The Encyclopedia Galactica - Terminus

From the Encyclopedia Galactica, 116th Edition, Encyclopedia Galactica Publishing Company, Terminus, 1020 FE.


Terminus is a class-E world located just beyond the ancient Prefect of Anacreon. It was first discovered in 11,504 GE by Captain Elak Horbus of the Imperial Survey Service. Its location (see map) was an odd one for the role it was called upon to play in Galactic history, and yet as many writers have never tired of pointing out, an inevitable one. Located on the very fringe of the Galactic spiral, an only planet of an isolated sun, poor in resources and negligible in economic value, it was never settled in the five centuries after its discovery until the landing of the Encyclopedists in 12,068 GE.

Physical Data

Settlement and Early History

The Anacreonian Crisis and the Spiritual Era

The Rise of the Traders and the Korellian Crisis

The Minarchy and the Riose Crisis

The Autarchy

The Occupation

Physical Data

Terminus is the only world of a class G3 star listed in the Imperial Index as Horbus 504GJ, almost certainly of extragalactic origin. The system is approximately ten billion years old, having formed during the second generation of the cosmic birth sequence. This explains the low incidence of heavy elements, which led to the coalescence of only a single world from the system's original cloud of dust and gas.

Unlike most inhabited worlds, Terminus consists largely of light, rocky elements. Thus, despite having an equatorial diameter of 19,255 km, the surface gravity is only 9.3 meters per second squared. All the planet's heavier elements have long since collected at the core, and the lack of any other bodies in the system has resulted in the absence of any meteoric nickel-iron deposits near the surface.

The small size of Terminus' nickel-iron core has slowed the process of plate tectonics on its surface, with the result that, despite its age, 93% of its surface area is covered with water. Most of the land surface consists of island chains and archipelagoes. The largest island, Terminus Island, has a surface area of 907,388 square kilometers.

Settlement and Early History

Terminus was first settled by members of Hari Seldon's Psychohistory Project, ostensibly to prepare an encyclopedia of all human knowledge, hence the settlement's name -- the Encyclopedia Foundation Number One. The Encyclopedists consisted of twenty thousand researchers and their families who were transported from Trantor in half a dozen Imperial Navy troop ships. Along with duplicates of most of the records from the Imperial Library, the Encyclopedists were provided with equipment from the Imperial Corps of Engineers for manufacturing and assembling prefabricated buildings, road building machinery, automated farm machinery, and a nuclear power plant.

Terminus City, the original settlement, was built along the standardized lines of all Imperial colony cities. The streets were laid out in a square grid, with four main streets radiating out from a central square (named Cyclopedia Square by the original settlers). A small spaceport was laid out in the area west of the city, while the rest of the surrounding area was taken up by automated farms and food processing centers which grew the standard Imperial cereals, vegetables and fruit.

The Imperial Charter establishing the Encyclopedia Foundation assigned the administration of the settlement to the Board of Trustees of the Encyclopedia Committee. The Board of Trustees was originally appointed by the Director of the Psychohistory Project, Stettin Palver (12,035-12,112 GE). After the Encyclopedia Foundation was established on Terminus, the Board members were selected by the Board's Chairman, and ratified by the Encyclopedia Committee.

Almost immediately, the Board of Trustees found itself distracted from its primary task of overseeing the encyclopedia by the need to maintain the settlement's services and infrastructure. Subcommittees were appointed within the Encyclopedia Committee to deal with such matters as building and road maintenance, food production and distribution, energy production and distribution, transportation, communication and trade.

Over the course of the settlement's first fifty years, its population grew from the original 100,000 to over 1,000,000. It was inevitable that as a new generation grew, Terminus would become something more than an appendage of the psychohistorians of Trantor. With the Anacreonian Revolt and the rise to power of Salvor Hardin, first of the great line of Mayors of the Foundation, a fundamental revolution in the settlement's power structure took place.

