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Akio
Akio
Date of birth:2261
Date of death:N/A
Gender:Male
Race:Human
Ethnicity:Asian
Occupation:Yakuza, Wanderer
Status:Alive
"Live, die, it’s all a cycle. You accept your place in it or die looking for it."
―Akio’s life philosophy

Akio is a Yakuza from around the area of New Reno who currently wanders the Boise Wasteland in a mad search for his lost father. For a Yakuza, he has simple tastes and has little ambition in life to rise above his conditions.

Biography

Life in Nevada

Childhood in the Wastes

"Mommy, why can't I go to where you work? It's really fun there, isn't it?"
―Akio questioning his mother about his father

Akio was conceived in 2261 from a brief fling between an unknown Yakuza and a waitress named Tomoko who worked for the Wrights in New Reno. Tomoko was on the payroll of some Yakuza in New Reno, and she had the general responsibility of “servicing” any Yakuza who asked for her. However, Tomoko has always claimed that the Yakuza that fathered Akio had wooed her, not simply asked for her services.

After the conception, the Yakuza who fathered Akio skipped town and left Tomoko behind. Tomoko soon found out that she was pregnant and briefly considered having a termination. However for moral reasons, Tomoko decided to have a baby who she would raise as her own. Tomoko was lucky in that she soon found a father for her illegitimate child, an elderly Yakuza named Ryuji who was eager to have a young wife, even if she was not a virgin. Tomoko and Ryuji married in late 2261 soon before Tomoko gave birth.

Akio, named after Tomoko's grandfather, was born in the winter of 2261 in a Yakuza camp outside New Reno. Although it was known Ryuji was not Akio's biological father, he promised to care for the babe as if Akio was his own son. The little boy spent the first couple years of his life around the Yakuza camp on the outskirts of New Reno. The camp was was a crowded fetid place where children would fight for food while adults would take chems and exchange stolen goods. Tomoko was rare in that she actually looked after Akio when she could, even teaching him to read. Akio grew up in this environment, and he was a lean mean child. He learned to pick his words (and fights) carefully. His best friend was a larger half-Mexican child named Juan who served as Akio's protector against larger children.

Akio's young life was thrown into turmoil when his stepfather died of heart disease in 2270. Tomoko decided to go back to her job working for the Wrights in New Reno, and she was forced to leave Akio in the camp alone during the day. That led to him being even more wrapped up in the Yakuza, as both children and adults encouraged him to become a Yakuza like everyone else. Akio's favorite part of the day was when the Yakuza came back from raiding to talk around the campfire. They often told stories of their exploits, often inflated for posterity’s sake. Caravaners and NCR were portrayed as slow, stupid, and cowardly.

As Akio became a teenager, he began to make preparations to become a Yakuza like his stepfather and real father before him. Juan and Akio trained relentlessly with one another to improve their bodies and show the older Yakuza that they were worthy. Tomoko has dreaded this but unfortunately saw no other direction for her son. The two friends finally proved themselves when Akio was fourteen by gifting a Yakuza boss an entire chem cooler. From there, Akio became a man which meant he was tattooed for the first time and was given a Wakizashi and throwing knives. Akio would be sixteen when he would first go on a raid with other Yakuza. Until then, he was a hard worker for the more senior Yakuza acting as a courier between Yakuza and their contacts in New Reno. These courier jobs that Akio did would be the first time that he set foot in New Reno, a city so close to his home yet so far away.

Akio's first foray into New Reno was one of amazement and discovery. The shining lights, the throngs of people, they all amazed Akio. He was not used to such opulence, having lived in a wasteland camp his entire life. The boy almost forgot his mission in fact but managed to snap back to reality and complete his mission in a little under a day.

For the next year or so, Akio continued his courier services for the older Yakuza and at the same time went New Reno more often, most of the time accompanied by his friend Juan. The two would explore the city for days, avoiding the eyes of NCR and the local families, both of whom hated Yakuza. Akio and Juan had a lot of fun in those days.

Yakuza Bruiser

"Hey gabacho, you've walked down the wrong road today. Hand over your caps, and no one will get hurt. You don't want to do that? Oh well, that works for me too."
―Akio robbing a caravan with the Cashstraps

A short time after he turned sixteen, Akio was fully initiated by his Yakuza group. He received a tattoo and was gifted with a 10mm pistol to go with the weapons he already had. From there, he was sent on his first raid along with the his Yakuza group, called the Gopniks. That raid was on a caravan outside New Reno, and it was successful. The Gopniks were happy with Akio’s performance, and he got a good big Yakuza tattoo on his right arm. Juan got a similar tattoo, and the two promised to look after one another in their new lives as Yakuza.

Akio ran with his Yakuza for about another year, raiding caravans and robbing travelers. New Reno would not be tolerant of Yakuza forever, especially the Gopniks in particular with their big camp. In 2277, the Wrights hired some mercenaries to destroy the Gopnik camp and scatter them into the wasteland. Akio’s mother Tomoko, still working for the Wrights but not as a Yakuza spy, found out about the attack and warned Akio so he could flee. Akio took this information and instead warned the Gopniks, who decided to prepare for the attack.

They turned out to still be woefully unprepared. The mercenaries, funded by the Wrights and armed by NCR, wiped the floor with the weaker Yakuza. Akio fought valiantly, even sustaining injuries to his leg, but his fight was broken when he witnessed the boss and his friend Juan die in a hail of gunfire. With that, Akio turned tail and ran out of the camp he had called home for his entire life.

From there, Akio initially fled and took refuge with his mother in New Reno. He laid low there for a while to recover from the shock of losing his gang and to nurse the wounds he sustained in battle. Tomoko helped nurse her son back to health when she was not working. While trying to give a reluctant Akio medicine, Tomoko decided to put him more at ease by telling him a bit about his father. Akio was very interested in this and was fascinated by his mother’s account of him: a Yakuza legend who could have united the disparate gangs together but instead left for the far north. Akio considered this story as he recovered from his injuries. At the same time, he restarted his physical training to become stronger and perhaps better equipped to win next time.

Akio, after he recovered, struck back into the wasteland against the advice of his pleading mother to join another Yakuza gang. He found what he was looking for in the form of the Cashstraps, a small band of Yakuza who readily accepted young Akio into their ranks. In little less than a month, Akio had defeated the Cashstraps second in command in a duel of honor and taken his place, as well as his Desert Eagle. He proved a valuable asset to these Yakuza, a strong warrior with unwavering loyalty and a staunch devotion to the Yakuza code of conduct.

For the next few years, Akio ran with the Cashstraps while also visiting his mother in New Reno more often. He split his time between the wasteland and New Reno equally since the Cashstraps went on raids infrequently. In that time, Akio became more familiar with New Reno and its people. He even made himself an on again off again girlfriend in the form of similarly aged member of the Bishop family, her name being Penelope. Akio and Penelope’s “relationship” was rocky however, as was his relationship with the rest of New Reno. After all, he had raided their caravans in the past and still did on occasion. Nevertheless, Akio got by in New Reno by keeping a low profile while he was in town. At the same time, Akio became more interested in the story of his father, the nameless Yakuza Tomoko had described. He tried to find out more about him from both Yakuza and New Reno residents but came up with nothing.

Akio’s period of relative stability would not last. In 2279, the Cashstraps went to war with another Yakuza gang named the Ruby Dragons over territory, and the Cashstraps lost badly. The gang was all but destroyed, and its remnants, including Akio, were absorbed into the Ruby Dragons. The destruction of his second gang and the unexpected harshness of the Ruby Dragons broke something in Akio that was never the same again. The war of Yakuza versus Yakuza had effectively removed any reverence Akio had once held for the Yakuza code of conduct. His anxiety worsened and only got worse as the Ruby Dragons repeatedly tried to beat him into submission. His visits to New Reno became more infrequent, and he became significantly less talkative.

The Ruby Dragons began falling apart only about a year after Akio was inducted. New Reno began seeing them as a major danger to caravans, and the city soon started throwing mercenaries and the occasional NCR patrol at them. The Ruby Dragons were stronger than Akio’s previous gangs, but they were by no means all powerful. After a short time, they began to buy cheap chems to improve their men’s fighting performance such as Psycho and Med-X. Akio was given both of these drugs, and they assisting in both helping in battle and staving off depression. That was for a time at least.

In early 2281, the Ruby Dragons were on the edge of collapse, and Akio decided that it was time to bail. Taking lots chems and ammunition with him, Akio fled the Yakuza gang’s camp in the dead of night to New Reno, his safe haven. He expected to welcomed back by his mother until he found another Yakuza gang. That would not be the case however, as when Akio met Tomoko he was warned that the gangsters in New Reno had put a bounty on his head along with all other known Yakuza. Upon hearing that, Akio accepted some caps from his mother and fled back into the wasteland to look for more Yakuza to join up with.

