Meet the Team
a series of Team Fortress 2 drabbles by Dot
She finished reading the files, exhaling a long trail of smoke as she did so, drumming her perfectly manicured nails on her desk. Picking the men on whom she was to stake her future—and her life, for that matter—would be no easy task. Not only did they have to be the cream of the crop in their respective fields, they had to be able to work side by side with some level of trust and cooperation.
She laughed to herself. She might as well just picked nine men randomly and hoped they didn’t murder each other on sight.
The idea was sheer insanity: nine complete strangers, from different corners of the earth no less, working together! Why, he was certain that he shot at a few of them from the other side of the battlefield during the War—or in their general direction, anyway. But a team was a team and it was his job to whip those sorry sacks into shape and hope that this batch could last longer than the last one, as if he could ever hope to erase the shame of seeing every squad he lead slip through his fingers and into body bags.
He’d been too young to take part in the War except don his little black armband, thrust his arm out and sing the praises of the Fearless Leader. But his heavy Bavarian accent made him a marked man wherever he went no matter how much he tried to explain himself; his shoulder still bore the swastika carved into it by his tormentors. It wasn’t long before he decided to milk his supposed reputation for all its worth and he was finally given a wide berth.
He’d never, ever expected to be thanked for his work, or hugged so hard, either.
He joined on the promises of bread, caring little about Marx or Lenin or Stalin. He would’ve followed the devil himself, if the legions of hell could fill his empty stomach and had enough left over to send home to grandmamma.
The bread never came, just more idiot orders from idiot commanders. Then grandmamma went to Heaven and he didn’t even find out until he’d feigned a leg injury, sneaked away from the fighting to go visit her, and came home to an empty house.
After that, he figured the Revolutionary Army could go find itself another Heavy Weapons Guy.
There had been a time when the only cocktails he cared for were of the Molotov variety, but he also wasn’t above imbibing from his arsenal from time-to-time, either.
Now the siren song of the bottle was impossible to resist, and he drifted from one drunken stupor to another, not caring what (or who) he was plastering with his bombs as long as he got a stack of cash at the end of the day to restock.
After the first day at his new job, he was surprised to find that he actually wanted to remember the experience for once.
He had many likes, but running was his true love. The ground disappearing beneath his feet, the wind breezing through his hair, the thrill of outrunning his bigger, slower opponents—once he discovered how it felt, he never wanted to stop.
And here, he was a hero for it. Sure, they yelled at him for his pranks, or yelling too loud, or not being able to sit still for six seconds, but they never called him a “kid” or “little” in a bad way. Here his size was, as he overheard his largest colleague remark of him, “credit to team”.
He didn’t understand why everyone always gave him odd looks whenever he waxed nostalgic about his childhood. Lots of kids have tried to take something apart, couldn’t quite put it back together, and got a beating for it. He just happened to get the belt (or whatever else Pa could get his hands on) more than most kids his age because he had an insatiable sense of curiosity on how Pa’s stuff worked. Pa had a good reason to be pissed, after all—that was his bread and butter being messed with! He was lucky Pa hadn’t flayed him alive.
Whenever someone asked him what he did during the War, he’d always brush it off with false humility. No point in spinning wild tales of his glory days during “La Resistance”, he’d lie with a wink and a tug on his sleeve, and that would be the end of it.
Here, they didn’t ask him. Perhaps they had their own share of skeletons in the closet, perhaps it didn’t matter to them, or perhaps they simply didn’t care. Either way, he was grateful for the reprieve and in return he always made certain that he would not lie to them.
He’d had dreams of being a big game hunter in the Outback, or maybe even the Savannas. Or he could serve on the Police Special Forces, ending tense standoffs with a well-placed bullet.
He still dreamed of the hunt, but now his prey included his fellow man, and he could ill afford to hole up in a corner somewhere and wait for the perfect kill. As much as he preferred to be alone he had teammates to look out for. And cook, and clean, and pick up after them.
With nine men living together, somebody had to keep things organized.
The world deserved to burn. That was the one and only truth. Nothing else mattered save to baptize everything in flames. Now it was their turn to scream and beg for the mercy that would never come. Never again would I be the victim, “rescued” when those idiot bastards torched their own hideout by leaving too many things plugged in at the same time.
A shame my teammates never seemed to catch on fire as well, but at least the enemy spy would think twice before trying to sneak his way in after I’d torched his ass a few times.
They totaled nine men, young and old, wide-eyed and cynical, of different nationalities and beliefs, now united in a singular goal: defeat the enemy whatever it took. At first they just fought and ate together, but after celebrating their first victory earned after a far to close brush with death, any excuse to not act like the team—no, they were a family, no use dancing around the subject—they had become seemed flimsy. By and by they even began referring to each other by their real names and not just the titles they had been given by their employers.
Unnecessarily Long and Tiresome Authoress’ Notes:
I know, I know, I should be sticking to the characterizations present in Valve’s “Meet the (Whomever)” videos, but it was kind of fun do come up with my own versions of the characters too. (My personal favorites are mother-hen!Sniper and fail!Spy. Oh, Team Fortress, is there no end to your potential for moé?)