|Date of birth:||2240|
|Date of death:||2283|
|Occupation:||Salvager, NCR Trooper, Bandit, Scalp Hunter, Vigilante|
The son of a merchant and a citizen of the Shi, Tom would grow up to serve in the NCR Army, become a Bandit in Arizona, a scalp hunter and eventually a Lawmen in Baja California. All with his Cyberdog Achilles at his side and revolver on his hip.
Tracing Tom's history requires going back to the days of his father's youth. Tom's father, Leigh Harris was born in the Colorado town of Red Sand. Here he spent most of his younger days helping his father dig wells and shooting at geckos with his Father's .38 Police Special. However at a young age Leigh took off from Red Sand and traveled South into Arizona when he was only 18, there he founded Powwel Traders, taking the name from the town he had heaquarted his company in. From there he began to run his caravan company, running caravans all across the American Southwest, at the peak of his company's power, he had four different caravans wandering between Two Sun and New Jerusalem trading with every settlement they came across and allowing Leigh to grow rich off the caravan trade. However success wasn't to last for Leigh, and his enterprise as one by one the far reaching caravans were waylayed by vicious raiders and bandits and Leigh was forced to leave Arizona lest he wish to die a slow death of starvation. Moving West, he followed the roads to San Francisco where in the ruins of that city he met his future wife; Anne Liang, Anne started off working as a courier for Leigh's new courier service and their relationship grew from there until Anne and Leigh were engaged and a few months later; married.
After their marriage, Anne was soon pregnant with their first child whom they later found out was a boy. When Anne was first declared pregnant, Leigh didn't want to have his newborn son growing up in the streets of San Francisco and thus he packed up his new family and moved them South towards the Boneyard. There they settled in the small town of Adytum, where Leigh sought work in the town's ammunition plant. There he worked all day and usually well into the night assembling bullets for sale to merchants and mercenaries. However, his struggle was not to perpetuate much longer as the NCR came down hard on the unfair proactices of the employers and made for better working conditions within the town. When Tom was born in 2240, his father had left his job at the ammunition plant for a position as a foreman for a salvage crew working the ruins of the Boneyard. Tom was born into this life and at a young age accompanied his father's salvaging crew into the ruins of Los Angeles to recover usuable materials to be brought back to the buyers in New Adytum. When he wasn't working with his father, he was out helping his mother weed the town's corn patch or down in the caves helping to tend to the Hydrophonics Farm.
When Tom turned 16 he was becoming more and more restless, in a town where the closest person to his age was either a decade younger than him, he began to feel along among the town's hardworking industrial workers and the town's younger generation. However, his lonliness was somewhat reversed when one day while on a salvaging run he encoutered an injured dog lying among the ruins. Upon further inspection, he discovered the canine had two robotic legs, one of which seemed damaged at the ankle. Picking the dog up he brought himback to Adytum where he consulted the town mechnic for help. The mechanic after some inspection of the dog made repairs using parts from an old robot he had found out among the ruins. He was able to repair the dog's ankle joint and several other parts of him that were damaged, giving the cyberdog new life. Deciding to adopt the robotic canine, Tom named him Achilles. However as he grew older, life in Adytum continued to be more and more boring for Tom. Thus when he turned 17, he decided to leave Adytum and enlist in the NCR Army.
Upon enlisting in the NCR Army, Tom said goodbye to his family, neighbors, and his faithful companion Achilles. Three weeks later when he arrived at his training camp; Camp Fontana, he was suprised by the sudden appearence of Achilles outside the camps barb-wire fence. Achilles clearly unable to live without his master had followed Tom to his camp and every weekend when Tom and his friends went into town for a night at the local pubs and cantinas, Tom's four-legged companion trotted along beside him. This went on for several weeks until finally Tom's unit, the 8th Infantry battalion decided to adopt Achilles as their mascot. Being inducted into the NCR military, Achilles was given a fresh coat of olive drab paint accompanied by "New California Republic Army" painted in gold on Achilles' robotic flanks. After three months of hard training, the 8th Infantry was shipped out to the active warzone in the state of Maxson, to help take on the Brotherhood of Steel.
