Chapter 6: Preparing for the Mission
… … …
The weekend passes and school ushered in a new week. Jackson dragged all his entirety—his tired and weary body to school. On his side, Tom accompanied Jackson and curiously asked his current state of mind.
“Hm..? Tired… not enough sleep…” Jackson tilted his head and replied wearily, using the excuse of sleeping late to fool his best friend.
He could not reveal to him that he’d been practicing the Middle Grade Fighting Essentials technique and Beginner Grade Insights technique overnight.
“Hey, Jackson!” Peter arrived in the front school gate and eagerly waved to Jackson.
Standing to the side is a girl whom Jackson was familiar with, Gwen Stacy.
Well… it seems Peter and Gwen are getting along. But will their story develop in the way I remember it to be? Maybe I can change Gwen’s tragic fate…
Jackson thought when looking towards the eye-catching beauty that is Gwen Stacy.
“Hey, Peter. How come you’re here together?” Tom asked Peter curiously.
“Ah… I just met Gwen on the way to school.” Peter said shyly.
Before becoming the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, Peter was only an outcast, a nerd at best. So regarding Gwen, Peter did not have much to say. He had no experience with girls.
“Jackson, why do you look so tired?” Gwen asked upon seeing Jackson’s fatigued and tired face.
Jackson’s cheeks flushed a rosy red. “That… that was because I haven’t slept well the past two nights…”
“Is that so?”
“Ah, let’s go or we’ll be late!” Tom pushed Jackson and headed towards the front entrance, leaving Gwen’s question left unanswered.
“I’ll see you soon!” Jackson smiled ruefully.
… … …
The bell rings, signifying the end of the school hours and Jackson slept all throughout the class session. There wasn’t much of a point in staying awake. Jackson’s eidetic memory had long recognized the curriculums taught during classes.
“Peter! Harry! I apologize that I won’t be able to chat today. I have some things I have to do at home! See you!” Jackson mumbled and quickly stuffed his school items in the bag before rushing out of the classroom in a hurried manner.
“Is there something important he needs to do?” Peter and Harry faced each other with their brows raised then turned towards Tom.
Tom with his eyes wide opened shrugged and raised both hands helplessly, a form of surrender.
“I-I don’t know!” Tom could only sigh.
He can’t seem to understand Jackson’s behavior since the beginning of high school.
As the three discussed Jackson’s urgent need to hurry home, Jackson was halfway through his destination with the help of his bicycle.
“System, can’t you postpone the mission a few days later? I’ve just begun practicing the Middle-Grade Fighting Essentials technique. Why must I finish the mission tonight?! Don’t you think this is too much for a novice like me?!” Jackson shouted inside his subconscious whilst riding the bicycle.
The System yawns.
“Do not worry, it’s not too much. Just defeat five villains tonight. I believe you’ll be able to do it.” The System replied lazily.
“Five?! That is easy to say for you… you’re not the one doing it!” Jackson spat out. “But even if I can fight five villains, I’m not sure I can catch five of them in one night!”
“Rest assured. You’ve done something similar to this before. Haven’t you gone to Brooklyn many times to earn points over the years, haven’t you? You’ve beaten up a couple of punks too. What are you worried about?” The System said casually, attempting to tear down Jackson’s intent to drag the time.
The System can read Jackson’s consciousness, how can It not know what he’s thinking?
“I’ve never gone to Brooklyn before till you seduced me with those rewards. I got injured too, remember that?! And besides… there was no time limit for those tasks. I was more prepared then but now you want me to beat up five villains in one night! This is difficult! Are you trying to kill me?! Do you enjoy watching me in torture?!” Jackson angrily faked.
“The tasks provided to you before was based on my current mood at the time but this time the task provided for you is based on the path of becoming a hero. I cannot change it as I have no control over it.” The System said faintly.
Jackson did not know surely whether the System spoke the truth.
“Forget it! I’ll go home and do some preparations so I don’t get killed tonight.” Jackson grieved.
It seemed he won’t get what he wants from the System so he might as well prepare as much as possible in case that slight unexpected errors occur.
… … …
Ten minutes later.
Jackson rushed to the front yard and recklessly dropped his bicycle without care.
His parents have yet to return home.
Good! This gives me time to prepare!
