Uniforms of Penumbra

 
by Annie Stein
Welcome to Solaris, traveller! Let me get you up to speed.
Solaris is a soft science fiction webcomic set in our own universe, kind of. Learn more by continuing to read, or click here to be taken to the comic.
Q:Where am I?   You're still in the system known as Sol. Except this time each planet is habitable and developed its own life. The people are humanoid, mostly.
Q:I heard something about a comic?   Oh yes! The main comic is still in development, but you can read the first few pages of the Expanse if you click here.  
Q:What's going on?   Sol is invading. The resentful sun sends its angelic armies: the Scourge. For now, they're being held back at Mercury by Penumbra.
by Annie Stein
At Penumbra, the uniform was meant to be seen. Grey was a given, who would offer their life unless there was something to atone for? White was justified when you tallied monsters rather than men. Blue cleansed the red out of the ledger.
  Penumbra's uniforms are the standardized and distinctive outfits worn when carrying out official duties. They are intended to be practical outfits that can be worn regularly, as well as a way to swiftly identify the role of the wearer. Most of the uniforms utilize grey, white and blue, considered to be the official colors of Penumbra. The flight suit is manufactured on and imported from Venus, while the other uniforms are generally produced on Phobos.   Most service members are issued with fatigues and dress uniforms, and many also receive crew overalls. Pilots are issued flight suits. Uniform regulations are generally permissive. While appropriate attire for one's duty is expected (such as overalls for mechanical work or flight suits for piloting) broad discretion in the particulars is permitted. Aside from the dress uniform, most accessories or modifications are allowed, and it is particularly rare to see anyone wearing the crew overalls exactly to spec.  

Symbolism

According to the PR department of Penumbra, serving in Penumbra is a calling, and Umbran uniforms were designed to embody the commitment to defending Mercury and the Solar System.   More important, though, is the effect that a consistent color theme has on cross-service camaraderie. Penumbra is a multi-disciplinary effort, and unity between branches is necessary to effectively carry out its mission. The bold colors also inspire the public, increasing appetite for military spending in a way that a distant existential threat does not quite achieve.  

Blue

Life and water. The antithesis of the invading Sun, woven throughout the fabric of the flight suit.
Loyalty Security Protection

White

The noble purpose of defending the Solar System. The skies of Mercury that we defend.   Purity Precision Peace

Grey

Mercury, whose defense is the primary goal of Project Ikarus and is the very ground we stride on.   Practical Reliable Industrial

Fatigues

Penumbra's fatigues are the uniform worn by service members when other gear is not required, e.g. crew overalls or flight suits. They are designed to be light, practical and comfortable. The fatigues are modular, with individuals free to add or remove parts as required.   The basic outfit consists of a blue jacket and grey trousers. The trousers have a waist-adjustment cord as well as loops for a belt, and the sides are lined with stick-pads and loops for attaching external pouches. The jacket has a standing collar that can be folded up for use with chest armor, and is usually worn over an undershirt. Members that are stationed outdoors often opt for the grey heat-wicking undershirt, while others wear whatever shirts they brought or purchased. Rank insignia are displayed on the upper arms and on the chest of each uniform piece.   The basic uniform as well as all varieties of undershirt are issued to every member, and the rest of the uniform is generally issued on a need-to-have basis. However, pouches can be purchased from the commissary and used freely. Some people are known to go overboard with these pouches, though they are advised against it.  

Undergarments

  • Heat-wicking undershirt
  • Standard undershirt
  • Thermal underwear

Utility

  • Trouser pouches
  • Arm pouches
  • Hip pouch
  • Chest bag
  • Utility boots
  • Utility belt
  • Night vision goggles
  • Heat-resistant overcoat
  • Rucksack
  • Holsters

Armor

  • Knee- and elbow-inserts
  • Chest armor
  • Steel-toe boots
  • Combat helmet
  • Hard hat
 

Crew Overalls

The crew of Penumbra wear high-visibility overalls. These overalls are typically a bright Penumbra blue with reflective piping along the collar, pockets, and in a t-shape along the back. A pair of padded suspenders attached to an o-ring in the back help distribute the weight.   The overalls are made from a synthetic weave. They are stain-resistant and flame-resistent and can easily be laundered. They do not offer much protection, and are intended to be worn over regular clothing while working.   The overalls are one size fits all, so many crewmembers adapt theirs by rolling up the sleeves or legs. The jacket is often worn down around the hips.   Senior crewmembers wear a white variant of the crew overalls.

