Stavro's Demon, or The Demon for short, is a suit of PBA-4 "Pioneer" Main Battle Auto-Armor that started life in service with the Holdsman contingent of the Coalition Defense Forces. The Demon is legendary among Holdsmen soldiers for it's incredible service record, including survival in the face of repeated encounters with Grand Army armored units and later service among military contractor crews. Regarded by some as a quasi-mystical avatar of wrath and inevitability, the now quite defunct suit still plies its deadly trade among the gladiators of the Bleak Pillars Arena, surviving to fight successive contenders even as its pilots continue to accumulate in graveyards throughout the Manifold Sky.
The original power plant of Stavro's Demon has undergone so many refits and modifications that practically none of the original components remain. Curiously, this has never been done as a result of battle damage but simply to counteract the effects of wear from frequent operation. The emergency starter crank has been replaced with a steel ripcord as a result of scavenged spares from the more modern PBA-5 variant.
Weapons & Armament
Stavro's Demon was, and is, equipped with a "Salamander" Exhaust Whip, "Wrangler" Combat Winch, and 18mm Grease Gun. As a Pioneer on the Medial D front of the War of Reunification, The Demon was originally designed to serve as a hard counter to the nimble KF "Knave" Fast Attack Auto-Armor often fielded by the Grand Army for lighting raids. In its current incarnation, The Demon also is equipped with a riot shield and a Demolition Fist. This brings its equipment load almost all the way to its maximum carry capacity with a strong operator, but also provides it with more offensive options when dealing with opponents in close quarters.
Armor and defense
Over time, the pitted and blood-stained armored carapace of The Demon has been patched, replaced, and repainted so many times that it's actually hard to say where the original machine ends and the retrofits begin. A knock-on effect of this constant process of 'rebirth' is that the suit's volume actually increases over time as the original dimensions are lost beneath laminated layers of grafted metal. The pneumatic suit worn by the operator has similarly been repeatedly exchanged as operators have fallen in battle, with each successive suit featuring more padding until its current incarnation is virtually indistinguishable from a neo-gambeson except for the mounting plugs. Stavro's Demon has outlived more than ten pilots over the course of its existence, the first being a Lt. Stavro of the 1st CDF Armored Division. Something about this particular suit's geometry or composition has made it particularly durable against small arms fire; while shrapnel and gasses may find their way through chinks in the armor to injure the pilot, they never seem to damage anything vital. For this reason, the suit piqued the superstitions of soldiers, and, after the tenth operator died and with the superior PBA-5 models entering frontline service, Stavro's Demon was consigned to sale on the secondary market for morale reasons as much as practical ones.
Communication Tools & Systems
Any radio link that might have once been integrated into The Demon's kit has long-since been stripped away for use elsewhere. Instead, a bullhorn has been built into the helmet to amplify and project the operator's voice so that he can communicate with the outside world. In keeping with its fiery equipment, distorted silhouette, and fearsome reputation, The Demon is most popular in the arena when used in nighttime engagements. Four bright headlights and four of the loudest klaxons to be found in the region have been mounted to the suit's chestplate. In the arena, these implements are used to seek out opponents and intimidate them. The 'Demon's Roar' is the distinctive warbling peal created when the klaxons, each of a slightly different size, vintage, and pitch, are concentrated onto a target, rattling them to the core. On clear nights, the Demon's Roar can be heard miles away, making it particularly eerie for those visitors to the cube who don't know what the source of the unnatural sound is; one would expect to hear the call of coyotes in this environment, but not the blaring of truck horns at north of 120 decibels each.
Additional & auxiliary systems
The Demon's helmet and powerplant air intake snorkels have been equipped with extra air filtration to control the level of dust and smoke kicked up by operation in the desert and, later, the arena. The ducts that give ventillation to the operator himself have additional reservoirs for herbs or, more often, smears of Ghostleaf's Famous Vapor Rub to control the stench the suit generates when started (see Hangars & Docked Vessels).
Hangars & docked vessels
Stavro's Demon has a stigma surrounding it, and many who have served with it hold superstitions that it may be haunted by an angry collective of souls comprised of the previous operators who met their ends operating it. Some Unexpector soldiers regard the machine as a cursed relic, perhaps even an embodiment of the hexing power of Zevtwill. Whatever the case, the stench of sulfur and metal that pervades the suit whenever the engine is spun up is undeniable - though this may simply be the result of gaskets dried up with decades of use in harsh, dry conditions.