As the dust and light between stars drifts, slowly
It started, as all things do, with many small events

In the western middle quadrant three massive
multi-decade good transport ships were lost
To a random gamma ray burst from a dying star
The potential of this loss would not be known for 15 years
The ripples of the loss would become currents over 180 years

On the outer-rim of the fourth arm, around the north,
A rebellion had been slowly spiraling outwards to 37 planets
There was no longer an ideal or driving force
For each world that fell, tempted others to the same fate
For 95 years, world after world lost stability and suffered downturns
The markets were of a churning rapids, chaotic

The majority of the core sector ring had been entangled
In corruption, graft, mafias, and general lawlessness
Reports and ledgers, debtors and goods lost to
Layers of greed and deceit, no more the metals powerhouse
What once the tides of the galaxy,
now merely a trickle, a stillness

In a small, otherwise unremarkable south-eastern quadrant
Expansion efforts were recording increasing losses of new worlds
What boiled down to lost engineering prowess
No more was the age of expansion, some thousands of years ago
And now was the age of dwindling claim
For less profit did each new world bring

Usually, isolated, just shifts in
yield on galactic stock indices and bonds
And yet, the ripples of each event, taking decades and centuries
Now conspired against the financial giants of the home sectors

These home sectors, fortunes incalculable
Would feel these ripples in the economic fabric, as
The first drops of a storm upon a pond
Each small, but growing, colliding, overlapping
Each crest the stark rise then fall of goods
Food, investments, markets, transports
Kingdoms, democracies, pirates, all

The tsunami of economic downturn, now a riptide
The home sector, pulled in to the galactic recession
For centuries, Some feared millennia
To leave only a fractured universe without
Market, political, or cultural center

There is no one rain drop
No one crest or trough of the waves
As the dust and light between stars drifts, slowly