The Order of Astraeos is a multi-national religious movement fronted by High Priest Christopher Howard. The Order is spread across multiple nations and has formed close ties with many governments, helping them to retain order and power in difficult times. The primary defining feature of the Order is its religious belief which teaches of a close communication between the Order's leadership and the beings aboard the spacecraft stationed about the planet, the Order idolises these beings as deities and encourages worship of them. There are many similarities between the Order and 20th century religions including the stories of the Aliens deeds and trials of the ministers which bear similarities to many proverbs in the Christian Bible. While many older religions still exist, their public front has been disbanded through various actions of the Order from all out war to convincing government banning to stock market manipulation.
The Order of Astraeos as a faith borrows many of the aspects of mainstream pre-arrival belief systems preaching the benefits of acting well toward another's neighbour and assisting those who are in need. Similarly there are many loop holes left to allow actions such as murder and mauling toward those who do not "accept the teachings of the Astrae" and therein encourages the regular physical abuse of any who do not share the beliefs of Astraeos. The founding base of the Astraeos faith states that the leadership or "disciples" have made contact with the occupiers of the ships orbiting earth, naming them the Astrae (likely reference to Astraeos, translated as "Dawn of the stars"). They declare that the Astraeos wish to take those who exhibit the traits of true faith and belief in them and so will bring them the powers of immortality to those who accept their teachings. These teachings are passed through disciples of the faith to those who have been "initiated", it is expected that a regular attendance to a service declaring the Astrae teachings is made. The majority of the Astrae teachings speak in parable of how a person can better themselves in the eyes of the Astrae. There is however a section (Book of Howard) where the leader of the faith describes how he was brought to an Astraeos ship, shown the power of them and struck blind when he sought to perceive them, he later would be reconciled by his faith and have his vision returned and from here he was sent to bring their teachings to others back on Earth. A key subset of the Astraeos faith is that the resurrection, brought to those who truly accept the Astraeos teachings, is a post-fatal gift and so a believer will live their life before they are deemed worthy by the Astrae, their intelligence will then be removed from their body and they will be allowed to walk among the Astrae for eternity. In this way a life lost fighting for the Astraeos will according to their teachings lead them directly to salvation, equally the bringing of others into the faith will accelerate the standing of the initiate both in the corporeal eyes of the church and in the assessment that leads to their immortality or death.
The Church began in 2019 with the abduction of Christopher Howard. Christopher Howard who was living in London at the time disappeared off the grid for approximately 6 months before resurfacing in Southern France. Upon his return Howard declared how he had met the Aliens operating the ships above; he proceeded to in the next month write a book which would later form the core of the Astraeos bible. The book detailed his journey into the Alien ship describing the faith that had been handed to him by the Astrae and their promise of salvation to all those who would believe fully in them, he declared that in order for them to define those who could see truth and those unworthy they must use the power of a person's will to suspend consciousness that would buy their advance to immortality. The religion through a comprehensive internet campaign in addition to the books served to speed the advancement of the religion and its spread was nearly comprehensive by 2023. In late November 2025 Howard returned from a trip around Europe spreading Astraeos to Great Britain. Here he began a campaign to raise funds for the Church which at this time was gaining a strong influence in the younger population and gaining extraordinary growth through conversions from other faiths unable to adapt their beliefs to the Alien arrival (particularly the Roman Catholic Church which had publicly in a 2013 forum made a papal statement of humanities uniqueness).
Howard published a compendium of the Astraeos faith which would act as a Bible for his followers, the Compendium included writings by Howard of the experiences of others who claimed Astrae contact as well as further elaborations and thoughts on the Astrae. In addition Howard in his new rank of "Didact of the Astrae" returned with 18 "Consuls of the Astrae" who would act as senior figures in his Church and each published their own accounts and thoughts upon Astrae in the compendium. The Compendium was made available over the internet however it was made clear that a hard copy was preferred as a greater experience of faith and a contribution to the newly forming church, there were millions of copies sold. The church in addition requested donations and as the Consuls spread to different nations of the world they made introductions to various nations, some more forward than others depending upon the manoeuvrability of the leadership and the freedom of its peoples. The Astraeos faith had taken on an entire new role within the world; it was now a major player and moving extremely quickly. In the new Compendium Howard incorporated aspects of multiple major religions and publically declared their compatibility with Astraeos as well as his personal belief that the Astrae were in fact the source of all religions featuring deities.
