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Inspiration and Conception

The Stark Light Battle Armor was based on a simple concept by its designer, Samuel Stark. Samuel theorized that crossing a jump-trooper exoskeleton with standard PAL armor would improve the wearer's options in terms of maneuverability, but also be large enough to carry a compact array of experimental weaponry. Much of this weaponry would be from his own collection, which had been upgraded and miniaturized thanks to technical aid from those within the Nova Cat Clan's Technician Caste. With freedom in project planning, it took only months to come up with the first weapons platform for the new, extra-light battle armor suit.

Preproduction and the Mark I

Though the suit had originally been based around a shoulder-mounted, miniaturized Gauss rifle weapon, Samuel soon discovered numerous problems related to this particularly unbalanced armament. Aiming for maneuverability and having access to several other weapon concepts, it seemed only natural that the Mark I be re-engineered without testing a fully functional prototype. The weapon was produced and fitted to the prototype suit anyways, but was later redesigned as a portable man-pack Gauss that could be carried by the Mark II version of the suit.

Mark II Concept

Reworking several design flaws with the armor and opting for a variety of light, flexible weapons systems, the Mark II succeeded where the previous had tanked. Samuel designed the new version of the battle armor so that it depended less on a single armament but instead a combination of smaller systems. Though each was limited in their own right, the combination packed anti-battle armor firepower while making use of new improved stealth armor. The new version would also sport the finished experimental jump pack, allowing the wearer to instantly jump the suit forward with exceptional speed.

Maneuverability

The Mark II is built to be both agile and flexible in an attempt to give it an edge over its heavier PAL counterparts. At 350 kilograms, it is lighter than all major battle armors in the field today. Its weapons systems suffer as a result, but Samuel feels the suit's ability to sensitively gauge and enhance its wearer's movements far outweighs the offensive drawbacks.

The jump pack is made up of five separate exhaust ports. The largest of these in the center of the back is the primary means of propulsion, while two lower-mounted ports regularly aid in flight stability. The remaining two ports are located on the back of either shoulder, and are used solely for horizontal thrust. The main port can be closed to redirect power to each of the smaller ports, resulting in dramatic bursts of forward speed. These are difficult to control however, and usually only used during defensive countermeasures or last resort close-quarters offenses.

Weaponry

The Mark II's main weapon is a light grenade launcher - which is mounted in the right shoulder and heavily armored. This launcher carries two types of grenades, standard and flammable. Though the flammable grenades - which do not actually ignite - can be used against targets that are already burning, they are normally used to douse an enemy battle armor with fuel. This form of attack is particularly effective against opponents armed with laser weaponry who are already prone to overheating, or those that might use jump-jets regularly when fighting.

For anti-infantry armament, the Mark II carries an experimental light machine gun in the left arm. This automatic weapon can fire two types of bullets: standard or special incendiary ammunition - the latter is used in tandem with the flammable grenades to ignite enemy suits. The light machine gun is also specially built so that it can launch small, high explosive rockets from the base of its barrel. The rocket ammunition - which is housed in the legs and must be manually loaded one shot at a time - is extremely limited however and only to be used sparingly. Finally an armor-piercing spike launcher on the right arm is powered by compressed air. It fires sharpened, steel-tipped spent-uranium rods at extreme short range and is intended as a last resort. Since keeping a pressurized tank normally requires bulky motorization for constant air intake, Samuel designed the tank around a controlled chemical reaction that is balanced via computer-monitors. The volatile reaction produces enough pressure to fire five one-kg rounds.