by Max Barry

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The Infinite Empire of
Father Knows Best State

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The Imperial Military (Hub Page; Branch Pages Linked Within)

The Imperial Military:

The Cybusian Empire has faced many enemies since it has come into existence, be they foreign powers who opposed Alexanders expansions, rebels who sought to forge a new order from within, or foul monsters with no goals but to kill or feed on innocents. The Imperial Military keeps these hordes at bay, and to help the Empire expand even further.

The Imperial Navy
The Imperial Navy was the first branch created by Alexander, to ferry his Evolved to other worlds. Originally bulky transports armed simply with lasers, the Navy quickly evolved into a lethal, high-tech fleet of ships Alex used to subjugate and enslave countless worlds. During the Rebellion, the primary Cybusian battleship was the Tesla Class, armed with many particle cannons and plasma weapons. Following Alex’s death, the Navy was relegated to defense purposes, though with his resurrection came a return to offensive action. A new, continuing expansion was started, not for subjugation and enslavement, as before, but to unite all realities under a single banner.
The Navy fulfills several roles, defense of the Empire and its assets being first and foremost, with Imperial expansion being its other main mission. Operations against tyrannical governments are often undertaken as well. Anti-piracy operations, humanitarian aid deployment, the development of Imperial colonies “from scratch”, so to speak, and enforcing planetary quarantines (in cooperation with the Imperial Center for Disease Control) are some of the Navy’s secondary missions.
Imperial naval doctrine emphasizes firepower and survivability. Many foreign designs, including capital ships, have only a few dozen weapon systems. Cybusian designs boast hundreds of weapon emplacements. When not in battle, Imperial vessels resemble beautiful Art Deco vessels, with only enough weapon systems visible to dissuade attack. Upon the initiation of combat, the Art Deco ornamentation of the ship retracts and folds in to reveal heavy armor plating and thousands of weapon emplacements.

The Imperial Army
The first few conquests by the Evolved were conducted solely using their natural abilities, albeit wearing armor Alex had designed. This worked well for the first few years, but it was realized that a standing military was needed, to train Evolved how to fight most effectively, and how to use ranged weapons. The Imperial Army quickly became an advanced force, utilizing power armor and plasma and particle weapons. During the Rebellion, due to the speed of the Orsonian advance, the Army saw only occasional combat, but when they did see combat, they made the Orsonians pay dearly for every world taken. Now the Imperial Army is an advanced, powerful force which is tasked with expanding the Empire and defending its worlds from enemy invasion. Secondary missions include suppressing rebellions and containing Drakul outbreaks in conjunction with Torchwood and the Navy.

Imperial Army doctrine centers around adaptability, maneuverability, protection, and firepower. Almost every Imperial vehicle has weapons to engage both infantry and vehicles, and typically aircraft as well, ensuring they can counter any threat, and can take any punishment dished out, thanks to ACE, ERA, and shields. Typical Imperial Army deployments feature “packs” of various variants of Courser Utility Vehicles, swarming the battlefield, taking out whatever they can, avoiding what they cannot until heavier units can destroy them, while Wolf tanks deal with emplacements or heavy armor the Coursers can’t take down. Crusaders and dropships deploy Evolved infantry into battle, typically at the same time Courser “packs” are deployed. Technological superiority, coupled with the speed and fluidity of Imperial attacks, overwhelm most opponents.
Imperial vehicles and armor tend to have an Art Deco aesthetic, mixing cool beauty with deadly firepower.

