Ather

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A futuristic Sci-Fi world set roughly 400 years into the future.   After the discovery of fuel more potent and powerful than oil, a second space race was kicked off with Russia, China, and the United States competing to see who could get their hands on this new resource while the other countries scramble to carve out their own sections of the solar system. Due to financial and social issues the United States falls into chaos and from the ashes emerges five new nations leaving China and Russia to continue the competition.   In the 2170s humans achieve faster than light travel and begin emerging from their home solar system only to discover they are not alone in the universe. Not only that but, there is a fully functioning space community of aliens who all regard humans as slightly more intelligent than the tetrapods that first walked on land as their technology is millennia ahead of humans.   In the three hundred years since then, humans have better reputations after scraping by taking technology considered 'obsolete' by aliens and making it their own. They are still on the lower end of the totem pole due to many long-lived species maintaining the same opinion of humans but more and more aliens close to the Sol System are willing to do business with and hire humans. Further away, however, many aliens refuse to do business with them, except for those willing to work at outrageously reduced rates for black market merchants.

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