The 8th's arrival into the state of Maxson found them being quartered in a ruined, mud filled camp. Months upon months of hard combat with Brotherhood Paladins and weeks of torrential rain had turned the camp into a living nightmare for the troopers posted there as they slept in foxholes and slit trenches filled up to their waists in cold water, slipped and slid in mud that soon covered all equipment and their uniforms, suffering through all of this while dodging laser bolts from Brotherhood Paladins and mortar rounds coming from their base at Lost Hills.
Tom would end up spending several months walking about the various roads of Maxson fighting off Brotherhood attacks and ambushes. Even returning to base didn't provide much of a respite from the violence as the Brotherhood would frequently attack the base, turning the mud filled slosh into an even more pulverized mess, with bits of humans mixed in. For weeks the mud covered NCR troopers and Tom fought off attack after attack from equally mud covered Brotherhood Paladins over a spread of land that was hardly worth the blood shed. The 8th suffered heavily during the Brotherhood War, and when it was withdrawn from its post with a fresh battalion taking its place, it had suffered 40% casualties. Those who survived were left extremely war-weary and disillusioned.
Battle of Arizona Spillway
However it wasn't until the battle of Arizona Spillway that Tom truly became disillusioned with the NCR and his government, the 8th Infantry battalion was sent to reinforce the NCR defenders of Arizona Spillway. The Spillway was one of two NCR bases on the Legion side of the Colorado River and had been under near constant attack since Caesar had started pressing for the Mojave in earnest. When the 8th arrived there, the 'base' looked more like the perfect image of chaos than a military installation. Fires raged among the tent city of the base, the cries of the wounded filled the air, and the flashes and retort of small arms fire echoed all around, giving the camp a very hellish look in the blackness of the night.
For the next three weeks, the 8th would fight hard trying to hold the base's perimeter, but the constant Legion raids and assaults once again whittled down the battalion to a mear skeleton force as the NCR eventually began to evacuate its troops from the camp. It was during the evacuation that Tom and his squad were told to cover the withdrawal of their two sister squads, over the process of two hours the other two squads evacuated, while Tom and his squad held off wave after wave of Legionnaires. Tom's commander would note this and would later put Tom in for a Star of Sierra Madre, however, if his actions then wouldn't earn him his star then his actions during the second half of the evacuation would. The camp's weak perimeter was finally breached when the Legion had slaves run up to the defenses with explosives strapped to themselves and rushed troops through the holes in the line. The base began to turn into a quagmire of confused fighting and hand to hand combat. However Tom's platoon leader; Lieutenant Tycho Gilles fell the remnants of his platoon back to the crossing point and setup a perimeter, this allowed for the safe passage of the camp's medical personnel and gave an exit to those few NCR Troopers and Rangers who could fight their way out of the melee.
However during the process of holding this new perimeter, Lieutenant Gilles was killed and Tom, being the next highest ranking officer took charge. He kept his men in order, helped direct wounded to the rear and artillery fire down onto the heads of the attacking Legionaires. However in the craziness of the fight he ended up calling artillery down onto his fellow trooper's heads and watched as whole squads were overrun by attacking Legionaires, when he requested more men to go out and rescue some of these entrapped units, he was flatly refused by his superiors. When his unit was finally withdrawn, he went away badly scarred by what he had seen and thus began to suffer the effects of PTSD. However following the battle, and word getting out about his platoon's final stand he was awarded the Star of Sierra Madre by Congressmen John Reynolds of New Essex, however he had finally had enough of the military's bureaucracy and angered overing seeing his fellow soldiers abandoned to the Legion he left the Army when his enlistment was up the next year.
The Thorn in Caesar's Side
Soon after leaving the NCR Army, Tom found himself out of a job, not having many other skills outside of being a soldier he tried to return to the profession by enlisting with a band of mercenaries known as The Californians, but was turned down due to his lack of experience and mental health issues. Frustrated by this constant rejection he turned to a life of crime, using an old .45 Colt he bought from a merchant and wrapping a dew rag around his face, he entered into a life of petty theft, holding up caravans, travelers, and stores. After every job he pulled he would flee to one of the many criminal hideouts the NCR had yet to clean of its vermin, there he would sell off his stolen and use the money to get food for himself and his faithful companion. Eventually, he fell in line with a gang of cattle rustlers calling themselves the Cave Wall Gang. With these men, he crisscrossed New California stealing cattle from nearly every ranch they came across and flipping the cattle to black market dealers almost as soon as they got into their hands. However, eventually, they robbed the wrong people and the NCR sic the Rangers after them and forced the gang to make a run for less organized territories after the Rangers attacked their hideout.
