The Juice, stim, hyper, dat stuff, glitter, the Power of Grayskull, and a dozen other equally idiotic names have been given to the melange of drugs, stimulants and hormones that are contained in a Chemical Augmentation System (ChemAugSys or CAS).
The Chemical Augmentation System
The CAS is made of several pieces, the largest being the Harness, worn around the torso. It is worn crossed over the chest and the back, and the front panel, roughly the size of a small book is the controller unit of the harness. It controls the distribution of chemicals into the bloodstream as well as monitoring the biosigns of the wearer through sensors in the harness. Hitting the control node will disable the system, or very rarely cause a near instantly lethal malfunction of the system. The rear of the harness has a slightly larger panel that holds the chemical inserts and canisters. A direct hit on the storage section destroys the supplies of chemicals and renders the harness useless.
The biggest downfall or weakness of almost every supersoldier program on the books or drawing boards is the relative high cost per soldier. The soldier is ideally a short term disposable combat asset, but the cost of a front line super soldier renders these troops a tad less expendable than infantry are expected to be. On the non-super soldier side of the equation, power armor suits are not cheap either. While initially less expensive than augmented super soldiers, the long term maintenance and repair costs level out the two sides. The CAS combined with Standard Light Ablative/Ballistic (SLAB) armor creates a functional light 'power' armor that is dramatically cheaper than both conventional power armor and super soldiers and more reliable than battle androids.
Origins and Manufacturer
The Chemical Augmentation System was designed as a cost cutting measure to create cost effective infantry and special forces on the cheap. The desire for a bigger better infantryman was a major focus at the end of the Second Dark Age and entering the Second Renaissance. Combat was resolved through brief battles between small groups of infantry, almost in a recreation of the codes of chivalry in the medieval era. This motivation drove the development of both super soldiers and power armor infantry. Both proved to be expensive and in various ways, problematic. As the scale of conflict increased, more infantry was needed and in this era, the conventional infantryman was just not up to snuff.
Before the CAS and powered armor, some nations like China used massed human wave attacks, overwhelming foes with sheer numbers. There were horrific losses, but the wave carried the battle more often than not. A small nucleus of elite commandos and other superior infantry supported by more regular infantry proved effective in early 2nd Renaissance battles.
The ACPS originated the use of the CAS, using it to create large groups of above average ability infantry. CAS infantry were fairly heavily armed and armored and served the ACPS as shock troops in their campaign to consolidate control over the SE Asian region. This allowed a large number of CASs to fall into PRC hands, as well as several mercenary companies, security firms, and free nations like India. The technology is relatively simple, and the compounds used to 'power' the system are easily synthesized.
The ACPS is still the main manufacturer of the CAS, but it is in production in countries around the world, especially secondary powers such as the United States of South America, South African United Republics, and Free India. Almost all mercenary corporations have contracts to supply their non-armored and non-augmented troops with CAS harnesses.
Enhanced Strength: hormones and stimulants create magnified short duration strength. ESTR is limited to the constraints of the skeletal system, and excessive use resulted in sprains, torn ligaments and other skeletal muscular injuries.
Enhanced Agility: stimulants and psychoactive chemicals accelerate reflexes and personal dexterity. EAGL is limited the Shakes, a symptom of withdrawal from the addictive chemicals used to speed up the body and nervous system.
Combat Aggression: Man is by nature a timid beast, an opportunistic omnivore. Combat Aggression counters fear stimuli and increases hostility and territorial behaviour. CA has very obvious anti-social side effects and is one of the reasons that CAS operators are much more likely to suffer from PTSD and other combat related mental disabilities. The removal of fear at the time doesn't remove the psychological trauma from the things they have seen or done.
Rapid Healing: By applying certain cocktails the body can be stimulated to rapidly heal itself from grievous injuries. These quick healed wounds leave large ugly scars and rapidly consume the body's stores of fat and then muscle. RH users are noted for having rapidly changing BMIs as they will try and bulk up between missions and jobs. This later on causes biochem problems such as diabetes, food allergies and the like.
Pain Suppression: PS is possibly the most common CAS use, this system numbs pain so that an injured soldier can keep fighting, or retreat instead of being carried out on a stretcher. The obvious problem with PS systems is that that number soldiers often fought off when they should have retreated, and then died on their feet after bleeding out.
Berzerker Aggression: BA is the next step up from Combat Aggression, Berzerker aggression is a chemical hallucinogen and hostility inducing chemical that send the user into a psychotic rage. The most common user of BA is the assault trooper, armed with melee weapons and charging headlong into armed enemy soldiers. Most BA users don't live long enough to develop PTSD or other problems.
The CAS is a poor man's super soldier, and is used mostly be disreputable sorts like mercenary scum, criminals, and poorer and lower tech forces.