Shielding and Shielding

Originally published at: Shielding and Shielding | The Eldraeverse

To begin our discussion of protective technologies, notionally, there are four types of shielding: particle shielding;ray shielding;gravity shielding;irreality shielding. Particle & Ray Shielding The most important and most common of these, of course, are the first two: particle shielding and ray shielding. Naturally, both of these are complete misnomers, thanks to wave/particle equivalence, and have an inconvenient degree of overlap, and yet they are the accepted engineering terms. The technical definition of particle shielding is that it is intended to affect fermions, the particles which chiefly constitute matter, including quarks, the composite particles made up of them, and leptons; while…

So, what’s the operating principles behind the Leviathan class dreadnought’s ray shielding?

I have some questions about some of the more exotic methods of shielding. What exactly are Meng mirror, antithetikons, and probability unsellers? The other unknowns mostly have relatively descriptive names, HICAP is probably some armor compound, and the uncertainty sheath is presumably inspired by the probability sheath you get when your research probability mechanics in Alpha Centauri.

No clue on Meng mirror, but since OGH has coined asthenon as a generic term for weak nuclear force gauge boson (a fantastic word I would nominate for the OED), I’m thinking antithetikon must mean one of two things:

  1. Antimatter; or
  2. An ontotech-generated negative-anti-matter wavicle-shaped hole in the Universe — something even more the antithesis of normal matter than antimatter.

As for probability unseller, I’m guessing that’s the reverse of a probability kiln. A p-kiln makes the improbable likely; a p-unseller would make something probable unlikely — delivering a No Sell to the attack, as it were.

Meng mirrors

The Meng mirror (named after its inventor) is essentially a perfect mirror - based on horrible, horrible metric manipulations - for photons and other bosons. At least until its capacity is exceeded and it undergoes catastrophic collapse; or what in modern systems, which prefer to project their mirrors as interlocked “scales”, is called a “burn-through”.

They have no effect at all on other particle classes apart from minor interference with boson interactions in the course of passage; i.e., kinetics sail right through 'em.

Originally invented both for shielding torch drives, and because gamma-ray mirrors are very, very useful in improving drive efficiency.

Antithetikon emitters

Not antimatter (these are strict ray shields, and don’t affect fermions), but they are anti-energy, in a sense; the notion is to project a wavicle such that the the attack and defense interfere and sum to zero everywhere where it matters (and hopefully only positively interfere in places where it won’t).

This was never a terribly practical technology (needs FTL sensors to work well without letting yourself be hit in the first place before reacting to it, outside purely experimental rigs; requires bizarre ship designs to fit around interference patterns; effectively turns shields into anti-weapons with many of the restrictions of weapons; etc., etc.) in the first place and while it was developed to the point of functionality, it never really made it out of the experimental classes, except in the subfield of gravity shielding (see “get your equal and opposite gravity”). Even there, it’s terrible, and survives primarily because there is literally no other option.

Probability unseller

@doctorcatfish nails this one.

(P.S. HICAP isn’t an armor compound, strictly speaking - it’s the waxy neutron absorber that’s mostly used for shielding reactors and torch drives so they don’t fry the squishies. But a good thick layer of it crammed into your armor just in case the oppo are using particle-beam weapons doesn’t hurt anything, especially since its physical characteristics let you cram it in between layers of Whipple shielding.)


While I hadn’t nailed it down strictly at the time, in that era, probably a scale array of Meng mirrors.

Why would a Meng mirror suffer from burn-through? Since it’s based on metric manipulations, shouldn’t it be agnostic to the number of photons passing through it?

It’s like paragravity vs gravity in terms of artificial metric manipulations. Since the usual mechanisms for dissipating gravitational entropic side-effects don’t apply, the entropic side-effects of paragravity show up in energy requirements for and waste heat in your metric-tweaking apparatus scaled to how much you’re actually interchanging KE and PPE.

Or, in the case of Meng mirrors, in your mirror projector scaled to how much KE is required to deflect those bosons. If it was a regular mirror, reflection would involve waste heat in the mirror material and force (light pressure) applied to the mirror; since it’s not, those show up as countervailing energy consumption and waste heat in the projector instead.

Bear in mind that things passing through more conventional metrics do affect the metric and the source of the metric, too. Look at the Penrose process, in which masses passing near (i.e., through the metric of) the black hole affect its spin, and there’s no reason you can’t do that with photons (e.g., shine in a laser beam and get it back out shifted to gamma), too; similar interactions mean that you can’t bounce photons or other bosons off the Meng mirror without affecting it . You have to pay in the projector to offset this.


As for probability unseller , I’m guessing that’s the reverse of a probability kiln. A p-kiln makes the improbable likely; a p-unseller would make something probable unlikely — delivering a No Sell to the attack, as it were.

Making the enemy LITERALLY roll a 1 on their attacks

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