The Empire within
The Adeptus Mechanicus supplies the Imperium with all it’s advanced technology, and much of its civilian technology. It is a powerful faction within the Imperium, an ’empire’ in it’s own right, and represented by the right facing head of the Imperial eagle. My aim was to introduce a reasoned premise for the structure of the Adeptus Mechanicus that plays into and reinforces the image and horror of Warhammer 40,000. While based on the works published by Games Workshop, this is fan fiction (Philverse) and should not be taken as ‘canon‘.
Icon of the Adeptus Mechanicus
= Philverse – Unofficial ‘fan fiction’ =
The Adeptus Mechanicus is an distinct empire state within the Imperium, allied to Terra it is one of the founding pillars of the Imperium. The empire is ruled over by the clergy of a techno-religious cult, known as the ‘Akolouthos Mekhane’ (Greek influence in translation) more commonly known in the Imperium as the ‘Cult Mechanicus’ (those who follow the religion) or simply ‘the Cult’. Their flock are the hordes of servitors that toil in the many Forgeworlds. These poor semi-human wretches are striped of their humanity and their minds reprogrammed to perform technical tasks. The are the ‘electronic sheep’ of the machine, mindlessly following their grafted memeplexes and ‘social’ programming. The Cult sees the Servitors as their property to do with as they will, and do not tolerate any form of independence.
The Cult – [Akolouthos Mekhane]
The Cult is very much run as a cult or religion, with initiates memorising prayers and laws, and proving themselves via trials and missions in order to gain status and reward. Above all else loyalty is the most highly prized characteristic among the cult. A modern analogy of the younger members of the cult’s society would be organised crime social structures, like the Yakuza. The cult is highly active in acquiring and controlling technology, as far as they are concerned all technology in the Imperium is their Intellectual Property or derivative thereof and they zealously protect that property, and are quite capable of sabotage and murder. The full members of the cult are like the ‘Big Boss’ of a given initiate gang, and is untouchable and considered respectable within Imperial society. The younger members may even serve in units of Skitarii on Forgeworlds, the official army of the Adeptus Mechanicus, but rarely seen in the wars fought by the Imperium. Here they often fight opposing factions (Orients) within the cult, and are either promoted out of the armed forces or put down as servitors.
The Adeptus Mechanicus is founded on the morals and principles of a religion unchanged since the Dark Age of Technology. In this religion science, culture and spiritually combine to enhance each other. Their religion does not impede their scientific endeavours or progress. In many ways, it is this core religion that allowed the humans of the pre-Dark Age to advance to the point where the Dark Age came about. To understand how this can be, we must first understand what the religion is. Unlike many mono god religions of the 21st century, the religion of the Adeptus Mechanicus is more akin to a philosophy such as Buddhism but with a ‘scientific representation’ of god, known as ‘ghod’.
The Human system is a catch all term for all the artifice, thoughts and systems created by humans. Everything that goes into a system, and everything that inspired a human is part of the human system. The human system generates knowledge and designs that is ‘humocentric’, and the ultimate expression of that humocentric design is the STC. All of the human system is considered ‘holy’, but this holiness is confined to the humans system. Within this vision the machine becomes one and the same as the flesh of a human. Humans artifice is deemed as human as one born to a mother. Even artificial intelligence is considered a child of the human system, or the ‘great mother’ of the universe.
Even before the Dark Age of Technology science had advanced so far as to make it impossible for an individual to learn an entire scientific discipline within a lifetime. Even with advanced interfacing with optical-computers, the wealth of knowledge was simply into great to fit into one persons head, and the mathematics to complex to behold within a human’s mind. Though genetic engineering did help, eventually the physical limits were reached of bio-technologies. It is in the depths of pre-history, before the Dark Age, that implant technology and the phenomenon of instant knowledge has it’s roots.
There are no schools, collages or universities of technology within the Imperial structure that teaches the sciences. These antiquated social systems have long since died out. The wealth of scientific knowledge is so vast, and each discipline so extensive, that there is no way a human could ever learn or retain such treasures in one, or several, lifetimes. There is no conventional way to learn about technology within the Imperium; the only way to gain knowledge of technology in the Imperium is via cybernetic implants from the Cult Mechanicus: the gift of knowledge.
“A version of the language in which technical rituals and ancient works are recorded. This developed during the Dark Age of Technology.” “It derives from the common tongue of the time, an assimilation of English, European and Pacific languages which developed over many centuries in the American/Pacific region.“
Rogue Trader page: 267
At it’s heart Tech is a ‘concept language’ that goes beyond mere speech. This is because of the Implants allow direct communication of incredibly complex ideas and concepts, so parts of the language may be beyond the scope of modern day languages. For example: A 3D file is written in a language, that produces a 3D space model. Not only is the base language part of tech, the these special models also become part of the language. Even repeatable scripts to create basic shapes and modeling are considered language. Further to this the final models and file collected can be seen as an argument, and the 3d simulation of complex designs like computer chips can be seen as arguments or design concepts of a larger system, say designing a super computer cluster which in turn brings about models and simulations of process and intelligence. Tech goes from the basic letters all the way up to the most complex designs of artificial minds.
