From Unofficial Handbook of the Virtue Universe
The Mecha-Stripe series is the culmination of a lifetime of research, diligent work, and cause of a few pre-emptive garage explosions.
All version of the Mecha-Stripe powered armors are designed to fit around their pilot, usually James Henry Blake. He is sometimes known to remote pilot the suits when he cannot get away from his daily obligations as a teacher and aerospace engineer.
- Mark I
Tanker Class suit - Makes use of the Invulnerability Field Generator and mechanical advantage of kinetic motion (i.e., fisticuffs).
- Mark II
Giant Robot - Didn't do well. See Mass Shifting below.
- Mark III
Defender Class suit - The Mark III is the current jewel of the series as it has incorporated most, if not all, of the technological advancements of all previous models.
- Naval Research Model
Blaster Class suit - The NRM is different than previous models in that if was designed to fit a role, as opposed to pursuing an avenue of research. It does not appear to have been a successful experiment, but it may be repurposed later.
- Mark IV
Tanker Class suit - Basic Energy Melee research. Model Discontinued.
- Mark V
Blaster Class suit - Being designed with energy output as the main focus with a secondary goal of energy usage reduction. Damage reduction methods are not in employ at this time.
There have been other experimental models, but these generally are more foot notes than anything else. It is however notable that the defunct Mark IV's energy melee attack has been transfered to the Mark III in the form of "Total Focus".
Construction and Materials
All suits were machined and assembled by Angel Aviation, Paragon City Research Branch.
There have been many varied sources of power for the suit over the years. Early non-combat models used conventional batteries and tethered power sources. At one point there was an attempt to run the suit off of steam, much like the works of Lord Nemesis.
Currently, all modern suits use a Casimir Effect Generator, tapping into the energy of interacting metal plates at a quantum level. It is almost literally "energy from nothing". While energy from nothing sounds spectacular in a Powerpoint presentation, it takes some time to build up in the capacitors. This leads to frequent but temporary loss of sufficient power for systems. Serious thought has been given to redistribution of the inner workings of the Mark I and III systems to allow for additional energy storage capacity.
The Invulnerability Field Generator
Despite appearances, the Invulnerability Field was not the primary intention of the first model suit. The field was intended to be used in conjunction with energy blasts, but this would not be immediately possible. The IFG works very similar to the Personal Force Field Generator (discussed below) in that it is not directly possible to direct energy pulses OUT of said field. Later research with the force field generator yielded solutions to these problems. The Mark I armor series has
The Mark II model was a complete disaster by everyone's account. How Mr. Blake still has all extremities intact is a mystery to this day. It was designed from the beginning to lengthen and expand to grow to what is referred to as "Giant Monster" range. This never quite panned out as the IFG didn't adapt to changes in scale very well. Since the IFG was the cornerstone of a 30+ foot tall Mecha-Stripe, the project was put on indefinite hold and is generally regarded as the least fruitful of the series.
Force Field Generator
The Force Field Generator is not a new invention by any stretch of the imagination. There are records of Lord Nemesis using them as early as the 1930s. There are other groups in Paragon who've made use of them such as the Sky Raiders, Longbow, and quite notably the Ritki. The Mecha-Stripe FFG is notable for it's ability to emit multiple fields on multiple objects with varied polarities performing multiple actions.
The Mark III FFG has the ability to generate the following:
- A Personal Force Field - a high defense personal envelope of protection, prevents attacks both ways
- Force Bolts - a low damage, high knockback bolt of force energy
- Deflection Shields - protects allies from physical attacks
- Insulation Shields - protects allies from various forms of energy attacks
- Dispersion Bubbles - protects allies and self from all manner of attacks, not perfect
- Detainment Fields - contains a target in a short-lived PFF bubble
- Repulsion Field - continual waves of force energy emanate from the suit, knocking most foes over
- Force Bubble - larger version of Repulsion Field, has been known to annoy melee based Heroes
Energy Blast Emitters
Not all Mecha-Stripe developments came from James Henry Blake himself. A great example of this is the Energy Blast Emitters invented by his wife, the lovely Angela Blake, also known as BLU-Angel. The design is beautiful and elegant and they don't quite interface right with the current power supply for Mecha-Stripe. As such they appear to be capped at two-thirds of the potential as BLU-Angel's.
James was born in Bethesda, MD to Lt. Henry Blake and Eva Blake. They were happy to enter the joys of parenthood. James's early life was generally good. Due to his father's military service, he moved around quite often. James read books, devoured science journals, and tinkered with surplus car parts. At 14, he built his first turbojet engine.
While MIT, Harvard, and Princeton are prestigious schools, none of them have access to the hero community like Paragon City University.
James Henry Blake interned at Portal Corp.
Circle of Jerks
No one in the the Circle of Jerks likes to admit it, but Mecha-Stripe's first supergroup was The Circle of Jerks. No one's really sure why. No one.
The American Legion
In late 2007, Mecha-Stripe was recruited to The American Legion by American Wonder. He has since gone on to make himself quite at home in their base.
The "Freedom" Earth version of James Henry Blake is Echo Operative, a member of that universe's American Legion known as Freedom Squadron. James does not make use of any mechanized armor suits there, but still carries that technical savvy that Virtue's doppleganger does.