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Whenever possible, PHYSICS Division makes use of current-generation technology in order to minimize Second Mission (Concealment) impact should equipment be lost or abandoned in the field. However, the nature of the occult threat faced by GOC Operatives means that some use of advanced (downstream) technology beyond current norms is required. The following is a brief overview of terminology used to refer to downstream technology.
Also known as Current Gen or Gen0. Refers to any technology that is readily available at the current level of technological advancement. Loss of Gen0 equipment is generally of minimal concern. The majority of equipment issued by Quartermaster Division is Generation Zero technology.
Generation Plus One
Also known as Gen+ or +1Gen. Refers to any technology considered cutting edge or advanced given the current level of technological advancement, but could conceivably exist as a prototype or specially constructed item. Loss of Gen+1 technology may necessitate action by PSYCHE in order to minimize impact to Second Mission concerns, but is generally not a cause for undue alarm.
Generation Plus Two
Also known as Gen++ or +2Gen. Refers to any technology clearly beyond the ability of the current level of technological advancement to produce. All Gen+2 technology issued to GOC Operatives must include a readily accessible self-destruct device to prevent downstream technology from falling into the hands of the public.
Also known as GenAlt or TanGenT. Tangential Technology is any technology that relies on principles other than those of science, such as magic or faith. Tangential Technology not in the possession of a GOC Operative may be considered a Known Threat Entity. Loss of Tangential Technology may require a Response Level 5 action to prevent the item from being discovered by the public.
Mk VII Standard Field Dress (Black Suit)
GOC Operatives are often required to operate in a variety of urban environments, in close proximity both to dangerous Threat Entities and the civilian population. In the interests of Second Mission (Concealment) concerns, Quartermaster's Division developed the Standard Field Dress in the early 1970s to act as a low-visibility defensive garment for agents in the field.
Early SFDs suffered from several weaknesses: they tended to be heavy, restricting in movement, uncomfortable in heat or cold, and could not be made in any color aside from their undyed black. This resulted in the early "Black Suits" paradoxically causing their wearers to become more visible than if they had worn normal tactical gear. Since then, advancements in materials technology have allowed for greater comfort and lesser visibility in the garments worn by modern field agents. However, these garments are still informally referred to as "Black Suits" for tradition's sake.
The MkVII SFD is the current iteration of PHYSICS Division's standard duty garment. Modern Black Suits come in a variety of different fashions for various situations (ranging from high-society formalwear to thrift-store discards for blending in with transient populations). In light of changing threat conditions and advances in technology, this garment is constantly being revised and upgraded. The most recent official model incorporated the following characteristics:
- A form-fitting ballistic-fiber undergarment worn next to the skin, made of +1 Generation nanofiber, rated to stop handgun rounds with standard powder load at point blank range.
- +1 Generation nanofiber threads integrated into key points in outergarments to provide additional protection. Combined with undergarment, must be rated to stop rifle rounds with standard powder load at a distance of twenty meters.
- Micronized communications gear located in the collar and cuffs of the garment, or integrated into jewelry.
- Augmented Reality system integrated into eyewear or disguised as a cosmetic accessory.
- Personal Computing Device (PCD) integrated into a cellular phone, implanted as a cybernetic enhancement, or disguised as footwear, with satellite connection to GOC data network.
- Emergency toolkits and weapons, miniaturized and disguised as necessary, are provided by Quartermaster's Division for specific missions upon request.
Black Suits might not be the sexiest combat dress PHYSICS issues, but they've saved more lives than any other piece of tech we've developed. They're heavy, itchy, and smell funny until you break them in, but the first time one of them stops a bullet that should have killed you, you'll come to see them in a whole new light.
Strike Team "Noble Phantom."
Mk IV Infiltration Uniform (Grey Suit)
The Grey Suit is the current iteration of battledress issued in cases where stealth is prioritized over protection. Grey Suits consist of a full-coverage garment made of "chameleon cloth," which incorporates minute chromatophores similar to those found in cuttlefish or chameleons. Hundreds of small cameras incorporated at strategic points take pictures of the surrounding environment and project them onto the opposite side of the garment.
The end result is an adaptive camouflage system which (unfortunately) falls far short of a true invisibility cloak: the low resolution of the surface causes the image to be blurry or distorted, and it cannot project light or reflections. In addition, the lag time of the system means that movement of the viewer or wearer will disrupt the image. However, its use of only +1 Generation technology, and the significant advantage it grants to stationary wearers, makes it a useful addition to an Assessment Team's arsenal.
