From Caligo Mundi
The current year is 2218. The following is a brief history of the significant Earth events that led to the Antares mission.
- 2028: The first precursor artifact is discovered on Earth: the Azure Spire. This strange glowing device sparks scientific interest and a media frenzy. Is this proof that we're not alone in the universe or some kind of hoax? Research into its inner workings begins immediately and it soon becomes apparent that it's not a hoax; the device is of ancient and alien design. Although the true purpose of the Azure Spire remains a mystery, study of its design causes a jump forward in scientific understanding and the development of many new technologies including faster and more agile space craft. Although these ships are not capable of FTL travel, they allow humanity to begin sending piloted expeditions to the outer planets of the solar system.
- 2040: The first piloted ship reaches Pluto, carrying a crew of 3. Photos of astronaut Aidan Hadfield standing on Pluto causes renewed interest in space exploration.
- 2052: A permanently crewed research station called Persephone is established in orbit around Pluto. It begins as a small module but is added to over the coming years with new segments transported out and attached, a similar design to the one used by the International Space Station decades earlier. A crew of 3-6 astronauts remain on the station at all times, changing over with new astronauts from Earth every 6-12 months. Their mission is to study Pluto and provide a docking and repair station for ships conducting research around the edge of the solar system.
- 2083: Exploration at the edge of the solar system by the New Vista-IV mission leads to the discovery of an ancient precursor jumpgate, in a distant orbit beyond the Kuiper belt. Once more renewed interest in explorations is fueled by media hype on Earth, leading to the Exodus mission to explore beyond the gate.
- 2088: The Exodus mission begins with a series of probes sent through the jumpgate. They emerge all across the galaxy and one encounters an inhabited world. First contact with the Chanor soon follows.
- 2089: Trade agreements are established with the Chanor, and human technology again jumps forward. New and more reliable ships are built, further extending humanity's exploration of other solar systems.
- 2089: Through interaction with the Chanor, humanity is introduced to other sentient species and begins to adopt a more outward focus.
- 2123: Earth begins colonizing other planets. These begin as small science outposts but soon expand into habitable permanent colonies with hundreds of people.
- 2185: Earth has colonized half a dozen other planets, with the largest on Mu Alpha having a population of about thirty thousand people. Regular supply ships are sent between colonies bringing equipment from Earth and returning with mined minerals and rare biological samples for study.
- 2201: A disaster on the Mu Alpha colony causes a complete loss of power and life support, leading to the deaths of all thirty thousand colonists. This spark heavy debate about whether humanity belongs among the stars. Political factions take this opportunity to push pro-Earth and anti-alien agendas, and debate rages for years.
- 2205: A change in government sees a rise in pro-Earth politicians in seats of power and colonization is declared illegal. Humanity turns more inwards and funding is cut to space exploration as the many trade deals with other species are allowed to lapse. Several colonies are shut down completely while others have to rely on private enterprise to bring them badly needed supplies. A distinct majority of Earth's population are unhappy with the government's new anti-space policy (a fact which is well published through numerous polls and social media) but the government ignores the view of the people and continues to crack down.
- 2208: A corporate probe investigating new locations beyond the jumpgate performs a flyby over the planet Antares Bd and records plant life and signs of a precursor ruin. The jumpgates aside, the ruins represent the largest collection of precursor structures ever seen. The owner of the probe, Drax Corp, recognizes the incredible profit potential of the planet and begins planning a colonization mission in secret. Unable to provide all the needed infrastructure themselves, they make deals with two other corporations: Drax provides the funding for the mission, SolTech provides the ship, and the Meridian Group provides the hibernation pods, medical, and life-support systems.
- 2210: Construction of the colony ship begins in secret. The SS Daedalus is built with the aid of alien allies, crew are trained from among the corporation's employees and an illegal expedition to Antares Bd begins.
- 2217: Construction of the SS Daedalus is completed and the ship launches in secret under the command of Robert Hodson, decorated war veteran. The Daedalus reaches the edge of the solar system and plots a course through the jumpgate. The crew enter hibernation pods to sleep away the 6 month journey to the Antares system.
- 2218: The SS Daedalus arrives at Antares Bd with 12,000 colonists in hibernation. As it approaches orbit, a series of disasters and mishaps occur on board which are suspected to be the result of sabotage. Despite the crew's best efforts, the situation deteriorates and Commander Hodson orders everyone to the escape pods. The colony modules are jettisoned to the surface to save the crew. Their are 4 of them, each with 3,000 colonists on board. They crash on the planet and the game begins.