Life Support Systems
Life support systems in space enclosures (ships, stations, small craft, etc) manage livable atmosphere environments for the beings who create and operate on them. This includes providing enough gaseous "air" supply, as well as removing toxic elements from the "air" supply which would harm the crew. Systems also include certain automatic internal defense mechanisms such as Fire Suppression, as well waste removal and recycling.
Exact implementation of life support systems among ships will vary according to ship design and ship engineering (the actual engineering and design of a ship) as well as by factions and species and even commercial ship builders.
Ships atmosphere is designed to be of average molecular makeup based on the species population of the ship. This is to provide an atmosphere that is most comfortable to as many as species as possible. There few species however that would require additional respirators to induce addition or remove elements as necessary. The ships computer can generally provide on the the fly atmosphere adjustments based on the proximity and density of certain species. Remarkably most species require near the same basic atmosphere elements and are toxic as well to the same.
The atmosphere is generated using water and a few other liquids and are then introduced into artificial system of electrolysis which separate the molecules for induction into the ships atmosphere as necessary. Unused molecules are introduced into other systems as required. Water for example provides for two Hydrogen molecules and one oxygen molecule. Hydrogen is reintroduced into the ships support systems for vary purposes including ships power.
The recycling of gases which are left over such as acetone, methyl alcohol and carbon monoxide are collected by scubbers which process the gases for reuse or breakdown.
The ducting system of any ship or station is likely to be intricate and could be compared to the blood vessels and capillaries of a human body. It would be important to note, that despite such the intricate nature of atmosphere delivering life support, this system would be most effective as a distributive which also provides redundancy. Ducting for this system would likely not be large enough that it would provide a means of traveling through the ship, especially if it effectively bypassed all the security and tracking measures on a ship.
USI ships specifically would not have ducts that would allow this to happen. And its *very* sci-fi cliche'.
Fire suppression is important on a ship in order to prevent a ship from literally internally allowing itself to become consumed in the event. Fire Suppression is accomplished on many ships, specifically USI Ships, by the use of an inert heavy gas, which is non-lethal and non-flammable. The gas can be simply used to quickly fill in a room or even blown onto a fire to immediately deprive it of oxygen rendering it dead. This has many advantages as it provides no cleanup, and can be as quickly vented out as it was in allowing for it to be used in situations where a fire is in a location where a life form may be present.
Waste Removal and Recycling
Waste removal and recycling is another distributed system to reduce the complications of having intricate plumbing routes and the problems that can be imposed with battle and other ship impacting hazards. This also reduces other resources necessary to operate these such as water. Since power is the most abundant resource available on a ship with Zero Point distributed systems, this makes it most effective for maintenance as well, reducing overall overhead required minimizing the need for certain personnel. Recycling is done with all waste using technology to reduce waste into basic elements to be rebuilt into more complex ones to later be manufactured into required products. This process is not instantaneous in stark contrast to many popular science-fiction television series popular in the 20 and 21st centuries.