In all but the safest systems combat is unavoidable and in order to deal with hostile situations most ships possess shields, a selection of forward facing cannons, at least one missile launcher and sometimes a number of turrets. The following subsections describe how each of these systems should be used.
Shields are polarising filters capable of blocking electromagnetic radiation and as such only provide protection against Lasers. All projectile based weaponry such Railguns, Plasma Cannons and Missiles are completely immune to their presence. Although the application of shields is highly specific their need should not be underestimated as in many respects a Laser is without peer as an offensive weapon.
A single shield unit supplies 10MW of power which is distributed across the surface area of the object to be protected. The larger the surface area displaced the more shield units will be required to provide 100% protection against Laser fire. As the shield absorbs electromagnetic energy its power will be progressively depleted and once it falls below a certain threshold then damage to the ship’s metalwork will be sustained if hits are incurred.
The data sheets for a particular spacecraft design should be consulted in order to determine how many units will be required to provide 100% protection. However this should be viewed as a minimum value as it simply represents a threshold at which full immunity is reached and most vessels operate with an overbooking factor of several times this amount. It should also be borne in mind that a single shield unit recharges at a rate of 30KW/second and that this value is augmented as the number shield units is increased.