“Hey Joel, get out here!” The rough voice sliced into his dream. He was tempted to go right back to sleep and enjoy the dream further, but another snippy comment made him grudgingly open his eyes. That, along with a hard shove to his shoulder had Joel opening his eyes blearily to look around, a scowl on his face as his hat blocked the faces of those around him. His years of training to be fully awake the second he woke up had him ready to move, muscles taunt in case they needed to make a break for the nearest exit.
“Get up kid, time's a wastin’.” The rough voice stopped him in his tracks. After a moment, Joel relaxed. He uncrossed his arms and lifted his hand up, reaching up and moving his cowboy hat back into the correct position on his head. Joel nodded in acknowledgment, letting Chief know that he wasn't going to bolt. Around him were three other members of his gang. Charles was driving the truck to the trade off position, a diner just along route 66.
“We there yet?” Joel asked, sitting up and looking around the small truck compartments at the men hidden among the weapons. His limbs ached from being pressed against the wall and other members of the gang for so long.
“Then let me sleep” Joel scoffed and started to lean back again. Just before his back hit the wall he was smacked over the head by Chief. Second in command on the chain, Chief was a large boy who held a firm grip over the other members of the deadlock gang.
“Shut it Joel, we’re close enough that you need to be awake. Get ready to use that talent if things go south.” He grunted out. Joel crossed his arms and looked away from Chief in a brooding manner. It was satisfactory to know he was the only one who could get away with that. Too important to the team, and for this mission, to be roughed up.
Joel remained like that for the next twelve minutes. When they arrived, the engine was shut off and they waited for a few minutes. Joel was alerted by the sound of another car pulling up and faint talking through the thing metal wall.
“-Right in the back, the men are in there too so don’t go open firing on them.”
Joel stood up and looked over at Chief, who was already having Billy and Jose hauling out some of the larger weapons. Joel followed them out and leaned against the side of the truck, making sure everyone was in his sights. It was exactly as planned. Charlie, Billy, Jose, and Chief were helping the two Japanese men load the military weapons into their truck.
Joel took note of the jewelry all along the mens arms, ears, and fingers. These specific henchmen were rich, rich enough to have all sorts of gold bracelets wrapped around their limbs just to show off. Joels fingers twitched, he would be lying if he hadn’t once wished to have that kind of money to just throw around.
Six targets. Six bullets. Joel would be on his own if worse came to worse and he had to shoot them all, but that was only if something was compromised. The Japanese men were part of the Shimada clan, though they were most likely the hired help. Men the clan wouldn’t mind losing in an ‘accident’.
Movement caught his eye, and Joel looked up to see an exchange between Chief and one of the Japanese men. Looking the other way, he strained his ears to hear them.
“..don’t see why he gets to sit back. What’s his deal? He your boss?” The Japanese man was asking. His accent was heavy, and his prying was too obvious. Joel briefly glanced over to see how Chief was reacting, and they made eye contact for a quick second. Joel noticed the tiny nod from the second in command, and he lifted the gun from its holster to check and make sure all six cartridges were filled.
“He’s the lookout, that’s all you need to know.” Chief said gruffly, then asked where they wanted the pulse rifle.
Joel looked up as he heard more approaching vehicles, that wasn’t right. He narrowed his eyes and peered across the landscape, the black marks he had painted under his eyes helped absorb the light and let him see through the sun's glare.
Four armed cars were approaching, it didn’t take long for him to see the large circle on them. Overwatch. They were approaching fast, very fast. Too fast for any of them to make a clean getaway, he’d have to use it.
“Chief, watch out! We have incoming!” He yelled, lifting his gun and taking a deep breath to calm his nerves. He watched as the two Japanese men were seized and moved into his field of vision with the three men next to them. The cars were approaching fast, and just like that they were there.
Screeching to a halt, Joel watch as soldiers poured out of the armored cars. Their armor was clean, and it reflected the hot desert sun right at them. He tensed, eyes flicking to the gas station not to far from them.
