So...I've got a basic universe/milieux begun for Drift, but it needs a more well-defined story. Here's what I've got so far. Tell me what you think.
I've already mentioned the fact that the colonator Erasmus went to some new star system, apparently to die, and that the Xanthians had launched an Expedition to hunt for its final resting place. The Expedition now is made up of representatives from five or six different planets...one of which, it turns out, was not seeded by Erasmus, but by a different colonator, Aristarchus. Seems there were two colonization streams close to converging, and apprently Aristarchus was called away from his finishing-up of that last world, Tempus, for some unknown reason, leaving his work there curiously undone (the Tempians are barely hanging on in an environment that has been decaying for centuries now, and they want to give Aristarchus a piece of their minds). THe other colonator was apparently headed for the same star as Erasmus. So what would call two--maybe even more--colonators to the same star?
When the Expedition arrives, they soon discover the Spiralites, who have not only filled up the system but are now on the brink of branching out to other stellar systems. THe question of whether or not they were manufactured by the colonators becomes moot when they attack. The Expedition makes it away mostly unscathed thanks to some quick thinking and heads back along their path to warn the worlds they've passed on their way out about the Spiralite expansion...and when they get back to Tempus, they find the place in the process of being subjugated by several warships commanded by an extremely imperialistic, fascistic race of Humans who call themselves simply The Standard Bearers. They had been seeded by Aristarchus and in the process of making their way into space decided that they were the finest of the colonator's creations with an obvious right to rule over all "lesser" Human species (generally defined as those less technologically and socially advanced). When they encounter the Expedition, they are cordial...if haughty, and make the "generous" offer to let the Xanthians join their Axis as a junior allied species, which the Xanthians are quick to refuse. The Standard Bearers promise that they have fleets aimed toward all the nearby worlds, including many that are home to other members of the Expedition. Tension mounts and then explodes when a Spiralite attack force, following the Expedition, hits the system hard and the Standard Bearers immediately assume the trap was set up by the Expedition. Now the Expedition are on the run not only from the Spiralites, who shoot first and then don't even bother to ask questions, and the Standard Bearers, who are hellbent on establishing an interstellar empire.
But that's not the end of the Expedition's problems. In the two hundred years the Expedition has been gone, Xanthus has undergone a Singularity of its own, producing a virulent race of postXanthians who are busily gobbling up all matter in their path to build computronium to run endless virtualities. Their on a holy crusade of their own, of sorts, to "save" all Human species from the misery of mortality by uploading any Humans they encounter and building virtual paradises for them...and then, of course, devouring their homeworlds and home systems to build more and more and more computers.
The Foundation Worlder agent hidden among the Expedition as a Xanthian immediately realizes this is Bad News...or, at least, very strange news. Things are going mad out in this little stub end of the Spiral Arm, and after making contact with another Foundation Worlder hidden amongst the Standard Bearers, they decide the only way to rectify the situation is to make their way back to the Foundation Worlds and let the old homesteads know the situation out among the colonies is unravelling. But the Foundation Worlds are 5,000 lightyears away, and even with their ultrasecret pseudo-warp-drives (modified Alcubierre spacetime deformation engines), that journey would take about three hundred years. By which time the inevitable class between Standard Bearers and the Spiralites and the postXanthian Singulars will have destroyed everything. So it's time for the hidden gods to step forward, and the Expedition goes from being a peaceful exploration mission to the last hope for hundreds of worlds...provided, of course, they can find a convenient black hole lying around that they can transform into a weapon against all the contending forces.
Yeah. It's a big idea. The Standard Bearers are, of course, a combination of your garden-variety "species supremacist" fascists and American "better-than-you" cultural imperialism. The Spiralites are a simple unknown: basically just another garden variety pissed-off alien species attacking for seemingly no reason (but, of course, there is a reason, and it has to do with the colonators). And the postXanthian Singulars...well, they're a perfect example of good intentions being exercised in the wrong manner. Or are they?
Jesus, this thing gets more and more complicated by the minute! But it's so much fun. I'm thinking of maybe even tossing in the sudden invention of pseudo-FTL travel into the mix, too, just to get a wide range of Human species all mixing together and fighting, because that's always cool.
Just don't let me make this into a trilogy. I don't have the patience for that. And the world is far too full of trilogies anyway.