Like all Cobras who have served as Strato-Vipers, Astro-Vipers are surgically enhanced to better withstand low pressure environs. Unlike their Star-Viper counterparts, however, Astro-Vipers have not been cybernetically augmented, simply relying on additional training to do their jobs.
Resistance to Pressure Variance: allowing them to fly aircraft far above Angstrom's Line, Astro-Vipers are surgically enhanced to better withstand the inhospitable conditions there. As such, they resist low pressure conditions with Amazing (50) ability.
Limitations / Enhancements:
Manned Mobile Unit: attached to their space suits via a metallic harness, this equipment allows Astro-Vipers to maneuver in space otherwise unaided - the better to fix broken Cobra space junk or to create some of the same from enemy hardware. It has these features:
* Flight: though it does not move an Astro-Viper particularly fast, the MMU nonetheless allows them motion in three dimensions while in orbit, as long as micro-gravity situations apply. Its rear thrusters allow Feeble (2) space flight, moving at up to 375 MPH.
* Lasers: these cannons rest over the shoulders of Astro-Vipers while equipped with their MMU, allowing them to fire on enemy forces - or engage in a bit of emergency spot-welding. They inflict Good (10) Armor Piercing Energy damage each, raised +1 CS if both are utilized.
Space Suit: Astro-Vipers cannot function in space without, well, a space suit. Theirs are equipped for long stints in the void, for they are often called upon to either repair Cobra space gear in orbit or destroy GI Joe's space vehicles. These suits provide the following benefits:
* Damage Reduction: designed to help Astro-Vipers survive micrometeorite impacts, their space suits can greatly reduce the force of incoming Shooting damage - which naturally has combat applications. All incoming damage of this type is reduced by -3 CS before affecting an Astro-Viper.
* Environmental Independence: though food is not included in the Astro-Viper's support package, it is equipped with enough water and breathable air to function for about a full day before it needs a refill. In other words, it provides this power for air and water at Excellent (20) rank.
* Resistance to Cold, Pressure Variance, and Ionizing Radiation: the better to facilitate work in the inky blackness of space, Astro-Vipers' space suits provide Monstrous (75) resistance to these damage forms, letting them last in space's vacuum as long as their air holds out.
Aerial Combat: one does not become an Astro-Viper without being an effective fighter pilot, as they cannot earn this rank until they've served time as a Strato-Viper first. As such, they may attempt combat FEAT rolls while flying any aircraft at a +1 CS.
Astronaut: trained to function in space as well as on earth, Astro-Vipers possess numerous skills their Strato-Viper forebears do not. They can effectively operate spacecraft, navigate in three dimensions, handle variable gravity, and even traverse hostile environs with a +1 CS bonus.
Guns: all Cobra operatives have the ability to wield firearms in combat, and Astro-Vipers are no exception to this rule. They may discharge any standard, semi-automatic, or fully automatic rifle or pistol as if their Agility was +1 CS higher than is listed above.
Martial Arts type A or B: furthermore, Astro-Vipers are well-versed in the art of self-defense. They either wield type a, allowing them to Slam or Stun foes regardless of their comparative Strength or Endurance, or b, granting them a +1 CS to hit in unarmed combat.
Military: Cobra pilots who have earned the rank of Astro-Viper will have mastered this talent long ago in their criminal careers. It allows them to function effectively within a combat unit, and gives them insight into Cobra's byzantine organizational structure.
Piloting: the skill which Cobra initially recruited them for, Astro-Vipers are all highly competent pilots, and most of them are true experts in their field. Astro-Vipers may attempt actions to Control aircraft while in the air at a +1 CS to their normal rank.
Repair / Tinkering: as their primary job involves the upkeep of Cobra's satellites and other space vehicles that are beyond the bounds of earth, Astro-Vipers are trained by the Techno-Vipers in orbital maintenance and repair techniques, gaining a +1 CS on applicable FEATs.
Spatial Combat: while their Star-Viper counterparts have the benefit of a Stellar Stiletto in a scrap, Astro-Vipers don't. Thus, they are trained to wage war in multiple gravity conditions, and may do so without penalty - whether fighting in microgravity or hypergravity.
While technically more expendable than their Star-Viper counterparts, Astro-Vipers are nonetheless highly valued by the Cobra Command. They are elite mechanics that maintain Cobra's space technology in the field, after all, who double as orbital infantry when required.
Astro-Vipers' uniforms are, in fact, space suits! They feature a crimson upper body and jet black lower body, with crimson gloves, jet black boots, a chromed harness with gold trim, chrome braces to hold their legs steady while at work, and a black helmet with a golden, mirrored visor.
Becoming an Astro-Viper is an arduous task. To begin with, prospective applicants must already be Strato-Vipers, who themselves must have logged over 1,500 hours of flight time, be rated on numerous fixed-wing aircraft, and have extensive combat experience.
Then they must study the maintenance and repair of Cobra's space technology with the Techno-Vipers, who are generally unforgiving in their education. Finally, they must learn how to fight in various gravity situations - whether on a planetary surface or in the void!
While familiar with the operation of Cobra spacecraft, Astro-Vipers generally don't pilot them. Instead, they are unleashed into space from Cobra's vehicles to either maintain its satellite network, repair various other spacecraft, or put the hurt on enemy equipment and personnel.
They are deployed often, which is just how Astro-Vipers like it. One does not become a Cobranaut, after all, unless they like it in space. They exult in the cold, dark silence of the void, which to them is an end unto itself. Their various duties are merely their ticket into space.
Astrosmasher: like many Cobra operatives this year, the Astro-Vipers traded in their regular hardware for a missile launcher! Their Astrosmashers can fire one projectile at a time, each of which works for them using the following vehicular characteristics:
Remarkable (30) Edged Attack (fragmentary)
Knife: since even the smallest cut can doom someone in space, Astro-Vipers now carry long, serrated blades with them into combat. These knives are made from Remarkable (30) m.s. materials, and can either cut through items of up to like m.s., or inflict Edged Attack damage in melee.
Laser Rifle: no longer armed with their MMUs, Astro-Vipers replaced that utility backpack with a conventional laser rifle. They can fire coherent photon beams from this weapon that inflict Good (10) Armor Piercing Energy damage, and can do so ten times per power pack.
Submachine Gun: useful for fighting foes with less sturdy space suits, this weapon can discharge a single round to inflict Typical (6) Shooting damage, a short burst of rounds to inflict Good (10) Shooting damage, or fire continuously to inflict Excellent (20) Shooting damage.
The second Astro-Viper costume is also a space suit! It is turquoise in color, featuring similarly hued gloves and boots, a black harness with gold trim, black metal braces to steady their legs while working, and a golden face mask under a black helmet with a mirrored green visor.
Cobra directories featuring a version of Astro-Vipers:
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