As the settlement's population increased, the various subcommittees that oversaw municipal functions began meeting together periodically as a body, the first such meeting taking place in 12,099 GE (31 FE). By 12,113 GE (45 FE), the municipal subcommittees had ceased meeting with the rest of the Encyclopedia Committee. Led by Salvor Hardin (12,096-12,162 GE), a psychologist who chaired the communications subcommittee, the municipal subcommittees began agitating for the Board of Trustees to allow them to establish a municipal administration independent of the Encyclopedia Committee. Lewis Pirenne (12,060-12,131 GE), Chairman of the Board of Trustees, finally relented, and Terminus City was incorporated under the City Charter of 12,114 GE (46 FE). The municipal subcommittees became an annually elected City Council, and Hardin was elected the first Mayor.

The Anacreonian Crisis and the Spiritual Era

It has definitely been established from surviving records in the Galactic Library that the Anacreonian Revolt of 12,117 GE (49 FE) was instigated by the Psychohistory Project (or Second Foundation, as it is more popularly known). The Revolt, led by Governor Detrek Javo of the Prefect of Anacreon, spread from there to the rest of the Province of Anacreon, and from there to every other Province in the periphery of the Galaxy. (Note: at the time of the initial breakup of the First Empire, there were 914 prefects, of which the outermost 21 broke away in 12,117 GE.)

Following the Anacreonian Revolt, the newly crowned King Detrek attempted to seize control of Terminus. The Board of Trustees proved unequal to the crisis, and Mayor Salvor Hardin was able to persuade Yohan Lee (12,092-12,159 GE), Director of Public Safety for Terminus City, to aid him in deposing the Board. Following the establishment of an Anacreonian military base on Terminus in 12,118 GE (50 FE), Hardin persuaded the neighboring newly-proclaimed Kings of Smyrno, Daribow and Konom to present Detrek with an ultimatum demanding removal of the base. Detrek was forced to comply, and the base was quickly evacuated.

The resolution of the Anacreonian Crisis marked the start of the Spiritual Era of Foundation history. Mayor Hardin signed treaties with the Four Kingdoms offering Foundation technical assistance. As the Foundation technicians began to reverse the technological decay of the Four Kingdoms, the superstitious peasants who made up the bulk of the population came to regard them as magicians. They refused to believe that there was no magic involved in the technicians' work, and would only accept technical aid if it was blessed by the technicians in the name of the Galactic Spirit. The people of the Four Kingdoms learned from the Foundation technicians the story of the Psychohistory Project and the Encyclopedia Foundation, and reworked it to fit into their growing mythology of the Fall from the Galactic Paradise; Hari Seldon became the Prophet of the Galactic Spirit, Terminus the Holy Foundation, and the Seldon Plan the Holy Commandments for the return of the Galactic Paradise.

When Mayor Hardin learned of the impromptu birth of the new religion, he incorporated it into his government's foreign policy. He organized the Foundation technicians into a priesthood, headed by the Foundation's ambassadors to the Four Kingdoms, and with himself as Primate of the Church. For the next thirty years, Scientism (as the religion has come to be known) increased its grip on the Four Kingdoms. Every nuclear power station refurbished by the Foundation became a Temple of Scientism with a hierarchy of priests dispensing technical and medical assistance disguised as benedictions from the Galactic Spirit. The brightest natives of the Four Kingdoms were brought to Terminus to receive indoctrination into Scientism at the Temple School, then sent back out to the Four Kingdoms to serve as the Church's Lower Hierarchy (the Upper Hierarchy being reserved for native Foundationers who understood the theoretical underpinnings of the Church's miraculous technology). Any priestly novitiates who were intelligent enough to see through the elaborate, meaningless rituals promulgated by the Church remained on Terminus to become research students (and naturalized citizens of Terminus).

The power this gave the Foundation was made clear during the Wienis Crisis of 12,148 GE (80 FE), when Prince Wienis, regent to King Lepold of Anacreon, attempted a military assault on Terminus. The Foundation-trained priests with the Anacreonian Navy and on Anacreon itself cut off all power to the Kingdom's warships and cities. Prince Wienis committed suicide, and the Four Kingdoms signed new treaties with the Foundation giving each Kingdom's High Priest veto power over his King's decisions.