Design Notes: The Tech Language concept has spiraled out of control into a mishmash of concepts and ideas cobbled together in an ad-hoc manner, and until I can make sense of it all it really doesn’t make much sense – what there is can be found here;
This is a list of materials, component devices and gear that the Adeptus Mechanicus shares with the rest of the Imperium. This is the curated and sanctioned technology, supplied to the Imperium as part of an ongoing service agreement between the Ad-Mec and the various Imperial institutions. The Ad-Mec lay claim to all technology and IP, and technically owns all of the Imperium’s technology. No citizen can legally own technology, and the Ad-Mec reserve the right to confiscate a citizen’s technology at any time, and without warning. Remember, all technological IP belongs to the Ad-Mec, and those IP rights are never ending, and nothing is ever returned to the public domain. Nothing.
The following articles build upon the concepts laid out in the above index, and presents the ‘Informatum Technicana Prohibitorum’, the secret science behind the technologies of the Adeptus Mechanicus, and the marvels they create for the Imperium. These Articles delve into how Ad-Mec technology works in principle.
Everything from small power-cells to Warp Drives. Touching upon new spheres of science; such as border-space theory, phased-materials used in mega-structures and weapons, and the evolution of cogitator wet-ware.
I often refer to these pages when chatting to other fans on forums while explaining how I see technology actually working in Warhammer 40,000. While based on the works published by Games Workshop, this is fan fiction (Philverse) and should not be taken as ‘canon‘.
Although the Empire of Mankind lost their advanced technology during the fall and transgression through the dark years of the great strife, it has often been the case that many a 40K fan has trouble coming to terms with the current state of Imperial technology. Humans, by our very nature, are industrious and inventive and it seems reasonable that we would rebuild our societies and relearn or re-invent technology as we did so. The problem is some of the advanced technology can not be learnt in the usual ways (as discussed in ‘the gift‘), and some is incompatible with electrons. The biggest hurdle is the Adeptus Mechanicus who have their own interest foremost in their hearts and seek to control all advanced technology deployed by the Imperium.
The Redevelopment of Base Science
Many worlds during the Age of Strife experienced a scientific renaissance, and quickly redeveloped electronic based technology. They rebuilt their worlds and often to a level to rival or exceed our a modern society. However, without the Artilects or similar super computers and vast resources of the Dark Age, they could not develop warp drives or P-Fields. Each of these equivalents of our ‘modern’ world, where isolated.
To the Adeptus Mechanicus all electronic based technology is considered inferior and therefore blasphemous in the face of the Machine Ghod. Electronics fail in the presence of fields created by all advanced technology, and this is taken as a sign that electronic are not in favour with the Machine Ghod. This failing is considered an irrecoverable flaw and all electronic technology is outlawed in the Imperium.
When a world is rediscovered and subsumed into the Imperium, the first mission of the Adeptus Mechanicus is to replace all electronic technology with sanctified Adeptus Mechanicus technology, which the indigenous population have no idea of how it works. It can take many years for the Adeptus Mechanicus to completely change over the technology base and set up a fully functioning priesthood on the new world.
The advancement of technology and rediscovery of electronics (banned) and the limit on technology advanced due to the lack of implant technology sufficient to allow the rapid learning (info upload) to build the great machines to create the higher sciences (and invent the warp drive).
Fear of Technology
Humans did not invent the higher technologies used in the Imperium. These physics distorting, and even breaking, technologies were invented by a machine. A machine so complex that humans didn’t even make that! Humans used implant technology to push their minds as far as they could go, invented a series of AI, and these AI then built the greatest all machine that has ever been: the Great Architect itself. It is the Great Architect, the first of the Artilects, that uncovered boarder-space physics, the warp, and turned this knowledge to its (and our) advantage. No human actually understands how a warp drive works, even with implants it’s far beyond mortal comprehension.
This total inability to understand some of the core technologies that are used throughout the Imperium makes a lot of people very nervous. It boils down to this: if it’s super advanced, and falls outside our understanding of science (and therefore safely bagged with the ‘fantasy’ tag from modern eyes), then it can’t be fathomed by mortal minds. Not knowing how something works in actuality, even if you have a rough gist of what it going on, provokes fear of the unknown. It is often treated as magic, and imbued with spiritual, angelic or even demonic power.
Except this magic is predictable, and people are prone to complacency. Once technology has been used many loose their fear of the actual device in hand, or the machines they operate. The real ‘fear of technology’ is not really the technology but the custodians of that technology, one of the most power factions within the Imperium: the mighty Adeptus Mechanicus.
It is the fear of the Adepts of Mars that is in the forefront of the mind when using technology. All fear the wrath of the red brotherhood for the abuse of technology. To understand the mindset of the average Imperial citizen you have to think back to a era with a similar setup, something like the power of the church in Medieval Europe, and then imagine that advanced technology is treated like holy relics. Not all holy relics are equal, and some are ‘common’. Even if you do not believe in god, or respect the relics, you will still be careful because you do not want to end up tied to a stake and burnt alive. The Adeptus Mechanicus are very happy to see tech-heretics burn, and they have the authority to do it.