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A Jump Point (short JP) is a location within the gravity wells of stellar systems, where instant interstellar travel between linked systems is made possible. Ships equipped with jump drive, ships serviced by a Jump Tender, and ships using Jump Gates can jump via jump point to re-emerge at the connected system light years away from the starting position.
Each discovered system has at least one Jump Point, but many have multiple connections forming a weblike node network making up the known regions of the galaxy. Without them, interstellar travel would be impossible, since the speeds required for interstellar travel in a human lifetime far exceed what spacecraft propulsion can provide.
The location of Jump Point must be discovered through a gravitational survey of the system, conducted by a ship with the appropriate sensors. (Note that the location of the jump point is typically nowhere near the survey location.) Once discovered, a ship equipped with a jump drive can traverse the point to the new system, rely on jump tenders, or a ship equipped with an appropriate construction module can construct a jump gate over the point allowing any ship to transit.
In order to travel between star systems, it is frequently necessary to carry out a series of jumps interspersed with periods of in-system travel between JP. Traversing a jump points is instantaneous, however, lead to temporary jump shock, disabling weapons and active sensors on-board ships, which can cause a lot of FUN if there is anything likely to be lurking on the far side :) Jump drives can offer tactical value to military ships, as it allow to reduce the effect of jump shock and increase success of jump point assault.
The key to discovering Jump Points and the methods to utilize them was the discovery of Trans-Newtonian Elements making interstellar exploration, commerce, and warfare possible. All known space-faring species are restricted by this limitation, with no known technological alternatives.
A dormant jump point is one that can't be detected until a ship jumps through it from the other end, at which point it become active and can be found by resurveying the system.
In mechanical terms, when a new jump point is explored, the computer generates a random number for the destination system. If that system already exists it checks to see if any jump points remain that do not have a destination. If so then it connects to one of those. If however all existing jump points go somewhere (i.e. have been explored) it creates a new jump point. Once created it can be found by either observing a ship transiting, or by re-surveying the system.
- Lagrange Point for Inter-system jumps.