished for arriving late. In the decades since he had met John, he claimed to still be impressed by him and that he made all his fellow soldiers want to be as noble.
After a career of 28 years in the Navy, Walker retired and went to live on a beach community in Castellaneta. He met with the journalist Benjamin Giraud in 2558, to be interviewed for an article about the Master Chief.
In reality, Gustafson was an actor. In 2539, he recorded a voiceover for an advertisement for the civilian Warthog. During this time, he lived on Ganymede, and eventually moved to Earth. Nineteen years later, he was contacted by ONI and set up as a former friend of John-117, in order to feed Giraud a false account about how John had been a military prodigy who enlisted voluntarily.
Several days later, Gustafson was on an interstellar shuttle leaving Earth, complaining about the spacecraft's air quality. Unbeknownst to him, Giraud was aboard the same flight, having been unknowingly assigned to it thanks to Mshak Moradi hacking ONI's flight schedule. Giraud recognized "Walker" and asked him why he was at Earth when he claimed have been on permanent vacation on Castellaneta. Gustafson stumbled for an answer, trying to avoid him until the flight staff sedated Giraud, under the pretense of him having been disrupting the flight. Discovery of his treatment by ONI after re-meeting "Walker" lead to Giraud abandoning his job with them and putting the recording of his encounter with Walker online.
Sometime after, "Walker"'s military records were analyzed by Giraud's friend Ray Kurzig to check for anomalies. While initially they all checked out, Kurzig soon found that "Walker"'s voluntary service affidavit had never been activated nor retired, putting his enlistment status in limbo. He also used Giraud's recording of Gustafson's voice to uncover his previous voice-acting work, and through it discovered that Gustafson was an actor.
Personality and traits
When pretending to be a veteran, "Walker" was carefree and slobby, even meeting Giraud without a shirt on for their interview. He claimed himself to be on permanent vacation at Castellaneta, and had no desire to leave his beach home.
When not acting, though, Gustafson was professional and well-groomed. He wore a suit and tie when traveling from Earth, and had a sense of entitlement frequently seen in passengers unused to interstellar travel. He had a deep voice, which was useful for him in commercial work and allowed him to be identified from previous recordings.
List of appearances