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Enhanced Mobile Infantry

The Enhanced Mobile Infantry concept is a weapon system based on the alliance of modern semi-vegetal exoskeleton suits, enhanced mobility harnesses with impulse thrusters, portable smart weaponry and military personal specifically trained for high mobility combat. It is an interesting and fairly unique case of cross-pollination between Flower War disciplines and conventional military tactics.

1 - In Flower Wars

Infantry combat has often been at the forefront of Flower Wars, owing to the spectacular and visceral nature of close range, human-to-human battles, that makes it easier to stage epic stories, bitter alliances and unexpected betrayals on the great stages of pretend wars. The relatively recent emergence of legged combat mechs as the combatants of choice for Flower Wars is but a continuation of this focus on individual, grounded combat. With the flamboyance of mechs, regular infantry found itself relegated in the background of Flower Wars, most often under the shape of sicarii, bipedal drone combatants that serve as fodder and extras for mech skirmishes. A regular human soldier cannot hope to keep up with mechs and the sheer firepower of a well-piloted armoured walker -- even if it is mostly for show -- makes infantry formations too expensive to field in Flower Wars, except as a pure statement of wealth and carelessness.

Except for one very specific type of infantry.

They're sometimes known as spectres, wind blades, voltigeurs, war acrobats or just enhanced mobility combatants. These highly trained athletes use exoskeletons optimized for running/climbing and lower back-mounted impulse thrusters to move at high speed around the battlefield in unpredictable patterns. While extremely physically and mentally demanding, their enhanced mobility makes them hard to hit with mech weapons and allows them to waltz between groups of sicarii and horse soldiers. Trained voltigeurs can confront mechs directly, engaging them in very close, one on one combat, using their speed and clever manoeuvring to best even the most nimble of walkers. The most daring among them might even leverage their vertical mobility to attempt a boarding action, jumping on the mech's back to disable it. This high-speed, wallrunning-addled style of combat is among the most spectacular displays of Flower Wars, and good voltigeurs are among the finest athletes in human space, some of them competing with mech pilots in terms of fame and interstellar prestige.

2 - Beyond Spectacle

Mechs have never been used in "real" combat, owing to their extreme vulnerability against modern weaponry, but war acrobats are another story. In military circles, they're known as Enhanced Mobile Infantry, and fill a similar niche, albeit with different characteristics. While Flower War infantrypeople value physical prowess over practicality, refusing to use cognitive assistance to perform their moves, soldiers need clarity of mind in combat. EMI soldiers are equipped with a neural node, directly linked to their monad, allowing them a greater degree of unconscious control over their exoskeleton and thrusters. When correctly attuned to a monad, this neural link enables the wearer to reach a state of flux, where complex moves in three dimensional space become as instinctive as walking or running.

The state of flux allows the soldier to focus on the other features that separate them from their Flower War counterpart. Enhanced Mobile Infantry soldiers wear full combat suits and complete light exoskeletons, enhancing their strength by a factor of three to four. Their impulse thrusters are more complex, allowing for true all aspect movement in the atmosphere and in vacuum. Shoulder and upper back racks allow them to carry flares, decoys, drones and micromissiles with at-glance lock-on and target selection. Their weapons include anti-materiel launchers, self-locking smart submachine guns, proximity mines and armor-piercing assault rifles. In modern military doctrine, Enhanced Mobile Infantry formations are envisioned as shock-focused, high-mobility, close range artillery platforms used in high-verticality environments with short lines of sight. They are often deployed in tandem with drones -- especially on low-gravity planets where hovering robots can be widely used -- that shield their movements and provide active defences. Their mobility is both tactical and operational.

In small-scale conflicts, Enhanced Mobile Infantry is often used as special operations units, leveraging their mobility for infiltration missions and targeted assassinations. Small groups of EMI soldiers have thus been at the forefront of the Causality War on Cassandre, in the Smyrnian Bubble. In the Serene Sea, EMI combatants equipped with non-causal weaponry have been fielded with great success against Sequence warforms in multiple Algorab operations.

Illustration by James Mosingo for Eclipse Phase, distributed by Posthuman Studios under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share-alike 3.0 Unported License.

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