Marrowbone Armor
Marrowbone Armour
Image from Steve Bowers
Multi-layered marrowbone armour with a black, ablative outer layer; when this armour is attacked by a beam weapon, the topmost layer vapourises easily, carrying away heat and revealing a mirrored surface
"Cool armor, Khadir," 7Sengya tells him.

Khadir beams at her, and thumps his armored chest, like Tarzan. "Imposing, yes? Kettlebeck dug up the specifications on his fab. He calls it marrowbone. I would tell you the specs but, well, you're a possible alien infiltrator who might attempt to consume our brains at any moment, and I don't want to be too forthcoming...and to be truthful, I don't understand Kettlebeck particularly clearly anyway when he gets going...."

Those little golden glyphs are flickering in front of 7Sengya's eyes again. "Marrowbone armor: late Nanoswarm Era design," she recites. "Primarily multiple layers of laminated diamondoid. Contains a soft interior layer of repair nanocaches, along with an embedded nano-capillary system to dispense 'blue goo' nano-defenses to repel dissembler attacks. The outer layer is composed of a polished ablative polymer; the interior layer is coated with lead and/or boron for radiation shielding of up to twelve hundred know, for those uncomfortable moments when some asshole detonates a neutron bomb in your particular zip code." She smiles at him, benignly.

Khadir stares at her, mouth momentarily agape. "Uhm...yes," he says. "That sounds...about right...well, except for the bit about the repair nanos. Apparently the fab won't produce nanotech assemblers, for whatever reason...."

"No, it wouldn't," 7Sengya says, again with that infuriatingly knowing smile. "Still a nice old museum piece, though." Khadir winces, ever so slightly, and she smiles sweetly right back at him, and it occurs to me 7Sengya might be feeling the slightest bit waspish about her own blue ovaries, herself. "So...when are we going?"

"The Guard's rounding up everybody we know in the Valley now," Khadir tells her, glances over at me, and tips his shades back down over his eyes with a slight cringe. "Or, well, as soon as your boyfriend Justin, here, puts his pants back on," he allows.

-Snapshot from "Dirty Hands"

This type of armor was originally developed near the end of the Technocalypse and has evolved into many different forms and specialities since its creation. It combines protection from high-powered weaponry with close combat armor and defenses against gray or khaki goo attacks. This armor type gets its name from the thick biont bones that it resembles.

The construction of the armor is as follows:

1: The outermost layer is a combination of diamondoid and other hyperstrong materials. They are laminated together so as to rob a projectile of force by causing it to expand between the layers and possibly plug its own hole. The armor is also polished to a high mirror shine and covered with irregular organic ridges. This texture can deflect incoming projectiles and melee attacks. The ridges can also defocus an energy beam and diffuse its power.

2: Inside the hard outer layer is a spongy mid-layer. The "marrow" is loaded with nanofabrication systems and nanite storage cells. When the armor's integral sensors detect damage to the structure these systems send repair nanites to patch any damage to the outer laminate layer. The system will push blue goo through nano-capillaries on the surface of the armor to combat attacking nano agents before they get through the outer layers.

3. The innermost layer of armor is a diamondoid laminate that is thicker than the exterior layer. This hopefully prevents any further penetration past the armor. The inner layer is often laced with boron, lead or some other material that is suitable for radiation shielding.

Some forms of Marrowbone Armor have an exterior layer that is coated with a black ablative material. This substance is a thick, rubbery polymer that absorbs energy extremely well. The material quickly boils off when superheated by an energy weapon like a laser. It can even shed hot spots quickly by popping off blisters of material through steam pressure. The ablative layer forms a stiff skin in contact with air, thereby leaving the looser energy absorbent material free to boil and build up pressure to remove the energy quickly. This can cause burns to anyone who is standing too close when the ablative layer flash-vaporizes or pops a blister. This variant can be regenerating with a modification to the "marrow" of the armor. Other outer coatings include thin layers of programmable matter that provide excellent shielding from EM-based attacks (i.e. lasers and masers).
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Development Notes
Text by Michael Boncher
Initially published on 11 December 2004.