Eight-Upsmanship

As reported recently, the Chinese military is preparing for a peaceful future. This peaceful future is going to feature lots and lots of people and weapons. While this may appear to some observers as a contradiction in terms — I mean, what is a “purely defensive” military anyway? — the Peoples Bullying Party does not see a problem.

There are currently 43 gazillion troops in the Chinese army, with another 18 gazillion to be called up as soon as they reach the age of twelve. (At that age they are considered too old to be working in factories.) This military multitude needs stuff to carry into battle, otherwise they would just be a bunch of guys marching instead of an army, and that would look silly.

Chinese generals have long complained about the squirt guns and flutes doing double duty as blow guns, even though the latter weapon, a wooden tube with a few holes drilled in it, was hailed as the army’s least expensive ordnance. It was a soldier’s best friend, a weapon and an iPod that never needed batteries. These generals have been given bigger budgets for arms procurement, and are licking their chops. The developer of the most advanced and imaginative weapons in the US is DARPA (Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency). China created its own version, CRAPA (Chinese Research Armaments Pretty Advanced), to come up with the next generation of weaponry.

One of the first products to come out of the agency is the Tree with a Thousand Ears, pictured above. This arborist armament is designed to perform battlefield intelligence gathering. However, the construction of these new snooper trees presented a special challenge.

China watchers are aware that no species is exempt from the Party’s recent build-up of pressure on political dissidents. Many known activists, bloggers, human rights lawyers, and small dogs wishing to take part in clandestine “Jasmine Revolution” gatherings have been taken into custody. Some have been incarcerated, some have been tortured, and others have had their water dishes revoked. Now overworked propaganda officials have set their sights on spiders. CRAPA researchers claim that these spiderweb trees possess interception capabilities far superior to any known antenna.

Chinese police were alerted to the presence of dissident spiders after collecting spider text messages for some time; these eight-legged creatures are highly skilled and prolific texters. Sadly, spiders working to improve spider rights have been forced into military service, since secret police agents armed with large nets have captured the families of those spiders identified as dissidents.

These hapless arachnid relatives are being held hostage in dirty buildings all over China. The spiders put to work in the trees have been told that they will never see their families again if they do not cooperate.

The spiderweb tree supposedly can pull in a variety of messages, including cell phone calls, text messages and Facebook photos of coeds drunk at parties. While its range is as yet undetermined, apparently it can block communications from extremely close range. Note how the technician in the lower left of the frame is unable to send a text message.

One recent spider tree success story involved intercepting and blocking cell phone calls that included the taboo word “protest.” A young Chinese man was talking about possible restaurants with his girlfriend, who was being difficult. He teased her, using the Shakespearean line, “the lady doth protest too much.” When he said the word, “protest” a second time, the phones were disabled. The Chinese military planners feel that the ability to prevent enemy soldiers from discussing Shakespeare’s tragedies will be a big advantage.

The Pentagon confirms that they have pin-pointed the precise location of these subversive web-sites, and using an eight-bullet PowerPoint slide, have averred that they will be of little consequence in modern electronic warfare.

Another advanced weapon in the pipeline is a missile system known as the “carrier killer”. This name was given to indicate a special set of performance parameters designed to sink enormous aircraft carriers. An elite engineering team working on this missile have symbolically proclaimed their solidarity by adopting flat-top haircuts. It is not yet verified if the missile system has reached the operational phase, but the military procurement office has communicated that it is having trouble purchasing baking soda and vinegar in large quantities.

Perhaps a prudent exhortation for American sailors serving on aircraft carriers can be borrowed from “The Thing from Another World“, when the Scotty character says, “Watch the skies!”

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