Unless you care about the story I’m writing, you can give this blog a pass. As background for the daring adventure, I developed a history of the “Union of Species” (hey, you try coming up with something original that isn’t “the Federation,” “United Planets,” or “the Galactic Empire”). Just some bare bones to reference in dialogue, give it a sense of scale.
2093: Humans, desperate to get off-planet after a couple of minor nuke/bio scares on Earth, invent the first generation of spaceflight drugs. They enable far longer periods of living in low- or zero-G environments (side benefit: as the drugs get better, they also contribute to longer lifespan, maybe 150 years). Slowly, using moonbases and floating habitats (plus terraforming Mars), humans begin to spread throughout Sol system…no more “all the eggs in one basket”.
2155: Humans develop wormhole-based Jump drive theory. Basically, by enclosing a ship in a subspace bubble, you can sort of ride an artificially stable wormhole; tiny pinholes naturally occur between large masses, like stars…the bubble allows mass to travel through them and stabilizes it for the nearly-instantaneous transition. It still takes about 25 years to establish permanent base on a nearby star (Alpha Centauri is OK as stop-by point, but the various push-pulls in its trinary system means no colony).
2305: Explorer ship from Earth discovers K’kahrani planet, on the eve of fighting an all-out war that could wipe them out (think WW II–and the good guys losing–but with WW III weapons). Captain Jonas Jefferson (great-grandfather of present Captain Jefferson) decides to help the Allies-types, dropping rocks from space on the bad guys’ C&C points to stop their nuke capability and announces the existence of humans to the K’kahrani (evolved from owl-type avians, kind of look lemur-ish). Needless to say, this causes quite the furor back on Earth, with some claiming that he shouldn’t have used violence ir even interfered. But, since this was the first intelligent life besides humans, eventually his actions are seen as right; better to save them as partners than lose them completely. Of course, the K’kahrani revere Capt Jefferson as a hero. No “Prime Directive” to worry about.
2391: K’kahrani and humans working together to create Union of Species, more of a joint partnership than a government. One of first UES ships with mixed crew discovers Greeont homeworld. Greeonts are slow-moving quasi-insects who share a hivemind mentality. Individual Greeonts can’t leave their own planet since they die getting too far from the hive but, as sentient race, they become part of the Union, represented by Ambassadors (representatives sworn to forego their own racial interests in favor of the Greeonts); so far, this works; Greeont is contributing part of Union, happy to reap benefits of learning about space and learning how to deal with “they-who-are-not”.
2452: Union is now Earth, three Earth colonies, Greeont, K’kahra, and one joint colony (possible that the Greeont are going to experiment with transplanting a hivemind ‘seedling’ there…story for another day). The colonies are vast distances apart…life-sustaining planets are rare, terraforming isn’t that good yet (Mars still a work in progress). UES Lewis & Clark, one of latest explorer ship class, is launched. Its mission is to explore the edge of the Expanse, a strangely sparse region of stars in the direction of galactic center. Soon into the trip, the L&C discovered a particularly lone star, reachable only by jumping to a rogue brown dwarf. It’s a dangerous move, given that no ship has ever Jumped that far to a dwarf star. But, as the K’kahrani note, sometimes humans get taken by “monkey curiousity” and it’s best to just go along with it.