Versatex

Doctor Blizzard and Xerxes Chuan of the Los Angeles, California posthuman organization Westguard invented Versatex ® in the early 21st century, combining Doctor Blizzard's earlier research into nanobot-laced polyethylene with Xerxes' advanced knowledge of nanochemistry and transaramid materials. Versatex is a matrix of transaramid polymers and long-chain synthetic polymeric fibers laced with a network of nanobiotic synthetic proteins. It was designed for use in the manufacture of durable, comfortable garments, in addition to being suitable for use as a substrate for heavier, more rigid forms of protection.

One of the many advantages of Versatex is its versatility. By varying the manufacturing process, a Versatex garment can be made as light as silk or as thick as a winter coat. It may be made very thin without diminishing its durability, and it may be made quite thick without impairing its flexibility. A layer of Versatex 500 microns thick will deflect small-calibre projectiles, and a thickness of up to 8 millimeters is impervious to all but the largest of small arms while imposing minimal restrictions on the wearer's movements. A layer of Verstex one millimeter thick can be stretched 600% and return to its original shape. By fine-tuning the manufacturing process, the material may be made even more flexible or more durable (one at the expense of the other, naturally).

In addition to its tensile strength and overall durability, Versatex is also remarkably stable. It is chemically inert, highly resistant to extremes of temperature (exposure to temperatures as low as -172°C and as high as 523°C cause little change in its physical properties), and does not break down in contact with body oils, detergents, solvents, acids, and bases. The interlaced nanobiotic network allows the material to adapt to extreme environments, and to repair itself when damaged. No external power supply is needed: Versatex uses the wearer's own perspiration and shed skin cells as fuel, which has a side benefit of keeping the user cool, dry, and clean.

What makes Versatex truly special is its ability to adapt to posthuman abilities. By making subtle refinements in the nanobiots' programming, a Versatex garment can withstand and adapt to nearly any predefined environment or condition. A posthuman who can generate extreme heat, for example, will have no need to fear damaging her clothing when she uses her abilities. The same can be said of cold, acid, sonics, gravitics, and so on. Furthermore, a character who can make herself transparent or intangible can be sure that their custom-designed Versatex garment will become transparent or intangible, when appropriate, and return to its normal state when the wearer does.

The patent for Versatex is owned jointly by Doctor Blizzard, Xerxes Chuan, and Westguard, Inc. Using the design expertise of Tapestry, Westguard provides fashionable, technologically superior attire to any law-abiding posthuman who can pay the manufacturing fee for the material (profits from this exercise are donated to a charity of the wearer's choice). However, the significant difficulty and high cost for manufacturing Versatex has prevented its widespread adoption; Versatex will not displace Ultraweave in the military and civilian markets for many years, if ever. Even so, the material has been licensed to several agencies of the United States government, including NASA and the DARPA, and field tests are currently under way in the hope that manufacturing advances in the next decade will reduce the cost.