Last time on MechMania: It was the time when small independent traders roamed the galaxy, mining the luser asteroids for their wealth of personal information.
Recently, however, a new untouched asteroid belt had been discovered, putting the large mega-empires on the same playing field as the little guy. The ethanol farmer belt, located in the red light sector, contained a wealth that could not be imagined.
There were a few ships that naively relied on the second version of the Java runtime environment. A few days before they were set to cast off, the jre2 experienced a massive failure, nearly stranding the spacers.
Present day: It was not entirely correct to say that those poor traders were stranded in space. Perhaps that would have been a kinder fate.
You see, when the jre2 crashed, it crashed hard, and when it came back online, it was no longer October 4, 2400. It was, in fact, (at least according to the clock) January 1, 1970. Worse, the fuel monitor had a off by 4,000 error. Their spaceships didn't have 2 tons of plasma fuel. They had 0.
The poor traders found themselves on a barren planet, far from civilization. There were no tools to repair their ships, no supplies. They were stuck with only GDB and the C standard library. There was no Boost, no STL; no C++, no Python.
The traders spent a year rebuilding their infrastructure, piece by piece, but they were still far from home.
Then, the impossible happened. A lone trader found an improbable stash of plasma-generating microbes (Further examination revealed these magical microbes could spawn sentient lifeforms).
The traders held a meeting and agreed to use their last working orbital imaging satellite to scan the planet for additional sources of plasma. The satellite went up, and started sending out data. It turns out there were 20 such treasures. But before it could send any locations, it too crashed.
So the traders split up, each looking for the precious plasma that would take them home.