Humanity has managed to spread across a significant number of star systems and maintained a modicum of interstellar civilization for thousands of years. This fact is even more significant considering the absolute limit of the speed of light on how fast information can travel. The "Belated History Effect" refers to how an event of any
magnitude will still take several years (using the Standard Calendar of Alphas
to define "years", of course) to reach nearby systems, and even longer to spread throughout the entire galaxy.
Before the [Qirel Encounter]? started the Orbital Wars, many thought this would prevent any interstellar wars from ever taking place. The idea of sending military forces to a system that it would take them years to reach, based on information several years old, and knowing that one wouldn't hear a response of how things went for an equal number of years, seemed ludicrous. However, the reaction of both individuals and groups to the [Qirel Encounter]? spread throughout all civilization, and the conflict it created quickly bred more conflicts. The Belated History Effect also managed to stretch these wars out far longer than it might have taken had it not been an issue, as it made diplomatic negotiations rather difficult. Indeed, there are some conflicts still going on in the Fringe Systems which are directly traceable as being caused by events which were consequences of the Orbital Wars, although few would argue that they are actually a part of the Orbital Wars themselves.
Another consequence of the Belated History Effect pertaining to the Orbital Wars was that many of the military forces of groups involved, or at least those based on a specific location rather than an ideology, had to become increasingly self-sufficient to operate in distant systems without reliable communication with the place of their origin. Some of these, the most famous being the Jatok Fleet, effectively split off from their home system after operating autonomously for several decades, to become a societal entity in their own right. And of course, the Belated History Effect meant it took quite a while for the governments involved to realize that this had happened.