Joel turned his head back to the other Overwatch members as they left the cars faster than he could count, and he needed to make a shot. It was hectic suddenly, guns started firing at the group. Joel had to duck down to avoid a well aimed helix rocket, it exploded against the truck behind him. The vehicle now on fire and his ears ringing, Joel had to take a moment to orient himself.
Around him people were shouting and running, he looked up blearily to see Chief dueling it out with the Jack Morrison, aiming a punch at the blondes head. Things seemed to go in slow motion as Chief missed and was taken down to the ground within a second, and Billy and Jose weren’t doing much better. The two Japanese men were still in his sights.
The Overwatch people continued their shouting and running around, some splitting up to get to the weapons, others going after the line of people. His time was running out, he needed to act. Joel pushed himself up so he was standing and lifted his gun back up.
“Hey kid, what are you doing?!” He heard someone yell.
“He’s with them, get him down!” Another gruff voice shouted. There was no time left.
He took a deep breath, spun the chamber, and shot.
Multiple screams ripped through the air. Joel groaned and stumbled back to lean against the burning truck, surveying what had happened. Chief and Billy lay on the ground still, clean bullet holes through their head. He glanced to the side and saw one of the Shimada down. The other was bleeding by the shoulder.
He couldn’t see Jose or the other man. Joel looked in the other direction, shock hitting him as he saw what had happened. The man next to the Shimada was still standing up looking at Joel, except there was a bullet through his head. He was dead. The body fell to the ground, and he felt himself go numb.
Joel looked down, and his eyes landed on the Overwatch agent lying on the ground next to him. The man must have been the one to try and tackle him before he had shot.
The silence in the air was deafening. Joel's knees were shaking, this wasn’t how it was supposed to go. He was supposed to have hit his targets, he was supposed to be the only member alive.
Things suddenly jumped back into action as one of the Overwatch agents grabbed Joel's gun out of his hands. He dimly felt his hands being pulled behind his back and yelling in his ears, but it was starting to take effect. Something wet dripped from his nose and down his chin, and his vision started to fade.
When Joel woke back up, he was sore all over. Groaning, he tried to sit up from the slouched position, only to have his shoulder scream in pain. His hands were tied behind his back.
Joel hissed slightly and looked around, peering through the darkness. There wasn’t anything in there, an empty room. His hat and gun were missing, but for some reason his nose was no longer bleeding anymore. Had they actually had someone look at him? Maybe to see what his talent was.
He was distracted by a door opening, and he looked up. In stepped the largest man he’d seen, a Hispanic looking person. His shoulders were squared and set back, a hard expression on his face. Joel could feel the man judging him, scanning him for any hidden weapons.
Joel took a deep breath and straightened his back. He lifted his shoulders, squaring them. He had to appear intimidating, Overwatch would show no mercy. He waited apprehensively as the man slowly walked over and sat down in the desk across from him.
“Alright kid, let me explain something to you.” His voice was nothing like Joel had expected. No hint of a Mexican accent, it was American and strong. Friendly, and if he were in a different situation, Joel might have considered this man his friend.
“I ain’t no kid” Joel growled under his breath, eyes narrowing at the man. He looked familiar, somehow. Maybe he’d seen him on TV or something.
“You’re 19, still a kid in my book.” Joel couldn’t help but smirk a bit at that. The man apparently thought that he was 19, so he had managed to pull something off.
“So, you can either go to jail and rot for the rest of your life, or join Blackwatch.”
That caught Joel off guard. Blackwatch? What, was that some edgier version of Overwatch? Just what was going on here, why was he being offered this deal?
“What’s the catch?”
“You can’t leave. Unless Overwatch is disbanded, and we all know that won’t happen.”
Joel paused and thought about it for a moment, really thought about it. Deadlock members don’t tell, but they don’t mess up either. He can rot in prison and wait for a member to find him, to find out how he messed up, or he could join Blackwatch. Whatever that was.
“Alright. I’ll join your little gang.”
“Great choice kid,” he stood up and placed something on Joel's head, something large and familiar. It took Joel a moment, but he realized it was his hat, a small grin broke out on his face.
“Got a name, kid? The gun said JM.” There was a bit of warning in his voice, something telling Joel that he’d know if he were lying.
“Jesse, Jesse McCree.”