Intended for next-generation fighter craft, the Heed Industries Helios Thruster Module propulsion system far outpaces the typical liquid hydrogen/liquid oxygen reactions that power a frigate's maneuvering thrusters. By using metastable metallic hydrogen, the Helios boasts a fuel that burns at far greater efficiency than liquid H2/O2. Navigators can execute the numerous small course corrections inherent to any long-distance travel without fear of exhausting the ship's fuel supplies. This net gain extends to forward impulse as well: a ship powered by antiprotons can coast temporarily using the Helios to reach an inferior but highly sustainable speed. Such efficiency lowers antiproton consumption, a constant concern for any warship.
When a Helios-propelled ship must refuel, however, it typically relies on a large carrier or nearby planetary factory to synthesize the metallic hydrogen. This process uses extremely dense mass effect fields to create the metal under pressures of over a million Earth atmospheres, an activity most safely done while planetside. While that process may seem like a drawback compared to "skimmer ships" that can gather hydrogen and oxygen from anywhere in the universe, the combat superiority of the Helios' maneuvering capabilities is often a worthwhile trade-off. The same efficiency that allows for microburn course correction can power rapid bursts of motion. Once a pilot becomes used to the ship's new energetic responses, she can easily put the ship wherever and at whatever angle she desires.