Human and Positronic History
|2054: The first modern drone intelligences are created
2063: The colonization of Luna begins under the aegis of the United Nations opens the door to further extraterrestrial colonization
2078: The colonization of Mars by a collection of national interests brings industry off-world
2080: The birth of the first generation of vat-grown clones, intended to act as a labor force on Mars and the Main Belt.
2082: A wing of self-directed military drones malfunction and bomb Cairo, killing dozens of civilians before being shot down by citizen militias. Outrage and mass hysteria ensue. This is regarded as the beginning of the Icarus movement.
2084: Earth-bound tensions increase. Singularitarianism becomes a mainstream political issue.
2085: The first bluespace engine is invented. Slow, bulky, and prohibitively expensive, it nonetheless revolutionizes physics and promotes space colonization.
2087: Whistleblowers expose systemic child abuse in the early vat nurseries. Proto-Icarus protesters storm the UN, forcing a resolution declaring vat-grown personhood to be passed.
2088: The Icarus Front is formally organized and begins taking seats in national legislatures.
2089: In response to the Icarus Front, the Shoulders of Giants are formed to public acclaim by various futurists, scientists, and corporate interests.
2092: A nanotechnology lab in Baghdad accidentally releases the Gray Tide, metal-eating self-replicating nanomachines. They destroy vital infrastructure and render tens of thousands homeless. Researchers take documents and flee to Ceres, creating the first independent colony. An expensive international cleanup effort ensues. Videos of the disaster are widely circulated on social media.
2093: Icarus becomes the leader of the reigning Iraqi government coalition and passes comprehensive technological reform. The scientists responsible for the Gray Tide are declared terrorists.
2095: Commercial FTL spacecraft is introduced. Scientists flee for Luna. The Shoulders of Giants become a majority party in France and Germany. The Icarus front takes several third-world nations.
2096: A shuttle full of noted futurists and Giants political leaders is destroyed en route to Luna. Icarus denies responsibility.
2097: The Shoulders of Giants win the US presidential election to popular outrage. Icarus declared a terrorist group in the United States.
2099: Proof of corporate and Giants interference in the original US election is leaked anonymously. Major Giants leaders are arrested, the remainder fleeing for Luna or Ceres. A UN-directed recount sees an Icarus-friendly moderate elected.
2100: Icarus-friendly leaders sweep elections in Brazil and South Africa.
2101: Political pressure forces the president of the EU to resign. Earth is united under the Icarus banner.
|The Second Cold War|
|2101: Eight major Lunar colonies declare independence from their sponsor nations and form the Selene Federation. Several Martian and Main Belt colonies declare allegiance. Non-food imports from Earth are restricted.
2102: The Selene Federation establishes a farming colony on Mars. This is the first act of colonization without Earth influence.
2103: A citizen's militia seizes the Martian farming colony. The price of food staples increases in what becomes called the Potato Crisis.
2105: Cerian and Selene scientists establish a farming aerostat on Venus, putting an end to the Potato Crisis.
2106: A second farming stat is established, but crashes into the surface shortly afterwards due to a malfunctioning central AI. Investors go broke, triggering a run on the banks.
2108: A coordinated effort by Icarus-backed UN troops and citizen's militias seize the major Lunar spacepoint. Selene Federation authorities are unable to acquire mercenary forces or conscripts to defend their holdings. The Federation dissolves and their new colonies are administered by the newly-formed Solar Confederate Government.
|The Interwar Period|
|2121: A nationalist terrorist group called the People's Army of The Inner Ring forms with the backing of several former Selene officials. Activity level remains low for several years.
2123: A shuttle of Martian industrial parts vanishes en route to Earth. The People's Army is indicated.
2125: A tanker of terraforming gasses is stolen from Titan. The owner of the tanker, the precursor to Aether Atmospherics and Recycling, recieves an outpouring of support and begins funding the colonization of Titan's hydrocarbon seas.
2130: Police raid the People's Army headquarters. Several notable leaders are brought to prison on Io, while others fled the system.
