Religious Groups of Interest:
The Pan-Mercerist movement is a movement devoted to the unification of all Mercerists, and, to a lesser extent, all Evolved and semi-Evolved peoples, into a single state, or the protection of those peoples by the Cybusian state. First proposed by members of the Order of The Raven, the movement has become quite strong with both Mercerists and secular authorities who see it as an excellent opportunity to spread Imperial culture to other nations. The movement is led by a hitherto unremarkable Mercerist priest, Peter Akimov, a Baneshiek who rose from humble beginnings to become a strong supporter and an unofficial leader of the movement, giving soul-stirring sermons and traveling the universe to spread the Pan-Mercerist gospel, on an illustrious and well-defended Pilgrimage Fleet. He encourages listeners to come together and to work together to improve themselves and their communities, to aid the needy, and to spread the word of Lord Mercer, and to help everyone regardless of species or religion, and cautions listeners to avoid radical groups such as The Sons Of Mercer, who he claims have been tricked by The Great Deceiver into taking up arms against non-believers rather than trying to peacefully convert them. The movement is rapidly growing, and, remarkably, is staying true to its goals of peaceful unification and proselytization.
A large secret society that is not in and of itself a secret. The goings on within its doors, however are quite secretive. Overzealous Mercerists, the Order was formed shortly after Alex's resurrection. Members of the Order cloak themselves in hoods and robes, with lesser members wearing charcoal grey and red and leaders wearing blood red and black. The Order maintains a fleet of jet-black dropships and de-militarized frigates. Order facilities tend to be very ornate, featuring Mercerist iconography, and the Order maintains a small force of Zealots, who are armed and act as security personnel.
The Order seeks to make Mercerism the official state religion of the Empire, and to expand it everywhere. They are also notably speciesist, frowning upon(but not hating) those not of the "pure races", which are the Evolved, the Vulcans, and the Banshees, though they do admit Humans and other species into their ranks, if they prove loyal to Mercer.
The Order is suspected of preforming Ravak Opfernik on kidnapped Humans, and creating Bone Charms from their bodies. Members of the Order have been found guilty in the past, but there was no way to prove it was being carried out with the knowledge and approval of the organization. It is known that the Order was behind the kidnapping and forced Evolution of Johnathan T. Corsahnim, Alex's friend and leader of Corsahnim, though those responsible were Consumed by John and all evidence destroyed when he destroyed the facility in which he was Evolved. He was brainwashed into worshipping Alex, and subsequently Evolved the majority of his population, turning them into a subset of Evolved, Evol'Cor, who were only partially made of Blacklight. Due to this, and other suspicious activity by the Order, Torchwood remains a watchful eye on its activities. Despite this, the Order always disavows all knowledge of these events, and has repeatedly stated it opposes extremism and ultra-violence against non-Mercerists.
Despite the controversy behind it, the Order is a quite popular group within the Empire, with a presence almost everywhere the Empire is.
Criminal Groups of Interest:
A group of criminals operating in the Cybusian Empire and many other nations, the Obuhkov Family is centered around smuggling, extortion, blackmail, and other mostly non-violent crime, though there have been incidents of violence, and they also run a series of “gentleman’s clubs” across Imperial space.
Run by Issak Ubuhkov, a former Hartman-era Torchwood Agent who was fired and arrested for corruption, the Ubhokov family is talented at primarily skirting the law rather than outright breaking it, such as creating things in the Empire and then selling them in foreign countries for substantial profits, blackmailing and extorting targets with evidence of crimes or sensitive information such as affairs, selling illicit but not illegal chems, loaning money at extremely high rates, offering gambling services, and selling antiquities on the black market. However, they have been known to venture into much more obviously illegal affairs, but they are careful to avoid leaving evidence when they commit violent crimes, and they have been known to work with The Flesh Traders to transport their genetically engineered and mentally conditioned slaves.
On the few occasions the Family uses violence (typically against other criminal organizations), it is clean, efficient, and little evidence is left behind. Issak Ubhokov is believed to personally be responsible for over 100 such killings, though the evidence is circumstantial in all cases; Issak was known for being an expert “cleaner” during his Torchwood service. Family “erasers” are characterized by their sharp suits, precision, and minimal evidence left of Family involvement.
The Family maintains rivalries with numerous criminal organizations, both foreign and domestic, and has even battled terrorist groups such as the Sons of Mercer and the Servants Of The Red Queen when their interests conflict.
