The High Wire Heist
The local vigilante known as “Bugman” teams up with a professor of entomology and biological engineering to create a dynamic duo stopping crime in its tracks with insect inspired gadgets. The following is a mission briefing as told by the professor to Bugman. Be warned, the professor is obsessed with insect idioms and puns.
Bugman, the heist of the century is happening right under our noses and I smell an alliance… and boy it stinks worse than a dung beetle in July! A group of infamous criminals have joined forces and are calling themselves the “Spider Syndicate,” and they’d love to snare Bugman in their web of crime! The Spiders have been busy little bees lately and this heist is their latest criminal exploit. But this isn’t your average ground-level marketplace heist. This is a heist at the skyscraper level!
There’s a security breach at the National Security Radio Tower and the infiltration has the Spiders written all over it. They plan on mining through data files to steal precious and valuable data from millions of citizens across the nation. Then, they’ll use the radio tower to broadcast this mined data to other members of their syndicate. But that’s not all they are using the tower for, they are broadcasting a strong jamming signal. Military forces that try to reach the building via helicopter are quickly subdued by the powerful frequency coming from the radio tower. Who knew a small radio signal could cause so much trouble? Well, you know what they say: ‘an ant may well destroy an entire dam‘! But the madness doesn’t end there. Troops on foot are being attacked by tiny flying microbots that have the Spider Syndicate’s insignia on it. I wish I could have been a fly on the wall when they designed those bad boys!
Now, enter Bugman to save the day! There is a neighboring tower we can fly you to that is just out of reach of the radio signal. Luckily the neighboring tower connects to the National Security Radio Tower by a narrow walkway suspended in mid air. Stepping on that sky bridge will surely give you butterflies in your stomach, not to mention the microbots that will be whizzing past you trying to knock you off balance. I can see why one would be apprehensive embarking on this mission. Not to worry Bugman, we have the gadgets you need to drop those microbots like flies and traverse across the sky bridge to save the day!
First, the incredibly durable and lightweight Biomineral Ant Armor. The leaf cutter ants known as Acromyrmex echinatior has thousands of tiny, plate-like crystals that have fused to their exoskeletons. This armor helps protect the ants in battle against foes multiple times their body weight, surely it can help you stave off a few tiny microbots. What’s that? You say you’ve read the research on this ant armor and it is used to protect them from losing body parts?! Should you be concerned about losing body parts too? Well yes, but don’t worry. While you are wearing this armor there is no way you will lose a limb!
This next gadget comes from inspiration I had while reading about the Stalk-Eyed fly. This insect uses its unusually long eye-stalks in battle against others of its own species, but you will use this gadget for both battle and balance. Aren’t they just cuter than a June bug?!
Boy am I proud of this gadget, I present to you the High Tech Stalk-Eyed Dragonfly Balancing Bo Staff with WiFi Goggle Compatibility. Alright, so the name could use some work. This staff will help you fend off the microbots and help you keep your balance, think of a trapeze artist mixed with a karate master! But the balls at the end not only help with balance, they are inspired by the exceptional, long-distance, near 360 degree vision of the dragonfly. While wearing the WiFi Goggles, you’ll be able to spot those microbots from miles away and time your every strike perfectly.
I can see it in your eyes, you are still concerned about falling off the sky bridge and plummeting to your death. Understandably so… that is why I give you the final gadget for this mission: Black Fly Rope! The larva of the Black Fly live in rivers and streams and is often dragged along by the current. That is why they produce a silky tether that acts as an anchor, securing them to rocky outcrops in the stream. Just get the end of your Black Fly Rope wet and the complex polymers activate so you can stick it to the sky bridge and it will support your weight if you fall off. Much faster than rope and carabiner and much easier than a clunky grappling hook!
There’s your mission debriefing Bugman. With these Insecti-Gadgets this mission should fly smoothly without hitch! Once you make it to the radio tower, shut down the radio tower immediately. Then you can start handling the Spider’s lackeys that are mining data inside the tower while military forces make their way to the tower. If any of the lackeys give you trouble, I have also equipped your Bombardier Beetle Spray from your last mission which should help you take control of the situation inside. With the Spider’s plans turned to cobwebs, you’ll be a national hero Bugman! Now get going!
Thanks for reading part 2 of the “Insecti-gadgets” blog series! I hope you enjoyed it. My purpose in writing this blog series is to highlight some amazing insect adaptations with some incredible biological engineering potential for human use. The gadgets I write about are fictional, though a lot of the adaptations are being researched with future implications for bioengineering. Please let me know how you liked this read! Also, if you have any insect adaptation suggestions, please let me know! See the links below to learn more about the adaptations you read about in this post.