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|Vehicles||Aircraft • Ground vehicle • Spaceship|
|Technologies||Computer technology (Communication • Sensors) • Hull (Materials science) • Hyperdrive • Hyperspace • Shields technology • Weapons technology|
Shields technology is an advanced space-age energy-based technology utilized by the majority of modern Appearence civilizations to provide additional, reusable protection above that that materials provide.
Ever since the first beings picked up that natural material with a large surface area and used it to stop a rock being thrown at them, people have been finding new, exciting ways to protect themselves from projectiles of death.
There's quite a large gap between that point and large-scale energy barriers capable of stopping most death-causing matter from passing through, but we don't quite know what fills that gap yet.
For most larger-than-man military units, Energy shields are used. On spaceships they are an essential technology. Current energy shield technologies create an energy barrier that doesn't allow any matter through except light and sometimes air. Are shields one way or two way? If they're two-way, frequencies need to be used so that weapons fire and friendly objects can traverse the shield. The amount of protection a fully-charged shield can provide per unit of area is mainly dictated by, in decreasing order of prominence, the sophistication of the shield technology, the amount of power supplied, and environmental factors. Shields mostly come in the form of ellipsoid bubbles formed around the object, though with more advanced technology the shield can be configured to conform to the contours of the object it is meant to protect. This is not particularly advantageous though as it could potentially increase the surface area. For optimal surface area, the shield takes a hybrid form between ellipsoid and contour-conformance.
Based on a shield's sophistication, specific sections of the shield may be enhanced in lieu of other sections in case they are being bombarded only in a specific spot, which is usually the case. With appropriate sensors, use of this technology can be optimized to track incoming ordnance and divert power to shields only to the very small section it will impact. While sectional shield prioritization is rather widespread in military applications, it is quite uncommon on civilian vessels as it can be an expensive technology.
As a shield is impacted by high-energy discharges, including energy weapons and physical objects with high-explosives or high velocities, the shield's integrity will begin to fail. Usually as a shield's integrity lowers, some parts begin to fluctuate between operation and non-operations; the effect of this is that occasionally ordnance will be let through, with the percent of successful penetration increasing as the shield's integrity lowers. Integrity is usually quantified as a "percent of shields remaining". If a shield is hit by something that exceeds its capacity, the shield may fail before the object has completely been destroyed by the shield. Due to this, in ship-to-ship combat there have been cases of ships ramming other ships. When the ship's shields are down, the remaining part of the ramming ship continues on its course to the other ship's hull. In exceptional cases where ships both with shields up have collided, the both shields incredibly rapidly lose integrity. The least powerful ship's shields fail completely and the more powerful ship's shields tend to be on the brink of failure.
Shields vary in their recharge time, and it is usually a trade-off between time taken to recharge and initial power. For medium applications such as on a spaceship, usually shields can withstand bombardment from an equivalent ship for anywhere between 5 and 30 minutes, and they take a few hours to recharge. For smaller applications such as aircraft and personnel use, recharge time being short is a priority, whereas for large scale applications such as bases or entire planets, being able to withstand bombardment for a long time is a requirement, so recharge is very slow, the slowest to recharge taking several months.
Shields are emitted from generators. On spaceships, these would usually be fairly large rooms housed deep within the ship to ensure operation even when the hull is being bombarded. The same applies to ground vehicles and aircraft, but obviously on a smaller scale. For planets, there is no one shield emitter capable of covering most planets in their entirety, so more than one is used if full planetary coverage is required.
Armor for infantry use at the moment is limited due to the size and weight of shield emitters. Some applications include
- Mobile shield generator: A small vehicle, either remote controlled or driven, that provides a small bubble of coverage from within which infantry can fire. Usually they provide cover within about 3-10 meters.
- Energy-enhanced ballistic shields: A ballistic shield may be enhanced with an energy shield covering its front. The shield generator is attached to the ballistic shield, increasing its weight significantly. The way current technology stands, it is not yet cost-effective.