The world has a single global government, but was long wracked by civil wars. Around 2067, the government discovered radio transmissions from multiple alien species. They hid this information from the public, but decided to invent a fake conspiracy about alien interference, inspired by humanity's own past of alien conspiracy theories. Randomly choosing humans among the aliens they had discovered, the government staged alien abductions and spaceship sightings, and instituted human cultural influence in areas such as fashion styles and smoking. Officially, the government denied the existence of all aliens and heavily discouraged any attempts to travel outside their star system. Unofficially, they encouraged conspiracy theorists to blame humans for many problems which had previously been blamed on the government, such as economic difficulties and budget cuts to education. This strategy discouraged revolts and prevented civil wars, as the populace came to believe that the all-powerful humans would prevent any improvements to their lot.
In 2267, after learning what their government was up to, Captain Gideon of the Excalibur loaded 20 copies of the Interstellar Encyclopedia onto planetary surface probes and dropped them into the atmosphere of the planet, along with recordings of a government agent bragging to Gideon about their successful "conspiracy".