Battle Spear Uniform

Valya looked at the dummy wearing the black-and-purple uniform, a part of her still wondering if she was dreaming. She was barely convinced she wasn't, because even in her wildest dreams she had never imagined becoming a Battle Spear.   Her shocked state was disrupted by Dr. Manasiev clearing his throat. She turned towards him as he began reading from a clipboard. "So, the uniform is designed to protect you from a number of threats. You must take care to remember that it is not infallible, and neither are your new powers. How much do you know about its capabilities?"   Based on his expression and tone, it appeared he meant well but simply had not received information about her. With a grin she answered him. "Resistant against fire, acid, slashes, impacts, bullets. Limited stretching abilities in support of transformation powers, buckles that release at a certain force to not obstruct the user in emergencies. Chemically treated against Black Lung Powder, sealable helmets with a ten-minute airtank, emergency beacons. Did I miss anything?"   Dr. Manasiev stared at her in a confuddled manner, as if she was a data anomaly he had to figure out. She smiled and decided to put him out of his misery. "I helped stress-test the current design two years ago, including combat training exercises. Unleashed the flamethrower myself. Of course I am not aware if you made any covert updates since then?"   She saw the sudden spark of recognition in his eyes, before he shook his head. "None that really matter. Alright, I guess that does cover the next twelve minutes of my schedule. Since the others will still be in a meeting, we have enough time to take a quick break. So... Tea?"
— Lance Breaker

The Battle Spears

Valya Ymirborn, a new Battle Spear, by "Michael Chandra" on HeroForge
Serving as bodyguards of the Science Department, the Battle Spears are a unit of superpowered troops on planet Ymir. Their uniform is designed to help handle both their various superpowers, and the dangers they face during explorations. The uniform has gone through several iterations over the years, to better fit with both usability and the public image of the Battle Spears.   While the Battle Spears have an internal hierarchy, based on a combination of power tiers and experience, they display no such thing in their uniforms. This has been the case since the very start, as a symbol of the fact that the Battle Spears are not soldiers but civilians, even though they recognise no authority but their own.  
"Does the lab supervisor wear a different coat from the other scientists? No? Why not? Ah, because everyone already knows he's the supervisor? Then why should I wear a different uniform, or my seconds? We're not soldiers, we're not officers, we're not civilians looking pretty. We're bodyguards. There are no ranks that matter when it comes to keeping people safe."
— Kayla Kateb, Battle Spear Executive

Science Department

Valya Ymirborn outside uniform on base, by "Michael Chandra" on HeroForge
Of all people on planet Ymir, only the Science Department is exempt from martial law, though not from the military's monopoly on violence. This official independence, which also comes with extraterritorial rights, is a fundamental part of all Starseed vessels. No ship leaves Earth without acknowledging scientists as equals of the government. Additionally, the military doesn't want to betray those protecting the people from alien flora and fauna.   To remain independent, the Science Department must be able to protect itself. By depending on the military for its safety, no actual independence can be assured. This is why a very large portion of the budget is allotted to the Battle Spears. A lot of resources go into the superserum program and equipment development, as to keep the Spears safe, is to keep the Science Department safe.   Dr. Marko Manasiev is in charge of uniform development. He works closely with Kayla Kateb, the scientist in charge of the Battle Spears, who is constantly researching their abilities. As she is a Battle Spear Executive, Kateb is not addressed as Doctor. Together, the two of them manage uniform production and alterations. No change is made, or test performed, without their explicit approval. Only in recent years have they started training future replacements.   At the Science Department compounds, scientists do not need to be escorted individually. Compound security is left to drones and Battle Spear patrols. However, if a scientist leaves the compounds, they will always receive a personal bodyguard. Directors even must have at least three bodyguards, and may not leave in a delegation including less than six Battle Spears. Furthermore, no Director may leave without wearing power armour.

