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Zhodani in the New Era

by Pete Grey


The Zhodani Consulate is now only 45% of its pre-1119 extents.

The Consulate is effectively dead, as the Supreme Council and its attendant bureaucracies are inert and irrelevant. But it retains nominal control over Consulate territory in Zhdant, Tienspevnekr, Tsadra, Yiklerzdranzh, Far Frontiers, Foreven, Ziafrplians and Spinward Marches Sectors. This region is referred to as the Zhodani Safe. Local sector and provincial councils are now the primary authorities, a fact that creates a good deal of confusion now that Zhdant has been discredidated. Most of the original nobility has been displaced by local military commanders and warlords, and internal frontiers are beginning to appear, marked by custom checkpoints and new taxation levies.

While law and order still hold sway here, the region has been devastated by the mass evacuation of people known as the Zhodani Exodus. Low pop worlds near the warzone have been abandoned, and population flows have overwhelmed transport assets. Don't even think about trying to ship anything into the core reaches of the Zhodani Safe, there's no ships to carry anything. The only reason that people are no longer leaving the region in droves is that most of the ships have gone to the Regency, or to other neighboring states, and they're not coming back. The only ships still running are commandeered military transports, and those belonging to Clotho or Droyne merchants.

Those people remaining on coreward safe worlds are a squirrely bunch: scared, suspicious and, unusually for Zhos, armed to the teeth. With so many Zho psions dead in the wake of the 1119 and 1149 rebellions, or fled to the Regency, the Tavrchedl are few in number here, and most Zhodani proles have to improvise security procedures, and many are trigger-jerky in tense situations. Most communities are still sorting out ways to replace the missing or dead nobles, and this creates new tensions, as the proles are still unused to having to sort things out on their own.

Only in the most rimward parts of the Consulate will you find things running as they should be. But even here the local authorities are coasting on inertia. They've done little to accomodate incoming refugees, and tussles between displaced proles and the locals are becoming breeding grounds for further hostility and possible Three Hundred Tempest inspired unrest. To make matters worse, the local Tavrchedl are mostly green recruits, paranoid as hell about terrorist attacks, and liable to use some very un-Zhodani like coercion to control the situation. Regency citizens need to be careful here, as there are a lot of desperate people who jockey hard for a bunk on refugee ships, and everything from bribery to minor scuffles are being reported between Zho citizens and Regency shipmasters, and threats of more drastic action have arisen in current months.

However, the regions adjacent to the Regency are probably the safest places in all of Charted Space, in spite of intra-Zhodani fighting. The guy in charge of Iadr Nobl province, which includes everything in the Marches, has effectively cast off his ties to Zhdant, and has secured the loyalty of most of Foreven and Ziafrplians military and nobility (with the notable exception of Shivva/Foreven's subsector councils and nobles).

The upper third of Zhdant, Tienspevekr and the upper half of Ziafprilians are equivalent to Hard Times factional frontiers, only under the control of local noble and prole leaders, and the Three Hundred Tempest and Dawn Heralder religious factions. Fighting here is frequent and heavy, and xenophobia and crazed refugees are rampant. While the Dawn Heralders have managed to secure coreward Ziafprilians, and there is some cooperation between the local warlords, the main contributing factor has been the continuing fragmentation of the Three Hundred Tempest.

Parts of the cult have been spinning off for years to follow this charismatic leader, or that one. So there is a constant drum-beat of small fanatic attacks on the frontier, but the coordination is gone, as is their logistic base. But some of the local cult leaders have taken to simple genocide rather than attacking local military forces. The region is a mess. Everyone is packing heat, and with all of the competing factions firefights are as common as hayfever. There has been considerable tech level regression, and many local governments have broken down into restrained anarchy. The cult leaders and older warlords are being replaced with gangs of young kids and teenage soldiers who have no compunctions against killing you for your shaving kit if one of them took a hankering to it. Its not all that bad everywhere, especially where the Dawn Heralders are in charge. But there's rumors that they've pretty much given up on preserving the region, and are planning to pull back into the safe, in hopes of preserving order where it still exists, and helping transform what remains of Zho society into a more stable form.

