1) Shadow Sigil of Insanity:
You may call it a flaw or unfortunate coincidence, others may call it a brilliant statement on the fruitlessness of war, but the designer thought it evidence of his own cleverness. And clever he was until in his hubris and pride he looked at his own piece of walking shadow art.
When light hits this mech at just the right angle and the mech is standing in the correct position the shadow cast is the sigil of the being known as Penemue. Penemue is described by those familiar with him as a fallen angel and is known as the scribe of the damned. Gazing upon this sigil instills in mortal man knowledge of life’s own futility and his own mental and physical weakness. Those who have seen it grow depressed, despondent and lethargic.
“Hey Covergirl check out this sunset its…woah. You know what? I am pushing 40 and I am still playing with these f**king mechs. What is the point? I’m going to get a calzone or ten.”
2) Small pointy feet:
The feet of this mech do not distribute the machines weight well and instead of distributing weight over the entire foot, weight is forced into three tiny prongs on each leg. This means that road ways and surfaces that would normally tolerate the number newtons per square centimeter produced by a mech of this weight walking or running along it will become broken or damaged. There are other problems as well.
“Staff Sarg-ant! How many times have I told yee to wheel dose mechs out of my hanger? Them feets on da metal floor panels…worse than biting into tin foil.”
3) It looks kind of like giant bird
The birds think so too. Specifically, Megateron Dalvus, this awakened terrestrial bird weighs in at between 20 and 30 tons and is descended from the African green pigeon. The mech design in question resembles, strongly, the female of the species. If you happen to be marching this mech through the Serengeti during mating season you will be set upon by male Megaterons and subjected to their courtship dances.
“You know when said quickly over the comms, Megatron and Megateron sound a lot the same. My bad. Can you scrub the missiles?”
4) Chiral steering
The designer of this mech’s guidance system had a little known and rarely diagnosed mental abnormality. When a normal human brain signals to move the left side of the body, it fires a set of neurons on the right side of the brain and vice versa. This designer fires the left side of his brain for the left side of his body and the right for the right. Normally people with this condition are undistinguishable from people with typical brain geography and the differences are only detected in the case of stroke or brain injury. Unfortunately the mech designer used his brain as a template for the neuro-interface. Thus, when you get into this mech for the first time, you must make every action backwards. A mech operator can learn this skill no problem, but it can really throw a pilot that wasn’t expecting it. There are can also be other side effects”
“Sweetheart, you are sleep walking backwards again.”
5) Bouncy walk
The artificial muscles fibers in this mech’s calves and feet are a little tight. The pilot will not notice any physical jostling because of the excellent gyros and the smooth neural interface of this model. But anyone watching this mech walk through a treeline will notice the profile rise and fall two meters with each step. This will also make precision foot and ankle movement with this mech difficult.
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“If they told us the moon had only 0.1 Gs, we may have sent a different compliment of mechs.”
The Cosmic Era
The Cosmic Era has incidents during which human beings are compromised, mutated, or otherwise severely altered by the strange energies and anomalies that boil up during dimensional fatigue events. The technical term given to these individuals is 'Wight'. They retain their human appearance but develop inhuman abilities, with the most common being supernatural durability. Most Wights are able to ignore anything less than military grade hardware. Enhanced strength, parapsychic abilities, and strange biological adaptations (tentacles, new orifices with alien teeth, claws) are also present.
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The Wights that are spawned in the Cosmic Era do not follow the trope of shapeshifting into monsters, and maintaining two forms. If a wight manifests a new more horrific form, that becomes it's new form. The standard Youma is based more in the anime tradition of transforming monsters, but also functions in a much more magic setting.
Who Are the Big Players?
There are a number of powers that everyone in the Cosmic Era is aware of. The New Earth Governments are power blocs that formed around the time period of the Oxygen Depletion Incident, during the early portion of the Second Renaissance. These powers are coalitions, confederations, and multi-nation alliances and vary from being very strongly unified to being their own worst enemies.
The Atlantic Federation:
Composed of Western Europe, the Eastern half of North America, Central America, the Caribbean, Central and Equatorial Africa, and a large number of space stations, habitats, and colonies on the Moon, Mars, and on several of Jupiter's Moons. The Atlantic Federation is big, it is powerful, it is patriotically pro-military, and like Oceania, it is constantly at war. Armed with fleets of flying battleships, divisions of giant robots, and a robust supersoldier and robot army, it strides proudly onto the field of conflict.
The Eurasian Alliance:
Also known as the Neo-Soviet Union, the Eurasian Alliance is composed of the poor parts of Central and Eastern Europe rejected by the Federation, North Africa, the wasteland ruins of the Middle East, Russia, and many of the former Soviet Bloc nations. The Alliance has lagged behind in advanced technology and the space race, but can win on the ground with its peerless submarine fleet, excellent aerospace fighters, and continued usage of heavy armor. The Alliance is nationalistic, hybrid socialist, and hearkens back to the Greatness of the old Soviet Union, and it's thriving masses of the proletariat, with military parades and institutionalized stoicism.
