Trope-a-Day: Short Range Long Range Weapon

Short Range Long Range Weapon: Most sensible people try really hard to avert this – seeing as the lovely people who make these things for a living have provided them with so many comfortably long-range weapons, it’s a shame not to take advantage of them, and fight where survivability is greater, and surprise much more achievable – say, with drones, from over the horizon.  (See, for example, the starship combat ranges mentioned under Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense Of Scale, which avert it very hard indeed.)

Not always possible, since chokepoints still exist and urban combat is still occasionally needed, and so on, but given the tactical choice, people will almost always pick ranged combat.  No sense in taking damnfool risks when you don’t have to.

Trope-a-Day: Hyperspeed Escape

Hyperspeed Escape: A theoretical tactic, beloved of armchair admirals: drag half of a stargate pair with you to the battle, and then – if you’re losing, or if you’re ambushed – escape through it and disable/collapse it behind you such that the enemy can’t follow.

This, of course, ignores that:

  1. Stargates are slow (subluminal-only) and can’t pass through each other; and
  2. Stargates have the maneuverability and acceleration-curve you might expect of things with freakin’ gravitational singularities at their cores; and
  3. If something did punch through the armoring on the gate, it and its counterpart tend to explode with system-wrecking force, which is a problem for everyone; and
  4. If you do spin the stargate down successfully and break the entanglement, you’re then abandoning an evaporating Schwarzschild hole in an unplanned orbit, which isn’t exactly environmentally friendly; and
  5. Leaving all that aside, you just threw away an asset worth an obscene amount of money, which you could have instead spent on bringing an entire second, maybe even a third, task force to the battle in question, thus obviating the need to make your quick escape in the first place.

This is why people rightly ignore armchair admirals.

(That said, one can manage the “my acceleration and delta-v are superior” kind, which isn’t really hyperspeed, but in general, space is big and accelerations are relatively low and as such it is a truth universally acknowledged that it’s a really spectacularly dumb idea to get yourself inside someone’s engagement envelope if you aren’t confident that you can take ’em.)