By 2028 the Order of Astraeos had established formal headquarters in London as well as a secondary centre in Dubai to separate the church from Western systems which may have weakened their advance. In 2030 the Daily Telegraph published an article on OoA practices in Africa where the church had been aggressively setting up churches and instructing their followers to "defend the providences of the Astrae" which had led to vigilante activities attacking those who were not following Astraeos, a practice the Telegraph said was encouraged by the OoA. There were little repercussions however as few other papers took up the story and critically the BBC, due to the presence of Astraeos members in the cabinet, produced a counter story playing down the Astraeos influence. The story did however raise Howard's awareness of the weapon the press could be and from here on a series of smear campaigns would be launched against various religions particularly the Muslim faith which had proved problematic to the Order in recent years. In 2031 the Astraeos managed to form an agreement with the PCoE that the Order of Astraeos would be allowed to operate within Eurasian territories exclusively of all other faiths which were prevented where possible, a similar agreement with the MET was made in 2033 allowing the Order of Astraeos to act as the sole faith and in the case of the MET the state faith to the exclusion of all others. As of March 2034 the OoA in states lacking freedom of speech began teaching of the virtue of patriotism and respect for authority.
By 2036 the Order of Astraeos was integrated into most nations and acted under the influence of government assisting them in maintaining control over the people. In modern times the Order holds sufficient influence with most nations that it can operate small groups of armed forces which can carry out skirmishes with any other groups which may threaten the Order's religious dominance and act as a de-facto peacekeeping force among some more observant Rubble settlements.
For all its corruptions the practices of the Astraeos Order are based upon millennia of religious teachings which have many favourable results, most initiates of the Order are peaceful and honest and if following it's teachings faithfully will live charitable lives. The Order does however present dangers, they are powerful and have motivations difficult to ascertain due to their mix of political, selfish action and courses truly motivated by belief in the Astrae.
Furthermore Christopher Howard was 32 years old as of his confirmation as Apollyon infected and abduction a few months later, as of present day that would make his age 70 which is clearly impossible due to his various public appearances which show him as having barely aged at all; the problem has never been addressed. He regularly makes tours of the various churches of the Order bringing his work with him and is currently as of 2046 on a tour of Eastern Europe.
The Order has many secrets, it claims Alien contact and may possess it, its leader claims the power of his faith to give immortality and it seems he can produce such a claim and the Church maintains extraordinary powers in many nations whilst providing an easier rule but it is unclear how they originally convinced governments to provide this.
Case Study: Rituals of Worship
The Order of Astraeos was primarily an adaptive religion and while exchanging the deities many practices are absorbed from other religions, this made adoption of Astraeos easier for converts and also helped the assisting theory of other objects of worship being images of the Astrae. As a result of these practices there are several sects of Astraeos similar to the denominations of Christianity, however all sects are subset to the Order and specifically to the experiences of Didact Howard. In many nations the dominant religions practices are mimicked in the actions of the Order.
Churches of Astraeos are generally circular with arched ceilings; the design is intended to mimic the shaping of Astrae ships with the ribs being synonymous with the lines on the ships. The Priest will give a sermon from a central raised pedestal to a congregation ranging outwards. The sermon style is typically educational describing the attributes of the Astrae and beliefs about their ways, sermons will then conclude with a short session of questioning allotting a time to each section of the room before moving on.
Teachings are generally given from the various books written by leaders of the church. While overt worship is not required it is encouraged, however generally a logical belief system is encouraged. The Order, at least in more open churches like in cities, recommend an open mind and reasoned approach to their religion citing the evidence of the Astrae presence, their provision of a Prophet and various other suggestions of the Astrae’s divinity. This religious tolerance and openness is not so common in Rubble towns or territories where the Astraeos are not as established among the local citizen ship.
The overall promise of worship is not a definite one of salvation. Didact Howard directly stated that salvation, advancement and immortality would come when the Astrae judged humanity worthy. On that day only those who had awaited the arrival of the Astrae, remained pure of body and mind and were willing to accept their offer would be saved, all others would be left forever. The trump card of the Order in their operations is the immortality of its leader, Christopher Howard’s seeming immunity to aging effects has converted thousands and to this day cannot be explained by detractors of Order teachings.
In many nations other religious denominations have adopted the Astrae as representatives of their deities in one way or another. While these other religions claiming the Astrae as gods, angels or other representatives of their religion are generally supportive of the Order’s operation even if such support is not reciprocated.
- Leader: Christopher Howard
- Christopher Howard is 70 years old although to see looks around 40
- It will later be revealed Christopher Howard developed an Apollyon mutation allowing him to present biological immortality similar to Turritopsis nutricula with cells presenting a natural transdifferentiation of cells at the post mitotic stage
- 2019 - Christopher Howard, a 30 year old English man, disappears from Portsmouth, Britain.
- 2025 - After a tour of the world Howard returns to Britain and appoints himself "Didact of the Astrae"
- A bible-like "Compendium of the Astrae" and church-like "Order of Astraeos" are established officialising the faith
- 2028 - An official headquarters is founded in London with a second in Dubai responsible for separate (breaking western links) operations in Eastern nations