A long, long time ago, humanity encountered a mysterious alien entity known as the Traveler. A tremendous, floating sphere, the Traveler helped humanity usher in its Golden Age, sharing the knowledge that let humans explore the galaxy, colonize far-off planets, and develop the sort of technology that let us evolve rapidly as a species.
All good things come to an end, though, and the Traveler was eventually followed by its enemy, the equally mysterious and entirely destructive entity known as the Darkness. Things went bad quickly, and after the Traveler seemingly sacrificed itself to drive off the Darkness, there was precious little left of the human species. Various alien races began to move in for the kill, colonizing former human settlements and making humanity’s continued existence uncertain at best. Everyone refers to the end of the Golden Age as “the Collapse.”