Technology 109 - Emergency Systems

A ship will, if operated properly and with regular maitennance carried out in accordance with the guidelines in the manual, experience no serious faults. However, in the unlikely event that the manufacturers guidelines are not adhered to, several systems exist that increase the odds that a person on board will survive.

Escape Pods

First amongst these are escape pods. These provide a barrier against the harsh environments of deep space and provide life supoort for a limited time, hopefully enough to allow rescue. Some escape pods are hard shelled miniature spaceships able to operate as such and conduct landings. These are common on military vessels. Some are actually on board shuttles, which are used as such all the time, but have the capability of being used as emergency lifeboats. Still others are inflateable enclosures, which need little space.

Overrides

Most systems can be overriden from stations throughout the ship. Reactor operations, hyperdrive, ion drives can all be shut down from controls in key areas of the ship as well as the cockpit or bridge.

Shut downs

An emergency command generally shuts the system down in a rapid fashion, with an emphasis placed on ensuring the system doesn't damage the rest of the ship, ideally allowing it to be checked out, repaired if neccesary, and restarted.

- SIR

A SIR in shutdown, or SCRAM mode first extends all the hyper-energy taps into the core and these open to maximum capacity, this vents off power that is distributed to other ships systems for disposal. Often the CRMS systems are simply switched to full power mode. Internal fields are retracted and emergency hatches are blown open. These emergency venting apertures are lined with strong field emitters. When these are powered up the constraining fields let go and the hyper-core vents to space. This leaves the core bereft of fuel and it cannot be restarted until refuelled. SIR shutdowns cannot be safely performed on the ground.

- Ion Drive

Shutting an ion dirve down is fairly simple and is usually accomplished by simply disconnecting its power supply.

- Hyperdrive

A hyperdrive is shut down by venting the live hyper-energy core contents either back into supply tanks if possible, or more often venting outside the ship. Hyperdrive venting would be rather spectacular, but almost invariably occurs in hyperspace, and so rarely gets seen.

Beacons

Several comms systems come into play in dire circumstances. All hyper-comm arrays are capable of being shunted into an emergency mode where it broadcasts a powerful distress signal including the location of the beacon. Some aspects of the beacon's message are required by law, others can be optionally added either by hand or automatically depending on the software installed.

Many ships have an emergency buoy fitted which can be jettisoned. When launched, an e-buoy broadcasts a distress signal much like the standard one. The advantage of an e-buoy is that they often survive disastrous events that can destroy the launching ship. That won't save the ship, obviously, but it can let other assets know what went wrong.