We are all but a weapon in the right hand of the Emperor.
– Exhortationes Principiis Titannorum, Divisio Militaris
The Ecclesiarchy is an organization that is very much divided into various sects and factions. They are not the only ones that have this problem though – there exists another body, equal (if not greater) in strength, which is again divided, but has far less written upon its philosophies – the Adeptus Mechanicus, after all, are a secretive bunch…
There are, as we all know, many differing philosophies for the Ecclesiarchy, and other intriguing, esoteric cults. But it always felt, at least to myself, that there was one body that was a bit too ‘over-simplified’ in their either pro or anti-Xenos stance. This was, of course, the Adeptus Mechanicus. These Machine Priests deserved so much more, and so I’ve endeavored to try and come up with some interesting factions to add depth and background to the Tech-Priests. Feel free to toy with them, reject them, or be inspired by them and come up with your own philosophies for the Mechanicus to follow!
“Heresy is a subjective term – only you who are in fear of the Iron Messiah’s righteous gaze wish this work to cease. In His name, I shall see this is never so!”
– Last recorded words of Pater Machinae Dorylbus, Heretek
There is a movement within the Mechanicus not unlike that of the Thorians. Theirs is a philosophy considered highly dangerous by their brethren, a philosophy in which the summoning of either the Omnissiah (the Mechanicus’ term for the Emperor), or the Machine God himself into a pre-built, or extensively modified, Avatar, is greatly desired so that he might lead the Tech-Priests on to the end of their Quest for Knowledge.
Though the majority of this faction may be united in purpose, these members of the Mechanicus differ greatly in the method. Some may seek out the ablest of their mind-scrubbed servitors, so that they may create a host of both flesh and metal for their Machine God. There are Genetors that grow monstrous creatures, that they consider absolute organic perfection, in great bio-vats, or even darker, those that may pursue an entirely
mechanical construct, touching upon the dark and forbidden arts of Abominable Intelligence.
To the Adeptus Mechanicus, this is on par with the soliciting of daemonic entities so reviled by Inquisitors of a Puritan (or sane) state of mind.
Unsurprisingly, this particular tenet results in its adherents maintaining and fostering close relationships with other like-minded philosophies, such as the aforementioned Thorians, Horusians, and other Resurrectionist Cults that may provide assistance in the great endeavor to make the Machine God walk amongst his followers.
It is for this reason that the Inquisition knows so much about the Omnissiads and has formed numerous secretive pacts with the Mechanicus in the name of eradicating the heretical sentiment of summoning Deities.
To the Omnissiads it is clear that the hour of His return is at hand. The xenoheresies of the Necrontyr have revealed themselves so that they may be righteously smitten, the unbelievers of the Forge World Gryphonne IV have been judged unworthy and purged, and numerous Dark Mechanicus traitors slain or captured in the recent assault upon Cadia.
“Bio-chauvinism, and on such a small scale, when it comes to the processing of knowledge, is laughable.
Give me any savant you care, and I shall match his worth tenfold with even the most basic of Machine Spirits.”
– Extract, The Problems of Organic Thinking, Chapter XII
The Mechanicus’ Quest for Knowledge can be defined as much as an inner, spiritual journey as it can be a physical one. Too many Tech-Priests, especially those too old or otherwise occupied to actually venture forth into the stars themselves, this very idea holds a great appeal.
To them, it is not so much in the action of searching, but in the more mundane tasks of everyday data-inputting, repairing Enginseering, and a million other tasks that the Quest for Knowledge ever comes closer to its conclusion. To these members of the Adeptus Mechanicus, sometimes referred to as the Imperio-Cognisticians, the Imperium is nothing but a giant super-computer, ever processing more data in its task that will ultimately lead it to deliver all knowledge.
This is most often referred to as the Divine Processing Routine. The followers of this belief are often seen as traditionalists, and a little too conservative for their own good. Unless directly called for, such as in response to armed hostility, things such as change or upheaval are regarded as unnecessary for the benefit of the computing process.
