Purpose:

The Grey Suit was created as a way to counter the ever-present electronic and computer surveillance systems in the Cosmic Era. Between optical systems using facial recognition and retina reading, biometric devices linked through personal accessory networks, and biotelecommunication implants, being engaged in covert ops became highly challenging. The cities and holdings of the 1st World powers (Atlantic Federation, Pacific Rim Coalition, Lunar Free States, Kingdoms of Scandinavia, etc) use their countermeasure systems like a body uses its immune system. A person who registers as a null is quickly identified for enhanced operations, and things like police anti-crime computers are going to notify men on foot, wojeks, and anything else they deem a reasonable level of response.

There are techniques to spoof these systems. Neotenic drugs and training allow for a thirty or forty-year-old to appear as a pre-teen child and hopefully spoof under age limit checks on the systems. This is expensive, and once a perma-child agent has their cover blown, they are no longer useful as an agent. There are also a variety of ponchos, sneak suits, and other electronic countermeasure systems, and likewise, these are expensive and have their own weaknesses. A man wearing a dazzle pattern poncho with a laser blinder, or a fractal coat inlaid with mirrors might make himself vanish from monitors and computer eyes, they can be conspicuous to people on foot, using their Mk I human eyeballs.

The Grey Suit turns the person wearing it into a generic everyman, easily forgettable to human viewers, and easily overlooked by computer systems.

Basic Abilities:

The Grey Suit is functionally a normal decontractee armure line clothing. It has mimetic abilities, and under the user's control it can change color and pattern. What sets the suit apart is that it technically has a helmet, which is as much a sock worn over the face, and it is a monochrome color, so that the collar of the suit can use it to project a new face on the user. The wearer of a grey suit will appear as a collage/median image of the people in their vicinity, becoming an everyman.

Human eyes spoofed.

The collar also mimics and copies the biotelemtric data of the people around it, presenting itself as a pastiche of everyone around it. A computer system trying to pick out a grey suit agent in a crowd will constantly fail because it cannot recognize a face, and when it tries to read data it gets plenty, from the people next to the agent. These systems have internal diagnostics so that when something interferes with a signal it doesn't sound the alarm. If the authorities are activated every time someone has their image or signal distorted by a screen, a piece of polarized glass, a mirror, a body of water, or a reflection, the authorities would turn it off in thirty seconds.

Computer surveillance spoofed.

The final piece in the suit is an infrasound generator. It is a very minor thing, but people will move away from the suit when the generator is active, without realizing they've done so. This allows a grey suit agent to literally walk through crowds, cut across picket lines, walk through checkpoints, and otherwise be as slippery as butter on a hot griddle.

Basic countermeasures spoofed.

Problems and Difficulties

Grey suits are relatively easy to manufacture, and the spoofing software is likewise readily available. There are two difficulties: a microsized power supply, and user side effects. The power pack can be managed with military-grade fuel cells taken from energy weapons, combat robots, or dedicated pocket-sized systems already in use by military and intelligence agencies. These tend to be expensive and regulated. The side effects are more of a hurdle.

Dissociative Identity Disorder is the biggest problem faced by users. The constantly changing face, voice, and social isolation that comes from being a grey man cause the user to retreat inside themselves. There are a large number of personality disorders that come from prolonged use, but DID is the most common. When the mask is on, they are consummate professionals, ruthless and remorseless. Without the mask, their actual personality recedes. They become less and less of a person and more of a biological automaton. Everything is put into being the grey man and completing the mission.

Depression, self-isolation, and substance abuse are also more common than DID but are less problematic in the long run. With the effects of the suit, the depressed alcoholic drug-abusing agent becomes completely different when the mask is on and falls apart when it is taken off.

Variants:

The Noh Mask suit replaces the holographic face sleeve with a fascia. This can be sculpted to resemble whatever the agent needs and allows them to emulate someone else, such as a soldier, police officer, or even a wojek or auton to machine surveillance.

The Wraith is a variant of the grey suit because it adds a hood/cowl to the suit, so the face is concealed. This reduces the amount of work the system has to do, as the cowl hides the face from visual tracking systems. Basic wraiths use EM blocking material in the cowl/hood, while more advanced versions add mimetic ability to hide from eyes and cameras.

Weaknesses:

There are two things that can threaten a Grey Man, EMPs and AISCs.

A strong electromagnetic pulse can short out a grey suit. The facial holographic will fritz out and if the charge is large enough it might cause the collar of the suit to literally burn out and catch fire. With mimetic materials, the color shift can freak out like a television about to die. This is all very obvious and even disconcerting. A full system short out can hit the grey man like a taser. Big oof energy there.

The second threat is the greater. As a grey man's personality erodes, and they spend more time plugged into the system, the more likely it is they draw the attention of an AISC. These sentient supercomputers eventually find grey men like astronomers find black holes, by the action around their missing data. Then, they start influencing the grey man, using them as a proxy into the analog world. Some become so consumed by AISCs that they will undergo cyber-cranial surgery to make this electronic possession more efficient and effective.

Less known is that the constant exposure to arcanotech power sources, identity erasure, and serious lifestyle changes rendered grey men vulnerable to actual possession. This isn't the full sort of aphasic possession that creates youma or desolate ones but turns the grey man into a puppet of alien intelligence. Once this happens, they are considered broken arrows, and hunted down by their own agencies, not knowing that it's not tech psychosis but an eldritch creature controlling them through tendrils into their mind and soul.

Usage:

The Grey Suit is a piece of tech for the Cosmic Era that blends two unusual sources, the scramble suit from A Scanner Darkly, and the Gray Men from The Wheel of Time. Grey Men, or Grey Suits, are almost invisible men who find themselves working as spies saboteurs and assassins. By the time the job is done, either the grey escapes. If they are caught (and killed) it is easily played off as a lone wolf working for their own mysterious agenda.

As a solo adventure, the grey agent faces the slow erosion of self and isolation, and increasing paranoia about who is calling their shots, and who they are working for ultimately. Is it a ruthless agency, is it a hostile machine intelligence, is it a nightmare creature that is infesting their dreams?

As a supporting NPC, a grey man might play Mr. Johnson's role in the party. They wait for a dead drop or encrypted message and it is a grey man who walks up to them, gives the password and delivers the message, and vanishes. Likewise, the grey man might be a mission specialist, and the PCs have to keep struggling to keep up with which person he is because he keeps changing and their eyes keep sliding off of him, and more than once they grab the wrong person, a bystander, and drag them along on their adventure. The grey man might simply follow a sweeper squad that's grabbed part of the janitorial staff in plain clothes and keep forcing them to open doors because they think that it's him.

As an adversary, grey men are assassins, thieves, and saboteurs who work to undermine the party.

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