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(16/6/17) - 33nd of Resolve, 4th Year of Emperor Alexander Drakkon, 86AR

During the fourth year of Emperor Alexander Drakkon's reign, the Empire was split in two. The Emperor announced the dissolution of the Council of Houses and all trappings of the Empire refounded under Aldwin Vermine following dissatisfaction with its progress on recent proposals and reformed the Empire into the Imperium of Draco. House Black subsequently announced that all planet's north and inclusive of the Alphecca - Alpheratz line would be placed under his rule. These events happened peacefully and abruptly.

The galaxy of Draco is once more divided between two states. The Imperium of Draco, and the Remnant Realm in the north.

draco_reborn:terran_warfare

Draconian Terran Warfare

=Terran Warfare=

Terran warfare, too, has been influenced by the Godsea’s unique ability to disrupt communications with the invention of Veil generators. Now standard issue to almost every military in the galaxy, Veil generators produce a low grade Godsea-like effect over a vast expanse of territory, sometimes as large as a small continent. While this does not hurt human beings, it disrupts long range communications in a way similar to the real Godsea, resulting in, again, largely close range combat.

The faux Godsea produced by Veil generators, however, does not obscure vision like its spaceborne counterpart, allowing for laser communication between units. While this is impractical for long range missiles, as the range of laser communications is often limited by the arc of a planet’s surface, it allows for a more decentralized organization of ground troops than in interstellar naval conflicts.

A Historical Note on Military History and Structure

:: Warfare in Draco has had a drastic effect on the social composition and hierarchy of the Draconian worlds in general. In particular it has given rebirth to the ancient system of feudalism, though this is measured with imperial hegemony. In the early days of Draco’s settlement, where space travel was anything but safe and reliable and bitter power struggles boiled over from tensions held in by centuries aboard claustrophobic migration ships, prowess in intra-planetary warfare was vital.

:: In these early, brutal wars, hemmed within the orbits of single star systems, the technology that had traveled with the migrant population still had use, as it was spared from the assail of the Godsea by the magnetic fields of planets and their atmosphere. Such technology, terraforming and agriculture engines, construction and life-support contraptions, and military hardware, especially, could turn the fates of millions in combat.

:: Such technology was not, however, easy to use or maintain. Most of it was not made in Draco, but rather cobbled together by an increasingly desperate migrant population in small, makeshift workshops using parts and materials that had been recycled year after year of FTL migration. Such technology was, therefore, almost arcane, expensive to repair, maintain, and to get a hold of.

:: Out of these bitter wars with such fickle technology rose the ancient Terran title of ‘knight’. Comprised of the superfluous sons and love-children of the social elite, the knight represented a strange impasse between the grungy, lower-class soldier and the high society wealth. Trained in the use of military technology from childhood, and carrying enough wealth to afford its requisition, maintenance, and even advancement and development, knights represented an oxymoronically disposable, valuable, and elite addition to the landscape of the battlefield.

:: So effective was this new, or rather, reborn, social class in battle, that leaders came to *require* the presence of such warriors to hold any power; a political leader was supported by thousands such vassals who, in return for political power and the spoils of war, brought their unique combat capabilities to the battlefield. The revival of the medieval social structure was made complete with the erosion, ironically, of the wealthy social elite that had cast away their sons to the workshops of technology and the field of battle to save themselves the trouble of dealing with their previously superfluous presence.

:: Such families came to be centered about the grooming of their sons for the position, with only a small percentage of families devoting their efforts to leadership and politics. These few came to be the original Houses of Draco.

:: One would have expected the millennia of advancement in technology to eliminate this disparity, as it did on Terra, but the technology of Draco took at different turn, resulting in the lasting longevity of the ‘knight’. Military technology, though it became increasingly lethal and effective, became even more and more forbiddingly expensive and difficult to train in. Such a trend does not appear to be changing with the times, and the epoch of the knight may yet last several more millennia. <center>Back to Top</center>

General Military Structure

:: As stated above, the knight is the figurehead of Draconian terran combat, but in no way is he the primary soldier in planetary conflicts. That is a role occupied by the ignoble soldier, the duckfoot, the doughboy, the conscript, whatever one wants to call him, the vast majority of military personnel in Draco belong to a division of people referred to as ‘men-at-arms’. Such soldiers number many hundred to a single knight, and are composed entirely by ignoble peoples.

:: The knight and the man-at-arms are two integral faces of Draconian military, and both are required for a smooth and effective military. While a knight may be the most capable combatant, he is expensive, fickle, arrogant, and rare. Men-at-arms compensate for their lack of combat prowess with sheer numbers, versatility, economy, and discipline.

