The Zhodani and the Third Imperium, the two largest human societies in
charted space, have been in conflict since first establishing contact in the
year 500 (5018 on the Earth calendar). Each society's gradual expansion
eventually led to an historic meeting in a backwater region of space known as
the Spinward Marches.
Although their human physical appearances were exactly alike, several
fundamental differences existed between the two great powers. The Zhodani's
political structure was strictly authoritarian, whereas the Imperium was
governed by the rule of the Emperor, a classic aristocracy. As the Zhodani
race evolved, the human brain's potential was explored and mastered until the
use of powerful psionics was a way of life. Mind-reading, telekinesis,
extrasensory perception and clairvoyance became common among the Zhodani. The
Imperium disdainfully outlawed the use of any form of psionics, believing
these strange powers to be an invasion of mental privacy. Also, because the
Zhodani utilized their superior mental ability in everyday life, many
Imperial traders and merchants grew suspicious of their motives and avoided
negotiations with the Zhodani.
The Imperial race, lacking psionics, saw its development grow along creative,
artistic and emotional paths. And as with any creative society, wondrous
achievement and joy was often coupled with imperfections and greed. The
Zhodani - viewing the Imperial race as dishonest, morally corrupt, weak and
insecure - lived highly structured and unemotional lifestyles. With two
powerful societies so clearly opposed in political and social beliefs,
confrontation was inevitable.
As the Zhodani continued to expand into the Spinward Marches, many worlds
were peacefully integrated into the Zhodani Consulate. However, several
independent worlds resisted the Zhodani, believing that they would lose their
freedom and be forced to live under restrictive rule. The Spinward Marches
became an intergalactic 'hot spot' and the aggressive advances of the Zhodani
led to the first of several conflicts known as the Frontier Wars,the first of
which began in 589 - 89 years after the two great powers first established
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