K'Nes power armor consists of a powered exoskeleton and armored plates covered with millions of nanobots. The exoskeleton provides the pilot with superior strength, speed, and stamina, while the nanobots provide protection and camouflage. It's usually constructed from strong but extremely lightweight metallic alloys, plastics, or ceramics, with only a very thin layer of heavier fullerene mesh at the core, as the K'Nes ability to float requires avoiding any unnecessary weight. It is sealed, airtight, and EVA-capable.
In addition to the usual communication, sensor, and targeting systems common to all power armor, K'Nes armor is equipped with the following special features:
K'Nes power armor has several built-in hand-to-hand combat weapons. The gauntlet knuckles and toes of the boots both have retractable metal claws, and the tail is tipped with a spearhead. All blades are honed to a monomolecular edge, and can vibrate slightly up and down thousands of times a second to increase their cutting capabilities. Although the blades vibrate too fast for the eye to see, they do create a faint humming noise. K'Nes vibro-claws have been known to cut through human power armor, although getting close enough to an enemy trooper to do so is rare.
Having evolved from felines, K'Nes military strategy usually revolves around stalking their prey, pouncing hard and fast, and then retreating. Consequently, K'Nes power armor design places a high priority on camouflage, and even basic K'Nes power armor is equipped with a stealth suite. The more advanced Scout and Stealth suits are equipped with some of the best stealth suites in the known galaxy.
- Camouflage: Although the default setting of the armor's nanobot coating is black, it can change shape, color, and texture to blend in with its environment. This makes it difficult (but not impossible) to spot with the naked eye, and can even fool motion sensors to a certain degree (if the Hunter moves slowly enough).
- Cloaking: Most armor models can absorb incoming radar, lidar, and sonar signals to prevent detection by such devices, as well as drastically reduce the electromagnetic, thermal, and sonic emissions of the suit and the pilot. Although it can't mask them completely, it usually allows the Hunter to sneak much closer to their prey before being detected. More advanced (and more expensive) stealth suites take it a step further and imitate the background emissions of their environment, allowing the Hunter to close to even shorter ranges before being detected. This, combined with silent, long-range railgun small arms, allow K'Nes Hunters to lauch effective sneak attacks on their enemies.
- The nanobot coating allows the armor's torso section to expand and contract as the K'Nes pilot's body inflates or deflates.
- A helium tank mounted on the back provides lift gas for the pilot to inhale and inflate. Although K'Nes can inflate internally, the lift gas their bodies naturally produce is hydrogen, which is highly flammable. A laser or plasma bolt breaching the armor while the K'Nes is inflated could cause the pilot to literally explode. Consequently, K'Nes armor pilots inflate using the inert gas from the helium tank instead.
- K'Nes armor is equipped with multi-directional thrusters for maneuvering in flight.
- Rocket boosters can provide short bursts of high acceleration. However, because the heat signature of rockets are hard to disguise and thus compromise the armor's stealth capabilities, the boosters are generally only used during the height of combat or for a hasty retreat.
- Due to the small size of K'Nes and the corresponding limit to how much lift gas they can hold, K'Nes power armor's flight capabilities are severely limited in high-gravity environments.
- The primary weakness of K'Nes armor is the torso section. When fully expanded and inflated during flight, there are large gaps between armor plates where the Hunter is protected only of the nanobot coating, with no exoskeleton underneath. If the nanobot layer can be breached and the pilot's air sac pierced while the K'Nes is inflated and in flight, the explosive release of gas under pressure in the air sac creates a sudden thrust that can knock the pilot's flight off course (think of a balloon flying randomly around the room as it rapidly deflates). The pilot will also be effectively grounded (and much easier to catch and kill) until the armor's nanobots can repair it and the suit's emergency medical nanos can heal the damage to the pilot's air sac.
It's difficult for non-K'Nes to find a suit of K'Nes power armor for sale, although not impossible. This is not due to a lack of supply (K'Nes will sell anything to anyone for the right price), but rather a lack of demand. The armor is so specialized for the K'Nes species that it's virtually useless to others (humans, Jurvain, and Vulthra can't even fit inside it). Consequently, K'Nes manufacturers and distributors haven't bothered developing an export market for retail sale. If a K'Nes merchant is approached by an alien wanting a suit of K'Nes armor, they'll almost certainly realize that, since the alien went to a lot of time and trouble to find a suit for sale, they must really, really want it, and so the businesscat will drive the price up as much as they can before selling it—especially since the most likely uses for the armor are for equipping renegade K'Nes mercenaries or, worse yet, to reverse-engineer its technology and compete with K'Nes manufacturers.