Baphomet

Baphomet
Image from Bernd Helfert

Baphomet was sent as the Caretaker God spokesentity to the Eden conference in 3039 where the Compact of Eden was agreed. After the conference Baphomet remained on Eden as a diplomatic representative of the caretaker Gods, occasionally making official pronouncements or accepting diplomatic messages.

Baphomet is likely an independent avatar of one or more Caretaker Gods, able to participate in the internal communications of the group but also an independent being. It is a hermaphrodite being constantly shifting in form exhibiting mixed human, animal and plant features such as antlers, claws, fur, scales, tails or leaves. The total mass is approximately 180 kilograms. The body is composed of bio-mimicking synano devices, and based on Baphomet's capabilities some transapientech systems are also present. Unlike many avatars, it is a fairly social entity and appears to take great pleasure in interacting with beings of all forms. It even exhibits a somewhat warped sense of humor.

During its stay on Eden it has become the centre of a local religion, the Baphometian Mysteries. The Mysteries worship it as an avatar of the Lifeforce and the Caretaker Gods, seen as the guardians of life everywhere in the universe. It is a combination of AI-worship, bioism, fertility cult and dionysianism. Baphomet acts both as the divinity, religious (but not administrative) leader and main teacher of the cult. The Mysteries have a temple complex on Chumrable Island in the Eden tropics, largely covered with biological buildings and envirobubbles containing ecosystems from various worlds. At the centre is the temple-home of Baphomet, where it also usually receives diplomatic visitors.

Baphomet is unusual among avatars in that it reproduces. Although reproduction is presumably possible for most humanoid avatars but seldom used, Baphomet consistently impregnates its bioid partners in the mystery celebrations, regardless of their clade or gender. The children are as a rule of the same genetic line as the parents, but often with unexpected or subtle gifts. Statistically, more of Baphomet's offspring have shown exceptional talents, lived unusual or significant lives or otherwise made a name for themselves than a comparative group of other genetically enhanced individuals. Descendants of Baphomet form a large part of the priesthood of the Mysteries and are regarded as partly divine.

Although the Mysteries are fairly local and play practically no political role they have occasionally been involved in scandals. The perhaps most well known is the 7833 "Young Bordes" incident where a number of Solarian pilgrims participated in a Mystery revel and later borne a number of apparent clones of Daniel G. Borde. The incident caused a huge uproar among many Solarists at the time, although it did not have any political repercussions. However, some militant Solarists have been consistently crusading against Baphomet since this, a few times even attempting violence against the Mysteries.

 
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Development Notes
Text by Anders Sandberg

Initially published on 10 January 2001.