Monday, January 26, 2015

26. Society of the Words of Gods

In the wake of the Fall, transhumanity is scattered, isolated and traumatized. With so many searching for stability and community, lost in the post-singularity world, cults are springing up like weeds.

The Society of the Words of Gods is one of the most isolated and closed-off communities in the outer system, for one reason. The Society speaks only one language, a unique language, believed to train the thoughts of those who speak it. The cult uses memory editing, skill suppression, and deep learning psychosurgury to teach the faithful the Words and to remove their ability to understand any others. The faithful thus lose their ability to communicate with the rest of transhumanity, and the Society becomes their whole world.

The Society was founded by Alexander Haywood and his seven disciples. Haywood claimed to have been taught the Words by a powerful alien being he contacted via a radio observatory at which he worked. The being promised that the Words would transform those who spoke and thought them, preparing humans to live among gods. Haywood recorded these sessions, but no one other than himself and his disciples have ever heard them.

The Society has no formal organization, but in practice can be divided into four groups. The lowest on the totem pole are the potentials, those who are proving themselves to the Society and who retain their old languages. The next (and largest) group are the faithful, who have undergone psychosurgury to learn the Words and have all other languages removed. The highest public figures are Haywood's seven original disciples, who have the most natural grasp of the Words and administer the psychosurgery raising potentials to faithful. At the apex is Haywood himself, although he has not been seen for two years. Whether or not he remains alive, and if so, the nature of his life, remains a mystery to all but the disciples.

The Society lives in a tight tin-can complex maintaining an isolated orbit between Saturn and Jupiter. They seem entirely self-sufficient, and do not respond to hails, even in an emergency. If their habitat has a name, they have not shared it with outsiders.

Plot Hook: Firewall has been working a sleeper agent into the inner circle of the cult, and have recently received a fragment of the signal Haywood intercepted. Based on that fragment, they now believe the signal is of genuine alien origin. The cult's mythology strongly suggests exsurgent, TITAN or alien manipulation, so Firewall needs the PCs to retrieve the full signal by any means necessary.

1 comment:

  1. My favorite part of this is probably the last line: "If their habitat has a name, they have not shared it with outsiders." I read it sort of flippantly and then realized the weight in the context. Sort of a nice metaphor for how the Words are supposed to work.