Seekers of the Edges of the Universe
Explorers, enlightened seekers, mad. A single Prospector can have an outsized impact, shaping the course of an entire planet — or planetary system. Prospectors were the original cosmic explorers, first in Earth's solar system, and ultimately across the Cosmos. Every human world — from the Centopoly's 100 to the vast expanse of the Outback — was first (and continue to be) discovered, scouted, and proven suitable for human life by Prospectors.
The Prospectors trace their roots back to the earliest days of space exploration, to the time of the first craft to leave Earth’s atmosphere…they were then called Astronauts. As technology advanced, so too did their passion for, and dedication to, the exploration of the unknown. It was they who led the exploration of the solar system surrounding Sol. It was they who led advances in habitation, survivability, transportation, and resource extraction. Just like the adventurous miners of Old Earth, they eventually became known as Prospectors.
Over the centuries, humans so degraded their home planet and system, that they were forced to flee…the Great Diaspora. It was the Prospectors who led humanity from Earth out into the stars. They shepherded them to safety amongst dangers both seen and unseen. It was the Prospectors — and their machine allies — who ensured the survival of the species.
Through The Years
Eventually, humanity found its place in the stars, creating new strongholds and once again flourishing, wiser for the knowledge they’d gained during the Diaspora. But the Prospectors were not content to sit, unmoving, in a universe so vast and mysterious. They continued to explore the dark reaches, even as humanity became relatively more sedentary, building a culture both larger — and more static.
The Prospectors continued to explore as the Synthetic War raged for nine decades. They continued to explore, mostly unscathed, as the black age known as the Great Sundering muted all known life in the Cosmos for better than two thousand years.
They continued to probe the unknown as humanity crawled back to the light, as the Centopoly was born, infantile and fragile, not yet the towering edifice that it would become. And today, Prospectors continue to explore, little moved by the day-to-day doings of those content with the known.
Into The Now
Even as they’ve continued to explore, the Prospectors have adapted to the present that the Centopoly represents. They perform exploratory and survey missions for the Centopoly (their proprietary technology gives them capabilities that others do not possess). They also establish Bridge footholds*. These activities do not come cheap – the Prospectors charge exorbitant fees which, combined with more than 10,000 years of operations, have made them one of the richest (and most powerful) factions in the Cosmos.
They generally do as they please. Their primary desire: to be powerful enough that they’ll be left alone to explore the dark places of the universe, traveling only to satisfy their curiosity, to see what’s over the next rise.
A tight-knit group of individuals doesn’t prosper for 10,000 years without developing some odd beliefs, habits, and patterns.
For example, some older Prospectors have commissioned ‘time capsule’ planets, which are meant to replicate various worlds of the past (these have colloquially become known as Museum Worlds), down to means of transportation, flora/fauna, cultures, and more.
Another oddity are the poems of ‘The Lost’. Over the millennia, as Prospectors have ventured further and further from known space, more and more have disappeared, leaving no trace, except for final, powerful communications bursts, containing nothing more than a final message, generally in the form of a poem. No satisfactory explanation for this phenomenon has been discovered, but one thought is that these explorers were afflicted by something that has been dubbed ‘space dementia’, which caused them to either forget themselves or to simply fade away, without a trace. Many poems of the Lost are revered on Prospector planets, ships, and facilities, having been inscribed on walls, monumental edifices, and ships.