"Our selfless defenders, bred from birth to be soldiers and given no choice in the matter. They're our guardians, our knights of the stars. Even their bodies are weapons of war. Are they even human? I don't know. But without them, we would have fallen long ago." - Directorate Consul Severus Alexander
The Special Assault Warfare Corps is the Directorate military's elite combat operations force, separate from both the Army and Navy [similar to a real world Marine Corps]. The S.A.W. Corps is universally known as the "Janissaries", due to the fact that its soldiers are orphans taken as infants in a manner similar to Ottoman Janissaries and genetically modified while still in the hospital. Janissaries are much larger than regular humans and extremely muscular, equipped with heavy powered exoskeletons loaded with weapons and high-technology.
Janissary combat suits, when occupied, are well over 3 meters in height [varying by the size of the individual] and weigh several tonnes. Each consists of a powered suit, similar to but somewhat more streamlined than the armor worn by standard Directorate infantrymen, fitted with a massive exoskeleton that completely encases the user, more like a combat walker than a suit. The user's limbs do not fit into the gloves and boots, and the exoskeleton is instead controlled by a neural link in the soldier's cerabellum. The exoskeleton is fitted to the armor using a system of shielded magnetic seals and explosive bolts, allowing the plates to be blown free of the suit when sufficient damage is sustained. The system is powered by an integral micro-compact fusion reactor, providing essentially limitless energy. The standard janissary's weapon loadout is an automatic 52mm rifle firing armor-piercing explosive rockets fed by a belt running from an ammunition drum on the back of the armor. The gauntlet of the other hand is a large hydraulic-electric gauntlet capable of crushing most anything in its vice-like grip, and is equipped with a flamethrower as well as a chainsaw-like melee weapon with a continuous feed of diamond-tipped alloy teeth running up the underside of the arm. A small plasma jet heats the teeth to a glowing orange hot state, allowing the weapon to slice through almost anything. In addition, mounted on each shoulder of the suit is an 80mm missile pod containing multiple small "clean" fusion warheads.
Despite its size and bulk, the Janissary's powered exoskeletons completely compensate for their own weight and impart the user with vastly increased strength [compounding their already superhuman physical abilities]. Thus, a Janissary in armor may run faster than one without armor, and much faster than a normal human soldier. The wearer's physical reaction time, however, is somewhat reduced thanks to the complex electro-mechanical servos and artificial musculature system that moves the exoskeleton. This is compensated for by an extremely intricate network of sensory input devices, which allows the suit's computer to pre-emptively detect most threats [the presence of enemies, weapons fire, physical blows and more] and feed the information directly into the brain, imparting the Janissary with superhuman reflexes. The exoskeleton is also equipped with a system of hydrogen-fueled plasma jumpjets, though they are only usable when the armor's energy screens are in operation (because the crystaline lattice-work of energy particles vaporize molecules upon contact, eliminating all air resistence). The exoskeleton is equipped with electrically-powered wheels in the boots and greaves that considerably improve mobility, allowing the Janissary to access corridors otherwise physically too small to fit through by crouching, locking the leg braces in place and maneuvering with the wheels.
Vulnerabilities and LimitationsEdit
The exoskeleton suit is not invulnerable to damage, however, and possesses many weak points, such as the joints. The thickness of the armor plating also varies, and is particularly thin on the helmet. The micro-fusion reactor of the armor can also potentially explode with rather spectacular results. Furthermore, although the exoskeleton is well insulated and protected against electromagnetic pulses [EMP], a charge which can be delivered into the suit itself beneath the armor [such as an armor-piercing projectile] may cause considerable harm to the electrical systems. Although it is unlikely that this would impede the armor's actual mobility systems, it can crash the electronics and other components. As the suit is a fully sealed environment, if the EMP charge deactivates the armor's breathing aperatus and the external air scrubbers fail to kick in, the Janissary must remove his helmet or die of oxygen deprivation. Once the helmet is removed, it is difficult to put back on and it is completely impractical to do so in the field. Furthermore, sufficient damage - especially blunt-force physical blows - can do damage to the relatively vulnerable electronics inside the suit. Without the armor's sensory systems, the Janissary's physical reaction times are considerably impeded.
The Janissary's exoskeleton is capable of operation in essentially all practical environments with no additional attachments or pieces of equipment, including total vacuum. It has been said that a team of Janissaries disproved the existence of God by diving into a live volcano to search for a gateway to Hell. This is, of course, merely a joke, although in fact the exoskeleton would be capable of such a feat - at least temporarily. While the armor and shields would withstand the extreme heat, prolongued exposure would overwhelm the electronics and environmental systems, shutting the suit down and boiling the soldier alive in his armor.
Janissaries are used as "First in, last out" assault troops by the Directorate military. Contingents of Janissaries are found on all large Directorate warships, and their total numbers - while a highly classified State secret - are well into the millions. Janissaries are the first Directorate forces to land on a hostile planet, being dropped directly from space in exoatmospheric assault pods. They are also the spearhead of boarding actions against enemy vessels, and there are many accounts of a destroyed Directorate warship's Janissary contingent surviving and assaulting the enemy warship through an airlock, hangar bay or even torpedo tube.
The Janissary Corps has been repeatedly employed in supressing domestic unrest. An age-old law in the Directorate prevents armed Janissaries from setting foot on full Directorate member worlds [those planets in a system containing one or more planets having a population greater than 1 billion]. Thus, the government of a Member System must declare martial law on the world in question before Janissaries may begin operations. One account of a riot in the 5th planet of the Kaliban system [the Directorate's capital system] recounts how a single Janissary faced down a raging mob of approximately 100,000 protestors, many of them illegally armed. The lone Janissary, one Ensign Horatio Titus, slew several hundred rioters before hundreds more physically piled onto his armor, burying him in a mountain of living flesh. The Corporal promptly activated the emergency explosive bolts of the exoskeleton and jetisoned the entire armor system, killing the people on top of him and breaking the riot.
The creation of the Janissary Corps pioneered Directorate genetic engineering and exoskeleton armor technologies. Each Janissary is physically augmented as a newborn infant so that, by adulthood, he or she will stand approximately nine feet tall and weigh several hundred pounds. Janissaries have many compound organs, essentially meaning they have three hearts and an extra set of lungs, among other things. They are also modified at a microsopic level - a Janissary's cells have cell walls, like those of a plant, making them impervious to viruses and bacteria as well as more physically resistent. Their cells multiply and die at an extremely quick rate, making them immune to cancer, and when subjected to chemical therapy and an electric current, a Janissary's body can rapidly recover from almost any wound - even regrowing missing limbs, although they must undergo physical therpay to regain use of the limb. Their muscles are much denser and stronger than a normal human's, imparting them with immense physical strength, while their bones are essentially indestructible. They also have conscious physical control of their bodily organs, allowing them to shut down organs which have sustained significant damage - preventing internal bleeding or allowing them to pump themselves full of adrenaline at will. A janissary may also enter a deep, comatose sleep to ward off death, which also has the convenient side-effect of allowing them to get the equivalent of ten full hours of sleep from only a short nap. While in this state, a Janissary's subconscious remains partially inactive and will respond to external stimuli, waking them up, although they cannot recover from the trance state on their own. All of a Janissaries senses and reflexes are heightened compared to that of a normal human's - they can see in the infrared and ultraviolet spectrums, although they must physically switch between these by re-focusing their eyes. A Janissary cannot get drunk and is essentially immortal because of the modified nature of the cellular structure. Furthermore, a Janissary's digestive system is capable of breaking down almost anything and deriving nourishment from it - even steel.