Void Shield Clarifications
One concept of space travel that is not clearly explained in the core books is that of the void shield. What is explained is that “Void shields create barriers of energy around a starship to protect it from stellar debris and incoming fire.” Yet how is it that, during starship combat, enemy fighters can perform boarding actions? To clarify, as best I can, void shields operate on an automatic, pre-programmed functionality that determines when exceptions must be made. Typically void shields will be off when the ships augury sensors do not detect any harmful debris within a range of twenty VU’s. It is a misconception that objects in space do not lose momentum but in fact do when within proximity to another celestial body with a gravitational field such as planets or large asteroids. Such celestial bodies would cause floating debris to either “slingshot” off of it if it is moving at too high a velocity or become ensnared into by its gravity and maintain an orbit or be pulled down to its surface where it will impact. A starship, when struck by tiny stellar debris that is stationary or slow moving, is resilient enough to provide enough protection without void shields against. Fast moving debris that is a threat to a ship’s hull or external components are picked up automatically by system augurs, analyzed, and will automatically turn on void shields if it deems the debris a threat, which all happens in nanoseconds. Plainly put, a ship is able to detect stellar debris as well as its rate of velocity to make calculations as to whether the shield must be activated. The purpose of the detection/activation feature is to prevent excess overuse of plasma drive energy. Another reason for this is in the case of a crisis where onboard systems may prove unresponsive during an evacuation making it impossible to launch escape pods safely should void shields be on and non-responsive to disabling commands. Some paranoid ship captains prefer to keep their void shields active at all times however.
In regards to firing weapon batteries a ship must drop its shields for each salvo that is fired momentarily. When a boarding action is performed by small raiding parties it is typically done during this brief window of opportunity or immediately following a shield disabling attack from their mother ship (all within the same strategic round). Otherwise small ship boarding actions cannot be performed unless a void shield has been disabled or without the aid of a teleportarium. For any starship sized objects, ramming and boarding actions occur without impediment due to the sheer size of the object.