In the 2080s the level of political hostility among the major powers in the world was at an all time high. At times it seemed that war was but a breath away from being announced, in this second cold war. Meanwhile each side prayed that such a war was not announced - while quietly preparing themselves for the waging of said war.
In the age of common space travel, with the frontiers spreading to the outskirts of the Solar System, even near space was a potential battleground. In response to that threat a number of powers, that had extended their reaches into space, had a number of prototype and production war machines that were designed for a possible war in orbit.
Lockheed-Martin presented a number of novel ideas, including a design for an orbital power armor unit, built under cooperation with Cyberworks, designed from the ground up for orbital combat. This prototype model was designated the project number L.6741, and was nicknamed the "Warmoth". Although potentially VERY useful, the design was rejected in favour of using slightly modified earthbound power armor types - most significantly being the USA-G10 Glitterboy. The prototype design specifications and tooling designs were then sent to the archival facility in Salt Lake City, where they were stored - right up until the coming of the cataclysm, and well after...
During the opening days of S-Mart a number of designs of power armor were to be considered for construction. Many were thrown out for one reason or another, with mostly those that had incomplete data being tossed out. When the Warmoth was uncovered as a potential build at first it was decided against producing it - until it's systems were noticed. Then it became clear that the Stinger would be an excellent choice for production. The Stinger was an amazing type! S-Mart settled on producing the Warmoth as the Stinger-A in 113PA, while primarily an asset of Desert Star, King Ripley opted to give a thumbs up to commercial production as well, but he only allowed for a handful to be produced.
In actual deployment the Stinger has many strengths as well as weaknesses, as a result of it's basic design. It's weapons are all tragically short on range. Versus even the old style SAMAS it's adversary could pick at it from ranges exceeding the maximum range of it's weaponry - which does not extend over 1,800'. In flight the Stinger is also quite incompetent versus contemporary types. It is slower than the SAMAS, has extremely poor maneuverability due to the lack of wings, and cannot maneuver well at altitudes - being recommended to stay below 500' in height. Despite these weaknesses, the Stinger should be thought of more as a ground combat suit with flight capabilities for escaping tight spots. On the ground the Stinger is not easy to spot. It's Infrared Baffling features make it difficult to spot with Thermals or Infrared scopes - thus hiding in the dark waiting in ambush might allow the smaller Stinger to inflict serious harm on an opponent simply by lying in wait like a snake under a rock. It's sensory extensions further become of use here by not exposing the entire suit from a hiding place. It's speed on the ground is also to it's benefit, outpacing it's contemporary, the SAMAS by 40 mph. At closer ranges the Stinger has the difinitive advantage over contemporary types. It's micro-rocket launcher can unleash hellacious hails of deadly projectiles in large numbers, and it's forearm mounted laser cannons can inflict a great deal of damage upon an enemy. In close range engagements - within 180', a Stinger can consistently take down a Smiling Jack SAMAS inside of the first few rounds of a melee. It's high boost control systems in addition to it's virtual reality interface also permits it to be agile and deadly proficient in delivering punishing blows consistently, even while evading enemy actions. In unit operations, the command and control computer makes it a deadly adversary, as this allows units to more proficiently coordinate their actions against an enemy position, setting up ambush after ambush.
The biggest buyer for the Stinger has been Desert Star ironically enough, several dozen were purchased by the N.O.M.A.D. Military. Foolishly these Stingers were employed in the same role as the SAMAS is in the Coalition States - a poor role for such a specialized suit. As a result the Stingers were relegated to policing duties and aerial power armor combat training within a couple of years. A number of mercenary companies and small kingdoms have also purchased a handful of these each. Total production has NOT exceeded 100 suits, making it perhaps the rarest type of S-Mart produced combat power armor.
Wa-Daisho showed limited interest in the Stinger, and before acquiring license to produce the Interceptor-B at Republican Industries, they contracted S-Mart to produce a small number of a slightly modified Stinger for Wa-Daisho's armed forces. This type was officially designated the Stinger-B, which Wa-Daisho nicknamed the Stingray.
