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 Ashfields made an
early fortune exporting rare gems to the Empire, while the Federation provided a ready market
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
As with many worlds in the so called 'disputed zone', neither Empire nor Federation
have dominance. Travellers from the Federation may find the presence 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.
Entry by David Massey