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- "I'm gonna retire out here one day. A thousand acres of Wyoming woods and meadows, already paid for."
- ―John Garrett
Wyoming is a state in the western region of the United States of America.
Arrival at the Woods
John Garrett took Grant Ward to a region in Wyoming full of woods and meadows as part of a hard training to learn survival skills. Ward was concerned about the police looking for him due to having escaped from the Juvenile Prison he was imprisoned with Garrett's help, but Garrett said that nobody was looking for him, and his family would be happy for never seeing him again.
Ward believed he was taken to Wyoming because a S.H.I.E.L.D. Academy was nearby, but Garrett said Ward should better worry about what would he eat that night, though he thought the pair of ducks Garrett hunted earlier would be their dinner. Garrett explained that he would eat as he was the one who hunted them, and even his dog Buddy deserved them more than Ward, because he retrieved them.
Garrett gave Ward a piece of advice, that if he wanted something he would have to earn it, including a place to sleep or something to eat. Ward was worried and confused for being left alone in the wild with just some clothes, and if Garrett had warned him, he would have brought tools or food.
Angered, Garrett told Ward to stop blaming him for his failures, and if he wanted something easy, he could always return to the prison, where he would find food and shelter. To provoke him, Garrett also said that returning would also confirm that Ward was weak and worthless, as Garrett said his family already believed it.
Garrett left Buddy with Ward, saying that if he took care of the dog, maybe Buddy would take care of him. He promised he would return in some months, whether Ward was still there or not, before encouraging Ward by saying he believed he could do it.
Ward spent his first night alone in the woods under heavy rain, without a place to shelter himself, and seeking comfort in Buddy.
Six months later John Garrett returned to Wyoming, finding that Grant Ward had established a camp. He managed to ambush Garrett, pointing to his neck with a rifle. Ward, angry at Garrett, asked him to give just one reason to not blow his head and kill him, to which Garrett jokingly answered he brought tacos.
Garrett expected that maybe Ward had left the area, but Ward reproached that though Garrett said he would be back in a few months, six months had passed since he left him alone. Garrett excused himself saying he had been out of the country on a mission, but it seemed that Ward managed to survive without him.
Ward acknowledged that his first few weeks were rough, but then he realized he should do more than what he did by raiding cabins and obtaining tools, weapons and a tent; he even planned to build a cabin.
Garrett was proud of Ward, and explained the reason of his visit while pointing at Ward with a gun. Garrett made a few very precise and quick shots, explaining to Ward that his next lesson would be becoming a better shooter than Garrertt was in a couple of years.
During one of those visits, Garrett and Ward shared a meal, with Ward treating Buddy as if he was another person. Garrett warned Ward that he was not human, but Ward said Buddy was better than a human, being smart, loyal and trustworthy. However, Garrett was not fond of those qualities due to an incident in his past that demonstrated that, despite loyalty, anyone could be abandoned or betrayed.
Garrett explained something that Ward never dared to ask, how Garrett obtained a biomechanic prosthetic in his abdomen. He explained how he was caught in the explosion of an improvised explosive device in Sarajevo during a mission with S.H.I.E.L.D. but, despite his loyalty to the agency, he was denied medical assistance with a series of excuses.
At that very moment, Garrett decided to treat S.H.I.E.L.D. the same way he was treated, ultimately joining HYDRA during the years it spent rebuilding itself inside S.H.I.E.L.D.
Ultimately, Garrett announced that Ward had been accepted by S.H.I.E.L.D.'s operations division, and though Ward tried to thank Garrett for everything he did for him, Garrett refused, saying that all Ward obtained he earned it by himself. He also warned that working as a HYDRA operative within S.H.I.E.L.D. would be tough, as he couldn't ever get attached to anyone or anything, and had to fight it as a weakness.
To prove it, Garrett ordered Ward to kill Buddy, asking him if it was a weakness. As Ward denied it was, he went where Buddy was, but was unable to kill his loyal companion and ended up shooting in the air. Garrett observed it through a sniper rifle, and as he witnessed how Buddy ran, he shoot at him.