Beyond the Frontier is the Nomad Wilds. These are the main battlegrounds of the Zhodani Collapse. they get their names from the simple fact that many of the worlds are too badly damaged to support life, and roving fleets of scavengers are needed to secure the resources for survival. The Zdiediant/Stiatlchepr interface was where the 1119 and 1149 rebellions occured. The place is now a garbage dump, and most fighting is between desperate people over scarce resources. The "four corners" where Itviskiastaf, Stiatlchepr, Ziafprilians and Tienspevnekr Sectors meet, are the current center of Three Hundred Tempest activities. It is not recommended for travel. While not anti-Regency, the increasing fragmentation of the group, and the fanatical savagery shown to unbelieving Zho populations make them an unpopular destination; plus you're likely to be marked by their opponents as fair game.

A few pocket empires have come and gone in this region, including a couple that are rather friendly to the Regency. Of course they happen to be on the far side of the Three Hundred Tempest.

Beyond the Nomad Wilds is the Wasteland. It was originally called that by the Zhodani in pre-Collapse times, but it now includes the outer rimward halves of Itvikstiaf, Statlcheper, Zdiedient and all of Sidliadl sectors, and this time it's an accurate description. This is where the fighting ended only when they ran out of warm bodies to continue. The cults and the factions then moved on, and then Virus moved in, wiping out most of what remained. This is pure Wilds, as bad as anywhere else.

The reasons that Virus hasn't swamped the local factions are actually idiotically simple. Only Chiterabl and the other coreward regions were hit with the early suicide strains. Currently, most strains in the Wasteland are Puppeteers and Parents, and these are less interested in bringing worlds crashing around peoples ears. Moreover, the factions are all heavily armed and paranoid, and most Vamps don't survive scrutiny for very long. And finally there's the fact that Virus had to enter into the Consulate through the sparsely populated areas adjacent to its coreward border, and had relatively few targets of infection after several decades of hellish combat.

Of course there is no denying that they are doing major damage. The Wasteland is as dead as Wilds anywhere, and it is beginning to spread farther into the Consulate as the factions continue to retreat. Nor are there any pocket empires here; unlike virus, the factional militaries destroyed everything of value over a decade ago, and left the people to fend for themselves. The Zho's far coreward territories were cut off by the 1119 rebellion, and then annihilated by virus in the mid-1140s. The last Zho core expedition, in reality a quixotic military mission attempting to reconquer the affected regions, got as far as Stiatlchepr's subsector B before Three Hundred Tempest ambushes and traitor units of former sector governor cornered and wiped them out. If any of the deep core territories have survived virus, they're on their own, probably for the next 200 years, if anyone can get a handle on the situation. (Author's note: barring recontact by Avery's fleet, of course.)

TAS has not gotten off its butt yet to classify travel conditions, owing to the poor intelligence it has gotten from its sources. Technically, the Zhodani Safe is green, but don't put much faith in that, given its unstable boundaries. The Zhodani "Hard Frontiers" range anywhere from Amber to Red. And the Wilds, Nomad and Wasteland alike, are no-go. To make things more confusing, local interdictions are often in effect for worlds that do not need them, or are not in effect for those that do, a result of political infighting in the safe.

Regency-Consulate trade, never very significant to begin with, has gone in contradictory directions since the Exodus began. With an economic downturn as a result of the civil war and massive population evacuations, there is little incentive to buy manufactured goods from the Regency. Another obstacle has been continued export bans leftover from the Imperial period. Most goods being shipped into the Consulate are related to construction and ship production. Manufacturing machinery has been in heavy demand in the border regions, the result of the evacuations and the abandonment of most Zhodani heavy manufacturing base near the frontier.

Opposing this contraction is a massive market for labor and skilled workers. Security personel are in heavy demand to back-up factional and regional security forces in everything from crowd-control and refugee resettlement, to convoy protection and vampire hunting. Those areas of the Safe hit by the Exodus are much more desperate, given the loss of skilled workers. With every industry from munitions manufacturing to utilities to agriculture hurting for labor, Regency contract employees with only basic Zhodani-language skills can earn premium prices.

Quarantine restrictions have tightened along the Regency-Consulate interface in regards to non-Exodus shipping. Regency shippers returning from the Consulate can expect more delays at the border, but no other effects. Moving in the opposite direction is more difficult, with both Quarantine inspections and a growing number of naval "checkpoints" to impede travel. Surface customs have become especially onerous, non-Zhodani subject to mental "pat-downs" from heavily armed Tavrchedl, being restricted to special trade or residence zones, or just barred from planetary surfaces altogether.

