318 – The New Power Armor’s Direction
Editor: Thor’s Stone
It didn’t take long to decide the specifications of the armor. That’s because I was very clear on what exactly I wanted the power armor to be.
First of all, my minimum requirements were environmental adaptability and precision operations.
Environmental adaptability will ensure you can survive and work in extreme environments such as on the surface of planets in the middle of being terraformed, the interior of ships and colonies that have had their airtightness compromised, extreme weather conditions that are harmful to the human body, and toxic atmospheres. It can be said to be a basic requirement for any decent combat-use power armor.
Precision operation indicates how accurately a power armor can emulate the wearer’s movements. If a power armor’s reaction in response to the wearer’s movements is slow, it will be evaluated as a 『sluggish』power armor, and conversely, if the armor’s response time is so fast to the point that it ends up overwhelming the wearer, it will be categorized as an『oversensitive』power armor.
In either case, it’s possible for the wearer to somewhat get used to their quirks eventually, but sluggish ones still have delayed reaction times, and oversensitive ones cause the precision to drop. In other words, power armors that have the right balance between those two extremes are the ones with the best precision operation capability.
“Those are what most of our customers demand as well. Do not worry. We will do our best to meet your expectations.”
It looks like this is the main purpose of the movement tracing the man mentioned earlier. So they not only adjust the hardware but the software as well huh.
“Ease of maintenance is also important.”
“Ignoring the more technical details, products that make use of state-of-the-art materials often prove to be a bit troublesome. That’s just how it is.”
“If so, then do you stock up on spare parts in advance so they can be easily purchased later?”
“That is an option. We can also compromise on the materials a bit in the aid of better maintainability.”
While the shopkeeper and I were discussing the details, Elma, Mimi, and Kugi were busy looking at the sample power armor images on the holo-display.
“My impression of power armors are them being rough and bulky, but these are pretty slim, aren’t they?”
“Yeah. It looks like they also pay a lot of attention to aesthetics since these are for nobles.”
“They look like fine pieces of armor indeed…… But won’t you become sluggish when wearing them because of the extra weight?”
“Power armors are equipped with artificial muscles to prevent that–”
Mimi began to explain the characteristics of power armors to Kugi who didn’t know much about them. Un, the sight is somehow quite adorable. I was reminded of the first time Mimi boarded Krishna. During that time, I also explained Krishna’s various functions and amenities to Mimi.
By the way, I was actually quite pleasantly surprised about the design choices for custom-made power armor. There were no such things as custom-made power armors in SOL, so this was my first time encountering them.
“Assuming that these are the basic functions, what options can be added on to the armor? The power armor I always use is equipped with a number of fixed weapons, so it can enter combat even if it was unarmed. It has enough firepower as is.”
“Of course, using our proprietary technology, it is possible to add firepower while maintaining precision operations. But, of course, there is also a limit. If we equip it with too many fixed weapons, the weight might end up being too much. That would hinder its performance.”
“I see. But considering the situations where you’d sortie with a power armor on, isn’t a certain level of firepower necessary……?”
In the first place, in normal situations, there was no problem with using the RIKISHI. Unless the situation requires the use of swords, using RIKISHI was preferable due to its firepower and toughness. In other words, what I ultimately required in the new power armor wasn’t firepower or defensive strength, but quickness and stealth.
“Let’s change our approach a bit. I want to focus on stealth and speed in addition to environmental adaptability and precision operation.”
You can’t expect stealth and speed from RIKISHI at all. If I insisted on going in the same direction as RIKISHI, I might end up with a half-baked product, and that would be a real waste.
“However, stealth and speed, is it? That’s quite a reckless configuration.”
After saying so, the shopkeeper displayed a bitter smile. I tilted my head in confusion at the shopkeeper’s reaction.
“Reckless? Doesn’t insisting on adding laser guns, plasma launchers, or grenade launchers seem a lot more reckless?”
“Oh c’mon. Depending on how you look at it, a noble-use power armor specialized in stealth and speed can be considered as more geared toward assassination right……? Of course, it’s gonna be evaluated as reckless.”
