(8x19) Sol Resurgent: Part 1, Episode 1
Centuries after the landmark peace treaty between Columbia, Pacifica, and Alexandria, the world has settled into a tense peace. But beneath the surface of it has simmered, the whole time, something like a cold war. The three superpowers are not actively hostile to each other, but the many smaller states in the devolved territories between them frequently are. And while the superpowers nominally cooperate to put down those disputes, they all "prioritizing" their efforts in an attempt to arrange for outcomes that favor them the most.
With the world largely reunited and no longer in constant total war, more peaceful technological progress is again possible. Global trade and communication networks have sprung up, and old technologies have been reinvented, including electric power and communication lines. Earth is rapidly approaching the start of its second Space Age, and the first large telescope capable of resolving details on other planets is now under construction, planning to search for signs of survivors on any of the old offworld colonies.
As this progress has marched on, Columbia has advanced more rapidly than the rest of the world, including being host to this nascent space program, and is becoming the preeminent world power. This rise to glory has made them arrogant however, and they act on the world political scene like they have a mandate from their goddess, even after she explicitly disavows that. Metis quietly works to ensure that Pacifica and Alexandria can put aside their differences enough to keep Columbia in check if it should come to that.
As the first large telescope finishes construction, it begins to report back news of its preliminary findings. Mars is a wasteland, looking not even habitable anymore. There's no sign of any activity in the Jovian system, much to Metis' dismay, hoping that somehow the rest of the Foundation would have survived, though surely they would have intervened on Earth by now if they had. But miraculously, not only does Venus look habitable, but it appears, from this distance at least, to host a vibrant, technologically-advanced civilization!