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The year 10,000 was the start of the Fourth Age. While technically it belonged to the ninth millennium CE, most believed it to be the beginning of the tenth millennium, and it is was first decamillenium of the Common Era.

Humanity

Population

At the time, Humanity existed as a loose and widespread collection of colonies and settlements. These colonies were spread across the entire Milky Way and had recently begun to appear in nearby galaxies, such as the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds, Sagittarius Dwarf, Andromeda, Triangulum, Rentxo and Drake galaxies due to the invention of the wormhole drive. At that time, the universal human population totaled 1.6 quadrillion, spread across roughly 250 million human colonies, 210 million of which were located upon planets and moons while the rest exist as space stations, asteroid-based facilities, or floating cities.

The most densely populated region of human space could be found within the Milky Way's Orion Arm. Known as the Orion Stretch, it extended eight-thousand light-years between Barnard's Loop and the Carina Nebula. There, just under 95 million colonized solar systems, including Sol, could be found.

Government

The largest governing power of humanity was the Confederacy. However, due to the immense size of space and the limitation of FTL travel, the Confederacy was highly decentralized and held little direct influence over its population. As a result, nearly all colonies had declared independence. In the 10,000 CE census, 68 percent of extrasolar governments were based on a democratic republic system, while 17 percent followed a monarchy and 15 percent either followed other styles of government or existed in anarchy.

Humanity also participated in politics with other civilizations. Since the founding of the Confederacy, humanity had become allies with numerous alien civilizations, such as the currently existing partnerships with the Kya, the Nylex, the Molkor, and the Swarm.

Space Exploration

The vast majority of human space exploration was conducted by private individuals and organizations. In fact, more than 80 percent (one of the highest rates in history) of all spacecraft were owned by the private sector. However, beyond the Milky Way, most missions are government-commissioned.

The warp drive continued to be the most common method of FTL travel; although, commercial versions tended to be significantly "slower" than government-issued drives. The fastest warp drive in existence, the Hermes XXVI, could achieve a warp factor of 12, allowing a speed of 1.06 light-years per second at a physical velocity of ten kilometers a second. At this rate, a spacecraft could cross the Milky Way (128 thousand light-years) in approximately 34 hours. Standard versions of the warp drive, such as those present on private spacecraft, could typically reach a maximum warp factor of 8.5. Wormhole drives are becoming increasingly common among government spacecraft, but only highly expensive variants were available to the public at that time.

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