What if Humanity reached the stars only to find out that we are far from the first to get there.? Only one other species in the history of all the galaxies has made it space on their own - The Progenitors. Since then every other species has been Uplifted by another. The answer to the Fermi Paradox is that our entire star system was being left fallow so that new life could evolve to be Uplifted.
In addition to reaching space on our own, Humans have alsostarted Uplifting other species on our planet, Neo-dolphins and Neo-Chimps. That makes Humans quite curiosity in a society that doesn't like surprises.
This cover is very simple but helps to establish the feeling of the book. A silver globesuspended in the fires of the sun. Only surviving with the help of the crumbs of technology Humanity has been given. Could life possibly exist in such a hostile environment?