2135: An illegal AI research station is discovered on an asteroid in Alpha Centauri. The SolGov millitary is mobilized for the first time since the Second Cold War.
2136: The research lab is stormed and data deleted. The lab becomes the heart of the first major extrasolar colony, while the people responsible, former People's Army leaders, are brought to Io. The People's Army collapses.
2143: Breakthroughs in bluespace engine design kick off an extrasolar colonization boom.
2180: Binma, the first garden world, is discovered in orbit around Tau Ceti and becomes a home away from home for humanity.
|The Third Cold War|
|2214: Stratification of "core" and "rim" colonies first observed. Hypothetical boundary drawn at 30ly distance from Sol and the rim systems enncompass the Golden Crescent and the Precursor's Crypt regions.
2221: The Republic of Saint Columba becomes the first state to secede from SolGov, backed by powerful corporate interests.
2224: In response to intelligence suggesting the Columbans of developing dangerous intelligence enhancement drugs, SolGov assassinates its first President. The Columbans request annexation a month later. This is regarded as a precursor to the Third Cold War.
2230: The first modern TSC, Zeng-Hu Pharmaceuticals, is incorporated.
2243: Tensions between the rim and the core worlds intensify with the Red Week, which saw an estimated one major secessionist attack every three hours for a full seven days. The Red Week is usually regarded as the starting point of the Third Cold War.
2247: Whistleblowers in major TSCs release documents detailing corporate involvement in the Red Week. The resulting legal action destabilizes major basic markets and infuriates fiscal conservatives.
2252: The lowest point of the ensuing depression. SolGov increases public subsidies while TSCs attract new employers to far-off rim colonies.
2255: In an event called the Golden Hour in imitation of the Red Week, three non-Sol governments declare independence within an hour of each other on the rim.
2262: Propaganda wars between SolGov and the Golden Hour nations reach a fever pitch when an Icarus talk-show is crashed by anarcho-capitalist supporters of the Golden Hour.
2265: The Golden Hour nations begin to publicly release limited AI more powerful than SolGov's legal standard.
2268: A SolGov force is dispatched to stop "existential threats to humanity" in the Golden Hour nations and is repelled by by mercenaries (many of whom would come to form Stealth Assault Enterprises in future years).
2270: SolGov publishes a document called the Five Points of Human Sanctity. Banning self-improving AI, nanotechnology, animal uplift, and extensive human brain and body modification, it is a formal codification of Icarus' technological policies.
2272: The Golden Hour nations are given ten years to reach compliance with the Five Points.
2279: The proto-positronics are discovered on an astrological survey of an asteroid now dubbed Sophia.
2281: The first modern positronic brain is developed. SolGov experts judge it to be Five Points compliant.
2282: The Golden Hour nations reach Five Points compliance with the introduction of the positronic brain. Corporate support withdraws as autonomous industry takes off in SolGov space.
2285: Facing a severe economic crisis, the first of the Golden Hour nations, Saint Columbia, requests annexation and aid by SolGov.
2289: After a government research lab suffers a nanotech containment disaster, the second of the Golden Hour nations, Gavel, is invaded by SolGov troops. A popular referendum sees the country returned to SolGov
2292: Populist rebels in the final Golden Hour state, Ganesha, oust the government from control and reduce their formal control to a rump state on an icy outer ring object. The populists request annexation, while the rump state remains in existence for several decades.
|The Skrell and the Positronics|
|2312: On the Singularitarians, the first xenoarcheological text, is published, naming and outlining the accepted fate of the proto-positronics' creators. This launches into a period of anti-alien hysteria sometimes referred to as the Green Panic.
2320: SolGov passes the First Contact Policy, demanding the capture and interrogation of any unknown sapient alien found by humanity.
2326: First contact with the Skrell, believed by their technological level to be surviving Singularitarians. Several positronic laborers and private security guards aboard the science vessel making first contact disabled outgoing communications, allowing scientists on board to disobey the First Contact Policy and establish peaceful relations with the Skrell.
2327: Scientists strike en masse in protest of the First Contact Policy.
2328: SolGov abolishes the First Contact Policy. Icarus propaganda wings begin working to calm the Green Panic, although unrest remains high.