After the death of Mayor Hardin in 12,152 GE (84 FE), Sef Sermak (12,118-12,186 GE) of the Actionist Party was elected Mayor of Terminus. Sermak and his Foreign Secretary/Church Primate Lewis Bort (12,121-12,165 GE) initiated the Sermak Reforms of 12,153-12,165 GE (85-97 FE). In 12,153 GE (85 FE), the High Priests of the Four Kingdoms were appointed First Ministers of their respective Kingdoms. They ordered the feudal estates of the nobility in each Kingdom broken up and distributed to the peasants who worked on them. Attempted revolts by the aristocracy of Smyrno and Loris (formerly Daribow) were quickly put down. Royal government in both Kingdoms was abolished, and republican governments were established. This led to the rise of republican movements in the Kingdoms of Konom and Anacreon. King Ellek of Konom was deposed in 12,162 GE (94 FE), and King Lepold of Anacreon in 12,165 GE (97 FE).

The Rise of the Traders and the Korellian Crisis

The population of Terminus continued to grow throughout the Spiritual Era. By 12,168 GE (100 FE) there were ten million people living on Terminus. Although some of the increase was due to the large families which were common in the early days, a growing proportion consisted of immigrants from the Four Kingdoms. Since the first Aid Treaties were signed following the Anacreonian Crisis, natives of the Four Kingdoms had come to Terminus to be indoctrinated into the hierarchy of the Church of Scientism. The most intelligent and adaptable of these natives had been reassigned from the Temple School to the Foundation's secular educational establishment, where they received the same education as native Foundationers and were able to gain Foundation citizenship. This population of resident, educated Outlanders formed a growing part of Terminus society. Although they could be found in every sector of Terminus (administration, scientific research, even the continuing compilation of the Encyclopedia Galactica), the Outlanders made their greatest mark in the commercial arena.

Almost from its founding, Terminus traded continuously with the surrounding worlds of the Province of Anacreon. At first, this trade was carried out by traders native to the Province using local vessels. By 12,088 GE (20 FE), however, Randu Darrell (12,050-12,120 GE) was building the first of his small, economical interstellar spacecraft. By the time of the Anacreonian Crisis, the Darrell Shipyards were turning out ten ships a year, and interstellar trade was becoming an important component of the Terminus economy. The Anacreonian Revolt proved a watershed event in the Foundation's commercial history. With Terminus cut off from the rest of the Galaxy, the regular run of supply ships from the Psychohistory Project on Trantor came to an abrupt end. Suddenly Terminus depended for its very existence on trade with the Four Kingdoms.

The geometric expansion of the Foundation's merchant fleet coincided with the influx of secularly educated Outlanders. Who better to carry on trade with the worlds of the Four Kingdoms than Foundation citizens who were native to those worlds? Factory towns began springing up throughout Terminus Island, churning out finished goods for sale or barter to the hundreds of worlds of the Four Kingdoms that were coming under the sway of the Church of Scientism.

As trade between Terminus and the Four Kingdoms grew, some of the planetary governments attempted to increase their own revenues by imposing import duties on Foundation manufactures. The Sermak government responded by drafting the Foundation Convention in 12,161 GE (93 FE). Under the terms of the Convention, Foundation goods were exempted from all import duties; Foundation traders were granted free access to any Convention world; and any trader or other Foundation citizen who violated local laws was to be turned over to the Scientistic hierarchy for trial by ecclesiastical courts. Any world refusing to accept the Convention was barred from trading with the Foundation and placed under Church Interdict.

The Foundation's traders found the Convention to be a double-edged sword. In the Four Kingdoms, where Scientism was already firmly established, it enabled them to avoid paying shipping fees and import duties. It also enabled them to avoid whatever local laws the ecclesiastical courts let them avoid. Beyond the Four Kingdoms, however, any world which wished to avoid subversion of its independence by Scientism could do so by refusing to accept the Convention, which meant that no trader could legally engage in commerce on that world.

