Bassethwaite 5 was originally opened for human use in 2237 by global megacorporation Mammon Inc. Shortly after the first residents arrived at the station, they encountered Haraal, a representative of an alien race, the Torinae. Apparently the Torinae had built the station, but were not currently using it and were willing to work with humans to make it suitable for their use; they have helped with station maintenance ever since. One of their greatest achievements is the network of waste disposal sites which span the station, accepting any waste (though they will not accept living matter).
GlobalGov took control of Bassethwaite 5 from Mammon Inc in 2238, and has retained overall control ever since. However, historically, the station has had a commander independent of GlobalGov, Mammon Inc and the EAF: the current station commander is Sheridan Johns, ably assisted by deputies Beverley Killingholme and Tariq Schweitzer. The Earth Armed Forces have responsibility for security on the station, and GlobalGov maintain an office on-site to deal with administrative queries.
Apart from the Bassethwaite 5 space station, there are three other main centres of human habitation. Earth, of course, despite suffering a recent major earthquake; the colony on Mars; and the colony on Ganymede. The Martian colony used to be administered largely by Mammon Inc but has been brought back under GlobalGov's wing in recent years. The Ganymedans assert independence from Earth (though GlobalGov would dispute this).
Aside from the Torinae, humanity has recently encountered another alien race, the Ferretti. They have sent representatives to Bassethwaite 5; please make them welcome. They resemble Earth ferrets, but much larger and bipedal.
Earth has been hit by a major earthquake, The Big One, in California. Much of the west coast of America has been destroyed, and tsunamis and sea level changes have affected many other areas. This has caused chaos on Earth, with refugees fleeing the affected area, others desperate to return home, and worried relatives and colleagues flooding the news networks seeking information. Since the 'quake, the political balance on Earth has changed somewhat; whereas previously the One Universe party, who maintain an expansionist policy and encourage cooperation with other races, held sway, now the balance of power is in the hands of the Children of Terra, who believe that Earth's resources should be kept exclusively for the use of humans (in extreme cases, those resident on Earth only). Many people seem to have turned to the illegal drug, "stims", to help them through their stress.
You have been invited to a fund-raising event organised by David Columbia (son of Sheridan Johns and Marianne Columbia); the money from the event will go to help those who wish to make a new life away from Earth after the 'quake. It is the first major social event to be held on Bassethwaite 5 since the Big One, so most people have taken the opportunity to try to forget their worries... for a little while, at least.