The Star Army
Main Article: Star Army of Yamatai
Main Article: Star Army of Yamatai
The “Sylph” Ke-M4 series was a mecha used by the Star Army of Yamatai from YE 29 to YE 33. It was designed as a planetary operations mecha and later was used as a scout mecha. As the equivalent of a powered infantry armor, it was never popular, being overshadowed by the M6 "Daisy" that was released just months after the Sylph.
Initially designed to be the next in a line of light mecha, the Sylph was forced back onto the drawing board by rivaling models - the end result was a power-armor-sized, high performance mecha for mini-Nekovalkyrja that drastically outstripped rivaling designs, which also inadvertently ensured it would not be widely used due to high cost.
Redesigned to operate both in friendly holdings for defense as well as anti-boarding operations, the Sylph puts at its NH-12B pilot's disposal many of the capabilities of its larger power armor sister models but in a smaller, more compact package. This is thanks to its interior workings being based around the NH-28 Nodal Integrated Weapon System, an artificial life form based off of Hemosynthetics.
Well armed and well armored despite its size, the Sylph is considered by many that had witnessed its capabilities to be well worth the higher production costs.
The Ke-M4 “Sylph” was originally designed as the first ground-type power armor for the new NH-29 Nekovalkyrja. Its creation opened interest in developing more power armored unit dedicated to planetary operation, and it was quickly joined by the stealthy M5 Harpy and the powerful M6 Daisy.
However, the Daisy's design was so successful that it quickly overshadowed the smaller Sylph, making the light power armor model obsolete after only a couple of months of it having entered tentative active service in larger vessels. Since capital vessels had to surrender some of their M1 Lamias for the doubtful performance of a light armor which might rarely see use, the Sylph proved rather unpopular.
Seeing that the M6 Daisy could outperform the Sylph in any role at an acceptable cost, the Sylph's designers returned to the drawing board. Capital ships still needed decent internal defenses to protect against boarders such as the Mishhuvurthyar. However, capital ships were also important for their ability to carry great numbers of power armored troops to the battlefield. Having most of them stranded inside for internal defense duty was counter-productive - more versatility was required, especially seeing that with six different KFY power armor models, the allocation of power armors was becoming something of a concern.
As one of its designers remarked, “The Sylph needs to fill the Lamia's role as well.”
At the time, the M1 Lamia was an aging armor - a replacement for it seemed like a worthy endeavor. With this in mind, the Sylph was reworked from nearly the ground up to be operated by a NH-12B miniature Nekovalkyrja instead of a adult-sized NH-29. Much of the freed internal space was used to increase its capabilities as a powered armor, namely augmenting the armor's physical strength, resilience and self-recovery functions. For space operations, the Sylph had an easily-attachable modular winged pack made for it so it could include a Combined Field System and more powerful tactical attack drones for space combat. 1).
Sadly, by YE 33 the “Sylph” M4 was phased out having been classified as obsolete; only a very scarce number of them remain in service through one providence or another.
Slim, diminutive and delicate all quickly sum up the Sylph's appearance.
In terms of size and scale, the power armor very much resembles a literal suit worn by a 5 foot tall Nekovalkyrja or other modest humanoid woman. Power armor grade plates can be seen snugly attached to an under-layer of mesh, which smoothly hugs the female form that appears to be concealed underneath. As a result, the helmet looks a little large in comparison to its body when standing side-by-side with its peers such as the M2 Mindy or M6 Daisy. This further reinforces the cursory perception that it is nothing more than a suit.
On closer inspection however, it can be very quickly noted that weapons and numerous subsystems are directly integrated into body, with the forearm integrated, palm firing weapons being of particular note. The entry hatch, though harder to locate, is also present directly below the base of the neck and hidden from casual view by the upper lip of the breastplate. The technologies that can be noticed with scrutiny closely resemble cybernetic implants refined to a graceful degree of aesthetic and functionality. The armored plates on the body only hint at their presence with their simple status lights, slight protrusions and rudimentary interfaces.
