While there are many races throughout the universe, few could even hope to come close to the level of technology achieved by the Alliance of Four Great Races. This was the unification of four of the most advanced races in the cluster. It was widely believed that its members are the most advanced races in the universe. While ultimately untrue, it is a testament to their power.
Birth of the Alliance
70 million years ago, the universe was teeming with life and activity. Alterans fled their home galaxy after their war with the Ori. Around this time they came into contact with five races. The Nox, the Aurox, the Asgard, and the Furlings. While there were many races all across the galaxy and even the universe, these five were the most advanced. The Nox and Aurox had technology so great that if they could render an entire galaxy uninhabitable (the fate of their home galaxy). The Furlings were biologically perfect. And the Asgard had become near immortal thanks to their cloning.
60 million years ago, the Ancients had begun expanding into the Milky Way, seeding the universe with stargates as not only a means of transport for themselves but for the lesser races. During this time they began noticing strange patterns occurring in nature, one of which was a pattern in the cosmic background radiation. The Ancients, Asgard, Aurox, Nox, and Furlings all began investigating this signal. While the races were aware of each other, they worked independently. Eventually, the five races chose to unite in their endeavor to discover the origin of this signal. Along the way they discovered artifacts of unknown origin but incredibly advanced. They used these to advance their own technology. About a thousand years later, the Aurox began fearing the origin of these patterns and abandoned the search, leaving the four races. The remaining four races continued their endeavors. Their search led them to the Forgotten Ones.
The Forgotten Ones were an ancient race that preceded even them. And The Forgotten Ones were enraged that they had been found, threatening to wipe out the four races from existence. The four races managed to convince the Forgotten Ones to spare them. In exchange, the four races would not only cease their investigations but help cover up their existence. The Forgotten Ones agreed to their terms. True to their word, the four races ceased all their investigations and destroyed the probes researching the topic. Some probes, such as the ship Destiny, were deemed to not run any risk of finding any useful information and were too far out to retrieve so were abandoned.
The four races came back from this experience changed. They formed an alliance to share technology and knowledge. And thus, the Alliance of Four Great Races was formed.
The Alliance took the roles of guardians and protectors, trying to keep an eye out on younger races while looking for other civilizations near their level of technology. They had even found a few candidates.
10 million years ago, the Alliance gave a more primitive civilization research into their zero-point technology. They knew how the technology works, the risks, and how to avoid them. This primitive race was bolder, taking shortcuts to make greater leaps in their understanding. In the process, they unleashed an ascended entity from an alternate dimension. This entity would come to be called The Hunger. The Hunger spread across the universe, devouring everything in sight. Feeling responsible for what happened, the Alliance took it upon themselves to vanquish The Hunger. But the task proved more difficult than they anticipated. Not only was The Hunger more advanced but it was on a higher plane of existence. The Alliance united with the all the other races all across the universe to fight The Hunger, even allying with the Ori. The Hunger retaliated. It launched a plague against the Alterans that nearly wiped them out. The Hunger infected the Furling's telepathic network making it impossible for them to use telepathy without the risk of being consumed by The Hunger. The Hunger neutralized the Nox's and Aurox abilities. For the Asgard, they sabotaged their cloning process. The original DNA was destroyed and the cloning would introduce an ever worsening genetic degradation with each use of the machine.
The Alliance did go back to the Forgotten Ones and beg for assistance. But the Forgotten Ones expressed apathy and indifference toward the fate of the universe. Growing desperate, the Alliance lured The Hunger and its forces to The Forgotten Ones. They had hoped the The Forgotten Ones would defeat The Hunger. However, not only was the battle a stalemate but once The Hunger's forces were repelled, The Hunger did not try attacking The Forgotten Ones again and The Forgotten Ones did not attack The Hunger.
Many Alterans and the Ori didn't believe defeating The Hunger was possible so they ascended to escape what they saw as inevitable. Ultimately The Hunger was vanquished but the damage was done. Entire galaxies were now devoid of life. Surviving races had been bombed to the stone age. Other races were completely extinct.
Feeling guilty for what happened, the Alliance took it upon themselves to reseed the universe. They had the genetic template for several of the races and planted them. The Alterans also seeded life in their image, human life. The Asgard choose a template they considered using as an alternative body.
However, the release of The Hunger had created a wedge between the different races in the Alliance.
2 million years ago, Asgard in the Milky Way found a seemingly dead planet. Investigating, they found mechanical chips the size of fingernails. They gathered a small container of these chips and set course for their home planet. They could not reactivate the chips so they copied the program and ran it. The program ceased control of the ship and began repurposing it for its need. Realizing the danger of what they were carrying, they sabotaged their ship and left it adrift in the Ida galaxy, hoping no one would ever find it.
1 million years ago, the Asgard noticed the sabotage to their cloning process when the genetic degradation was shown to be accelerating several times faster than their projections. They traced the sabotage to The Hunger. The genetic damage was not irreversible yet and the Asgard were confident they could find a solution.
250 thousand years ago, the Asgard ship crashes onto a planet belonging to a pre-interstellar civilization. The people on the planet attempted to connect their machines with the Asgard computers. Normally such a thing would be futile. However, the replicator program detected attempts to connect with it, so it modified itself to create a connection. Once a connection was established, it spread to the planet's computers and computer network. It began recreating its original replicator blocks and spread across the planet like a plague. It wiped out the entire planet and converted all its raw material to replicators. With all raw materials on the planet stripped and with no knowledge on how to construct hyperdrives, the replicators deactivated.
30 thousand years ago, an Asgard ship left the Asgard homeworld and was damaged en route. It exited hyperspace and was left adrift.
20 thousand years ago, there were Asgard whose genetic degradation became irreparable.
15 thousand years ago, the former Alliance watched as the makahi, a race that survived The Hunger, begin spreading and conquering the still recovering galaxy of NGC 300.
11 thousand years ago, the Lanteans made the wraith out of negligence. However, they were unconcerned, treating this as pest control.
Unto the Future
10 thousand years ago, the Wraith managed to acquire several zero point modules and used it to multiply. They waged full scale war against the Lanteans. This was purely a war of attrition as the wraith would often lose thousands to millions of ships with each battle but could reinforce nearly immediately.
Around this time they found a backwater human world back in NGC 300. These humans had recently discovered the stargate and had used it to become heroes throughout the galaxy. The Lanteans formed an alliance with these humans. With the help of other races including the Lanteans, these humans were able to vanquish the makhai.
At the end of the lantean-wraith war, the Lanteans chose to flee to Earth. Before they did, they declared these humans to be the fifth race and passed down all their technology.
8 thousand years ago, the Asgard genetic degradation has become irreversible for the entire population.
5 thousand years ago the humans, now going by the name Quinterans, launched an attack and wiped out their former alien allies before starting a reign of terror, horrifying all the former members of the Alliance.
1 thousand years ago, the Asgard stumbled upon the world that had been taken over by the replicators. They took the blocks for study. Detecting energy and raw material, the replicator blocks activated and thus the Asgard-Replicator war began.
The races of the Alliance advanced to a point they needed to be considered a level all their own. And they are not alone on this 'level' as there are other races like The Hunger and The Forgotten Ones that are there as well, so advanced that they can influence the fate of entire galaxies by mere accident, so advanced that the common interstellar civilization is a bug compared to their abilities. The Asgard committed mass suicide, leaving only the Vanir in the Pegasus galaxy. The remaining races are in hiding to avoid influencing lesser beings. But seeing what they wrought by meddling in the affairs of inferior beings, they are now hesitant to every do something like that again.