The Hero’s Journey.
Also called the monomyth.
This is a pattern to stories and includes 5 basic stages: A call to adventure, a road of trials, achieving the goal or boon, a return to the ordinary world, and application of the boon. You may recognize this in many stories that you’ve seen or read over the years.
I hear the call to adventure almost everyday.
It’s occasionally annoying, I have to admit. People across the galaxy are always crying out things like “Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator, save us from this fog monster!” or “Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator, save us from this earthquake!” or even “Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator, save us from these high prices!”
Not much I can do about that last one, but being a hero I typically cannot ignore the call. As I have chronicled in my journals, I jump into action whenever I am needed (and occasionally when not, I suppose). That’s why I had to jump into action when I heard that there was a giant robot stomping the city.
Now that’s a call to action.
I quickly launched my trusty ship the Danger Sled towards the threat and was not disappointed by what I saw, though I have to admit I was quite surprised.
A robot with a Jimmy Olsen head? I thought. What sort of fiendish plot is this?
I quickly fired at it with my cannons and it stumbled at the onslaught. I didn’t fall, though. Clearly, this will take all the firepower my space plane can muster. I dialed up my targeting computer for a torpedo strike when it detected something in the colossal creature’s hand.
No, not something – someone!
Whoever it was, this person was trapped in the robot’s clutches and it was up to me to save him or her. I brought my ship in close feigning an attack run, but when I was within striking distance, I dove out of the cargo ramp towards the computerized colossus. My ship roared away on its programmed flight path with the giant Jimmybot swinging at it.
I fired the cabled harpoon from my Wristcomm at it and it stuck fast to the ferrous skin of the robot’s forearm. As my loyal Junior Intergalactic Gladiators might recall that in my recent battle with Mephisto, the interdimensional demon had crushed my Wristcomm. Fortunately for me, Professor Xavier was so grateful that I rescued him that he practically fell over himself, er, he was so grateful that he had Forge repair the damaged device.
I swung on the line as it reeled back in, then hauled myself up onto the machine’s arm. I then ran to the hand, careful to keep myself balanced as I moved, then dove and grabbed the gigantic thumb as my ship swung past on another attack run. Carefully, I lifted myself until I saw---
“You!” I exclaimed.
“Expecting someone else?” Dr. Ziaus shot back. I have to give the ape credit, even while facing his potential demise; he still kept his wits about him.
“Hold on, I’ll get you out!” I carefully peered around the enormous hand. There were plenty of seams where the joints moved, but I couldn’t figure out a weak spot.
“Come around here much?” Ziaus continued while stuck fast.
“Ha ha,” I laughed while looking over the joints. “You’re lucky I’m a hero, a lesser man might not be so inclined to save someone who he is running against for president of the United States.”
“Ah well, I appreciate your efforts, of course,” the simian scientist acknowledged. “Did you bring anything with you that could get me out? A torch or laser or anything?”
“Well no, but I have this.” I held up my newly reconditioned Wristcomm for him to see.
“Interesting. And what does it have?”
“Uh, it has a mini harpoon, sonic disrupter, EMP,” I answered. “Plus it’s on the InterN.E.T and I can get my email.”
“Perhaps you could Google giant Jimmy Olsen robots to find its weak points,” Ziaus suggested.
“Maybe,” I shrugged, then ducked as my ship flew past again. “I guess I really didn’t have a plan coming into this. I kind of thought I’d wing it, you know.”
“While caught in the clutches of this horrible machine, I did notice what appears to be an access hatch there on the shoulder joint.” He pointed up towards the hatch. “You could try that maybe.”
“Really.” I strained to look.
“This machine is a biped much like you or I,” the scientist continued. “I imagine it was created by a biped much like you or I as well. Therefore I conclude that the nerve center or brain or computer or whatever controls this would be up there.”
“Right.” Careful to maintain my balance once again, I dashed up the arm of the creature as my ship flew past for a fourth time. I looked at the hatch and the control panel next to it. A quick EMP burst fried that and the door popped open. Inside was a mass of controls, wires, circuits, and boards.
“Well?” Zaius shouted from the hand.
“I think I got it,” I yelled back and fired another EMP into the heart of the brain. The creature lurched, then jammed the thumb from its non-Zaius hand into its eye. “Not quite.”
I fired another burst and the hand holding the scientist slid open. Zaius shouted as he grabbed the thumb to prevent his fall.
“Now to take this thing down,” I said as I fired another burst into its head. The robot swayed and began to topple over.
“Wait! Not that way!” Zaius shouted. “The hospital!”
He was right, if the machine fell over, it would surely smash the hospital. I quickly fired again and the robot began to sway another direction.
“No, no!” Zaius shouted again. “It will hit that mosque! Believe me, you don’t want that!”
Looking around, I saw a dozen Jimmy Olsens marching out of a warehouse.
“There!” I shouted back. The orangutan gave me a thumbs up. I fired one last time and sparks flew out of the head, the robot swayed and began slowly falling towards the Jimmybot factory. Zaius finally lost his grip, however, and fell free of the immense hand.
I quickly slid down the arm and dove straight towards him. I grabbed his torso and fired the harpoon up into the air. The magnetic grapple snapped tight into the cargo hold of the passing Danger Sled and the monofilament cable spooled back up, hauling us into the belly of my ship just as the giant Jimmy crashed into the factory.
“Wow,” Zaius said between deep breaths. “That was something.”
“Nothing like a little excitement, huh?” I panted back.
“I wanted to thank you, Jon,” Zaius clasped my hand. “You are a worthy opponent and a great hero. I am honored to run against you in this presidential race.”
“You’re a great, uh, ape yourself, Doctor,” I replied. “And you’re not so bad, you know… if only you’d lighten up on your whole ‘Man is a pestilence and he must be exterminated’ platform.”
“You may have a point there,” he winked at me. “But first, let us celebrate our victory with Mai Tais in the Rompus Room of my running mate Germaine Gregarious!”
“You got it!” I pointed back at him and smiled as my ship roared towards the setting sun and our destination.
The end… ?
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
The Hero’s Journey.