The pilots and their Head Techs more filled the briefing room, found their seats and waited a minute or so before Commander Onuaha arrived. She maneuvered quite gracefully in Zero-G, a benefit of such a long career serving on various Jovian vessels, and took her seat. She took a moment to pull up some information on her station and then got right down to business.
"Welcome aboard the JSS Resolute. I am her Captain, Commander Onuaha. You have all been selected by your respective armed forces to be the first to serve in this unprecedented Joint Training Unit. Though some join training has taken place before between some of our armed forces, never has so many of the Solar Nations been represented in a single unit such as this.
Though this joint training will be taking place as pirate busting patrols and other similar activities, let's face it. You all know, or at least have an idea, of why you are here.
Each of our respective nations were offered entry into the CEGA. And each of our respective nations refused. Judging by the intelligence reports about the CEGA's recent military build-up, it looks like another round of 'invitations' may be coming, but this time at the end of a railgun. So the rest of the Solar Nations decided that a joint unit would be formed so all parties involved could cross-train, gain some combat experience and foster mutual cooperation and support among the rest of the Solar System if, or more likely when, the CEGA decides to get rough.
You are that unit.
If things go well, this will be the first of many units such as this to help us prepare for the unfortunate likelihood of war with the CEGA. And to prepare for that, we have a bit of help. This is Spc Carpenter," the Commander said as she motioned to him. "and that's his Pathfinder Strike in the Exo-Bay. He was a freedom fighter on Earth. It seems that things are not quite as 'unified' on Earth as the CEGA claims. He infiltrated the CEGA and was trained as a Exo-Armor pilot, so he has some insights and understanding for CEGA tactics, thinking and procedures.
This unit is the brainchild of the Jovian Confederation, and since we have the experience and military vessels to best carry out the mission, the JAF has the lead on this. Lt. Summers," she said, gesturing to the pale-haired woman, "is the unit commander and that's her Pathfinder Command in the bay. Next to her is the unit's Retalliator pilot, Lt. Mercer."
Even the Mercurians and the Guild are on board with this, despite the fact that they have no formal military. That should give you an idea of how seriously they take the situation. So to avoid CEGA interference, our Mercurian friends covertly transported the rest of you here along with their own exo-pilot Moore and her Hercules.
If CEGA aggression begins, it is most likely to kick off on Mars, with the help of their Martian Federation buddies. The Martian Free Republic Rangers are masters of planetside combat and renown for doing a lot with very little. They have sent Ranger Hayes along her Defender.
Venus is even on board. To that end they have sent 'Shoi', or 2nd Lt, Date and their prototype Ghost Exo-Armor. This unit will also truly field test the Ghost, so I am sure you all want to know what you can expect from it since you'll all be working along side it. This is Dr. Eisenfaust, the Lead Tech on the Ghost project. I'll let her fill you in on it. Doctor?"
Dr. Eisenfaust nodded to Commander Onuaha and then looked over the assembled pilots and techs for a moment before she began.
"I am sure it is well known that the VDF, despite being well funded, is short on Exo-Pilots. That being the case, the idea was to design an Exo-Armor that would offer excellent survivability. This would be achieved not only by the advanced armor, but also it's weapons loadout and additional systems. The reslt is the VEAM-01X Ghost. It stands at a height of 15.8 meters and weights in at 48.1 tons with a standard, linear frame control system. As field testing progresses, the loadout may change, but here is a rundown as it is currently equipped." Dr. Eisenfaust explained with just the slightest hint of a German accent.
She slid a small drive into the tabletop console and pressed a few buttons, causing the display to project an image of the Ghost.
"To increase operational range, all ranged armament consists of variable beam weapons, avoiding the need to re-arm with missiles or ammo. The primary weapon system is a Variable Beam Cannon. In standard firing mode, the weapon is roughly equivalent to the Jovian Optics 652A Particle Cannon found on the standard Pathfinder. To provide extra punch often provided by missiles, the weapon also possesses a secondary firing mode in which the beam is supercharged, resulting it an approximate 50% increase to both range and output. The power draw is significant though, so the cannon is fitted with a supplementary, pre-charged capacitor cell that can only provide enough additional power for a handful shots in secondary firing mode.
In addition to the Variable Particle Cannon, the Ghost is equipped with a Laser Defense System inspired by the ACDLS of the CEGA Syreen. For offense the LDS can fire as a pulse laser, while for defense the LDS can function as an anti-missile system. Due to the lack of free space within the torso of the exo-armor, the LDS is housed in an external weapons pod attached to the shoulder of the Ghost.
For close combat the Ghost is equipped with a powerful pincer claw, in place of the left hand manipulator. This removed the need for ammo or fuel, such as with massdrivers and plasma lances, and keeps the weapon always at the ready instead of needing to be drawn and readied like a plasma lance or the vibo-knives found on some Wyvern models. Dual claws were considered, but the right hand manipulator was retained to allow for the addition of supplementary hand-held weapons as well as a variety of other uses.
Much like many of the current Jovian designs, the Ghost is equipped with an additional thruster pack and maneuver verniers, complete with supplementary reaction mass tanks for extender range, speed and maneuverability in Zero-G environments. The pack can be removed via explosive bolts to decrease mass or in case of emergency.
For armor protection the Ghost is currently equipped with full Reinforced Mesh "Alpha" armor over all locations. Field testing will determine if the extra protection, and corresponding cost, of the cutting edge armor is required, or if it can be limited to a few key areas, such as the torso.
The Ghost was so named as from inception the exo-armor was designed with an eye to stealth as an extra layer of defense and survivability. It possesses both passive and active stealth systems, such as cooled and baffled exhaust, shielded electronics to minimize the EM field, tight beam communications to avoid detection and interception, and radar absorbing materials and coatings. These systems should the Ghost extremely difficult to detect and track with any form of sensors, including recon systems, hence the name 'Ghost'. Despite it's name though, the Ghost's stealth systems do nothing to counter visual detection, though it's stealth systems should have a significant enough advantage to drastically increase survivability and make up for the smaller VDF Exo-Armor Corps against a numerically superior enemy.
As I stated, the loadout and systems may change as testing progresses." Dr. Eisenfaust finished as the image vanished.
"So there you go." Commander Onuaha said as she looked over the assembled pilots and techs.
"Normally you would all spend the next few months in the sim pods, but this program is on the fast track so sims are not a luxury of time we really have. We are starting a patrol of the Belt. With luck we find some pirates and get you some combat time with a real, though manageable foe.
Take some time to get familiar with each other, your techs and the ship. We will begin training operations in the morning, starting with catapult launches.
"Any questions?" the Commander asked, preparing to dismiss the room.