Last week I talked about the scale of interstellar travel, in the hope that I could impress on my readers just how important some form of fast travel is. If you've ever wondered why some variant of a warp drive exists in other fiction, dealing with the vast emptiness of space is why. For me too, how the drive works will impact how the world will function beyond the obvious that interstellar travel is possible. Star Wars would look very strange if the ships were unable to jump by themselves and needed instead to use a stationary gate, to give an example. All of that is why I start SEAC with the discovery of its warp gate technology; it really is that important to everything about it.
I'd like to point out that anything here may change in the future, but the current timeline goes something like this: Sometime around 2018 some scientists somewhere in Europe stumble onto warp gate technology. (As an aside, if anyone has a good, specific location for where this could occur, please let me know in the comments!) By 2020, prototypes are built and warp gate technology is shown to work within the solar system, with plenty of promise towards interstellar gates being possible to build. Unfortunately, only one gate in and out of each area can function.
The politicians of the world bicker and debate about how to resolve the issue. Meanwhile, the scientists and engineers in charge of the warp gate tech continue to test and improve on the initial network they set up. Gradually, they settled on the general idea of setting up an organization that would control the gate network and any human settlements in space up to a certain size. Much debate was had over whether to give them a military arm as well. Eventually, they agreed to a small military, with set rules for later allowing a larger military if the universe turned out to be harsher than they initially thought. (Of course it's going to be harsh. It wouldn't be a good sci-fi game if there were no epic space battles possible)
This new organization would be named SEAC (for Space Exploration and Colonization), and is built to accomplish those two goals, along with the unspoken directive to defend humanity from outside enemies. To limit its power and to guard against corruption, the organization is prevented from selling or providing anything to the peoples of Earth. (Though some research is shared if it's relevant) The nations of the world control the organization, with each paying based on set tiers, with the money being the only source of income for the organization. More influence in the organization comes at a higher cost; as an example, only the top tiers can select the president for SEAC.
SEAC is ceded the land from the initial tests, along with all the equipment that was previously built, and then set loose. (I'd think that in practice it'd be sent to somewhere in the US for this. But I haven't done that sort of research yet. Any suggestions, please let me know!) That's where the game starts for the player. You have a few facilities on Earth, along with a small network in space. The current starting date takes place in 2025, which I'd guess to be quite optimistic, but not really sure just how optimistic.