The Sylph borrows a good portion from its older sister, the Mindy 2, in terms of plate layout and also shares a head design which is very similar. It is, however, more rounded at the edges in appearance, as is the rest of the armor. Meanwhile, the Wing Pack is small and neat, with four 'winglets' which protrude out of the back like a quartet of vernier thrusters.
Overall, the Sylph is the most dainty and feminine looking of the Star Army designs of its time.
See Damage Rating (Version 3) for an explanation of the damage system.
A Sylph defaults with light anti-armor phased pulse projectors on its forearms and powerful assault drones with the wingpack. Extra handheld weapons can be added to the loadout, namely the Light Armor Service Rifle for extra close-range punch or the Aether Beam Saber Rifle for fighting particularly troublesome enemy power armors and frames, aside from cutting and entering ship hulls.
The basic integrated weapon of the Sylph, the projectors are an advanced variants of the Type 28 NSP and Type 28 NSMG. Due to this commonality of design, they have similar fire modes to their handheld cousins and can be accessed through the AIES directly for use with its fire control systems. These are integrated directly into the forearms, and as a result, fire through the palm in each hand.
The Sylph's four fairy-like winglets are actually detachable attack drones. Each drone has its own gravimetric propulsion unit which typically is used to boost the sublight speed of the Sylph. However, these can be used separately when deploying the drones; when in use, they match the default speed and velocity of the power armor. Self-powered with a battery which can be sustained by the M4's CFS, each assault drone is armed with a rapid-fire projected energy cannon.
The Sylph M4 Power Armor is far more agile than any human and is as agile as a Nekovalkyrja.
Sharing the abilities of the Nekovalkyrja in order to maximize the ease of use, the Sylph has extremely flexible joints and despite its size, is physically stronger than the M2 Mindy. With the armor's inertia-controlling abilities and MINI-SPINE control interface, the mobility of the armor is significant. Movement can be made as erratic and unpredictable as the pilot can think, however, the wing pack can make ground acrobatics awkward.
All Sylphs can use handheld weapon systems like the Light Armor Service Rifle, Aether Beam Saber Rifle or other human scale weapons. However, as it has no mounting points, carrying its arsenal and any necessary ammunition around can be cumbersome. The Sylph's offensive capabilities can be supplemented by the newer Type 29 variable pod with armor assisting drone functions.
See: Mindy Accessories for optional handheld weapons
The outer layers of the protective armor consist of Yamataium plating which cover the main portions of the body. For overall protection, a Yarvex mesh is present to prevent projectile penetration or dismemberment by edged weapons. Both of these are fitted over an advanced, lightweight titanium frame built for flexibility. Like with most power armors, the protection of the suit is centered on the main body.
Inside its armored hide and hugging the endoskeletal structure of the mecha, the Sylph is filled with femtomachine saturated hemosynthetic fluids and slimy bio-synthetic muscle mass. These double as both the mecha's somatic components as well as a massive nodal colony capable of servicing the Sylph for tasks going from maintenance to repair and regeneration of damaged components. This material is capable of entirely regenerating limbs and armor.
The fleshy core of the power armor shelters and protects the small 8 inch tall individual piloting the Sylph. A NH-12B typically enters the Sylph by slipping through a hatch located at the inside of the chest plate - this entryway is located slightly below the very base of the neck and is hidden by the upper lip of the chestplate. After entering, the pilot is meant to settle in a small hollow cavity with a backing suitable to establish a Mini-SPINE wireless interface. When inside and electronically linked, the control cavity then snugly presses around the small individual and fills with life-sustaining hemosynthetic fluids.
Here, pilots typically operate in fetal position, receiving the Sylph's audio, visual, tactile and HUD readings. In turn, the pilot sends out their control impulses to the power armor. The core's life support system connects with the pilot through an umbilical hemosynthetic port and can sustain the small Nekovalkyrja with oxygen and nutrients for fifteen days, or up to 15 years in stasis. Body waste is filtered from the bloodstream rather than through a catheter for extended operations inside the suit.
