Damn the solar punks aren't gonna like this, but at the height of the cosmic empires prosperity, there were predictions made; A dark age of either 10,000 or 100,000 years. It seemed utterly ridiculous to citizens of the time - who ridiculed such predictions - but Sneddon was right; a dark age was coming for Trantor and it was just a matter of time before the stagnation became apparent.
The bright shiny optimism of techno utopian futures might seem like an alluring fix for our global alignment problems but man, the carrots of consensus mechanisms and the stick of regulation isn't gonna fix a damn thing - this shizz is about psychology and wetware.
Seriously, what the hell is going on when apparently well meaning individuals sharing very similar intentions can't align? It's like we slipped a disk in the great chain of being and need to bridge the gap somehow. But how do we cross such a chasm? Who knows, ask Charon or Harry Sneddon I guess...
As the sun begins to set on Trantor, how do we preserve the knowledge and experiences we've accumulated so far? Can we setup an autonomous foundation on the moon, mars or even Terminus at the outskirts of our galaxy? Actually, this has already happened; the emperor already granted such a foundation the necessary resources just in time as the suns of Trantor finally sets. As the solar punks begin to grow cold, riots and looting begins and they turn feral.
At this point it becomes clear that there is nothing left on Trantor but thankfully the foundation continues to hold court on Terminus, reflecting grace back to citizens of the cosmic empire by inviting scholars and practice based researchers to join them. Applying some studio magick, and psychohistory it may even be possible to squeeze the dark ages down to 10,000 days if lucky.
This period seems characterised by a dark magician who wrote the law; it read: 'do as thou will shall be the whole of the law; love under will'. The affirmation made sense somehow but the questions remained; whos Will? And what of love? Now that the sun has set on Trantor, Terminus will need help in keeping the more barbarous planets from invading. It is at this point that the merchants and mercenaries begin to shine; maintaining law and order while modulating vital flows in the wider cosmic ecology. Grace for Terminus; love under Will.
The foundations science of psychohistory enabled Terminus to slowly rekindle a flame in the Cosm0s; bringing hope and new technologies to the nearby planets. Of course many of these were barbarous and liable to weaponise the tech, so Terminus kept certain elements of their stack a secret; instilling a class of twelve butterflys to coordinate connections between the closest 144 planets. Slowly these pollinators grew a cosmic ecology; a sprawling forest of trade routes ferrying nutrients and nourishment to the edges of the galaxy to raise capacity and realise untapped potentials.