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The Order of the Far God,[1] more commonly known as the Far God cult, was a radical religious sect that formed sometime in 3304 in the Core Systems. It had no formal name, and its members openly worshiped the Thargoids as heralds of a divine being they called the Far God. One of numerous fringe religions with apocalyptic beliefs that arose during the second conflict between humans and Thargoids, the enigmatic Order of the Far God attracted a significant following across multiple systems in Federation and Alliance space. While ostensibly harmless, the cult's members have garnered disdainful and violent reactions from the mainstream galactic community, and its unusual beliefs have been the focus of scholarly interest.

HistoryEdit

EmergenceEdit

As the Thargoid conflict wore on in 3304, journalists and scholars began noting the phenomenon of fringe doomsayer cults proliferating throughout the Core Systems. Independent reporter Gethin Okonkwo published an article on May 19, 3304 revealing that dozens of such cults had emerged and attracted thousands of members, and while their natures varied, they were all adamant that the Thargoid conflict was a sign of an imminent apocalypse. For example, the Church of the Eternal Void taught that the war was a futile struggle for human souls, with the Thargoids taking the role of demons while the Guardians were "beings of light who have decreed us unworthy of salvation". In contrast, Generation Omega believed that human civilization was naturally doomed to fall before a superior lifeform such as the Thargoids, and planned to build mass euthanasia centres to give humanity the opportunity to end itself with dignity. Okonkwo concluded by saying that these radical fringe religions would likely persist as long as the uncertainty caused by the Thargoid conflict continued.[2]

On June 16, exotheologian Dr. Alfred Ulyanov highlighted one unnamed cult that even worshiped the Thargoids as divine beings, and preached that only they would survive the apocalyptic arrival of an extra-dimensional, omnipotent entity called the Far God. The cult's followers gathered in hive-chapels patterned after Thargoid vessel and structure designs. The interiors were dark, with pulsing green lights, surfaces covered in a black, coral-like substance, and an overpowering stench of ammonia. Members directed their prayers at an altar shaped like a Thargoid Interceptor. The members themselves were adorned only in simple, unmarked robes with hoods. While they were intense and resolute, many also appeared unhealthy.[3]

Public suspicionEdit

By June 30, the nameless cult had garnered hostile reactions from the public, and security officials had arrested multiple individuals for committing various misdemeanors against cult members. There were no recorded cases of worshipers retaliating, defending themselves, or seeking assistance. Local authorities such as Councillor Quinn Damico of the Aranbarahun system called for tolerance: "I would like to assure citizens that the Far God worshippers, while strange, are essentially harmless. Furthermore, criminal acts against them, including incitement to violence, may result in prosecution. The right to freedom of religion is protected by law in all systems where the sect has a presence."[4]

Mistrust of the cult continued to grow, however, and on July 5, 3304, reporter Flint "Firemaker" Lafosse stoked tensions further with speculation that the reclusive Thargoid cult was a "fifth column" of brainwashed abduction victims sent back to human systems as spies and saboteurs. Lafosse noted that the most unsettling characteristic of the cultists was their secretiveness and refusal to communicate. Dr. Ulyanov refuted Lafosse's claims: "I can categorically answer one point: the reason the Far God worshippers are not interested in communicating is that, from their point of view, we will all be dead soon. As for the rest of this speculation, nothing in my studies has caused me to suspect this group to be a threat, despite its unsettling beliefs."[5]

Holy warEdit

On July 11, 3304, the Church of the Eternal Void publicly denounced the Far God cult and declared a holy war against it. A spokesperson identified as Cardinal Hieronymous stated, "As disciples of the Guardians, we hereby declare war on those who have sold their souls to the Thargoid demons. We vow to expunge their poisonous creed and purge them from the galaxy." The Church immediately saw a dramatic upswing in support from local communities, especially detractors of the Thargoid cult. In response, security forces in multiple systems issued reminders that the Thargoid cult was a legally-recognized religion. Dr. Ulyanov commented on the situation on the Rewired news feed: "It's apparent that the Church is taking advantage of animosity towards the Far God sect to promote itself. The idea of Thargoid spies in human form, although baseless, has caused much anxiety. By declaring the Cult a holy adversary, the Church validates its own existence."[6]

By July 19, numerous attacks had been incited against the Far God cult by the Church of the Eternal Void across multiple systems. Several of the sect's places of worship were firebombed, resulting in dozens of deaths and hundreds of injuries. The Far God cultists offered no resistance to the aggression, and even refused to leave their burning hive-chapels. Local security forces were slow to respond to the incidents, and few arrests were made. While Church representatives and critics of the Far God cult praised the attacks, Councillor Quinn Damico of Aranbarahun called for an immediate security crackdown on vigilantism and accused the Church of openly persecuting a legally-registered religion.[7]

