The Missionary Works of the Holy Ghost is a religious organization that is, in truth, a pigment cult; in addition, it serves as a front for several other cults. The cult is lead by the Flatliner Uriah Bishop, and is one of the main adversaries of the former agents of Orpheus Group.
The Missionary Works started with Project Flatline. Bishop, as with all of the test subjects, were first injected with a projecting drug prior to their cryonic freezing. The drug gave all of the inmates horrible nightmares, but of the twelve only Bishop remembered his dreams vividly. With some focus, he also began to see Spectres, including the one possessing Dr. Amours Katlilian, the botanist who had created the drug. Somehow, he managed to approach the Spectre and offer it a deal; in exchange for support from the Spectres if he could escape, he would help them distribute the very drug he was being injected with on the streets. The Spectre and its Malfean master, Lamachis the Devourer, agreed to this arrangement. This drug, of course, became further refined into pigment after the Spectre took over the body of Dr. Lionel Squib, the head of Terrel and Squib.
A few months later, the convicts escaped from their bodies for good, leaving Orpheus Group and the NSA with some very tricky matters to tie up. But of the twelve ghostly ex-cons, only Bishop had a plan on what to do with his new afterlife. He managed to convince five of the Flatliners to assist him in his plans to help the Spectres by creating a major drug network to distribute pigment.
However, Bishop did not have followers in his five fellow Flatliners so much as lackeys, and desperately wanted a flock of mindless sheep at his beck and call. Around that time, the Spectre in Squib was taken over by Grandmother, and Bishop became aware of the frightening power she possessed. He decided the only way to survive her inevitable coming was to ally himself with her. Using her as a "god" of sorts, along with the pigment, he began to form a large pigment cult, which eventually became the Missionary Works of the Holy Ghost.
Most recently, the Missionary Works hired NextWorld to destroy the Orpheus Group. Bishop in particular was worried that its agents were getting too close to the truth about his involvement in the pigment operations, and also was annoyed by their concentrated efforts to get pigment off the streets.
The Modus Operandi of the Missionary Works
The Missionary Works will take most any destitute, lost, or isolated individual they think will be useful, but their prime focus while recruiting are what Bishop calls sensitives, or people predisposed to seeing ghosts, projecting without their knowledge, psychic visions, and other supernatural phenomena. These people generally feel scared at their dreams and visions of the dead, and once the "Holy Ghost" helps it all go away, they are more than willing to serve Bishop without question.
As in many cults, once a person seeks to be a member of the Missionary Works, the cult works to help them sever ties with the outside world. Friends, family, and outside interests are whittled away until the cultist can focus solely on the cult. Even though the cult’s actual purpose is corrupt, it still works through its members, many of which are people truly looking for spiritual salvation. While there are ceremonies and rituals, the Missionary Works take on a number of other jobs in order to present a respectable front to the world and keep their members busy.
Good works are a major part of the Missionary Works image. Whenever a cult member is involved in some charitable operation, they wear, prominently displayed, a pin or brooch with the symbol of the Holy Ghost. As they do their projects, certain cult members ensure the press and media will be present, to note the kindness that the Missionary Works is bestowing upon its fellow man. In addition, the cult puts on legitimate fundraisers, such as cake sales and car washes, to hold up its front.
However, the cult also is involved in some questionable activities outside of the pigment trade. They hire phony psychiatrists to hold consultations at occult gatherings, and to hold free and cheap clinics to assist the poor and needy. In actuality, these are cleverly constructed recruiting drives, and the charlatans use the opportunity to addict these poor souls to pigment and convince their patients that the Missionary Works has what they need.
On rare occasions, the cult will also take on unlawful jobs, such as kidnapping or murder. These are handled exclusively by the spirit members, and are virtually unknown to those in the lower ranks. Any living members who are captured or arrested will deny any connection to the Missionary Works. The cult will either bail them out, or, if the cultist appears ready to break down and confess, arrange for an "accident" while the person is in jail.
The cult is divided into several levels, or circles. Membership in each depends on the loyalty and service shown to the cult. In some cases, a member must "sacrifice" themselves to Grandmother to progress as well.
The Blessed Associates is the outermost circle of the cult. These are not members so much as allies, informants, and others who have helped the Missionary Works become what they are today. Some member of this circle are undercover, trying to find out as much about the cult as they can without actually taking pigment themselves.
The Reborn is the first "real" circle in the cult. These are the newest recruits. Among the first thing they experience is pigment, during which they see the "Holy Ghost" (actually a manifesting Bishop) for the first time.
The Sons and Daughters of the Holy Ghost are the next circle and among the Missionary Works’ more faithful followers. Many of these members are missionaries, recruiters, and mentors for those in the lower circle. They are the closest things to actual priests the cult has. Most cultists only make it to this rank; if they die while in this circle, their souls are generally sent to Spectral hives.
The Council of the Word is also known as the Persuasion Circle or the Persuaders. In this level, the members act as both propaganda generators for existing cult members to keep them believing, and as the Inquisition force for those that are harder to persuade. They are strong believers in the Holy Ghost, tend to be paranoid and strict, and will frequently resort to violent means of revenge for cult members who have betrayed them. There are a few spirits at this level.
The Council of Wardens are among Bishop’s most loyal followers. There are only about 100 members in this circle, and they serve as “bishops” of a sort. They also receive regular visits from the Holy Ghost. This is the highest circle in which living members can serve.
The Council of Blessed Guardians consists of spooks and Spectres (including several Chupacabras) who act as Bishop’s personal bodyguards. This circle was also present at the destruction of Orpheus Group.
The Council of Ministers are made up of ghosts who have undergone ritual-assisted suicide or who have died by other means and since allied themselves with the Missionary Works. They are among Bishop’s most trusted advisors and ardent followers.
Grandmother’s Eye is the innermost circle and consists solely of the six Flatliners.
Other Fronts for the Missionary Works
All of the organizations listed below are tied into the Missionary Works, through their leaders (all fellow Flatliners) and the fact that they receive their pigment from Bishop.
- First Step - A once-legitimate substance abuse organization now run by Flatliner Harper Forester.
- The Aphrodite Society – A "matchmaking" and spiritual fulfillment center also run by Harper Forester.
- The Temple of the Mother of Vision – A cult vaguely based on Wiccan theology and spiritual fulfillment that is run by Jason Hein.
- The Church of the Angelic Host – An Adventist church whose minister is being Skinridden by Bruno Tavoularis.
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