The night was black. Black enough to keep most men indoors, where it was safe. Most, but not all.
Walking down an abandoned stretch of Oregon 2 highway that very night was one such man. He thought little of what normal men called danger. Then again, he supposed he wasn't much of a normal man.
He was a haxx0r gunman.
He paused and stared out into the blackness. Had he still posessed his original eyes, he would not have been able to see more than a foot or two in front of his face. Luckily, thanks to many exciting 21st-century optical advancements, his eyes had long since been replaced by state of the art cyber-eyes. At the moment, he had them switched to night-vision mode and was scanning the horizon for trouble. He found it, in the form of 3 green dots far off in the distance.
Zooming his cyber-eyes to 100x magnification, he saw that the dots turned out to be 3 voracious monsteroids, slavering all over themselves as they bounded over the plains looking for food.
Monsteroids were the latest in a series of cloning and genetic mutation experiments done by a massive interstellar corporation/empire known only as CWAL. The fact that these terrorizing beasts were directly linked to CWAL was unknown to the general public. haxx0r gunman, having his own sources on the subject, namely his cyber-eyes, had made it a top priority to get the word out and bring CWAL down. To its credit, CWAL hadn't been making it very easy.
But haxx0r gunman wasn't completely alone. He had at least temporary support from the New United States government. They were just as interested in bringing down CWAL as he was, and they did have access to certain resources that haxx0r gunman simply did not. Strange, he thought. Strange that I now work along side the same government that destroyed my life, that took everything from me simply due to my loyal service. I vowed to one day get revenge. But the day I vowed that was so long ago. Back then. Back in . . .
* * *
. . . Zaire, 1945. haxx0r gunman was green then, a rookie. a brand new recruit in the U.S. Army. The U.S. was waging a secret war in Zaire with a group called the Zairean Liberation Army, a force that would later expand to become CWAL. For bizarre and unknown reasons, as his first assignment haxx0r gunman was sent in on a one-man infiltration mission into one of the ZLA's main facilities, deep within the Zairean jungle. Even more bizarre was the fact that haxx0r gunman somehow beat the odds and suceeded, despite everyone's expectations.
He returned home to the United States shortly thereafter, expecting a hero's welcome. Unfortunately, politics stole it away from him, as they would steal so much over the course of his life. The President himself had decided to disavow all knowledge of U.S. action in Zaire. Not wanting any chance of the secret getting out, haxx0r gunman was promptly banned from the country. He hadn't accepted it so easily, though. He spent many years training, and building up his arsenal. He bided his time, waited until no one would remember a young private by the name of haxx0r gunman. No one had seen haxx0r gunman in the U.S. or the New U.S. in all this time.
* * *
Until now. But instead of going after the government that betrayed him, he was actually helping them. He decided to think on it more later, as the mosnteroids were slowly but steadily advancing on his position. One monsteroid was usually enough to take down any one man, and three would be a slaughter by any means. But still haxx0r gunman marched on. He was without fear.
When he was within about ten meters of the hulking beasts, he called out to them in their own native language, Monsterese.
"Graaargh! Grrrrr arrrrooowwwwlllll!" Monsteroids, twisted abominations of nature! Just as the humans you hunt have their "Grim Reaper," you have your own master of death. But he is not a scythe-wielding skeleton. No, he is a gunman. A haxx0r gunman. He drew his haxx0rgun from its sling on his back, but before he could fire a single shot, the monsteroids were upon him. They knocked his haxx0rgun to the ground, and unarmed, not even haxx0r gunman was much of a match for three fully-grown monsteroids. They quickly tore him limb from limb, and then began feasting on his remains. But something was amiss. This haxx0r gunman didn't taste as sweet as a haxx0r gunman should. Still, he was dead and they were not, that's what was most important. Or at least it was, until they heard his voice call out to them once more.
"Graaargh! Arrrrooowwwwlllll grrrrr!" Monsteroids, foolish in your own flawed existence, you have failed! You tried to strike me down, but I was too fast, and instead you hit only my shadow. So now, it is my turn to strike, and I guarantee I will not be so foolish as to miss! They turned around just in time to see him fire three haxx0rbolts from his haxx0rgun. Each one found its mark, and the monsteroids were reduced to smoking green piles.
"Only a creature as foolish as a monsteroid would think that he could eliminate man, eliminate his own creator. Why that would be as foolish as for me to try to take my haxx0rgun to Buddha, and destroy he who created me. For what is a being without his creator? I say he is nothing, and to be nothing is worse than to be dead, so truly I have saved these monsteroids today. So it is that I am both a demon and an angel to them, truly in the monsteroid world, haxx0r gunman is all."
With that, he turned around and headed for the open road once more.
His cyber-eyes detected no more monsteroids that night.