That was Akio's original plan, that is. After a couple days walking, Akio decided that joining another Yakuza gang would only perpetuate the toxic cycle he had put himself in. So, Akio instead decided to strike out on his own as a lone Yakuza.

This turned out to be easier said than done. Living in the wasteland outside New Reno gave him respite from bounty hunters, but it did not provide any creature comforts Akio had once enjoyed. Even food and water were hard to come by. Also, Akio's recently acquired chem addiction forced him to rob any doctors or chem dealers he came across and use any caps he did not use on food or water for chems. For about or so, Akio lived a hardscrabble existence on the margins of society. He learned how to survive on his own in the desert but at the same time was nearly lost forever.

New Reno Revelation

"But when darkness should quickly descend, you go quietly, my miserable friend."
―Echo to Akio upon their first meeting

In 2281, Akio had seemingly hit rock bottom. His once fearsome reputation as a Yakuza bruiser had been forgotten in favor of stories of a quiet but dangerous chem fiend who roamed the wasteland around New Reno. He had no purpose anymore, and his life seemed like an empty vessel, devoid of any real motivation to get up in the morning. Most days consisted of Akio just taking chems and scouting for his next victims. It was in the aftermath of one of Akio's raids on a caravan when he picked up some peyote cacti from out of New Reno. Having never encounter peyote before, Akio decided to sample a bit of the cacti. That was the real start of Akio's journey.

The psychedelic trip Akio went on after taking the peyote was one that he would never forget. When he first took the peyote, Akio was perched on a ridge near Virginia Peak. He took some Med-X, then the peyote, and laid down underneath the stars. There, Akio had a sort of revelation he had never had before on any chem. In the dying light of the rugged Nevada sun, Akio saw twisting shapes in the sky. The shapes seemed almost serpentine at first, coiling and uncoiling as they changed colors rapidly. Over a certain time though, the shapes materialized into one form. The form was a man, imposing and titanic. Akio first felt that he should be terrified, but instead, he soon felt a pronounced sense of awe. That was when Akio finally came to the realization, the figure was focusing on him. The figure seemed to be motioning for Akio to find it. Akio was confused by this, but after some trepidation, he decided to walk towards the figure in the sky. That was when Akio took a twenty foot fall off the ridge and blacked out.

He awakened the next day to find himself sprawled out on the ground, hurting but with no major injuries. As he got up, Akio made another realization: that figure he saw was his real father and it wanted him to find it. He was alive and needed Akio. What Akio took that to mean was that he needed to find his father to help resolve his issues. From what he remembered his mom saying, his father had struck out north towards Boise shortly after Akio’s conception. North it will be, Akio declared.

That being said, Akio knew he was not prepared to go on a long trek into the wasteland without any significant supplies or water. So, he decided to head back into New Reno to get these things and wish his mother goodbye. With that, Akio struck out from Virginia Peak back to New Reno.

Akio, remaining cautious, set about buying supplies and water as soon as he got back to New Reno. He first bought some supplies from Renesco's Pharmacy and also tried to buy a map from the store. However, it turned out the store’s last map had just been sold to Akio’s disgruntlement. Akio gathered up his supplies into a backpack, and he made his way to his mother Tomoko, who he hoped to stay with while he was gathering stock. He made his way to the Wright Estate, where he assumed his mother was still working. Akio knew his mother worked with the other washerwomen at the back of the manor. Washerwomen were there, but Tomoko herself was not. After being told Akio was looking for his mother, one of the girls said that she had briefly walked off with some young Yakuza. Akio feared the worse, readied his sword, and set off to find his mother, who the washerwoman said was with the young Yakuza somewhere in the lower levels of the Wright Estate.

Akio was ready to slice and dice until he actually found his mother and the young Yakuza. The man was named Echo, and he had actually just paid Tomoko to oil up his hair properly. Akio and Echo had met briefly before when Akio was part of the Ruby Dragons, but they were now both Yakuza without a gang. Although only vaguely knowing one another, Akio and Echo managed to carry on a pleasant yet somewhat tense conversation while Tomoko oiled up Echo’s hair. The conversation started with Echo giving an overly long explanation to calm down Akio's accusatory tone. After hearing out Echo, Akio took a seat and explained to Echo and Tomoko about his experience the night before. Tomoko was in disbelief that Akio had seen his father, but Echo was following Akio's story quite closely. When Akio arrived back at the present, Echo interrupted Tomoko by commenting that he found Akio's story interesting and further interjected by telling Akio that he should follow up on his vision. Tomoko, alarmed by Akio following up on what she thought of as delusions and Echo encouraging her son, tried to appeal to her son's sense of reason, telling him the experience was just a bad trip. She begged Akio to go clean and return to New Reno to live a safe life. Akio rejected his mother and talked to Echo instead. He was pleasantly surprised to find that Echo was in a similar situation to his own and was in possession of the map that Akio had previously tried to buy. By that point, some of the Wrights came around and threw Akio, Echo, and Tomoko out of the mansion since Tomoko was just a washerwoman and the two Yakuza were definitely not supposed to be there.

Upon leaving the Wright Estate, Akio and Echo continued talking while Tomoko finally gave up hope of her son turning a new leaf. Tomoko, after confirming with Akio that he was heading after his father, wished her son good health and good luck in his journey. Akio briefly considered asking his mother if he could stay with her but decided against it. So, Akio wished his mother good bye and endured a kiss on the forehead before she headed back home. Akio and Echo stayed outside the Wright Estate talking while Tomoko made her way back home. The two Yakuza conversed for a little longer until Akio asked Echo if he could exchange some chems for his map. Echo answered this with a question of his own: could he come with Akio on his journey? Then they could both make use of the map.

This took Akio aback, as he did not think Echo would care. However, Akio still said Echo could come along and asked him why exactly? Echo answered, "Both of us searching for some perfect world we know we'll never find." Akio was initially confused by this but subsequently accepted Echo as a new travelling companion. Both of them were Yakuza after all, and Akio figured that two travelers would safer than one.

In Search of Father

New Reno to Winnemucca

"Hey Echo, get up! Remember, better a live coward than a dead hero."
―Akio trying to rouse Echo

The next couple of days for Akio were spent planning his journey in a smoky room of a New Reno hotel. Akio and Echo spent about a week in that hotel room, doing further preparations for their trek in the northern wastes. Beside gathering supplies, this mostly consisted of pouring over Echo’s newly acquired map and arguing about the best route to Boise, their eventual destination. The first thing the pair did was review the map that they had in their possession and use it to figure out a path to their endpoint: Boise.

The map was pre-War, to be specific it was a 2076 edition Stan McFeely brand road atlas. It had been well-used in the many years since the war, and the map’s previous owners had made numerous annotations to it, adding in things such as various post-War settlements and factions. Most notably, the borders of the NCR and the Legion were drawn fairly accurately along with trade routes such as the Big Circle and others. Luckily for Akio, Boise was shown also on the map, labeled "Shithole: Do Not Go There". Disregarding this, Akio and Echo set out mapping out their route to Boise. At first, Akio suggested simply trekking straight through the desert of northern Nevada and southern Oregon to go straight to Boise. He trusted his survival skills learned in the wasteland to help them traverse that large empty space between New Reno and Boise. Echo, showing some surprising common sense, flatly rejected this notion and pointed out that they would both die in that desert, with no settlements or sources of water around for miles. Akio was a little angry with this at first, but he eventually relented to Echo. From then on, the two began drawing lines between known post-War settlements and landmarks to get to Boise from New Reno. After nearly a week of disputation, the two finally figured their route: New Reno to Winnemucca to the Great Salt Lake to Twin Falls to Boise. There were a few bones of contention, as neither of them knew if Winnemucca still existed as a town, but that was the consensus nonetheless. With that, the two packed up, got some last minute supplies (and hairspray), and left New Reno behind for the wasteland.

The pair of Yakuza struck out east on I-80 in mid 2281. East of New Reno, the two had few encounters besides a couple of geckos who they easily dispatched. After killing the geckos, Akio and Echo continued on for a couple days down I-80 with little incident. The high desert environment was its own adversary for the Yakuza as they trekked through Nevada.

