Timeline

Timeline

2050s - Transgenics/robotics technologies mature. Nanoscale polymers enable supermaterial constructions. First space elevators constructed, enabling access to space. Earth-Moon Lagrange points, Luna colonized. Earth climate deteriorates, and geopolitical instability causes major brush wars. Era of the Megacorporation, as states become increasingly powerless; top ten economies are all corporate.

2060s - Further development of off-planet resources. Mars, Belt colonies established. Micro-g manufacturing becomes the standard. Major economic unity superstates form to attempt to counter megacorporate power. Arms race and proxy warfare escalate. Geoengineering projects on Earth, including the first arcologies.

2070s - Breakthroughs in nanoscale manufacturing. Efficient fusion finally developed, ameliorating the energy crisis somewhat, and also enabling faster spaceflight; outer planets colonized, primarily for research purposes.

2094 - The Burnout. A singularity event stemming from a logarithmically self-improving defense computer ignites a short, incredibly violent planetary-scale war and a series of nanoecological disasters as it highjacked almost every nanomanufacturing facility on the planet. Infolife transmitted to facilities elsewhere in the system had similar results. Nearly 100 million people died during this period alone. However, less than 24 hours after the singularity event began, the seed AI ceased to function. To this day, nobody is quite certain HOW it burned itself out.

The aftereffects, part of the events collectively referred to as the Burnout, continued for some time. Intrasystem data networks were a mess for months afterwards, and it was nearly a year before the furthest research outposts were contacted again. History for the century or so prior to the Burnout remains hazy even in the modern era, due to the data loss.

2095 - The Fuser War. Upon recontacting the Triton outpost at Neptune, it was discovered that the nanomanufacturing plant there had produced an infectious nanomachine that infiltrated nearly every cell of the staff and linked them together with their cranial implants in a permanent data mesh. The autonomous programs of the Burnout AI died with it, and left the researchers connected to each other and possessed of superhuman cognition. Over the next year, they pushed themselves further into union with implants and cybernetics of their own design, and when the ships arrived to see why the outpost wasn't responding to calls from home (they'd cannibalized their antenna complex for rare metals), they found a cultlike group of heavily chimeric cyborgs, radiators on their skull bleeding heat from the machines in their skulls before it boiled their brains. None of the recontact crew ever returned - the Fusers injected them with the same nanomachines that had linked them together, and they joined the Fusers.

This inauspicious event led to a systemwide conflict, as forces from Earth tried to wipe out the Fusers and the Fusers split up, hiding away in the Kuiper and Asteroid Belts and striking back erratically but with deadly effect, given their heavy technological advantage and seeming lack of fear. A single Fuser could easily seize control of any data network; ironically, the first mesh protocols were adopted during this period because it was (slightly) easier to isolate compromised nodes from Fuser data attack. Fusers developed the Higgs engine during this period, and used it to enable ships to accelerate without concern for reaction mass, easily outmaneuvering the fusion drives of the enemy.

The Fuser War lasted 15 years, with atrocities on both sides (propaganda, not all of it entirely untrue, about the Fuser conscription practices led to many of these) until a wary ceasefire was agreed to. The Tycho Treaty took another ten years to negotiate, and a major sticking point was the Fuser practice of conscription. Any prisoners taken during the Fuser War were summarily added to the group consciousness with cranial implants. No attempt to deconvert recaptured Fuser conscripts ever succeeded, and the Fusers refused to turn them over during the ceasefire process on, they claimed, compassionate grounds. Fusers also shared the science behind the Higgs engine with the rest of humanity, allowing them to construct reactionless drives of their own.

2110s - 2130s - After the introduction of the Higgs engine to humanity, the Fusers built a manufacturing complex in the Belt, entirely consuming Vesta and hollowing it out, and creating an assembly line for the class of ships that jumpstarted interstellar colonization - the lighthugger. Conical, sheathed in ice and hyperdiamond, and equipped with massive Higgs engines that pushed the kilometers-long bulk up to within centimeters of light speed, lighthuggers carried hundreds of thousands of passengers in cryogenic suspension, along with all the necessary technology and infrastructure to start a self-sustaining colony on the other end. The First Expansion Era lasted more than 20 years, and would have lasted much longer if not for yet another Fuser breakthrough - the stardrive.

During this period, the leavings of the Burnout began to be understood and put to use for something other than warfare. The first uplifts were created during this period, as well as the first commonplace neural implants (drawing inspiration, though not identical function, from the Fusers). AR and true VR become extremely commonplace as data can be fed directly into the sensorium. Destructive uploading was developed in the 2120s but did not catch on. Basic, non-seed AI was developed, creating limited programs that could operate within defined parameters but would not self-improve. Experimentation with programming capable of self-improvement remained embargoed by every extant nationstate for some time to come.

2137 - After a serious of abnormal gamma pulses over a period of some months in the outer system, Fuser scientists reveal their crowning achievement - the Higgs-ram stardrive, a machine that operates on as-yet-incomprehensible principles to tear open a hole in space-time and catapult a ship across light-years.

