From FreeSpace Wiki
In the Inferno continuity, the so called Ricochet Effect occurs in a systems where all jump nodes have collapsed.
The collapse of all a system's jump nodes severely compromises that system's subspace field and generates an invisible shockwave. A main result of this is subspace jumps require more energy and become less effective in terms of range. It also results in a total isolation from other systems in terms of subspace and conventional communications.
After several years, it becomes impossible for ships to jump to remote regions within the system, and after several decades, it becomes impossible to make any subspace jumps at all. It is believed that reopening at least one of the system's jump nodes would bring the system's subspace field back to its status quo ante condition, although the effects from the growing sphere would still be present.
Difficulty in making jumps
The reduction of the subspace field is progressive, gradually growing in strength over time. For the first few days after the node collapse the effect is unoticable, but this changes quickly. The effectiveness of a jump in an affected system depends on several factors:
- Distance of both the departure and arrival location from any notable celestial bodies
- Mass of the celestial bodies and presence of smaller bodies, such as satellites
- Direction of the jump compared to the direction of the strongest gravitational force in the system (remote regions --> star(s))
- The mass of the ship or spacecraft that is making the jump
- Energy supply levels of the ship or spacecraft that is making the jump
- The number of jumps required to travel from Mars to Earth are less than the number necessary to travel from Earth to Mars.
- Jumping to Jupiter from close regions of Jovian space is relatively easy thanks to the mass of the planet, combined with the presence of several satellites
- A destroyer's jump range is higher than that of a smaller ship, thanks to its greater mass and energy supplies
The most obvious consequences of the Ricochet Effect are the political ones. As jumping from one location of the system to another becomes more difficult, the colonies of an affected system become more likely to seek independence and form their own governments.
Different tactical situations
In a system affected by the RE the role of destroyers, installations and any other asset capable of transporting smaller spacecraft is extremely important. Without them, it's much more difficult to handle war logistics, fleet movements and strikes.
- See also: Post-Great War contacts with Sol
As the last viable node collapses, a massive and invisible shockwave generates from it. This shockwave, growing in a spherical pattern from the source, prevents any transmissions from passing through. The shockwave also has certain catastrophic effects on high-tech devices, which can be completely disabled if not properly protected. Shortly after the destruction of the Lucifer, this effect brought total chaos to Sol. As the shockwave proceeds, it is only possible to communicate with locations that have yet to be hit by the shockwave. This means that a system hit by this catastrophe would remain isolated from outside areas.
The intensity of the sphere's effect is relative to the area the shockwave has covered, reducing its affect on communications as the sphere grows larger. It is estimated that several decades after the collapse of the node, the communications interference would no longer be noticeable.
Sol - First Period
(from Inferno: Alliance Standalone)
The destruction of the Lucifer collapsed the Delta Serpentis jump node in Sol, thus severing all contact with the rest of GTA space. Under these circumstances, the Ricochet Effect could occur with revolutionary effects.
The RE was responsible for the downfall of the old GTA authorities in Sol, which became totally incapable of maintaining their control of the system. With the impossibility of jumping directly to any other colony, Sol's factions could easily declare independence, mostly under a political point of view. The GTD Adamanthea's accident is without any doubt the symbol of the Ricochet Effect in Sol.
That situation led to the Secession, or Border Establishment War, after which it became clear that Sol would have never been under the control of a single authority again, or at least not that easily.
Overall, during this period, it's not possible to travel from one planet to another in a single jump —even if a ship was to overload its subspace drives. The average number of jumps (at full energy) to reach another colony is 3-4, but that depends mostly on the parameters listed above. Several weeks after the collapse of the node, intrasystem communications should work again.
Sol - Second Period
(from Inferno: Alliance 2)
To be filled in later.
Sol - Third Period
(from Inferno SCP)
To be filled in later.