After review and discussion, I dropped this introductory universe orientation tour from the book. Reading the book explains it throughout the various scenes, with additional elaboration to come in future volumes.
Space travel. Feasible for centuries, but only commercially practical for the past seven.
A number of discoveries in Earth’s 24th century changed the destiny of the human race, with space exploration and colonization opening new dimensions and opportunities to a crowded, violent world.
The discoveries, however, were not of this world. Visiting spacecraft brought information that would not only revolutionize life on Earth, but would rewrite its history books. Myths and legends of gods and space visitors took on a new perspective as these ambassadors confirmed that humans inhabited many more worlds beyond Earth, in fact, hundreds across the galaxy, and that some had on occasion visited Earth over the centuries.
The new—or old—human visitors, depending on your viewpoint, offered new technology, a field technology that offered a paradigm shift in first the scientific and then commercial world. A new generation of micro gravitational fields and molecular manipulation strategies changed the face of transportation to manufacturing and subsequently, nearly every aspect of human life in between. Life on Earth changed within a few years.
The gravitational anomaly beyond the edge of the solar system, assessed by Earth scientists as just that–an anomaly–was revealed to be one of hundreds or thousands of naturally occurring “holes” in space. Now termed hyper-gates, they were gravitationally controlled and formed a network that connected the far reaches of the galaxy, allowing travel between remote systems.
While this might have opened up the entire galaxy to Earth access, the more advanced human principles mandated isolated development and adaptation to standards of the connected systems before opening the door to Earth’s inhabitants. This, according to the human envoys, was not the first time they’d encountered rogue civilizations on one the galaxy’s remote systems.
Earth humans needed the time to grow and evolve as a race to the point where they would be socially and intellectually compatible. According to their schedule, another thousand years would bring Earth full, unrestricted access to the galaxy’s network of hyper-gates as Earthkind evolved to the point where the preponderance of society would tend toward harmony and evolution rather than toward aggression and violence.
Some populations had evolved in isolation for thousands of years, misunderstanding their origins and developing social customs and standards particular to their own circumstances.
Each of these rediscovered populations served as a rich sociological study, refining the science and revealing similar universal characteristics of evolving human societies. This body of research became the standard for societal assimilation. Developments in field and hyper-gate technology meant populations like Earth could be isolated until its impact on the remainder of the human galaxy would be one of contribution rather than one of threat.
While Earth’s hyper-gate portal did not open galactic travel, it did transport space travelers to an uninhabited system similar to Earth’s own with two hospitable planets. In keeping with Earth’s historical mentality, Earth’s first step was to militarize them, establishing training bases and flight school on each to defend the its acquisitions. Not that there were imminent threats, but that was the culture of Earth–build and defend from potential aggression for expansion.
Maybe the greatest advancement in technology was in the robotics sector, as the field developed a number of practical commercial and scientific applications with the next step from Earth to space a logical one. The construction of orbiting offices, homes and buildings took generations of construction families and guilds and turned them into mechanics, programmers and hardware technicians. A moon base expanded into a commercial base for recycling and manufacturing. Robotic enterprises took the men off the construction sites. Labor riots and protests reigned supreme until the next generation of construction technicians came of age, bringing forward the new robotic reality on their young shoulders.
Remote controlled at first, buildings went up from a touch pad on Earth and in space, sometimes thousands of miles from the actual site of construction. At a certain point, robotic automation reached a point of sophistication where human entrepreneurship opened a new era in human travel: entertainment and colonization. Mining exploration on the moon, on Mars, and in the asteroid belt, opened a new source of raw materials to support expanded construction and manufacturing capabilities, across the solar system and in the new planetary system.
Forward-deployed exploration teams in the new system soon discovered a second hyper-gate. Its end point connected the second system to a remote location on the edge of the galaxy. While no planetary system existed there, the view of what became known as the Cane Nebula was spectacular, and human entrepreneurs soon began a robotic world construction of their own, a playground for the ultra-rich. New Manhattan. Our story begins here.