The Imperial Marines
Arguably the toughest and most aggressive members of the Cybusian Military, the Imperial Marines are the Empire’s shock troops, blasting holes in defenses through which Army assets pour through. They are also responsible for shipboard defense. Many Marines are extraordinarily proud of their nation, and their branch of the military in particular. Marines are primarily drawn from outer colony worlds, unlike Navy crews, who often come from the more prestigious inner worlds, and are often well-educated, Navy captains will establish a professional relationship with the commander of the Marine contingent onboard, but there is generally a perception that they are cruder and less intelligent, which has some merit, as the average Marine has a reputation for being gung-ho, patriotic, and masculine. This has led to many jokes about the admiralty trembling in terror at the idea of rednecks at the helms of their battleships. Despite this, a contingent of Marines are a captains best friend in a boarding situation, and they respect their ferocity in combat, if not their rural backgrounds.
In combat, Marines make heavy use of air support, IFVs and tanks, and orbital bombardment, and employ several unique weapon systems such as Ranger Hardlight Carbines and Seeker Guided Rifles for any ship-board combat situations along with Brawler shotguns.
One notable former Marine is Torchwood Director John Forge, Forge served in the Marines for approximately 50 years, before and during the Rebellion, rising to the rank of captain, but refusing further promotion because he wanted to keep fighting rather than be in charge of coordination. Only when Nathan Koenig approached him and offered him command of Torchwood did he relent, though he will still happily engage in combat at any opportunity at presents itself, often undertaking missions himself rather than letting other Agents do so.

Not officially a branch of the military, and possessing a separate command structure, I nonetheless included it here. Torchwood is officially the Cybusian Empires intelligence-gathering organization, but is also in charge of all stealth ships, commando units, and special operations. Founded by Alexander shortly after creating the Empire, Yvonne Hartman was originally placed in charge. Under her administration, Torchwood primary goal was to suppress Orsonian uprisings. They failed in this capacity, though the deputy director, Nathan Koenig, did end up saving Alex's life when he fired a flare directly at Charles Orson's head to distract him -while Director Hartman rained down a hail of plasma fire which proved utterly useless - and giving Alex a chance to go on the offensive, forcing Charles to flee, and leading to the end of the Battle of Arcadia, and the signing of the Treaty of Arcadia. Despite this bravery, immediately following Charles Orson's mysterious disappearance, Alex stabbed and Consumed Director Hartman for her gross incompetence and to try to stave off the corruption of his body by the supernatural wound left by the Sword of Tritus. She later regenerated from fragments of biomass left in her office, and fled to the far reaches of wild space. She was eventually tracked down and killed by her replacement, John Forge.
Following Alex's death and subsequent resurrection by Dr. Nathan Koenig, who headed Torchwood in the interim, Torchwood took on a new role, beyond collecting information and suppressing insurrection. Koenig was demoted to deputy director, and John Forge took charge. Forge, having spent centuries as an Imperial Marine, knew that Torchwood needed to be more active in its role. Taking Koenigs prototype stealth ships, he designated them Prowlers, and armed them to become advanced stealth warships intended for battlefield support and covert infiltration. Under his administration, which is ongoing, Agents are not merely intelligence operatives, they are each an army unto themselves. Agents are elite combatants, with an expert knowledge of combat, strategy, manipulation, psychology, and sociology, programming, hacking, and biology. While every Agent is armed and dangerous, the truly lethal arm of Torchwood are its Kill-Teams, such as the Prepyati, and the wide variety of advanced stealth vessels known as Prowlers

The Imperial Military, regardless of branch, uses two unique armor systems, ACE and ERA. In addition, all branches utilize the same missile system; the Multiple Payload Missile System 36, and the same suit of power armor, the Standard Cybusian Combat Armor 87.

Energy-reactive Regenerative Armor is employed on all Imperial warship designs, most armored vehicles and the larger aerial combat vehicles. When used on vehicles, it grants them near-invulnerability to small arms, directed energy weapons, explosives and kinetic weapons for a prolonged period of time. 
When employed on warships, it merely augments the resilience of the vessel. While its power requirements are easily met by huge Dark Matter Reactors, it also offers huge advantages when engaging in combat with other spacecraft. It can splinter MAC rounds, shrug off high explosive and armor piercing rounds and harmlessly absorb directed energy weapons. When antimatter and nuclear weapons are used against ERA, the resulting energy increases the impregnability of the armor by several hundred times. It is only ever used as an addition to more conventional armor technologies, for instance solidified Hydruim armor or ACE armor.
ERA consists of two layers of armor. The first is an energy-ablative, superconductive metamaterial layer. This layer effectively traps almost all of the energy from enemy fire, whether that be the impact of kinetic weapons, chemical energy, or others. While not providing the perfect defense, its primary function is to feed this energy to the layer below. This is a variable property, energy reactive layer of extremely advanced nanomaterial whose properties change when exposed to massive energy. In short, the armour becomes stronger when under fire. The layer absorbs varying degrees of energy from the attack it is under, using this bombardment to directly increase the strength of the armor, by several hundred times in some cases. In tests, ERA absorbed close to 100% of the energy from directed energy weapons, and 96% of the kinetic energy and 98.5% of the chemical energy it was struck with.

