Hardsuit: Priss

Casca <bertishg@db.erau.edu>

>> PROG40021
>> FILEPATH 8905/10A/MClCr.AIN//SC


Designed as the spearhead for all frontal assaults and used to backbone all tactical maneuvers, Priss carries the heaviest weaponry and the greatest amount of armoring out of all the other Hardsuits. Combining the elements of high-ordinance delivery systems, enhanced strength, and the ability to absorb massive amounts of punishment while still maintaining effectiveness, her suit is the front-line fighter for the Knight Sabers, capable of going toe-to-toe in single combat with any Genom-made Buma to date.


The chassis is derived from the baseline Mk. VII Hardsuit as developed by my father, with conversions to fit a female operator and further modified for Priss's specific body contours and motion dynamics. See ergonomic study PR-15 for further details.


Given the nature of Priss's role in combat, her Hardsuit has been given two extra layers of the polymer-resin coat armor, boosting the total number of layers from 10 to 12. This has resulted in a performance gain of 20% as measured against its dissipation/reflection ability of heat energy as produced by an energy weapon. Resistance to kinetic/ablative attacks has also been increased through reinforcement of the joint material with a thicker Kevlar foundation. Additional armor has also been added to the contact points of the suit, most notably the hands, feet, elbows, and knees, to reduce damage incurred in hand-to-hand combat. Unfortunately, this has also resulted in a 31.5% weight increase, limiting the suit's mobility substantially.


As mentioned earlier, suit mobility is severly impaired. Though the addition of additional layers aids in combat survivability, it also serves to reduce Priss's suited reaction time to just above acceptable levels. This seems, however, to suit her style of fighting well. To quote her: ``I'd rather be able to dust myself off after taking a hit than have to always watch my back.'' As Priss seems to prefer a full-contact method of attack, evasion capabilities are not high on her list of priorities.

Another unfortunate result is the loss of jump performance. The added weight reduces the range to that of a power-assisted leap. However, by working in conjuction with her Motoslave, this loss of mobility can be neatly circumvented.

Priss's jump unit is a modified third-generation Rolls-Royce Pegasus 380 heat-driven turbine, scaled down from Genom Buma specs. Started and controlled by an electric motor, 90% of the heat energy used as thrust is waste heat from the nearby powerplant, with the remaining 10% a mercury- based reaction mass. Its operating principle is similar to that of a jet engine, redirecting heat outward through exhaust vents rather than burning fuel in a combustion area. An added bonus is its immunity to flame-out in low-oxygen environments. No fuel is needed, making it less vulnerable to fire than comparable conventional units.


The problem of power requirements vs. available space has proven especially difficult in this design. The large amounts of flex-polymer driver that Priss requires for her enhanced strength far exceed the space allocated for them in the chassis. Further modification of the chassis is impossible as it would require a complete re-tooling of all systems to meet the demands of the new shape. As a result, the entire myomer musculature of the Hardsuit has had to be re-engineered to permit maximum strength output with minimal bulk.

The myomer system of Priss's Hardsuit is more advanced than those of the other suits. In order to circumvent the space requirement, Dr. Raven and I developed what we call ``nested myomers.'' Essentially, the system consists of myomer cables encasing each other, much like Russian dolls. The central core of each muscle group is the primary myomer, dedicated to providing maximum strength. Wrapped around it like a cylinder is the secondary myomer, which provides less strength and uses less power. This is responsible for combat functions other than those requiring brute strength, such as running and climbing. The tertiary myomer is the outermost, and is responsible for simple non-combat actions, working closely with the actuator system. This has made maintenence easier, as the less-durable systems are near the top for easy replacement. If the primary myomer is damaged in combat for some reason, the entire muscle group must be replaced.

Priss's Hardsuit usually operates on the tertiary system until the suit's computer detects an increase in stregth demand, based upon Priss's actions. It then implements the secondary system until the demands are met, activating the primary system if needed. The primary system is very energy-intensive and heats up quickly, so its use is restricted to operator's request only. This command must be subvocalized in order to be engaged. At Priss's request, the activator word is ``Kuso.''


The main power unit is located in approximately the same place as the other suits, with the modification of its collector plate being streamlined to keep the center of gravity as close to Priss's natural center of motion as possible (see ergonomic study PR-15). It consists of the forced-emitter collector scheme used in all the suits. A small electric field is set up on the polymer disk, which then emits high-energy tachyons, breaking down its physical structure at a rate of approximately 1 gram per 67.2 megajoules. The tachyon collector (as invented by my father) converts this energy directly into electrical power, which is used to run the polymer muscle-drivers and the main computer, as well as any other systems that require power.