Production & Materials

Valya Ymirborn on Exploration, Spear stored elsewhere, by "Michael Chandra" on HeroForge
Initially made solely with Earth-brought materials, the uniform has come a long way since. Metal components are locally-mined, while the rest of the materials are almost all harvested from Ymir flora and fauna. The sole exception is the bamboo used to produce bamboo silk underclothing and facemasks. The Science Department maintains different bamboo populations and keeps backup seeds, just like with other Earth-brought species, so that an epidemic won't wipe out the entire species.   Most of the outfit is made of Alces Major leather. This is treated with various chemicals to make it more flexible, and partially dyed with crushed Aries horns for the purple parts. This dye is used to employ the natural camouflage these creatures have developed. Man-made dye may look similar to the human eye, but completely different to a predator. Scientists are experimenting with ways to chemically produce these colours without requiring animal parts, but because of the high risk involved in field tests, testing proceeds slowly.   Large green Serpens scales are used to protect the shoulders and thighs. Their colouring also serves as a source of natural camouflage. Furthermore, the scales are more reliable than metal plates when it comes to taking hits, and significantly lighter. Crushed smaller scales are used to dye the belt and shield. The shield cornerpieces are made of an aluminum cover, coated with the same dye, and then anodised.   The uniform is treated and coated with various substances, many of which were researched by AI during the Starseed's journey to Ymir. Aside from the mentioned flexibility, these treatments also allow for partial stretching without compromising integrity, which is useful for some of the Battle Spear abilities. Moreover, the outfits can handle acids at the level of battery acid, and can protect against temperatures up to 1400°C for twelve seconds. The coating also prevents Black Lung Powder from adhering to the outfit, making it easier to disinfect.


Full weapon loadout, by "Michael Chandra" on HeroForge
The Battle Spears are well-trained with several weapons, all officially meant solely against alien wildlife. The Ymir Weapon Law state that only Defenders are allowed to own and use weapons. Only two groups are exempted from this restriction, namely the Battle Spears and the Homesteaders. However, neither may carry weapons within city limits, unless they receive dispensation. As such, a Battle Spear should never end up wielding a weapon against a person.   The entire arsenal of a Battle Spear is very heavy to wield, and their firearms have incredible recoil due to their large calibers. While a normal Defender would need two hands and all their strength to handle these, the superserum gives the Battle Spears massively increased body strength. As such, they can easily wield these items one-handed.   The primary weapon is an 80-caliber pistol with 7-round magazines. Due to the discrepancy between ammo caliber and barrel length, the gun's accuracy suffers at range. This makes it primarily suited for close quarters against animals with thick hides. Shock rounds are also used, which care less about accuracy so are useful at a safer distance.   Against larger herds of easier targets, the 60-caliber rifle is employed. Capable of automatic firing, the rifle has a 48-round helical magazine, designed to prevent external complications. However, reloading requires a partial disassemble, or individual round-feeding through a special opening. In addition, the feeding system becomes unreliable during continuous firing, requiring short bursts to prevent jamming.   Melee-wise, the machete is simply meant for handling foliage, and is backup in case guns are no longer an option. The boar spear, which is the origin of the Battle Spears' moniker, is only brought out if a stampeding animal must be brought to a halt. The shield helps protect against tusks and horns, allowing the user to hold off an attack. Performing a successful block helps create an opening to strike back.

Science History

A Scientist in Power Armour, holding a large pathogen scanner, by "Michael Chandra" on HeroForge
The uniform's first version was designed back on Earth, and optimised by AI on the flight to Ymir. Its appearance and functionality heavily mirrored the power armour that scientists were meant to use. However, the Battle Spears received less power-assist, which allowed for a longer battery life, but required a far better physique of their wearer.   Then came the first complication, when it was discovered the superserum troops were far stronger than expected. Their strength developed to the point where the power-assist was actually holding them back. Moreover, the hard metal was too bulky, slowing them down as well. Several experiments were done with mixing leather and metal plates, before scientists discovered Alces Major hides and Serpens scales were most suited as primary components.   Battle Spear helmets proved redundant and actually restrictive in action, because their hardened skulls can stand up against heavy blows, while helmets muddle their improved senses. Furthermore, gas masks proved to be overkill against dangerous substances. As such, the helmets were replaced with facemasks, soft-armour head wraps, and optional goggles. In case of hazardous gases, they use sealable helmets with an internal air tank.   Meanwhile, Ymir fauna turned out to be far sturdier than initially theorised, forcing the use of bigger calibers. Here the increased physical strength proved useful, as the weapons evolved from tasers and normal hunting rifles, to essentially small cannons. Fortunately the scientists had brought a massive arsenal, to keep their options open.   As the Battle Spears grew into prominence, due to aiding the community against several Ursa Major stampedes, their colour-scheme became a problem. To better differentiate from the scientists they were protecting, first their outfits were painted in camo colours. However, this caused civilians to mistake them for Defenders. Eventually, research settled on natural Ymir camouflage, which didn't work well against humans but was great against Ymir fauna.

