Wasp is an excellent science-fiction novel written by Eric Frank Russell, originally published in the late 1950s. The original edition has been out of print for quite some time, but in April of 2000 a new, unabridged reprint was published in the UK.

Wasp tells the story -- set in the not-terribly-distant future -- of an interstellar war being waged between Terra and the Sirian Combine (colonists from Terra who have been separated from the home planet for some time, and have thus developed slight genetic and physical mutations). The Sirians vastly outnumber the Terrans, and the Terrans need to think of something fast in order to end the war.

Thus, the Terrans decide to wage a war of psychology. They recruit James Mowry and send him, by himself, on a secret mission to a Sirian planet. His mission: singlehandedly break the government's hold over the citizens and create enough civil unrest that the Sirians themselves become their own worst enemies.

The concept of the mission (and the title of the book) comes from a simple illustration: Imagine a car being driven down the road. Four big adult men are in this car. A single wasp flies in an open window. The driver, seeing the wasp, panics. In an attempt to swat the insect, the driver loses control of the car. The car swerves into a ditch, rolls, and hits a tree. All four men are killed. The wasp, unharmed, flies away.

James Mowry is the wasp (he is also, quite frankly, a stupendous badass).

Wasp was one of the books I read at an early age that got me hooked on science fiction. Even now, after having reread it several times, I consider it one of the all-time best sci-fi novels. This book is almost cinematic in the level of detail and clarity of action that it conveys -- it's a wonder that it hasn't been made into a movie yet.

compiled overview of the 20ton Wasp 'Mech, from various BattleTech novels and game sourcebooks:



The WSP-1A Wasp was the first recon 'Mech to be mass-produced for the Terran military. Since its initial production in 2471, the 'Mech has spread to all parts of Human-occupied space. Old Star League records show that thousands of Wasps were constructed in the four centuries preceding the Succession Wars. Though many of these have worn-out or been destroyed, estimates show that more than half this total is still in operation. Further, some Wasp designs are still being constructed in some areas of the Successor States. The large number of Wasps available for use should ensure that it remains among the main light recon 'Mechs of the Successor States for centuries to come.

The Wasp design has always been used for general scouting and reconnaissance duty. Far too lightly armed and armored for battle, its speed and maneuverability can generally keep it out of major confrontations.

The WSP-1A Wasp is well-fitted out for its scouting role. With a maximum speed of over 95kph on open terrain, the 'Mech can usually flee from most harm. With its sophisticated Rawlings 52 jump jets, it can also bypass natural or unnatural obstacles with ease. Unless the jump jets are used extensively, heat buildup is rarely a problem for the Wasp. It can, in fact, fire its entire weapons complement continuously with little or no heat problems.

The Wasp's armor is average for light 'Mechs, which means it cannot stand up to much punishment. Usually two hits in the same area are enough damage to cause the 'Mech major problems. The Wasp is armed with a Diverse Optics Type 2 medium laser placed in its right arm. A Bical SRM twin-Rack is also mounted for close-in fighting.

A major design flaw of the 'Mech was discovered during the Reunification War (2575-2597). During the Battle of Imbros III in March 2580, the tactic of jump-kicking gained popularity. With this maneuver, jump-capable light and medium 'Mechs could jump and smash their leg components into the head and upper torso of opposing units, hoping to cause more damage than they inflicted upon themselves. This tactic was very popular among Wasp warriors, as it improved their offensive potential somewhat. Practitioners of the tactic soon learned that most Wasps were only able to use the jump-kick once, even if the leg damage was repaired before another close combat. After performing the first or second jump-kick, the lower leg assemblies on the Wasp would actually rip away from the body at the instant of impact, leaving the 'Mech totally immobile in the field. The problem was finally traced to the stress bars along the actuator paths in the lower leg components. The designers had never dreamed that a tactic such as jump-kicking would be developed for lighter 'Mechs, and so had not given them the monomolecular stress-resistant material used on newer and heavier 'Mech types. By 2610, nearly all Wasps and other light 'Mechs were rebuilt with MMSR actuator bars, alleviating the amputation problem.

During the Civil War brought on by Stefan the Usurper, loyal Star League forces launched an assault at the planet Cylene IV in March 2772. Massed recon lances composed mostly of Wasps and other light 'Mechs screened the assault. Not waiting for the major forces of the Loyalists to drop onto the planet, the rebel defenders launched a counter-offensive against the scout units. Many of the light 'Mechs simply fell back in good order and awaited reinforcements. Some, however, were caught in front of impassible terrain, allowing the rebels' medium and heavy 'Mechs to decimate the units before any support could arrive. By sacrificing these Wasps and other light 'Mechs, the main Loyalist assault force was able to drop on-planet unopposed, for the Usurper forces were scattered from their many skirmishes with the first wave of Loyalist scout 'Mechs. The Loyalists made short work of the rebels, and the planet fell to them within four days.

