The Thuriens were a very rational, nonquarrelsome race of beings to whom the
benefits of a society that based itself upon mutua cooperation were too self-evident to
require much pondering, let alone debate. As a consequence, the Thurien institutions of
government was a modest, service-oriented affair concerned mainly with resolving disputes
and disagreements , and managing the comparatively few functions that it was felt
preferable to consign to public agencies. It certainly had nothing to do with projecting
power over individuals, enforcing policies that were none of anybody else's business, or
bestowing upon a few the right to decide how the many should be compelled to live.
Having no concept of any alternative, they established the same systemor
lack of one, in the opinion of many Terranson Jevlen in the period following the
destruction of Minerva. So instead of producing the authoritarian institutions that were
the inevitable outcome of the ferocious power struggles and ideological collisions
characteristic of social evolution on Earth, Jevlenese society developed as a kind of
patronized anarchy, secure in the guarantee of unlimited goods and products indefinitely,
and the total absence of threats. Hence, survival had never played any great role as a
shaper of individual or collective behavior; therefore, the rationality that human
survival ultimately depends on had received little incentive to bloom.
Over the years, many popular and quasireligious cults had come to flourish on
Jevlen. They appealed by catering to the needs of individuals to discover some purpose and
to affirm their identity in a risk-free, unstructured society, and to the fascination or
the uncritical for peculiar beliefs. One of the largest and most militant of them called
itself the Axis of Light. Its symbol was a green crescent. The leader, whose real name was
Eubeleus, had been well connected with the previous regime responsible for the short-lived
Federation, and went by the public title of Deliverer.
The Deliverer's followers numbered millions. Their faith was a conviction that the
key to opening up latent, mystical human powers lay in the supercomputer, JEVEX. Their
indignation at the Ganymeans' shutting down of JEVEX, therefore, stemmed not merely from
material deprivations or fears of a political tactic to encourage dependency, but from
what they sw as a persecution of their beliefs.
One of the most commonly used methods of interfacing to Thurien networking
systemsJEVEX and VISARwas by direct coupling into the user's neural centers,
bypassing the normal sensory apparatus. The central dogma that the Deliverer taught was
that the close-coupled interaction between the inner processes of the human psyche and the
more remote levels of super computing complexity could unlock the mind to new dimensions
of reality. Thus stimulated, the believer would be enabled to conquer the ultimate reaches
of time and space. He would come to know his full self in all the dimensions of its
existence, and gain access to the powers encompassed by them.
All heady stuff. The followers were suitably impressed. For his part it was clear
that the Deliverer, Eubeleus, held JEVEX in extraordinary awe and reverence, with an
unswerving belief in its abilities that bordered on fanatical. But such loyalty was really
to be expected: He believed himself to be a physically incarnate extension of JEVEX.