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                  Back story 

Due to a great diaspora ( of sorts ) that spreaded "mankind" all across the earth ( town ) , Man ( 330 μm humanoids ) has had to adapt to every manner of environment. One group of man ended up in a great desert of clay ( read as "grassless field" ) .They lived in subterranean tunnels to escape from the heat, and they continued this lifestyle for all of 5 years...

...Until the fire ants attacked

Then , for the next 200 years , they would become nomads, going hither and thither , avoiding the great marauding beast when at all possible. This continued until the fifth chieftain gave up the ghost , and his young nephew , Kominman by name ,came into power. He would lead his people to greener pastures ( literally ) , finding the grass of life ( moss ) and rooting his people there, saying " If the ant wants our home, they shall not take it without a fight" , At which point , his people cheered and called him the saviour of Mankind. ( the memory of other "humans" before the diaspora had long since faded from there memories ) And for twenty-five years , he brought prosperity , the likes of which his people had never seen. He advanced the fields of botany , zoology , chemistry , mathematics , and physics; He managed to successfully fend off foraging parties of ants by making an elite fighting force that all men and women would have to join between the ages of 18 and 25; the population increased 100 fold under his reign , and there was none among them who suffered due to lack of anything.

But on the twenty-fifth year of the reign of Kominman, on the tenth month , there was a great swarm like none other. It dimmed the sun for three days , and at the end , some 2,000 queens dug there winter burrows. Kominman knew that , should even half of the queens last until spring , their colonies would beset his people , and wipe them out entirely, but he had an idea. He would make five , ant proof fortifications to house his people. They would be on the perimeter of the moss , and there would be nets between all of them ( to make them unclimbable by ants ). He went to his lead architect , and requested for this structure to be built in 5 months , and told them that money is no object.


The architect has at her disposal -

  • 80,000 men ( and women )

  • 5,000 master engineers

  • 5,000 master architects

  • quartz tools / construction material ( think Aztec / Mayan / Egyptian level of technology )

  • Soil variety red clay

  • ( Edit ) Mold ( for the structural support of it's hyphae )

  • beetles ( 2 - 8 millimeters )

  • mites ( 200 μm - 900 μm ) used as pack animals

  • 10 milliliters of slug and snail slime for mortar

    She decides on making a conical structure with rings of latched doors for attack openings on every level of the structure.

What sorts of issues may this architect have to overcome while designing / constructing these structures?

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  • Snow would be very bad for these structures. I don't know which season does the swarm occur in, but if it goes in autumn, you are in serious risk of having your colony buried under inches (miles for your microscopic people) of snow. If that is not bad enough, the melting of snow later would creates raging floods and torrents which would easily wash away your walled cities.

  • Rain would be an utter fiasco. In all stages of development (before, during and after). Your people are using slime for cement. Water would easily dissolve away the sticky parts, and the whole structure would come crashing down. Besides the solvent properties of water, raindrops would feel like heavy cannonading. Actually I am already wondering how your microscopic people haven't been uprooted from their dwellings due to regular rainfall.

  • While these structures appear to be a good defense against ants, they would be no match for a curious beak of a flying monster (sparrow or lark). One little peck and the fortification falls to sunders.

  • Another problem would be moss or fungus which begins to grow on your walled fortifications. Think about giant deathcaps or mushrooms. Fungus spores are too small to be visible to your people, and then too, they would fall on the outer side of your fortifications so the people living inside would not notice. While your people would certainly notice them soon and uproot them, the process would include removing part of the fortification where the fungus is rooted. This would provide the ants with the chance they had been long waiting for! (Actually ants probably don't wait for things, but yes, in the story it would make sense :p)

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    $\begingroup$ And then a dog stands on it $\endgroup$ – Separatrix Mar 27 '16 at 6:39
  • $\begingroup$ @user16295 Which reminds me , I have no idea at all about how they answer the issue of medium sized mammals and birds. My best explanation so far is that dogs ( and humans ) where wiped out by some flu $\endgroup$ – user15036 Mar 27 '16 at 7:04
  • $\begingroup$ I actually ran a series of calculations a few months ago , and found that fungal spores would be the size of grape fruit , and the average bacteria would be the size of rice, Edit : this gives me an excellent idea ! They could use the fungal roots as added structural support , like plant roots in soil $\endgroup$ – user15036 Mar 27 '16 at 7:06

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