They regard themselves as anti-viruses in a galaxy full of corrupted programming (the Dark Mechanicus and forces of Chaos), and xenotic viruses, and for this reason regard anything apart from their own technology as contaminated and dangerous to use. The only acceptable form of change that they may instigate is that of upgrading.
When working within the scope of such a large ‘computer’ as the Imperium, this can range from the personal act, whereby a Tech-Priest may incorporate a new memory chip into his brain, to the conquest of new worlds that may better increase the ‘memory’ of the Imperium, and so provide more material for faster processing of data to bring the Quest for Knowledge to a satisfactory end.
Even then, the most extreme of the Imperio-Cognisticians see this as too much change to the Divine Processing Routine and will seek to hinder it at any opportunity.
“There is no way in which the fully realized sentience of a machine could not be of benefit to us.
As it is, the Machine Spirit is revered, yet in permanent bondage, its full potential shackled by petty fears. I seek to terminate this state of affairs.”
– Extract from intercepted Astropathic communiqué, of unknown origin (circa M34)
Amongst the Mechanicus, there exists a certain fear of sentient machinery – A.I., or ‘Abominable Intelligence’. This fear of A.I.harks back to the Dark Age of Technology, during which time depraved and bizarre sciences were practiced, and sentient machines battled their human masters for supremacy.
Since that time, and owing to a decree by the Emperor himself, it has been forbidden to dabble in the creation or maintenance of machines that can think fully for themselves. During the late 34th millennium, however, a recently ordained and brilliant Magos by the name of Degio Khamrios was to covertly circulate research he had carried out on the subject of A.I. His words carried with them such conviction that a small body of like-minded Tech-Priests was to join with him, dabbling in the forbidden sciences.
By the end of his first century as a Magos, Khamrios was confident that his theories were ready for publishing to the Adeptus Mechanicus as a whole. He had severely misjudged his brethren’s opinions upon the matter, and within months was a hounded fugitive. Eventually, he was brought to heel, but only after much effort on the parts of the Inquisition, Mechanicus, and at one stage the Iron Hands Chapter. He was taken into Mechanicus custody, and his fate is unknown to this day.
Despite this, certain unorthodox Tech-Priests still express a desire to perform research in the field of A.I., hoping to harness and improve upon ancient examples they uncover in dusty and forgotten places. Some even attempt to copy the examples they find, and so produce for themselves, intelligent robotic servants. Should they ever succeed in producing their heretical creations en masse, the dark days of the Iron Men could return. Whole legions of thinking machine-warriors had risen up and opposed humanity then – who could say that the same could not happen again?
“Everything organic we know of is simply machinery, in one form or another.
Tendons replace pistons; flesh in the place of steel; blood is simply biological coolant.
To deny this and shun it is more than just Mechanicus orthodoxy – it is idiocy.”
– Attributed to an unknown Genetor
At first, this philosophy may seem almost out of place in an organization that is based upon the use of so much machinery and metal. For most of the Mechanicus, the flesh is weak and a hindrance in most aspects – but not so to this faction. The tenet of the Organicists sees biological matter as simple machinery in another guise. The brain is stylized as a complex computer and the body’s diverse workings as a biological apparatus.
This philosophy’s followers, as could be expected, are mostly Genetors and members of the Adeptus Biologis, studying and improving upon organic matter to improve it in all possible ways, growing all sorts of weird and terrible creations in their bio-vats. Where a typical Tech-Priest may, at various stages of their career, ‘upgrade’ themselves with bionic limbs, data-repositories, and all sorts of other cyberware, an Organicist is far more likely to implant into themself various glands, increase their muscle mass with stimms, and enhance their senses with laboratory-grown specimens.
The majority of Organicists do not reject the ideas of their brethren simply on the basis of their preference for metal instead of flesh. In some cases, Organicists may even prefer to make use of bionics themselves; it is simply that they do not reject biological components out of hand.
It is for their acceptance of machinery, where they choose organic substitutes that, whilst considered bizarre, the Organicists are not persecuted by the Adeptus Mechanicus (along with their proficiency where it comes to servicing older Magos’ remaining biological components).