A new and supremely powerful transapient emerges: GAIA, the coordinating intelligence of Old Earth's defensive systems. GAIA saves Earth's surviving populace and its remaining ecosystems from annihilation, but the cost to Terragens is the Great Expulsion. Nearly the entire population is forcibly removed, leaving GAIA and her agents to restore Earth to its pre-human Pleistocene purity. The resulting wave of forced emigration destroys any lingering hope of restoring order. A Dark Age descends on Solsys, as the last traces of communication and cooperation fade and falter. The extrasolar colonies are left to their own devices; many fail, or fall into dark ages of their own. Many of them believe civilization and even life itself to be extinct in the home system.