Wilderness Explorations

Valya Ymirborn ready to face an Ursa Major, by "Michael Chandra" on HeroForge
The biggest reason why the Science Department needs bodyguards, is exploration trips into the Ymir wilderness. Because of Ymir being tidally locked, it was always known that parts of the environment would be extremely hostile, so every iteration of the uniform was designed to handle various extremes. Chemical treatments were developed to help handle venom, acid, fire, and water. The resulting power armours and uniforms are now capable of handling every dangerous circumstance that the Battle Spears encounter.   The arsenal of the Battle Spears was also designed to be able to handle local wildlife. Both shield and boar spear were always part of the uniform, in case a large animal had to be fought up close and personal. Silk underclothing was added for when an attack breaks through the uniform, to help keep wounds clean. Initially, explorations included small tanks, but with Battle Spears being able to wield large guns themselves, these vehicles were phased out.   Currently, each exploration includes twelve scientists, each owning a clean room vehicle while being paired with a Battle Spear. To help protect the scientists while Battle Spears scout ahead, thirty Defenders are sent along. These wear gas masks and armour treated similarily to that of the Battle Spears and scientists. Finally, six mechanics keep technology running properly, and take care of drone support. These let them serve as eye in the sky.   Part of the treatment goals was always to help safeguard against dangerous bacteria and viruses, while also capturing samples to analyse. This worked well, as the Science Department discovered Black Lung Powder during the first year on Ymir, and warned the government against it. When the first outbreak happened four years later, partial treatments already had been developed and helped keep casualties to a minimum. Vaccinations took two more years to complete.

Cover image: City Sunset Night by Artapixel


Author's Notes

Thanks go to Pan, who supplied the right bb-code to make the layout work for both mobile and desktop.   And lots of love and gratitude to my wife, who helped me with so many details on the various outfits for Valya. Without her, this outfit would never have been as nice as it is now.   Also thanks to all the people that have provided feedback and let me showcase this article, helping me restructure it for better clarity!

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21 May, 2021 14:02

I love how thorough this is! While I do want to know more about the actual appearance (which I see you're working on), I love the background and then description of things used, along with links to the relevant fauna. It means that all that's really left are colors and dyes, so it's easy to visualize!   The only thing I might suggest besides more actual description of the appearance is also more detail into why certain things are necessary. In that quote at the top, there's a lot of things the armor can do, but how did people decide that it needed to be able to do those things?   Hope that helps!

21 May, 2021 17:24

Definitely going to add that to the History section! Will let you know when the update's in.

24 May, 2021 00:45

Added stuff into History and Exploration sections, hope it's a bit satisfying.

21 May, 2021 15:16

OH I like where this is going Mikaro! so much information, good good. Also LOL at the 'fluffy herbivore' :D

21 May, 2021 17:25

There's a reason they're called sheep (Aries)! =) Cute fluffy herbivores!

30 May, 2021 16:21

I see you got all the pictures up! They are a good addition to the article!

30 May, 2021 18:01

Yup, several poses and a few other outfits for comparison. When we decided to make her more muscly, I had to go and adjust all different versions as well... *cries*

24 May, 2021 08:16

Wow, this is a lovely article, that make me wonder about your world and why are all those people in Ymir to begin with. I have noticed you are only using links for the first time you reference another part of your world. Is this to avoid those words standing out from the rest?

24 May, 2021 20:21

Yeah, it's Wiki-style: Only the first mention gets a tooltip / link (some of these tooltips may become links in the future).

Sage PanAndPaper
AS Lindsey (Pan)
24 May, 2021 10:32

There's a lot going on here - I love the history behind the design choices and the excerpt of prose. I now really want to know more about the Battle Spears and their 'abilities'.

Drake's Dozen | Magic and Tech and Identity, oh my.

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24 May, 2021 20:22

(To be honest? You and me both. XD I only have a few of them in mind yet, the rest I'll work out over time.)

24 May, 2021 10:48

Great article! Firstly I love the layout with the alternating images (and the nice images of course) which make it pleasing to read. The way you started the article was a nice touch as well.   You created a really well thought out and detailed article here. After reading through it I also get a very good idea of how your world is itself. The history of how everything came to be and the many different parts of the uniform and their materials was very detailed and I like how you gave a reason for every aspect of it.   Small note with a sentence here: 'While the Battle Spears serve as scientists their bodyguards, no bodyguards are required at the Science Department compounds. ' This sentence is a bit weird so perhaps you could rework it a bit. In all good read! :)

Feel free to check out my River challenge article and my Secrets in the swamp Adventure article if you want to see what I am up to!
24 May, 2021 20:26

I hear ya, I made a tweak to that sentence. Glad to hear you liked the layout, and yeah, I'm a sucker for intro-fiction. Helps with setting the atmosphere, and helps me nail the personalities too.   Also glad I managed to provide the reasons without it being too artificial. o,o I wanted to avoid making it a checklist.

