After three interplanetary wars the Pallas republic decided that it was time to start looking again for a new home. This time one that would be even more inaccessible. After much research it was found that a small craft propelled by several hundred tons of thermonuclear explosives could carry a skeleton crew with a load of frozen embryos, and the new fabrication swarms would make it fairly simple to construct these craft. They sent out half a dozen ships before the Calamity, and many other planetoids and even the planets of Earth and Mars followed suit. But before the first colony ship was halfway to its destination the Sol system suddenly went dark, the crews of these miniscule lifeboats waited, terrified, to find out what the reason was. Eventually they got their answer.
“This is an automated beacon broadcasting what may well be the last message ever sent by the human race. Five years ago, our homeworld, Earth was struck by a 50-ton projectile travelling at 90% of the speed of light. The debris took out most of our habitats in Earth’s orbit, a few million of us survived elsewhere in the solar system. Then the rest of the invasion force arrived. Machines, vast machines kilometers in length that home in on any sources of radio transmissions, and annihilate them. We pray they are not intelligent and are simply weapons fired by a xenophobic alien race. But they’ve almost completed their work, we estimate that there’s only a couple hundred of us left in the system. We’re sending this message in hopes that there is someone out there who can hear it and beware. This universe is more hostile than we thought. They attack radio transmitters, dismantle whatever devices you are listening to this on before they find you.”
The message, broadcast on the longest-wave radio known to man and paraman, repeated for three weeks before it cut out. Most of the colonists despaired at this news, as far as they knew they in their little ship were the last remnant of Earth, an untold number could not take the strain and destroyed themselves and their ship. Others decided to take the message’s advice and go dark, some taking it so far as to make pacts to abandon all technology as soon as they reached an inhabitable planet.
Alpha Centauri, the closest star system to Sol, was settled by four different ships on the same nearly Earthlike planet. Second Landing, or SecLand as the planet came to be known, was first colonized by a small group of Pallene Parahumans who claimed the entire planet in the name of the great (presumed deceased) leader Argentum. To honor zim, they bioprinted a first generation of 500 genetically distinct and very fertile Parahumans from the assorted sperm and eggs donated by exuberent citizens. Including a male and female grown from Argentum’s own genome spliced with traces of zir companions and advisors. This pair entered politics and quickly usurped the founders as the grand mayor of the colony. By the time the second ship arrived the planet had a population of 2,000 and had a burgeoning industrial base. This ship and the others that followed were integrated into the new republic.
As the centuries passed, colonies began experimenting with alternative means of communicating long distances. Planetside populations favored heavy use of fibre optics, while those who maintained spacecraft and asteroid colonies generally preferred tight-beam laser transceivers. Eventually scientists on SecLand made two breakthroughs in the field of quantum mechanics. The first was the discovery that entangled particles exist everywhere in the universe, scattered throughout eternity, and that some of the particles that make up sentient beings’ nervous systems are entangled with those of other sentients, in particular identical twins. With training these twins could be made to communicate with each other by words or feelings or in rare cases images, which they could relay to others. Unfortunately this resolution was low and telepaths with cranial implants seemed to have the weakest connections. But it did lead to the second innovation, comm units that contained entangled particles enabling them to send data up to and including video that could be exported off unit. Unfortunately these entangled particles were expensive, to the tune of 10,000 credits for a kilobyte’s worth, and each bit severed the connection between a pair.
This was enough though, to justify the deployment of probes to the other known colonies fitted with the new QE comms. This enabled regular communication between the governments of these systems, once any initial suspicion had been overcome. However, bandwidth was in too short supply for any useful data transfer, the various systems had been isolated from one another for over a millenium at this point and had diverged massively. There was a wealth of information out there just waiting for someone to grasp it. Eventually a corporation called Interstellar Expeditions Inc was founded with the objective of combining the old rapid construction techs with new matter annihilation to build “data freighters” that would go out into the black carrying research journals, works of fiction, and other information that could be of value to distand suns and bring back data that would be just as valuable to SecLand. The first expedition took fifty Terran years to return but the crew was able to buy their ship outright and went back out. Others followed suit, and still other smaller groups got similar ideas, the company didn’t last long but the investors at least got rich off it.
Five more centuries passed, ten systems were contacted, four were found burned and shattered like Sol. But eventually, physicists on SecLand made another breakthrough. With access to astronomical data and the works of physicists from over two dozen worlds they were finally able to develop a means of producing a transversable wormhole. The two mouths of the wormhole had to be transported to the two destinations to be connected, at under 25% light speed no less, but once they were in place they were held open by exotic matter and could move traffic and information between star systems in hours rather than years. When the first stargate, between Alpha Centauri and Tau Ceti, was laid down grand mayor Selkd the Uniter, a descendant of Argentum’s bioprinted progeny, pushed for a unification of all Parahuman worlds under a single Federation that would prevent yet another Calamity from happening. The Church of the Noosphere, up until then a minor sect in the Centauri system, declared their unilateral support for Selkd and proclaimed that the noospheres of Cenatauri and Ceti would soon become one. The government of Tau Ceti agreed, followed by Epsilon Eridani. However not all the people shared that opinion.
Insurgencies cropped up all over the new Federation, usually no more than a few hundred in an area but all together they caused immense damage and killed thousands of people. Eventually, even Selkd was felled by an assassin at the tender age of 312. His sister Lirdrill was elected to replace him and she was merciless towards the rebels. She named herself “Praetor” and organized the Federal Guard as a military force that would police inhabited space for threats to the Federation, and by extension all Parahumanity. The insurgencies were the first target of this new force, swiftly and decisively all violent rebels in the stargate network were shot, captured, or annihilated by orbital kinetic bombardment.
Captured combatants who had civilian blood on their hands were summarily executed, those who had not were placed in nanostasis and loaded en masse aboard starships with no other form of nanotechnology on board and sent far from the growing empire.
Praetor Lirdrill was praised for her just disposal of the extremists, when elections for her sixth term came around it was whispered that with the still massive distances between stars an election every five years would be impractical, and the legislature passed a law making the position of Praetor last for life. She reigned for another 250 years before retiring, her great-grandson was elected to fill her place. Since then the House of Silver has filled the office of Praetor and many other high offices in the Federation.
It has been seven hundred years since the birth of the Federation, and it still expands to this day. Nearly a hundred systems are connected by the gate network while ten times that number have been contacted or colonized. And the data traders usually manage to keep at least fifty years ahead of the stargates.