Terrorist Groups and Cults of Interest:
The Servants Of The Red Queen:
The Servants Of The Red Queen are a cult of worshippers of Elizabeth Green and Redlight. They believe that everything except Elizabeth and her infected "children" are things which must be “purified” though Redlight infection. The Servants do not have access to Redlight itself, but spread other diseases, be they the Drakul virus or more conventional diseases, to attempt to weaken planets, while they commit acts of sabotage and rebellion, trying to weaken the planet further.
They desperately seek to make Alex one of her children, thinking it will please her. Which is very ironic, considering that Elizabeth has her own plans for Alex.
The Servants are surprisingly powerful psionics, manifesting as dark green energy, in the form of bolts, shields, and lightning. Most troublingly, the leaders of The Servants, known as Bishops, are very skilled at telepathy and hypnosis.
The Servants also act as a low level psionic “lighthouse” attracting Runners, whom they will assist in any way they can, in addition to luring the fleets of Redlight closer.
The Servants are being engaged by Torchwood wherever they are discovered, and there are many signs they have expanded to other nations if they haven’t already, the siren song of The Red Queen echoing across reality, bewitching the weak and strong alike with promises of equality, strength, safety, immortality, and love from a great Mother and trillions upon trillions of brothers and sisters. Ironically, many will panic when faced with the horrors of Redlight in person. The Servants and the Chaos Cults Of Nyarlathotep have an extreme hatred for each other, fighting each other whenever they become aware of the others existence.
An ultra-Mercerist group composed solely of Evolved males, the Sons of Mercer are a new threat. Surprisingly talented at genetic and cybernetic modification, the Sons do not just use Ravak Opfernik to sacrifice heretics and create Bone Charms. Rather than waste them, that punishment is reserved only for those who actively take up arms against Lord Mercer, or his Sons. Lesser heretics are made use of in other ways because their sins are more redeemable. This is accomplished through brainwashing and cybernetic and genetic modification. Individuals unfortunate enough to have been captured or kidnapped by The Sons are forced through invasive surgeries without anesthetic to implant sub-dermal armor, cybernetic implants, stimulant and chemical injectors and pumps, and other devices. The finished product is a mostly mindless cyborg, the remaining brain kept docile and obedient through the constant playing of hymns and visions of Mercerist and Evolved domination of mortals and heretics. But if these things detect anyone not authorized by the cult, they immediately become filled with fury and inhuman strength, eagerly slaughtering and tearing apart their foes until either they or their foes are dead.
Led by a talented Evolved cyber-engineer, Johnathan Cawl, who is also easily capable of inflaming his flock with fiery sermons, the Sons are quickly becoming a threat to frontier worlds, especially those with large Human populations. They strike like lightning in modified dropships, gathering up dozens or even hundreds of captives for conversion, and then vanishing just as suddenly, only rarely engaging planetary defense forces. They have very few ships, but are remedying this by using aliases and shell companies to order vessels from Cybusian and foreign shipwrights alike. In the rare occasion the Sons engage in open conflict, robots are used in large numbers alongside their Absolver creations to force the enemy to keep their heads down so Absolvers can close within effective range. The Evolved rarely engage in combat themselves, but act as a potent force when they do, using their superior biology and durability to eliminate threats their legions of robots and cyborgs cannot.
They maintain bases in asteroids and frontier worlds, often heavily defended by large amounts of Absolvers and anti-ship defenses. They maintain a small presence on The Wrack, working with more extreme members of the Order of The Raven and The Oracular Sisterhood to find and capture prime human specimens, or purchase them from the secretive and anonymous Flesh Traders. Cawl’s headquarters varies constantly, sometimes he leads raids himself, other times he watches from secure outposts or ships.
A terrifying creation by an ultra-Mercerist sect known as the Sons of Mercer, Absolvers are created by forcibly conducting surgery on Human and near-Human species to forcibly implant cybernetics, armor, and Mesmerizing the subject. The subject’s hands or arms are replaced with weapons to engage heretics with. Very little of their original personality remains, but a tiny fragment is kept, suppressed, forced to watch in horror as their body happily carries out Alexander’s malignant will. They are typically armed with close-combat weapons such as automatic shotguns, blades, electro-whips, or other such things, using their synthetic muscles and cybernetically augmented strength to strike harder than an ordinary Human could, deadened to pain, driven to kill until either they or their foes are terminated. Some Absolvers are equipped with plasmids to make them even more powerful.
More to be added