Brian Cody
24 May, 2021 12:04

I really enjoyed the article. It was very informative and the pictures were placed well. One suggestion I do have is the white font on the black background was a little hard for me to read. Maybe changing the color to an off-white or light grey. Another idea would be to make the writing a little bigger. Otherwise, it is a very well put together article. Good job.

24 May, 2021 20:27

Apparently it already was a light-gray, but I made it more gray, it seems a bit more readable now. Cheers for that detail!

Brian Cody
25 May, 2021 15:50

I am glad that it was helpful.

Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
26 May, 2021 10:37

Great article! I love the focus on the scientists and how important and above everyone else they are in your world XD You really have just the perfect amount of details and explanation right now, giving a clear pictures of the armours and weapons and making the readers intrigues to know more about the world.   "Kateb is not addressed as Doctor due to her position as Battle Spears Executive." I'm a bit confused here. Do you mean that this means she is not a doctor but still has an important role in the design of the uniforms because she is Battle Spears Executive, or that she is a doctor but because she is Battle Spears Executive that role takes precedence and it's the title that is used for her?   " which is made from Earth-brought bamboo. Like other Earth-brought plants, the Science Department maintains different populations and keeps backup seeds, to help prevent extinction by epidemic" so that means that the bamboo is grown on Earth but that they have backup seeds on the planet? Or that the bamboo has been brought to the planet ad is now grown there, but that they also keep a few different seeds just in case?   This is cool to see all the new animals from your planet, I really like the theme you've used to name them :D   I like the details of the natural dye that is till more efficient than what humans can do. "man-made dye may look similar to the human eye, but completely different to a predator." If you want to add an explanation, that could be because of UV colours. Flowers, insects and birds all have extra colours that are invisible to us but that they use to communicate with each others.   If you want, you can add the precision that battery acid has a pH of 0 – maybe in a tooltip? I don't know, maybe battery acid speaks more to more people, but this made me want to check how acid it really is.   " can protect against temperatures up to 1400C for twelve seconds." Could this be used as an extra protection against Black Lung Powder by disinfecting the armour with fire? Just in case, because I don't think the coating would have a perfect efficiency – unless the coating could destroy whatever is causing the disease, like a copper alloy since those are known to kill viruses and there is research currently about making a coating to put on all door handles.   " The Boar Spear, which is the origin of the Battle Spears their moniker," grammar pb here " which is the origin of the Battle Spears' moniker,".   I like the explanation for the firearms and how all of them have advantages and inconvenient.   " The only real difference was that the Battle Spears received less power-assist, allowing for a longer battery life, but requiring a far better physique." Very minor comment here, but I would add "for their wearer" at the end to clarify the sentence.   I love the development of the uniform and seeing how the serum has allowed and forced the development. And you've found the perfect excuse for the cool pose of the characters handling firearms with only one hand XD   " Chemical treatments were designed to help handle venomous spit, bites, water, and fire." Oh but now not having a full covering of the face would reduce the tolerance to those extremes wouldn't it? Do they maybe get additional covering in those cases?   " Silk underclothing was used in case any attacks broke through the uniform, to help keep wounds clean." You might want to add a tooltip explaining how silk help in those cases for people who haven't research fashion and armour history :p

To see what I am up to, see the list of my Summer Camp articles—my favourite is Sentient Cells.
26 May, 2021 20:54

Rewrote bamboo and the moniker thing. Added tooltips for Kateb, dye, acid, goggles, silk. As for the Black Lung Powder: Disinfection mechanisms have to work for the Scientists and Defenders, so they don't depend on flame to cleanse it. Instead, it's just a disinfection shower. Thanks to the coating, the powder cannot penetrate the armour and remain dormant and infectious inside the uniform.

27 May, 2021 03:33

Nice article! It's so incredibly detailed.

27 May, 2021 15:05

Thanks! One of the few times I designed an article (section-wise with brief descriptions for each part) before I started writing it down, helped me think it through before I put it all down.

29 May, 2021 06:15

Every time I think I see the most thorough article, I read another like this one. You really go down to the specifics, and I love that! It looks like you know what you're writing about and what's your vision for the Battle Spears and other factions. The evolution of the uniforms makes a lot of sense, and it's nice to see that it's used to protect instead of fight and invade. And as I said before, good on you for the epidemic awareness! Extra points :)

Let us unite against the enemies of Album!
29 May, 2021 11:14

I'm going for part Dystopia, part Utopia, it's a nice thing to try to balance while still going for a hopeful setting. Even the masks are a part of that And the Battle Spears being protectors is of course a big plot point, as there are in fact people trying to get control over them. I really liked the idea of superpower troops not meant for war, but for helping explore.

