The various groups, factions and gangs with Hathian have many different characteristics, yet a truth that appears universal is that they require reporters to wear a blindfold when being taken to wherever it is they want. If you are unlucky, then they are taking you somewhere you would never wish to be, but hopefully you are being brave, accepting the restriction to your sense so that you may interview someone or some important people with a message. That test of bravery as inevitably armed people take away your ability to see them means that you are truly at their mercy. The Hoppers took Joanne and I to their wedding, another pair of criminals took me to their shed, but this time, the Kogarashi took me to a basement.
I was aware that this interview with members of the Koga was likely to happen. However, having waited a few weeks I had been lulled back into a normal routine of working, studying and trying to find stories of interest to you. So when the text arrived from a number I didn’t recognise and told me Antone and Brandie were waiting for me and that someone would pick me up immediately, I was shocked back into nervousness.
But I wasn’t unprepared and so while this article will feature the views of the leaders of the Kogarashi, I will introduce it with what my research through interviews and other material had prepared me with. I think that while most will know of the Hathian Gangs and many will know of the Koga, not all will and without some background, their views would be presented without the context to give you, reader, the ability to make an informed view. So, let’s begin…
A little history
The first references I could find, researching the Koga via the web archive of the Observer was a reference to The Koga organizing human hunting… While I understand that some of these earlier activities in 2017 and so on may not reflect the organization as it is now, never-the-less, it appears that the group formed by blood and anger. It is important not to lose sight of this… While my research may have missed contextual clues or results, businesses, citizens and the HPD must surely be aware or be made aware of these bloody beginnings. At the time our Observer reporter noted that: “They said that once someone had killed a person with the armband, they were to wear the armband as proof of their achievement. An “Apex predator” would be named at the end of the hunt…”
There was a break in the Observer’s reporting between 2017 and 2020 with references to the Koga… But then they started up again…
I was going to meet this woman, the leader of the Koga. Notorious recently for featuring in a dark web video of her torture, but perhaps even more notorious for her interactions with the town and in this case the HPD… The article linked above shows how it required eight police officers to subdue Brandie, who at that time was (at least according to our reporter) only ‘whispered’ to be the Koga leader. As a result of this incident, HPD mugshots leaked to the press and when I met the woman in question later, I compared and contrasted the visage from 2020 with the woman I saw.
Of course, Antone, also appeared in Mugshots as well… featuring on the HPD’s most wanted…
The Koga keep delivering their form of justice to Hathian
Our website was then littered with various stories. Did the Koga really manage to sink the house of an HPD police officer? Did they almost take down the feared Officer Porkins in their search for their alleged member Cali? Did they capture Carole King, the known Twitter troll and tiny HPD terror? More seriously, they are accused of murdering a man outside the HPD for being an officer (although research shows this to be a complicated story), a brutal and chilling act that the Observer covered.
Hathian is a city of Gangs, yet some endure for far longer than others. During the interview I held this was a point that the Koga made to me repeatedly and this is backed up with evidence of them dismantling the infrastructure of the other gangs. In the linked article above a gang called the Los Oscuros fought the Koga and do they remain today? Not as far as their reporter can tell and the list of other ‘fallen’ gangs is extensive… still the wintery wind keeps blowing.
Are there still ‘the Immortals’, or perhaps ‘the Regulators’, what about ‘the Sumfai’, or ‘the Order’, ‘the Bloods’, ‘the Aces’, and others… Not that this Reporter has been able to find out in the last six months or so…. So, the Koga remain.
As I read tales of the feud between Brandie and others, in particular a Ms. Weymann of Lou’s bar in 2019, I feel that this research has been justified. I know more about what I am doing, who I am interviewing and some of their potential crimes or heroisms. As my eyes turn to the story about the plane crash of that Ms. Weymann, really, it does appear as the Koga are the biggest, toughest and perhaps most clinically, coldly, dangerous of all the gangs.
