"There are few things as terrifying as a truly amoral man. Even more so when said man is a beast pretending to be a man."

- excerpts from Regulator Bowden's journal.

"Shanks" Wain, full name Shane Hank Williams Wain, otherwise known to locals as The Barghest or The Barghest of Boston, is a professional assassin and tracker for hire in the Commonwealth.

Unlike other types of mutants found in the Wastelands, Shanks has transformed into the form of a bipedal wolfdog. Due to the mutation, he also received all the senses that came with the animal, such as hearing, sight, smell, taste, agility and a foul temper.

He is the main protagonist and antihero of the Barghest blog story series.


Little is known about Shanks' previous life before the Great War. He is not entirely sure himself what his life was like, due to his regressive memory, save for a couple of details. He grew up with under the strict hand of his father and a meek mother. His father, Hank Wain, had been a soldier in several global conflicts. It is implied that his father never desired a child, but once Shanks was born he did what he could to form Shanks into his own image, using harsh discipline and order, and in turn earning the son's contempt. It has also been strongly implied that his father beat him.

Due to his stern up-growth, Shanks became disinterested in learning, often ending up in trouble at school. He instead preferred to roam the school hallways with his gang of hoodlums to prey on weaker students, or to engage in acts of mindless destruction after nightfall. He mellowed over time thanks to the help of some philosophy classes where he would meet his high school sweetheart and future wife Molly Waters. After a prom night, they ended up making love, resulting in Molly becoming pregnant. This put a strain, not only on their own relationship, but also Shanks' already difficult relationship with his father, who insisted that he would not shame the family name by marrying the girl. Shanks refused however, not wanting to leave Molly by herself, and so went against his father's wishes, and married Molly in a smaller ceremony. Angered by this, his father decided to disown him, cutting off all potential financial support from the Wain family.

Shanks had to struggle in order to make his life and marriage work, taking whatever jobs that came his way, whether or not he was qualified for them. The couple's daughter Shannon was born 9 months later. With little other alternative to keep his family supported, Shanks decided to make use of what experience his father had taught him and enlisted in the army, thinking that with no armed conflict he would be well paid and could keep his family going. In 2066, unbeknownst to him, the Gobi Campaign soon became a fact, and Shanks was drafted two months after his nineteenth birthday to serve his country during the Sino-American war. He was then stationed at an American outpost at Mandakh, Mongolia.

Over the blazing Gobi Desert his Vertibird was shot down by a rocket. He was the last man to leave the vehicle before fire had spread to its engines, causing it to explode mid-air. He dropped with a parachute and went temporarily mad with fear, believing that it wouldn't open before he reached the war-torn desert beneath him. Plenty of his comrades were killed, yet he somehow managed to land safely. Though he does not recall how he managed to activate his parachute. Down on the ground he kills a Chinese soldier out of pure reflex and then proceeds to stab the man to death with a combat knife, continuing even long after the man has died. He was found by the Corporal of a surviving survey squad who then proceeded to pull him away from the corpse, as Shanks had gone insane out of fear and grief.

Some time shortly before the Great War, he joined a secret governmental project, funded by West-Tek, as a test subject, exposing himself to a mutated strain of the FEV virus. Whatever the purpose of the project was it seemed be the cause of Shanks' own animal-like mutation. He inherited all the senses of the dog, as well as a remarkable healing capability and unnatural long lifespan.

Thanks to these attributes Shanks has established himself as one of the most deadliest and iconic assassins known, killing his enemies with swiftness, stealth, cruelty and cunning.

Some time after 2282, Shanks became a regular visitor to Goodneighbour, where he became good friends and drinking partners with the Ghoul mayor Hancock, and later his wife Naomi. According to Shanks, Naomi had almost kicked off one of his shins and that the damage had seemingly refused to heal, when he had called her "meat". As a result he always tries to call her by name.

In 2290, Shanks reluctantly joined Miller's Coalition, with the promise of caps, if he assisted in their assassination of Shrike. During this time he seems to find himself instantly attracted to Kayleigh Carruthers, whom he commonly and affectionately refers to as the "redhead" or "redmop".


Shanks demonstrating the effects of the "rabies command".

As part of a secret super-soldier program funded by West-Tek, Shanks has received a couple of extraordinary abilities of his own due to the mutation caused by the modified FEV virus. While the exact process and purpose of the project remains unknown, it has been implied that it was an attempt to apply the heightened senses of animals unto the human body, whereas the FEV virus was injected to serve as a sort of "adhesive" to the newly introduced strains of DNA. Whether the project turned out the way it was intended or not is not known, though the results were beneficial in creating a far more lethal soldier.

Shanks does not age physically and has an increased healing factor "a 100 times to that of the average human", as he himself claims. It also seems to have increased his physical strength and speed. This seems to be the objective benefits of the FEV virus. His dog-like senses includes that of agile reflexes, hearing, sight and sense of smell.

Shanks has claimed that he can remember scents the very moment he gets a whiff of them and can track them over distances of approximately 7 square kilometers, or even 1-2 square miles if the winds are favorable.

He has at times lost himself to fits of blind blood-lust and rage in the heat of the battle, no longer recognizing friend from foe, a trait he calls the "rabies command". It's not an inherit trait of his own personality, and seems to be triggered by a so far unknown factor, most likely a hidden embedded ability created by West-Tek's experiments: a battle command to be triggered by a certain undisclosed phrase or condition.


Shanks is crude. He is mean-spirited and is more often than not found in a foul mood. Centuries of hardship and bigotry has left him embittered and gruff, preferring to keep to himself than travel in large companies. He has little regard for the well-being of others. And though he generally lacks concern for the people around him, he is not completely bereft of conscience, and has established his own code of morale, principles and discipline. He seems to have weak spot for children and dogs, and will hesitate to harm them even when ordered to do so. He has a tendency to dwell on grievances and slights, no matter how major or trivial. Despite this he seems to find some certain amusement in petty name callings and trading insults, displaying a dry and cynical sense of humor.

Shanks seems to suffer from some unspecified type of regressive amnesia, as the memories of his pasts constantly shifts from being clear one day to a blur the other, not all too different from dementia, specifically Alzheimer's disease. Despite his confident persona, he seems very insecure about his own appearance to the point of self-loathing and cracking jokes at his own expense. It has also been revealed that he has contemplated suicide more than once, but that he has refrained from taking such an action until more of his past has been revealed to him.

Shanks often refer to people as "meat" instead of by their names, or "you". Whether it's an insult or just an unfortunate choice of moniker for them is up to speculation.



  • Shanks has at some point in his life watched a lot of Akira Kurosawa movies.
  • He enjoys listening to Elvis Presley.
  • His moniker "Barghest" is a reference to the mythical black dog of Northern English folklore.
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