From Achilles to Captain America, Perseus to Luke Skywalker, our stories have been saturated with soldier heroes. We play them in our video games, we read them in science fiction; super soldiers who have the strength to fight when others fall behind.
We love them because they fill us with hope.
And because they can do really cool things on the screen or on the page.
When I set out to write the Tapped universe, I was researching pressure points and Chinese legends about chi. For those unfamiliar with the term, chi is defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as: vital energy that is held to animate the body internally and is of central importance in some Eastern systems of medical treatment (such as acupuncture) and of exercise or self-defense (such as tai chi).
But that dictionary doesn’t bring out the cool stuff.
The cool stuff, are legends of people having such mastery over their chi that they could perform kata’s (martial movements meant to practice control of the body) while balancing on top of, and not breaking, delicate teacups.
Think Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon.
Now we hit the pressure points – these are specific spots on the body that, when manipulated in a specific manner, can bring about significant pain or other effects. Like the Vulcan neck pinch, only with practical applications like acupuncture.
Enter Fiction Author Brain, which asks; “Hey, what would happen if we developed that more? What would happen if we decided to try shoving those acupuncture needles in specific pressure points on a permanent basis? Would we be able to permanently access our chi?”
Thus was born the Tapped soldier, whose surgery to unlock their chi managed to unlock an entire universe of energy.
As an author, I knew I couldn’t go giving that power out willy-nilly. I also couldn’t have them invincible. That’s just boring. So, while my Tapped soldiers can access the energy around them, they can only do so within the limitations of their own bodies.
I know, I know.
We have a lot of super heroes.
As a fan girl who squeals with delight any time a new Star Wars anything comes out, I know that we have sooooo many super soldiers out there for entertainment purposes that it can be overwhelming.
We’ve even started debates meshing worlds together to see who can beat who. Hulk vs. Superman, that sort of thing.
So why write a story about super soldiers when we already have too many to choose from?
Because the compelling parts of a super soldier’s story are never the feats they perform. Sure, it’s cool to see Captain America race through a battlefield and take out a dozen enemy combatants, but it isn’t what keeps us watching him.
It’s the choices he makes with those powers that keep us watching. We want to see why he fights, not just how he does it.
Because I wanted to.
So here’s me, embracing the cliche, and I welcome you to join me! Maybe we can all learn a little something about the power of human choice in the middle of it.