Drawing on the Gravity Drive technology used in their large ships, and the experience from engineering the Goshen suit, the engineers of Gillian Manufacturing have finally produced a piece of equipment that while it is not a true power armor seeks to increase the mobility and effectiveness of its ground-based police forces.
After the disastrous loss of their offices on Valaad and the temporary disappearance of corporate heir Terry Gillian, the company determined that it needed to be better able to defend its assets and even become aggressive to the point of building an unofficial militia. As the main focus of Gillian draws back towards protecting the world from which it was born they see a horrendously outdated army and star navy, and this is their first step in rectifying this gap in capability.
The KHSF's lack of experience with true power armors has influenced the design process of the Medusa considerably; as such it is not a full armor system but rather a mobility system with armor components, dubbed a Battle Harness by the engineers who created it. The reduced cost of production means that they intend to outfit entire batallions with this equipment, to face any armored infantry.
Organization: Khorsoi Homeworld Security Force
Type: Battle Harness
Designer: GM Combined Engineering (amalgam of all former design offices)
Manufacturer: Gillian Manufacturing
Production: Entering production; adjusted estimate of 4,000 initial run, actual production dependent upon orders received.
Armor composition: Titanium Strand weave sandwiched between high-carbon steel and plasticized ceramics, coated with reactive silicate crystals suspended in polycarbonate resin. Armor rated at DR5 and undersuit rated at DR2.
The Medusa is a good example of cross-class engineering. It takes concepts and technologies developed for several different fields and combines them all together into a single unit intended for the most elite of soldiers and commanders. Each harness is hand-made and as soon as all the orders of the initial run are filled the doors will shut on the ability to own one.
Some might say that the most essential part of the Medusa is the underlayer. The very core of the system, this is a layer of skintight material comprised of a mixture of hydrostatic gel and steel nanofibers; it is expected to be able to resist small arms fire handily in the same way that a bullet-proof vest would, but with less impact felt by the wearer. It has microseams in the appropriate areas, allowing it to be put on and taken off in as many pieces as the soldier desires for whatever necessities he is faced with having to move out of the way.
A second layer is attached to this undersuit, a hexagonal mesh comprised entirely of the micromotors used in the Goshen's strength enhancing. They have been further reduced in size to produce a sturdy but flexible means of supporting the wearer under the weight of his armor and gear. The mesh is not actually solid; enough effort will separate hex panels from each other and allow the microseams of the ballistic layer to open.
Over this is a third layer made of a heat-dispersing membrane that serves to cool the wearer and regulate his body temperature. Like the primary layer it has microseams that allow the undersuit to be taken off in as many pieces as it was designed with.
On the whole the undersuit is about five millimeters thick, somewhat bulky but no more cumbersome than a heavy shirt.
Since it's not a full and complete armor system the wearer is not protected on certain areas of the body; however the designers have endeavored to balance light weight with effective defensive ability. Leg armor on the Medusa covers the feet entirely, and the legs up to the hips on the outside of the leg and to mid thigh on the inseam; it is made of high-impact alloy coated with an energy-dispersive enamel to reduce the damage from heat and energy-based weaponry. The knees are jointed and supported by a pair of macroservos, as are the ankles, arch of the foot and toe pads. They are seated loosely enough so that joint mobility remains as close to natural levels as possible.
The torso is lightly armored, having only a thin alloy plate articulated to allow bending and crouching, and held in place by a webbed belt, which incidentally doubles as a utility belt, containing pouches and slots for various equipment. The abdominal plate is attached to a heavier set of chest armor, which is put on in two halves; the chest shell contains essential equipment to the suit's operation, mainly the micro-core, air tank, and computer system. The spinal shell fits over this, attached to hardpoints and providing both protection for the wearer and systems as well as mounting points for the jump pack and flight system. It provides ample protection to the chest and back of the wearer, covering everything from ribcage to collar though leaving the areas around the shoulders free to move.
Hands are protected by ceramic plates on the upper surface; since the fingers must remain free to move they are not armored at all, at least not beyond the undersuit gloves provided with each Medusa. Forearms are protected by fitted gauntlets, which allow muscles to flex and move as needed; the elbows are also protected, as are bicep and shoulder by a contiguous articulation series that ends in a fitted pauldron on each shoulder.
