Sven felt another intersection come and go as he ate his food. He wondered how long he had before he had to move from his place and seek another one somewhere else. He chewed the bite he had in his mouth while thinking about ways to be mobile.

Some of the weapons his weapon had copied allowed for flight, or teleportation. One allowed for time travel but he decided that would be an emergency option in case he was about to die.

Time travel had been shown not to work out despite anything the traveler did. And he didn't want to interfere in the workings of the clock enough to erase himself from reality.

That was the one warning that had stuck with him the most.

Sven wondered if there was a faster way to collect money from the street. There might be a small fortune in coins just laying there.

He also didn't want to spend a lot of time on it. He didn't need a lot of money, but he wanted something reliable that he could collect every day that was the same amount.

He also didn't want to attract attention. He knew his weapon could do things to people so he could loot and pillage. He didn't see any good sides of running from the local sheriff.

Sven noted a group of men approaching where he sat underneath a tree. He knew they could see him sitting in the shadow. He wondered what they wanted.

They probably wanted his nonexistent loot. He wished them the best of luck since he had already spent it. He hoped he didn't have to use his weapon since he didn't know if the Asgar were on the job like they should be.

The weapon rested on his forearm, awaiting his command.

He hoped he didn't have to kill these idiots.

You're sitting in the wrong spot,” said the leader of the jackals. He looked down at Sven. He was twice as big as the deserter. He sneered. “You're going to have to pay a toll.”

"I don't have anything to give you,” said Sven. “I just want to eat and then move on.”

What makes you think we'll let you do that without paying the price?,” asked the jackal.

Sven had two choices as he saw it. He could use the weapon, or take a beating. Neither option appealed to him, but he wasn't going to let someone hurt him because he didn't have any of the local currency.

He pointed the arm with the weapon covering it. It changed into the wrist gun it had taken. He pushed the button on the side of his hand with a thumb. The cannon buzzed as he fired bullets at what was essentially kneecap level.

He stood, pointing the wrist gun at the group members he hadn't shot yet. Smoke drifted from the weapon.

Call for help,” said Sven. “Your friends are going to need it. Don't make me regret letting you live.”

He left the remainder of his food and walked away. He didn't feel like eating after making his first enemies in his new life.

He dismissed the wrist gun. He should have done something else. At least he hadn't killed any of them if they got to some kind of medic. He wondered how he could have handled things better.

He should have asked for something inherently nonlethal. He just hadn't taken the time to consider any of that. His mind had jumped immediately to firearms and his weapon had complied.

He had to do better if he wanted to blend in and avoid attracting his countrymen's attention. The disciplinary action for desertion was death as far as he knew. He wanted to avoid that for as long as possible.

He heard sirens coming closer. It looked like some of the group had decided that calling the local watch would be better than trying to deal with things on their own. That was better than what he expected criminals to do. Usually they would rather run than ask for the law to assist them.

He needed to get off the street if he didn't want to wind up in the local brig himself. Putting holes in people had to be frowned on even here.

He took the next alley and cut between two buildings. He used his weapon to call for a spike gun. He took aim with it and fired the spike into the wall near the top. He pressed the button on the side. A rope connected to the spike pulled him upwards. He threw his other arm over the rampart and pulled himself on the roof.

As long as there was no air support, he should be okay unless he ran into that particular group again. He thought they would be less likely to try a soft approach with him the next time.

How would they arm themselves?

He dismissed the question. It was a problem for another time.

Sven sat on the roof and watched the area. He doubted he could be seen from the street. If he was, he would have to think of a way to get away from any pursuit.

He thought there was some other weapons in the copy file that might have mobility as a side effect of their use. He would worry about that when he needed it. Since he couldn't go anywhere at the moment, he couldn't devote his attention to it.

He needed to watch the street and make sure no one saw him lurking above.

The moment anyone saw him, he would have to run. He wanted to go to a new place and build something for himself. That would be hard to do in the local brig, weaponless, and alone. He would be better off going home and taking his punishment.

He also should have taken the local currency from the thugs. He would have to think about doing that the next time someone tried to rob him.

He shook his head. He hadn't decided to start over so he could be a bandit preying on the locals.

He watched as the flashing lights and hordes of blue uniforms filled the area. A crowd had also formed. Yellow tape was strung up. The wounded was dragged away from the scene.

The local government knew he existed now. They would be looking for anyone who looked like him. He would have to change his appearance if he wanted to keep moving around.

He should have used something else to defend himself. Or he shouldn't have left witnesses.

He thought about it. He didn't want to kill someone for just talking tough. He could do better.

He decided the best thing he could do was stay away from the spot below. He marked out a section of blocks to stay clear. He expected more trouble if he ran into the group again.

He might have to kill some of them the next time.

Or they could take him by surprise and kill him before he got a shot off.

He waited out the investigation. The uniforms spread out, asking questions, taking notes. Men and women with instruments went over where he had spilled blood and flesh everywhere. He doubted they would be able to connect his weapon to the stored code he had used.

It was something to consider. He didn't want to leave connections from him to the next enemy he encountered.

He watched the neighborhood for another hour after the people had cleared away. He thought he could get home to the bookstore and settle in for the night.

He felt the ache of hunger course through him. He should have taken the local scrip from his victims. That would have given him an ability to pay for another meal.

He needed a way to make some of the local currency without stealing from people. What could he do with his skills that wouldn't attract attention? How did he go about taking the next step?

Sven didn't know what he could do to recover from this mistake. And with the intersections opening, he was afraid he might have attracted more than the locals' attention.

How long did he have before some of his former comrades showed up to take him back to stand trial? He should have thought about it more before he deserted his station.

He decided he could worry about that later. If he wanted to eat, he could just break into a place. His weapon would allow that. Otherwise, he would just head back to the bookstore and raid the cookie vault.

He was fond of the chocolate chip.

Sven checked for anything that might be detection from another Asgar, Jotun, or one of the other forces in operation. Then he changed his weapon into something he had seen that might be better than the wirepoon he had used earlier.

He aimed the device out into the darkness and pressed the palm switch. A thread of silk connected where he stood to a light pole in the distance. He swung off the roof and landed lightly on the ground, walking off the impact. He cut the thread and kept going.

Sven made his way to the bookstore. The picture book had been helpful. He should look for more to show his weapon to increase his arsenal. Maybe there was a currency making thing in one of the books.

He smiled at that. He should settle for a bottle of drink and a platter of cookies from the cookie vault. Tomorrow, he could think about getting more substantial food and figure out a way to earn some scrip to enjoy his new life.


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