Vaasith is an older greater power of Mannon, with stagnating political structures and a tendency to rest on laurels allowing the upstart Pertaman to push and take over Vaasith holdings. Radi, Neyu's home world, is partly a Vaasith holding. Gantu, the main industrial center of the Sokkor system that Radi's a part of, has been providing Vaasith with considerable wealth for over a century. At the start of the story, a sluggish and overextended Vaasith is losing Radi and Gantu to Pertaman, forcing Neyu to flee.
A waning great power, once the most formidable nation on Mannon. A veritable resource powerhouse, lots of agriculture and people to make it work. Technology has hit them hard; now that food can be produced in "3-D printers" using raw organic material restructured into edible and nutritive substances, other nations don't need to rely on them as much anymore. (Food canning comparison?)
[b]Interreliance[/b] between people is a characteristic of Vaasith society. For this reason, unmarried people stay in their parents' households until they marry. Marriage arises not necessarily out of love, but out of an understanding that each person provides something the other needs, and that a good interrelation -- a complementary interrelation -- will arise. Those who are loners are considered aberrant in Vaasith society, though culturally there are stories that define the outsider as sometimes necessary, the one who has the courage to change an existing social more that requires change, as it now damages society. To be one of these outsiders is an alienating and frightening thing, and Neyu feels that she's beginning to take on this role against her will, which alienates her even further.