Above: Depicts a thumb protection device which is used by some Martian tribes.
“Paying the enemy” is a term that is used by the Muvari and some others of the Martian tribes, which means to return some of the misery that the enemy has already inflicted. These crossbows are known for their power and require levers to pull back the cable in order to fire. Levers sometimes break and a taut cable will snap forward unexpectedly, or sometimes a crossbow will be fired when an extremity is not clear of the cable, and a finger will be lost. The phrase “Cutting of your thumbs to pay the enemy” developed, which loosely has a similar meaning to the Earthling idioms “Robbing Peter to pay Paul,”, denoting an action which has little meaning because of the cost associated with it.