In memory of Wargaming's april first joke of 2016. Thanks guys, it was hillarious!
I own neither Mass Effect, nor World of Tanks
April 1, 1950 AD, Soviet Russia
"WHAT IS THIS?!"
The supervisor of Factory 185 seemed ready to strangle his top designer.
"Kotin, what is this?"
"It's our new design, comrade. It's finally ready for production."
"Our new design? You call THIS a tank design? Tell me, comrade Kotin, were you drunk? Or is this perhaps the first time you have designed an actual tank? You have seen tanks before, have you?"
"Of course, comrade!" The designer, clearly offended, drew himself up to his full height.
"Then how do you justify this? Is it a secret weapon, perhaps, to make the imperialists laugh themselves to death when they see it?"
"Comrade, I designed EXACTLY what comrade Stalin ordered. He wanted a good, all-round design, and that is precisely what I made. And I can assure you it wasn't easy to make it work!"
The supervisor buried his head in his hands.
"You fool! He didn't mean it literally!"
Silence reigned for several minutes
"Alright, we have to fix this and fix it quickly. First of all, bury this monstrosity. Hide it, burn it, I don't care. Just make sure it NEVER sees the light of day again."
"But comrade, what about the new tank design? Comrade Stalin expects to see his new tank within the next couple of months. If we have nothing to show him..." Kotin didn't finish his sentence. He didn't need too. All of Soviet Russia knew that comrade Stalin didn't take disappointment well.
"Wait a moment," The supervisor was grasping at straws, and he knew it. "We still have that upgrade concept for the IS-3, right? The one where we just add a roadwheel and mount a bigger gun?"
"Well, yes, but it hardly qualifies as a new design. We'll just be pouring old vodka into new bottles."
"Doesn't matter. We'll just tell him that it's new. I'll write a speech about how much better and stronger it is, we'll call it the, eh, IS-10, or something like that. Comrade Stalin doesn't know one end of a tank from the other anyway. As long as it looks like a tank and carries his name, he'll be satisfied."
Once the supervisor had left Zhozef Kotin looked back sadly at the massive shape, standing proudly in the center of the assembly hall. After all the effort to get it to work, it would now be discarded. People were just so close-minded. Surely there had to be an application for such a great machine. If not now, then perhaps one day.
April 1, 2104 CE, Mars
"It just isn't working!" One of the engineers threw up his hands in disgust. "It cannot be done! No matter how we design it, there just isn't a way to build a tank that will work equally well on earth, the moon, and mars. The gravity is too different. I'm sorry, but we have to tell the committee that this project is a failure. There just is no way to design the perfect all-round tank."
"Wait a second," one of the others looked up. "What did you say?"
"I said: we have to tell the-"
"Not that, the last part."
"I said there is no way to build the perfect general purpose tank-"
"You didn't say 'general purpose'. You said 'all-round'."
"I suppose, but what does that have to do with anything."
A strange look passed over the face of the second speaker. "It's just that... There was a story once, back home in Russia, about the perfect 'all-round' tank design. Give me a couple of days. I need to check a few things."
April 1, 2186 CE, Unknown location
A brilliant red beam sliced through the sky and cut deep into the ground, then another, and another, and another, tearing up the strange alien landscape, but the tank commanders remained calm. It was a battle, like any other; and if there was one thing of which they were absolutely certain, it was that nothing, absolutely nothing in the entire universe, could stand up to humanity's armored corps.
They had a proud history. They had charged the turian lines at Shanxi; they had stopped the Batarians on Elisium and broken the pirates of Torfan. They would not falter today. These reapers were simply one more foe that that they would crush under their tracks.
Warfare across the galaxy had presented tank designers with unique challenges. A combat vehicle had to be capable of functioning correctly on any planet, in any gravity, on any kind of terrain; and while other races spent a fortune on element zero driven vehicles, humanity had simply dusted of an old design, long discarded and forgotten. It had been a proud moment, especially for those of Russian decent, when the new All-Round Combat Vehicle had been unveiled. Other nations had traditions of tank design, yes, but none had been able to come even close to matching the old Russian design. And it was old, so old that most had considered it an urban legend, and historians had had to search deep in the records of the old Soviet Union to discover its specifics. Today no-one, human and alien alike, could even conceive of another vehicle. It had become a symbol of human ingenuity.
As the screeching of the reapers drew nearer, the first line of IS-8-Ball-X's, the final incarnation of Kotin's discarded design, known colloquially as 'Uncle Josef's Big Brass Balls', rolled forward, each a perfect sphere, running on a single track, ready to give battle.