Model Type: L.6741 & Stinger-A.
Class: Orbital Assault Power Armor prior to the RIFTS; Light to Medium Multi-Environment Unit otherwise.
M.D.C. by Location:
*Head - 80.
*Sensory Extentions (2) - 20 each.
Arms (2) - 80 each.
Legs (2) - 160 each.
*LC-1 Laser Cannons (2) - 45 each.
*MRL-1 Micro-Rocket Launcher (1; Right Forearm) - 30.
*L & N Vibro-Weapons Retractable Vibro-Sabre (1; Left Forearm) - 20.
EMT-1 Turbine Pack - 150.
**Main Body - 240.
* These designated areas of the armor are small and difficult targets to hit, so therefore may only be
struck with a penalty of -3 to strike.
** Once the M.D.C. of the main body is depleted the armor shuts down completely, and is useless.
Maximum Running Speed: 100 mph; Note that the act of running does tire it's operator, but at 5% the usual fatigue rate.
Leaping: The powerful robot legs can leap 10' high or across without the jet thrusters. A jet thruster assisted leap can hurl the unit up to 100' high or across.
Maximum Flying Speed: The unit can fly at a maximum speed of 300 mph, at an altitude of up to 500' for up to 6 hours before requiring at least an hour cooling period. Decrease this flying speed by 5 mph for every 25 Lb. of the pilot's body weight and additional cargo weight over 150 Lb.
Maximum Swimming Speed: 4 mph using typical swimming type motions, or the unit may run along the bottom at half it's normal running speed.
Maximum Safe Diving Depth: 1.2 miles.
Height: 6'11" - 8'4" with the sensory extensions.
Weight: 631 Lb. fully loaded, not counting the pilot.
Physical Strength: Equal to a P.S. of 30.
Power System: Nuclear, average energy life of 5 years.
Cargo: A storage locker inside contains enough space for a survival kit, a side arm, a hand held radio, and a few energy clips.
Market/Black Market Cost: 1.5 million credits for a new, fully loaded, and undamaged Stinger. Not often available.
1. S-Mart LC-1 Laser Cannons (2): Contained within each forearm is a high powered laser cannon, designed for assault and anti-armor duties. While powerful, these weapons are hampered by their short range.
Primary Purpose: Assault.
Secondary Purpose: Anti-Armor.
Mega-Damage: 1D6x10 M.D. per laser blast, both weapons may be used at the same time, in a massive attack inflicting 2D6x10 M.D.
Rate of Fire: Equal to the users combined hand to hand attacks.
Maximum Effective Range: 1,800'.
Payload: Effectively unlimited, thanks to the nuclear power supply.
2. S-Mart MRL-1 Micro-Rocket Launcher (1; Right Forearm): This ring of micro-rockets, around the right wrist of the Stinger, provides the suit with its noteworthy claim - of being able to inflict a serious sting. (If only at close ranges.) This system can launch up to 24 of the deadly projectiles from the wrist launcher in a single volley, for the purpose of anti-armor, or assault duties of any other kind. The one drawback of the micro-rockets is the lack of a guideance system of any kind - thus these weapons are best applied when used on rigid structures like entrenched armored vehicles, encampments, and fortifications.
Primary Purpose: Anti-Armor.
Secondary Purpose: Assault.
Mega-Damage: 4D6 M.D.
Blast Radius: 3'.
Rate of Fire: The rockets can be fired one at a time or in volleys of 4, 12, or 24.
Maximum Effective Range: 1,500'.
Payload: 24 micro-rockets are contained in the armored shroud around the forearm.
Note: The Naruni Micro-Missile is VERY similar in shape, size, and function - and can be used in the S-Mart MRL-1 without modification.
3. L & N Vibro-Weapons Retractable Vibro-Sabre (1; Left Forearm): This weapon is a retractable form of the fine quality vibro-sabres produced by L & N Vibro-Weapons. In function, this weapon is used against lightly armored personnel, for when stealth is necessary, and finally as a defensive weapon. When retracted this weapon flips back into an open housing on the underside of the forearm.