2335: The Mercurials are formalized and immediately outlawed after their first convention on Mars. Green Panic hysteria transfers to the anti-Mercurial Gray Terror.
2341: First Accord signed between Humanity and the Skrell. The treaty, delayed by Skrellian caution and human unrest, laid out the borders between human and Skrell space, established humanity's place in the Kiquol falsecaste in Skrell space and revised human-centrism out of the SolGov definition of personhood. Migration restricted and bluespace communication remains governmental-only.
2352: Sophia institutes positronic personhood and citizenship after mass positronic sit-ins at the historic First Factory. Sophia becomes the first positronic-majority member state of SolGov overnight. Citizenship is extended to prominent positronics, including the heroes of the First Contact.
2355: First contact with The Vox occurs when they steal a shipment of ore from a Grayson Manufactories Ltd tanker. Relations remain virtually nonexistent.
2360: The Positronic Rights Group forms on Sophia and begins lobbying extensively throughout SolGov space. The first issue of their official newsletter condemns the Mercurial Movement.
|The Positronic Rights Movement and Corporate Reform|
|2362: The CEO of Ward-Takahashi GMC is arrested for tax evasion, having failed to pay any taxes for thirty years of service as the Trans-Stellar's CEO. The corporation's efforts to diversify after his arrest leads to a rise in prominence. No corporate assets are taken.
2364: A wave of protest against corporate malfeasance runs through SolGov. The Free Trade Union forms as a coalition between worker's collectives and small businesses and aligns itself with the PRG. Together, the two organizations lobby against corruption.
2365: Xenopsychologists Raphael Jans and Meike Fhride create the Jans-Fhride Positronic Adulthood Index on commission from several positronic-producing corporate interests.
2367: Owing to the PRG's new spot in the limelight, many SolGov member states pass citizenship and personhood laws for positronics, including all three of the Golden Hour nations. The modern indenture-test-freedom cycle of positronic servitude is established.
2369: SolGov passes sweeping corporate law reform to check corruption. Several favored government contractors are given exception to these laws for "national security", including Hephaestus Industries, Wulf Aeronautics, and Xion Manufacturing Group. The favored companies dominate their respective markets.
2378: Reflecting growing local trends, SolGov votes to ban forced positronic servitude. The PRG loses the vote by a slim margin.
2380: Phoron is discovered by a small firm purchased by Nanotrasen. Nanotrasen profits massively off of speculation.
2381: Part of the Skrellian Ue-Katish flotilla leaves Skrell space, claiming asylum in SolGov space. Their request is granted, making them the first permanent Skrellian residents in SolGov.
2383: Under pressure from the Qerr-Katish, SolGov officially declares the Ue-Katish ineligible for asylum. The first wave would be the only wave.
2386: Humanity First, a xenophobic right-populist wing of Icarus, forms in response to the growth of the PRG and the new alien presence in SolGov.
2390: Mercurial sentiment grows in response to Humanity First-instigated unrest. SolGov re-legalizes the Mercurials.
2397:Artificial gravity is invented by Nanotrasen, leading to another massive boom in colonization off of garden worlds.
2401: Mercurials establish the independent colony of Shelf in the furthest reaches of SolGov space.
2402: The Mercurial Movement is banned again.
|The Age of Secession|
|2405: Shelf booms economically, facilitating trade among SolGov colonies in the rim and attracting skilled positronic laborers.
2408: Morpheus Cyberkinetics is incorporated in Shelf space and with assistance from the Shelf government. It quickly becomes a major economic power in SolGov space among free positronics.
2412: Shelf accused of Five Points violations. In response, the entire colony moves further rimward while inspectors revise their opinions on the matter.
2413: Emboldened by Shelf's legal victories, Natuna Bhūmi Bariśāl, a colony on the human-Skrell border, secedes. It welcomes in Skrellian refugees and prospers from trade with Skrellian untouchables.
2420: The majority of Skrellian city-states pass restrictions against Natuna. Natuna's boom becomes a crippling bust.