Flight Suit

Penumbra's flight suit is a grey jumpsuit with blue piping down the sides. Under the armpit, the piping tails off and collects at the center underneath the collar. The arms and shoulders are white.   The flight suit is wind- and flame-resistant, and comfortable to wear for long periods.   In high g-force enviroments the trousers are inflated with gas to increase pressure on the legs. This added pressure prevents the pilots blood from pooling in their legs and helps maintain bloodflow in the brain.  
The pictured flightsuit is outfitted with a cooling system, a wrist-mirror and haptic controller gloves.

Dress Uniform

  The dress uniform is worn by the upper ranks of the Penumbra military. It is the same style as the Martian Military's dress uniform, except in the Penumbra colours. Umbran officers also wear a blue fourragère, a braided cord with a needle at the end. This rope and nail hearkens back to an ancient threat made by a long-forgotten king, who threatened to hang his soldiers for cowardice. Insulted, the soldiers took to wearing hanging rope as if to invite the world to condemn them as cowards should they be caught running from battle.   The dress uniform features a jacket with contrasting lining and piping, worn with leather epaulettes. The dress uniform can be worn with trousers or a skirt. Rank and badges are prominently displayed. While Penumbra is generally lax on uniform regulations for its rank and file, officers are held to a higher standard.   Each branch of the military has their own jacket colour. The army wears a black jacket, the navy wears blue, and the air force wears a white jacket. Field officers wear white trousers with a blue stripe, while junior officers (and the rank and file, should formal wear be required) wear grey trousers with a white stripe.

Army

General Officers
Black jacket, black trousers
Field Officers
Black jacket, white trousers
Junior Officers
Black jacket, grey trousers

Navy

General Officers
Blue jacket, blue trousers
Field Officers
Blue jacket, white trousers
Junior Officers
Blue jacket, grey trousers

Air Force

General Officers
White jacket, white trousers
Field Officers
White jacket, blue trousers
Junior Officers
White jacket, grey trousers
Item type
Clothing / Accessory
Current Location
Table of Contents
This article is a stub . It will be expanded upon later.


Comments

Author's Notes

The header quote is by Emily Dickinson  

To fight aloud, is very brave -
But gallanter, I know
Who charge within the bosom
The Calvalry of Wo -   Who win, and nations do not see -
Who fall - and none observe -
Whose dying eyes, no Country
Regards with patriot love -   We trust, in plumed procession
For such, the Angels go -
Rank after Rank, with even feet -
And Uniforms of snow.
— To fight aloud is very brave - (138)


Please Login in order to comment!
3 Apr, 2022 22:29

Woo Emily Dickinson.   This is a great article - I've enjoyed seeing the progression of the uniform art as you've worked on it. I really like the symbolism of the colours and the consistency across all the roles.   'Some people are known to go overboard with these pouches, though they are advised against it. ' This made me laugh. I am imagining a person whose uniform is basically just pouches.   Great job! :D

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
Sage nnie
Annie Stein
4 Apr, 2022 09:23

Thank you so much! It's been good fun to draw, and I'm glad they seem consistent.   I think the jargon for pouch guy is geardo. Once a man, today he is only pocket.

Creator of Solaris & The Morning Realm -— Worldember 2022
Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
4 Apr, 2022 06:39

Amazing article! I love all the details and the personalisation possible, as well as how you explained the colour symbolisms :D

To see what I am up to:WE list of articles and goals.
Sage nnie
Annie Stein
4 Apr, 2022 09:21

Thank you so much! I wanted to give myself lots of options on how to draw these in case I needed to make people stand out.

Creator of Solaris & The Morning Realm -— Worldember 2022
4 Aug, 2022 02:00

I love the thought put into the colors, symbolism, and style of the uniforms. Your pictures are divine.

Choose your poison:   Phasmatum: An Afro-Solar-Fantasy world created for my epic novels.
Adazuri: A shonen-inspired magitech fantasy world home-brewed for 5e.
Sage nnie
Annie Stein
5 Aug, 2022 09:08

Thank you! I had a great time designing the outfits and thinking of all the pieces that go into it. I love fashion, can you tell?

Creator of Solaris & The Morning Realm -— Worldember 2022