The Galaxy, 2269
Humanity mastered faster-than-light travel in the late 22nd century. The discovery of jump-space (or j-space) allowed humanity to begin exploring beyond our own solar system, but it also necessitated a change in culture and technology. Cybernetic implants and nanotech could not survive travel via j-space and their popularity diminished very quickly. Shortly after the first extra-solar exploration, the Guardians appeared in Sol System and presented humanity with a gate to the Hub. On venturing through it, humanity discovered that there were two other space-faring races in the galaxy. The animosity of the stin was apparent from the start, but the presence of the Guardians kept their aggression in check. The ashushk, on the other hand, were only too happy to ally themselves with humanity, helping humanity further develop FTL and other j-space capable technologies in exchange for protection against future stin aggressions.
Humanity soon discovered that worlds suitable for colonization were not as plentiful as first hoped. Many of the most resource-rich planets could not support life for various reasons and building colonies on these hostile worlds ranged from impossible to exorbitantly expensive. An enterprising young civil engineer by the name of Damianos Anatolius decided to turn his attention to creating intricate and expansive space stations, instead. His endeavour was hugely successful, and now there are 22 Anatolius Industries space stations through humanity’s corner of the galaxy. Each of these stations have developed their own culture and traditions, much like the colonies on the few habitable planets humanity has claimed.
Universally aggressive and keen on combat and confrontation, the stin are viewed as the galaxy’s bullies. They are large, bipedal creatures with thick black hide that is usually marked with clan paint. They are five-fingered, like humans, but each finger is tipped in a large talon that can inject paralyzing venom into their prey. They also have the capability to phase out of sync with the rest of the galaxy for brief periods, making them all but untouchable on the battlefield. Little is known about the stin’s culture; their isolationist nature has dissuaded galactic scholars for centuries.
Fondly referred to as “ashies” by their human allies, the ashushk are a highly intellectual race of explorers who have been space-faring for more than three centuries. The majority of ashushk are genderless, though they often choose to be referred to by a specific gender in human company. The ashushk who develop a gender are required to remain on their homeworld and breed; a life of ease and luxury, but also one that many ashies never want. Ashushk are small and slender, with blue skin, no body hair, and large, unblinking eyes. They are long-lived and very formal in their speech and interactions with humans.
The Guardians were the first alien race encountered by humanity. Once humanity mastered FTL travel, the Guardians appeared in Sol System and granted humanity a transportation gate—an invitation to join the galactic community that they had previously extended to both the ashushk and the stin. There are no records of what the Guardians look like, and they use computer-generated speech to communicate if required. Their technology and knowledge is obviously more advanced than even the ashushk’s, and yet they show no desire to control the galaxy. Instead, they remain on the edges of the other races’ interactions, and intervene only when necessary.