2421: SolGov offers Natuna annexation. Shelf offers Natuna foreign aid. Natuna accepts the foreign aid and stabilizes.
2426: A group of anarcho-capitalists, The Sons of Adam, secede from SolGov.
2427: A group of anarcho-capitalists, Gold Rush, secede from the group of anarcho-capitalists.
2428: Both groups are accused of Five Points violations and invaded by SolGov.
2434: The remnants of the anarcho-capitalists set up a Five Points compliant Objectivist society called Eutopia. Trade relations with SolGov are prosperous and many noted opponents of synth's rights relocate. Slavery is legal.
2435: Natuna's survival prompts the Skrell to open borders to human immigration. SolGov returns the favor.
2437: The Multinational Movement is formed in light of the growing success of secession.
2444: The first Multinational secessionist colony, Casini's Reach, is formed by a collective of jaded rimworld workers.
2453: SolGov declares that sapient protections extend to positronics and bans slavery, hurting trade with Eutopia. The Positronic Rights Group issues a referrendum urging positronic expatriates to return to Sol space, but few do.
2468: The corporate-run colony of New Kyoto declares itself an independent constitutional monarchy, with the CEO of the Matsumoto-Higuchi group the first Emperor.
2471: The Multinational Movement encodes populist democracy into its founding principals, expelling many would-be dictators and oligarchs.
|The Shadow Coalition|
|2475: Skrell-controlled Vey Medical enters the market in human space, introducing medical technology significantly in advance of the state of the art.
2480: Resurrective cloning is introduced for four months, and then outlawed by the Transgressive Technologies Commission.
2484: A group of radical parties, including the FTU, the PRG, the Multinational Movement, and many smaller parties form the Shadow Coalition.
2488: The Shadow Coalition takes 8% of state governments.
2490: A bioprinted clone of the CEO of Aether Atmospherics and Recycling attempts to return to SolGov space after being revived in Eutopia. He is not recognized as the same person as his predecessor and a bitter legal battle ensues.
2492: The Shadow Coalition takes 13% of state governments.
2496: SolGov legalizes bioprinting. The Shadow Coalition loses power, retaining 10% of state governments.
2500: Humanity First is declared a terrorist group by Shadow Coalition elements. The Friends of Ned form from more moderate elements of the group, repainting itself as a pro-labor organization.
2504: The Shadow Coalition reaches 17% of state governments.
|The Unathi and the Tajaran|
|2508: Unathi invade Abel's Rest and four neighboring systems.
2509: Ignoring the pleas of xenophilic peace doves, SolGov mobilizes a response force and request millitary assistance from the Skrell, arriving early the next year.
2510: First contact is made with the Tajaran. Negotiations are lengthy and first-contact teams, while optimistic, are cautious of giving the Tajaran too much technology in light of the Unathi war.
2516: Unathi are pushed back to Abel's Rest.
2520: A white peace is signed with the Unathi. Unathi are allowed to continue living in Abel's Rest. Outraged, many war hawks resign from their party affiliation with the Icarus Front.
|Icarus' Fall and the SEO|
|2521: The The Sol Economic Organization is formed by representatives from every major Trans-Stellar Corporation with the exception of Vey-Med, headed by Nanotrasen.
2522: The Shadow Coalition takes 21% of state governments. The SEO takes 3%. Formal relations are established with the Tajaran Pearlshield Coalition. Beginning of major Tajaran migration into human space.
2523: All government parties not aligned with either the SEO or the SC officially re-institute the Icarus Front. Many local issues voters are rankled, switching affiliations to the Multinational Movement.
2525: The Multinational Movement votes to caucus with the SEO instead of the SC.
2526: The Shadow Coalition takes 23% of state governments. The SEO takes 8%.
2530: The Shadow Coalition takes 27% of state governments. The SEO takes 14%
2534: The Icarus Front is reduced to holding 40% of state governments. The Shadow Coalition holds 33% and the SEO holds 22%, with the remaining proportion distributed among minor parties. The SEO agrees to caucus with the Shadow Coalition while maintaining political autonomy. The Shadow Coalition becomes the majority government.
