The territorial rights over the Zeaex system has been disputed between the Empire and Federation for over two centuries. The mineral rich inner planets, together with a diverse range of gas giants make this an economic centre for the region. The presence of a habitable world greatly increases the system’s strategic importance. The inhabitants of the worlds of this system try to balance the need for trade with a desire to be left well alone. Tourists are welcome, but many are viewed with deep suspicion by the residents. Both Federation and Empire have naval bases within the system, which limits the efforts of pirates, but puts pressures on legitimate traders.
Heavy metals are mined on the innermost world of Cambridge’s Hole, named after the miner Grambourne Cambridge who was first to stake claim to the world. He invested heavily in mining machinery and obtained the exploitation rights to the system from the Federation. Erronsa Ashfield followed Grambourne to the system ten years later with permission to mine granted by the Empire. Ashfield, with her husband Francis established a base on the second planet, having failed to force Cambridge from the innermost world. The Ashfield’s made an early fortune exporting rare gems to the Empire, while the Federation provided a ready market for Cambridge.
A bitter rivalry developed between the two camps and naval vessels of both sides once threatened to escalate the conflict into open warfare. The confrontation was averted by the majority of colonists on Democracy, petitioning both Earth and Capitol to have the mineral rights to the rest of the system given to the settlement of Newtown. In the ensuing legal battle, the armed forces were called to other areas and the situation settled into a more peaceful state. The mining families on the inner planets retain only ten percent shares in the profitable mineral trade.
As with many worlds in the so called `disputed zone’, neither Empire nor Federation have dominance. Travellers from the Federation may find the presense of so many slaves distressing, but visitors from the Empire will be equally disturbed by the lack of imposed discipline and positive discrimination for racial and minority groups. The worlds and colonies of the disputed zone are a mixing ground for two very different cultures and this can be experienced in full at this world.
D.M.Sourced from Frontier: Elite II – Gazetteer © 1992 by Ian Bell, David Braben, Kathy Dickinson and David Massey.