With their leader dead and hiding out in the rough and tumble lands of the Mojave Wasteland; Tom, taking charge of the gang, decided it was best to get as far out of the NCR's reach as possible. Moving to the town of Caliente they planned their next move, Tom suggested that they try out Caesar's lands. His partners looked at him as if he were crazy. However Tom was adamant about the idea and managed to convince them to give it a go, the worst that would happen, he reasoned, they'd spend some time on a cross. They moved into Caesar's land and chose to hideout in a small cave for the night and get a feel for the area before making any robberies. Three days later, one of Tom's men had located a major trade route on which many of the Legion friendly merchants moved their merchandise, setting up an ambush they caught three different caravans out in the open and promptly held them up for their goods before killing the drivers and their pack brahmin. As their number of successes grew, so did their hubris and as a result, they grew more reckless and after ambushing a cattle drive and allowing one of the drivers to escape the Legion began to hunt for them.
It was late one night when a Legion Explorer discovered their camp and returned to his unit to report their position. The gang, drunk on cactus liquor hardly knew what hit them when they were jumped by 25 Legionnaires. In the resulting fight, only Tom managed to escape the Legion ambush. Making his way South, avoiding Legion patrols on the way he crossed the border into Mexico pursued by a Legion party. However, the Legion quickly turned back, as Tom had entered into the lands controlled by the vicious militia known as the Los Avispones de Acero. The militia had been formed by the locals to combat Legion slaving parties that often came to enslave the local Sonorans, and had earned a fearsome reputation among Legion commanders and slavers as a group that was not to be taken lightly. Stopping in at a small roadside tavern, he collected himself, fed himself and Achilles along with getting him some much needed repairs. They then set off West, for the Baja peninsula and hopefully safer lands, along the way he had a run in with the infamous Comanchero; Johnny West. The infamous "Comanchero General" had just razed a village when Tom came upon it, making sure to steer clear of the ruin he watched in horror as the seared survivors of the town were shot and their corpses tossed into a pit. Arriving in Baja California he stopped in at another saloon, and met his soon to be boss; Norman Herrick.
The Baja KillersUnder Nigel he joined up with the later to be infamous scalp hunter gang; the Baja Killers. With this group of men and women, he would tear across the Southern half of the Baja Peninsula, killing, butchering and murdering anyone Nigel identified as a target for his gang of mercenaries. Like all the members of the Killers, Tom did acts that were horrific and brutal, killing men, women, and children then scalping their dead or still dying corpses to collect a handful of caps to keep himself and his canine from starving to death. However when the Killers' rein of terror ended in the Peninsula, he was left with a troubled conscious and numerous psychological scars as he felt the weight of his actions set in. The fact that he had spent most of his life killing his fellow man weighed heavily upon his psyche, and he resolved that if he was going to kill, he'd at least do it for a good purpose.
Tom traveled up and down Baja California, trying to right the wrongs he had committed in the past. However, his sins were hard to forget and for some even harder to forgive as he repeatedly had to leave town when local NCR police or bounty hunters began to catch up to him. At one point he had a posse of NCR Rangers, troopers, MPs, and members of a local Sheriff's office on his tail. Yet he always managed to escape capture, when he wandered into the town of Crocker's Bluff however he was confronted by a group of MPs. The MPs were members of the 18th Military Police Battalion, a unit famously known for its penchant for brutality and corruption. The MPs after stopping Tom demanded that he pay a fee to enter the town, Tom at first refused but was roughed up and promptly had the money stolen once he had been beaten unconscious.
Awaking in the town clinic he was informed by the town doctor; Jordan Haynes that these sort of incidents were common and that the MP in charge of the town; Lieutenant Bull Bentley was as corrupt as a man could get, who ran the town like it was his own personal domain and was supposedly at the center of a chem smuggling ring. After leaving the hospital, Tom resolved himself to help the poor people of Crocker's Bluff and stop the corruption and abuse of the local military.
- "Thats right, I've killed women and children, I've killed just about anything thats walked or crawled at one point or another. And I'm here to kill you Bull for what you did to my town."
- ―Tom to Sitting Bull Bentley, the corrupt MP who was infamous for his crime ring of corrupt NCR officials.