“I think it is a great shame that the Mark V [Sentinels] have been designed in such a titillating way, and I’m here to say ‘no more,’” said Godfrey, a member of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security.
Godfrey specifically objects to the distinctive pair of sensor nodes mounted on the chests of the giant robots, which he describes as “nipples.”
“I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask that a weapons system like the Sentinels, which was paid for by the American taxpayer, reflect the sensibilities of decent folk,” Godfrey said, standing in front of a large schematic of the Mark V robot. “The Sentinel program is intended to hunt down and inter or kill unregistered mutants, not to make people uncomfortable. These nipples have to go.”
Lawrence Bolivar, a spokesperson for Shaw Industries, disagrees. “First of all, they’re not nipples, they are chest nodes that contain sensors designed to locate mutant and superhuman targets,” Bolivar said. “Second, the senator was on the Subcommittee on Mutant Management seven years ago when the Mark Vs were designed. He had every opportunity to object to the so-called nipples back then.”
Godfrey, who is running for reelection in 2006, insists that he is responding to the concerns of his constituents.
He cited a letter of complaint he received months ago from a Sioux Falls resident who was offended when she saw a Mark V demonstration at the 2005 Dakota Thunder Airshow at Ellsworth Air Force Base. “This mother described to me the Sentinel demonstration, in which two Mark Vs hunted down and neutralized a mutant on the airfield for the amusement of the crowd. She had to cover her son’s eyes when she realized that the Mark V’s were not properly covered up.”
“She wrote to me, ‘Is it too much to ask, Senator, that my son and I can watch a Sentinel hunt down a kangaroo-man at the Airshow without having to look at giant robot nipples?’”
“My answer to her is, ‘No, ma’am. It’s not too much to ask. The hardworking, non-mutant everyday citizens of America deserve better. We want to be safe from hideous, non-licensed illegal mutants, but not at the cost of surrendering our values.’”
Godfrey is introducing a spending bill that will provide funds for retrofitting that would hide the chest node/nipples on the Mark Vs, but acknowledges that a permanent solution is years away.
“Which is why I propose an interim solution that will allow the Sentinels to hunt down mutants in a decent way: the Sentinel Bra,” Godfrey said.
Godfrey proposes fitting each Mark V robot with a top that covers the chest nodes but doesn’t impair functionality. The Sentinel Bra is made of sturdy, stretchable material similar to a sports bra.
At a fraction of the cost it would take to retrofit the entire line of robots, Godfrey’s proposal would allow Project: Wideawake to continue, but without alienating social conservatives.
“With the Sentinel Bra, these giant robots will be free to hunt mutants in the towns and fields of this great nation without exposing young children to robotic nudity,” Godfrey said.
Shaw Industries’ Bolivar was dismissive of the senator’s proposal. “If Sen. Godfrey has nothing better to do than worry about Sentinel nipples, I feel sad for him. What’s next? Is he going to decide that our gamma missiles are too phallic?”
This is not the first Congressional criticism of the Sentinel program.
In 1998, Sen. Conrad Byrdy, R-Nebraska, unsuccessfully tried to have the “shorts” on the Mark V robots painted a metallic color to match the robots’ “vests.” Public Decency groups had complained that the paint scheme made it look as if the robots were not wearing any pants at all.