The Big Guy

Big Guy

The BGY-11 "Big Guy" is a symbol of truth, justice, and the American way -- and Earth's sole defense against all the radioactive mutant animals, hostile aliens, and miscellaneous monsters that keep showing up on Earth every week. So it has been for almost a decade, ever since the US Army promised and delivered to the world a robot built like a tank, mobile as a fighter jet, with true artificial intelligence -- and programmed never to harm a human. Little wonder the Big Guy is so loved and seems so unthreatening, despite being packed with weaponry.

    What the world doesn't know is that, ten years ago, the BGY-11's top secret artificial intelligence project was not quite far enough ahead of its time. To bring the Earth its promised defense in a timely manner (and to avoid political embarrassment), the AI portion of Big Guy was secretly scrapped and replaced with a cockpit and human pilot. "The Human Factor" remains classified to this day. The only persons "in the loop" are the members of the BGY-11 Commission (who administer the program for the Army and the government), the Pit Crew, Dr. Slate, and about 6 CDDC doctors from episode 121. (Rusty is not in the loop, by order of General Thorton and Dr. Slate's preference.)

    When Rusty the Boy Robot came online, the Big Guy was at first decommissioned and sent to a museum. But when Rusty's inability to go it alone became obvious, the Big Guy was recommissioned and Rusty made his partner and student.

    The Big Guy is known for his slightly old-fashioned battle banter and patriotic expressions. He swears by "Sweet liberty!" and "Sweet Betsy Ross!" and expresses unhappiness with "For the love o' Mike." All this was no doubt instituted by Lieutenant Hunter, and quite likely inspired by the booming resonance of Big Guy's 'voice', which the pilot has under his control.

    Big Guy is either 12 or 15 feet tall. (Sources differ.) He's made out of 10 tons of titanium (and a lot of computer parts.) He can lift 20 times his own body weight (200 tons). Big Guy is waterproof, airtight, pressurized. He can go underwater or fly into space. He's also heat-resistant and air-conditioned, although the former has its limits; 2 hours at 450 degrees Fahrenheit put a big strain on the armor in "Wages of Fire" (110).

    Big Guy is fueled by a replaceable power core made of 400,000 units of cobalt-thorium G. This little isotope alloy is apparently not only radioactive but also "as unstable as 50 tons of nitro", to quote Garth (110). Cracking the power core is not recommended. In 111, however, Number Five managed to drain power from Big Guy's power core as a battle tactic.

    Big Guy's cockpit includes three communication screens, a helmet with both radio and loudspeaker (for Big Guy's 'voice') links, and lots of controls and equipment.

    In an emergency, Big Guy can be overrode and remotely controlled to an extent by the Pit Crew from the Dark Horse, the Legend-1, or the VTOL. However, communication lags make this undesirable and unwieldy.

    The Big Guy was designed by a fairly large group of people, many of whom came from Quark Industries. If he could be said to have a single creator, however, Dr. Roland Poindexter would be the man; he designed not only the Big Guy's superstructure but his AI as well. When that AI proved a failure, Dr. Poindexter left the BGY Project, taking the blueprints and plans with him.

    Weapons include:

    • Chain guns
    • Machine guns
    • Missile launchers with loads including sidewinders and tranquilizer missiles (in forearms)
    • Lasers
    • Cranial blaster
    • Grenades (in knuckles), including EMP pulse grenades
    • Exploding 'hand' grenade
    • BGY Incendiary Trigger Device (103)
    • flamethrowers
    • circular saw in back of wrist
    • fists and feet!

    Equipment includes:

    • Winch and rope (on tailbone) (121)
    • Bomb defuser in fingertip (106, 109)
    • 'Party favor' fireworks (103, 121)
    • Outboard turbine motors for travel in water (123)
    • Jumper cables (112)

    The Big Guy's normal pilot is Lieutenant Dwayne Hunter. Failing him, Garth is the next in the chain of command and next designated to pilot. Since Jo and Mack are both pilots and Pit Crew as well, one may assume they are next in line if Garth should be unavailable.

    In "Sickout" (121), Dr. Slate was able to pilot Big Guy with Garth talking her through it. However, in the previous episode, "The Champ" (120), Dwayne expressed the feeling that after ten years he had just gotten the BGY-11 broken in. So, although the Big Guy is not a difficult craft to operate, mastering its operation in combat is a challenge.

    Translated from Columbia Tristar's Spanish site:

    "With the heart of Captain America and the gung-ho of General Patton, Big Guy is 3.5 meters tall and has 10 tons of titanium muscles -- a true high tech Swiss Army knife, including grenades, mortars, tubes, laser, and radar, to mention a few. Like a tank, Big Guy has a human pilot inside -- Dwayne Hunter. Big Guy's base is the aircraft carrier S.S. Dark Horse. After his "resurrection", Big Guy's World War II mentality is slightly old-fashioned, in spite of his determination. The Big Guys were created to serve and protect mankind in part -- human safety is a fundamental part of any mission (this is Big Guy's "code"). In the beginning, Big Guy doesn't want anything to do with Rusty -- because Dwayne is a loner who doesn't trust robots, and because Rusty is a product of Quark Industries, the company responsible for discarding the Big Guy program."

    The site also gives some backstory, which appears to apply more to the original comic than to the series:

    "In the not-too-distant future, the B.G.Y.-11 was the idea of the military tank -- its intention was one to defend our world against an imminent alien invasion of some aggressive pulp-trackers known as The Arkudi. The BGY-11's -- or "Big Guys", as they were known -- were the army's super weapon: built for defense, packed with firepower, wired for tactical intelligence. The Big Guys were not exactly robots, but a complex update of the "tank" concept -- an exoskeleton 3.5 meters (15 feet) high, handled from their interiors by the best military pilots. The details of the BGY program were highly classified to protect the humans inside.

    "When the aliens initially invaded, 'Company B' met the viscous Arkudi. In spite of violent combat and not without casualties, the Big Guys were heard by all the universe. The Arkudis backed down -- victory for the Earth.

    "The Big Guys were heroes, the pride of American know-how and ingenuity. They were admired and celebrated by all the world...for a time, until the novelty passed. As the universal threat of alien invaders passed with the post-invasion climate, and the BGY-11 program was very expensive to maintain, the Big Guys were retired permanently...until a new threat reared its ugly heads."

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