The waste of ten thousand worlds.
Since the great diaspora, the discarded detritus of Earth’s scattered children had filled interstellar space until it consitituted a small but significant fraction of the emptiness between the stars. It had started to become a hazard to interstellar travel as it aggregated in great swirling clouds like nebulae of trash. Some regions had even acquired the gravity to cohere into planetoids. The computers that managed the FTL drives had to make increasingly complex calculations to account for the extra mass they encountered in their paths: though they didn’t go through conventional space, the mass of the trash clouds was large enough to distort the underlying fabric of reality.
The war with the civilizations of Andromeda changed everything.
‘Accidental Xenocide’ the newscasts called it. Indeed, once the initial confusion wore off and all the species involved realised how many trillions had died, a kind of embarrased quiet fell over both galaxies. The commencement of trade seemed to occur without fuss or fanfare and within five cycles the intergalactic routes were buzzing with activity. With the trade in resources and labour came the inevitable exchange of technology. The Carran were the first species to spread across Andromeda and the first to cross the intergalactic space so it was fitting that they should be the developers of the wormhole technology that allowed all types of habitat to dispose of their rubbish. The compacted bolus was ejected into space before being injected into the Conduit Matrix which sped it almost instantly to the Facility. On the orbiting moonlets, great machines converted the matter into energy before spitting it in enormous streamers which plunged into the heart of the artificial black hole that shone in the cloud of crap. On two of the moonlets, collosal receivers gathered and concentrated the x-rays and hawking radiation that escaped the inescapable grasp of the hole. This was transmitted back through the Conduit Matrix and provided enough energy to light the many habitats and moons that had no other energy source. Thus the cycle continued and humanity prospered, until…