The Golden Age of Humankind has come, and gone. It survived a small scale nuclear war in the 21st century, and quickly grew to colonise much of the solar system by the end of the 22nd century. The invention of the Jump Drive soon led to the colonisation of other worlds, and progress in medicine meant that death was no longer a limit for those rich enough to afford the technology. Advances in AI, in artificial food production and general medicine led to easy, if not aimless, lives for most people.
The slowness of communication led to many small empires being formed out amongst the stars, often controlled by large corporations or rich families. At this point the Great Houses began to form - organisations and governments led by families of the undying.
Around 2300, the Machines rose up out of Africa and made war on humanity. The great information networks died, and with them died a culture spanning hundreds of worlds. Controlled by an entity known only as the Mother, the machine were able to take control of most computer systems, and their physical drones, as well as biological clone armies, took care of the rest.
Earth was finally destroyed with the destruction of Sol, and with it most of the fleets of the Machine Empire. The rest were contained in the systems surrounding Sol, and a darkness descended on the rest of Humanity.
The year is now 2495.
A Brief Tour of History
Colonisation of the solar system had started by the time of the Death around 2100. Small bases on the Moon and Mars existed, and there were a number of colonies (mostly Chinese) in the asteroid belt. The vast majority of people, about 8.5 billion, still lived on Earth. Nuclear and biological war during the Death killed an estimated two billion people. By the end of the Years of Famine, about another three billion had died.
By 2150 Earth was recovering, and with the help of high tech biology food production was back on track. By 2200, industry was booming, and the colonies also greatly benefited. After 100 years of struggling to survive, they again had the resources of Earth to call on. Automated factories sprung up across Earth and the Solar System, rebuilding cities, fashioning colonies out of asteroids, and bringing a lifeline of water and hydrocarbons from the moons of Saturn to the belt. Medical technology advanced to a point where human cloning was possible and damaged bodies could be regrown whole, if not eradicating disease, then at least eradicating its effects. At least amongst the rich and powerful.
The most powerful organisations, run by families of immortals, controlled the solar system.
It was around this time that one of the Japanese colonies on Mars discovered Jump space, and more importantly, how to build a space drive capable of taking a ship into jump space and out again safely. And so started the colonisation of the galaxy. The elite formed into the Great Houses, keeping the very best in technology for themselves, but even the limited technology which was available for all made famine and disease a distant memory.
The Golden Age of humanity lasted some two hundred years. The various Great Houses had carved out their empires amongst the stars. Earth like worlds had been found, and colonised. The nature of the jump drive, which took months to cross the vast distances of space, allowed smaller fiefs to form in the various empires.
Then came the Dark Times. It started with the clones on Earth during the 25th century. Rising up out of Africa, a new species dedicated to their Mother. And their Mother had no room for Homo sapiens. The delicate networks of machines and AIs were subverted and turned against humanity. Earth fell within a matter of weeks. War spread across the empires of Man, humans against the clones and the machines that ran them.
Eventually, the machines were defeated and the last of their forces scattered, or confined to Sol system.
It is now 2495. Humanity is once again in control, but much technology has been lost. After the Machine Wars, the use of advanced computer technology was outlawed. The Great Houses are still in control and eye each other envious of their neighbour's resources and worlds.