The discovery of faster-than-light travel came about in much the same way as most great scientific discoveries in the universe: as the result of a night of drunken debauchery. After an overly dramatic space battle wherein they completely destroyed the armada of their mortal enemies, the X’th’qulikans, the crew of the battleship Crybabyslobberpuss proceeded to get totally smashed. After waking up, they discovered that they were a few dozen light years away from their original location.
Unfortunately, they had somehow managed to park themselves around the X’th’qulikans’ home planet, and so their important discovery was not reported for centuries until an eccentric collector bought the disk containing the Crybabyslobberpuss‘ starship data from a X’th’qulikan caffeine addict whose great-great-great-great-grandfather had fought in the war and had handed down the disk as a family heirloom for generations until this X’th’qulikan in question really needed his next fix at any cost.
But I digress.
It was soon discovered that the secret to faster-than-light travel was the simple extension of one of the most widely known facts in the universe. Just as you might find yourself lying in a strange gutter (or bed) on an unfamiliar side of town (or even in an entirely different town) after a raging bender, it turns out that starship crews who get completely blackout wasted tend to find themselves in entirely different sectors of the galaxy after waking up the next daycycle. Nobody is really able to discern the method of actual travel — the inevitable meddling with the ship’s controls by the drunks leaves any computer data completely undecipherable.
Of course, this method of transportation is incredibly unreliable as the crew really has no idea where they’ll end up. Which is where another well-known fact about drunk people comes into play: they love fatty, fried foods. The crew almost invariably awakens somewhere near a franchise of McGarbilax’s 25-Hour Diner, guaranteeing that they will, at least, be near some semblance of civilization.
Humanity had its first official contact with extraterrestrials in the mid 21st century. Apparently, they had been monitoring our television broadcasts for decades, watching our culture and waiting for us to show that we had something worth contributing to the intergalactic community.
What finally got them was a certain beer ad created in the late 20th century. They had been interested in the invention of beer for quite some time, it being apparently unique in the galaxy, but it wasn’t until they saw this commercial that they really felt they had to try it.
Unfortunately, when they got here they landed in St. Louis. Sorely disappointed at the quality of the beverage they found, they destroyed the city and were just about ready to blow up the entire planet as well, until a small group of alien exiles who’d been living in Germany radioed them and told them to give beer a second chance.
The expeditionary force headed over to Berlin, was greatly overjoyed at what they found and proceeded to get completely trashed. Humanity will never forget the events of that infamous night, the so-called Überverrücktefremdebetrunknenberlinernacht.
The next day the aliens met with the UN, bringing premium alcoholic beverages from across the galaxy. Pretty soon all the delegates were wearing lampshades on their heads and the treaty had been signed that made Earth a member of the Galactic Federation. The rest, as they say, is history.
Though I’m pretty sure they just say that because everyone was too drunk to remember what happened.