The biggest reason that Amerikka Command survives to plague the Atlantic Federation, the only reason the ACPS hasn't destroyed the Python Pirate Syndicate, is their mastery and sharing of shroud technology.
Stealth is by no means a new desire. Optical camouflages hid warriors, smoke screens offered concealment, and in the Petroleum Era, electronic stealth systems were created, making aircraft that were invisible to radar systems, with optical color matching technologies to make them vanish into the sky. Those technological innovators would be proud to see the technology that their labors broke the trails to.
The Shroud Generator
The Shroud Generator is a spherical device that sits in a mobile cradle, allowing for the entire sphere to rotate and change it's orientation. Packed inside the technological marvel are dozens of sensors, emitters, arrays, and a slaved LAI (limited artificial intelligence) computer to control the whole thing. The generator, so long as it is supplied with an ample amount of power creates a very large volume of space that is nothing but white noise. Radar and telecommunications are completely scrambled. A shroud is highly disruptive to any sort of CogNet system, and sentient machines are instantly aware of a shroud, as they perceive it differently. A seibertronian would experience a shroud the same way a human experiences a migraine headache.
The soldiers of the Atlantic Federation are weak, unsure of themselves, and entirely dependent on their computers, on their electronics. They don't trust their own ability, their own judgement, they know they are inferior. When they step into a shrouded zone their hands become clammy with sweat, their stomachs knot up. Their massive war machines are blind. Their radar and sensors see nothing but static, their communications are shredded. Their mighty drones and robot soldiers are useless. That is when we strike, a viper they did not see until they are already mortally wounded. We are not slaves to our machines, our machines do not own us. Bolt-Hole, Amerikka Command Propagandist
The principle target of any clean and sweep patrol is a Shroud Generator. If you see anything that looks like a golf ball the size of a building, you shoot first, second, and third, and then ask questions later. If the generator is knocked out, the radios will start working, and we can call in air support, artillery support, and deploy drone support units. If we take out the shrouds, we find their bases, and if we find their bases, we blow them. When we blow them up, we come home, get drunk, and hit up the WAG Battalion.
Most any AtFed Patrol Leader
Typical Shroud Generator Facility
The typical Shroud Facility operated by Amerikka Command is 3/4ths buried underground, or functioning in the ruins of an abandoned city. The spherical generator is above ground, allowing it to function, but it can be easily concealed inside a light structure, forested area, or physically camouflaged with netting, paint, and other things to hide it from human eyes. The underground sections house the small staff of technicians and soldiers required to operate the facility as well as the often extensive power generators to run the shroud.
A Small generator can create a dead zone a dozen miles across, with a sphere 10 feet wide. These small generators are seldom set in static locations, but are most often mounted in mobile chassis'. These mobile generators are usually built around scavenged reactors from downed Federation battlemechs and are almost completely unarmored and unarmed. There are rare Amerikka Command mecha that remove some equipment to carry their own shroud generator, which functions as a heavy but amazingly potent ECM system.
Medium generators create dead zones up to 100 miles across, depending on the location of the generator. Amerikka Command has studded shroud generators like this across the terrain they control in the central area of North America, creating a massive dead zone that the Federation and PRC is effectively blind to. These generators are built on hilltops, hidden with trees and built up mock stone structures to hide them. The power generated is mainly from solar panels and underground battery sources. These sites have small if any staff, and function as a network, only switching on when something is detected entering their zone of control.
Large generators are rare, and protect the core of Amerikka Command's territory. These 50 foot wide spheres sit inside hangars and buildings, or are hidden inside false hills. Most of the large generators are concentrated around the industrial manufacturing centers of the AC, split between west Texas, Colorado, and New Mexico. The presence of the Rocky Mountains and the AC dead zone have created the large buffer zone between the Atlantic Federation and the Pacific Rim Coalition.
The Shroud in Action
The Shroud is best known for it's defensive use, negating the technological advantages of the New Earth Governments. They are also used aggressively, but this is not nearly as publicised as the device's main use. Almost every major AC offensive campaign has been used in conjunction with mobile shroud generators. The advancing forces are often hidden until moments before striking their targets by mobile generators. This hit and fade tactic is effective at drawing out and wearing down military assets, but often takes a back seat to the disruption of communications networks that occur during such operations. Combining cyberterrorism attacks with military forces has given AC some impressive wins over the better armed, better funded Federation.
The Python Patrol, operating out Indonesia and Australia does most of their nefarious work through ships and submarines, and have at least two Raft city bases. The Patrol has traded equipment and tech to Amerrika Command in exchange for small and medium shroud generators to hide their flotillas and floating cities. These dead spots are small and highly mobile, making the Patrol and elusive target to hit, and often their pirate ships won't activate the shroud until they are seconds away from entering combat or hostile actions against a ship. A Python raid can be over in minutes, leaving fast responders to find a half sunken ship, or a ship that has been gutted and the pirates are long gone, assuming they scramble just because a ship goes silent.
The Klingon Conundrum
The Shroud System is a very effective method of concealment, so there is the question of why the major governments haven't adopted the technology. The main reason is that the shroud isn't selective in it's jamming ability. For the robotics heavy PRC that is a major problem and for the CogNet addicted Federation, losing access to the network can be devastating. The Shroud is the double edged sword.
A second reason is that the day to day opponents of the Federation lack the high end sophisticated gear that is the most susceptible to this tech. The combat mechanoids used by Amerikka Command are built to be autonomous and work with physically present leaders, where they function under vocal commands. The other vehicles they use are not computer controlled, and the typical AC soldier is better trained and able to use iron sights with practiced ease.
The Final Reason is entirely a setting based one, Amerikka Command is a sneaky underhanded underdog. Soldiers fighting the AC have plenty of reason to not trust their own machines. Mechs and combat robots can be hacked and hijacked. Sensors can be blinded, fooled, or otherwise thwarted. The soldier who has become complacent and overly reliant on his electronics is going to be the first one taken out.
Going in Blind
The PCs are a scout team that has been tasked with hunting down a Shroud generator and taking it out so that the mech battalion can sweep in and take out the Amerikka Command base. The PCs have to go unnoticed as long as possible so that the snakes don't bail, or the snakes will bring up mobile shroud units and more forces to ambush the reinforcements for the PCs.
The PCs are mercenaries who have been hired to find a mobile shroud generator vehicle and bring it back to their employer. The Employer can be an independent terrorist faction that is looking to make a big mess, or a corporate raider looking for an advantage to pack as an ace up the sleeve on the next high end corp shadowrun.
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? Responses (3)
Maybe Amerikka Command is not destroyed as well because it gives the Earth Governments an excuse to control their populations more effectively with war as an excuse.
Update: Recovered from the Void!!!
Good stuff - tool and potential Mcguffin.