Rutherford Engineering was experimenting with the first primitive warp drive when Hayden Kronic, president of the United Government, began terrorizing earth’s people. Then Kronic decided to confiscate Rutherford’s Martian territories and arrest Alexander Stoneheart, its CEO.
Stoneheart and twelve thousand of his people tried to escape to Tau Ceti, a sun-like star 11.9 light years from earth. But their warp drive was cranky and barely more than a lab experiment. Everyone was afraid of getting stuck between the stars. Further, the only two habitable planets around Tau Ceti were high gravity super earths which meant colonizing them will be nearly impossible.
How they adapted and how they handled the United Government fleet sent to get them back is the stuff of legends.