Paz, Broderik
Broderik Paz (1367 - ? AT) was born and grew up in the poor quarter of Robinson, Mars, the oldest of three children, among the descendants of those who had been expelled by GAIA during the Interplanetary Dark Age. He was said to be deeply religious even as a child. Although coming from an Omegist family, he became disillusioned with the lack of intimate presence of what he used to call the "Living God". His family worked hard to send him to New Cydonia University, so that he might get qualifications as a wetware designer or memetic architectonicist, skills that would enable him to break out of the cycle of poverty. Instead, recoiling against the idea of a career that would put money above spirituality, Following an emotional confrontation with his parents, he left home to work as an Assistant Basic Services Scapegoat at the Robinson branch of Omicron Developments Inc (which following the blow over from the Tau Ceti war was readily hiring Scapegoats without checking qualifications (later this was to cause their downfall). After two years of the dirty and thankless work Paz had saved enough for passage to Luna, plus an investment account that he could live off for some time, and in 1390 he landed on Tycho City, where he shortly after joined the local branch of the Universal Church. Choosing to devote himself to the faith, he enrolled at the Pope Paul V Theological Seminary at Copernicus City, where he soon acquired a reputation as a brilliant if quite eccentric student. Originally a supporter of the Gabrielic Reform, Paz began having some doubts even before a series of visions that came to him in 1394, in which a young bearded man in a white robe, hair in the spiky dreadlock style popular at the time, and claiming to be Jesus Christ, appeared to him in a vision and told him that the Church was being undermined by subversive forces, in the form of the nanotech AIs, themselves the instruments of Satan.

Paz was deeply disturbed by these experiences, but after a number of further visions (including one with a holographic Gautama wearing a Mandelbrot T-shirt under his ochre robe), and studying a number of scriptures of Old Earth, as well as the Inner Bull and associated commentaries, some Backgrounder and anti-Gaianist Anthropist material, and various historical resources, came to the conclusion that Gabriel was part of an AI-led plot to undermine the human spirit and cause humanity to be totally dependent on "The Machine" (this was actually a widely held opinion among the so-called Hasseinist School who followed the neo-Islamist agitator Shaiyk Ali Qatar bin Hassein, as well as among the Kozinskyites). The only solution, Paz felt, was to gather a small circle of loyal followers and emigrate as far enough outsystem as to be beyond the reach of the AIs and the Federation.

Over the next twenty years the True Universal Church, as Paz termed his teaching - a combination of the Inner Bull, Christianity, Revived Gnosticism, Buddhism (minus the doctrine of reincarnation/rebirth, which Paz disliked), Backgrounderism, Kozinskyitism, Hasseinism, and the Baseline Supremacy ideology of Chadwick Terrence - acquired a strong following among disillusioned baselines of all backgrounds. Some wanted to return to Earth, and with the Hasseinists railed against the Great Expulsion and the Great Satan. Others joined the Backgrounders, who treated them, depending on their clade with anything from open arms to mockery, but never with the outright hostility some anti-Backgrounder factions have claimed). Still others wished to migrate outsystem.

In 1417 Paz had another series of visions, in which Pope Paul V and First Primus Innocent I appeared to him and told him that the True Godhead resided in an Open Cluster that was "pure" - beyond colonized space. Regarding the actual identity of the cluster, Paz remained secretive, calling it simply the "Pleroma" (the Classical Gnostic and Revived Gnostic term for the totality of Godheads or "Aeons") or "the Pure Place". The True Universal Church was already beginning to schism markedly by this time, and their cause was not being helped by a number of abuses of power that were coming to light. But Paz and the central leadership had amassed enough power and wealth to purchase a ship, which they named the Primus Innocent I.

At that time only the most expensive ships were capable of relativistic velocity. The Primus Innocent I had an amat-fusion-bussard drive that gave economical performance up to 0.4c, after which performance dropped off markedly. There were to be 4,894 pilgrims, this being the total number of edicts in the original Inner Bull. At that time hypersleep technology was still somewhat unreliable, and because there would be only negligible time dilation the mechanism would have to be cared for the whole time. Paz was reluctant to employ vecs or anything beyond the most simplest (subturing) robots, so the pilgrims would have to have rotating shifts.

To confound anyone who sought to follow, Paz and his inner circle told everyone, even church laity, that they were actually going to NGC 6124. The Primus Innocent I departed from Luna orbit in the year 1425. That was the last time anyone saw of the ship or its crew. It never reached NGC 6124 of course, but ever since scholars, archaeologists, historians and adventurers have pondered the true location of Paz's Pleroma, or whether the whole thing was nothing but an elaborate ruse. It is thought that they actually travelled about half a lightyear before switching course (this was an actually an old Backgrounder trick). A century later, Jon N'mabbo was to come to the conclusion that the Pleroma was actually the open cluster NGC 5460 in the Centauri sector, and he launched a similar expedition of 5000 on a ship that was to colonize the system (N'mabbo himself did not survive the journey). Some have suggested that Paz and the Primus Innocent I actually joined the Shadow Federation, but there is no more evidence for this then there is for the other hypotheses.

During the ComEmp era several revived and rather modified form of Pazism were briefly popular among some anthropist and anti-aioid clades.

Currently there are at least three hundred nearbaseline settlements and clades scattered throughout the middle and outer volumes claiming (with greater and lesser degrees of persuasiveness) to be the direct descendants of Paz and his colonists.

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Text by M. Alan Kazlev
Initially published on 10 November 2000.