Shields are the common term for the barriers projected by starships used among space faring civilizations. Generally, shields protect from radiation, space debris, other high velocity particles, and the heat created when entering and exiting atmospheres.
Military Grade Shielding, true shields, protects from weapons fire be it: Railgun projectiles, LASER beams, Plasma particles, missiles, other ballistics weapons, and anti-matter. Shields normally work through repulsion/deflection, or absorption. Shielding, has been seen to work through static charge (repulsion or deflection) which build up on incoming projectiles and the same charge is present on the shielding, causing the forces to repel away from each other, or energy based weapons become charged causing them to “bounce” off the shielding. Shields have also been seen to convert energy to stop forces (kinetic, heat, light radiation) by converting the force to light energy and then absorbing the light energy and “solidifying” it, creating a barrier.
These types of shielding are seen on military warships, variable on a per faction, per class, and per size of ship basis. In many cases, factions will often have an analogue or an equivalent method.
Types of shields[edit | edit source]
Two main types of shields are commonly used among space faring civilizations, each have their own strengths and weaknesses alike. Both types are used, though the Electron Particle Field is much more common than Photon Condensement Fields. However, current technological limitations prevent a single ship from having both types of shields.
|Types of Shields||Effectiveness vs Energy||Effectiveness vs Projectiles||Effectiveness vs Anti-Matter|
|Electron Particle Fields||70/100(Good)||75/100(Good)||30/100(Poor)|
|Photon Condensement Fields||90/100(Excellent)||50/100(Satisfactory)||65/100(Fair)|
Electron Particle Fields[edit | edit source]
Electron Particle Fields or EPF’s for short are the most common, and the most conventional of the two types of shielding. EPF’s work by orbiting an astronomical amount of electrons which in turn orbit the target that it is protecting. The EPF’s function by creating negative static charges on projectiles (missiles and railgun shots) causing them to repel away from the already negatively charged shielding, or in the case of energy based weapons, the electrons from the shields will “tag along” with the LASER shot or Plasma beam. Causing an overall charge to form, which is then repelled away from the shielding, and have been witnessed to on occasion physically bounce off the shields if contact is made.
Electron Particle Fielding is easily detectible, the sheer amount of electrons absorbing, then emitting radiation from the vacuum of space makes them blatantly visible on the EM spectrum pale blue or slightly violet coloured light has been seen in addition to the UV radiation.
Despite this, EPF’s are easier to maintain because most larger ships are seen with fission (corvette and higher) or fusion (medium/heavy frigate and higher) reactors powering them, generally through electricity. The fission or fusion plants can supply the emitters with the electric energy required to run. There is no conversion of energy involved to emit and maintain an Electron Particle Field.
EPF’s are in general, fairly effective at stopping conventional based weapons, which include LASER, Plasma, Missiles, Torpedos, other ballistics, and Railgun projecticles. The trade-off of being an ‘all-rounder’ with conventional weapons it that antimatter torpedoes or other antimatter based weapons can crack the shielding quite easily. This is explained in that antimatter effectively punches a hole in the shielding because antimatter and matter cancel each other out.
The EPF shielding system decays under bombardment. This is because as energy is repelled or deflected, the static charges on it slowly consumes the supply of electrons available. Although they are replaced by the emitters as needed, if the amount of electrons lost are greater than that being added, the shielding strength decays. EPF’s are known to be 100% effective at stopping incoming energy so long as the shielding decay does not fall below 60%. (Antimatter causes the most decay per-shot than any other weapon to the EPF’s). After EPF decay falls below 60% the shielding may no longer stop incoming projectiles. The lower the overall strength of EPF shielding, the more likely projectiles are to break through.
Photon Condensement Fields[edit | edit source]
The second type of shielding, the less common Photon Condensement Fields, or PCF’s for short. PCF’s function the same why an EPF’s does, but by using Photons instead of Electrons, having them orbit the ship it is protecting and preventing harmful projectiles from reaching the ship.
PCF’s absorb incoming forces be they kinetic, light, or thermal, and convert them to energy. The photons absorb the energy and temporarily condense to form a barrier which nothing is passed through. PCF’s to function require a different type of projector, which is not nearly as efficient as EPF projectors. The trade-off is that PCF’s can be powered by H-Fuel cells seen in smaller ships, and have the potential to be used on small craft.
PCF’s are nearly undetectable until energy is absorbed into the shielding, causing them to solidify, which reflects non-shielding photons, that can be seen. Shielding photons travel in a path and can only been seen visibly if one were to stand in the path of the shielding. Because of this, visual scans cannot see the photons unless they are within the path, and most sensors use reflection as a detection for photons. Effectively, they remain invisible until struck.
PCF’s are highly efficient at converting light based (LASERs) and heat/light Based (plasma) or otherwise “energy” weapons into the usable energy that causes the field to condense the photons and create a barrier. Because of this nature, PCF’s unlike ECF’s are fairly effective at converting antimatter based weapons into the useable energy required to cause condensing of the photons. This is because photons have volume, possess energy, but do not have mass. This means that antimatter will collide with the photons, but does not destroy the particle whereas the electrons in ECF’s have mass, energy, and volume, which the Anti-Matter destroys.
The conversion of forces applied to PCF’ are not as effective at turning kinetic, missiles/torpedoes and other ballistic based weapons into the energy that is required to create the barrier in the photon field. Kinetic projectiles, such as that from railguns, have been observed to, on rare occasions, ignore PCF based shields entirely and puncture right through while maintaining the amount of force it possessed after being fired. In the case of missiles and torpedoes, they do more damage to the shielding.
Unlike EPF’s, in with their stopping power decreases with strength, PCF shields are 100% effective so long as the amount of energy they are giving off is equal to that they are receiving. Breaking PCF shields, requires specifically the individual photons, with each successive shot, they will not lose the entirety of their energy gained. They will retain small amounts of energy, but remain in their non-solidified state, this effect is referred to as “Photonic Energy Retention”. This means, when energy is applied to the shielding, the photon or photons may not solidify, and the energy will not be stopped, but instead allowed to pass through the shielding entirely. Ballistics, missiles, torpedoes, and railgun projectiles, energy is not as easily converted, meaning, some energy is lost back into space and only a percentage is absorbed into the shields. These lower levels of energy being absorbed is what causes the quickest build up of energy retention within PCF’s. For this reason, kinetic or ballistic based weapons are considered to be the most effective against PCF shielding.