Disclaimer – I do not own Battlestar Galactica. I’m merely barrowing it for a short while.
Prologue – The History of the World Part Two
It was comparatively recently that humanity had appeared in the universe. Billions of years before the earth formed. Billions more before the first primitive forms of organic life appeared. Hundreds of millions of years of evolution before the precursors of humanity first walked upright. Still millions more before speech became the prominent form of communication. Yet thousands more years before the discovery of fire and the cultivation of the land. And five thousand or so years before the first migration since writing and villages and the first signs of what could be called ‘civilization’ appeared on Earth.
It that brief period of ‘civilization’ humanity accomplished a great deal. They had spread to every corner of the Earth, created technology capable of shaping the environment to fit their needs and most extraordinary of all, humanity had begun to take a few tentative steps beyond the mother world.
It had been in the latter half of the ‘twentieth’ century that the first steps off Earth had been taken. Those first steps were taken by machines, crafted by humans to do little more than circle the Earth, sending back a simple beeping message. Then the humans themselves began to venture into space. Only one or two at time. Only a little more than a decade after the first machines went into space humanity did the impossible. Humans went to moon. For the first time human beings stood on the service of another celestial body and looked back on their home.
Soon more machines began to leave Earth. Most with the purpose of exploring the other worlds of the solar system. Two actually left the solar system behind destined to spend the millennia drifting in the vastness between the stars.
The twenty first century saw even greater strides. Spurred the damage their technology had done to the mother world, humanity looked to the heavens for salvation. Steps were taken to place permanent habitats in space. Soon colonies appeared on the moon. Then a small colony on Mars. Humanity was no longer confined to a single world. By the latter part of the twenty second century it appeared the very technology that had threatened to destroy humanity would prove to be its savior.
The ozone layer, damaged by decades of pollutants was being slowly restored. Global warming had done enormous damage to once pristine coasts and destroyed many cities. But its effects had been lessened and the worst disasters avoided. Humanity had even begun to heal the many divisions that had kept its peoples separated for millennia.
With Earth on its way to being healed and settlements on the moon, on Mars, scattered pieces of humanity mining the asteroid belt, and dozens of small semi-autonomous space habitats, the solar system was becoming confining. Many people looked outward. They looked towards the vastness between the stars and longed to bridge that insurmountable gap. Success seemed within their reach, testing was being done on the first Faster-Than-Light engines. They held the promise of spreading humanity throughout the stars.
But at the moment of humanity’s greatest triumph tragedy struck. The Plague. It first appeared on Earth. No one knew its origin. A weapon, released accidentally or on purpose, a mutation created in a lab, a product of the very steps taken to preserve the Earth or just a natural mutation.
Whatever its origin The Plague spread quickly. The transportation infrastructure that linked humanity together and had done so much to heal the wounds of centuries of conflict had become a curse. Within three months no corner of Earth was untouched by The Plague. Worse, The Plague had made it off world. Whole colonies were on the brink of destruction.
Humanity reverted to its base instincts. Conflicts broke out as colonies believed free from The Plague took steps to keep those who might be infected out. On Earth, old divisions, believed erased, reappeared. Wars on a scale not seen since the first part of the twentieth century began to rage across the surface of the Earth. The wars spread to the colonies. Humanity stood on the brink of extinction.
But there were those who sought a way to preserve humanity. Great colony ships were built. But there was nowhere to go. Astronomy had identified many solar systems where life-sustaining worlds might exist. But there was simply no way to know and no time to explore those worlds. But desperation drove humans to attempt foolish things.
The first migration of humanity to the stars began. Using the still unproven FTL technology an unknown number of ships disappeared into the void. Many were destroyed the moment they activated their engines. Some were lost attempting to re-enter normal space. Others reappeared in space light-years from their intended targets. Stranded and left to die in the loneliness of space.
Some made it their intended targets only discover no worlds capable of supporting life. They quickly perished. One made to a world capable of supporting life only discover soon after landing that they had brought The Plague with them. The colony was devastated only two months after finding their salvation.
One colony ship did survive and reached its intended target. A world as far away from Earth as they could reach. A world they named Kobol. The people of that ship believed The Plague had come as a judgment from God. That humanity was being purged to make way for a new beginning. A new start to civilization, free from the beliefs of the past.
Following those beliefs they destroyed the colony ship, along with much of their technology, once they disembarked on their new home. They taught the generations born after them that Kobol was the birthplace of the true humanity. Within a short three centuries Earth was but a forgotten memory. A legend. And so the civilization of Kobol grew for many centuries, isolated and alone. Believing it alone was the birthplace of humanity.
Then tragedy struck Kobol. The star about which Kobol orbited began to die. Having abandoned much of their technology when they arrived the people of Kobol faced destruction. Reaching into their distant past to legends long forgotten the people of Kobol built twelve great colony ships. Those ships departed. Each one heading to a small group of twelve worlds believed capable of supporting life. They took with them legends of a thirteenth world, a last lonely beacon of humanity.
But the Earth did not fair as well as its colony during those centuries. What The Plague did not destroy, the wars did. With the Earth devastated the settlements throughout the system could not sustain themselves for long. They were either abandoned or left to die. Within a century humanity went from the stars back to stone tools they had abandoned centuries earlier.
But humanity is a stubborn species. After nearly two millennia the humans of Earth started the long struggle back to the civilization they had lost. Soon humans began to multiply again. They began to find the remnants of their buried glory. With that as a base they accomplished in a mere two centuries what had taken them over five thousand years to accomplish before. Humanity was once again able to reach for the stars.
The second great migration began. But this was not the haphazard migration of before. Humanity was going to stars in an orderly manner. Creating true colonies on other worlds.
But these humans knew they were not the first to attempt to reach the stars. They knew other had tried before them. A few expeditions were sent to systems where colony ships were believed to have gone. Nothing was found in most of those systems. Long dead colony ships were found in others. Most people believed the humans from the first migration had failed.
But there were still a few that held out hope. Who longed to meet with their long sundered kin somewhere between the stars.