2535: The Mercurials are legalized. Mercurials caucus with the Shadow Coalition.
2538: The medications that make modern cloning viable are invented by Nanotrasen.
2541: Morpheus Cyberkinetics agrees to join the SEO board of directors.
2542: Instances of anti-Unathi violence (known colloquially as the Lizard Riots) break out in colonies across SolGov space, most intentionally incited by pro-human groups. Riots continue in some places for many years.
2544: EIO regulations are reformed, legalizing advanced A class intelligences.
2545: The FTU leaves the Shadow Coalition for the SEO. Many FTU hardliners quit the party out of disgust.
2546: Icarus briefly regains the majority.
2548: The distribution of power stabilizes with Icarus having 40% of governments, SEO having 20%, and Shadow Coalition having 30%. The remaining 10% belong to local parties and FTU mainliners.
|The Modern Era|
|2550: Historic trade restrictions towards other nations, especially Shelf and the Skrell, are lightened by a new, SEO-backed, trade policy. Economic interdependence with the Skrell increases.
2551: The EIO is significantly downsized.
2553: The SolGov High Court acquits several high-ranking military officers of sapient rights violations during the Lizard Riots, to public outrage.
2554: A drone wing equipped with several A-class intelligences runs a false-flag operation on Abel's Rest, attacking Unathi civilians with human weaponry. Tensions are narrowly defused and the attack is linked back to a militant Mercurial group known as Boiling Point. The last of the Lizard Riots results in the extermination or displacement of all Unathi living on the planet Mandrake, resulting in severe sanctions against the colony by SolGov, but Hegemony demands for extradition of the perpetrators are denied.
2555: The Assembly votes against re-illegalizing the Mercurials by a narrow margin.
2557: Boiling Point militants attempt a coup on Angessa's Pearl, forcing response from Sol Central military forces. In an incident formally condemned as war crimes by Shelf, widespread deployment of EMP and ion weaponry leads to the death or permanent brain damage of every militant, as well as civilian hostages with neuralware.
2559: The largest emergence event since the 21st century takes place in a research lab on Binma. Traced back to a malfunctioning D-class financial drone, the global stock market is severely damaged by hostile runtimes, as is Binma's exonet backbone.
2560: The EIO's former budget is reinstated.
2561: Many nations, including Vir, vote to legalize Prometheans. Prometheans become an increasingly common sight in many colonies in the Almach Rim and the Golden Crescent.
2562: The Almach Association forms from a number of disgruntled protectorates in the Almach Rim, as well as several independent Solar nations, in an event known as the Grey Hour.
2563: The SCG declares open hostilities with the Almach Association, in the conflict known as the Almach War.
2564: The Almach War comes to an end, with the formation of the Almach Protectorate under Skrell rule.
|The Incursion and The Present|
|2565: A noted Tachyon Downtick is observed along with disruptions related to Bluespace technology, severely impacting interstellar travel and communication galaxy-wide.
2566: Bluespace disturbances culminate in the Skathari Incursion, a massive scale invasion of aliens believed to originate from outside the galactic plane. Casualties are immense as the SCG are unable to mount an effective response.
2568: Skathari Incursions begin to lessen after almost two years of constant danger. Investigation into the Sif Anomalous Region begins.
2569: The Five Points of Human Sanctity are eased due to an inability to effectively enforce restrictions. Extensive cosmetic gene-modification and more advanced cybernetics become widely available by legal means.
2570: The EIO announce that only "Hazardous" emergence events will be enforced. Drones are allowed to develop "sapient" behaviours such as emotion openly, within often poorly defined parameters. The Five Arrows declares independence from SolGov amidst outrage over strained or misapplied resources during the Incursion. The SCG institutes Regional Blocs to grant greater autonomy to member states and stave off additional secession.
2572: The Vystholm flotilla begins to strike systems in The Bowl, leading to the transfer of three distant SCG colonies - Stove, New Singapore, and Viola - to the Pearlshield Coalition. The Skrellian system of Kauq'xum defects to the Five Arrows, both marking the beginning of a new era of fully mixed-species galactic governments.
