Here is the small section of my book, when the main character, Captain Jorja Leeds, gets her APS out of storage:
Besides escaping from the army mindset, the Mechanized Combat Application Group offered me to fight in one of those beautiful three-ton suits when fully loaded. These Dragoons were not an object of beauty that would hang in the Louvre to most people. But, I had been in the thick with the basic infantry armor, and once you slip into the Dragoon, you have a soft spot in your hard soldier’s heart forever. About 300 suits from all the different governments were lined up in neat rows, with techs floating around them, and chattering in manner of languages. The funny thing was that I fired at some of these other suits.
This beautiful armored suit could take the punishment and dish it out. During combat drops in hostile atmospheres, the armor took hits that would have easily ended my life or I’d being pooping to a bag at the very least. My suit was between them and me. That was something to get romantic about.
“Captain?” I turned to see James Austin, the head suit technician for our unit. We were damn lucky to have him. Wizardry is the only way that I could explain his talent at patch up suits and getting back in the fight. That was one of the limitations of the being in the MCAG; we had to have technical support to keep the Dragoons up and running. We required less down time than a main battle tank and less support elements, and could be easily dropped into a hot planetary LZ several ways, and terrain was less of an issue for us than convention vehicles. All of us added up to that APS boots were normally the first planetside. After a secure drop zone was secure, Austin and his techs were bought down.
“Austin, finally up from the cryo?” I raised my mug, and he did the same.
“Yeah, didn’t even piss myself this time!”
“Good for you!” He came up on the railing on the catwalk over the bay, and we sat there for a moment looking at the busy little bees relatively below us. James Austin and I had started in MCAG ODA units at the same time, and when it came time for me to command my own ODA, I picked Austin as my lead technical. I had seen James personally fix suits while under fire, that were immobile, repair them enough to get back to a safe point, and then dodge incoming, all without being ordered to. He had the medals hanging from his nipples to prove it.
“Lots of suits, Captain.”
“Yeah, the brass has got us all out here, this time.”
“First joint op since that H³ miners’ strike at McGinnis?”
“And before that is was Sirius.” I said the name like a curse, and I felt the ghost that haunted that place.
“Damn, the rumors around the chow hall must be true.” He did not look at me, but I asked anyways.
“What’s the word, chief?”
“The chatter says that those things are the biggest threat to mankind since the last Oil Crisis.” He swirled his coffee, and kept his eyes focused on the bay. “After all, we got no colonies left.”
“We ani’t going fall back to Sol, chief.”
“Yeah…because our collective backs at the sea.”I nodded slowly; the tone of Austin’s voice reflected the mood back home. Everyone on Earth was trying to get off it. It was a dying world, and the colonial movement had only been undertaken when the real bad shit hit the fan. If the human race was pushed back to Earth, we simply wouldn’t survive. I personally didn’t want to live on that rotten shithole anymore, I joined up to leave, not surrender and go home.
“Was saving up my coin and favors for some green land on Triumph or Hestia “
“Groombridge or Sirius A, huh?” I asked, just going through the motions.
“Now, they’re inflected.” He was clearly pissed. Thousands of settlers were gone; this swarm, as they were being called, completely wiped out decades of work right off the star charts. This felt more like an extinction than an invasion.
“C’mon,” I motioned, “let’s check my suit.”
The armor powered suit was the entire reason I had suffered through selection into the MCAG to earn place in the operation detachment unit. I had my fill of being 1st Air-Cav during the conflicts on Ceres, Mars, Titus, and of course, Sirius. Being fired at by everything known to man, and watching the wrong decision in gear, cover, or movement end a pink mist of blood. During these conflicts, and the difference of environment fueled the need for a quick strike force that go in, destroy and get out, without the need of support. The APS unit could operate in all types of environments, with a few changes in equipment, and complete the job.
Most normal infantry suck when you radically changing their combat landscape. Just try and dropping some infantry into a sweaty humid rice-paddy of a world, then jerk them out, and ship them off to an airless, lightless asteroid while fighting for days in a spacesuit. The results are not good. The Union Army developed within the Special Forces community, specially trained suit driver to fight in all conditions, to be quick strike, or quick support. Often, I was called up, to be heavy weapons support until we could secure a planetary LZ beachhead to bring down the heavy vehicles and infantry.
Which means in plain English, we were the bullet magnets.
That was the primary role of the APS in modern warfare, the opener for the rest of the invasion force. Often, we worked alongside specially trained Spaceborne paratroopers that provided protection against infantry armed with portable Gauss cannons and Anti-Suit missiles.
Each suit was roughly two meters tall and while onboard ship, they locked into hanging frames, used to store them in special cargo holds. Once the ship was underway, the “meat locker” is pumped with special foam that hardens to protect the suit, to the counter the effect of acceleration and de-acceleration from FTL.
|The APS from the Anime verison of Starship troopers|
I could remember long ship-board night painting the suits with the local planetary pattern when I was a grunt before AEC.
“It had the full upgrade, plus some of my personal touches.” Austin ran on, as I grazed over the beauty of it. The Dragoon vaguely human form, and resumed an ancient Samurai warrior readying for battle. It was more suit than the heavy mecha that the army boys used. The suit was a careful balance of protection, weight, and flexible. It some ways, the Dragoon was a nice fusion a European Knight and Samurai.
The suit was heavier at the chest, shoulders, and head with the thickest armor plating, with the next being at the knees, boots, and forearms.
These portions of the suit had sloped dense ring carbon metal mixed with tungsten plates that were rigid and designed to take a great of punishment. My head was sheltered by a thick sloped tear-shaped helmet, but also by high shoulders. These housed some external lighting and sensors. The outside world was projected on multiple HUD holo-screens inside the helmet. A clear faceplate that was only used in emergency was constructed out of transparent diamond whisker coating.
The joint sections were a mixed of hydro-gel, nano ballistic fibers, and carbon nano-tubes. Inside the suit was designed for my survivability and comfort. Many layers of aerogel, honeycombed biosteel, and padding shield me from the traumatic concussive shock of impacts, in additional, the suit was sealed against NBC, vacuums, and water. All of which was limited protection. Despite those stream-vid ads, if a lucky hit from a gauss cannon or rail round, or even a special atomic demolition munitions could crack the armor. I had seen too many times.
“Let’s do a crack check, Austin.”
I had learned through service that nothing worse than have a micro-crack in the suit while in a hostile environment, so every suit got the once over three times. Each one of these pieces of war-tech was a serious investment, and so were the drivers. You had to have been in the service for six years before even applying to the Mechanized Combat Applications Group. I was only accepted after nearly a decade in sidereal active combat service, and on my third request.
“Damn computer! C’mon!”
“Austin, I got PT in 20, can we hurry this up?” I rolled my eyes, while Austin bashed the computer repeatly.
“The techs have looking at too much porn on the terminals! Slowing it down…”