2 Jun, 2021 09:15

I had to giggle at "Ready to face an ursa major". She's either ready to fight a bear, or a constellation. ;)

Author of prize-winning RPG settings Dark Shadows and Cinders of the Cataclysm. Designer of the narratively focused CD10.
2 Jun, 2021 09:49

I think she'd need a bigger spear for the constellation! o,o

4 Jun, 2021 21:17

I love all the information and detail that you've gone into, with each section being illustrated with a picture. :D My favourite thing is that they display no rank on their uniforms - the quote explaining that is *fabulous*. I really like the bit of prose at the beginning too.   Really great job! :)

4 Jun, 2021 21:57

Yeah that quote just flowed entirely naturally, it was great. The starting prose took more effort, and some advice from my wife. Wanted to get both Valya and Manasiev's personalities right, not have either come across as a jerk.

6 Jun, 2021 08:42

This is just the right amount of thorough to make things realistic without making me feel like I’m reading a wikipedia entry, awesome job! I really love how you wrote the evolution of the uniform too <3

Author of Arda Almayed - check out my SummerCamp articles here!
6 Jun, 2021 08:49

Glad you liked it and that I managed to get the balance right! (Though of course the word limit also helps there. XD)

Time Bender
7 Jun, 2021 02:25

This is such a wonderfully thorough article! I love this so much. The uniform is so well-designed, and the Hero Forge images really allow the reader to see the uniform in great detail! Great job. :)

7 Jun, 2021 08:20

I'll let you in on a small lifehack I used: While I had the general idea of armour components, I first made the HeroForge figurine before describing the detailed looks. That way I knew for sure my description would match. ;)

Time Bender
7 Jun, 2021 20:17

That is a really smart lifehack! It worked really well for you. I might try that sometime!

Sage eccbooks
E. Christopher Clark
10 Jun, 2021 11:50

Always a pleasure to read something on your site, which looks so good.   My favorite part of this piece was how the conflict between the Science Department and the government was laced into the beginning of it. I mean, the whole thing is good, but that part stuck with me throughout the reading.

Check out my progress for Summer Camp 2022
10 Jun, 2021 12:13

The default WorldAnvil themes often are real neat, here I just did a tiny bit of tweaking to help improve readability. Given how many worlds I use, it's quite useful to not have to spend too much time on the css. ^_^   The political conflicts plays a big part in the to-be story, so I'm glad I managed to work it in well here.

Eternal Sage LauraVAB
Laura VanArendonk Baugh
10 Jun, 2021 13:39

"I helped design and test it. " XD Fun opening.   I love the detail that manmade dyes do not serve as well as camouflage as natural -- that fits so well with what we know of varying vision spectrums on our own planet. Nice detail!

10 Jun, 2021 14:21

Yeah, it's all those small bits of knowledge where you go 'wait, I recall X, that makes sense here' and bam, now it's lore.   And Valya is definitely an anomaly that people are getting used to. First Ymirborn in the Battle Spears, first commissioned officer joining them too (they did recruit NCOs before), and first time someone joins them that already worked with them before on Explorations.

13 Jun, 2021 16:19

Hi! This is a great entry, congratulations. The amount of detail you went in is fantastic, and provides an in-depth context to the whole uniform! I can feel the rising tensions between the Science Department and the State, and can only wonder where that will lead in the deeper future. I also like the details you went in regarding the Science Department's organization. This idea of not having visible hierarchy on the uniform, in particular, is great!   Finally, congrats on your use of the HeroForge miniatures, these look pretty well!

With love,   Pouaseuille.   Here's my Bard entry, should anyone be interested in a mess of investigation reports!
13 Jun, 2021 21:26

Thanks! I'm glad I managed to properly express the underlying tension. As for the miniatures, lots of gratitude there to my wife, who really helped me finetune the colours.

11 Feb, 2022 10:43

The level of technical detail is astonishing. I love the strategies of incorporating local resources as much as possible, and the hints at the science-military complex that enables this kind of technology. What I have been left to wonder, is the actual effectiveness of these suits in practice, compared to not having them. Are there still weaknesses, and how often do they get damaged or destroyed? How strong are they in comparison with other troops? I'd have been interested to read about an anecdote of the armor in use, or a damaged armor.

If you have some time, I would much appreciate your feedback on my entry for Adventure April: Carbon Copy Paradise
11 Feb, 2022 12:56

The armour is superior to that of Defenders, though there's some heavy armour available for specialised units. In practice, however, you're never meant to see damaged armour, just like you should never see the defensive turrets in action: If it ever gets that far, it means you're far beyond the point of screwup and in an utter mess. (And of course there IS going to be a scene where Valya finds out how well her armour works under heavy attack.)