The AI Council preceded us into space, first with rocket-propelled probes, and later with more revolutionary spacecraft. They initiated an old plan to send swarms of microchip-sized probes into space that used sails to maneuver. Earth or Luna-based lasers powered them and pushed them away from Earth. Later ones used the very solar winds to operate and move. They spread throughout the solar system ahead of us and linked us in a web of lightspeed communications flowing from Earth to the very edge of our system. The old science fiction stories that forecasted us going out into the lonely dark on our own were wrong. Wherever we went, there was somebody to talk to. Someone who had been there before us and could give us access to the compiled knowledge of mankind. Both biological and cybernetic. There is an amazing difference between facing the darkness alone, and facing it with friends at your back. The AI Council made that difference for us.