The "Forsaken", as they are collectively known, are the descendents of various victims of one of the more tragic eras of Humanity's expansion into space. Six centuries ago, slowboats were made obsolete by the development of FTL travel. However, this didn't help those colonists already en route, who, upon reaching their destinations, found the worlds slated for their colonization already inhabited by settlers that had leapfrogged them in humanity's continued outward expansion. Arriving hopelessly out of synch with the rest of human society and finding themselves deprived of both their worlds and nanite-based technology, these groups found they had more in common with each other than anyone else, and set out to colonize the worlds no one else had wanted to.
A minor faction due both to the initial power gap and the consequent constant state of "playing catch-up", they were not asked to participate in the conferences that begat the Confederation, nor would they have accepted, having no love for the powers that had done nothing to stop the leapfrogging of colony worlds that had been slated them. Likewise, as the dominant strains of thought at the time within Forsaken space considered the Confederations's protection would be at best hollow, and at worst a pretense for tyranny, the Forsaken declined an offer to join the LIHW, and instead focused on settling the Diaspora sector, keeping their distance, to the best of their ability, from the developing Confederation.
Forsaken space, mainly situated in the Rimward Badlands, is largely lawless. It is patrolled by loose-knit paramilitary groups and by gangs of pirates and thugs. Although the line is blurry, there is a distinct non-locality and size to the paramilitary groups that is lacking in amongst the local armed rabble. The former work to protect all of Forsaken space, to the best of their limited ability, while the latter offer some protection to their home system while preying on foreigners and newcomers.
The Forsaken are, at top level, sub-light settlers abandoned and displaced due to the FTL expansion of other entities. As a non-coherent group, the Forsaken are much more diverse than any of the meme-groups, with members derived from an assortment of late embarking colonies, far ranging colony missions, and (a distinct minority, arriving quite late with respect to other groups) refugees from Sundered worlds. However, this assortment of influences actually makes them even more distinct, because of the already diverse nature of each of the subgroups that make up the Forsaken.
Early Forsaken: Refugees from Change
Circa 23rd Century CE
Some of the Forsaken actually set out long before most of the dominant Human meme-groups, but in slower, more primitive vessels, or toward significantly more distant stars. The first Forsaken group originated in China in the 23rd century CE. Fleeing a losing war against the rest of Earth, and a losing battle against the economic change wrought by the nanite revolution, Nationalist-minded factions sent two slower-than-light cryoships to seek a new niche in which to live. Defeated planetside, mankind’s first manned interstellar venture (following probes already launched decades prior) was undertaken in haste, rather than jubilation.
In a grand twist of irony, the greatly distilled population of Chinese Nationalists and assorted Nationalist allies that were to crew the two craft that left the solar system embodied, more than their particular nations, the meme of nationdom. Their haste, however, was to prove costly in the long run. Their cryoships were efficient and simple, but extremely slow. Neither of the vessels would actually be the first human craft to reach its intended destination, being in fact usurped by later sub-light settlers.
Soon after the war ended, there was one last gasp of escaping fragmentary Nation States, launching a final four more vessels. Though less hastily constructed, all were aimed toward more distant stars rimward of Sol. Only one of the four craft would be the first human ship to reach its destination, a destination which would turn out to be a Sundered star system, unconnected to the jump network.
Mid-period Forsaken: The Spaceraces
Circa 23rd-25th Century CE
Even as humanity lurched toward a post-sufficiency economy, there were still those far better off than others. In an effort to leverage their superiority in a world of increasingly homogenous wealth, the precursors to the Highborn set about getting a jump on all other meme-groups’ colonial aspirations – and the colonial aspirations of meme-groups were many. Most sought a place away from everyone else as much as anything glorious, not unlike those much earlier colonists who came to be known in America as the Pilgrims. At sublight speeds, the nearby pickings were few, and the choice planets were likely to fall to the swift. Thus, groups that had resources to spare rapidly saw themselves embroiled in a spacerace.
While the nanite economy was allowing post-sufficiency living for Sol’s booming population and the ever advancing communication networks were allowing collaboration on remarkable scales, interstellar undertakings were still monumental undertakings. Groups without initial reserves, or with significant catching up to do with respect to those immediately benefiting from the new economy, were in no shape to immediately mount interstellar expeditions. Likewise, many groups did not place leaving Sol among their goals.
