26th Century, A.D.
Greetings, traveler. The Old World isn’t what it used to be. Looking at it now, you’d never know that there used to be water here. Rivers, seas, oceans, they all evaporated, the good old di-hydrogen oxide gave Mother Earth the finger and high-tailed it out of the atmosphere. Things are a bit hotter here than you might remember, and why not? A few hundred years back, the sun turned up our thermostat, so to speak. It’s about oh, a hundred and six degrees in the shade – that’s in Celcius, my friend – and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Welcome home.
It has been over 400 years since the sun began to get hotter, only a few degrees at a time at first, then picking up speed until the planet was almost entirely unlivable. Glaciers melted at an accelerated rate, and the world got a lot bluer. Surface water evaporated so quickly that the air was constantly full of vapor, and it was barely breathable. Billions died. Governments united in the face of the crisis, and decided that the only way for the human race to survive was to abandon the planet. It took almost thirty years, and many, many sacrifices to build that first dome on Mars. The big move happened, finally, but there was only so much room on the ships.
It was inevitable, they said, that someone would be left behind. But those left retreated to the only places that they could. There were some areas that still retained drinkable water, and those few hundred thousand left on the Old World flocked to these places. Much later, when the Mars planetary government realized that man’s way of life was once again threatened by their lack of renewable power, a few rogue scientists hatched a plan. Solar cell technology had been in use for some time, but it was still not entirely a feasible method, due to the lesser amount of sunlight available on Mars.
Through debates that lasted a full four months, the planetary government gave the go-ahead for the plan. The Department of Genetic Diversity devised a way to graft certain genes from the archaebacteria Pyrolobus fumarii into the human genome. To say the least, genetic engineering of the entire human populace did not sit well. Therefore, they needed to obtain a suitable sample group. Who better than the people left behind, if there were indeed any left?
After much manipulation, kidnapping, murder and experimentation against the free will of those survivors on Earth, a new race was created, the Archaeans.