The Asian-Co-Prosperity Sphere:
Also known as China and Friends, the ACPS is composed of China, Tibet, all of SE Asia, Korea, and large portions of Indonesia, Mars, and a number of space stations and habitats. The ACPS has remained a cultural oasis, and has resisted the encroachment of megacorps and their corporate philosophies, meaning that off all the world powers, the ACPS is going to be culturally the most organic of the world powers. The ACPS is self-serving and is expanding it's power and borders through eugenics programs, genetic manipulation, and virtual warfare.
The Pacific Rim Coalition:
The PRC is a liberal progressive collection of nations the surround the Pacific Ocean, the most notable being Nippon aka Japan, the Western North American continent, Australia, and the island nations that do not want to be annexed by the Chinese leviathan. The PRC is technologically advanced, but it's moral attitudes and ideals have left it militarily vulnerable, demonstrated by the ACPS conquest of Korea in the last decade. Unless the Coalition finds a new backbone beyond the Army of Nippon, it is looking as a slow slide into second tier status.
The United States of South America:
Also known as the Amazon League, Amazonia, and Latinia, the USSA is united by a common culture heritage, a common landmass, a common history, and a unifying hatred of the Federation for its heavy handed militarism, and the Nipponese for their intrusiveness and attempts to collapse the USSA's culture and economy. The citizens and corporations of the USSA draw upon pre-Columbian mythology, imagry, and the ideals of a warrior culture and are determined to defend their continent from outside intrusion. Communism, statism, and economic stagnation are painfully common among the USSA member states.
The South African United Republics:
Better known as the SAUR, this new earth government is composed of a coalition of nations the occupy southern Africa, and have mutual economic, cultural, and military interests. These have welded together to the point that the nations are now more states than sovereign entities, and this suits the residents of the region, as they have banded together and have colonies in space, in the ocean, and have resisted the might of the Federation, and have Prevented that power from conquering all of Africa.
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The sole National Power, India has allies, but none of them are woven into a NEG pattern charter. India is a free nation, with a strong economy, strong presence in space, and a prominent position as the abode of choice for many of the world's shadowy organizations, as well as being a haven for criminals, smugglers, and online illegal operations. India retains it's culture, and what it lacks in technology, it more than makes up for in it's zeal, and ability to react strongly and quickly to threats around it. India has repulsed several ground wars started by the ACPS, and in some instances, forced that NEG to lose ground.
The New Economic Blocs
One of the hallmarks of both dystopian literature, movies, and the cyberpunk genre is the presence of the MegaCorporations. The MegaCorps miss the mark in most fiction, as the world's largest companies don't make guns, or sell drugs, they are banks, commodities trading companies, and corporations that as their business, own other businesses.
The names of the MegaBanks aren't horribly important other than for letterhead purposes and who signs the checks. At the end of the day, these monsters spread their tentacles across nations, across NEG borders, across peoples, across entire worlds. Each and everyone of them is almost identical as they all exist for the same, sole purpose, the enrichment of their shareholders and the draconian will of their Boards of directors. They are represented by generic men in generic suits with scads of money, and obvious moral bankruptcy.
Examples: The Goliath Bank, Bank of the Northern Hemisphere, The Red Sun Bank, etc.
The CogNet is big big business, and it handles the largest part of the commerce through the entire Solar System. The companies that exist maintaining the infrastructure, designing new equipment, creating new code, new programs and enforcing cyber security make massive amounts of money. These megacorps have massive amounts of money, power, and are the behemoths in the virtual realm, and like the MegaBanks, they are cut from the same uniform templates, generic men and women in fashionable generic suits, with scads of money, low morals, and an interest not in just profit, but in entertainment and social media and controlling who, how, and what is said.
Examples: Atlantic Telecomm & TeleNet, Cyberdyne Systems, Orion Technologies, CognaPhone, Vivid-Sony, Rockstar, DisnEA, state sponsored corps.
Electricity keeps the Cosmic Era turning, and while power is cheap, the companies that produce it make great amounts of money doing so. The Cosmic Era is power hungry on a scale that is staggering. Free energy has meant that the idea of conserving electricity is as absurd as breathing shallowly to conserve air. Arcos are electric, industrial geofronts are electric, the war machines and mass transit, and vertical farms, and magnetic rails launching shuttles into space all are electric. The Power companies are almost backwards in their presentation, with generic men and women in dated suits, with surly attitudes, scads of money, and a firm belief that he who controlls the Grid, controls the world. Damned if their not right, though.
Examples: Magnetar North American, MagnaVolt Technologies, Consolidated Electric, Industrial Light & Power
The bottom tier MegaCorps are the ones most familiar to the dystopian reader, because for the most part bankers, media moguls, advertising executives, and power company liaisons aren't really interesting villains, even if they are more realistic. The classic MegaCorps do things like own large swaths of territory, have vertical zaibatsu structures, and are involved in construction, manufacture and distribution of sundry goods, large scale services, and military contracting.
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Examples: Omni-Consumer Products, Union Aerospace Corporation, Cyberdyne-Grumman, Armadyne, SecuriCorp, Vault-Tec