Archy had been threatening bloody insect revolution for decades.
'I'll take the bugs of all the stars and tell them of my plans', he would say, 'and fling them with their myriad stings against the tyrant man'. But nobody ever took him very seriously - he was only a cockroach, after all, and worse than that, a poet.

So despite all the warnings, 'the tyrant man' never really believed he had anything to fear, and nobody knew quite how to react that summer when the ladybirds finally attacked. The free-verse cockroach had been quiet for some time; if he was involved at all, he must have felt humankind had been given more than enough warning. Had it been the wasps or the horseflies, perhaps the humans would have hit back with a decisive counter-attack - after all, their co-existence had never really been peaceful, so all-out war would not have been such a great leap. Coming from these seemingly placid, polka-dotted companions of humankind, such hostility was much harder to take. All too often, oppressors convince themselves that they are friends of the oppressed.

Lacking stings, and with teeth better suited to aphid-juicing than to taking on towering mammals like the homo sapiens, the ladybirds attacked with the only weapons at their disposal: their knees. Swooping onto an unsuspecting human, they would grab on and pinch their knees together with all their might. Nobody saw it coming! The element of surprise was so much on their side, the ladybirds must have felt like their revolution could hardly fail. Everywhere, the brave insurgents risked everything they had to strike against their bipedal overlords.

For all their boldness, though, the ladybirds could not inspire their more intimidating insect brethren to action. Fire ants didn't start any fires, hornets stayed at home nursing puddles of beer. Even the cockroaches - once the vanguard of the insect resistance - proved intransigent. Lacking the firepower to depose humanity on their own, and the momentum to convert the rest of insectkind to their cause, the ladybirds were ultimately forced to abandon their armed struggle - or, rather, their kneed struggle. One by one they fell back to being cooed over by human children, and before long the muted disapproval of their peers gave way to resignation.

Their uprising, it seems, now merits no more than a footnote in the annals of human-insect interaction. People might laugh now to think of it, if they even believe it happened - the ladybirds? With their knees? The very idea! But it did happen, and such complacency is a luxury for an empire at its peak.

So by all means rest easy in your beds, people of Earth - just tell yourselves that business as usual will always be the way of things; that nothing could ever challenge your natural superiority; that those little guys are your 'friends'. But remember: there are two million of them for every one of you, and they have nothing to lose but their flypaper.

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