Mass Effect & Mass Effect 2
A warship's kinetic barriers reduce the damage from solid objects, but can do nothing to block GARDIAN lasers, particle beams, and other forms of Directed Energy Weapon (DEW). The inner layer of warship protection consists of ablative armor plate designed to 'boil away' when heated. The vaporized armor material scatters a DEW beam, rendering it ineffectual.
A scaffold is built around the interior pressure hull, with sheets of ablative armor hung from the structure. Ships typically have multiple layers of armor separated by empty baffles, spaces often used for cargo storage. Cruisers, which lack the internal space to fit dedicated fighter hangars, store the shipboard fighter complement in the baffles. It is not unknown for enlisted crew to build illicit alcohol distilleries in some obscure corner of the baffles, safe from prying eyes.