Jumpgates are a necessity for interplanetary travel in the worlds of the Jewel, but travelers must use them according to rules both man-made and established by the nature of the Jump system itself. Unscheduled jumps are fraught with peril and only fools make them in the most desperate of situations. For everyone else, here’s how they work.
Direct and Connecting Jumps
Not every gate connected to every other gate. A few Jumpgates served as “hubs,” while many more gates only connected to far fewer–or even only one–other orbits. Getting from a hub like Capitol to many different orbits is as simple as logging your flight plan, queueing up, and going through the gate to come out on the other side, almost at your destination. It’s a little less direct to get from a quieter orbit like Tenraye to the inner worlds–you can make more jumps and get there in less physical time, or take fewer jumps and cover more ground. Orbits with remote Jumpgates tend to see less interplanetary traffic, especially if their only connection is to another remote orbit.
The Jumpgates aren’t programmable, as the early settlers found out. They actually run on a fixed timetable, and they always run on time. Each Jumpgate connects to a single other Jumpgate for a set number of hours, before transitioning to connect to a different endpoint. As long as you’re through the Jumpgate in the time window, you’ll reach your intended destination point. If you miss a window, however, you’ll have to wait until the gate cycles back around to your destination. At a busy hub like the Capitol, you could wait an entire day or even longer, which is why it’s important to log your flight plans in advance.
Jumpgates Past and Future
One of the greatest challenges to the early settlers in the Nine Sisters was deciphering how the Jumpgates worked. No one remembers quite who figured out what, but the instructions left on the gates themselves were simple and able to be understood given humanity’s then-current understanding of astrophysics. Centuries of safe and consistent use of Jumpgates has made them ubiquitous in the worlds of the Jewel system. Academics are always curious about the inner workings, and no entrepreneur has not dreamed of cracking the secret to creating new Jumpgates, but thus far, the realization of that dream is still the realm of con artists and gullible marks. There is, however, a persistent rumor that there are new Jumpgates out there, waiting to be discovered by intrepid explorers, but the appropriate response is to wish them safe travels and wave goodbye at the spaceport while keeping your credits far from their expeditionary funds.