The Terre were the ancestors of us all. They came to the Cluster from ancient Terra in the age of our great technological, social and – some believe – biological evolution: the Terre were the last of homo sapiens. We are homo diaspora.
The Terre and the Slipstream
The slipstream does not lead beyond the open cluster that contains the worlds of the astro-political Consensus Cluster. Some believe that the Terre came into the cluster using a superior for of FTL technology. Other contend that they probably used slower-than-light travel, or a more refined form of slipdrive. This explanation would be more widely accepted were it not for the probable location of Terra: at least 300 light-years distant, and probably more remote than this. The idea of slower-than-light ships crossing the void for 400 to 1000 years seems improbably given the engineering challenges involved, while existing slipstream theories do not allow for extra-cluster jumps.
If the Terre did possess a superior and radically different form of FTL drive, this offers hope to those who see the eventual doom of Cluster humanity in the break up of the star cluster. Unfortunately, students of the Cycle almost all agree that the point in a culture’s development when such transcendent technology becomes practical is also the point at which it inevitably collapses.
Alternative theories of colonisation suggest that homo diaspora spread from Terra via von Neumann replicators, machines which could have migrated across Galactic distances and constructed a reincarnated human population when they encountered suitable habitats – or perhaps after terraforming the worlds of the Cluster.