I’ve written a bit on kites already. There are two major kites and one minor kite in the unit. Each has a very different role, so they have different equipment too.
Lir’li’se (Leer-Lee-Seh) is a female kite and somewhat of an aberration among her kind. She first appears in chapter 1 (as part of the combat scene) and is featured more prominently in chapter 3. Lir’li’se is very quiet and unassuming, and has eschewed flying during combat in favor of a heavy ground support role. Her armor is heavy with both kinetic composites and energy shields to protect her relatively delicate form. She also makes use of exoskeletal motors that help her carry her equipment. The bulkiness of this equipment rules out flight, but being committed to ground-combat allows her to carry much heavier weapons.
Hessness is quite different. A male kite, he is more typical to his species, being more outspoken and judgmental. He also fully embraces his natural abilities as part of his fighting style: Serving as aerial support. Hessness fights alongside his bonded minor kite, Apriva (more on her in another post). His equipment is more superficial, relying heavily on energy shielding to protect his body. The lack of battle composites allows him to expand his flying membranes and take flight. Shields can be very effective, especially at range, but Hessness undertakes a considerable risk by not using composites. The intent is for the speed of his flight to make him harder to hit and thus make up for the lack of armor. Along with the shield generators on the dorsal side, lifting engines on his ventral side enable him to take flight without the high winds that kites require to take off (these thrust-creating engines are also commonly used by both minor and major kites in civilian settings).
I really enjoyed drawing these sketches, since the armor strongly hints at the personalities of these two characters. Although I designed kites to contrast my own personality and sensibilities, I can’t help getting attached to these endearing critters.