The first human encounter the pair had on I-80 was predictably hostile. About four days after leaving New Reno, Akio and Echo were nearing the pre-War town of Fernley where they hoped to hold over for a night or so. Before they could reach Fernley however, they sighted a group of raiders far away on the highway. Akio and Echo both took cover behind a crumbling highway wall. Unfortunately, the raiders had already seen the Yakuza and moved to surround them. After the pair were sufficiently surrounded, the raider boss walked into view and introduced himself as Hoi Polloi. He was a rather short man who had a taste for the finer things in life. Unfortunately for Hoi, the only “jewelry” he managed to scavenge over the years was a doll head he wore on a chain around his neck. The good stuff was all outside the desert, and Hoi preferred the lawlessness of the desert to getting any closer to NCR, severely limiting his selection.

Hoi Polloi made himself known to the two Yakuza and demanded they come out from behind the ruined highway wall. Akio yelled back that they would not come out until raiders left. The raider boss responded by saying he just wanted the pair’s swords. Both Akio and Echo refused to give up their Wakizashis, and that obviously angered Hoi. With that, the raiders began to bombard the Yakuza's positions with bullets from their carbines. Neither Akio nor Echo had any sort of heavy weapons and were forced to return fire with their pistols, a Desert Eagle and a Mauser to be specific. This tense standoff lasted for nearly ten minutes until Akio had had enough. Unsheathing his Wakizashi and injecting some psycho, Akio proceeded to break cover and charge the raiders.

Not to be outdone, Echo followed Akio into battle. It turned out that Hoi Polloi’s raider gang only consisted of five people, meaning that the Yakuza had vastly overestimated them. Hoi barked for Wee Canoe, Yeez, and Soldier Man to take Akio while he and Tiny Tap would take Echo. The resulting fight lasted for only a few minutes.

Akio, in a sort of chem-induced bloodlust, made short work of Wee Canoe and Yeez, butchering them like animals. After that, Akio turned his attention to Soldier Man. He lasted longer because he had a shishkebab he could use to cross blades with Akio’s Wakizashi. Meanwhile, Echo was gracefully holding off both the raider boss and his minion. To Akio, he appeared to be almost toying with them. Upon dispatching Soldier Man, Akio moved on to supporting Echo by attacking Tiny Tap. Tiny Tap, seeing that this would probably spell his death, just try to shoot Akio before he got close with his sword. He managed to hit Akio a few times, but the Yakuza still managed to run the raider through with his Wakizashi. With that, Akio blacked out from shock and exhaustion, hoping that Echo had dealt with the last remaining raider.

When Akio awakened, he found himself lying beside a campfire with Echo sitting across from him. Akio gingerly sat up, and he quietly asked Echo what happened. In a meandering manner, Echo relayed to Akio that he had eventually decapitated the raider boss and then found Akio unconscious from his injuries. After checking that his companion was still alive, Echo hauled Akio off from the scene of the fight to the nearby town of Fernley. Looking around, Akio found himself at the edge of the ruins of a pre-War town framed by the fading sun of the north Nevadan desert. Akio asked Echo if he had gone into Fernley yet, which Echo said no. Echo told Akio that he had hoped both of them could go into the town together, in case some raiders or ghouls were residing there. Akio thanked Echo for hauling him to Fernley, and he told the fellow Yakuza that he would go on watch as Echo got some sleep. Echo gave Akio his own thanks, and he spent the rest of the night sleeping while Akio kept watch.

The pair traveled into Fernley the next day. The city had been practically abandoned ever since the Great War, and the only inhabitants had been the occasional scavengers and raiders such as those who had followed Hoi Polloi. These raiders were the last people to live in Fernley before the arrival of Akio and Echo. The Yakuza were happy to find the city deserted and picked through Fernley until they found the raiders' den which they raided for supplies. Akio was happiest to find some spiked knuckles which he quickly incorporated into his own arsenal. He also restocked on chems, which sated Akio’s addiction. The pair stayed in Fernley another night before moving on.

The road ahead on I-80 was relatively peaceful for a while. Akio and Echo trekked for a couple days down the interstate making their way past the remnants of Humboldt Lake and Lovelock Correctional Center, occupied by tribal cannibals. The Yakuza were nearly ambushed by the cannibals from the prison but managed to avoid them due to Akio's outdoorsmen skills learned from his year in the desert. After Lovelock, the pair hoofed it towards Winnemucca.

As Star Peak came closer, Akio and Echo began coming closer and closer to danger. There were more raiders in the mountains than there were in the desert, and the Yakuza had to take more precautions. They managed to avoid most of the raiders until they neared Florida Canyon Mining Inc. It was there that they were ambushed and caught in a tight place.

The Yakuza were walking past the ruins of Florida Canyon Mining Inc. when about ten raiders emerged from behind cover and demanded the travelers to hand over their possessions. Akio reached for his Desert Eagle, but Echo indicated that he keep his weapon holstered. Stepping forward, Echo addresses the raider boss directly and went into a spiel on the Yakuza’s journey. Over about twenty minutes, Echo gave a great deal of exposition on his and Akio’s past lives as raiders and their goals. While listening to this, the raiders initially trying to rob the pair had lowered their weapons and had ushered the two to their campfire for further conversation. In no time, Echo had made friends out of the raiders who were once trying to rob them. The raider boss even gave the Yakuza more supplies when they went on their way. Akio was dumbstruck at Echo's success, and he wondered if things would be better if he acted more like Echo. By the end of the day, Akio had forgotten this thought and his mind strayed back to his missing father.

Passing Star Peak, Akio and Echo continued on their way towards Winnemucca. Their supplies from Fernley and from the raiders were running low as the pair trekked through the desert. As they walked, Akio and Echo talked a lot more than previously about their lives prior to going on their journey. Akio discussed his negative relationship with chems while Echo opened up a little bit about his own insecurities.

The pair stopped talking when Winnemucca, Nevada finally came into view. A pre-War town on Interstate 80, Winnemucca had survived in the middle of the desert due to being on one of the main routes between California and the Great Salt Lake. In fact before the war, Winnemucca had been near the half-way point between Salt Lake City and San Francisco along Interstate 80, which passes through town. Akio and Echo had taken note of this on their dog-eared map, and that was why they wanted to stop there. Having fallen back into frontier conditions, Winnemucca is an independent settlement that scrapes by through legitimate means such as servicing caravans and more illegitimate means such as prostitution and gambling.

Entering Winnemucca, the Yakuza decided to split up to look for somewhere to sleep for the night and to meet back up at the entrance to the settlement at sundown. Upon splitting from Echo, the first thing Akio did was buy some more chems to nurse his addiction. It did not take Akio long to find the local drug dealer hanging out near the Buckaroo Hall of Fame and Heritage Museum, Yanko the Gypsy. Akio haggled with Yanko extensively over payment for Med-X and psycho, even threatening the greasy chem peddler with his Wakizashi. Yanko stood up to Akio surprisingly well, but eventually, he gave Akio his chems for a reasonable price. Akio asked Yanko if he could point him to a place with a good bed, and Yanko shrugged, saying none of the hotels in town were very good.

After finishing up his business with Yanko and shooting up, Akio actually went into the Buckaroo Hall of Fame and Heritage Museum out of a vague interest. The place’s owner Leona greeted Akio warmly and welcomed him, respectfully asking for a donation. Akio simply ignored Leona and ambled into the museum. For the next couple of hours, Akio slowly stared at the pictures of various cowboys and ranchers in the museum. He lost himself in the black and white faces of the past, and his chem-glazed eyes wondered about things. Was his father a rancher now? What was life before the war? What would a chuckwagon dinner taste like?

In seemingly no time at all, Leona notified Akio that the museum was closing. Akio shook himself awake and looked outside to see the sun going down. With that, Akio hoofed it out of the museum towards the entrance of Winnemucca. He met Echo at the entrance and sadly told his companion that he had not found any lodgings. To Akio’s surprise, Echo laughed and said he had found them a cheap place in “The Circle”. Akio was confused by this but was happy to see that Echo had found them a place to sleep for the night.

The Yakuza made it to The Circle, Winnemucca’s red-light district. Luckily, the Circle not only catered to johns but also to weary travelers. Akio and Echo bought themselves a room for the night, and they slept easy that night.

In the morning, the Yakuza awakened and met together to plan their schedule for the time they were spending in Winnemucca. Without the glaze of chems, Akio was very on-point in curbing Echo’s more enigmatic ramblings. Akio laid out that try would buy supplies and look for information during the day and hang out at a bar in the Circle at night. The Yakuza split up again that morning and did not meet until returning to the room.

