We were not meant to travel far from our birth place on Terra, but we as a race have often flaunted the will of gods. It was thus when we first sailed our leaky canoes into the oceans to find new specks of land, it was so when we first cast ourselves out of the embrace of our mother earth, and it is still true as we fling our progeny out into the darkness of the void to find and claim new worlds as our own.
For too long interstellar travel was beyond the grasp of a single lifetime. generation ships maintained too high a cost in materials, and no guarantee of social stability in the passage of ages before arriving at the destination. cryogenics and suspended animation proved to be beyond our limited talents of the age. It seemed certain that we would self terminate our existence as a species upon our birth planet, and probably leave it a smoldering ash as well. And then a miraculous discovery changed our future and the destiny of the universe as well. One Dr. Anton Marigold, a self styled quantum mechanic, created a device that would surround an object in an energy field, and shift it into a different plane of existence. Known now as Fold Space because of the way an object contained in a shift field seems to fold in upon itself when it transitions into this other dimension from normal, true space.
Fold Space, as best as any scientist can explain, is a dimension that exists just below our own. Its properties are poorly understood at best. But the property that is key to our interstellar expansion is that distance in Fold Space is exponentially faster than travel in our normal universe. A spaceship (sometimes called a Foldship to differentiate it from non-folding spaceships) traveling through Fold Space for a full day (24 hours) would find itself approximately one light year from where it entered Fold Space when it transitioned back into true space.
This discovery by Dr. Anton Marigold lead to the mass exodus of humanity from Terra, and it’s inevitable spread to the far flung reaches of our galaxy. The Marigold Device, contained inside the Transition Drive, allows spaceships to enter Fold Space and traverse unfathomable light years in mere weeks and months instead of multiple lifetimes.