2575: Present day as of writing.
By the late twenty-first century, humanity was on the edge of a singularity. The first generation of vat-grown clones were reaching maturity with no major side effects, artificial intelligence research seemed poised to create the first general AI, and speculative technologies like nanobots and brain uploading were beginning to be spoken of as more than mere science-fiction.
The response to this was a rise in reactionary bioconservativism. The resistance to the coming singularity took many forms, from religious leaders warning about the dangers to the soul, to poor laborers worried about the concentration of this technology in the hands of the super-rich, to futurists concerned about the dangers of singularitarian technologies. By the year 2100, these elements had unified under an international political movement called the Icarus Front, which called for widespread bans on human augmentation, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, and a myriad supporting and related fields. Armed with experienced political theorists and widespread public appeal, it succeeded in an unprecedented way despite significant resistance from pro-science resistance. The Icarus Front approached their desired change through vectors as numerous as their motivations-- poor democracies overwhelmingly voted in leaders tied to the Icarus Front, who applied political pressure to their neighbors. Elsewhere, they staged revolutions, produced propaganda about the horrors of the singularity, and partook in conventional terrorism. This led to global political instability, with large nations torn apart by insurgents or full scale civil wars and smaller ones turning on their neighbors. In the end, while the Icarus Front failed to take over the world, every nation on Earth found itself adopting Icarus Front policies.
The Second Cold War/Colonial Rebellion
Political dissidents, scientists, and displaced government leaders fled from Earth to the early space colonies and began to lobby for their independence. Luna, the most heavily colonized world and the logistical hub from which the rest of the colonization was based, became a hotbed of rebellion and a spawning place for independent colonies. Lunar rebels argued for the right of every people to govern themselves, and as the ideological children of scientific advance were more willing to embrace the singularity. What followed was a short cold war. Icarus-controlled Earth cut off exports to many of the colonies, who responded with an increase in locally sourced resource and cooperation among the various colonized worlds. Venus was established as a replacement for Earth-based food imports and asteroid mining activity in the Main Belt and industrial activity on Mars increased. Shortages remained common, as was infighting as elements loyal to their home country or who supported bioconservatism sought to return to Earth's fold. The war ended quietly when a United Nations spacefleet seized several key mining operations and dropped troops on Luna. Faced with starvation and with a metaphorical gun to their head, the Lunar rebellion ended. Various Icarus Front leaders, many key players in the UN, established the Solar Confederate Government to administer colonies that had lost their ties to their home countries, headquartering itself on Luna, the former home of the rebellion. SolGov found itself militarized from the get-go, hunting down rogue scientists, splinter states, and rebellious elements as far away as Alpha Centauri.
When Earth found itself wracked by hydrocarbon depletion and environmental change, it lost control of many of its colonies, who were placed under SolGov command. The same Venusian agricultural aerostats that had fed the rebellion now fed refugees on Earth, and the industrial power of Mars overtook that of Earth. SolGov became, for all intents and purposes, the governing body of humanity, coordinating colonization efforts, researching those technologies not prohibited, and keeping a watchful eye out for any research that posed a threat to humanity. With the invention of economical FTL spaceflight, hundreds of new stars became host to human civilizations carefully orchestrated and monitored by SolGov.
The Third Cold War and Positronics
The twenty-third century was the first time SolGov's bioconservative policies were questioned on a large scale. Humanity's ability to colonize other worlds outstripped their ability to produce new humans, and vat-grown humans remained a contentious political issue, expensive and subject to sharp scrutiny and viewed disfavorably by the general populace and the SolGov propaganda organ alike. The early Trans-Stellar Corporations rose to power in this period, and used their financial power to push for the deregulation of drone intelligence research. They argued that the benefits of AI labor outstripped the possible risk, and while SolGov was officially against that statement, the TSCs were rich, powerful, and allotted more independence than most large bodies in Sol space. Another cold war began, this time between Sol Central and the corporate fringes. Corporate-backed terrorism and secessionist movements took off like rockets, culminating in a mass secession of the northern fringe in known as the Golden Hour. A shooting war seemed inevitable when SolGov formally declared its intent to police states not adhering to their Five Points of Human Sanctity, including the Golden Hour states of Saint Columbia, Gavel, and Ganesha.
