Remembering Jackie Welles

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

This post will contain spoilers for the First Act of Cyberpunk 2077. I bought this game for the PlayStation 4 and it was not looking great. But, I was interested in the story because I felt an instant bond to Jackie Welles. He reminded me of friends that I had so it was easier for me to bond with him despite his regrettably short time in the game.

How Meet

How you meet Jackie depends on your life path. I played through all three intros out of curiosity, but my main path is Street Kid.

Street Kid

V meets Jackie doing a favor for someone that worked at his mother’s bar which is why he later decides to trust V. The bartender owed a debt to a man named Kirk. Kirk tells V the debt will be repaid if she can steal a luxury car for him. When V followed his orders the car door opened and Jackie was threatening V to get out of the car because he had also been hired to steal it. After that, the police swarm in and take us both down and knock us out. When V wakes up Jackie was relieved that nothing had happened to them and after hearing that V did all this for someone else ,especially someone that works at his mother’s bar, he decides that V is an upstanding person and wants to work with V.

Corpo

V and Jackie have been friends for quite some time. He shows concern for V when he sees that she gets so stressed she gets sick at work saying that the job is going to kill her. V is told by her boss to take down his rival. V asks Jackie for help with this job but, due to him describing himself as a man of principle, he is not happy about the job. Then, Arasaka comes after V while Jackie is with her and strips her of her job. Jackie threatens them when they are about to try to take V in so they leave her alone afterwards.

Nomad

V has been hired to smuggle goods and Jackie Welles has the cargo. They have to go through a border check to get into Night City which ends with border patrol chasing them as they have stolen corporate goods. After narrowly avoiding the officers, they open the cargo to find an adorable iguana. Jackie decides to help V find a place to stay and wants to work with her in Night City.

Background and Personality

Jackie was part of the Valentino’s gang until he was shot in the heart at 19 and his mother found out that he was part of the gang. This is where he gained his principles as the Valentino’s value loyalty, honor, and respect. Despite not being part of the gang anymore, he still shows pride as you can see he wears a Valentino jacket and shirt, has tattoos of the Valentino, and his bike also has Valentino on it.

Jackie is also someone I would describe as full of life. He’s vibrant, happy, funny. He treats you like family frequently calling you hermana. He also will look after you. When you do story missions together, he’ll tell you if there’s trouble or to hide.

Jackie wanted more out of life. It’s clear based on conversations where he mentions wanting to be part of The Afterlife, a club where you know you made it if they name a drink after you when you die. He wants his own home for his girlfriend Misty. His life has been moving slower than he expected and he’s been struggling to get the kinds of jobs where he will earn big money.

Story

Jackie tells V that a large fixer named Dexter DeShawn wants to meet her. He gives V a small task at first to secure a flatbot from Maelstrom, a gang known for their insane amount of cyberware and being hostile. This route can go forward in a few ways. In my version I received a chip with money on it from Militech. It came with a virus which led Militech to find Maelstrom and a fight ensued.

After V gets the bot, The Heist could begin. First, Dex gets V and Jackie into The Afterlife so Jackie and V could see the bar and order drinks. I usually don’t drink in games, but Jackie wanted to order drinks so we could celebrate together so sharing a drink with him made the moment special. I also learned about his signature drink which he told the bartender so he could one day have his name in The Afterlife. Dexter gives the group a plan on how to steal a special chip from Arasaka and then you can choose whether to start the mission immediately or do other quests.

The Heist was very difficult emotionally. I was looking up lore on characters and accidentally got a spoiler about Jackie’s death so I was well aware and crying through the whole thing. What made it worse was how happy he was. Jackie kept talking about the future he wanted. He tried to rent a Delmain cab once for a relatives party to make it special, but it was too expensive. When he makes it big he wants to take Misty to the nice restaurant at the hotel the Heist was at. He has a good feeling this job will make us rich and we’ll be happy.

The Heist goes wrong when an assassination occurs at The Arasaka hotel. The son of Arasaka kills his father, alarms ring out, and V and Jackie are in the middle of everything. Jackie gets shot in the stomach, the chip’s container breaks and Jackie slots it in his brain, and you have to sneak or run out into the Delmain cab.

Once V enters the cab Jackie slowly die in V’s arms while he hands her the chip. That was very hard to watch, it may have been one of the hardest things I’ve watched in a game. On top of that Dex blames V and shoots her in the head. V is saved by the chip only to find out that her brain is being slowly taken over by Johnny Silverhand whose life was stored on the chip.

Aftermath

There’s a side quest that unlocks where V finds something to give to Jackie’s ofrenda. She goes to his home and finds Misty there who says that she still waits an hour for him every day. V then learns more about Jackie by going through his things. The sweetest thing was he built a sand mandala because Misty told him to make one. He also told her he’d love to use the sand to build them a home. I chose to give him a bottle of unopened rare tequila that he kept for luck. Unfortunately my game bugged and I had to reload three times before I could select the bottle. At the ofrenda you get Jackie’s bike and his guns.

V can still call Jackie after his death and leave him voice-mails. I also found out by going through my Journal that the text for the quests were written with his voice. It was really touching to see a final goodbye from him telling me to keep moving forward for him.

Lessons Learned

Upon meeting the character and interacting with them, I loved that Jackie obviously lived life to the fullest. He wasn’t held back by fear and that’s what I wish I could do. I would like to let go of the fears I get from having anxiety and learn to be in the moment more.

For the sudden death, it definitely taught me to hold my friends close and let them know how much I care. You’ll never know when you’ll lose someone. Jackie was really young, he was 30 which is only 4 years older than me. I hope I will never lose any of my friends young.

As for lessons learned in the game world, it shows just how cruel Night City is. You find this one character that just wants to help people and is a good person and he gets killed. It also set the game’s serious tone as before it was more fun and focused on action.

What did you think of Jackie Welles as a character? Were you able to bond with him in the short time he was in the game?

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