Earth Meets Pax Draconis
On September 11, 2001 a Pax Draconis scout sat down on the WTC helipad and the world changed.
Earth discovered that they were not alone.
Then came a worse discovery - no one in Pax Draconis cared. Earth is a primitive backwater not much worth paying attention to.
Over time other scouts and adventure traders came by and educated Earth about what was valuable. Earth was able to buy (At inflated prices) hyperspace radios and old science and tech manuals.
Like selling a stone-age tribe science books and tech manuals from the 1940s. Earth is starting to diffuse this knowledge and put it into action, but they're still a backwater.
The Draconics consider balkanized worlds too backwards and too poor to worry about - so the message is "Call us when you get your stuff together."
The US and some other nations are working on building real space ships and hyperdrives as defined in the old tech manuals, but this is slow going.
Meanwhile, for everyone else, life continues roughly as normal.
Every few weeks or a couple of months, a new spaceship appears. They seem to have decided that Kennedy International Airport is Earth's Space Port. When a new ship comes in, all airplanes are redirected to other nearby airports. There's talk about adding runways so that the facility can stay in operation as aliens come and go. But since aliens also have repulsor lift, no one is sure airplanes of the future will need runways
Automotive and aerospace innovation have stopped dead, as everyone holds to see what they'll get out of the old tech manuals. Replacement machines are still built, but it's the machines of 2001 with 12 years of refinement, not much new about it.
After twelve years of effort, the drive to develop galactic technology is paying off.
Consumer electronics has continued to advance, since the development and obsolescence cycle is much shorter.
All big ticket items have been put on hold barring further developments, unless they really necessary in an immediate time frame.
The United States Government bought the tech manuals and are releasing items in a controlled fashion. Edward Snowden, a researcher for the U.S. Government is about to try and liberate the alien tech manuals and release them on Wikileaks for everyone.
DARPA is working on the first zero point energy generator. It will be the size of a building and weak compared to Galactic technology, but it will be the first step towards making them available for everyone.
Progress is slow on Super Batteries, and the project is frustrating everyone.
Intel and a coalition of tech companies are working on the first "Modern" processor from this manual, but are finding it a hard slog. They have to bootstrap a lot of technology ahead of design and building of their first device.
The US Secret Service and the Border Patrol have created a new joint division, the "Department of Alien Affairs" based in new york. Their agents were black suits and are rumored to have access to advanced technology.
In Kentucky, life is particularly unchanged, except the cars and trucks look 12 years out of date. People still grow food to feed hungry people. The newspapers breathlessly report on developments in the Pax Draconis.
Most wars have utterly ground to a halt, since everyone is focused on what's happening off Earth. If word of the Fringeworthy portal reaches the Pax Draconis, they'll come to take possession of it, and that'll be a problem.
From a Fringeworthy POV, this is a Vanilla Earth unless they want to try to go to New York and talk to a spaceship when it lands. The Spaceships are mostly free traders and tramps looking to sell stuff they consider Junk to primitives
No new development has happened in Firearms, either. People are sticking with the tried and true until blasters become commercially available.