In the interview later, you’ll see the Koga glossed over my question about an attack against my colleague Joanne, stating that ‘punishment’ was only applied when merited. I don’t agree, justice is restorative and not about punishment. When gangs and HPD align in their methods then no one benefits. While my views won’t change the Koga, I never-the-less felt I needed to express it… Around the time of these attacks, an anonymous letter came to the Observer and stated that: “the Kogarashi are a very dangerous, criminal street gang that is out of control and needs to be put down like the rabid dogs they are by Hathian Police Department.” While poison pen letters without names must be treated with a pinch of salt, never-the-less the top linked article and other attacks paint a picture that is not pretty… Should I really interview them? Yes… things change, people change, but even if they don’t… light banishes shadows for a time and I’m trusting this article helps give people more information to make up their mind…
Drugs, nasty pills, evil liquids that hook, entice and entrap people into debt. HPD alleged that in 2020 they seized over $45m of contraband drugs and firearms from the Koga after a significant firefight in the City. Do I need to say again that drugs are bad? The financing of any organisation can contribute to it’s nature and the nature of drugs is hardly good. We’re not talking your medical MJ here…
A historian concludes
I will conclude with a quote from late 2019, a period where the Koga appeared highly active and perhaps supreme among the organisations in Hathian. These quotes and the history above were hopefully the prelude you required, reader, as we move into interviews, but I’ll leave you with this… something that was on my mind as I met with them…
“Since last summer the Kogarashi, the only gang still establishing its relevance among our streets, have been hitting businesses all along the central hub of this city. Smashing windows and merchandise, abusing employees and entrepreneurs, demanding money, and staking their claim on the territories. Are we making way for the seemingly reigning Queen, Brandie Kelly, and her henchman, Antone Camorra, to the likes of which we will bend a knee? Will we stay in our beds with our Netflix and Chill while she leaves her mark unchallenged and demands our obedience?“
Of course, prior to meeting with a gang such as the Koga, there’s only so much that history can tell us. We need to put that history through the eyes of current Citizens… Therefore I went around the City and obviously found that ‘on the record’ comments weren’t given. Was I nervous that perhaps I was interviewing Koga members? A little…
Female Interviewee 1: “Kogarashi pride themselves on being the oldest and most valid group here. At least to hear them tell it… Their leader is Brandie, who seems to also have Antone at her side, running things.”
Female Interviewee 2: “Koga? Fuck them, I don’t want to talk about them”
Male Interviewee 1: “Seen that video? Hot as hell…”
HPD Sgt. Ritter: “I cannot give detail on current investigations, but all names given are connected to drugs, rape, and cruel killings of innocents. They can be glad we have Miranda laws in the USA that even protect such vermin on our society”
Other sentiment was generally similar, a mixture of awe, fear and then from HPD a near universal loathing. On twitter we had HPD recently post their ‘score’ against the gangs and it did appear the Koga were pretty high up that list.
And now, meeting the Kogarashi in person…
So, now the new stuff… I met with Brandie and Antone and had the blindfold removed before being given some ground rules, but nothing that infringed my journalism. I looked around at the basement and the people I’d read so much about. Antone, dressed impeccably and to some extent outlandishly for the Hathian environment, Brandie more relaxed, clearly classically attractive but carrying wounds likely from her recent trauma that hid much of her face and body.
I squatted in front of the two who had taken position on a tattered sofa and got out my notebook.
GBTL Daiyu: “I guess this is where we have a chat?”
Antone: “Figured this would be a quiet enough spot to answer a few questions. Since you decided to give that lunatic Landon Fyre a platform, we thought it might be a good idea to have a response published and clear a few misunderstandings up.”
Brandie: “What he said”
That was a surprise to hear that Landon was a causal factor in this meeting… But with his quotes and thoughts breaching common decency, perhaps I should have expected someone to be seriously upset…
GBTL Daiyu:“So, ok… Landon and Della spouted a shit-ton of racism and posturing about things that would change and while I am kicking myself for not critically challenging him more during the ‘interview’… well, as far as I can tell, nothing much happened from that?”
Antone: “Well, we see this as a chance to call out Landon and the rest of these pigs on what this whole town already knows. That the cops aren’t trying to protect anyone. They run around harassing good people, like that poor Miss Hathian, stealing from businesses with fake fines and tickets, and when someone stands up to them, bringing out their SWAT vehicle and tazing everything in sight.”
He lent forward, animated now in energy showing through his voice and posture…
Antone: “You want real protection in this town, you don’t go to the cops. You come to us. That’s what we do. That’s why we put bounties on the worst offenders. We’re the balance on them.”