:: Knights are almost all infantry combatants, clad in expensive powered armor, bodies riddled with enhancements, and armed with weapons systems a normal man could never handle. Their specialized equipment is a topic to be explored in later sections. Knights also technically take on leadership roles in most situations. On a sizable naval warship, for example, the captain will often be a knight, as will the overall battlegroup commander, though the actual leader in both these situation is more often the ignoble ‘tactical advisor’, a man-at-arms who achieved the highest naval role possible through extensive experience.

:: Men-at-arms, by contrast, may occupy any number of roles, from infantry soldier, to vehicle crew, to technician, to medical expert, to strategic planner, to logistics officer, to any number of military roles. Not beholden to learn the long and arduous secrets of powered armor operation and optimization, nor the complex inner workings of their weaponry and tactics, men-at-arms are free to explore roles, including roles that directly support knights, that knights do not have the time for.

:: On rare occasion, certain militaries do not, or are unable, to follow this strict division of knights and men-at-arms. In particular, the Nipponese Houses of Draco, House Meiji, Kaguya, and Taiyo, follow a slightly different version, in which bloodline is a factor further taken into account in defining the upper-class warrior, as well as strict adherence to one’s lord. Where the typical knight is only generally loyal (often ultimately a glorified mercenary), loyalty amongst the Nipponese ‘Samurai’, as they call them, is their greatest law, one in which a single transgression may end in a gruesome forced self disembowelment known as ‘hara-kiri’. Such Houses therefore tend to possess more willful knights than those of other descents.

:: House Iscariot, too, follows a different military structure than the standard. Counting themselves amongst the original Baadite Houses of Draco, House Iscariot therefore originally followed very typical structure, a structure that underwent a violent upheaval upon their enslavement to the now defunct House Isa. Under the slaves’ yoke, petty notions such as who was noble and who was layman dissolved. All were abruptly made equal and forced to work the same, hard, cold labors as one another, a concept that stuck with them long after their emancipation. House Iscariot effectively has no knights. Instead, a couple with child in Iscariot society opts to enter the unborn citizen into a state-run professional military school from birth, allowing him to gain the same training a normal knight undergoes. When he comes of adulthood, his armor and other gear are entirely state-supplied, a rarity in Draco (only a few other Houses standard-issue military gear). It is important to note, however, that a child brought up in the state professional military school, may at any point in his harsh upbringing opt to drop out to standard civilian life with no dishonor; according to the Iscariot military charter, ‘Iscariot accepts no slave-soldiers’.

:: Regardless of the manner of division, the division itself is painfully clear to all soldiers where it is present: knights are entitled to privileges and men-at-arms make do with whatever the State may provide. Aside from a rather shocking gap in living conditions, knights tend to be far more autonomous, operating separate from men-at-arms until they require maintenance or supplies. On occasion, it may prove impossible to coax knights into fighting for their assigned battalions, as they randomly insert themselves where they may from orbit.

:: It is therefore not surprising to know that the relationship between the two faces of Draconian warfare is one of mutual animosity. Knights generally cannot understand why men-at-arms do not do their jobs with the effectiveness that they do, and frustrate themselves when they are not given unearned respect. Men-at-arms, conversely, see the knight as a sort of spoiled brat, whose performance in combat stems from their obscenely full coffers and not of actual skill or superiority, and are generally put off by noble arrogance.

:: It is only the rarest of Houses, again, that may reign in this problem of class. For the Houses like Hawkwood or the Crown, this is solved with strict discipline. The relationship between *their* men-at-arms and knights is better described as ‘cold’ or ‘professional’ than ‘hostile’. For House Iscariot, it is a non-issue. But for the rest of the noble Houses of Draco, the contentious interactions between knight and layman are an enormous headache, slowing operations and decreasing efficiency. <center>Back to Top</center>

Knights

:: The knight is a perfect example of the fusion of warfare and daily life amongst Draconian society; they represent a social class which morphed into a military rank, which then proceeded to determine the structure of Draconian society for the next set of millennia. In that manner, they also represent the cultural ideal of warfare: a well mannered noble clad in expensive, attractive gear laying low many times his number in uncultured lower-class ruffians.

:: Indeed, a knight may very well be the spitting image of the civilized warrior, but his training could hardly be described as dainty, nor can any young boy with the capability to properly fold his napkins, noble or not, be born with a body capable of enduring the numerous surgeries required.

:: These bodily alterations, at one time unnecessary, have become integral for the use of the pinnacle of all a knight’s training, and the symbol of his might: the sacred powered armor. <center>Back to Top</center>

Selection Criteria

:: Knights, as previously stated, are mostly culled from the upper class to upper-middle class. Some come from established families, while others come from rich, but recently ignoble, entrepreneurial families. A slightly rarer place for potential knights to be drawn from is the masses, a grace only a few governments may grant. The rarest place for knights to be drawn from is, however, from the dynastic families of Draco, all of whom generally cannot afford to have a valuable political actor or sphere leader at risk on the field of battle.