In those days in Winnemucca, Akio became well-acquainted with Yanko the Gypsy and the jingoistic owner of the local store, Kain Wallace. Akio bought a lot of supplies from Kain Wallace, and he gained a new appreciation for guns from Kain. Also, Akio gained more knowledge about the path ahead from other travelers from the East. Places such as Battle Mountain and the Field of the Dead were pointed out, and Akio added them to his pre-War map.

During the nights, Akio and Echo hung out at a bar named Lost Hollow. It was here that they talked about their activities during the day. All Echo ever seemed to talk about was a man named Gordon Whateley he met in Winnemucca’s downtown. This Whateley seemed to have a wealth of esoteric knowledge that picqued Echo’s interest while worrying Akio. Nonetheless, Akio was satisfied with Echo talking to this man if he kept on gathering supplies.

Things came to together about three days after the Yakuza’s arrival in Winnemucca. That night, Akio had already shot up some Med-X and was vibing in Lost Hollow waiting for Echo who was uncharacteristically late. It was in this haze of chems that Akio met Herodes Blue Eyes. Herodes was a caravaner from the East who was notorious for his ferocious temper and willingness to spill blood. Akio lazily knocked into Herodes while he was stumbling around the bar, but that was enough to arouse Herodes’s temper. The caravaner yelled at Akio, and when the Yakuza ignored him, Herodes took ahold of him by the scruff of his neck. Herodes promised to teach Akio some respect and began to whale on him with a hail of blows. Akio fought back, but his addled state impaired his ability to fight. Akio considered pulling one of his weapons yet did not because he knew that would just escalate things. It was at that moment that Akio wished he had Echo to back him up.

Eventually, the barfight was put to a stop by a double-barreled shotgun held by the bartender. Akio got away from the fight with several bruises and delicately took a seat to wait for Echo. Before he met Echo that night, Akio was greeted by yet stranger, though this one was more civil than the last. The man introduced himself as Ares Turcios, the owner of the Winnemucca Hotel. He was a member of Winnemucca’s deeply ingrained Basque community. Ares was pleasantly surprised that Akio had put up such a good fight against Herodes Blue Eyes and asked the Yakuza about his journey so far. Akio withheld information on his life including being a raider, but he did tell Ares about the search for his father. Mention of a wandering Yakuza aroused some interest in Ares, and he told Akio that he had heard of someone similar passing through Winnemucca in years past. The Yakuza had killed a couple of bandits while in Winnemucca and had moved on. That interested Akio a great deal, and he talked to Ares for a long time.

Near midnight, Echo finally stumbled into Lost Hollow accompanied by an ominous stranger. That set Akio on edge, and he wished Ares well while making his way towards Echo and his new friend. Taking a seat at a table, Akio motioned for Echo and the stranger to join them. They sat down, and Akio finally got a good look at the stranger. He was a stocky rather pale man with exceeding long arms. His arms kind of reminded Akio of pre-War pictures he had seen of chimps. The man was neither handsome nor ugly, being instead rather plain. The most notable thing about the stranger to Akio was the fact the man’s entire body besides his face. Akio assumed the man must be some type of mutant and greeted him and Echo.

Echo glossed over his lateness and introduces his new friend as Gordon Whateley, a fellow traveler going east on I-80. Akio, still fazed by chems and Herodes’s beatdown, sort of just nodded as Echo talked about Gordon. Akio vaguely heard words like “esoteric”, “nameless”, and “abnormal”, but he did not have any interest in the conversation until Echo said Gordon wanted to travel with them. That shook Akio back to reality. In a very brusque manner, he directly asked Gordon why he wanted to travel with them. Gordon explained in a gravely voice that three men were safer than one in the wasteland. He said that raiders were a danger to all of them, and that they could trust him. Although Echo seemed convinced, Akio did not believe a word of it. He immediately asked Gordon where he was going in the East. Gordon quickly replied that he was going to New Canaan on personal business. Akio tried to press Gordon on this “personal business”, the man indicated that he did not want to go further into his reasons for going to New Canaan.

Akio took Echo aside for a second, and he asked his fellow Yakuza why he trusted Gordon, as he seemed like a shifty mutant to him. Echo responded by saying that Gordon was much more intelligent than he seemed, and that Akio should not solely focus on appearances. Gordon also had promised to bring his own supplies on the journey, and they needed all the assistance they could against the raiders to come. Even this did not convince Akio completely but Echo’s charisma managed to persuade the skeptical Akio in the end. He did not like Gordon yet he could not argue against Echo’s reasoning.

Gordon did not go to the hotel with the two Yakuza, and they did not see him for the next few days as they prepared to leave Winnemucca. Akio even hoped for a time that Gordon had decided to go with them. However when it was time to leave, Gordon met with Akio and Echo at the entrance of Winnemucca with a large backpack. Akio accepted that Gordon was coming with them and resigned himself to that.

Winnemucca to the Great Salt Lake

"Someone should tell ya the truth: you see perfection in your reflection, and trouble's coming for you."
―Echo saying the wrong thing to a raider of the 80s

Akio, Echo, and Gordon set out from Winnemucca in the early morning setting out east towards the Great Salt Lake. The trio initially walked on the Interstate in silence, as Akio did not feel comfortable talking around Gordon. Echo occasionally piped up with his usual quips, but those were usually short and exceedingly vague in meaning. Another reason to keep quiet however was that the group had entered what might be the dangerous leg of their journey: the territory of the notorious 80s.

Akio had known about the 80s for a long time, and he had even heard about them when was still in New Reno. From what he understood, they were a tribe of raiders that live in northern Nevada and were known for raiding frontier towns for supplies and kidnapping people. In Winnemucca, Akio had met people who talked in hushed words about the 80s attacking the town every few years. They sounded like a pretty intimidating group of raiders to Akio, and he knew fighting them would not be preferable. He could only hope that they would avoid the raiders while in their territory.

The first raiders the trio encountered were not the 80s however. The raiders were in fact a band of Pauite Indians known as Moadökadö who had been displaced from their homes by the 80s years before. Gordon sighted the raiders first, and soon enough, the trio was off the interstate and hiding in nearby ruins. Unfortunately, the raiders had already seen them at that point, and they zeroed in on the trio. The next three hours were a standoff between the raiders and the travelers with the occasional shots traded between the groups. Akio, Echo, and Gordon stood side by side against the raiders trying to put them in the ground. Luckily after those hours, the raiders that were harassing the travelers melted away with little to no warning. The trio was happy to see this and quickly moved on when the coast was clear. What they did not know was that the raiders had only dispersed because the presence of the 80s nearby.

After a day or two, the trio discovered this for themselves when they neared Battle Mountain. They had known the community existed but were surprised to find it humming with activity. That activity included working motorcycles to the alarm of Akio and Echo but notably not Gordon. Motorcycles meant the 80s, and the trio seemingly could not imagine heading through a town occupied by the 80s.

Before they could really mull over their options, the group was approached by a raider on a motorcycle with a pregnant woman sitting on the backseat. The 80s raider greeted the group and introduced himself as Ralf, asking what the group's business was in the area. Akio nervously responded that they were traveling to the Great Salt Lake and were just passing through. Ralf laughed at that and told the trio that the 80s were hanging out in Battle Mountain for a few weeks and that they were welcome to stay in town for the night, as the raiders did not feel like robbing every person that came through the area. The group was at first skeptical of Ralf's offer, but when he said there were chems for sale in the town, Akio became determined to stay in Battle Mountain for at least a while. Not wanting him to go alone, Echo insisted going with him and then Gordon reluctantly decided to come as well.

After Ralf zipped off back to Battle Mountain, the trio slowly retraced his path to the town. They found a town in a sort of controlled anarchy where the 80s ran roughshod over the local residents and bullied them into doing whatever the raiders asked. Meeting Ralf again, Akio told his companions that he leave to get some more "supplies" and would meet them at the town saloon. With that, Akio walked off with Ralf to find the local chem dealer.

Akio found a kindred spirit in Ralf Manning for the brief time they were together. Ralf was also a "chem enthusiast" who had a similar personality to Akio, being more withdrawn and practical. As they searched for chems and eventually purchased some, the two talked about their experiences as raiders and found more similarities. Akio had been through multiple Yakuza bands and Ralf had started out in a gang called the Saltbacks before joining the 80s. Ralf even took time to describe a specific episode when he killed one of his superiors in the 80s with his fists and took the man's Interstate 80 red and blue sign for his own. They were happy to find common threads between themselves, but Akio knew that he could not forget how dangerous the 80s could be. There was no guarantee that these raiders would be so hospitable outside of Battle Mountain.