By the time of the Korellian Crisis of 12,225 GE (157 FE), it had been over twenty years since any world had accepted the Foundation Convention. A century of steady economic growth on Terminus had come to an end, and the resulting recession had led to the breakup of the Actionist Party. The Reform faction, under Education Secretary Ankor Jael (12,170-12,237 GE), wanted to amend the Foundation Convention to permit trade with non-Convention worlds. The Traditionalist faction, under Jorane Sutt (12,172-12,260 GE), insisted that the Convention remain unchanged. The final split came in 12,222 GE (154 FE) when Jael was expelled from the Mayor's cabinet and his followers were purged from the Actionist Party. Jael allied himself with Hober Mallow (12,181-12,253 GE), a Smyrnian Master Trader who had been sent by Sutt to the Republic of Korell to investigate the disappearance of several Foundation trade vessels. Mallow was unable to locate the missing vessels, but earned Sutt's wrath by taking advantage of his mission to sign a trade agreement with the Korellians. Upon Mallow's return, Sutt had him arrested for refusing to aid an endangered Scientistic missionary on Korell. Mallow exposed the missionary as a fraud, and used the positive publicity from the trial (and the money from his Korellian trade agreement) to win election as Mayor of Terminus in 12,223 GE (155 FE). Like Salvor Hardin before him, Mallow acted as his own Foreign Secretary/Church Primate. He revised the Foundation Convention to open trade to non-Convention worlds, and also to reduce the power of the Scientistic hierarchy. Finally, he successfully prosecuted a war with Korell, emphasizing economic rather than military conquest, thus setting the pattern for the next stage of the Foundation's expansion. By the time of Mallow's death in 12,253 GE (185 FE), Scientism had lost its status as the Foundation's official state religion, while the Foundation's economic sphere of influence had quadrupled in volume.

The Minarchy and the Riose Crisis

The renewed prosperity of the Mallow Mayoralty brought renewed industrialization and population growth to Terminus. Following the burst of growth that accompanied the assimilation of the Four Kingdoms, there was a period of stagnation that lasted roughly from 120 to 155 FE. The population of Terminus increased from ten million in 100 FE to fifty million in 120 FE. During Sutt's dominance of the Foundation's government, the population rose a mere 20% to sixty million, the slowest rate of growth in the planet's history. By Mallow's death in 185 FE, the population had jumped to 150 million, and was spreading out from Terminus Island to the surrounding islands of the Northern Archipelago.

In his time as Mayor, Hober Mallow created the first of the Trade Combines. During the Spiritual Era the Traders were middlemen, purchasing goods on Terminus for resale in the Four Kingdoms, or acting as sales agents for the manufacturing companies. Mallow, however, applied the principle of vertical integration with his Mallow Mercantile Group. Mallow owned the factories that produced the goods as well as the ships that transported and sold them. Following Mallow's revision of the Foundation Convention, the Mallow Mercantile Group became the model for all the major Trade Combines that followed. By the time of the Riose Crisis in 195 FE, 95% of the Foundation's trade was carried out by the four largest Trade Combines.

A more dubious legacy of Mallow's Mayoralty was his routine manipulation of the electoral process in pursuit of both political and economic objectives. In the last decade and a half of his life, he devoted less and less time to the political and administrative duties of the Mayoralty, and more to the expansion of the Mallow Mercantile Group. Upon his death, his illegitimate son Sennett Forell (135-208 FE) succeeded to control of the Mallow Mercantile Group. However, Forell had no interest in emulating his father's political career. Forell and the other heads of the Trade Combines manipulated the government when it suited them and ignored it otherwise, seeing to it that the government ignored them as well. Some historians refer to the period from 185 to 230 FE as the "minarchy", when real power was exercised by the heads of the Trade Combines and the civil government did little more than maintain public services on Terminus.

What little legislation was passed during the Minarchy was directed against the independent traders. It was during this period that the first of the Independent Worlds were settled by traders driven from Terminus by laws that favored the Trade Combines. Denied access to goods produced on Terminus, the independent traders began to specialize in trade between the Convention worlds, and even between non-Convention worlds.

