I am a leaf on the wind - watch how I soar.
Welcome to the Zen'Reach system. This is your Ethan Haines, your Galantic President speaking...It is the glorious year five thousand one hundred thirty six anno domini, mankind has successfully reached the stars and have realized that the stars have reached for them. After the initial discovery of the first Stygian Gates by the Sages of Galileo near the end of the second millennium, mankind has been able to go about the universe in much more astounding rate.
In the beginning Earth, now called Terra, was overpopulated and Mars had only begun to see colonization in the middle 2nd millennium. Once mankind finished, it was only another 600 years before both planets were both on the brink on overpopulation yet again and a new plan to colonize space itself emerged. The discovery of the Gate had been enough to investigate, however, what happened next was unexpected. It seemed like only seconds when they emerged from the second gate. However, those on-board had aged decades. Several had actually died during the seemingly brief trip to "Between Space".
The mental link between the two mages caused great strain, but they were able to communicate that they were overall fine, and that they had discovered a new singular non-orbiting planet. They also discovered multiple other gates nearby.
Several more expeditions occurred before we met, "Them". There where not human and not perhaps not completely supernatural (something that was long revealed during the Antediluvian rising in the early ages of the 2nd millennium). They were from other places, and other universes. Most came in peace, some for hire, some for war.
The third millennium was our catching up after losing many planets that we had only started to terraform. We made better and faster starships. Better methods for transversing the Between Space and better security of our Gate. We, overall, used our greatest strength...our ability to learn from our mistakes and become better, stronger, and faster at everything we do.
In the fourth millennium, corporations caught up with all the new resources and technologies and began performing their own expeditions into space and trading with "them". Although, more technology was created by this trade, most are still largely controlled by the corporations that discovered them. A growing concern of corporate power lead to several revolts on planets and government wielded it's big stick on several planets until the corporations started fighting back which caused an even bigger split in control. There are now several places in space controlled solely by the corporations that own them. Some range from benevolent to total dictatorship of its people. After more than a century of conflict, a Treaty of Travel was signed that allowed all passenger ships to freely travel between controlled areas. An still unwritten ceasefire has been on the books for some time and most conflict has dried up to non-aggression by the parties involved. However, a well timed incident could ignite the still burning embers.
By the fifth millennium, mankind's numbers had gotten into the trillions. Expanding across multiple solar systems and terraforming planets as quickly as they could. New links for communications had been built that could communicate through the Gates, it could just take a long time for the communication to work. The Changeling was the fastest method of communication as they were able to reenter the Hedge and emerge just about anywhere they wanted. At least some of the most well-paid runners could. Overall, mankind has become content. The Terra system had almost colonized every planet and even those that they couldn't directly colonized like Mercury and Venus, they harnessed them. Using the heat of the sun to create powerful batteries and the gases of Venus to create new weapons and technologies.
That would change at the start of first century of the fifth millennium. A new alien force known only as the Lokus started invading and swarming outer planets. They moved slowly but were an unstoppable force when encountered. Little is known about them as few survivors ever make it away and those that do...well, there isn't much humanity left in them.
Now here you are in the vastness of space, left all alone. What do you want to do?
Ten years ago, the Stygian Gate for the Zen'Reach system somehow closed and has prevented all travel out. However, it appears that some ships periodically are able to make it through. At first, many ships were sent in order to figure out how to reopen it. However, since they have been largely unsuccessful, there has been a significant reduction in the number of ships that enter this corner of the galaxy.