Additional tarpaulins and cloaks made of chameleon cloth are often used in combination with the Grey Suit when setting up stationary hides in the field.
Here's something they don't tell you in the official documentation: talk to your quartermaster, maybe slip him a twenty or buy him a case of beer (the good stuff), and give him your weapon. He'll bring it back to you covered in chameleon cloth, with an interface that can hook into your greysuit. That way, your weapon can be invisible too. Technically, he's not supposed to do that in case you lose your weapon in the field, but everyone does it and High Command turns a blind eye. Besides, without the proper command signals, it just looks like a commercial aftermarket neoprene slipcover.
Strike Team "Noble Phantom."
Mk II Combat Garment (White Suit)
Reserved strictly for use by Strike Teams, White Suits represent the epitome of PHYSICS Division's battledress technology. The suit comprises three components:
1. A close-fitting undergarment, derived from the Black Suit, that provides last-ditch protection to the wearer's torso, as well as incorporating waste collection ports and a water-cooling system to prevent buildup of residual heat.
2. A rigid suit of battle armor with pseudomyomer exomusculature and full hazardous environment protection, powered by a micronized fuel cell located in the lower back.
3. An invisibility cloak generator, incorporating Tangential Technology to bend light around the subject, providing full invisibility.
As White Suits employ a large amount of +2 Generation and Tangential Technology, all units are equipped with a self-destruct device to prevent them from being captured or discovered by outside personnel.
Word of advice if you end up in Strike: get as much body hair removed as possible. I don't care how you do it: laser, electrolysis, whatever. Those damn White Suits fit so fucking tightly it's not uncommon for guys to get their pubes or leg hair stuck in the joints and ripped out when they bent their knee or hip the wrong way. Also: check, double check, and triple check that your skinsuit is fitting tightly, without wrinkles or bunching, before you climb into the hardsuit, unless you like blisters all over your chest, hips, shoulders, or groin. It wouldn't hurt to invest in a really good jock strap, either, if you're so endowed.
Strike Team "Noble Phantom."
Mk. III Ultra-Heavy Engagement Chassis (Orange Suit)
The Ultra-Heavy Engagement Chassis fulfills a niche role in PHYSICS Division operations: namely, engaging massive or heavily armed Threat Entities. In the past, encounters with such entities could be resolved only by evacuating the area and escalating to Response Level 5. Furthermore, in encounters against enemies armed with heavy weaponry or armor, Strike Operatives tended to fall short due to a lack of armored cavalry support. In light of this, a new system was developed to provide both the ability to engage massive KTEs, as well as provide rapid and mobile heavy armor support.
Mk. I and II U-HECs suffered from multiple drawbacks in their design: for instance, the ground pressure caused by a bipedal machine the size of a tank caused severe damage to paved roads, as well as resulting in the machine and operator bogging down or collapsing urban structures. Further problems included operator exhaustion, overheating, and balance issues. As time went on, however, advancements in the fields of nanotechnology and Tangential Technology allowed U-HECs to be built lighter, faster, and much more responsive. The modern U-HEC (the Mark III "Orange Suit") is a much more mobile and agile unit, although still requiring infantry support from Strike assets.
U-HECs are designed for situations in which a Threat Entity possesses extreme destructive potential, such as a large cryptid, Tier 5 or higher energy manipulators, or persons with access to heavy weaponry. As stealth is practically impossible due to the size of the unit and the noise caused by its operation, U-HECs are equipped with "Banshee" audio-visual cognitohazard generators to induce panic in non-inoculated personnel. Believing that the system is more effective if it has the full attention of the target, some U-HEC operators use bright colors or gaudy ornamentation to draw the attention of the enemy.
The exact construction and composition of the Mark III U-HEC is classified, but are known to include:
- Buckypaper bilayered with dilatant gelatin in order to absorb shock from bullets and explosives.
- Silicon nanofluid cooling system integrated into a bodysuit similar to that worn with the White Suit.
- Pseudomyomer exomusculature similar to that used in the White Suit, but augmented with miniaturized high-torque electromechanical servos for greater strength at the cost of some response time.
- Ceramic plating to reduce electrical conductivity.
- Vaporizing liquid extinguisher for protection against flammable agents.
- Ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) outer shell.
