24 August 2012

Update: Excuses. Also, BattleDress+!

So, I know I promised I would finish the post on Imperial government and all, but as you can see from that post I needed to sleep quiet badly.

Which I did. And now I am about to close down for the night and realized I should at least let you know the continuation of the ImpGov post is still forth coming though I think I will do it off line and then pretty it up online, by which I mean add formatting.

Remember, in humble apology for the preceding hack job of proofing and its being incomplete as well, please note that each and every line of this post has been lovingly handcrafted, edited and proofed for your enjoyment.

As for the promised BattleDress+.

I think there are three stages to BattleDress: Cans, Cases, Skins.

"You get into a Can, son! This is not some damned racing speeder you "strap on"! It is a bloody war machine! Like a tank! And like a tank, you get in it, you do not "strap it on". I am I clear? Now, get in. And I will hear no more of that sissy pilot talk from now, Candidate."

[Unnamed BattleDress Instructor.]

Cans are the first generation of BattleDress technology. This stage runs from about TL-A (the first combat rated prototypes are evaluated and fielded), to TL-C (where resides the first true BattleDress). They have a low end computer system (Fighting-1), limited program selection, no real point defense to speak of, the sensor-cyber-electro-warfare (SCEW) suite is primitive. In addition Cans are not very flexible being comprised of lots of rigid plates over an undersuit containing the infrastructure. The large number of plates are required to protect normally vulnerable joints, this leads to limited mobility. Cans are the beginning of the end of old school "hard tech". Mostly they are a protective platform for deploying first laser and maser weapons and then later high energy weapons like plasma and fusion guns. Cans start as support troops, mostly as heavy weapons squads attached to larger units for a specific mission. Around the mid-point in the development we see them start to become standard issue to larger front line strike and assault unites, usually Marines, supporting Army units. The end of the line for Cans is when the Reserve  and System level units switch from Combat Armor (CA) to BattleDress. During this phase units like Naval Ship's Troops and Army units are still mostly sporting Combat Armor as their protective gear.

"While, in the old days they used to scream about how BattleDress troopers didn't use "sissy pilot talk" like "strapping on" your BattleDress. Well, as you know we do strap on a Case. It is a strap on Case of Death Came Calling to Your Hood. And a bad Case at that. Hell, yeah we "strap on" our BD. And the pilots of that bygone era of that Instructor would have killed that Instructor Sophont to "strap on" a Case and skip their old "Aerospace Fighter". 

So, when you first get fully strapped in, you need to test the Seals and User Interface. This seals the Dress against most bio-chem weapons, ensures integrity of ;life support during vacuum or other hazardous environment operations. (Well, Hostile Enviros for longer time than a VaccSuit or Combat Armor anyway.) It also connects you to the Combat Assistant Intelligence Interface and the Dress' Sensor Information Warfare suite and the basic feedback-grid. When all those systems read nominal..."

Sergeant-Instructor Sir Theodore William, IM, SEH/D,
Blackwall ANM BattleDress Instructor.

Next up are Cases. Cases are the true second generation of BattleDress, their run is from TL-D (where improved versions of previous BD are the new standard) to TL-F (the ultimate in what most people think of when they think of BattleDress). They are really just the intermediate stage of its development. A Can is not really tailored to specific user or body type, it can be uncomfortable, heavy and clumsy truth be told. Cases are none of those things. By TL-D the overall technological infrastructure begins to incorporate more of the biotechnologies that started exploiting the machines and mechanics of the natural world the TL earlier. This TL allows using a natural biosphere with no more harm than the occasional sampling. By TL-D new metamaterials, biomechanical manufacturing processes and materials begin to blossom  and by TL-F replace most low end manufacturing., for instance clothes are more grown to you than made for you. During this phase of BattleDress the same is true for the undersuit of BD and CA as it is for clothes. Most of the biomechanisms are concentrated in the undersuit and joining the firm plates. In truth, there is a good deal more physical manufacturing involved in cranking out BD than clothes even at TL-F. While it is more conformal at this stage, it is still mostly a sexier, sleeker, smoother BattleDress and its roots still show.