In April 2796, the infamous Kentares Massacre occurred after Minoru Kurita's assassination. Oshita's Recon Lance of the First Sword of Light Regiment gained the ignominious honor of exacting the most civilian casualties on the population in that month-long killing spree. The Wasps of Oshita's lance are particularly infamous for their systematic butchery in well-inhabited, hard-to-evacuate areas such as hospitals and high-rise apartment buildings. When word of the atrocities reached House Davion, its leaders placed a high price on the heads of the MechWarriors in Oshita's recon lance. By 2801, all four MechWarriors, along with their Techs and support personnel, had been killed in combat or by bounty hunters.



Note: Information used here was the domain of FASA before they split the rights between Wizkids LLC and Microsoft (table-top gaming and video games respectively). Copyright of the fluff text is in limbo, but names of persons, places, & things are without any doubt the property of Wizkids LLC. Use of any terms here related to the BattleTech trademark are not meant as a challenge to Wizkids LLC's rights.
One of the founding members of the Avengers published by Marvel Comics.

Janet Van Dyne was the daughter of Vernon Van Dyne, a scientist who brought an alien to Earth during one of his experiments. The alien killed Van Dyne and his daughter fled, seeking help from one of his colleagues, Henry Pym. After telling Pym that she wished to bring her father's killer to justice, Pym revealed to her his secret identity as Ant Man. Van Dyne underwent a procedure performed by Pym to give her the ability to shrink in size, shedding excess mass. When in her diminutive form, Van Dyne sprouted wings which allowed her to fly and grew antennae that allowed her to communticate with insects. The procedure also granted Van Dyne the ability to fire bio-electric blasts from her hands. Calling herself the Wasp, Van Dyne partnered with Pym in defeating the alien.

The two continued their partnership, becoming charter members of the super-hero team the Avengers. Their partnership blossomed into romance and when Pym left the team to pursue his scientific career, Van Dyne went with him. They later rejoined the team and during that time, the two were married. During this time, Pym became emotionally unstable and began to abuse his wife. The two eventually split and were divorced.

Van Dyne continued with Avengers, serving as chairwoman for the group for a number of terms. She eventually reconciled with her former husband and they recently remarried.

For a short time in the mid-90's, the Wasp underwent a procedure that further mutated her form, giving her a butterfly-like appearence. She has since reverted to her more normal form.

An eighties LA metal band led by ex New York Dolls member Blackie Lawless. The band name, thought to stand for either "White Anglo-Saxon Protestant" or "We Are Sexual Perverts", in fact stood simply for "What a Superb Performance". Courted controversy when their first song Animal (Fuck like a beast) was banned in America. Also the name of their first album. Their better albums also include The last command and Helldorado.

White Anglo Saxon Protestant.

A term common in the United States but now also becoming current in Australia, amongst other places.

WASP is not always used in a derogatory fashion, but in Australia it implies established wealth and power. The "Anglo-Saxon" part of the term is not vital, and one can be, for example, Celtic and still be labelled a WASP. WASPs are to be found in the playgrounds and corridors of every private school in the country.

Having a Pet Wasp?

The conventional view of the wasp may well epitomize the annoying, the undesired and the untamable. However this needn't be the case. If looked at in a more optimistic light the wasp could conjure up images of a loyal, trustworthy companion with whom one could, potentially, form a long-lasting and highly beneficial relationship.

It could be only a matter of hours before you are taking your wasp for a walk in the park, a trip to the zoo or causing havoc in your local supermarket all you need to do is follow three basic steps:

Firstly, you need to chose your target wasp. My advice would be: beware looks can be deceiving. Refrain from being seduced by a pretty face or an enticing figure instead, take a step back and contemplate the decision in hand from a more scientific viewpoint. The name 'wasp' usually incorporates merely the two large families (Vespoidae and Sphecoidae)and fails to encompass the vast array of diverse wasp life that inhabits this planet on which we live. Although nearly all wasps are friendly, enigmatic and playful the ideal wasp is the 'yellow jacket wasp'; this is the subject of your hunt.

Secondly, you need to locate this future buddy. The simplest and most effective way of identifying a wasp is to look at its relative size and to note the pattern on its abdomen. Several wasp species can be found all over the states and the U.K. but caution must be exercised when trying to catch any species of wasp. Although most wasps are completely harmless to humans it's a bit of a pain in the bum (or finger or whichever unlucky body part) to get stung. So i offer you a safe, yet amusing, plan of attack. You need to be equipped with a glass of coca cola and a towel. This method is primitive but highly productive. Place the glass of cola in an easily wasp-accessible position, sit back and wait for your nice big yellow jacket to appear. Then as the wasp, we'll call it Jack, approaches the glass you will feel the nerve terminals deep in your heart tissue begin to produce noradrenalin and your heart's pumping rapidly accelerate. The oxygen, glucose and energy levels in your body maximised as you grab the towel and place it securely over the glass with Jack caged inside; he's yours.

