A Brief History
Earth advanced at its usual feverish pace with various wars and skirmishes between countries for centuries. It had climbed the ladder to the other planets, and humans spread out among the planets, teraforming Mars, colonizing Luna, and setting up outposts on just about every major hunk of rock orbiting the Sun. Technology advanced at a rapid pace, as well, but Earth always maintained the upper hand in this respect. Even the antimatter factories of Mercury and the research stations on Venus possessed no technology that could outmatch that of Earth. It was with this upper hand that Earth managed to maintain control of its colonies until the Martians got cute.
The Martian War of Independence was a short war. It was shorter than just about any war fought on Earth. It lasted three days. The repercussions are still being felt throughout Sola. Mars sent her usual freighters to Earth on trade missions as usual, but unlike usual, these freighters secretly carried batteries of high-yield missiles designed for planetary bombardment. On the appointed day, all of the freighters launched their missiles in a coordinated attack that decimated nearly every major city on Earth in an instant. Nearly a billion people were killed instantly and at least 2 billion died in the following days. Then the Ontoclysm happened.
No one is completely certain what caused the Ontoclysm, but owing to its temporal proximity to the silencing of so many voices, it is theorized that such a large loss of life tore a hole in our reality, sending out ontological maelstroms that pulled bits of other realities into ours. The result was that the stars all changed, Venus as we know it, vanished and was replaced with a habitable version the locals called Cytherea, and rifts opened up all over Sola, though primarily on Earth. Now it seems that our Sun spews magical energies known on Cytherea as mana, and strange beings litter the solar system.
The state of Earth is still more strange and desperate than that, however. On what was the birthplace of mankind, the Ontoclysm had the largest effect, and rifts still linger, depositing anomalies and oddities at random across a swath of the northern hemisphere reaching from about 20° N latitude to nearly the arctic circle. Much of the southern hemisphere was reduced to unpopulated wilderness by the bombardment and consequent dust cloud, but since then has been revitalized by the planet’s natural energies amplified by the Sun’s mana. Now only small bastions of civilization exist near coasts and river mouths. A few territories are claimed and governed by other celestial bodies, Luna holding the largest (about half of what was once Brazil). To compound matters further, while the chief effects of the Ontoclysm are felt in the northern hemisphere, those deposited there are hardly inhibited from moving south if they so desire, unless mankind stops them. Consequently, many of the denser jungles of the world, such as the Congo and the Amazon, are home to all manner of oddity.
Earth was not the only place affected by the Ontoclysm, but other planets and moons felt it in much less severe ways, excluding Venus. The result has been that Luna and Mars have surged ahead as economic powers, and Mars as a military power. Lunies still consider themselves very closely tied to Earth and maintain the largest stakes there. Whiel they lack the advanced technology Earth had, they have set themselves up as an economic powerhouse where anything can be had for the right price. Mars, on the other hand, has spent much effect developing its military assets so that it will never again suffer the humiliation of being owned by another world; Martians are notoriously independent people. The outposts orbiting Jupiter are largely just scientific colonies, military outposts, and port colonies for ships heading further outward from the Sun. Saturn serves as a major source of H3, a main fuel source in the common fusion torches that drive spaceships, and Titan is the main world that supplies the labor for this. It is particularly advanced in terms of computer technology and the use of SAI and cybershells is commonplace there. The moons and planets further out from the sun are typically occupied by scientific communities and fueling stations; although it is suspected that something odd is happening around Neptune.
Since the Ontoclysm, the addition of magic has greatly affected the private sector. Marketers and corporate moguls immediately recognized the potential for mind-influencing magic and began working on ways to use it to their own purposes. While laws have been passed preventing the magical manipulation of the masses, corporations still employ magical cults dedicated to enhancing the perceptions of their own brands and attacking those of their competitors. This mixed with memetic practices has led to strange cult followings of various products. With ubiquitous computing collecting data on private individuals, magical and memetic manipulation, it is often debated just how free humans are to think and do as they please, despite the almost universal freedom granted by governments.