Despite rumors that the Regency is beginning to ship "donkey" versions of TL 15 gear through Corellian League to their allies in Zhodani space, private gunrunning is not welcome within the safe or frontier, and shipments are usually confiscated, and the offending ship impounded. Of course this has as much to do with cynicism as much as enlightened policy. This attitude is present everywhere, no matter which faction you're dealing with. Other contraband is iffy, and it pays to have either contacts or do your homework before trying to smuggle anything in.

Finally, one reminder. Despite their troubles, the Zhodani still retain a sense of community, perhaps even more so today. Where they were once sheep, the crises of the past 83 years have raised the awareness and participation of proles significantly. They are not going to be passive victims of the universe anymore. They take even less kindly to aggressors and intruders today than ever before. Todays Zhos have a lot of firepower and little patience for victimization.

Wasteland

The fighting in the Consulate has had more of an on-again, off-again pace to it than the "Grapes Of Wrath" campaigning that characterised the Imperial Civil War. Unlike the Imperials, the Zhos were hit hard by their military losses in the Fifth Frontier War, and were forced to build up their militaries for the eventual breakup.

Most of the fighting between 1119 and 1190 is positional, limited guerilla action and localised brushfire wars between Zho factions, and attempted indoctrination of selected populations. Contrary to the way it is depicted in RS, the breakup of the Consulate was actually a slow, subtle unraveling, which is why the Regency had a difficult time determining their neighbor's true circumstances. It was like the prelude to a landslide: more and more pressure is exerted on a slope by the unstable layer of rock above, until it finally exceeds friction and causes a catastrophic collapse. The period of 1119-1190 is the accumulation of pressure, and the subsequent rush of violence is the rockfall.

Since 1190 a "patchwork" of minor polities and personal fiefs have emerged, of varying health and stability. The good news is that most of these areas are on the average in better shape than Hard Times Imperium. The bad news is that there no longer exists a unified defense against virus, and the porosity of these regions is permitting a steady infiltration of virus strains, and some Vampire activity as well.

The Wasteland was essentially exhausted by the fighting, and the remnants were left for Virus to pick over. The Nomad Wilds are a mixture of marauders, factional soldiers and an increasing number of Vampires. It is not too difficult to imagine some of the local powers even making alliances with the less malicious strains.....

...excuse me.... <>

Which makes me wonder about the fine line between decency, and the temptation to use Vampires as an adjunct to local military forces.

BTW I accept the 1150s date for infection of Chiterabl and the Far Core. Most of the strains that made it this far were a crazy-quilt mob of strains ranging from surviving Reproducers to, strangely enough, a fair number of Prophet viruses ("Lucan commands you to annihilate the psionic monsters.") The main vector was just a handful of Vargr trading vessels that plied the core-trailing quadrant, that inviegled a passage around the main quarantine line to trailing, to hit the Core Axis.

And contrary to Regency intel, there were a number of successful penetrations of Zho Quarantine along their border with the Vargr, particularly the Democracy of Greats. These were classic Vampires that attacked isolated outposts, though the Zhos suffered a couple of Trin level apocalypses to a Vampire fleet made up of large Vargr battlewagons in 1157. The last event is noteworthy in that it increased the level of paranoia between factions to a fever pitch, forcing most of them to spurn a unified Quarantine in favor of localised defenses. This is the point that the Consulate ceased to exist as a unified state.

The Great Thud. (Zhodane 799-979)

The Stalwarts

The simplest way to explain the "how, what, where and why" of Zhdant's current crisis, we have to go back about four hundred years, to the Crisis of '99, in order to understand its beginnings.

The Crisis of '99 is the war scare of 799, when an increasingly agitated Imperium confronted the Zhodani Consulate over its meddling in its internal affairs. The Raison de'Etre for the crisis was a government change on Attica/Querion, when the Tozjabr helped install a pro-Zhodani government in defiance of Imperial objections. Since the Second Frontier War, the Zhodani "Peace Faction" had operated in a provocative and aggressive fashion in seeming contradiction to its own name and intended goals. It had ignored Imperial sovereignty, influenced psionic institutes, and posted a large number of Tojzabr agents around the Imperiums spinward borders to influence its neighbors and dissenting elements. The Attica crisis was the last straw, and the Imperium, to Zhdants suprise, issued an ultimatum: Get out of our internal affairs or face the consequences.

