“Thousands of years ago, man went to other worlds in his home system, and found nothing but lifeless balls of rock, or blobs of light gasses. Intrigued, he continued, and built for himself vast generationships, placing colonists in stasis and shipping them out to the stars at near-relativistic speeds on one-way trips to spread humankind in the universe. Patiently, man awaited signals from these distant colonies to arrive…but none ever did. Hundreds of years passed in silence, and mankind again turned inward, contemplating his lonely home, and listening ever to the silent stars above.
The development of the Jump Drive revolutionized everything. Suddenly, the stars were opened to easy travel, as man had the means to move vast distances – almost exactly a parsec in a jump – in a reasonable period of time. Vast exploratory ships were constructed, and sent to check in on the various outlying colonies that had been sent, but which never contacted home afterward.
Out went the ships, and within weeks, the word came back. No colonies had been established. Other systems near to the homeworld were lifeless, irradiated balls of minerals, or hellish hot environments with corrosive atmospheres. Time after time, it was determined, the generation ships had arrived, only to be in locations totally unsuitable for human habitation. Radiation, methane or sulfurous gasses, or hellish temperatures had killed them all, in every case where they were able to FIND the generation ships. In fact, there were no systems at all within two jumps’ distance of home that were habitable. Fuel limitations made it impossible to probe further, but the verdict appeared clear – habitable planets were determined to be incredibly rare, and the liklihood of intelligent life ever being encountered was found to be approximately zero.
Undaunted, humanty continued its development, and several hundred years later, the development of drives capable of making Jump 2 changed everything.
Doubling mankind’s reach, Jump 2 capability opened up alternative routes. Hideously expensive, Humanity’s government contracted for a few exploration ships capable of Jump 2, and tried again, instructing the crews that they were to go as far as they were able.
Success was had. At a distance of six to eight parsecs, habital worlds appeared in what was taken as an astounding variety and quantity. World after world, not just habital but CONTAINING LIFE ITSELF were there. Vast starports were constructed near Humanity’s home system to provide refuelling, and colony ships built, and the stars were man’s.
So continued events until the discovery of vast mineral resources on one of those more remote worlds – mineral deposits estimated as several times the exploitable reserves of homeworld, and in easily-mined locations across the planet.
Nikolai Sergei Yusupov, chairman and CEO of the DynStar conglomerate which had the technology making Jump-2 Drives possible, realized immediately the implications and opportunity this gave him. He had already moved a tremendous portion of the manufacture of the Jump drive offworld, putting drive manufacture closer to both resources and microgravity environments. He had the remaining information related to the Jump drive operation moved offworld, removed himself and his family to a distant world, and declared the Yusupov Dynasty and the First Interstellar Empire (more commonly referred to as “The Imperium.”) Shut off from resources, grounded as the Imperium explored and charted and siezed the very stars themselves, the government of the homeworld capitulated some years later, and his reign began in truth as well as name.
Thus, the modern Imperium was born. Seven millenia it has stood against all comers; insurgencies, rebellions, alien invasions, and natural disasters have all threatened, but none have toppled, the House of Yusupov." — Educational Archives of the Imperial Family