ACE Armor:
Advanced Composite Endurance armor is the primary Imperial armor, used on all Imperial warships, small craft, and armored vehicles. Composed of a series of advanced armors and composites, it is typically placed over ERA armor. The outer layer is composed of a series of thick plates of Solidified Hydrium armor, Hydrium being a gas mined from several Imperial worlds, noted for its lifting qualities. When solidified, Hydrium is incredibly strong and very light, in a somewhat similar manner to Titanium. Under this lies a layer of carbon nanotubes, a layer of Titanium, sandwiched between lead. Beneath this is another layer of Solidified Hydrium, and a layer which is a composite mix of Solidified Hydrium and Titanium, as well as carbon nanotubes.

Multiple Payload Missile System 36:

The Multiple Payload Missile System, introduced in 1936, is the standard missile of the Imperial military, coming in a few size variations, accounting for method of deployment (infantry-portable missile launcher, droid-integrated launcher, vehicle mounted launcher, fighter-mounted launcher, ship-mounted pod launched), but otherwise are generally the same.
The MPMS-36, regardless of size or payload, consists of a sleek titanium body, a very thin layer of ERA, a small shield generator sufficient to withstand one kinetic or energy-based point defense strike, and a compact ion engine capable of extreme speeds, with a second ion engine which activates on terminal approach for a sudden burst of extreme speed in an attempt to outwit point defenses and impact the target. The MPMS-36 has a rudimentary AI which communicates with other munitions to coordinate methods to defeat or overwhelm point defense systems, identify targets to communicate back to the operator, and figuring out the best angle of approach given a particular payload. Though ideally the missiles will remain in contact with what fired them, their AI are still capable of engaging a pre-designated target on their own.

MPMS-36 Warheads/Payloads:
Dark Matter: The payload of the missile consists of a magnetically contained Dark Matter charge, which, upon impacting the target, detonates and reacts violently in an explosion of energy and heat.

Plasmic Charge: The payload consists of a magnetically contained plasma charge which detonates upon impact, melting and burning whatever it touches.

Plasmic Airburst: A variant of the Plasmic Charge, wherein the missile detonates in midair, the magnetic containment being prematurely ruptured over enemy positions; most effective against infantry.

High-Intensity Hardlight Beam: Equipped with compact reactor, this warhead heavily modifies the missile, making room for a small but high-capacity miniature reactor. Upon reaching the target, the nose cone of the missile breaks away to reveal a Hardlight Cannon, which uses the entire output of the reactor and all power from the engines to fire a very powerful Hardlight beam at the target, before disintegrating.

Hardlight Scatterbeam: A unique missile similar to the Hight-Intensity Hardlight Beam, this is designed to track up to 50 individual targets, often enemy missiles or small craft, and, instead of simply hitting one target, the Hardlight beam fragments into many small, shotgun-like beams of Hardlight, each beam striking the target it was tracking. Can also be used against a single vessel, striking pre-designated exterior systems such as sensors or turrets.

Surge: Equipped with a Surge warhead, this payload short-circuits and forcibly shuts down electronics within a certain radius of the detonation, approximately 10 meters in every direction.

Chemical/Biological: Equipped with small vents which open at an AI-determined point in flight, these missiles are intended to disperse chemical or biological weapons over a battlefield, either in the previously described manner or by reaching a certain point and then disintegrating the missile and allowing the payload to drift toward the target. Most commonly used by the Technate to disperse Smoxin or Westius spores, but sometimes used by Torchwood.

