disclaimer: "There is a technical term for someone who confuses the opinions of a character in a book with those of the author. That term is 'idiot'."~S.M Sterling
|This article, Brotherhood of Obsidian, was written by monsterjealousy. Do not edit this fiction without the writer's consent.|
the Brotherhood of Obsidian is a cult (in this case, "cult" is a term used for convenience and not accuracy) currently based somewhere in Socrota, previously having been based in Australia. the Brotherhood of Obsidian believes that the destinies of the human and xenomorph species are intrinsically linked, and that if either species is to survive the coming age they must be integrated with one another, producing a “flawless” xenomorph-human hybrid. The cult has access to extremely advanced genetic engineering technology, and has used said technology to produce several xenomorph hybrids.
the Brotherhood of Obsidian is similar to LaVeyan Satanism in that it does not believe in any deities, places great emphasis on personal power and freedom, and has a general occult theme (though this could be the result of influence from the BoO's many psionic members). as stated above, the BoO believes that the human and xenomorph races will eventually combine into a single enlightened species. They equate the xenomorph hive mind to a transcendent state of consciousness in which the sense of self is eliminated, but they don't believe in separating from the material world entirely; they intend to exist as an advanced xenomorph hive, combining the flawless instinct and communal drive of the xenomorph with the imagination of humanity. To avoid becoming a Borg-like collective, the BoO's ideal society would teach its people to encourage and embrace individualism as a way to advance the hive as a whole; people who try new things can report what they learn about said new thing to the hive, which contributes to the hive's ability to adapt, improve, and evolve.
most BoO members also believe that this merging of the species is not only inevitable, but necessary if either species is to survive the next few centuries, which the BoO believes will herald the arrival of a powerful new threat from the stars. some cultists believe that this threat is simply an Ethereal resurgence, while others think that it is an entirely new race, which humanity has not yet encountered. despite this single, rather questionable belief, the BoO does not possess any other overly superstitious beliefs, and, for the most part, remains firmly grounded in science. indeed, most BoO members describe their religion as "just transhumanism gift-wrapped in cool-sounding Crowley-style terminology." they also lack the misogny, homophobia, racism, and other prejudices that seems common to other religions (though if you really wanna be a bitch about it I suppose you could consider the name "Brotherhood of Obsidian" a sexist microaggression).
despite believing that the xenomorph/human merge, or "Union", as they call it, is inevitable, the BoO is not content to sit back and watch it happen on its own. the BoO, using advanced genetic engineering technology possibly obtained from the Engineers, regularly preform experiments on humans and xenomorphs in order to bring their genes closer together. they have created many new xenomorph variants this way.
the BoO, psionics, and "magic"
"what is it about psionic energy that drives everyone so completely mad?"
~the chosen hunter
"sometimes you have to be psychotic to prove a point."
due to psionics being an integral part of their proposed utopian xeno-hybrid society, many BoO members are former templars. this results in the treatment of psionics as an almost magical phenomenon. this is not far from the truth; science has yet to explain exactly how psionics work. however, many BoO members add a seemingly-unnecessary amount of ritual to the use of their psionic abilities, ranging from a few hand gestures or magic words to an elaborate ceremony, depending on the urgency of the ritual. for example, you wouldn't want to meditate for 10 hours in a pentagram painted in goat's blood just to use soulfire on an angry yautja when waving your hands around and shouting "abracadabra!" will do the job just as well. But the reason behind these seemingly-illogical rituals actually makes a lot of sense. the effectiveness of psionics can vary wildly depending on the user's state of mind. the use of ritual, no matter how insignificant it may seem, can greatly boost the power and versatility of one's psionic abilities. this is why the templars appear so zealously devoted to their cause: because that devotion makes their abilities all the more powerful. nevertheless, certain philosophies and/or religions (as well as the rituals associated with them) are harder for some people to believe than others. while the templars were indeed powerful psionic warriors, their rigid code prevented them from reaching their full potential. the BoO has remedied this by promoting the development of unique rituals for each individual psion. the fact that everyone has their own personal style of "magic" means that they can also put more power into their psionic abilities than if there was a single, unified method for rituals.
though the BoO is not a violent group by nature, their near-constant exposure to deadly xenomorphs combined with the persecution they face from the heavily-armed USCM (and later the USM) means that they are forced to maintain a highly skilled guerrilla army. BoO soldiers are always equipped with symbiomorphs, a grappling hook device similar to those once used by the skirmishers, and some form of gene mod. their primary weapons vary, though P9 SHARP rifles, M42A Scope rifles, Draco Double Burners (in later years), and various shotguns seem to appear prominently, oftentimes sporting the same halogen attachment used by the lacrima 99 shock rifle. they usually carry finely-crafted plasma axes as secondary weapons. the leaders on the battlefield are almost universally psionic, though occasionally the role is instead filled by an awakened exomorph. mutanurmorphs are occasionally used in a defensive role, and trained sapiomorphs in MEC suits are used in a support role.
though the exact point of origin is unknown, and BoO cells can be found all over the world (and other worlds), the Brotherhood of Obsidian is currently based in Socotra, and was originally located in Australia. this is because the BoO favors isolated locations with high biodiversity and a harsh environment for their experiments; Australia's many deadly creatures provided plenty of hosts for xenomorph breeding, and the rugged conditions of the outback accelerated the natural selection process. In addition, the BoO was rather hard to find in the outback; most people who tried to find them died due to dehydration or animal attacks, and those who didn't simply gave up and returned home. however, the BoO's base was eventually discovered by Australian Special Forces, forcing them to leave. while Socotra isn't quite as deadly as Australia, it is extremely biodiverse, and it's many caverns provide a safe hiding place for the BoO.
connections to XCOM
the early BoO contained many former members of XCOM, an organization that agreed with the idea of using alien genetics and technology to benefit humanity. in fact, some of the original members of task force samsara-46 (Jorgen "Stormwalker" Johnson, Yvone "Shooter" Flores, and Pratal Mox to be specific) were among the founding members. in a way, the BoO's goals align with XCOM's mission directive; "Survive. Adapt. Win."
the BoO as a whole is managed by a meritocratic council. the list below is composed of the highest-ranking BoO members and the things they are in charge of.
Yvone "Shooter" Flores: in charge of military planning and tactics. see task force samsara-46 for her background.
Thwi'kaat Votaleb: a former yautja vanguard who once defeated the chosen hunter in melee combat. oversees the training of BoO soldiers. notable for being one of the few female yautja to ever receive a title higher than elite.
Ta-jol Yothaneth (trophy's hatchling): head researcher, oversees (but does not control) all research projects.
Eloise: in charge of ensuring human and xenomorph rights are respected within the BoO, deals with unethical experimentation, discrimination of any kind, mistreatment of prisoners of war, and sexual harassment complaints (though all of these are extremely rare occurrences, especially that last one.)