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Lua doesn't have 'vectors' as a datatype.  there are a few functions
and optimizations that allow a table to be used for the same purpose.

for these optimizations, there's a definition in the manual:   "a
regular array, with non-nil values from 1 to a given n".  also: "if
t[1] is nil, n (the array's length) may be zero"

you might not like it (not everybody's happy with this); but if you're
surprised, you're looking from the wrong angle.