We were the precursors. All our calculations, all our research from our pale blue dot, a spec of dust floating in a sunbeam, it all agreed. When we raised our eyes to the heavens in search of answers and received only silence, it was because we were first. So many billions of years seemed like a long time, but it was a mere fraction of the time the universe would persist.
So we reached for the stars. We spread our species throughout the system, ever hoping to hear from another race. We never received an answer, so we did what the precursors always do; We seeded the galaxy with life. We loaded our ordinance, developed for use against ourselves and honed to perfect over many lifetimes, with the basics of life. The hardiest microbes, able to survive anywhere. Cluster bombs of enormous size, atop rockets of unparalleled enormity. Were something to happen to us, our planets legacy as the cradle of life would not end. We planned to follow, in great colony ships to be built.
We never made it that far.
It's hard to say what cosmic calamity befell the Sol system, but we were no more. The cradle of life was extinguished.
Many years have passed since, and life has flourished throughout the galaxy. Some of it may even harken back to those converted weapons, launched untold millenia ago. Where one sapient species finds another, they are uplifted to the galactic community, and peace largely prevails.
But peace is fleeting. The eldest of races, the second precursors, saw the chaos looming, a chaos for which the galaxy was unprepared. Artifacts hinted at another civilization, ancient beyond measure. A civilization that had raised itself to the heavens alone, and vanished. The artifacts were dated, their trajectories compiled, and their homeworld found, a dead system with an aging star in a galactic backwater.
Humanity would be reborn, brought back from the ravages of time in hopes that their wisdom will save the galaxy. Plans were set in motion, and the Sol System was imploded, replaced with a copy from eons past, when humanity still flourished. The estimate of time was rough, and we had not yet reached to the stars, but there was time for us to develop before we were needed.
With the detonation of the Manhattan project, some members questioned our supposed precursor wisdom, but others had suspicions we were what the galaxy needed confirmed. Without explanation we were given a few pieces of technology we couldn't understand yet, and left to the tender mercies of our garden world with the secret hopes of the galaxy.
Even proof of extraterrestrial life, revealed to a few key scientists, could not sway the course of history by much. The alien devices were studied and set aside as too advanced. With every advancement the artifacts were dusted off and re-examined, as the space race was pursued with enhanced purpose. Where there was the possibility of life beyond Earth on our first foray beyond the planet was addressed, now there was proof. The Apollo program was largely unchanged for most of its development, but the knowledge that there were aliens who had seen fit to visit us would change the course of history.
By the new 1970s, the alien technology began to be understood. By the end of the 70s, we had begun to understand the technology, and were able to begin to examine it in earnest. By the end of the Cold War, we had begun to be able to copy the technology; we knew how it worked, even if we couldn't explain why. Reactionless rockets, quantum communications, and a device that seemed to raise the universal speed limit of Light Speed. Where our space program faltered, the new humanity used its boons and added purpose to charge ahead. The moon was colonized, and our military might was extended beyond the Earth. Spurred onwards by reverse engineering, ease of space-borne experiments, interplanetary resources, and the secret knowledge that there was other life to compete with, science advanced swiftly.
As our understanding grew, we began to recognize the changes, that something with the universe had changed around the Manhattan Project and a great deal of time had passed. With this information found, and the alien technology understood, the greatest news was finally broken.
We had met aliens, and were given technology. We know nothing of who, or why; Humanity had been brought forward in time, having once been at the front of the curve. We still had yet to make contact with our mysterious benefactors, but we were ready. Whatever tests lay ahead, we would not be found wanting. Whether it was hoped that we would be worthy adversaries or galactic heroes, we meant to be prepared.
At the turn of the century, as we fired up our first Stardrive and set course for the nearest system, we affirmed our purpose. We came in peace, for all mankind. We walked softly, but carried a big stick. We would get further with a kind word and a gun than a kind word alone.
First contact was made in 2010. The present year is 2015.
We were not the wise ancients the second precursors had hoped for, but we were what the galaxy needed.