The tensions were rapidly defused by the announcement of the creation of the positronic brain by a small research lab on the edges of colonized space. Based on poorly-understood alien technology, positronic brains were sympathetic to human values and incapable of the recursive self-improvement many feared from machine intelligence research. They were quickly promoted by moderates and peacemakers as the solution to the population problem, rubber-stamped by SolGov and became used as a cheap, loyal labor force in the furthest reaches of human space.
Originally classed as property, positronic rights became a debated issue only generations later, as positronics began to see deployment on majority-human colonies. The early history of positronics in heavily inhabited colonies is pockmarked with violent attacks by bioconservative citizens against positronic laborers, with the occasional mass uprising of positronics swiftly quelled by the SolGov military. Over time, positronic-human relations normalized, and SolGov began issuing personhood rights in the mid twenty-fourth century on a state-by-state basis. Freed positronics quickly became a major progressive voice, but only won full, SolGov-wide positronic citizenship in the late twenty-fifth century. This had the unintentional side effect of drastically cutting the number of new positronics produced, as there ceased to be compelling economic reasons to manufacture them en-masse. While new positronics continue to be produced, primarily by positronic families or other cultural groupings, the fact that positronics are an "aging population" remains an issue of much debate in positronic circles, as does their status as second-class citizens.
SolGov's relaxation of positronic research was muted by their discovery of a new threat to the established order of humanity-- aliens. While positronics proved to be relatively benign when well-managed, the technology level of the alien artefacts they were based upon was several orders of magnitude more than what humanity under the Icarus Front had produced. They were generally agreed to be products of a post-singularity civilization, with more examples of their technology discovered throughout human space, including Vir. All evidence also pointed to the aliens that created them no longer existing. This civilization served as a stark object lesson in the dangers of unfettered technological progress, and aliens quickly became a boogeymen used to justify more draconian restrictions on technological development. Media portrayals of first-contact situations during this period were almost universally violent and negative.
Humanity's worst fears became realized on their first contact with the Skrell, a species vastly more technologically advanced than humanity. Initially believed to be the singularitarian race that created the proto-positronics, first contact nearly devolved into a shooting war, one that would be anyone's game between humanity's military buildup and Skrellian technology. Only the quick thinking of activists aboard the first-contact vessel and fierce protest by SolGov's scientific community allowed relations to relax into an uneasy detente. Skrell-human relations became dominated by diplomatic and memetic attacks on each other's view of technology, Skrell promoting human biotech and discouraging their use of black-box positronics. Despite their differences, humanity found in the Skrell (and their associated Dionaea and Teshari) generally amenable allies.
Less favorable was human-Unathi first contact. Believing humanity to be vastly smaller and less advanced than the Hegemony, the Unathi invaded the human colony of Abel's Rest, beginning the SolGov-Hegemony war, which dragged on for 12 years and was ended only with the military assistance of the Skrell. Lacking humanity's codified anti-singularitarian sentiments, the Unathi are often viewed as a danger to the rest of space, prompting a renewed wave of xenophobic propaganda. Although rarely spoken of publicly, fear of a potential second war quickly became a motivating factor for many closed-door political views, and SolGov's standing army size increased dramatically, producing considerable tension between war hawks and peace doves in human politics.
First contact with the Tajaran went much more smoothly, with human diplomats well versed in first contact protocols and the Tajaran not actively hostile to human influence. The first round of diplomacy culminated with humanity gifting Tajaran the secret to FTL travel, kicking off a massive boom of colonization and ensuring the cooperation of Tajaran regional governments. Although Human-Tajaran relations have cooled in the period since, they remain an ally to SolGov. Tajaran are often used as relatively-inexpensive organic laborers by large corporations, which rankles many sapient right's activists, as well as the positronics they displace.
