Ancillary shield booster (lore)
Shield boosters have been around almost as long as shield technology itself. The earliest shields were not intended as first-line defensive shielding in a firefight. Instead, they were primarily used to deflect small particles such as interstellar dust particles, micrometeoroids, and space debris to keep it from impacting and abrading the ship's armor plates. All shields have a natural stabilization, as the plasma window merely requires a passive energy expenditure to regenerate.
In early shield designs, passing through a dust or gas cloud could quickly render the shield inoperable. In these cases, natural shield stabilization was insufficient; either the ship needed to take risks while traveling or it would have to wait for an extended period to allow the plasma window time to stabilize.
The solution to this problem was soon realized by the shield booster. This device utilized a burst of energy to vent additional plasma into the window and reinforce the magnetic field holding it in place. Initial boosters required very high energy consumption for a minimal boost, but it was considered enough to allow ships to quickly get back underway with minimal safety risk.
The Caldari were the first to seriously utilize a ship's shield systems as a primary means of defense. More powerful shield emitters allowed for a reduction in bulky armor plating, giving the Caldari frigates an extra edge in maneuverability in the early days of the Gallente-Caldari War. Additionally, the need for less armor meant less heavy metals needed to be utilized in constructing their ships.
In order to make their shields more effective at absorbing continual incoming fire, the Caldari reexamined the shield booster principle. They soon discovered more efficient ways of utilizing the energy to recharge the shields, massively increasing the amount of shields that could be boosted per unit of energy expended.
Eventually, the technology hit a plateau. While marginal gains had been made in the energy to shield ratio, the ability of the boosters became limited by their power grid and processor requirements. Though the desire for more powerful boosters was widespread, no great breakthroughs seemed forthcoming.
Following the discovery of Anoikis in YC111, shield booster researchers noticed the extremely powerful defensive systems utilized by a number of Sleeper drones. The ability of the Sleeper defenses to withstand a significant amount of incoming firepower appeared to be disproportionate to the size of the ships themselves.
Researchers immediately began investigating recovered components from the Sleepers. However, many of the Sleeper systems were geared toward armor systems rather than shields, stymieing the enthusiasm of shield researchers. Eventually, components salvaged from other ruins in Anoikis proved to relate to shield systems, renewing interest. Initial results were stymied by both the damage to components and the technology that was beyond even theoretical levels.
It was eventually researchers with Core Complexion who made a breakthrough. The Minmatar research firm, with a long history of utilizing salvaged equipment, had the expertise to reverse engineer the components into working modules. The Anoikis-influenced design was able to create a massive boost in shield stability compared to its computational and energy grid needs. However, it had a major flaw; it consumed such high amounts of energy that it was unfeasible to use on ships that would benefit from it most.
Minmatar ingenuity once more shone through, however, with a rather novel idea. An engineer realized that a ship using a capacitor booster would be able to utilize the shield booster with minimal difficulty; however, the extra slot requirement made this undesirable for the majority of applications. By combining the two into one module, this limitation could be bypassed. Work immediately went into merging the two, with Sleeper technology playing a mild role in enabling this development.
Soon after, in mid YC114, Core Complexion announced the completion of the booster. It was immediately adopted in force by various pirate factions, whose interest in protection against overwhelming forces has rather amplified in the past decade.
Shields work by confining a volume of plasma with a magnetic field. This field, also known as a plasma window, has an extremely high viscosity, preventing normal matter from passing through. However, repeated impacts and explosive forces knocks the plasma free from within the field, while additional thermal or electromagnetic energy input disrupt the magnetic field itself, allowing plasma to leak out.
Over time, shields can naturally stabilize and regenerate from damage with the injection of additional plasma. However, this recharge is typically fairly slow. Shield boosters utilize an injection of energy to speed the recharge by creating a magnetic burst that recaptures lost plasma particles and stabilizes the magnetic field. Traditional shield boosters require a fairly significant amount of available power grid to direct the energy, along with a fair amount of processor power to direct the rapidly fluctuating plasma and magnetic field.
The Ancillary Shield Booster works along identical principles as with traditional shield boosters, but it utilizes Anoikis-derived technology to minimize the power grid and processor requirements relative to the boost provided. The booster does require a much higher energy expenditure, much of which can be offset by building a capacitor booster directly into the shield booster itself. The shield booster can consume cap charges to fuel its energy consumption, though it is unable to provide any excess energy back to the ship's other systems.
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