A while ago I said I’d post some details about the background of the setting I’m working on. Well, this is it. Now, I have to say that one of the things that I find the most difficult to do is writing up history for sci-fi settings. It never feels like I get the dates right. Am I setting it too far into the future, or not far enough? With that said, the dates found here and in other posts may not coincide very well at all. Until I finally decide on a “target date” these dates may very well be in a constant state of flux.
The other thing that’s difficult in writing a somewhat believable history is the prediction of not only when certain technical advancements take place, but determining what occurrences like wars, disasters, cultural revolutions and so forth to include. Plus, does it even make any sense to include them? In a space opera setting, like the one I’m working on, does human history really make any difference when the history of the Galactic Concord is the bigger focus? With all that in mind, I’m going to brush over much of human history and just hit the bigger points. The rise of the Concord will get more detail.
The History of Man
The current year is 2437 Common Era (C.E.). In their short time living beyond the boundary of the Sol system, they have spread throughout much of the outer reaches of the Perseus Arm, they have seen several wars, and have been instrumental in the formation of the Galactic Concord. Few other species can claim to have had the same impact in such a short period of time as humans can.
A brief history of mankind, not to mention the histories of even the species considered to also be major players in the galaxy would span several thousand pages. We’ll focus on man’s history from the time of spaceflight to today; everything else is known as “Pre-space Earth” and is of little consequence.
In the mid-20th century mankind took its first steps away from home. Remote-controlled machines lead the way, with manned spacecraft spiraling into orbit. Before long, artificial objects were forever circling above, looking down on the Earth and beaming information to the people below.
In the mid 21st century, the first Grid was built upon the foundation of the internet before. The Grid allowed for limitless exchange of information, which helped bring down fascist regimes. Several periods of unrest spread throughout the world as governments were rocked by revolution and the yoke of religion was cast off. The Grid also paved the way for the formation of the first mega-corporations, which were large enough to rival the power of many smaller nations.
Military conflicts were replaced by industrial espionage and battles waged on the stock market floors. However, clashes over oil and clean water would flare up and, thankfully, die out, leading many prognosticators to predict a full-scale resource war.
That war never came thanks to the discovery of true cold fusion. Despite intense government and corporate pressure, the group of scientists (mostly comprised of those from the European Union) released their findings on the Grid. Within a few years, fusion reactors were being built to power the world and replace the need for fossil fuels.
The discovery of fusion power also lead to a new space race. Colonies were founded on the Moon, Mars, and Europa. The discovery of ancient ruins on Mars proved that man was not the first sapient species in the galaxy, and led to a crisis of faith among the world’s major religions as their leaders wrestled with the significance of these findings. Under the ice of Europa, a vibrant aquatic eco-system was discovered, which proved that there was indeed still life beyond Earth.
Back on Earth, science was unlocking the last mysteries of the human body. Gene therapies were developed that extended the human lifespan, provided cures for cancers, AIDS, and other diseases, and to allow man to better survive the rigors of life beyond Earth. During this period, clones were put into use by some governments. The first Moreaus were born that mixed human and animal DNA to create new species of sapient life. Mankind began to understand how to unlock their brains, and the study of psionics was born. Cybernetics, once the purview of only the military complexes, became widely available during this time. The public now had access to machinery that could effectively replace lost limbs and organs without having to utilize the cloning vats.
In the mid 22nd century, the discovery of the Gravitic Reactor made the once arduous task of space travel, almost trivial. Gravitic reactors provide a near limitless source of energy with a higher energy output that allowed for travel at speeds bordering on the speed of light, plus they could be miniaturized allowing the birth of the first space fighters and smaller cargo craft to replace the mammoth hulks of the previous era. Gravitic drives also allowed for artificial gravity on starships, removing the recovery time to astronauts on long voyages in space as their bodies get re-acclimated to the force of gravity.
Mankind was shocked to its core not long after the adoption of the Gravitic Reactors. The Fraal, an alien species that had long made the Sol system their home had finally decided to reveal themselves to man. On July 17, 2154, a Fraal craft descended to Earth. At first the meeting was cautious on all sides, but a treaty of mutual respect and cooperation was signed. Since that time, humans and fraal have been brothers in arms. That is not to say that there weren’t issues. Xenophobia ran rampant throughout sections of human culture, sometimes with violent consequences. Still, the majority of people (both human and fraal) desired peace and worked against the bigotry to build a brighter future.
The union of fraal and human science allowed them to unlock the Elder Relay in the Oort Cloud. This ancient artifact that predates even the Protheans brought the fraal to the Sol system several millennia ago, but they lost the ability to access and activate the relays. Finally, they were able to continue their search for their lost homeworld than had been abandoned for thousands of years.
With the use of the Elder Relays, mankind began to spread throughout the galaxy. It wasn’t long until humanity would be put to the test yet again.
A couple of wars, that would come to be known as the “First Contact Wars” were fought in rapid succession. The first was against the Turians thanks to a complete lack of communication that lead to the destruction of a Turian cruiser. The war was over after only one other skirmish. There were no human lives lost in that conflict, but over 200 turians were slain in the initial attack that sparked the “war.” Thanks to the timely intervention of the Asari, further loss of life was adverted.
The second war that is lumped into the title of the First Contact Wars, but is more commonly known as the first Galactic War, was fought primarily between the humans and Minbari. A Minbari consular ship was destroyed as it approached the human colony on Antares IV. The colonists were a xenophobic religious cult that saw other lifeforms as a corrupting influence on human culture. When the ship approached, they fired upon the craft with their planetary defenses. The Minbari were outraged by the wanton destruction of a peaceful vessel and launched a full offensive on the human and fraal colonies. This drew in other species and nearly destroyed any possibility of an interstellar community. During what was seen as possibly the last battle needed to ensure a Minbari Alliance victory over the humans and their scant allies, the Minbari withdrew and called for peace. No one other than the Minbari knows why they ended the war when they did, but it was good for humanity that they did. Part of the treaty that ended the war was to set up a place where species could work out their difference before turning to armed conflict. The ancient starbase known as The Citadel had been discovered by Asari explorers a decade earlier, was agreed upon to serve as a neutral ground for these negotiations to take place. This eventually evolved into what is now known as the Galactic Concord.
Mankind was now part of a cosmopolitan galactic community. Humanity has gone from being the “young upstart” to one of the founding members of the Galactic Concord, a union of various species and governments from throughout the Perseus and Outer Arms and the Orion Spur.