:: Regardless of the place of origin, however, the subject is preferably male and must be of a hardy body, preferably tall and proportionately thin. The reasoning for this is three-fold. First, the subject must be male because the various implants, surgeries, and, sometimes, hormonal and genetic therapies often destroy the fertility of girls. Furthermore, the female frame, where the center of balance is located in the hips, rather than at the shoulders like in men, does not synchronize well with most models of powered armor, which are distinctively top-heavy. In recent years, so-called ‘female powered armor’ has come into existence in increasing numbers, but they are rare, unreasonably expensive, and often simply a scam by some fake production corporation. Lastly, it is socially bizarre for women to take to the field of battle as anything but a nurse or pilot, much less an armored death-dealing knight.

:: Nevertheless, there have been, and are, female knights in the history of Draco and in the militaries of Draco today. A famous example of a female knight is in the stories of the legendary Ser Erebus and Lady Nyx, where Lady Nyx donned the powered armor to follow her lover, Ser Erebus, after he was called off to war. Supposedly she mastered the nuances of the armor’s operation in a record four years and survived the surgeries in closer intervals than any human yet. The story is usually told in the context of characterizing the romance between Erebus and Nyx, as the focus remains on Erebus even as she trains, but modern feminists have taken the literature to be the first Draconian example of gender-equality. Meiji literature professors have further postulated that Lady Nyx was in fact a *more* effective combatant than her famous male counterpart, Ser Erebus.

:: Taller and thinner subjects are preferable because they allow for more robust armor to be fitted; a thicker individual requires a proportionately thinner set of armor, as thick armor interferes with a knight’s range of movement. Actual subject strength is often completely unnecessary, though still preferable, to the selection criteria, as the powered armor often supplies up to 60% of the user’s final combat strength, excluding strength devoted to supporting its own weight. <center>Back to Top</center>

Childhood Training

:: Most knights are chosen to enter into training between the ages of six and eight. Such children, called pages, are usually given an in-house introductory military education alongside standard curriculums. Such martial schooling usually consists of technical lessons on the use, operation, and mechanics of military technology and rigorous fitness training. Most children do not even touch a piece of military until their fifth year of military training, sometimes less, depending on the rigor of studies. Such training lasts generally four years.

:: Prospective knights are drilled in the language and terms of a full-time soldier, as well as taught rudimentary tactics and tested intensively to ensure competency on the field of battle. By the time the page is ready to move on to the next phase of his training, he will have learned, but never actually operated, a quantity of equipment and tactics comparable to a man-at-arms straight out of boot camp. Given the extensiveness of such education, it is surprising that the dropout rate for the childhood schooling is so low: only five percent of all pages, given that their physical condition matches specifications, are unable to progress past this point. This can be attributed with the rigor of the initial selection criteria; those not cut out for the powered armor are usually not selected in the first place.

:: It is also in this phase of training that families once, and, in more unethical Houses, still, begin hormonal and genetic therapies to increase the physical and mental capabilities of their knights. Widely considered unethical, and banned on almost every planet by the strictest of laws, such therapies involve the dangerous manipulation of various growth hormones, native to the body and otherwise. If administered properly, a page will show considerable growth over his peers, gaining up to a foot and a half in height. Physical strength is increased up to 40%, reflexes up to 60%, mental capacity up to 25%, and visual acuity increased from 20/16 to 20/5. A page subjected to hormonal therapy is, in effect, made superhuman by bi-daily injected hormone cocktails, along with controlled release hormone systems attached intravenously.

:: If things were so simple, every House in the galaxy would subject their soldiers, even the ignoble, to such treatments, but hormonal therapies, as stated before, are exceedingly dangerous to apply. Only three subjects in one thousand escape such treatments with no side effects. Such subjects are referred to as ‘prodigies’. To the 997 other subjects, a host of physical and mental afflictions of varying intensities dog them for the rest of their life, as their growth and development are radically altered by the introduction of alien chemicals. With such a low success rate, Houses that partake in hormonal enhancement have no choice, by pure virtue of economy, but to accept imperfect results. Such militaries are often saddled with severe upkeep and discipline problems, problems that some Houses are nonetheless willing to accept for radically more capable soldiers.

:: Impotency, infertility, increased bone fragility, bone twisting, muscle hypertension, cardiac failure, decreased respiratory function, blindness, paralysis, deformities, limb and digit redundancies, loss of sensations, mental retardation, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, OCD, excessive desires, hysteria, early-onset senility, a host of social disorders, the list of drawbacks is long and grim. In a famous case, an entire unit of such ‘supermen’, the so-called ‘Wolves of Isa’ of House Isa, consisted entirely of hormonally enhanced knights, all of whom suffered horrible facial deformities and uncontrollable lust. Their reputation as a band of rapists, sadists, and murderers was only surpassed by the rumors of their fierceness and mercilessness. All throughout the ending phases of the Age of Bedlam they savaged the civilians of their enemies, until they met complete annihilation in an apocalyptic battle with Hawkwood’s ‘Dabih First and Only’, whereupon both sides reverted to hand to hand combat after expending literally all their ammunition in a three month long bloodbath.

