• The sun beat down on Jack’s face. He reached up to wipe the sweat off his brow. He grabbed his can and took a sip of water. He had to conserve as much as he could since there was no more water until his next destination. There was no telling how much longer that would take.
    Another problem was his hunger. He had no food to settle his stomach down, but it didn’t matter. He was used to it. Besides, he had plenty of money for more than his share of food, and maybe another bottle or two. He laughed at his own stupidity.
    His sword weighed on his back. His black boots and golden gloves were absorbing his sweat. His black flame pants weren’t much of a help. He had his red jacket over his shoulder so he could cool off. The red shirt underneath his jacket fit tightly to his body. He was muscular and lean, not broad. Standing at roughly six and a half feet, he towered over most people.
    This is such a pain. I wish there were a faster way to get to the next town, he thought. That was when he heard a low sound come from behind him. He turned to look and saw nothing and continued on his way. A moment later, as the noise grew closer, he could identify it as a bike motor. Sure enough there was one on its way. He just stood in the way of the bike. The person stopped right in front of him. She was wearing a black sleeveless shirt, jean shorts, and a pair of boots.
    “What are you doing?” she asked after she took off her helmet. “You could have been killed.” Jack said nothing in response. “Sheesh, you look beaten.”
    `He just shrugged and said, “I’ve had it worse. Besides, we’ve all become a beaten bunch. You’re no different from me.” He turned back and walked on again. He heard the woman hit the road and the sound of her boots coming towards him. “I’m not going to ask you again. What are you doing?”
    “I’m just going to the next town. I need some water.” He never looked at her and kept to himself mostly.
    “There’s a village back that way. It’s only a ten minute ride and I can take you there,” she offered. She could tell that Jack didn’t believe her. She had to say something. “It’s my home. I just came from that way.” Jack showed no sign of paying any attention. “If I didn’t know any better, I’d say you’re a mercenary. That place back there has a lot of criminals.” Jack stopped walking and turned to look at her. That got his attention.
    “Ten minutes you say? Let me drive. I’ll get us there in five,” he said with a grin. He bolted over and jumped on the bike. “Are you coming or not?” She shook her head and ran over. “Only on one condition, I get to drive.” Jack slid back to let the woman at the handlebars. He looked around as they passed everything by. To think it took him hours to get from the village to where he was at then. He made a decision to get one of those bikes at the town. That would leave more time for busting.
    After the ten minutes, the woman stopped the bike and got off. Jack refused to do so for he saw desert. He watched her motion like she was pressing something. That was when a walkway was revealed. Jack jumped off and took the bike with him. He peered inside to see a few houses that were made of wood and what seemed to be a park. “What is the deal with this place?” he asked in amazement.
    “It’s a cloaking device we set up,” she told him as they walked in. “We’ve had problems with criminals looting this place.” “Not that. I mean where did u get all the wood from?” She stopped to think about that. “I don’t know.”
    She took him to a house and she pulled out a key. “This is my place. You can rest here and get whatever you need in town.” Her house really reflected the outside world. There were only a couple of rooms. The first one had a fireplace and a table. The other had what seemed to be a bathroom and a makeshift bed. “Really lacking in the looks department isn’t it?” Jack decided to poke some fun at her.
    “You’re a wandering mercenary so I don’t think that you should really be talking, Homeless.” She was in the living room shifting stuff around on the table. “Mr. Homeless has a name! It’s called Jack!” he shouted after her. He sat down and eventually drifted asleep on the bed. He woke up to find the woman gone. He thought that was the best part for him to take his leave. Unfortunately, he couldn’t get out of the village because he didn’t remember the way out. He walked back to the house to find her there.
    “I didn’t think you’d leave without saying goodbye,” she said with a smile and motioned him back in.
    “I’m not a sentimental person. I lost all of that. I saw many people who became close to me dying. I have no reason for that. I just couldn’t find my way out,” Jack explained.
    “Well then just come and rest for the night. There’s a biker gang that likes to come this way and try to terrorize us as much as they can. I know exactly when they come. The whole village will be happy once they’re gone. I’ll even help you.”
    Jack gave it some thought. “I guess I could since you put it that way. I’ll just stay out of your way.”
    “I actually wouldn’t mind the company. I usually leave town so nobody here really knows me.” She shut the door as they walked in. Jack found a spot on the floor and was ready to sleep.
    She came up to him looking a tad embarrassed. “I’m so sorry. I’m the host. The least I could do is to give you my name…” Jack quickly brushed her aside and said, “It doesn’t matter. Knowing someone’s name only make you grow more attached.”
    She sat down next to him. “I think you need to grow up. The world is changing. Get to know people.”
    “You don’t get it!” he replied with fury. He quickly shot up and was pacing around. “I was one of the chosen to survive the mass bombing on this country. My family never had a chance. You think the world is changing? Well, you’re too late. It already has.” He put his head in his hands and took a couple of deep sighs to calm himself down. “It’s just that you haven’t seen everything around you suddenly destroyed. I was only twelve. I’m surprised I didn’t die from shock.” He sat back down on the floor and felt slightly relieved. He almost felt happy.
