'Jump Juice'

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Several Fading Suns sourcebooks have an entry in starship descriptions for the number of jumps they can make. The principle behind this - that each ship can make only a limited number of jumps before needing to resupply - is a useful one for story reasons, even if the sourcebooks are conflicted on the topic.

To properly pass through a jumpgate, starships require jump engines - high technology that projects a field allowing them to move through the gate from one system to another. Initializing those jump engines involves power (supplied by the ship's reactor) that initializes a reaction that is facilitated by a catalytic mass that bears a convoluted chemical name only Engineers can manage. Spacers call simply call the reactant 'jump juice', and over the course of a jump a portion of that agent is converted into chemical waste.

The amount of jump juice required for a jump varies with the size of the vessel, and larger vessels require an exponentially larger amount of the agent than smaller vessels, with the proportion required increasing at a faster rate than the volume of the ship. Consequently, larger vessels are likely to carry far less jump juice than smaller starships, relegating them to a shorter number of jumps between refueling.

In general, the number of jumps a ship can make varies between 1 and 10. The largest ships - cruisers, dreadnaughts, bulk haulers, and some destroyers - can usually only make 2 jumps (there and back again). Frigates, galliots and smaller bulk transports typically can make 3-4 jumps, and smaller vessels - free traders, sloops, and explorers - can make even more jumps. Indeed, some explorer-class vessels (like the exceptionally long-ranged Imperial Lekaf) can make as many as 10 jumps without requiring more jump juice, allowing them to speed across the jumpweb with ease.

In general, most naval vessels never jump farther than half their range away from their base station before stopping to refuel, to make sure they have enough jump juice to get back to safety - and while sometimes vessels may push that limit, even the least cautious captains keep one jump's worth of juice in reserve in case they need to beat it out of a bad situation.