Where do Gratuitous Space Battles take place?
On the face of it, that’s a dumb question, the answer to which is obviously “in Space”. But that doesn’t really answer a thing, because wherever this “Space” is, it clearly isn’t the gravity-less vacuum between stars and planets governed by the laws of Newton (or Einstein). This place shall hereafter be named “Gratuitous Space”.
Newtonian Space is three dimensional, infinite in all directions. Gratuitous Space is compressed and/or severely restricted in the third dimension.
Laser Beams are visible along their entire length. This means there’s something to illuminate between source and destination; dust, smoke, or gas which fluoresces. It also illuminates in the presence of proton beams. This is also probably the reason for what appear to be ridiculously short engagement ranges; the gas (or whatever) must impede both vision and electromagnetic sensors, making targeting extremely difficult.
In Newtonian space, an object’s thrust (force) determines acceleration, and there’s no limit on velocity. In the absence of force, a moving object continues at constant velocity in a straight line. In Gratuitous Space, thrust determines not just acceleration, but also maximum velocity, and a moving-but-thrustless object comes to a halt. These are attributes of movement through a medium; that is, like objects moving in (or on) air or water. Similarly, the trajectories of missiles imply working fin or rudder equivalents which wouldn’t work in a vacuum. (There’s a hint that things move on the Infraspace Energy Grid; there’s a button to make it visible). Nevertheless, Gratuitous Space’s characteristics are somewhat different to known fluids, as the resistance to motion seems entirely related to mass, with no necessity for (visible) streamlining.
Vessels fade-in to Gratuitous Space at the beginning of battles; enemies in endless battles fade-in throughout. They must be arriving there from somewhere else. And, as the philosopher once said, “Space is big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is”. It’s incredibly unlikely/difficult for two opposing bunches of to ships to arrive in approximately the same place for a battle once without some external constraint, never mind the frequency of observed conflicts.
Gratuitous Space is some sort of interstitial hyperspace on the way between normal space and the beyond-lightspeed realm used to travel across the galaxy(*). These areas are both rare, and well-defined, with just one per inter-star-system route, associated with a named Gravity well - Mexallon II, the Lagoon Nebula, etc. They’re the perfect place for a defence fleet to blockade, as ships from other systems must pass “through” as they travel from Hyper- to Newtonian Space.
So, that’s every battle; the attacking fleet fading in from a Hyperspace trip from elsewhere, to find a defensive blockade fleet waiting for them in the place both sides know they have to arrive.
Anyone got any more observations to add? And do they agree/destroy/amend this hypothesis? Any rival theories?
(*Hmm. A four-stage process would be logical; 3D Normal Space, to 2D Gratuitous Space, to 1D String space, and full 0D Pointspace which allows zero-distance travel to anywhere)
[Author’s note: A theory or post based on some variation “It’s just a game” will be:
A: Correct, yet pointless, and
B: Be posted by a humourless dolt who doesn’t appreciate the sentiment I’m aiming for, and
C: Best left for some other thread]