“Centuries ago the scientists of Earth looked up to the skies and found planet after planet, but the stars seemed further out of reach than ever before. Then it all changed.”— Syrus Warren, historian on Eisenhower
The first period of human interstellar expansion following the invention of wormhole technology.
BackgroundBefore this, human civilization was not in very good shape. Decades of economic growth in the Age of Prosperity had come to an end as resource depletion and climate breakdown made the old spendthrift ways untenable, and many regions abandoned such technologies as personal automobiles, free-standing houses, and air travel. Some nations collapsed completely. What eventually followed was a sustainablity-oriented renewal and rebuilding from past atrocities and catastrophes which, though far from perfect, seemed at last to restore some sense of peace. Society in this time was an eclectic mix of revived older crafts like horse-drawn carriages, and what high technology had been preserved into the post-oil, post-growth age.
For decades before this, scientists had been cataloguing an ever-increasing number of exoplanets, including ones which appeared to host oxygenated atmospheres and even life. However, the prospects for ever visiting these worlds seemed ever more remote as humankind faced resource shortages, energy poverty, and a destabilized, still-warming climate.