The frame descended from its cradle and set down upon the ground in an easy, loose-limbed stance.
Unnaturally still it was a foreboding presence, even without a controller. Sleek and deadly, its blank eyes stared out into space and its matte surface seemed to blur its edges into the shade of the dimly lit room.
“This,” said the Tech-Sergeant “is a model M-33 teletrooper. State of the art, Marine issue with sealed armour and amphibious capability. The chassis will withstand sustained assault rifle fire and can deflect a .50 calibre shell. It has a responsive neural-network interface so that it can learn how you operate and vice versa. The camera array has a threat recognition and alert system with a three-sixty field of vision, thermographics, low-light and penetrating radar overlay. It’s about as strong as three men and the on-board fuel cells can keep it operating in the field for twenty-four hours without resupply. With a backpack fuel pod or standby mode this activity profile can be considerably elevated. Each unit is armed with built in bladed weapons and an arm-mounted sidearm fed from a hopper containing a hundred rounds of nine-millimetre shells. It can be armed with a variety of weapons but the standard issue is the MR-2 modular assault system. One of these babies sets back the Alliance military fund around a million ameros. Any questions?”
The slouching wiseacre at the back of the pack stood up straight and raised his hand. “If these things are so fucking badass, why aren’t we winning sarge?”
There were gasps from the other inductees but to their surprise the tech-sergeant didn’t bawl the guy out, he just reached across himself and itched at the stump of his left arm idly with his fingers and then fixed the mouth with a thousand-yard stare.
“Because, son, raising a kid to fighting age only costs a thousand.”