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Background:
This universe is set 500 to 700 years in the future. Humans have been able to expand across the galaxy using a series of “star gates”, basically 5 mile wide rings that warp space to shorten journeys by a factor of 10. The humans are able to use these gates along with nuclear engines to travel very quickly to other worlds.

A segment of humanity believes the star gates were put in place by a godlike alien society that they worship. This segment attempts to stop star gate travel and to preserve the gates as methods of transcendence. They want to join their gods who have reached the singularity. They would prefer to keep the gate intact but will settle for an irreversible change in the destination.

For now they are destroying trade ships and navy guards. The Federation is guarding the gates with the navy. Each of the 200 or so discovered gates has one or two cruisers nearby.

The cruisers are a kilometer long cylinder with habitat rings rotating around it. They are armed with large railguns and smaller automated missile turrets and Gatling guns. Nuclear weapons are perfectly acceptable.

The alien worshipers have smaller vessels with nukes and small railguns. They massively out number the navy but their ships are not very effective.

Also the humans have no shield system and cannot just block the gates with a structure due to size and trade limits.

Question Set:

  • Is there any way the navy can prevent the worshipers from attacking the gates and shutting the trade routes down; and
  • Is there any way for the worshipers to succeed in their attacks.
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  • $\begingroup$ Would an answer be to simply block the entrance/exit of the gates by some structure? Like an repellent electromagnetic shield? $\endgroup$
    – Dschoni
    Dec 10 '20 at 14:24
  • $\begingroup$ Yes but a 5 mile ring is very hard to block using any kind of structure.he government wouldn’t be able to built it. Also these gates need to be used by thousands of ships everyday and trade cannot be disrupted. Thanks $\endgroup$
    – 11Bravo
    Dec 10 '20 at 14:27
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    $\begingroup$ I would also ask if the "cruisers" can be converted to carry small one man fighters that can match the cult in their trench run tactics. It would be a matter of a Cesna going toe to toe with an F-22 plus justified space dog-fights. $\endgroup$
    – hszmv
    Dec 10 '20 at 14:29
  • $\begingroup$ Not a bad idea. I like it. Would you do small fighters or heavier frigates that transverse the gate? $\endgroup$
    – 11Bravo
    Dec 10 '20 at 14:30
  • $\begingroup$ An electromagnetic shield does not necessarily have to be a physical structure. It would cost a lot of energy to maintain and there needs to be some kind of protocoll to let wanted entities trough. Does the solution need to be "physically possible"? $\endgroup$
    – Dschoni
    Dec 10 '20 at 14:32
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So as I discussed in my comments, your issue is like many sci-fi matters: Scale. where you're really unique is that you underestimated the distances, not over estimated. As stated, U.S. Aircraft carriers never go out on their own (nor should any capital ship) and have a protective screen of their own jets, cruisers, destroyers, and submarines to keep the carrier safe (in naval combat, Carriers are terrible at close range and most of their offensive capability is in the planes. The only arms on the ship are defensive and last resort only... shit got real if a carrier fires it's guns... though a space carrier could also double as a battleship, given the required changes. Also note, even in battleship theory, the battleship's guns were largely offensive and used to hit distant targets. It wasn't optimized for close range combat so the screen was developed to protect it too.).

As stated, the Carrier has three rings around it: 120 nautical miles, 25 nautical miles, and 10 nautical miles. The screen hopes to be tracking and monitoring anything entering the furthest ring by air or sea... and shooting down anything hostile entering the second screen if it hasn't been dealt with sooner. Anything entering the third screen is a drop everything cause shit's going down panic to stop and will probably cost some officers in the Carrier group (i.e. the carrier and all her escorts) their jobs for so throughly droping the ball.

So a kilometer long "cruiser" with topline 500 to 700 year more advanced guns will definately have no problem keeping a 5 mile wide patch of space clear of anything it doesn't want in that patch of space.

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  • $\begingroup$ It’s more than 5 miles. Approach vectors and the nearby space need to be controlled. The cult is not using warships. They are suing modified merchant vessels. Making the id harder. $\endgroup$
    – 11Bravo
    Dec 10 '20 at 14:48
  • $\begingroup$ And carrier groups already got this covered. They do look at everything aproaching in 3 dimensional space from these operationial ranges (Air, Sea, and Under water are included in this screen. The subs deployed are usually specialized for anti-submarine operations... not anti-surface ships.). $\endgroup$
    – hszmv
    Dec 10 '20 at 14:54
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If we're talking hard sci-fi, I think we just come back to the usual problem that any attacker can just accelerate any projectile to near light speed and chuck it at whatever they want to destroy, and the target has no practical way of defending themselves. If you want to soften your sci-fi, then it's basically up to you what you want to make up to get around this problem.

This might be a bit of a hippy-ish answer that doesn't mean the spirit of your question, but couldn't there be a negotiated outcome to this problem? Both factions obviously value the stargates greatly, and both factions have the ability to destroy the stargates at any time, so either conflict breaks out and the stargates are all very quickly destroyed, either deliberately or accidentally. Or, both sides sit down and hammer out a compromise - stargates can be used for space travel on weekdays, but must be reserved for religious veneration on weekends - something like that?

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  • $\begingroup$ I didn’t think of that. Maybe structure something where the cult can have a couple gates for their worshiping and the rest can be trade routes. As for the gate it cannot be “destroyed” but changing its frequency would make it impossible to go where you were going earlier. In other words change the destination. $\endgroup$
    – 11Bravo
    Dec 10 '20 at 14:39
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    $\begingroup$ An excellent answer that opens more possibilities than it closes. Not hippy-ish at all, but hard-nosed pragmatism completely in line with the old Vulcan proverb: "Only Nixon could go to China" $\endgroup$
    – user535733
    Dec 10 '20 at 14:54
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The terrorists leave mines.

/ warp space to shorten journeys by a factor of 10/

So this is not a Stargate. Factor of 10 means there is transit time and something to be transited - some sort of weird space you are traveling thru.

Your terrorists can enter the gate under pretense of being traders. Then they drop mines behind them in the weird space. Persons then trying to use the gate will run afoul of the mines.

Depending on the nature of weird space it might be very difficult to clear the mines.

I like the idea that whatever is left within the weird space might achieve the goal of changing the destination of the gate by disrupting the weird space.

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