Kzer-Za • Kohr-Ah
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|
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 red halo effect around the planet and causing sunlight from the surface to appear reddened and take on a pulsating appearance. 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 their ever becoming a threat to the Kzer-Za's survival and freedom. The Kzer-Za dream appears to be to keep all sentient species other than themselves bottled up like this, allowing only Ur-Quan to have the exalted freedom to travel the stars. However, the constant emergence of new technological races necessitates constant vigilance to keep new races slave-shielded, and the immense logistical drain of conquering and slave-shielding other species without using genocidal methods of war has required the Kzer-Za to adopt the compromise of allowing 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 prevented them from using it against worlds conquered by the Kzer-Za, intelligence indicates they were fully prepared to use it to destroy the populations of all slave-shielded worlds in what had been Kzer-Za territory after winning the second such conflict.
Unfortunately for the Kzer-Za, time has proven that their 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 was able to communicate with the slave-shielded Chenjesu this way, thanks to the Chenjesu's highly refined natural HyperWave-sensing anatomy. Moreover, the immense technological resources of the Chmmr that emerged after the Unification Process of the Chenjesu and Mmrnmhrm allowed them to develop a method to "crack" slave shields, using a large grid of satellites to introduce disruptions across the slave-shield's surface until it dissipated. After the Ur-Quan defeat in the Second War, this method was used to free the Alliance races that had been slave-shielded after the First War.
Moreover, 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 bears 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 a similar technology, which they intended to apply as an ultimate protective technology to keep them safe from harm on their homeworld. Their entrance into the New Alliance of Free Stars gave them the opportunity they needed to study the slave shield around Earth and duplicate it, which they soon did, retreating to obscurity and safety trapped on the surface of Spathiwa.