This age saw the rise of computers, the internet (a primitive forerunner of the infonet), robotics, virtual reality, and other common technologies. This era also first saw the use of fission and later fusion weapons. As the era progressed, technology advanced and computers became smaller, virtual reality improved, robots became more sophisticated, and cybernetic prosthetics began to make inroads in medical technology. The advances in the biological sciences led to stem cell generated organs and to large scale cloning of food plants, domestic animals, and toward the end of the period, human beings. The age saw increased competition for limited resources: petroleum, coal, and fresh water. Social unrest caused by resource competition led to terrorism and wars for control of resource rich regions.
At the dawn of the fusion age, fusion reactors were made feasible. Further, better control mechanisms for regulating nuclear reactions made nuclear power safer and more attractive to governments that could afford it. Also at the beginning of the era, human cloning became a reality. To help combat the societal unrest and threats to human safety that this technology created, the existing forms of world government such as the United Nations, World Health Organization, International Monitary Fund, etc, were strengthened to form an actual world government. Among the first actions of this government was the formation of laws against the rights of artificial people and limitations placed on the use of cloning technology. With the formation of a world government, the need for new sources of necessary minerals etc forced the government to fully fund space exploration. However, the international, now multinational, megacorporations had already funded space travel. Governmental and commercial interests fought for control of the Earth’s solar system. However, this competition led to the exploration and exploitation of Earth’s orbit, Luna, Mars, Mercury, and the upper atmosphere of Venus.
At the beginning of this period, the miniaturization of computers reaches the goal of computer designers and nanocomps are born. With this advance, the virtual reality net known commercially as the Infonet forms. Corporations, now reigned in by the Earthgov, begin exploiting the asteroid belt and the first long haul colonization attempts are made to the Jovian moons. Ganymede is colonized as is Calisto, but the Europa colony is lost. Near the middle of the period Johann Eschelmann discovers the physical warping effects of subatomic space on macrospace. Using this knowledge in 2580, Jean Rene Montclerc develops the Montclerc drive which makes interstellar travel possible. The Montclerc drive arrives just in time. Other scientists had managed to miniaturize fusion cells to the point of making energy weapons feasible, and warfare on Earth and in the inner planets had suddenly become a terrible reality. The race, in a desperate attempt to avoid racial suicide expands outwards, first to the outer planets of Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto, and Proserpina, but also begin exploring the nearest stars likely to have Earth-like planets. The first interstellar colonies are established. The race expands, but communications are still limited to the planetary level. Reliable interplanetary communication is slow and no form of communication can bridge the stars.
During this time the Terran colonies are consolidated, new colonies are established, and older ones are absorbed. Humans split into the Solarian Federation of planets (more commonly called the Solarian Confederation or the Federation) associated closely with old Earth and the Interstellar Union formed from colonies opposed to old Earth’s domination of interstellar trade and politics. . Communications are still slow, but it is now possible to send messages to interstellar destinations. Cybernetic enhancement and genetic manipulation have become commonplace for those who can afford it, and robotic gladiator arenas begin developing.
The First interstellar wars take place between the IU and the SF. After bitter battles, some that occur after the final peace negotiations are made, the hostilities end in a Solarian victory. The time is wild with pirates, new illegal colonies, and rampant civil disobedience. Robotic gladiators, known as battle droids, gladbots, or combat entertainment droids, become commonplace and a source of entertainment. Miniaturization of fusion cells continues, and hand-held particle beams become more widespread. Trade expands, as does smuggling due to the expansion of the black market caused by widespread shortages.
The first generation of this period is spent in quelling pirates and smugglers. The Solarian Patrol ships create a lasting peace. During this time humans make first contact. There is a time of peace for the most part, and the old planets of the IU gather their strength. Near the end of this age they agitate for self government. The aliens are mostly peaceful: svrak, yungduns, and khrol. But the humans first encounter the oloi and later the grays. A brief war with the oloi ends in a negotiated peace. There are advances in all technologies from contacts with other races. Svrak are able to design microcircuitry of immense subtlety and the khrol can create faster and more efficient nanocomps. Yungdun regenerative technology holds out the promise of long life treatments for humans, and the grays demonstrate how human DNA can be manipulated to increase incidence of psionic wild talents.
The grays attack humans suddenly, rapidly, at many points, and with no warning. Many human ships and Solarian patrol vessels are destroyed before the human federations are even aware that hostilities are commenced. An age of warfare begins. At first the IU is neutral and the SF and its allies among the svrak and khrol fight the grays. However, when the grays invade IU space, the oloi begin trying to take advantage of the situation.