This is a work-up of the religion inspired by Sora Yamauchi. It is not official, of course, but I wanted to create this as background material for other stories.
UEE ADVOCACY INTELLIGENCE BACKGROUND REPORT
PUBLICATION: UNCLASSIFIED, LEO ONLY
TITLE: CULTS IN THE EMPIRE: ENRO
- Name: Enro (遠路 Japanese: “Long Road”)
- Founder: Benjamin Meitner (Terra)
- Planet of origin: Terra
- Central figures: Sora Yamauchi (Saisei); B.Meitner
- Sacred books: The Log of the Lorinand; The Book of Inifinite Eyes (The Life and Teachings of Sora Yamauchi)
- Core teachings: Enlightenment achieved through solitary meditation during space flight. Sanctity of jump points.
- Number of adherants: est 7 million
- Activity level: low
- Threat status: moderate
Born during the political upheavals of the end of the Messer era, Enro is a small but growing religion based on the writings of late 28th century star pilot Sora Yamauchi, published in two primary texts:
- The Log of the Lorinand – A short work consisting of the final weeks worth of log entries of Yamauchi’s light freighter Lorinand.
- The Book of Inifinite Eyes (The Life and Teachings of Sora Yamauchi) – A large work consisting of the supposed personal diary of Yamauchi, along with extensive commentary and additional material by Benjamin Meitner and a few other early Enro founders.
Yamauchi was a freighter pilot from Saisei who eventually worked her way to Terra and established a small but profitable business running light cargo. She was born the only child of two factory workers and apparently had an unremarkable life, though it is known that she experienced unusual dreams and had an interest in philosophy. Her ship disappeared in late 2783 while making a routine jump out of the Terra system, but she ejected a log buoy right before the jump.
The logs were recovered almost immediately, but lay unnoticed in the files of the UEE Starflight Safety Administration for several years before being examined by an inspector, Benjamin Meitner, cleaning up and closing old unresolved reports. Meitner’s personnel files show that he was considered strange by his co-workers, and that he had a large interest in occult subjects and was fascinated by stories of ships disappearing under unusal circumstances. After reading the logs he became obsessed with learning more about Yamauchi and tracked down her widowed mother, still alive at the time. He began telling people that he, like Yamauchi, had visions of angels, and claimed that they told him to follow her to the stars. His increasingly erratic behavior cost him his job, but he also attracted a small following of devotees who were drawn to his teachings. Meitner is the founder of Enro and his books form the core teaching of the faith, while Sora Yamauchi herself is held up as a kind of saint and holy figure.
Since it’s founding, Enro has spread mostly by word of mouth, and usually among pilots and traders, with small groups of followers meeting in homes, ships, and starport rental halls throughout the Empire.
Enro teaches that jump points are actually gateways to Heaven, or the “divine realm” as they call it. For an Enrosha (the term for a follower of Enro, though “Enroist” and “Enrist” are often used by people outside the faith), traveling through interspace is a religious experience and they sometimes book passenger ships simply to fly back and forth between systems many times in a row – as many as the crew and jump station authorities will put up with. They claim that the temporal and spatial distortions of interspace are the result of the human mind failing to comprehend the true nature of the divine reality, but that through meditation and devotion, one can achieve a spiritual worthiness that would allow one to see interspace as it truly is.
They teach that Sora Yamauchi was a spiritually perfect human, who achieved grace and was allowed entrance into heaven while still alive when she flew through the Terra to Goss jump point. This particular jump point holds a special place in their teachings, and they call it the Gate of Dreaming. Enroshas study Yamauchi’s life and seek to emulate her, many of them becoming pilots themselves. But in fact, there is little reliable information about her. She never married and had no siblings or children, and her parents died of old age in the ten years after her disappeaance. She did leave behind a diary and dream journal in which she talks about her own beliefs and philosophy of life and these form the core of The Book of Inifinite Eyes, but the authenticity of the diary has been questioned by scholars as it was found more than 20 years after her disappearance.
The general teachings of the religion include an emphasis on solitary meditation and experience of the Universe, with a special emphasis on the stars as an important way to connect with the divine. Stars are seen as the literal eyes of God. (Or Goddess, or of many gods depending on the individual Enrosha. The original writings of Yamauchi use the Japanese word 神 (kami) which has been translated differently by different Enro scholars, and there is no official dogma on the gender of the divinity.) Enroshas are encouraged to learn to pilot a ship so that they can take a kind of pilgrmmage called the “Journey in Darkness” – a solo flight into deep space for contemplation, reflection and self-discovery. A key part of the Journey in Darkness is the passage through interspace during a jump, which is considered sacred. Of course, there are many Enroshas who are not pilots, so in practice they often undergo the Journey with the help of another Enrosha who has a ship, and the Heaven’s Door Foundation (see below) helps to arrange these trips. The Foundation also owns two small asteroids in Goss where they maintain a retreat that is a popular destination for pilgrims undertaking the Journey.
The Enro community is small and has little central organization. The closest there is to an overall leadership is the Heaven’s Door Foundation, on Terra, the direct descendant of Meitner’s original group. The Foundation publishes books and pamphlets, and organizes group flights for the religion’s followers to experience interspace passages together, as well as maintaining the previously mentioned retreats in Goss, but it does not provide any coordination of other activities, and its finances are very limited. In general, Enroshas either practice their religion alone, or in small informal groups, often consisting only of family members and close friends.
THE CHURCH OF THE INFINITE EYES
There is an underground splinter faction, however, called The Church of the Infinite Eyes, and this group has proven dangerous. Founded sometime in the mid 2890’s, the Infinite Eyes group claims that jump point travel by non-Enroshas is a sin and that only spiritually cleansed people should be allowed to pass through interspace. They claim that a non-Enrosha using a jump point is an act of sacrilege which defiles the divine realm and this group has on several occasions engaged in terrorist attacks on customs stations. The last such attack was in 2936 in Nemo, after which several of its members were captured and sent to prison. The group has been quiet since then, but it is not known if they have abandonded violence or are merely rebuilding and planning new attacks.
Enro is not practiced by large numbers of people, but it does seem to attract an unusal number of independent starship pilots, especially explorers, prospectors, and cargo haulers in more remote regions. The Enro philosophy seems to have some sort of special appeal for people who spend lots of time flying alone in deep space, which is not terribly surprising given the religions origin.
While the majority of Enrosha are peaceful and present no danger, the possibility of radicalization into the Infinite Eyes cult means that UEE personnel and employees with Enro ties should undergo extra scrutiny during background checks and security screenings. In particular:
- Due to the possibility of unknown ties to the Infintie Eyes faction, Enro adherants should be prohibited from working any position at jump point customs stations.
- Enro law enforcement and military personnel should undergo semi-annual security screenings to detect radicalization before it becomes a problem.