Jan 26, 2005

I'd like a 40' tall electric stick bug with .50 caliber machine gun emplacements

please, and Super Size the drink.

I find myself let down with the German engineers and scientists of WWII. I really do. I mean, these are the guys who came up with the first jet-propelled production aircraft, the guys who invented bigger and better tanks. It was a German who invented the first gasoline powered car (that'd have been Mr. Benz, thankyoupleasesitdown Henry Ford.) The Germans have ALWAYS been in the forefront of invention and engineering feats and etc.

So my question is this--why didn't they manage to make some sort of giant mutant insect or animal to be used as a superweapon? They invented Long Tom, a cannon that was so big it had to be carried on a specially designed rail car, and which fired a shell the size of three Hermann Goebels stuck together, and could just about fire it into orbit. The next logical step would have been to take a box turtle, make it about fifty feet long and stick a Porsche turret on top. Instant tank.

And us! We always seemed to be right in the forefront with advances in aircraft, ships, you name it, we were always improving it. We had a massive, motivated workforce at home, women leaving their homes to weld and cut and build, and what did we produce? A fifty-foot tall camouflaged preying mantis? No. The P-39 Airacobra. Sheesh, guys, an airplane with tricycle landing gear and a car's door? What about a three hundred foot long REAL cobra, with a hollowed out inside for transportation of a coupla dozen crack troops, and maybe a chain gun mounted on it's head, designed for silent, daring nighttime troop insertions deep into enemy lines?

Or maybe dragonflies like we used to get, with twenty foot wingspans and little canopies over their backs, so you could carry an aviatior (insectivator?) and maybe a reconnisance guy with a camera--perfectly quiet, able to fly in such a random pattern that anti-aircraft guns could NEVER hit it, hovering ability--who needs helicopters? Send in a force of giant dragonflies, snap recon pics, and while you're there you can have them drop tons of bombs that they carried in, carefully cradled in those freakishly long legs.

I can just see it now--two of our boys; young, fresh-faced, one with a control box, the other with his Springfield .308 rifle, and behind them, swaying side to side to imitate a green branch on a bush in the wind, a 50' tall preying mantis, with the star-and-bar painted in discreet colours on each side of it's wingcase, maybe some formation or group numbers stenciled on one leg, "no step" carefully painted on the back of it's head, creeping slowly across the German countryside--a precision team, working their way up on a particularly troublesome heavy machine gun emplacement.

The brave lads hide themselves behind a tussock of grass, watching the mantis creep stealthily up on the position. The five German soldiers, talking quietly to themselves, passing a cigarette, don't notice their 5 stories-tall death stalking them. The young, well-shaven, lantern-jawed American soldier flips a switch on his control box, turning the mantis from "Full" to "Armed," and millions of years of evolution-tuned instinct along with a few years of American know-how kick in, and the mantis gets a steely glint in it's giant compound eyes. Swiveling it's head a few times in that peculiar way mantises do, the immense hook-like front feet retract closed, then widen slightly as the swaying increases. A few more silent steps, and suddenly one of the German soldiers, a really ugly guy covered with scars and missing a bunch of teeth, turns and spots the mantis looming overhead, points in horror and tries to shout to warn his evil cronies, but it's too late--lightning fast reflexes unfold those massive forelegs and before you can say "sourkraut" the soldier is nothing but a pair of muddy boots sticking out of green mandibles. A few swift, deadly moments more, and the world is that much more safe for democracy.

Unfortunately Nature had to go and get in the way. Apparently a bug that big couldn't move for the weight of it's carapace, and after a certain point bones and muscles can't get big enough to hold up the weight of very large animal skeletons, and the energy consumption needs get too high, and so apparently smaller is better.


I still think that a 50' tall preying mantis with a carbon-fibre carapace and eyes that shoot electric beams would be bad ass.

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