Exploration is in the very soul of humans and throughout our long and ancient past we have found that all exploration brings with it both wondrous advances and frightening discoveries. From cavemen walking across the long lost land bridges to new continents discovering new food stuffs and shelter but also coming face to face with new diseases and predators to the nuclear age which unlocked great advances in power and science but also brought us face to face with extinction in the shape of atomic weapons.
This is a story of such discovery and the perils that come with it and how humans find secrets about themselves hidden in the essence of the stars themselves.
Throughout history we have constantly strived to discover new places. This probably started as a survival instinct but has ended being mankind's greatest drive. From the early ship born discoverers to the first settlers in space, we as a race have always searched for new frontiers to explore. Once our entire planet was mapped we then looked up, to the stars for new lands to discover and colonise. It was in the late 22nd century when we really left the old governments behind and proceeded forward as a planetary whole, making our dreams a reality, when we smashed the first ice meteor into Venus to start the terraforming process.
As we attempted to explore the earth in our ancient past, we had to wait for the correct technologies that allowed us to search unhindered- the compass, new materials, advanced mapping techniques. In exactly the same way, our exploration of space was hindered by our knowledge of propulsion, navigation and shielding. It was only in the early 24th century when we managed to harness nuclear fission and turn it into a means of propulsion that we were finally able to leave our solar system and travel to new systems in relative safety. This led to an age of discovery and the first time that humans had truly spread their wings.
This was the time of the planet ships. These ships held thousands of souls and the largest, the Pelagos, was over a mile long and could travel for periods of upto 200 years without planetfall. These great ships contained everything needed to colonise a world. With upwards of 200 specialist craft, atmosphere refiners and a complete population, these mammoths of space colonized 28 planets in 70 years. On top of being ships of colonization, these were also vessels of scientific discovery. In fact it was the planet ship Perseus that first catalogued and discovered the strange dark energies that would eventually give us the ability to take advantage of the invisible gravity tunnels that connect any bodies of large enough mass. The technology allowed us to open these tunnels and slip through sub space itself and arrive at our destination almost instantaneously. The tunnels in space time were first theorized in the late 20th century and were termed as Chaotic Transports. Only with the discovery of these certain ‘Dark' energies were we able to prise open space time enough to give us access to these natural highways which bypassed the conventional restraints on space travel.