Captain Zao is a ghoulifed submarine captain living in the Chinese submarine Yangtze in 2287.


The captain of a Yangtze-class submarine stranded in the harbor is a soft-spoken and surprisingly welcoming man, especially towards an American soldier (if the Sole Survivor is male). Perhaps the guilt over nuking the Commonwealth using the missiles on board his submarine did, in fact, change him.[1] And so did the isolation, after his Yangtze struck a sea mine not long after the Great War, the radiation from the damaged reactor ghoulified the captain and his crew. For two centuries, he eked out an existence scavenging what he could from the destroyed city and fighting off raiders, gathering intelligence and information that would, one day, help him repair the vessel and return it to Zhongguo, his home. There, he will rebuild or die. Whatever his fate, he wants to see his home, one last time. Trouble is, the Forged and other raider gangs might be a little too much to tackle for the ancient ghoul - submariner or not.[2][3][4][5][6][7] His only companions during these two centuries were his crew mates. Unlike their captain, they have succumbed to radiation poisoning and turned feral. Zao couldn't bring himself to put them out of their misery.[8]

Zao recalls firing his ship's nuclear salvo as ordered, and it is clear that he is responsible for the nuclear detonations specifically in the Commonwealth. He reflects on his actions with guilt, regretting the destruction he caused. It is possible that one of the nuclear warheads fired from his submarine was the one that created the Glowing Sea. He claims that the city was already ruined when he arrived at the port.

He seems to consider the liberation of Anchorage "a joke." He is clearly aware of the war being over, but he still holds traditional values of the old world. He refers to the Sole Survivor as "capitalist" and "American," especially if they attempt to negotiate a higher reward for providing assistance.

Interactions with the player characterEdit

Interactions overviewEdit

Perk empathy synthesizer
This character is involved in quests.

Here There Be Monsters


Here There Be Monsters: The Sole Survivor can help Zao repair the Yangtze submarine.

Effects of player's actionsEdit

  • Should the Sole Survivor call Zao "commie," they will demand that he dies for destroying their country, and Captain Zao will immediately turn hostile and try to kill the Sole Survivor.
  • Should one help him repair the Yangtze reactor, he rewards three homing beacons for small tactical nukes, fired from the Yangtze, saying "I do not want to bring the fire home." Zao will also give the player character the unique weapon Zao's sword if all three Charisma checks asking for money are passed.



Zao appears only in Fallout 4.

Behind the scenesEdit

  • Zao is the first human character from pre-War China with whom it is possible to converse in the Fallout series.
  • 'Zao' may be a misspelling of the common Chinese surname 'Zhao'(赵), since the surname 'Zao' indeed exists, but is very uncommon in China. According to, his surname may be 造, 棗, 皂, 隞, 遭, 灶 or 早 in Chinese.
  • 'Zao' may also be referring to the Chinese character for "rotten" or "horrible"(糟)since he is now a ghoul.
  • He often mixes Chinese with English in his speech, including:
    • Yangtze = 扬子[9]
    • He ping = 和平, Peace.
    • Jiang Shi = 僵尸, Zombie/Ghoul.
    • Qian ting = 潜艇, Submarine.
    • Wei xian = 危险, Danger.
    • Gu shi = 故事, Story.
    • Bao Wu = 宝物, Treasure.
    • Shi de = 是的, Yes.
    • Tong ku = 痛苦, Pain and suffering.
    • Xing yun = 幸运, Luck/Fortune.
    • Bu xing = 不幸, Misfortune.
    • Xie xie = 谢谢, Thanks.
    • Zhongguo = 中国, China.
    • Jia = 家, Home.
    • Zu guo = 祖国, Motherland.
    • Xian jin = 现金, Cash.
    • Yi han = 遗憾, Regret.
    • Jian = 剑, Sword.
    • Gong zuo = 工作, Work.
    • You xiu = 优秀, Excellent/Outstanding.
    • Bei = 悲, Sadness (however, Bei is usually associated with other adjectives instead of on its own, for example, Bei Ai - 悲哀', lit. sorrowful)
    • Jia ren = 家人, Family member.
    • Jue wang = 绝望, Despair.
    • Zha dan = 炸弹, Bomb.
    • Xiao xin = 小心, Be careful.
    • Si wang = 死亡, Death.
    • Bao zha = 爆炸, Explosion.
      • Despite the Chinese words being fairly decently pronounced, albeit not with a very clear, typical northern Chinese accent, Zao's lines in Mandarin include some fairly awkward grammar and syntax, especially in the way he mixes Chinese and English, which is entirely arbitrary and unlike how real life Chinese-English bilingual people mix them.
        • It is not uncommon for language skills to erode when they are not used, It's almost certain that being alone with no one to speak with for 110 has caused Zao damage.
  • If turned hostile, he will say "Zhu, zi ben jia, qu si ba!" (猪,资本家,去死吧!), which means: "pig, capitalist, go to hell!"



  1. Zao: "200 years ago, I launched all of Yangtze's high-yield nuclear missiles. As ordered. For 200 years, I have lived with that guilt. That shame. So much fire Such bei. But one missile failed to launch. You must go down. Remove the warhead. Then bring it to me."
  2. Zao: "Wa! It has been that long? Shi de. Yes. I suppose it has. Long ago. Just after the fire. Yangtze struck a mine. My qianting barely made it here into harbor. City already ruins by then. Few noticed us. Fewer cared. Too much tong ku."
  3. Zao: "Fushe! You say... radiation. From damaged reactor. Turn me into this guai wu. My crew... gone. I cannot think on their fate."
  4. Zao: "Zao! Captain of the Chinese Navy! I sail the Yangtze-31. This qianting. Submarine. My beautiful boat. Speak harsh words of me if you must. But my Yangtze... Speak of her with respect."
  5. Zao: "Trust is risk. But a man must plow with oxen he has. You are not like raiders that board my quianting. My Yangtze. You show peace. Xie xie."
  6. Zao: " "Ah. I sail for Zhongguo. Return to China. Where I belong. My jia. My home?"
  7. Zao: "That is... sad. Um... unfortunate. Bu xing. I hoped that after 200 years, we could forget past hatred. I shall wait for someone more willing to help me."
  8. Zao: "But now I must... warn you. There is danger. Wei xian! Old crew... still down there. Not okay like their captain. Worse. They do not harm me. But they will kill you! I... I cannot kill them. Still, they are my crew. My family. Jia ren, all of us. But you must do what you must do."
  9. (After "扬子江", Yangtze River,commonly known in China as "长江" (Changjiang, "the long river")
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