Your next task is to give Jack a lead upon which it can freely roam; this needs to be done under general anesthetic. At this stage Jack should not be moving much due to the shock of nearly drowning, the occasional shiver pulsating down his body, but nothing more. Time to administer the anesthetic. Open the fridge door and place the immobilized Jack inside the fridge and leave to cool, Martha Stewart stylie, after three minutes (beware of leaving it too long, else you're new found friend may die, or else be cryogenicly frozen for the next three million years) take Jack out of the fridge and lay him on your work surface. Now tie a piece of fuse wire securely around the wasp's abdomen. Finally, keeping hold of one end of the fuse wire, wait for your new pet to regain consciousness after his painless and far from traumatic day's excitement.

WASP
An infected prostitute, who like a wasp carries a sting in her tail.

The 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue.

I witnessed a miracle today.

Wasps are, well, insects. I have been taught that insects are great at specialization--different species fill different niches. Evolution somehow explains how these specialized behaviors developed, but the behaviors are automatic, reflexive. No thought is involved.

We have a couple of wrought iron fish hanging on fence posts guarding the honeysuckle. Each fish has a candle in it. The flickering candlelight on hot summer nights fills some religious void as we chat about stock indices and presidents gone bad over late evening merlot. We chatter like cicadas, loud and senseless, just to let others know we exist.

Last summer, while lighting the candle in one of the fish, I swatted away a few moths that fluttered about my face. The next morning I saw the singed wasp nest above the candle; I had been swatting at wasps, who perhaps realized the futility of stinging a drunken man who imagined he had been troubled by moths.

Today, I spent a good bit of a warm Easter afternoon watching a wasp make the third cell of her nest, creating paper walls from her mouth. I mentioned it to my wife; she reminded me of the wasp problems the summer before, so I decided to knock the nest out now, before the fish held a colony of wasps. I felt ridiculous caring about the work the wasp had already done.

When the wasp had gone to gather more water, I took the fish down off the fence post, and knocked off the new nest, as well as the larger nest left from last summer. I set the fish upside down on our patio table, a good 10 feet from where it had hung, and forgot about it. The little sadness I had felt for the wasp dissipated with a shake of my head, reprimanding myself for my silly sentimentality.

I spent the rest of the afternoon wrestling with a grape vine--I want it to go one way, it insists on following the sun. As I walked past the patio table, I noticed the lone wasp walking back and forth on the overturned fish. It looked frantic. It rapidly walked one way, then the other. It clearly was looking for the nest I had knocked off.

I called my wife--the wasp had clearly identified the fish as the home of its nest. My wife is rational, and a good empiricist--she keeps me sane. She could not understand why I got so agitated.

"Maybe it can smell the nest." The nest lay a good 15 feet away. I have a habit of saving wasp nests, shells, acorns, anything of interest not made by humans. "How do you know it's the same wasp?" she wondered.

I brought the tiny nest back to the iron fish. I laid it next to the wasp. A breeze blew the nest away. A moment later, the wasp left.

I was shaken to my core. The wasp clearly recognized the fish, upside down on the table, more than 10 feet away from its original site. She clearly exhibited an increase in movements. At the risk of anthropomorphizing, the wasp was clearly distressed.

There is more to this world than I can ever hope to understand.

Wasp (?), n. [OE. waspe, AS. waeps, waefs; akin to D. wesp, G. wespe, OHG. wafsa, wefsa, Lith. vapsa gadfly, Russ. osa wasp, L. vespa, and perhaps to E. weave.] Zool.

Any one of numerous species of stinging hymenopterous insects, esp. any of the numerous species of the genus Vespa, which includes the true, or social, wasps, some of which are called yellow jackets.

⇒ The social wasps make a complex series of combs, of a substance like stiff paper, often of large size, and protect them by a paperlike covering. The larvae are reared in the cells of the combs, and eat insects and insect larvae brought to them by the adults, but the latter feed mainly on the honey and pollen of flowers, and on the sweet juices of fruit. See Illust. in Appendix.

Digger wasp, any one of numerous species of solitary wasps that make their nests in burrows which they dig in the ground, as the sand wasps. See Sand wasp, under Sand. -- Mud wasp. See under Mud. -- Potter wasp. See under Potter. -- Wasp fly, a species of fly resembling a wasp, but without a sting.

 

© Webster 1913.

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