The world of Rhand is in tremendous turmoil. It has suffered a massive invasion by an alien force, which has unleashed both tactical and biological weapons. Much of Rhand's technology and industry have been destroyed by space bombardment, and its population has been devastated by a viral agent which leaves its victims permanently deranged.
A year ago Rhand was an almost ideal world. Situated far from the strife of the Spectral invasion, it was a recreational planet where the rich and influential traveled to get away from it all. Rhand was a land of open spaces, warm waters, and mild climate; a world dedicated to leisure. The crowded cities, prisons, reeducation centers, and imposing military presence prominent on other Starguild worlds was strangely absent. The traditional tension between Starcaste and Bondsmen seemed out of place on Rhand, for this was a planet of plenty, with growth and hope for all. Free enterprise, small business, and civil liberties were on the rise, and the people of this bountiful world were reaching the critical stage of national identity. This realization, however, was still dormant, hidden by the vast open areas which separated the people of Rhand.
The growth of this national identity had been fostered by the planet's rulers, Trident's RMBK division. Trident was a company with vast interests, a senior member of the Starguild and the sole owner of teleporter technology; RMBK was its advanced research and development arm. Trident had deliberately placed RMBK on Rhand, to keep it out of the mainstream and allow it to work in peace. Unfortunately, RMBK's independent spirit had flowered on this backwater world, far from Starguild supervision. By the time of the invasion, RMBK was openly defying Trident's authority, and completely refusing to accept much of the Starguild's long tradition.
Despite the tensions between Trident and RMBK, however, Rhand was still a primary Holding of Trident, and the base of its research and development department. It benefitted greatly from this, with the most advanced teleportation system in known space. Through the use of a network of satellites, the Orbital Remote Commuter Access (ORCA) system made any locale on the planet only a moment away. Freed from the burdens of time and distance, Rhand was transformed into a resort and a haven.
When discovered a generation ago, this planet had been an Earthlike paradise, uninhabited by any sentient life. It was then colonized by a carefully chosen group of Bondsmen, people talented enough to turn this fertile paradise into a rich resort, yet mild enough to be unpretentious. Rhand's resident population existed to serve the tourist trade and the guests of the Starguild, and in return they were treated far better than Bondsmen on other Starguild worlds. In fact, Rhand was the only planet on which the privileged could walk among the Bondsmen in full safety, with no fear of the people they ruled.
On Rhand there were no starving masses, and no degraded working class which struggled without hope or rest. By spreading the sparse population across the surface of Rhand, a sense of isolation was promoted. The Bondsmen of Rhand had the sort of lives any Bondsmen in the galaxy would envy. They were a people with few complaints, thankful for the good life they led. Those who lived in RMBK communities were especially blessed, for they were accorded privileges unheard of on any other world; decent educations, free time, and even a small voice in public affairs.
Rhand was not a planet without strife, however. As mentioned above, there was tremendous tension between the Imperium and Trident/RMBK, for RMBK was using this planet for more than a tourist resort. RMBK had created several top-security research programs, and refused to discuss them with either the Imperium or Trident's corporate leaders. Between the progressive social structure of the planet and these controversial projects, the Imperium became highly suspicious.
Using its authority to regulate technology and ensure that the mandates of the Starguild were upheld, the Imperium became involved in the affairs of Rhand. This involvement was supported and promoted by corporate Trident, for they had been increasingly upset about the actions of their isolated research department. To thwart Imperial efforts to uncover its secret dealings, RMBK established a large and efficient Law Enforcement Agency. This Agency served as a planetary police force, and proved to be more than a match for the Imperial Law Enforcement units sent to Rhand.
Unable to discover RMBK's real goals through its initial efforts, the Imperium had begun deploying more serious forces. They commenced a military buildup, and sent members of the elite Imperial Secret Service to Rhand. RMBK responded by reinforcing its own military and enlarging the Trident Law Enforcement Agency. A showdown was inevitable. Other Starguild and Landcaste forces on the planet became involved as well, and a clandestine war of espionage raged in the days before the Spectral invasion. The devastation of the invasion has left few records of those days. The limited evidence which remains indicates that Trident's efforts dealt with weapon technology, artificial intelligence, and genetic engineering. If the Imperium had had proof of any of these points, war would have ensued; weapon systems were clearly outside the bounds of Trident's commercial license, while artificial intelligence and genetic engineering were banned by all conventions of the Starguild.
All the rules of the Starguild, however, along with Trident's commercial license and most of the other trappings of Imperial civilization, were destroyed by the bombs and the virus of the Spectrals. Humanity's past is gone; all that remains is the present, and the hope that there will be a future.