:: Regardless of the length of this section of training, or its intensity, the last thing a page receives before passing into young adulthood, the mark of his graduation, a component absolutely vital to synchronization with any form of modern powered armor, is the slave peripheral neural network implant, or syncronet-net. The workings of this vital addition to a page’s body are to be discussed in greater detail later, but for now, understand that a knight without it would be unable reap the advantages of a suit’s artificial musculature; indeed, the powered armor would become naught but a very heavy, encumbering suit of armor. <center>Back to Top</center>

Young Adulthood Training

:: Syncronet-net in place, a page progresses to the next phase of his training. Graduating from his in-house education, a page pursues further martial studies in an expensive private boarding school with others of his peers, leaving behind his home and family. This phase of training lasts up to eight years, usually until the page comes to be eighteen years old, and encompasses all the basics of powered armor operation. A page who passes these eight years, though amateur, is fit for live combat situations.

:: Live fire exercises and grueling drilling dominate the training offered in this span of time. Students deploy in groups to specially set aside areas on a variety of planets and conduct mock combat scenarios against their peers. Like a full-fledged knight’s operations, these mock scenarios are mostly autonomous. Students are given objectives and access to various sets of equipment and a stretch of land or a lane of orbit and left to their own devices. The success a page shows in these exercises is the primary measure by which his rank and unit are determined upon graduation and, more importantly, the quality and skill of their mentor upon advancing to higher education. A skilled page who shows exceptional martial skill, for example, might be placed in more elite bands of men, whereas a lackluster candidate might be relegated to a mere scout company.

:: Classes of pages in this phase of training are usually completely static; a young student will find himself deploying, eating, living, socializing, and learning with the same group of people for almost all of the eight years. This is meant to encourage teamwork and concessions between individuals who may butt heads for the good of the class as a whole, a mindset conducive to the loyalty and chain of command required by a real military unit.

:: This is where military indoctrination becomes the most difficult relative to a prospective knight’s skill level. While the last phase of education is objectively the most difficult, boys who have made it thus far generally are capable of handling the strain. Here, however, in young adulthood training, students usually find their current skills insufficient to handle the stress of training. It is here, therefore, that the majority of children drop out of training programs; 20% of trainees will be unable to graduate fully and up to three million are killed in mock scenario accidents galaxy-wide.

:: The majority of cybernetic implants are also added to a prospective knight’s body in this period of time. Among the plethora of enhancements are bone strengthening implantations, joint enhancement, hyper-conducting nerve grafts, and ‘plugs’- man-made entry points into the human body’s circulatory, nervous, and lymphatic systems that allow in-combat injections and synchronization. These are usually spread across this phase of training to prevent irreparable damage to the human body, but in extreme situations, hardy men and women have survived the surgeries in such close intervals as having them all fit within a single year. These enhancements will be developed upon in a later section.

:: Again, a page who completes this phase of training is fit for combat situations, and comprises the majority of the knight corps of ‘rookie’ quality legions in Draco. Those that wish to engage in a professional military career, and not simply fight when called upon by one’s lord, usually progress to a final stage of training, one in which a page gains the skill to call himself a true knight. <center>Back to Top</center>

Advanced Training

:: The final leg of training is, once again, entirely optional and is generally restricted to those with little political use in the world of Draconian politics.

:: Herein, the drilling of standardized doctrine ends, as does the focus on teamwork and coordinated drills. In its stead, a page further develops the basics of individual based skills, marksmanship, swordsmanship, unarmed martial arts, armored kinetics, and other peripheral skills under a much more individualized tutelage under a veteran knight. It is at this point that a page is called a ‘squire’, though this role come much later in a knight’s education than it does in its old Terran medieval counterpart.

:: The quality, length, and intensity of these ‘post-graduate’ courses are largely variable in relation to the skill and quality of the teaching veteran knight. Famous knights who have earned reputations in battle are generally highly desirable, and therefore must contend with floods of prospective squires. A teaching-knight must be careful to select promising student, lest his own honor be impugned by the young knight’s incompetence or evil in the future. Student-teacher pairings are not restricted within a particular House. Indeed, when it comes to such training, it is not uncommon, if not common, for a squire to be trained by a teaching-knight from another House. During their Independence War, many of Iscariot’s knights, White Knights included, were trained by Hawkwood or MacDonnall powered armor infantry. On occasion, a squire may even be taught by a knight belonging to an enemy of one’s parent House.

