Business Power Suits
One of the tenet of business is the men of business are present, with their hard eyes, hard handshakes, and suits. They have to be everywhere, and in the Petroleum Era this was easily enough accomplished. The environs of the Cosmic Era have made corporate mucky mucking considerably more difficult and dangerous. It is dangerous for middle managers, project coordinators, regional supervisors, and corp financial inspectors to inspect operations and employees when said operations are underwater, in extreme cold, in space, in extreme heat, or even on other planets. The corporate man can't be seen stumbling around in a hazmat suit, or fighting against a hardsuit, or be seen struggling with the same basic gear that all of their underlings are using. The same goes for remote piloting a drone, or a proxied auton. Such things are spoofable, or subject to pilot error, and then previous attempts to use this tech have failed because the corporate surrogate would be covered in graffiti, or have unlicensed objects attached to it.
The UAC Synth Surrogate program supplied synths for corporate ranking members to use at remote or dangerous UAC facilities and this was problematic from the beginning, as the remote usage caused hostility between the workers and administrators, and culminated with a financial officer in the corp causing several million dollars worth of damage, and causing a number of fatalities at a UAC space facility when he completely lost his cool discovering his corp surrogate had been vandalized and altered so that rather than the desired robotic hardass, he was walking around in a naked female chassis wearing torn lingerie.
Starting as a small power armor producer, ICI was originally a small sde supplier for the IronCorps paramilitary mercenary group, and gained a good deal of experience in building light, stylish, well made suits that were a far cry from the chunky, blocky, and aggressively military styled power armors that were more common and more popular. Following the retirement of the 42nd Power Armor Corps, ICI was lacking a market and decided to make one.
The Brisbane/Melbourne Mk II
Officially known as the Brisbane suit, it is more well known as a Melbourne II, and shares a great deal of architecture and design with its predecessor, and in most areas, it is inferior to it, but this is intentional. The Mk II used the most common components ICI had, and the suit that had the most logged hours. Then it was shaved down and reduced. The Mk II has dramatically less armor, a shorter operational endurance, and a lightened chassis. It also is completely unarmed, and lacks the linkages to connect with a smart weapon, and cannot equip any of the military assets that could be linked to a Melbourne.
What it does have is an improved and secure communications system, a pilot assist system, and a much smarter control system. These were deemed necessary so that a new pilot could step into one and use it with only cursory training, a 15 minute instruction course, as opposed to a six to ten month training regimen. The suit also has improved filtration, and a medical support pack in case the pilot is injured. The most common form of Brisbane user injury is simply falling off of things because of poor spatial awareness and 'corporate arrogance'.
The biggest change between the Brisbane and the Melbourne is the use of what ICI calls a Cinematic Helmet. The helmet has a full face visor, and internal illumination so that the pilot is clearly visible. The voice box on the helmet allows them to have a perfectly clear speaking voice. Finally, the interior of the visor is a fully functional display, and will link to their accessory devices. A corp suit wearer can go completely hands free, and still have full use and access to their devices, including polarizing the visor so no one can see in, letting them sleep, compose themselves, or play a video in relaxation.
The Brisbane's outer carapace has a number of design options, and all were sourced from, or engineered from, the cut of popular three piece business suits, and many of the carapace pieces are snap in, allowing for color and style changes to be easily carried out.
It is not uncommon for corp types who have to carry out these remote and dangerous inspections to have several sets of carapace pieces for their suit, changing pieces as they see the need to. Some people respect the fact that a group of corporate professionals have found a way to put a tie on a power armor suit, others consider this a ridiculous piece of vanity.
Corp suits are being used, and they are increasing in popularity. While offering only modest protection, there is an undeniable power aesthetic, and if the corporate control module is removed, they are quite cheap to produce. Some corp members have taken to wearing their Brisbane as a normal article of clothing, including wearing them to their own internal meetings, sans helmet.
The Brisbane is increasingly popular, and once ICI lost the proprietary tech through a combination of shadow runs and others reverse engineering their gear, production of the suit has skyrocketed. Anyone with an industrial or commercial polyforge can make their own main suit components from files, and the non-printable parts are easily gotten, or easily worked around.
Gang-Raiders have been making and cannibalizing as much armor as they can get their hands on. Brisbanes have been introduced on a large scale in the Wastelands by junker forges, modified for sand, radiation, and water retention. The helmets tend to be scavenged, or variants of other ICI light armor helmets. This is often easily overlooked as most gang-raiders already wore masks and helms, and the use of various cloaks made concealing these slim armor suits easy.
Yakuza and organized crime syndicates have readily accepted the Brisbane and equip their enforcers and bodyguards with these suits. While not very useful in military situations, the light armor and force augmentation combined with the prevalence of martial art among various syndicates allows for a single man in a suit to easily overpower a dozen armed men. They are nigh invulnerable to hand to hand damage, and even most conventional firearms have to be at point blank range to penetrate the armor. Shotguns and knives fall into the same category, though a few practitioners of melee weapon martial arts with anti-armor or anti-robot warfare training can disable or kill a suit wearer with skillful aimed attacks.
Law Enforcement has been toying around with Law Enforcement versions of the Brisbane, and ICI has started design work on police model. ICI tentatively wanted to call this the Chicago suit, but the working name, Leo, seems to be sticking more.
The Brisbane is NOT a military suit. It has civilian grade armor, not military grade. As such it is highly vulnerable to military grade weaponry and any sort of armor busting weapon is going to be horrifically effective against the suit. Likewise, it lacks the ability to integrate weapon systems, so everything has to be carried, and there is no SmartGun system for the suit, which makes using said weapons even more difficult, since shouldering a rifle and looking down a scope or iron sights in a full head helmet is more difficult than one might expect.
The basic power cell is a very light model, and is only good for a day of casual use or less than an hour of intense use. This can be worked around with replacement cells, or modification to a larger cell, but the more mods that are carried out, the bulkier the armor becomes, and the less low profile it is.
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? Responses (4)
I enjoyed it. It wasn't as technical as I was expecting and, because of that, I was able to enjoy the description and smirk at the usage. I would be one of the people that think it is a ridiculous piece of vanity....but makes so much sense in the context you painted it. Great!
what he said, I was expecting hardcore sci-fi, but got a cool story instead.
This is good - interesting how Cosmic Era is shifting towards Shadowrun - it used to seem more Rifts/Battletech.
Makes perfect sense and makes you smile as well!