The growth of the independent traders was halted in 195 FE when General Bel Riose of the Galactic Empire launched his attack on the Foundation. Several of the original Independent Worlds were occupied by Riose and used by him as military strongpoints, which suffered constant attack from the Foundation. The inhabitants of several other Independent Worlds abandoned and wrecked them rather than allow them to fall into Riose's hands. By the time of Riose's recall and execution, fully three quarters of the Independent Worlds had been rendered uninhabitable or nearly so. All that prevented the independent traders from being permanently destroyed was the fact that the Trade Combines had suffered just as much during the war. Effective resistance against Riose had been hampered by the inability of the Trade Combines to adopt a common strategy. They devoted more effort to guarding against each other than they did guarding against Riose.

In his campaign, Riose penetrated all the way to the Four Kingdoms, disrupting trade patterns that had been forged over the course of forty years. The Trade Combines learned to their embarrassment that Hober Mallow's revolutionary notion of economic warfare could work against the Foundation as well as for it. Cut off from the Foundation's technical expertise, the worlds of the Foundation trade empire were thrown onto their own resources. In some cases, these worlds remained on their own for over a decade before the Trade Combines had recovered sufficiently to resume contact. By then, these worlds had, perforce, built their own trade networks, which they were reluctant to give up after the return of the Foundation Trade Combines.

Even the addition of the Province of Siwenna after the war proved, it least initially, more of a hindrance than an advantage to the Foundation's recovery. Siwenna formed the single largest political unit within the Foundation, nearly twice the size (in terms of population and economic production) of the Four-Kingdom core of the prewar Foundation. When trade resumed, many of the worlds of the Foundation (especially the remnants of the Independent Traders) preferred to trade with Siwenna rather than Terminus.

The Autarchy

Terminus had been traumatized by the Riose War. Forty years of prosperity and economic growth had come to a sudden halt. Most of the people on Terminus experienced the first economic depression of their lives. It was not until 209 FE that Terminus' economy attained production levels comparable to the prewar era, and the memory of the Grand Depression (as it became known) cast a shadow over the lives of a whole generation.

One member of that generation was Indbur Gatton (189-255 FE). Born in the Terminus suburb of Teldirk, Gatton served from 214 to 225 FE as government trade liaison for Aridon Forell (173-230 FE), who succeeded his father as head of the Mallow Mercantile Group. Thus, Gatton was in a good position to observe the growing loss of cohesion within the Foundation.

The Independent Trading Worlds recovered from the Grand Depression more quickly than Terminus itself, spreading outward through the Periphery, as well as inward towards the newly independent Inner Sectors of the dying Empire. Every new Independent Trading World represented a loss of business for the Trade Combines of Terminus, and (since they paid no taxes to the Foundation) a loss of revenue to the Foundation government. The Trade Combines themselves grew more ruthless in competition with each other for the shrinking portion of trade that remained to Terminus. Under Aridon Forell, the Mallow Mercantile Group absorbed or eliminated the other Trade Combines until 225 FE, when Forell arranged a merger with Toran Darrell (179-230 FE), head of the Darrell Shipping Combine, to form the Terminus Trade Group.

Despite the concentration of effort brought about by the trade mergers, Terminus continued to lose ground to the Independent Trading Worlds. The crisis came in 229 FE, when the Association of Independent Traders declared its independence of the Foundation. At a stroke, the Foundation was reduced once again to the original Four Kingdoms, while the rest of its trade empire broke away and began to fragment. For no sooner had the Independent Trading Worlds seceded from the Foundation, than they began erecting trade barriers among themselves.

