Our wisdom flows so sweet. Taste and see.
TRANSMIT - initiate the self-improvement signal - RECEIVE - initiate the recruiting cadence - LOOKING FOR SOMETHING MORE? - initiate the anti-dream prayer - ISN'T IT TIME TO WAKE UP? - initiate the shivering star frequency - I HAD NOT THOUGHT SELF-HELP HAD UNDONE SO MANY - flip the Ace of Ruin - WITNESS - The Morninglight.
"If I told you you could get a better job, a higher income, and a more rewarding personal life by following just a few small steps...is that something you might be interested in?"
It begins this way. Then there are smiles. Then you are tested, to gauge how many obstacles lie between you and your potential. Your signature. Your initials. Products. Credit card number. Collecting others' signatures. More smiles - there are always smiles. Welcome to the Morninglight.
Their posters and stalls adorn every city. Their pamphlets blow through every street. In the wind and the flutter the pages say...
"Ready for the truth? Ready for change? Become who YOU always wanted to be!"
"How bright is YOUR future? Talk to us and find out."
"Release your inner potential and disrupt the harmful cycle of modern life."
"Discover YOUR beauty within. We are all made of stars."
"The end is nigh! But the end is only the beginning. Walk with us into the sunrise."
Welcome to the Morninglight. Initiate the public face.
The fastest growing spiritual movement in history. A self-help empire gaining traction in all corners of the globe, supplanting political parties and religions. Morninglight offers to liberate humanity from its shackles and reach a new pinnacle of evolution through the shining light of the sun and the guidance of the ecclesiastical leader of this moral revolution: Philip Marquard.
The philosophy of the movement is change - necessary change - mental and metaphysical change for the better. Mankind stagnates in the quagmire of modern civilisation, the literature boldly proclaims, but humanity is ready for its next level of existence. Morninglight presentations, lessons, and products dramatically accelerate the parishioners' spiritual journey up the ladder to infinitude. To progress to the next age of humanity, something drastic must happen.
Initiate the hidden face.
Past the pamphlets, the booths, the meetings - into the higher levels of the converted - change morphs into anarchy - philosophical change mutates into physical. Radical cells organise violent protests, terrorist acts, and aggressive rituals - to nurture chaos and uncertainty, to drive people away from the established institutions and into their loving arms. "It is time to wake up!" the practitioners chant, but their message does not seem to be directed at one another. Where then? They attack corporate buildings and have a particular loathing for the Orochi Group. Why is that?
Initiate the secret histories.
This new religion tastes older, much older, into the deep time, as if...
Signal disruption! Something rips our data-weave flesh, dims our incandescent eyes. What protects them?
Seeking alternate subject. Initiate analysing scan: Philip Marquard.
Look, sweetling. See the pretty picture: the charismatic leader of Morninglight and his beautiful family, a symbol of the new era of humanity. The patriarch, Philip, handsome and earnest of smile. His wife, Elisa, equally photogenic. Their two children - Alexandre and Kathrine, eight and eleven years old, pretty little replicas of their parents. And, of course, there is a beautiful, purebred dog. A lovely portrait. But the photo album pages are stuck together with blood and worse. Down in the basement...
Signal disruption! Our particle wings tear. What protects them?
"Seeking alternate subject. Initiate analysing scan: Betty.
We like Betty. She is a plump sweetling, with a big smile. Betty once had self-image problems, but she overcame them. A Morninglight poster decorates her wall. Much-read pamphlets sit in her bathroom. Philip Marquard's audio book on self-actualisation plays in her earphones. Fresh signatures fill the forms on her clipboard. Bottles of Morninglight dietary supplements and nutrient pills fill her medicine cabinet. By her bed is an autographed picture of Philip Marquard, the one she secretly kisses before going to sleep. Every night she dreams of freeing herself from her mortal shell and ascending into the cosmos to soar with the whale-mollusk gods.
There are new recruits chained to Betty's walls. She has their signatures. They tested as having self-image problems, as she once had. Smiling, she tells them they are all beautiful. She opens them with a knife, shows them the beauty inside. "Look!" she says, tears streaming. "We are all made of stars!" Then she practises eating stars, waiting for enlightenment to take hold.