:: Regardless, the final phase of training lasts between four and six years, and most squires, up to 98% of them, pass without incidence.

:: Such knights are generally held to a higher standard than their peers and are referred to as ‘White Knights’. Traditionally, all members of such a class of warrior elite identify themselves and their prestige with a single white band on their uniforms and armor. This is a practice performed even by the ignoble armored corps of Iscariot; the white band is an honor that few have the opportunity to bear. <center>Back to Top</center>

Noble Battlegear

:: As warrior aristocrats, knights are afforded far finer military equipment than their layman men-at-arms. Foremost of this equipment is their powered armor, but though the sacred armor is unique to their fighting role, knights are not only defined by it. This section details the use of equipment and material enhancements unique to the knight, more generalized equipment such as guns, grenades, and general combat technology will be explored later.

The History of Powered Armor

:: The metallic carapaces known to the public today have had a long history of evolution. This saga can generally be divided into distinct ‘generations’ wherein all powered armors possessed a number of common traits.

:: The origin of the armor lies, strangely enough, in millennia old mechanical arms, which were used by Baadites and perhaps even early Terrans to perform surgery by telepresence with a physician miles away from the patient or to move heavy objects, crates and the like. These early contraptions laid the groundwork and sparked the development of advanced musculature materials: contracting nanotubes, internal and external skeletons, and power supply. They were not, however, made for combat, nor did they armor and encase a human being. In most cases, they were controlled by an operator with a control stick or other manual control scheme sitting a few feet away, connected by a hard line. Since such machines formed the groundwork for powered armor but contained none of its purpose or intent, and are therefore referred to as ‘Generation 0’.

:: The first generation of powered armor came more by accident than by anything else. Powered exoskeletons had been used by dockworkers, firemen, and hospital staff for centuries to increase their strength and endurance, but were neglected by soldiers. This was mostly due to the fact that such frames consumed so much electricity that no man-portable energy source was yet practical (miniature fusion furnaces having yet to be invented). They instead relied on inconvenient and bulky ‘umbilical cords’ that supplied electricity to the high-upkeep musculature from an external source.

:: Around the time that space naval warfare became popular in Draco, a number of marines, desperate to defend their ships from capture, discovered that using such crude exoskeletons allowed them to wield considerably heavier weapons and encase themselves in armor that the normally would never be capable of carrying, much less fighting in. These two factors were distinct advantages in the cramped corridors of boarding assaults, where the potency of the offending boarding parties’ weapons was often limited, due to the limitations in weight and space they were generally required to adhere to by virtue of their small boarding craft. Furthermore, the once fatal flaw of the umbilical cord was all but nullified by the small alleys of a spacecraft; an armored defender did not need to move much, and damage to his cord was rare due to the fact that the immense volume of his body obscured any attempts to destroy the lifeline with gunfire. The result of such a discovery led to purpose-built combat exoskeletons, and a brief period wherein boarding action was all but ineffective.

:: These suits were controlled by sensing their user’s own movement; sensors detected when the user pushed in a particular direction and told the suit to amplify the movement according to how fast the user was moving. The suit (roughly) moved when the user moved and stopped when he stopped. Such a control scheme, however, was limited. For one thing, while these first generation suits provided their user with a large amount of lifting strength and crushing force, it did little to add to striking attacks or to movement; in fact, they impeded these functions. First generation suits capped the speed of its limbs and muscles to prevent its user from hurting himself; since the suit was told to move via pressure sensor, it was more than possible for a soldier to dislocate his arm by throwing a punch too fast. The sensors simply did not process the information fast enough to tell the musculature to stop accelerating the user’s arm before it had gone too far. Hence, the speed cap. This element of powered armor would remain until fourth generation suits appeared.

:: Second generation powered armor came a century later with the advent of the miniature fusion furnace. At the time, ‘miniature’ was taken as a relative term; such fusion reactors at the time were the size of a one-man automobile. Nonetheless, powered armor was finally freed from the claustrophobic confines of ship corridors, and free to wreak havoc on the battlegrounds of Draco’s planetary conflicts. Such armors were more akin to man-shaped tanks than infantry, appearing slouched from the furnace mounted on their backs and being cumbersome and clumsy. They were, therefore, rarely deployed in open areas, where they were easy prey for the comparatively faster, better armed, and cheaper tank, a military unit powered armor would ironically one day render all but obsolete. In urban situations, however, powered armor could achieve tasks impossible to tanks, and with greater precision, climbing over impediments, firing from high roof-tops, engaging infantry in point-blank range (impossible to a tank, all of whom possess a ‘dead zone’ wherein its weapons may not fire due to the elevation of the weapon mount), and completing manual tasks (albeit with little grace).