Primary Purpose: Anti-Personnel.
Secondary Purpose: Defense.
Mega-Damage: +2D6 M.D., in addition to punch damage.
Payload: Effectively unlimited, thanks to the nuclear power supply.
4. Systems of Note: This unit incorporates all the usual environmental features found in power armor including environmental protection, environmental control, air filtration, an independant 10 hour supply of air, heat and radiation shielding.
1. Virtual Reality Interface & High Boost Control Systems: The top of the line in power armor reality interfaces, as produced in Desert Star, is the Virtual Reality Interface. This system is far above those used elsewhere in North America, perhaps in the world. A series of high resolution digital cameras installed interpret the surrounding terrain into graphics at real-time speed without any form of lag. The curved LCD screen of the typical H.U.D. system used in most power armor now is a half sphere screen giving the operator a full 180 degrees of vision, and the suit's computer will actually talk to the operator giving audio warnings of impending attack, calculated dangers and so on. Some Stinger pilots say that the Stinger almost seems like an A.I.! The targeting computer is advanced over and above that of other systems as well, allowing the simultanious training of four weapon systems on a single target. External audio is excellent, and will allow the operator to hear sounds as quiet as a mouse's squeek at 100 yards. Thankfully sound filtration prevents the operator from being deafened by loud explosions and similarly loud sounds. An unintentional feature of this system is that those attempting to use mind control spells or psionics, cannot phase those inside of the Stinger - thanks to the use of the heavily computerized system. The actual controls of the Stinger are of the high boost variety that monitors the neural impulses that actually control muscle actions - thereby allowing the power armor to actually react slightly before the body of the pilot actually would! To the unitiated the use of this system is unnerving because it feels like the suit is moving in anticipation of the operators intentions!
2. Anti-Dazzle Protection: This is essentially nothing more than a polarized film on the sensors that react to the ambient light. Thus if a bright flash occurs in the face of the Stinger, the lense turns nearly black for an instant, and then quickly changes back to normal - protecting the operator from being dazzled.
3. Infrared Optics: This system allows the user to see the heat emanating from an object. It can be set to be white hot or black hot, depending on operating status. If in combat black hot would be best to avoid being blinded by explosions and similar. While in passive mode, outside of combat, white hot would be best, so as things like body heat would better stand out. The range of this system is 2,000'.
4. Nightvision Optics: This system uses the ambient light from starlight, moonlight and similar to allow a sort of green-tinged vision beyond normal visual ranges for a human. The range of this system is 2,000'.
5. Macrovision Optics: These optics are essentially like a microscope, capable of magnifying objects hundreds of times, from a distance of 6'. This is a useful system for analyzing clues in the field, such as tracks, spent shell casings and similar.
6. Telescopic Optics: These are exactly as they sound, telescopic optics that enhance the image of far away objects. At a range of 6,000' an object appears only 100' away, as an example. The range of this system is 6,000' effectively - but it can enhance the image of objects further away yet still, they just are not quite so well detailed.
7. Thermal Imaging Optics: This is very similar to the Infrared Optics in the sense that it detects heat, but unlike the imprecise nature of the infrared optics, this measures the heat signature precisely displaying them in colorful shades of reds, yellows, greens and blues with various degrees of heat. The thermal imaging optics are also far more sensitive than the infrared optics, actually allowing them to see heat through walls of structures at certain distances. The range of this system is 2,000', but it can only see heat through an obstacle such as a brick wall from 100'.
8. Military Radio & Scrambler: This is the same radio equipment, bolt for bolt, microchip for microchip, as the system found on the USA-G10 Glitterboy. The broadcast range is a modest 50 miles. By resetting the radio transmitter inside the armor to an elevated position, however, the same transmitter can achieve a fairly consistent 500 mile range using atmospheric bounce. Atmospheric anomalys can extend this range still further or can completely disable the radio system within a set radius, it just depends on the circumstances. The scrambler system allows the radio signals to be scrambled to all those not equipped with the correct scrambling codes.
