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The moment I received the messages, I wanted nothing more than to run off to someplace quiet right there and then to check my rewards. Unfortunately, that was impossible. The Jumpbot-S may have passed the tests but to get certification, I still need to sign the paperwork. Even more unfortunate, I had to listen to a prepared speech from Van about the dangers of installing illegal weaponry on my Battlesuit and how I was not allowed to sell my Jumpbot-S directly to any enemies of the SEAL.

Faced with listening to a speech I just wanted over with, I did what all men in all cultures throughout history did; I grunt. Now I know what people say about grunting but I find nothing wrong with it. In fact, I honestly believe that there would be a lot less wars in the solar system if we allow grunting in international diplomacy.

Van obviously knew that I wasn’t interested in the speech and to his credit, he didn’t bother to call me out on it. I’m probably not the first guy he met who ignored it. He rushed through the speech, we shook hands, and I signed on his documents. I still couldn’t escape.

Jaya insist that I say a few words to Latiff on the Jumpbot-S and the direction of my company. A huge problem as I didn’t have a direction for my company! Thank the non-existing Gods of the world for my Quick-Thinking Promotion skill!

The best lies are those with a grain of truth and that was what I gave to the reporter. Truth being how I always wanted my own workshop; then I added the lies. I gave him some nonsense of wanting to modernize classic designs so that the new generation could appreciate them, and I finished by saying I hope to one day design a Battlesuit of my own that would go down as a classic like the Steambot and the Silent Strider. Latiff wanted more but I quickly push him to Jaya and made my escape.

I rushed home, even getting a warning from a traffic drone for flying above the speed limit along the way. After making sure everything was closed, I sat down on my living room sofa, turn on my white noise filter and opened the System. Unlike the previous times when the rewards was automatically given to me, this time my Mission tab was blinking. The only time this happened was when someone bought my Jumpbot while I was asleep but I wasn’t complaining. If the rewards had just popped out, I may had a hard time controlling myself in front of everyone. I accessed the Mission tab and saw the three Mission complete. Below the three red Mission however was a normal looking mission; an incomplete mission. I hit the incomplete mission and as I had expected; it was the mission I was given by the System.

Mission: Create Your First Actual Battlesuit

A weapons designer not only need to design, he also need to build. You have successfully design a Grade 0 Battlesuit, now you must build it. Build a real-life working prototype of your Grade 0 Battlesuit. One million credit has been awarded to an account for User Tobias Wong.

Note: The credits can only be use for the sole purpose of building the Battlesuit. No other usage is allowed.

"System, you're there?"

[Yes, User Tobias Wong. How may I assist you?]

"I had finished my Jumpbot but the mission is still outstanding. Why is that?"

[Correction. User Tobias Wong has completed building the Jumpbot-S, which is a Grade 3 Battlesuit. Construction of the Jumpbot is still outstanding.]

“So I shall get my reward only after building my Jumpbot?”

[That is correct.]

“Then what about the three completed missions I currently have? What are they for?”

[User Tobias Wong has completed three outstanding missions that are due for him in the future. Rewards will be given to the users whether they knowingly or unknowingly complete their missions.]

“How can I know what missions I completed? When I saw the rewards in the past, I never saw any details of my completed missions.”

[If User Tobias Wong wish, the System can show details of the completed missions in the future.]

“Yes, do that. Why didn’t you do this in the first place? This should be the default setting.”

[User Tobias Wong never asked. Also this is not the default setting as creator Mad Triple did not want hold the hand of his descendants. He believed in self-reliance and left the detailed discovery of the System up to the users.]

Since I knew arguing with an AI was stupidity in itself, I just gave up and hit the first completed mission for my reward.

[Mission completed- Create a Grade 3 Battlesuit. Knowledge Manual awarded to User Tobias Wong. New Mission available]

“System, what is this Knowledge Manual?”

[A technical manual helpful in the construction of Battlesuits would be given to User Tobias Wong once you select the manual you wish to get.]

Only now did I notice that the knowledge manual was highlighted. I pressed it and an old fashioned jackpot machine with three reels and a lever appeared before me.

“Oh come on, old man! Seriously?” I could only shake my head in annoyance. “Who the hell play the jackpot machine anymore?”

The System and the jackpot machine ignored me. Left with little choice I pulled the lever and the reels began spinning. When it stopped, the jackpot machine disappeared and the three reels enlarged to show me my choices. The first was electrical engineering; the second was circuitry; and the last was weapon construction. I selected weapon construction as this was the area I had the least experience in. Information immediately flood my mind and a sharp pain flashed into my head. It was as if my brain was on fire and then the pain was gone.

My mind expanded and I realized I now understood things about weaponries I never knew before. How tiny components working together could increase the power output of laser weapons. How a simple tweak here and there would increase the consistency of mini-missiles and prevent malfunction. It wasn’t earth-shattering knowledge and anyone who spent a few years in university probably already knew all these but for me, this was much needed information. I checked my internal clock and noticed that I only lost half a minute. Half a minute for a few years of university study? I’ll take it any day of the week! I quickly went to the second completed mission and pressed the highlighted reward.

[Mission completed- Be Recognized as A Designer. Enhancement Upgrade awarded to User Tobias Wong. New Mission available]

I half-expected another jackpot machine but I instead got a picture of a human body with the left arm of the body highlighted in red. The red highlight then switched to the red eye before switching back and forth between the two body parts. The back and forth was too fast for me to see and I immediately understood what this was.

“System, what will happen when I stop this?”

[An Enhancement Upgrade of the highlighted body part would be given to User Tobias Wong.]

“Why not highlight the other body parts as well?”

[User Tobias Wong do not have any other cybernetics on his body. The reward is to upgrade an existing enhancement the user already has, not to gift a new cybernetic part to the user.]

“Why not just gift one to me? I thought your programming believe in magic. You’re telling me you can’t magically change my right arm to metal?”

[There is a cost to magic. Theoretically the System could change the user’s right arm from flesh to metal but the ensuring blood loss from the spell would endanger the life of the user.]

I could only scoff at the explanation. As if magic actually exist? I stopped the program and the red highlight stopped to the right eye. I immediately felt the change. My cybernetic right eye shut down and I could hear it being updated. After about a minute, my eye switched back on and the eye informed me of the upgrades. X-ray vision; infra-red; night vision; faster processing; more connectivity; nothing too crazy but definitely an enhancement. My cybernetic eye may now be considered to be at the top end of Grade 1 cybernetics, anything better may require new hardware. In short, I may have to install a new eye. I smile at that thought and pressed the third completed mission.

I was expecting a scene similar to my previous two rewards, it was a lottery chance after all, but instead I just got a message.

[Mission completed. Achievement- Mission Skip achieved! Twenty Protection Talisman awarded to User Tobias Wong.]

A very, very puzzling message!

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Ghostman

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