:: In the close-in urban confrontations they were deployed in, such units were almost unstoppable when used correctly, as infantry rifles were incapable of penetrating the powered armor on anything but a lucky hit, usually to the visor, neck or joints. To reliably defeat powered armor with a man-portable weapon, large recoilless rifles and light anti-tank weapons were required, and issuing one such weapon per squad to deal with armored threats severely limited the mobility of such infantry units, putting them at risk to more mobile, unencumbered enemy infantry. As a result, only a few squads per battalion were issued such weapons, as had always been the doctrine, making urban warfare an uncomfortably lethal game of slots; a squad without an anti-armor weapon may get lucky and not encounter any powered armor or vehicles, perhaps even cut into a number of encumbered enemy units, or they may run into a group of powered armor infantry and find their small arms almost completely ineffective.

:: A unit of powered armor in the *wrong* place, however, tended to be very easy to deal with. Though a single man clad in powered armor was generally capable of 20:1 casualty ratio to standard infantry, the cost of a single suit of armor, barring the training of the knight, generally allowed for the recruitment and equipment of forty standard infantry. If given forewarning and the correct load-out of equipment, normal men-at-arms were more than capable of repelling a similarly expensive squad of powered armor operators. The power of such powered armor, as it remains today, lay not in cost-effectiveness, but operational specialization; powered armor operators were, and are, capable of applying a density of firepower and raw power in a small package that allows them to fill a versatile combat niche that has yet to be supplanted by another class of military unit.

:: Third generation suits of powered armor were characterized by increasing slimness and of the development of such carapaces as not only strength and armor enhancers, but a self-contained survival system as well, providing in-combat medical treatment, nutrition, targeting, communications, and chemical enhancers. While the addition of this so-called ‘system layer’, a stratum of the armor that administered such treatments, generally did not increase the combat durability, it drastically cut down on armored infantry fatalities and extended operation times from a week without supply to up to a month.

:: Minor innovations in the construction of powered armor within this generation also included improved materials and muscle fibers, both of whom contributed to the decreasing size and increased mobility of powered armors.

:: The fourth generation of development saw the greatest leap in the development and the most drastic change in the applicability of powered armor in various situations. For centuries since their invention, powered armor had been inhibited by the lack of synchronization between the muscles of the human body and the artificial fibers of the armor’s musculature, as well as the frailness of a knight’s body. The development of artificial enhancement implantations, casually referred to as ‘cybernetics’ (a misnomer in many cases, such as bone enhancements, where neither electronics nor computers are added to the patient’s body) radically changed all of this, especially with the development of the syncronet. The syncronet is a man-made parallel peripheral nervous system, connected directly to a knight’s natural nervous system. At its most basic level, it copies motor signals from the brain and converts the copy into digital data; a signal to move one’s finger, therefore, passes without incident, but an identical signal is created by the syncronet simultaneously and converted into data. This data is read by the lowest stratum of a suit of powered armor, which then tells corresponding muscles in the suit to move as well.

:: In this way, the clumsy movement and pressure sensors of previous generations were rendered obsolete. New syncronet-controlled armors suffered from none of the limitations on movement of their predecessors; because they were told to move by the user’s nervous system itself, its movement almost perfectly reflected those of the user. A syncronet further allowed for the nullification of animal pain sensory, substituting instead with digital warnings, increasing soldier durability and reducing the need for combat drugs.

:: All this resulted in a drastic change in the capabilities of armored knights. A knight was now as agile, roughly the same size and more capable than any unarmored soldier; in any situation a normal soldier would have been applicable, an armored knight could accomplish it as well, but with many times the speed and competency. No longer were armored infantry the prey of tanks either, as they could now move with human agility at superhuman speeds, allowing powered armor infantry to eliminate armored vehicles at pointblank range without getting hit by a weapon capable of penetrating their shells.

:: A more long-term change was the shift toward close-combat between knights. Whereas in the past, knights would attempt to keep at a distance when engaging another armored unit to minimize the chance of getting hit by the heavy weapons they wielded with no penalty to movement. Now fast and more agile, attempting to hit a man in powered armor directly with a low-velocity weapon like a rocket launcher or a recoilless rifle at a range was considerably more difficult, if not impossible. Fights between armored infantry became closer and closer, and hand to hand combat became considerably more viable. Inflamed by the increasing prevalence of oscillation-enhanced blades and monomolecular edges, which could pierce powered armor with relative ease when used with enhanced strength, the popularity of the archaic sword as a weapon in these close-range confrontations exploded, and once again did swordsmen roam the battlefields of humanity, though their swordsmanship was always companioned with skill in firearms as well.