As Akio and Ralf headed back to the saloon, they heard a crash from the opposite side of the street as a local got thrown through a window. Ralf laughed as some 80s punched the local's face in while Akio cringed a little. He may have been a raider, but even Akio could not justify this behavior in his own mind. Even if they were not killing these people like raiders did, this naked display of contempt just felt wrong to Akio. This moment of contemplation lasted for only a few seconds until Akio turned his attention to the saloon.

Akio walked in and immediately saw trouble. Gordon Whateley was nowhere to be seen, but Akio could see Echo. He was talking to a 80s raider, and they both looked pretty confrontational. It sounded as if Echo was saying some smartass quote to the raider like he always did which Akio knew would cause problems. With Ralf at his side, Akio made his way to Echo and tried to jovially divert his companion from the conversation. The 80s raider talking to Echo soon turned his attention to Akio and gave the Yakuza a hard shove. That sent Akio tumbling to the ground, and while he was on the ground, Akio began reaching for his Wakizashi. That would be probably be the death of him, but Akio was not thinking rationally at that moment. He saw blood in his eyes, and he wanted to run that stupid fucking raider through with his sword.

Before Akio could act however, Ralf put himself in between his new friend and the other 80s raider. Being challenged by a larger high-ranking raider, the 80s raider opposed to Akio eyed Ralf and decided to walk away. Akio sheathed his sword upon seeing the raider go away. With that, Ralf helped Akio up and told him that it was past time for him to leave.

After that, Akio walked over to Echo and asked where Gordon was. In an elaborate metaphor, Echo told Akio that Gordon had gone after someone the man said he knew. Akio, Echo, and Ralf left the saloon at to look for Gordon (although Akio would have just been happy to leave the creep behind).

The group asked around about Gordon and eventually found that he and “his friend” had headed out to the old Midas Mine north of town to retrieve something. Akio again wanted to leave the strange man behind, but Echo refused, feeling that it was not right. Ralf then piped up and said that he would be willing to take both of them out to the mine on his motor bike if they wanted to. Akio was incredulous at this and Echo quickly took Ralf’s offer.

Akio and Echo spent the night crashing at Ralf’s place under his protection. They slept soundly until the morning when they set out in Ralf’s motorcycle with two sidecars towards Midas Mine. Akio was anxious about the new experience, but Echo could only marvel at the ride. It did not take long before the Ralf's motorcycle made it to Midas Mine, and the three got out to look for Gordon.

The only mining equipment towered over the three men as they walked around, yelling Gordon's name. Akio was not eager to find Gordon unlike the two other men and felt a heavy feeling of foreboding. The nearby town of Midas had been a ghost town even before the war and this mine felt like an evil place, where something monstrous and immemorial resided. This conjured up images of a vast subterranean world in that mine, and terrible forces readying themselves to emerge. He voiced his feelings of danger to the group, and Ralf just called him a pussy. After that, Echo spoke up and said that there were a pair of footprints going into one of the mines. Reluctantly, Akio followed the other two into the mind grumbling how stupid this all was.

Surprisingly enough, just as the three men were entering the mine they met Gordon Whateley on his way out the mine by himself. Gordon smelled of blood and sulfur which caused Ralf to ask him what happened. Gordon snapped that it was none of their business but when pressed for information, Gordon explained that he and his companion had been on their way to the mine to recover a weapons cache when they were waylaid by nomads. The companion had been killed by the nomads, and Gordon had taken refuge in the mine. When he heard the group enter the mine, Gordon approached them to either greet or kill them. That story rubbed Akio the wrong way, and he knew the others didn't buy it either. Akio asked what kind of supplies Gordon had recovered, and the group was surprised when Gordon produced a large amount of ornate jewelry from a pouch. He asked if the three wanted some of the jewelry, and all three accepted a few baubles. With that, the four people lumbered out of the mine.

As the four men were making their way back to Ralf's motorcycle, Akio looked back at the mine one last time, and he saw what he thought was the figure of a headless woman standing at the entrance of the mine. With that, the figure seemed to fade out of sight. The sight of this woman scared the shit out of Akio, and he quickly got on Ralf's motorcycle behind the main seat. The motorcycle ride back was quiet for the most part, but Akio eventually asked Gordon about what he had seen outside Midas Mine. "I don't believe in ghosts or any of that shit, but seriously, what the fuck was that? Not even mutants are like that, they don't just... fade."

Gordon, riding in a sidecar, considered what Akio said and responded by saying this:

"None of you understand, you never will. Your senses are too limited, and your rationalizations will be your only comforts. I would think the most merciful thing is that you do not know what that was, because if you did, madness would follow."

Akio responded to that rather pretentious answer by saying Gordon could have just said it was a ghost. Gordon was dismissive of this, and Akio spent the rest of the trip mulling over Gordon's words. He kind of wanted to ask Echo what he thought, but Akio figured that his fellow Yakuza would make some gay meandering statement about the spirit or the land or some bullshit like that. However, soon enough Akio's mind had moved on to his journey and his lost father once again.

Upon returning to Battle Mountain, the trio stayed another day before leaving. That last day, Akio met another 80s raider, a man named Erato Sevan. Erato was into the occult and after finding this interest, Akio asked Erato about his own experience. Erato gave Akio a theory that the headless woman was the guardian of the mine, placed there by some higher intelligence. Erato told Akio that he was lucky to be alive and wondered how Akio had warded off that negative energy. Akio shrugged at that.

A few days after their arrival, the trio finally left to travel along I-80 again, braving the depravities of the 80s and other savages in a long stretch of empty road. Akio, because of his intense suspicion, distanced himself from Gordon, and he only talked to the man when Echo was present. Gordon's strange appearance and the circumstances of Midas Mine made Akio wonder. At the same time, Akio socialized more with Echo on the road, and one night under the stars, they talked about what they would do when they actually reached Boise. Akio said that he wanted to find his father and ask the man about his life. On the other hand, Echo was hoping to find untold riches and maybe even more cosmetic products within the ruins. Akio laughed at this, but he still said "I hope you get want to you want Echo. You're a more honest man than I." With that, Akio turned to Gordon who was sitting across from him in front of the fire. Curiosity overcame caution in Akio's mind, and he asked Gordon what he was going to do when he reached New Canaan.

Gordon chuckled at those words, and he responded by asking how that was any different from the question Akio gave him when he joined the two Yakuza. Akio made a point to Gordon that "I didn't ask about your "personal business", I'm just trying to make conversation." At that, Gordon grew less combative and said that he was going to New Canaan to retrieve something of his father's that the Mormons had taken long ago. Akio was surprised by this, as he had only ever known the Mormons as a people who would voluntarily give medicine or other aid to groups in need. That was what the traders from out East had always said at least. They did not seem like a people prone to thieving. Gordon responded by saying the Mormons were an ignorant people who had messed with forces they did not understand, which reminded Akio of what Gordon had told him earlier. Akio teased Gordon's seeming arrogance, and he asked the man about his understanding of the world.

"Are you so high and mighty that you can understand everything? You don't seem so wise to me, just a bit of a weirdo."

Gordon Whateley was angered by Akio's jabs and bellowed that his knowledge of the unknowable was unmatched by any, especially some "raider scum" like Akio. Akio responded with a laugh, asking how one could have "knowledge of the unknowable". With that, Gordon stood and declared the conversation to be over, storming off to his own sleeping area. Echo chastised Akio for provoking Gordon, and the other Yakuza simply shrugged it off. If Gordon could not take banter, that was his problem. Akio and Gordon avoided each other for the next few days.

The next couple weeks were perhaps the toughest of the Yakuza's journey as the stretch between Battle Mountain and the Great Salt Lake was seemingly uninhabited by anyone except for nomads, scavengers, and the 80s. Luckily for the trio, they were able to avoid the 80s most of the time due to staying off of the main Interstate while at least keeping it in sight. As Akio said, "We'll be okay as long as we can see it to the left." Along the way, the trio managed to avoid the 80s several times. They watched helplessly more than once as other travelers on the Interstate were held up by the 80s. Akio, Echo, nor Gordon cared about the others being waylaid by the 80s and were much more concerned about their own survival. To this end, the three would often pick the remnants of other travelers who were less fortunate than they were.

Also, the trio came across several ghost towns on I-80 between Battle Mountain and the old border between Nevada and Utah. These ghost towns included Argenta, Elko, and Wells. Wells was of particular interest of the trio as it was the site of a ruined pre-War brothel. Akio took particular interest in the faded remainders of erotic literature that he gathered up in his backpack. Meanwhile, Echo seemed more engrossed in the bloody story that had played out in the brothel in the days following the Great War. Gordon just kind of stood around, and he coolly watched as the Yakuza rifled through the old brothel.

