The Times Are Nightfall
Jumpgates are huge structures left behind by The Anunnaki. They are the sole means of interstellar travel, linking together the known worlds through a web of jump routes.
Jumpgates are hoop shaped and vary in size between 200km and 1,000km in diameter. They are entered slowly, for safety reasons, and always from the sun-facing side. After a jump is made the gate needs time to reset itself. Humanity has very little understanding of the principles at work behind the gates, although they do understand how to operate them.
Jumpgates are powered by a device called the jump engine, and the destination is controlled by another device called a jumpkey (almost all jumpkeys are held by the Charioteers, who are very vigilant against any outsiders who might own one). A jumpkey is normally for one jump, i.e. Sutek-Holy Terra/Holy Terra-Sutek, though some can have multiple jumps encoded on them. Typically they are metal cylinders about 6-8 inches long that plug into consoles on a ship’s bridge; when the ship reaches the jumpgate, the jumpkey triggers a series of lights and signals that sets the gate for the destination and activates it. It is possible to copy jumpkeys by monitoring the signals sent to a gate, but the Charioteers consider this dirty pool.
Finding a jumpkey can be a big deal; some date back to the Republic eras, and may hold routes to lost worlds.
In times of crisis, a jumpgate may be sealed, cutting a world off from the rest of civilization, but doing so is risky; no one knows for how long the gate will remain closed. Some sealed gates reactivated after a few months; others never have.
Travel through a jumpgate will cause an addictive metaphysical ecstasy unless Sathra dampers are installed on the jump engine, as is the standard. This ecstasy is the source of Sathraism. Almost all spacecraft possess Sathra dampers, unless illegally modified.
Some link the operation of the jumpgates to the Fading Suns phenomena, but given the mysteriousness of the principles involved, no one can prove anything.
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