Silver Airburst: An explosive payload surrounded by bags of powdered silver, this warhead is only used against hordes of Drakul sufficiently large to warrant the use of military vehicles. Upon reaching a pre-determined point above the horde, the missile detonates and the scattered silver particles rain down upon the Drakul, burning their flesh and distracting them, and, if used en masse and the silver reaches certain concentrations, killing them.

UVC Warhead: Another anti-Drakul warhead, the UVC warhead is almost an entirely different version of the missile. The missile body is clear and designed to let out as much light and radiation as is possible. Upon launching, many UVC lights activate, and the missile slows, the light and UVC radiation burning Drakul flesh. The missile lands amidst the horde and does not detonate, but deploys landing prongs, and acts as a UVC ‘lighthouse’, continuing to function and burn Drakul alive until shut off or destroyed.

Sensor: A ‘passive’ warhead, this consists of a number of standard Imperial sensor systems instead of an offensive payload. The missile then feeds data to other MPMS-36’s, as well as the firing vessel.

False Detonation Warheads: Designed by Torchwood, this warhead consists of two parts; a small explosive charge containing MPMS-36 components. Upon approaching the targeted vessel, this charge detonates and the missile immediately powers down until activated by a signal from the vessel which fired it, as well as activating a localized stealth field, tricking the enemy into thinking it was destroyed; upon receiving the signal the missile resumes operation and attacks the target with whatever other warhead it is loaded with. Primarily used by Torchwood for ambush tactics in conjunction with minefields.

Jamming: Another ‘passive’ warhead, this consists of a number of full-spectrum jamming devices, jamming enemy sensors or communications, while broadcasting Imperial propaganda or popular music, or white noise across all channels. Popular with Torchwood.

Nullwave: Carrying a compact Nullwave Device which detonates in a burst of purple-green light; this warhead inhibits the use of magic or psionic abilities for 1 hour after detonation in a five kilometer radius.

Foreign designs which sometimes see Imperial service:
Neurostatic Warhead: Rather than detonate, Neurostatic Warheads house large Neurostatic Emitters which activate when the MPMS-36, impacts a surface, attaching itself to the nearest surface and activating while deploying a shield to defend itself from incoming fire. Powerful devices mounted on many Technate vehicles, Neurostatic Emitters broadcast a variety of sounds and signals. It fills screens with static, sensors with false contacts, communication devices with feedback and horrible white noise. Biological organisms are bombarded by a cacophony of tinnitus and screeching howls. The brain is affected, resulting in neurological chaos as senses overload, eyes watering, ears roaring, an intense, incapacitating buzzing filling the heads of those afflicted, sending them to their knees, screaming in pain and shock. Evolved biomass writhes out of control, and is unable to properly maintain cohesion. Technate and allied forces are equipped with unique Technate hardware on their armor which interpret these signals and waves as popular music or a Mercerist hymn, rendering them immune to the incapacitating effects of the Emitters. This version of MPMS-36 is used primarily by Technate forces, though Torchwood has been known to employ them on their Prowlers, using them to incapacitate ship crews as the Emitters attach to enemy hulls.

Buzzers: A weapon system designed to demoralize enemy infantry, Buzzer Shells are actually more a submunition system. The body of the host MPMS-36 opens up, and a dozen sharp, serrated micro-missiles are deployed. These micro-missiles, more akin to self-propelled knives than a missile, are equipped with an ion engine and a malevolent micro-AI, designed to locate and target someone whose death would have maximum psychological effect on nearby troops. Upon locating a target, the micro-missile accelerates and then uses itself to kill the target in as messy, bloody, and gory way it can, typically by having multiple missiles rip through a body simultaneously while deploying barbed fins to rip up the body as they pass through. The missiles are not equipped with an explosive payload, and are sturdy enough to loop around and impact another target or the same target one more time before dissolving itself in a cloud of nanites. The Buzzers are named for the eerie buzzing sound they make as they approach their target.
The use of Buzzer munitions is avoided by the Empire, though they have occasionally been deployed against Redlight forces.

