Well I'm planning a story, that would play in the not so far-far away future. I'am aiming around Mohs scale level 4, i wonder do i reach it? Basics about the plot, to understand the reference frame. Earth is de facto ruled by five gigacorps, they are little better then organised crime (present day drugs replaced by similarly addictive happiness pills and virtual reality with brain stimulators), even those government officials who didnt became their corrupt yesmen, are powerless against them, since they control most resources and military power in the Solar system. (There are no starships, warp drives.) The government is happy, that they at least dont make World War III on Earth, but rather make wars in space and on other planets and moons. Asteroid mines are particularly valuable, many times, they want to capture them. Or own a bigger area of Mars, Merkur (valuable metal mines also) Moon (He3) since theese bigger celestials shared by more than one corps. They use both lasers and missiles, since lasers rather meant to take out the outer defence systems than blowing up ships. (And cannons firing inflating shells, almost exclusively used for self defence.) The chess analogy came, because like chess, you can see every step of the enemy in space, yet you still have to be a good strategist. (Although i wondered about a slight chance. If everyone expects to see the flames of a nuclear or fusion drive from billion kilometers away, maybe a magnetic sailed ship is rather identified and dismissed as some big meteor by the system? Hibernation exists in this fictional universe, so it can cool down.) And the different units would be (following this analogy) : Bastions : battlecruisers, big delta V and firepower, too bad they cant be everywhere. Runners : frigates, top speed and manueverability on the big scale, they meant to threaten, attack enemy convoys and undefended colonies. But they arent really powerful against serious enemy. Queen : motherships, giant spinned ships meant to regroup surface and orbital forces to capture and keep colonies. While they arent really meant for deep space superiority, but they can counter most threat. Footman : fighters, small cheap orbital craft (mostly controlled by drone operators), meant to protect from missiles (they can shoot them in the back, to take out their engines and backward sensors, that enables the missile to be controlled remotely to the target, and only open their vulnerable frontal sensors in the last seconds) do orbital combat and close range combat - you cant capture something if you dont come close. If you want to capture an asteroid mine for example, a defender unit can seek cover from missiles and long range laser fire. Even if you risk divide your fleet and come from two opposite directions, half of the missiles at least would be wasted, while in this case, double amount of fuel is far enough for the fighters contrary to the classic deep space example. Knights : destroyers, heavy firepower and armor but a lower delta V, good to counter small light ships, but primary target for missiles. Civilan craft armed to do some privateering also exists. http://gizmodo.com/5426453/the-physics-of-space-battles I didnt browse the entire gizmodo.com, this one isnt crackpot to me, although i wondered maybe it used the word radar instead of IR sensors to make it more understandable to people? That suggested that combat spaceships should be ball like, although i rather imagine them rocket like, since the enemy usually comes from one direction, and rocket like shape minimises their cross section, but as i said above, i imagine fighter like craft to do close range combat. If they are near spherical, could they at least land on the surface of a planet with air? And take off? About propulsion, i thought : interplanetary crafts with a delta-V about a few hundred km/s, and acceleration in the range of tenth g. Some nuclear electric or fusion drive. Orbital crafts delta-V around 50 km/s, and 1-2g acceleration, some nuclear power source, possibly nuclear thermo drives. Missiles with chem fuel (they dont nuke each other, its an unwritten agreement, and bombing with nuclear propelled spacecraft is quite similar...) around 20km/s delta-V and 10-20 g acceleration. That means against manueverable spacecraft, their range is limited to a 100.000km max, if i calculate correctly. They use long range bombardments against stationary targets like colonies to soften up the defence system, so the arriving fleet dont have to face a thousand batteries. -------------------------------------------------------------------- The rather mystical stuff that would play a plot role : self sustaining alien nanobots found in a cavern of Merkur, the only remains of a destroyed would-be starship. They would be a bit like midi-chlorians, allow someone to sense and manipulate brain activity and electronics - it should be noted theese abilities are from omnipotent, determined humans and electronics protected from anti-electronic warfare, secure laser comms rather then simple radios are quite resistant at least. I wondered also about quantum nonlocality and phonon based instant far-away communication.