Slayer Drones

Perseus with the Head of Medusa; bronze statue by Benvenuto Cellini.

Perseus with the Head of Medusa; bronze statue by Benvenuto Cellini.

Drones in the insect world are fast flying male bees with big eyes but no stinger.  Hatched from haploid eggs, they make sperm cells instead of honey.  They drift about to find a virgin queen and fertilize her with explosive force, which results in their own death.  The drones of ant and wasp colonies serve a similar purpose.

Mechanical drones are robots with stingers.  They are programmed and guided by humans instead of by instinct.  Unmanned aerial vehicles come in various sizes and configurations, although they are usually downsized fighting machines.  They have evolved over a century and a half from bomb-laden balloons, pilotless aerial torpedoes, and remotely controlled airplanes.

Armed drones are used today by the U.S. military overtly and the CIA covertly to smite terrorists.  They are named Predator and Reaper.  They carry Hellfire missiles and are equipped with the optics of a Gorgon Stare.  Unarmed Ravens are small enough to maneuver through city streets by night or day to spot and target terrorists lying in ambush.

It takes thousands of drone bees to fertilize one queen bee.  One Hellfire missile fired from a stalking drone can reap scores of civilian lives, sometimes by mistaken targeting and too often as collateral damage.  It is a hell of weapon and a weapon from hell somehow tolerated by the American public.

The mythical undertone of the slayer drone—Predator, Reaper, Raven—is perhaps unappreciated for its power to legitimize automated warfare.  Perseus, monster slayer of classical Greek mythology, is a model of virtue.  Golden son of Zeus, he is the resourceful hero who lopped off the fearsome head of Gorgon Medusa and used it to save the beautiful Andromeda from a sea serpent.  Mighty Hercules is his famous descendent, after whom one of America’s nuclear-tipped missiles was named.

Predators and Reapers abound in mythology.  The drone named Predator invokes the demonic image, drawn from Indo-European mythology, of the bloodthirsty killer wolf.  Odin, god of war and death, travels with two wolves.  Christians have equated the wolf with the devil.  The wolf is variously the evil spirit of the murderer and the wicked outlaw banished from society.  The hunter wolf suggests the Roman god of war, symbol of empire.

The even more lethal Reaper drone conjures up images of annihilation.  The Grim Reaper personifies death in the figure of the hooded skeleton carrying a scythe that severs body from soul.  The Biblical Angel of Death passes over God’s chosen people to destroy the first born of their evil captors.  The Reaper drone is the destroying angel that delivers the wrath of God.

The mythical Raven is a godly trickster figure.  The raven was the first bird to fly out of Noah’s ark.  Odin’s two ravens fly around the world daily to gather useful intelligence.  Mythical ravens are great shape-shifters perceived both as heroes and villains.  Stealth by disguise is the modus operandi of these messengers to the gods that cohabit with predator wolves.

By the authority of such mythic imagery, slayer drones deliver terrorist sinners daily into the eternal fire of hell.


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