The violence continued, with the death toll among the Far God cult rising into the hundreds. On July 25, the Church of the Eternal Void was declared illegal by local authorities in every system where it operated, and the Church's leadership was arrested for inciting violence against the Far God cult. Councillor Damico praised the declaration, while critics of the Far God cult condemned it. Dr. Jameelah Griffin of the Galactic Interfaith Commune stated, "The ability to distinguish between laws and beliefs is the mark of a civilised society. In this case we consider the Far God sect to be the victim rather than the aggressor, despite the controversial nature of their faith."[8]

FIA investigation and disappearancesEdit

The Federal Intelligence Agency launched an investigation into the Far God cult on August 3, 3304. Several members of the sect were arrested for interrogation. FIA Senior Agent Micah Whitefield addressed the arrests: "Given the organisation's proclaimed interest in the Thargoids, it is vital that we confirm they are not in contact with Thargoid forces, or being influenced by them. The FIA is working with local security agencies across many systems to ascertain the truth." The Rewired news service broadcast footage of armed Federal troops forcing their way into the cult's hive-chapels and dragging cult members into armoured vehicles. There was no sign of resistance from the Far God adherents. Other video feeds showed groups of citizens trying to shield the Far God worshippers, while rival groups could be seen cheering on the soldiers.[9]

A fresh wave of cultist arrests occurred on August 9, with Senior Agent Whitefield stating, "This operation is purely a security matter. Under Federal law, any action that undermines enemy activity during wartime is legal, including the suspension of civil liberties. We are expanding our investigation to include all members of this organisation and anyone with a connection to it." Media channels reported a division in public opinion regarding the FIA's actions. Some saw the arrests as illegal and tantamount to religious persecution. Others claimed that the Far God worshippers have invited suspicion upon themselves, and that their detainment was justified.[10]

The investigation entered a new stage on August 17 with the arrest of Dr. Alfred Ulyanov and his family at their home in the Rana system by FIA agents. Dr. Ulyanov was a leading authority on the Far God cult, and his research materials and computer systems were also confiscated. Professor Siobhan Vogel of the Interstellar Association of Universities registered a formal complaint against Ulyanov's arrest. Senior Agent Whitefield elaborated on the situation: "When it comes to possible Thargoid allies, we cannot afford to overlook anything. Dr Ulyanov's involvement with the Far God cult makes him a valid person of interest. We are also investigating the Galactic Interfaith Commune, the Spiritual Freedom Movement and other organisations that have supported Thargoid worshippers."[11]

On August 23, the Federal Intelligence Agency reported that Far God cult members were disappearing in large numbers. Hive-chapels in Federal space raided by the FIA were found empty, and reports from independent systems stated that entire chapters of the cult were disappearing overnight. Senior Agent Whitefield believed that the cultists were attempting to leave the cult and return to normal life, and urged the galactic community to report any ex-cultists to the FIA. However, Dr. Jameelah Griffin of the Galactic Interfaith Commune commented that there were no known cases of Far God cultists returning to their friends or family, and the disappearances remained a mystery.[12]

On August 30, prominent anti-Far God cult activist Juanita Bishop announced that she would run for Federal Congress as an independent candidate. Dr. Jameelah Griffin commented: "Juanita Bishop is building her powerbase on the fear and paranoia that she herself has invoked. As has happened before, an innocent religion is being used as a scapegoat for society's ills. We should be more concerned about the fact that Far God chapters are continuing to vanish without trace. If they are under threat, it is our duty to offer protection. These people are not aliens but citizens with legal rights, despite Bishop's efforts to dehumanise them."[13]

Meanwhile, independent pilots tracking leads provided by Aegis's Eagle Eye array uncovered vital clues explaining the disappearances of the Far God cultists. Two compounds belonging to the cult were discovered in the Etain system: "The Prophet" at Etain 4 C, and "The Sanctum" at Etain 4 A. Both sites had recently been attacked by Thargoids, and while there was no indication of survivors, personal audio logs recorded by the cultists revealed that they had retreated from their hive-chapels elsewhere and gathered at these secluded locations to be placed into cryogenic stasis while awaiting the arrival of the Far God and their expected ascendancy. The cultists came from various walks of life, and had joined the cult for a wide range of reasons; one member, Nathan Summers, was even an undercover FIA agent who lost contact with his superiors. Given the Thargoids' penchant for abducting escape pods, it is possible that they also abducted the Far God cultists in their cryo-stasis "crypts".[1]