The heart of the matter was pointed out by Elma, who also sported a bitter smile. My confusion was instantly cleared up. Certainly, sneaking past the guards and killing the target silently with a sword by making use of stealth and speed was definitely a method employed by assassins.
“But if you go in that direction–”
“He doesn’t seem keen on changing his mind.”
“Because there’s no reason to.”
Mimi tried to object, but I just shrugged her off.
Honestly speaking, I really don’t know a lot about how this world works. I’m not a nobleman who values honor and pride, but a mercenary who trades lives for money. Being called cowardly or dirty sound more like compliments to me. The one who ultimately survives, in the end, is the winner. Insisting on proper rules and methods in combat is pointless if it leads to you losing your life.
And so, we finalized the armor specifications. First, it will adapt anti-laser plating. It’s the latest armor plating devised to prevent evaporation-induced explosions when hit by lasers. It can even withstand up to three shots on the same spot by a laser rifle or something of similar firepower. Actually, it makes use of plenty of rare crystals whose mining rate had increased significantly.
“Rare crystals? It’s that stuff, right?”
“Yeah, most likely.”
I, Mimi, and Elma probably thought of the same thing. It’s the stupidly huge crystal sea urchin that shone brightly under the dazzling light of a pulsar.
Anyway, the artificial muscles that will be used on my power armor will be of the highest quality currently available. Due to their quantity not equaling the ones used in the RIKISHI, the armor will have less raw strength, but it will still possess power that easily surpasses bare flesh by several times. It was a product that not only excels in power but also explosiveness, and it seems it was possible to continue running with it on for extended periods of time at a speed of about 80 km/h, even when fully equipped. Its servos were also perfectly whisper-quiet.
“It looks like I’ll need quite a bit of training to be proficient with it.”
“That will be necessary to some extent. However, once we capture your motion data in advance and incorporate it into the armor, your troubles will be considerably reduced.”
The armor will also be equipped with a small but high-output generator and an energy shield function. It will also sport optical camouflage capability. It will be even more sophisticated than the Chameleon Thermal Cloak I bought back then, and was apparently also capable of deceiving infrared, electromagnetic waves, and various other detection methods aside from regular optical camo.
“However, if you continuously perform extreme movements, the camouflage effect will be significantly reduced.”
“So that means it’s impossible to turn completely invisible.”
But seeing this world’s level of technological advancement, more potent optical camouflage tech could have already been developed and put into practical use. Well, even if this was a shop catering to nobles, it was still a civilian one after all. So they might not be allowed to handle top-secret military tech or something.
“You really turned it into a piece of equipment fit for an assassin, didn’t you……?”
“Ain’t it cool?”
By the way, I also had them incorporate a high-power grappling hook shooter and anti-laser smoke emitters.
According to (self-conducted) research, a hook shooter is the number one tool that’s unlikely to work in reality. It’s basically that tool that pulls you up by first shooting a grappling hook at a wall or roof. The wire itself was made of very tough artificial muscle bundles, and it seemed a high-power motor was used to enable it to pull one up quickly, power armor and all. In other words, it was a machine that seemingly combined the function of a chameleon’s tongue and a high-powered automatic reel.
The anti-laser smoke emitter was a device that releases a special smoke screen capable of significantly attenuating the power of laser weapons. It can be used a total of four times, with two placed on each shoulder of the armor. Since the number of uses was limited, one needed to consider the most effective timing to deploy the smoke.
“It does look cool!”
“Um, well…… D-Doesn’t it look pretty, um, villainous?”
Mimi highly praised the custom power armor’s design, but it seemed Kugi wasn’t a fan. I mean, sure, I made it look a bit evil and ninja-like, but I don’t think it looks that bad. Or rather, in my opinion, typical knight-in-shining-armor designs just didn’t suit me and my character.
“Actually, the color can be changed through the Chameleon camo function.”
“It’s not about the color…… No. It is quite presumptuous of me to object to your preferences, My Lord. I’m sorry.”
“Nah, you don’t need to apologize for that. It’s fine.”
I definitely won’t change the design, okay? Sorry. But to think my armors ended up being designed after a sumo wrestler and a ninja. Well, they do kinda have the same theme, right? Should I take it further and order a samurai-form power armor next?