Volumetric Display systems serve as the primary means of stealth for the suit. Besides operating by placing an image of what is one one side of the suit to the other in order to produce the effect of invisibility, it also has utility uses as well. The volumetrics may also be used to project conventional holograms for display or communication purposes.
The Ke-M4-E2903 Psionic Signal Controller is a form of psionic and telepathic protection, capable of nullifying all such activity in its area of effect. The device can selectively allow channels to permit secure telepathic operation and to maintain communication even under psionic attack. The PSC devices also negate high level psionic attacks and effects. At the same time, it is safe enough to remain active at all times, unlike older “ADN” devices. The field generated by the PSC encloses and protects the Sylph entirely, extending out two inches outward of the power armor to prevent the appearance of obvious psionic “dead zones”.
Much like the Ke-M2-2D "Mindy II" Power Armor, the Sylph M4 draws power from the Aether using an Aether Generator. This system, though providing a high volume of energy for use in shields and weapon systems, sends out emissions which are easily detected on the battlefield despite any shielding or other systems designed to reduce its signature. To compensate, the Sylph also utilizes an inbuilt capacitor system which stores power for later use. These typically run the suit for three days of continuous operation, but the usage of energy based weapons, and the drones in particular, drastically cut this running time short.
The M4 Sylph can be triggered to self-terminate so that its technology will not fall in enemy hands. This process can be initiated by the pilot or AIES, if the pilot is dead. This however, involves having the hemosynthetic fluids inside the fleshy parts of the suit turn hostile to matter and cause significant damage to the armor's internal systems and supports, eventually leading the suit to becoming a mere burned out husk of what it was. At the end of the process, any organic remains are dissolved and evaporated as well.
Alternatively the mecha can be destroyed by deliberately overloading the Ke-G2902 Generator and Capacitor System. The process takes only a few seconds and results in an aether energy explosion powerful enough to totally destroy the armor and anything within twenty meters.
Standard in most, if not all Star Army designs, the AIES serves as the all-in-one electronics package of the Sylph M4 Power Armor. The system serves to provide a wide array of communication capabilities, and in addition to this, also serves to provide several different sensor types for use.
Ke-M4-E2902; See: Armor Integrated Electronics System (AIES).
A wing pack provides the use of a combined field system. In effect, the CFS sustains a small “pocket universe” around the vessel by nesting electrogravitic and electrostatic fields. Objects inside the bubble are protected from both solid and beam weaponry, as the projectiles or beams pass through the curved space around the armor rather than impacting it directly. The combined field can serve a number of purposes, including propulsion, defense, weaponry, the powering of assault drones and stealth; for this reason, it is kept operational to some extent at all times.
For Details, See: Ke-M4-P2902 Wing Pack for Sylph M4 Power Armor
The armor propels itself at speeds many times the speed of light by generating continuum distortions in the CFS and nesting them to create asymmetric peristaltic fields. This allows the armor to travel up to thousands of times the speed of light. Distortion based systems allow the armor to stop or move nearly instantly because the armor has not “moved” in the traditional sense. As a direct result of this, there is effectively no inertia or g-forces involved.
Mounted on the back of the pack, the assault drone bays allow the four 'winglets' of the suit to reattach to the suit for maintenance or to enhance the Sylph's own mobility. Though they visibly protrude from the back of the compact pack, minor damage can be repaired by the suit's hemosynthetic systems, as the maintenance work is done from the inside out. While docked, the assault drones may contribute their own propulsion units' efforts to the Sylphs own, acting as additional thrusters or verniers for maneuvering.
For emergency or utility use when the CFS in the Wing Pack is inadvisable, or if the wing pack is damaged, lost or destroyed altogether, the gravimetric propulsion systems integrated into the Sylph provide a secondary means of mobility for the worst case scenario. Consisting of two units neatly mounted into the hips and thighs, the units are visible as a slightly elevated portion on the armor plating itself. These only have 75% of the capability of the wing pack, and have no FTL capabilities. Additionally, this backup system subjects the suit and user to inertia and g-forces, which are mostly counteracted by a dampening system.