9. Military Radar & Tracking Computer: The radar system of the Stinger covers a one hundred and twenty degree arc in front of the suit to detect distant objects. Unlike the more primitive types used elsewhere as well as the civilian radar type also offered by S-Mart, S-Mart's military radar system is more sensitive to changes in environment. Thus if deployed to a city scape, and a man in body armor steps out from behind a wall for a moment before ducking back, and the pilot does not notice it the radar will momentarily send out a tone and the targeting computer will indicate the spot where it was seen. The range of this model is a respectable 25 miles. The tracking computer can keep tabs on up to 50 targets, and indicate speed, course, and similar.
10. I.F.F. Transponder System: This system transmits data such as alpha-numeric designation code, course, mission, base of operations, and unit, via radio signal, to other similarly equipped military stations, vehicles, and power armor suits that have been programmed with the correct access codes. This allows a friendly N.O.M.A.D. soldier in an S-Mart Assassin, overflying a squad of Stingers, to quickly determine who these individuals are. This also allows field commanders to keep far better track of their military assets. A further feature of this system is that it functions well as a distress beacon. A note towards the safety of I.F.F. - is that the codes are very difficult to break. Since the N.O.M.A.D. Military periodically changes their I.F.F. safety codes - attempts to crack the codes that have taken weeks of supercomputer analysis - are for naught. The commercially marketed Stingers that are sold DO include this system but it is programmed as a civilian system, readily read by N.O.M.A.D. Military programmed I.F.F. transponders.
11. Sensory Extentions: These are the large fin/antennae protrusions found on the head of the unit. They are typically used to see around corners, or in an air combat sense, to sit just below the tree tops allowing the extensions to protrude from the tree canopy revealing vital information to the pilot. All optic systems may be used through these extensions.
12. Laser Targeting System: On the exterior of the helmet, at the base of one of the sensory extensions, is an advanced laser targeting system and range finder that provides a true point of impact for a weapon's aim, by shining a laser on the target. This provides a +1 to strike when targets are within 6,000'.
13. Infrared Baffling: Special efforts went into producing the Stinger so that it had a very small heat signature, making it difficult to spot the power armor using either infrared or thermal optics. With this design feature there is a 01-40% chance that an observer using either form of optics will not notice the Stinger's heat signature.
14. Command & Control Computer: This system transmits data to other power armor units equipped with the same system. It transmits ALL details regarding each suit in a military unit to the other members of the unit upon demand. Thus if operating in a squad of eight, each operator can access information about the other, complete with current visual screen displayed, current audio receptions, position, ammunition situation, damage incurred, and so on. This allows for improved coordinated tactics and through that improved efficiency.
15. Improvements Available: The Stinger's basic layout is close to reaching it's furthest development potential, in terms of the number of systems that can be carried. Remaining system requirement slots are as follows, the first number is internal, second is external. Head 0/7.5, Left Arm 0/15, Right Arm 0/2.5, Left Leg 10/30, Right Leg 10/30, and Main Body 32.5/10.
5. Hand to Hand Combat Abilities: In addition to Power Armor Basic or Elite pilot training, the Stinger enjoys the following bonuses;
+3 to Initiative
+4 to Strike with ranged weapon systems
+2 to Strike.
+2 to Parry.
+2 to Dodge.
Punch: 1D6 M.D.
Kick: 1D6 M.D.
Power Punch: 2D6 M.D.
Leap Kick: 2D6 M.D.
Body Flip/Throw: 1D6+3 M.D.
Body Block/Tackle: 1D6+3 M.D.
The picture used above is from R. Talsorian's "Cyberpunk 2020®" as seen in their source book Maximum Metal. In the source book it is seen as the Orbital Air/Raven Mycrocyb Spider. This is by no means an attempt to steal the hard working efforts of R. Talsorian Inc's authors or artists, but merely used here as a means of utilizing interesting designs from their source materials, inside of Palladium Books' RIFTS.