Following the social unrest and societal breakdowns of the 21st century, by the early22nd century (2128) mankind had managed to unite itself into the first Terran United World Government. This state managed to unite Earth enough to devote the massive resources necessary for colonizing first the Solar System, and then the nearby worlds. As they slowly expanded, they came across ample evidence that humanity was not alone. Alien ruins of long gone empires dotted the various worlds, signs of previous occupants. There were also the vast alien constructs called star gates; massive machines shaped like floating, interlocked rings of neutronium that created controlled artificial wormholes to link systems, enhancing the limited range of Earth’s primitive Type 1 Jump Drives. Other evidence of aliens were more disturbing, though. In the Metaldrift system was discovered the wreckage of two vast, alien fleets, signs of war in space that so shocked the administrators of the TUWG, firmly convinced by the scientists of their time that any race that achieved star travel would have to have abandoned aggression as a concept due to the inherent problems of space combat, achieved a level of harmony due to the need for a unified society to marshal the resources required for star travel and colonization, and forsaken competition, since there would be plenty of worlds and resources for all, that they concealed the evidence from their citizens. Nothing would be allowed to contravene the modern social theory of societal harmony on which the TUWG was based.
This social theory collapsed completely in the wake of Earth’s first alien encounter, with the fierce hive mind of the Xenosects. The Xenosects seemed to infest the ruins of the unknown alien empires, and they attacked Earth vessels with unparalleled ferocity. The brutal Bug Wars lasted nearly fifty years, driving humanity almost back upon Earth. During this time the TUWG attempted to manage the war by building only the fleet it needed for defense. This strategy resulted in a long, bloody war of attrition that the TUWG couldn’t win. Only the fact that the two other vast alien empires in the area, the Devan and the Scaran, decided to call a halt to their millennia old on and off conflict to drive back the Xenosects raiding on their own borders saved the Earth from Xenosect invasion.
The encountering of the two new species didn’t do much for humanity’s position in space. The Scaran looked upon the humans as barbarians only suitable to be used as a buffer between them and their hated racial enemies the Devans. The Devans looked upon humans as little more than clever animals, suitable only as slaves or pets. To take humanity’s measure, they lured the USS Zarastrutha on a diplomatic mission to Deva, where the Devans proceed to addict, corrupt, then enslave the entire crew. When remonstrated against by the TUWG, the Devans directed their war slaves, the Krorr, the Zhann, and the Gorahk against Earth. Due to the distances involved, the TUWG was able to hold the Devans off, facing off against the periodic long range invasion armadas, but the strain of fighting the Devans and the Xenosects at the same time eventually proved too much. Amid planet wide rioting and revolts against the war taxes and recently introduced universal conscription, the Terran United World Government collapsed in 2275, and Earth and her colonies devolved into warring petty states.
For 130 years the human colonies existed as small warring states. The only reason they weren’t conquered was the Devan, Scarans, and Xenosects engaged in another century long round of warfare, giving the Earth worlds some security from external attack, other than the occasional raid for slaves. The human worlds mostly warred upon each other and fought fierce conflicts, called Gate Wars, over the few functional Jump Gates. The primitive Type 1 and Type 2 Jump Drives of the time made travel difficult, and control of the Jump Gates meant control of trade and colonization. This ended in 2405 when Proconsul Vander Neiman of Kallistus founded the 1st Almighty Human Imperium after having gained control of 6 of the Jump gates. He and his successors used this advantage to conquer and compel all the human worlds into the empire, The Imperium reached farther than any human civilization had ever before, colonizing vast stretches of space using the new Type 3 Jump Drive. For 157 years the Imperium continued to grow, until, during a pause in the never ending Devan-Scaran War, the Devan Potentate Shahastril LV, almost as an afterthought, finely decided to turn the full attention of the Devan Empire on humanity.
The result was fairly certain. In 2562, at the end of a hard fought five year campaign, Kallistus fell to the vast might of the Devans. Most of its inhabitants were enslaved and shipped back to the Devan Empire, along with the last heir to the Human Throne, Crown Princess Illyssra, who became a member of the Devan Potentate’s harem, and the entire planet was looted. For a little over a century, the Devan Empire occupied the core human worlds, while raiding and looting the farther colonies for slaves and plunder. The Devans even managed to push the Xenosects back across the Genosan Rift and hold them there, and they seemed finally able to began a serious offensive against the Scarans, defeating their rivals in battle after battle using human Janissaries. Then in 2675, among the Devan occupied human Core World, there first appeared a disease called the Devan Phage. It killed swiftly and horribly, its victims perishing within days. Among non-Devans, it killed about 20% of the population; among Devans, the death rate was near 80%. The Devans panicked. Whole populations of Devans evacuated the conquered worlds, fleeing for the Empire, but found themselves refused entry. The level of terror at the disease, which the advanced Devan science couldn’t cure, provoked the first Devan Civil War in history as refugees ships attempted to blast their way through the blockades, while the isolated territories slaughtered the plague ships without mercy.
When all was over after 22 years of conflict, the Devan Empire was reduced as it had never been before in its 60,000 year history. Reduced to its own Core Worlds, the Empire left behind it slave worlds now bereft of any form of control other than the surviving alien Janissaries, Judenrats, and Quislings who ran the occupied worlds for them. When the slave aliens realized that, the Great Rebellion broke out. It the course of this conflict, which left many worlds drenched in their own blood, the Devan slaves of the Cygnians, Krorr, Xolites, Zhann, Altairians, Gorahk, and Valkyra took their independence back. Along its borders, the Devan Empire now hosted a defensive ring of satellite states, ruled by Devans related to the Imperial House and nominally subject to it, but in practice independent. As for humans, the victorious rebels worlds formed the Grand Solarian Republic, a multi-world representative government. This government proved so popular with humans that by 2750, the heart of human space was reunited, and humanity was again expanding, driving out the Xenosects, and even pushing into territory abandoned by the Devans and Scarans. Even the new alien states of the former Devan slaves seemed to be able to do little more than protect their own space.
Now, in 2920, the Solarian Republic has had over two centuries of brilliant progress and growth, but cracks are starting to show. The Republic has expanded too far, too fast. The Fringe territories, long used to a degree of autonomy, have broken out into rebellion as mega corps and the government have expanded their control into the Autonomous Regions. The costs of putting down the various Fringer Revolts and occupying them have almost crippled the government. In the Core Worlds advanced technology means most industry is automated, and only the introduction of the Basic Work Allotment and Basic Income Credit give the lower classes any real income, but at an escalating cost to the government. Income inequality has surged to the point where the bulk of the economy is controlled by a few massive wealthy, educated elite that is every bit as isolated and insular as the old Imperial Aristocracy. The lower classes are kept in line with plenty of cheap entertainment and easy credit, but resentment against the upper classes and their privileges is building. Piracy has progressed from disorganized bands of Shatrats to raider fleets fielding junk cruisers that can stand up to Fleet units, and it plagues the outer colonies and disrupts food shipments to the Core. The mega corps control vast wealth which they use to influence the government. Politicians are corrupt and venal, using political patronage to advance themselves and secure wealth. Bolters, refugees fleeing the chaos of the Xenosect Resurgence and the Mek War, try to flood into human space, but instead are diverted to the Fringes by the xenophobic citizens. At the borders, the alien powers are recovering and have begun to test the limits of human power. A new era of war threatens to engulf known space again, and it is uncertain if humanity will survive, or again become a conquered people.