The time allotted by the gods had passed, though few knew. Most still pretended to believe that they could save the world, for it paid well. And pretense had been made popular. Indeed. And failure to support the administration was punishable by public distain.
Long ago the establishment had abandoned most civil forms of law enforcement. And the jurisprudence of the age was the latest propaganda, the latest mandate. There was little need of formal law enforcement. Each citizen was officer, judge and executioner. At first, they had to bribe the people heavily for compliance, but in a short time, they could be persuaded to follow by the mere threat of relinquishing convenience.
And, of course, the people hated it. And few really believed. And they hated themselves even more for not knowing what to do about it. But it was the true among them whom they really hated. And non-compliance was met with the most violent suppression, not by the authorities, but by the people. And so you might say that the people governed themselves by a kind of mobocracy.
And it was in the midst of this that the hiding place was first discovered. The hiding place was not an actual place, but a way of being, a set of laws, which if obeyed, protected and even hid those who lived by them.