Esalin is a planet in the Spinward Marches which was hotly contested by the Imperium and the Zhodani. It's a "balkinized" world - meaning one planet contains several different nations - and several of these nations are client states of the Imperium or the Zhodani, most notably Ecaimar and Irasus, which have long been at odds. The planetary government, such as it is, is a UN-type body with influence proportional to a nation's population and GDP; there is no clear majority among the political factions, but there are rumors of several guerrilla terrorist groups seeking to align the planet with one or the other of the interstellar empires.

It appears to be the type of place highly sensitive to small disturbances in the status quo…

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