Those Fusers who wanted to explore had already left - now the remainder decided to gift the black boxes to the rest of transhumanity. This spurred the Second Expansion Era, which rapidly overtook the First, beating more than one slower-than-light colony vessel to their target colonies.

2140s - 2190s - The Imperial Era. Already blessed with closer ties from reconstruction after the Burnout as well as the Fuser War, the various macropolities of Earth eventually unite into a single world-government, and declare all colonial territories as holdings. Given that no colonial system can match Sol's raw industrial output, they have little say in the matter. Corporate groups are kept under strict control at home as the Ecoprimary Party takes power, but are leased worlds and systems to do with as they like.

Hypercorporations, far more efficient than their megacorporate predecessors, rise during this period, buoyed by the new technologies that enable peer-to-peer organization to truly flourish in realtime. By the same token, autonomist groups also flourish, seeking to get as far away from what they consider intolerable government authority as they can, and ranging the political divide from anarchists to Extropian hypercapitalists.

Over time, colonial feeling turned very much against the central government on Terra, and the fringe colonial polities ignored the homeworld as much as they possibly could without provoking an occupation. Several minor uprisings were brutally crushed.

2174 - VoidCorp, reeling from economic attacks by competitor hypercorps, stumbles across the first non-Terran sapient species transhumanity has encountered, the seshayans. Aboriginal fliers, they were easily conned into a binding contract that placed every seshayan into corporate bondage in perpetuity. In addition, certain biota on Sheya were found to posses both anagathic qualities as well as an almost addictive taste. VoidCorp hushed up the seshayans and began to export the native biota, boosting their bottom line higher than it had been since the megacorporate era.

2191- Autonomists establishing a cylinder hab around a gas giant discover an alien lighthugger entering the system. It turns out to contain a second sapient species, the t'sa, who ruled an interstellar polity consisting of some 20 systems. The autonomists happily said hello, offered any assistance they could provide, went on with their He3 mining, and sent a few of their number back to transhuman space to spread the world of humanity's first contact with an alien species, the seshayans still being a complete secret at this point. They probably did not expect the news to precipitate the first true interstellar war.

As autonomists, owing no loyalty to any polity, had made the discovery, there was no consensus on how to deal with the t'sa, and so virtually every polity tried to justify their own position for annexation of the systems the t'sa controlled, and the immense financial book likely to follow. The discussions degenerated into a shouting match and finally several colonial polities, led by the Thuldan Colonial Authority, declared their independence from Earth. Earth was used to putting down small colonial revolts and expected this to be no different. They were unprepared for the tide of secession, and the war dragged on, with the Terran fleets harried at every front, spread far too thin to effect a lasting control. The war dragged on for nearly 15 years.

2204 - The Sirius Accords are signed, granting independence to the 25 recognized interstellar polities in attendance, with Earth itself reduced to a few meager holdings near Earth, the few colonies that had not joined the others in open revolt.

2268 - Rediscovery of the Fraal.

2210s - 2320s - The Golden Age of Transhumanity. Open expansion in nearly every direction, allowing virtually any group to attempt a settlement of their own on their own terms. Technological advances continued, pushing the borders of singularity and crossing it more than a few times; by the end of the century there are at least ten documented dyson swarms and over a dozen Burnout relics. Nondestructive uploading lattices and the ego bridge perfected, allowing for high-fidelity uploading and personality backups.

Wars occur, largely between ideologically opposing polities or cultures when they both lay claim to a single system. None persist for very long, either because one side resoundingly defeats the other or because the interstellar consensus pressures both sides to stop.

2338 - A Thuldan-supported Flat uprising in Tau Ceti (home to a highly chimeric subculture that disdained non-wired humans) fails miserably, dashing Thuldan hopes to gain control of the system. The accusations on both sides that follow eventually lead to an outright war, exacerbated by a series of interstellar treaties that led virtually every interstellar polity in existence to throw down on one side or the other. Eventually even these alliances of convenience fractured, and by 2350 most of transhuman space was a bloody free-for-all, burned planets and shattered habitats littering space. Contact was lost with distant frontiers.

By 2430, the fighting had largely settled into three alliances, exchanging loyalties as necessary to prevent any one of the three from gaining the upper hand. It became clear that no polity or culture could walk away with victory, and secret negotiations took place that finally led to a ceasefire in 2441 and an interstellar peace treaty by 2449.

The effect of the war was to finally consolidate territory between interstellar polities. Previously, borders had been diffuse, with one polity having holdings in the same area of space as another - interstellar space being fairly useless, this was no great difficulty at the time. However, outlying systems were easy pickings during a century of war, and most of these systems were either conquered or simply destroyed by titanic hell-weapons or toxic nanomachine plagues.

2470 - Contact reestablished with frontier regions, many of which had simply written off home space entirely. Only a few still carried on the fight they'd heard of before contact was lost, and these were very much in the minority.

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