:: The invention of artificial organ redundancies gave rise to the fifth generation of powered armors. Contained mostly within the torso armor or in a back mounted unit, organ redundancies are exactly what they sound like: duplicates of certain internal organs that assist in the operations of normal organs or substitute for them when they are destroyed. The most common organ redundancy is the artificial lung, which is found typically in sets of six: two in the chest, four in the back. These allow a state of constant blood oxygenation, making lactic acid buildup all but nonexistent. The muscles of a knight effectively do not get tired. Artificial hearts are also a common organ redundancy found in powered armors, which, when combined with cybernetic circulatory compartmentalization, allows soldiers to survive what would normally be fatal circulatory wounds. Other organ redundancies also exist, but their popularity in comparison to hearts and lungs however, is limited due to their volume and relative usefulness. Artificial liver redundancies, therefore, are rarely installed.

:: The so-called ‘sixth generation’ of powered armor may or may not exist, depending on which military historians one chooses to listen to. The latest generation of armor, according to proponents of the label, possesses distinct enough qualities from previous generation armors that it warrants the title. Opponents of the label refute these claims, saying that while each generation is characterized by an innovative addition to the powered armor’s frame, whereas modern armors are characterized more by development of the syncronet-run functions of fourth generation suits.

:: Regardless, all experts agree that the trend in modern armors has been to create an increasingly large expanse of skills accomplished by syncronet, in particular, the accomplishment of actions not normally native to the human body. Allowing the syncronet to control powered armor musculature was simple enough, as the human brain knows how to operate such appendages instinctively and naturally. Teaching it to move an extra, artificial extension is far more complicated. Scientists have experimented in this facet by attaching everything from shoulder mounted weapons that aim and fire by thought to motorskates that accelerate at the user’s will to even jet thrusters that allow for true, controlled flight without clumsy joystick controls. All these have had a degree of success, though less than .005% of Draco’s knights are capable of accomplishing a simple task like firing said shoulder-mounted gun in combat with any reliability. The success rates for more complicated tasks, such as flying, which generally requires delicate control of six primary thrusters and nine auxiliaries to simulate forward flight, dime turns, and hovering, is considerably lower. <center>Back to Top</center>

Powered Armor Composition

:: All modern powered armor is organized into exactly four stratums, each of which is mechanically anchored onto a lower layer prior to battle. Essentially, powered armor is not stored in ‘suit’ form, but is rather stored with its components separated. These components must be added to the human body in a process known as ‘molding’ that occurs before an engagement. The purpose of this is to increase the hardiness of the armor; allowing for straps, zippers, and clumsy seals presents far too much of a risk. For this reason, knights are among the highest maintenance military units proportionate to their cost, and are always closely associated with support vehicles, so-called ‘Field Encasement Centers’ (armored vehicles that allow field molding), or forward bases.

:: The lowest layer of powered armor is referred to the ‘base’ or ‘contact’ layer, serves two purposes. First, it provides the anchor between body and armor upon which further layers are built on, and second, it provides entry points by which the adjacent ‘system layer’ connects to a knight’s plugs and skin. Tertiary uses include wicking away moisture, providing heat and cooling, and low-level, last-ditch ballistic protection.

:: On top of that is anchored the ‘systems layer’, which serves a number of maintenance roles on the armored knight. Among these is in-field medical treatment, which, despite public perceptions, consists more of stopping bleeding and keeping internal organs where they belong more than actually doing any repair on the human body. Draconian medical technology is formidable, and usually even the direst of wounds that are not immediately fatal may be repaired by a physician. The focus, therefore, is more about sustaining a soldier than healing him; healing can always be done later, but fighting must always be done in the now.

:: Such ‘medical treatment’ is accomplished via a substance medically referred to as ‘topical medical sealant, affectionately referred to ‘man-caulk’ by both men-at-arms and knights, which is dispensed onto the human body via internally mounted spinnerets. Medical sealant is liquid in its storage form, but it rapidly transitions to a solid when applied. It clings to flesh and generally stops any bleeding, as well as forming a tough web that binds internal organs in place. It is easily removed by exposure to a certain wavelength of radiation, and doctors generally carry pen-sized projectors of such radiation to remove sealant precisely where they want. As mentioned before, knights can survive up to 40% internal organ destruction (save the brain) and continue to operate because of medical sealant, syncronet pain nullification, and organ redundancies. More drastic examples include Ser Siegfried Faust, who continued to fight despite the fact that his natural-born torso had essentially been hollowed of organs, but his is an exception; most knights who have taken such damage have sustained damage in their organ redundancies and would not have been able to continue. Furthermore, most knights voluntarily leave combat when they have lost a major organ, to cheapen medical costs and reduce the strain on the surgeon and cybernetics technician.

:: The systems layer also provides a knight with combat stimulants and nutrition, secreted directly into the bloodstream through a knight’s plugs. While it is universally accepted that repeated use of combat stimulants leads to severe physical problems, it is also accepted that certain situations require the operation sustaining drugs to maximize the effectiveness and the life of an armored trooper. In particular, long term operations in which re-supply is not feasible and attack may come at anytime are prime candidates for stimulant usage. Such substances are addictive, as are all stimulants, and are therefore not administered by the user but by an aerial, orbital, naval, or terran controller.

