An unpredictable random jump, caused by a faulty jump transition. The worst effect of a misjump is total destruction of the craft at the time of jump transition. Other misjumps are classified according to their effects: temporal, spatial, or combined.
In a temporal misjump, the craft reaches the intended destination, but a jump time duration error occurs (also known as a jump relativity error). In such cases, the amount of time the craft spends in jumpspace may vary from 40% to 160% of normal. In many cases, this is nothing more than an inconvenience to the passengers and crew. In fact, the craft may arrive ahead of schedule. However, in extreme cases, the voyage may take so long that supplies dwindle and life support or fuel reserves fail. When this happens, the ship emerges from jumpspace with no survivors.
A spatial misjump causes the craft to arrive at a point in space other than its intended destination, although the time spent in jump falls within the normal range. This is caused by the ship entering a higher level of jumpspace than intended. Sometimes a jump-6 will be reduced to a mere jump-1, or a jump-1 converted into a jump-10, 20, or higher. The highest recorded misjumps have covered 36 parsecs. Often these misjumps are disastrous, because there is no assurance that the craft will emerge anywhere near a star system. A ship which finds itself stranded between systems, without fuel, is almost certainly doomed. About the only recourse is for the ship to vector toward the nearest star and accelerate to the limit of its maneuver fuel. At 0.1 lightspeed, a system one parsec away will still take over 30 years to reach. The only hope for the occupants is to strap themselves into low berths for the duration of the trip.
A combined misjump is a dramatic event which causes the travellers to be subjected to combined effects of both a temporal and a spatial misjump.
There are two common causes of misjumps. The chief cause is gravitational perturbations. It is possible to enter jumpspace from anywhere, even from the surface of a planet, but some points are more hazardous than others. Any nearby mass (even another starship) distorts the fabric of space and jumpspace, making jumpspace transition a dangerous task. Between 10 and 100 diameters, the effect gradually drops off; jumps within this range are considered hazardous and should be avoided. Beyond 100 diameters, jumpspace transition is considered safe, as long as no other factor adversely affects the procedure.
The second most common cause is contaminated fuel. On rare occasions, an unusual gas mix in the fuel causes the jump drive power plant to load the zuchai crystals with a charge that is ever-so-slightly skewed, and a misjump occurs. The detection systems in Scout and military jump drive governors are more sensitive to such variations in the zuchai crystal charge. This enables them to compensate for such variations, making them more resistant to misjumps caused by unrefined fuel.
Other misjumps are caused by faulty drive components, such as a fracture in a zuchai crystal or damage to the lanthanum hull grid.
(BOOK-2, 1107; MT-SOM, 1120)
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