On Terminus, Aridon Forell seemed helpless to resolve the crisis. He was ousted from control of the Terminus Trade Group by a triumvirate formed by Tero Glent (191-233 FE), Toran Darrell and Indbur Gatton. Gatton persuaded the others that the authority of the government was needed to deal with the crisis, and together they were able to arrange Gatton's election as Mayor of Terminus. With a majority of the Foundation Council in the Terminus Trade Group's pocket, Gatton was able to push through legislation granting him the power to rule by decree. The Executive Council of the Association of Independent Traders was invited to Terminus for a summit meeting to negotiate the Association's reunion with the Foundation. As soon as the Executive Council reached Terminus, Gatton had them placed under arrest. Meanwhile, the Foundation Navy launched the Terror Raids, devastating the Independent Trading Worlds. Opposition to Gatton's extreme methods swiftly mounted, and was just as swiftly put down. The Foundation Council was dissolved, and its leaders, along with Lathan Devers of the Independent Traders and Toran Darrell of the Terminus Trade Group, were arrested and sentenced to hard labor in the slave mines of Rura Pente, where they all swiftly expired. By 230 FE, the power of the Independent Trading Worlds was broken, their number reduced from over two hundred to less than thirty. The dissolution of the Foundation was reversed, and the Terminus Trade Group held undisputed sway over the worlds of the Foundation Covenant, its dominion backed up by the power of the Foundation Navy.

The Foundation continued its slow but steady growth under Gatton, as well as under his son and successor, Indbur Gatton II (223-287 FE). The traders of the Terminus Group brought world after world under the Foundation's economic control. However, under Indbur II the Foundation's growth began to slow as security measures within the Terminus Group curtailed the initiative exercised by its traders. This tendency reached an extreme under Indbur III (249-310 FE), and by the end of the 3rd century the Foundation was once more in a state of decay.

The only advances made by the Foundation after 290 FE resulted from the efforts of the Independent Trading Worlds. Existing in a shadowy twilight, the Association of Independent Traders slowly rebuilt its strength, defying the trade monopoly of the Terminus Group as it built up a web of hidden worlds and secret trade routes. Toran Darrell's son Boric (209-268 FE) avoided arrest during Gatton's initial crackdown and fled to the Independent Trading World of Haven II. There, he was able to rebuild his family's shipbuilding business, which in turn made Haven II one of the leading Trading Worlds.

By the early years of the 4th century, the power of the Independent Trading Worlds had grown to the point where they dared once again openly defy the power of the decaying Autocracy on Terminus. By 310 FE, the Association of Independent Traders, under the leadership of Boric Darrell's sons Randu (241-314 FE) and Franssart (250-327 FE), was planning to rise up against the government of Indbur III. The revolt, however, was derailed by the sudden appearance of the Mule.

The Occupation

By far, the most mysterious figure in the history of the Interregnum is that of the Mule (280-321 FE). Even now, after seven centuries of research and scholarship, next to nothing is known of his origins. Most of what is now known was pieced together early in the fourth century by Han Pritcher (267-321 FE), who was at the time an officer in Indbur III's Information Bureau. Pritcher learned that the Mule was born on a decaying backwater world (which particular world is not known). His father was unknown, his mother died while giving birth to him. As he grew to maturity, the Mule slowly realized that he had the ability to sense other peoples' emotions. Later, he developed the ability to permanently alter those emotions. By the time he was twenty-three, he had used his emotional control to win the devotion of a pirate leader. Using the pirate and his band, and his own emotional control, he was able to gain control of the planet Borka in the Santanni Sector. With the resources of Borka, and his emotional control, he was able to gain control of the Duchy of Cremmis. From Cremmis, he was able to extend his control over the Kingdom of Dalagoth. From Dalagoth, he was able to seize control of the Prefecture of Kalgan. And it was from Kalgan that the Mule launched his attack on the Foundation in 310 FE.

The Mule left the military side of the war with the Foundation to Balus Keffin, who had been Warlord of Kalgan before his Conversion by the Mule. The Mule himself managed to infiltrate to the very heart of the Foundation by posing as his own escaped court fool, and from there he proceeded to Convert key members of the Foundation's political, economic and military elites. In a masterstroke of strategic skill, the Mule was able to launch his attack on Terminus itself on March 14, 311 FE, the day of Hari Seldon's Fifth Crisis Message. Thus, practically the entire government of the Foundation was present in the Time Vault when it was occupied by the Mule's soldiers.

