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November 8, 2011
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Dark Nova: NAU Support Walker by Breandan-OCiarrai Dark Nova: NAU Support Walker by Breandan-OCiarrai
A battlewalker from the Dark Nova Roleplaying Game

After the various rounds of crushing defeats on the ground by the Freemen during the Free Systems Alliance's bid for independence, the North American Union was left reeling. The Freemen militias had managed to take on and defeat one of the biggest and oldest superpowers in known space. Battlefield analysis detailed the perfect blend of layered heavy armour, speed, agility, and precise, brutal firepower used by the Freemen to gain the upper hand. While undoubtedly aided by other nations in this effort during the war- the Ahruga openly admitted as much, and intelligence indicates that both the Australio-Pacifica Coalition and Andali Confederation were selling military-grade munitions nanites and virtual blueprint systems for mass production- the walkers and powered armour were unquestionably designed and built by the Free Systems Alliance.

Learning from this painful lesson, the NAU quietly initiated a subtle industrial espionage campaign that netted them an impressive insight into Freeman armour manufacturing. The first battlewalker fielded based on this tech was the Grizzly assault walker, but the American military planners also noticed a glaring gap between their powered armour suits and the Grizzly. Thus was the North American Union's very first support walker- the Cougar- brought to life.

Unlike assault walkers, which largely move around the battlefield at a distance as artillery support, support walkers provide heavy firepower to infantry units engaged on the front lines. They must be tough, fast, agile, and heavily shielded to survive these engagements. Being between fifteen and twenty feet tall, support walkers are giant walking bullseyes begging to be shot if they slow down. Thus, the emphasis on agility and speed is much higher than in assault walkers. That being said, it is inevitable that support walkers WILL get the snot pounded out of them, by small arms and man-portable heavy weapons especially, so they are even more heavily shielded than assault walkers.

The Cougar is a design that, shockingly, actually works. The Grizzly was the result of nearly seventy years of horrid military engineering steered by political committees and agendas, and took seven decades to produce a viable walker out of the mess that was the Arbalest. The Cougar, on the other hand, had no precedent, and came off the factory floor in late 2317 as a viable, well-balanced combatant.

One of the most notable design elements of the Cougar is her asymmetrical weapons loadout. The left weapons nacelle contains two potent AP lancers, and the "shoulder"/torso area houses the Cougar's compliment of 16 SRMs in a four-volley launcher, and 12 LRMs in a six-volley battery. The opposite nacelle contains a 150mm APPC, one of the first anti-proton particle projection weapons fielded on an American walker due to past issues with reactor drain, and a conventional particle beam weapon. The right "shoulder"/torso mounts the only other HVMAC Gauss cannon fielded by the NAU to date, but it is a smaller, rotary-barrel model, only 20mm as opposed to the Grizzly's 30mm. Ironically, the Cougar carries far more ammunition for its HVMAC than the Grizzly, making the weapon more effective on this model of walker over the long haul.

Center-hull weapon systems have not been overlooked, either. A 50mm anti-personnel light PPC is mounted in the nose under the cockpit nose. Just behind the cockpit, in a recessed area, is a light AP lancer ball turret for anti-missile defense. A second such ball turret is in the rear near the ENWO modules.

Speaking of those, the Cougar does something rather innovative- it mounts a substantial amount of Electronic and Network Warfare Operations (ENWO) equipment, ranging from signal displacers and holographic emitters to fool targeting sensors all the way up to a built-in VR chair in the gunnery seat for remote netjacking operations. Comm jammers and encrypted comm gear, as well as a variety of other ECM/ECCM gear- come standard on the Cougar.

A collaboration between :iconjepray: 's pen-n-paper art mastery and my digi-fu. Basically, I made a frankenmech that came out looking pretty slick, IMHO, to fix an issue we had with the original design so it didn't go to waste.

Dark Nova Games

The information in the writeup and artwork- as well as any image based off of it- is the exclusive property of Dark Nova Games. All rights reserved. Any other use of these artwork images, without the expressed written consent of Dark Nova Games, is strictly prohibited. This image is copyright protected by United States and International Law.
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SIERRA-116 Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2014
It does have a slight resemblance to the Nova Omnimech.
Breandan-OCiarrai Featured By Owner Apr 19, 2014  Professional Writer
I asked Jeff to design a battlewalker that was basically an Apache with feet. This is what he came up with :D
Breandan-OCiarrai Featured By Owner Apr 25, 2014  Professional Writer
yeah, I could see the similarity
SIERRA-116 Featured By Owner May 21, 2014
Wonder what's more powerful?
Breandan-OCiarrai Featured By Owner May 27, 2014  Professional Writer
this one hands-down due the vast technological differences between Dark Nova and Battletech (shields, microreactors and nanobatteries, advanced AI ancillary targeting and logistics support, far tougher armour, far greater maneuverability, AG fields instead of jump jets, etc.) Don't get me wrong, I love Battletech, but the canonical tech levels of the two settings are worlds apart. One is not better than the other, just two different approaches to the universes of the respective games.
SIERRA-116 Featured By Owner May 27, 2014
I see. But it still probably would have difficulty facing a War Sphinx. Or it's evolution, the Seeker.
SpectorKnight Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2011
Awesome design. :)
Breandan-OCiarrai Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2011  Professional Writer
thanks :)
Evandril Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2011
Ummm..."The Freemen militias had managed to take on and defeat one of the biggest and oldest superpowers in known space... and won."? :P
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