A century ago, human civilization exploded outward from its older borders, expanding to claim thousands of star systems in an era of peace after the First Galactic War. As each system was colonized, dozens of additional stars were opened for exploration and exploitation. The prospect of adventure, territory, and riches drew millions to this ever-growing frontier. With each passing decade, the frontier systems drew farther and farther from each other and from the long-settled worlds of the Stellar Ring, until mankind owned a 1,000-light-year slice of the galaxy’s Orion Arm.
The frontier region that stretched toward the closest edge of the Orion Arm of the galaxy became known as the Verge. Stellar nations, large corporations, and private concerns joined in a race to chart and colonize Verge worlds. The cycle of expansion, exploration, and settlement continued to turn, faster and faster—until the coming of the Second Galactic War. The First Galactic War had been a struggle of the interstellar colonies to slip free from the shackles of old-Earth imperialism, but it had sown the seeds for a much more devastating conflict. The Second Galactic War laid waste to vast portions of human space. Orbital bombardment and asteroid strikes cracked worlds open and cleaned them of life. Eventually, the surging course of war raged across the region of space where the Stellar Ring extended toward the Verge, destroying vital communications links and leaving the new frontier completely isolated. In the Verge, this period was known as the Long Silence.
As the war raged on, this abandonment lasted more than a century. A brief while ago, the reconstruction of a communication relay at Kendai ended the silence. For the first time, the stellar nations of Old Space are returning to the Verge. To their surprise, the nations have found that much of the Verge population has grown used to independence and is quite happy to manage its own affairs without interference.
In Memory of Captain Carlos XXVII