After leaving Wells, the group crossed into the Goshute Valley. The area was very dry but still seemingly less hostile than the area the group left behind. The 80s had a certain presence in the valley, but they did not stop here often on their way west on I-80. The trio continued traveling a little off the interstate. They were eventually surprised when they met another group traveling in the same fashion they were, just off the interstate. They were the Goshute Indians, but the group was much less violent than the Paiutes Akio and Echo had encountered earlier in their travels. The Goshute seemed happy to meet the Yakuza but were instantly wary of Gordon. Echo had attempted to trade with the Goshute but the indians quickly left area, eyeing the Yakuzas' traveling companion with suspicion. Akio noted this and asked Gordon if he knew those people. He responded by simply calling them ignorant. From there, the group continued to move east.

After crossing over the old Nevada-Utah border, the group was forced north away from the interstate due to more 80s. It was there that they discovered the aforementioned Field of the Dead, known before the war as the Bonneville Salt Flats. The place was known as the Field of the Dead because of all the scavengers who had died trying to pick through the vehicles left behind on the flats. No one has ever really really known what kills them, and that creeps out a lot of people. That is why most avoid the place altogether.

The trio decided to camp for a little bit on the salt flats until the 80s passed, and they stayed there for three days. In that time, Gordon confided with Echo about esoteric knowldge while Akio mostly just polished and repaired his Desert Eagle. Akio spent most of the time wondering about what to say to his father and mulling over ideas of what to do about Gordon. He certainly did not trust the man and did not want to travel with him anymore, but Akio knew Echo would protest. So, he simply kept to himself.

After three days, the group was on the road again on I-80 going towards the Great Salt Lake. Predictably enough, they were soon assailed by another small group of 80s hanging out at an overpass. The two groups faced off and fought for nearly two hours until Gordon made it to the 80s position and sneakily killed both raiders. From there, the trio looted the bodies and high-tailed east. From there, they avoided any settlements until they made it to Salt Lake City.

As they neared the Great Salt Lake, the group encountered another oddity: a ghoulified soldier claiming to be the last remnant of the legitimate United States Government. The ghoul had set himself up beside the interstate in an improvised shelter and hurled insults and the occasional rock at passers-by. Specifically, he called Gordon a “demon monkey rape child” while calling the Yakuza “commie squint rats”. The ghoul also wanted against entered the ruins of Salt Lake City, saying that the place was cursed. Akio and Gordon wanted to kill him but were eventually convinced by Echo to just pass the old ghoul by. Soon enough, the ghoul’s insults faded into the distance and the ruins of Salt Lake City lay directly in front of them.

The next notable location the group came across would be a fortified gas station on the outsikirts or Salt Lake City. Gordon could see crow cages with bodies inside hanging from the walls of the gas station fort, so he hoped to avoid the place. However, Akio insisted they at least check the place out to see if they could get supplies before going deeper into the ruins. He volunteered the scout the place out to see if it was safe to go inside. Akio’s scouting found that the gas station was run by a warlord who kept order within the fort’s walls and discouraged raiders. Going back to their temporary camp, Akio told his companions, and they moved out.

Entering the fortified gas station through the gates, the group saw the fort was named Zarahemla and was quickly welcomed by the warlord in charge, Gears. Gears was a lean handsome cyborg who seemed surprisingly polite for a wasteland warlord. He welcomed to little group to trade and stay as long as they liked. From there, the trio separated to gather supplies. Akio moved to get some more food, and in the process, he learned that the fort had only recently come under Gears’s rule. He also found a family of Mormons living in the fort and asked them about New Canaan for Gordon’s sake. The father told Akio that he had not been to New Canaan in years, but that they had been doing fine the last time he had heard anything about them. The Mormons was just happy that Gears tolerated them, unlike the fort’s last warlord. After gathering up all their supplies, the group left the gas station to go deeper into the ruins of Salt Lake City.

The Great Salt Lake to Twin Falls

"Goddamn Mormons, polite motherfuckers say they won’t sell me chems! Sure, they can marry sixteen women, but God forbid if I want to shoot up just once and a while!"
― Akio voicing some complaints

The ruins of Salt Lake City turned out to be safer than the group had expected, as they were mostly abandoned besides the occasional scavenger or raider gang. The little group managed to make it through the ruins of the city relatively quickly. Akio, Echo, and Gordon managed to make it through the ruins for a week or so until they made it to the shores of the Great Salt Lake.

It was on the shores of the lake on the interstate that the group met its first great threat in Salt Lake City. Akio sighted a bright figure in the distance coming towards them, and he notified his companions of whatever it was that was ahead. Soon enough, it became clear what the figure was: a glowing deathclaw. The deathclaw was running straight towards the group, and the Yakuza made a run for it. Gordon however did not run and stood strong against the deathclaw. Akio was not worried about Gordon though, he was more worried about his own survival.

A great shriek rang out that made both the Yakuza look back. There, they were in disbelief when they saw Gordon still standing with the deathclaw smoking at his feet. Akio and Echo slowly walked towards Gordon while asking the man what had happened to the deathclaw. They kept walking towards Gordon until they were right in front of him, and that was when Akio smelled the familiar smell of sulfur once again. Without warning, Gordon raised his amber eyes and began to talk, though not to either of the Yakuza it seemed. "We're here, there, then and now," Gordon moaned with perturbing self-satisfaction. Beneath a sunless sky, the land boiled in every direction. Rivers of gold-flecked magma churned violently around their little island of baked earth and cracked interstate. Whistling tubes of polypous, barely tangible flesh flew effortlessly through the ash clouds. They coaxed towers of basalt from the mutable earth with their tittering, breathless shrieking. The two Yakuza gaped in disbelief, frozen so perfectly still that even their last breaths couldn't escape. "Too soon, ha ha, much too soon, on second thought," Gordon dribbled between lungfulls of toxic vapor. Blink, and the vista was gone.

With that, Gordon walked off down the road without any warning. Echo ran after Gordon, yelling more questions. Meanwhile, Akio took a little time to take look at the dead glowing deathclaw. Upon closer examination, Akio found no marks on the deathclaw’s body with the unusual thing being its smoking body. Also, it seemed that the deathclaw had been visibly diseased which seemed to have sent it into a craze. After pulling a tooth out of the deathclaw’s mouth, Akio ran to catch up with the rest of his group. He at the same time tried to put the experience with Gordon to the back of his mind.

For the next few days, Echo tried to weasel answers out of Gordon but did not succeed. While Echo was questioning Gordon one day, the group came across another traveler going to the opposite way. A brawny clean-cut man, the traveler fingered his handgun and asked the group about their business on the road. Gordon quickly answered that they were headed to New Canaan. The man shook his head, introduced himself as Ronan, and said he was from what used to be New Canaan. Further inquiry led to Ronan telling the group about the sack of New Canaan by the savage White Legs. The Yakuza were disappointed to hear that the Mormons has been massacred while Gordon seemed more enraged. Ronan told the group that he was heading west towards NCR and warned the group from going further into the wasteland. Nevertheless, the group remained determined to go on after Ronan wished them well. Akio asked Gordon whether he would still be stopping in New Canaan, and Gordon responded that he was not entirely sure.

Soon after leaving Ronan behind, the group was attacked one last time by a small band of 80s ranging outside their usual range. The Yakuza and Gordon managed to weave through the ruins, and after a quick firefight, the group managed to escape the 80s pursuing them through some of the blasted remains of Salt Lake City.

By the time the group had left the ruins of Salt Lake City, they had expended their supply of Rad-X and Radaway. Though this concerned the Yakuza, Gordon seemed indifferent to the predicament. Akio assumed Gordon was just being arrogant about his own constitution, not because Gordon might not be affected by radiation at all and might have been taking the chems just to seem normal. Luckily though, the group would not need to combat radiation anymore as they had left the affected area.

The journey from Salt Lake City to Ogden had not been a long one before the war, and it proved to be a short one for the group after it. The site of New Canaan in Ogden was where Gordon had made his destination, but now that seemed rather moot by the fact it had been sacked. This fact was confirmed by the fact that the town was in ruins when the group arrived one afternoon. They could tell the damage to New Canaan has been recent as there were still unburied bodies of Mormons and some White Legs in the streets and in the burned remnants of the houses. The group decided to split up, scavenge for supplies in the ruins, and meet back at the center of town at sundown. Gordon took a second to say that if the two Yakuza found anything gold, to tell him as it might be what he was looking for. Akio and Echo were slightly confused but agreed to tell Gordon if they found anything gold.