Meanwhile, the FIA remained unable to explain the disappearances and continued to find hive-chapels empty. Arrests of possible Thargoid sympathizers expanded to the associates and family members of known Far God cultists. Independent reporter Gethin Okonkwo and Dr. Jameelah Griffin were also arrested, and several religious freedom advocacy groups were shut down. Senior Agent Micah Whitefield stated: "We will leave no stone unturned in our mission to identify Thargoid influences. The disappearance of Far God chapters is clearly a coordinated operation of either human or alien design. We warn anyone who may be harbouring cult members that they are impeding a Federal investigation, and will face criminal charges."[14]

Request for Thargoid materialsEdit

On August 30, the Far God cult contracted the LHS 2541 Alliance Combine to manage an open order for various Thargoid materials, which the cult insisted would only be revered as objects of worship and not used in xenobiological experiments. The Far God cult used a middleman to maintain their privacy and avoid further persecution, and the LHS 2541 Alliance Combine agreed to help the cult in the interests of religious freedom. Pilots were asked to deliver the Thargoid materials to Wheelock Ring in the Zavijah system.[15] The campaign concluded in success on September 6, 3304. The LHS 2541 Alliance Combine took the opportunity to thank contributors and reiterate that rumors that the Far God cult was experimenting on willing test subjects in the hopes of ascending to a higher form of life had no factual basis.[16]

Investigation concludesEdit

On September 13, anti-Thargoid campaigner and independent Federal Congressional candidate Juanita Bishop called on Federal Congress to make Thargoid worship a capital crime, and for all members of the Far God cult to be executed without trial. Political analysts noted that Bishop's statement triggered considerable debate in Congress and polarized Congressmen, with some aligning with Bishop to appear "tough on Thargoids" and others decrying her "inhuman rhetoric" and her proposal to execute Federal citizens without due process. With the FIA continuing to arrest Far God cultists and those in contact with them, and casualties from the Thargoid war mounting, the Far God cult appeared on the verge of extinction.[17]

Independent reporter Gethin Okonkwo, who was previously thought missing, revealed that he had been living undercover within the Far God cult for the past three months. In an op-ed piece, Mr. Okonkwo shared his experiences: "I was fascinated by Dr. Ulyanov's research and I desperately wanted to understand this doomsayer cult further, so I decided to covertly study the Far God sect by posing as an adherent. During this time, I visited hive-chapels in several different systems, narrowly escaping death when one was attacked by the Church of Eternal Void. On many occasions, I was physically and verbally abused by members of the public, including Juanita Bishop's campaign followers. At no point did I see evidence of actual contact with the Thargoids, bar the occasional use of alien material as holy artefacts. Most worshippers are essentially fatalists, attracted to the idea of an apocalypse. Some are convinced that they alone will survive the Far God's manifestation. It is a strange and often contradictory faith, but no less so than other religions. I recorded my experiences within the sect using concealed micro-cameras. I am voluntarily sharing this data with the Federal Intelligence Agency to prove that the Far God sect is not dangerous, and with the hope of ending its persecution."[18]

Senior Agent Micah Whitefield announced on September 29 that the FIA had closed its investigation of the Far God cult. Whitefield told the media: "The information provided by Gethin Okonkwo on the inner workings of the Far God sect has been verified as genuine. In the absence of any evidence regarding communication with the Thargoids, our investigation is concluded. All worshippers who were detained have now been released. We are indebted to Mr Okonkwo for his highly detailed report. We had hoped to gain similar insights via our own undercover agent, who infiltrated the sect, but we are still awaiting his report." Dr. Alfred Ulyanov commented: "I offer the highest praise to Gethin Okonkwo, whose dedication has confirmed the innocuous nature of the Far God faith. Sadly, this experience illustrates that intolerance and fear of the 'other' remain deeply embedded in human nature, no matter how advanced our species becomes."[19]

Moving onEdit

In the wake of Okonkwo's investigation confirming there was no connection between the Far God cult and the Thargoids, Juanita Bishop's congressional campaign collapsed and she lost her election. Many members of Federal Congress also turned against Bishop and began blaming her for causing civil unrest and violating the Federation's principles of religious freedom. In a defiant statement to the media, Bishop doubled-down on her rhetoric against the cult and renewed her call for its members to be summarily executed.[20]

