The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned. Maya Angelou
We live among the stars, drifting through the Black on orbital stations that emulate the conditions we require to stay alive. Our life, however, did not begin up here. It began far below, on planets that we can look down upon from our lofty perches and dream of returning to.
However, we cannot. At least not right now…
When the Catastrophe struck, it was sudden and with neither mercy or prejudice. Waves of devastation swept across the galaxy, affecting each station in equally catastrophic but unique fashions. Some facilities suffered station-wide decompressions, leaving entire populations of corpses floating eerily through nearby space. Other stations suffered slower shut downs, offering denizens some scant chances of survival.
The situation on the planets inhabited by humanity were far less random. What can be surmised based on patches of records and echoes of communications that survived the network shut down, drifting through local meshes to be partially retrieved is that planetary defenses across the galaxy malfunctioned. They unleashed their hefty payloads onto the planets they were installed to protect, wiping out all life in a matter of segments.
This has, to the best of our understanding, been corroborated by consistent analysis of planet surfaces, indicating nuclear wastelands as far as any sensor can see.
This is not to say that our understanding of the current situation nor what transpired over 200 hundred cycles ago is clear and complete. The Catastrophe resulted in a massive and galactic network shutdown that took us cycles to reinitialize. Irreparable corruption and loss of data meant that we have only fragments of panic stricken reports from that time to try and piece together past events.
Added to that, not every station has access to functional long range observational equipment to correctly analyze the situation on planets below. Even our knowledge of which moons and planets were actually colonized cannot be guaranteed as 100% accurate. A situation we are striving to remedy as jump gates are repaired and more and more systems return to the fold.
It should also be noted that, based on reclaimed Omni-Reality footage and fragments of imagery scraped from the mesh, it would appear we, as a species, were less than respectful of our terrestrial hearth and homes. Data indicates massive scales of pollution, deforestation, even entire landmasses relegated to waste disposal on our own home planet of Earth.
Some wonder, perhaps, if our current plight is the result of some cosmic, karmic retribution, ousting us from the homes we no longer deserved…