Unlike those of the other Hardsuits, Priss's weapons systems are non-energy based. Laser systems, while free of ammunition-related problems, do not provide the destructive punch needed to immobilize a Buma in one shot unless the power source feeding them has tremendous energy at its disposal. The ability to linger in combat without regard to ammunition expenditure is a decisive advantage, one that I have put to good use in the other Hardsuit designs, but as the power systems currently in use simply do not provide the massive amounts of energy needed, a conventional approach seems the most logical.

Priss's main armament is a 30mm Gauss cannon capable of firing a variety of specialized ordnance. Nicknamed the ``Eliminator'' by Priss herself, it forms the core of the right arm of her suit with all other systems built around it. The majority of its bulk is composed of the magnetic linear accelerators which propel the shell and the capacitors that store the power needed to fire the cannon. The capacitors are dedicated to the cannon, and serve only to absorb energy from the power plant and then release it in a massive burst to accelerate the shell towards its target. This is quite energy-intensive to the extent that if the capacitors should malfunction, the cannon would cease to function. The power plant simply cannont provide the energy needed to fire in one burst; rather, the power must be slowly absorbeb by the capacitors. Fortunately, this system is shielded and possesses the redundancy of key systems needed to function in a combat environment.

A characteristic problem of a gun this size is recoil. With the capability to accelerate a projectile to close to hypersonic velocity, the recoil and rideup associated with sustained fully-automatic fire are a factor requiring special attention. To circumvent this problem, I have installed a shielded computer link from the cannon to the gyrostabilization system. This system activates when the cannon system is armed and initiates a data feed between the targeting system and the on-board gyrobalancers, compensating for such factors as elevation, rate of fire, and the type of ammunition used. When firing occurs, the gyro compensates for the sudden shift in the suit's balance. For especially heavy slugs, such as UHDU rounds, the suit's jump jets may be fired to serve as a counterbalance.

Priss's secondary weapon system is a series of hypervelocity flechette launchers designed for use in an antipersonnel role. Though useless against the heavy armor of B- or C-series Bumas, they are effective against all other Buma frames whose effectiveness lies in a human appearance, rather than massive armament.

Clustered around the underside of the Eliminator, the three flechette launchers utilize the same capacitors as the cannon, while retaining their own magnetic accelerators for independent firing. However, the power requiirements of such a system preclude the firing of both cannon and flechette simultaneously.

At a length of fifteen centimeters, the term ``flechettes'' hardly seems appropriate, but that is their official military designation. I have in my possession several 105mm ``Beehive'' rounds that made their way over to Japan from Vietnam, and these have been cannibalized to provide ammunition. Originally designed as an artillery-delivered antipersonnel round, the Beehive would airburst above a given target area, showering it with a rain of flechettes that would kill all unprotected personnel in the area. By removing the flechettes individually, they are the perfect size for individual launch, capable of penetrating cinderblock. As Priss puts it, ``We've eliminated the middleman to become a more efficient merchant of death.'' While this is true, I can't help but worry about her. She seems far too violent -- which, I suppose, makes her the perfect wearer for this suit. See relevant psychological profile PR-PSY for details.

Further information and schematics are appended to relevant files.

Journal entry closed.


Priss has a variety of specialized ordnance available, which can be tailored for maximum efficiency according to the dictates of a mission. The most commonly used types of ammunition are the APDS, HEAP, HEJA, and UHDU, and are carried in an internal ten-round magazine.

The standard ammunition load for Priss consists of 4 APDS, 5 HEAP and one HEJA round.


Mounted in key structural locations, Hardsuit musculature is composed of two separate subsystems, each with its own purpose and function. Large-scale muscular movements (i.e., the work of ligaments and tendons) are accomplished through the use of myomer bundles. Myomers are polyacetene fibers that contract strongly in an electric field, simulating the effect of the acetomyocin reactions in organic muscles. Using myomers in place of more primitive electromechanical servos permits enhanced durability and flexibility of Hardsuit limbs, and thus more highly coordinated activity (punching and kicking, gripping, high-speed actions), as well as greater response time from dependent servo-mechanisms. When linked to rotary or linear actuators (the systems that power joints and built-in limb extentions such as tools or weapons), myomer musculature can mimic most of the human body's actions.

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Hardsuit: Priss

Brian Edmonds <brian@gweep.ca> April 26, 1998
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