Serendip Belt: History
The slow development of the Clusters unique culture was dramatically shattered by the chain of events set in motion in 5501AD. From far beyond the borders of Known Space, the Imperial Strike Cruiser Eldorado appeared out of hyperspace. The Third Imperium was fighting a deadly war with their longstanding adversaries the Zhodani.
Eldorado was engaged in long-range hit and run strikes against Zhodani supply convoys. She suffered critical battle damage and mis-jumped whilst trying to retreat from combat. After nearly a month in hyperspace, she emerged 10 billion kilometres from the Belts sun. Astronomers at the Shard Institute for Galactic Studies noted the huge gravity wave shock front that passed through the system, and identified its source as somewhere in the Belt systems Oort cloud.
The patrol vessel Rapier God was sent to investigate. She discovered the Eldorado adrift in space, her crew suffering from hideous radiation sickness.
The Eldorados crew were rescued and the ship was towed back to Michael. After a year of research, and with much assistance from the grateful crew of the Eldorado, SBC scientists were able to build a new beryllium condenser for the Imperial cruiser. In early 5502AD the ship left on its long return journey across the Great Rift to the Third Imperium.
Belt society was deeply affected by the knowledge that there were thousands of human worlds in the galaxy, many with far higher tech levels than their own. The Crews deep-seated belief in their own superiority was shaken by this revelation. Perhaps it was for this reason that they felt the need to impose themselves so harshly upon their neighbours.
5502AD Jump Drive
Belter scientists had seen enough of the Eldorados jump drives to be able to quickly replicate the technology. Inside three years, the Belt launched its first faster than light craft: the C-Breaker. It was soon followed into the Clusters by a fleet of contact vessels, then merchant ships, and before long... warships.