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Jumping is a fairly amorphous method of faster than light travel, as it has no particular limitations beyond the energy requirements. Thus, those in the business of Jumping have come up with a variety of terms to lock down just what they’re doing. Here are the common civilian terms.

Otto – Short for orbit to orbit, this Jump is technically one of the more complicated, but also the most frequently used. Jumping from orbit exploits the near negligible gravity experienced during a Jump and so which ever direction you are facing when you turn the drive on is the direction you go. Time this right and you can simply skip from one gravity well to another, though timing it right is more easily said than done. Otto Jumps use the least fuel of all Jump types, as orbital manoeuvres have the potential to be highly efficient. A skilled navigator and Jump engineer are mandated for successful Otto Jumps.

Brute – Brute Jumps are the lazy man’s Otto. You fire your engines away from your destination and rely on the fact that eventually your thrust will overcome any circular motion you have. It’s not exactly the cheapest way of getting from A to B, but its simple and fast and sometimes speed is of the essence.

Vac’ – Vac’ Jumps refer to a Jump where either the entry or exit point is away from a gravity well, but still within a solar system. They are less efficient than Otto Jumps as the vessel will have to thrust significantly to change direction, and some vessels are designed so they don’t actually have the engines to do a meaningful Vac’ Jump. Vac’ Jumps are predominantly used for intersytem travel, the ship Jumping into the rough area of the solar system and then perform another Vac’ Jump to reach a planet. It is mostly because of this interstellar ships have larger engines than their intrastellar equivalents.

Bright – These Jumps only really become feasible later in the setting when computers become powerful enough to resolve interstellar distances. In a bright Jump the ship leaps straight from a gravity well to another gravity well around a different sun. This creates a massive flash which is easily visible from the surface, and so a ‘bright’ Jump. Both the military and civilians use Bright Jumps wherever possible, as they are much cheaper and for the military they take the target completely by surprise, though they can take significantly longer to plot than a series of Vac’s.

Black – Black Jumps tend to have been miss-Jumps and are defined as arriving beyond the orbit of the nearest sun’s planet[1]. No one really wants to do these as they nearly mandate a Vac’ Jump before you actually get to a planet and that wastes a lot of fuel, but there are a few routes that can only be plied by Black Jumping ships.

Sloppy – Sloppy Jumping is a Jump with no exit coordinates, only the hope you won’t wind up hitting anything. Generally they are performed by people wanting to get the hell out of Dodge as they cost a lot and rarely get you anywhere near where you want. Depending on how far you wanted to run Sloppy Jumps are either a type of Vac or Black Jump.

Tight – Tight Jumps occur when your error margins overlap a major stellar body i.e. you have a 2% chance of hitting a planet. Slowly these become illegal, though as it is quite hard to ascertain their expected arrival zone most governments assert a ‘no Jump zone’ around their planets where you incur a severe fine if you Jump into it.

Flash – This is a sprinters[2] Jump. First you Vac Jump into the system, ideally a good way out from any inhabited planets, and then you Jump into orbit before your light flash announces your arrival. This ideally takes the local establishment by surprise and you set down on a spaceport or friendly strip of asphalt before anyone can catch up.

Cruncher – Not a Jump type per say, a Cruncher is any Jump that was plotted by another vessel for use on yours. They have a tendency to be used for the extreme long range Jumps, as carrying a supercomputer around when you’re only going to use it once is a waste of tonnage, but there are also systems which offer external Jump plotting, for a small fee.


[1] By this definition there are a few suns without planets where you could be in the corona and still be in ‘the black’, but no one ever goes to those systems anyway.

[2] Sprinters are carriers of ‘desirable’ cargos. Distinct from smugglers in that they do not try and hide, but instead really on being faster than the police. They don’t get the same kind of business in the core worlds but on the loosely policed border worlds they can make a lot of money very quickly.

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