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Meanwhile, Back Home - Backstory
Earth was supposed to be a cultural reservation - a planet isolated from the rest of the galaxy so that humanity could develop at its own pace until it developed a stardrive and contacted galactic civilization on its own.
But then the Galactic Federation discovered that various species - most notably the beings known to us as "Greys" - had meddled in human development for quite some time. And when an alien mothership crash-landed in Paris, killing thousands, the secret was blown - the Federation was forced to admit Earth into galactic civilization, and even paid some reparations in the form of technology transfers, some third-rate colonies, and a few motley spaceships (about half of all this went to the French, as the primary injured party.)
Now the space lanes have opened up to humanity. New frontiers beckon, and brave souls, pioneers, scientists, lawmen, traders and hucksters flock to the new colonies in search of fame and fortune.
This is not their story.
Earth has changed. Much of humanity is still reeling from the culture shock of alien contact. Old forms of technological, scientific, economic and military supremacy suddenly become meaningless thanks to the influx of alien goods and knowledge. Both legislators and law enforcement are desperately trying to keep up with the new tech, while enterprising businessmen and criminals can make fortunes overnight.
Earth is not without its own wealth, however. Its rich cultural heritage has become fashionable recently, drawing millions of alien tourists to Earth every year. Its vast biodiversity is extremely useful for galactic genetic engineers. All this draws alien businessmen to Earth - with alien criminals not far behind, who sense opportunity thanks to the comparatively weak Terran law enforcement. Indeed, some are on the run from galactic law enforcement, and successfully evade them among the teeming masses of humanity.
The Greys sold the genetic code of humanity on the black market long ago, leading to the creation of countless humans and near-humans servants and slaves throughout the galaxy - many of which now yearn to return to their mythic homeland. Immigration is high, and on the rise. Alien ghettos spring up everywhere and expand - which sometimes doesn't go over well with their human neighbors.
Meanwhile, the nations and organisations of humanity have been busy. Instead of uniting in the face of this unique challenge, they have splintered. Each nation is now trying to catch up to French technological and political supremacy, and many are willing to use any means, fair or foul, to get ahead. Many sign up exclusive treaties with alien nations or organisations without understanding the implications of the fine print...
Player characters can be law enforcement, diplomats, or criminals or businessment trying to profit from all this. Or they can be extraterrestrials with their unique view on all things human who try to make sense of all this hominid behaviour - while still making a quick buck.
Welcome home. It's different here.
This setting was inspired by such diverse sources as the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series, the comic book Transmetropolitan, the TV show Futurama, and numerous anime series dealing with alien contact such as NieA Under 7. Humanity has been contacted by aliens, and a select number of humans have traveled to the stars to settle new frontiers, save whole worlds, and otherwise get involved in any number of adventures - but back home on Earth, life goes on, with any number of opportunities for humorous misunderstandings between the humans and the newcomer aliens.
I first wrote it up in an RPGNet post, but I do not think that I will have the opportunity to develop this setting much. But I thought that this was too good to waste - so I invite everyone to come up with any additions you can come up with. Detail your home country (or town), invent some new alien species, or come up with some other way to expand on the setting!
- Jürgen Hubert