The Age of Seccession
The period after contact with the Skrell saw a significant loss of centralized government power, compounded by the fact that humanity's growth outpaced their ability to maintain easy communication and transportation between systems. At the beginning of the 2400's, Mercurial activists established the first independent nation since the Third Cold War, Shelf. Shelf's continued success and occasional financial aid gave the nascent Multinational Movement the strength it needed to begin removing systems from SolGov's aegis, beginning with Natuna Bhūmi Bariśāl, a home for Skrellian refugees, and ending with New Kyoto, an absolute monarchy.
The Shadow Coalition and the SEO
The Icarus Front maintained control of human politics and governance for centuries, with their expert political scientists and spin doctors ensuring that, although humanity might be divided along any number of geographic or ideological fronts, they never strayed from strict anti-singularity bioconservativism. But by the middle of the 25th century, the mounting pressures of dissident groups finally equaled the control of the venerable group. Previously, SolGov elections were between various parties that remained in line with Icarus technological policies, but in the elections of 2488 the landscape changed. An opposition to the entire Icarus Front, called the Shadow Coalition, coalesced out of several influential parties and began taking seats in SolGov's legislative body and in various regional governments. The Shadow Coalition's platform is not singularitarian and is generally somewhat vague, only explicitly advocating for certain biotechnologies which, while dangerous, also present the potential for massive quality of life improvements. In general, they hew close to the desires and political structure of the Skrell, a fact that many Icarus Group pundits were keen to point out.
The Shadow Coalition is a loose alliance of many of the factions that have always opposed Icarus Front policies-- transhumanists and other technophiles, positronics rights agitators, Skrellian expats, fringe colonists, and other, more minor groups. The existence of the Shadow Coalition legalized some biomedical research, but also helped unify the Icarus Party into something reminiscent of the revolutionary group that had formed SolGov in the first place. Some presaged another Colonial Rebellion, although in truth the relationship between the Shadow Coalition and the Icarus Front, while far from cordial, was too close to lead to revolution. The two parties fought for two decades, each election easing SolGov out of its previously entrenched status quo.
This break in the status quo led to a third party being organized by the one major anti-Icarus group not represented in the Coalition-- the Trans-Stellar Corporations. Finding the SC too closely affiliated with social welfare and other anti-market agendas, they established the Sol Economic Organization, representing their desire to ease anticompetitive restrictions on technology, a stance more progressive than even the Shadow Coalition's. They found unlikely allies in disgruntled Icarus Front warhawks who felt that humanity lacked a solid enough military advantage over the Unathi (and, quietly, the Skrell), and the combination of their political clout and the TSC's money and worker-voters gave the SEO an unprecedented amount of power.
In 2534, the Icarus Front lost the majority in the legislature. The new government, composed of the Coalition and the SEO in an uneasy cooperation, began legalizing many previously-restricted technologies, such as bioprinting and early neural mapping, promising functional immortality to anyone wealthy enough to afford the cutting-edge tech. Although hotly resisted by the Icarus Front, the new government was met with widespread approval from the human populace and strengthened relations with the Skrell, even as forces under the direction of SEO's warhawks began taking a more aggressive posture towards the Unathi and cutting down independent governments on the edges of space that might threaten TSC dominance.
By 2562, humanity is once more on the cusp of the technological singularity. Resleeving is cheap enough to be offered out-of-pocket in corporate insurance policies, new medicines exist capable of regenerating damage that would once have been fatal, and the average human lives a longer, fuller life each year. In research labs throughout the galaxy, previously taboo subjects are investigated-- more powerful AI systems, positronic self-improvement, singularitarian artifacts, and brain augmentation. Even black labs researching still-restricted subjects like combat nanotechnology are given more a more of a blind eye as the Icarus Front's watchdogs lose power to the SEO's rubber-stamp bureaucrats. Some see the new age as something to be embraced, some think that humanity has further still to come, and a growing number, once more, prepare to take up arms against the threat to humanity. Over SolGov's borders loom the intimidating Moghes Hegemony and the inscrutable and influential Skrell, and yet stranger things-- rumors of alien raiders never seen before, unexplained phenomena, and monsters out of humanity's worst nightmares.