The standard Cybusian military combat power armor, meant to replace the previous Vanguard series armor, the Standardized Cybusian Combat Armor 1987 (named for the year the first iteration was created) is a high-tech collaboration of many of the Empire’s finest minds and companies. Intended to preserve the incredible speed and mobility that Evolved and Orsonians are capable of while still offering high levels of protection, the armor is a huge improvement over the previous model of power armor.
The first element of the armor is a slim bodysuit worn directly over the biomass/skin. This suit has a thin layer of shieldweave and corecloth, and auto-adjusts to the wearers form over time. It is armored, and has several ports which connect to the users biomass or body to both allow the armor to monitor vitals, inject medicine and stimulants if need be, and allow the onboard AI to directly interface with a users neural network, making the armor feel as normal as a second skin (in Humans and Orsonians, the brain, but in Evolved this is more complicated, using specialized devices to do this). This neural interface also allows the armor to record sensations and memories using Braindance technology, which is useful for confirming after-action reports or analyzing deaths to determine how best to prevent them in future. It is flame retardant and shock-resistant, and functions just as well as in water as on land.
Between the bodysuit and the armor itself is a thin layer of nanofoam to absorb blast waves, pressures, and a layer of biochemical gel which also serves to dampen blast waves and pressures. If a Human or Orsonian user is injured, the bodysuit can absorb the gel and then dispense it to the affected area, acting as both a painkiller and a foaming agent to fill wounds and speed up healing. Evolved and Orsonians can simply Consume the gel and regenerate from the newly created biomass. Should a Drakul stinger penetrate the armor (Ancient’s can propel their stingers with enough power to stab through armor) the nanofoam and gel can act as another layer of protection before the bodysuit and will clump around the stinger to try to absorb the impact.
The armor itself consists of a classified composite of materials, but is known to incorporate solidified Hydrium, Rearden Metal, ACE armor and ERA armor. The armor is more or less completely bulletproof (even the eyepieces have targeted with .50 caliber rounds to no effect), and is extremely resistant to energy weapons; the energy from most impacts, be they kinetic or from energy weapons, are absorbed by the Rearden Steel and ERA armor and then used to strengthen the armor or recharge the shields; in short, shooting a suit of Cybusian power armor may very well make it stronger, unless truly overwhelming force is applied. The relatively thin armor tends to surprise foreigners who are not acquainted with Cybusian technology, who quickly learn that standard ballistics or low-powered energy weapons are effectively useless. There are a pair of shield generators drawing power from the onboard reactor, and should one be disabled, the other automatically increases strength to try to compensate while the other recharges. If the user wishes, one layer of shielding can be “shaped” into various forms while the other offers all-round protection. These shapes are often simple energy weapons such as rudimentary “knuckle dusters” or wrist-mounted blades, but they can also be used to form airfoils, useful for Evolved or Orsonians (both of whom can run up structures and effectively “glide”, this feature allows them to continue to do so) or troops deploying from the air.
The outermost layer of the armor is a thin nano-composite. When brief coded electrical impulses are sent through this layer, the armor can change color, allowing the suits AI to actively update camo patterns to local environments on the fly rather than have to wait and have them applied by more traditional means. While this cannot be used to render the user invisible like active camouflage systems, it can be effective at hiding users from less advanced foes. This layer is combined with RADAR absorbent paints and infra-red suppressive resins to help muffle energy signatures.
At certain points on the armor, there are small slots, primarily located on the back of the shoulders and the arms, that, while just as well-protected as the rest of the armor, can be retracted to allow Blacklight tendrils to be deployed for Consumption, and the arms can retract partially to allow biomass weapons to be used such as blade-arms, claws, tendrils, whipfists, or other such constructs. The gloves have a set of one-way ports which allow the user to use Plasmids, Charonetics, and/or directed magical abilities, most of which require hand gestures or the emitting of energy of some sort from the palm. These ports remain sealed if not in active use.
