|Zeycude is a dry, desert world with an extremely thin unbreathable atmosphere. It has no native populations, but people have lived here for hundreds of years and they consider themselves natives. Most live in sealed underground communities where they grow food and harvest the small amounts of water that are available on their dry world. The main exports of Zeycude are minerals and some manufactured goods. There are some domed Zhodani cities inhabited by both "natives" and Zhodani expatriots and immigrants. A small number of Zhodani companies have factories here that thrive in the dry, thin atmosphere.|
Most natives are highly skilled at surviving on the surface of the planet for long periods of time. They wear survival suits that capture all excess moisture from the body and recycle it. The suits also create breathable air from the thin atmosphere. Some skilled in it's use (i.e., Survival skill and knowledge of the suit and the planet) can live almost indefinitely in the deserts of Zeycude. Even an unskilled person, with a small amount of training, can survive for several days.
The thing that drew the professor's interest to Zeycude is that a surprisingly high number of "natives" have psionic ability or at least potential. Since the natives are descended from peoples from other parts of the empire (Zeycude was originally part of the empire before the third frontier war), the professor found this interesting. Like the Zhodani society itself, the leaders of Zeycudian natives are all psionically aware. Thus they have integrated well into Zhodani society. Most of the natives believe that their world enjoys a great deal of autonomy but, in fact, it does not and the leaders of the Zeycude are aware of this.
For this reason, the professor felt that if he were to approach a normal, native Zeycudian, they might be friendly and helpful even if they were aware that the professor was from the empire.
The professor and his wife initially landed in the zho city of Merlika'a to check in with the zho before beginning his research. They had permission from the zho to conduct psionic studies in the Zhodani Consulate and they knew they would be working on Zeycude. The two checked in with the Zhodani External Affairs office in Merlika'a. Their "case officer" was a zho by the name of Lkvastebr. The notes include the address of the office.
Max reviews what he knows of Zhodani names. He knows that the zho are divided into three distinct social classes; proles, intendants and nobles. Proles have two names most originating from place names or occupations (Bob of Chaska, Cindy Baker, etc.). Intendants are those with some psionic ability or potential. In the empire, they would probably be class A mutants that have psionic powers. Intendants names always end in "iepr". Nobles have several suffixes depending on rank. "atl" is the lowest level of noble, then "stebr", "tlas" and "tlasche". Nobles at the highest level of zho society (above tlasche) have several suffixes. Thus, the professor's case officer, was a noble, and not of the lowest class. Almost certainly a class A or B mutant by empirical standards.
The professor's notes do note indicate any problems in checking in with the case officer. The check-in process seemed to last a couple of days.
From Merlika'a, the professor and his wife traveled by ground car, with a driver and escort provided by Lkvastebr, to the village of Perqrot, some 500 km from Merlika'a over rocky, sandy desert. In Perqrot, the two first met with the sheriff-mayor of Zeycude, a man by the name of Questn Zilck. The notes also indicate that Questn was also known as Qizilkatl among the zho.
Perqrot is a village of some 20,000 people. It is located in a 100 meter deep crevasse in an otherwise flat desert landscape. The crevasse winds for several kilometers before ending abruptly. A tunnel runs from the base of the crevasse to the surface where a dirt road, demarked by stone columns, heads in the direction of Merlika'a. The surface entrance to the tunnel is heavily guarded by a platoon of 20 soldiers and two gun emplacements; a heavy machine gun and a heavy laser. This is because the Perqrot tribe is currently at war with another tribe whose village (Payquil, pop. 25,000) is about 100 km away. The main issue, as usual, is water and deep-rooted hatred.
While in Perqrot, the professor and his wife spent their time in the house of Kaydn Terqit, an elder of Perqrot. Kaydn lived with his wife, two sons and their wives and seven children. The professor describes Kaydn as a generally affable man but who can get extremely tempermental when discussing politics or the Payquillians. Like most Perqrotians, he believes that zho society is far removed from his village and they have a lot of autonomy. Also like most Perqrotians, he hates Payquillians, and dislikes and distrusts the zho.
The professor's notes cover a period of three months that he spent among the Perqrotians. He met all of the town leaders, and spoke in depth to many people. There is a lot of material on his psionic research which, though interesting to Max, does not have a lot of bearing on helping to rescue him. The notes do mention Perqrot's armed forces.
Perqrot's military consists of a standing army of 400 men and women, and a ready reserve of 2000 more. About half of the total force is currently in the field at the Fortress of Flwaswick Gulch guarding the town's backup water supply. The fortress is about 50 km from Perqrot. It is this water supply that is the main subject of the current war. Both towns claim it and, in fact, it has changed hands several times in the history of the two tribes.
Perqrot also has a police force of 25 men, headed by Police Captain Borniss Mycreer. The professor's notes indicate that the police captain, like the sheriff-mayor, is a talented psionicist.