Humanity had fallen face-first into an entire galactic community, filled with every It’s Heritage It’s Not Hate Keep It Flying shirt that we could imagine and they had been there for a long, long time. We were no supermen, no heroes in the story. We were the weird guys who had been living in the middle of a busy universe and had never even managed to make contact. According to our briefings, their children used to buzz the Earth for fun and pick up the odd human just to prove how dim we were. They were right but for the wrong reasons.
It was those childish idiots that brought us to space. Once we noticed the strange lights and bizarre craft we watched the sky and finally, we took one of them down, a pitiful child. The child of a powerful and wealthy alien. The ransom was paid in tech and Intel. We handed over the weeping, miserable thing without a moment of regret and used the information to take down anyone else pissing about in our system. Our ransom was always the same. Now we know they thought they were getting their children back for the price of a toaster but, if you think about how many ideas, how many of mankind’s first principles are embodied in a toaster you can learn a lot.