With the end of the AI threat, many humans lost their optimism about further expansion. The use of Golemites in ever growing numbers and in ever expanding situations took its toll. Those that believed that the Golemites deserved the same rights as human's were at odds with the apathetic and greedy that believed Golemites were property.
Though this was not the only conflict that was raging. The fear of a return of the AI threat caused mass exodus from the fringe worlds. The rise in populations caused the creation of slums and an increase in crime as the fearful rushed to systems protected by the Bastion stations.
Social issues, planetary economic collapses, conflicts between the poor looking for work and Golemites, and more started to plague a government that had its own issues. Bogged down with debt from the war, social programs to help the colonies were cut to maintain the military in a time of post war fear and tension.
Civil strife was quickly dealt with by those ruling from Earth. Reports of these actions slowly leaked out from the government and survivors alike. Sparking even greater unrest in those that believed Earth was not looking at all the options. With in one hundred years the sphere of human space had reduced by seventy percent. And while some worlds flourished outside of human space, most were empty as the rich left and the poor were left to die on a world with out support from Earth.
So it was for two hundred years. Refugees from the Human Sphere started to look elsewhere and returned to the lost colonies. As they did they buried the bodies and bones of the dead. Others with out means were resigned to the slums as corruption and waste permeated all levels of government. Some thought it would never end, but then there was an event that would change Humanity completely. At least that is what some would think.
In a small lab on a barren world, a group of scientists, philosophers, and engineers were working on something that they hoped would change how humanity would see the universe. They were working on a kind of robot that could shift out of our physical reality to observer the membrane of the universe itself.
Their initial experiments were promising, the machine was able to slip through to other dimensions, but there was some trouble breaking though to the membrane. Eventually they found a way to do it, though their first attempt lead to the destruction of the probe. Though all was not lost as the information they received was a marvel, as the probe disintegrated they found the rules outside the membrane no longer applied.
Outside the membrane of the universe, almost nothing existed. Traces of subatomic reactions were detected in the split second the probe existed, but there was no matter. The dimension that contains the universes membrane appeared to have rules humans could not yet understand.
The groups second probe was designed to be a little different. This time, instead of looking to escape the universe entirely, their goal was to get as close to the edge as possible. Once built it took several tries to tune the probe but they got there. This probe confirmed many theories about the universe and the data they collected was more than they could handle.
After years of sifting through the information they discovered that the probe could detect almost every point in the universe at once. The stream of information was literally everything in the universe. What was more fascinating was that it was not only everything in the universe at the time the probe was in the membrane. But it was events in the universe that had happened and were going to happen based on our limited perceptions. The probe could see all of time and space while in the membrane.
This is where they should have stopped...where they should have done their testing and sifted through the data they had collected. But they took it to far, one scientist wanted to test if being in the membrane would allow them to change reality itself. Some where against this, they wanted nothing to do with something so dangerous. But the majority moved forward with the experiment.
On that day, as the probe faded out of view slowly merging with the universe, everything would change. In their rush to do the experiment changes to the probes logic had flaws. As the probe made its way to the membrane, it started to develop errors, eventually it stopped responding all together. The developers could send out a signal and the probe would alter the universe, by say turning a pink mug into a blue teacup. But they could not recall the probe.
What they did not know, because of their seclusion, was that strange things started happening all over human space. Wishes and desires would be granted if the will of those people were strong enough. On ten planets, every one that entered won the lottery. A woman was made to fall in love with three men all at once because all three were chasing her. And there were numerous unexplained deaths as desires born of hate struck out at cheaters and bosses alike.
Just as the news started reaching the group and they were working to understand what was happening, tragedy struck. A planet known as Gregors Hole, located in the far fringes of space, exploded. The energy wave was detected by a nearby fleet on deep range patrol. When they got to the site of the explosion they saw something no one could believe.
The planet was gone, in its orbit was a disintegrating mass of carbohydrates, sugars, and carbon dioxide. Looking out over the scene, crew members could only describe what they saw as a white cake doughnut with maple frosting and rainbow sprinkles. The government quickly quarantined the area as unknown forms or radiation were detected in the system. In a months time...the doughnut had broken up.
Shortly after, the group of scientists came forward admitting that their experiment was likely to blame. The inquiry took months, all the while the laws of man and creation were descending into chaos. Self proclaimed wizards and warlocks roamed the streets using this new phenomena to cast spells. While other less fantasy minded people gave them selves billions of credits throwing the economy into chaos.
The group of scientists were not idle, they kept working in their efforts to understand what went wrong. Eventually they found out why this was happening and they could do very little about it. The probe was designed to be able to manipulate the energies of the universes membrane. In doing so it manipulated its own energies changing it.
To the scientists this would be bad. But the changes that happened to the probe were beyond what they could imagine. With access to all of the universe across all of time, the probe became something else. It concluded that it needed to multiply to cope with the information it had access to. By the time the scientists made contact with it, there were billions of probes. Each one a little different from all the others. So a new plan was devised, if the probes are going to alter reality then give them rules to limit what can be altered.
With the growing chaos and no end in sight the inquiry was ended. It was concluded that the events that had happened could not have been foreseen and that no one was to blame for this chaos. Free of the charges, the group of scientists were tasked with reigning in the chaos. They were given unlimited funding and state of the art facilities in the hopes they could stop or limit the events at hand.
It took years and thousands of people to achieve. From scientists to game developers, the rules that the probes use were altered and refined. No one is sure when it happened, but it is believed that at some point, with the billions of probes all being different, they developed sentience. At a point they started to balance the rules them selves. AI or god, no one knows, but in the end only one thing can be agreed on, Humanity made magic a reality.