Whitley’s Guide – 890 Jump

This article originally appeared in Jump Point 7.6.

Origin Jumpworks 890 Jump

DEVELOPMENT HISTORY

By the fourth decade of the 29th century, Origin Jumpworks had cemented their reputation as a major player in the burgeoning personal spacecraft industry with several lines of accessible, luxury oriented spacecraft that offered distinct alternatives to the output of its contemporary rivals. Origin designs belied the company’s industrial beginnings and largely focused on smaller-crewed and single-seat vessels, each reinforcing the sense that every individual piece was as carefully considered as those of a classic timepiece. Then, in 2852, acting CEO Kain Yolsen made a public announcement that shocked both industry watchers and his own board of executives alike: Origin would risk billions on the creation of a “flagship of the fleet.” That flagship, he further specified, would be known as the 890 Jump, following Origin’s unpredictable system of numbering new spacecraft designs rather than naming them. Before the development of the 890 Jump, high-end corporate spacecraft were a mixed bag of conversions and custom designs, with the ultra-rich favoring everything from adapting surplus military cruisers to constructing purpose-built hulls around standardized cargo ship components. These approaches could cost hundreds of millions of credits and would invariably lead to high running costs and demanding maintenance schedules, making the pursuit tolerable only by a tiny percentage of the potential audience. The 890 Jump, Yolsen announced, would completely change the game by making the personal corporate starship easily accessible to the very and ultra-rich alike.

The only problem was that there was no 890 Jump. At the time of the project’s announcement, no development work had been done beyond the determination that such a spacecraft had potential buyers. It quickly came out that Origin’s financial analysts hadn’t studied the costs of designing and constructing a ship significantly larger than anything in their history, nor had they considered the massive outlay of outfitting facilities and production lines. Yolsen was undeterred, promising Origin’s full resources to making the 890 Jump a true shift in luxury space travel.

To develop the 890 Jump’s overall look, Origin eschewed ordinary spacecraft engineers in favor of contracting industrial designer, Hadrian Wells, who began his time on the project by stating that the spacecraft “must look as at home on the sea as in the stars.” In 2852, this was easier said than done. It was only in recent years that single-seat ships had begun to escape the function-as-form approach that had defined human spacecraft for centuries. Both military and civilian space-faring vehicles of the era were extremely modular and completely utilitarian; full of harsh lines designed to weather the extreme dangers of the vacuum and to function in extant dockyard facilities rather than with an eye to impressing onlookers. The idea that a hundred-plus meter capital ship would be designed around any aesthetic beyond being a capital ship was a genuine shock.

Origin’s development team persisted and within 18 months developed a reasonable (albeit expensive) plan for both the 890 Jump’s overall design and construction. The company invested heavily in broad simulations early in order to allow the 890 Jump to make use of existing docking facilities and repair yards despite its significantly different design aesthetic. The biggest problem for the company was that, for perhaps the first time in modern aerospace history, the industry knew that this was happening. To this day, ship developers typically do not announce projects until either a military contract has been signed or, in the case of civil designs, a functional prototype has flown. The 890 Jump, already an unusual prospect in its own right, was being put together in the eyes of hostile competitors and a bemused press. From day one of Yolsen’s announcement, the 890 Jump was pilloried as everything from a go-nowhere fool’s errand to a criminal waste of a previously successful company’s resources. Few headlines were kind and as the lead prototype’s construction ran into the usual series of snags and issues, the press decried Yolsen’s “fifty billion credit disaster.”

As a result, Origin’s stock fell significantly despite general success across all of their current production lines. Then, just over two years after the first mention of the project, the company went silent. Origin ceased issuing updates on the 890 Jump and restructured the project’s organization to bring it into what internal memos referred to as “the event horizon.” Until the first ship was spaceworthy, the 890 Jump would not be mentioned directly. The tenor of the press changed overnight; where reporters once sought to turn typical teething issues into worrisome projections about Origin’s future, they became increasingly desperate to know what had happened to the ship. “JUMPED OUT?” read a famous Mars Today headline that speculated that Origin had secretly canceled the project or, perhaps, was intending to convert their existing work into a new type of high-end cargo transport. Ultimately, the gambit worked – stock prices stabilized and the 890 Jump faded into the public’s memory as the long process of designing and building both a new kind of starship and the infrastructure needed to support it continued behind the scenes. On March 2857, at a special event in Earth’s orbit, Origin lifted the veil and revealed the production prototype of the 890 Jump to an eager audience. Between its flowing nautical lines, surprising functionality, and unparalleled in-class specifications, the new design was an immediate hit. Overnight, the mood changed completely. Outlet after outlet asked variations of the same question: “Is this the future of spaceflight?” When markets opened the following day, Origin reached a new high and continued climbing well through the 890 Jump’s release the next year. The company had seemingly done what had seemed to onlookers completely impossible by building the elite luxury flagship Yolsen had announced six years earlier.

Over the following nine months and as the first prototypes went through certification and the assembly lines began to spin up, Origin promoted the ship to what they initially feared was a galaxy not ready to accept such a radical design. The company spent significant sums marketing the distinct new look of the 890 Jump, attempting to associate it with luxury in all of the typical ways: 890 Jumps pictured over grand tropical vistas, positioned near beautiful interstellar phenomena, and carrying noted celebrities and popular politicians in extreme luxury. Their post mortem would suggest this was unnecessary and, in fact, the 890 Jump remains the only Origin spacecraft ever to have its marketing budget lowered in the first three months after launch. New and hopeful owners were eager to spread the word about the new ship as far and wide as possible and preorders for hull allocation quickly filled up for seven years’ worth of production. Over the next decade, Origin would struggle to keep up with demand for the ship as it became clear that anyone who was anyone wanted their own luxury space platform.

Throughout the following century, Origin continued to improve the 890 Jump without significantly altering Wells’ original silhouette. Although there have been nineteen models of Jump released during its lifetime to date (not including dozens of custom models outfitted for elite customers), almost all of them have been minor modifications aimed at either upgrading the spacecraft’s technology to adapt to modern developments or at revamping the ship’s interior to keep it aligned with the current generation’s definition of luxury. Origin has continued to pay special attention to making sure the ship remains in the public consciousness, going so far as to employ a dedicated media relations department to pitch and manage 890 Jump appearances in films, vid series, and other media. The greatest challenge of the project, Wells noted as he departed the company following the 2858 launch, would not be the work they had put into building such an unlikely design. Rather, it would be making sure that the design continues to resonate with customers as it becomes more commonplace. By all accounts, Origin has managed exactly this for almost a century.

The major change to the standard package came in 2943 when Origin added launch capabilities and revealed the custom-designed 85x Limited snub craft, which would become a permanent inclusion with all 890 Jump orders. In October 2944, Origin CEO Jennifer Friskers announced that the latest iteration of the Jump was ready to enter production, featuring the addition of a swimming pool and other amenities deemed most appropriate for the celebrity buyers of the mid 2940s.

 

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