Akio found horrific scenes littered among New Canaan’s ruins. The undamaged houses were filled with dead Mormon families slaughtered in savage fashion, and the burned houses only contained ashes. There were precious few supplies in these places. The New Canaan sheriff's office proved to be much more interesting. There, Akio found the scene of a last stand it seemed. The sheriff had seemingly tried to get together his deputies but had been forced to barricade himself inside before being overwhelmed by the tribals ravaging his town. Akio found the sheriff on the ground with his brains bashed in with three White Legs sprawled around him and a .45 revolver clutched in his right hand. In the other hand was a key ring. Picking up the gun and the keys, Akio continues to poke around the sheriff’s office. The two people in the cells had been also slain by the White Legs. Akio was to finally find the gun cabinet and unlocked it, only to find a hunting rifle and some ammunition.

After looting the sheriff office and poking through a couple more ruins, Akio doubled back to the center of town. He got there first and sat down on a piece of debris to wait for the others. It was nightfall before Echo returned. Meanwhile, Gordon did not return.

Akio has little concern, thinking that the odd little man had probably just left of his own accord. However, Echo was concerned and told Akio that they should look for their companion. Akio begrudgingly did so. It took the two an hour so but they eventually found something.

Inside one of the ruined buildings, the Yakuza found a cellar door that had been unceremoniously thrown open. A smell of thick sulfur came from the interior of the cellar. Akio, now curious, told Echo he was going down there to see what was up. He took out his Desert Eagle and flashlight while descending the stairs. Echo followed Akio’s lead since he had the flashlight.

The cellar was a large place and smelled dank, like it had not been accessed in years, perhaps even centuries. That was on top of the smell of sulfur which seemed to grow weaker further into the cellar. As Akio descended the stairs to the cellar, he began to scan his flashlight around to see if Gordon was anywhere to be found. He was nowhere to be seen. However, Akio was shocked to find a fresh corpse of a young woman leaning against the far wall of the cellar. He immediately alerted Echo to this, and two cautiously approached corpse.

The woman was very much dead. At first, Akio surmised that she had died from malnutrition before Echo pointed out that the back of her head was a bloody pulp. Someone had beat her head against the wall until death it seemed. After inspecting the corpse, the Yakuza spread out to look around. The cellar was mostly just shelves for supplies now long gone. Akio had almost given up on finding anything else until he looked under the stairs. There, he found an empty suitcase, a single burnt candle, and and an empty black jumpsuit. The suit was obviously Gordon’s. Akio voiced his thoughts that none of this made any sense to which Echo agreed in his roundabout way. It was then that Akio saw some sort of images scratched into the wall above the aforementioned items. The symbols were a series of circles roughly hewn into the wall. As Akio looked at them longer, the circles almost seemed to glow. That motivated Akio to touch the symbols on the wall.

In the blink of an eye, a series of images flashed before Akio’s eyes. The first was of someone else descending into the cellar with something shiny and metallic. The golden plates, they must have been here. The next was of a repulsive ape-like creature with inky black skin throwing itself at the foot of a glowing altar. The twisted creature looked somehow familiar but Akio only thought of Gordon for a second before the next image appeared. The last image was of a great explosion with what sounded like flute music playing at a deafening frequency. Akio’s visions ended with a sort of explosion themselves, a sort of pop.

With that, Akio fell backwards and instantly scrambled away from the symbols on the wall. Echo was alarmed by this and asked what was wrong. Akio simply said that they to leave New Canaan, now. When Echo moved to touch the symbols as well, Akio caught his hand and said that he should not do that. Echo decided it was useless to argue but said that he was going to drag the woman to the surface to bury her, as it just did not seem right to leave her to rot down in the cellar. Akio murmured a reply and headed back up the stairs.

Akio spent the rest of the day and that night shooting up to forget about the entire experience while Echo buries the woman and did other things in New Canaan while Akio was camped outside. The next day, the two left the area of New Canaan and never looked back. Gordon Whateley’s disappearance seemed to both relieve and ache the Yakuza as they now wanted to know what the hell he was but would likely never know.

It only took a few days of traveling north along the road to come across another community, this one less ruined. Bear River was a homesteader community that had been home to Mormons exiled from New Canaan for trying to reintroduce polygamy. The two Yakuza were met with shotguns wielded by Bear River's leader Dallin Woodmere and his protege Miller Cox. It was initially a tense situation. Echo’s calm words and everyone lowering their weapons managed to alleviate the situation though.

The Mormons proved to be much more hospitable once the Yakuza proved themselves to be friendly. Dallin offered the travelers a place to stay for the night but made it clear that they could only stay for a day and a night. He still distrusted them for their appearance as raiders.

The Yakuza stayed at Bear River and ate dinner with the Mormons. At dinner, they ate brahmin stew and funeral potatoes. Akio asked Dallin about chems and his own missing father while Echo asked Dallin about the road ahead and New Canaan. Dallin told Akio that Mormons did not deal in chems anywhere and he had not heard of any other wandering Yakuza. That disappointed Akio. While he sadly ate his funeral potatoes, Dallin and Echo had a more meaningful conversation. Akio tried to talk to some of the women and Miller, but they all seemed reluctant to say anything.

The next day, the Yakuza left Bear Creek and after a day put the Great Salt Lake behind them. Their next destination, Twin Falls, lay ahead. The Yakuza trekked along I-84 north through mostly tribal territory, avoiding much of the people there. There were a few towns, but the Yakuza also left those alone, not wanting to be confused for raiders like at Bear River.

The two were forced off the Interstate near the ruins of Snowville by tribal raiders entirely decked out in bones. Akio and Echo initially just wanted to avoid the raiders but it turned out that the raiders were following the two after they left the main road. In a similar fashion to some of their previous travels, a chase through the desert ensued. There were several close scrapes with the tribals, but the Yakuza managed to always outrun them.

Things came to a head when both groups arrived at Promontory Summit. Akio and Echo found the remnants of two train engines and decided to hole up there. The tribal raiders came upon Promontory Summit and were intimidated by the ancient “iron brahmin”. Afraid to confront the Yakuza, the tribal raiders retreated back into the desert. After a day or so, Echo told Akio that they should head back to I-84 to head towards Twin Falls. Akio was tired by these words and simply stayed quiet, shooting up some Med-X. Echo continued to give Akio more encouragement to go on. Akio relented to Echo’s words eventually until they left the ruined train engines to get back on the road.

It took a couple more days before the Yakuza made their way back to I-84. It did not take long for them to have another encounter, though this would be a more positive one. In the dying light of one day, the Yakuza were alarmed by the appearance of two bright lights behind them on the Interstate. As the lights got closer, Akio dragged the enthralled Echo off the road and tried to wave down the vehicle he knew was approaching. It might be a raider or an enemy, but that was a risk Akio was willing to take at this point. The armored truck barreling down the Interstate stopped besides Akio and Echo as he waved it down. After the armored truck stopped, the front door opened and a short olive-skinned man stepped out with a pistol on his hip. The Yakuza yelled to the man that they were no threat, and he let down his guard to greet the two. The trucker introduced himself as “Aziz the Trucker”, a trader who operated between Boise and Salt Lake City. Akio was very upfront and asked for a ride from Aziz. Aziz said that they could come along with him, but they would have to pay in some way. This was solved by the pair by giving Aziz the golden jewelry originally given to them by Gordon Whateley. Akio had wanted to get rid of the stuff anyways. Aziz welcomed the two aboard after getting the gold and got on the road again.

The ride from that point to Twin Falls was mercifully short. Echo slept most of the one while Akio grilled Aziz for answers to various questions: have you seen other Yakuza, what are the conditions of the settlements ahead, what are our origins, and how did you come into possession of the armored truck. Aziz replied by first saying he had never seen anyone like Akio or Echo before. Then, he went on the explain the political state of New Twin Falls and the Boise Wasteland. Akio was shocked to hear of the state of Boise, but he remained determined in his mission. Aziz went to explain the Arabic origins of his family and how they had been traders since the Great War. The thrifty trucker himself had scavenged his vehicle over more than a decade with the help of various mechanics. Akio was fascinated by Aziz, and they talked for hours and hours.

Twin Falls to Boise

"We are no monsters, we're moral people, and yet we have the strength to do this. This is the splendor of our achievement."
―Echo encouraging Akio to finish their journey

Aziz’s armored truck arrived at New Twin Falls in record time. Aziz was pretty familiar with the route so it was an easy ride. The town was situated on the northern side of a bridge outside of the ruined city of Twin Falls. The armored truck was allowed across the bridge after some review, and the little group trundled into New Twin Falls.

