Dr. Samuel Wilkins was a man driven by one great thing in his life. It was something that may make him a more or less stereotypical 'mad scientist', but one of the good kind. He was obsessed with the fact that mankind was not intelligent enough, at least for him. And he was searching for a way to change that. So he tried to find a way to change the DNA of any human to become more intelligent.
The interesting thing about his tries however was the fact that he used some DNA strands of several different animals to create a virus that would change mankind to become more intelligent.
It was the late year 2008 that he had been successful, creating a retrovirus that would make mankind more intelligent. He didn't test it as he started to spread the highly infectious and after two days with flue like symptoms the change to a more intelligent mankind would become true.
Unknowingly, Dr. Wilkins had changed the plans of two very old races that had changed the genetic code of a good number of races, the plans of the Vorlons ans Shadows. Both had changed to genetic code of the races to make them dependent on them unable to move beyond specific boarders that were deemed to dangerous. The virus however effectively destroyed all those changes in the genetic code of mankind by rewriting those changed parts with parts from animals that had remained unchanged.
Mankind became more intelligent, but not in the way Dr. Wilkins had thought it would be. He only removed the borders in the minds of the people, making it possible for them to think of other things than those they had been thinking before. But tragically Dr. Wilkins never learned of his 'failure', as he died in a car crash only one week after releasing the virus.
Mankind started to grow in another direction as they would have with the genetic tempering of the old races. Of cause that didn't mean that they became more peacful. No they continued to fight wars, militaristic, political or economical wars. But the pace of development was changed and the range of development grew.
In 2045 material sciences were so advanced that the United States of America were able to build an orbital lift at the equator south of Hawaii, making access to space cheaper. Other orbital lifts followed, build near the island Sao Tome in Africa, somewhere in Indonesia and in Brasil.
Only two years after the first orbital lift, a small company in Spain made a breakthrough in a system that had bothered mankind since the later 20th century, when Professor Podkletnov discovered a way to shield gravity with super conductive materials. With the first anti gravity device, man started to get deeper into the matter or gravitational manipulation.
Until 2060, two new breakthroughs were made, as scientists nearly managed to solve the GUT, but they didn't manage it. Instead they discovered a way to create Tachyons and the mathematical possibility of a 'hyperspace'.
Gravimetrical engines were introduced in 2075 and with them ships were able to accelerate with several dozen times Earth gravity without having to worry about inetial. Trips to the Mars colonies near Olympos Mons and Vallis Marinieris became shorter and the population of Mars grew to more than 40 million in the year 2090.
Mars wasn't the only colony of mankind and in 2100 one billion people were living outside of mother Earth and 8 billion on Earth itself. Earth was now commonly referred as Terra all over the system even on Earth.
But problems remained and after the wars of the 21th century, one nearly became WWIII, the countries of Terra grew closer, eventually forming the Terran Union a state that included the best parts of the European Union and the United Stares of America. The colonies were an essential part of the Terran Union and every colony with more than two million inhabitants were considered their own member state of the Union, binding them to the Union, while making them more or less independent.
In space, new technologies were discovered. By using near solutions of the GUT, scientists were able to create forcefields, but they were only strong enough to hold air inside a hangar or a ships in case of a hull breach. The issues with these force fields couldn't been solved for a long time to come. Other uses of the force fields were fusion reactors where they reduced the size of the reactor greatly.
Weapons were also developed. The Terran Union had a small number of armed ships, armored with nano manufactured high density carbon alloys and armed with small railguns and particle weapons, they were able to hold the small pirate problem in check. It was a rather fast pace from low velocity rails guns to railguns that shot projectiles at ten percent the speed of light. Using the force fields, it was even possible to contain a fusion plasma and prevent it from dissolving until it hit the target, creating both an EM pulse and melting the hull plating.
Mankind was near the discovery of their own hyperspace drive, when the Centauri came and introduced the Jump Gate system. Mankind was more than ready for the stars and they were going to them in the same way settlers of old had gone to America. Only this time they were ready to believe that any alien was their equal. It was strange that this race of primates was able to become friends with so many races in so little time, sometimes even acting as negotiators between two races.
Mankind was on their way to become the most respected race besides the Minbari, who hadn't met mankind yet.