Shadows in the Void
Earth was growing crowded, polluted and barren. Frequent wars for the dwindling natural resources didn’t alleviate much, as the wars tended to waste almost as much as was gained for the victor while the losers lost much, much more.
In a desperate bid to forestall what was seen as the inevitable implosion of humanity, Resource Production Corporation launched the precursor to modern mining spacecraft to collect and refine raw materials from the asteroid belt. This first, experimental trip was wildly successful, and bought Earth enough time for RPC to build a fleet of such ships.
The asteroid belt didn’t last long, and mankind’s hunger for resources forced them further from home. This is humanity’s first documented encounter with the Dread Gates. Studies were done, arguments and deliberations had, but ultimately it was desperation again that drove the first ship into the Dismal Void.
Exiting the otherspace in an unfamiliar system, the crew didn’t know that they had travelled 45,000 parsecs in a matter of hours. The first inhabitable planet (aside from Earth) was found in what came to be known as The Gelphan System, complete with a complement of asteroids and nearby planets. A colony was quickly established for anyone who could afford to leave Earth.