Appearance: The VMV Power armor is noted for it's semi-organic design, with the various armor plates and panels not assembled in a typical 'medieval' or 'robotic' style but in a marine/insectile fashion. The chest plate forms a shelf like flange along the center line, providing both a point of strength and rigidity, but also a degree of internal space for random equipment, or more often than not, a water bladder. The suit has oversized shoulder pods that are modular in nature, and can mount either targetable weapon pods or reaction boosters for movement in zero-g. It is however, one or the other, but not both. The right arm has a hard point for a wrist/forearm mounted weapon pod, the most common being a relatively strong optical laser.
The VMV armor has a light refractive coating that dissipates light and heat based weaponry, and is vulnerable to high velocity armor piecing weapons, such as magnetic weapons, and specific anti-armor and anti-power armor weapons. These are relatively rare in space, given such weapons recoil and other handling issues and requirements.
Creator: Varia-Metron is a small Lunar based company that has been building vacuum suits for close to a generation. VM started with basic space suits and it a manufacturer of encounter suits for the Atlantic Federation, and trans-terrestrial colonies. It ventured into building hard suits and armored suits for the hazards of space mining and operations on No-Atmo space bodies. Upgrading the armor to military spec and adding hardpoints for weapons was relatively simple.
History: Combat in space has been relatively uncommon, given the hazards involved. Whole new weapons, armor designs and more had to be created to deal with the extreme environment and it's unique conditions, such as zero gravity, exposure to hard radiation, or complete lack of atmosphere.
Varia-Metron started as a hostile environment outfitter working to equip explorers and space adventurers in the same vein as extreme hiking and outdoors outfitters on Earth. Climbing Everest was one thing, but Olympus Mons? There were always rich people with crazy ideas, and the odd sort of person who found their calling in extreme environments. The Varia company flourished from it's main location in Tycho City, Luna and became well known for it's unique offerings, such as radiation resistant socks and Space Meals to Go. But their association with several small suit manufacturers broke them out into the big leagues when they started pushing the Mk III 'Muscle Tracer' encounter suit. Varia was eventually acquired by the Metron-Tycho Holding Company of Luna (MTHC) and its production of encounter suits and other space gear was scaled up. Varia-Metron became the boutique outlet of the bulk goods produced by MTHC, as well as it's flagship products.
VM eventually produced and fielded the Diamondcutter Mining Suit, an armored space suit intended for use in asteroid and lunar mining. It was armored to handle space debris and micro-metorites which had in the past proved a problem for light vehicles and space walks. The Diamond Cutter proved popular but it's relative high cost left it a minor player in the space resources race. Chalopin-Barkin would undercut VM with it's own scaled down lost cost version of the Diamond Cutter, the CB Rockhog. Having invested the resources in a top line armored suit and having been beat in the market, the BOD at MTHC were left with a boondoggle. The Diamond Cutter represented a great deal of financial investment and resources and there were two factories already tooled up to start production of the suit, in addition to the small level of production coming out of Varia's small facility itself.
VM approached the Atlantic Federation Armed Forces with several modified Diamond Cutters. The armor had been replaced with hardened composite plating, and the sensor system had likewise been upgraded with military grad gear. The cutting laser mount remained, but they had opted for a hands on gun system, allowing the marine inside to use a variety of weapons. The AFAF was interested in a space power armor, since at that point their space marines were using vacuum modified versions of terrestrial power armor, roughly half being adapted aquatic models. Several prototypes were tested, and the redesignated VMV Power armor was approved and purchased by the Space Arm of the AFAF.
Specifics: The VMV is a medium level power armor, with average protection. It is also a relatively fast power armor, as it has reactive thrusters built into the basic unit 'backpack' for movement and control in zero-g. The large shoulder pods can be modified to carry both fuel cells and larger thrusters, giving the suit limited space flight capability (6-8 hours by air supply, and good for not much more than ship to ship movement). The VMV has a forearm weapon mount specifically for an energy weapon, and the additional power cell to supply it. The majority of VMVs have MASERs on this mount, but the optical laser is a more publicly seen weapon. The VMV can carry rifles and other power armor weapons, but most rely on the energy weapon mount, or small missiles fired from the shoulder pods.
The shoulder pods, in addition to being able to house thrusters can alternately house weapon systems. The most commonly used weapon system is a 25mm short range missile launcher which can be effective against light spacecraft and light space armor suits. The unit can mount a high energy weapon in one pod and a large power cell in the alternate pod, usually a plasma projector, large bore laser, or high output maser 'cannon' as a heavy weapons platform.
On terrestrial footing, such as Earth or Mars, the VMV can usually be shown up by conventional power armor, as it has better armoring, heavier weapons, and greater stress resistance. In space or low-g environments, the VMV demonstrates it's space pedigree with greater agility, and adaptability.