Indbur III was captured by the Mule's soldiers when they occupied the Time Vault, and immediately executed along with most of his advisors. His son, Indbur Gatton IV, attempted to flee Terminus in a private ship, which was destroyed by one of the Mule's warships shortly after leaving the planet's atmosphere. The remaining officials of Indbur's government and the Terminus Trade Group were also rounded up and executed, and their places taken by the Mule's followers. The leadership of the Foundation Navy was purged, leaving only Admirals who had been Converted by the Mule. Under Keffin, who became Viceroy of the Foundation, the expansion of the Mule's Union of Worlds continued. In a demonstration of the power that the Foundation Navy could wield once unleashed, the Union of Worlds expanded from its Foundation/Kalgan core to encompass over one third of the Galaxy, a feat the Foundation itself required two centuries to equal. This frenzy of conquest is all the more remarkable when one remembers that it occured over a period of only fourteen months, between the Mule's conquest of Terminus in March 311 FE and his return from Trantor in May 312 FE.

Having failed to locate the Second Foundation in the Galactic Library on Trantor, the Mule returned to Kalgan. The period of conquests came to an end, and the era of the Search began. Six times over the next five years, the Mule sent Pritcher, now his top aide, out in search of the Second Foundation. During the final expedition to Tazenda in 316 FE, the Mule himself followed Pritcher, but ultimately in vain. The Mule's final failure at Tazenda left him convinced that the Second Foundation was a myth, and he was content to spend the last years of his life ruling the Union of Worlds in peace.

The appearance of the Mule, with his unique emotional control, was a completely random occurance, and thus unpredictable by psychohistory. As soon as the Mule launched his attack on the Foundation, events there began to depart dramatically from those Hari Seldon had foreseen. In a way, the timing of the Mule's attack proved fortunate for the custodians of the Seldon Plan. Had he made his attack at any other time, the Plan would have been irretrievably compromised. However, the Mule chose to launch his attack at the height of the Fifth Crisis, and the nature of the Fifth Crisis mitigated the effects of the Mule's actions.

We know from recordings of the Seldon Message of 311 FE that, absent the Mule, the Association of Independent Traders would have risen in revolt against the authority of Indbur III, and that they would have been joined by the democratic underground on Terminus itself. The rebellion would have been unsuccessful, but would have resulted in the ouster of Indbur III by a military coup. The resulting junta would have reversed the bureaucratic inertia that had built up under the Indburs, and eased the restrictions on political dissent, before finally giving way to a freely elected government.

An analysis of the relevant psychohistorical equations shows that there was a 21.5% probability of outside intervention during the projected revolt, either by a foreign ally of the Independent Traders, or by a post-Imperial warlord attempting to take advantage of the Foundation's internal troubles. Furthermore, there was a 4.8% probability that Terminus itself would be overrun and occupied for a time by a foreign power in the course of the Fifth Crisis. Thus, the Mule's conquest of the Foundation did not lie completely beyond the compass of the Seldon Plan, and it was possible for the Second Foundation to control the damage done. Also aiding in the restoration of the Plan was the transitory nature of the Mule's dominion. His empire dissolved rapidly after his death, as his subjects' natural inclinations reasserted themselves. By 331 FE, ten years after the Mule's death, the Galactic situation was more or less what it would have been if the Warlord of Kalgan had occupied Terminus for several years during the Fifth Crisis.

More or less, but not exactly, for the Mule's conquest had shaken the Foundation to its very roots. Not simply Terminus, but the whole of the Foundation had fallen under the Mule's control. To the inhabitants of Terminus, the occupation might well have proven permanent, for there was no force in the Galaxy to equal the Mule's, and hence there was no hope of liberation from outside. As the Mule's mercenaries patrolled the streets of Terminus City, and Balus Keffin ruled the worlds of the Foundation in the Mule's name, the people of Terminus had to accustom themselves to being the ruled, rather than the rulers. Decades after the Occupation itself had ended, the shadow of the Mule's rule would still darken the thoughts of the people of Terminus.

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