By Gregg Giles
The Interim Period
The span of 350 years between the 7th and 8th expeditions were not as uneventful as many had thought. Though the Qlomdlabr made no concentrated effort to push further coreward, minor efforts by independent explorers and settlers were made along the entire route. Settlement also continued on a moderate scale. In the 780’s, Zhodani began to see the colonies with a brighter light. Most, however, did not go beyond 100 parsecs, and 99% didn’t dare leave the Vlanchiets Qlom province. The remaining 10% colonized dozens of worlds coreward. Most colonies failed quickly (as most colonies anywhere do) due to a lack of supplied and inadequate equipment. Loneliness also took its toll on many. By 930, nearly 70% of the newly established colonies had failed, and many of the remaining 30% were within only 150 parsecs of the Consular border.
The Interim Period was also highlighted by prospecting and development of the worlds that survived. The Qlomdlabr granted charters to corporations allowing them to drain mining belts of their resources and sell them in the Consulate and along the Vargr frontiers. Only one Imperial firm was ever licensed for mining (after an intense and extremely costly lobbying campaign), but its charter was revoked and assets seized in 979 after the beginning of the Third Frontier War.
Around 1060, economic interests shifted closer to home in the rimward colonies of the Gvurrdon, Foreven, the Vanguard Reaches, and Fulani sectors. Prospectors found trade with the Aslan and Vargr to be far more profitable than attempting to collect a fortune thousands of parsecs from home.
In 1109, most Zhodani naval units were pulled from the Vlanchiets Qlom province except those vital to defense (even though there was no one to defend against, the High Command didn’t want to take any chances). By “accident”, the naval command “overlooked” the fact that the navy transported a large portion of the goods vital to the near colonies. In turn, several colonies crumbled and were abandoned.
Today, hundreds of millions of Zhodani and a far smaller population of Vargr-Zhodani and Aslan-Zhodani inhabit the colonies between Vlanchiets Qlom and the Sixth Rift settlements (not including the clusters of New Chronor and Shtievdriadr), though most Zhodani prefer the security and comfort of the Consulate itself.