Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Academia: the mystic quest

Welcome Readers!  Today, we will take you through the adventure that has been my employment for the last ... many years.

We are currently preparing for an Epoch Battle, in which my heroes will fight against the Forces of Evil who make up the World 3 End Boss.  Recall that in my employment history, my heroes have already wandered their way through the Enchanted Graduate School Forest (World 1), and then through the Marshes of Postdoc-land (World 2). We have been in the rocky Escarpments of Pre-Tenure for the last four or so years, trying to level up our heroes for the Epoch Battle ahead.  This summer, I prepare my team for this final battle.  If we win, we will gain access into the Mountains of Tenure, with the freedom to scale its snow-clad peaks or wander its verdant valleys at will.

Let me introduce you to my party of heroes.

My first hero is a warrior named Research Productivity.  She has leveled up rapidly in the last four years, and is currently a level 20 fighter, which is quite strong for my particular area of the Escarpment.  Not only is her battle level quite high, but also several side quests in recent years have helped her gain fancy equipment.  For example, last year she discovered the extremely rare and valuable Shining Armor of Sloan.  This armor has the ability to blind enemies to my party's weaknesses, and to mesmerize common villagers into rising and applauding when the warrior enters the room.  My warrior is strong.

My second party member is a magician who will introduce herself by the name of Teaching Prowess.  However, in the last four years we have discovered that her real name is Student Ratings.  Luckily for us, knowing the secret name of the party's magician gives one a huge advantage in the Epoch Battle.  My magician also has leveled up rapidly, reaching level 15 in only three years, but unfortunately she has not leveled up quite as quickly in the past year as has my warrior.  On the other hand, the magician carries several important relics that will be valuable in the Epoch Battle.  For example, she was the first magician in the Escarpment to wear the Jewel of the Eye (Clicker), and she has been able to teach its proper wearing to other local magicians.

The final member of my party is a dark elf, who goes by the name of Citizen.  Unlike the warrior and the magician, she is a tricky creature.  Her unpredictable actions can either help or hinder the other party members, which means Citizen is a wild card.  In fact, because of their unpredictable nature, most parties approach the Epic Battle with a rather small dark elf.  Mine is somewhat large.  Luckily, she is well liked, and rather pretty.

And whom, you ask, will we be battling in the Epoch Battle?  We will encounter three main enemies.  The first is the one-eyed monster Department, whose eyeball sits upon the mystic Chair.  The second is the flying wyvern Dean, who has the power to breathe fire.  The weaknesses of these two enemies have been well-documented, and we have developed strategies which we expect will defeat them.  First, we will blind them with the Shining Armor of Sloan, and then Student Ratings will cast spells against them which were mastered in the Dungeons of Large Lecture Calculus.

However, the third enemy is the most frightening of all.  This enemy has the form of a man (white male) with a pale face in a dark suit, who sits on a throne high in the Tower of Administration.  Do not be deceived by his common appearance -- the enemy's smile reveals Vampire Teeth.  The Vampire is by far the worst of the three enemies, because he cannot be pinned down by documentation.  His weaknesses change unpredictably and at random.  He has been known to cut down whole parties with a single blow, and leave their rotting corpses stinking on the ground without giving a single reason why.

Not even my level 20 warrior will be immune to the Vampire in the Administration Building.  All I can do is prepare my party as best as I can, equipping them for battle with the appropriate armor and spells.  Unfortunately, I am hindered somewhat in my efforts by the fact that the warrior is waiting for a Mail-Order Sword.  The department sent out requests to other Warriors throughout the country, asking them to fashion a sword for me.  Depending on how they view my warrior, I will end up with a sword ranging in quality from Excalibur, mythical sword of Arthur, to a broken plastic light saber.  I am hoping other warriors will be impressed by the level 20.  I fear I will need a strong sword to defeat the Vampire.

In any case, stay tuned over the next 12 months to hear more about my party of Heroes and their preparation and participation in the Epoch Battle.

Mountains, here we come!