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Chapter 4:

“The component nature of the suit provides ease of assembly and the
practicality of repair and replacement.  Each suit is fully integrated.  
Each part is compatible with every suit.  The number of replacement
components has been determined by the desired size of the Force.”
--Cybersuit Operations Manual
   Volume 4: Operational Assembly

October 20 (Thursday)
2033 HRS

Success!  Well, partially.  I have been able to perform a rudimentary
assembly of the suit, but I have not been able to power it up.  Something
needs to be hooked up, or some piece isn’t fitting right, but once I was in
the suit I could only activate the Initial Systems mode.

I put the undersuit on and powered it up and felt the sting of the
neuro-needles -- the cybernetic contacts -- prick my skull again.  Then I
went step by step from the Assembly notebook and put the rest of the suit

This thing is incredible.

I pulled the hip and upper leg armor up over the undersuit like hockey pads.
  The main hip armor is two solid pieces of “Riktium-steel alloy plate”
(whatever that is), joined by a small vertical hinge along the tailbone.  
The large latch on the right hip clicked shut as soon as I brought the two
pieces together.  I felt a tiny vibration throughout the piece as it was
powered up by the undersuit.  The Pactolon foam expanded, locking my lower
body in place.

The upper leg armor is also Riktium-steel plate, and is joined to the main
piece by about four inches of segmented Riktanium, like medieval plate mail
armor.  The leg armor is made from two thick cylindrical pieces of
Riktium-steel plate, with thin flexible extensions that drop to just below
the knee.

The boots are Riktium plate.  They are rigid, with small, perfectly machined
hinges where the joints of the foot would be.  They rise to just below the
knee and feature angled armor plates – I guess to deflect projectiles.  
There is also one long tiny hinge on the inside that runs from ankle to top,
allowing the boot to flip open.  I opened the right boot and set my foot
inside.  I had to take my shoe off; it was clearly designed for feet and not
shoes.  Set in the Pactolon foam inside the boot were about a dozen
cyberdiscs, each the size of a quarter.  I noticed they lined up perfectly
with the discs set on the outside of the undersuit.  I flipped the boot
closed (over the thin extensions of the leg armor) and instantly felt a tiny
vibration as the boot received power from the undersuit.  Then I heard a
loud click.  Now that it had power, closing the boot had activated its
locking mechanism.  Instantly, I felt pressure on my foot and calf as the
electric current of the undersuit triggered the expansion of the Pactolon.  
The foam filled the inner chamber of the boot, freezing my foot in place.  I
did the same with the other boot.

The lower torso armor is flexible and fairly thick, attached to the upper
with the same segmented sections as the leg armor.  The upper torso piece is
a big section of thick Riktium steel alloy plate which works on a hinge
under the left armpit and fastens with the same “power lock” as the boots.  
When I closed the clasp I instantly felt the surge of power from the
undersuit and the pressure of the expanding Pactolon.  For a moment I had
trouble breathing, but the Pactolon soon reduced its initial pressure and
allowed me to breathe normally.

The arm sections have the same micro-rails at the hinges I saw in the
helmet.  Once I discovered the right arm position, the sections clicked into
the grooves.  When I dropped my arms to my sides the “groove lock” was
complete, the Pactolon expanded and the section was secured to the torso.

The gloves do not have grooves, or even a “power lock”.  According to the
Ops Manual, the pressure of the Pactolon expansion keeps the glove on the
hand.  This is so they can be removed if necessary to reload a weapon or
drive a vehicle, etc.

On the back of each glove, on the forearm plate, there is a smooth channel
about the size of a butter knife.  According to the Ops manual, this is the
“canister deployment housing”, however I don’t see any canisters in the
trunk or anywhere else.  There is no mention of canisters in any of the
other manuals.  Another mystery.  My guess is that since these suits are
meant to be for law enforcement, the canister housings are for special
cylinders of pepper spray.

Now there was only the helmet and my robotification would be complete. As I
grasped it in my hands I became aware of myself in the mirror.  In the dim
yellow light of my room the armor was a shadowy dull green, and the gold
chevron on my chest looked like tarnished brass.  My limbs felt every pound
of the armor; my tentative testing movements were slow and I could barely
lift my legs to walk across the room.

I got one last glance at myself in the mirror and wondered for the hundredth
time if I was doing the right thing.  Then I put the helmet on.

It rode effortlessly on the micro-rails as I turned my head from far right
to far left.  The helmet clicked loudly as the lock was achieved and I felt
the small Pactolon pads around the inside of the helmet expand to hold my
head in place.  The helmet began to hum as the undersuit powered it up.  I
faced forward and opened my eyes.


Or nearly so.  The blast shield was so dark I could barely make out the
shape of the room in the lamplight.  The suit was humming, but that was all.
  I wondered if I had already broken it, or if it had been damaged by the
incident that killed Ramage.  I suddenly became afraid.  I suddenly wanted
to get the suit off as quickly as possible.

I raised my hands to the helmet to rip it off my head, but noticed a small
blinking light at the top of my field of vision.  It was a cursor, like on a
computer; a slowly blinking black rectangle on the inside of the blast
shield.  After a few moments these words appeared:

*Cybersuit designation Green Meanie boot up complete.  Initial systems on.  
Starting diagnostic…*

And the world became bright again.  The suit computer activated the blast
shield.  The room brightened and I could see with amazing gold-tinted
clarity.  Now when I looked in my mirror the armor was a gleaming dark green
and the gold chevron glinted like a new badge.

The HUD readout continued:

*Initial systems diagnostic complete.  All initial systems
operating at 100%.*

Suddenly my arms were lighter and my legs were moveable.  I couldn’t help
but smile at the ease with which I moved around the room.  I tested the
suit’s range of motion and was amazed.  It didn’t allow for extreme
flexibility, but I could kneel and get up, squat, lift my thighs to my chest
and touch each hip with the opposite hand.  I still didn’t know what I was
doing, but I was starting to like it.

Then the HUD spat out another line:

password: *

Oh, shit… I thought.

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