It was not long, however, before the Tungusk Sector was once again wracked by crisis. A small sector by virtue of its interrupted colonisation, its planets had swiftly grown overpopulated both by ordinary labourers and their aspiring rulers. With food shortages, disease and civil insurrection threatening to tear apart their domain on the one hand, and over-ambitious rivals threatening to seize it away on the other, the Ivanova Czars resorted to increasingly draconian measures to maintain their authority. A secret police was formed, riots were repressed with excessive violence, and lands were even seized from rival families and factions whom the Ivanovas deemed to have stepped out of line. Yet even these desperate extremes were only a temporary solution, and eventually it was decided that a crusade to expand the sector’s eastern borders should be called. The move was a highly calculated one: the crusade would decrease the sector’s surplus population, secure new planets into which successive generations could expand, inspire a mass fervour not seen since the Grand Pogrom, and provide some much-needed space between the sector’s bickering potentates.

%d bloggers like this: