It was heady times in the middle of the 21st century. In 2031, scientists using the shiny new, extra gigantic super collider, much to their extremely brief surprise, created a black hole, a tiny naked singularity. In less than a blink of an eye, all that was left, was a hundred yard diameter sphere of vacuum, followed by the thunderclap created as the air rushed in to fill it.
The huge chunk of now the missing collider, assorted other bits and pieces of the facility, along with several surprised scientists simultaneously appeared in space about 2,000 miles away from earth. The pieces, inexorably pulled back home by gravity, and guided by the mysterious cosmic forces that seem to like mobile homes, demolished the Happy Acres trailer park in Texas, and everything else in the area on impact. How the large piece of the gigantic collider ended up appearing 2,000 miles from earth before falling back, with a most notable bang, created the infantile glimmerings that you might actually be able to travel through a wormhole.
Within ten years the first crude worm drive had been installed into a cobbled together ship, and in five days it hopped its way to Alpha Centauri A, and brought back pictures of not one, but five planets. It didn't take long to discover that there were thousands of inhabitable, more or less, planets, and the first pioneers left earth to find their Edens. These pioneers were a hugely varied lot. Religious sects that wanted planets that would have no unbelievers, manufacturing, and mining companies that didn't desire oversight about cleaning up after themselves, the rich who could own a planet as a vacation home, political groups, nudists, and endless other hordes of ethnic, and special interest groups.
Like rabbits on hormones, humanity multiplied and fled the mother planet to live on thousands of newly found planets in the nearby stars. It didn't take long for the squabbles to start. Groups started to get territorial. Believers didn't want non-believers sharing the same solar system. Systems banded together, and started to bully their neighbors, such as they were, and almost quickly as humanity exploded out into the galaxy, it all collapsed.
All of the worm drives were still built, on mother earth, and a ultra fanatical group, for reasons known only to them took a small nuclear device, and blew up the facility, that very carefully stored the singularities. In nanoseconds they, and 25 percent of mother earth was just plain gone. No new worm drives would ever be made again, on a now very wobbly mother earth.
Like all things made by man, the ships required maintenance. The computers that calculated to the umpteenth decimal point where to point the drive, required skilled upkeep, and there were now few left that could do this. Travel between the stars shortly ground nearly to a stop. The worm drive used a small loophole in Mr Einstein's calculations, but radio waves, or lasers could not, and sending a message between solar systems would take decades to reach the recipients, if it got there at all. Planets that were self sufficient plowed forward, some better than others. Many planets were not self sufficient, and in time, Darwin quietly took care of them.So we start our story On the planet Bliss. Ben Thompson is the son of a specialist in the repair of terraforming equipment, and when he was eighteen his father was reassigned to repair the oxygen making systems on a small but very mineral rich planet colonized by Luddites. Although the Luddites espoused low technology, this belief ground to a quick halt at the planets oxygen making systems, and they had more than enough gemstones and exotic minerals laying around to pay for the repairs. Ben opted to remain on Bliss rather than go to such a backward place.