The Zhodani Consulate of 799-826 had reached a crossroads in its existence. A hermetic socialist state that preferred isolationism from non-psionic societies, it had nourished a system that was immature and blankly naive about the universe outside, and unsuited for coexistence with other large powers. The Third Imperium's expansion into the Iakr Sector (Spinward Marches) and its subsequent development unnerved it, leading to the first two disastrous Frontier Wars and the excessive activities that created the Crisis of '99 in the first place. The misnamed Peace Party had existed in a fantasy land, and had pursued policies that left the Consulate in a weakened state. Their sins were incompetence and naivete. Capitulation to the Imperium's demands brought about their ouster from the Supreme Council.

The party that succeeded it was the Fieqrnokl (pro. "Fake-nokel"), or "Stalwarts", and contrary to their conservative visage, they were cut from a more responsible mold. Zhodani weakness in 799 had shocked them into a more pragmatic appraisal of the Consulate, and they had a grasp of fundamentals, and much reason to be dismayed. The Consulate was a narrow, one-dimensional society under great stress from the Third Imperium. Not because of their lack of morality, or anti-psionic bias (the Consulate was reponsible for this after all), but because of the Imperium's success in spite of those limitations. Unlike their predecessors, the Fieqrnokl accepted that there was something to the Imperium that defied their sense of order, something that had validity. Their appraisal of the Imperium never escaped the narrow traditional bias that had existed before, but it was an improvement because it dealt with limitations and real facts.

The bottom line was this: the Consulate was losing the race to the Imperium. The Consulate had invented the jump drive in -5415, but six thousand years later it had barely reached TL 13, rivaling the Ziru Sirka for stagnation. Aside from the Core Expeditions, Zhodani science had stagnated, industry was sclerotic, and basic research barely crawled along. The Third Imperium had started at TL 11/12 just a few hundred years before, attained technological parity during the first two Frontier Wars, and had bypassed them just in time for the Crisis of '99. The Consulate had 5,000 systems with stagnant populations, the Imperium had 11,000 growing points of light. Even in psionic research, the Third Imperium threatened to pull ahead in areas that the Consulate had never considered.

When Zhodani refer to the dangers of Imperial "expansion" they were referring to it economically, technologically and socially, and not to actual physical expansion. Imperial power, whether good or bad, upset the traditional deliberateness of Zhodani society and made no apologies for its transgression. The dilemma of the Fieqrnokl was to somehow balance the Imperium's power against Zhodani conservatism, and somehow preserve the prevailing psionic order in the process. Despite this new mood of rationalism, there still existed a severe anti-Imperial sentiment within the security services, centered around a bizarre group called the Inschatejtesh (thats "Ensh-ah-tege-tesh") that will be discussed shortly, that amplified the Stalwarts own militancy.

Reform of the Consulate was the Fieqrnokls main agenda. But how do you reform the incorrigible? The main strengths of the Imperium, the ones that they wanted to emulate, were those in direct contradiction to the psionic socialism that the Stalwarts depended upon. In order for Zhodani society to be saved, they would have to destroy it to make way for a new synthesis or ideology. And the Fieqrnokl were not in the business of putting themselves out of business, so the reforms they pursued were a lukewarm mixture of new technological/economic initiatives, and heightened hostility towards the Imperium.

Some social freedoms were enacted, along with some attempt at alternative institutions. But these went nowhere in the face of official queasiness, and these efforts confused the majority of Zhodani proles, frustrated dissenters, and inflamed the Consulates harried minor races. While Zho society had been largely free of contradictions, the pre-Fifth War government had committed itself to a contradictory path between admiring and despising the Imperium, and oscillating between a bevy of opposing positions. This dissension never appeared publicly because it only contributed more stagnation. The only region of consensus was the need for a stronger military stance, leading to an extended military buildup from the 850s until the Fifth Frontier War.

The Mother's Cross

As the Fieqrnokl tried to reconcile the irreconcilable, traditionalists quickly tired of their seesawing zig-zags. Most of these groups were purged in the early 900s after an abortive coup attempt, and the Fieqrnokl attempted to stack the Supreme Council with factions that were fashioned somewhat in their own image. Most of these groups were just variations of their own theme. But there was one radically different, though it carefully concealed its origin.

This was the Inschatejtesh, or Masters of Secrets. Privately they called themselves the Ranzh Viatl, the "Mother's Cross." Neither name should be reason for encouragement. They were a mixture of political party, masonic secret society, political advocacy committee and private foundation. They were younger nobles of high rank, aggressive military officers and rogue intellectuals. They advocated a hard line against the Imperium, and carried out public gatherings and arcane secret private meetins that had an eerie familiarity to them. Their leaders all had one thing in common: they had all visited Terra.

