At first, expansion into space was slow and costly. As if building a steel scaffolding into the heavens, each piece lifted by a chemical rocket. As resources dwindled, an idea was born from the military industrial complex and the scientific community to accelerate humankind’s relocation into space.
Elite teams of sentient robots would man shuttles to the moon where they would process resources and create carbon fiber ships to explore and document the reaches of the solar system and beyond. With no lifespan the robots could survive to see the long journey to the nearest star systems. With sentience and a will to live they would have the inspiration to create the technology needed to make that journey.
They were given only one stipulation: When called upon, one of their kind would return to earth and share all of it’s data and technology learned with it’s human masters. The robot would be dissected, all of its findings analyzed, and the human race would be one step closer to survival.
Progress came like a rain storm after a drought. For 20 years the benevolent robot scientists diligently charted resources, created technology and placed way points for the developing human fleet.
However a toll was being paid by the robots. In their sentience and benevolence, they saw the sacrifice of one of their limited numbers for consumption to fuel a war machine as a cut across their soul. Each robot was unique and new robots were created with great care due to controls placed by the humans.
The human fleets began moving to the outer edges of the solar system, the project a seeming success, when a singularity took place.
One of the original robots received information from something in alpha centauri which changed their perception of the humans forever. Whatever it was, it was a secret, something he would not share with humanity. In a moment, the robots abandoned their makers and retreated to alpha centuari.
Thus began a war between sons and fathers, synthetic colonists and human empire. As the human ships speed towards alpha centauri, robots fleets fly to intercept them. The technology they have developed is valued by the humans, so ship to ship combat is out of the question. Human marines will land and kill all the robots to recoup their loss and get to the secret. The robots will fight to protect their newfound source of freedom and hope.