The collar of the undersuit goes up to the chin and the helmet is cushioned against impact, and is hard enough to shrug off an indirect hit from a .50 caliber round fired at high velocity; it also contains antennae for communications gear and light-gathering scopes for enhanced vision. It has a polarizing visor to shield the wearer's eyes from explosions and similar optical hazards. The helmets can seal against vacuum, allowing the Medusa to be used in space.
Each Medusa weighs around 52 kilograms, and each is fitted to its individual user; therefore width and height are not standard numbers. They do add a bit of bulk to the soldier wearing them; initial estimates suggest that it is 20% broader and adds 5 cm of overall height.
This is a compact version of the fuel cell engines popular in energy-conscious societies. It uses a radial fuel cell design to minimize bulk and maximize electrical output, with enough capacity to run the suit for a solid year and provide six hours of flight when the gravity pack is in use.
The macroservos mentioned as being part of the leg armor are strong enough that they can apply significant feedback to walking and running motions, allowing the wearer to run at speeds up to 22 kilometers per hour or in bursts of up to 35 kph; they also facilitate vertical leaps of nearly four meters and horizontal leaps of almost 100 meters, with a running start. They run off of the suit's internal battery.
An optional piece of equipment that can be fitted to one of the hard points on the spinal shell and a recommended addition to the basic package, the Jump Pack is an electrically driven turbine that sucks in air, compresses it, and pushes it out again with enough force to propel the harness a distance of 800 meters. It cannot launch the wearer backwards, unfortunately, but it is capable of attaining a speed of 120 kph, which for a simple jump is rather impressive.
The second piece of optional equipment available to Medusa suits, the Gravity Pack is a compact version of the Gravity Drive used on the Osiris class. It focuses energy through three projectors, lensing the gathered forces together to produce an antigravity field strong enough to allow flight up to speeds of 500 kph, at a maximum altitude of 28 kilometers. This cannot run on anything other than the energy supplied by the micro-core and as such is usually restricted to use in zero-g conditions except when issued to commanding officers or specialists.
The gravity pack utilizes a non-permanent cybernetic interface in the helmet to control thrust direction and speed, requiring additional training in order to operate.
This is the third piece of optional equipment available. It is a small shield projector that generates a solid wall of force, noticeable as a reddish glow around the suit, especially when it is impacted by weapons fire. It has a maximum duration of 120 seconds and so must be used sparingly; it is also quite expensive and is not issued without special request outlining why the suit's owner requires the shield. It is robust enough to maintain a DR 2 against enemy fire, and is quite useful against melee attacks.. It is reusable but it runs off of a capacitor that must be recharged in between uses.
The suit's communications antenna. It is not a literal antenna, but it is configured to transmit and receive encrypted voice communication on up to fifteen channels. This is part of the suit's default equipment, and so comes at no extra cost. The transmitter has a range of 40 km, and can use other units to boost its range to a maximum of 500 km.
This is a non-permanent cybernetic module that is required to operate certain add-ons. It is a flexible mesh-like polyalloy that rests on the back of the skull, reading the alpha channel. Although conscious thought is formed in different parts of the brain the cortices governing movement are located to the rear. The mesh can read the impulses in the brain and move the harness accordingly using whatever add-ons happen to be available to the system. At current the interface is only compatible with the Gravity Pack.
Name: GM-CIWS-110 Shock Sleeve
Type: Electrically powered combat device
Role: Defensive armament
Length: Wearer's arm
Weight: 2 kilograms
With a slight modification the plating on the Medusa's arm protection can be rendered capable of building and discharging an electrical shock; this is powerful enough to deliver burns and disrupt the activity of a person's nervous system for a short time which when coupled with the strength augmentation inherent in the Medusa makes it a rather painful weapon to be hit by. One or both arm components can receive this modification, though at the cost of the shield. Despite its usefulness it is not a very powerful weapon and stays at a modest DR1.
Repairing the shock sleeve should only be done by a trained professional as even when the capacitors burn out they may still carry an electric charge that can cause injury. To clean the sleeve wipe with a dry cloth to remove oils and bodily fluids; then utilize compressed air to clean debris from the articulation and electrical contacts.