The Cult of Gaelaan

Alberto Mortimer Gaelaan was born of poor parents during the final years of the reign of The Tyrant (Emperor Ming) in what was, in Earth's pre-Atomic age, the province of Maine in the USA. Receiving the standard computerized education (only the children of the rich have human teachers), he was classified as a GX3 level manual labourer and went to work in the nearby LanzariK factory.

Awaking one morning he discovered that his transport cube had moved from where he had parked it. Not only that, it was already running, waiting for him to board. As he gazed at it he heard what he later described as an 'alien, crystal, voice' whisper "We cannot get through! We need help to bring you our gifts."

Disturbed, he reported an alien encounter to the local law enforcement authorities and was told that it was probably teenagers with a remote control and a voice projector.

Later that day, an hour into his shift, he was hit by inspiration. The event is well known, because it was recorded on the factory's security holo recorder. He is wearing a nondescript worker's coverall and is looking up from toiling at an archaic machine. His face reflects awe, shot through with surprise and even a tinge of regret.

Gaelaan immediately left the factory and set out to preach his revelation - that the Martians were trying to bring gifts through to the Solar System but were being intercepted by the Galactic Administration who didn't want their power undermined. The Martians were bearing gifts that would wipe out hunger, misery, drudgery, old age and disease for everyone - and the gifts were free if they could only get through. (A later sub-cult claimed that the Galactic Administration were keeping the goods to themselves.)

Gaelaan was laughed at by the intellectuals and harassed by the Galactic Administration, but the message struck a chord with the masses and the cult swept the solar system. There were sporadic attempts to suppress the cult, particularly by factory owners who had to contend with workers deciding the Martians were nearly through and therefore it was not necessary to work. However the cult had become too widespread to be completely destroyed and eventually an uneasy truce was reached in which the cult acquired a semi-legal status.

During one of the anti-cult pogroms Gaelaan himself vanished. There are two common explanations of this. Cultists believe that he was taken by the Martians and is assisting them in their efforts to break through and reward the faithful. Those of a more cynical bent believe he was killed by a secret Nightwatch assassination squad. As evidence they point to the much quoted exclamation of the Galactic Administration's Chief Administrator, "Who will rid me of this turbulent worker!"

The cult is open to all who believe, but most of its adherents are manual labourers. Cult temples can be found on most (but not all) inhabited planets. Often they are difficult to find because of local political antipathy, but in a few places they are openly tolerated.