On October 10, Gethin Okonkwo shared more details about his time with the Far God cult: "After three months of living as a Far God worshipper, I'm now acclimatising to life as an ordinary citizen. There, I was known only as Third Witness of the Tenth Chapter, although that was more of a title than a name. Identical in our robes, we were all nameless servants of the commune. That may sound despotic, but there was a strangely seductive aspect to surrendering one's identity. At times I almost experienced the tranquillity that true adherents seemed to feel. I'm relieved to see Far God believers returning to their hive-chapels, having survived weeks of persecution. This has been a baptism of fire for the sect, with hundreds dead and several chapters still missing. Many other doomsayer cults have since faded away or, like the Church of Eternal Void, been outlawed. But it seems that the Far God faith will endure, perhaps even beyond our conflict with the Thargoids. I have been contacted by the exotheologian Dr. Alfred Ulyanov with a view to combining our research. Together we hope to produce the definitive account of this tenacious religion."[21]

On November 28, Dr. Alfred Ulyanov commented on the discovery of the Far God cult outposts in the Etain system back in August, noting that both settlements provided surprising insights into the motivations of the cult members. Ulyanov also asserted that while it was clear that the two settlements had been attacked, it was not certain that Thargoids were the perpetrators and the attacks may have been carried out by humans instead. Ulyanov thanked the explorers who discovered the settlements and revealed that the information would be used in a book about the cult that he was co-writing with Gethin Okonkwo.[22] Okonkwo teased the book on December 8, claiming that it would reveal new details on the nature of the Far God religion, but that the discovery of the Etain sites proved that many of the cult's mysteries had yet to be uncovered.[23]

Survivor found at "The Prophet"Edit

On March 23, 3305, freelance reporter Alexei Keel broke the news that the Federal Intelligence Agency had recovered an intact cryogenic pod from the rubble of the abandoned Far God cult compound called "The Prophet" on Etain 4 C. The discovery was made as the FIA conducted intensive scanning of the site in search of missing undercover agent Nathan Summers. The pod's occupant was rushed to a medical facility for treatment, but his or her identity was not disclosed. It was considered likely that the survivor was one of the cultists who recorded audio logs at the site, prior to entering suspended animation to await the Far God.[24] On March 30, the survivor was formally identified as Kiona O'Connor, a 17-year old runaway who had been accepted and sheltered by the cultists. Following a debriefing, the FIA contacted her father, John O'Connor, and arranged for her to be sent home.[25]

BeliefsEdit

Followers of the Far God cult primarily worship a divine being called the Far God, who is both unknowable and omnipotent. To the followers, the Thargoids are messengers or "dark angels" sent to this universe to prepare humanity for the Far God's impending arrival from another universe, and only those who believe in the Far God will be spared from the apocalyptic effects of its manifestation. The cultists gather in so-called "hive-chapels" to pray to the Far God, and avoid contact with non-followers.[3][5]

MembersEdit

  • Thaddeus MacRaith, First Herald of the Second Chapter
  • Vanya Hargrave, Third Herald of the Second Chapter
  • Reuben Delgado, Adherent of the Seventh Chapter
  • Dr. Hester Dolmayne, First Witness of the Sixth Chapter
  • Kiona O'Connor, Adherent of the Fifth Chapter
  • Nash Severin, Second Disciple of the Fifth Chapter
  • Corinne de la Torre, Adherent of the Fourth Chapter
  • Noah Whiteleaf, Second Witness of the First Chapter
  • Nathan Summers, Adherent of the Sixteenth Chapter (undercover FIA agent)
  • Gethin Okonkwo, Third Witness of the Tenth Chapter (undercover journalist)

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 Elite Dangerous Etain Abandoned Settlement Logs
  2. GalNet: Fringe Doomsayer Cults on the Rise
  3. 3.0 3.1 GalNet: Worshipping the Thargoids
  4. GalNet: Thargoid-Worshipping Cult Garners Hostility
  5. 5.0 5.1 GalNet: A Thargoid Fifth Column?
  6. GalNet: Fringe Religion Condemns Far God Cult
  7. GalNet: Far God Cult Attacked
  8. GalNet: Guardian-Worshipping Church Declared Illegal
  9. GalNet: Far God Cult under Investigation
  10. GalNet: Further Arrests of Far God Cultists
  11. GalNet: Ulyanov Arrested
  12. GalNet: Far God Cultists Vanishing
  13. GalNet: Juanita Bishop runs for Congress
  14. GalNet: Thargoid-Sympathiser Arrests Increase
  15. GalNet: Far God Campaign
  16. GalNet: Far God Campaign Concludes
  17. GalNet: Calls to Execute Far God Worshippers
  18. GalNet: Inside the Far God Cult
  19. GalNet: Far God Cult Investigation Ends
  20. GalNet: Bishop’s Congressional Bid Collapses
  21. GalNet: Survivors of the Far God
  22. GalNet: Ulyanov Discusses Far God Outposts
  23. GalNet: Mysteries of the Far God
  24. GalNet: Survivor Found at Far God Outpost
  25. GalNet: Far God Survivor Revived
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