The helmet’s eyepieces are polarized and anti-flash, allowing the user to avoid being blinded by flash-bangs, detonations, and allowing them to see through intense light, smoke, fog, or fire. The helmet is connected to the Imperial Battlenet and shares target information regularly. The Imperial Battlenet uses the diamond system, flagging friendlies with blue diamonds (non-Cybusian friendlies are marked by green diamonds), hostiles with red diamonds, and civilians with yellow diamonds. These diamonds appear on both Battlenet-intergrated maps, the “mini-map” and the HUD. Diamonds dim to a grey on death and fade away entirely once a KIA is confirmed (friendly dead remain marked on command maps).
Advanced visual identification systems can gather all sorts of information about hostiles with just a glance, identifying armor, weapons, species (sometimes), vehicles, equipment, and other information, automatically highlighting and prioritizing priority targets and officers. The system displays a rudimentary “mini-map” of the surrounding terrain based off pre-existing information and data from the suits scanners, and displays geographical and topographical information as well as waypoints. The HUD can also work in concert with the auto-injectors and AI to slow the perception of time and display hit probabilities for various body parts with the current weapon, drastically improving accuracy at the cost of some disorientation; this feature, known as Heads-up-Display Assisted Targeting System or HDATS is very powerful, but is used sparingly due to the disorientation it creates and is mostly used by Imperial snipers.
The SCCA-87 has an advanced sensor suite, incorporating infrared, heat, radiation, movement, proximity, pressure, acoustic, electromagnetic and other sensors. The eyepieces can display a variety of vision modes; night vision, thermal imaging, and other such modes, as well as a varying degrees of magnification and feeds from cameras, drones, or satellite images. The suit can record anything the user sees as well.
The helmet is equipped with a secure communications link, an AI data chip slot where the suits AI is housed, and an onboard speaker system. The suit AI is capable of hacking into enemy systems, intercepting communications, flagging priority targets, suggesting methods of attack, calling in support from other assets, facilitating communication to any Imperial asset in a solar system, or, if hooked up to a relay, further, or any number of other tasks.
Unlike the previous armor model, the SCCA-87 lacks a dedicated onboard fabricator; instead, laid throughout the armor is a set of specialized circuits and layers of emitters which terminate in the gloves. The AI can selectively channel energy through these circuits and emitters in such a way that it mimics a fabricator, allowing the user to literally create grenades, rations, and other such items, appear in the palm of their hand using just atoms from the atmosphere and the energy of the reactor.
The armor is capable of being used by Evolved running at full speed, and can even boost speed to over 200mph in short bursts. In addition, the armor can magnetize it's boots and gloves, allowing the user to climb or run on metallic surfaces, and micro-anchors can be rapidly deploying; effectively allowing Evolved and Orsonians to run up walls and structures just as effectively in the armor as out of it. This enables Evolved and Orsonians to retain their infamous and terrifying agility but remain well-protected while in combat.
The SCCA-87’s exterior was designed by a set of Imperial artists, featuring light Art Deco touches while remaining fully functional and combat-ready. Soldiers may customize the armor so long as functionality is not impaired. The SCCA-87 is generally recognized as a huge improvement over the previous armor systems, and is much loved by it’s users. The armor is used across all Imperial military branches, albeit with modifications for each branches requirements.

Companies which contribute in one way or another to the SCCA-87:
The Barit Group: The Barit Group provides some communication systems and sensors.
Ryan Industries: Ryan Industries provides the Braindance system used to record the experiences of users, as well as Gene Tonics, Plasmids, and other injectables for the auto-injector system.
Rearden Steel: Rearden Steel is a major contributor to the armor, with Rearden Metal believed to form a large percentage of the armor composite.
Vostrov Industries: Vostrov Industries provides the fabrication system and sensors.
RobCo: RobCo is responsible for the suit electronics and AI systems, as well as sensors.
Stoneheart Group: Stoneheart Pharmaceuticals designed the auto-injection system and provides the majority of combat injectables, such as Jet, Psycho, Steady, Med-X, and other such injectables.