The Project S team used data extracted from Zane Dellister’s XCF-08D-1 Dead Drop as a starting point. They improved on Dead Drop’s palladium glass composite armor with the first major breakthrough developed to Megami’s specs: superconducting carbyne layers composed of single atom-thick carbon filaments. This “1D” laminar armor absorbed nearly all EM, thermal, and nuclear radiation directed at it, making anything coated in it effectively invisible to radar. It could also channel one-third of a plasma bolt impacting the armor into an onboard capacitor, though one layer of armor would be destroyed at the point of impact.
Darving provided the crowning breakthrough required for the project’s success. To fulfill Megami’s specifications for an A.I. operating system capable of anticipating an enemy’s actions, Max created a new machine intelligence based on his HVRJ-2 Thor Prototype’s Marilyn OS. The new A.I., christened Prometheus by Max, surpassed the Chinese room limitations of prior thinking machines to become a truly self-aware intelligence.
Code named the XSeed–owing to its origins “from Seed” Corp and its potential to exceed all previous combat frame designs–the new CF fulfilled Megami’s expectations.
Browning outfitted the XSeed Prometheus with a weapons loadout inspired by the CF-015 Zwei Dolph. The XSeed retained the Zwei Dolph’s shield and added a carbyne coating to repel and absorb plasma bolts. It received a more powerful plasma sword, along with a spare stored beside the first in the unit’s backpack. But the greatest improvement to the CF’s arsenal was the revolutionary new plasma rifle designed specifically for the XSeed. Boasting more power than any CF plasma weapon to date, the XSeed’s rifle was powered by twelve-shot magazines or a capacitor charged via shots absorbed by the unit’s armor. Applied 100 layers thick, a force equivalent to a train pulling ten fully loaded boxcars at 150 kph applied to a single point was required to pierce all the way through the laminar armor.
Despite its overwhelming advantages, the XSeed did have its limitations. The onboard capacitor could only hold twelve plasma rifle shots’ worth of charges. When the capacitor was full, the unit became visible to radar and more vulnerable to energy weapons. The only way to make room for more charges was to drain the capacitor by firing the plasma rifle, which also risked giving away the XSeed’s position. Furthermore, a capacitor breach risked unfolding the internal graphene layers, releasing all of the stored energy at once and sparking an uncontrolled reaction in the XSeed’s powerful generator, resulting in a blast equivalent to a hydrogen bomb detonation. The Prometheus OS’s power of self-determination stood to be even more of a wild card.
A final chilling note appended to its technical specs indicated that the XSeed was merely one component of a far more devastating super weapon under development by Megami’s design.
Line art: shield and rifle
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