How the Crossbow was Invented

Millenia ago, in the time we now refer to as the Bronze Age (at the time, they called it the Age of Bronze) there was a mighty king: Horatio of Bahdeyedia. Horatio ascended to the throne of Bahdeyedia at the age of fourteen after his father, the King was sold to a supervillain. It did not take long for Horatio to adjust to his new role, for before he reached the age of fifteen he had doubled the size of his country’s army and declared war on every neighboring country, and one country several continents away.

Horatio wanted nothing more than to rule the world. He loved his country with all his heart and thought that it deserved to be expanded to the ends of the Earth under his magnificent rule. During the bloody wars that followed for the next two decades he spends much time studying strategy and training his troops to make an unstoppable conquering army. But no matter what he tried, he never felt fully satisfied with his work.

One day he spoke to his Chief Advisor-slash-Court Jester’s apprentice.

“Bagmo,” said King Horatio “I’ve come to realize that no amount of training will make my troops more efficient.”

“This is true,” said Bagmo, “They’re already the best they can be with the tools given to them.”

“Then I must give them new tools of some kind!”

“But what tools could this be, my King?”

“Weapons! They need new weaponry. Something that will give us an edge over all other countries.”

“Brilliant idea, my King!” Bagmo exclaimed “What do you–”

Then the Court Jester entered the room and bellowed “Hey, Bagmo! Get off your everlovin’ ass and help me find my brightest green codpiece!”

“But, Sir!” Bagmo replied “I am trying to act as the King’s advisor!”

“Screw that noise!” Yelled the Jester. “If I don’t get that codpiece within half an hour there’s gonna be a lot unhappy Spaniards in the courtyard! If they start throwing feces, it’ll be your fault!”

“Do as you must, Bagmo,” said King Horatio as he stood up to leave. “Your job as the Jester’s apprentice is just as important to the health of the country as your job advising me. Anyway, I must ponder the new weapon.”

“As you wish, Sire.”

As the king left, the Jester punched Bagmo in his crotch.

Horatio decided what he had best to do and a week later the proclomation went out: “All Inventers are Summoned to the King’s Castle where they shall Invent Weapons for the King!” The idea was to have all the inventers come up with a weapon idea, which they would present to King Horatio. Horatio would then pick the invention he liked most and that inventer would be generously rewarded.

Two weeks later the Weapons Presentation was held. The first presenter was Ashby O’Grocky (not the one who was in that famous band, the other one. The inventer.) Ashby presented his new weapon: The Sonic Catapult!

The Sonic Catapult was demonstrated by blowing a boulder to smithereens. The King was pleased.

The second inventor, Ivan Thrombosis showed the crowd his device, which he had dubbed ‘the Automated Assassin’.

“All you need to do,” Ivan said “is flip this switch here, then show the Automated Assassin a picture of his target. You then hit this button and… voila!”

To test the weapon, they decided to assassinate Old Farmer Watkins, who, they all agreed had been ‘kinda whiney lately’. The King was pleased.

Inventer Number Three was Robert J. Crossbow. A humble man, Robert had taken the existing designs for bows and arrows and put them into a more compact form that was easier to operate. He demonstrated by shooting an apple. The King was not pleased.

“That’s all? I gave you two weeks to design a spectacular weapon of war and that is all you could design? Fie! You are a base fool! Leave this country and never return, under penalty of DEATH!”

With that, two guards (one a serious by-the-books experienced guard, the other a rookie who is always crackin’ wise) seized Robert J. Crossbow and tossed him onto the road out of the country.

The fourth presentation of New Weapons was the Supernuclear Explosion Maker presented by Werner ‘Shattered Femur’ Blitzmann. He told the King of its immense potential, how it could destroy an entire country with the greatest of ease. The King was pleased, and demanded that he be shown how it works. Blitzmann was a total nutjob, so he was more than happy to demonstrate his weapon.

Robert J. Crossbow had just reached the borders of Bahdeyedia as the trigger was pulled and he was knocked to his feet by the resulting explosion. Robert went on to sell his invention to the Spaniards.

The only other survivors of the Great Bahdeyedia Explosion were the Court Jester and Bagmo, who went on to travel the world entertaining everyone, except each other and the Watkins Widow, who spread stories of how robots were evil that led to the anti-robot sentiment still present this day.

Patrick D Ryall, the D is for Impact
Originally posted on Contains2 Friday 05 September 2003

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