MCS-PD "Countess" Tactical Auto-Armor
The MCS-PD Tactical Auto-Armor, designated as the "Countess," is a model of dieseltech auto-armor designed primarily for police and surveillance work. The Countess is manufactured in the micro-gravity "clean room" foundries of Bunker Primus in the Manifold Conservation Society and is famous for its extremely tight engineering tolerances. Some operators (un)affectionately redub the Countess as the "Princess" for its sensitive and temperamental nature, but others who employ it in a long-range sniper role revere the model for its precision. The long effective range of the Countess' weapons means that it is an important aspect of the MCS Bureau of Defense's civil defense strategy. The Society is not, after all, an agressive territorial power, but prides itself on its foresight in more than one sense of the term. Though not heavily armed or armored, the Countess remains durable enough to go toe-to-toe with street criminals or even many pinstripe punishers, making it a popular choice for MCS law enforcement cadres in need of heavy reinforcements.
The best and worst quality of the Countess are its extremely tight engineering tolerances. A Countess' components use alternating material layers less out of a concern for strength (as in the ever-durable PBA-5 "Pioneer" Main Battle Auto-Armor) but because the metals are polished so smooth and the surfaces placed so close together in the clean room environment that contact welding is a concern. This means that the Countess has excellent fittings and runs very cleanly, but at the cost of having poor resistance to events that might disturb these engineering tolerances, such as dirty operating environments. Indeed, Countesses are popular among wealthy Burning Hearts Social Club marksmen, but are virtually non-existent in their expeditions to the Red Velvet Desert due to the high probability of fouling. Countess mechanics are viewed in popular culture as over-worked groundling perfectionists who look down their noses at other mechanics while growing sickly from overindulgence on Colonade and amphetamines. This ugly stereotype is unwarranted: the engineers in the Countess production facilities, not the technicians, are the ones with high rates of substance abuse. The high precision of Countess components is a demand from the technocrats who head the MCS Bureau of Defense, who are often scientists or politicians first and soldiers second, putting great pressure on the foundry personnel.
As with the power plant, the joints and pneumatic actuators of the Countess are extremely precise and feature specialized damping modules to steady the operator's aim. The Countess is on the weaker end of the spectrum, but features a larger pressure vessel to compensate for long periods of inactivity.
Weapons & Armament
Armor and defense
The Countess tends to be lightly armored, but not as lightly-armored as scout or raiding auto-armor (i.e. the KF "Knave" Fast Attack Auto-Armor). The Countess is designed to get its operator into a good sniping position with speed and relative comfort, then reposition in response to counter-sniper fire. Countess operators seldom cary ballistic shields for active defense, but may carry deployable barriers for use as cover for themselves and others in urban environments. Civil defense Countesses are typically camouflaged to make them harder to spot in the tangle of Bunker Primus' surface structures and surrounding woodlands. Those used for police work are painted white with accent lines in the MCS' signature blue and violet hues; in these cases, the Countess being visible greatly amplifies the operator's force of presence.
The Countess features sensory enhancement package that rivals (and in some aspects exceeds) that of a DEL-1 "Concertina" Support Auto-Armor kitted out for scouting. The Countess' beak-like helmet mounts directional amplificaiton 'ears' that both focus distant sounds in the direction of the operator's gaze and amplify them with a simple thermionic circuit. Miniaturized mechanical resonators in the ear ducts create frequencies that cancel out much of the Countess' engine vibrations, further enhancing the operator's ability to hear at a distance. The Countess' radio system is also designed to link with up to eight fist-sized detatchable microphone pods included with the suit, allowing the operator to conduct surveillance operations. The 'beak' of the Countess' helmet has room to fit a small cathode ray tube display, allowing for the use of camera feeds if available. A camera assembly can be fitted to the suit as well, replacing one of the weapons in its loadout due to the lack of miniaturization in modern camera equipment. In this way, the Countess can send its reconnaisance data back to headquarters for analysis. In addition to its audiovisual reconnaisance equipment, the Countess' helmet also features a set of lenses to provide the operator with up to ten-power magnification. This feature makes the suit popular with snipers. The Countess occasionally sees use in directed ordnance attacks as a long-range spotter owing to its unique set of sensor equipment.
Hangars & docked vessels
Some experiments have been conducted where the Countess was fitted with a drone controller, sacrificing four of its microphone canisters and replacing the rest with microphone-equipped Model S "Sweetheart" Utility Drones. This remains an uncommon variant as of 10,000 AR, but the results of these experiments have been promising, suggesting a potential future change in loadout across the model range or even the creation of a dedicated drone platform based on the Countess.