The Sol. Hypothesis doesn't have any mystical hold upon the other human races, since the matter of a fact holds no mystery at all. The same couldn't be said about Terra itself, and there is ample documentation of a kind of Jerusalem Syndrome that non-Solomani experienced there, as the dry fact that Earth is where Humanity began doesn't prepare a person for actually being in proximity to it. OK, thats an exaggeration, but the fact remains that Terra was THE place for Zhodani nobles of means and time to visit during the Antebellum period. Among the Zhodani nobility, to have visited Terra was a cachet for respectability, of group elevation. So popular was Terra that Perth, Australia became known as "Little Zhdant" for the large expatriate community that accumulated there, which was remarkable for the distance they came to get here.

But in the poisoned atmosphere of the Solomani Autonomous Region of the early 900s, most Zhodani entered Solomani space from the Aslan Hierate, through Magyar Sector, home to some of the most stunted human societies ever to blight its good name. Early precursors of SolSec, like the Wuan Security Service and the Dootchen Estates Overseer attempted to recruit some of these nobles as psionic instructors or agents. The distance between the Zhodani and Solomani was too great to bridge for an effective alliance. Unfortunately, in the usual banal tradition of Solomani racist organisations anywhere, these nobles were often "initiated" in the philosophy and secret rituals of these groups.

These nobles had come to Terra as tourists seeking some kind of transformation from undertaking in the popular ritual. While the nobles that encountered these groups were unimpressed by the assertion of Solomani superiority (but then who is?), they had come from a society that was under great pressure, and increasingly adrift. Young, pampered and undisciplined, they were impressed by those aspects of these groups stressing order, discipline and the regenerative tonic of violence.

The Mother's Cross you should have guessed is the old "Crosshairs", the ancient Greek symbol of Earth. These nobles would elevate the traditional emphasis on psionics into a commandment, stressing it as the natural end of Human evolution after the Ancients had come to Terra, and that the Zhodani had been chosen to bring that end into reality. To call them a fascist group is too strong, as their willingness to effect their goals meant they were unwilling to challenge the mainstream parties, diluting their extremism.

But they were very well organised, and their advocacy and assistance of Zhodani institutions endeared them to both reactionaries and the Fieqrnokl majority. They clustered in the Tozjabr and the military Tavrchedl, becoming the triggermen of the Council, carrying out any disagreeable act. Most of the worst Zhodani "mind-f**ks" affected on occupied populations in wartime can be attributed to their philosophy. In time they so submerged their activities into mainstream organisations that from the Third Frontier War onwards they vanished, though their organisations and companies remained in business.

What no one seems to have questioned was their "Zhodani-ness." While the elevation of psionics into an eschatological culmination wasn't a stretch, their admiration for violence as a righteous means and then as an end in of itself was an alien innovation unrelated to anything prior. A major slice of Zhodani government became enamored of military organisation, concentration and execution, and this would have tragic results in the period of 1100-1120.

Summary:

The Zhodani Consualate was controlled by the Fieqrnokl, a reform party with no real program of reform, abetted within the security services by the Inschatejtesh, a militant quasi-fascist organisation that had no political program beyond an admiration for decisive acts of political violence. They both admired and despised the Imperium for its strengths, and both had a vested interest in the status quo. And in the end both discovered that war was an attractive alternative to real reform.

The Empress Wave

The Empress Wave reached the Zhodani Consulate most coreward borders in Chit Botshi, Dlachie Jdatl and Driasera Sectors in 921-922, but the major impact of the Wave didn't hit the Zhodani Core until the 990s. The Zhodani government had evidence of the Wave going back thousands of years, and had ample evidence of its impact upon psionic individuals, and made preparations. A separate division within the Tavrchedl specifically trained and equipped for handling the wave and its casualties, was mobilized and concentrated within the Wave's main path.

Despite these preparations, the Wave's power could not be denied, and even these specialised units suffered from attrition to wave psychosis. The Wave Effect could last as long as a decade in the affected area, severly straining Consulate control and resources, and guaranteeing massive reeducation in its wake. The Zhodani called the EW the Viajia, literally "Hammer", and began mass quarantines of the nobility in the 2-3 parsec strip surrounding the Wavefront.