Despite the drastic costs of such undertakings, interplanetary developments in Sol were legion, and many impressive interstellar craft began their construction in what were distinctly two phases of expansion.
First Wave: Groups such as the precursors of the Highborn and the Great Mormon Mission expended their existing advantage to immediately begin their interstellar expansion, forming the first wave. This wave, as would be expected, targetted predominately the closest promising planets to the Sol system, and very few found themselves "claim-jumped".
Second Wave: Other groups, such as the then newly formed Andolians, used their efforts in building the craft for the first wave of launches to catapult themselves into a position amongst the second wave of launches. (The Andolians in particular, by virtue of their extensive engineering undertakings for other groups, actually made a number of unmanned launches during the first wave, effectively securing themselves their future home system long before they themselves would leave.) These groups, manning more advanced craft than the first wave, could safely target systems further from Sol and still arrive without fear of someone else beating them there.
Third Wave: By the beginning of the third wave of launches, the nearby real-estate suspected of being prime had already been spoken for. While some were willing to race the long-already-launched Chinese and other earlier groups, the general pace of launches slowed down as immediacy lessened and those groups in position to expend capital in exchange for travel had mostly already done so. The third and longest phase of sub-light expansion from Sol was therefore a sporadic process, spread over the longest period of time. Many third-wave colonists made it to their destinations first; some then found themselves Sundered, while others lucked out and achieved successful colonies.
Minor groups often, much to their chagrin, had to band together in order to construct their interstellar steeds, especially knowing that the worlds they would be headed to may well be more marginal. This lead to such mixed-meme enterprises as the settling of Bantam. Eventually, the more prosperous or lucky colonies would even begin sending out second-generation colonies, but the number of those was sufficiently small as to not warrant separate discussion.
Arrival and Relocation
It is from the later portion of the third phase of sub-light expansion from Sol that the Forsaken would draw the bulk of their ranks. Those who could not, or would not, leave earlier found themselves in flight when the Jump drive was discovered.
Those headed to worlds that would turn out to be on the jump network often found their planets already occupied and their presence unwelcome at the end of their flight – assuming enough of them survived re-animation in the absence of their expected nanites (should they have waited until contact to begin re-animation). Additionally, it is widely believed that there were several massacres of late arriving sub-light craft that managed to escape sufficiently detailed reporting to be able to assign responsibility to any extant parties.
Others would arrive at their worlds, jump network or otherwise, to find it not in the state their run-ahead terraformers should have left it in, their terraforming nanites consumed by the Nano-Plague. Still others in mixed fortune would find their destination not on the jump network at all, and remain wholly isolated. These Sundered settlers were forced to survive the unexpected nano-plague (fortunately, according to all reports, a slower onset plague experience) without human aid or intervention (except in rare cases, such as exemplified by the origins of House Blythe, even if they came too late) until the invention of the SPEC drive by Emilio Sofono.
The increasing frequency of such sub-light craft turning up led to the formation of a dispossessed settler’s union. Though ostensibly run by the displaced themselves, it was funded by the other meme-groups, and thus strong-armed at first. This group came to develop its own government, calling itself simply the Union (Forsaken being a colloquial rather than official term), and formed a heavy-handed policy of expedient removal. Those lucky enough to survive to see their erstwhile destinations from orbit met varying degrees of fortune from there. Many - the well-cared-for ones - were forced to stay on board their ships while crews outfitted them with jump drives and re-fuelled them. When such was infeasible, the less lucky colonists were crammed onto converted freight ships. The dispossessed were sent off toward what was coming to be called the Rimward Badlands – a zone already looking from early exploration and astrometrics to be an oddly less bountiful region of both space and jump network that the major meme-groups were willing to forfeit colonization of.
Late Forsaken: The Sundered
The final members of the Forsaken’s population base would be the smallest portion, those repatriated from Sundered worlds. Sharing only poor luck and temporal dialation from the rest of humanity with the Forsaken, most Sundered populations worth calling such were too large to repatriate en mass and may not have been particularly compatible matches with the Forsaken in the first place. A number of them, though, supplied either a one time exodus or a steady drip of persons fleeing their black paralysis off of the jump network for the only group willing to take them in.