The Expedition's starship arrived in a solar system where primitive civilization had begun to develop. In these days of Pax Galactica, it was important to pay close attention to developing civilizations throughout the Galaxy. Such attention, combined with subtle modifications, was a key part of what had maintained peace across forty million planets for almost two hundred thousand years. The Expedition had arrived in the solar system for this purpose; as in similar cases, it was important to ensure the proper development and assimilation into the Galaxy of a planet that would one day be known as Earth.
As technology had developed across the Galaxy, so had the social sciences. Civilization was no longer looked at as a homogeneous mass with one perfect mode of government. Rather, a view had developed of civilization as a system and a science called Quantitative Sociology had developed. With this science, history could be analyzed and certain patterns could be discovered. It became possible to look at a situation involving millions, billions, or even trillions of intelligent life forms and determine what social influences would lead to what outcomes. Quantitative Sociology could not predict the future, but it could determine the most likely result of a course of action when applied to a large social situation. As such, it had been applied to the Galaxy for two hundred thousand years to maintain a total peace never before seen. A developing crisis in any region could be predicted and handled before it caused disruption. Uncertainties still remained, however. The actions of a single person could never be predicted, for Quantitative Sociology dealt with large masses and not with individuals. Situations in which individuals played a key role had to be carefully monitored and adjusted to produce the desired outcome. Similarly, developing planets could become threats if their growth was not monitored and their assimilation into the Galaxy was not planned and controlled.
It was for this reason that the Expeditions existed. When the starship arrived carrying the members of the Expedition, the desert nomads looked into the sky and saw a streak of light across the heavens, surely a sign from the gods. The members of the Expedition looked back and saw the nomads. Life was developing on this planet in a familiar way. The people of this world had barely begun to rise above the animals. They worshiped their many gods and roamed across vast plains, searching for food and fighting for territory. It was an unstable situation that would take twenty thousand years of bloodshed and chaos to sort itself out. Even then the outcome would be uncertain. A technologically advanced world without restraint could wreak havoc across star systems. As it was at the time, small tribes were scattered across wide distances. Occasionally, a group might rise up with its idols and conquer a small region. However, every such group was destined to eventually fall. The monuments to the idols would crumble to dust with time, and what knowledge had been gained and what lessons had been learned was tied to the idols. The conquerers, eager to assert their power, would rise up their own idols and worship their own gods, only to fall in turn. There would still be forward motion, but it would be without stability and responsibility. It had been this way on a million worlds and would be this way on millions more. But the sciences which kept the Galaxy at peace and which demanded that the development of new worlds be controlled also showed a way to end the barbarism and bring the people of this world into the rest of the Galaxy in only a few thousand years.
Shortly after the Expedition arrived and the analysis of the planet was concluded, a fairly routine solution was developed that would bring about the desired effect. In reality, the Expedition was small and limited in power. Announcing their presence as citizens of the greater Galaxy would mean nothing to the primitives. Similarly, the actions of large numbers of groups could not be controlled through direct means. Even extended contact with the inhabitants would be unproductive and had to be avoided at all costs. The natives had to be used as tools to affect changes and start in motion the plan dictated by science. Where needed, a small change of climate or even the direct modification of an individual mind might be used to create a much greater result.
The Expedition's first major contact was with a man named Abraham. It had been determined that the best way to deal with this planet was through creating a small clan that, with the proper molding and nurturing, would become a great nation; a foundation from which the future would arise. At this time in their history, the people of the planet needed gods for security and for explaining the unknown. However, a polytheistic culture was inherently unstable over a long period of time and thus would not make a good foundation. As had been done on many Expeditions before, it had been determined that creating a monotheistic foundation would provide an ideal method for controlling the group's members. The leader of the Expedition appeared before Abraham, in an appropriately disguised fashion and presented himself as the one true God. As had been planned, the two made a covenant where it was promised to Abraham that from him would rise up a great nation. Abraham's people slowly grew in strength, but left alone they would have dissolved unnoticed into history. The plan could not be left alone but required careful intervention to ensure that key events had the desired outcomes.
One of these events happened during the life of Jacob, a descendant of Abraham. Jacob had twelve sons, one of whom was named Joseph. Joseph was Jacob's favorite son and was not strong willed due to his father's pampering. As such, he was a malleable and useful tool. The nation of Abraham needed to be put through hardships to form it, and the same applied to Joseph. The Expedition induced dreams in Joseph of future greatness. When he told these dreams to his brothers, they became even more jealous of him than they had been before. The proper application of jealousy at the right time was arranged and Joseph was sold into slavery and made his way into Egypt, a nation which was rising in power. Under the auspices of being his ``God,'' the Expedition provided for Joseph. Circumstances were altered so that he rose to prominence within the household of Pot'i-phar, a high ranking officer of Egypt. During this time, Joseph gained leadership skills and was thankful for his success, which he attributed to his God. After a time, a challenge was arranged by the Expedition to test his resolve and strength. The wife of Pot'i-phar offered herself to Joseph, but he withstood temptation and refused. Angry, she accused Joseph of making advances on her and he was sent to prison. In prison, he again gained strength through hardship and rose to a position of responsibility. The Expedition had arranged to get Joseph to this point, and they then made the leader of Egypt aware of Joseph. A dream was implanted into the Egyptian leader and eventually he asked for Joseph's interpretation (which was again implanted by the Expedition). Joseph explained that the dream meant that seven years of drought and famine would follow seven years of plenty. Impressed by this interpretation, and with sufficient intervention, the leader made Joseph the prime minister of Egypt with the duty of preparing the land for the famine. When the drought came, which was generated by weather control systems on the Expedition's ship, Egypt was prepared but neighboring countries were not. As had been the plan all along, Joseph craftily arranged for his family to migrate into Egypt. Joseph also established a feudal system in Egypt, bringing the independent farmers and nomads under tighter control of the central government.
Joseph had been cultivated to bring about these two changes. In Egypt, the descendants of Abraham prospered and grew in number. Eventually, the native Egyptians turned against these people and they were forced through hardships. Properly tempered, it was arranged for them to leave Egypt and return to the land of Abraham. Grateful to what they believed to be their God's generosity, the people were willing to accept a set of commandments. These commandments, devised by the Expedition, would further mold Abraham's people in the desired direction. Over time and through further hardships, the people divided, expanded, and diversified. While mighty empires rose and crumbled, they were maintained, creating a unified thread through the planet's history and holding back an onset of chaos. After a few thousand years, that which had branched off the original foundation would have a strong influence over large regions of the planet. It might take a thousand years more, but eventually the Expedition would be complete and the inhabitants of this world would become ready for integration into the greater Galaxy, which was itself under its own Plan.