:: Nonetheless, there have been documented cases of severe stimulant addictions in knights, where they attempt to sate their cravings by either stealing stimulants from the quartermaster, or purposefully exacerbate a combat situation such that stimulants become necessary. These knights often go overlooked, but in more disciplined legions, such behavior is unacceptable, and may even warrant public execution.

:: The third layer is referred to as the ‘musculature layer’, though this is a bit of a misnomer since it includes the hard exoskeleton that the artificial muscles anchor to as well. As is expected, this layer contains the artificial nanotubes fibers that support the weight of the powered armor as well as confer superhuman strength and speed. Values for strength increases vary from suit to suit, with high-end armors almost tripling a knight’s already formidable strength and economy models generally increasing human strength, without taking into account strength used to support the weight of the armor, by 50%. The musculature layer actually also provides a considerable amount of protection from injury; the nanotubes that make up its composition are so high-tensile that even on its own, low-velocity shrapnel is completely deflected. Unlike the above ‘carapace layer’, the musculature layer provides a good deal of protection from shock.

:: The uppermost layer, as mentioned before, is designated the ‘carapace layer’ and provides the majority protection to an armored knight. Composed of a composite of different metals, as well as shock gels and ceramics, the carapace layer is composed of a number of overlapping segments. In general, more segments offer more flexibility, and less segments offer more protection, but such a blanket statement is deceiving. A single-segment cuirass, for example, is actually less effective at stopping ballistic rounds because it has no give; a good shot will crack the plate right open. A three segment cuirass, on the other hand, due to its overlapping plates, is both thicker and offers more give than a single-segment equivalent. Though the threshold is debatable, it is agreed upon that too many segments sacrifice protection, due to the increasing slimness of the plates and at the same time allows too much blunt trauma to transfer through. Furthermore, the numerous gaps between the plates offer enticing targets for a thrust in melee. <center>Back to Top</center>

Powered Armor Production and Requisition

:: Traditionally, powered armor production and distribution has always been handled by educated laymen. This practice arose counter to one of the original knightly calls to fame, that is, the ability to procure and maintain so-called ‘high technology’. As the social class expanded, this intellectual capability diminished until knights were known more for their training in the *use* of high technology, rather than their innovation of it.

:: This was due to the broadening boundaries of combat. Inter-regional conflicts became inter-continental conflicts, then inter-orbital conflicts, then inter-planetary conflicts, then inter-stellar, and finally, inter-arm conflicts. The demand for knights rose, and standards changed.

:: Powered armor and other equipment still needed maintenance and development, however, and to shoulder the ever increasing burden of military upkeep and development, and yet maintain their hold on high technology. The secrets and duty of knightly technology, therefore, was passed on to the trusted laymen assistants of knights.

:: Several hundred years later, out of the old-world divisions of nations, Houses, and loyalties came the five Guilds of Draco, laymen organizations that became symbiotically attached to the military arms of all the noble Houses of Draco. Though those old divisions have long since faded, as space-travel became economic and populations interbred, the Guilds have remained.

:: Today the five Guilds provide almost eighty percent of powered armor, though not necessarily other military hardware, to the noble Houses of Draco. Though certain Guilds may have stronger ties to certain Houses, in general they are impartial and indiscriminate to any factor other than solars. Of the remaining twenty percent, fifteen percent of powered armor is supplied directly to Imperial legions by Imperial production organizations, composed of Guild fugitives, some of whom now count their ages in the triple digits. Four percent is similarly supplied by House Meiji technicians, and a mere one percent composes independent powered armor enterprises, universally disdained for their inferior quality. It is for this reason that differences in House technological level rarely determine a battle, often Houses are pitted against one another using the same suits of armor, with House military technology only mattering on naval and man-at-arms fronts.

:: Though they are disparate in identity, culture, and ethics, the Guilds all share in common a greedy possessiveness of military technology. Few Guild members are permitted to physically leave the premises of Guild facilities, usually enormous city-ships that spend the majority of time in deep space, sealed off and away from the eyes of enterprising nobles. Those caught disseminating information in any way, or suspected of doing so, are often summarily executed. The decidedly corporate paranoia of the Guilds has created a highly inbred genetic pool, thereby creating considerable physical flaws in Guild members, as well as an incredibly low fertility rate. Guild members are therefore immediately recognizable by their extensive artificial replacements.

:: The five Guilds of Draco, are Prometheus, Vulcan, Fafnir, Kusanagi, and Thoth, Vulcan being an offshoot Guild formed hundreds of years ago at the crook of the Imperial family’s sundering.

draco_reborn/terran_warfare.txt · Last modified: 2017/08/12 20:34 by Aiden