"To see the next summer." The Zhastud people arose when Ifruseniza was a much more habitable world, with an even temperature distribution and with deep forest covering both polar continents. They stumbled on one of the early few follies for a starfaring species- combustion power spread across both continents, and soon carbon dioxide levels were rising. The real problems came when they fixed it- so much carbon dioxide was removed from the atmosphere that temperatures began to drop, and to add insult to injury global volcanic activity stirred the oceans into a stormy froth. In a panic, every last lead was followed up on to fix or mitigate or survive the hostile new world.... and the solution was beyond anyone's reckoning. A delta jutting into the northern sea, lost thrice- first by river capture, next by earthquake, last by floods as the planet warmed- held the answer. An ancient civilization had held its capital there, and that civilization was startlingly advanced- so advanced, in fact, that its dormant supercomputers could still run. The intelligence in that computer- subsapient, but oriented towards information-gathering, pointed out one glimmering hope: connect its systems to the old artifical sapience project supercomputer on the southern continent.

The intelligence that rose from that amalgam knew the path to follow: if it could not save the planet, it could change the people. The population could be outfitted with optional mitigators from clothing to cyborgization and integration, enough information could be gathered to at least record dying species, buildings could be redesigned to preserve and conserve heat- a myriad of things could be done, they just couldn't stop the change. 200 years later, the new norm was stable- such that both the AI and its charges looked to the future. Their system was in an isolated patch of stars, alone in space above the plane of the Great Unwinding. Their impetuses were many- Were others out there? Did they need help? Plus, the Di-Continental Network still hungered for information. Zhastud is interesting in that it's one of the few mid-sized star-states to contact the Ecumene before the Ecumene contacted it. Due to the clump of stars' isolated location, FTL systems are imperfect for transit- and due to the low density of bodies between the clump and the disk of the galaxy, the rockhopper path is safer but circuitous. As a result, Zhastud's FTL technology excels in reliability and range and Zhastud is a common trade partner with those able to reach it.

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