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Despite the ongoing debate about MIs and their use, no one questions their utility. MIs allowed for the return of space travel and for entire species to escape the incoming destruction of the Burn.
At first MIs were brought into the galaxy by the millions. This lasted until an event called Well Bottom. During the height of MI-powered ship production, the ritual used to create MIs suddenly stopped working. Some speculate there were no more MIs to be summoned and the universe had simply run out. While some doubt this theory, no one has been able to confirm or deny it. If true, the implication is that MIs are being summoned from somewhere rather than created.
After weeks of not producing MIs, new intelligences were successfully infused into ships. The source of MIs, whatever it was, had been replenished, but no one knew why or how long it would last. Political negotiations took place to regulate the ship production. Too many ships produced too quickly resulted in failure for everyone. Ever since production of ships has been kept to less than a quarter of what was being produced at the peak. This production level provides the universe with enough ships for vital purposes but not many more. Most find or buy used ships, as they are the only ones available within their means.