- Full environmental hazard protection, including toxin filters and rebreathers.
- OCULUS sensor suite, including VERITAS imaging system.
- Ram-Air Parachute system for aerial deployment.
- "Firestorm" Antipersonnel Directional Explosive (ADE): scaled up version of the "Roomsweeper" hemispherical claymore mounted on the White Suit. This system was added to early U-HECs after an incident in which a U-HEC operator, cut off from infantry support, was overwhelmed and killed by multiple enemy infantry who climbed onto the suit and prised the operator out of the pilot compartment. The system consists of a series of directional mines mounted on the exterior of the unit which can be set to detonate at the command of the operator.
I've operated with U-HECs six times, and each time, it's been fucking intense. Even if you're inoculated against the cognitos, it's fucking terrifying to see that huge thing smashing through small buildings and shrugging off small arms fire like rain. I can't imagine what it must be like for anyone who has to go up against that thing with the full force of the Banshee shrieking at them: shitting their pants and running screaming for the hills is the kindest thing I've seen happen.
The downside is, it's easy to feel invincible with a giant fucking golem smashing everything in your wake, but that's when things get the most dangerous. Not everyone turns and runs. Some people respond to abject terror by going violently berserk. Plus, even when you're wearing a tank, there's plenty of things out there that kill tanks just fine. Some of them are out of Banshee range, too. So if you ever have the honor and privilege to wear an Orange Suit, remember: you're not invincible, even if everyone else acts like you are. And that thing you're wearing makes you the biggest target on the battlefield.
Strike Team "Noble Phantom."
Mk. IV Sub Aquatic-Low Pressure Environment Suit (Blue Suit)
Early GOC underwater operations utilized SCUBA gear and wetsuits no different than those used by military or civilian divers. The limits of this system soon became apparent: lack of protection from water-borne threats, made it completely unsuitable for GOC mission objectives. As time has passed, SALPES has evolved as well: the modern variation is a far cry from the crude systems used in the post World War II era.
SALPES is utilized for underwater operations (both termination of KTEs and investigation of PTEs) when a full Atmospheric Diving Apparatus (hardsuit) is unavailable or inappropriate. The most recent version of SALPES includes:
- Water electrolyzer for production of hydrogen and oxygen while underwater.
- Hydrogen powered fuel cell for the SALPES electronic systems.
- Form-fitting buckypaper garment bilayered with dilatant gelatin to provide ballistics protection, with Nichrome heating element.
- Water-resistant "Trident" model OCULUS vision-enhancement equipment.
- Rebreather system/SCUBA gear, depending on mission parameters.
Mark IV Vital Energy Radiation Imaging Tactical Awareness System ("VERITAS")
Note: Because of the sensitive nature of this technology, all information regarding the true nature of Etheric Resonance Imagery (ERI) is classified Level Q by order of GOC High Command. This document will cover only the operation of the VERITAS device by GOC Field Operatives. The device itself is classified as "Black Box" technology and should not be repaired by anyone other than an authorized Coalition technician. ERI technology is to be considered Tangential Technology, and must be outfitted with a self-destruct device to prevent downstream technology from being released to the civilian population.
The VERITAS Resonance Imager is a fourth-generation device based on the principles of Etheric Resonance Imagery originally discovered by Semyon Kirlian in 1939. This is not to be confused with what is commonly known as "Kirlian Photography," which is a simple corona discharge phenomenon. Prior versions of the system (including COLLICULUS), required a separate Resonance Imager and Viewer, making the system too bulky to be carried by a single person. Recent miniaturization advances have allowed the entire system to be incorporated into a single headpiece, most commonly combined with low-light, infrared, and ultraviolet imaging technology in the OCULUS vision enhancing headset.
Like all ERI devices, VERITAS functions by detecting the distinctive Aetheric Energy Fields (AEF), or Elan Vital Energy (EVE) given off by living creatures during the course of normal life functions. By measuring the wavelengths and intensity of these energy fields, information regarding the nature of the life form, its mental and physical state, and any paranormal alterations can be determined.
In its simplest configuration, a single VERITAS unit can be used to detect the presence of higher life forms, even through a wall or other vision-obstructing obstacle. However, the device's true potential is only reached when two or more units function in tandem. By triangulating the position and nature of various AEFs, a three-dimensional map of the area (including the locations of all hostiles) can be provided to a mission commander or overwatch.