Jackson threw his backpack then dragged his body into the bed. He didn’t wish to rest but it seemed necessary to do so in order to enter his subconscious mind to see what the System held in store.
He needed an upgrade to deal with those first leveled villains. Jackson had a little over 500 points to spend so he didn’t need anything too powerful. Just enough to deal with what he was about to face tonight.
“System, what would you recommend me? You have too many things in your vault to pick that I don’t know which I should choose. Help me out here.”
Since the System won’t allow him to drag the time, It might as well help him.
“Alright. I’ll look for features most suitable for you.”
“I need a superhero suit. A suit that can hide my identity and it has to be good looking.” Jackson requested.
When relating to superheroes, the first thing the average person might think of is not of their abilities nor how powerful they are but their signature suit.
Are they a superhero who wears tights with underwears? Do they wear capes? What about their masks? Is it fully covered or partially covered?
Suit designs are an integral part of a superhero’s signature style and Jackson himself was no exception. Since choosing the path of a hero, he needed a beautiful and uniquely tailored suit essentially suited for him.
After Jackson proposed a request for his need to wear a superhero suit, the System flashed. White fluorescent lights glowed. Within seconds, five uniquely designed suits each with its own special attributes appeared inside Jackson’s subconscious mind.
“Here are five suits I’ve selected according to your preferences and style. So, which one do you like the most?”
“I like the design and colors for all of them. System, pick one for me.” Jackson curved his lips, satisfied with the System’s choosing.
Jackson’s subconscious mind brightened, the white light covering all corners till it faded and all returned to normal. Four of the hero suits disappeared and only a dark smoky gray hooded suit was left out.
The System picked for Jackson.
“This is the Phantom Mirage suit. The suit adjusts to the owner’s body shape, grows as the owner becomes stronger, and the hood itself has its own mask effects. Moreover, the suit also adjusts its temperature according to the outside environment.” The System specified the suit’s features.
“Hmm, okay! This is good. Hides my identity and can adjust the temperature depending on the current environment. I like it.” Jackson nodded his head. “System, how much does it cost?”
“250 points.” The System replied.
Jackson’s mouth was wide open. “250?! Why don’t you just take it? You look ready to steal away half of my reward points! Shameless!”
“Regarding the price of the suit, the price is very fair considering its features. And I gave you a 20% discount. That’s 200 dollars off.”
“20% off? 200 dollars?!”
“I’m not going any lower!”
“Good!” Jackson clenched his teeth bitterly. “I’ll pay 250.”
Since he’d chosen the path of a superhero, this superhero suit is necessary. And based on the Phantom Mirage’s suit function, it is good enough for 250 points.
“System, I need some added protection.”
The ball of light filled his subconscious mind once more. The System showed Jackson various items best suited for him.
After an hour spent with the System, Jackson finally got what he needed.
He was distressed. Jackson spent a little over 400 points in total.
“Okay, I finally got all things needed.” Said Jackson before returning to reality.
Jackson smiled as he gazed down at his black bracelet wristband on his right wrist.
A spur of thought appeared in his mind. At the same time, the black bracelet faded into nothingness. Thereafter, Jackson’s figure had been covered by a smoky gray suit.
He did not know how others dressed in a suit but he felt that no one other than himself can suiten up so quickly and color’s suit blended into the darkness.
If one did not pay heed to their environment, they’d overlook his presence.
Jackson raised his head and pulled out the hooded mask.
Jackson turned on the mask effect and a faint foggy mist covered his face but it did not affect his perception at all.
“I can see clearly but isn’t this a little scary? Why is there a fog covering my face? If I become famous I’ll be known as the Faceless Man!” Jackson complained, unsure how to use the mask effect.
Thereafter, the misty fog shrouding Jackson’s face began to morph, gradually turning into more of a substantive matter, becoming a smoky black mask which veiled the lower half of Jackson’s face.
“Well, this is good. Heh, it looks like this function is quite powerful.” Jackson felt the mask and smirked. He was satisfied.
After the issue with the mask was solved, he looked and checked over the other types of equipment bought from the System’s vault.
At the same time, a voice called out.
“Jackson, are you up there?!”
Ah! Mom’s home!
“I’m up here, Mom!” Jackson shouted and quickly turned off the Phantom Suit.
Jackson then packed up and ran downstairs. He needed to go out tonight but how what should he say?