The ghem were the lower aristocracy of the Cetagandan Empire.
While they were responsible for the military actions of the Empire, the entire caste did not work for the army. For example, some ghem-ladies specialized in genetic engineering of animal life, with form superseding function, and many young ghem-lords lived lives of dissipation.
A distinguishing feature of the ghem was their use of extensive face-paint, causing them to look like "Chinese temple demons". The exact usage depended on the individual's clan, status, and the activity they were pursuing. In particular, there were painting patterns associated with military missions such as the assassination of Admiral Naismith, individual clans, military ranks, and related jobs, such as Cetagandan Imperial Security. Among the younger generation of ghem, fashion dictated that the face paint be reduced to a painted patch on one cheek; particularly avant-garde ghem might even go so far as to eliminate the patch and restrict facial makeup to simple eye-liner.