The hypermembrane is a mysterious sapient suit that is the source of Empowered's abilities.
The hypermembrane is incredibly clingy and skin-tight. It will not function properly if anything is worn over or under it, including a cape. The top opens and molds around Elissa's hair follicles, providing her with head protection while making it appear she is wearing a mask. The suit is incredibly fragile and easily torn.
The suit sometimes sparkles, usually when its abilities are being used to a high extent. On one occasion, in E.M.P. and the Nukenin Princess, the suit sprouted wings. Empowered did not appear to notice or remember afterwards.
The hypermembrane's origin, as shown in Don't Let Them Bury Me; I'm Not (Quite) Dead is that it appeared out of thin air in a FedEx envelope addressed to Elissa Megan Powers and landed on the ground in front of her apartment.
The hypermembrane only functions for Elissa. It grants her many major and minor abilities. However, the powers it grant decrease if it is damaged or if Elissa feels insecure.
When intact, the hypermembrane gives Elissa the strength of ten to fifteen men. At the beginning of her career, even the slightest tear would cause her to lose all of her strength; however, as her confidence in herself has increased, so has the amount of damage the suit can suffer without her losing her powers. In Because This Is What I Am, Empowered is able to deliver a massive beatdown on dWARf! despite her suit's tattered state.
The hypermembrane also has the ability to fire energy blasts, which make the noise "vorp". This ability is highly dependent on Empowered's confidence; in It's Like This, she states that she can't do it if her suit's too torn up, or if she's too distracted, or scared, or if she didn't get enough sleep the night before. While her vorps are normally non-fatal -- Frank is only knocked unconscious when vorped in the face in Blueberry Pancakes -- the suit produces a vorp powerful enough to vaporize a group of Ayakami Clan ninja in E.M.P. and the Nukenin Princess.
Despite its incredible fragility, the suit serves as effective armor, absorbing damage that would otherwise be suffered by Empowered. It protects her from the impact of bullets in That's What You'd Think, and from a ten-story fall in Reducing the Uppity. It slowly repairs itself over time, regenerating any damage it has suffered.
The suit's mask has lenses which provide numerous imaging options, including magnification and x-ray vision, used in Fruity Flakes. It can also provide partial translations of some alien languages, seen in Hell Bent or Heaven Sent.
The suit can turn invisible, in whole or in part, though Empowered herself remains visible and therefore naked. This ability is first seen in Too Much Information.
In Because This Is What I Am, Empowered discovers that the suit gives her the ability to cling to any surface. In Reducing The Uppity, she discovers that it can allow her to survive in hard vacuum, even when torn in multiple places.
The suit can make telephone calls, an ability which the Caged Demonwolf uses to speak with Elissa's Mother.
According to the Caged Demonwolf, the suit has the ability to mimic a human's thoughstream. Comments made by the Caged Demonwolf in Denial at Flood Stage and Upon My Back, the Monkey of Worry suggest that it uses this ability in Say That I Deserve This to fool Mindfuck's mind-reading ability so that she'll force Empowered through the emergency Lotus Nodes portal.
Finally, the suit appears to be sapient. It can move under its own power and assume the proportions of Elissa's body when she isn't wearing it; however, it seems to be hiding its sapience from Elissa, and only uses these powers in the presence of the Caged Demonwolf.