Democratic Republic of New Eden
The Edenites control around sixty worlds, all heavily garrisoned and protected from vice by the vice-like grip of the Sacred Police.
The Edenites worship a god called the Great Annihilator, who is usually depicted as an enraged, bearded figure with a machine gun in one hand and a stick of dynamite in the other. Worship of the Annihilator takes many forms and varies from planet to planet, but invariably involves making everyone as miserable as possible. Women and aliens are regarded as slave races, and intelligent machines are destroyed as a blasphemy (see the Flunkerian Jihad of 2409, when the Edenites smashed their robot butlers). State violence is predictably intense, and public executions pretty much continual.
The average Edenite lives a rough existence revolving around prayer, terror, hard labour and sexual frustration. Since almost any deed involving women is denounced in great detail as filthy and improper, the Edenite is generally furious that he won't get the chance to find out just how dirty such activities are. Rumours that the British Space Empire's "Service" is largely funded by selling second-hand ladies' underwear catalogues to Edenites are completely unfounded.
The precise history of the Edenites is lost to time, mainly because the Witchfinderate re-writes the Book of Eden every few years to catch out sinners. However, it is generally agreed that the Brotherhood was formed in the twenty-second century, when a number of Earth's religious wars were coming to an end. It had become clear that the world was in imminent danger of becoming quite a nice place. The decision to unite the globe's religious maniacs in one, essentially manufactured, faith is generally laid at the door of Jeremiah Cletus Al-Hazred, author of the Omnomicon, also known as the Book of the Devourer.
A number of lesser churches exist under the general aegis of Edenism. When the Democratic Republic is not at war with another power (usually whilst proclaiming itself to be a religion of peace and re-arming), the various sects practice for battle by carrying out minor acts of genocide upon one another.
The Witchfinderate is the wing of the Secret Sacred Police charged with finding possible heretics, bashing them until they own up to heresy, and then setting them on fire. Its current head is Lord Hiernoymous Prong, who has taken up the traditional title of Grand Mandrill.
The Handymen are the technocratic wing of the New Eden, and are entrusted with the task of maintaining its slightly ropey technology. Given that the average Edenite is completely ignorant of nearly everything, this is a trusted position, and the Handymen are carefully vetted for dogmatic conformity. They can be distinguished by their red robes and toolboxes.
The Reborn are an elite unit, used for bodyguard and close-assault duties. They are the result of applying Ghast technology to human beings, and are the human equivalent of Praetorians. Following immersion in the (shallow) gene-modification pool, the individual undergoes changes on a cellular level, leaving him huge, heavily muscled and extremely strong. Unfortunately, he is also a complete simpleton. It is tacitly acknowledged within Edenite high command that the programme is a failure, as evidenced by the willingness of enhanced soldiers to collect furry things and stroke them instead of fighting anyone.
Skytroopers are a fast, hard-hitting group of shock troops roughly equivalent to the Space Empire's commandos. Unlike Imperial Commandos, the Skytroopers wear powered armour, and carry jetpacks as standard. They played an important role in the conquest of Didcot 4, but were effectively knocked out of later fighting by the use of an Electro-Magnetic Pulse device.
Edenites of Note
Captain John Gilead
John Bradley Gilead is a space captain of the Edenite navy, described by Colonial Intelligence as "a dangerous, self-righteous braggart with some very unpleasant hobbies". Few details are known of Gilead's early career, although those who came up against him considered that he had been able to afford extensive plastic surgery, implying that he was of the upper class of Edenite society. His links with the Ghast Empire, in particular Commander 462, suggested that he was a security operative, possibly one of the Witchfinderate.
Gilead briefly detained Isambard Smith on his spacecraft, during which time he mentioned that he had a number of wives, given as a reward for his service. It is likely that he was a member of the Cordite sect, as implied by his interest in firearms and use of deoderant, which the Ignians and Crusadists consider to be the work of Beelzebub. He was severely injured on Drogon, and was refitted with a mechanical body.
During the annexation of Didcot 4, Gilead entered into an alliance with the Crusadist leader, the Grand Hyrax. Gilead's main function was to act as liaison officer between the Hyrax and the Ghasts. In practice, this involved assisting the Ghasts in their efforts to destroy the tea crop and trying to limit the Hyrax's more demented policies. During an uprising instrumented by the Teasmen, Gilead's body was shut down and he was captured by the rebels.
The Grand (Stephen) Hyrax
The Grand Hyrax was a leader of the Crusadist cult who briefly took control of Urn. Unlike his comrade Captain Gilead, the Hyrax was not polished or dapper, and resembled a cross between the Ancient Mariner and a heavily-bearded tramp. Observers variously described him as "charismatic", "malodorous" and "popular with dogs".
The Hyrax took power after a Ghast-backed coup, and proceeded to instigate a variety of petty, cruel and misogynistic laws, as any self-respecting Edenite would. Most notoriously, these included the banning of the consumption of tea. The Hyrax ultimately intended to ban all language not related to praising him, but was prevented from implementing his plan by the local uprising.
It was discovered by Isambard Smith that the Hyrax really originated from [REDACTED BY ORDER OF HMG], and that his real name was Stephen.
Lord Hieronymous Prong, Protector of the Flame and Incinerator of Unbelievers, held the title of Grand Mandrill of the High Council of the Witchfinderate. Prong was extremely old when he took the position, and was effectively kept alive by a range of bionics which staved off the effects of senility (although, as Prong made clear, bionics had been much better when he had been a lad). A sworn Ignian, Prong believed in the power of fire to solve almost any problems short of a serious gas leak. Whilst by no means a reformer, Prong resisted some of the more fundamentalist Hierarchs, and vetoed a plan to execute all women as painfully as possible, on the ground that it might have a negative effect on the birthrate.
Prong was linked to the Edenite plan Project Horseman, which involved the development of new forms of instantaneous travel. He was closely involved in the construction of the Pale Horse, an experimental vehicle which opened a portal leading straight to [REDACTED BY ORDER OF HMG] which made nobody very happy.