Sunday August 14, 2005
Book 7: Emperor Pius Dei — Part I: Big Schlock, Little Schlock, What Begins With Schlock?
Note: The astute reader already knows that materiel is different from material. Why military organizations couldn't just settle on the word "equipment" is quite simple: civilians use "equipment," therefore it must not be good enough for soldiers.

This is a curious distinction. Comparing military "materiel" to civilian "equipment," we find that materiel costs more, is almost always manufactured by the lowest bidder, and someone is much more likely to get killed if it fails -- even in the case of seemingly trivial materiel, like insect repellant (which almost certainly will not work as a combat herbicide, but don't try to convince Nick of that.)


Narrator: Lieutenant Foxworthy assembles her squad.
Elf: Sorry for the short notice. The Captain needs a team of his finest.
Nick: What's the mission, Elf?
Elf: We're headed back to Ystre to pick up some materiel.
Nick: Like for those new shirts?
Schlock: Oooh! Or maybe tents for camping!
Elf: Materiel, with an 'E.' It means 'military hardware,' not 'fabric.'
Elf: . . .Although it could mean tents for camping.
Nick: The Captain didn't say?
Elf: He didn't, but I think I can guess. We were just there a couple of days ago, when Commander Andreyasn nuked the surface of this enemy fortress.
Elf: Sergeant Schlock, Captain Tagon, and I were trapped a few hundred meters down, along with some allies. We fought our way to an extraction point, but we didn't spend much time sight-seeing.
Nick: Is that where you got that Chainsaber?
Elf: Now you're catching on, Nick.
Elf: There's this massive underground fortress, buried by surface explosions, and we're going back to loot it before the locals clean it out.
Schlock: Ummm. . . the last time we went looking for buried treasure, I got eaten by a giant flower.
Nick: That's okay. This time I'm bringing bug spray!