The Minerva Project
The Minerva Project was a secondary armor program that was started in the Amazonian nation of New Themyscira. The armor is designed to be worn by a woman, and take into account the specifics of a female body as opposed to a male body. The weight of the armor is distributed differently, more suited to a lower center of gravity, the pelvis rather than the chest, and for a wearer who is not the size of the average man. One of the aspects of the Themysciran combat philosophy is that their armor is deliberately designed to demonstrate the feminine features of the wearer. Rather than the barrel chest, thick armor plates, and other presumably unisex aspects, the Minerva project set out to make armor that was not just for women, but was feminine in appearance.
The most prominent feature of the Minerva Bustier armor is the breastplate/torso component of the armor. The armor deliberately has the shape of breasts, the most obvious of feminine features. While this would seemingly work to accommodate large busted women, the majority of the bustier's 'breasts' is armor, reinforcement materials, and suit components such as a secondary power pack, the combat computer, and sensor clusters. Rather than presenting a fundamental flaw in armor design, the bustier is the strongest and most resilient part of the armor. The profile of the torso shows a tapered waist, flaring hips, and general feminine lines, lacking an ornamental of functional armor codpiece. The arms, legs, and helmet of a Minvera suit is female scaled but otherwise normal armor and undersuit.
Unlike other armors, the Minerva has a skirt and a cloak. The skirt and cloak are made of a layer of lamellar scale sandwiched between two sheets of reflexokinetic material. While offering minimal protection from direct hits and heavy weapons, the 'shroud' largely protects the wearer from concussive blasts, missed artillery, low velocity weapons, and other battlefield debris. The end result is an effective armor garment that has both a functional battlefield use and a public visual appeal.
The Minerva bustier is considered a light power armor, and is commonly used by scout, recon, saboteur, and security purposes. In the three former roles, it is favored for it's lighter build, faster response speed, and high utility in using a wide variety of equipment. Despite it's smaller size, the Minerva remains fully capable of using ranged and powered melee weapons designed for standard power armors. It cannot effectively use weapons designed for heavy power armors, as they are too large and impose a significant penalty on the user. The self called Armor Witches have proven very capable of using hit and run tactics, ambushes, laying traps and sabotaging everything in their paths pursuing a mission.
The principle advantages of the Minerva is it's small size, high mobility, and high agility. This can be further enhanced with jump packs, jump jets, and other mobility gear. It is also highly versatile and able to change weapons and gear quickly in the field.
The main disadvantages of the Minerva is again it's small size. It lacks a heavy punch to quickly take out a foe unless it's using specialized gear. The armor suit is as strong as a standard power armor, but this is offset by the fact that the suit is more expensive to manufacture than a standard power armor suit.
Victorix type Hyperedge
The signature weapon of the Minerva is a hand and a half hyperedge sword known as the Beatrix type. The blade is slightly longer than the average hyperedge blade, but a third of the thickness. It is a light and fast weapon, fully capable of parrying other hyperedge and powered melee weapons in close combat. It doesn't have the 'can-opener' ability of the larger blades, and is not able to cut through the heavier armor of tanks, mecha, and other large vehicles. It has no real difficulty in dispatching unarmored targets, or light armored targets like opposing power armors, autons, and organic matter.
Manufacture and Distribution
The main factory for building Minervas is in New Themyscira. It is produced under license at two other facilities in the Atlantic Federation; New Quebec and Glasgow. It enjoys a highly popular opinion among operators, and is a favorite of female mercenary units, bounty hunters, and entertainment venues. This use is typically contrary to the original intent of the armor, and that was as a borderline terror weapon. When facing the forces of the USSA, the appearance of female armor was an affront to their masculine values, a threat that had to be destroyed as quickly, rashly, and recklessly as possible. With high kill ratios and impressive service records, the appearance of the female power armor troopers was intended to be a sign of power and a casting off of traditional gender roles.
The most common public image of the Minerva armor is as the buxom Amazon nymphomaniac discards it to engage in bawdy sexual intercourse with the heroes of the action dramas.
The Minerva X is an advanced version of the standard Minerva, and is accordingly stronger, faster, and more durable. The expensive suits are rare, powerful, and reserved for special missions. Some Minerva X suits have been equipped with twin lightning claws, ghost sheaths, and a Themyscircan favorite, psychotronic weapons like psi-blades, psi-storm generators, mind control devices, and other exotic weapons.
The civilian version of the Minerva is not much more than a SLAB bustier and other basic armor components over an encounter suit, with an armor drape. This armor is far more common in media action dramas than in actual use. There are no major factories making this armor, rather it is typically cobbled together out of normal SLAB armor pieces, with a bustier segment being fabricated. These armors have the vulnerability of a weak joint in the armor around the emphasized breasts, which is a very quick and painful way to die. Minerva C type armors are considered patchwork, commonly equipped with Chemical augmentation systems, and other questionable bio and cybernetic mods.
In Game Use:
Female PCs wanting power armor to fit them are well advised to purchase a suit of Minerva armor.
Hostile female NPCs can be equipped with Minervas to stand them apart from regular foes. This in contrast to foes who happen to be female. The hostile in a suit of Minerva wants you to know she is a woman, and is likely going to be competent, capable, methodical, and highly dangerous.
Stolen Prototype needs to be stolen, or recovered.
Gear for a high profile bounty hunter, a female Boba Fett.