    The woman looked at him with wide eyes. “Oh my god!” she exclaimed slowly. “I can’t feel sorry enough for you.”
    Jack sighed again. “Don’t. It’s not your fault. Now what is your name?”
    “Sam. That’s my name.” She smiled at Jack and he smiled back. She walked into the bedroom to let Jack sleep.
    Morning came and jack woke up to an amazing smell. He sat up and rubbed his eyes. He saw that Sam was cooking. He walked over to see what it was. He looked over her shoulder and saw eggs. How much he loved them. He felt hungrier than he did five seconds ago.
    “Well good morning,” Sam greeted him. “I see you finally woke up.”
    “Morning,” he replied groggily right before a big yawn.
    “After you eat the next thing you’re going to do is clean up.”
    Jack placed his hand on her head and coolly whispered into her ear, “Don’t talk to me like that." She froze then and there and wanted to apologize but couldn’t move her lips. He sat down at the table and waited until the eggs were done. He wasted no time shoveling them into his mouth.
    “Since you demanded I do so, I shall wash my clothes,” he said while standing up. He walked into the other room and closed the door. “And don’t come in!” Sam didn’t care. With his attitude, it was probably best for her that he was alone. She was cleaning up the table when the village alarm rang. She threw a plate up in the air and almost jumped out of her skin. She ran to the bathroom and opened the door.
    “Quick, Jack! There’s some…Oh my God!” She turned her head away and put her hands out in front of her vision. She was not prepared for that.
    Jack laughed and said, “Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”
    “But you were only in there for like five seconds,” she stated in somewhat of shock and closed the door. She heard some rustling and Jack emerged fully clothed. She ran out of the house and motioned for him to follow. They went to the entrance of the town where everyone else was gathered at.
    “The biker gang is back!” a man shouted. He appeared to be somewhat of old age. “Nobody make any noise and we’ll be fine.” The whole place became deathly still. Then they heard a male’s voice.
    “We know you’re still here. We know you have a cloaking device around the village. Now we’ll give you two choices: you either come out and let us in or we’ll use the White Cannon.” The villagers began to murmur amongst each other. None of them knew what this was about.
    “One fire of the White Cannon will cause the cloaking device to implode, destroying that junkyard,” the man announced. This arose a great fear in the majority of the people.
    The old man hushed the crowd down. “Just give us a minute,” he told the gang. “As the village mayor I’ll make the decision. We have to let them in. It’s either that or be killed.” Most of the people began rioting. Sam could take no more of this. “Quite now!” she demanded. “Jack here might be able to stop them.”
    The crowd began laughing. “I’m afraid not. There are at least twenty of them there,” the mayor informed her. “Besides, isn’t he just a mercenary? How can we rely on him?”
    Jack walked up to the mayor. “How much money you got?” The mayor now felt token back. “Or I could just leave.”
    “Okay, okay, I’ll give you what you want just stop them,” the mayor begged.
    “Four thousand’ll do.” Yet again, the mayor did not feel comfortable with this. “Four thousand or I walk away and everyone goes kaboom. I don’t do this for fun. I do it for money.”
    The mayor lowered his head and sighed. “Fine, just stop them.”
    Jack patted the mayor on the shoulder and said, “You’re a wise man,” as he walked outside. The mayor was now less worried about the village’s finances and more about whether or not this man could stop the biker gang. So far, Jack hadn’t pulled out his sword yet. But the mayor wasn’t sure if it actually was one because it looked so small.
    Jack stepped outside and observed the situation. They were all wearing the same leather biker clothes with standard black bikes. That was nothing special compared to what he’d seen.
    “What do you want?” the biker standing next to the cannon asked. The cannon was white just as the name would suggest. Jack took a long look at it. “Pretty big if you ask me. How long did this take?”
    The head biker grew angry. “It’s none of your business. Now beat it.”
    Jack grinned. “No can do. I’m getting paid handsomely to stop you.”
    The gang erupted into hysterical laughter. “There’s twenty of us and one of you. I ran out of patience. Fire the cannon.” The two men at the base prepared for the firing sequence. Jack noticed that it needed time to charge up, so he took advantage of that. He sprinted over and pulled his sword out. As he did so, it grew longer. He then made a running leap to cut the cannon’s barrel off. He managed to do so before it fired. There was a bright light and an upward explosion. “That’s it! This man must suffer. Kill him now,” the leader ordered. “Storm the village and leave no one alive.”
    Jack saw that there were actually fifty or so members of the gang. This would not be easy for a normal mercenary. But with the Sword of Aegis it would be. He swung the sword. There was a sonic boom afterwards and several died. The gang didn’t care; they just continued on. Seven more slashes killed the whole gang. Only the leader was left alive.
    “You think we’re through?” the leader asked. “It’s actually quite the opposite. You see there are people above me who are at least as strong as you.” Jack didn’t show any reaction. “In fact, they’ll be coming here now that this whole company is dead.”
    “Good,” Jack replied, “I need the challenge.” One stroke of the sword and the leader was beheaded. As he returned, the mayor was glad that he paid Jack the forty thousand. The whole village was awe-stricken. “I think I’ll be staying for a while,” he told everyone. “Looks like we’ll have plenty of more problems coming our way.”