Obviously the SCEW suite is far better and generally has backwards compatibility with the older Cans now being issued to the Army and Reserve Marine and Army units. That SCEW suite is distributed throughout the BattleDress and is often networked to nearby friendly forces. Cases are really the first to incorporate point defenses. They most often use small lasers mounted on key points on the Case for small munitions and for heavy munitions can take control of the Dress and weapons. Instances of friendly fire are hyped up because they are so rare they are noticed more easily. As mentioned each Case is crafted for its end user. Case users are scanned and measured and a BattleDress is grown/assembled for that user. There are numerous checks to make sure of fit and full integration with the on board Sub-Turing Computer Agent, {STCA), what the common person would think of as a Limited AI. They wouldn't be wrong, but they would not really understand how limited the AI really is.  Military Sophont/Computer Interfaces (MS/CI) specifications are pretty brief for a spec on exactly how much personality to give a combat AI. Some extremely high end BattleDress, such as those of the Royal Armed Forces (RAF) have true sub-Personalities, while those issued to the Imperial Army are rather sparse on personality options, but they are voluminous fonts of military history, skill and knowledge. No matter the personality options expect these suits to be true Fighting units (a base Fighting-2+). They will have a far wider, improved, and sometimes custom selection of Applets to deploy in combat or other emergency conditions. Most have a Medic-1 ( IJAF MilSpec 190 Ratings) minimum on board standard, Combat MedicDress will of course pack a Medic-4 or better.

The new biomechanical systems make the Case a more conformal exterior and much more comfortable interior (which does affect both morale and combat results), and the BD of this stage is far more responsive on all levels and a serious upgrade on the original technology. It is deployed in the same model as old style BattleDress, first support, the strike and assault forces, finally everybody. At this point the only folks wearing CA are System level units or some noble's personal troops. Oh and of course Free Traders and other Fellow Travellers within and without the borders of the Imperium. The Royal and Imperial Forces have usually completely replaced Combat Armor with older model BattleDress.

"Welcome to the Imperial Commando BattleDress First Use Instruction sim. When you come out of the Tank, you will be a new thing. A true warfighter. The best of the military forces that the ancient and lost first of the Old Empires had to offer would correctly fear the force multiplier that you will be when you merge. Their pre-starflight ancestors would rightly worship your power and might as the lashing out of a furious, destructive god. But you will not be a god. You will become something not two things you and the Skin. When you leave the Tank you will be new being, a hybrid, a chimera of sorts. No, you will not be a god, but by your action you could become a legend. You will become the end product of man's attempts to create the best possible one person fighting machine. It started with tanks, it end with you. When you are wearing your Skin the two of you will be come the lightning hand  the Imperium. You will strike quickly, surgically, a precise instrument of destruction, an aveng...."

Instruction: BattleDress+; Introduction to your new Imperial Commando BattleDress+.
Skill: BattleDress-3.
Cyberskillsr TransferMedia (ICBDIS 1 of 6)

At last we get to the promised BattleDress+ or the Skins. Their reign begins at TL-G (when almost the whole BattleDress is grown to the user) to TL-J (possibly the last use of a physical shell for combat protection).  At this point BattleDress has reached its pinnacle not much progress is generally made as personal screening tech begins to take the place of a suit of physical armor devoted to protection during combat. In fact later versions of Skins will begin to incorporate those technologies, such as a personal damper, making them fearsome indeed. The computer system and SIW suite is capable of spoofing the old SCEW suites of TL-C BattleDress or when friendly coordinating them for best effect. The main computer is distributed throughout the Skin and directly interfaces with is user central nervous system. The so called operating system is an Turing Accepted & Examined Personality chosen by virtual interactions with its eventual user in various simulated situations. The Skin and the Meat (the human or other sophont providing the internal structure) generally merge with no problems. There are of course the odd rejections along the way.

Skins are so called due to their downright liquid qualities, They cling to their bonded use as a literal second skin. A very, very hard to breach skin, They are the most conformal BattleDress yet made, sculpted to the body of the user, the Skin and Meat as one, become the new thing. They share all the data, all the sensory data, the information speeding through the cybernetic systems, the physical effects of a passing 120mm round and knowing the type, direction of the tank that fired it, but also firing the point defense that the next round from its buddy and returning fire, the feel of the wind as the strength of the gravitic fields of the G-belt as you bounce to your next target. All these things are shared. A psionic shield may be installed depending on the psionic potential of the user. As well, they may have the experimental personal black globes. Rumor has it that they come armed not with the dreaded fusion gun, but disintegrator pistols. But surely that is rumor, some special forces wet dream, a secret agent media weapon.

What, they have tested a experimental proof of concept already? Oh did some field test with one or two have they? Could I see some footage? Oh, my well, I suppose one could think the Imperial Commando carry disintegrator pistols, but I mean really look at that thing, I mean it takes up a whole cubic meter. Yeah, pack that in a hip holster I dare ya. Call me when you got footage of it in an actual pistol form factor.

