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RPLA-308C "Howlin' Wolf" . When my right hand's itchin, I gets money fo sho... But when my left eye jump, somebody got to go . The time is not far off when corporations will openly control the world. Even now, the politicians chosen for you to vote for are pawns of the corporations, puppets whose strings are pulled by the highest bidder. Every day, laws are passed that expand the rights of the corporations at the expense of the rights of the people. For now it serves the corporations' purpose to operate under the protective cloaks of various governments, but when the corporations have gained enough control, these government entities will become superfluous and obsolete. A CEO will replace the head of state. The legislative body will become a board of directors. There will be no more citizens, only consumers. No countries, only companies. No national flags, just corporate logos. The second addition to The Skunk Works Corporate Military. My force seems to be growing rather slowly -- I hope I'm not drawn into an open war anytime soon. The Wolf, as it's commonly called, is the next evolution in single-man aircraft. Lightly armed and even more lightly armored, it relies on its unsurpassed speed and agility. With multidirectional rocket engines, the Wolf can outrun and outmaneuver anything in the sky. Skilled pilots have been known to lead heatseeking missiles back onto the jets that fired them. Its one weapon -- the miniest of miniguns. The Wolf works best deployed as a swarmfighter, or as a scoutcraft able to hit small targets of opportunity. Can also be used in an air support role when bombs and missiles would be overkill. The whole design started with the engines, which have remained constant throughout the Wolf's evolution. The cockpit was built, scrapped, rebuilt in a new configuration, scrapped again, and re-rebuilt. The CEO is reasonably happy with its final form. Each engine nacelle can rotate through a full 360 degrees, and fire from either end. In theory, by simply switching the thrust the craft could stop on a dime at maximum speed and do a full reverse if it had to. Whether it would remain intact through such a maneuver is moot -- the pilot could never survive it. With the engines in this position it can hover, and possesses vertical takeoff and landing capability. The rockets aren't very kind to whatever surface it's landing on, however. So what's it like to fly this "tin can strapped between two rockets"? Pilots have coined the term "exhilifying" to describe it -- for exhilarating, and terrifying. Everything in The Skunk Works Corporate Military will be named in honor of old bluesmen. The real Howlin' Wolf was a large, imposing man, and the original plan was to have a heavy bomber of some sort named for him. But when the first prototype was fired up, the way those rocket engines roar, it couldn't be called anything else. Today a new pilot is introduced to the Wolf. He was recently let go by the Dawn Forge when his job was given to a less-qualified peachskinned man. Affirmative action is well-intentioned, but unfair to all parties involved. "That's all the farther the cockpit opens? Kind of awkward to get in and out of, isn't it?" "Leather upholstery? When will people learn? You stick to it in summer, you're always afraid of spilling something on it or scratching it..." "Oh, good, dual cupholders. I got used to that at the Dawn Forge. I guess they spoiled me." "I'm used to big kickass mechs, but I think I can handle this little devil. It's been awhile, but it'll be good to get back in the air again..." Breaking character here -- I usually don't do construction shots, mainly because I don't think I ever do anything really revolutionary; I'm not one of those genius builders who's always finding clever new connections. This has to have been done before, but I discovered it independently, so here it is: a lightsaber blade in a technic brick with an X-shaped axle hole fits with enough friction to rotate, yet stay in whatever position you put it in. The same lightsaber piece will fit into the axle hole through a round 2x2 brick, but much tighter. I wouldn't put a lot of weight on this swivel joint, but it's great for small light things. Be wary, though -- not all parts are created equal! Some lightsaber bars fit a lot tighter than others. Don't come crying to me if you get one stuck in some 2x2 round bricks.


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