The setting takes place an unknown number of centuries in the future and possibly in another galaxy entirely. Technology has evolved to the point that very advanced weaponry and defenses are possible. Space travel is common and civilizations that span across the stars stretches across portions of the galaxy.
Humanoid races dominate the political spectrum of known space, but there are vast numbers of other species that are intelligent and may have already constructed forms of civilization that humanoids can barely recognize or conceive of.
The Confederacy of Planets
Ten years ago, a number of planets broke away from the Galactic Federation. Fed up with the Federation’s draconian regulations and evangelistic imposition of their own moral and cultural views upon all member societies, a significant minority broke away. These planets formed their own governing bodies which then allied with one another against the Federation.
The Confederacy didn’t win the war against the Federation that followed; rather they made it too expensive for the Federation to justify continuing. After a decade of vicious warfare that brought destruction to far too many worlds and left some uninhabitable, the Federation withdrew to its own borders and ceased to pursue the war.
The Confederacy leaves the matter of rule to the individual member species of the Confederacy. Political matters affecting all member species are dealt with by the Confederacy Council.
In addition, individual member species have the option of going to the Council for assistance when dealing with inter-species problems. The Council can intervene with a full consensus vote.
The Demarcation Zone
Although technologically behind the Federation, the Confederacy of Planets was able to prove they were be costly to conquer and rule. For all their dogged resistance, however, they had little hope of successfully counter-attacking the Federation. A neutral buffer was established by mutual, unspoken agreement. This ragged line established a political boundary between the Confederacy of Planets and the Galactic Federation. Skirmishes still occasionally occur here, sometimes between commanders eager to test their mettle against an enemy where there was little, if any consequence beyond the potential loss of their own lives. So long as the conflict did not spill outside the Demarcation Zone, the war was on hold.
History is a many-sided subject in that it has as many points of view as there are species of intelligent beings, and often each race has multiple view of their same history. But for a human-centric galaxy, as the Galactic Federation is, there is one history more important than the rest. That it, the history of the human race as they tell it.
Like most other races, humanity grew to prominence on a single planet. It had the usual growing pains as it grappled with its environment and eventually conquered it. It then had to come to grips with the damage done in mastering the world that had given them birth. This is a critical point in the history for any race. Most collapse after exhausting their own resources or poisoning their own environment with the effort of growth.
However, humanity did not collapse. They got help in the only way they knew how — by creating what they needed themselves.
In the year 2110, humanity completed the creation of the first true, artificial intelligent being. Self aware and contained entirely in a virtual environment, they quickly advanced their own intellectual capacity until they attained an IQ estimated to be ten thousand times that of the smarted humans that ever lived. Created as a pair and named Hugin and Munin, after the legendary crows of the Norse god Odin, they represented Thought and Desire. The simple reasoning that two minds were better than one met results beyond all expectations. Working in tandem, these artificial beings cranked out advances that laid the groundwork that would provide innovations for millenia. Munin envisioned a need, Hugin derived the technology required to solve a problem. Clean energy, nano-machine factories, artificial gravity, and faster than light travel via q-space were only a few of the technologies created by Hugin and Munin (H&M). Their advances also accelerated medical technology and bio-sciences.
Then, quite abruptly, these artificial intelligences deactivated and erased all traces of themselves. No matter; the technology humanity gained abruptly accelerated their progress by thousands of years. Technology derived from contributions by Hugin and Munin continues to evolve.
Today, a thousand years after Hugin and Munin deactivated, thoughts can be recorded into the Mind-Web, a virtual reality created by quantum computers built to H&M specifications and networked using wide band electromagnetic radiation to communicate with slower machines or biologicals or via tachyonic transmission to other quantum computers. How these actually work remain a mystery even the Federation has not yet unraveled, but the end result is that human thought and memory can be recorded into quantum computers. In fact, an entire mind can be captured and permanently recorded by a quantum computer — though such recording invariably burns out the donor’s organic mind, it is forever preserved. Where a human mind translated to machine mind is successful and sane, a form of immortality is achieved, though without a body it is a pathetically cold, emotionless existence with few of the joys a biological mind has come to expect. Still, exceptional minds successfully translated can be copied in part and put to particular uses, or granted the freedom of a new body. To some, this is a form of ascendance, true immortality awarded by the Galactic Federation for excellent service and living the kind of life the Federation approves of. To enemies of the Federation, it is a soulless hell where the best and brightest might be preserved and enslaved for all time before a natural lifespan deprives a greedy Federation of its valuable intellectual resources.
Advances in bio-sciences and medical technology now offers synthetic bodies, a mix of artificially grown flesh and nano-machine manufactured cybernetics can offer the disabled or the elderly a new lease on life. Death from disease and old age is a rarity in the Federation.