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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 9, Number 1, March 2015

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Pat Tompkins
San Mateo, California, USA


Little Arrows

In an underground World War One museum, I am surrounded by a full-size tank, aircraft, and torpedoes, plus sounds of explosions and machine-gun fire. I nearly overlook several small items in a display case. At first glance, I assume they are metal pens, hanging vertically.

But they are aerial darts, dropped in streams from planes. A modern adaptation of the bow and arrow, they rely on mechanization and mass production, rather than an archer's skill. Designed so the heavy pointed end falls first, they can pierce a helmet and the body beneath it: imprecise, yet lethal when they strike their targets.

These flechettes, one of many innovations for killing in that war, are an early step in the direction of drones.

a lunar landscape
cloaked in poison gas
shifting winds

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