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In space the most valuable resource is a very limited number of super advanced gateways that form a massive, galaxy spanning network with each other. Obviously, each major faction is going to try to acquire these gateways with EXTREME prejudice. For that reason, each empire builds massive space stations that anchor to these gateways and function as guardians. You want to come through a gateway? Fine, present your ID to the station commander and let him deactivate the multitude of weapons pointed at your current location. Of course if the ID doesn’t check out the offending ship will soon be reduced to a very fine cloud of space debris. This ensures that the gateways are able to both regulate traffic within each empire, and withstand assaults from hostile forces.

The gateways themselves are large rings about 50 miles across, though some are larger and some are smaller. Each gate connects to one other gate, but multiple gates can be in a single system. The current space empires cannot destroy or even damage gateways, and they cannot build new ones. The stations that protect each gateway are anchored to them and are capable of firing on any threat from any direction, and are linked to allied fleets, drones, satellites, and friendly planets. There is FTL travel and communication in this universe but the gateways are basically instantaneous travel between two points regardless of distance. In addition, “energy shielding” is present in this universe, but shields can be pierced or even broken entirely with enough force or the correct application of force.

So my question is what weaponry would be most effective on this station? Are we talking just rows upon rows of missiles or should the station have a more diversified arsenal? Bonus points for some kind of exotic weaponry or regular weaponry dialed up to 11. The threats they would be facing are varied, from small drones up to massive dreadnoughts, and even massive creatures that call space their home.

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  • $\begingroup$ What energy densities are the stations able to call upon (IE how good are your reactors)? $\endgroup$ – Joe Bloggs Feb 16 '18 at 18:37
  • $\begingroup$ What about some kind of Iris? A very thick and resistant layer of steel and/or force field that surrounds the Gateway and stop anything from crossing it. $\endgroup$ – Sasha Feb 16 '18 at 18:40
  • $\begingroup$ These civilizations are pretty advanced so you can assume they are able to utilize matter-antimatter reactions to power the stations. Of course this will also require good supply lines to keep the stations from running out of fuel. The iris is a good idea, but also seems like it would take a long time to open/close a 50 mile circumference steel door. It could work very well but might have problems if a quick response was needed. $\endgroup$ – Nick Feb 16 '18 at 18:47
  • $\begingroup$ This is actually the basic underpinning of the economical and political backdrop in the greatly admired Honorverse military SF series by David Weber. The first two books, On Basilisk Station and The Honor of the Queen, are freely available at the Baen Free Library. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Feb 16 '18 at 18:48
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    $\begingroup$ So, eve online with bigger gate guns? $\endgroup$ – Stephan Feb 16 '18 at 18:53
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Without going into the details of each particular weapon sytem (and not concerning the more 'real life' threads for a fortress station as @Thurcydides pointed out) I guess you will need a pretty wide range of different weapon types, the obvious being

  • some BFG for capital ships
  • heavy artillery/particle guns of some sort for the cruisers and such
  • missiles for focussed attacks (possibly behind enemy lines)
  • railgun or beam based defense against enemy projectiles and small ships/drones
  • big a** harpunes for space dinosaurs

where each weapon class should include different types of piercing types to match shields or heavy armor (actually, having played space games does seem to help here...)

I imagine some sort of large, high energy net to be activated and covering the gate could be of use. Or some way to mess with whatever conduit energy that is built up between two gates, effectively disrupting the energy field just before the enemy ships emerge. Also, EMP like weaponry comes to mind.

In short I say it would be very good to have something that will stop enemy ships from maneuvering after they jumped out of the gate, and then have a weapon to match whatever your enemies could possibly have come up with.

Also, mines! Triggered by wrong IDs. No need to call the station commander...

Wait, and how about putting your staion on rails, effectively being able to rotate around and along the ring. If a bomb drops by, just hide behind the next indestructable thing you can find...

Actually, having a ton of artillery mounted around the ring, possibly able to move, would be something I'd consider a nice to have as a gateway guardian!

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Direct physical assault of the gateway is much like attacking fortresses. It is always possible to attack and destroy a fortress, but it comes at a considerable cost in time and resources, either through siegecraft or through direct assault. The most obvious analogy would be the attack on coastal fortresses guarding ports or naval chokepoints, and solutions have ranged from sending armies to besiege the place for 10 years (Troy) to ramming a ship full of explosives into the docks (St Nazaire Raid)

Since the attackers are at the disadvantage of being at the end of a supply line to get to the fortress, and also need to keep their rear area secure against relief forces, their primary aim is to get the fortress as quickly and at as low a cost as possible (and hopefully in usable condition to secure the gate for their own purposes). This suggests the way to get the fortress isn't going to involve fleets of dreadnoughts, but rather infiltration, or subversion of the station personnel.

Subversion would require some level of knowledge of the station personal. It could be rather general in nature, and activated through propaganda directed at identified vulnerabilities (offering payment for surrendering the fortress if we know the troops within are low paid and disgruntled because of it is a simple example). As our level of knowledge grows, we can start targeting specific people inside the fortress, for example finding out the station quartermaster's gambling debts and blackmailing him, or setting "honey pots" to seduce off duty personal with sexually attractive partners for blackmail, or cleverly pumping them for information. Clever variations include treating a known enemy personality as if they were already compromised (Leading Spacemen Jones is getting mysterious bank deposits and pot cards on an irregular basis after his last leave to New New Las Vegas), or at least leaving hints that there are compromised personnel aboard, triggering paranoid counter reactions to the threat.

Infiltration involves putting your own personnel aboard the fortress. Given the size and activity, this might not be as difficult as it may seem. A passenger liner seeking access might be forced to disembark passengers for customs screening, SoF troops, Commandos or intelligence agents could be disguised amor the group. Contractors to build the station or do daily maintenance and repairs could be another source of infiltration. They might not even be tasked to directly attack the station, simply boarding and observing to understand the layout and day to day routine would provide valuable information. Weapons and devices would be much more difficult, but the simple expedient is to either steal what you need from the embarked enemy troops, or build improvised weapons and devices out of what is inside the fortress (it is possible to build a shotgun out of materials found once past the security perimeter at an airport, for example). Much more likely would be secreting malware in the various computer systems, or even biological weapons (a flu virus capable of making people sick but not killing them would disrupt the efficiency of the fortress for a period of time).

This means while the Fortress commanders cannot ignore the threat of enemy space armadas, they will actually need to focus a great deal of their internal processes to screening and capturing, deflecting or subverting the enemy forces that have infiltrated his fortress, and counter intelligence to screen out security threats in his own crew.

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