The Universal Brotherhood was a cult that became widely-known as a cover organization for the largest Insect Spirit collective in the UCAS, and possibly the world. On the surface, the Universal Brotherhood seemed like a typical New Age cult, except for its meteoric rise to popularity and acceptance by all social circles. In reality, the cult members were being turned into Insect Spirits of all kinds, and the multiple-queen insect hives (unheard of prior to the Universal Brotherhood) used the Brotherhood to spread their brood across the world.
The Universal Brotherhood was founded in 2043 upon the principles of Dr. Caitlin O'Connal, a sociologist and statistician who lectured at UCLA, and the support of her husband Paul Grigg, a shaman and fellow instructor at UCLA. In the late 2030s, O'Connal believed that her mathematical studies of mob psychology proved that all Humans and Metahumans were linked by a bond she called the "universal brotherhood", a theory that was immediately dismissed by her peers. Unfazed by such a negative reaction, and despite the fact that no journal would publish her findings, she began work on developing a whole philosophy and framework around this brotherhood principle.
The first chapters of the Universal Brotherhood opened on February 1, 2043. Four chapterhouses in all opened their doors in the California Free State. From these few chapters and from astounding donations from the membership, the chapterhouses grew and spread all over the world. By March 2050, it was estimated that the Universal Brotherhood had over 300 chapters in North America, with 100 more chapters internationally, growing from less than 100 members to over 35,000 members worldwide in seven years.
The demographics of the cult members at the time included about 70 percent male membership and over 95 percent Human, with the average age of 20.5.
During this period of growth, Paul Grigg's mental and physical health deteriorated and he committed suicide in 2045. O'Connal also suffered from mental health problems and committed suicide as well shortly before 2050.
The Universal Brotherhood became an influential cult similar to Scientology, which embraced all aspects of society and social class. Businessmen, CEOs, squatters, and laymen all rubbed shoulders in the chapterhouses, which grew from the considerable contributions of its members.
All the while, the hives behind the organization were turning members into flesh form and true form insect spirits. In 2051, an expose by the late Frederick Davitt and Zebediah Wanderly called "Universal Brotherhood: A Web of Deceit" revealed the menace behind the organization, but it was never published, the only readers being a few scattered SINless shadowrunners who thought it to be the ravings of a madman. Scattered investigations on "missing persons" related to the Universal Brotherhood all came up blank for a few years.
In 2055, when incidents such as Project Hope in Seattle (a Universal Brotherhood-sponsored project that held a large Ant hive) and other numerous cities revealed the secret of the Brotherhood to federal intelligence agencies, the UCAS government began to share this information with other governments and organizations quietly. The UCAS government brought its full weight of law against the organization, charging the leaders with seizing property, kidnapping, and other heinous crimes, while Ares Macrotechnology, having gotten wind of the insect hives behind the Universal Brotherhood, began staging covert attacks against specific hives throughout North America with their Firewatch teams. They continued to cover up the reality of the Bugs, until the catastrophic events of Chicago in 2055 forced their hand.
- Corporate Download 34
- Double Exposure
- Feral Cities
- Loose Alliances 62, 82
- Runner Havens 62
- Sixth World Almanac 61-62, 63, 73, 77
- Shadows of Asia 197
- Shadows of Europe 190
- Sprawl Survival Guide 54, 92
- Target: Awakened Lands 20, 73
- The Universal Brotherhood
- Vice 155
- Shadowrun Website - Shadowland
- 2054-01-18 Universal Brotherhood: Awesome, or Just Great?
- 2054-03-22 Missing Persons