With the arrival at their destination, Akio and Echo exited the armored truck and wished Aziz goodbye. The cheerful trucker wished the two Yakuza goodbye, and he went about his own business in New Twin Falls. The Yakuza themselves entered New Twin Falls to look for supplies before setting out for Boise, their final destination. Akio headed for the Snake River Traders & Outfitters general store while Echo just kind of wandered around. Akio bought a great deal of ammunition and food, but he was unable to buy a laser pistol because the SRTO’s stock had been bought out by an unknown group. This frustrated Akio, but he still left the general store loaded down with supplies to find Echo. He found Echo at the local lodge of the Frontiersmen joking around with Gustav Rickenbacker, a Grand Huntsman. Akio was suspicious of the Frontiersmen as they reminded him of NCR, and he urged Echo to leave with him. Echo told Akio to loosen up and told him that the Frontiersmen had some things that might be of interest, specifically a hookah in their lodge. Gustav asked Akio to join them, and he did, cautiously.

Akio and Echo spent the night at the lodge talking to Gustav and the other Frontiersmen about their respective experiences on the road while smoking the hookah. The Yakuza related much of their story (excluding their raider origins) while the Frontiersmen told of their recent clashes with the Imperial Realm. The Yakuza were amused by the fact there were Legion imitators this far north and were further surprised when told about Legate Jigatahi's Legion. The most productive part of the conversation was when the Frontiersmen gave the two advice on the road to Boise: don’t go and if you do, avoid large groups at any cost. This did not deter Akio, but he became more aware of the danger he was walking into that had been hinted at by that old map he bought in New Reno. Nevertheless, he wanted to see his father and no stories about power-armored bogeys or horrific mutants would stop him now.

The next day, the Yakuza left New Twin Falls on the road for Boise. With them, they took a single brahmin. They saw that since they were now out of the desert, they could keep a pack animal alive to carry their supplies. Echo affectionately called the brahmin Bowie though Akio argued in favor of keeping the animal unnamed. The Yakuza eventually agreed upon naming the brahmin Bowie to Akio's chagrin. The interstate ahead, I-84, was fraught with danger, but the Yakuza were closer to their destination than ever before. Akio's resolve wavered several times as they made their way north, but Echo gave him encouragement.

As the Yakuza neared Boise, they passed through the contested territory of Owyhee Watershed Tribes and Legate Jigatahi's Legion. Groups of legionaries and tribal warbands were common sights that the group worked hard to avoid rather than fight. The brahmin made hiding a bit harder, but they managed. I-84 was actually a less dangerous interstate than I-80 had been, as much of the fighting in the area was done off the road between tribals and the Legion.

Akio and Echo finally caught sight of the Boise Wasteland for the first time in the fall of 2281. They caught sight of it at night, when it was only lit by lights of sparse settlements and firefights in the ruins. Akio looked upon the ruins and felt a tinge of disappointment. Could his father still be alive in there?

Still in Search of Father

Life in Boise

"Well, maybe Dad is dead. Actually, nah... He's around somewhere."
―Akio in denial

In short, probably not. The first couple of weeks in Boise were spent scouting out the area to see where Akio's father might be. The Yakuza assessed the local factions, and they clashed with some of the Boise Mutant Horde once or twice. After getting the lay of the land, Akio and Echo decided to get the easy part done first and investigate the settlements of Boise to see where Akio's father might be. Their first destinations were the Brotherhood-held towns of Gordentown and Whistlers Grove. They found nothing there but suspicion and rumors. In particular, one old geezer in Gordentown remembered a Yakuza that looked similar to Akio passing through nearly twenty years back. The Yakuza took a lot of LSD and then wandered off into the wasteland again. The old man assumed that the Yakuza had just been shot or eaten by mutants. Akio refused to believe the old man's speculations, and he decided to continue to look for his father. Echo simply shrugged and went along with it.

That old man's statements were the last thing Akio has heard or seen of his father. Searching through the rest of the Boise Wasteland, Akio found no other indications that his mysterious father had ever been there. It has been six years now, and the two Yakuza are still living a transient lifestyle in Boise. The two now act as mercenaries, bounty hunters, and scavengers. Akio is still looking for his father obstinately, but the hope of finding him has faded significantly. His chem addiction has gotten worse over the years, yet Echo stays beside him without asking him to improve. Akio's life is just a stream of quick jobs and indulgence of chems. He sometimes tries to remember his journey in great detail but struggles to do so, often having to ask Echo to remember for him. His memories of Gordon Whateley and his memories of his life in New Reno are especially sparse. Akio does not know why he cannot remember things, but he tries not to think about it.

Personality

"Mother always said, dumplings over flowers."
―Akio

Akio is a quiet anxious man who ran with multiple Yakuza gangs before finding his true calling: discovering the identity of his father in the Boise Wasteland. Akio was always the outsider of the various Yakuza he ran with in his younger years. However, Akio more than made up for his quiet unsociable nature by being a dangerous fighter, a practical thinker, and a zealous adherent to the Yakuza code of conduct. He also adopted the slang of the New Reno area. However, his anxious nature and the destruction of the gangs he ran with eventually caused Akio to fall into despair. He started taking chems and became a lone Yakuza wandering the wasteland. Akio’s self-destructive behavior continued until he had a sort of epiphany in the desert where he decided to look for his father. Akio’s chance meeting with Echo and his journey to Boise have given him some meaning again.

Currently, Akio remains rather anxious with a rather rigid temper. Akio’s quiet practical nature has persisted even though he takes quite a few chems currently. The chems, mostly Med-X and occasionally Psycho, have mostly been taken to assist in combat (at the least, that was how it started). He prefers utility to aesthetics, buying equipment and weapons based almost purely upon their effectiveness. That being said, Akio’s chem habit can cloud his better judgement, and when under the influence, he can seem almost like a wholly different person. When traveling alone, Akio usually takes the opportunity to train or shoot up.

Appearance

Akio is ethnically Japanese, the result of a love affair between a Yakuza and a waitress working as an informant for Yakuza in New Reno. He is a short man but is quite muscular, the result of years of training. His muscles (and tattoos) are seen quite plainly due to Akio’s simple dress, a large tunic emblazoned with the Rising Sun Flag with a mostly bare chest. Akio also has a cloak in case the sun overpowers him. His face is often obscured by a large mask made up of leather strips and goggles. This mask is something Akio puts on every morning, and often he becomes sloppy, with hair sticking out of the mask. Other notable features of Akio’s appearance include some dogtags he wears around his neck taken from murdered NCR troopers and his Wakizashi he wears at his side. The rest of Akio’s small weapons are hidden within his clothing.

Family

  • Unknown - An unknown wandering Yakuza who impregnated numerous women from Boise to The Glow. Location and identity currently unknown.
    • Tomoko - Washerwoman working for the Wrights in New Reno, a hard worker and a loving mother, a bit oblivious to Akio's various problems and run-ins with authorities.
      • Akio - Yakuza from New Reno, chem addict, searching for his father.
    • Alexandra Hernandez - Deceased waitress from Dayglow, a fiery irrational woman, possibly mentally ill.
      • Elliot Dresden - NCR bureaucrat living in Shady Sands, adopted at a young age by a wealthy family, a rather boring man, hair trigger temper.
      • Naomi Hernandez - Prostitute living in The Boneyard, chem addict, grew up on the street, dull to the world
    • Cheryl Buchanan - Deceased caravaner from Whistlers Grove, lived a Bohemian lifestyle, self-centered, imaginative problem solver.
      • Hiro Buchanan - Star Paladin of the 1st Company of the Idaho BOS, the most decorated soldier in the chapter, extremely bigoted against both wastelanders and mutants.
    • Hannah Forsyth - Farmer's daughter living in Grant's Pass, daring and stubborn, ostracized from her community for being a single mother, looking for a purpose.
      • Jazz Jay - Adopted son of General Homer Jay from Grant's Pass, teenage hell-raiser, impersonal, yearns for understanding but clings to seclusion.

Equipment

Akio’s primary weapons are the Wakizashi and throwing knives, the standard for any Yakuza. Other weapons in Akio’s arsenal include spiked knuckles, a Desert Eagle, and a knife. Akio rarely makes use of his Desert Eagle and cherishes the gun to some degree.

Quotes

By

"No smart talk tonight, Echo. I want to go to sleep early."
―Akio

About

"Siblings? None that I know of."
―Star Paladin Hiro Buchanan
"I don't like your fashion business mister, and I don't like these drugs that keep you thin."
―Echo
This has been written by MongoosePirate. Please contact this user before editing this article.
Northwest Commonwealth