The blue-white smudge wheeled in out of nowhere—a quick, capricious galaxy so insignificant only God knew its name. When it barreled into the Orion Spur of the Milky Way, all hell broke loose.
The larger galaxy tore a handful of stars off the dwarf, hurling them into deep space. Colossal clouds of green gas and blood-red dust roiled and clashed across light years, brilliant flashes in their smoky wombs announcing the explosive births of massive, short-lived stars. Stellar winds ripped through the quadrant like a million tornadoes, their charged blasts warping magnetic fields left and right. Wrenched by irresistible but conflicting forces, gravity shifted and orbits bent.
Eran says it was utter chaos out there for an eon or two, but the uproar eventually died down. The Milky Way digested the pint-sized invader; as local stars and planets spun slowly into new configurations.
It would have saved us all a lot of trouble, if news of this cosmic rearrangement had reached Earth a few hundred years sooner than it did. But, you know, light can only travel so fast.
In the end, it boiled down to this: Our Alpha Generation was off course before they were born, their roadmap obsolete five hundred years before liftoff, because the stars they would trust to guide them were no longer be where they appeared to be. So, yeah. The A-team launched us into one heck of a fix.
The other trouble started about four hundred years later.
It started with me.