Preatiens was colonized as an open planet. Shares were sold to anyone who could afford to pay them. Background checks weeded out criminals and other undesirable elements such as those with hereditary genetic defects.
It wasn’t until babies were born on Preatiens that the effect of a hitherto unknown element in the soil was discovered. Those girl babies conceived, gestated, and birthed on Preatiens developed a genetic anomaly. Carried on the X chromosome, the defect, or as some later called it, the gift, was recessive, requiring two X chromosomes, limiting its manifestation to females. The defect enhanced the empathic senses of girls.
This development changed Preatiens society completely. What had been an open planet was closed to prevent girls from being kidnapped by those hoping to profit from their empathic abilities and to prevent birth tourism. Care for these babies was difficult requiring peaceful surroundings and nurses who could maintain placid emotions. Isolation became paramount until they were old enough to begin training to manage their abilities. Experts were sought. Through trial and error, methods were created and laws were established to protect these young citizens.
Girls remain cloistered until they reach the age of twenty-one. Arranged marriages are common. Once a woman reaches menopause, she becomes an elder and can move freely in society. Some affluent elder women assume the role of unofficial guardians of society, using their influence to protect Preatiens from internal corruption and external influence.