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It was spring and Jack Kenta was busy idly stirring a pot of coffee with his left hand. His biological hand, that was. He did so to avoid the suspicious, watchful eyes of the rather mundane civilians milling about the diner as the sun broke the horizon, casting down haphazard rays of morning light.

Kenta was tall but not massive, with a calm demeanor and cool blue eyes. His right hand was resting in his lap, his mechanical fingers brushing against cool steel, which he could just barely feel through his 4th Gen Sensory Receptors. His index finger was wound tight around the trigger, whilst his thumbs flicked the safety off and then on again. That was his nervous tick, a dangerous thing for a former soldier-turned-private security-turned mercenary to have.

Click. Clack. Click. Clack.

He slowly turned his face to the window, gazing idly out of the glass pane, covered in filth, dirt, and grime. His eyes whirred in their sockets, the 200 megapixel compound image sensor focusing on the Chevrolet that was parked roughly thirty feet away from him. His eyes searched for the target within the vehicle, panning from right to left as it entered thermal vision.

Kenta could make out two targets sitting within the vehicle. The outlines suggested a man and woman, roughly thirty years of age, possibly younger. He swiped his biological hand across the table, scattering crumbs of wafer across the floor, and motioned for the waitress.

"Yes, sir?" The girl asked, her voice rife with impatience and disdain, her fingers rapping against a clipboard. Why the hell a twenty-first century diner was still using manual clipboards in the current climate was beyond Kenta.

"Another one, black." He uttered, turning his attention back to the vehicle from which a man and woman had emerged.

The man was dressed in a black suit, sunglasses, and a pair of Oxford brogues. Kenta suppressed a smile. The woman, meanwhile, was wearing a grey pantsuit with a similar pair of sunglasses perched atop her head. The pair couldn't have stuck out more, even if they had tried.

Kenta abruptly remembered a similar couple, but from a lifetime ago. He remembered the pair, wrapped in one another's arms as they tossed and turned, laughing and smiling on a beach, so full of life. Remembered taking aim at the pair, his rifle cocked and ready. Remembered the weight of the trigger as he shut his finger tight around it. Remembered the sudden crack of a .50 BMG round over-penetrating them both, sending bone, viscera and God only knows what else through the both of them and exiting with a dull thud on the sand.

He readjusted his position and pushed his empty cup of coffee away, awaiting the second round.

The man and woman entered the diner and briskly walked over to where Kenta was sat, neither smiled. The woman spoke first.

"Good Morning, former Agent Jack Kenta." She said, pulling out her stainless steel briefcase and laying it on the table, slowly spinning the combination lock as she stared at him. Her hair was a long, mousy brown and her eyes were pools of green, murky water, that betrayed zero emotion.

"It's just Jack Kenta, these days, thank you very much, Agent Caroline Bridges." Kenta thumbed the safety off whilst carelessly stroking the steel body of the SIG Sauer P226 laying in his lap.

"Oh, you don't go by Typhoon, anymore, eh, Jack?" asked the man, removing his sunglasses and gently wiping them with a cloth that he produced from his suit jacket.

"I haven't gone by that name since I quit the Agency, and your dossier covered in red fucking tape will have told you that one." Kenta spat.

"Jack, we just want to know if you're doing okay.." Caroline smiled. "We know some Agents had some real difficulties after retiring with indignitas.

"See, Jack, we're just making sure that you've been keeping to the promises laid out in the PAID Act."

"Oh, that glorified Official Secrets Act that you had forced through the UN after Korea went to hell in a handbasket?" Kenta grimaced, his fingers tracing the barrel of his pistol. "I haven't told a single soul about the shit I dealt with."

"We could always take you in and have you amnesticised, of course." The man said, with a shit-eating grin as he rapped his fingers against the table, clearly amused by the air of "official power" that his job description carried.

"No, you really couldn't." Kenta said as he shook his head, raising his biological hand to take the coffee from the waitress, who then turned her direction to the two Agents.

"Would you two like anything?" She asked, her tone indicating that this was her best attempt to feign interest.

"Oh no, we're just about done here, aren't we, Thomas?" Caroline asked, smiling with her teeth clenched tightly, her eyes a blank canvas.

"Oh yes, we've got plenty more work to do, lots of people to catch up on." Thomas replied, getting to his feet and opening the briefcase, tossing a large coin towards Kenta, who caught it in his mechanical hand.

"See you this time next month, Kenta."

"Not if I see you first." He muttered, his mechanical teeth grinding against one another. He ran his fingers over the coin and tucked it away in his holster, just beneath his P226.

"Sir, I need to lock up, so I'm gonna have to ask you to leave." The waitress said to Kenta, who was idly staring at the coin that had been tossed at him an hour ago.

"Yeah, I'll leave, no worries." He laid a fifty dollar bill on the table and gathered his coat around him, walking out of the diner and into the warm Californian air.

Kenta gazed about idly. The ground was covered in a fine layer of red dust and the sky was full of stars. His eyes turned about him, as he noticed a man sat down outside the diner wearing a stetson, a faded duster jacket, and a guitar. "What a freak." Kenta thought as he glanced down at his wrist.

Midnight. He probably had six hours to put as much distance between himself and Agent Caroline Bridges as he possibly could.

Kenta smiled to himself and strode toward the freaky man in a moth-eaten stetson.

The Tales of Jedidah Springs, the roaming preacher of the Western Seaboard Fifthists.
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