#14 – Jumping Jack

| November 15, 2011 | 0 Comments

Jackie Caulder has been a hero since he was 15.

And that was about 40 years ago!

Let’s rewind and try to start from the beginning.

It was the 70’s. Free Love Syndrome had pretty much come and gone and had been quickly replaced by the Disco Fever. Jackie, barely 14 then, was already a big shot at school, as he was being heralded as the most promising quarterback his coach had ever seen. His parents, both blue collar workers who could barely make ends meet every month, were already counting with the countless athletic scholarships that would surely come their son’s way once high school was over. All Jackie knew was that this meant a free ride all through middle school and high school, respect and admiration from his peers, getting to third base by the second date with every single cheerleader he asked for a date, and the guarantee that he would never get a “No” regardless of who he asked.

This all came to a screeching halt during a school trip to the Wagner Institute of Particle Research, were a good humored prank from Jackie caused half of the research equipment to explode, bathing him in all sorts of radiation. He woke up six months later in a hospital bed, feeling weaker than he’d ever felt. He had gone from being a well toned kid to a scrawny, sickly shelf of his former self. He was informed that all the radiation had caused damage to his muscles and organs and that he would need from several years of physical rehabilitation to regain his physical condition. And just like that, Jackie Caulder’s future had been completely derailed.

The Wagner Institute agreed to pay for his hospital bills, but there was still the money for the physical therapy, which Jackie’s parents simply did not have. They attempted to sue the Institute and the school, but only ended up with even more bills to pay and, in the end, he was never able to go to any therapy sessions and just had to adjust to his new life as a weakling. This, however, turned out to be a turning point in Jackie’s life. It was after returning to school in his new condition that he realized that for most of his life he had been a complete bully and a jerk to everyone he’d ever met. He had harassed and taunted his teachers, shielding himself under the coach and his value as a football star. He had bullied many of his classmates, using his strength and the support of his teammates. He had even forced some of the girls he’d gone out with into dating him in the first place, only to treat them like trash after the fact. It was no surprise no one was sparing him any sympathy now that he was the one going through a rough time. By the time he got his head around how much of an asshole he had been, he was actually surprised he wasn’t getting more beatings than he was already getting every day.

It was this realization, coupled with remembering that it was his macho posing while bullying one of his classmates that caused the accident at the Wagner Institute, that made Jackie realize he needed to change and become a better person. Not for the sake of others, since his entire school hated him, but for himself. It was around this time that the true effects of all the radiation his body absorbed manifested itself. Somehow, it had altered his molecular structure, giving him the ability to teleport. He knew this could not all be a coincidence. This long and complicated chain of events had somehow been pre-ordained. Everything that had happened, he somehow knew, was meant to put him on this path. To teach him the humility necessary to take this gift he’d received and not abuse it, but instead help people through it.

Jackie knew from the first moment this wouldn’t be a walk in the park. He would not only have to learn how to properly use his powers, but he would also need to regain the physical condition he’d lost during the accident. The latter part he managed with the help of Ol’ Moxy Lincoln. Moxy owned the local gym and had been a boxer during his youth. When the kid came asking to join in and willing to clean and help in the gym in order to pay for his membership, he recognized something in him. He’d worked with tons of kids off the streets, trying to help them get a second chance in life, teaching them discipline through boxing. The thing they and Jackie shared was they were all looking for the same thing: Redemption. He worked day and night, leaving his sweat and blood in that gym. His old body was gone, so he had to learn to work with his new body, its strengths and limitations.

Whatever spare time he had, he used to hone his teleportation skills. He could only teleport as far as he could see, and the farthest he teleported the more it took a physical toll on him. This was also the same with whatever object he wanted to teleport along with him. The bigger the object, the more energy and concentration it took. With time and practice, it became easier, but teleporting in general was still a tiring exercise. So in order to more effectively used it, he learnt to do short and quick bursts of teleporting, or “jumps” as he called them, designed to make the best of his stamina as well as to confuse his enemies and make the best of his newfound fighting skills too.

The early years were definitely the worst years. Half the time, he didn’t know what he was doing. He kept screwing up, kept getting beaten by common thugs and thieves. But he started getting the hang of it. By the time he graduated high school, he’d managed to make a mark in his neighborhood and keeping it clean from crime, as well as winning a full academic scholarship for State University. He managed to graduate from college, start a career and maintain a couple of fleeting relationships even while expanding his territory and coming to the attention of various super criminals who would become fixtures in Jackie’s life.

Guys like Nightmare, Boss Blind Tiger, Fear & Loathing, Azucena, El Furioso and even more modern additions like Grill-Face, the Beaver, Dreaded Ninja

Now in his sixties, Jackie still does what he does best: Helping people. He’s a married man with two daughters: A little girl and a teenager. His family is fully aware of his life as a hero and accepts it as part of who he is. He’s even become a legend within the super hero community and a role model for all aspiring heroes.

Jackie Caulder has come a long way since his time as a jock and a bully. He’s done much to atone for it, yet after almost 40 years of putting his life in the line for others, he still feels he hasn’t done enough yet. And even though his joints ache and he should sleep more and his bell is starting to stick out of his costume, there is still much to do out there.

So Jack will keep jumping as long as Jack can jump.

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Category: Superhero

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