Brandie: “We do balance them out. There are cops that rape people in chair, withhold food, give people to others outside of the jail and some work with other gangs to give them an advantage. They spout off their racist diatribe and get away with it. They always get away with everything…”
I wasn’t surprised to hear these accusations, but as my research indicated, surely there was bad blood on all sides. How are citizens meant to take a side if every side is a Shark?
GBTL Daiyu: “But some would say that the HPD waxes and wanes. They have bad cops and good cops and sometimes more of the former… but when there are knives out or whatever, 911 still seems the best bet…”
I’d paused, thinking how best to weave the comment about Landon in.
GBTL Daiyu: “So Landon… my first time in jail, he pretended I assaulted him to get me more jail time… he called me all sorts of names and when falsely arresting me took pleasure in hurting me. But then months later he had the physical strength to pull me up from that bridge where a gang had left me dangling naked and near death… after a 911 call…. he saved my life and hasn’t asked for any payment since, so, what I’m saying is, if defund didn’t work and the bad apples are still there, what’s your solution? What would be better in your view and who or what would do it and Brandie I can believe your accusations, but I’ve seen people get that from gangs or crazies as well. Is it not fair to see HPD and, no offence, gangs such as yourselves, keeping a balance so that neither gets too powerful? Or do you think HPD is too powerful?”
Antone: “Maybe a soul or two with good intentions gets into the HPD once in awhile, hoping to make a change. But the thing is, we’ve been here a long time, and what we see is everyone who goes in there eventually comes out rotten. It’s just a matter of time. The so-called good ones get flipped, or they get run out.”
He paused, smiling, his hat shading his eyes from the bulb overhead.
Antone: “It’s actually funny you should mention that gang… We have proof the cops have been coordinating with them for months. Working side by side, turning a blind eye to scavenger activities. No doubt someone’s getting paid there. Maybe your paper should dig a little deeper…”
He paused again. No smiles this time. Will we investigate Scavengers? Well… never say never.
Antone: “Now…what’s the solution? We are. You talk about 911, but anybody who calls them knows it’s a fifty-fifty change the police will shoot you instead of helping you. But people in the know…they come to us. You got a business being harassed by other gangs…we can help. You a working girl just trying to make a living, we can help. The Kogarashi have been chased by the cops in this town for years, and they’ve never managed to put us away. We’ve seen other gangs come and go…we’re still here. Because unlike the others, we actually provide a service to people. Sure, the cops outgun us, because those idiots in City Hall keep caving and giving them their budget back. And for what? An ice cream machine? There’s your tax dollars at work.”
The ice-cream comment was neat, Carole King (see above) the self-appointed Union Rep had taken joy in claiming this was the outcome of the Mayor’s defund initiative.
Brandie: “Gangs are not there to serve and protect or take an oath, these injuries to me happened because the cops were working with the Jackals and handed me out of the jail under the pretence I was bailed out”
GBTL Daiyu: “I can believe that… I understand I was lucky in jail… hoses and cold showers aren’t anything like what you’re saying. For what it’s worth, I’m sorry… So, I can understand the protection aspect and I’m sure some businesses can benefit from that, especially considering both the bestial nature of some of the crime here but also as you say the 50/50 on HPD’s response… I think what we’d want to write about is how picking sides doesn’t lead to collateral damage? Say the Observer buys your protection, is that more or less of a target on us than before? I’d also like to know about any civic minded thoughts you have, what repudiates Landon’s racism for example?”
Antone: “You can’t help some collateral damage when the HPD is driving its cruisers into crowds of people at local restaurants. We don’t make it a habit of just randomly attacking people in the street. It’s bad for our business. If we hit someone, there’s a good reason. Most of the people we make arrangements with don’t advertise it. There’s no reason to draw attention. They just know that, if there’s a problem, the solution is a phone call away. Even if the problem is the cops. And as to your other question…there are people from all walks of life in the Kogarashi. Probably quite a few you’d never expect, people who understand the importance of being family and working towards shared goals. A person like Landon Frye wouldn’t last two minutes in the Kogarashi. Someone would kick his racist ass to the curb instead of giving him a promotion and a spotlight.”
I was minded of the attacks on Joanne, for seemingly just reporting what she had seen, factually. I was resolved to bring that up… As I said so, I saw that Brandie, seemingly exhausted had fallen asleep on the sofa, but Antone was comfortable to continue the interview.
