The Terran Mandate was a sclerotic hulk in the final decades before the Scream. It was the frozen heart of an empire that had long since outgrown its rule, and the core worlds curled inward in a self-enforced stasis. Destabilizing elements were ejected from the core and spun outward into the wild black of the frontier to prosper or to perish. Earth was caught in an amber of its own devising, unchanging, unmoving, unthinking of anything save the Mandate's own perpetuation. It was not born in its coffin, however- it ended there through a combination of fear, ambition, and plans laid all too cleverly.