The Climate Wars of the 21st century nearly ended life on Earth. Humanity survived thanks to planetary engineering techniques and genetic enhancements that increased people’s intelligence, empathy and curiosity.
Peace, increased human capabilities, and optimism from overcoming the challenges of a century of conflict and environmental devastation led to a global renaissance in culture, science and technology.
Humankind soon spread through the solar system: terraforming Mars and Venus, and modifying and enhancing life to thrive in varied environments.
The development of stellar drives enabled the exploration and colonization of the Local Interstellar Cloud. Second generation drives extended that reach considerably, but the impact of these technologies was dwarfed by discovery of hyperspace topology and origami engines. A hyperspace beacon, built at enormous effort out the planet Mars itself, enabled near instantaneous navigation through folded space. The entire galaxy was in reach, and a galactic civilization was born.
With easy access to countless worlds and untold resources, humanity sorted itself into like-minded communities, with novelty relishing traders and tourists moving freely between them. The game starts in one such community, a collection of nearby systems known as the Convention Authority, founded to celebrate the most important pop cultural works of the 20th and 21st centuries: science fiction, fantasy, and gaming.
Suddenly and without warning, the stellar beacon at Mars went silent, rendering every origami engine ship inoperable instantaneously and ending galactic civilization.
The systems of the Convention Authority were able to stay united and in contact, because fans had maintained a replica fleet of early starships.
After a century of effort, a long range starship has been built. Its purpose: to return to the stars, and reconnect with lost civilizations of humanity.