GBTL Daiyu: “So do you have anything in specific you’d want to call out that you’ve done that has gone well, or been well received by the citizens? Conversely if you want to go the darker route, we can talk about some of these HPD excesses? I’m happy to go either route as long as I can cross-check against other sources… It would be good to hear about how you’ve prevented issues or built, rather than tore down… people won’t expect that from a Gang typically…. apologies, I know you’re saying you’re not a typical one, but maybe it’s just me, but quite a few people don’t know but I do have to ask, you attacked our offices… twice, I believe and specifically targeted Joanne, one of our only active reporters…”
Antone: “No, we don’t really advertise what we’ve been up to. As I said, both our clients and ourselves prefer to keep our arrangements….confidential. But you only need to do a little digging to see what the cops have been doing. You remember that little incident in front of the Hathian Pawn Shop? A truck full of manure dropped at the door? There’s video of that incident, and the truck drivers are cops. They didn’t even bother to wait before issuing a ‘health citation’ against the place. Look up the video on Twitter. The cops aren’t even trying to hide their corruption. And they’ve pulled that kind of stunt against businesses all over town. It’s that sort of thing that brings people to us. Honest business owners getting fed up with these so-called peace officers and want help.”
He paused, considering and during the break I checked to make sure I had that video. I did, the manure incident hadn’t made the paper, but it had been at the back of my mind.
Antone: “Our protection is for people who pay. This is a business, after all. If the Observer did something that harmed one of our clients, then yes, we might pay you a visit. I’m not going to feed you a line of bullshit about that. The cops may blow smoke up your ass about civic duty, but you know that’s crap. We have no reason to pretend. Those other businesses you spoke of? Well…other gangs have always tried to copy us, dig in our our enterprise. There’s always competition, and that means some rough times. More than one of those businesses have been covers, and we’ve done what we needed to clear out the riff-raff. In the end, all these other pretenders have eventually closed up shot and left town. You got Bones and Jackals and Devil’s Own and Rejects now. Before then it was Souljah Boys and Los Obscuros, and on and on. They all fade. The Kogarashi remain.”
This was as I’d researched, others had come and gone, but the Koga remained like winter, hanging chillingly in the Hathian air, despite the actual temperature. I felt it was time to start to wrap this interview up, so asked a question I’d been meaning to ask, especially considering
GBTL Daiyu: “I was meaning to ask, are the tweets true, did you get the Jackals raided at a rave yesterday? Any message for anyone you’ve not yet… caught up with regarding her… injuries?”
Antone: “Not true at all. As a matter of fact, one of our people was standing in the HPD lobby when the incident at CU was reported. The Jackals brought that whole thing on themselves by attacking a cop on the scene supposedly. I can’t confirm or deny that. Just what I heard and no… I don’t have a message for those people fit to print. They know who they are. What they’ve done. When it gets handled, I’m sure you’ll hear about it.”
GBTL Daiyu: “That sounds… well, I’m conflicted. But you’ll have made that land just through those words… Let’s turn to anything specific for Landon’s comments you wanted to add?”
Antone: “Certainly. During his interview, Officer Frye made some cocky statement about ‘Talking like men’. I want that ass to know that real men don’t steal people’s achievements and pride and crown their blowup dolls. I’m personally insulted by what happened to Ms. Banu, and if I ever encounter that Officer out in the street, I’ll personally explain it to him.”
At this point, Brandie rolled over and as she seemed now in deep sleep and the interview had approached a natural conclusion with a response to Landon, I called it and after some photos were taken with permission of Antone, I was blindfolded and taken back into the town. I’d done what I set out to do, interview these leaders and they had given me both thoughts and fears as I researched them and then things to follow-up and consider as I interviewed them. I liked this photo… What do you think readers?
I trust reader that this has given you some historic and current perspective on the Koga. Whether your mind will be changed or you’ll embrace their protection they offer, or now are more likely to run from them, is a choice you must make. For this reporter? They let me publish what I wanted and now I have to see if this essay meets their approval. Like you, I’ll have to do that from my work, from my home and in the streets. Winter cannot be avoided, but sometimes you can wrap up warm enough for the cold not to bite. It probably doesn’t help that Landon got another statement out, this time about being a vegan… seriously, but equal opportunities and we know which of the two looks the meanest (hint: the guy in the white suit).
((Apologies for delay posting, the website was down for a while. Thank you to Nadir who fixed it!))