The Wave is a difficult phenomenon to describe, and the Zhodani never understood its nature or means of propagation. To put it simply, the Empress Wave was a trough of agitated space, a ripple through quintessence as it were, that had a very strong psionic component. The forefront of the wave was percieved by psions in various manners depending upon the talent of the individual. But most encountered lucid visions and "pregnant" dreams similar to those experienced by the Dynam Depot relay, Johnathan Crocker. And all of them depicted a woman, though the descriptions and details do not match the Pentecost data.

The middle part of the trough, called the trailing wall, contained more energy than the forewave. Psions were assualted by feelings of levity, hilarity, hallucinations and waking dreams, wild fluctuations in power, spontaneous psionic activity and psychotic reactions. Some psions, particulary Clairvoyants, went into shock and even comas. And regardless of power, all Zhodani psions in the area of the wave were affected. Entire councils had to be replaced on a rotating basis, with the affected psions placed in convalescent facilities, spending years in recovery.

The social shock, despite precautions, was devastating. The familiar local nobility broke down into discomfiting behavior under the pressure of the wave, often for years at a time. And then they were whisked away from their posts to be replaced with younger and more inexperienced nobles who were unfamiliar to the locals. Meanwhile, during those "lost years" during the height of the wave's effects, the proles had to develop a degree of self-sufficiency until the old order could be stabilised and recovered.

The result of this was growing alienation within the coreward regions of the Consulate, made worse by official silence of the Councils on noble matters. Though no rebellions broke out, post-Viajia regions came down with a chronic case of inarticulated distrust and paranoia that proved difficult for reeducation to eradicate. The Consulate did manage to smooth appearances, giving the proles in unaffected regions no inkling of a crisis, and interdicting the information from reaching its neighbors, friend or foe.

Zhodani philosophy had one advantage over the Third Imperium: it was repelled by the kind of self-destructive behavior that culminated into the Collapse. The kind of behavior that created the weapons of mass destruction and war of all against all are alien concepts to the Zhodani mindset. Zhodani society emphasises the utility of its citizenry, and the orderliness of communal health and proper public virtue. The "domestication" of Zhodani proles was the rationalisation of utilitarian order, of the greatest good for the greatest number.

Zho socialism has more in common with the liberalism of Jeremy Bentham than with Karl Marx (indeed, psionics is the only way that Bentham's rationalist utilitarianism could ever have worked). Zho society is the early 19th century dream of orderly society come true: a charitable aristocratic elite presiding over an orderly, well behaved working class made content with its leaders and community.

But the Empress Wave damaged that order in a fundamental manner that proved difficult to repair, and eventually unravelled the entire social order. And the reason why was the very success of the Zhodani way of life. The Zhodani elites were so successful in the propagation and acceptance of their society, that their ideology hardened into certitude. They weren't suffering from hubris, but from a very narrow view of the universe, one afforded by the lack of any major crises throughout most of their history. Without any compelling need for societal flexibility, the tradeoffs between conformity and prosperity were accepted as a matter of course by all levels of Zho society. Their success encouraged the elite and the proles to think that the Zhodani way was ONLY way for human society to ever exist. The Tavrchedl discouraged any open questioning of that order, and no alternatives were tolerated, because the implied that the Consulate wasn't a perfect utopia.

The EW struck the Consulate at its most vulnerable location, the psionically talented individuals that formed the backbone of their culture, and suddenly the Zhodani found they needed an alternative, if only for a little while, to keep the system in working order. There were three levels that spelled trouble. First of all, it appeared that the Consulate's emphasis upon psionics had created a mental "monoculture" that was vulnerable to disruption. Second of all, the need to devolve authority to the proles in affected areas implied that there was indeed room for alternatives; if the proles could be trusted with self-governance, even for a little while, then perhaps the nobility was a luxury.

But the third level was put forward by Brenchievstebr: The Consulates assertion of absolute certainty was rendered false by the Wave. Zhodani society was based upon the guarantee that psionics were the end all, be all of human existence, and the means for perfection. This implied omniscience. But the ignorance of the wave, the vulnerability it revealed, and the un-Zhodani contigencies it drove destroyed the authority that the elites had depended upon. Zhodani society held no contradictions or deep resentments; logically it was sound. But the lack of logical error is not the same as a lack of factual correctness. And the inability of the Consulate to handle the EW was a nontrivial fact.

But in the face of that fact, the Consulate refused to sacrifice its claim to omniscience, acting as if nothing had happened, and thereby creating the impetus for rebellion.


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