Another feature of BattleDress+ is its ability to "grow" cleats for use on ice and spikes at the fingertips, wrist/palm. elbows, knees, heels and toes to aid in climbing tasks. Of course, one could also use those steel punching cleats and spikes for hurting people as well as conquering environmental hazards. But if you really are just looking to hurt some one, why not use the blades that can be generated along the forearm and shin armor? Though as Imperial Marine lore says, "What are the cleats for? Stomping orcs!" proving that Imperial Marines if no other Imperial Armed Force, approves of stomping on the enemy with the cleats. (Even though this plainly not advised as indicated on Media 6A of 6 of the users manual.) All in all by TL-J BattleDress has only a passing resemblance to its original form, far sleeker, streamlined, vigorous point defense, sensational computing power, a broad spectrum situational awareness, the extreme physical enhancements and a fusion of two fighting forms into one brutal weapon. At this stage of the game Reserve IM and IA units are fielding nothing but old TL-F≤ BattleDress and even System and Household level units are getting BattleDress to replace their obsolete Combat Armor, which trickles down the just starting mercenary and private security companies.

And after this, well, as noted personal screening technologies start to replace armor in warfare. Why go through all the trouble of bonding with a Skin when you can just hump a personal screen generator with some lifters on it. Avoids those messy entanglements. Also, disintegrator weapons.

And a quick bit regarding the Peerage, the Crown and the Imperium and how the RU percentages are divvied up. Right now I am thinking that the Peerage pays a tax to the Royal Treasury (Vladimir's Purse) of 5%, and they pay a tax of 10% of RU into the Imperial Treasury. Remember I talking about RU here, not the CrImps a Noble gets per year from their Fief and Holdings. Nope, I am talking about those super juice if your crew is up for it. And people are always asking "How can I do a Noble campaign?", easy Ref, make them do the job of a real working Noble. What? That doesn't sound like fun? It is a perverse and pleasurable way. First the pain. Yes, booking and budgets are involved., but so is upgrading your first Starport from a mere Class C Starport, up to that TAS Required B or A Rating. When your Fief gets an upgrade in Imperial Trade Classification from Pre-Ag to Ag. To getting the population to breed so you can start exploiting the RU formula. The perverse comes from the fact that you, oh yes you, Timmii, you want that vast pool of Resource Units. You know the power, the true power of Worlds!

 Comments on this?

And in case any wonks are wondering what ICBDIS stands for and probably not, but if but merely one reader was, it is worth it. It stands for Imperial Commando BattleDress Instruction Set. The speciality company Cyberskillsr is commonly known for their infomercial level wares and systems. This is true on its face, they do a quiet a bit of business knocking out low end products for mass consumption. What they are not generally known for are their custom work for the government and corporate clients. For those clients they do high end proprietary systems, like those used by the Imperial Commando. Toss TransferMedia (3 of 6) where it gets to the weapons and how to employ them. Oh, but not TransferMedia (4 of 6) which has first real serious tech specs that would reduce the Difficulty of the Task when trying to adapt their weapons with some crazy rig or even just when it comes to the basic maintenance,, yep, all on Number 4 of the Series. Sure they can track down the various codes and marking to see what's on the rest of the set. And man will they be surprised. By what it really can do, what hooks up to wear, who makes what parts, what those part numbers are. The thing that will amaze them most will be the low price being asked. But the seller promised and gave some proof before hand that they are only asking double what governments pay for sets. Which since they did the research they know is true.

The other things that are true are one or more of several things. One they found a genuine, a real no space potatoes contact to purchase the real deal package (1 through 6). Did they check to make sure they got Numbers 6A-6D with all the errata, patches, updates? No? Oh. Too bad.

Perhaps they have done the most likely thing. Found a trap set by Imperial security forces. Might be the Marshals, could be a Ministry of Defense sting looking to snap up that black marketeer who thought His  Majesty wouldn't notice a copy of his Top Secret information goes walking, maybe the Military Intelligence is routing out traitors and spies and the characters got caught up in it.

Perhaps, it enemy agents looking to trap an unwary Traveller by accepting genuine classified materials. Once the crew takes possession of the TransferMedias the enemy agents will capture proof of the crime. Now that the characters have committed a high capital crime, they get twisted in to serve anti-Imperial forces. Or perhaps they become double agents for the Imperium.

Have fun. I apologize for the shabbiness of the proofing again at the end, but once again, sleep is required. Still much better this time on last read through. And as a friend, mentor and mad scientist told me "Best is the enemy of good enough!" So, here is good enough. Not like you are paying for it yet. I mean you could if you wanted to. It would mean better quality. Really, no hookers or such, real live Editor stuff. Honest.



The story of the rise of Vladimir, Second of his Name, the ancient symbol that secured his ascension to the Throne as he Emperor of the Permatic Imperium. and the epic Dive that started it all! 

Tonight on ImpNet.Entertain.Public.Nodes on your world!

Check local listing for time and locations near you.

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