The Bright Future
“So, ya really want to know what the future was like? Alright, I’ll tell ya. It was awesome. Spaceships everywhere. Antigravity? Solved. Lightspeed? Solved. Repression, Warfare, Greed, Corruption? Well, ... ya know there’s some things that humans didn’t learn neither.”
21st Century Gentech
In the early 21st Century humans discovered how to modify their DNA. This revolutionary scientific advance brought with it the ability to cure hitherto unsurmountable genetic diseases. With great power comes great responsibility, and humanity does not have a great reputation when it comes to their power of responsibility. The concept of meddling with the very fabric of our species understandably caused widespread ethical concerns and so initially the practice of gene-modding was heavily regulated. Only a few well-known and most debilitating genetic diseases were given the green light for the procedure, and in the early days the technique met with great success and with little real cause for alarm.
As gene-modding became refined and the procedure widespread, humanity soon realised just how powerful this advancement was. Trillions of dollars of advanced gene-modding research was done by increasingly powerful corporations. Inevitably, as with all things technological, human laws quickly lagged behind the ruthless agenda of greedy corporations, who through relentless campaigns of PR spin and outright disinformation began to blur ethical lines. These powerful "Gentechs" as they came to be known, riding on the back of powerful media blitzes, were shortly therafter able to argue - and win - in the very highest courts of humanity that by restricting gene-modding to only a select handful of diseases, while allowing other eminently treatable conditions to ravage the population was tantamount to discrimination, corrupt legislative overreach and even manslaughter.
Heart disease, previously addressable by good diet and exercise, was rebranded as an unnecessary innate genetic condition - gene-modding was easily able to widen and strengthen arteries. “Debilitating” physical traits such as being weak, slow, short or ugly were able to be fixed - for a price. Those cursed with poor looks - but blessed with money - could now pay to become exceedingly attractive, opening the doors to social riches beyond compare.
As the Gentechs grew large and powerful inevitably human corruption and greed took over. It only takes a brief period of ultra-corrupt governance to forever change the course of history as these periods are always exploited savagely by those in the know. In the mid 21st Century such an inflexion point occurred - politicians that had been carefully promoted high within the halls of power, of course being on the payroll of Gentechs, implemented a sweeping series of reforms. The floodgates of human gene modification were opened and the path of humanity changed forever.
Larger, smarter, healthier children became the default - for rich families anyway - their entitled teenagers toyed with frivolous Gentech cosmetics and visual enhancements. The rich benevolently paid for gentech for the working class - but only where to be modified for strength and obedience. By the late 21st Century, rampant abuse of gene modding drove the division between rich and poor further and further, spiralling completely out of control. There was no longer just a wealthy elite but an entirely new uber-class of super rich, strong, healthy and impossibly beautiful. They were the human elite. They took the helm. Those not able to afford Gentech enhancements by the dying days of the 21st Century were thus relegated to the scrap heap of humanity. Abused and savagely discriminated against, they were forever bound to be workers with few entitlements and zero prospects.
As the elite further refined their grip on humanity and their genetically enhanced scientists further accelerated advancements in fields such as space travel, mineral exploitation and habitation, the planet’s environment crumbled and failed. The working class, forever under the thumb and relentlessly exploited became more and more disenfranchised and agitated with their lot in life. Black market gentechs popped up, offering cheap (and often lethal) mods for the unentitled to free their minds from enforced obedience. The combination of genetically enhanced muscular strength, increased human intelligence, deep-seated oppression and recently regained free-will breathed life into resistance movements all over the globe. Strong grass-roots political factions began to form and eventually rival the incumbent political leadership. The complacent elite soon came to realise that the fundamental weakness of being at the top of the pyramid is just how isolated and small this top is. They were vastly outnumbered, had lost their political drive, and the harshness of their tyrannical rule had enraged to breaking point the beating human hearts of those they had enslaved.
It was around this time that humanity had developed breakthrough warp capabilities, finally unlocking access to the stars and beyond. Whether they were simply bored with their indulgences, or fed up with living on a dirty overpopulated planet, or if they were truly concerned about the growing resistance, we will never know. One sunny day in January 2059 the elite 0.1% of humanity boarded gilded spaceships en-masse, loaded with technology and wealth beyond imagining, and warped off into the unknown - forever leaving behind the ruins of the earth, which was now to be run by a single government, unified behind the heavy weight of recent oppression.
Unbeknownst to those left behind was the final fuck you to humanity, with love from the elite. A lone starship, The Bright Future arced out from the fleet, not directly towards outer space and new frontiers, but on a path directly towards the sun. Its enhanced heat shielding allowed a dangerously close fly-by and as it did so, it gracefully rolled over to face its belly at the sun beneath. A small set of bay doors snapped open and a single, shiny, black ball glided out. As the Bright Future pulled up and away, never to be seen again, the small black ball was caught by the immense gravitational pull of the sun and quickly sucked into its midst. What this was, or what it would do, would not be known for quite some time.
Having lost its corrupt ruling elite, and with newfound optimism and communal spirit, humanity on earth once again began to thrive. Gentech was outlawed, nations were eradicated and a single human government - this one truly representative - was established, to the benefit of all mankind. Humanities memory is astonishingly short-lived, and as generations passed, the incredible tales from recent history came to sound almost mythological, its lessons were questioned and then forgotten, and the unwinding of history was spurred on by the fact that nobody ever heard from the departed elite again.
The Bright Present
150 Years Later. January 2209
Jameson Talby was deep asleep on the sofa when all of a sudden BOOM and glass from the windows shatters into a million pieces onto the carpeted floor. He jumps up - wow, is there an insane amount of heat and searing orange light pouring through the window. As the acrid stench of fire fills his senses he panics and runs outside to find that not only is the outside of his house ablaze, but all the other houses down the street are similarly inflamed. The smell of melting tarmac fills the air along with a shimmering haze of blinding sunlight. The entire town is on fire. Multitudes of people are running in a panic in every direction. Others are just standing in the street, rooted to the spot, staring and pointing at the sky. Everyone is terrified.
A message is pinging on his wrist, a few hours ago from his wife Esremima who was overseas on business. “Darling! It’s worse than we thought. The sun is burning out of control and will go nova, tonight around midnight! You take the cruiser, I’ve got the Subarishu here and lets meet at that bar around Youslef 5. Please make it. I love you. Hurry!”
Startled, Jameson turns to run up the road towards the spaceport where the cruiser is. BOOM! Buildings explode ahead. Glass shatters, metal groans. Oh please no, please not the hangar! As he sprints up the road to the spaceport, his greatest fears are realised. The hanger bay containing the family cruiser has melted in the intense heat and collapsed in on itself, crushing everything inside. Their prized possession, capable of Warp 11 and full to the brim with a valuable cargo of exotic alloys. All their hard-earned money tied up in a single inventory. Their life savings gone, but more importantly, his only means of escape.
The game starts with you running up the street towards the burning spaceport. Find a way to get off the planet and flee the solar system before the sun goes supernova at midnight. Meet your wife at Youslef 5. She always seems to know what to do.