Sometime around 1700 PC (Galactic Coordinated Time), serious space colonization became a realistic prospect for humanity. Old Earth’s largest and most powerful political entity, the Consortium, launched a sustained program of expansion, rapidly reaching even the outer limits of humanity’s home system, Sol.
Unprecedented riches flowed as a result. Knowledge grew at a dizzying pace. Space mining boomed amid abundant reserves of precious minerals. With it, a new post-scarcity civilization was ushered in for the first time in human history. Further frontiers beckoned.
Soon enough, with the advent of wormhole stabilization technologies, they were within reach. Alpha Centauri was humanity’s next destination. Mass emigration gathered pace and, in time, humanity counted many further systems as home. But as the Consortium’s reach grew, its control and coherence faltered. In 594 PC, a rival affiliation emerged in Alpha Centauri: the Gaule Protectorate, based on the old Earth entity of the Franco-European Protectorate.
A delicate power balance ensued as humanity continued its spread through the galaxy driven by two competing entities. Although trade disputes, local skirmishes, and intelligence wars between the powers were common, the threat of major conflict was kept at bay as humanity’s horizons grew. The universe held more than enough riches for everybody.
But the blessings of this era were short-lived. The adverse effect on human skills, borne from cycles of technological over-reliance, rendered the species ill-prepared for any unexpected shocks. And when the shock eventually came, it was a big one, coming to be known simply as the Catastrophe.