Slave Shield

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Ur-Quan Topics
Kzer-Za • Kohr-Ah
Sentient Milieu
Slave Revolt
Slave War
The Words
Doctrinal Conflict
Second Doctrinal War
Kzer-Za • Kohr-Ah
Path of Now and Forever
Ur-Quan Hierarchy • Battle Thrall • Fallow Slave • Oath of Fealty Doctrinal Conflict
Dreadnought • Marauder • Sa-Matra
Excruciator • Slave Shield • Talking Pet
Slaveshield big.png

A slave shield is one of the most significant and recognizable technologies in the galaxy. Developed after the Ur-Quan Slave Revolt by the Ur-Quan Kzer-Za, it is a highly robust, self-maintaining force field implanted around a planet's atmosphere that blocks the passage of all physical objects. It also filters and scatters all radiation that passes through it, causing a visual pulsating red halo effect around the planet, and more importantly scrambling all electromagnetic and even HyperWave communications to and from the surface. The ultimate symbol of cultural dominance from a Kzer-Za point of view, it is their universal device for humanely confining other species to prevent them ever becoming a threat to the Kzer-Za's survival and freedom. However, the Kzer-Za, for partially unknown reasons (most likely their unwillingness to use the Sa-Matra), allow a Hierarchy of un-slave-shielded Battle Thralls in contested regions of space.

Only the Ur-Quan themselves were capable of disabling slave shields; the Kzer-Za had some method for locally neutralizing a slave shield that they used for travel and communication with fallow slave worlds in the Hierarchy, and apparently were able to apply this method globally to un-slave-shield a world if they deemed the race on that world unsafe and necessary to pre-emptively destroy. The Kohr-Ah possessed a similar method; though the agreement between the two races during the Doctrinal Conflict prevents them from using it against worlds conquered by the Kzer-Za, the Death March events indicate that they are fully prepared to use it to destroy the populations of all slave-shielded worlds should they be victorious in the conflict1.

Unfortunately for the Kzer-Za, slave shields are not as perfect a solution to the problem of eternally preventing traffic and communication from a planet as they once thought. Very sensitive HyperWave receivers are able to pick up transmissions from across a slave shield, if the message is sent with enough power; the New Alliance of Free Stars is able to communicate with the slave-shielded Chenjesu and Mmrnmhrm this way, thanks to the Chenjesu's highly refined natural HyperWave-sensing anatomy. Moreover, the Chmmr develop a method to "crack" slave shields, using a large grid of satellites to introduce disruptions across the slave-shield's surface until it dissipates.2 After the Ur-Quan defeat during the Second Doctrinal Conflict, this method is used to free the Alliance races that had been slave-shielded in the aftermath of the Ur-Quan Slave War.

Additionally, it seems likely that over a very long period of time even Kzer-Za technology cannot be perfectly reliable, and slave shields must eventually decay, though it is probably unlikely that a technological culture could maintain itself on a planet's surface that long. This may have happened to the first race ever slave-shielded by the Kzer-Za, the Faz, if speculations of some connection between the Faz and the Utwig — specifically, an Utwig creation myth that might bear resemblance to a slave-shield collapse — are true.

The only species known to have duplicated the Kzer-Za slave shield technology is the Spathi, who had long been unsuccessfully researching similar technology, which they intended to apply as an ultimate protective technology to keep them safe from the Ultimate Evil on their homeworld. Their entrance into the New Alliance of Free Stars gives them the opportunity they need to study the slave shield around Earth and duplicate it, which they soon do, retreating to obscurity and safety trapped on the surface of Spathiwa.

Planets in our region of the galaxy that are slave-shielded at some point in time include:

Notes and references

1However, this is not implemented in-game (discrepancy).
2This is only seen when Earth is freed in the ending cinematics of the 3DO version.